Riding Schwinns in ’56

A Poem by Donal Mahoney

You had to have a Schwinn
to lead this pack of boys
riding bikes full speed
baking under the Chicago sun
laughing after senior year
heading to the local park
to play a game of ball
or lob a cane pole
in the park lagoon
with stinkbait on the hook
to catch a bullhead,
cousin of the catfish,
small but just as tough.

Riding Schwinns was High Mass
in the summer after high school
before everyone would join the Army
or wait to be drafted.
Maybe one or two of us
had sober fathers working
and we would go to college.
I was one of those.
Going to college was something
I was told I’d do from third grade on.
So do the homework, my father said,
or he’d wash up and visit the nuns.

Korea ended not too long before.
Two guys ahead of us
would never ride a Schwinn again
or go to college on the GI Bill.
One guy did come back.
For years he walked in circles
around his family’s back yard
smoking real Pall Malls,
unimpaired by filters, very long.
Butch was shell-shocked,
neighbors said.
We’d have to pray for him.
They didn’t call it PTSD back then.

Advertisements

By Mistake He Later Said

A Poem by Donal Mahoney

Every once in awhile
over the last 40 years
Ralph wondered what might

have happened to the guy
who had moved in with the mother
of his children and drank all the time.

He remembered the kids saying
when they were small
the fellow got up one night

to go to the bathroom
and got lost in the hallway
went back to the wrong room

and got in the wrong bed
with Ralph’s daughter,
by mistake he later said.

Forty years later
in a technicolor nightmare
Ralph saw the guy’s name

blink on a neon billboard
and Ralph Googled him to find
the fellow had won the lottery

and moved to Arizona,
got cancer and died.
None of the children,

adults with families
of their own now, knew
what had happened to him

except for the daughter who
wakes up and Googles him
in the still of the night.

Monsanto’s Portraits of Vietnamese children with Agent Orange

Photographs Compiled by Donnab

From http://projectagentorange.com/simplemachinesforum/

Because the nature of the photographs may be very disturbing, we put them up as links.

http://projectagentorange.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=2.msg18267#msg18267

http://projectagentorange.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=2.msg18269#msg18269

http://projectagentorange.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=2.msg18279#msg18279

http://projectagentorange.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=2.msg18293#msg18293

http://projectagentorange.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=2.msg18301#msg18301

http://projectagentorange.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=2.msg18312#msg18312

Across the Bay

A Poem by Joanna M. Weston

I park
on the bank
just above high-tide

a gust of gulls
takes off low and fast
in a flash of white

followed by
an arrow of ducks
over the gleaming bay

I long
for a camera
but my eyes hold the image

swift against
the ridge of cloud
and rise of islands