back when we were wild

featured in the poetry forum May 27, 2021  :: 0 comments

I wish we could share a kiss
but the prairie sneaks up
so goddamn fast
then never leaves

three wasted days
boiling in hundreds heat
across endless flats
with mute ghost copilots

I haven’t seen a hill
somehow I missed
a famous frontier town

I’m reading ray carver
while I drive
seems more useful
than a map

in a junk shop
or a motel
with no hot water
I catch a smell
that reminds me
of atonement
of another time
back when we were wild

editors note:

Wandering civility when wanting wild to be. – mh clay

I can’t make this akron

featured in the poetry forum November 10, 2020  :: 0 comments

(for victor clevenger)

victor, I know you’re out there
watching my apartment sink
like the titanic, I know
it’s not that dramatic
it’s really not even as cool
as getting hit by a streetcar in akron

but you were there, no civilization
in your pocket, watching a dragon
and an octopus and the titanic

I’m sorry I can’t make this akron
but in the warmth of the summer
in a time before ice water and unraveling
you watched my apartment sink
as fatalist lovers fucked against
children’s home walls

they left condoms in the street
a telegram to pittsburgh
that brief time when we forgot the h

my neighbor remembers
you asleep on the stoop years after
cigarettes and lighter next to you
not noticing the sun
inching through gingko leaves

if she hadn’t walked up when she did
maybe that sun would gift you
your own iceberg
your own streetcar

I came starboard hours later
john brown in bathrobe
tossed the deadbolt
you were awake and salty
mumbling about slaughterhouses again

editors note:

The best house guests stay outside the house. – mh clay

our subscription to reality

featured in the poetry forum April 19, 2020  :: 0 comments

you confessed the magic
had drained away
I listened for coyote
stared at a red sky
smelled rain coming
waited for my turn
at the joint, sharing
this anxiety is too much

a man sheep monster
lives down the road
he hypnotizes people
to fly off the trestle
most times as they step
toward oblivion they find
their wings give out

I dunno, maybe none
of this is magic, maybe
our subscription to reality
ran out, there are moments
at red lights I don’t think
I have anything left
another failed sex symbol
drinking a lukewarm cup
of ginger turmeric tea

maybe it’s all different
we’re not the same
people we woke up with

she said right before
she went under she
saw a man at the window
he smiled maniacally
laughed it was a dream
it flashed, it landed, harmless

editors note:

Open or closed, blinking is thinking and what’s wonder is real. – mh clay

the confederate general of osage county

featured in the poetry forum February 1, 2020  :: 0 comments

I breathe the breeze
from the wings of a fly
as sun cracks eyelids
hangover looks for a corner
and the same fucking rooster crows

this son of a bitch
the confederate general
of osage county, crows
every morning at the exact
time of stonewall jackson’s
death, this son of a bitch
rooster believes in reincarnation

let us cross over the river
gather in the shade of the trees
let’s roll out the trashcans
wait for the meth labs
of the gasconade to open
the ozarks will stand
then fall like appalachia
this son of a bitch keeps crowing

this rooster expects
lemons from your pocket
if you don’t then motherfucker
you better at least straighten
up, stand at attention and salute

editors note:

An historian with something to crow about. Wakey! Wakey! – mh clay

Get Lucky in Kentucky

featured in the poetry forum November 2, 2019  :: 0 comments

the cook keeps
wandering out from the kitchen
standing in the bar
what I don’t fucking know

you can tell
getting clean
is a new thing
he’s not used to it
he’s not even sure he likes it

she uses the word
after her second drink
damn straight
that made it sure
I’d invite her
back to my place

how we got to her place
is a different story
probably had something
to do with the moon landing

I’m still in bed
she hands me a guitar
I strum four sour chords

bite the nails
off my left hand
stuff them
in an open condom wrapper

she’s tuning her fiddle
wearing only a green t-shirt
it states
get lucky in kentucky

editors note:

It’s a different kind of jam session; lucky in any state. – mh clay

Postcard from Herington Kansas

featured in the poetry forum June 1, 2019  :: 0 comments

fields brown with wheat
fields spotted with cows
fields purple, a clover sea
fields black from controlled burn
still reek of pitch

editors note:

We call it control if it doesn’t burn us. (We welcome Jason to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

The Bob Dylan Traveling the Lincoln Highway Blues

featured in the poetry forum January 18, 2019  :: 0 comments

I bet you Ruthie
gives no fucks
about her honky-tonk lagoon

Ligonier Beach
closed, no more
or Laurel Summit
moons, no more
debutantes kissing
in the dark

I guess it doesn’t matter
I’m pretty sure
this is the end
we’re doomed
to instant
mashed potatoes
again and again

editors note:

People! For better post-catastrophe cuisine, plan ahead! – mh clay

The Night The Incredible Hulk Got Stoned

featured in the poetry forum July 18, 2018  :: 0 comments

(For Dan and Margret)

Margret’s laugh is musical
profound as space. four smoke
halos echo in the six
by nine bathroom
if there is any space left
we laugh it full, the
Incredible Hulk traces
laser beam cherry
hand over hand
adults hide from
adulthood in a basement
necks giraffe up to
blow smoke into the hole
in the ceiling that may be
a vent that takes
joy out into the night
there no one knows
the true story of country
music or how to live
your life shambling
beautiful, but we can dream
before the spark is gone
before the air freshener comes
the laughter dissolves
if you’re out there Bruce Banner
you can be sure we left no trace

editors note:

For all of us, this trace; smoke blow, through the hole, laughter full. Yes! – mh clay