Sunday, May 18, 2014

Donal Mahoney

The Bully, the Psychopath, Libby and Lorraine

Fred was a bully who always bothered Lenny on the way to school. Fred was four years older than Lenny. One day Lenny told him that when he grew up he would kill him. Fred laughed and probably didn't expect to see Lenny that night, twenty years later, when Lenny waited for him in the alley next to his garage.

As usual, Fred got home around midnight from his work on the second shift. He lived in a different neighborhood by then but Lenny kept track of him because he knew it was simply a matter of when for Fred.

When Fred got out of his car, Lenny said,

"Hey Fred, remember little Lenny, the kid from grammar school."

Fred said he didn't remember Lenny and that's when Lenny swung the machete his grandfather had brought home from the Pacific after World War II. Then he stood there and admired his work, smiled and watched Fred's head roll a few feet like a bowling ball.

In the morning a milkman found the head and the body and the story was in the papers for weeks as people wanted to know who did it but Lenny couldn't tell them. They wouldn't understand that it was simply a matter of a bully paying the price for what he had done years earlier to Lenny.

The only person Lenny ever told about the murder was a girl he had spent a lot of money on, Libby. It was their first date even though they had known each other for years. He didn't even get a kiss good night and that bothered him but he didn't say anything.

Libby really didn't think Lenny was telling the truth about killing some guy with a machete. He was always exaggerating about one thing or another and Libby thought this was just another one of his tall tales. He was probably just trying to act like a big shot.

Lenny knew that Libby had never enjoyed good health, living as she did with a congenital heart disease. But he was afraid that she might some day call the cops and tell them about Fred getting it with the machete. The cops keep good records about stuff like that.

Still concerned that Libby might tell the cops, Lenny asked her out for a second date and when she went to the powder room, he put a dose of strychnine in her coffee. When Libby complained about feeling sick, he took her right home and didn't even try this time to get a kiss good night.

Libby's mother found her dead in bed the following morning. The family was very upset but it was not an unexpected event what with Libby's history of poor health. The family buried her without much ceremony after the doctor signed the death certificate. The cause of death was listed as heart disease.

It was a year before Lenny dated anyone else. Then he met Lorraine, a waitress at a bowling alley. He liked her and asked her out and she said yes. After dinner and a movie and a few drinks at Lorraine's apartment, Lenny told her all about Fred and the machete and then about Libby and the strychnine. He loved the look in Lorraine's eyes as he rolled the stories out. Finally Lenny finished his fourth martini, leaned over and whispered to Lorraine,

"And now the question is, what should we do about you."

© Donal Mahoney 2014

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis Missouri. Some of his earliest work can be found at and
some of his newer work at

Monday, May 5, 2014

Neil Ellman


Ekphrasis or ecphrasis, from the Greek description of a work of art, possibly imaginary, produced as a rhetorical exercise, and is a graphic, often dramatic, description of a visual work of art. In ancient times, it referred to a description of any thing, person, or experience. The word comes from the Greek ek and phrasis, 'out' and 'speak' respectively, verb ekphrazein, to proclaim or call an inanimate object by name. – Wikipedia

Exquisite Cadaver
(after the painting by Salvador Dali)

How exquisite your cadaver
how fine the space between your ribs
and emptiness within
how glorious the in-betweens
of your mind and skin
how perfect you seem in death

I love you now as then
when I loved you no less than more
and you were less than
than the sinews and bones
you have become—
how exquisite you seem in death
how perfect and sublime.

Blast I
(after the painting by Adolph Gottlieb)

Not a word
but a primal scream
not a syllable
but a particle of sound
echoing out across the void
it begins with an answer
and ends with the words
that question the reason
they ever were made
in a blast of infinity
from a fissure in the mind
comes the sound of infinity’s end
as inarticulate as the space
it is within.

(etching from The War by Otto Dix)

Nor memories
containing nothing
but its own disease
a patriot
condemned to die
without a cause.

glory comes to this
grey bone, dark animus
from convolutions
of the brain
the fire in its eyes
consumed by war.

Alas, poor warrior
we knew you well.
who died for the victory
that no side won

I Need Yellow
(after the lithograph by Helen Frankenthaler)

Yellow peonies
yellow earth
yellow suns released
like spreading spores
on ribbons of yellow wind
my life in yellow flame
the color of the end
then purity of death
in yellow waves of light
I mourn the yellowing
of my days
I crave the blush
of golden youth.

© Neil Ellman 2014

Neil Ellman, a poet from New Jersey, has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and Rhysling Award. Many hundreds of his poems appear in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world.

MDJB at GoodReads

Michael D. Brown's books on Goodreads Bastille Day reviews: 2 ratings: 3 (avg rating 5.00...