Recent Work By Dennis Mahagin

It’s really no secret
they’ve been feeding it
as Nutra Sweet
to the crickets
forever fortifying
their fiddlers’ feet
unto speed metal
death riffs,
treble knob
on a Marshall
stack, twisted past

So Dennis Mahagin, ahem…How long have you been pursuing the art of poetry?

About a decade, I should say.


Do you really write poems while listening to Fugazi records?

I have, and do.

Forgive me, but an orderly
spaced out your chart. Luckily
we already know it by heart.
All these moments of flux,
be tough. I know because
like you, I was a mover
of furniture. Lasted 3 months
in the tail lights of my youth.
I needed bread. And the hours
worked for me. I pulled them
all, learned how loads
can shift, on the road
like the healthy

I was near broke, and entertaining


He’d called me an hour
before, from a convenience
store, quite lost, but only

half a block
from the spot
he’d spent
the night before, a halo
of dirty dark around my door.
“You messing with me, bro?”
said a cell phone echo
of party line, of self… “It’s
just … these streets, they so
different in
day glow.”
Always nagging, half
a block from derision,
this entertaining
of Suspicion.
I drove on

down there,
where he waited
on a concrete re-divider for pumping
petrol. His Bugs Bunny gloved hands
hovered a twitch above

hips, eyelids swiveling like spaghetti
western Death. “Get in,” I said, and
he did.

This took place in Roswell, New Mexico,
half a block from the funky used car lot
with fifty foot dirigible in the shape of a
flying saucer, platinum shade of twin
meanings. And I do mean
twins …Suspicion shot me

a look in the rear view
that said I was part
and parcel now, of a plot
unfolding, throughout
the seasons, my
many sympathies
and leanings.
“Look, I’d really like to be
at that Blue Man concert by three
o clock in Phoenix yo don’t frigging
confront me,” Suspicion
said, tuning in AM talk
radio, for the theory, for

“Oh, please,” I replied, my
mouth, so dry, all bearings
and blessings gone
south. I pined and
pined and pined for
the lime Slurpee

not taken. “Hang a left,” he said, “we got
time to pick up Doubt … if he’s in pocket,
that blighter owes me.”
“Please,” I repeated, to no
body in particular, ever sidelong
as a bad plan, a mirror. It was all
going wrong, Suspicion began
to shout.

for Kurt Cobain

I once had a beddy bye teddy bear
whose fur was unnaturally fair. Called him
Bodah—he bordered on Albino, this cuddly
cub did, kinda creepy for the
neighborhood kids, with his

tree sloth triptych
of slush-colored toes,
and crusty cravat
to wipe his
… oh,


* *

My Bodah buddy’s left eye
was of sparkly lapis lazuli ;
the right one? Pink with sty stripes
that swirled, creamy
as a barber pole into pure Infinity.
On the odd sunny day in old
Aberdeen, I’d stuff his pie hole
with Lithium and

antihistamine, run him up
the double-barreled
cop shop flag pole
with limbs akimbo
as wind-blown hay straw
forelocks; on the long shore
docks, catty corner to crab boat
love shack, I’d squat
with dearest Bodah on my lap,
pet his sweet pea pate that receded,
sluggish and gooey as Elmer’s pap
on boppity brain bubble of wasted
piñata and Jesus

Christ you ought to
have seen the things I made him do
in the deadliest of dull winter afternoons
using blistered peach vinyl Sex Pistol
45’s hooked
to orphanage mobiles
with toothpicks, syringe tips,
Chapstick and rolled-up strips
of Reynold’s Wrap…

Anyhoo, it’s true—
poor Bodah you burned to

a crisp, one morning under a Carl’s
Junior Heat Lamp, as I tried to give
a much-needed tropical tan,
not to mention

some other stuff that went down
when I became a demon-dusted
minstrel man, but
please, Bodah try to understand it’s
nothing but serene here
in the Aberdeen
of the Mind, and I still love you
about THIS much, mostly
all of the Time.

Limber New Age Crystal Mama,
enfolded in a yogi lotus curl, atop
the candy-striped hood
of a Cobra

Mustang — up on blocks
at the corner of 23rd and Ainsworth
in far North Portland… She directs
the scant foot traffic
with flat autistic Pharaoh palms
cutting mad karate chops across her
I Dream of Jeannie

cleavage. She smiles—eyes shut
and bouffant head thrown back
to soak up sunbeams through olive skin scented
with pine needles and cherry blossoms, fully
poised, it would seem, to either blow you   

a kiss with lips bell-shaped as poppies,
or else pull a perfumed chain letter
from her panty strap, so she can tack it
to your kneecap like a summons.             

As a salt breeze billows
her crepe pantaloons into a heart-shaped sail,
and she looks at you out of one eye (indeed, does she think
she’s Captain Bly, winking through a filigreed spyglass?)
something sharp and tapered tugs at the gulping gills
of your atria, and the words are out of your mouth
before you can reel them back in:               

Damn, baby …  At this moment I wouldn’t 
be inclined to take Levitation off the table!

She rattles her twenty-two
aqua blue bracelets

in a shoo-fly gesture, as a downtown bus roars by,
in an eye-watering swash of diesel, with an Orson
Welles-looking personal injury lawyer
on the billboard panel, shaking
a Tsk!  –  Tsk!


in your naughty face.