Sunday, January 01, 2017

Cutting Out Those Cheeseburgers!

Astronomical Clock, Prague
—Poems by Donal Mahoney, St. Louis, MO
(—Anonymous Photos)


Months roar by like weeks
and weeks disappear like days,
two coots in a bar admit
on New Year’s Eve,
reminiscing over a beer
and counting birthdays,
wondering what awaits them
on the other side.

Walt’s optimistic.
He says the other side
means no more pills,
no more referrals,
happiness again.

“Bunk,” says Elmo.
"There’s nothing
on the other side.
Take my word for it.
There’s only diddly-squat
in the ether."

Walt says that’s a nasty
thing to say in light of
Sister Mary Rose.
She paddled them
in third grade for
making fun of Patsy Foley.

“I deserved the paddle,”
Elmo says. “She never
hit us hard enough to hurt
but I yelled anyway
to make her feel good.
She’s out there now
swimming in the ether.
I’ll see her soon."

Walt hails the waitress
for two more beers
and another pack
of salted peanuts.

Then he tells Elmo
as he does
every New Year’s Eve
to sell his condo
and move in with him.
Plenty of room.

Elmo says "no can do."
All those prayers
would kill him.

Both men agree
to meet again
next New Year’s Eve
if all goes well.

Neither wants to leave
the other sitting
in a little bar
on New Year’s Eve,
cracking peanuts
over a single beer
while the other’s
swimming in the ether.
Or maybe smiling
on the other side.

 Seth Thomas Co. Tower Clock Movement


Coming toward young Tony now
are the husband and his wife,
that older woman from last night,

the one he danced with New Year's Eve
while downing Heinekens and shots of Jack,
the one he didn't know was married.

She told him he was tall for just 16
and that he danced like Fred Astaire.
But now it's noon on New Year's Day

and the husband just whacked Tony
harder than the drummer
whacked his drums last night.

Falling backward like a slab,
Tony sees the golden halo of the sun
swirl until it disappears.

Later on the gurney, Tony almost hears
the doctor give the nurse his diagnosis,
"a Romeo's comeuppance, not to worry."


Jim and Joe had something in common.
They died at 80 going to the bathroom in
the middle of the night, as Walt discovered

when he tried to call them on New Year's Day.
Jim's widow said Jim had died from a stroke.
Joe's widow said Joe had tripped on a rug,

banged his head on the commode,
died in intensive care a week later.
Jim and Joe had been mentors to Walt,

more like uncles really, after his dad died in Korea.
The next 50 years Walt stayed in touch with both men,
calling them on New Year's Day from different cities.

Their advice helped Walt survive three job losses,
a foreclosure, two car wrecks and four divorces.
Last year Jim warned Walt growing old meant not

being able to put your underwear on standing up.
"I have to sit on the bed now," Jim said.
That New Year's Day, Walt called Joe and asked

if Jim was right and Joe confirmed that he too
had to sit on the bed to get his underwear on.
He told Walt every man has to sit at some point.

At 60, Walt could still put his underwear on
standing up but he had to hop on one leg
pogo-stick style to get the job done.

One time he almost fell but landed in a chair.
His fourth wife Belinda still laughs about it
even though they're no longer married.

After hearing his mentors had died
going to the bathroom in the middle of the night,
Walt decided to take some precautions.

He installed night lights along the baseboards
going from the bedroom to the bathroom, began
eating salads and fruit instead of cheeseburgers,

browsed the Bible occasionally in the morning,
stopped drinking beer late into the night, now
sips wine coolers from jelly jars instead.


—Medusa, wishing you the best of a new year—and thanks to Donal Mahoney for his poems today, putting things into perspective as he does….

 —Celebrate another year in poetry!

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