Friday, August 19, 2016

That Trump Card

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


It’s midnight
and I’m too tired to stroll
in my Wall Street garden
to check on the nightlife

among the flowers
and wildlife
under the moonlight
so I let my eyes

float silently out
above the garden
like flying saucers
spying on all below.

At dawn my eyes return
rheumy and red and tell me
the garden’s a war zone
and warn me

not to go out there 
without a bazooka.
They tell me
of moles and voles

popping out of holes
to be eaten alive by
possums and coons
with saliva dripping

as they forage hell-bent
for something to eat.
Moles and voles are
something to eat.

Possums and coons
are Wall Street gluttons.
They hold the Trump card
and dine at will.



Stretched on the couch
by the living room window,
too tired to rise,
verify locks and the stove,
officially retire, he hears outside
blasts of a curse, fists, and feet
running.  In the morning,
before he leaves for the train,
crisp in his seersucker suit,
he walks around to the window,
finds creeping bent torn,
roses beheaded,
the hedge with a hole
the girth of a man.
He will be too upset
this morning
to read his paper
on the train.



She was about the doing
not about applause

canning tomatoes in summer
baking pies in fall
quilting winter away

using watercolors
to paint robins in spring
hopping across the lawn

listening for dinner
in the softening ground.



When he saw her in heels
he said she’s the one so
he said his “I do,” never to
climb a different mountain.

That night he began 
at her ankles, climbed
seams in her stockings,
moved over her hips

and circled her waist,
strolled up her spine and
stood on her shoulders,
took a deep breath and

rappelled to the smile
he saw on her breasts.
Many years later his life
is a song in her valley.

 Beach Flowers


She speaks the truth
as she always has
in 40 years of marriage

especially when she’s
lost in making dinner.
This time though

she has to wash
blood from the paring knife
before she peels

the last of the potatoes.
Until the knife went in
he didn’t think in 40 years

she had noticed that
for a man his size he  
has small shoulders.



The old couple sits in recliners
after dinner the way old couples do
and she tells him what she saw
in the yard that first warm day
and it’s crocuses and daffodils
no tulips yet but she knows
tulips will pop any day
and he listens because there
might be a quiz but then

she sees the gun in his lap
and she asks why it’s there
and he says it’s in case
she repeats the remark
she made the night before
because this time he’ll shoot
the words out of the air
quicker than a pheasant
in hunting season and

blood will splatter
on the ceiling and walls
because this time she won't
put a hole in his heart as she
did last night and maybe
the two of them can return
to who they were before
she spoke and he survived,
hanging on to life.

 Surf Fishing


Strapped to his bed
in the nursing home,
he tells every nurse
who comes in
and tightens his straps
his trouble started

in first grade when
he'd make a mistake
reciting the alphabet
in the kitchen for Mother
while Father in the parlor
waited for an error

and then dragged him
down to the basement
and made him stand
in a tub of hot coals
plucked from the furnace
until he was able 

to recite his letters
without error and then
Father would take him
upstairs to Mother who
put salve on his feet
so he could recite

his letters all over again,
this time without mistake
which Father pointed out,
decades later in the same
nursing home, was proof
his boy had learned a lesson.

 Humpback Whale


When Bill was a lad
his parents preached that
Scripture was the truth.

Decades later now
Bill still believes that.
In college, though,

his professors told him
science was the truth.
Bill still believes that, too.

But there’s another truth
that Scripture and science
never clarified for Bill.

At age 13 he saw it
scratched on a wall
in black graffiti

above a public urinal,
a universal truth he had
just begun to understand.

The message was
“Big tits are the greatest!”
a truth he still believes as well.

 Whale 2


This time there’s a postscript:
“If ever I cook dinner for you,
it will be Coquilles St. Jacques
and Jefferson Davis Pie.”

Imagine Angela,
after all these years,
rising and gliding
to check on my pie,

wouldn’t that be something?
Angela, come to Chicago,
and bring all of your cats.
I’ll watch those cats

in your lap napping,
you in my lap napping,
the cats at their bowls lapping,
and I in my chair laughing.

Angela, bring all of your cats
and come to Chicago
to make Coquilles St. Jacques
and Jefferson Davis Pie.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Donal Mahoney

Young hummingbird swirls
and darts to the red feeder.
Black cat waits below.


—Medusa, with thanks to Donal Mahoney and Katy Brown for today’s highly satisfying breakfast in the Kitchen! Katy's photos were taken in Pacifica, CA, when she and Sandy Thomas read down there recently.

(Anonymous Photo)
Celebrate poetry, and the magnificence of the sea!


Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.