Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Judgment Day

If I knew I'd live forever 
I'd never send a poem out.
No poem ever comes with

ten fingers and ten toes
so I’d keep revising, add 
what's missing, remove

what shouldn’t be there
and put in the right fillip.
One can only write 

while the sun streams in 
because too soon 
the moon comes out 

and in the dark 
one can’t fix a thing.
Once you’re dead

your poems live on,
warts and all, naked 
on a sheet of foolscap 

or afloat in cyberspace 
for all to read and fault.
It’s Judgment Day.

Billionaire and Beggar

A billionaire and beggar
die on the same day,
miles apart. They
never knew each other
but that’s no matter.

The billionaire is buried
with pomp reflecting
wealth and stature.

The beggar’s lowered 
in a potter’s field.
Two workers shovel. 
One says a prayer. 

Years later 
a major quake tosses 
thousands of caskets. 

Popped lids confirm
a truth the billionaire
and beggar share.

Dust and bones 
in both their caskets.
Equality lies here.

Just for a Day

If you want to know
what it’s like to have nothing
just for a day

head for Skid Row.
Trade your suit and 20 bucks
for the attire of a resident

standing against a wall.
Buy a tin cup and yellow pencils
and go to Union Station in time

for the evening rush hour
when suburbanites with jobs
on Michigan Avenue go home

for dinner and a little HBO.
Flop down near the entrance 
in your tatters with pencils and cup.

Wear Charles Bronson sunglasses
and hold high a sign that says,
“Will Work for Food.”

Count the briefcases that sail by 
and see how many pencils you sell,
how many people even look at you 

before the gendarmes arrive
and poke you with a baton
then walk you away.


Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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