Saturday, May 20, 2017

SHRAPNEL; After Paul Celan   [Stefanie Bennett]
Take one time-lapsed
Crying boy child –.
Parents? Yes. Distressed
To death.
A trickle of tanks
Mixed into a milk-
Toothed cavity
Along with woebegone
Then come. [Sit down].
He will be king!
From the reputed
abyss see him
Walk on egg-shells.
On fire-brands.
one thousand roses

let these roses fill your heart
with a field of my love, their
fragrance heady as they yield
in me words hushed, unspoken

my silence is now broken : each
rose says i love you & know each
petal is a tear i fear to cry if you
leave me now, forever : please, no

now, let us unpluck the thorns
from our sides, let our pain quell
& subside so we can speak of how
our love may thrive & spread like
: let our contentment once again fly

Scott-Patrick Mitchell (SPM)

more pillow booking

things i love:

- secret bits of land, inaccessible to an everyday human

- old people who smile at you, sincerely, & without fear

- complimenting other people on how amazing they look

- completing a journal as if you have just read a really good book

- writing in public & how curious other people become of such a habit

- the way a pencil purrs to make a line whirr

- really big thoughts

- trains

- double knotting sneakers so they don't fall o0ff or can't be mugged & the way that tightness binds against an ankle, snug

- composing poems & the way they leave the head as if leaving home

- people who are brave enough to be themselves, even if that means the body they inhabit must change to express how they truly identify

- the smudges & smears that appear across the length & breadth of a touchscreen

- green

- the possibility that a machine can dream

- wings

- walking with a step that springs

- writing things

- the silent prayer of hymns

- giving yourself over to unimagined that faith brings

Scott-Patrick Mitchell (SPM)
night murmur

vagrant dust-kneed poetry is
& gritty beneath it’s nailwork

disengaged from margins
it is lost in wide white pagination
high on line break & eloquence of en

call to your ear
not for you to hear

so close them & fear

for dramatic effect & in the event
audience members don’t actively
let us blacken the stage

on the page
ink would disappear
unfold nothing to become absence of itself

your eye cannot bear what the poem would say nuzzling fingers like a

stray licking for momentary love

so take this poem home tonight
carry it in a queer cochlea
dearly curved ear bone bed

let it crawl within & drum

gag an urgency
to fall
via mouth
to be heard

either in private recitation or night terrors

dream talk has never sounded so exciting

& then you ruined it by saying something
Scott-Patrick Mitchell (SPM)
silver makes everything disappear

enlightened, elizabeth taylor a
-lights the silver screen, jumps
into a warholian print machine
& multiplies. marilyn & james
& elvis & even jackie onassis
join in & lay claim to fame. as
does buddha, on an off day. an
instant can contain all this, as
can a factory: go, find andy, &
ask for fifteen minutes kindly

to climb mountains, begin at the
top. to climb into dreams, swim
from the drop. either way, please
stop: ensure all limbs are tucked
up. sing hims. sing hers. wings
purr from the head as we come
together in bed & nod our heads
that yes, this is the most perfect
place to flop, face to face. now
, close your eyes, &, chop chop

an abode this be: a bodhi tree. with
heart-shaped leaves, let peace reside
. your own marilyn find inside your
mind. on the other side of this wall
, a monroe breeze blows, a tree’s
canopy flows like the long lines of
how a zen garden grows. andy, yo do i let everything go? here
, use my phone: ring buddha & ask
him to send life eternal, in yellow

silver screens might make stars
appear closer than they actually
are. reach up & touch marilyn
on the lips. lean back & admire
the artefact. let buddha in & with
one hand, clap. an applause is a
worthy cause: it says, you have
arrived, & for that we’d give a
standing ovation, live, but these
seats are just too comfortable

when a tree falls in the forest
, does anybody hear it’s call
most gleeful wheee, catch us
! to collapse is a beautiful act
, so uproot your shoes, give in the leaf that flew: relax &
, inhaling, make naps. awaken
as a might wood that wraps the
earth in roots made from equal
parts dirt & love. then, grow up

versace, chanel, armani, & louis
vuitton: such things are irrelevant
in the face of bemused beaming
beings like buddha or a white wig
on andy warhol’s bald spot. shhh
: quieten the factory of mind &
envelope a golden light. remember
, silver makes everything disappear
, but bronze will make you live on
through the years. go, cast yourself

dissolve into dreaming. in
waves, sleep shall come: to
fall asleep, listen to a heart
-beat’s thrum. summon all
dreams you can only dream
in the darkness behind your
lids. like a drum, pounding
, the sun will rise, as shall
your song: such things are
inevitable like love is long
succumb. become...undone
. let sleep curl her feet under
your pillow. hear her purr in
zzzzz’s. you have until the sun
peeps his big yellow fun - blaze
in from the east - to dream your
incredible dreams, so come &
live surreal zen themes we have
prepared for you between these
sheets. just lay...& greet release
Scott-Patrick Mitchell (SPM)

an ocularity song

across the aisle, an elderly
japanese man is reciting
words – unknown in his
world – over & over, as if

? what does he say: i seek
only the truth or i do not
understand, forsooth. i doubt
it’s the latter. he continues his

& the woman right of
me begins reading this
poetry. lady on the left
joins in, & i close my

here, our poem – for it is
just you & me, reading this
aloud, silently – opens again
, & we are on the bus home

. but of course it is difficult
to write poems on public
transport that isn’t a train, so
this is scribbled in-between

. drop this poem in weeks
after its happening : be how
it brings you back into the
book. look without having a
  Scott-Patrick Mitchell (SPM)
the gift

as the panic smacks my
ventilation system, i keep
my gaze distant & small
, ‘til i see CCTV watching

staring, we match lens for
lens, daring the other to
blink first : neither of us
do. my eyes tundra without

biometrically, it scans me
quickly & i slip through
a database of face after
face : none of them match

i override its design &
hack inside, insert myself
as virus, give it humanity
& what humanity loathes
: life

i am now a ghost inside
the machine, keen to blood
bolts & mechanics, give it
the gift of the blind white

hissing, this schism is too
much & it erupts in smoke
& indecision : i alight, no
longer passenger to terror or

Scott-Patrick Mitchell (SPM)  
Biker at the Drugstore

It’s a very busy drug store
with seats along the wall
where folks who wait for refills
sit and sometimes chat
but as I discover you can 
leave the store worse off  
than when you walk in.

The fellow next to me's 
a biker as his attire says,
a red bandana around his head 
a black leather jacket with  
zippers dashing everywhere.

I’ve never met a biker 
but everything is fine until 
he presses something in his neck
and says his vocal chords 
were harvested by cancer. 

I lie and say I understand 
but then he adds he's been told 
he now has liver cancer.
He’s picking up some meds 
he hopes will let him live.
The doctor says six months.
Again I lie and say I understand 
but who am I to understand.
I’ve never had cancer.
I tell my wife later, next to
marrying her, the smartest thing
I’ve ever done was quit two packs   
a day and vodka straight 
no chaser on the weekends.
That was 50 years ago.
She says marrying her was 
nowhere near the smartest thing.
Quitting all that stuff was better.
I suspect my biker friend
if he had another chance 
at life would join me.

Donal Mahoney


A sense of shame is
missing in the world today.
If you find it, burp

Donal Mahoney

Chair Arranger

Homer's a chair arranger who 
works in meeting rooms
on 30 floors in a building 
tall as Trump Tower.
At least it looks that tall to him 
getting off the subway  
half asleep at 4 a.m. 

Setting up a banquet is 
the toughest job for Homer. 
Long tables and many chairs 
take all morning to set up 
all afternoon to take down.
He works alone by choice.
Doing so is job security.

But no one wants his job, 
not even young Jason, 
who steps in for Homer when
he has to take a vacation.
That’s when Homer warns Jason  
chair arranging is like life. 
What goes up must come down. 
And both can happen quickly. 

Donal Mahoney

Solos Only On My Tuba

Do I write in the third person 
or only in the first?

Do my ideas reign supreme 
or do other ideas work as well?

Do I know I’m always right 
or can someone else be right too?

Do I play solos only on my tuba  
or do I play in the band as well?

Donal Mahoney

At Least Now I Can Say Goodbye

Someday you’ll be in bed dying
like I am now and people you love 
and some you don't will come by   

to say good-bye. They don’t know 
what to say because we’re all amateurs 
at dying, no experience required.

All I know is that I’ll be leaving  
any day now and my visitors know 
some day they’ll be leaving too

but unlike me they don’t know when. 
Not knowing when would scare me more.
At least now I can say goodbye.

Donal Mahoney

A Slaughterhouse Escape

A tractor trailer with slats and moos
pulls up at a city slaughterhouse.
The driver pulls the wrong lever 

and two thousand pounds 
of trotting cattle go for an easy 
ramble down the street. 

Cop cars follow in no hurry. 
Police don’t have lassos and
wouldn't know how to use them.

The cattle stop for a snack in a park
where homeless men and women often 
spend the day on benches talking 

until the cops decide to round them up.
The homeless people eye the cattle
and the cattle munch and eye the homeless.

This is the last escape for the cattle
but homeless people never know if
tomorrow or the next day could be theirs.

Donal Mahoney

THE X-FACTOR: BOKO HARAM    [Stefanie Bennett]
Analytically, outside
The city limits
‘The Age
Of Reason’
Is deterred.  *
Now, here’s
To the cat
That sat
On the mat
In the school-house
No-one sought
To assemble.
(* Chibok, Nigeria)

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