featured in the poetry forum April 4, 2023  :: 0 comments

Pages of the books I once read,
Yellow and crumble as I turn them.
They once smelled of inked forests.
Now they rank of mildewed towels
On a dirty basement floor.

Books spill off my bookshelves
Disintegrating as they hit the wood floor.

I pick up my electronic reader,
Push the “on” button, swipe the page,
Read a book on a non-glare screen.
This light, thin, 6-inch by 4-inch
Rechargeable device holds as many
Tons of paperbacks and hardcovered
Worlds that line my four office walls,
And I wonder,

When will the grid go down,

And how many years,
As opposed to decades,

Will the digits
Become outdated ones and zeros,


Toxic chemicals
Dry riverbeds

And earth
By our sun?

editors note:

When will today’s convenience become tomorrow’s quandary? – mh clay

Atena Hygiea Asclepia o Pachamama

February 28, 2023  :: 0 comments

Today, Atena will massage me for the first time in three years. COVID lockdowns and travel restrictions caused me to be stranded in the country of Cáscara for over two years. Atena, when the shutdowns were lessened, moved to another province in Orotina to escape the concentration of contagion. She has such good energy. She is divine. As she massages …

Days Run Into Each Other

featured in the poetry forum January 29, 2022  :: 0 comments

I drive and Teresa navigates (while talking on her cellphone) into Punta to leave the Tetra Sa at the NAHAT carwash, then walk around town, masked, holding hands, enjoying the view of the sea. We sit at a table outside one of our favorite cafés, Le Délicieux. I order an espresso, Teresa a tea. We stroll, window shopping by some of the still not-closed-for-COVID clothing stores.
We watch a movie inside our apartment, and pick up with our fingers to drop on our tongues slices of salami and cheese.
Teresa puts on her mask and takes the 4 x 4 to The Hippies Market to shop for fresh chicken, eggs, and vegetables. I sit on our balcony in my thick towel robe and sip yerba mate.

Our balcony is spiritually lucrative,
The sea and sky untangle our thoughts,
The incandescent air opens our lungs,
Obliterating preemptive attacks by nightmares.

We deadname this year’s fear of COVID
And unsubstantiate Tyrant Reginald’s face.
The death toll will never uncount,
As we debunk false claims of rigging ropes.

I read a feminist translation of “Beowulf.” I like it. The hero reminds me of Teresa, swinging her sword at the dragon of life and the God of the Witch.
I breakfast at noon on media lunas. I sit at my desk and sip yerba mate. I open my laptop and begin typing.
Teresa is out running errands, driven by our remis driver, Eliomar.
I rescind all my past lies.
Teresa is in bed with a headache and high blood pressure. I hurt when she hurts. I lie beside her and read “From Sand and Time.”
Quit floating about you antediluvian! Ahh, Sunday. Pizza!

editors note:

We chase them to catch them; we end up catching our breath. – mh clay

On Aeaea Again

January 15, 2022  :: 0 comments

We breakfast together on grapes and figs while lying on wild grass, take a walk around our island, fill our eyes with sea, fill our ears with bird song. I drive her to the Loose Wolf where she lunches with the women who tend to the island gardens. I sit six feet away and watch her out of the corner …

On Aeaea During COVID-19

January 19, 2021  :: 0 comments

I wake from my afternoon nap in my office, rise from my fold-out chair and push the button to trip the electric switch that will lift the roll-down blinds that cover the sliding glass doors that face the sea. Nothing. I turn on the lights. Nothing. I can see a crack of sunlight where the blinds don’t quite meet the …

The 13th

featured in the poetry forum November 19, 2020  :: 0 comments

On the bay, unlucky day, or so they say,
But not today, today is Thursday,
Not Tuesday or Friday.
Or is it Wednesday? It’s so hard to keep
Track during these times.
All the days and dates run together.

This morning, Amigo’s left front ankle is swollen,
And he is limping on three legs.
We call three veterinarian offices
We find through an Ogle search.
No answers. We call Marcelo the Dentist,
To ask him for advice, and he calls
A friend, a vet, but the office
Is not open till noon.
He asks us to send a photo
Of the dog’s leg.

Fifteen minutes later, Marcelo
Calls and says the vet says
The leg is not broken,
To just let the leg heal itself,
To let him rest in a comfortable place.

When I explain this to Amigo,
He looks at me with understanding eyes
And I invite him to hop into our apartment.
He lies on our brightly threaded, intricately weaved
Dining room rug, and the rank
Of street dog fills our apartment.
Teresa and I try to ignore it
While we marathon watch
A mafia series on Interflix.

Three or four hours later,
He rises and hops over to me,
And places his snout upon my thigh.
I, thinking he has to pee,
Lead him out of our apartment
Toward the front glass door of the building,
But he does not follow me.
Instead, he hops toward the middle passage
That leads to the service elevator
And the caretakers’ apartment.
Today the caretakers’ sister/sister-in-law
Is working in place of them,
As it is their day off.
Olga works less than the caretaker couple
And hides a lot in the apartment
Always arriving just when you are finished
With needing help unloading groceries
From your car, or loading your car
With suitcases. Amigo limps to the mat
In front of the caretakers’ apartment door
And lies down. I ring the bell.
I ring it again. “Coming!”
She opens the door with a frown,
Sees it is me, puts on a forced
Smile, and then her surgical mask.
She is wearing pajamas
And a sleeping mask is pulled up
To her forehead. “Yes?” she attempts
To gleefully ask. I explain Amigo’s
Leg problem. She looks down at him
With disgustful eyes. I continue, “He came to lie here.
I guess he is accustomed to sleeping
Here as your brother-in-law and sister
Let him inside every night
To escape the cold.
I hear he has a small doggie bed.”
She feigns, “Aww. Poor Amigo.
I will take care of him. I will go get
His bed.” Amigo looks up at me
With ‘It’s OK’ eyes. I pet him
Then return to my apartment.

Inside I wash my hands with liquid detergent,
Spray the apartment with Truthsol,
And sit in my plush chair,
To watch more TV.

editors note:

Taking care to find a caretaker who’s not you. – mh clay

Your Violet Hair Ribbon

featured in the poetry forum August 22, 2019  :: 0 comments

Last night you slept with your head on my chest
My nose in your hair.

While I dozed the violet ribbon upon my wrist
Broke and fell off. This morning I searched for it
But could not find it, anywhere. I tied a new one
To my ankle. Hid another in my journal cover.

Did you have the same dream I did last night?
You with your head on your husband’s chest,
My wife with hers on mine.

editors note:

A ribbon of deception; identities mistaken, lovers mismatched. So hard to awaken… – mh clay

Damien Ricardo III and Goneril Elektra

December 15, 2018  :: 0 comments

Damien is at the main tranquerawith a dozen armed black-suited people behind him,Goneril is standing beside himholding a newspaper above her headto block the sun from her face.Three grey-suited men with legal pads in their handsstand to her right. Damien is Teresa and Obligation’s son. Goneril is his wife. Obligation bought this ranch. Obligation died of a heart attack while …

The Salty River

featured in the poetry forum September 14, 2018  :: 0 comments

I was standing on a grassy hill
overlooking The Salty River
that winds and flows
along Santa Ana’s North-Western border.
The sun was about to set
and the star was turning orange.
The Ponies and The Calves were leaping about
as if celebrating the survival of another day.
The corn was knee high, and the wheat fields
were shorn to short stalks that looked
like the three-day blond stubble of a recently shaped beard.
Birds were chirping and singing
like they too were reveling in the End.
The Cultivators were nowhere to be seen,
their noxious machinery fumes and pesticides
not clouding the air or poisoning the Earth.
The Gauchos were all in their homes
with their families, eating, or drinking mate.

Just as the sun disappeared over the horizon,
The Pink Flamingoes in the river hued red.

editors note:

To look upon a scene; to be the scene; the scene in you; belonging… – mh clay

Another Week Begins

featured in the poetry forum February 11, 2018  :: 0 comments

When Jonathan turns off the highway the mud
in the road is a foot deep. He clicks his vehicle
into 4-wheel drive and creeps forward in first gear
so not to slide into one of the ditches. The white gates
of his ranch are open, El Misionero standing next
to them. He rolls his window down and sighs. The air
smells green. Green. Green.

He drives to his office and talks with his capataz,
then they climb in the ranch pickup to go see a calf
cadaver. It was born early that morning with a curled-
neck deformity, and unable to reach its mother’s tit
or the water trough, it just stumbled around awhile and fell
on its side. The gauchos had skinned it and the vultures picked
it mostly clean, the eyes plucked out, the tongue sliced in half,
bits of intestine lying next to the spine, the heart and lungs mush
under the gristly ribs.

They drive to the Yellow House casco to see a pony cadaver.
Apparently, last night it leaped the fence around the
swimming pool and fell in the water. It lay on its side
on the grass where the yardkeeper placed it, its legs
stiff in the curled positions of swimming, yellow froth
tubed out of its nostrils. It was only three-weeks old.

Jonathan goes for a long walk, alone — he admires
the greening grass, the knee-high wheat, the sprouting corn,
the blooming chamomile, the calves and ponies leaping about
pastures spotted white with egrets.

He hears bees buzzing, mockingbirds singing —
and he keeps walking, walking; walking
past the pastures, past the Wood,
until he enters a fallow field.

As he approaches a small marsh
a flock of black ibis lift
and cloud away.

editors note:

Like any week, we walk through cadavers to stand free. – mh clay