Monday, August 1, 2016

A Traveling Salesman

This traveling salesman 
has worn out six vans 
in 40 years and he
hopes to retire soon.

Age and illness 
are growing concerns
and there isn’t a pill   
for everything.

Every 20 miles or so
he has to stop for  
a rest room, usually 
at a gas station.

Then one day he sees 
a highway billboard 
that promises help.
He dials the 800 number 

on his cell phone
and a machine answers:
“Incontinence Hotline.
Can you hold?”

Donal Mahoney

A Nuclear Childhood

What if your parents 
had never met
had never married 

had never yelled 
at each other 
and instead had wed

someone they loved
and lived peacefully 
all those years.

That would have been 
their Eden but you 
shaking there now

decades later 
wouldn’t be with us  
cursing the tremors  

of a nuclear childhood 
you still remember
long after they’re dead.

Donal Mahoney

Answer Me This, America

Took the wife 
to a pancake house
the other day. 
National franchise
good food 
fine reputation.

Skipped the pancakes
had bacon, eggs,
hash browns, toast
and coffee.
Wife went fancy,
had an omelette.

Grabbed the check
because the busboy 
started clearing 
the table early.
A young dervish
new to the job
swirling his cloth
for minimum wage.

Bothered me 
to realize he'd work
three hours and a skosh
to pay for the same 
breakfast, more
if he left a tip.

Reminded me 
something’s wrong
with our great nation,
how we do business.
Have both ears open.
Hoping for an answer.

Donal Mahoney

Bison and Quail

I never think about bison.
After all, I live in St. Louis,
why should I?

But when I went hunting
for quail in Montana
I tripped and

broke my leg, flopped
on the tundra all night.
Come morning 

I saw bison romping
toward me, hundreds of them
coming in thunder.

I heard them snorting.
Honestly, I’m not lying.
I thought about bison then.

I never think about ISIS, either.
I live in St. Louis, after all,
why should I?

Donal Mahoney

Hot Spots in the City

I turn on the news to see 
who won the game last night
but first the scores from 
hot spots in the city.

Two people are killed 
and a house is set on fire. 
An infant burns to death.

Two men hijack a car 
and a mother is killed. 
Her baby is tossed 
from the car and
found a block away 
alive in a car seat.

The mayor says 
we need more cops.
Money’s the problem.

The police chief says  
he’s sending more cops 
to hot spots in the city.

The anchor says at noon 
a demonstration at City Hall 
for Black Lives Matter.

He doesn’t mention 
any demonstrations at 
hot spots in the city.

Donal Mahoney

A Stationary Bicycle

The doctor tells Phil and his wife
he’s in pretty good health for a man
his age but he needs to exercise.

And Phil says he agrees 
and then goes on to explain
his faith in recliner therapy.

He sits in a recliner for hours,
watches TV or reads the paper
and wiggles his toes 

at least three times a day.
The doctor asks if his wife if
they’d try a stationary bicycle.

She says she thinks there's 
one somewhere in the basement.
Phil says his wife’s right as usual.

He saw it one night during a storm
when he went down to change a fuse.
Said he almost had a heart attack.

Donal Mahoney

Getting and spending wear thin here with
these blank storefronts – an abandon Borders,
a failed electronics, a failed toy store.
They have been crossed off, shorted out,
played out, however you say it, it’s the same
hollow feel that words always seem to bring.
The few clerks in the remaining stores lean on
counters and stare into the near distance –
so few to check out, so little reason to restock.
The “Our Biggest Close Out Sale” sign seems
ironic, almost tragic, along with the “Buy One,
Get One Free” sign in an empty store window.
Even the teenagers hanging around in the half
empty food court seem old, as if their energy
and beauty have been used up just getting here.
Things have abandoned us, left us like this,
a ghost town, a wreck, a ruin, a wasteland, but
still we have acres of free parking all around us.
                                                        J.K. Durick

               At Sixty-Five
Going sixty-five, three lanes deep,
almost bumper to bumper,
In pouring rain and swirling fog,
I saw a road sign that said,
Scenic area ahead.
Life is like that, sometimes.
A light flashes on, flashes off,
Is there, is gone,
Especially at sixty-five
In this pouring rain,
This swirling fog.
                                   J.K. Durick

I still count to five; stressful, anxious times
Centered, focused; learned the trick early
In kindergarten, I recall Sister Mary Something
Teaching us to count off: one, two, three, five;
Lord help us if we missed a beat, everything
Would stop, start over again, until we got it
Right; this was before they knew, what we know
About attention deficit or all the distractions of
Being five and needing to count off like that,
Numbers wander too easily, but eventually
I, like most of my classmates, got it right and
Counting to five became one of our eternal
Verities, like the importance of good behavior
Or the wisdom of our teachers; counting to five
Has stayed with me better than so many things,
I have had to stop to count too many times and
I rarely miss a beat and have to start over again;
The number sequence is simple, reliable, soothing
Something that has not changed over the years
I never count to ten, after five I find I was lost.
                                                       J.K. Durick

         The Garden
A breeze stirs only slightly –
brightly colored birds and
flowers disturb us – only slightly.
Then memories expand, mend
the seasons to this moment, these
sounds, the feel of the beauty we
steal from time, capture for this.
This fragile, fragile sense of peace
surprises us, off guard, this revelation,  
this resolution to the disconnection
we have felt all along, for so long.
Why, whole theologies have been
built on less than this – an epiphany
of daisies, an ascension of butterflies,
the resurrection of delight.
                                        J.K. Durick

Forgetting never happens
seeping into thoughts
as symbolic metaphors
that represent something
lost inside.

Dancing with a romantic notion
listening as the music fades out.
Dreams keep dreaming
around the dance floor
the clock keeps ticking.

The hour is never late when
it contains the past, present, and future.

Lily Tierney
Long Detour

When I go into the night
Will not follow the bright light
No matter where the road leads
Instead, will be a ghost
Instead of haunting houses
Will haunt the universe
When death is the eternity
Do not see the rush
For any certain path

The Call

I saw a call for submissions
For an anthology
About World War Two
How can I write about
Something I do not know

Nose does not know the smells
Of rotten decaying flowers
In deaths unfolding bouquet
Nor wisps and cloud of weapons
Hung in the air suspended

Eyes cannot see or focus
The real horror all around
Branded on brain and hidden
That pictures do not show

Ears do not hear
Echoes of raining shells
Or the wind of passing bullets
Do not hear the trumpets
Of my goods friends
Screaming and moaning
Wishing for the pain
To go away or death

Lips do not know thirst
While the hungry stomach calls
While waiting in a hole
Crouching half-defeated

Skin does not feel
Frozen toes and fingers
Bite like deadly sharks
In some rain-soaked trench

Clothes do not feel
Dirty and soaking wet
Like rays of cold and wind
I do not wish or dream
For a dry place for the night

Feet do not feel soles
Blistered and broken
Sock less with worn out boots
Across the battered paths
With every obstacle

Still moving forward
Day by day, inch by inch
Side by side with friends
While the hearts walks with
The steps of lost brothers

They say they are not heroes
That may by well and true
Thought they are better men
Then I will ever be

No matter how many
Photographs or movies
You see about the Great War
It is not like being there
And it will never be
My pen will never know

The Draw

If the world ended tomorrow
There would be no need
For sorrow
Work makes us fell important
Though a disguise
It is just a chore
Seems the long straw
Would be more

Read Label

Please follow directions
On this label
Take medicine at least
Once a day
Chapter from novel
Passages of poetry
Or other arts
Please avoid
The following
Your television set
See librarian or bookstore
For refills

Label Poem

Would this poem fit
On a label
If it does
I hope this little verse
Will fill your heart
Like a giant poster
Of your favorite smile
Then wash away
Any lonely tears
In life’s river
At least for a while

Little Words

Words of any size
Are large in statue
If they send you places
You always longed for
Like journeys or paths
Not encountered before
Take a direction
That transforms you
To fresh worlds hold
Let it mend the heart
Then heal the mind
Lighting candles in life
As your stroll the roads
Between the lines
Always wished to walk

Denny E. Marshall 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

karma'll hit you 
always pushing through
creating new scars
from the old
as is your
and i hope one day that karma
revisits the terror upon you
that you've given
forever it seems i was caught in a tide
of self-loathing and disgust
when it was really you
i should have 
as a child of the moon, 
it'd be so easy to lose my temper
blame my actions on my
dark side;
but i know karma could only hit your harder
than i ever could.
- linda m. crate 

fallen from grace 
bruised, broken, and bleeding
you left me crushed
like a rose
trampled to the ground
crucified me with my own love
because the more i loved you the less you
respected me,
and i'll never understand why
i found such bliss in
your empty and insincere words;
they say twenty-twenty is
the measure for hindsight
but i wish it were the means of observation,
you were nothing like you pretended to be
always a beacon of hell but never
for your feathers turned onyx long ago.
- linda m. crate 

not half the man you think 
you can bury your
crucifix in the sand 
for all the good
it will do you
we both know you're no saint
past nor present
your broken halo is evidence
enough of that as is
the blood on your lips and the broken
threads you carry in your hands
conquests of love
you caused to atrophy because of your
inability to love anyone
let alone yourself,
and ordinarily i would say that you were
beautiful and believe in yourself;
but i would encourage 
a lying narcissist to fall deeper in love
with the fallacy of who they
believe they are
so divorce yourself from the reality of you
that you see because you are not
half the man your imagination
- linda m. crate 

drowning in your blood 
i danced with your light
thinking it were heaven
when you were every
bit of hell,
and i was oblivious to that wolf smirk
until it was too late and black 
feathers snared around
my neck;
but i knew that not all that whispered black
was wicked for i have and always will 
be raven born
i was furious that you would wear such a color
with indignity 
because sometimes white is the most dishonest hue
in nature because none of us as pure as
driven snow,
and i'm here to remind you as much as i strive
to be heaven
i can also be your hell tearing through your fangs
with my talons
rescinding your fierce strength to a weak whimper
as you drown in your own blood.
- linda m. crate 

hungry souls 
we all seek validation
in some form
whilst others seek to invalidate
themselves as if excusing themselves
from the very world they live in
dancing on the periphery
of untruth and calling it honesty
you are one of the latter
forming scars
deep in the bosoms of all those who dare
be brave enough to love you because
to you love is a consequence
of war,
and you've only hungered for bodies
sweat and blood and chaos
primordial as the moon blood in my veins; 
you say you know of love but you
only know and give lust
always leaving
hunger behind in the bones of all you
- linda m. crate 

trampler of roses 
a man of no ambition
for life nor love
simply a corpse pressed into
a living body
i suppose you'd have a lot of people
who could relate to you,
but i cannot let go of this fire or these
dreams shining so bright
in me they retain the gaze of the sun
and the moon;
you love your destruction and death
but i adore my loving light
transforming even the darkest parts of myself
into something more beautiful as i learn
not only to love others but myself
something you've never done
concerned with outward appearances and fronts
you've never seen the blackness of your
heart or the coarseness of your
always you were a victim,
but never have you ever been at fault;
simply slaughtering flowers with reckless abandon
to satiate your never ending forest of
- linda m. crate 
Poetry Submission - Natalie Crick
Natalie Crick
Tue 8:32 AMYou