Thursday, July 9, 2015

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Before He Left

He left a ticket 
for you and me
and for everyone else
before he left.

He said he’d be back
but didn’t say when.
He said some of us
would need a ticket 

long before then.
You have yours
and I have mine.
Others we know 

have picked up theirs
but many haven’t.
Some never do. 
Millions of tickets 

have gone unclaimed.
What happens to those
who don't believe
they need a ticket?

They can always take 
an uncharted flight
and pray the trip
turns out all right.

One of those Yanks

I’m white as a sheet
believe me
one of those Yanks
who never before 
the Charleston massacre
thought about 
the Confederate flag

I spent most of my life 
in Chicago, that city 
of big shoulders
and short tempers, where 
the Confederate flag was 
not often seen and whites
and blacks laughed
and fought in public. 

I live in St. Louis now 
not far from Ferguson
where whites and blacks 
are a pile of wood
on a back porch  
waiting for a match
and some oaf to strike it.

One More for the Road

Booze, booze, 
never again, groans Ollie, 
flat on his back in the alley. 

Ollie yawns  
and the alley yawns  
and out pop devils

from the netherworld 
in elfin shoes and pointy hats 
who dance with glee 

on Ollie’s chest and chant, 
“Drink, drink, all you want
and party hard because

when you come to our place
you’ll see flames applaud 
those who believe 

everyone goes to Heaven 
and no one goes to Hell 
except Adolph and Osama.

Those two wheel in coal
and fill the furnace every day.
They have too much help." 

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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