Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Dennis Mahagin

When Good Things Happen
to Patient People

for Ellen Parker

A paper cut
he sucked at work,
dreamily wondering
what her clit might
taste like.

Then his heart
would start to flop
like a sternum-hooked
when the downloads
hit his desktop:

In his favorite
jpeg picture file
her green eyes twinkled
as she laughed
and held a filigreed
silver jumbo dildo
like an Olympic torch
up to the sodium halo glow
of a Seattle streetlight.

It took him ten months
to finally book his flight
from Tampa,

and when the plane
hit severe pockets of turbulence
over the Rockies, its wings shrugged
and buckled, the cabin lost pressure,
and little yellow oxygen masks
started dropping down
like drool strings from the ceiling.

The matronly flight attendant
leaned in to help him
tuck the straps
to his chin

and he said to her:

"You think this is scary miss?
I mean, I may have to marry this girl
because the sound of her name simply
makes my penis rock-hard every time
I roll the letters around on the tip
of my fevered tongue,

and THIS is supposed to scare me?"

He was late, of course, hitting his gate
but she hung in, and waited on him
for as long as it took.

They headed for Ground Transport
with their arms locked
around each other's waists,

and she couldn't stop giggling
as his feet kept tripping
over and over,
on the successive
Down-Escalator teeth

all the way to the street.

Jamie Moyer Has Perfect Pitch

After the bath
sitting there on clean sheets
with bare legs scissored,
all kicked back on the pillow pile
against the heart-shaped headboard

when she leans forward
to rub sun block on her shins
and my crazy eyes start
pinwheeling through the klieg lights
trying to pick up

the elusive sign

flashing so fast along her neckline
and spine -- cherry brown, seal slick
and undulating.

If I reach out
for the rosin bag of her long
black braid
hung there like shaman's rattle
against slim cervical bones
will the hush come over
the stadium throng again?

Sixty thousand willing throats
wanting nothing more than
to break into song,
but cowed speechless
by the simple rise and fall
of her breasts?

So I start to babble.

Think you wouldn't?
Hear me out.

"Okay," I say, "Talk about beautiful
music together, well how about
this? What if Stevie Ray Vaughn
and Bonnie Raitt threw down,
and got it on? Huh? What a
love, child what a LOVE!... Huh?
Hold up, now... Word:

Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker
shrieking endearments?
Handcuffs and suspended chords!
The cacophony! I'm thinkin'...
A-sharp minor?"

She gives me a look,
over her shoulder,
chewing softly on her lower lip.
Then she says

"Actually, I prefer the octave leaps
of dissonance resolving
the contrapuntal play
between opposite instruments. Say...

Kate Bush sinking her pretty teeth
into Leonard Cohen's
shoulder going all guttural.
D-flat, darling... Diminished."

I kick the comforter, scuff the dust,
looking down at her Cubs cap
and garter snaps
littering the teal bedroom
astro turf,
and I know she has me.
Game as good
as over...

So when I throw
the Change Up
it is almost
as an afterthought:

"So... You think you might be
sticking around for
awhile and
like that?"

There is an altitude pop
in my ear
from the kiss she plants
on the lobe there --

a ninety-eight mile-an-hour
heater smacking
the fattest part
of catcher's glove,

and then the roar
starts up.

You always think
you're ready
for the sound of
that roar

but of course
you never are.

©2004 by Dennis Mahagin

Dennis Mahagin is a musician and poet from the Pacific Northwest. His work has appeared previously in such publications as Absinthe Literary Review, 42opus, 3A.M., Erosha, Stirring, and Frigg Magazine. One of his poems was recently nominated for the 2003 Pushcart Prize.

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