Sunday, December 25, 2016

Too Easy to Forget...

—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, CA
—Poems by Donal Mahoney, St. Louis, MO

—Donal Mahoney, St. Louis, MO

Twin sons
in different cities
decked out in new suits
fly home for the holidays
arrive at the airport
within the same hour.

Dad picks them up
but doesn’t head home.
It’s near midnight
a cold Christmas Eve.

He heads for the city
humming old carols.
His sons want to know
where they are going.
What is he up to?
They never can tell.

Soon they find out
arriving downtown
driving past men
maybe two dozen
on Christmas Eve
huddled on curbs
leaning against buildings.

He wants his young sons
now first-year attorneys
great jobs and good money
to know what they have
but to remember forever
there’s a world without selfies.

Tomorrow it’s church
a golden turkey to follow
toasts and good cheer
so easy to forget
men huddled on curbs
leaning against buildings
on a cold Christmas Eve
homeless for the holidays.

 —Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Donal Mahoney

Widow in a rocker
pets her calico cat
long strokes slowly.

With the cat purring
and the widow humming
Beethoven fills the house

with memories of
the many years
of mistletoe

and aftershave
as snowflakes
dot the window.

—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA


Millie comes home bawling
from another holiday party and
Willie asks what’s the problem.

Millie says her friends are cheese balls.
“They’re all widows, short and round,"
and she’s afraid when Willie dies

she’ll eat everything in the fridge
and become a cheese ball, too.
Willie hugs his beloved Millie

and assures her with a kiss,
“You’ll never be a cheese ball, Darling
You're too tall. A cheese stick, maybe.”

 Radical Bird
—Photo by Katy Brown


He's a chef today but Raj Patel
was once a swami in another life
and a mongoose twice
in other lives as well.
All this occurred in Bangalore
before he came to Chicago,
he tells customers while bringing
cups of foaming Indian tea
and bowls of mango ice cream
to tables in his small cafe,
a steamy oasis on this
freezing Christmas Day.
"Drink up," he says.
"No charge for tea
on Christmas Day."

His regulars come to pay
homage to his chicken curry
as well as to his revelations
about the lives he's lived,
one life after another,
over many centuries.
Every time he dies, Raj says,
he's swept right back
in another guise and he'll
keep coming back, he says,
until he gets life right.
"Every man comes back
until he gets life right.
There is no other way."

Having been a mongoose twice,
and having killed a cobra,
Raj Patel prays every night
that he'll come back
the next time as a sparrow
because sparrows always
have enough to eat, he says.
"They fly around, copulate
feed their young and never die,
as far as I can tell.
Have you ever seen a sparrow
rotting in the street?
I have not but I'll keep looking."

Raj Patel says he'll believe
sparrows live forever until
he finds a fallen sparrow
somewhere in the street.
"Prove me wrong," he says.
"Bring me a fallen sparrow
and you will feast like a sultan
on chicken curry, basmati rice,
mango ice cream and chai tea,
everything absolutely free!
McDonald's will never offer
a deal as good as that!"


Today’s LittleNip:

Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store.

—Dr. Seuss


—Medusa, with thanks to Donal Mahoney, Michelle Kunert and Katy Brown for today’s holiday fare, and wishing everyone, both in and out of The Kitchen, a day of good cheer!

 Celebrate the poetry of lights!
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

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