Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Donal Mahoney- Two Poems

A Caseworker’s Nightmare

Two ancient men
named Ruben Kohn
by happenstance
had sleeping rooms
in the Ace Hotel for Men

a flophouse home
to mendicants and drunks,
the mentally impaired 
and a few divorced men 
paying child support.  
When the government said
some mentally impaired folks
were well enough to live
among the general population, 
the Ruben Kohns arrived

late one night and they
choked Thomas O’Leary,  
divorced and drinking  
in his room, who started 
singing for all to hear,

“You Kohns are cuckoo!" 
No one claimed O’Leary’s body,
and the Kohns were sent away
to different institutions
to live out their lives

far from the circus maximus
of the general population, never
again to hear a normal person
like tenor Thomas O’Leary sing 
“You Kohns are cuckoo!

Ollie’s Wine and Liquor

For years Ollie worked 
late into the night
ringing up his sales 
of wine and liquor
cigarettes and condoms
sometimes overcharging
addled customers who
had nowhere else to go.

He invested profits in
gold and silver coins 
hidden in a box 
under the attic floor
of the house he bought 
for a crippled son
who never married,
never climbed a stair.

Now the store is closed
and the son is getting old 
but the coins are 
shining in their box  
under the attic floor.
Ollie too is in a box, 
a sea of dust, an
archipelago of bones.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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