We are delighted to highlight the work of CLINTON VAN INMAN, a regular at MEL BRAKE PRESS
IF WE COULD DANCE ONE NIGHT AWAY
If we could dance just one more night away
Filled with champagne and candlelight,
In hours held by our own delight,
Only this and this alone would please.
Like Chablis mixed with sweet bouquet
In moments we soon shall not forget
Save all not close to the clarinet,
Where only perfume and tobacco lingers
Our love shall rise above all of these.
While we tango upon the outer terrace
Moonbeams shall fall upon your face,
And I shall say that nothing really matters
Except this time that we have passed
Because we have saved our best for last.
Color coded complete with picture I.D.
Well teach you to be like us.
Give you a turtle neck or bow tie
You will be our kind of Mensch
Complete with certificate of authenticity
Credit rating and charge account,
Security, savings, and even disability.
Well teach you how to walk and talk
in circles as if you had some sense.
We will give you some brand named shoes
Well even call you Frank or Frankie
We gave you a brain doesn't matter
Which for they all are just the same,
But why are you still reaching for
It was no accident my coming here,
They must have known long before
I wandered to their farmhouse near
That soon Id knock upon their door.
Call it more than a good neighbors sense
In snow to leave the porch lamp lighted
Or post the sign on the picket fence,
For those in need are all invited.
NO IN MY NOEL
I learned at an early age
What happens to all snowmen,
Why the fake beards
As I sat upon his lap
And took his hard candy.
Now there is only no in my noel.
But I fool them in my
Berry reds and holly greens
Perpetual as prize ribbons
Now New Years breaks with bad breath
While the world awaits with
Its perfect white teeth, I run like a gnome.
I thought you died
In the last war but I
See you are up to your
Old tricks again
Pointing your finger
Bullying boys to join
Your cause of killing
O say can you see the
Fields filling with those
Who believed your old lie
That freedom means fighting
Now more clownish than ever
In those striped pants and hat,
Yet not as real as rocking children
Waiting, waiting to follow you, Sam
No compass or maps to guide them
Across cruel, unchartered seas,
Only hungry eyes to lead them
To distant, alien shores.
No crosses to commemorate first steps,
Only curious on-looking gulls.
Yet two thousand years later armed
With compass and Greek math and logic
They headed West to find the East
And sailed upon the western Atlantic,
Yet missing two seas and an entire continent
They claimed their New World.
They glitter and glow like flashing stars
The fire flies we chase in summers sky.
With some power we can not understand
We try to catch them and hold in hand
Yet can only watch and wonder why
The ones we catch and place in jars
Will not shine and seem to refuse
Until we open the jar and turn them loose.
And just like us whether a fly or kid
No light shines under glass or lid.
I heard they buried you today
Laid you to rest next to
in God we trust
And the last of your eagles.
It was a closed casket ceremony
Because you were so badly
Disfigured being run over
By a billion evasive species.
We sent your widow a card
Signed by all us
Unemployed union workers.
Of course the rooms are still filled with shadows
While lazar lights and computer programs prove
More cost effective than fire yet the cardboard
Cut-outs and the curtains have remained the same
As well as those old lies that trees are real,
That the way out really goes somewhere,
That Math leads more than circles
And that Apollo himself is behind the curtains
Keeping their domino world from collapsing.
Only a few banned poets or other down and outers
With only a pocketful of Zen dare climb
The arduous way out as most prefer
To sit and argue about living conditions
Or the quality of food and have learned to love
The rope while accepting some back door reality.
FOR ELBA, 2012
Pale would be the waters
That reflect only skies
And grace not the splendor
Of your enchanting eyes.
Pale would be the moon
That only marks its pace
And fails to look down upon
Your more fairer face.
Paler would be the poet
Whose words can not express
One word to match your smile
Or something deeper no less.
UNPRINCIPLE OF UNCERTAINTY
I keep it always quite natural
In my perfectly unnatural
Selection this bigfoot in boxers
Freaking nature no Brownian
Movement could ever detect.
Indeterminate yet principled
In my unprincipled principle of uncertainty.
You can find me hunched
Behind a wall of billboards
And thinly disguised bas-reliefs
Leading to the center of unreal cities
Where I keep my temples tall.
From the barrio bringing
Basketsful of baryons
And binary broken bits
Careful, the alphas will leave
You quite brain dead
And all quite meaningless
Among the unions and uniforms
Except for the dream of
Unicorns and unisex.
They buried them in our little Southern town
Nothing much here for miles around
Why, I guess, they figured they'd never be found
Those toxic drums they buried in the ground.
Our little Southern town was much like all those around
Where towers and church steeples stood tall,
Where most folks never heard of a shopping mall,
Yet here kids grow up quick
And here kids grow up strong
Yet we knew something was wrong
When kids were dying or getting sick.
It was those drums rusting and rotting with time
As their poisons seeped out into the water line.
We always thought war was something
Over there and given a foreign name
Not something within buried in our backyard,
And something most of us would never understand
Those drums of Agent Orange came from Viet-Nam
And were buried on our rich mayors land.
Seems our mayor had made a deal with strategic command,
As the drums were buried on his promised land.
The mayor refused to comment and moved away,
While we with our dead children were here to stay.
CLINTON VAN INMAN is a high school teacher in Hillsborough County, Florida. He graduated from San Diego State University and was born in Walton on Thames, England. Recent publications include: Warwick Unbound, Tower Journal, The Poetry Magazine, Down in the Dirt, May, The Inquisition, The Journal, The Beatnik, The Hudson Review, Forge, Houston Literary Review, BlackCatPoems, and Out of Four. Hopefully, these poems will be published in a book called, Far From Out as I am still waving the flag of the generation.