January 4-10, 2010: Donal Mahoney and Michael Estabrook

Donal Mahoney

Bio (auto)

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 or accepted by The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Commonweal, Public Republic (Bulgaria), Revival (Ireland), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey), Poetry Super Highway, Poetry Friends, Pirene’s Fountain (Australia) and other publications.

The following work is Copyright © 2009, and owned by Donal Mahoney and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Night Light

The last visitor before I sleep
is always the old priest
puffing up the stairs to my door,
a wine cask under each arm,
a loaf of pumpernickel in his teeth He’s always too late to give the last rites,
and even though I’m usually dead by then,
it falls to me to console him So I say, “Father, Father,
you don’t have to hurry Faith is no longer a klieg It’s a night light left burning all day,
and its bulb is hissing.”

first appeared in print in Commonweal Magazine
November 6, 2009

Each Morning

It is not the position,
not the money,
not the opportunity It is breakfast
with my steaming tea,
my rolls,
my periodicals,
my wife pouring, buttering, keeping quiet,
my shower, towel, shirt and tie,
my selection of that tie and
that tie’s winding,
my good-bye.

first appeared in print in Meridian Magazine
Vol 1 No 2 1965

Whole and Steaming

Dingle, Ireland

The bathroom carpet,
wall to wall, is blue,
the lightest blue,
to complement
the bowl and ceiling.

Apropos the moment:
I bend the waist
and heave the gristle
from last evening’s steak.

Tomorrow I shall row again
to see those ancient men
in caps and coveralls
stand like statues
while they talk
and tap gold embers
now and then
from clay pipes
forever glowing

I’ll go there
at the dinner hour
and see them once again
fork potatoes,
whole and steaming,
from big kettles filled
at dawn by crones
forever kerchiefed
and forever bent.

At dawn you hear
the women
like a choir
sing their hymns
a cappella
as they genuflect and dip
big black kettles
in the sometimes still
sometimes foaming sea.

first appeared in print in Salt Lick Magazine
No 9-10 1971



Michael Estabrook



Bio (auto)

Over the years I have published 15 chapbooks and appeared in some terrific poetry magazines, but you are only as good as your next poem and like a surfer searching for that perfect wave, I am a poet prowling for that perfect poem Right now I am looking for that perfect poem in my wife, who just happens to be the most beautiful woman I have ever known If I find it anywhere I’ll find it in her.

The following work is Copyright © 2009, and owned by Michael Estabrook and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Wife Trying on Dresses

She’s trying on dresses
for the dinner/dance we are attending
on Saturday The black one with
the shiny circle patterns,
good for the cha-cha-cha;
the long, sexy skirt perfect
for wide swooping turns in the tango;
Robin’s low-cut thin-strap number
that makes me want to wrestle her
to the floor right here and now And I’m watching her, being careful
not to ogle her, she hates it
when I ogle her, but damn if she
doesn’t look absolutely incredible After all these years
I am still overwhelmed by this woman,
the most beautiful woman I have ever known I go to her, take her in my arms,
kiss her hard but tenderly She allows the kiss then goes back
to trying on this top and that top,
this shoe and that shoe Even though she is tired of hearing it,
I cannot help myself “You are so beautiful Patti.”
“Yes, yes, I know,” she smiles at me “The one thing I do know after
all these years is that you think I’m beautiful I know it in here.” She taps her chest “And I need to buy a new pair of shoes,”
she adds and sashays out of the room.

My Wife Doing her Fingernails

After rubbing polish remover
over her nails with a paper towel,
she pokes and digs at her cuticles
with a thin, silvery cuticle remover Concentration strains at her brow
as she pokes and scrapes,
then holds her hand
under the light for a better look
before poking and scraping again She doesn’t talk She’s not watching TV She doesn’t notice me staring at her,
jotting down my observations
of her leaning forward intensely,
the tip of her pretty, sweet, pink tongue
peaking slightly out from between her lips She’s a delicate white dove preening herself
at the end of a long and windy flight “This is too dark,” she declares abruptly,
holding her hands with their new
shiny, cranberry-colored nails up for me to see Before I can respond she pours
more polish remover onto
the paper towel and begins rubbing
her nails again, oblivious to me
even being in the room with her.




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