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

Ten Hells and Counting

featured in the poetry forum September 15, 2013  :: 0 comments

I once thought the sages of the East were all-knowing.
Touring Ho Chi Minh City, ersatz Saigon,
motorbikes, smog, borrowed helmet too small.
Pagoda dedicated to the Emperor of Jade,
supreme Taoist deity,
other gods, gilded, protect the
generals who defeated
the Green Dragon and White Tiger.
In the hall of Ten Hells,
elaborately carved wooden panels depict torments,
hapless human figures contorted and
convoluted in creative ways,
chained, devoured, trampled.
Devotees and tourists stuffed in tighter
than a full pack of Pall Malls,
air heavy with the pungent smoke of burning joss.
Only ten? I think, taking deep breaths,
wiping away sweat, suppressing the urge to
do a little trampling of my own. Only ten?

editors note:

Any number is possible; why not 20? Or, how ’bout none? Make it up hot or heavenly and believe, believe, believe… – mh

Gods and Demons

featured in the poetry forum December 11, 2011  :: 0 comments

Dionysus, god of wine,
old and comfortable friend.
I dream of Aphrodite,
goddess of love, beauty, desire,
all my dreams, all my hopes,
In the pantheon of demons,
the emptiness at the heart
of human existence is
Zeus, king of gods, ruler of Olympus.
Next comes boredom, Ares,
god of war, violence, and
the self-destructive turmoil in
so many of our souls.
On a mission to find antidote,
Zeus too exalted,
too distant to hear my appeal.
My quest is for relief,
real, lasting, meaningful.
that eliminates all my favorites,
beer, Scotch, wine,
casual sex,
movies, Internet.
Many souls, many solutions.
Mine, I begin to see,
is here, right now,
on this page, Aphrodite’s approval

editors note:

Trash your idols, deify your vices – absolve yourself with a few verses. Just a few words… peace will come – mh

My Favorite Places

October 17, 2011  :: 0 comments

It’s the empty spaces
my soul craves,
sand-blown desert,
wind-swept glacier,
marshy tundra,
no people
no trees
no cars
no roads
no trails,
and most goddamn definitely
no cell phones,
where simplicity
expects nothing,
and the void without
soothes the void within.
teeming life
befuddles and confuses
and cares too much
about itself
to notice
other beings
that other emptiness,
the one
right here,
right now.

editors note:

We are a lonely planet; filling our emptiness with noise and activity to hold back the void. – mh