featured in the poetry forum April 13, 2024  :: 0 comments

for little brother

Spent shotgun shells under a telecom tower of vultures.
Little brother climbs to see homegrown nowhere next door
as blood collects itself for another next life in an open cage.
Vultures vomit reminders of one last life—

a dream of death I had.

Beginning of imagination comes as grace in all colors
on asphalt black accounting for dead leaves from blue sky.
Prettier birds die to describe clouds as kin of crows
come home to watch over holy highway dead.

We brothers don’t know doves except for the season when they die.
Wings smuggle in dreams after we stack fence rocks
to keep out what crawls in the country.
Latch screen doors when night eyes reflect moonlight.

God blinks out sawdust on the breeze as the sky of others hits ours.
Birds get inside to waste lives in crooked frames of family photos
after eating shopping center cigarettes, shitting on Corvettes, EVs,
and children alike, all’re under an ax’s shadow.

Grackles argue with pecans but blow in looking for housing.
Hummingbird bones hit window units and die outside.
We just coast channels so there’s never a moment
not on laugh tracks concerned with honest living.

As if we ever talk about dishonest death,
love between brothers looks to the same direction.
Chevron neon pricing dinosaurs hold congregation
on one side of conflict while birds escape the skies to stuff

feathers into flat pillows. Carrier pigeons share our address.
We have the best trash. And they know everything is permitted.
Dogs play poker in paint as nature moves into a forever home,
off-white bird shit on walls with family eyes scratched through

like stab-signed divorce papers under baby photos.
Alarm clock wires are silent as worms in walls,
not even the house is wired with good veins.
The bones are us, broken from moving in.

Read More

editors note:

Proof of life, this life; it’s for the birds. – mh clay

Voices Without Sounds

December 22, 2023  :: 0 comments

Beautified with holiday lights, the last of the year’s leaves fall. Some are yellow but entire trees are also solid green with one lone orange leaf that seems to know the season. Not even trees know what’s going on while mosquitoes disappear and carolers from Heavensgate Christian Academy arrive with rehearsed songs to Timeless Oaks Retirement Home. Under the awning, …

Saturn’s Sugar Music

featured in the poetry forum December 19, 2023  :: 0 comments

A Confederate flag above their - No! His liberated bed,
new love taken in to share fried leftover vows living on
his side of the barn door stenciled with GOD IS LOVE.

As far from the east is to the west, hate pays no rent.
It’s not serious, the resulting actions of moving atoms,
just never ask where we go come next tornado.

Time to kill off dying dreams on two fronts,
faces of rage and fists of insecurity, screaming
give up your home like a champion arm wrestler:

winner take all appendages.

With immaculate coitus believers, I have no gifts
other than confusion even if invited over for Christmas
to stay for a lost cause of white hot grape juice shots,

sugar-blood served in convenient ignorance
alongside buttered biscuits spread in curvature
of a twister spitting teeth pulled from apples.

It’s the season of miracles to appear as any father
Building a barn to weather the land
to raise children on the end of the world feeding

on the firstborn, head to toes, rolling tongue
as rust eats trucks and tornadoes steal dandelion offspring,
forgive your own trespasses,

never your own creations.

editors note:

Arm yourselves, believers! Leave out the milk and cookies for forgiveness. – mh clay

Sun-born Sunburn

featured in the poetry forum December 5, 2023  :: 0 comments

On an ivory hunt in the direction of a cold snap
as all seasons burn for a world on its wedding day
in a pot of sun-born dirt from the south — death-hand black —
with shades of magic webs on silvery guitar strings
saved for a pale circle, freed for frets to hold onto
an Eve 6 album out of town & time for a pink salt guitar,
picks stabbed into Honda carpet — apologize they’re really poppy
petals dug into a mansion’s jute rug under a feast table
doing dirt’s work while holding onto smoke between fingers
to burn aspens up to elbows, no questions from the big city
pawnshop concerning carats, someone will fit forever’s definition
& honest promises about how little new history exists in a circle,
diamonds sold to write a love song so those in fresh soil don’t hear
Earth screaming into space during their honest wedding ceremony.

editors note:

Wedded to the grave, we’re about dirt’s work. – mh clay

All My Dad Will Leave Behind Are Bullets

featured in the poetry forum September 2, 2023  :: 0 comments

HOWDY, Y’ALL! welcome mat and
WE DON’T DIAL 9-1-1 tin six-shooter.

The world ends repeatedly by a Baptist
God bless you! shout no one wants to talk back—
a gunshot.

Full bloom loving bullets in organs hunting for a heart
as cold triggers pass down in a last name
belonging to the greenest side of the neighborhood fence.

Red letter gun powder fingers twist numberless knobs
to bring air-conditioned comfort from open windows.

99 degree days stay longer than love as 99 bullets dwindle
bored on the prowl for bodies, ring fingers on pistol grips.
Walnut butts wear steel only in hopes it’s seen as true love.

No wife kisses him in a king’s bed one deadbolt away from
wet Bandera de México boots out of rolled Chevy windows
parked as close to transplanted tree gray shade as noon allows.

Good work on the crape myrtles, amigos!
But we won’t be waiting for magnolias.

Don’t mumble language but my own. Remember
who you don’t live next door to. Hands off
the trees we don’t grow. Don’t dare
date our daughters.

Tacked on god-given rights aim to protect Jesus’s good grace but
offer no prayers children grow free an adult’s torture instruments.
Don’t speak. Don’t vote. Don’t shop. Don’t take root in our dirt.

Break your body to build heartland backyard Baptismal waters
through buried secret pets, dismal grave plot rose beds.
Screen doors lock out questions.

Whose earth is this earth? My Earth, my welcome mat,
the grown good side of Genesis before wilt burned rot
and foretold plagued white boy border wars across town.

There’s flowered forested Hell out there,
it’s not y‘all but you all who don’t know
how blessed I am Eden was planted for me
and grew for you to see.

editors note:

Border policy propounded by a purist. – mh clay


featured in the poetry forum December 19, 2022  :: 0 comments

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart/ The very next day, you threw it away…

Pile hot coals into your mouth before the same song eats at ears year around.
Muffle It’s only a season years on years as cozy music plays as comfortably
as someone routinely seen naked sings through walls, thankful a month ago
there’s no Thanksgiving music but complaining about horizon’s light pollution.

For now, haunted houses put on their best show & darkness has color
while society chews active charcoal to spit out “It’s that time of year.”

Pull music over bodies, get cozy & don’t you dare go go. It’s WHAM!AGEDDON!
Time to say I’m sorry, I can’t give more & someone else says I’m not sorry
you discovered less than I deserve while waiting for last Christmas to drop
from corporate coffee playlists where it shares no artifacts of Christmas.

No frankincense or Coke cheers; the only present is a mailed heart, broken again a year later to believe in optimism in ways only the broken do, all alone
as arch enemy archangel George Michael created last Christmas on his own—
a fake pianist, three lost fingers on a keyboard, the same way most of us love:

Tapping out trying to return unwrapped dead touch without a gift receipt.

“Last Christmas” put more than hot coals in mouths that you’ll never kiss:
George Michael’s royalties — 100% of a beaten heart, all of it! — fell from tabid skies
to bite into African famine while we starve ourselves on annual replayed heartache,
a globe of silence, trite songs about ourselves, as we feast on our own knuckles

& we can no longer pretend forgiveness and music aren’t the same discovery.

editors note:

This Christmas Morn, wake me up before you… – mh clay

Jesus, Oregon

featured in the poetry forum September 25, 2022  :: 0 comments

Hotel coffee creamer trails back to ignition,
before beachside dovetail into the Oregonian horror story.

Sea trees listen to lying minds and American radio repeats,
plumpest gulls in flight widen circles around rainbow kites
that will never cross oceans with that many strings attached
straight as lined paper above sand dollars and beached bright crab meat.

The end creeps in from spilling cinnamon oceanic reaching as palms
from a body that lost the long swim to shore, but it arrived anyway.

All the Pacific catches on fire and everyone leaves seaside hotels for a dip.
Elderly Southerners drag sleep apnea machines in trenches as children stop
on crystal smoked gold sand to write out the name of a burning stranger
they’ll first love before rising swell flames claim misspelled indiscretions
spelled out before the inferno takes those fingers swimming out to parents
who already lost touch and found fire more profound than any will to live.

Waves rushing beachfront whistle with established desperation.
I don’t think there’s anything softer. I traveled here, and so did the tide.

Nightscape beach mutt howls as low moon extinguishes flames on water
and sheets of skin unroll in as kites join sandcastles without hands
to never tease them again.

Flames take names written but never loved.

This isn’t how people died on the Oregon Trail
but death adjusts to our quality of life.

Seaweed feathers from afternoon bird suicides at sea layered in driftwood spell
and I know no one can leave that for me on any beach, so this has to be the end.

editors note:

Written on a postcard from the Oregon Tourism Commission. Wish you were here! – mh clay

Candle Unmaker

April 2, 2022  :: 0 comments

Television imagination remains untwisted in summer while our dad says, “Stay with grandmother. It’s going to be hot again, way into the hundreds, and while she’s not quite there yet please just stay home.” As Dad shut the door, fervid outside air rushes into the house where hundreds of colorful candle statues with slick, wet-looking perfume bodies wait for fire …

Holiday Refund Policy

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

Home in a toothpaste splash mirror, a smile starts on
a seasoned face while listing out who to leave
a year behind, one name over and over, over one card

alongside planted gifts under trees grown to shrivel while housing
color-toned cannonballs, dying as a rootless pine homestead hazard
by a window to emaciate as a half-breathed grandparent remembers
they’re withering light in reverse over and over.

Fetishize what strangers open, not much is darker
than memory. But there’s a you to love in the dark.

Cranberry blood boxes explode in a raging gift, setting
fire to ornament sap, blaze to dry nettles. Say it’s an angel.
Say don’t be afraid, it’s good news with one name over and over
on every box filled with bones of dogs seen alive but they never die.

Wet, violent kisses fetch your neck, bone on bone, over and over.

editors note:

‘Tis the Season for mistletoe mayhem all tender and mild. – mh clay

Sharing A Seat With My Own Initials

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

Goddamn walls have ears, bar tables have heard us all say
as others ordained as bartenders clean for us, sit and exist
to trace prints on glass as air fills their sequence in patterns
we hope others don’t call our personality.

We’re circles fit in circles on circles. Same table, same mess.

Dip tongues into etches on your palms, say no one’s ever been here before.
But there are cuts and a dried drink eyes, both looking and listening
to dates when she orders beer and he orders a dirty martini,
two goddamn words that don’t go together—martini/dirty,
filthy/nachos, proud/cop, moldy/toothbrush, broken/cookies, dead/dog.

Those daters, looking at their table, ask, “Can you clean this up?!”

Inches above ground, we demand comfort but that doesn’t mean clean.
With where our bodies have been, we need acidic volcanic bleach
so wood smells of hospital tools, splinters as scalpels for elbows.

Lips to lips, sips between bites, how many times has I hate my life,
I love you, or I hate that I love you been echoed in glass held up
to faces with no dimples to kiss as the best has already been said.

Except others have been here, that’s a messy comfortable necessity.

Hell is filled with denial and there will be no new comforts
from our world, our circle growing sand and water. Our table.
Our us at the tip of a knife carving initials into moments
as we hold nothing but drinks and bones.

But there can be more. Take a seat.

See others have sat here before, and maybe they’ll be back
to share differences between a hand and the knife and the words
left behind on a table grown from earth’s dirt
to hold a single moment for as long as it’s dead.

editors note:

What’s tabled gets carved into what’s left. (Read more mad missives on Tyler’s page; two fights with a father figure – check ’em out!) – mh clay