Dennis Mahagin's poems have appeared in magazines such as Absinthe
Literary Review
, Exquisite Corpse, 42opus, Juked, Thieves Jargon, Stirring,
Keyhole, Underground Voices, Right Hand Pointing, Slow Trains, and
Night Train. He lives in the state of Washington.

I Scream, Yo Pantoum

I was never sucked off, in the cab of a Good Humor truck,
yet I always heard this berry cool music, "don't hurry up..."
via cello and piccolo, late June, afternoons in my head
when the bluebirds said, "come on a slice of moon."

Always in my horny head, hearing these unhurried tunes
by Peter Murphy, and the Grateful Dead, or getting some
on a cardiac care day bed, w/ bowl of stars, milk, & moons
that this freckle-faced girl tipped over. I came too soon.

Peter Murphy sings "Cuts You Up" for prostate and cardiac
ablation patients of the mind, who wave stiff glans as wand,
conducting symphony ice cream tunes --"love, come soon."
Her waist-length hair was exactly the color of a Creamsicle.

Cardiac and cancer patients of the mind, wanking like blind
monks in an ice-cold monastery, lips stained by Acai berry
and wondering when, oh when, a kind of Creamsicle girl
via wet dreams would arrive, compassionate as Candy

Striper with Acai berry between her lips; oh my God, is she
going to shove it, where it hurts? Pulsating thick as cello moan
dappled by freckles, slick with a glaze, lasts for so many days
and runneling, sweet cold spurt down a Creamsicle throat.

Pulsating slits, moaning "hurry, love shove where it hurts"
the kind of head that always cuts you up, in a Murphy bed
I poured and poured my sorrow down a Creamsicle throat
but I never made love in a parade float, or ice cream truck.

Paradisiacal Vermont

Putney's got a job to do.

Not putting down
a terminal Husky via Seconal
and potassium chloride. Nor
training a red laser dot
on the neck vein
of a Karachi terrorist, from heights
of 20 thousand plus feet. Putney's not
a gill netter, nor head ripper slash
picker upper in Ketchikan's last best
slime line, sluicing king salmon eyeballs
into serpentine tureens. Mister
Putney, it seems, is simply
running late,

and as he climbs aboard
his bus, says to the driver: "Christ, I left
my loose change in a jelly jaw... All I got
is this fivah. Can you mebbe lemme slide?"

The driver shakes
his head, tapping a fat
forefinger upon the glass contraption
that stores cheap fares. "Yeah okay,"
says Putney, "but still I was more or
let's maybe just wondrin'..."

Putney has this imminent gig; he sways
with the play of the bus, counting lucky stars
he's not a hard ass, not a driver. "Fine, then
here's the flipping fivah. I'll take an all day
pass." Now Putney's broke. He tries not
to think past lunch time.

See Putney, punching his clock. "Glad you
could grace us," grunts a foreman, walking past,
shouldering two sacks of lime. "Fucking Putney..."

In the clean sunshine,
Putney is gargling a blue
sky the fifty six reasons why
he came. "At least I'm no hansom
lackey, stained by a skin of glass,"
he says, putting his storied
garden trowel to
work at last. Come noon,
he will dine on dirty
hangnails, sucking the sweet loam
that's built up in his blood, tastes
like pistachios, and anchovy paste;
sometimes Putney
gets in Dutch, behind
the cheap white wine; yet
his masters always take him
back. Time after
time after time.

No assassin, or
evangelist. No godless whore
with equine ass, 501 jeans painted on
championship platinum oroboros belt
Putney sweats his bread
for the Lowell Nursery, potting
Contempo soil and swinging pails
of purple hibiscus. Gets off
on chlorophyll and daffodils. Putney stoops
to transplant, stabbing his elegant trowel
earthward, a fencer's foil. Compares
his inner most
self to no
one. Behind
his eyes come fields
of color spurt, -- indigo, orange,
turquoise from plain dirt. Primarily,
our Putney is a flower man. Lord ...

How he toils.

Mister Soul's Illumination Foretold

There's a therapist
in east Saskatchewan,
a long cool drink
of water who
is wary
of ending up
as a revenant
in mens' reveries.

She says please
expectantly, especially
when asking me
for a light,
fingering the run
in her stockings,
this therapist
who lets me ride
shotgun in moveable
meetings of the

We drive
past province after
province, time after
time in her Chevy Lumina
with fatal flaw in the
fuel line. A scent
of fresh-mown
grass pours through
the passenger window slat
where I tap the ash
from a half-smoked Lark;
I can see

she's once again
beautiful, biting her lip,
muttering sidelong
warnings at me:
about regression
and bright
orange sparks
... she keeps glancing
darkly into the odometer;
I tell her it must be
her rear view mirror,
I tell her how much
I adore her stockings,
and the high heels clutching
fourth and fifth gear, with platinum
studs in her pretty ear lobes,
the sun glint-cum-moon-glow
rushing past
in time lapse

I say
she is all a man
could ever want
in a revenant,
reverie or
therapist. From time
to time, I lay
caresses on bare shoulder,
I blindfold that odometer
with nylons; make it
disappear; still, she keeps
guttering in my ear: "These
trips, you really
must forget..."

... We get underway
again, and the dashboard ticks
like every cabbie's rigged meter; a radio
begins to play. Somehow, my cigarette
lit; she hitches her skirt
up past the hip, throws
the Lumina into first; we move out
in reverse. She asks me to sing along
with a Neil Young song
on the radio; helplessly,
I lip sync all the way
through north Ontario,
the odometer regressing
in epi-nodes,
in stereo...
"This work," whispers my
therapist, "is vital but bound
to hurt a little..."

Dead ahead, around a
previous bend, all mirrors go dark
as no miles on the heart.
My lips pull
on the still-lit
Lark, the cab is full of orange
sparks, and scent of petrol.
"Please," my therapist
asks, snapping her beautiful
fingers. Our time
together, all

but spent.

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