Halloween: Flashlight in the Gangway
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.”
Night Lit Bright Their Signal
Formerly, one knew on sight the ones
who walked with economic purpose.
One had criteria: the color
of their robes, the meter
of their stroll, the semaphore of their
One knew that night for them was dawn,
that night lit bright their signal.
Today, my pastor claims,
one must inquire of them all.
Chicago’s North Side
This senior citizen
whose face is Rushmore still
squats with pigeons on the steps
of the Rogers Park Masonic Temple.
She wears a shawl this snowy day
and is beneath the visor of a hunting cap
a woman who has paused along the way.
Her shopping bags, stuffed, frayed,
and each square feature of her face confess
she speaks at best a little English.
Rested, she will rise,
a penguin on a floe,
and navigate her day.
Beowulf and Normal Norman
When Normal Norman takes his seat
in Room 220 in Dumbach Hall
to hear the eminent Dr. Engelhardt
recite Beowulf again,
Norman knows that he can suck
the boredom from the hour
if he can write a poem for his wife
better than the one he gave her yesterday.
Now, however, no poem comes
and so he knows that he must choose
among maneuvers from the past
to drown out Beowulf again--to wit,
he can say the rosary till the bell rings,
sketch his wife's magnificent ass
or write something strange like this.
Wheatcake odors flood the wood
front porch. Andrew Block,
in mackinaw and overalls,
tamps first tobacco of the day
and estimates his morning.
In an open field beyond McDiver’s Creek
a colt, palomino apricot and snow,
nips grass between great gallops
and the shock of trees.
Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, MO. He has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. He has had poems published in The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Commonweal, Revival (Ireland), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey), Public Republic (Bulgaria), Carcinogenic Poetry, Calliope Nerve, and other publications.