Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Collateral Damage

For the entire office
a death like his
coming as it has
the day before
complicates the holiday
for everyone. It makes
things difficult
for all: the wake
the other matters.

Cockfight at the Bus Stop

As the snow swirls around them,
one old man in a wheelchair
uses sign language to tell
another old man standing 
at the bus stop, "Friend, 
you creak when you walk."

Neither one can hear any better 
than when they were classmates  
at a school for the deaf eons ago.
They learned to sign by writing 
in the air with fingers honed 
on the whetstone of banter.

Amiable as ever, the creaky man   
counters with fingers quicker than 
beaks in a Tijuana cockfight.
"Amigo, how can you tell 
that I creak when I walk?
Do my knees sign that well?"


Chauvinist's Manifesto

There's a football field between us.
I'm in one of the end zones bellowing
and you're in the other one bawling,
the cliffs of your cheekbones
streaked with mascara.

Betty Friedan is screaming. 
She says the problem is my fault.
Bella Abzug is cackling 
that she agrees.
Gloria Steinem
is at the microphone, 
ready to sentence me
to decades of marriage
with children by the score
though she didn't marry till 60.

These ladies must be right.
I'm just a man so I give up.
I accept all the blame.
Mountains have risen 
in the middle of the field.
I can no longer see you.
And if I can't see you
there's no reason for us
to get together again.
I have to be able to see you.
It's always been your hind
and never your mind 
that I favored.

We were having a wonderful time  
and all of a sudden you got serious
like all the others.
They wanted to get married, too.
Listen up. 
I'm going to announce 
the best solution
I want to be generous.
I hope you can hear me:
"You keep the ring.
I'll punt and go home."


Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. 

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