featured in the poetry forum May 20, 2017  :: 0 comments

My bosses are men.
For seasonal minimum wage
I stand all night after my
daytime office gig
growing corns on my feet
building up that nest egg and
desperate anyway
for anything to keep busy
so I don’t have to brood
melancholy about my latest
soured romance.
No time for breaks
or vacation or illness,
no insurance offered anyway.
Across the hall
is an old ladies shop
and bubble-haired Blanche
in lilac polyester
changes the furs in the window
every other hour —
mink, chinchilla, fox,
I didn’t even know they
still sold pelage anymore,
it passes the time.
And I’m supposed to be
aggressive and
(but in a subtle way)
cottons/silks/wood-fiber rayons
at 200% markup
“they’re all natural ma’am
and would you like some tasty
Kama Sutra Oil of Love
to spice things up at home
it’s entirely edible
and isn’t it a fine day?”
But I always get the wrong reply
“Just looking.”
And I’m supposed to be
pleasant to rich
La Jolla matrons with
tanned cheeks pulled tight
below taut botox foreheads,
long strong bodies,
high inflated breasts,
chic shod feet smooth thighs
Rolex, Mercedes-Benz,
American Express,
spare time
“how much is that scarf and
don’t you ever smile?”
(as if it’s their due)
Once, while shopping
for bargains and kicks
in that Wild West
border town Tijuana
where they still sell gas,
food, water, used goods and
political agendas by
hoisting loud noisy speakers
on top of old cars,
just our friendly neighbors
to the South, and me
sitting safe in air-conditioned
station wagon
sipping iced-tea in Tupperware
came a dark-eyed girl with
dirty bare feet
popping belly-straining rusty pins
instead of buttons,
dusky cheeks,
but not from tennis,
nose smashed against window.
On hip, babe dripping snot;
where is the milk
for that dirty bottle
hanging from it’s lip?
And here, por favor
take a ten-spot for that
pack of Chiclets
you’re selling
blatantly ignoring the signs
in the Gringo Hotel
admonishing guests not to give
money to grimy children
on the street selling tokens
so they wouldn’t drop
out of school
and that’s just where
I left my smile, back in
that steamy car
as I insanely hop like a
nocturnal bird on
three-inch tooled leather
heels from Spain.

editors note:

Nothing but a smile for a grimy gal; tryin’ to make a dime where the moon don’t shine. – mh clay

Last year’s crush

featured in the poetry forum November 12, 2016  :: 0 comments

And now you’re feeling pretty
shitty because you just
opened Pandora’s box
and peeked at the fella’s
FB page you’re all sweet on
with cinnamon stickybun
reveries of climbing slowly
on top and running him
up and down all steamy
night long wave his body
hard like a Fourth of July
flag on a pole I swear I’d
walk the line for that man and
oh baby shake the peaches
in my tree until — Whoa!
you see two tatted up
rockabilly chicks’ selfies
posted on his wall typical
hot rod colleens in cuffed jeans
bullet bra and bettie bangs
Ruby Woo lippie enveloping
huge blinding white smiles
and yeah they seem really
nice could be fun to hang out
slamming shots of tequila
and lime washed down with ice
cold beer besides I’ve never been
the jealous type what good
could come of that? Bless
recite the Sunflower Sutra
mayhap a pensive tear (or two)
and move on that’s what
I always say and yeah
you could imagine them
western swing dancing with
each other because the boys
won’t cut a rug creating a
riotous twirling centerpiece
on the dance hall floor like
1950’s girls have done for
years and oh yes this night
they’ve really got the first
place prize all sewn up
hugging each other giggling
and posing provocatively a
little cheesecake softcore
on his massive chopper in
front of the club and you just
stare with dropped jaw while
your heart sinks down to
your grubby classic red
Keds sneakers it’s back
to square one again and your
neighbor from the islands’
Maui Wowie classic sativa
medical cannabis that you
smoked last weekend for
DV PTSD flashbacks
must still be messing with
your head because all of a
sudden you don’t even know
what in hell you want so with
ten more minutes of lunch
you steal on over to
Poetry Daily only to read a
grand rollicking poem
something huge and righteous
and glory glory hallelujah
about Ma Rainey discovering
the blues and Son House
“If I don’t go crazy, honey, I’m
going to lose my mind” with
the requisite knives
guitars and squirrel guns
Johnny Horton scratch
pluck and twanging sob
leading down dusk
and sultry dirt country
roads to the original
local chicken shack and
now armed with verse
you can finally expel that
pent up suspended breath
you’ve been holding for the
last half hour because
suddenly all is right once
again in your small town world,
at least today anyway.

editors note:

Personal relationship pachinko; “huge and righteous and glory glory hallelujah.” It’s a good day when we make it so. – mh clay

Sakura’s Tanka

featured in the poetry forum August 11, 2015  :: 0 comments

Santa Ana winds
parched air, the day we parted
with secrets unshared –
I’d rain hot bliss poems down
your body, beguiled for keeps

editors note:

With rain like this, I’d toss my umbrella. – mh clay

Free love

featured in the poetry forum February 15, 2015  :: 0 comments

I spied the street guy
balancing three huge
Hefty plastic bags
bulged with crushed
plastic bottles and cans
dripping a wet sticky
snail’s trail behind him
down the crooked rustic road
precariously balanced
on his parked makeshift bicycle
haunches squatting
in poignant tableau
leans his curved spine
over a small ancient
paint distressed
three door dresser cabinet
a magnificent prize
left on the street in
front of somebody’s house
with a ‘For Free’ sign
taped to the front
tenderly he opens
the lopsided drawer
squinched eyes peer inside
musing head sideways
thoughtful grubby finger
stuck in mouth
as if imagining what
rare cast-off treasures
he would store there
for safekeeping
smack dab in the middle
of old Lemon Avenue

editors note:

With the whole world your bedroom, treasure comes not from possessions, but from places to hide. – mh

Meet me at Pete’s Place?

featured in the poetry forum December 12, 2013  :: 0 comments

Of course I hoped you’d find it, opened up briefly just for you
and to say a few things I guess, and then heck I didn’t want other people reading it,
not like I advertise and they were so then I felt like an idiot and existential panic
set in I wanted my private life back, and just silly girl stuff,
but what it comes down to is really, I didn’t know you were reading my old blog how could I?
So better late than never I’ll ask you now to meet me at Pete’s Place
some Saturday afternoon share a shivery pitcher of tap brew
or Stella Artois’ sheer blonde in a bottle for me oh I bet you’re a bourbon man
shoot we could have fun drinking mineral water on ice with lemon and a cig
later on when it starts to get dark in the parking lot out back by the alley
I’ll keep watch while you surreptitiously scratch our secret initials
buried in a heart on the graffiti brick wall
juke box still just a quarter sway close to slow old songs
we really could just dance away our cares
I’ll even let you take me clear around the world hopping diamonds on the rail
c’mon daddy you could have the whole enchilada
do you even know cuánto te necesito and hey whaddaya say?

editors note:

Oh, Baby! Gimme that enchilada now. Te necesito aún más! – mh

Back to normal

May 12, 2013  :: 0 comments

Since you’ve been gone I’m back
to compulsively checking my horoscope
buy lottery tickets too
four quick-picks and one magic number,
while away an hour nitpicking
through the nail polish aisle at Target
to find a perfect sky blue color,
listened to my cherished Fats Waller
disc – Victor: 1935
“I’m going to sit right down
and write myself a letter
and make believe it came from you”
watch Maltese Falcon
late night movie on TCM
one more time
wishing detective Sam Spade
was my really good friend
he never took shit from anybody,
and two finger’s length
straight up Southern Comfort
in my favorite Picardie tumbler
within convenient reach.

War Paint

featured in the poetry forum May 12, 2013  :: 0 comments

Friday night we quarrel
he’s drunk on Wild Turkey
and passes out in the bar
so I take him home.
The next night we stay in bed for thirteen hours
is this unlucky?
Sunday we eat Sashimi and rice
I make a mess
he laughs and feeds me red wine,
the sailor’s tattoos burn impressions in my mind
the issue is here and now –
no yes or no, just resonance.
His arms are hairy from diving deep
saturated for hours with cold ocean salt water
bringing me abalone presents,
face betraying nothing, restraint is necessary.
I wake in a blue painted room
filled with knives, guns, and velvet paintings
that he bought in Tijuana
a Folsum prison calendar hangs from a nail
his brother guards the murderers who made it.
The sailor covers his arms
with black tattoos
an inky needle prints a dragon in Hong Kong
trailing wild psychedelic fumes next to a
snarling tiger crouched to pounce from Kaneohe Bay,
in a dirty Philipino parlor
he planted an unfinished rose
with a small pink tongue licking my ear
the thorny vines missing…
five times in thirteen hours.
I’m no fool, I think,
in black war paint he swims down under
with eel, Bat Rays, keen Leopard shark,
playing weird games with mermaid’s hands
in dark water caves
the sea’s deep demands pressing his dirt bones
so they shrivel, cracking beneath her weight.

editors note:

The marauding mariner, as seen by the mermaid. Nice! – mh

You can go home again

featured in the poetry forum February 19, 2013  :: 0 comments

Managed a Sunday morning light run
through rural sidewalk-less streets
in Lemon Grove
on my bruised ligament,
joyful border radio blasting
Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes
and commercials for Jarritos
the classic Mexican soda,
then a free tangerine,
toothless smile and a wave
from Vietnamese gardner
working on the foreclosed house’s yard
around the corner
and an old dude seriously
grinding curbs in the parking lot
at Bank of America
all this more than enough
to limp me home again.

editors note:

A run through normalcy is all it takes to manage that inner pain. – mh

A Second Chance

featured in the poetry forum June 10, 2012  :: 0 comments

I took in a spaniel pup
from Second Chance rescue
tossed from it’s last home
after biting a child,
now sudden blood arcs from my mouth
I merely leaned down to caress her head
she growled in fright, baring teeth,
peed on the couch again.
And dumb luck I got a dog just like me,
scared, anxiety ridden, weaned too young,
out of control yet wanting love,
fast biting the hand that feeds her,
my lower lip split wide open
like the time that moron busted
me in the mouth when I came in too late
from drinking with the girls.
Too late and tired for a drive to emergency,
vodka cleaned, frozen together
with ice and guerilla tape,
one more scar on my broken down body
everybody telling me I should put her down
she’s a danger to society
but knowing my heart is stupid
and I will give her
one more chance
to be good,
dropping to bed in vicodin sleep,
Honey positioned at the foot.

editors note:

More identification with our transgressors, more second chances for all. – mh