The Pissing Contest

September 25, 2021  :: 0 comments

The late morning sky was clear-eyed blue, rich, almost regal. There was no breeze, a soft November, the trees naked of leaves, the sun too bright. “Summer,” one of them muttered. None of them could remember a November this warm. They walked in a small cluster down the center of the street as was their practice: five boys, not a …


featured in the poetry forum August 18, 2021  :: 0 comments

he magic in the tirade of dogs,
song in festival of bliss–
we sing cause we want to
not cause we must/
we dance cause we need to
not cause we lust

but when they came,
we already there safe–
not grounded–
and we entered palace
of their injury
within our palace of inquiry.

editors note:

Sometimes, if we knew, we wouldn’t ask. – mh clay

Hunger Pangs

January 16, 2021  :: 0 comments

I’m finished with the second box of matzo and we still have a hundred or so miles to go. One piece of matzah every ten to twenty miles. It keeps me awake and I like the way it crunches, changes texture, leaves a slight film in my mouth. I always take a five to ten-mile break between each piece. “Hey,” …

The Happy Couple

September 12, 2020  :: 0 comments

Everything began when the larger dog attacked the beagle and drew a six-inch bloody gash across its side. Nick rushed to his dog, picked it up gently and carried it to the porch where the old man sat reading the newspaper. “Can you give me a ride to the vet?” he asked. Before the old man could answer, he added, …

A Hike in the Tattoo Garden of Capella

featured in the poetry forum May 2, 2020  :: 0 comments

We hike the northernmost trail near the glacial wall
of ivory and brass, rust and pyrite, a gold vein
through a spit of silver ore, the path passing under
roped purple vines, thick and settled, climbing wind stalk,
the red ladened clay of storm sculpted paper birch.
Everywhere a flutter of redwings and large velvet ants,
yellow and crimson, a great green eye on each wing.
The way goes into a small dip past a chocolate swamp,
rising to cotton candy arrowroot, mocha creamed asters.
When we make the eighth turn, we enter a field of tall bone grass,
iron shaped bent by sun and rain, a crisscrossing of shade and smell.
The noises around us never deafening, but always present,
chirps, geeks, glops, slocks, chings, slobbers, blimps,
a static and song — so many songs — so many harmonies.
When we reach the ridge, we can see the Cloud Maker releasing clouds,
the Head Tattoo Artist inking the bark on newborn trees,
the Master Gardeners busy — and there is a sigh, a soft burp,
and we begin the short walk home to where the southern trail begins.

editors note:

Here’s a little side trip for your lock down. (Read another pome about this garden on Michael’s page – check it out.) – mh clay


May 2, 2020  :: 0 comments

We did all we were supposed to do, and then some,
is this the only life we are meant to live,
the only song we sing,
the only dance,
the only haiku,
the only romp through snowdrift or piles of fallen leaf?

How often do we wake to tattoo gardens of distemper,
rabies and shots across the stomach?
That was last year.
Now we wake to lilac bushes and a frenzy of honeybees,
bright wood carvings in the last oaks to the west.

The phlegm of hope, a flicker
bird resting on the windowsill, dust
and fog, a longing for sleep,
one wing lopsided by a near accident last night.

Train Tracks

February 23, 2019  :: 0 comments

The shortcut to Steven’s house was about two blocks from the train station. Every day he walked on one of two train tracks. He could smell the home cooked meal his sister had bragged about two hours earlier. When he saw the train coming towards him, he took a step to the left and easily reached the other track. He …


featured in the poetry forum November 14, 2018  :: 0 comments

How do you know which day it is when night falls
or the minute hands within an hour’s seconds,
but we can draw the stars across our trees
and count leaves, the breeze, their seeds.

Tomorrow may be too late to remember
and the face of the clock too obscure to forget,
but we can drive into the ocean darkening
and watch shadow blackening, harkening.

Last evening the Northern Star fell from grace,
plummeted into our garden’s late afternoon tea,
but we heard it’s echo—its echo?–in its final falling,
stalling, calling, trembling into a kind of crawling.

editors note: Cloaking clouds, umbrella sky; loudly rips the hole where stars fall through. (We welcome Michael to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum August 15, 2018  :: 0 comments

One by one the cliff erodes,
ice bores deeper,
words stop making sense:
abyss, crucify, alliteration—

passion comes in through fog.
Who claims we must remember?
Skin always knows pain.
fingertips happiness, feet satisfaction.

editors note:

We can feel the answers. The questions will come, in time. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum May 30, 2018  :: 0 comments

I am disgust in this little town
and my legs no longer brilliant.

O Lord! O Tambourine Head!
O Beautiful Beast of the Mountain!

I eat tambourine plates
and everything caught in a net.

When the strongman cut his toenails
When the weak man let his hair grow

The food on the table of plenty
fed the nation with blood and flesh.

When the strong took on themselves
When the weak rose to the challenge

We ate squid and crayfish.
We ate oyster shells and banana skins.

When the man lets go of his vanity
When the men let go of their vanity

There was enough to go around.
There was always enough to go around.

editors note:

When enough was enough. How much is that anymore? – mh clay