Featured Poems

Time to Escape

by on July 10, 2020 :: 0 comments

For roughly two and a half hours
life stops somehow, put in stand by,
the existence between brackets –
a necessary pause to confront
all misery erupting like giant snakes
from the flat, shimmering rectangles.

Black frames enhance the contrast,
yet like death announcement cards
they warn us nothing good will emerge,
they throw heavy objects with sharp angles,
spit acid venom in our faces, vomit peroxide,
drop cluster bombs, sow anger seeds.

Soon greyish stems sprout like twisting worms.
It won’t be long before dark, fanged flowers bloom,
each foraged by electric bumblebees
spreading the anxiety disease at light speed.
So earphones plugged in, lying under soft and warm
blankets of living cat skin, eyes closed, we nap.

editors note:

What to do when overcome. – mh clay

Women’s March

by on July 9, 2020 :: 0 comments

I am midway through my point in a debate
when chauvinism interrupts and shouts
feminist
like it is meant to be an insult
I push my glasses up on the bridge of my nose and keep talking.
He shouts again, telling me
you want all men to die
I push past and finish my point anyway.
And his words ring of everything I will keep fighting against

The day I became a woman was when prejudice whispered
you are not worth anything
you will never be worth anything
if you can’t have a decent body

And those words smacked of privilege and arrogance and everything I did not want to be

I am eight years old when sexual harassment puts its palm to my face and says
you are so beautiful it is a shame
your father must be so ugly

And his words sounded like 332 female gymnasts,
80 women in the film industry,
And 17 with their skeletons in a White House closet
And every reason I cannot be silenced.

editors note:

Say on, Sister! – mh clay

Bisexual

by on July 8, 2020 :: 0 comments

“If you can hide it,
You don’t belong here.”
I feel adrift,
Unseen,
Rejected
For a love I can’t control.
I can’t control my
Love
Any more than you can control
Yours.
But I get it.
I look
“Normal.”
It’s the
Pain and Ostracization
That bind you.
My
Loneliness and Isolation
Don’t count.

editors note:

There’s a thought – what’s (who’s) behind those actions you claim to abhor? What is Empathy? – mh clay

LEVERTOV’S LADDER

by on July 7, 2020 :: 0 comments

… Leaving, she saw them eat
Her words and
The left-over gravy

In that comprised tumbled-
Down shack where
The hawk-weed grows

But doesn’t erase
The colour
Of absence – or

The stony telling
There by
A turnstile gate

As she, still with
Her smiling
Beauty on

Waved an even darker
Reverie
Aside.

editors note:

Leave your reveries (and your recipes) behind. Ascend! – mh clay

enough

by on July 6, 2020 :: 0 comments

fibro cement shack
broken concrete
chipped linoleum
gifted furniture
except the bed
they bought that

have you seen the stone wash troughs on the back siding
the manual wringer
her bed’s blankets covered with morning dew
their only toilet the other side of the tennis courts
have you seen where she lives

he heats his clothes in the combustion oven
the cockatoo’s perch next to it
a day old lamb boxed in front
and possum near the hearth

on evenings in front of the fire
the bird pokes his head out of the neck of her jumper
he picked most of his feathers out
shredded a telephone book
(but stopped pecking the cracked linoleum)
it crosses a playground visiting school each day
not knowing weekends

they mostly live off rabbits
shot late afternoons
after school’s out
and field mushrooms

he, ate the pet rooster
raised week old in the menageries’ rabbit warren
school kids clambering to swap jam sandwiches
for a bite

the distant towns ran out of mouse traps
their car skidded off road on locusts or frogs
i’m not sure which
and baby red back spiders escaped in the classroom
which housed the school’s ten children

she seems happy

editors note:

How much is enough to make YOU happy? (We welcome Jean to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh clay

Renovation

by on July 5, 2020 :: 0 comments

Love needs a reno. Not just a lick of paint.
Strip the walls like bedsheets. Sand the floor.
Knock holes, not boots. Disinfect old stains.
Raze the outhouse, keep the shit out there.
Uproot old memories. Print a new blue plan.
Air out every room and start again.

– Daragh Byrne

editors note:

Let’s get to fixin’… – mh clay

Fear / Police / More Fear / More Police

by on July 4, 2020 :: 0 comments

i

and I am afraid of the police and thankful for the police and afraid
of the police and I rode with the police and one cop was a racist
but another cop was a real cop and we can only focus on the racist cop
as if only he exists when that good cop exists that I rode along with
and maybe he was only good for those 8 hours I was with him
and maybe the racist was only racist for the ∞ hours I was with him
or maybe we use statistics in any way that we want and maybe I’m so lonely
that I ride along with police or maybe it’s a way for me to get over my fear,
capiophobia, how I was in class and a kid said, You know nothing about fear,
because he thought he owned fear and I remember the smoking of pain,
the world running down, how when I was an ambulance driver, a guy
having a heart attack in back, and this cop gave us a police escort
all the way to the hospital and I cried because I hated cops at the time,
fear of the cops at the time, watching this fear try to help save lives
and I remember driving with that good cop and driving down the street
and five people flipped him off, not five people together, but spread apart,
so that the fingers came, the night came, the strange moment, me asking him
if that happens all the time and the cop saying that they’re not flipping him off
but flipping off the uniform, the vehicle, the gun hanging, hidden, above his head,
and I asked if that affects him, the fingers, and he didn’t say anything, the city ugly,
like a disillusion, a fallout, a macro-aggression, a microphone on his chest,
the graffiti on fire, like fire, is fire, destroying a window, destroying a wall, destroying
a mailbox, destroying a mural, a train, a house, a sidewalk, a fire hydrant, a sewer,
destroying a sewer, except you can’t, and they can’t, and I can’t, because the police
are there, and maybe that’s a good thing and maybe that’s hell, but the way we talk
about things in this country’s with the gloves on, one-sided, false, or, worse,
two-sided, as if that’s all that exists, as if no one exists, as if we replace discrimination
with discrimination, as if the end is the beginning, as if we should hate hate, as if
I told my wife, The summer’s coming. We have to get ready for the fires.

ii

a neighbor upstairs says through the thin walls, America’s flag should just be bullet holes . . .

iii

We need you to
paint the bottom of the stairs again
take out the garbage
clean up this shit
clean up this vomit
help with the blood
pick all these dead rabbits out of the barbed wire
commit suicide
take off your pants
put your hands behind your back
shut your fucking mouth
do what I tell you
tell us if this hurts
go back to where you came from
take off your thong
help us with the body
find his finger
get on your knees
tell us what happened
report to human resources
bag up all your clothing
get tested
stand where those footprints are
pretend like you didn’t see this
sit there
kill these birds
find the exit wound
disconnect
search for any UXOs
fill out these forms
paint the bottom of the stairs again

iv

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editors note:

All the feelings, find your UXOs (unexploded ordinance). Read this again… – mh clay