Heaven Is the Definition of a Ghost Town

featured in the poetry forum September 13, 2020  :: 0 comments

The first time poetry was read in church, a youth minister
asked if I knew Nine Inch Nails as if they were Christ’s love
and read a confiscated The Downward Spiral lyric booklet.

I remember evangelical sweat pits, a trimmed gold goatee,
Big Red ruby sunglass lenses. Did he see the whole world
through blood?

Reading “Heresy.”
“Someone dreamed up a god and called it Christianity.
Your God is dead and no one cares.”

Broken, given to a dead god, he asked: Tell me what you think.
I picked palms for splinters but saw donut crumbs and Dr. Pepper sugar.
Who could swim with holes in hands? Maybe we all will walk on water.
Like music, nails didn’t kill Jesus. They helped Him hang a little longer.
All I could think was that Jesus doesn’t need prayers, he needed prayer.
He prayed, died alone. He prayed, God ignored. No one cared.

Repeating “Heresy.”
“Someone dreamed up a god and called it Christianity
Your God is dead and no one cares.”

Eyes all red, he spoke again, whole heart on his tongue.
“Would anyone die for this?”
Red shades, he wanted to crawl up a cross to show off
it’s easy to die for sin songs and hear music of God’s silence.
Indifference, that’s God’s music-just as good as dead.

Repeatedly reading “Heresy,”
someone dreamed up god and called it you die, no one cares.
Maybe he cared to keep words to begin a religion
of industrial music to bet on and beat on a dead horse
to bring on doomsday as music already plays.

No one cares. Do you care? Does God?

Someone dreamed up God is dead but God never bled.
Maybe Jesus knows and knows He could have returned
but now He’s in Heaven, as useless as all dead
suffering God’s songs all about Himself.

Maybe Jesus traces unheard prayers into hands, deep, wide, and holy,
listens to Nine Inch Nails, knows Trent Reznor’s haircut was a miracle,
misses times when water was wine while angel choirs sing so loud
prayers die at Heaven’s doorstep like day-old newspapers and remembers
when people gathered and listened but He had no songs because
He wasn’t dead enough for music to speak for Him.

Maybe Jesus remembers when He was heresy,
when all around him were bodies full of blood
before ascending to dead ghosts we pretend don’t watch us
and thinks He could have sung that someone cared enough
to dream Him up, to send a dove, but kept silent.
On nine inch nails, His body bled for a world in red.

editors note:

Coffee, Bun, or Buttered Toast! (Read another of Tyler’s mad missives, posted on his poetry page, it’s about color recognition. Check it out!) – mh clay

Years of a Red Bird

featured in the poetry forum September 13, 2020  :: 0 comments

“Why did you paint two red birds?”
“So I can see and know love.
And you never see a blue bird with a red bird.”

A creation story written on broken wings is
“No ones sees a red bird with a blue bird.”

I envision flight when you say that you don’t see.
I imagine love singing impossible songs for you.

Hearts are kaleidoscopes, but not bodies
of red birds and blue birds in patterns together.

Tall branches don’t keep hounds below at bay.
Where there are thin bones there are easy breaks.

But now I live far from stained hues, now I see
and know love as a blue bird perches my window.
I wake to find different color feathers on pillows.

editors note:

Colorblindness is a blessing. – mh clay

Trash Vampires

June 27, 2020  :: 0 comments

Midday bartending is witnessing drinkers begin, then see them end before your night even starts. Ending shift drinks are something to hold to, same as a nurse in aged green scrubs holds to her deep yellow beer. She daydreams, day drinks, and has for two hours. She’s looked towards me but far into her own past. Or into what happens …

How Close Can Your Shadow Be to Mine?

April 1, 2020  :: 0 comments

Alcohol will still be everywhere but soon no one can buy any from bars. “You can go home whenever you want, just lock up by 9,” is the last thing my boss says before disappearing out the door. “And wash your hands. We’re filthy.” He wouldn’t be here for the end of an era’s closing time. Our old vices don’t …

Look Down From the Night Sky

December 24, 2019  :: 0 comments

Around narrow trunks, thoughtlessly spread lights wrap bare trees reaching towards the end of the year. Etched initials on bark are all that exists, nothing lives in the trees. No shadows cover main street’s potholes as Christmas steps dry out on downtown asphalt, the only audience for strung lights atop closed businesses. By the nativity scene between a Spanish-speaking Baptist …

Count the Ravens

November 28, 2019  :: 0 comments

Hands of ravens,
a head of tequila
counting leaves’
cast shadows from
random bare light.

Those are thanks,
small visions, seeing
ourselves, our shapes.

Grateful are bones
never saying thanks
to blood, a never
abandoned feeling,
as if you should
have a home.

Creek Don’t Rise

November 3, 2019  :: 0 comments

Fermentation tanks reflect last call exit lights. Finishing beers, the tenth or fifteen, as taproom lights fill in our accidental drunken Thursday. We’re the only two drinkers at midnight other than the bartender who drank to not be our third wheel. We walk and all that watches is the moon, a misshapen fish eye from a broken body of water. …

The Tooth Fairy Is An Ivory Hunter

featured in the poetry forum September 28, 2019  :: 0 comments

Smile for our family photo, it will haunt a hallway.
Our photographer prayed for face bones.

Give us this day our daily enamel.
Let us forgive those who don’t floss but speak.
He SHUTTERED at those born with 32 thousand dreams
but are now down to gums.

Going gray until color’s not all that’s gone.

As a teen, my dumb wisdom teeth grew sideways,
as wrong as love goes, so a dentist took a few extra
so my jaw worked too perfectly by adulthood and
I always thought they went into my grandma’s dentures.

“Did you pray, son?” Yes! But no one asked if I brushed.

Yesterday forgets before we have an opportunity to,
same as brushing. This picture’s the same, we’re changed.
No one kisses like they used to because they never used to
have enough teeth to assemble a thin cannibal’s bracelet.

Women love jewelry and I’ve made a flashy necklace.

Everyone I’ve kissed was just inspecting teeth to take
or taste words shared with others. These bones deserve better
than me but it all stops at fangs, the tongue, and never digs
to this one deep heart.

That monster keeps growing teeth.

editors note:

Smile but don’t bite; keep incisors in sight. Threaten love; at least, a good brushing. (Read another mad missive on Tyler’s page; after the bitin’, comes the lickin’ – check it out.) – mh clay

Nothing Good Happens Past Midnight Except Skin Comes Off

September 28, 2019  :: 0 comments

Moving through mountains, never moving them.

Waking nose bleeds but red shade is my own and
nothing’s better than conquered life covered in blood
when lovers grow only aged sugar on tongues
and extend rotten fruit on collapsing branches.

I still don’t want tattoos, only half a grapefruit with your
salt white teeth as pearls sunken into southwest horizon.

Incidents of sun demand day drinking life from suns from palms.

And bodies demand deep shadows but good light for
seeing the good in fingers licked after time is killed.

Sugars to tongues, wet rot congregates to drooling prayers.
Droplets escape, splatter falls to her calf.

Someone should lick it all before sugar sinks
to desert roots and nothing good grows from blood.

One Acidic Tooth to Another

featured in the poetry forum July 13, 2019  :: 0 comments

Into lungs for straws and out to kiss
as if earth flooded for two of us, our sins,
annual attempts to drown summer.
Rain spots as we walk soaked asphalt
but it hasn’t rained since April.

Music won’t ever melt hearts, August will.

The 6th love language is remembering someone’s coffee order.
How much coffee actually hit our lips
as late summer atmosphere ate palms,
ice disappeared, fast as a favorite sunset.

Cups empty – leaving rings on tables, not fingers.

We held dull hands, numb to grasp
the sun and hold to mouths.
Taste heat and imagine it’s not blood
pulled from above, our god’s a gift from a hanging snake.
Go ahead, drink! Summer’s as temporary as Eden.

Empty cups – do they speak of what filled them?

Empty, all I have and know is who I am. All that’s left,
nothing to offer but two



On emptied cups.

editors note:

Belle and beau, barrista borne to a common craving for caffeine, if not companionship. – mh clay