Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Better Way for America

I like to watch master chefs 
on television do their thing.
My favorite is Jacques Pépin
when he has to chop an onion.
No one chops an onion faster. 
At 80, the man’s a guillotine.

When I saw him chop one today
I thought of every state in America
that has halted the death penalty 
because they haven’t found a way
to execute the condemned
humanely and efficiently. 
I say hire Jacques Pépin.

Shave the head of the condemned
and lay the fellow on his belly with 
his head up like a Spanish onion
and let Jacques do his thing.
Unless you think there might be 
something wrong with that.


Donal Mahoney


A Harmless Obsession

The nice thing about crossword puzzles
as an obsession, Phil tells Bill, is they 
keep you away from other obsessions 
that might engage your attention and 
benefit no one. For example

Phil was molested by Mark as a child, 
he tells Bill, and Mark’s still alive 
and Phil could go find him but that 
would be a mess at best 

and Steve took Phil's parking spot 
at work and is probably still parking 
in that same spot even though Phil 
retired years ago

and the old shrink who said Phil 
was a borderline psychotic 
still has a practice close by 
and might be worth seeing again 
to revisit that diagnosis

but as Phil tells Bill every week
it’s better to work crossword puzzles
than to look for these people unless 
he can’t finish a puzzle and 
these tasks require his attention.


Donal Mahoney



A Mountain on the Lawn

You have the back rent 
and come home from work 
and find everything in a mountain 
out on the lawn with the kids
sitting on the curb crying
unable to get in after school.

You spend the night in the car
with your wife and the kids.
They’re all scared
and you wonder what 
to do in the morning.
You can’t go to work with 
everything on the lawn.
Neither can your wife.
What about the kids
and school?

Storage costs money
but that’s your back rent
or maybe rent for a new place.
How would you move
all that stuff anyway?
Who would help?
You tell your wife
everything will all work out,
both of you knowing
it’s all just begun.


Donal Mahoney


A Poor Woman's Best Friend

Story in the paper this morning
almost ruined breakfast.

In a rural county far from where I live, 
the natives shoot stray dogs on sight.

In my city, an agency picks up stray dogs, 
gives them shots, offers them for adoption 

and kills them when they aren’t adopted.
In the county where stray dogs are shot

there’s a lady who takes them in 
but she’s too poor now to feed them.

The agency in my city sent trucks 
that brought back 17 starving dogs. 

They say they never saw such poverty 
as the dog-loving lady lives in.

What will happen to these dogs if they 
aren't adopted? And what will happen 

to the lady too poor to save them?
No trucks have been sent to save her. 

Donal Mahoney