Friday, June 26, 2015

CASUALTY; 2 In Bed      [Stefanie Bennett]
One dreams of solid elements -
White cliffs, waves, battleships.
Sees himself as Birdman, rasping
Closed skies and meeting the Maker.
Night-trends elevate this...
The other lies fretful, photostating
Old faults; dipping 18 carat vows
Black though proofs present
Are already glassed within
Sheep-abandoned pastures...
She thinks perhaps she’ll re-endorse
Animal Farm.
He falls from his middling
Clutching the alarm.
Old People

These are old people
retired and driving slowly
from small apartments
in economy cars 
getting out on canes 
and walkers with
hearing aids you can see
attired in the best 
Goodwill has to offer
arriving between 1 and 3 
weekday afternoons
at Mid-America Buffet
eating their fill for $5.00 off
piling their plates with
chicken, meat loaf
salads galore, veggies
from childhood
green beans, carrots 
eaten in a rush as kids
listening to Fibber McGee
and Molly on the radio
eaten slowly now 
by folks who make it
on crackers and snacks
and one meal a day
this one for $5.00 off
at Mid-America Buffet.

Donal Mahoney 

Show or Tell

Some poets show.
Others tell.
Poets who show

use metaphor, simile,
rhythm and stories
to paint a picture

readers can see
then decide for themselves. 
Poets who tell 

are linear folk who
mean well but yell
so readers won’t miss

the cure for society’s problems.
Their straight lines are neon 
so readers won’t have to think

Donal Mahoney


Homer’s never owned a gun,
thinks they should be banned
along with bombs and missiles.

Doesn’t need them in the river
that flows between his mind
and his emotions

where every now and then
he pushes someone in 
for some untoward remark.

He points to the sky first,
says that’s where heaven is
and gives a push

and waits to hear the scream
and then the splash.
His notebook says

some folks float away,
are never found, flotsam
among the jetsam.

Others he dives in to save
so he can push them in again
to save another day.

Donal Mahoney

Saturday, June 20, 2015

THE MINDER      [Stefanie Bennett]
There’s not much I can do about
The Sandman’s removal, child.
It’s said he went,
Willingly, into
The maelstrom’s fortified swirl
Wearing a frock-coat
- Appropriately iridescent, with
Staff and cap to match.
Would I pull a fast one... ?
The theatrical’s
Where you find it; and
It won’t be found
Akin to the deranged menu
Of The Brothers Grimm.
What’s that!
My son –, let’s skip
The Inquisition [I’ve misplaced
The text]. Tonight
I sport the orator’s
Both pair.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Up Periscope

Tim was long dead
but Opal had the story
in her diary and kept it
in a safe deposit box
all these years
after World War II.
She would die soon 
and was afraid the kids
might read it so she asked
a neighbor’s son to drive her 
to the bank so she could
read it one more time
before she burned it.

In her diary Opal wrote
that after three months 
in his submarine
Tim got shore leave
and called and told her
he’d be home that night.
She asked him what 
he’d like for dinner.
Although the war
was over, steak
was still scarce.
Pork and chicken
were possible.

Not to worry, Tim said.
Just pull the blinds 
and stand on 
the dining room table
and sway while Tim
sat in the captain’s chair.
She could take her time.
No reason now to rush.
The war was over but 
he’d probably want
a second helping.

Donal Mahoney

Rewrite Man

At newspapers in the Sixties
typewriters reigned and rang.
Computers were a fantasy.

Being a “rewrite man” back then
was a dream job if one enjoyed 
“improving” other people’s copy

rather than writing one's own.
Harry Murphy loved that job.
Harry said “rewrite" let him

adopt thousands of children
rather than give birth to one.
Far less painful, Harry said.

He was the midwife between 
reporters in the field 
who scurried after facts 

and the editor who said 
a story was fit to print.
Reporters phoned in stories

in the age before laptops
and Harry the Bard wrote them.
Harry’s motto was simple:

Even an obituary deserves 
a touch of music, a polka for a Pole,
a reel or jig for an Irishman.

Donal Mahoney

Ancient Paradox Alive Today

After two thousand years 
we still have folks
who blame the Jews

for killing Christ even though
Pilate the Gentile could have 
let him go and kept Barabbas.

This would have meant  
no crucifixion, no resurrection.
Heaven’s gates would still

be closed—perhaps forever,
thus making it impossible 
for anyone to blame the Jews 

for doing what they had to do
for Heaven’s gates to open.
And those who blame the Jews 

would still be waiting for a Savior
the way the Jews await the Messiah
they believe will come.

Donal Mahoney

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Presidential Debates 2016

I fall asleep in my recliner
after a hard day at the computer
chasing my mouse.

My wife shakes me awake
and says I’ve been hollering,
asks if I had a nightmare.

She says I have never before
hollered in my sleep.
I tell her I was attending

the presidential debates in 2016
and behind the microphones I saw
Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul. 

Americans have a choice, I tell her.
Listen to Bernie and Rand in 2016 or 
take a plane and buy a tent in Nepal. 

Donal Mahoney

Wives and Girl Friends

A good reason to get married,
Tim told me before he died,
is you need a driver to take you

home from a colonoscopy.
When cancer runs in the family
and three relatives have had it

colonoscopies become frequent.
You get used to drinking the potion
the day before the exam but

depending on the test results
you may get the same day,
driving yourself home isn't

the wisest thing to do
no matter how long you may live.
A wife will take you home, Tim said.

A girlfriend might do it once
but then she will find someone else.
Tim had reasons to know.

Donal Mahoney

Misanthrope at Sunset Manor

Even as a child
Charles couldn’t forgive other children
not for something they had done 
but rather for who they were.
They were inferior and couldn’t help it,
his parents both agreed.
Charles couldn’t stand any of them.
This continued his entire life.

Charles almost married a woman 
he had hired only to discover later 
she wasn’t perfect, no better than 
the little people he had hired to 
wrap and mail thousands of shirts
manufactured in Bangladesh.
He sold the company at 80
and retired a multimillionaire.

Charles never liked himself either
but he had fewer flaws, he thought,
than anyone he had ever met.
Now in old age he trolls the halls
of Sunset Manor in an electric wheelchair
other residents on canes and walkers 
call his tank, making sharp turns while
looking for someone he might like.

Donal Mahoney

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Traffic Jam
By Jonel Abellanosa
It takes just one
Visionary disrupter
To take his guitar
From the backseat
And turn anger and frustration
Into a celebration of songs and dancing,
The traffic into a jam.
Different Strokes
By Jonel Abellanosa
The entrepreneurial use stands,
alchemy between meat and coal,
the wind for irresistible smells,
to empty fast food lanes and decorate
our sidewalks with bystanders
The one in power
uses unemployment
and rising costs of living.
Independence Day Celebrations
By Jonel Abellanosa
so much
upon William’s
to put his “red wheel
in the middle of
the City square
Country Doctor

A doctor for decades,
he provides services 
not available nearby.

Clients drive miles
from farms and towns
seeking his care.

He is always busy, 
assisted by two nurses 
six days a week.

He loves animals
and feeds tramp dogs 
and feral cats daily

in the open field
behind his office.
If he sees a bug

in his office 
everything stops 
while he carries it outside.

Only then does he return
and relieve another client
of her fetus.

Donal Mahoney

Friday, June 5, 2015

Signs in Windows

In 1920 he came on a boat 
from Ireland and found
his way through Ellis Island.

He found a room 
in a boarding house
catering to his kind and

went looking for a job
but found instead signs
in windows saying 

“No Irish Need Apply.
A cemetery asked him to
dig graves and lower the dead.

In America today
there are no signs like that.
Black and brown 

apply and whites 
sometimes hire them.
My father was white.

But in 1920 his brogue
was a long rope that
almost lynched him. 

Donal Mahoney

Before Michael Brown and Freddie Gray

Who celebrates 
the birthday of a tree?
Birds and squirrels, perhaps,
but not Michael Brown 
and not Freddie Gray
and not Rufus Jackson, who was
hung from a weeping willow in 1863.

Rufus stole an apple pie
cooling on a window sill,
a farmer’s wife said
She told her husband about it 
when he came in from threshing.
An uncle found Rufus
and cut him from the tree.  

His family buried him 
behind a willow not too far 
from a barn in Mississippi 
where two men took Emmitt Till, 
a boy from the city, in 1958. 
Both men said Emmitt had
whistled at a white man’s wife. 

The two men beat Emmitt, 
gouged an eye out, shot him 
in the head, tossed his body 
in the Tallahatchie River, not far 
from the grave of Rufus Jackson,
said to have stolen an apple pie, then 
hung from a weeping willow in 1863.

Donal Mahoney

It’s Not for the Usher to Ask

Many churches today 
have a food pantry that never
had a pantry before.

I attend a church like that.
Some folks are well-fixed, 
others poor, most betwixt.

Some had money before
but not enough now to pay 
the mortgage and then buy food

so the pantry helps them
the same way it helps clients
it has helped for years.

Some folks in the pews quietly
support the pantry with 
checks and canned goods

enabling the nouveau poor
to stand in line with the 
forever poor on Mondays. 

A neighborhood baker slips 
into the church Sunday mornings
just prior to the end of service

and quietly stacks his trays
of unsold bread in the dark foyer. 
He says nothing and disappears.

No one seems to know
who he is but the hungry
love his bread and word

of its excellence has reached
the woman who leaves church early
and always grabs two loaves

of French baguettes and is
out in the parking lot long
before anyone else and

drives off in a red Mercedes.
Perhaps she’s on unemployment, 
low on food stamps or is still

making payments on the car.
It’s not for the usher to ask.
I simply hold the door. 

Donal Mahoney

Monday, June 1, 2015

 Parallels in Failures
     Parallel parking's "out,"
The same skills declared measured by a reverse two point turn around,
     With much more room to maneuver, yeah, right!
So another reason for dropping it from the exam must be found.

     Lines too long - eliminate repeat test takers,
In this "click, click" world, they simply can't come back ... and wait,
     To these kids who basically got trophies for tinkling,
Helicopter parents didn't train them for the high failure rate.

     Isn't licensure supposed to be about road readiness and protecting the public?
And not how little service the government can provide and how quickly it can start to collect a fee...
     ...For that, there are police traps and speed cameras and parking tickets!
Why add to the already horrible driving in the not so rural DMV?

     Is it a coincidence that Maryland became the latest to make this "revision,"
Just after the "double taxation" Supreme Court ruling went against the state?
     Make some money up - or it is a prescient grab based on thinking...
...That a total tech takeover of cars will sooner rather than later be an accomplished fate?

     An automobile is analog, no matter how it's being operated,
Breaches, glitches, CRASHES - computers are fallible, too,
     The population's trending urban, perhaps "the Forgoing Fifteen" are the flunkies,
Making any "achievement" too easy may be a decision long term we come to rue.
Karen Ann DeLuca

             Between Orders

You need to understand
how something unremarkable can happen…

A bar room filled with happy heads,
their mouths unhinged with laughter
and talk of the town.
It’s a soft night in a far county,
a fine funk in the air.
At one table women are toying with emotion.
They are the fishers of men;
men jabbering about sports and war and motors.
And behind the bar is Dan, a man with a face
like a shotgun about to go off accidentally.

“How ‘bout those such and suches.”
a voice sounds out over the hubbub.
“We’ll never see their like again.”
another voice calls back in response,
before it’s lost like a leaf in autumnal waters.

And just then, or so the legend goes,
the front door of this fine establishment blows open.
Only the keenest seem to notice,
the world rocking in the coddled night.
Only the sharpest wits take any comfort
in the presence of the unnecessary.

Bruce Mcrae

                    Giving Thanks

Thank you for the sorrows,
so I might see myself more clearly,
a small figure in the hardscrabble,
one of any number of cogs,
another version of the many others.

Thank you for the million sadnesses.
They come like cold rain
on an uninhabitable planet.
They fall like angels cast out of paradise.
Like heads into a basket.

More despairs? You shouldn’t have.
I’ll keep them in the cellar
where no light can touch them,
where they’ll take root in the earth,
black flowers in blacker dirt,
unshadows of a faith minus redemption.

You’ve made grief a present.
Like the drowning man
being handed a stone,
I can’t thank you enough.
              I can’t thank you.

            Bruce Mcrae 


Is that a subhuman rummaging in the thicket
or the ghost-dog of things past?
What’s that lurking by the gate of the womb?
The stereotypical apparitional banshee?
A heretic’s spleen in aluminum foil?
Neptune’s brightly feathered lure?

This is either incense smoke or a funnel web.
Moonflowers, or a weathervane.
A centaur coughing among the bulrushes
or the waning of an intense longing.
Perhaps this is what the darkness writes for you –
odes to the morning star’s departure.

You feel your way around in the bramble.
It feels like a rune stone or diplodocus egg.
No, it’s the pendant Sisyphus misplaced.
It’s the headstone of your mother’s mother.
Mid-day arrayed in midnight’s blackness.
The last wolf of Iberia.

Time stutters, stalls, staggers.
You seem sure you’ve been here before,
but you’ve never been here before.
You lie among the ammonites and trilobites.
Face down in the earth
everything looks like heaven.

Bruce Mcrae

                     Years And Years

The lithe years, to be admired
for their rare vintage.
The mumbling years, yet to come.
And this last year, squatting
like a horse sitting on its hind,
awkward and unnatural.
A year of bone china breaking
and cultivated bloodstone.
A year rattled and rumpled,
my time spent ducking under
a low beam and falling branches,
the others, in their fine apparel,
living sit-com lives of operatic splendour,
affording sentiments like greeting cards,
the likes of I a chimneysweep,
a poacher on the outskirts of civility,
the one they send for to be sent away.
Who calls, but they will not answer.

Bruce Mcrae
Pistons in Her Haunches

It's a 50th anniversary dinner
for Bernie and Blanche at the Elk's Hall. 
After dessert Blanche grabs the mike
and primes the crowd by announcing,
"Fifty year's we've been married
and Bernie's never had a sorry day." 
Then Bernie grabs the mike and says
"The nights have been wonderful, too.
Despite her orthopedic shoes, Blanche
still has pistons in her haunches." 
In fact, after all these years, Bernie has 
but one complaint: Blanche never 
gets to the point in any conversation. 
It's up to Bernie to decipher the code.

Early every morning Blanche and Bernie
sit in their recliners and sip coffee. 
Blanche stares into space and then
jots down on a legal pad everything 
Bernie must do before their lovely 
Victorian house falls down.
Bernie in the meantime reads  
the obituaries with one eye
and watches Blanche with the other
and waits for her head to rear back,
a mule ready to bray a prologue 
Chaucer would envy.

Many times Bernie has asked Blanche 
to give him the bottom line first.
"Tell me up front what you want me to do 
and then fill in the details," he tells her.
But with no bottom line in any conversation, 
Blanche makes Bernie feel as though 
a python is winding around his chest. 
"I know what the python wants,"
Bernie says, "and he'll be quicker." 

After 50 years of marriage,
Bernie says meandering by Blanche
in conversation is a small complaint. 
He'll never have a sorry day as long as
Blanche has pistons in her haunches
because every now and then, 
despite stenosis of the spine, 
Bernie likes to bounce off the ceiling.
That bounce, he says, is why 
he married Blanche in the first place.

Donal Mahoney

The Capitalist Way

It is easier for a camel to pass
through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich 

to enter the kingdom of God, 
Jesus told his disciples.
Centuries later Warren

an investor in America
heard about this and 
asked Fu a manufacturer

in China to make 
millions of 12-foot needles.
Then he asked Ahmad 

a bedouin in Oman
to breed smaller camels.
Look for the IPO on Wall Street. 

Donal Mahoney

Vertigo with a Touch of Syncope

I look in the mirror
 and I'm not there.
Where did I go? I don't know 
so I look around and see my wife 
with the dogs and kids. 
Not one of them sees me. 
Recliner's empty. So's the bed.
I must be somewhere; I always am.
Barber claims he saw me yesterday
and I won't need another trim 
for a month or more.
Dentist says I have no teeth to fix,
that I should keep gummin' it,
so why would I go there?
Maybe I'll call my sister who knows 
nothing about me now. 
We haven't talked in 20 years
When no one's in the mirror
they sometimes find me 
behind the couch chompin'
on a Dagwood sandwich
but this time it's different.
Where am I? Heaven? Hell? 
Somewhere in between?
I hear Hoagy on the piano
playing "Georgia on My Mind." 
Text me on a cloud 
if he plays "Stardust."
The drinks will be on me 
for everyone in the house.

Donal Mahoney


Helpless I do not know if good intentions prevail among the elected, among the appointed, leaving me apprehensive that the fate ...