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Monday, June 20, 2016

Poetry About Harambe The Gorilla and Other Subjects

Donal Mahoney has had the good fortune to be alive for a long time, most of it spent writing his own stuff or editing the work of others to earn a living. The only hard job he ever had was in the summer after graduating from high school when he didn’t want to go to college. So his father got him a rather high-paying job digging ditches for the City of Chicago to teach him the value of an education. Mahoney lasted three days, coming home with a sunburn that caused pain for a week. This was back in the Fifties. Since then he has tried to avoid all manual labor. But those ditch-diggers were hardworking men as are those who do similar work today. At the same time, most of them don’t seemed bothered by what Mahoney perceives to be to the insanity of our culture at the moment. He thinks it is unsurpassed in his experience during the long life he has been lucky enough to live. He wonders when and how the insanity will end. There are days when he wishes he had never quit drinking on November 23, 1961. He would love four quarts of Old Style and a few good books to read while he drank them late into a Saturday night. It was tough getting up to go to the noon Mass on Sunday. But if he didn’t get up to go, that same father would have thrown him out of the house. Those were different days and he at times misses them. As a result, he often ends up writing poems like the ones submitted here.

A Gorilla and Child

Magnificent animal Harambe, 
the Silverback gorilla killed at the zoo.

Lovely child, the three-year-old who 
jumped in Harambe's den.

The mother took her son to the zoo 
and the child behaved like a child.

Harambe showed great restraint
and didn’t do what a gorilla could.

He was curious, kind and patient
until the screaming spooked him.

Then he dragged the child like a doll
through the water up to a wall.

Today Harambe, not the child, 
would still be alive if the mother had

taken the child in utero to 
Planned Parenthood and not the zoo.


Donal Mahoney


An Entrée at an Autopsy

Thirty years I’ve lived in Missouri 
with its major threat for an earthquake. 
So far no problems but experts say
the big one could arrive any day. 

California’s lovely but with its quakes 
I would certainly never move there 
despite the chance to see nature 
unveiled in all its glory. 

There’s a wild beauty in Missouri  
if you leave the city and seek it. 
But if you stay in the city, you see 
plenty of wild but not much beauty. 

In the city there’s a shooting every day. 
But the mayor and police still tell us  
to drive downtown, enjoy a ball game
or maybe a movie and have a nice meal. 

Fine restaurants abound in St. Louis.
And the Cardinals always play well.
But walking to your car afterward, you 
could become an entrée at an autopsy. 


Donal Mahoney


A Man of the People

It’s not Clyde who sleeps
in a different doorway 
every night to avoid
the cops and it’s not 
Wayne who sleeps in the 
garden shed of the house 
he owned until one day 
it was repossessed
who can’t decide 
who to vote for 
this time around.

It’s Alvin on his estate
in the suburbs who’s 
concerned about weeds 
in his garden and his wife’s 
yen for furs and diamonds.
He can’t decide who 
deserves his vote
in the next election.

At the moment Alvin says
he won’t vote for anyone.
But that’s not the case with
Clyde in the doorway
and Wayne in the shed.
They’ll cast write-in votes 
for a man with a plan,
someone they say
will stop big spending 
and also help the poor,
a man of the people,
Cedric the Entertainer. 
They’ll vote for him.

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