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Dennis Mahagin

Asterisk
when the bongos 
go missing, some thief 
made of alter ego
and afterthought
brushes the yellow Cobain cowlick
out of his eyes, ducked down 
behind the side door of a Portland
pawn shop 
—this percussionist who sneaks around
wearing the torn 
to shit lumberjack 
shirt, holding on
to a fifty 
like a heart beat in the stiffest breeze,
and his guilty glance, simply a squeezed
frame, it says these beats 
basically the same, yet gone
now and forever 
gone, the beat like an add-on
that the dead can’t put their finger
on—go ahead, switch 
to castanets 
instead, I say, 
and bottle caps—tubular bells 
such as them that exist
in The Exorcist, a thousand little whispers 
like pop rocks from the backfire 
of a flame, and a hearse: they say
we missed you today
in church, we missed you we missed
you, astral 
projection that floats, 
couple inches behind a Venice boat
—dead reckoning in the star-charred 
emptiness of morning canal. 
Oh, sing, sing to be happy, what simply 
cannot be, the chorus to Love Her Madly, 
maybe, so awkwardly, banging 
there the anorexic air
in no known key
—take her in the arms 
of your mind
and dance.

Dennis Mahagin is the author of two poetry collections: “Longshot and Ghazal,” from Mojave River Press, and “Grand Mal,” from Rebel Satori Press. His poems have appeared in magazines such as Exquisite Corpse, The Nervous Breakdown, Thrush Poetry Journal, Juked, Absinthe Literary Review, Stirring, decomP, and 3 A.M. Dennis is the poetry editor for Frigg Magazine, and the owner of a music store in downtown Deer Lodge, Montana. 

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