Category Archives: 2011 A Virtual Chapbook

a collection for National Poetry Month 2011

The Bright Side

“When he’s dead,”
she says,
“I’ll finally get that dishwasher.”
“And when she’s dead,”
he says,
“I’ll knock a pass-thru to the kitchen.”

Either could have what they want now
but these are little improvements
they can look forward to
as if one day
the end of the world
could have a bright side
like that trip to Europe
after the dog dies. mjh


There could be an upside to death, at least, for the survivors.

Listen to The Bright Side

My Virtual Chapbook (table of contents)

Update 2012: She got her dishwasher and he got a counter far better than a pass-through and nobody had to die, yet.

The Heaven of Animals

The meadow is his home now.
Up high in the mountains,
he lies in the shade
in a circle of trees
among the wild iris.

He yawns and stretches,
flips over
and rolls and rolls,
groaning in pleasure
in the tall sweet grass.

At any moment
he will sit up, alert,
ears sharp,
sniffing the air,
eyes intent on something
we can’t see
off under the trees.

His world is perfect now,
though I know he misses
the pats, the belly rubs,
the love in our voices:
lie down.
stay now.
good boy. mjh


I wrote this five years before Lucky Dog died, remembering a beautiful spot the three of us discovered. And, imagining the inevitable, I sobbed. This supports my hope that “any horror could be faced / and become a poem.”

I borrowed the title from a poem by James Dickey. If you’re looking for that one, here’s a link. And, here’s a poem I wrote soon after Dickey’s death in 1997.

Listen to The Heaven of Animals

My Virtual Chapbook (table of contents)


He caught
an adolescent’s mind
with sex
and wreckage,
a tragic fall,
and the grotesque
sheep child.
His was poetry
deformed and twisted
and I could not look away.
I had no words of my own
no tongue for lust
or sorrow
mouth open but mute
horny as hell
afraid I was ugly
sure that the world was.
He confirmed that and
changed it in the process.
The long fall turned beautiful
in the end because
any horror could be faced
and become a poem. mjh

18Apr97 – Las Cruces

I wrote this poem 14 years ago today. James Dickey died January 19, 1997. He was among the first modern poets I studied and enjoyed. I tipped my hat to him with my version of The Heaven of Animals.

Listen to Dickey

My Virtual Chapbook (table of contents)


From afar
I am drawn
to this mountain.
I step on his feet,
climb his knee,
over his hip,
and run along his long spine,
up between great shoulders.
Ahead I face the summit.
From his crown
I look down
and around
and around.
Here near his ear
I listen to silence
and breathe the cold light
as a flea on a giant. mjh


Listen to flea

My Virtual Chapbook (table of contents)


Sometimes I arise
before dawn
and in those first few moments
I am six again
alone in the endless dark
not quite afraid but
far from mommy and home.
That innocence passes
more quickly this time
with the coming of the light
the radio informs
as the coffee cooks
and I tuck that child
safely back into
his corner of my head:
it’s ok
go back to sleep. mjh


Listen to tuck

My Virtual Chapbook (table of contents)

some lesser poet

At Poetica Autowerks, we know
when you have miles to go
nothing gets you there
as rhythmically as a Frost.
While the Whitman leaves
little to desire,
kick the tire
of the new Emerson —
It’s transcendental!

Or maybe some lesser poet
can get you there
if you don’t care
where you go
or how slow. mjh


In honor of all the unknown poets out there, unlisted at, unpublished except on the back of envelopes. Write on! The only thing worse than unread is unwritten. Happy Poetry Month to all. peace, mjh

Listen to some lesser poet

My Virtual Chapbook (table of contents)