Friday, April 21, 2017

Crazed by the Honey

—Poems by Donal Mahoney, Belleville, IL
—Photos by Katy Brown, Davis, CA


Down the patio walk,
white stones, through the garden,
under the trellis toward me
yellow frock, yellow hair
rising and falling

I lie in my lawn chair,
spoon honeydew sherbet, sip
pink ade from a tall glass,
cubes circling

She is almost upon me
I look up and I tell her
I have sand, sea, skies, laughs,
all paid for and nothing
nothing at all to do.



I look in the mirror and I'm not there.
Where did I go? I don't know
so I look around and see my wife
with the dogs and kids.
Not one of them sees me.
Recliner's empty. So's the bed.
I must be somewhere; I always am.
Barber claims he saw me yesterday
and I won't need another trim
for a month or more.
Dentist says I have no teeth to fix,
that I should keep gummin' it,
so why would I go there?
Maybe I'll call my sister who knows
nothing about me now.
We haven't talked in 20 years.
When no one's in the mirror
they sometimes find me
behind the couch chompin'
on a Dagwood sandwich
but this time it's different.
Where am I? Heaven? Hell?
Somewhere in between?
I hear Hoagy on the piano
playing "Georgia on My Mind."
Text me on a cloud
if he plays "Stardust."
The drinks will be on me
for everyone in the house.


One, a nun, has
her transfer in her hand.
She's silently praying.

Another, a hooker, has
her income in her purse.
She's lighting a cigarette.

Another, a mother, has
her mind on her children.
She's going to work.

None of them knows what
they share this morning:
ova ripening.



Natural Family Planning
has its ups and downs
so to speak but it often

works quite well.
But when the calendar
says not tonight

I ask my wife to please
go in another room
with that banana.


Jesse was a common man
he never made a lot of money
he had a troubled marriage.

His wife left him for another man
he never saw his kids again.

Although he never wrote a book
he read hundreds of them
trying to solve riddles in his life.

But Jesse had a lisp, you see,
and others liked to laugh.

After he died last week
the undertaker poured his ashes
over the edge of an ocean cliff.

He liked to watch eagles dive
and carry away big fish.

Jesse was a common man 
as are we whose whole is
greater than our parts.

But Jesse had a lisp, you see,
and others liked to laugh.



On weekday mornings
on a quiet corner
three moms with small  
sons and daughters
wait for a school bus
they hope is coming

The children laugh
play a game of tag
three moms are silent
three feet apart

One reads a book
another smokes
the other checks
her cell phone

The bus pulls up
the kids pile on
and rush to windows
to wave good-bye
the moms all wave
as if in sync

The bus takes off 
makes its turn
three moms
walk home
three feet apart
down the block
without a word

three moms
with children gone
are free at last
white, black and brown 


The cur dog
tethered to a stake
across the road
runs back and forth
barking all day
then breaks free.
He’s off and running
down the road, happy
as a dog can be.

Across the road Willie
in his rocker on the porch
cheers the dog’s escape
and tells his wife
knitting in another rocker
that he’s a cur dog, too,
tethered to the Earth
but only for a spell.
He’ll break free as well,

something he has told her
many times before in
50 years of marriage.
Despite his fantasies
she loves him still
and fills his pipe,
sticks it in his mouth
and lights it as he did
for himself for years.
Then she tells him we'll
do what the dog did, Willie.
We’ll bark all day and see.



We have a drop-off problem in America.
We must decide which restroom
one can use when nature beckons.
So far, tumult reigns among the people.

If we declare both genders equal
as well as every variation within the two
everyone can share the same restroom 
and stand or sit as necessity requires.

But some find this approach offensive
and if they win, perhaps we should
evaluate what some Third World folks
have used peacefully for centuries.

They dig a hole behind the bushes
and stack some leaves nearby.
No need to have a plunger.
When so moved, just drop by.


Dylann Roof defended himself
in the sentencing phase of his trial
after he was convicted of killing

nine people during a Bible study,
the nine people who welcomed him
after he walked into their church.

Had I been the judge I would have
asked Mr. Roof to approach the bench
for a private consultation and I’d have

said the court knows you’re sane
because you were certified to stand trial
and you have said insanity is not

the reason you killed these people.
You said it had to be done and you did it.
Mr. Roof, are you possessed?



My parents were
far from preachy.
They went to church
separately and I went
to the children’s service
separately as well.

But as a family we
went to many Irish wakes
that enabled me
last New Year’s Day
to look death in the eye
when my daughter died
after a long fight to live.

I’m old enough now
to listen for the bell signaling 
my own last round with death.
Hard to believe I've made it this far.
I may even lead on points
but any bookie will tell you
death by a knockout at the end.


A doctor by day
Ralph spends his nights
ordering tulip bulbs

from Holland
beautiful and rare
to arrive in autumn

to plant and think about
for months ahead until
spring arrives and the

tulips become a rainbow
beautiful in his garden.
Ralph talks about tulips

at the office every day
where he pulls small bulbs
from the gardens of patients.

Unlike his tulips
those bulbs don’t grow,
never become a rainbow.



Earlier than ever this morning
I wait for copy to vacuum.
It must be free of error
and the deadline is near.
But what matters today isn’t news
about war, poverty or race riots
ripping the city.
What matters today
is the warm quicksand
of that good woman
under me again,
taking me in.
Let her writhe,
let her tug at her knees,
let her legs go off
in every direction.
Let her take what I have
and lunge for more.
I’ll be here forever,
a bee crazed by the honey
buttering her thighs.


Today’s LittleNip(s): Two Senryus:

Sagebrush on Broadway
a Big Mac wrapper tumbles
softly down the street



If smiles had echoes
all the world would hear Grandma's
bouncing off the stars


Our thanks to Donal Mahoney and Katy Brown for their wonderful contributions to our Friday. Tonight, head over to Davis to hear Joshua McKinney and Hannah Stein read at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 7:30pm. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

Note also that there is a new photo album on Medusa's Facebook page, this one by Katy Brown of last Saturday's Sacramento Voices reading. Check it out at

And today's Sacramento Bee has an article about Mahogany Urban Poetry Series and other Sacramento readings at


Celebrate Poetry!

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.