Donal Mahoney has lived in St. Louis for many years, but his heart and his mind remain in his native Chicago, where he grew up, went to school and had his first poems published. Short stories came much later when an editor told him that a poem of his would work better as a story. Since then he has found poems just “arrive,” rough as they may be, and require polishing. Fiction requires him to apply a mind that still works in dotage, and he hopes fiction might help to fend off dementia in any of its various forms. He fears dementia because then he might no longer realize he’s nuts.
I Feel Like James Brown
This morning I woke up early
feelin' good, feelin' the way
I felt 50 years ago, no aches,
no pains, can’t wait to shower,
hop on the El, go back to work,
get the magazine out on time
then dance all night in a bar
to the music of James Brown.
I feel good like James today.
Wonder what my problem is.
Fifty years ago I felt good every day
but never wanted to go to work.
I must be sick so I called the doctor
and described my symptoms.
I told him I felt like James Brown.
Anything he could do to help?
He said take two aspirin and
call him when the music stops
and I'm my old self again.
|Poet Donal Mahoney|
Empathy Is Not Pete’s Forte
Pete’s never needed
anything from childhood on.
His parents had it all
and gave it to him so it’s hard
for him to understand why
people who have nothing
march with placards in the streets
or sneak into another country
to find enough to eat, a place to live,
and raise and educate a family.
Empathy is not Pete's forte
and that can happen when
parents give you everything,
send you to the finest schools,
leave you money you can build
a business with, go broke
and still become a billionaire.
Finally you have everything
and life becomes so boring
you decide the time has come
to run for president. Such fun.
A Senior Dilemma
Couples age and a sign of age is when
the husband hires someone to shovel snow
and the wife hires a cleaning lady.
Sometimes the wife doesn’t like the fellow
and the husband doesn’t like the cleaning lady.
But he keeps the same fellow shoveling
for years and his wife hires a new cleaning lady
every other week until the husband grows weary
of dressing up to meet them so he disappears
upstairs and watches TV in his underwear.
Finally his wife hires the right cleaning lady but
the husband goes upstairs because he figures she's
a goner as soon as she comes through the door
armed with her broom, buckets and mops.
But this lady gets along fine with his wife
and comes every week for several years.
Every time she comes, he disappears upstairs
and watches TV in his underwear.
Too late for him to meet this lady now.
What’s worse, every winter his wife suggests
he find someone else to shovel the snow
even though the fellow she doesn’t like
has shoveled the snow five years or more.
Things will settle down when one of them dies.