Poems by Jack Donahue


The Removal of Sin in a World Without Sin

Turning once again toward the sea,
strong arms move my head
to look at the land instead,
a desert landscape beige, bland
sand the monotonous menu
for my eyes that have seen it all before.

Defiant, I turn to feast on the wild water,
currents pushing the shore to invisible boundaries:
aimless, unpredictable, color for my eyes,
chaotic avian screeches filling my ears
with signals to stay right where you are,
enjoy the view,
take a swim why don’t you,
risk a riptide drowning,
bang your bones in the deep
as saltwater sips lace your lungs.

Determined arms turn me again
gently, a doting parent.
Look at that, their persistent grip suggests,
you can look at this, that and the other thing.

Choose, why don’t you
as the land opens to a narrow path, temporary at best,
the promise of enrichment, a depth beyond my understanding,
a look at the here and a confrontation with the now,
that other thing that is so stark, so fearsome
in its single answer to all your questions.

Sonnet for the Common Folk

Have you ever marched in Prince Farley’s parade?
So proud he made the grade,
My favorite wasp aside from Sir Taylor Thistlewhite,
A bit tight in the behind mind you.
Imagine his shorts stuck on the horse’s hide.
Let’s loosen them up, leave room to glide
Up there some air from below
Give him a Falstaffian gasbag he can blow
Off to the lower crust
Rooted in the good earth, if you must
Always dig with dirty nails,
Uncover the first layer of meaning
Hidden in your hybrid pedigree
Made from scratch, by him, her, you and me.

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Jack Donahue’s poems and short stories have been published in: Bindweed (Ireland); Prole (U.K.); The Main Street Rag; Armarolla (Cypress); North Dakota Quarterly; The Almagre Review and others. His work has appeared in print alongside Pablo Neruda, Robert Graves, Tennessee Williams, Paul Bowles and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.


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