Saturday, April 8, 2017

chewing on thoughts.

lighting up the last one
taking the last sip
I slip into the garden
lay back and prepare myself
for the grand event.

it's a cancer
a undiagnosed disease
that is fed by the anger
and inability to cope.
the where, the when, the why
is irrelevant
there is no need for useless explanation.

tracing the nonlinear patterns
on the ceiling and walls
chasing down the one thing that clearly
gives no release.

the perfect kind of romance.
is this it
the final truth-
the perfect kind of romance?

you walk into the bathroom
half naked
and leaving the door open
you pull down your panties
sit on the pot
leaning over
laying bare breasts onto your knees
you begin to talk about something
that is lost
at the moment the turd
hits the water.

the perfect kind of romance
is there such a thing?
life begins to get boring.
we become complacent
as the years go by
together- us alone in our made up world.

is this it
the final chapter-
the perfect kind of romance
or are we only characters
in this long and horrid fairy tale?

from the window.

erotic thoughts fill her mind.
thoughts of her:
the one she views from her upstairs
the one she can't speak to because the fear
overtakes her.
the fear of failure-
of being turned down
left flat.

suspicion of the world
holds her back
from the love growing
within her rundown room
and her neglected heart.

the first.

as her legs spread
my hands begin to shake
knowing that it was the first
for both of us.
the first kiss.
the first taste of the soft skin
that would eventually engulf
every inch of me.
the smell was something new
but I was instantly hooked
forever trapped by the urge
for more.

independent thoughts.

the voices rage at me
obstructing my thought
as I try to write
drink, pray.
random words that distract
the regular musings of the day.
images of hatred, humility
and madness
causing me to go on some tyrant
stopping the normal people
in their every day motions
leading them to whisper, point
and gawk.
my mental outbursts
are exhausting-
I'd sleep
but that is interrupted, too.
this process of creating the art
I love has all but ceased.

Keith Wesley Combs

A Garage Band Sayonara

Jack Bogan died last week, the last
of the Whippets, garage band big 
in a small way back in the Sixties. 

The Whippets had a following 
in Chicago and its suburbs. 
They played high school dances,

holiday parties and graduations. 
Like other bands they believed
they would fill Yankee Stadium. 

They practiced late at night 
entertaining friends and strangers
and driving the neighbors nuts.

Perhaps with the right break 
they would have made the charts,
appeared on American Bandstand 

with Dick Clark, his hair perfect,
praising them to the sky before 
bringing out the superstar. 

Lightning struck for a few, it’s true. 
But as it did for Jack last week 
the music finally died.

Donal Mahoney

A Sidewalk Cemetery

The soup kitchen 
opens an hour late. 
The rain finally stops

and the hungry file in.
They’ve had a long wait.
Cigarette butts  

line the sidewalk,
early tombstones
in their wake.

Donal Mahoney

A Day in the Country

The cur dog
tethered to a stake
across the road
runs back and forth
barking all day
then breaks free.
He’s off and running
down the road, happy 
as a dog can be.

Across the road Willie 
in his rocker on the porch
cheers the dog’s escape 
and tells his wife 
knitting in another rocker
that he’s a cur dog, too,
tethered to the Earth 
but only for a spell.
He’ll break free as well,

something he has told her
many times before in
50 years of marriage.
Despite his fantasies
she loves him still 
and fills his pipe, 
sticks it in his mouth
and lights it as he did
for himself for years. 
Then she tells him we'll
do what the dog did, Willie.
We’ll bark all day and see.

Donal Mahoney

A Drop-Off Problem

We have a drop-off problem in America.
We must decide which restroom 
one can use when nature beckons.
So far, tumult reigns among the people.

If we declare both genders equal
as well as every variation within the two
everyone can share the same restroom  
and stand or sit as necessity requires.

But some find this approach offensive
and if they win, perhaps we should
evaluate what some Third World folks
have used peacefully for centuries.

They dig a hole behind the bushes 
and stack some leaves nearby.
No need to have a plunger. 
When so moved, just drop by.

Donal Mahoney

Both Sides Now 

I told my wife today
I won't leave the house again
except to feed feral cats that gather 

on our patio at dawn
to yowl for grub and water.
Otherwise I'll stay home except 

to go to church on Sunday.
At the very least I want to say hello.
The day I die, however, I'll go right

to Feldmann's Funeral Home.
I'll need a lift, of course, but 
I paid Feldmann's long ago 

to wake me on my stomach, 
pants pulled down around my knees 
so folks can read my new tattoos, 

one ablaze on each buttock,
easy to read in red calligraphy.
The left one screams "Kiss this" 

and the right one shouts "Or this."
I'm pro-choice, I guess, 
when it comes to this.

Donal Mahoney

A Chance to Say Good-Bye

After World War II 
before television, 
before women had tattoos
before men wore earrings, 
I was a child in a world
with kids as odd as me.
I’m still here but tell me
where are they?

Remember Joey Joey
who yelped in class 
every day before 
doctors knew the nature 
of his problem, his
barbaric yawps scaring girls 
and driving boys down 
on their desks laughing
until the day he disappeared.
I had no chance to say good-bye.

Can’t forget Petey, the toughest kid
in class, not quite right either.
He uppercut a girl in the third row 
and disappeared the same day.
So did Bobby, who my mother saw 
on his porch eating worms
one by one off a porcelain dish
as she was coming home from church 
under a parasol, stylish in that era.
She asked if Bobby and I were friends 
and I said, “Bobby Who?"
I had no chance to say good-bye. 

But Jimmy was the nonpareil
when it came to kids not right.
I saw him after graduation leap-frog 
parking meters like a kangaroo 
down 63rd Street for half a block
woofing as he cleared them
until the cops took him home.
I had no chance to say good-bye.

They locked Jimmy in the attic
of his parents’ house for years 
but at least he didn’t disappear.
Years later I saw him in a dark bar 
with his twin brother drinking beer. 
He sat quietly, not a single woof,
not a bar stool threatened by a leap.
There I had a chance to say good-bye.

Donal Mahoney



Curiosity is like spelling
words backwards,
forming a language
that is forbidden
only to those
who refuse to venture.
Lily Tierney

I do not wish to simply
write my will upon the backs
of other people’s words,
like forcing weight upon
the shoulders of camels

Sometimes when grading
a paper or providing a bit of feedback
there is that moment when I use
my pen like a weapon,
glittering edge

Invading the tiny space of letters
with new ones, removing
some phrases and planting them
elsewhere, heartlessly.

Lost Site

Working I found
myself waiting on the spinning
wheel, only to then find
my words and actions suddenly
(ruthlessly) deleted,
lost somewhere in the electronic
chasm that exists between me
and the rest of the digital world.
Someday maybe those words
will reappear, configured in a new
way.  I may not even recognize
them anymore. 

Thank You, Mona

Oh, Mona Lisa,
thank you for teaching
me today at the coffee shop,
a lesson in how to smile
without smiling

I’ve always tried to offer
strangers a warm mitigating
grin that says, trust me.  
I’m not so bad.

Maybe it seems childlike.
I don’t know.  It certainly
feels that way.
Modicum of wordless kindness.

But you taught me today, Mona,
not to soften the edges.
Let them be jagged,
no grin at all.

JD DeHart

Thursday, March 2, 2017

RENUNCIATION, UKRAINE  After Tolstoy    [Stefanie Bennett]
Best forget why he’s here
And from where he came.
If his step
The blunt black
Of gunfire
Amid the roses...
The Crimea wasn’t a parking-lot – then.
A September suburb
Pummelled by
A double
Or nothing
These days, eavesdroppers
Find him
                             Servile, and
Tell-able words
Into ploughshares;
Into a peace
This vice I keep
is like a limb, blistered
and useless. I swallow
it down a bloody throat,
into a pocket of stubborn hurt. There,
it unmuzzles my scream
and shrouds the sun in tar.
Why do I harvest the fear, the desperation,
in dreams where the bonds of love
collapse and I convulse
in betrayal's shock?
Why won't it go when my lover is true,
and honest tenderness
is the substance of his heart?
This vice I drink like
a hallucinogenic, obscures a living vow.
It has a face like an abscess, reeks
like an earthworm's underground home.
This vice comes cruel
as a hunter's bullet, comes like vinegar
in the eyes, baptizing my nerves
in a thieving rage, until I am
overwrought, fractured, ambushed
by its primal illogical cry.
Chosen Kin
There is something
that binds us to share
our hardships like a team,
to talk for hours, burying
our inner enemies under the grass
of a richer shade.
There is a hawk riding our favourite
window, poems where our coffees sit,
warming our hands, the brittle veins.
There is you with your eccentric
brilliance, your diligent searching
and laughter of open endings.
There is this time given,
living on the same street,
a season in our lives graced,
an offering of salt and sun,
and a trust between that leaves
nothing up the sleeve, housing our hearts
where only family can tread.
Nights With You
After all the marvel has flown
and the egg is minced inside
its nest, I feel you in my sleep
as a babe feels its mother's breast,
or a tribe its evening song.
I feel my skin brushed with gravel,
feel doubt sealing me inside its zoo,
feel my hope sink like money into a reeling sea,
then you with your labyrinth of love,
discover new ways to restore me, to hold me
close to your taut belly and drown
my breathing on your flesh.
I cross through the cabin doors. I soar within
November skies. My secrets are no longer mine.
And morning finds me strong in my footsteps,
patient once more.
The Storm That Saves
So he lives,
watching himself bemused in the mirror.
He lives his life with flying
pine needles and emaciated toads.
He wants to surprise the careful one
who guards against letting go.
He wants to fall at the heels of morning, dive
from branches into the open mouths of children
first learning the meaning of "mine". He is willing
to wrap himself in snake skin, dip his
features in tar, anything to reach
within a scalp and raise perception from
its daily doings.
He is the grave digger, the bee in need of a flower.
He is the body's sex, the yearning
engraved upon each bone,
a doorway in the tenebrous, compelling unknown.
Of Body and Spirit
I seek your mouth
of sensual burning,
its sponge-soft pressure
merging perfectly with mine.
I seek its subtle textures,
its waxing and waning, the way
it condenses my being into
its single substance, into
a movement of focused bloom.
I seek your hair, your blessed smell,
your hip bone rocking like
the whole of the sea over uncharted sands.
I seek your voice sweeping the air
with its rich unconscious moan.
I seek the taking of your hand,
the tension of our bodies balanced
in mutual, animal awakening.
Today I am preserved from the withering chill.
I am held at a hair's length from misery,
but held and still frightened.
Frightened of my pulse
that beats (poor like it is)
in defeat's domain.
All my passions betray
the nurturing hood and spade,
drag me down to horrors that hound, that make
my spirit overflow
with nullifying waters.
But today I am spared
the snarl and self-pity,
spared the blank death that outruns
every attempt to breathe, spared
because I asked for a little faith and
was given.

Allison Grayhurst