Featured Poems

Understood

by on April 22, 2024 :: 0 comments

Some things are understood,
But so much else is not.
Doubt and ignorance
Walk hand in hand
With scholars and logicians.

What should we do
At those times when we realize
How little we know
And how much of what we learned
Was bullshit slung at us
By misguided professors?

Nothing is best. Forget it all.
Walk or sit in silence.
Empty out your head.
Start over with less ambition
And less certainty
In your mental abilities.

Be content to be average,
Not one of the cognescenti.
Little will change in your life.
Possibly you will smile more,
And find out you can learn more
From a ditch digger
Than from a Ph.D.

editors note:

When we don’t know what we don’t know, perhaps this is a better way to go. – mh clay

Bat Nuts

by on April 21, 2024 :: 0 comments

demons
choose your whiskey wisely
distillation process
two brothers
caught moonlighting

 

~ Christina Chin (in italics) / Marjorie Pezzoli

(photo by Marjorie Pezzoli)

editors note:

Gotta get free from those DTs. – mh clay

Against the Second

by on April 20, 2024 :: 0 comments

—after Michael Kleber-Diggs

And why should gun violence be a
Big deal to me? Well,
Could be my dad’s un-regulated,
Deeply misguided attempt to make a statement. He was anti-Militia,
Even served as a Conscientious Objector in WWII, that fact being
Forgotten the night he found it necessary
Gamesmanship to
Hold a fired pistol in his hand while he lay on the
Infirm floor insulting the security /
Joinery / now / disjointed / fragile / fabric of
Kinship. He shot a book, not himself. There was not a
Loss of life that night, nor a divorce later, so we got away scot-free.
My only other brush with guns was out-of-State—
Neighbors who moved to Colorado. The
Older boy, Terry, shot his father. It was a hunting accident, so you’re right,
Public safety wasn’t really the issue. As a matter of
Quantity, most gun deaths are the
Result of suicide, but it turns out the people
Suddenly lost to self-harm in my life turned to
Tailpipes or a knife. So you might ask why I keep
Unfurling these thin ribbons of proposed constraints and
Visions of gunlessness — one small human with no clear right to bear
Witness against the wanton proliferation of Arms
X-ing out lives, limbs, livelihoods, tearing apart families & communities. Shall
Your revisionist interpretation of 27 words mean we can not
Zero in on sanity, i.e., no weapons of war in civilian hands? It’s my right to be
A voice of conscience. May that right not be infringed.

editors note:

Those on the right would call this left, but it’s a right, just the same. Right? (We welcome Rita to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

that ben hur life

by on April 19, 2024 :: 0 comments

the interstate chariot race
an empty competition
but there is no salvation in beating a gps
no horseshit just roadkill
if you’re lucky you may find
white jesus waving an american flag
calling racers to pit
o that ben hur life

me, I prefer green corn
acres eye high deep in july
red winged blackbirds
watch over two lanes
watch waves across the sea

12:15, I didn’t follow orange detours
I made my own inventory
of one stop sign towns
odell, linden, romney

god bless america amplifies
across crawfordsville haze

o kate smith
let’s get earnest
across those fruited plains
until gray asphalt gives out
in an ocean white with foam

I have hours to go
to drift under the current
of a future harvest
there’s a thunderstorm
in my pocket for safe keeping
maybe I’ll dust it off come
the next state line

editors note:

This race has no finish line, just an endless array of exits along the way. – mh clay

Ms. Kay

by on April 18, 2024 :: 0 comments

The soul is nothing more than love, limitless, endless…
Amy Tan, The Hundred Secret Senses

Hope can surprise you, It can survive the odds against it…

She is a coloring Aztec and Afro
That always has a pixie smile
Some inner joke perhaps about
Those who have the most
Who foolishly think they have better
Who will inherit the earth
I offer her cho chos but she never accepts
Even when I beg
She has a teacher’s enunciation
Street residents call her Grandma Kay
Church outreach workers tell me
she’s been out here a long time
I slipped a bogo hamburger in her bag
She hugged me wished me blessings
She favors my mamma
Transitioned this 8 years
One day before Mother’s Day
I look at the sky that looks like
A song sung off key

editors note:

And sometimes, a sweet melody filters through. – mh clay

Always Carol

by on April 17, 2024 :: 0 comments

Under the weight of her tangled gray hair
Always Carol walks alone bent and spent,
lugging a concrete bag with discounted fruit
and a few necessaries chained to her shoes.
She shuffles along like Always Carol always does,
towards home where tall weeds and memories sit gathering dust in volumes
until 2:15 when the omni-bus screams down JFK BLVD
exhausting fumes that fill her debility coat
and backfire into her loaf of white bread

Grocery store, then back
Side walking back home,
watching crack after crack pass beneath her
a slow demarcation called Invalid’s Path
for those who are not valid anymore.
That is the scope of her day.

She sits waiting with her warm bottled water
for the November metro and rides the angled avenue with Lee Harvey
to watch a free vintage movie at the recently reopened Book Depository
Always Carol sits waiting at 12:30, looking for her bus, killing time,
waiting and waiting,
and becomes the solitary assassin of age

In the middle of the theatre where Always Carol always sits
she is invisible.
Yet, the MGM lion spots her and stares her down
roaring first one way and then the next
Always Carol watches that proud, tired beast yawn one more time,
then drop off the screen to fall asleep next to her,
dreaming of donated popcorn.

The movie is coming to a theatre near you:
America, We Love You So Much
subtitled Land of the Free and Home of the Grave,
a film where an issue of Kleenex Monthly and white peonies are delivered
every National Disability Independence Day
by motorcade
in stacked cartons stamped only “THE LONELY”

Afterwards, the credits will drop her off like dead weight
on a grassy knoll
where she cannot die any faster
But Always Carol with the bent and buckled neck
prefers a good mystery that twists and turns,
near her half green house
with half a street number
and a life just shy of
History and Elm

– Jeff Bender

editors note:

Every neighborhood needs a Carol – Always. – mh clay

ENTANGLEMENT

by on April 16, 2024 :: 0 comments

It has been some time since a woman,
Naked beneath the thin blanket she
Was wrapped in, appeared at my apartment
Door. Back then, I suspected
She had been locked out and wanted
To use my phone – but I was
Hoping there would be a more
Entangling mission within her.
Now that it has happened again
I am thinking a man cannot be
This lucky twice in his life,
And my phone all the coming week
In ringing will do so as if the woman
Were thinking better of her visit,
And might want a chance to offer more.

I still have the locksmith’s number.

editors note:

Maybe, if picked; if not, (lock)picking. – mh clay