Sunday, September 18, 2016

'The Madness In Her Eyes'

She used to
reward me
for tolerating
her belligerent
behavior with
gifts to contradict
her malevolent nature

Shrinks could not
rectify her glitch
pills didn't make
a difference
alcohol only fueled
her contempt
and orgasms
were the only things
we had in common

She had a sexy figure
that would not stop
neurotic thoughts
we both would gather
I voluntarily
walked out on her
numerous times
only to come back
to a disorder
that could not
be conquered

Those crazy
green eye's
haunt me
to this day
I picked up the
pill shaped pieces
of a life that was
Michael Marrotti is an author from Pittsburgh using words instead of violence to mitigate the suffering of life in a callous world of redundancy. His primary goal is to help other people. He considers poetry to be a form of philanthropy. When he's not writing, he's volunteering at the Light Of Life homeless shelter on a weekly basis. If you appreciate the man's work, please check out his for his latest poetry and short stories.
Science Fiction Haiku


slowly the world froze
universe stands motionless
time takes a short break

desktop and laptop
on table, learn and evolve
now planning revenge

nor comets or rocks
on collision path with earth
large herd of wormholes

little boy playing
with ET, after parting
toy trucks have engines

on mars
no trees
donate now

on other planets
there are no cars except in
spearhead collections

big storm wakes you up
bright lightning and loud thunder
UFO above

time machine for sale
price 8K or best offer
needs new clutch and brakes

aliens attack
fire shots from ship by Saturn
earths armies useless

Denny E. Marshall 
A Life Without Guard Rails

You think you got problems?
You probably do but would 
you trade with Phillip,
a Vietnam vet who still thinks 
Agent Orange lurks in 
every puddle he steps 
around after a heavy rain,
who shovels snow, 
cuts lawns and rakes leaves
to make his disability  
check go further?

He has a snow shovel
but someone stole his mower
and the grass is growing
and customers are waiting.
He saved three months
to buy a used car to replace
the van that died and that car 
died yesterday in the street but 
the payments are still due.

Some people think Phillip  
causes his own problems 
but no one has the answer 
as to how he can change 
a life that hasn't changed 
much since Vietnam.

It took ten years 
to qualify for disability.
He’s been doing odd jobs
and he’ll keep doing them 
until he can no longer walk.
He says a Veterans Home
has promised to take him in.

Donal Mahoney

Vacillating Benny and Monsanto Max

Vacillating Benny, an ancient chemist
now retired from Monsanto, must decide 
if a poem his friend Ron has sent him 
is good enough for his hobby journal. 
Benny finally decides to let the poem 

marinate for another month  
without sending Ron a reply.
Maybe it will sound better later on.
A month later, Benny asks his dog, 
Monsanto Max, for an editorial opinion.

Bolstered by his dog's advice,
Benny sends Ron a note:
"I'm considering your poem
and will get back to you later 
with a quasi-final decision."

How might you respond if you were Ron,
a retired professor who wrote his poem 
while teaching English in Vietnam.
Ron decided to send old Benny 
three cases of Dom Perignon,

each bottle filled with Agent Orange. 
Ron hopes Benny will have   
the time he needs to decide if
his poem's worthy of publication.
Ron remembers decades ago

when they were young and in their prime
and his old friend Benny was 
First Vice President at Monsanto. 
Ever decisive, Benny quickly approved  
new applications for Agent Orange.

Donal Mahoney

Allowances Can Be Made

Oliver Jones, now gray and grizzled, has  
cut the Miller's lawn for years. A Vietnam vet, 
a victim of Agent Orange, Oliver's getting old, 
almost as old as the Millers, his friends for years.

Recently he’s left ridges and tufts 
in the lawn Mr. Miller’s eyes can’t see 
but his wife has mentioned the problem.
After Oliver’s been paid with a good tip,

Mrs. Miller often rolls her wheelchair  
over to the window and tells her husband 
they should find someone else to cut the lawn,
someone who won’t leave ridges and tufts. 

But the thing of it is, Oliver’s been leaving
ridges and tufts for at least five years, 
long before Mr. Miller lost his sight and
Mrs. Miller was confined to a wheelchair.

Donal Mahoney

Fireworks after Vietnam

Joe went to the mall yesterday
and found a big tent pitched
at the head of the drive. 
Someone selling fireworks.
The sign said discounts 
for all veterans.  

Joe thought of his brother Bob
after his return from Vietnam,
a victim of Agent Orange.
He would shake if he heard 
sudden or violent noises.  
He got rid of his guns and 
never went hunting again.  

Bob didn’t want rifles 
shot over his body after he died, 
an honor some veterans prefer.  
His wife wanted the ceremony. 
Joe cried when the volleys were fired.  
He could feel his brother 
shake inside the urn.  

Donal Mahoney

Vowel Movement

When a writer lacks 
verbs and nouns 
he's the victim of 
writer's block. 
His mind may house 
too many consonants, 
too few vowels. 

Without vowels, 
his consonants congeal
and become a mass. 
The result is
verbal constipation.
The only cure,
some doctors say,
is a very big 

vowel movement, 
larger than a loaf 
of pumpernickel 
or a Seinfeld 
marble rye.
Some writers, 
desperate for  

a very big
vowel movement, 
try dynamite. 
Not good.
Other writers tout 
Agent Orange,
Monsanto's legacy
in Vietnam 
dropped off
half a century ago.

But Agent Orange
is not the answer 
for writer's block.
It melts a writer 
slowly and melts
as well
generations of 
his descendants
as it has for years  
In Vietnam where

the great-grandchildren 
of innocent farmers
whose crops 
were sprayed
with Agent Orange 
are born deformed.
They are the new lepers 
from Monsanto,
not from Molokai.

On the streets 
the children startle tourists
from Boston and New York
who are munching on 
delightful spring rolls
dipped in lovely sauces
at outdoor cafe tables
under big umbrellas
that ward off 
the burning 
noonday sun. 

Donal Mahoney

Monday, September 5, 2016


My weekend started on Wednesday afternoon
But it took me until Saturday morning before I’d drank
Myself calm, to the point where I could just sit and
Think, postulating on some words and wondering
Where I’m going

Last night was fun, like a flashback to the start of
The millennium when an old friend came to visit
And she was on ecstasy and drunk whilst me, well, I’d
Relapsed again and was on the weed and drinking
And we wandered the North Laine

Going from bar to bar her accent attracted the wrong
Kind of attention as finally at the last stop she was
Refused service as they claimed she was too drunk
But I just knew and explained it away and soon we were
Supping lovingly a gorgeous beer

Before she went back to her hotel and I continued
My walk back home, stopping for beer and chaser
And some wild rock’n’roll in a pub that haunts my
Words as I’ve written about shit going down there
Many times before.


It was sad news that greeted me that wistful
Thursday night as word came through of another
Lost to his mind which had been ravaged by
His short torturous life.

An old friend sent me a text asking about him
Had I seen him around?
Yes I said, the other week I ran into him in the library
As I was heading out to work and he didn’t seem too well

Yes came my friends’ reply who had seen him
A couple of days after I had but what came then
Was even worse than even I could have envisioned
As he told the story from the intervening time

He burnt down his flat and yet no one has
Heard from him since, his sister who lives
Nearby hadn’t heard a word and his parents
Worried sick had reported him missing to the police

But what is there to do, the last time we talked
He was keen on the opium and I knew some distance
Had to be placed between us but not if it ended up
Like this with him missing and everyone worried

And thoughts of what has he done since we’d
Been so tight.  His life had clearly taken a bad turn
And now I wish I’d stuck with him
Even if it meant I could just keep an eye on him.


I was at work yesterday when this crazy lady came in, started shouting at a child who wanted a bit of chocolate
It weren’t even her kid and she then started ranting at a colleague of mine about her distress and her awful life
I stepped in and told her it was her behaviour that was causing the trouble and she stood and simply began screaming
I fessed up and told her I was a recovering drug addict and that really sent her over the edge
“What are you doing working at all?”
Well I got a postgraduate degree I tried to explain and the government thought I was fit to work
I told her to shut up as she had no idea of true suffering and pain and she threw down her shopping
Stormed out our shop and then the mother of the aforementioned child said thanks and apologised for her child’s behaviour
I simply smiled and said no worries as I do with most of my customers and slowly things returned to normal
As my colleagues congratulated me on dealing with this horrid woman who now doubtless will tell anyone who will listen
That my shop is full of over-qualified drug fiends who shouldn’t be working, now how she expects me to survive I frankly don’t care
Because her type will always go mad and die alone as she works out that maybe her life ain’t the hardest of all in this town
Where madness and drugs rule so many lives...


A night just like any other when I’m stood outside a bar
Smoking a roll-up, drinking my beer and I look around
At this wasted scene
A homeless drunk lies prone on the floor
Under a sleeping bag
Designed to keep him warm
But over to the left is a gang of kids
About half-dozen of them
Hoods in place
Mobile phone blasting out some tinny R’n’B
Back where I came from
They’d be the kind who hustle you down
Steal your money
Or threaten to knife you if you didn’t obey
But in this town I just stay until my roll-up has finished
Because these kids ain’t like the ones who bothered me back then
And I laugh as a siren wails and suddenly they run off
Back to their middle-class homes
As an ambulance speeds up Queens Road
They are nowhere to be seen

There are plenty of types in this town who you do have to worry about
But not tonight as I’m still drug-free and my mind runs lucidly
The kids in this part of town will never concern me


On a break at work and I stand outside my shop
Smoking a smoke and taking in the scene
It’s late and I don’t come round this way at this time of night
So I get a chance to see, the chance to view the human geography
The nightmare of twenty-first century life here in the developed world
North Street, Brighton on a Wednesday night
A homeless street musician plays a song about no one liking him
As people walk pass him looking down their noses in disdain
Destroying their idea of these so-called civilized times
Next to me is sat a couple, they look like real rough sleepers
As the woman sits pushing on a pimple on her cheek as
The man next to her seems to be so exhausted he can’t do anything but sleep
All this whilst sat outside an Oxfam shop begging for donations
Standing orders, direct debits is all they care for
Whilst our heroic couple just hunker down hoping for a warm night
And enough money to get some food in the morning
A mad eyed tramp comes in my shop and collects his coppers together
All in a bid to get some form of nicotine
‘What’s your cheapest baccy?’ he asks as he counts out nearly 3 quid
In nothing but 1s, 2s and 5 pence pieces
It’s clearly been a hard day for him and the life from here
As summer turns to autumn is going to get nothing but harder
For this is so-called living in contemporary Britain.


It’s the afternoons when I ain’t out at work that drags real long and it’s hard to think of what to do when there ain’t any drugs to do
I could go to the bar but it’ll be empty as happy hour don’t start for another hour and on a Tuesday afternoon time drags real slow
Even when you got a beer
What I really need to keep my mind wandering off to old bad habits is just some fucking company
But when all the people I know are either working on something or out of town or worse yet
Recovering alcoholics who you don’t want to see
As I’ve always been labelled a bad influence and hell all I want to do is drink to forget this self-proclaimed exile from mental insanity

Radio Flyer

When you were a boy in 1948
living on a block of bungalows
in Chicago right after WWII 
you had a red wagon 
you pulled behind your mother
going to the grocery store.

Rationing of food was over.
Beef was back and butter too, 
no more margarine you had to add 
yellow to. Now you had big bags 
of groceries to pull all the way home
in your red wagon with your mother
in a house dress swinging her purse
and smiling behind you.

You were the man of the house 
on hot summer days and your 
red wagon was the family car 
because although your father
had a car, an old Plymouth,  
he took it to work every day 
and didn’t get home until 
late at night because of 
the splendor of overtime.

The only caveat was 
your red wagon had to have 
Radio Flyer painted on the side 
or the other boys would say
you didn’t have a real wagon.
The war was over but they said 
your family couldn’t afford one. 
Same thing when you got 
your first two-wheel bike.
If it wasn’t a Schwinn, they said 
your family couldn’t afford one. 

Donal Mahoney

At Midnight in New York

It’s midnight in New York
and in this tall building 
Herb and Molly are 
in bed making love.
Molly is a virgin
and it hurts.
Olga’s upstairs
in bed with cancer
terminal and it hurts.
Melvin’s downstairs 
in bed snoring.
Nothing hurts because
he doesn’t know yet 
he has multiple sclerosis.
In the hallway a thief
goes floor to floor
trying door knobs
hoping one will open.
All the doors are locked, 
chained and bolted.
Everyone is safe.
No one can get in.

Donal Mahoney

A Sisyphus Moment

There’s a force that makes 
a boulder hard to push up a hill. 
And there’s always a boulder 
and always a hill when it comes to  
helping the poor find something 
to eat, somewhere to live, a job 
they can go to every day.

Sometimes the boulder slips 
and rolls back downhill
and Sisyphus jumps aside.
Accidents happen. 

But sometimes the one  
who owns that hill says no
and blows his trumpet and gives
the boulder a mighty shove 
and Sisyphus gets run over. 

Then the poor must wait 
a century longer
for another Sisyphus
to volunteer and get 
behind the boulder.

No wonder the poor
are getting together 
and grumbling louder.
They know Sisyphus isn't
the answer to the problem. 
They must push the boulder.

Donal Mahoney

Not as Bad as Nagasaki

Old Yoshiko in Tokyo can’t sleep
because her husband snores
so she sits in her kimono
and eats a few rice cakes 

with a few sips of sak√©.
She thinks about the past
and then calls her daughter 
in Chicago to remind her 

that Truman’s bomb killed 
almost all of her family.
Come home right away,
her mother tells her

as soon as you complete 
your degree in chemistry.
Earthquakes and tsunamis 
aren't as bad as Nagasaki.

Donal Mahoney

Priest and Prostitute

The old priest who won’t retire
despite his bishop’s hints
rides his bike around the parish
every day for exercise.
He waves and smiles at everyone
and they wave back.

But now he’ll be in bed
at least three weeks because
he flew over the handlebars
and broke several ribs,
his elbow and his nose. 

Everyone in the parish now is
praying for the priest except 
the prostitute who sees him 
riding his bike and waving 
when she gets home from work

She saw the ambulance take
the priest away and stopped 
that night at the candy store and 
sent him a box of fudge.
A nice old priest, she thought.
She doesn’t have time to pray.

Donal Mahoney

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