Night Thoughts to Raymond Scott’s Suite for Violin and Piano

featured in the poetry forum January 27, 2018  :: 0 comments

On the landing.
A hand painted neck tie
wrapped around my knuckles.
Somebody doing the dishes and singing
a song about summertime.

My mind needs more colors
only softer.
She gotta wash the sheets.
One of her toe nails looks funky and
I don’t like it. She doesn’t
like it either.
Painting it bright red isn’t the answer
to anything. I like the light
around the edge of the door,
It makes me think about
a party happening in there.

So now I’m on the subway
dreaming about carrots.
Now I’m on the subway
thinking somebody here didn’t change his socks today.
Now I’m on the subway
wondering if the end of the line is somewhere
nobody is allowed to talk about,
someplace a thousand miles away and
You have to get on the right car
at the right time. Someplace with ice.

It hurts to make a fist.
It hurts to make a decent pot roast.
It hurts to make a moon pie do the things
a moon pie don’t wanna do. I think that’s a song.

When you remember to water the plants
everything is better, even the things
that have nothing to do with the plants.

So now I’m tying the tie around my neck.
It has the Chrysler Building painted on it.
It made me happy when I bought it,
I dug into my pocket for ten bucks
and thought, ‘wait a minute, how do I wash the thing?’
and that made me happy, too.

Just pick the bugs off, I said, walking down the street
on the balls of my feet like a boxer, like a dancer,
Pick off the bugs and watch the fork
when you’re eating pasta. You’ll be fine.

editors note:

This really ties things together; happy be. (To get that extra layer of smile, listen to the suite here.) – mh clay

Juggling Oranges

featured in the poetry forum November 22, 2017  :: 0 comments

Watch, Anita! The cloud’s blotted,
(The one that looks like Larry Fine), the
Sky’s sliced (or do I mean
The skies?!),
Blurred, it’s
An edible parabola!
Pale hot blue &
Pale blue ice
Carved into the air
By my orange thunk! & thwup!
Every impact spreads
The citrus ripple
To another dozen
Dilated nostrils!
I own every nostril between here
& Tompkins Square, Anita
(& most of the eyes)!

The pebbled skins pink
At Manhattanhenge
& we retrieve

Our glasses from the freezer,
My juicer from the sink,
Your t-shirt from the shower head

& sip until the sky

editors note:

Citric assignations in the big city – fresh-squeezed! – mh clay

East Tenth Street

featured in the poetry forum September 28, 2017  :: 0 comments

Brick by drunken brick
I pulled my tenement apart
& put it back together across the street
Or WOULD have, except that the building
Already standing there, which YOU
Were supposed to have taken apart
Last night, was still standing
There. So nothing
Got done. So nothing. So I
Am going around the corner
To the bar & having a beer while
You take that stupid building apart.

An interesting thing happened while
I was at the bar, to wit I blew the foam
Off the top of the beer and it drifted
Down onto the cheap pine top table
& turned into a garden. Events occurred
Among the tulips I am not at liberty
To divulge. Figures ambled down
The garden paths that I recognized
But can not name. Rosebuds were
Gathered and rose branches tied &
The only thing I could bring myself
To say was “Pass the pretzels,
Chaz,” & Chaz did, the bowl obliterating
The garden made of foam although
The pretzels were good, everything you
Could ask of pretzels and yet not too

I sighed and returned to where you
Had managed only to take apart nothing,
Not one lousy building, although you did
Crack a window pane. It is no use, you
Sighed and showed me your nails
Which I was forced to admit looked
Beautiful, which I was forced to admit
Would NOT look beautiful when you
Were done taking a tenement apart, even
If you were wearing gloves.

I said okay, okay, forget it, it’s fine,
Your nails are beautiful, let it go,
And I spread my hands in a gesture
(I thought) of dismissal, at which
The building flew apart and rose skyward
Like foam blown off a beer, corkscrewing
Up & up, and I gestured at my own
Building, & there it went, swirling skyward,
The drunken bricks weaving crazily
Around each other & you looked at me
With wonder & said my God! What
If they never come down??

editors note:

In every renovation lie the roots of revolution. When that old décor has got to go… – mh clay

Better Than a Movie

featured in the poetry forum August 1, 2017  :: 0 comments

Who is better than a movie? Not me,
Although sometimes when I am soaking in the tub
I am pretty good. I walk down
The aisle of shampoos and conditioners at the supermarket
And imagine these beautiful liquids
Sitting on my bathroom window sill glowing like
Stained glass windows as an old
Stephane Grappelli record plays in the other room,
And that is almost a movie.

Who is better than a movie? You are,
At least you would be if you kept sour cream & onion sprinkle
In your kitchen. ‘You’ve been soaking
For half an hour,’ you would call to me as the microwave buzzed,
Notifying us that the popcorn is ready.
And you’d pad into the other room
To flip the old record over, moving through
A dozen pools of beautiful light,
And that is almost a movie,

Maybe even the same movie. I’d dry
My hairy legs while you plucked black kernels
From the Fiestaware bowl
And the camera would cut from one of us to the other,
Music crisp and loud while you pluck,
Muffled and soft while I rub.
In the background, a bottle of lavender shampoo (blurred),
And puddles shaped like my feet
All the way down the hallway.

We are not better than a movie, because
Nothing is better than a movie. But we
Can be as good as a movie,
So long as the light cooperates
And gravity does not fail,
Even without sour cream & onion sprinkle
To redeem all disappointments.

editors note:

Still a great story, even if it goes straight to DVD. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum May 27, 2017  :: 0 comments

Tied up the garbage & intended
Or so I said
To toss it in the dumpster but
Once out the door
I kept walking, plastic bag in hand,
Up the alley & past
The pungent metal cans, simply could not
Bring myself to lift
The lid of the dumpster knowing what must
Have been there
Given the lunch special that day &
I kept on walking
Even after the alley snaked up the hill
& was no longer paved
Was no longer an alley by any sensible definition
The path twisted into the trees
Trees that shortly I could no longer
Identify & heard animals
& birds extinct or never evolved & the garbage
At the end of my arm
Was no longer garbage but rather the germ
Of a new world
& I stepped through one impossibly thin
Gelatinous window
After another, my legs growing tired
Or so I thought
In fact they were becoming new legs & ached
From their newness as I
Barely daring to breathe pushed through the final
Viscous portal & released
The throbbing light at the end of my fingers.

editors note:

The unauthorized text of the new Genesis. Creationists, rejoice! – mh clay

The Ascension

featured in the poetry forum March 11, 2017  :: 0 comments

I balanced on the window ledge and scraped the decal
From the window glass. “Now try and find her,” I said,
And fell five stories to my death. But later that afternoon

I wobbled on the window ledge and tapped the window
With a hammer until the cracks webbed across the glass
“This will fall into a thousand shards next time you lift
The sash, O I wish I could see your face then,” I said and

Dropped backwards, seven stories to my death. But
It was nearly dark when I crouched on the window ledge
Drawing dicks and maniacal clowns on the glass with
My grease crayon, “And your whore of a mother, too,”

I laughed, and plummeted 19 stories to my death, my eyes
Never leaving the horrified face of the woman leaning out
Of the window over yours. She was pretty, I thought, though
Of course it’s hard to tell for sure when someone is

Screaming like that. Her eyes were beautiful. I made a
Mental note to ask you for her number as the air currents
Spun me around and around and around.

editors note:

You can’t make this kind of impression with a dating app. (We welcome Jeff to our crazed conclave of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Apartment 4-C

featured in the poetry forum December 4, 2016  :: 0 comments

Apartment 4-C is missing
The girl in 4-B has never heard
Anyone pounding on the wall
When she’s playing her disco
Station, has never detected
The smell of boiling cabbage or
Reheated Thai food, has not
Been awakened at 4 AM by someone
Sneaking out with her pumps
In her hand or shambling off
To some horrible shift at Con Ed. The

Old couple in 4-D remember a TV
Set on the other side of the
Bedroom wall, people laughing
At some joke they couldn’t hear
Some joke in black-and-white
Somebody wearing a wide tie and
A bad toupee, they are almost
Certain. It was a long ways back
But apartment 4-C was definitely
Not missing then, and the people
In there made popcorn all the time.

The guy in 5-C dropped a bowling
Ball the night after the girl in
4-B told him apartment 4-C was
Missing, slipped a note under the door
Of 4-C that said i banged yr grlfrnd
& then a couple days later another
One that said just messin wth u, dude
Looked through the key hole but
There was a metal plate screwed over
It, or anyway he couldn’t see anything,
He decided yeah, 4-C is in the wind.

The crazy lady in 3-C says sometimes
Apartment 4-C is overhead, but
Other times it is underneath, where
2-C is supposed to be. Once the doors
Of the N train opened up & instead
Of the Union Square station it was
Apartment 4-C. It’s possible although
She won’t swear to it that one
Night she woke up to use the bathroom
& she was in apartment 4-C, but she
Was in her own bed when she got up

In the morning. What was apartment 4-C
Like? asked the girl in 4-B. O honey
Said the crazy lady, don’t get me
Started, I shiver just thinking
About it, just be glad the
Goddamn place is missing.

editors note:

Mr. Serling told us, “There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between…” us and Apartment 4-C. Beware! – mh clay

Invention of Meat Loaf

featured in the poetry forum September 13, 2016  :: 0 comments

We were all present for the invention of meatloaf
I remember your black & orange high tops
And Debbie drinking her can of Cel-ray Soda
Through a Silly Straw. The DiBello twins,
Anxious to be somewhere else but never
Leaving. Onions, said Frank DiBello, if you
Chopped up some onions and worked them
Into the meat… For the love of Christ,
Said Benny DiBello, Enough of this shit,
I want to get back to the truck.
Onions would be good, though. I don’t
Remember the year. It was one of the years
When you could wear a paisley shirt, which
Benny DiBello did. That’s
How I remember years. The year of the
Paisley shirt, the year of everybody threw out
The 8-track tapes, the year of the
Shitty little dogs. Debbie wanted to add
A can of beef soup to the recipe. I told her
She was on to something but
A whole can was too much. The TV was
On but we couldn’t find the game.
That guy David who nobody liked dropped
By and told Frank, Your truck, I thought
The tires were flat? But what’s
Happening, it’s sinking? In the swamp?
You shook your head and said:
Somebody go get seasoned bread crumbs, and
I think two eggs. (In the end we only
Used one.) Yes, mixed vegetables, but only
On the side. Yes, tomato paste, although
Tomato sauce is okay. Yes. One day
Some of us will be dead, and
Another day all of us will be dead, but
(Continued Benny) right now
We are all alive, all
Here, and all of us inventing meat loaf.

editors note:

Great to be alive; now we know who to blame… – mh clay