Thursday, May 28, 2015

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Tommy is the Man

Tommy is the only man
for miles around who can knot a tie. 
Old farmers come to town on Saturday

and wave from pickups with respect
when they see Tommy on the street
out for a walk in his black suit.

Tommy is the man they know
their families will call to knot 
their ties and close their caskets.

The Capitalist Way

It is easier for a camel to pass
through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich 

to enter the kingdom of God, 
Jesus told his disciples.
Centuries later Warren

an investor in America
heard about this and 
asked Fu a manufacturer

in China to make 
millions of 12-foot needles.
Then he asked Ahmad 

a bedouin in Oman
to breed smaller camels.
Look for the IPO on Wall Street. 

Before Michael Brown and Freddie Gray

Who celebrates 
the birthday of a tree?
Birds and squirrels, perhaps,
but not Michael Brown 
and not Freddie Gray
and not Rufus Jackson, who was
hung from a weeping willow in 1863.

Rufus stole an apple pie
cooling on a window sill,
a farmer’s wife said
She told her husband about it 
when he came in from threshing.
An uncle found Rufus
and cut him from the tree.  

His family buried him 
behind a willow not too far 
from a barn in Mississippi 
where two men took Emmitt Till, 
a boy from the city, in 1958. 
Both men said Emmitt had
whistled at a white man’s wife. 

The two men beat Emmitt, 
gouged an eye out, shot him 
in the head, tossed his body 
in the Tallahatchie River, not far 
from the grave of Rufus Jackson,
said to have stolen an apple pie, then 
hung from a weeping willow in 1863.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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