John Deere purgatory

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

you were always different
always looking for something
always running toward something you couldn’t define
and then you ran into the winter wheat harvest

three months and a thousand miles of sweat and grease
three states and a shimmering ocean of amber
a John Deere purgatory for misfits and mal-adaptive souls
an International Harvester bardo for run-aways and rejects
endless big talk about pussy and rodeo buckles
suffocating b.o. and pitiful bad jokes
never enough hot sauce for the shitty grub

eighteen-hour days under a heartless heathen sun
blown head gaskets and bent slats and bad bone weariness
blisters and muscle cramps and a constant itch from the chaff
and never enough time or quiet to collect your thoughts

but then by the time you hit the Nebraska state line
any thought you ever held has disappeared in the thick dust

editors note:

Definitely not for the gluten intolerant. – mh clay

hammer down to the holy ground

featured in the poetry forum March 4, 2023  :: 1 comment

in 1974 horsepower was my God
a powder blue Nova SS was my heaven.
oil additives ran slick like the blood of a savior
and a young, chubby cowgirl
who giggled and snickered as she nestled against me
was my sexy holy grail

together we blasted forward into the unknown
behind three-hundred-twenty-seven cubic inches
of four-barreled and Isky-cammed Detroit theology

that cowgirl hoisted the tail of her shirt
exposed her boobs to the empty American prairie
and the miles whispered away
like the Sisters of Internal Combustion
at worship in their cloister of the starless humid night

editors note:

As it was, so shall it ever be. World without end, amen! – mh clay

UP! the vortex

featured in the poetry forum October 20, 2022  :: 0 comments

the winter storm slammed into town
like a rage-alcoholic stepfather
meteorologists called him a polar vortex.
his drinking buddies
frostbite and hypothermia
trailed in his wake and called him boss

they pelted the windows with sleet
they iced the roads and froze the pipes
they howled and blustered
until the poor feared for their lives
and the powerful fled to Cancun

I hid in my room under the blankets
like I did when I was a kid and my step-drunk
rampaged through the house unchecked

to ease my angst and pass the time
I streamed the film UP!
a raunchy 1976 Russ Meyer farce
it features a masochistic Hitler look alike
murdered by a piranha in his bathtub
and a screwball plot that nobody understands
Russ thoughtfully provides
a nude former Miss Universe
as Greek Chorus to fill in the gaps

when the credits rolled, I moved on to

I streamed Meyers’ entire
underrated body of work
while I waited
for that arctic storm-of-a-bitch
and his cronies
to pile into somebody’s Cadillac
and bluster back to the north
to their favorite strip joint called Ice Angels.

editors note:

Recommended viewing for when a polar bear rages by. – mh clay

when the gunslingers sling grease

featured in the poetry forum July 20, 2022  :: 0 comments

Bukowski’s poems came at him like gunslingers
but my poems drag in like broke-ass farmers
they’re cranky from fifteen-hour days in the field
they’re sweaty, smelly, grimy, and rude

the tall one waves a bill for combine parts in my face
“write me so it looks like I don’t owe this”
I don’t know how to write his debts away

the short one snarls from my Laz-Y-Boy
“write me but leave out my thing with Tammy”
“no need for the wife to read about her”
his wife’s the only thing about him I could write

the fat one with the walrus moustache growls
“write me a new John Deere and a feed truck”
I’ll be lucky to write the grain smut out of his wheat crop

and the only woman among them
a redhead with serious business in her eyes
sits at my laptop and writes herself
I give her a thumbs up when she finishes
she douses me with lithium from her grease gun

safe to say that the poetry gods aren’t smiling on you
when the gunslingers sling grease in your face

editors note:

A good lube ain’t a bad thing! (We welcome Preacher to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay

a word of warning

featured in the poetry forum May 20, 2022  :: 0 comments

looking for a bold addition
to your drab and soulless menu?
give our jack-a-lope nachos a try.

ooey-gooey imitation cheese infused into
the steamed and shredded haunches
of a cornball hybrid dreamed up
to sucker tourists into a dying town.

listen to the rave reviews.
“they set up in the gut like concrete and rebar.”
“a Grand Coulee Dam for your duodenum.”

jack-a-lope nachos, baby.
all the zest and zing of coronary distress.
all the heartiness of a capitalist deception.
the finest of unbelievable American cuisine.

a word of warning
the lawyers require us to add.
consume at your own risk.

new customer discount on the MEGA PLATTER.
dig in and discover what you’re made of.

editors note:

Or refuse to swallow and choke on your own terms. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum March 3, 2022  :: 0 comments

headlines scream disaster and collapse
experts predict turmoil and strife
it’s the wrong time to waste money on frivolities
so, I splurged and bought a little foreign-built 4×4
plucked her from the clutches of the car crusher

she’s powered by an outdated V6 with
an occasional backfire and chronic thirst for 10W30
rust scars her door panels, wheel wells, and tailgate
her faded paint flakes and cracks and she’s missing a fender
all sure signs that we’ll make a great team

when I fire her up, she oozes real mojo
magic hums through her rotted tailpipe
mystical tremors rattle her dented hood
she’d rip her guts out to get me where I need to go
she’s the perfect vehicle for chasing the big storms

we’ll drive to the edge of town and wait
at the first flash of lightning, I’ll drop her into 4xlow
we’ll crawl toward that horror-cyclone that spins out of our daily news feed
we’ll blast through the gales of hype and hyperbole
we’ll surge through the tsunamis of contradiction and ambiguity
when we reach the calm of the eye, we’ll bring back the truth
or the truth will finish the task the car crusher aborted
either way, the selfies we snap on our journey should prove stunning

editors note:

We need one o’ them to traverse these treacherous trails. Heavy on the 30-weight! – mh clay