featured in the poetry forum September 16, 2012  :: 0 comments

I have the post card from Kathmandu,
and the hastily scribbled letter
on paper with a Hotel Alexandria letterhead.
She called me from Bruges,
my one and only conversation
with that part of my world.
And now, here she is in my parlor.
A tan from Tahiti, a Tongan bracelet,
and stories out of Singapore, Bhutan and Bali.
My next question is,
can anything happen in this part
of the world?
Is resting up from a journey
still a journey?

She saw Peter she says.
She spent an hour or two with her mother.
Same issues. The more the world turns,
the more some people resist its motion.
She had lunch at the Cafe Rita.
And dinner with friends at the Pink Arcade.
She even tested out the job market…
about as seriously as those times
she gave up smoking pot.

Fact is, she’s doing stuff
that’d fit neatly into short sentences,
fill the back of a postcard.
Anything more complicated
and a letter could still contain it all.
Worse comes to worse,
she could always fit her life
into a phone call made
to someone or other
she’s met along the way.
And there’s always the trinkets:
a coffee cup from Starbucks,
an MP3 of Steely Dan,
jeans from Target,
a World Series t-shirt.

Watch out world,
it’s your parlor next.

editors note:

A large life; learned from postcards and parlor talk, legitimized by trinkets. Don’t forget those trinkets. – mh


featured in the poetry forum February 19, 2012  :: 0 comments

the face may taunt
but it’s my own

it may look at me
with undisguised disgust
but it has no doubt
as to the object
of this revulsion

it examines this
catalog of features
both aggravating
and despairing
runs them through
a reflecting program
of past failure
current dismal situation
and future limited prospects

and responds
with something called
a mirror image

wherever there’s a likeness
can a hate-ness be far behind

editors note:

Is what we see always a construct of how we feel? Maybe the best we can achieve after likeness is indifferent-ness. – mh


featured in the poetry forum July 9, 2011  :: 0 comments

How come you’re so ominous and large?
What made you grow so suddenly?
And why are the voices, your voice,
most of the touch
where you plant your hands?
What made you dusk and sunrise,
everything in the mirror almost,
over half the footsteps and
the movement in this house?
Where did your threat come from,
the very harshness of your thunder?
Why am I dressed your way,
groomed your way?
Why do I feel like
the small farm
encircled by the huge dam?
You can burst at will
to drown me.
Yes, love sounds so sophisticated
when sugaring the tongue.
But what made you all tongue?
What left me all sugar?


featured in the poetry forum January 18, 2011  :: 0 comments

They slip about so gracefully
but I imagine them in heavier seas,
their hulls battered,
sails tortured,
wealthy owners scurrying about
like ants in a stomped-on hill.

They flaunt their masts at me
like they own the weather,
the stillness of this protected cove
but I’m already grooming them
for a hideous sinking,
a pitiless green water devouring.

A pretty woman in a red bikini
waves to me
and I wave back from the shore.
She smiles, a thankful smile,
like she already knows
she’ll be the only survivor.


featured in the poetry forum July 21, 2010  :: 0 comments

Downtown, three a.m., the great grotesques are slipping
through the steam from metal grids, like myths, like bigfoot
on the stumbling run, snapped in the distance, too far
to tell if it is real or just some loser dressed up in his finest drugs.
High above, fourth floor apartment, mirror hails the crack-cloaked
dream of rising rock star, his addictions straight from his wall-poster gods,
nose cleared for takeoff by his triumphant pose, air guitar and spoon.
Back alley, manna from the syringe, junkie strait-jackets his
upper arm, presses needle deep into a hungry vein,
while wino takes his orders from a bottle in brown paper,
one gulp to quell the fire, two to start it up again,
the third to transport him back to distant fires
and a favorite splash in a deep black pool
where the fish come with three heads, two tails,
and the water’s blessed with fetal drowning.


July 21, 2010  :: 0 comments

in the squalid mirror
while, a wall away,
axmen kill the very wood
from under you.

Your eyes
well with tears,
your reflection with dust,
and “timber!” shouts
the infernal droning echo.

What’s that…
a skull with lips
sculpting your despair
with holes enough
for worms to slide through

while, in the bedroom,
forces greater than
the scratching of a fingernail
make the world safe
for your religion once again.


featured in the poetry forum March 12, 2010  :: 0 comments

I’ve got more fingers
than there’s farms,
more toes than there are
wooded hills.

Long gone are
the yellow forsythia,
the cottonwood trees,
the picnic benches.

Many are the
reasons there’s
only new graveyards
not old ones:

money, bulldozers,
politicians, and what
the hell do with all
this garbage.

And, sure
there’s still a pond or two,
brown as the muck
they dump in them.

They chopped down the forest
to put up a Mental Hospital.
After all,
why stop at one lobotomy


featured in the poetry forum January 27, 2010  :: 0 comments

I can’t believe how brief
the day is,
how unlike any day
I’ve ever known.

It’s not a day at all really,
just a skein of light
between two nights,

the brief shock
of sunrise stumbling
across a sunset,
like a man catching a glimpse
of his own double,
then it all going black.

And cold…
I’ve never known a heart
as cold as this.
It’s not selective.
It’s out to chill the blood
of everyone.

Hard life breeds hard men,
so the wisdom has it.
But maybe hard men
just show up some place
and this is the result.


January 27, 2010  :: 0 comments

Hot summer’s afternoon,
alone in the house,
windows closed,
stereo up loud,
music booming through
the speakers,
everyone is black
but me.


September 6, 2009  :: 0 comments

for the cold, and for the frozen strikers, breath
stacked on breath like yesterday’s placards; car-horn
stabs the nearest gruff and angry voice like it’s
xxxxxxxa heart;

say depth of winter but mean shallow. I want
to hear the stories told on crankier and crankier
bones of loftier and loftier aims but
the conversation sinks to sex snicker,
tits and ass like more money
xxxxxxxin the pocket;

I want to hear the stories of causes stripped to bare
knuckle like color in the dank woods. I want to see
men stopping the company truck with their extended
palm. The virtue of death is solidarity,
is redemption. Jeer the scabs falling
from the semi wheel of the jaundiced winter

rise up on the sinking mercury; say depth of
feeling but mean hardness of the veins,
ideas breaking up like beads of sweat, rolling
off brows before they can ice over