They Say I am a Boomer.

featured in the poetry forum December 3, 2023  :: 0 comments

Well Ba Ba Boom—
we have a way about us
born in the fifties after the beats.
Scattered in small towns
in the back yard of some monster mall—
post industrial revolution.
We created revolutions:
sex, anti-war, what the hell for?

We boomers wanted action
smoked pot till our brains
lost short term, settled
for long term, made it
to retirement, betrayed
by those boomers who turned
against our revolutionary ways
—embraced conservatism—
defined us anew.

In angst we scream
take to the streets, angry
at forces beyond our control
want the next generations, the X,
the Y, and the Millennials to step
up, start everything new.

editors note:

A new boom, please! (Ours is now just a belch.) – mh clay

Watching Birds & Other

featured in the poetry forum April 21, 2023  :: 0 comments

A Falcon lives high, dives deep,
their daily life monitored
watched on camcorders:
eggs laid and hatched, we observe
them, they eat, feed, grow, fly—

elemental these routine animal
activities—the daily mess of life.

All our Activities of Daily Living
the doctors and nurses ask their questions
record our answers, the social worker,
the social security clerk with boxes to fill,
the aging need care, the Falcon lives unassisted.

We watch each other—
think we know what is real.

A baby monitor to see and hear a child
asleep upstairs, under surveillance for safety,
what is necessary, helpful, ethical, desirable
for the bird, for the child, for the elder?
Some turned tyrannical with reality TV—

it came to us during the writer’s strike—
a bump into tyranny that already existed.

All I want is privacy, a door with a lock—
a key, a room of my own, a place to hide.

editors note:

What reality unless written? Keep your keys handy. – mh clay

Grand Funk Railroad

featured in the poetry forum January 31, 2021  :: 0 comments

We waited overnight
camped out to get tickets
at Flushing Meadows Park—
morning came the crunch
the line-push squishing
us front-forward into the
booth, the swell crushing
my chest to near collapse
feet lost from under my
body, gripping my bag,
contorted in sweat, it is
July humid even at dawn,
my precious dollars at risk
as my life, screams converge
hands and torsos rub against
strangers in this claustrophobic
swelter a yell for order,
slow down, a beg follows,
please, there is one breath
left inside, someone rages
There are children, don’t
kill the children! July 1971,
on the verge gasping
for air till the booth opens
the trickle gives, quarter-
inch to quarter-inch,
till we slowly untwine
to exit triumphant with
tickets gripped firm
in trembling fingers,
extricated from the mob

editors note:

A narrow escape to say, “I was there!” – mh clay

First Concert

featured in the poetry forum January 15, 2020  :: 0 comments

Queens borough, New York, 1967

My best friend won free tickets
from WBAI to a Monkees concert,
allowed to go if chaperoned
by her older sister. A first at Forest
Hills Stadium, such bliss, it might
have been a Beatles concert.

We screamed and screamed
at the opening act, We want the Monkees,
We want the Monkees, till he left
and they entered. Indulged, we sang
along with every song, our hearts
throbbing loud in our chests
one huge estrogen rage.

Years later, I learned
the opening act was my idol
Hendrix, who irate left
after that set of shows
he played with Davy Jones.
Learned what a fool
one can be in youth.

editors note:

A promoter’s mismatch obscured appreciation, late to come. – mh clay

The Crossing

featured in the poetry forum March 19, 2019  :: 0 comments

-After Debra Fritts, “Empty Buckets

In a rickety raft with empty buckets
and no oar, I stand transfixed, cast-off
afraid to move, the question,
Will I survive? raking me.

I slow down, look around
find a hidden oar locked on the side.
Like a parrot waking, I squeal a song,
praise for this boat that floats.

Sudden as thunder the buckets fill:
currants, apricots, cashews, chocolate
from Belgium. A reminder, I believe
in angels, miracles, ancestor guides.

editors note:

Enough, just to reach the other side; the buckets will fill themselves. (We welcome Julene to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

The Things I Do Become Calendar

featured in the poetry forum October 1, 2018  :: 0 comments

Pure illusion this movement forward, no entourage,
or chattel to carry me, what we never said haunts
me with the strongest memories.

No mountains to climb on my current agenda
the river never crossed was a stone bridge, not a
wooden covered one, how I remembered it.

Trail blaze, to make a new path geological
maps are helpful, sometimes the goal is an
illusion. People talk but what do they say—

impossible to know what anyone means—
sitting with tears your heart brain knows
the answer. Something new must form outside

normal procedure. Yesterday was exactly like
today. It can be difficult to make a new map,
to reconstruct those early years if you did not

keep an outline of your life. Move one day at a
time, let go the mercenary dream, how
much we want but never achieve. Accept

the surprise violets in this long forward
dream. The call of the unspoken, we could have
been closer, or said I love you one more time.

editors note:

Embrace those surprise violets. Let the map make itself. – mh clay

Here We Are Again

featured in the poetry forum August 1, 2018  :: 0 comments

We went through things had an upswing
when we believed
in love        and goodness,
and the world         wasn’t such an unsafe space.

We could ignore        the riff raff believe we were
doing good with our small donations        our
pity poems, the way we acknowledged the problems.
We drank        lattés during meetings        we made rules

lost in archives. Now, miles from a bright future
we buckle in the wind        surprised at the swindle
how much slid away,        how wrong we were
about what might have been right.        No, it was never

but we held hope        a feather in the wind        falling
into gutters        where a storm rages        and the homeless
live against weather,        with        wet socks and cold feet
that atrophy with their loss of circulation.

There are so many    traumas        to contend with
to caress and hold close but out of sight this work
we do        endless a battle for our salt for our pittance,
what we should give to be here.        For we hold this world,

our corner, together, sweep     our gutters and give hand-
outs        more than we are able,        we fall behind     bruised
yet must rise        from each stumble       pray        the next
generation will take on     washing        the feet of those

who’ve walked miles        we behoove them       pay forward
for what        has been inherited.      Yes, it is a mess
with many     to blame.        Years of serious backlash
to weather, but keep standing        find the footholds.

editors note:

No exchanges, no refunds, all sales final. – mh clay