Skip to main content

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. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Amy Holman

My mother made herself the deer with a broken leg  We saw a deer through the pane into someone else’s yard. The leg moved like a tube sock pinned to the hip  and half filled with sticks. I did not like to see it suffer, either. She was upset —my mother —that no one helped  the doe. Was it a mother, too? As if we were the first to observe the scene. We weren’t. All had been told to let her be. My mother had suffered a destruction  of the self, a divorce, and no one cared. That wasn’t true.  We were grown, on our own. I agree it was hard. Yet  in those moments of a cold November day, we watched  a doe, disabled and enduring, walk across a yard and eat  a hedge. I wish she could have seen it like that. Amy Holman is the author of the collection, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window (Somondoco Press, 2010) and four chapbooks, including the prizewinning Wait for Me, I’m Gone (Dream Horse Press, 2005). Recent poems have been in or accepted by Blueline,

David Oliver Cranmer

Not Just Another Playlist Often, I sit in my swivel chair looking out the window, while jazz, country, or rock music plays. This pleasure goes on for many hours a mystic trance of sorts streaming—the glue maintaining my soul. I turn the best songs into playlists (once we called them mix tapes) puzzling over the perfect order. Does Satchmo’s “What a Wonderful World” kick off my latest list or make it the big soulful closer? And does “Mack the Knife” go higher in the set than “Summertime?” That’s an Ella Fitzgerald duet! “Foolishness? No, it’s not” whether you are climbing a tree to count all the leaves or tapping to beats. These are the joys that bring inner peace and balance (to a cold universe) lifting spirits skyward. David Oliver Cranmer ’s poems, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared in publications such as Punk Noir Magazine , The Five-Two: Crime Poetry Weekly , Needle: A Magazine of Noir , LitReactor , Macmillan’s Criminal Element , and

Maureen O'Leary

Grief (for J’uan) Maybe we turn into clouds of reefer Particulates coating the lungs of the people thinking about us First and secondhand smoke Clinging to the frizzing gray locs of the women mourning us Or maybe we are in the splashes of Hennessey Swirling in the bottoms of Styrofoam cups A bad burn in the throats of our brothers Something to remember us by On the way back up. Maybe we are still here. In the way the candles keep going out In the way they call out to God. If they only looked up they could see our eyes Shining through the branches and glittering through the haze Below the stars. Maureen O'Leary lives in Sacramento, California. Her work appears in Coffin Bell Journal, Bandit Fiction, The Horror Zine, Ariadne Magazine, and Sycamore Review. She is a graduate of Ashland MFA.