Saturday, December 24, 2016

At Bus Stops on Thanksgiving Day

Before dawn, people
who work on Thanksgiving Day  
wait in the wind for a bus 
to arrive or maybe not.
It's too cold to talk  
so the people stand 
like minutemen and plan 
a revolution that would shock  
nice families who drive by later, 
children tucked in scarves 
and mittens, laughing 
all the way to Nana's house  
for turkey, gravy, stuffing 
and later in the day 
ballerina of whipped cream 
twirling on pumpkin pie.
Thanksgiving is the day 
America asks for seconds
and sorts its servers 
from the served.

Donal Mahoney

First Waitress

Outside, the still
of crickets.
Inside, petals
of a cold sore
a boutonniere
for full lips.
Looking up, I tell her
two eggs, basted,
hash browns,
coffee now.
Later on,
she says
the birthmark
I found
south of her navel
she’s had
all her life.
Donal Mahoney

Concert at Bernie’s

When Bernie wakes at 6 a.m.
there's a piano on his chest
and Erroll Garner's playing "Misty."
Sinatra's on the headboard 
improvising lyrics
and Krupa's in the corner 
painting on the drums.
The music is magnificent.
Once the song is over 

Bernie chants his morning prayers,
shaves and showers and limps to work
for another day at the gherkin factory. 
The foreman, Mr. Simpkins, is an ogre 
nonpareil, a sumbitch unsurpassed, 
who stalks the catwalk all day long
with megaphone and stopwatch.
At 5 p.m. the factory spits Bernie 
and his cohorts out the door 

so Bernie limps to the Hot Wok Shack
and buys a carton of Egg Fu Yung 
and heads back home to wait for dawn 
so he can hear Erroll play "Night and Day"  
while Sinatra does the vocal and
Krupa punctuates the piece
softly on the drums.

Bernie spends each day in hell but dawn 
is always a concert from heaven.

Donal Mahoney

Epilogue for an Election

After the TV mavens had their say
the gnomes crept out of their caves
spoke and returned to their caves. 

Thunder struck, hell broke loose
and the mavens came back on TV
predicting Armageddon.

In cities all over the nation
pimples popped and broke.
Pus flows in the streets.

Donal Mahoney

Making Certain It’s Wally

Wally made the long drive home 
from vacation on Election Day
because he wanted to vote. 

He went for a jog and then to the polls
and cast his vote for his candidate. 
Then he jogged to the Post Office

to pick up the mail held for him 
while he was away on vacation.  
But they wouldn’t give him his mail.

He had no I.D. in his sweat pants.
Not to worry, Wally told the clerk.
He'd come back with his I.D. later.

Donal Mahoney

A Comma Is a Pipe Dream

The amount in every paycheck
has a period in it. Those who 
get a paycheck every week

dream about seeing a comma 
three spaces in front of the period. 
Those who have a comma

dream about seeing a 2
in front of the comma 
instead of a 1.  

Those who have a 2 
in front of the comma
dream about a 3  

That’s how it works for those 
with good jobs and benefits 
but not for those on

minimum wage.
Many of them see only 
three numbers in front 

of the period every week. 
The first number is always a 3 
after taxes and deductions.  

If a 4 or 5 would replace the 3 
they might celebrate a tad 
and give a little shout.

But they will never see a comma 
three spaces ahead of the period.
That’s a pipe dream not theirs to see.

Donal Mahoney

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