A Free-Born Smile

featured in the poetry forum November 10, 2021  :: 0 comments

How can you abort
a smile that has been free-born,
that is neither cajoled nor bought,
that is not designed by a dentist who adorns,
that imparts to the onlooker a current of warmth,
that woos the worst sworn enemy with a truce,
that endows the oldest face with the glow of youth,
that makes a pair of lips eloquent without words,
that builds a bridge between nations that constantly fought,
that opens a gate into one’s innermost thoughts,
that rewrites a hasty letter with a cordial tone,
that rebukes the frowns that are the offspring of gall,
that humors a forlorn soul,
that exposes for the beloved two rows of amity’s pearls.

editors note:

With those priceless pearls? How can you, indeed? – mh clay

The Aesthetics of Penury

August 21, 2021  :: 0 comments

She lived among sordid squalor, yet she only beheld what enthralled, such as a stray sunray that fleetingly slipped into her darksome room or a moth happily fluttering round half a candle that her little brother was given at church. The key to her tidiness was a bar of soap that she earned from her overtime chores. Having scrubbed myriads …


featured in the poetry forum August 20, 2021  :: 0 comments

The legacy of betrayal that started before
Judas Iscariot is bound to endure
for centuries to go.

I think of St. Benedict and the noble crow
that snatched the poison those brethren sowed
in his dairy food.

And the Templars who observed their chivalric codes
were arrested and tortured in the name of the Lord
by a treacherous pope.

Entire countries are habitually sold
for their possessions of gas or gold
by rapacious rogues.

And monogamy, whose veil is ripped and torn,
is daily ravished by lechery’s thorns
to propagate divorce.

editors note:

Only done by us. Yay, Humans! – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum May 23, 2021  :: 0 comments

When camping as a scout on our Heights
the knots we studied entranced my eyes.
We sat on pine needles and learned the art
of creating with pieces of rope that chafed our hands
sophisticated shapes that sailors and mountaineers knew well.

But knots of entangled hair are of a different type,
a nuisance that makes some mothers do without
their daughters’ luxuriant locks of hair,
which end up littering a hairdresser’s floor,
with a rope of tears of scathing salt.

“Tie the marital knot,” everyone enjoins
in this benighted part of a benighted globe,
though divorce has become the trend and cult
of a culture ridden with social contracts,
“or meet the lot of lepers and other outcasts.”

editors note:

Such are the binds that tie, like them or knot. – mh clay


April 17, 2021  :: 0 comments

Hounded by neighbors and ruthless schoolchildren during the day, their nocturnal, air-rending cries of hunger keep me vigilantly awake. Stoning is the most lenient fate that awaits mums, puppies, or the already lame. My ears have attuned their nerves to catch the slightest bark that has a tinge of dread as it squeals its alarm away. A stray dog has …


featured in the poetry forum March 4, 2021  :: 0 comments

How many yolks are whipped into your discourse?
For half an hour you have dwelt on the repose
of a primrose
in flamboyant prose.

You whisk the yolk of your words
with a trickle of lushly pollinated thoughts
that drips from the amber of yonder rose
wrapped up in a clause.

With how many yolks have you exposed
the layers of gold that streak your odes,
the saffron of fire suffusing your tropes,
the dandelion permeating your metaphors?

editors note:

Our ever engrossing attempts to make the perfect omelette. – mh clay

The Door Knob

January 23, 2021  :: 0 comments

It was the center of attention in a modest real estate office. I brought it and fixed it without the owner’s permission knowing that it would flatter the flamboyant side of his pretentious character. It was a crystal-like globe with a blue tint that endowed each ray of light that was refracted with the azure of the skies. My intention …

New Year’s Eve

featured in the poetry forum December 29, 2020  :: 0 comments

I associate the eve with my father’s bustle
as he lent our kitchen an apocalyptic hue,
with an upheaval of shopping bags and a blowing trumpet
as he played on the last evening his favorite tunes
to the fragrance of fish bubbling in garlic and olive oil.

He always finished the banquet-eating two hours before
the chiming of the twelfth stroke
and snored despite the roaring firework
that illuminated darkness with festive rainbows,
dreaming of Brigitte Bardot.

I associate the eve with my dog’s satiety,
who kept a vigil by the table’s plenitude,
consuming large portions of mutton and bones,
overindulged by all,
in token of the auspicious year to come.

Now both are dead,
I spend the eve reminiscing over the void
of a year devoid of friends and joy.

editors note:

Chased by a bad year into a new; qualifiers yet to come. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum December 4, 2020  :: 0 comments

This urn is yearning for a memory’s ashes
that I had scattered far from my hearth
amongst a heap of cigarette stubs
in a frequented pub
where our eyes had first interlocked.

You had prepared the pyre and brought the urn
to immolate the love that you hard-earned.
You fed your eyes on consuming flames,
a ritual befitting kings and queens.

You asked me to cherish what had remained
of a love in whose permanence I trusted.
I place the dust of what was lost
in a rubbish bin
but keep the urn for nuts.

editors note:

Ashes to ashes, dust to nuts. Remember how you must. – mh clay


November 17, 2020  :: 0 comments

It was not the torso that Greeks and Romans sculpted for generations to immortalize the ideal physique; neither the Celtic mane of a Scottish highlander nor the stature of an Amazonian warrior. It was simply the freckles on his irises that brought it all about, an obsession that changed the entire course of my life. His eyes reminded me of …