Two Poems by Dennis Mahagin


And the loneliest grackle will welcome you, a squeaky hinge
on loose gate, banged open and shot open and shot by wind.

A pea soup lake that radiates, on the edge of the center of town
but it’s really a river! palm fronds and lichen: long, calm anomaly.

Oh, this terrible critter I saw, not long after in a culvert off Lamar:
part javelina, porcupine, coon, armadillo. Called a Fockifeyeknow.

Ain’t nothing but a city limit show, old Willie Nelson and Asleep
at the Wheel reunion. I was so-so afraid, but found a way to go.

Keep it weird, stay on, miss Tawny for a couple Boolian years.
Hill Country, tea-colored ditch water, and dead electric shavers.

Deep in the heart, deep down where all signal towers go. A string
of cherry lights in normal sinus rhythm. It’s Morris code for home.


The part about vanity
comes first; then a hayride
in horse drawn buggy, biding
time like mittens melting
snowflakes clutched via laps,
on hips; steam shots that dissipate
to sodium light – *zap*- yes, before
anything worse gets committed

to verse, and a young exterminator
high on meth strangles a beautiful
female pediatrician to death
in her Soho boiler room
after a heated
argument about overtime,
and fumes; it’s what it

tells us, only this:
that evil begets, humans forget
world weariness is
limitless; words turn, turn
into a ceaseless song by the Byrds,
or young Dustin Hoffman loved
up by Bancroft on Netflix
hotly, serially, 10 minute nylon
stretch with fried egg while
smoking, Anne with no qualms
getting off at 60, smitten
in her bitter regions, or merely
bored by the psalms

again … knowing
nothing more than when we first
began, it was snowing, or burning
leaves into dust devil, vortex, drought,
wood smoke; some hapless car thief
pacing a Houston parking lot, shaky
well-lit at four A.M., hands jammed
in front pockets humming
Blue Oyster Cult’s best

hit (*seasons don’t fear it, why you
sneaky little shit*) grimly into side view
mirrors, the wailing alarm
that finally finishes him.

Darkly, daddy, darkly
darkly smoked-glass folded over
subway token, piece of ass
the sometime rattle:
infantile inkling of how we came
off, — apple-eyed with pearl
bracelet, a peal of bells
for all is revealed.

Dennis Mahagin’s poems and stories appear in Evergreen Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Everyday Genius, elimae, 3 A.M., Stirring, PANK, Juked, and others. He has a poetry collection entitled Grand Mal.