Dennis Mahagin


You will meet him in winter, in the inevitable rain
on a last-minute lark heíll be walking his skittery
shit-brown dachshund through the grand prix blacktop path
in Laurelhurst park -- thick lather of steam and tonic bubbles
rising off the rain-dappled duck pond, oh god heavenly

moment donít fail me now as palpable showers
of static electric lint-sparks soak up the sixty-inch space
between your spattered purple poncho and his ball cap brim.

Quick, grab him, with your eyes, you tell yourself think
of something fucking clever to say, before he walks on his way,
and you, yours --† weight of the moment like a windshield breaker brick
flung by a carjacker in a crosswalk.†

Warning, a needy eager heart can skip a red rubber
song ball beat, over accents that should leave a mark,
may cause random miscues scratching oneís best shot
at first clue,† but no fooling now pay attention

when the poor dog starts whining and humping your ankle,
anchoring itself there, and he swats its snout blithely
with a maple switch he picked off the path
moments before, never taking his eyes off you

and at that exact second the ducks start to squawk
like front row geezers
when the suspense part starts, stop now
look, and listen--† a long siren blast from a city bus

bearing down on a weary curb sitter
at 39th and Stark streets,

the complete absence of birdsong,

and blanket waves

of shiver-drizzle drops
all over everything
like the hum of power lines
over a cancer cluster.

Yes all the scores of different futures
that will be yours are splashing now in the backlash
of your next few footfalls.

When he makes his play, give him the number,
off the top of your head, say, of that Thai restaurant
on Belmont you know by heart, and move on
down the trail.

Youíll find me under the soggy awning
of an espresso cart, serving caffeine shots
cake and quickie fortunes.

Youíll get no palpable hit from me
but instead come to know kindness,
and the buzzing, hairsbreadth tremor caress
of a patient, prescient man who will
always leave you
an out.

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Occupation: Musician and writer
Publications: Stirring, Twelfth Planet, Alchemy, The Temple

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