Sunday, September 20, 2015

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

About Dad

They’re in the kitchen,
drinking coffee, the kids,
in their fifties now, 
figuring out what to do 
about Dad who’s 
in the parlor listening,
counting all the marbles
they think he’s lost.
The six of them flew in 
to bury mother.
They won’t go back
until they figure out 
what to do about Dad.
At the funeral they saw
Father Kelly kiss Dad’s 
wedding ring, the one 
he’s worn for 60 years.
Father Kelly bowed 
over the wheelchair 
as if Dad were pope 
and told him he’d be over 
Tuesday night as usual 
for checkers and a beer.
Best two out of three
goes to heaven first.

Pharmacist Who Can’t Count

Did you hear about the pharmacist
who got hit in the head with a hockey puck
coaching his son’s team on weekends?

This terrible accident left him unable
to count the pills he charges too much for 
because Big Pharma keeps raising prices 

to keep up with Medicare and he has 
to make a profit so he charges  
whopping sums that go higher

every week without relief but now
he can’t count any pills to sell until he 
memorizes his numbers all over again, 

at least from one to three, so he can be 
mimic Lawrence Welk, the late bandleader 
and favorite of his older customers. 

They love to hear him count like Welk.
His wife, Olga, believes she can help 
him learn to count again with recipes 

she brought in a gunny sack from Europe.
She makes her mother's sour cabbage soup
and prune sheet cake that Gypsies love 

in Bucharest and has her husband 
down two big bowls a night followed 
by a chunk of prune cake, awful stuff.

It’s been two months now but he’s still 
a pharmacist who can’t count although he
burps with the rhythm of Lawrence Welk.

He hopes to find relief by patronizing 
another pharmacist who will charge him 
up the wazoo, that much he knows.

Town Caricature

He owns Town Caricature,
a small paper catering 
to folks who need help.
The paper is kind to all 
who need help but not

folks who appear to have 
everything, earned or not
by hard work, fraud, luck 
or sometimes inheritance.
Some donate to charity

not because they want to help 
people in need but simply 
to lower their taxes, a bane  
they want to avoid as much
as those who shirk work will

avoid any work if possible.
This is the DNA of both groups.
Some folks never have enough 
and others simply hate work.
If one has a life, he’s neither.

The owner of the paper
has never made a profit
publishing the tabloid.
He gives it away, loses 
money on purpose. 

He inherited millions
from the sale of his  
father’s steel mills
and needs a write-off
to save on taxes.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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