Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Zombies, Spiders & Chicken Bones

—Poems by Donal Mahoney, St. Louis, MO
—Poems by Katy Brown, Davis, CA


The nice thing about being dead
is you no longer care if the doctor
mucked up your diagnosis and the 

pharmacist gave you the wrong pills.
You're cozy now in a comfy casket
six feet below all the carnage 

in the world, without a worry, when
a mastodon tsunami rolls over your
peaceful cemetery and uproots

thousands of caskets, tossing them
high in the sky and forcing you
and all the other zombies to float.

You discover no port will take
undocumented zombies.
You have no papers, after all;

you can't prove who you were or are
so you and the other zombies float
for God knows how long since

God may not believe in zombies.
This is a rupture not a rapture.
And while you float, your lawyer

meets with your relatives who
no longer weep about your passing.
They smile as he reads your will.

They plan on taking a family cruise
with the proceeds from your estate.
They'll dine on lobster and steak,

lay waste continuous buffets while
you and the other zombies float
farther out, unable to find a port

where citizens will bury the likes of you.
Property values will drop, they shout.
They can't drop their signs and let you in.


We’ve been married 40 years
and we eat dinner together
every night, Maisie,

except when I'm out
of town on business.
That can’t be helped

with bills and a mortgage.
But never in 40 years till
the other night did I ever

hear you say something
that stuck in my throat
like a chicken bone.

That bone is still there
and I feel it whenever we
eat dinner but never

at lunch eating alone.
So after dinner tonight
I’m packing my bags

and going to a hotel.
We can have dinner at
the diner sometime

and if the bone's not
stuck in my throat we
can kiss and make up,

provided you admit
the hairs in my nose
aren't crabgrass.


Sixty years ago,
the two of us rode tricycles
up a little hill
behind our school.
Nothing stopped us till 
mothers called us home.

Sixty years later,
we ride mountain bikes
in this wilderness.
We'll keep pedaling till
someone takes our bikes.
We know that someone will.

Your wife told me
you haven't been
to church in years.
She's worried
about your heart.
Skips a beat?

Let's stop for coffee
and you can fill me in.
There's not much time.
Maybe we should stop
for a beer instead.
There's a cliff ahead.


He's my buddy, this tiny spider
sitting in his web, not moving,
waiting for a fly that never comes.

The problem is, he spun his web
in a bathroom on the 30th floor
of an office building

where in 20 years I've never
seen a fly or other insect,
never mind a spider.

The man from pest control
comes after hours
and sprays in silence.

We call him Spray Can Man,
He has "Butch" on his shirt
and creases in his pants

pressed by a wife who packs
hearty lunches, I suspect.
I've watched Spray Can Man

twenty years and never heard
him speak to anyone working
overtime in a little cubicle.

Years ago we'd say hello to him 
just like Trash Can Man and Mop Lady.
I said "Merry Christmas" to him once

and Spray Can Man never looked up.
He kept looking down, like an anteater,
spraying one baseboard after another.

When it comes to insects,
Spray Can Man is a serial killer.
Yet the spider in the bathroom

has escaped his gaze and lives on
despite the lack of any flies to eat.
The spider doesn't know death's

his destination even though
I know some day soon
his life will be swept away,

perhaps by execution if
one of my fellow workers
sees him waiting for a fly

or if Spray Can Man spots him.
This spider will discover
life is just a belch in time

as I'll find out too some day.
If I'm wrong about what's to come,
I'll have missed a lot of fun.

Green Heron


This time, why
doesn’t matter
all that matters is

what and when
it’s finally over
he'll know

who was right
the last time
he saw them

at the wake
20 years ago
his big sister

the atheist
his little brother
the monk


Ed's wife found a sinkhole
in the yard a year ago
a foot wide, several feet deep

and she wanted it filled.
No problem, said Ed.
The sinkhole is hidden

behind a big bush
next to their garage. 
Sometimes a feral cat,

good as its eyes may be,
falls into the hole at night,
never to come out.

The yowling can go on
longer than a week.
Neighbors around

Ed’s stockade fence
ask where the yowling
is coming from and Ed

asks them if they
have a cat in heat.
They always say no

and the questions stop.
Meanwhile, feral cats,
once a plague in Ed's yard,

no longer crouch
in the foliage and leap
to pluck robins and

cardinals out of the air.
Birds can worship now
at Ed’s suet and feeders,

wipe their beaks in peace,
serenaded at times
by the yowling.


Let’s not worry about it, Dearie,
life gets better, life gets worse.
We’re no different than

the seasons of the year except
we’re luckier than most having
lived our lives in summer.

We're falling now among
the leaves of autumn
and we have winter yet

to face with ice and snow.
Let’s put the kettle on for tea,
grab a blanket and stay warm.

We'll light a fire and discover
if we’re evergreen or tropical 
when spring arrives next year.

Today's LittleNip(s):

I told my guest
it’s just a poem
doesn't mean a thing

a salad tossed
with colors bright
while listening to

piccolos of
wrens and robins
overcome by spring

       * * * * *


Sometimes you sit for days
sucking yourself in
praying the right words
will fall in your ear
toboggan over the whorls
pierce the canal
and settle in your brain,
an embryonic delight.
Sometimes you sit for days
and finally the words come
and they're always a surprise
like the first tulip in April
or a sudden
orgasm for your wife.


—Medusa, with thanks to today's Master Chefs in the Kitchen!

Shy Bluebird