Friday, March 27, 2015

Snake Charmers & One-Eyed Cats

—Poems by Donal Mahoney, St. Louis, MO
—Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


We hung suet out
on the deck today
hoping the wrens
would come
and stay the winter,
nest in the yard
and next summer
fill the air with song.

In an hour or so
the wrens arrived
but minutes later
the beak of a flicker
hammered at them
and they flew away.

The flicker had time
for a snack before
a blue jay brusque
as the weather came
and took over.

The jay as well
had a snack before
a squadron of starlings
landed to feast
and Fuzzy the cat
rolled over the fence
eager to leap.

With the starlings gone
the cat lost interest
and moseyed around
for a minute or two
and then dove back
over the fence.

With no one around
and the suet deserted
the wrens came back
and ate some more
until the jay came back
and took over again.

Any minute now
we expect to see
the starlings return
and take over the suet
for a raucous dessert.


Mrs. O’Malley
from across the alley
has another small job
for my father to do
which makes my mother

unhappy because
Mrs. O’Malley’s been
bothering Father for years,
parading around in shorts
and halter top, watering

flowers in her yard
when Father goes out
to cut the grass and weed.
Neighbor ladies have
warned my mother

about Mrs. O’Malley
from across the alley
because too many husbands
have too often helped
Mrs. O’Malley too well.



They’re widows,
old and gray, bent over
a quilting frame, sewing
to meet a deadline

for the next raffle
talking and sewing in
grand memories
of husbands

dead for years
remembered daily
missed deeply
loved forever by

six quilters, all
cheerleaders waiting
to leap when their men
walk through the door.


Dr. Sander’s wife
is a woman of means
who dresses down
when she visits
food pantries

as do her neighbors.
They take surplus in
every few weeks.
At the end of the year
they claim a tax exemption.

A neighbor told her
how to do it while
staying out of dark
and murky places.
Together they drive
cans and bottles to

their suburban pantries
run by nice people who
serve the frail elderly or
those laid off 
and looking for food

to maintain a lifestyle
and pay their mortgage
while finding a job.
Dr. Sander’s wife would
never drive into the city

and help the destitute.
Why go into harm’s way
just to be free of clutter
and pick up a little
tax exemption.


How are things, Adolph?
This is Brian, on leave from NBC.
Thanks for the interview.
It’ll run when I get back
sometime in September.
You’ve been gone
70 years or so now.
What’s new?

It’s hot down here,
says Adolph.
Not a drop to drink.
My mustache
burned off the first day.
All my soldiers now
shout “Hell!” not “Heil!"
Osama and I talk about

what went wrong
but he’s been busy lately
telling the guys from ISIS
this isn’t paradise so
quit looking for virgins.
We expect the boys
from Boko Haram any day.
Oy, will they be surprised.



I turn the porch light on at 4 a.m.
to see if a miracle’s occurred
and the paper's landed somewhere

in the snow blanketing our lawn.
Instead I see a clump on the mat
a one-eyed cat dazed by the cold

looking at me as if to say
“Are you the guy I saw
a week ago before I ran?"

Every morning now I feed
two feral toms at our back door
but never a cat at our front door.

My wife might say okay
once she knows this cat's
a lady in big trouble.

When I open the door
the cat runs across the street
turns around, sits on the curb

looks at me and says, “Listen, Mister,
I’m cold and hungry but we just met.
One quick peek is all you get.”


After 50 years Wilma
at her class reunion thinks
Waldo’s changed with age

that he’s nice now, not
the snake she wed
right after high school

and quietly divorced.
Both are widowed now
and Wilma looks lovely.

Tonight she has Waldo
swaying to the rhythm
of her voice but Wilma

needs to know a cobra
coiled in its basket can
wait to nip its charmer.


Today's LittleNip:


Gramps by the fire
in his rocker, hunched over,
is rolling his smoke with care

when Tom, his grandson, asks,
“What’s the most important thing
to look for in a wife?”

Gramps stares into the fire intently
then finally says, “You want a wife
with a low voice and a nice walk,

a low voice because later in life
your ears give out but her odd jobs
become more numerous

and a nice walk because you want to
let her go first forever and make
all that extra work worthwhile.”


—Medusa, with many thanks to today's contributors!