featured in the poetry forum October 16, 2020  :: 0 comments

The beach in 1989
such hills
Wild rosemary and juniper
Baloney sandwiches
Secondhand beach towels
Second and possibly third hand
But we were free
The importance of
Reused brick frame duplexes
Once used to frame
A country sure of itself
Now assured of the
Freedom of its consequences
Before the earth shrugged

editors note:

All foundations shake when the earth quakes. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum November 5, 2019  :: 0 comments

The media portray someone’s last breath
slowing beeps on the monitors
one long continuous beep
When they took my daughter off the machine
There was silence
my halted breath
She sighed
looking like she was having
the most beautiful dream
I stood over her
willing her to let go
Letting her know we would be ok
I told her your grandmothers waiting
I pictured her running until
her granny laughed swooped her up
I hope that’s what really happened
My hands like Rosary beads
On the train from Bakersfield
A needed visit with my son
Sharing grief, joy and belly ache stories
I stood in the observation car of the Amtrak
from mountains to desert
A pretty good description of my emotions
Somebody wrote Help Me
in the sand in El Paso
under a duct tape sky

editors note:

Some go out, some come in. Hello! Goodbye! – mh clay

Aint It Like

August 3, 2019  :: 0 comments

Momma, Ms. Betty, Poppa Turtle, Ervay and I went to Tyler’s so named cause that was the headliner that night. They goan go someplace, do something out this joint, was Ms. Betty’s critique. She aint no Tina mumbled Pops. No, Ms. Peaches smelled like the clean sweat of honest work. She sang with her man, Tyler on bass, a daughter …

The Living

featured in the poetry forum August 28, 2018  :: 0 comments

Isn’t easy Sister Pigeon
you could be screaming inside your head
This city wouldn’t know or care
Trust me on this
the connective cries of so many

Common truth alone is quickening
There are no tender arms
No listening heart
You can try to weave the impossible
from the possible
join the illusion of what everyone knows
Full of the luster of lies easily told

You find shade and balm in forgotten skies
the singing of nature bodes warnings
harmony of a million beats

Lean across the stanchion beams of reality
embrace the sudden shock of your lack of uniqueness
Clasp to your soul the unending pleasure
Scoop it up
Get a platter of wisdom
That dish they serve cold

editors note:

Hard lessons, somehow softened by a hard life. – mh clay

The Further Adventures of Juvenile Delinquent

September 23, 2017  :: 0 comments

What I heard in my head was William De Vaughn’s “Be Thankful for What You’ve Got.” There wasn’t a diamond in the back. What was actually playing was a loop of the same five rap songs that apparently our driver picked to put him in El Capo/Pimpin’ mode. I could make some under the table paper, let the driver. You …

Bronze Atlas

featured in the poetry forum June 15, 2017  :: 0 comments

Born of bags, sirens and moon dreams
Jumped on the rail spilling clean shirts
Slipped off your dirty one rubbed it on your
Unvarnished mahogany face
Rubbed deodorant under your curved arms
Unmindful of your budding glory
Shorts highlighted your hint of pubic
Man promise
Run and rise our Moor
You may save us in our decline

editors note:

Saints of the streets; makers of mythos and money. Who will judge whom? – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum March 26, 2017  :: 0 comments

I have one, a snapper, one man named it. I was at the apex of my powers; so I thought. I was an old man’s pass around; he gave me a place to lay my head that weekend, much better than sleeping in an abandoned car. I got paid $20.00 and a new nickname; catfish, make a man’s nature rise like that r&b song extols.

I was hooking; selling ass out of both drawer legs, my momma called it. The narc looked like a drunk trick. My pimp Cornbread and his main piece Caroline were, unbeknownst to me, clipping tricks in the alley. Married men wouldn’t report them. I was finally caught underage at a club; spent the night in a drunk tank, told I was pregs by my cell mate and deposited back to my mom’s. So I could give it away for free to all comers.

I preferred married men; 20s, one child; one thug as a part time lover/jailer; one milquetoast freak as my semi regular man. Momma ran the juke joint next door, had 3 men rooming in the front room of our one bedroom apt duplex.

Married men gave formula and diaper money. One man had a chain of convenience stores; momma pushed me toward him; he was a regular in the joint and he liked them young. I had a snapper, he called it. I kept it lemony, I even used honey. It was sweet and sour; like life. I finally got an awareness of the pain I was causing the women. The saints who were raising their bad ass kids, washing their stank ass drawers. The drawers I was pulling down, my shame and anger was unrighteous. The nerve of me.

My 30s and 40s found me in a so-called sanctified marriage. He knew the score; I was hiding my bi-ness, hiding my same gender love. I ate gay related books and magazines. We had a threesome with my neighbor. She wasn’t into me. If the Lord is just, may he forgive this Jezebel; before I paid dearly with my girl child’s innocence for my moral sin, he was into my and her daughter. He went to jail. My snapper did not save those girls.

My 50s find me heighted. I have been called hot natured. My ob-gyn told me my cunt cramps are because my vaginal walls are so thick they constrict of their own accord. My last partner was jealous of my vibrator. She could not put her whole hand in me; damn baby your snatch is tight, wish I had my dildo with me, I’d wear you out. Or get sore trying. I grabbed the lube. We have honey on our lips, honey stains on the bed. I still do my kegel exercises. I touch my dark pearl and laugh. I got a snapper.

editors note:

A genital history, openly disclosed… Honesty? Honestly!- mh clay

Dame Jere

featured in the poetry forum January 18, 2017  :: 0 comments

Still small voice saw him first
There be angels
Mam would you mind putting these things on your walker
I don’t get around so good

The attaché had faded green party stickers
Mondale vs. some obscure nemesis
He was somewhat kempt yellowed shirt orange shorts
He offered his half a turkey sandwich
to a black woman trying to sleep
on the anti-vagrant benches near the AA center
He gestured to the crowd gates set up on Olive St
think they’re going to have the pride parade down here mam
I laughed I doubted it
I guess the temp tat no prop 8
was a dead giveaway of my orientation
You going to the parade tomorrow
been there got the shirt I’m too old
he raised himself to his haughty 7 foot
well he preened raised a bit of his shorts
with a practiced dainty hand
to reveal a pair of pink panties
frillier than the ones I was wearing
as we slow walked to the rail,
he regaled me of floats he the queen of the regalia
satins pearls tafatta
unforgiving in this lone star heat.
The train broke me from the enchanted tales
like my momma usta say
just cause you’re an angel and don’t have to be a fool
since I was neither. I told him I had to dash.
He grabbed his belongings,
thanked me for the assist.
I curtseyed and wished him a gentle journey,
he blew me a kiss
that in times past would have held
a jeweled glove.

editors note:

Angels and fools? Which are you? (A fool, I be.) – mh clay

Don’t you just want to

featured in the poetry forum July 5, 2016  :: 0 comments

I’ve given to strangers
For a sum or a repast
Or because it was Friday
the cat prowled restless

I have questioned many times
What is this hold, this malady
Your smell surrounds me
Self inflicted blues wail into the night

Wiser friends try to prevail
I tell them,
when you know it’s hot
but want the burn
don’t you just want to
when you know it’s a sheer drop
from the jazz note of b flat

I’ve chased windmills Quixote
But you ride a deuce and a quarter
I inhale the dust your kiss left

Not sad, for I know where that lies
But for my troubles dear jinn
Or a country haint that put roots on me
Daring me to find your mandrake
you hid inside me

Don’t you just want to
Don’t you want that time
Replayed when eyes narrowed
You claimed the part of me

editors note:

We can’t break from that sweet ache. Yes, we want to… – mh clay

Afterwords and Beyond

featured in the poetry forum February 8, 2016  :: 0 comments

This is the soundtrack for the life and times of
Lefty Bell. 57 years
the dust still hasn’t settled.
My inner selves seated at my honors table
praised for their resiliency,
Couldn’t/wouldn’t break
Walk w/ dignity through these streets so mean
So mad
Soul De La soul Fela Kuti
wild out music revolution
On the make/semi retired
Loving me immovable
Put the panty drop song on
Sway on the tip
Sway on my thigh
Sway my body
Sip my lemon tea lime
Subversive head
Circa LaWanda Page listening to Wolfgang
pierce the marrow of my heart
Luna sweet like my AfroCuban soul
Big leg hot water sweet potato
honey sticks Smokin hot
laughing at the shadows
big 6
twenty twins
Snapping snapping
I dance the pain out
I dance the pain out

editors note:

Every after has an ever. Dance to your music… – mh clay