Friday, July 22, 2016

Old Poems in the Attic

Model T Ford, Cal. State Fair, 2016
—State Fair photos today are by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento
—Poems by Donal Mahoney, St. Louis, MO


You find old poems in the attic
in a box with the Remington Rand
you wrote them on in the Sixties
before computers were born.

They were published then in little
magazines like Bitterroot, the one
put out by Menke Katz, who loved
poetry by anyone from anywhere
who gave everything to write it.

What to do now with these poems
still breathing on paper but
scarred by erasures, smudges
and yellowed by time.

You could send them out
to a website where they might
appear until the site disappears
for reasons that take over
the editor's life.

Or you could put them back in
the box with the Remington Rand
and use a Sharpie to write
a note on the box that says
"Don’t throw this box out.
A heart ticks in here.”



That’s a very big tree
and a boy scout could climb it
with all the right gear.

But it’s a condominium, too.
You would disturb families.
Blue Jays don’t feature

interruptions when they
have young in the nest.
They put up with

squirrels scampering
across the branches.
Robins have young too

but they have no interest
in seeds or nuts and
no one else likes worms.

Sparrows chatter away
and raise a ruckus since
they have young also.

Why not wait until fall
when the young leave the tree.
Fall's a great time for a climb.

 1951 Buick Roadmaster Estate Car


A reporter asked Wilbur once
if there were any advantages
to being deaf and Wilbur

used sign language to say
not that he could think of
except you miss all the gossip

and that’s a good thing
if you live alone in a trailer camp
in a small town in Oklahoma

but it’s not a good thing
when a tornado comes through
and everyone else hears it

at midnight and gets out alive
but they forget to wake you
and you go up with the tornado

along with a dog
you can’t hear barking,
two small stars in the sky.

 Buick Roadmaster


Yes, fifty years ago today
it happened. Quite a story.
He was your favorite uncle
and he liked you a lot too.
You were all torn up.
You were just a kid.
No one wanted to tell you.
You might have been
the one person he liked.

He drove your aunt crazy,
their kids as well.
He hated the rich and
hated the poor and
everyone in between.
Nasty to everyone
except you as a child.

You can’t be that way
when you’re a teller
in a farm town bank.
He wouldn't have
had a job if your
grandfather hadn't
owned the bank.

He’d sass farmers
and they’d complain
but there he’d be
cashing checks
and counting money
again the next day.

He should have
listened to that guy
at the window
when he whispered
put all the money
in the paper bag.
Everyone saw the gun.
Wrong guy to sass
fifty years ago today.



I turn on the news to see
who won the game last night
but first the scores from
hot spots in the city.

Two people are killed
and a house is set on fire.
An infant burns to death.

Two men hijack a car
and a mother is killed.
Her baby is tossed
from the car and
found a block away
alive in a car seat.

The mayor says
we need more cops.
Money’s the problem.

The police chief says
he’s sending more cops
to hot spots in the city.

The anchor says at noon
a demonstration at City Hall
for Black Lives Matter.

He doesn’t mention
any demonstrations at
hot spots in the city.

 "UFO Alien Abduction Lamp" by Frank Barrera


I never think about bison.
After all, I live in St. Louis,
why should I?

But when I went hunting
for quail in Montana
I tripped and

broke my leg, flopped
on the tundra all night.
Come morning

I saw bison romping
toward me, hundreds of them
coming in thunder.

I heard them snorting.
Honestly, I’m not lying.
I thought about bison then.

I never think about ISIS, either.
I live in St. Louis, after all,
why should I?

"Hearing With Our Eyes" by Rayna Zurkick


The doctor tells Phil and his wife
he’s in pretty good health for a man
his age but he needs to exercise.

And Phil says he agrees
and then goes on to explain
his faith in recliner therapy.

He sits in a recliner for hours,
watches TV or reads the paper
and wiggles his toes

at least three times a day.
The doctor asks if his wife if
they’d try a stationary bicycle.

She says she thinks there's
one somewhere in the basement.
Phil says his wife’s right as usual.

He saw it one night during a storm
when he went down to change a fuse.
Said he almost had a heart attack.

 "Refrigerator" by Irene Baldwin


When she leaves the room
when will she be back

When she leaves the house
how long will she be gone

When she must go out of town
why not Skype instead

When they send her overseas
there better be two tickets


Today’s LittleNip:


Should she write about
the wonders of nature
and say it’s okay to lie

on the beach forever
without any sunscreen
or write at night about

the melanomas of life
under a skylight and
hope they’re excised.


—Medusa, with many thanks to Donal Mahoney for today’s poems, and to Cynthia LInville for more photos of this year’s Cal. State Fair. (See also Cynthia’s State Fair at Night photo album on Medusa’s Facebook page.)

 "Missing Link" by Janelle Sodona

Celebrate poetry!

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