Beauty and Grace

Political rhetoric should be a thing of the past
Capitalism, Communism how long will it last
Republican , Democrat, Conservative, Socialist
Do we really believe this sh*t
Or just watch for entertainment
They're lies, they're lies, they're all lies
From those who make promises to evade their demise
Yet year after year we become so intrigued, hopeful this new guy will be the one we need
Regan, the movie star, he was the best there was, allegedly.
Maybe I'm confused
No wait ,that was Kennedy!
Probably not, he just loved Monroe, couldn't have been Clinton, he just loved the dro.
Mr. Bush, that guy was really funny. And he was pretty darn successful for an average dummy.
And that old Bama, he only promised hope, must be from ChiRaq, where they kill their own folk.
Here we go arguing over politics, presidents, caring less of what should take precedence:

Why focus on Flint,
We're only losing little black kids. Hell we've been knowing this problem exists for years, but we had to discuss ISIS.

Sit down little girl, you don't know the business. You only run your mouth, sitting in your house, watching t.v., making wishes.
We've built this box for you to play in, don't worry it's your safe haven. Don't ask questions and don't start to complain. Take this new position, and your livable wage, and be what I made you, the New Generation slave.
And be my bitch for the rest of your days.

Coma

Sleet on the turnpike
in the middle of the night
but I keep driving,
both hands on the wheel,
nowhere to pull off,
and a yellow bus
comes over the line
and kisses my truck.
That's all I remember.
Now I'm in bed,
wired to things,
unable to move,
listening to a doctor
telling my wife,
"It's been two weeks,
no improvement."
He asks her nicely
if we should let him go,
the dimwit bastard.
If I could, I'd scream
but I can't even
wiggle my toes.

Donal Mahoney

Willie Counsels Millie

Let’s stop the crying, Millie.
It’s true our friends are dying.
They’re old like you and me.

Why not celebrate instead
that 80 years ago you and I
came into the world.

No doctor pulled us
from the womb and
tore us limb from limb.

Donal Mahoney

Behind the Barn with Carol Ann

Back in 1957, kissing Carol Ann behind the barn in the middle of a windswept field of Goldenrod with a sudden deer watching was something special, let me tell you. Back then, bobby sox and big barrettes and ponytails were everywhere.

Like many farmers, Carol Ann’s father had a console radio in the living room, and every Saturday night the family would gather ‘round with bowls of ice cream and listen to The Grand Ole Opry. It was beamed “all the way” from Nashville I was told more than once since I was from Chicago and sometimes wore a tie so how could I know.

On my first visit, I asked Carol Ann if the Grand Ole Opry was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir of country music and she said not to say that to her father. She suggested I just tap my foot to the music and let him watch me. Otherwise, I’d best be quiet and say “Yup,” “Nope” or “Maybe” if asked any questions which she didn’t think would happen. No need to say much more, she said, and after a few visits, I understood why.

Over time, I learned to tap my foot pretty good to the music because when I’d come to visit, her father would insist I have a bowl of ice cream with the family. I liked the ice cream but not so much the Grand Ole Opry. I’d been weaned on Sinatra in the city. Big difference, let me tell you.

But back in 1957 kissing Carol Ann behind the barn was something special since we couldn’t do much more until I found employment. Only then, her father said, could we get married. I found no jobs in town, however, for a bespectacled man with degrees in English.

Still, I always found the weekend drives from Chicago worth the gas my Rambler drank because kissing Carol Ann brought a bit of heaven down behind that barn, especially on summer nights when fireflies were the only stars we saw when our eyes popped open. It was like the Fourth of July with tiny sparklers twinkling everywhere.

Now, 55 years later, Carol Ann sometimes mentions fireflies at dusk as we dance behind the cows to coax them into the barn for the night. I’m still not too good with cows despite my John Deere cap, plaid shirt and overalls which proves, she says, that all that kissing behind the barn in 1957 took the boy out of the city but not the city out of the boy.

“Hee Haw” is all I ever say in response because I know why I’m there. It’s to keep tapping the cows on the rump till we get them back in the barn so we can go back in the house and start with a kiss and later on come back downstairs for two big bowls of ice cream.

Donal Mahoney

Lawn Chairs in the Sky

March 20, 2013 ·
Lawn Chairs in The Sky
I've heard of a man.
With a lawn chair and balloons,
A BB gun and a six pack,
He flew from the earth,
My lawn chair is lawn-less,
It sinks into darkness,
My balloons drop me deeper,
I shoot them in vain,
Why own lawn furniture if you don't own grass?
How dare I dream of my own green carpet,
My outside version of my inside house,
If you've lived in the suburbs,
there will always be a lawn in your heart,
no matter if the grass is dead, or even if you live a million miles from a cul-de sac,
The trash cans outside will always shame you,
A full mail box will never mean you are popular-only that you are slothful.
But I think I'd be the kind of neighbor who'd park his cars on the lawn,
A motorcycle forever broken in the grease stained drive way,
That I would work on endlessly like King Sisyphus,
And in the morning it'd be in pieces again,
I'd barbeque on Monday mornings,
The house would be the scariest on the block
at Halloween.
and no one would come to ring the bell
because the sprinklers would be on,
but the house would be decorated anyway,
Soggy pumpkins, sad drowned ghosts and scare-crows,
I'd never wave at my neighbors, I'd just stare at them, tilt my head back and smile.
I'd sing loud Vietnamese and Mandarin songs in the garage as I worked and speak Cherokee to my dogs,
Least I forget how to speak,
I'd never wear a shirt, even in winter, as if a beer belly was strong and sexy and a sign of an educated man in a primitive land,
As if a swollen gut was my way to keep the natives at bay,
As if to say-"Not only am I fat, but I'm hairy too, so stay back you savages! I'm too cheap for tattoos! I've got scars to show you for free!"
The young girls in the neighborhood would avoid my eyes as if looking into them would make them pregnant and turn them into stone,
If the neighbors said "Good Morning" I'd answer, "Perhaps" or "You think so." or "Prove it!" or "Allah Ackbar"
or something else so that they'd never say it again.
the swimming pool, if there was one, would be empty,
but used for skateboarding to very loud hardcore punk music,
I'd silently practice using my nunchakas on the roof at night,
I'd trim all my hedges and trees to resemble the heads of unpopular American presidents,
on the sidewalk out front I'd sketch chalk drawings of the Mendlebrot Set,
I'd make a bird feeder that looked like a buffalo skull,
I'd have a sign on the door saying,
"Attention All Solicitors-You May Enter But You May Not Leave."
At Christmas, the lights strung on my roof would say "S.O.S." or "ALIEN LANDING ZONE" or maybe a few lines from a William Blake poem,
and of course I wouldn't take them down until late April.
On the fourth of July I'd stand on the roof waving a very large white flag,
I'd buy an old ice cream truck and paint it a very tranquil light blue and drive it to work everyday,
I wouldn't sell ice cream or stop for children,
I'd just play Bach fugues or Beethoven's 3rd or Just the sound of the wind or falling water or bird song or over the loud speakers,
I'd sit in my lawn chair in the back yard under the shade of President Nixon's head with a cold beer,
alone but laughing very loudly at it all,
The neighbors would have so many secret nicknames for me they'd argue about it at parties they wouldn't invite me to, they'd call me:
The Ice Cream Man, Mr. Beer Belly, The hill-billy Native guy, the Roof Ninja, that Weirdo at 207, the Muslim guy who drinks beer, that foreigner, Mr. Dead Grass,
the satanic ritual guy who writes on the sidewalk, that communist-homo-art-loving degenerate,
and after a few drinks they'd work up the courage, goaded by the women because
I scare their kids and the old people too and somebody has to
DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW before it's too late,
and they'd bang on the front door, knocking off my solicitor sign, standing with arms crossed on the dying grass,
trying to peer into the windows past the old Halloween decorations,
and "...wait let Jim get his gun-he's a police officer and... I ought to get my gun too."
and the drunkest and loudest of the men-one whom I had scared the most would shout,
"Come out here now you fucking weirdo! We want to talk with you.! We know you're in there Don't try to hide from us"
and the teenagers would hang back a bit, hoping for a stray piece of flesh, sneering nervously and waiting with their phones recording,
and the women would shriek,
"Get out here now! Now!"
and someone would try to throw the buffalo head through the window but they'd discover it was only made of paper mache and paint,
and someone would try to peer over the side yard fence and scream, "I'll shoot your damn dogs!"
and they'd find the gates locked with combinations I'd have taken from quantum mechanics and they'd scream in frustration,
then they'd pick up the naked motorcycle frame in the drive-way to use to batter down the front door,
And start to scream, "Get out of our neighborhood! Get out of our lives you freak! Go back to where you came from you goddamn drunk Indian satanist!"
And then suddenly, my Christmas lights on the roof with flicker on, and they'll see it's a huge Peace sign, and a moan will go through the crowd,
and some young guy who actually looks good with his shirt off will snarl, "Fucking Hippie!"
and they'll hear my familiar laugh from the back of the house, but a little above,
And I'll be in my lawn chair with my balloons and my dogs in my lap, and a six pack under my arms with a BB gun,
and they'll shout "He's got a gun" but I'll already be out of firing range and sailing upwards into the suburban night,
Laughing and hooting my coyote hoot, "Hooo Hooo"
and the dogs barking,
and me the only one seeing, the one eyed-man in the housing development of the blind,
that the peace sign is no peace sign but a giant target on the roof,
the lawns are not lawns but chess squares, the houses are pieces, the pools are just raindrops,
and in the moonlight below
the suburbs are just a distant shrinking dream.

Sleep Walking Through The American Dream

-For Jack

Sleep Walking Through The American Dream.

I do not dream at night like when I was a boy,
though I daydream in daylight like a sleeping boy,
though I am an older man,
who has boy-like dreams.

I do not sleep at night, I cannot dream.
Awake but never alert, resting but never rested,
breathing but not a breath.

I drift, like a lost lover in a canoe, on a stream away from Love.
No paddle or form,
one hand in the water the other held skyward for help,
I drift, never staying long through REM never resting.

I cannot breathe,
like a fish in a canoe,
adrift on a river of sleep.
I gasp my life out alone in the dark,
I awake in the dark and remain in a fog.
And in the daylight, I am watching my life in a fog,
not living with the living nor sleeping with the dead.

We wish to inform you sir,
You Have, Sir, Severe Sleep Apnea, Insomnia, PTSD and restless legs
and soul.

The rest of your life, you will not sleep,
the rest of The Dream will you not be awake.

And every night you will wear the mask of Ganesh and sleep with elephants in the graveyard of REM and lost dreams and lost nights and lost breaths. Your breath in your ears and your eyes looking inward until you breathe no more. Your heart on your mind and your mindful heart, suspended until you wake up.
I waited for America to wake me up
and it was itself asleep
and gasping at night,
turning in a lonely bed,
holding its head in the darkness and trying to day dream like a child.

They told me many things as I stayed asleep.
As I shrugged at the future.

Get a job though you are weary, save the planet though you snore, heal the sick and kiss the crying, do it now and do it more.
Snap out of it, stop the fretting, stop the war and lose some weight,
Invest in stock and vote next Fall.
Get yourself an internet date,

I do not rest when I sleep,
I do not tell my dreams to others,
They hate a man who daydreams nightly.
They hate me all.
My boy-like dreams.

Never Rich

Don’t be afraid if you need to swerve; a very nice curve.
They are counting on you, meets my expectations.
Do it until it drops, meets all our requirements.
Don’t say I never got you anything, there are plenty of gray areas.
Don’t go jobless, might invest some time.
I see an arc; when I need to protest.
Don’t invest time and money in bad investments.
How do I know what is what, don’t spread gossip.
You brought it on yourself, don’t say I never brought you anything.
Did you hear the new plan, what is needless to worry about.
Don’t fret, there’s a tent for you too.
Have it met, congratulations on your promotion.
It’s somewhere in between, it sounds technical to me.
Can I be brief as possible, sound long winded.
There are many nights to feel invigorated about.
Don’t stage this, this isn’t bliss.
It’s staged as such, no raining down.
Who’s standing in for you, I’ve taken the pessimistic view.
Don’t screw with me; might have been a shrew who knows.
How to get a plum nickel, it isn’t rocket science.
Don’t trickle, pick up a pickle.
Earn your nickel, if gardens only grew shovels who would dance there.
There’s no clear sailing. Be in the invention of terms. Don’t be edgy. Days seems endless to mark. I saved you a part. Don’t tease her. It’s affecting my balance. What leaves spotted, doesn’t the boss get you. Onward and upward I say. I say it bravely. Who saved his place in line. Something you can’t possibly live without.
Pray to God about. It’s that astounding. That sounds like pleasant conversation.
Do you need to be converted first. Going first is the worst possible thing to happen. Snap out of it, it burns to the touch. There’s a glaring bracket right in front of your rather large nose. There are rows to get into. Fan yourself, so happy to be alive. Don’t dig for bones. There are already some. Don’t point out the obvious. I will constrict. Had a conviction on public property. I’m getting too old for this. How can you miss it. I’m still in training. Affect what you can’t see. Join a gang, be putty in the field of play. That’s a way to spread them out. There’s no need to jerk. Have it worked out, not as stout this time. When the timing is just right. Streamline meanwhile the flags are tattered. Does the wind do that. Get it going. Nothing but clear sailing over here. Land feet first, don’t get planted. It would be worth it. There’s no turning back. I was never rich. Be cagey, late as ever. Don’t rob them, everything is fresh for the taking. There was some aching.
Stand on edge, you must ask yourself. This is the way to last. It was a fast turnaround. Don’t leave your blinkers on. I was closing just before dawn. There was no lawn to play on. It is going to happen any day now. Found it frustrating. Fondue lodging

Small Backyard

It’s a small backyard
I’ve watched for years
from an upstairs window
while chained to a computer.
Whatever the weather

the old widow was always
planting in spring
watering in summer
raking in fall
shoveling in winter

but the yard’s quiet now
the only traffic
a resident squirrel
heading for the oak
over the tall grass
the widow’s heir
has stopped mowing.

She told her son
you don’t have to garden
but please mow the grass
rake the leaves and
shovel the snow
or I’ll shake you
at midnight
the rest of your life.

Donal Mahoney

Trickle=Down Economics

It’s war
plain and simple
when I fill the feeder

out in the sycamore
with millet and niger
and sunflower seed.

Back in the house
I stare out the window
and watch juncos

and chickadees bicker
on the perch, spilling
more than they eat.

Cardinals and jays
drive them away, argue
and spill even more.

Then starlings take over,
and like rice at a wedding,
seed fills the air

pleasing the doves below.
They walk like old nuns
and peck at the manna.

Donal Mahoney

A Future in Need of Mapping

It seems I'm always searching
Most inquisitive of my time
There are so many questions lurking
Near the recesses of my mind

Am I just a lost soul
With no particular place to go
Brainstorming, head spinning,
thoughts out of control

Meditation, Manifestation, opposed to becoming stagnant;
My mind is only a gift, an extra incentive, great for taping......

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