Thursday, July 7, 2016

A New Etiquette

"One stall for all" is
a new scenario for Wilbur.
Thanks to his wife, he knew

in the past the right thing to do
but now he doesn't know what
"one stall for all” calls for 

after he’s through:
Is it toilet seat up
or toilet seat down?


Donal Mahoney


Ramadan in America

It’s Ramadan
and late one evening 
I walk by a mosque
and hear little girls
laughing on the sidewalk,
walking in circles talking
about what they want to eat.

In America it's nice to hear 
joy among our Muslims,
a counterpoint we need 
in light of all the news.

I wish I had the guts to call 
an old friend from Pakistan
I haven’t seen in 40 years.
He had nine children, a son 
and eight daughters.

His little girls laughed 
outside his house the night
we had come for dinner, 
a chorus like the one 
I heard again tonight
outside that mosque.

I’d like to ask him
what’s happening 
in our world but why
embarrass both of us. 
Why ask a question 
neither one of us 
can answer.


Donal Mahoney


When a Debutante Marries a Troll


The problem is, Priscilla grew up 
in a penthouse having parties while 
Biff came of age under a bridge

fighting other trolls, he remembers.
When Pris calls his office and says 
we're having guests tonight

the chasm in their marriage grows
The guests go home sauced and smiling
but the chasm stays behind, snarling.

Biff can't make the leap to kiss Pris
and some day have 10 kids.
The next time she invites guests

he wants to be told at dawn.
Biff plans to skip feeding the pit bulls  
and introduce them to her guests.

Donal Mahoney


Daily Paper on the Lawn

An hour before dawn
the paper is out on the lawn
white in the moonlight 

a trumpet dozing after 
long night in a jazz bar 
tired from playing   

but willing to play
a last set for me
not knowing I read    

only sports and the obits 
two riffs in the paper
anyone can believe


Donal Mahoney


At 100, Gramps Recalls Life in Mississippi

Being poor on our patch of land
was better than being poor 
all the years I’ve lived in the city.
We had a couple of cows,
a rooster and seven hens.
We had milk and eggs and meat 
in back of the shack we lived in.

In summer we had a garden
and we canned tomatoes and beans.
Pa bought flour by the gunny sack
and it didn’t cost that much.
Mom baked bread and biscuits.
There were 12 of us back then
and we loved biscuits and gravy.

Slavery wasn’t dead too long
so we had odd jobs all year round.
The plantations needed help.
A retired doctor would come out 
to the house for a nice chicken
Pa would clean and cut up.
That was Mississippi in the Twenties.
Probably nicer down there now.
I was a tyke in short pants then.
As long as we avoided the noose,
we had food and beds to sleep in.


Donal Mahoney