Sunday 5 November 2017

3 Poems by John McKernan


The old man lifted himself from the chrome wheel chair and stood bravely before the audience. He waved a red bandana in the air, spun around three times, and slid into a pair of hiking boots. We could hear his leather belt mooing beside the scuff marks on the rubber soles.  Slowly his wool slacks floated to the floor covering a herd of tiny sheep hooves. We watched the fibers of his white shirt flow like sunlight through the window out onto the cotton fields across the highway.  Buttons rolled to the corners of the stage.

“He must have been a nudist” we said as we left the auditorium applauding wildly.

Outside, a dirty parking lot kept ejecting sports cars into the speeding highway

Some of us peered in through the side windows and noticed the magician’s watch dangling from a bird’s nest

It was still ticking and a few light rays kept bouncing off a jumbled pile of medals lying on a practice putting green


A single silver spoon lay untouched
On a coffee table in South Omaha

At my grandmother’s house
Stolen – she claimed –  from Edmund Spenser’s
Irish castle before it was torched

Wrapped in flannel
Carried aboard a ship
Bound for Nebraska
Via the Brooklyn Bridge

The ice cream & cookies & cake
Were great at Birthday Parties
But what made her think
We wanted oat meal & old bananas
Which would always taste

Like a rotting potato from Ireland


In an alley of garbage bags
Blue & white & black & orange & red & green & brown

A thin man kneeling with gray hair
Wearing a Randy Moss Vikings jersey
Opens a tiny yellow plastic jar

And says out loud   Oh
And then louder   Holy cow
As he pushes a fistful
Of honey roasted peanuts into his mouth

It's the moonlight and the snow
That holds him in a photograph
His right hand stuffing what's left
Of the peanuts into a large coat pocket
Whispering  Snow  and   Holy snow

No comments:

Post a Comment