For dad, and his wild heart. Once when we were children, our father kidnapped us from our mother to take us across the desert. His wood-paneled station wagon roared through El Paso, New Mexico, and Arizona. I played with my prize toy, an E.T. plush, in the back of that car under a white sheet. In school I had been …
when God cradled
my body with care, and,
making sure that all my fingers
and toes were accounted for,
exhaled life into:
A.) the absence of breath,
B.) a paper wingbox filled with formless prayers,
C.) an accordion-boned empty house,
D.) a desperate cathedral made for waiting on the Lord;
when he blew that perfect breath into this unworthy form,
did he know just how hard his nimbused knee pressed into the small of my back?
was it his effervescent kiss
that mangled my tiny body so,
or was it the crushing weight of his love?
Figuring what to make of a maker’s motivations… – mh clay
Dig the body whole,
A proper vessel’s hollow;
Six feet at a time, fold
Your shovel into the shallow.
Pull grief stones to surface,
Wet dirt easier to plow,
Make the system nervous,
Centralize all feeling now!
Dig the body clean,
Toxins fit in quite well,
Till comfort zones spring
Up and health hard to tell.
Push off with force from habit,
Let bad thoughts be composted.
If optimism’s hard to grab at,
Try being lightly toasted!
From root to rhyme; (de)compose yourself. – mh clay
mountainous jaws rending coral sky
talkin shit about a sunset
cumulonimbus cloud church
columns of creation
high priest barn owl shrieks
paper plane crash
From nine to one, this nuanced nonet; nicely done. Run! – mh clay
i fell hard enough one day to break bone,
fell flat on my back.
i kept doing it over
until the weaker protrusions
growing out of my scapula broke clean off.
then i buried my hollow bones,
my shriveled little wings,
deep down in the barren earth,
and i waited.
i waited so long,
a long and lonely time,
for them to be uncovered.
just so someone could finally
call any part of me a miracle,
and mean it.
i never said i could fly,
i’m not an angel.
i can grow wings,
and i can fall.
Wings or no; with the right words… (Bear has a new set of chapbooks out, Time Travel for Daydreamers. Get’em here.) – mh clay
Excavate this city.
(Dig me out.)
Let love pull whole cities out of me.
Cities filled with everything love ever needed to replace.
Pain is the asphalt, heartbreak builds character
And towers as tall as daylight.
Somebody’s gotta do the dirty work.
Let it be love.
Let love excavate my ego,
my pulsing need to be noticed,
to be vindicated.
Let’s tell the paradise of orgies and organs what we really think of it.
Let’s allow our pain to trap itself,
trap everything else that falls into it,
attracted by the scent.
Pull the worst of me out by the roots,
and burn it until the smoke rises high and asphyxiates
every vile goddamned seraphim who dared to judge me.
You have no city,
you can’t grow or build,
can’t excavate or replace.
The poor bastards only have paradise.
All they got is love,
a medicine deemed useless without the sickness.
Just give it away,
to someone who knows how to fucking use it.
I’m collecting cities,
(the ones I haven’t burned to the ground,)
that stand dried out, still and sterile
with calcified hurt and petrified anger.
I place their empty shells next to each other,
a growing black metropolis filled with every single time I hated god,
or the world,
and tried to prove it.
There are more attempted suicides buried there than demons.
More skyscrapers to my ego and detriment there than I hold inside me now.
Without the tinkerer, excavator, surgeon,
I’d have nuked the whole icky black
growing mass of mess in me
to hell a long, long time ago.
Even a blast crater is better than an empty paradise.
Dig me out, man,
It’s growing bigger than I’m growing.
And I’m getting up there,
haven’t you heard?
Hell, I got heartbreak towers.
Tall as the everlovin morning.
Even a pothole repair program is a good start. – mh clay
what is origami without paper?
the bird freed from form,
the hands signing to the void:
we could not bend the air.
i saw the bird in mind before i began,
and just never stopped seeing it.
now she flies where i do,
wings unfolded by freedom,
body untouched by matter,
song uncluttered by shape.
i once saw one hand clapping,
and knew the only bird
who could hear the sound.
A koan constructed for our enlightenment; or, the bird’s. Selah… – mh clay
in the lion-hearted morning,
we roll over in bed,
exposing daggers hidden the night before.
we arise to a love like an arms deal,
you will die painfully,
i will die painfully,
both of us rich,
both of us at war,
but this pact will stiffen my spine,
exacerbate your zeal.
there are empty planetariums spinning galaxies for no one,
and here we are, unable to look up,
hands at our sides,
our mouths drawn like swords;
a whole universe wasted by the dilation of your pupils,
and the bated breath that comes with an honest emotion felt between liars.
the only way to make anti-venom is with venom,
and so there is hope in the dna of betrayal.
i do not trust you,
nor you i,
and therein lies the promise of a bloody alliance,
we break pacts like hearts in the night.
we circle and swoop like falcons,
this will end badly for both,
one will die on top of the other,
but no one will live to claim victory.
warriors thrusting sun shields,
hiding gleaming swords behind our fear,
we retreated until our backs met,
and then we entered the truce of a new dawn together.
if i die with my dick out,
know i was not unprepared,
i am an opportunist with my time,
and i know what’s coming.
in the field at late afternoon,
you are my crown,
and my assassin.
because no matter what,
you’re both on my mind,
and in my head.
we dance around each other
like fighters in a death waltz,
we play chess with body parts,
and we play to win.
love happens along the way maybe, for a while,
but the goal is to dance with your opponent,
and know your place is with them on the battlefield,
because to love is to spar on equal footing.
seasons are not enemies,
but burned-out cycles of orange and green,
of color and decay,
working together to inspire us,
to ensnare us,
and to kill us.
so do not forget, my honored adversary,
my wounded viper,
my snarling love,
by another name
With mutual victory and defeat assured; truly, all’s fair… – mh clay
Suppose her eyes were wet,
and the moon was blue, and
fish laid coins at our bare feet.
Terrifying mystery, wondering
how fast a boat tomorrow
rides in, gliding forever across
a glass sea of drowned yesterdays.
We stood at the shore and waved
at thin cranes dark against the horizon,
like music notes on a purple staff.
Some memories are trapped in amber,
others in broken glass, and I can’t recall
those days, and I shouldn’t, because I
put them there. Sometimes we cut our
feet looking for gold. Suppose love is a memory
of unity, and some of us cannot remember.
Suppose her eyes were blue, and the fish
were wet, and the moon laid bright coins
at our bare feet. Fantasy is just reality on its
head. But either way, tonight is for the amber.
A fish for a fantasy; a look at the world through amber-colored glasses. (We welcome James – we call him Bear – to our crazy confab of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay
the rose is pushing inland.
i have long pondered the quiet rim of unbearable madness.
a coffee bean falls to the floor,
to be crushed but never used.
the delicate balancing act of twin unhappinesses,
lost love and hard life,
while making it all look like it glows, effortlessly.
one hole in the sock, where the toe pokes through,
trying to pull it back in your sleep.
the storm on paper, on viridescent screens,
that no one really knows, until the power goes out,
and all we can hear are thunder and sirens.
the faint cry to the earth of “mercy,”
after you realize you’re in a poor man’s deja vu.
the rose is etching itself upon our hands.
i have long pondered the stark truth of unbearable madness.
the revolving door of paychecks come and gone,
and the bills that take them.
the silence in the house of the lonely spinster,
and the cries that pierce the night like a gunshot in the distance.
that one spot in the middle of your back,
that you can never quite reach,
like a secret key to contentment.
a cart full of new groceries,
but the card says denied,
just as your stomach rumbles like a ghost.
lying on your back looking up at the night sky,
asking the universe if we are alone,
and the universe suddenly answers back “no,”
and suddenly you count the stars,
estimate the planets,
and begin to worry,
just barely able to sanely cope with one world,
so you reply back with, “well, why not?”
the rose folds itself into a star.
A rose is a rose is a reason to question everything. – mh clay
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