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

Shadows at first, blurred voices saying my name,
calling 911, an ambulance, I have fallen,
fallen out of the day, out of the familiar

into the world of blur and shadows, voices expecting
answers, I have none or few, my name, birth date,
the ambulance wants to know the day, the year,

the E.R. asks the same and what I was doing when
I fell; things try to sort themselves out, hook me up,
fluids in, out, blood pressure over and over, an electronic

this or that, my heart, the odd sounds it makes, they make
discussing me and what I have become, one of the fallen
who needs to be explained – it went on for hours, vague hours,

days in the hospital, in rehab, I became strange, living a gap,
a bad dream, a story someone else has written, telling of
fallen angels to this fallen beast, the broken machine
I became.

editors note:

Machinery malfunctions. So hard when you’re the machine – Oh, my! – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum August 6, 2018  :: 0 comments

Life gives us so few chances
To do this sort of thing, just
Think of the things, other ones
We missed the first time by
The things that weren’t on
Our list, but should have been
The places we could have gone
The people we missed, books
We should have read, the things
We should have said, the moments
We missed, skipped over as if
We could get here now and
Make a list of the items to do
Next time around, as if things
Were left to the better me,
The corrective angel to set right.

editors note:

Yes, an auto-correct for life. Is there an app for that? – mh clay

Waiting for the poems

featured in the poetry forum December 9, 2017  :: 0 comments

I’d love to imagine it’s like
inventing some new gadget
something streamlined and
bursting with possibilities,
or coming across the cure
for something that plagues
humanity with rashes and
blockages, or it’s like giving
birth in some way to bits of
me, bawling brawling brats
of me, spitting images and
metaphors into the wise eye
of tomorrow, or it’s like
an explorer, a lost traveler
uncovering a valley where
no one has ever been and
returned to say, the maps
got it wrong, come with me,
or then again maybe it’s like
playing some childish game
again, like at hide and seek,
or kick the can and it’s getting
so dark I finally realize I’m
alone in all this, or perhaps
it’s like I’m playing tag alone
in a blizzard, drawing with
my eyes closed, or singing
a song that has no words,
nor melody till I sing it.

editors note:

Yup, it’s maybe like that… just sing in your own key. – mh clay

Over Here

featured in the poetry forum August 12, 2017  :: 0 comments

Over here in the breakdown lane we
Know vulnerability, the weaknesses
Of man and machine, of flat tires and
Erupting radiators, dead engines and
Empty tanks, we know being passed by
Watching the passersby speed by, feel
Their vibration and tug, over here, we
Know a loneliness reserved for the road
Become the person they identify with,
The very person they never want to be.
This must be analogous to graver things
The dark night of the soul, the pink slip
At work, the rejection slip in the mail,
The final divorce papers, that phone call
The frightening lab results, the dreaded
Diagnosis; in some ways we are all over
Here in the breakdown lane, leaning on
Our cars, phones to our ears, trying to get
Someone, someone to notice us and help.

editors note:

Someone? Anyone… Hello? – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum June 17, 2016  :: 0 comments

Some were born clever.
You know them –
those upright, dripping
quipping monsters
who can drag
whole rural territories,
forgotten capital cities,
hamlets full of hapless
Hamlets behind them
in their wake.

And their breath smells of
confidence and confusion.
Their stare trembles hearts
but lasts less than
we were promised.
Their intentions are clear
but only in retrospect.
Their promises are always kept.

Their latest pictures appear
with those blurry figures
standing behind them,
figures we recall from
childhood, figures who
kept us up most of the night
praying they would go away
and leave us to the simple pleasure
of just being left alone.

editors note:

Yes! Follow your own lead. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum December 31, 2015  :: 0 comments

Time weighs us down
like too many lunches would
or your grandmother’s quilt
on a summer day.

It fills us to the brim
like champagne glasses
misshapen balloons
or punctured tires.

Dances us around
like a reluctant suitor
a poorly trained bear
a badly played tune.

Runs us down
like a herd of small dogs
a pride of house cats
or the four o’clock bus.

It collides with us all
like a blind prizefighter
two inbound flights
the twain finally meeting.

Time, all by itself, weighs us,
fills us, dances, runs,
and we collide.
Then time stands by a lamppost
Smokes herself a long lazy smoke
Watches us all go by
And heaves a great sigh.

editors note:

This year has come an’ gone. A great spectacle of human endeavors; some for good, some for other. Let’s give’em one more; see what they do… – mh clay

Why We Have Drones

featured in the poetry forum July 20, 2015  :: 0 comments

Early on killing must have been close up
With something sharp, a dagger-like stick
Or stone pushed home, up so close that
You would almost embrace your enemy
Feel his strength yield a bit, up close you
Could hear his last words, even when you
Didn’t understand them, you heard them
Even smelled and tasted them, felt them
On your cheek, a last word and his last
Breath, then the nothing of his death
A dead weight to push aside or lay down
Perhaps stumble over, blood literally on
Your hands, your weapon, your clothes
The smell and feel of it, a reminder of
What you have done, hard to wash away
Something that intimate must stay with
You, follow you, haunt you, and play games
With your imagination, reversing the roles
The blade piercing your stomach or chest
Your blood, your last words, or changing
The partner in the dance, your best friend,
Your wife, your children, killing them all
This close up.

editors note:

Easy, when one can do it through a screen. Why not? We do everything through a screen. – mh clay

Something is Missing

featured in the poetry forum January 10, 2015  :: 0 comments

It often disturbs me awake
Draws me room to room
Each window in sequence
Shades up, blinds open
Even out the front door
Nothing up or down the street;
As always the presence of
Absence is troublesome,
An uneasiness that wanders
Through my day, the way
The house seems emptier
My work more ironic and
The numbing days I get
Through knowing that more
Will follow, a progression
Without any real progress;
Something is missing, gone
With the people I knew
The years I felt whole and
Nothing quite replaces it,
An empty mailbox, silent
Phone, a simple word I keep
Looking up but never can find.

editors note:

Loneliness is doubly painful for a poet, obsessed with the search for the perfect word to describe what’s missing… – mh

Final exam

August 31, 2014  :: 0 comments

I got ready for all this – did the required reading,
took notes, underlined and highlighted,
searched the library and the internet, listened
carefully, prepared and reviewed, stayed up
nights going over things, did everything possible,

But here I am stuck on the first question. Not only
do I not know the answer, I don’t even understand
the question, the terms and phrasing throw me,
seem all wrong, an unanswerable what and why;
and the others, I’ve looked ahead, seem the same.

I’m in the wrong room, took a wrong turn along
the way, settled in too quickly without looking
around, took the first place open before looking
for familiar faces, took whatever they handed me,
and sat down and just began.

I studied all the wrong things, took the wrong things seriously,
spent hours puzzling. I can hear people around me
breathing, one is jiggling his foot, someone is tapping
a pen to an irregular beat to my time here,
this blank, the pay back for my inattention to detail.

Sale Item

featured in the poetry forum August 31, 2014  :: 0 comments

The guy who sold me this
even guaranteed it
doesn’t work here now
that I need him and
his wonderful sense
that things will work
will go on – his brave
words in the face of
reality; certainty like
his shouldn’t pass
from this world, but
his former manager
and co-workers seem
reluctant to recall
his smiling face, his
way of getting a person
to walk out of here
with over-priced
potential junk
under his arm
on his plastic, smiling
completely sold
never guessing he’d be
back in two days
looking for someone
who may or may not
have worked here
sometime in the past.

editors note:

Another victim, vanquished by a vanished, positive purveyor of products untried. Caveat emptor! – mh