A Brush with Something Crazy

featured in the poetry forum November 27, 2021  :: 1 comment

A brush with something crazy
In the back of the barbershop
Some rice that did not cook up right
In the porcelain bowl

We could save the bowl by hanging
A galaxy gone wild (lots of impasto)
Just above it, or (my bad) is that
A frolicking salamander?

Nothing can save the rice
We should try again. Or should we.
Something has driven the parakeet insane
It might be the smell

Of the ancient comic book
Left in the table drawer, microscopic
Fragments of Steve Ditko &
Wood pulp engaging the olfactory

What parakeet could inhale such things
& remain sane? We are always one afternoon
At most from madness. You know
You should keep the lid on the boiling rice

And yet you have to check! Anyone can
Load up the brush with paint
& swirl it around, it does not make you
Van Gogh. It makes me nervous

Though. Brewing a new universe is easy,
Brewing decent coffee is not,
But you can do it if you take your time
& pay attention. The crazy parakeet

Couldn’t do it. Not in the back
Of the barbershop, anyway.
Just watch the traffic lights change, Polly,
& stop your swearing.

editors note:

Can’t paint perfection with a broad brush? S#*t! – mh clay

Night of 1000 Parties

November 20, 2021  :: 0 comments

The border between Paterson and Clifton is a double white line that runs down the middle of Crooks Ave. There was a party on Crooks Ave. one Saturday night. It was not as much fun as Ramon had anticipated. As it wound down, Ramon and a Clifton girl wandered into the cemetery on the Paterson side of the street and …

Awesome Breakfast Sandwiches

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

They have awesome breakfast sandwiches
Probably excellent too is the coffee although
I use it just to give my milk my milk a tiny jolt
I can’t say for sure. The front window faces west so
I graze in a dim glow of reflected windshields
There is no direct sun till late afternoon when
I am no longer looking for a breakfast sandwich.

They have awesome breakfast sandwiches
The radio is tuned to Spanish spawts talk, just a
Low murmur in the background thank God &
Surely for the benefit of the kid who keeps
The self-serve coffee urns full, everybody else is
Russian with 5 words of English, or so I thought
Till the girl who makes the sandwiches

(They have awesome breakfast sandwiches) &
Arranges them under the heat lamp said to me
‘I sing and I have bass guitar which bald man
At the brew pub gave me. I would like to be
In your band.’
I do not have a band. Should I
(I wondered) tell her I do have a band? It
Would (I concluded) be a terrible mistake.

I’m sorry, I don’t have a band, I said. I think
You are mistaking me for somebody else. ‘No,’
She said, ‘Is not a mistake. You are somebody

She arranged the awesome breakfast
Sandwiches under the heat lamp & later as I
Sipped my probably excellent coffee I
Began to think about what to call my band.

editors note:

First hit single won’t fly without the right damn name. – mh clay

A Blue Foot

May 22, 2021  :: 0 comments

Matt went outside to smoke and play with his phone. Quentin started on the dishes. Everybody had ordered the lasagna, so the dishes had to soak in the hot soapy water forever. This loosened up the dried sauce and cheese but the water got so filthy so fast that he had to drain and refill the sink three times in …

Gangsters in a Haunted House

featured in the poetry forum May 14, 2021  :: 0 comments

The ghosts don’t like your cheap cigars, Jimmy
They don’t like you tuning the radio to the Dodgers every night
Ghosts don’t dig the Dodgers
They do like Rita’s low cut dresses & they think
She should sit closer to the storm lamp
In the kitchen sometimes

Also, they wish you would stop flipping that coin, Jimmy
They hate it when you yell at Rita
Especially when it’s about nothing at all
Which is always what it’s about
Rita is really nice, is what they think
So you should cut it out
And while you’re at it, they think, you should

Send Beans & Petey One Eye to the A & P, Jimmy
& tell them stop buying that shitty beer which nobody
Likes but you & Beans. The ghosts think
You should get some Pabst Blue Ribbon or maybe
All kindsa spooky stuff could start happening
Blood coming outta faucets & mirrors with monster faces
A bag of Doritos would be good too.

editors note:

Spectre’ly sound advice. – mh clay

Teenage Pagan Hell Cat at the Altar of Eros

featured in the poetry forum February 7, 2021  :: 0 comments

Don’t touch those empty beer cans
Leave your Magic Marker in your pocket
This calls for spray paint & science

I am sitting in a puddle soaking my underpants
I am smiling cuz the shrooms kicked in
& I can see the glowing trails of the stars!

No wait it is raining. Who has the yellow paint?
Paint the “A” in “McHALE” yellow
It was chiseled in the tombstone by some

Like guy with a chisel yeah & then
Outline it in black & paint a circle around it
Like it is like sinking in the liquid stone

O god who has the bag of Twinkies? I am
Sopping wet & the sky is on fire, I
Need CARBS. & sex. That is science,

Jeannette. Wait wait that is not paint
That is pepper spray. O Jeannette O
God O God my eyes what have you done

With the Twinkies??

editors note:

The best-laid plans of mushroom (wo)men. – mh clay

Chill Packs

January 9, 2021  :: 0 comments

(Featuring Polly & Molly) Other Characters: Chef Jean-Paul The Ice Man Fifi the Cute French Waitress Harry & Larry Freezer Boy Bob Random Marcy Marcy (does not appear) Cyclops Various narrators & monkeys, who can be played by actors or cardboard cut outs as the budget allows, except where indicated Location: The Walk-in Freezer at the Ritz Carleton, Paris Time: …

Ant Trap

featured in the poetry forum November 4, 2020  :: 0 comments

Looking for ant traps in the junk drawer,
It is a wonderland of broken scissor blades,
Flashlight parts, dried electrical tape,
Corroded batteries, washers, stray
Crayons, dead pens. But no ant traps
& the ants are running amok. I get

Lost in here. Forgotten Polaroids, decrepit
Relatives bleaching into the ghosts they will
Soon become. Candles tucked away in case of
Emergency and snapped into pieces, never
To be retrieved. Did I mention that the ants
Are running amok? & yet here I am,

Rummaging through loose gears and rubber
Bands, searching for cheap hollow metal
Discs stuffed with chunks of poison the ants
Find irresistible. There is not one in the
Junk drawer, not one.
The ants are running amok &
The only one who ever gets trapped is me.

editors note:

What is your current quarantine quandary? – mh clay

Yellow Highlights

featured in the poetry forum August 12, 2020  :: 0 comments

What are you grinning at? she said to the married man on the bridge
Who was contemplating Instant Divorce Via River but
‘Maybe not this river’ as there were yellow & violet highlights
On the surface he could not account for. Am I
Grinning (blink!) he replied (blink!) tracing his upper

Lip with his thumb and then there were floodlights
Turning the stars and the river black, not even different
Blacks, sweeping over the water and finding (but losing
Immediately) the toe of his brown Oxford just before
It & he vanished forever. I guess if you don’t make

A decision, a decision will be made for you? he said
Oh honey, she said you made a decision & took him
In her arms, they rose into the diamond sky, & you’ve
Got more decisions ahead so hang on, up through green
Vapor & violet & and eventually the stars one by one went unblack.

editors note:

Choosing is easier as we approach the unblack. – mh clay

Artists Painting Artists

featured in the poetry forum June 3, 2020  :: 0 comments

He only paints her burning eyes
She only paints his frozen smile
The only smell is chamomile
And only ginger casts a shadow

The window glass is blurred with paint
Every song ends with a crack
He paints her glaring at the sky
She paints him staring through his wine

She scrapes away the cobalt blue
He wipes her eyes with turpentine
Tomorrow he will paint her face
Around the curving bottle glass

Tomorrow she will leave her hands
Sinking in the tangerine
Until the kettle shrieks and rocks
Till burning metal fills her nose

He will paint her layers deep
On a perfect sheet of glass
She will stencil most of him
(In profile) on fields of brick

They spill their bowls into the sink
They change their pants, invest in sleep
And in the morning start again.

editors note:

What a glorious, artistic union! (Imagine the marvelous mess when writers write of writers.) – mh clay