Sean Mahoney

Paint that Wagon I

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

Not just here…in this chilly place. I have procedures: MRIs, massages, acupuncture. I remove the leash and I wander. I wonder of the stewardship we ignore, of the crass confines of what used to be a romantic meadow but now belongs to the caged last polar bear and austere autocrat. Story lines involving miniature versions of myself, miniature to cellular level, racing through my very body searching for reason of a mind. But familiarity of sky scent is eerie…

We decided on the soup, which itself was modeled for the hangover. Noodles, savory broth. And we had some sparkling wine. I got a quick primer (sorry…I didn’t know) on La Boheme and we were off to the opera and strangers for the next few hours. It’s complicated…but we did touch once during the show…our fingertips. And no one the wiser. We know that there are people who know just about everyone…here and abroad…and communication is so ‘lickety’ these days that upsetting the wrong people would not be wise for those involved. No threat of violence mind you…but of humiliation and shame. All around. Better just to be careful. A friend of hers was also in attendance and seated to her right. I sat on her left. A single woman sat to my left. She is not my lover. The woman to my right however…I would sell my earrings to buy the doctor to save her life during any season…like Musetta…she is my, and I her…lover. Her name is poetry. Her name is pork belly. Chili-porn sauce. Star beam.

I believe that I am still dreaming. Same dream? Hallucinating even. Could my life have taken this wild turn without disease? Would I be sitting here writing this out if my body were abled?

The politics of rapid dancing drum up and down the hallways and low shafts, the dank, the dark before any splinter of light tells you release, shoot. And quiver. These episodes; no epiphanies, no guilt. During MRIs…think about a comic occasionally drawn in the head. It makes me laugh…you know, on the inside where it is said it counts more…which will delay arrival of the snake.

Thought of China’s former 1-Child Policy. And infanticide. The question then becomes have global birth rates slowed at all in the last 50 years? Is this still the rage question that it once was? They are about half what they were 50 years ago. Is this pause, just us globally putting on the brakes and coming to terms with…this shit? A tactile scent. 1 Child…repercussions today. Many men. Forced marriages. Base culture. Breast wars continue and it cannot be said often enough that you will reap either one thing or another.

Imagine being shot down through a carotid artery and seeing blood cells from when you were 19, confused, and into punk. A cold heart. Imagine…$4000 holy water shoes…they still do say Jesus wept.

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Paint that Wagon III

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

The way she peels a grapefruit. The popping of the pith off the flesh, the white pith aching off of the fruit.
Aligning the peeled fruit round the plate; the pith and peel on a paper plate just to the right.
You eat each bare piece in two chunks.
The allure of high speed for a song.

Wednesday she texts I need unclogging. The way she peels a grapefruit, pith peeling
A skinny text of flesh, morning glory.
Barking come the swans, in two chunky lines:

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About the Author

Sean Mahoney lives in Santa Ana, California with Dianne, her mother, 4 dogs, and 4 renters. He believes that Judas was a way better singer than Jesus and that dark chocolate is extraordinarily good for people. Sean helps run the Disability Literature Consortium booth at the annual AWP bookfair…lit by crips. Except 2020, and this year cuz well…Covid. He was Dx’d with MS in 2012.