featured in the poetry forum November 9, 2017  :: 0 comments

I have swallowed the cardboard,
chewed it to a pulp and gulped
it down. It tasted like stale,
dirt, and chemicals. Scabbed my tongue—
a hard pill to swallow.

The lump stayed in my throat,
through the flight and back to Dallas
through my body dissolving.
It made my limbs creaky and slow—
a hard pill to swallow.

And through the hospital it stayed,
the world of soft blankets and voices.
I stood flimsy and moist. My eyes grew
at the sight of you, small, ill-kept.
A hard pill to swallow

because when you swallow with eyes
nothing can wash it down. Unblinking,
the nurses sit and stare at their phones,
here only to watch the risk. They give
a hard pill. To swallow,

I hold up water in a plastic cup, because
your arms are useless in bandages.
They look like dead crabs. I try to give
you shelter, but I am made out of cardboard—
a hard pill to swallow.

editors note:

No comfort in cardboard; ill circumstance for both. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum March 25, 2017  :: 0 comments

I’ve sure you’ve all heard about it by now–
That Crazy Wrap Thing by It Really Works!
Before you roll your eyes and scroll past this on to pictures of kittens and babies, please just hear me out.

I’m a brand new representative, and,
I gotta tell you, I love working for It Really Works! It’s a great career for me, because I’m a busy mother of three kids, and I get to be my own boss!
But most importantly, it really does work! Just look at the pictures below and see for yourself.

I gotta admit, though, I was skeptical at first, so I tried it myself, and the results are astounding. It’s so easy too!

You by take one of our wraps and affix one end inside the front door, securely.
Make sure the door is shut firmly. Take the other end of the wrap, and wrap it around the outside of your house. Be sure you are working counter-clockwise.
Walk in a complete circle around your house, pulling the cloth firmly so it doesn’t sag. When you reach the front door again, carefully open the door, go inside, and attach the other end of the wrap.
Do not open the door again.

You can see results in less than three weeks.
You can lose up to 200 square feet. (I only lost 150 feet of house, because I’m such a klutz and didn’t wrap tight enough.)

The results will be slow, at first, but dramatic once you take it all in.
The first thing to shrink was that purple abstract I have over my armchair. The lines got smaller. Then the couch got thinner. The unflattering lumps went away.
Other things in the living room, too. Books you’ll never finish became as slim as volumes of poetry. The faces in family portraits became closer and closer together.

Other rooms, too.
My king-sized bed became a twin.
My bathroom lost its extra sink. Whole rooms got tightened, tidied.
My kitchen is now only one foot wide and can barely accommodate my ample hips. Whole cupboards’ worth of dishes got smashed, chairs look like something from a dollhouse, and my spare room shrunk so much that only the cats can go in and out with ease.

I became a giant,
surrounded by objects so small and easily stored.
Everything tidy and still.

Private message me for more details!!!

editors note:

Be the first on our block to disappear. (We welcome Nadia to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay


March 17, 2017  :: 0 comments

You are sitting at home one Wednesday afternoon when you get a call. 9-1-1, you are having an emergency, the voice on the other end says. You decide to remain calm. You ask her to be a little more specific. That’s not my department, she explains, I can transfer you, but there’s a three-to-five minute hold-time, and by then….I understand, …

Dead Dog Music

featured in the poetry forum December 13, 2016  :: 0 comments

Your music sounds like roadkill,
I told you when we first met.
Perhaps you didn’t hear me or were a little offended,
because you got quiet.

But I figured this was an okay thing to say
because you had asked me, quite blankly,
if I had ever installed dry wall and if
I had enjoyed inhaling and then coughing up the particles.
I told you No, with all the dignity I could muster,
but was thinking Dear god, that sounds amazing
and I want to.

What I meant, though, was
it’s the music of the real, and
that can be jarring sometimes
and cause for pause – like seeing matted fur
outside your car window.

Roadkill isn’t like other rubbish; you can’t
just pick it up and throw it away
or use a bottle when your ashtray gets full.
There is a particular resilience to roadkill,
even after the damage has been done.

I don’t know what the roadkill is like
over in New York where you are
learning to dance quietly
like the end of a fishing pole,
where you are learning about how small
a house can be, and how to leave the few
safe places you have known.

Perhaps there are more squirrels,
less dogs, more birds, or some big elk.
But I think if you make music like
the flash of fur and red through a window
then the cruelty of heavy things
won’t ever make you frail.

editors note:

Something to have on everyone’s playlist. – mh clay

How to Give

featured in the poetry forum June 1, 2016  :: 0 comments


above it is a cap like one for fuel.
I reach back and turn it counterclockwise
to open the little door that’s at the root of all spines.
I use both hands with bent elbows and grab it.
The base is cold and metal like a skewer through a carousel horse.

I inhale. I yank it out.
It goes haltingly—
vertebra by vertebra,
like a locomotive,
one car at a time.

My breathing will be unlabored
like soothing mutters
on a quiet night.
My breathing will be all exhales
without that spider umbrella
of bone between.
I must do this to be weightless.
I must do this to be as water
that never thinks of itself,
but flows and heals and
asks nothing.
I must do this for the give.

And afterward, we could
prop it in some corner,
like a hat-rack for small hats,
or give it to the children
for a curious plaything.
I am trying to trade
my strength for kindness.

editors note:

The ultimate gift; self as hat rack or curious toy. – mh clay