Archive for the ‘Dennis Mahagin’ Category

Manfred Mann

By Dennis Mahagin

I love the Chopsticks part in “Blinded by the Light,”
one funky break, disguised as mistake, it makes a
great song sound better. Hear it in my head as I try
to write. Especially near the end, when they sing
lines in the round, I want to air-drum, hang, create
cover version, believing each day is mine, a new
phrase taking off, “another runner in the night…”
In this world of fake books, Eskimos, sheer unkind
and minefield, strobe light, they come at you
with calliopes in lieu of insight, same sonic tribulations
of Job, tone deaf, beaten down; and when you finally get
the hang, might wish to sing along … but it’s too late
to catch a second song, gone, gone; ripped up
the charts, breaks the heart like a bell, but Manfred, oh
man, something keeps putting it to me, religiously
bluesy keyboard patch, in vapors, in pieces,
a dream’s imperfection could never know what
it means the thing I see before going blind, pure
puddle, overcast, upside down sky and do I stomp
and buck and risk a splash? there “where the fun is”
the world is a cover, and it’s playing too fast.

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By Dennis Mahagin

An anesthesiologist
may be an instrument
of karma, hovering over

trays (your gurney)
… he’s got up in paisley
scrubs, a headband he
rubs the wrong way
upon the back
of his hand, nodding
a skosh in the
affirmative, trance
like tentative but

There’s the convex
ceiling chrome pulling cold sweat, halogen
sans mist, and the silver tube with needle,
anesthetist, he sticks it
in your wrist.

The bleep of the pulse monitor
is a canary invoking a joke
your eyes have seen already
what the spleen spoke: yes,
that anesthetist is a dead
ringer for the fake book singer
who got it off with your wife
twenty two years
past. You took it
like a man, then
did some things with
your life it’s hard
to understand.

If we could only look behind
the masks, see? — there’d be no need
for enmity, for projection … “In a minute
I’m gonna start the drip,” this anesthetist
announces, his secret
talent for making hours flash
coma dark, unconsciousness
at light speed.

You might wake
to a new fate, and not
be able to regret it
later, as if smacking
the pavement
from a long
fall; you may ask for a sip
of water, brain salad and what
else might one say, after all?

— “Do you know
what the night is
like outside? Raindrops
on a bus window, jam roll
pericardium, something
something pink stuff
young man something
something?” …

No worries, the staid nurses
are on your side. And that surgeon
looks a bit like Colin Ferrell, nobody
he ever worked on ever
died. It’s only that

kid packing ether. Instrument
to avoid. Bow peep, chin up
button it’s a nip

and nothing much
else. Titus smile like Polaroid
dissolving six thousand miles
of past.

Sell it, if only from your eyes to
his mask. Wink once sure that’s
risky too but whatever you
do work fast.

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By Dennis Mahagin

She asked me
if I was ready
to take a hard

look at my work.

omg lol …

there were these
atrocities going

in Libya and
not to mention

DVDs of mine

burning a hole
in the tortured
oeuvre of

Overdue at Library.

“Tomorrow,” I
said “I am not
ready yet I swear
that crap will still
be there

More, so much
more to a life
(isn’t there?)
than these

on a hard
blue screen.
First up

in my queue: Draw
the Blinds, a story, seen
a few times already, was
a fine, fine episode

from the Man from

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Long Gone Ghazal

By Dennis Mahagin

Second to last hug from a main squeeze, 1 week or so
before all the bennies ran out. Rigid. Frigid. Maybelline.

The yapping Dachshund attack dog, who wouldn’t back off… ..
You kicked, and missed. Its drunk-ass master cackled all day.

Fender bender, with dissociative features. Fake cough,key-
less remote. Specious gull feces, whited out the registration.

A rhomboid pendant, hung from my shower rod. Turned out
steam clouds: Lambent. Prismatic. Ozzy Osbourne Shampoo.

Carl J. boiled his moribund bass strings. Cheap fuck never had
the love. OK? His low-heat, high-reek skin soup. Instant callus.

Last panic attack in the trattoria crapper. Dead bolt tattoo.
Sink rising. And a fireman’s axe: “Step back. Let us help you.”

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By Dennis Mahagin

God help a gambler
from Rahway, cooking up
his sweetened coffee dregs
in a microwave

with that chime
that pings
when the cycle
is complete, as when
a nickel slot machine
briefly defeats

for a dollar
and ten cents.

Sans the sense
God gave mania,
a Rahway gambler cracks
a couple of eggs in the micro-
wave, too– what a sick puddle
of dun and amber goo! — yolks
that explode
at forty two
seconds on the dot,
as odds do, catching up
to an A. City crap shooter
who got too

hot. Yahweh,
please help a
gambling man
from Rahway, pouring over
rigged point spreads in the
sports section, scattershot
hieroglyphs, egg whites on
the walls of a cooker, sticky
lime marmalade limning
the handsome ear lobes
of Marisa Tomei.
Yes, a rime of breath
clouds, muted roar
of the crowd strobing
crisp autumn air,
game day gone risque
at Meadowlands.

God, you got
to help a gambling man
with his leveraged stack
of Newark’s Last Stand,
fifteen grand
laid off

on the Nets, watching it
all unfold at the Sports Bar,
Jason Kidd dribbling
on thirty foot
wide plasma
screen, Jason
moving like a toddler
wearing messed-up
– Show quoted text –
Pampers, Kidd forcing
up unclean 3-point

Yes, Angel Breath
for a Rahway rounder, fogging up
the side view mirror of his Astro van,
parked in front of the Minuteman
store, just off
the turnpike, in for
sixty large to a
shylock named Ike,
drives a shark fin
town car that backfires
as ovaries
exploding from the corner
of the eye, as muffled pops
of .22 rounds sequenced
by a goose down
silencer. By and

by, in the driver’s seat
of his panel van, with 80’s rock
on the dashboard radio — so low,
indecipherable now neither Ratt nor
Poison — with trembling,
manicured hands, a Rahway
gambler works over

the last green stamp roll
of scratch off lotto tickets,
tossing losers into the wheel
well with tire irons. Three
scratchers from the bottom
of the deck: My God,
there ought to be

applause, law, or a kind
of kindness: “Only winnahs
find a way … disappear propah,”
says a gambler to freshening
trees strangling
rear view mirror.

One of these
instants, Rah
way’s jackpot
draws near.

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By Dennis Mahagin

Under the willow tree called half
abandoned hope, I’m telling you it
all comes back to me, in the guise
of a breeze, a pill, a snatch

of bygone dialogue from this actor
named Brady Cardia? You bet, a ringer
for Noah Wylie on Blu Ray, yes, yes,
he has been known to play

a variety of hunky First Responder EMT’s
on B-grade DVD’s… You may have caught
his act, indeed, let’s say in fits of ennui, scree
or cluster funk what the 80’s hippies call

Soporifica, when it does not matter
what’s in the tray, when it simply
doesn’t matter what I say, what
the shucks I say, to assuage

malaise, I pop an aspirin, or sip

some ice tea, I’m masturbating to Helen Reddy,
Janis Ian and her acne scars when this pretty boy
via breeze Brady Cardia says to me: “GOD, WE

But what I’m telling you :
I knew the dude, from back in the old days
of Oxnard; hung over, with amber-tinted klieg
lights and camcorder, we’d hump it right

on down to a freight yard, courting
the Reaper as a gandy dancer, as toothless
tweaker; we tried so flugging hard, to get our
footage over, over there at film school or

med school at UCLA, another sad, sad tale of
Pay to Play, of woe. Yet, this Brady grew up
like a glacier, never getting bitter, only better
looks with age than Tom Cruise on

Angostura, risky, risky

days. Me? I keep sitting under a
tree called Arrythmia, hunting for breezes
to fill aneurysms faster, faster, revising
my master list of fractions, and fictions…Oh,

I feel for my pride via tortoise pulse, it’s a lot
like missing the ocean, down to 28 beats per
minute and that’s racing it, racing it
I am, scribbling participles
for a pericardium to hang on
every other hour or two,
when low tide tugs a tropical zone: “Nice,
nice very nice,” I tell the breeze Brady,
and so much easier to transcribe
with economy and ambrosia, fetching ice
for tea, back at home. Though I’m running
short on fine summers’ days, I’ll sure make
a mixtape, soon enough, containing all

my “Brady Sayings” such as:

We’ve got your BP on CD-
Rom, it’s perfect, Gordon
so long…


Fuckit, all we’re just
ticking time bombs.

I’m telling you, I’m telling
you because it doesn’t get
much easier than a Brady via
breeze and willow; capisce?

Soak it up, is what I say…

Though I never played a Cardia
doc on T.V., I could really, really
stand a run for some

Just one
or two more Coumadin?
C’mon… We can wash
it all down with this ice


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By Dennis Mahagin

On the hood
of her tan Lexus,
she pinched me
hard and good
in brachial
plexus: “You’ve got
a lot of fucking
nerve,” she

With bad
hand, my evil
self grabbed up
a hot purple

Curve, tried texting
my neuro surgeon pal
Matthew Guelph, but the thing
was the ring tone had died, I was plum
alone up there, on the hood ornamental
as a Deep Space
Nine screensaver.

“Would you trust me
with a Bic razor?” she
asked, as we worked
our way up

the windshield glass,
slithery bodies
silvery as chrome

Let’s just say
I was weary of pottery
classes, navel lint, Trekkie
conventions, scratch n’ sniff
lottery tickets …I wanted her best
Jerry Ryan to slap my nerd
glasses off,
make my bare
ass speak softly
as a squee
gee, as Emily
Dickinson with
lemon wax cuticle on a
super nova paperweight.

Say we
aspired to snow angels
more formidable than any wipers
known to desire, when she broke
off my radio antenna, whipped
a useless Verizon smart phone
into the tall grass, I begged and
begged her for broader

horizons, to tan my
ass silly, to simply
make me out
a better

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