Happy New Year: Find Yourself

featured in the poetry forum December 29, 2023  :: 0 comments

after Jan Heller Levi’s “Anatomy Lesson”

There are pieces of me everywhere—
part of me is on the couch with my husband,
my head on his shoulder while he drinks coffee
and listens to the morning news.
He runs his fingers through my hair.
This part is peaceful and dreaming.

Another part is kissing friends before embracing,
my face nuzzled into one neck,
while my legs are thrown across the lap of another.
Their sighs raise the tide
and every boat in my body
wants to break out to sea.

Part of me is thinking about my grandmother,
gone three Christmases already,
and the things I’d love to tell her
about our lives this past year—
promotions, the new place
with books on shelves to the ceiling.

A part is dancing around the apartment
in just underwear,
part giving the perfect blow job,
part learning to say “balance” in ASL,
part singing, “Just because it’s over
doesn’t mean it’s really over,”

part taking these pieces and building
this messy collage of love called life,
thankful for all of it.

editors note:

May the pieces you puzzle make a year near perfect or happily passable. – mh clay

I Want to Be in Rooms Full of People I Love

featured in the poetry forum November 11, 2023  :: 0 comments

after Alex Dimitrov’s “The Why”

The weather changes of its own accord.
We worry about the record heat
but go dancing anyway.
My friend says, “When did I see you last?
Has it really been two months?”
Yet, the love linking us
does not care about time.
An old poem keeps coming back to me–
one I never shared with you–
in which I turn on the stairs to see a beau
standing in his doorway,
and I can feel the electricity between us.
Friends. Lovers. I want to fill these rooms
with everyone I hold close,
their beautiful voices chatting away.
Can I tell you about this really great hug?
It was a few months ago. After dinner,
my friend and I walked along the park
on a muggy April night,
but he pulled me in close.
It felt like we were suspended in the spring air,
rising up and up
while my head rested on his shoulder,
all the trees and apartment buildings
just specks beneath our feet.
He asked, “Too tight?”
and all I could say was, “No, no,”
as our arms made
perfect circles around each other,
keeping us safe
for as long as we stayed there.

editors note:

Yes! Here’s to your room full. – mh clay

Kaitlin Touches the Sky

featured in the poetry forum August 3, 2023  :: 2 comments

Look at my friend
make her way into the air.

A rock song plays
as she propels upward

in a dance of earth and flight.
How does a body do this

with just silk and music?
What spells must be cast?

I don’t know much of magic,
but watch her float there

without wings,
reaching for the light.

editors note:

Light for levity. – mh clay

Oh, Me? Just Thinking About Kissing You

featured in the poetry forum February 27, 2023  :: 0 comments

When the singer whispers,
“Look at the things we do
in my dreams, baby.”
On a jog, passing
the spot we first touched,
a breeze in the trees
as we stepped closer,
mouths open,
heat coming off our bodies.
Later, looking at a photograph—
you, naked and lovely.
Your message says,
“A little tired.
Didn’t sleep much,”
but all I see
is every part of you glowing.
My mind lingers there,
blood rising as it wanders
over that image,
blessing every pixel
again and again.

editors note:

In praise of perfect pixels. – mh clay

I’ll Be Right Here Every Time

featured in the poetry forum December 31, 2022  :: 0 comments

Tonight, everyone wears party hats
and the stars are champagne
spilled over the skyline.
Music plays loud at the party.
Kristin hugs me and I pour a cocktail.
I’m always wistful this season.

I’m at the age when
every play makes me cry.
Even after all the poems and therapy,
I know so little about anything.
I commit mistakes.
I give apologies,

but let me say this wish
for another turn around the sun–
no matter what comes,
high water or new worries,
may we carry each other through.
I often don’t know what to do,

and friendship has saved me.
When my favorite actress sings,
“I’ll be right here every time,”
I hear the magic in that tune.
Dear one – Happy New Year.
I’m grateful to love you.

editors note:

Yes! Let’s carry each other through. HNY!! – mh clay

Blessing

featured in the poetry forum August 27, 2022  :: 0 comments

Last week, we talked about longing.
“I’m not getting any younger,” I said,

“I want everything–
more and more and more of it.”

We send messages.
We make dinner plans.

Summer is coming.
Can you smell it on the breeze?

Give me the endless blossoming,
birthdays and dancing,

long walks among gravestones,
the perennial reincarnation,

love begetting love
again and again. Amen.

editors note:

Yes! Amen. – mh clay

Talk About Dreams

featured in the poetry forum June 10, 2022  :: 0 comments

I.
Dean–did I tell you grandma
visited my sleep two weeks ago?
She stayed only a short while
before saying, “Darlin’, I have to go.”
I woke up crying in a hotel bed
and stepped outside to hear the ocean
before I could rest again.

II.
Dean–let’s talk about last night’s premonition.
We went shopping in a big market.
There were so many bags
we could barely carry them.
Then we found our way to a park,
where we napped on the grass,
surrounded by our new things.

III.
Dean–in the first dream I had about you,
we sat at a cafe in Brooklyn.
We wore black t-shirts and sipped lattes.
You reached across the table,
held my forearm, and said,
“It’s okay. We’re learning.”

Then a wave of water rushed through the shop
and washed us onto the sidewalk.
We laid on our backs, chatting
while the sun warmed us.
I remember feeling grateful
as we told stories in the light.

editors note:

Do we know what they mean if we’ll grateful be? – mh clay

Gray Skies with Gratitude

featured in the poetry forum March 13, 2022  :: 0 comments

Summer gave way to fall. Leaves changed, and the rules did too.
I said, “No matter what, I can’t wait to see you.”

How do we measure the love in our lives? For example,
what is the exact heft of my husband saying I deserve to be happy?

How does it balance with my beautiful friend, who said,
“You are very important to me,” then pulled our bodies closer,

my ear warm against his shoulder, while the East River washed away
the week’s pain? What scale could bear it?

How do we weigh each moment? How do we carry our love,
sometimes heavy, sometimes like air?

Yesterday, I cried by the water for a few good reasons and a few not.
Today, I floated—all the love buoyant and raising me into the sky.

Everything seemed small from up there—even my worries.
We could carry it all together, I thought.

I wish I understood the mathematics of tenderness.
I do know autumn came, the rules transformed—maybe only for now.

I said, “You matter to me,” and the gray clouds
were lined with gratitude. Every damn one of them.

editors note:

If not silver, thanks for gray. – mh clay

Whitney Houston Sings “Million Dollar Bill”

featured in the poetry forum December 16, 2021  :: 0 comments

Friday morning and everything
shines like a gold coin—the sun,
you on my cell phone screen,
robe thrown open
to show your shimmering body.

What a gift to have
this time with you, handsome—
both of us undressed
and speaking our desires.
After we’ve made it rain,
bills littering our longing,

I feel rich with every sight and sigh,
the conversation that follows,
the moment I see
your million-dollar smile
as we wish each other happiness
and sign off to start the day.
We are abundant.

editors note:

Make every one abundant. TGIF! (We welcome Isaiah to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

All in My Feelings

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

Maybe it was listening
to George Michael sing,
“I Can’t Make You Love Me” on repeat,
or three days of summer rain,
the drops hitting the sill
in their unsteady rhythm.

Maybe it was my husband
calling to say, “I miss you,”
or my beautiful friend,
who pulled me into his lap
and kissed me so deliciously
my head filled with light.

Maybe it was the vaccine
running through my body,
spinning off cells to save me,
or Harlem waking from its long sleep,
people in parks again,
barbecues,
drinkers laughing at the bar.

Maybe it was another song,
the diva shouting, “I want you,”
over a disco beat,
and how that chorus caught
in my throat like a sugary sadness,
hunger, gratitude for living.
All of those feelings. All of them.

editors note:

Yes! All of them! – mh clay