Rapid Eye Movement

October 1, 2011  :: 0 comments

Just on the other side
Of all this levity and celebration

Is nothing

A throbbing silence
A heart beating down
To stillness

Jubilant voices
Echo back to dumbness
Before the idea
Before the utterance
No breath
No thought

Just on the other side
Taps the finger
Muffled ticks and tacks
To grab attention
To remind

We tip toe through our reverie
To let awareness sleep

No susurrant snooze
No dream
No waking

Daddy’s Steps

October 1, 2011  :: 0 comments

Aw, Mom
What can I say?
What can I do that would justify
My behavior to you?
I’m just runnin’ in Daddy’s steps
Dark passion and rigid adherence
To rules of propriety and proper deportment
This is the way
I know it, I walk it
In social circles I talk it
The right way masks my dark obsessions
Those black proclivities
My indulgences
Matching step for step
The trails that Daddy trod

You don’t know
Could not accept
The paths he trod in his dark days
Of aimless youth
His pursuit of gonad directions
The frivolous fruit
Daddy’s compulsion
His hot pursuit
Is mine, is mine, is mine
I know him now
Better than I ever did
We have morning coffee conversations
Over eternity and survival
And belief in the cult of “One”
So now, more than ever, I am Daddy’s son
Step for spoor for trail to track
I walk the path from so far back
That I can feel his father’s rejection
A seventeen-year-old’s perplexity
Over what to do
Where to go
Who to trust the way to show

I watched him
While chain smoking Marlboro reds
He crying, rolling on the bed
I was seventeen

Still pristine
Still grasping, gulping, taking all I saw
As mine to be
This world existed for my pleasure
Yet, Daddy cried and howled and convulsed
“Don’t leave me alone,” he begged
I was empty, impotent
Unable to encourage
The icon that could turn my bowels to water
With a disapproving word
“Don’t leave me”
While I had nothing to give
But smoky, 8% tar and nicotine exhalations
You expect me to know or understand
When all I can think about is getting high
Or getting laid
Popping my school-boy cherry?

Aw, Mom
I have the same addiction
The same desire for acceptance and recognition
The same uncertainty
The same intimidation
“I will bury you with a soup spoon”
My exploits are greatness
Like Beowulf or Alexander
My legacy is the steel of soldiers
Who shed their fear and doubt
Who lock and load
And scream defiantly in the face of destruction
Then retreat to the bottle or the needle or the spliff
Or the bottle recedes to the news bite
6 o’ clock monotone
Take your ease, America
For your safety is ensured

Mom, this was Dad’s path
I walk it yet
I can only hope to fill
Those footsteps
With half the weight he carried
I follow his trail
Experience for myself his travail

For I am weak as
Strong as

Full of ideals as
Loving you as
Hoping I can trip by
The grand inquisition as
He tried to be the best as
True as
No patience for the fool as
Cantankerous as
Don’t fuck with him
By driving slow in the fast lane as
He could be

Honest to the end

Mom, I can only aspire to be half as good as that
Walking in my Daddy’s steps

© 2008

Run On

featured in the poetry forum October 1, 2011  :: 0 comments

I’m gonna spill a lot of words
In rapid succession
Articulate angst
That everybody feels
Say out loud the imperative
Not Now!
Not Me!
Not Here!
Not Ever!

Ever goes the swing and sway
The spit-fire words of
What the Fuck?
You wanna do that here?
Without a net?
Without preparation or education
And research?

Shoot syllabic spider webs
This is connected
To that connected
To you connected
To the unraveled
Unorganized orgasmic obnoxious
Run on sentence

Sentience can’t be proven outside of anxiety
And honest introspection
Spin on spill out
Prophecy forsooth
For who can tell
What happens next?
Elbow to elbow hip to hip
To drop and drip
And scoop up circumstance
To dance
And look askance
At you reflecting me
In your private pupil agony
No worries no waste
No hurry no haste

The peace will come
In time in time
The peace will come
For you and for me
And for some
Running on
Running fast
And stopping never

© 2008

editors note:

Yes now! Yes you! Yes here! Yes… always! Oh, and a big ol’ YES to never stopping! We gotta keep on running on ‘cos if we stop we just might drop. Hats off to poetry editor extraordinaire MH Clay for spilling a lot of wonderfully mad words upon us all. – jo

<24Nov10, ThanksEve>

featured in the poetry forum November 25, 2010  :: 0 comments

I’m thinking about this T Day
This Thanks Day

Thanks for this
And thanks for that
But not much giving
At least as much as we get

So, this little gift from me
To say, Thanks for all I’ve got

This world of expressors
Singular confessors
Atoning for what they see
And how they see it
Casting their pearls
Towards me

That’s remarkable
Truly thankworthy


What TV Taught Me

featured in the poetry forum August 21, 2010  :: 0 comments

I remember this name
From black and white TV
Bookies making book
On my national broadcast system
Where horses raced
And rich Jewish retirees
Escaped for an afternoon
Away from their cartoon harpy
Jewish brides
Gimme twenty dolla’s on
Born to Run to place in the fifth

“My God, he’s hemorrhaging!”
I didn’t know what that was
But I could tell it had to be bad
Since she was crying pretty hard
I was home alone with strep throat again
And 2 pm is the worst time
For a ten year old
With the TV to himself
And nothing but soaps to watch

“Things are different now.”
Was Leslie Nielsen’s line
To Warren Stevens
By which he explained the affect
A young and voluptuous Anne Francis
Had upon him
She had to be nineteen
And my God she was hot
But I was a child
And the references to The Tempest
Were lost on me
I hadn’t read The Tempest
We had just discovered my near-sightedness
Because I couldn’t get close enough to Huckleberry Hound
Color TV wouldn’t be around
For another 10 years

TV gave me my first really bad news
While televising the first assassination
Of an American president in the 20th century
The bad news for me was
No cartoons for three days
I was nine
Later came more bad news that I could understand
The “Veet Nam” war
Then Bobby and Martin
Bad shit
Watts, Chicago ‘68
When I was just trying to be cool

TV taught me Cool
I watched for Cool
The Stones were cool
But they didn’t get on TV much
The Beatles were cool
Ed’s people thought so
On national TV, they got him to say so
Jimmi got on Johnny
I think he played Purple Haze
My Dad was outraged
And I didn’t know enough to shut up
It wasn’t all distortion through amplification
There was melody and diction
It was clear
But, “You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’”
Were not words a 12 year old was going to say out loud
To a Father who was ten beers and four shots
On his way to another night of belligerent oblivion

All those shows
Object lessons
Rob and Laura holding hands
Across the space between their twin beds
But not for too long
Ward and June
Talking through the complexities
Of rearing Wally and the Beaver
In white America
“Tell the truth”
“Show compassion for the weak
And downtrodden”
“The ends never justify the . . .”

Meanness before harm never
Or strike before stricken
But, slide before slipping
Glide upon the stumble
Turn humiliation into pride

I learned to examine the evidence
Analyze the circumstances
Expose the man behind the curtain
Uncover the secret wheels
Indict the corporate criminals
Convict the simpering smiling
Slick grifting shyster
Robber embezzler of fortunes
The old man’s
Young widow’s
Yours and mine
Brain matter turned to jelly
Independent actions warped to mindless obedience
Buy more
Borrow ever
Debt is gain
For someone else
Someone smarter, richer
Rich enough
To pen the writer
Hire the director
Threaten the producers
Seduce the investors
To bring in the money, money
Document the crime
To the morbid fascination
And abject impoverishment
Of us all who pay, no matter what
The cable bill
Or the satellite bill
We have the choice
And think this makes us free

Driving Through Venus

August 21, 2010  :: 0 comments

ON the drive through Venus
The first thing you see
Is the imposing row after row
Of rise-to-the-sky steel girder
Power line towers
Pulling the lines off the far horizon
Into the step-down station
Where Venus distributes
The flashes of solar cycles
Transformed into current alternates
To drive the toasters
And flat screen TVs
For the zombie multitudes
Of planet Earth

We are the aliens here
Cosmic interlopers
Pushing through to the next rest stop

There isn’t one here

Venus is sterile
So close to the Sun
Shrouded in mystery
Clouded from view
Blind to the astral population
Stopping in Venus for energy downloads
Fed through the robot repository
Transformed gamma stepped vibrations
Of terrified electrons
Coerced by the galactic agenda
Into chasing down the copper conduits
Of human invention
Which make us think
We’re alone out here

Don’t Need No Shades

August 21, 2010  :: 0 comments

Turn that future up
Way bright
Burn it into my retinas

Cuz there’s no better way
To improve the outlook
Of those who always see
The dark side of things

Whip Snap

featured in the poetry forum August 21, 2009  :: 0 comments

Whip snap the set trap
Trying to catch those bees
Thinking about my flabby physique
I ought to quit smoking and drinking . . .
Well, maybe smoking
I ought to work out more
Learn to grow vegetables on my roof deck
Learn to dig those furrows with a double-barrel
Because there’s more to repel than grackles and crows

And I’ll have to pollinate my buds with cue tips
Which I’ll have to fabricate from dandelion fuzz
Or something else, like old fiberglass insulation
Because there won’t be anymore dandelions
Or bees to pollinate them
So, I’ll have to get into shape for that

Others will be in shape
They’ll be muscling flat screen TVs
From uptown high rises to take along
To some other, better place
Where there won’t be electricity
But plenty of plutonium slag heaps to plug into

No place for pride or greed
Or credit card wet dream
Instant gratification
We’ll have to work hard
For every little thing
Like picking the fiberglass filaments
From old insulation
To make cue tips
To pollinate our tomato blossoms

Because by then
We will be
The only bees
There are

Copyright 2008 Michael Clay

The Fall of Sumer

August 21, 2009  :: 0 comments

“For want of a placeholder
This civilization shall fall”
* SSOF, 21st Century

We can’t feed another digit
To the maw of the machine
It just won’t take it
So what, if the customer
Wants only one extra feature
Without that placeholder
The customer can take what we have
Because we can’t force it
Though we tried and tried
There was weeping and gnashing of teeth

No placeholder
And the system won’t recognize the request
The Standard Of Work can access no document
Because the system had no Process Of Record
By which to execute an idea
A desire for something more
There is no placeholder for more

And for want of that
The forecast is missed
The operating plan falls short
The people are scattered
And so on and so on

All we have of the Sumerians
Are some crumbled foundations
Sunk in centuries of sand
And a pile of clay tablets
With records and records
Of business transactions
Cuneiform scratchings
For the counting of cattle
And bushels of wheat
And clusters of figs
So many markings
To count to the highest number
Impeded by a scarcity of clay

They didn’t get “zero”
They couldn’t squeeze a large number
Into a smaller space
They just spread out
‘Til the desert couldn’t sustain them
Leaving us their legacy –
Lack of vision
Only eyes for the horizon
In this desert now

For want of a placeholder

Copyright 2008 Michael Clay

The Grid

August 21, 2009  :: 0 comments

You can take that off line
But not off the grid
There’s no dropping out
You can’t drop a stitch
You have to be visible
Accessible, be heard
And when you speak be crisp
As crackly as a potato chip
Each word you say
Must snap its way
Into the consciousness
Of the apathetic
Instigate action
Inspire change
The change of each cog
To mesh with the magneto
That spins the grand combine
Which turns the great wheel
That moves the giant mower
To whack ripe opportunities
Into the high hopper
Which feeds the machine
The insatiable vacuum
That never loses suction
When vulnerable, succulent souls
Are so sweet for the taking

The grid
The long leash
The internet satellite signal
Lo-jack chip behind the ear
Just beneath the scalp
Setting alpha brain waves out of phase
To control the impulse
Weaken the will
Enable the “reach out
And jump through our ass, give up your life
Forsake family and friends
To satisfy a customer”
With no face or feelings or purpose
Other than to ensure your every thought
Is consumed with anxiety
And concern over how to bring in
Another two million delectable morsels
Of gross margin
To fatten the bottom line
Of the machine

The queen machine
The god machine
The “our purpose serves the greater good”
Far beyond picayune personal proclivities
To procure a pusillanimous pittance
A pauper’s puny perfidy
Our goal is to make the magnanimous
Mother machine
Crank out cookie-cutter encryptions
Devoid of character
Motivated to mollify the moods
Of the machine

There is the mystery
The code un-cracked
That we would succumb
To such subjugation and slavery
Ever wired to the grid
Shamefully submitted to such stark disclosure
Of all that we hope and are
For fear that the mindless motions
Of the monster magneto
Somehow spins with greater speed
Than our simple insignificant aspirations
Or primal human needs

Copyright 2007 Michael Clay