Friday, August 26, 2016

TOUGH FUCKERS DO CRY

Mostly, I saw him smiling
or laughing and on the odd
occasion when it was needed
I’d seen him get aggressive
and violent but only once
 did I see his
eyes leak when he spoke of
a wife and children he’d
lost a very long time ago;
a chilling November breeze
raced into the public shelter
and he passed the bottle to
me and dabbed at his blood-
shot eyes; I took a deep
swallow of the rot-gut wine
and thought of people
crying and I couldn’t
remember the last time I
had cried and this 
very thought
misted my eyes.

SHE TOLD ME TODAY

‘My husband was a publisher,
we’d been in Phoenix, Arizona
for about a year before we found
the perfect premises; we’d
secured a lucrative deal with
Walmart’s, printing pamphlets
and catalogues;
one day. four months in,
12 men, dressed in black
biker leathers, riding Harley’s
appeared and one of them
walked into the office and
he put his face 
very close to mine
and he was ugly 
and he said ‘You’ve got two 
hours to leave’
it was the Mafia;
at the time, gambling was
illegal in Phoenix;
the Mafia were intimidating
politicians  and councillors
and public figures and
businesses ; people were
going missing, entire
families were vanishing;
we left Phoenix
 later that day and two
days later we left the U.S.
I have never been so
frightened in my life and 
I’ve never known what
became of our business,
we lost everything we had,
that is,
except our lives’

IT WAS A SUNDAY AFTERNOON

‘And my mum and dad were
fighting and I stepped in
between them and received
a back-hander from my dad
that knocked me unconscious;
I woke up 3 or 4 hours later,
lying on the floor where I
had fallen; my mum and dad
were watching t.v. like
nothing had taken place;
I got up and walked out
of the house and vowed
never to return and I slept
on a park bench for 3 
nights; no one came looking
for me; I was 16 years old;
I got a job
somewhere to live
I went to night-school
and became educated and
qualified in physics and the
sciences and later graduated
with honours and taught
in the most expensive
schools;
I married and had children
and then after 49 years I
divorced
and now
I’m 77 years old and I
have nothing and I
want to die with some
dignity
and I don’t know how’

John D Robinson
Peculiar Name

Peculiar name, curious
sound on the mouth,
but beautiful all the same.
What was it Ms. Stein
said?  A rose and all that.
Doesn't matter about
titles, rumors, or stirrings.
Beauty's just the same.

Cue

A flick-flash-flutter of light
causes the eye to respond.
The mind gathers these
endless streams of stars
and data.  Somewhere, tucked
like a diamond in dark velvet,
is the truth.  Let us now taste
the sky and all it has to offer,
listening to ancient words
for a bit of computer advice.

Fiercest of Creatures

All animal teeth, all edges,
draw to a close.  There is
a time to stand, then a period
of backing away.  There
is a time to be aggressive, then
a time to tilt the head,
take in the sound, filter it,
press it like grapes, then
let the wine begin to flow.
We can be the fiercest
of creatures or the kindest
of souls, it all depends.


JD DeHart

Window

A curtain blows gently

attaching itself to thoughts,

as a window allows them

to enter and exit at will.

Lily Tierney

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
Mall

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


                       Counting
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
Conscience

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