Featured Poems

Dear Sir:

by on January 28, 2023 :: 0 comments

Okay, I’ll go up in your
Master of the Universe
rocket

if you’ll come with me
on my Meals on Wheels
run.

You want me to see
our little blue marble.
I just want to see your face.

editors note:

A reasonable request, as far as I can see. – mh clay

The Vigorish

by on January 27, 2023 :: 0 comments

We should have a better way of branding
all those things
we find significant and troubling
things that shout to be
recognized
insurrections
plagues
beheadings
ethnic cleansing
the emotional toll overwhelms us
why not think of these things in terms of
analogy
so they don’t look so bad, maybe just call them
maintenance or overhead or CAP X
since they are a portion of us
but not the whole

We don’t like reliving
pandemics
forests scared stiff by lightning and power lines
tidal waves brutalizing our coasts
glaciers de-icing
flotsam from the Ganges the Yangtze the Irrawaddy
the Rio Grande
choking our seas into submission
why not simplify things and
call it the interest come due?

We have better things to do than choke
back tears at what we see
let us apply a mathematical model or
algorithm to what dismays us
since this fraction is so small
a pittance on that ticket to Ravinia
or Fenway Park or Cedar Fair or Orlando
a surtax at the toll booth the box office the gate
where we wait all breathless
for the show to start
all it is is us getting tithed
for our presence here
a service charge
call me lazy or distracted
but I’m getting tired of being reminded that
all these things will not just go away
these mass shootings the third-world skin auction
assault rifles with detachable box magazines
all of which
statistically speaking occupy
a razor-thin measure of our attention
isn’t there a word to lump them all into one
as stuff we have just learned to live with?
there must be

editors note:

Oh, my word! – mh clay

Birthday (Le Quatorzième)

by on January 26, 2023 :: 0 comments

(with thanks to Sara Becker)

What a joy to be alive!
to feel I’ve cheated time
I’ve won, I’ve left my watch

elsewhere in a drawer, in a gilded dresser
the clipped arithmetic of my steps
gliding towards a jeweled western sky

I cannot beat the sun, the constant sun
instead, I join its distant cousins
to redraw the rules of battle

the ape must see more than pride
an emperor must have his clothes
a man must claim his god

I anoint myself with knowledge
take my calculated tumbles
my last grounding I name death

I shall die, one day, I shall die
I shall die & vanish
but ’til that day let me not forget

a god I am not but celestial I am
not a sun but the sun
I fix the stars to my measure

the golden center of all
astronomers name the day upon my waking
its close upon the resting of my lids

I have counted the revolutions carefully
I meet the planets with my joy
a grateful earth teems below

– Aaron Glover

editors note:

He “saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Then on his 15th day, he rested. – mh clay

boop

by on January 25, 2023 :: 0 comments

Thank God for clever people, you know?
The mind like an ant hill,
the mind like a box knot,
the mind like a twisted tongue tucked
too far into

the panting mouth of an old

running
shoe.

I picture these spaces at length when I read you
(and you, and you, and you, and you).

Some of you seem partial to pastoral landscapes.
See here. The gourd
balanced on her head
holds red wine and thumbs threaded through
okie-
dokies.

Some think like sackcloth, which is to say thinly,
and then to say roughly, like fortified
pant racks.

And some, like you, have minds like ball bearings.
Its weight in my palm of newfound understanding.
Frictionless roll from one thought to another,
and when viewed more closely,
I see my own face.

You might now be wondering what the title’s about.
And if so, your mind looks like work in an hour.

Look.

If I poke at your chest to point out a stain,
it’s only to pretend I am striking a match
on my finger’s way up to your
schnoz.

editors note:

Got a light? – mh clay

When I drink…

by on January 24, 2023 :: 0 comments

When I drink freezing cold water
from the Britta in the fridge, I sit on the edge
of the Pennypack, trailing
my fingers in the water, clouds
swirling overhead as if coming
down to earth to greet their little
mermaid, fishtail iridescent
eyes green as the sea foam.

editors note:

You can’t buy THAT in a bottle at your local bodega! – mh clay

The Unseen

by on January 23, 2023 :: 0 comments

I say to all who care that I am not alone.
It only appears so.
I carry the unseen.
It is the best of me.
Silent and faceless.
Always willing.
Voiceless and compelling.
Countering and confusing.
Never refusing to enter a new realm.
Changing existence and perception.
Creating a monk from a mourner.

– Sandy Rochelle

editors note:

I’ll bet you didn’t know, here’s a place that you can go. – mh clay

TRANSITION

by on January 22, 2023 :: 0 comments

summer arrived
like a summons
limping and winded
the same moment
I thought about
quitting all this

the concrete snow is black
charma guy down the street
is selling firewood –
handwritten sign nailed to a stick–
$5 a BUNDLE
a few mediocre logs
more like driftwood than firewood

Bread and Milk Street –
reminder of what nourishment
sounds like

on a
road of icy gales
a thin skin of rime
on the windshield
wipers scraping
my heart trying to keep pace

next day I went
to drop a 5 on a bundle
but the snow
had buried the logs
the sign – everything

I drove home disheartened
convinced that sorrow
is made of ice

here is what time does

last night
summer showed up
on the deck
like a curse
and I complained –
too fuckin’ hot
sweat crawling up
the back of my neck
mosquitoes drifting around
my cigar smoke

I felt like a man
made of
a cave of absences

last winter
still gnawed
as if I were breathing
splintered wood
the trumpet vine
and the orioles
brawled their orange brawl

I wondered how
I had gotten here
without you
whom I never even knew
not for a moment

how had I arrived
with nothing but lies
and grass
and dandelions
trumpet vines
orioles on all the branches

it’s too hot to care

I wish I were colder

editors note:

In the hot and cold of things, we’re either a sweater or wearing one. (We welcome John to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) – mh clay