Friday, August 21, 2015

Those Good Tomatoes

Taylor and Hatch Graham's Chicks When They Were Little
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA
—Poems by Donal Mahoney, St. Louis, MO


It’s a big book, a thousand pages,
a million words, a bestseller,
and the verbs are mad as hell
because the nouns get all the credit
even though the nouns go nowhere
if the verbs don’t take them,
never mind the adjectives,
those leeches on the nouns,
getting the same free ride.

It’s reached the point where the verbs
have had enough and plan to quit
the book and leave the pages blank
unless they get $15.00 an hour
to keep on dragging nouns
and adjectives from cover to cover
plus overtime tossed in
for adverbs and prepositions
and a nice bonus for conjunctions.



          Chicago, South Side

Late July and I am waiting
for those good tomatoes
brought to the city from farms
on trucks with a swinging scale,
brought to the city
and into the alleys
by Greeks and sons
in late July
and early August,
tomatoes so red they reign
on the sills of my mind all winter
too perfect to eat.

 —Photo by Katy Brown


Birds and possums,
coons and squirrels
frequent my wife’s garden.

Dawn to dusk I spy on them
from an upstairs window
next to my computer.

They remind me of the city
poor foraging in Dumpsters.
This morning a coon dispatched

a possum that had
frightened away two feral cats
I feed every day at 4 a.m.

When I went out on the deck
and waved my arms to dispatch
the coon, he sat on his rump

and stared at me with a glare
I saw 50 years ago in the eyes
of a girl who became a nun.

She is still a nun today.
She said cut it out back then.
As did the coon today.



Find the book
and blow
the dust off.

It’s somewhere
in the house.
Every house

used to have one
if only to record
births and deaths.

Find the passage
about the sparrows
and you will see

that you and I
and every man
are worth more

than any sparrow
yet you and I
and every man may

spread seed
or old bread
for sparrows 

on a winter day
yet hustle past
the homeless man

who squats
in sun or snow
outside McDonald’s.



Mrs. O’Toole is raking leaves
at 93 with vigor as strong
as Tim has seen for decades.

He crosses the street and asks
his neighbor how she's doing.
Not good, says Mrs. O'Toole.

Her doctor has told her
she doesn’t have much time.
She has a blood problem

with a long name and no cure.
She’ll fade away without pain.
May have a year at most.

Cancelled her daily paper
and now must rake her leaves.
A young couple bought the house.

 —Photo by Katy Brown


An old nun sitting
on a bench in front of her convent
saying her beads was

interrupted by a young nun
coming home from school
to the convent for the night.

She asked the old nun if she had heard
about the Supreme Court passing
the gay marriage law

and the old nun said she had.
The young nun seemed surprised.
“Well, Sister, you don’t seem upset!”

The old nun looked at her beads
and said, “This isn't Roe v. Wade.
This law won't kill anybody."



If The Donald gets his way
Lupe will no longer
clean toilets in America

working in hotels
following her husband,
Pablo, as he follows

produce ripening
on vines and trees
and in fields from

California to Alabama
picking peaches
and melons every day

week after week
during the harvest
for you and for me and

The Donald who says
if he gets his way,
Lupe and Pablo will

go back to the village
where a toilet has
yet to be seen.

—Photo by Carol Bales


On a hot summer day
when no one goes outside
unless they have to, I think

of Whitey, the cat we
found on a December day
in the garage of a house

we had just moved into
and how Whitey
neither tame nor feral

stayed on the property
for years and used the
seasons to her advantage

especially winter.
After a heavy snow
I'd shovel and leave

a clear sidewalk and
small walls of snow
Whitey would sit

next to motionless
waiting for my wife
to spread seed for

cardinals and jays
and mourning doves
to come and feed.

The cardinals and jays
got away but sometimes
a dove would stay behind.


Today’s LittleNip:


In the apricot glow
of sunset two

hummingbirds come
to the red feeder

show a little one
how to sip


—Medusa, with thanks to today's fine chefs for a hearty breakfast in the Kitchen!

Tiny Life