©Moronic Ox Literary Journal - Escape Media Publishers / Open Books
The Poetry of Donal Mahoney

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About the Author:
Donal Mahoney has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. A Pushcart Prize nominee like so many others, he has had poems published or forthcoming in The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Blue Lakes Review, Commonweal, Public Republic (Bulgaria), Revival (Ireland), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey), Pirene's Fountain (Australia) and other publications.

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Charming Bill
Donal Mahoney

When she sees him in the morning he’s
all foamed up and in the mirror shaving
so she stands behind him, saying,
“Bill, your father was a ladies’ man--
that's why you have a way with women.
Deirdre, you kissed once, light on the lips.
Bridget, ah, the melon of her hips
you kept inviolate, whole, entire.
But since your father was a ladies’ man,
you will be a priest instead.
You will never fill a woman,
never watch her swell,
and she'll be the better for it,
won’t she, Charming Bill.”
Married Man Shy
Donal Mahoney

Of her eyes
and of her hair
I have been
aware one year
but I have said
no more than
I’ll be gone
all afternoon,
take all calls,
all messages.
Genocide of Pins
Donal Mahoney

Beneath the bowling-alley
bar marquee
the rain tonight

hammers off
the concrete.
Inside, beer flops

bottle into glass.
Beyond the bar,
bright lights

reveal a Bowler’s day:
fluorescent shirts
red, yellow, green,

and everywhere
a roar so loud
one can barely hear

the genocide of pins
slain by balls
a lifetime now in transit.
Jimmy the Blind Man Says He's in Love
Donal Mahoney

Remember, a blind man
can see things a sighted man can't.
So I'll tell you about her and then
you can tell me whether I'm right.

The first time a man meets her,
his eyes flicker and dart.
Desire, an appropriate reaction.
The first time a woman meets her,
her eyes pop out and coil on her forehead.
Envy, another appropriate reaction.

Today, who can blame either?
Today, who believes the canard
about the true, the good, the beautiful,
in theory or in a woman?
I never believed it

till the day that I met her.
And you won't believe it either
unless you do what I did--frisk her for flaws
that will allow you to live as you are,
as you were, as I was when I met her.
As for me, I'm no longer the same.
Perhaps you can help me.

The day that I met her, I was sitting
on pillows propped against the wall not far from Walmart.
I had my cane and my cup properly positioned.
I was ready for business.
And then I heard heels type on the pavement
the story of my life. I could hear in those heels
a woman who knew me although we had never met. 

I had my baseball cap upside down on the sidewalk
between my outstretched legs.
It was full of my wares--pencils, spearmint gum
and Tootsie Pops, free, for the children.

When her heels stopped in front of my spot,
I sensed this lady had bent over my cap
and was checking my wares. Her hair
was a waterfall licking at my knees.
I was inebriated by her scent.
She selected two pencils and didn't ask price
so I knew that I had a real customer.
And then with a wave of her hand she let
paper money float through the air
into my cup. Believe me, a blind man
can see with his mind the butterfly
of paper money float to his cup.
Any denomination, large or small,
is a Monarch afloat on a zephyr.

Customers, you see, usually drop change.
A blind man can tell you what coins
a customer has dropped by the clink in his cup.
So when I heard her Monarch take to the air,
I forgot about my teeth and smiled up at her.
I usually don't smile on weekdays.
I used to smile on weekends till Mother

got hit by that Hummer. She was never the same.
On Saturdays she used to bring meals in tinfoil
labeled in braille to tuck in my freezer.
She wanted me to know which meals were where
but I was never able to read her braille
so I ate whatever the microwave served.

This new lady in heels, however,
has stolen my bereavement and taken me captive.
She has me smiling. I've been stoned on her musk
since the day that I met her and I'm getting more wobbly.
Everywhere I go her scent surrounds me.
I'm an addict now and I need my cane and my dog
just to get around the apartment.

So, please tell everyone now in the parade passing by
to listen to her as I did and in time they may hear,
as I can hear now, a year later, the cherubim sing
as she blooms with our child like a sunflower in summer
while I wonder, I try.
Donal Mahoney
Halloween: Flashlight in the Gangway
Donal Mahoney

The lack of visitors is uterine
and that is why you porcupine
in this dark corner. Here

who can see the cobra
slither from your lips, spray
the phrases of your mind,

slip back to its moist nest?
Here, who can hear the jeer
of cheetah eyes? “Come,”

they cry, “pour on the light.
Your heart I’ll lacerate
with razor fright.”
Fresh, Tinned Or Frozen
Donal Mahoney

Father was a snap bean,
that’s all, Sis,
nothing more.
Fresh, tinned or frozen,
the greens of snap beans vary.

Neighbors in the yard,
clerks at the store,
folks at church,
you and me and bawling Ma,
for years we fed his strange chameleons

so we can swear, on the Bible,
Father was a snap bean,
that’s all, Sis.
Nothing more.
Fresh, tinned or frozen.
Tornadoes in the Parlor
Donal Mahoney

Tornadoes in the parlor,
in the kitchen, in the bathroom, too,
churned every hour Dad was home.
He never worked
and with good reason.
Sis could tell you more.
She'd help Ma board up the house
when I'd walk out the door
and ride my bike around the block.
If you find Sis today,
she’ll tell you funnels
tore the basement, too.
So what, you say?
Well, Dad’s been gone
for seven years 
and Sis is somewhere.
She needs to know
good weather here
is still a squall.
Quality and Conscience