Family Tales

featured in the poetry forum August 28, 2021  :: 0 comments

The last few years were strange.
I don’t remember seeing her in anything but
a flannel nightgown.
Always in bed, reading,
or on the way there. Slowly, with many fits and starts
her reality was flaying away
thinning the border between here
and what she lived in dream. Everything
took on the shine of the unreal,
dream crowding in to take over.
I’d visit, stepping through a door that was like breaching a membrane
and I was in her dream world,
like neither of us was quite tethered in reality.
It unnerved me then.
I didn’t understand why she was in such a hurry to go, but
it’s happening to me now and I
find great comfort in being in the place
that I once unwillingly shared with her so long ago,
even while I’m frightened of what looms next.
I’m not done.

editors note:

Haunted by our dead, we live as ghosts to them. – mh clay

Three Dads

featured in the poetry forum August 14, 2020  :: 0 comments

Pop had 3 Dads and was
screwed immediately.
The first one,
the biological one,
left when he was small.
The stepfather came along,
beat him regularly.
He didn’t want the competition so
wanted to kill Pop but
the booze killed him first.
Then his foster Dad,
the one he should have had all along.
It was probably too late at that point.
He was already damaged.
That wouldn’t have mattered I guess, if
his third father hadn’t died as well.
From then on he wasn’t guided,
he was enabled
and we all had to pay for that.

editors note:

The inheritance we don’t want, can’t return, and wouldn’t be us without. – mh clay

Desert Summer

featured in the poetry forum June 25, 2019  :: 0 comments

A child draws a picture with
blue skies and green fields
giant flowers and clouds like cotton candy
and in the corner, a sun,
its rays stretching out to cover the land
smiling face gazing benignly down, happy
to be bringing life to all in its
two-dimensional world.
In my tiny slice of hell the sun
is not like that.
If it was I wouldn’t hide in the summer
like a giant mole or
a resident of that underground city in
My sun fools you, lulling you with
cool mornings, the clean scents of
desert sage and orange monkey flower
filling the air.
The whole neighborhood seeming to hold its collective breath
until, in that final moment,
Sol crawls over the San Jacintos,
magma fingers clutching the summit,
perching there, a slavering beast, before
it flips a switch and
turns the pavement into pools of melting tar
flames dancing a merry jig,
as it turns the whole into Gehenna.

editors note:

Yeah, but it’s a dry heat. (We welcome Mike to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Schoolyard Game

featured in the poetry forum January 4, 2019  :: 0 comments

There are circles within squares,
Squares perfectly painted
Corners crisp as an ironed shirt
Sharp as a razor tongued wife
The circle not quite as perfect
One curve scuffed from..
Paw prints?
A red rubber ball, the size of last year’s Halloween pumpkin,
Sits off-center
Rocking back and forth in the breeze.
There is something to this configuration
An alignment of mathematical possibilities that
Might explain everything
Some meaning to ‘why?’ if I just squint hard enough.
But the circle within the square with the red ball
Sits silent under the cloudy blue sky.
A breeze stirs, a slight exhalation, so faint
It’s felt not heard.
It has to mean something, doesn’t it? The circle, the square,
The ball?
A crow perched on a wall ponders the same, I know,
Muttering, shaking his head, fluffing feathers until
A loud screech signals the release of a
Horde of 8 year olds,
Bearing down on me like the
Last wave at the end of the world,
Flowing around me like a boulder in their river.
Red ball picked up
Some go into the circle
The rest shake out in the square
And begin a game that involves
Hand slapping
Throwing the ball as hard as they can
At someone’s face
And screams of ‘cheater!

editors note:

Making meaning from the melee is a dodgy deed. – mh clay

Balanced on the Head of a Pin

featured in the poetry forum January 9, 2018  :: 1 comment

This is how it begins
The demon flows from
one shape to another-
my first wife
in all her fanged glory

a boss who had set me up
to take his fall.

“Do you trust me?”
Of course not
but I’m here for a reason.
He/she sighs and becomes-
a boy from a long ago school yard fight
an Other
the monster under the bed.

At a crossroads, midnite,
of course
the hoary oaks in the fields around us
drip Spanish moss
flex branches like claws
leaning in, listening.
The full moon shines like
a noon day sun, pregnant
with expectations
illuminating everything
except the shadows that lurk ‘round the crossroads.
Bullfrogs and cicadas
give concert, the music
pushing into my forehead
honeysuckle scent
coats my throat
making it hard to breath.
It asks
Its true form, my worst nightmare
a lawyer
blood around its mouth
black in the moonlight.
“You know what I want.”
behind a grin with too many
teeth. “What do you want?”

editors note:

What you get is always and only what remains of what you want. – mh clay