featured in the poetry forum April 20, 2021  :: 0 comments

I August 19

The sea beckons this morning,
blue and rippling, but the beach,
when I arrive, is not inviting.
Sand washed away in a storm
left gullies lined with rocks
collecting mats of seaweed.

At shoreline, a shape
sways back and forth
in the tide, the color of a rock
but not a rock, large, heavy, soft,
swollen beyond recognition.

Farther down the shore,
I wade through seaweed over rocks,
until I can swim out in cold water.
Gulls circle overhead. Cormorants
dry their wings on a rock in the sea.

My summer swims are numbered,
but I don’t count them. The ponds,
lake, bay, and ocean I swam in this summer,
the pool at the top of a waterfall—
all welcomed me. All but this cove,
this morning. As I left the beach,
I passed a herring gull splayed in the sand,
its neck twisted at an odd angle.

II August 20

I saw a young stag at the edge
of the lawn, browsing the bushes.
Its antlers wore a velvety sheen
in the early morning sunlight.
We looked at each other
for what seemed a long while,
his liquid brown eyes,
my blue eyes.

We stood perfectly still
until he meandered into a dark seam
between bushes,
waving his fluffy white tail.

Summer is playing with fall,
a cool breath of air, a square of hot sun.
The color of the sea is ultramarine.
These are the most beautiful days of the year.
As I watch them pass, I hold them close.

– Anne Whitehouse

editors note:

Sometimes wonder, sometimes worry; each day a choice to hold. – mh clay

Besting Eve

featured in the poetry forum April 11, 2021  :: 0 comments

I try to remember why
I must not eat the warm muffin
in front of me (the preacher-
doctor’s rules, the wellness
articles saved), try to decode
its suspicious calorie count,
the sugar hit. I interrogate the coy
barista, Is the flour processed or

The sweet mound lures me with its
apple caramel perfume, its moist
glow. My stomach growls and sneers
at such puritan sublimation, this
pinched self-love unwilling
to forgive a timid nibble.

Before I plunge like a falling junkie
and take the fatal first bite,
I righteously remind myself
of the bad aftertaste from past
chunky muffins and their ilk.

And so I order a smug plain decaf
in a pristine paper cup to-go
and proudly stride ten brisk blocks home.

– Jean Biegun

editors note:

Our garden we’d enjoy uncloyed, but for that “timid nibble.” – mh clay

My Polished Cabinets

featured in the poetry forum April 6, 2021  :: 0 comments

Before turning into my cabinet
they were teak trees,
their tangled bark
smoothened through many cuts.
I heard they protested with every bruise,
snapped their branches at
every beating they took
and the wind howled when they
were forced out of mother earth.
But, the axe had its way
so that I do not have to work on the floor.
My cabinet now looks ‘pretty’ and
polished, wiping out all traces
of the rough bark, wild and intertwined.

– Padmini Krishnan

editors note:

Our kitchens come from carnage. Deaf to their cries, we bake our pies. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum April 2, 2021  :: 0 comments

Are we nitwits gone wool-gathering? The Twin
Towers have been resurrected in honor of
those who profit from the crusades, day traders
selling short on human misery: Blackwater,
Haliburton, Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin,
Kellogg, Root and Brown. Say their names.
Know their stories. Disarmament does require
amputation. Put down your thing, your cricket
fiddlestick, piranha rollercoaster, downstream
parabola, euphonious stinkhorn. Can’t we co-
exist in this self-same world without eliciting the
throttle reflex? Beach sand blown south
exposes a sea lion’s corpse, mummified head,
and upraised fins. Come out from that board
room and dip your ladle into this soup kitchen
melting pot. We must proceed to the next life
through the same convulsive sphincter. Labor
need not be drudgery but business always
requires an ethical compromise. Tread lightly
now like a conversation between old friends
who disapprove of each other’s marriage.

– Casey Bush

editors note:

Bound and branded is underhanded. – mh clay

Winter with you

featured in the poetry forum March 31, 2021  :: 0 comments

it arrives one blushed evening
an elfish blue noon dreaming
on a breezy nip, with a quivering clap;
it ambles stealthily in our stolen talks
settles on the edge of the coffee-pot,
listens musingly the hummed refrain
you enjoyed yesterday at Dover Lane,
blows wafts off delectable pastries
of strawberry scones, and savouries,
nudges us to the long, long nights
of silken covers doubled up twice
where winter rings in a crisp rhyme,
about the long work of a short day
and how we meet for just a short time.

– Chaaru

editors note:

If one must shelter in place, best do it (like this) with grace. – mh clay

Trail of Blood

featured in the poetry forum March 30, 2021  :: 0 comments

The quiet among snow bent branches
tries to tell us how footprints usually go in circles-
our tracks barely worth sniffing
by hungry wolves who know dogs easier prey,
while we fall asleep watching TV,
microwave popcorn on Friday nights,
sleep in on Saturday mornings,
only to complain about our beds being too soft,
and sometimes Sunday is a hangover
or 7 AM, staring out a window
at trees, swaying in a winter wind,
not sure if they’re agreeing with or mourning
the years consumed by a silence
we try to silence, yet it’s louder
than any crying from an unplanned newborn,
laugh track we smile at every Thursday at 6 PM,
or World’s Best Dad mug dropped,
destroyed by the same child who gave it
five Christmases ago
(our swearing muttered as sweeping up shards,
afraid of cutting feet,
leaving a trail of blood we’ll have to clean up too).

– Richard LeDue

editors note:

Leave it like you found it; no tracks, no one here. – mh clay

Sweaty Palms

featured in the poetry forum March 29, 2021  :: 0 comments

I feel alive
like I woke from the dead
stumbled out
bone legs
grainy hands
petrified ribs
worms fall from my hair
long for wet lips
can’t recall
what sweaty palms feel like
or itchy ears
the old wives’ tales that signal
this thing
inside of us
we’ve no control over
yet yearn for it later

– Donna Dallas

editors note:

For that thing, we crave and cringe together. – mh clay

Zen of Eating a Boiled Egg

featured in the poetry forum March 17, 2021  :: 0 comments

His egg days were thrice a week

and somehow he could divine;
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Just at eight, he would crouch near the kitchen,

– a chocolate-puff Chinese spaniel –

meditating on Sartre’s Being and Nothingness.
Sharp at eight, the cook would come out

with the egg, and place it in his bowl.

He proceeded with all dignity, slowly and gently,
sat close to it, legs stretched in a perfect yoga pose.
He drew it to the floor, held it tenderly

in between his paws and kept looking at it

– (we had counted, for two minutes at a stretch) –

savouring the beauty of the little orb.
His eyes, as if they had grown into a tongue, licking it

with all his being. He fondled it, played with it,

– a lover’s besotted craving.
He rested his head on his paws,

his choco brown fleece guarding his boon.
Then came the moment of revelation.
Golden moon emerged from the cloud.
Bingo sat still. A wistful sigh,

– you have to let all good things pass –

and he gulped the yolk
not letting it suffer the ignominy

of an eclipsed moon.
With the utter disdain of a monk
who knows the futility of the world,
he finished chewing on the white nothingness;
wagged his tail and languidly walked back

to his dog’s destined life.

He had left not a morsel behind, except,
as Mother used to say, –a lesson:
the art of savouring your boon!

– Jharna Sanyal

editors note:

Enlightened canine carries the “Yes!” Savour! – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum March 15, 2021  :: 0 comments

Before she was holy, we stayed with an ancient
Italian lady who served potato chips before
pasta, the cathedrals and the coliseums were empty
and we swam like seals in the Lido and our skin
became sticky with seaweed, before we were in
the womb we were friends in the ether and now
again climbing past the frescos and getting as high
and high up as we can facing where Romulus and Remus
watched Rome surface we let our faces touch and
remembered how it felt to be born.

– Michael Masarof

editors note:

When we woke, what? We wish… – mh clay

yes michael the wave is receding

featured in the poetry forum March 11, 2021  :: 0 comments

I’m sober now for weeks.
sometimes days.
the trick is to only hate yourself sometimes.
back when you knew me
my drinking drew reproachful glances
even from russians.
i went to job interviews with whiskey on my breath,
hid pints of ancient age under my hostel bunk.

you ask me about san francisco
and all i can tell you is it’s the best place
i’ve ever been dead.

it’s been 8 years i think since we did those drugs we found
in the civic center,
and jittered with the cherry blossoms in the
japanese tea garden.

we heard rumors there were bison
kept somewhere near the ocean,
where everything is made of money.

now it’s been 4 years with a roof over my head
and i’ve been in love with a woman that whole time.
i have pills that mitigate the damage in my skull
and the shadow forms no longer call.

i swear i’ll visit you in canada someday
when the u.s. hegemonster wears out its welcome
and the ocean rises to meet the bison.

– M L Woldman

editors note:

Where boats are rowed, a shore is ashore. – mh clay