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Dennis Mahagin

Deer Lodge

And I’m grateful
for that autumn morning
you helped me out
at the dump: it was so cold
I couldn’t feel my fingers
or my toes! Yet
you hopped right in
the truck bed, trampling the slick black bags
of trash; you kicked the shit out of the tail gate,
you kicked
the fuck
out of of the two by fours, right there where the sun had a name
for the coming hail
it despised, and it was bent nails, and friend,
oil and
rust; my mom had just died
and the season was far
too far and long
gone. Another Eddy Money song
came on the radio; I turned it up
to ten again. I was strung out on
pills, and kept a couple always melded
between the cotton tongue and the roof
of the mouth.
Smiling sideways
at me making the best of things
behind my wheel, you tapped
on the back window when the wind
came up— a sneaking hunch
or sucker punch
one can only feel, a harbinger, oil-soaked floorboards
or anybody’s bullshit
getting old.
Love buzzed
through my pores, but I kept it inside. I was stuck
in first, requiring proof.
Those days, oh Lord I will remember them
tinged by the scent
of fir needles, frost
and Pennzoil; on the way home, you said,“everybody feels it
sometime, pop it out of four wheel, why dontcha?”
… Some kid running the yellow loader
over the front gate you used to know.
And I’m grateful
you never called me
out, only ripped the fingers
of those work gloves well
away, one by one
with your beautiful teeth— guiding me
toward the hill and gone
from there, I dry-swallowed two
pills, opened the passenger door
and let you back
inside. I tried
to sing yet could only
Rolled down
the window and spat out
my grief.


Outcomes forever unrevealed. Air bus, or thunder? Hopeless fucking drag race
of the mind. Drop a tablecloth from the rooftop. Thoughts in a hail of gravel.

Life, folks unavoidably has got no plot. Growing old, as coffee in a tall
cup goes cold. Why follow Z? Everybody gets a snoot full, and wings it.

Haul the generator down by the sea. A five piece band is playing Frampton
covers. All those boys need is a crackling tall bonfire. Moonlight. Fans. Electricity.

One of those joints where you need reservations, sadly, she said; in a manner
of speaking, Earth. Ties are also required since we are always out of time.

A low murmur, alternating drone, came from the adjoining room. Might make it
out. Go on. Press your ear to the wall. patient with cell phone, quietly—recovering.

She was mostly interested in the milliseconds of respite. Hung The Scream by
Edvard Munch between two landings in a boardroom. Her compassion, meteoric.

Dennis Mahagin is a musician and poet from Las Vegas, Nevada. He is the author of two poetry collections: “ Grand Mal” from Rebel Satori Press, and “Longshot & Ghazal” from Mojave River Press. DENNIS is also the Poetry Editor for Frigg Magazine.


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