Saturday, May 20, 2017

Biker at the Drugstore

It’s a very busy drug store
with seats along the wall
where folks who wait for refills
sit and sometimes chat
but as I discover you can 
leave the store worse off  
than when you walk in.

The fellow next to me's 
a biker as his attire says,
a red bandana around his head 
a black leather jacket with  
zippers dashing everywhere.

I’ve never met a biker 
but everything is fine until 
he presses something in his neck
and says his vocal chords 
were harvested by cancer. 

I lie and say I understand 
but then he adds he's been told 
he now has liver cancer.
He’s picking up some meds 
he hopes will let him live.
The doctor says six months.
Again I lie and say I understand 
but who am I to understand.
I’ve never had cancer.
I tell my wife later, next to
marrying her, the smartest thing
I’ve ever done was quit two packs   
a day and vodka straight 
no chaser on the weekends.
That was 50 years ago.
She says marrying her was 
nowhere near the smartest thing.
Quitting all that stuff was better.
I suspect my biker friend
if he had another chance 
at life would join me.

Donal Mahoney


A sense of shame is
missing in the world today.
If you find it, burp

Donal Mahoney

Chair Arranger

Homer's a chair arranger who 
works in meeting rooms
on 30 floors in a building 
tall as Trump Tower.
At least it looks that tall to him 
getting off the subway  
half asleep at 4 a.m. 

Setting up a banquet is 
the toughest job for Homer. 
Long tables and many chairs 
take all morning to set up 
all afternoon to take down.
He works alone by choice.
Doing so is job security.

But no one wants his job, 
not even young Jason, 
who steps in for Homer when
he has to take a vacation.
That’s when Homer warns Jason  
chair arranging is like life. 
What goes up must come down. 
And both can happen quickly. 

Donal Mahoney

Solos Only On My Tuba

Do I write in the third person 
or only in the first?

Do my ideas reign supreme 
or do other ideas work as well?

Do I know I’m always right 
or can someone else be right too?

Do I play solos only on my tuba  
or do I play in the band as well?

Donal Mahoney

At Least Now I Can Say Goodbye

Someday you’ll be in bed dying
like I am now and people you love 
and some you don't will come by   

to say good-bye. They don’t know 
what to say because we’re all amateurs 
at dying, no experience required.

All I know is that I’ll be leaving  
any day now and my visitors know 
some day they’ll be leaving too

but unlike me they don’t know when. 
Not knowing when would scare me more.
At least now I can say goodbye.

Donal Mahoney

A Slaughterhouse Escape

A tractor trailer with slats and moos
pulls up at a city slaughterhouse.
The driver pulls the wrong lever 

and two thousand pounds 
of trotting cattle go for an easy 
ramble down the street. 

Cop cars follow in no hurry. 
Police don’t have lassos and
wouldn't know how to use them.

The cattle stop for a snack in a park
where homeless men and women often 
spend the day on benches talking 

until the cops decide to round them up.
The homeless people eye the cattle
and the cattle munch and eye the homeless.

This is the last escape for the cattle
but homeless people never know if
tomorrow or the next day could be theirs.

Donal Mahoney

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