Sunday, February 6, 2011

Guest Poet: Donal Mahoney

Crackling Again

   Rogers Park, Chicago

This brilliant winter morning finds
waves of snow on every lawn
and red graffiti dripping
from the walls
of Temple Mizpah
once again
as down the street
stroll ancient men
who every morning
shuffle here for prayer.

As usual, they're lost
inside old overcoats,
their collars up,
their scarves too long,
their yarmulkes,
as always,
in diffidence

This morning, though,
they don't go in.
They shuffle near the curb
like quail.
They can't believe
the goose-step scrawl
on every wall.
They know their world's
awry again, an encore
of the chaos left behind
when they were young.

The good thing is,
Chicago's better now
than was Berlin back then
even though the temple walls
make clear this morning that
someone's struck another match
and the ovens of Auschwitz
are crackling again.

In Memphis On Business

this belle like a feather
floats table to table
bearing menus and water,

stunning this Yankee
in Memphis on business
whose host swears the South

has many more like her.
Up North, the Yank says,
young ladies like her bump tables,

slop coffee in saucers.
No wonder this Yankee
in Memphis on business

smiles when again
this belle like a feather
floats table to table

bearing menus and water
as if she were certain
the earth isn’t there

and the sky and the air
are highway enough for a belle
bearing menus and water.

© Donal Mahoney 2011

Donal Mahoney has had poems appear in variety of print and online publications, including The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Commonweal, Public Republic (Bulgaria), The Beatnik (U.K.), Revival (Ireland), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey), Calliope Nerve and other publications.


  1. Thoroughly both of these lyrical and well-observed pieces, the imagery thus conjured and the point of view conveyed.

  2. Clear poetry- understandable and tight- as Sandra said, great imagery- also love it when young ladies bump tables down here.

  3. Apologies - I intended, of course, to say 'thoroughly enjoyed ...

  4. this belle like a feather
    floats table to table

    you paint a beautiful picture.


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