My Daughter’s Doll

featured in the poetry forum June 22, 2021  :: 0 comments

My daughter’s cloth doll
Raggedy Ann, yellow yarn hair
Lies face down on my home office floor
Alone, abandoned, neglected
A sad remnant of yesterday’s ecstasy
As daddy was distracted from a life of obligation
By a 4-year-old who doesn’t know what the word means
And I pray she never does

editors note:

Make every act a gift, yes. Much obliged! – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum August 5, 2020  :: 0 comments

Grumpy old man I be
morning routine disrupted
wife on the couch
coffee in the bathroom
no sitting on patio
no fresh air, no green view
yet coffee is coffee
love is love
life goes on
decaf routine limits imagination
lack of routine, like caffeine,
stimulates the mind

Pandemic and climate change
the world has decaf routine, its own
caffeine-esque disruption sine qua non
brass band booming
oom-pah-pah, oom-pah-pah

editors note:

How does caffeine drive your quarantine routine? – mh clay

Reality and Imagination

featured in the poetry forum November 27, 2019  :: 0 comments

Natural yearning seeks fulfillment
imagination the soul’s savior
reality doesn’t give a rat’s ass
about good or bad,
kind or cruel,
gentle or severe,
the hell with all that
according to Plato
the just society
is everyone doing best what they best do
and that includes imagination
dream the dream
a target to aim for,
reality or imagination
the choice is yours
as is the path
luck or pluck
the entitled expect one,
everyone else, the other.

editors note:

Your dream made real? Imagine that. (Paul has a new collection out, “Ode to a Drunken Muse.” Our own Associate Editor, Mike Fiorito, has written a Mad Review of it. Check it out and get Paul’s book here.) – mh clay

Fulfillment Is the Enemy of Yearning

featured in the poetry forum July 5, 2019  :: 0 comments

Without yearning there is contentment
with contentment nothing is desired

no searching
no exploring
no wild wind whispering secrets
no mystery
no stimulation
no titillation

fulfillment and contentment
biscuits to offer Cerberus
just hope the beast is hungry.

editors note:

Takes (not) enough to divert that dog’s attention. Down, Boy! – mh clay

The Blessed Solidarity of the Dead

featured in the poetry forum July 1, 2017  :: 0 comments

“I don’t mind my pain. It’s their pain I can’t stand.” — Graham Greene

No matter how many dead we carry,
they are of one accord,
each craving release,
wanting only
to tell his or her own truths.

Mine queue up, clamoring for attention,
starting most mornings around sunrise
and keeping at it all day long,
only taking brief late-night hiatus
when I collapse in drunken stupor
or food coma.
I carry beaucoup personal dead, but
even those I never knew
hover in the haunted creases of my brain.

Clicking on CNN,
I read about ninety-five civilians
killed in a Baghdad blast,
mothers, fathers, little ones,
single women, single men,
dreaming one of the other, and I am
thankful for their solidarity.
En masse their pleas are impersonal,
defeating comprehension.
My fear is that confronting only one,
her agony would overwhelm,
devouring everything I am.

editors note:

Our attention on them changes time till we become them. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum May 17, 2016  :: 0 comments

penguin in a tree
live without expectations
more sunshine to find

editors note:

Heed this advice and, when we see one, we won’t be surprised. – mh clay

Independence Day

featured in the poetry forum October 14, 2015  :: 0 comments

wilderness backpack on July 4th
first ever typing drunk in a tent poem
single malt Scotch and rainwater
experiencing nature’s power on display
not missing fireworks
lightning and thunder and wind
flashes Tesla coil bright
kettle drum booming
wind playing hide and seek with sanity
rain drops dancing on tent canopy

Oh wilderness, voluptuous maiden of our heritage
no road signs, no tombstones, no poverty of spirit
only more and more horizons and
destinations uncharted
listen when the wind talks
heed Thor’s hammering
smell damp earth and air ozone fresh
sing with your soul as it wakes up
truly, life begins
where sidewalks end

editors note:

Yes, it does! So, get out there (and remember: dig your latrine downstream). – mh clay

The Sound of One Hand Typing
(for Patty)

featured in the poetry forum April 24, 2014  :: 0 comments

Surgeons with no sense of humor
save lives and shoulders, three hours on the table,
and now the one-handed typing poem,
one finger doing pushups and pull-ups,
yet another opportunity to grapple with
the challenges of existence.
Simple acts of creativity, healing, caring
keep despair at bay.
Friend bestows beloved companion of her youth,
Olympia Model 9 Portable,
clean action, smooth typing
lifelong quest for the perfect typewriter
Model 9 of the Buddha’s eightfold path.
All words fraught with significance
little bell pinging, light at the end of a typed line,
liberation at the start of every sentence,
the page we strive so hard to reach is
the page we are already on.

editors note:

Populate pages with pertinent passages; approach a plane of existence, achieve relevance through writing. – mh

Sleep is for Wimps

February 13, 2014  :: 0 comments

Sometimes I wish I could sleep
one night through,
not knowing why I or anyone
would want that.
An uninterrupted night’s sleep,
wouldn’t that be
death’s soul mate?
The bane of glorious, howling life,
the undoing of creativity,
the end of hungry, lonesome poetry?
My dream is to know the starry nights
Van Gogh once worshiped
as I search for ancient wisdom and
appeal to all powers, everywhere,
to keep mediocrity and normalcy at bay.


featured in the poetry forum February 13, 2014  :: 0 comments

Politeness is its own little black hole
one-way street, all in, nothing out.
Treat religious proselytizers
with respect and they will hound you
like Cerberus guarding the gates of hell,
escape impossible.
Be courteous to the unattractive and
she/he will stalk you online, their love forever.
Be kind, gentle, respectful, and others will
interpret that as weakness and attempt
to walk over you, to bulldoze you into
the self-righteous pit of their contempt.
Strength and resolve alone can resist,
only the bold, only the brave
should ever consider politeness as an option.
Meanwhile the meek are coming closer
to inheriting the earth after making it
unlivable for everyone else.

editors note:

Amen, Brother! Lately, this message has been playing out in real life. Next time those people knock, I’m not going to be home. – mh