Dennis Mahagin


It’s true, 
my greenhorn gig at KVBW in Kalamazoo 
featured some pretty quirky pet theories I tried 
to shoehorn into telestrator indicators of wicked 
Canadian high pressure troughs that collide 
with dirty Motor City 
thermal inversions, 
but what I really want to know 
is whether you’ve ever ransacked the drafty anterooms 
of an A-frame in Hyannis Port during the season of Lent, 
searching for a favorite pullover you assumed was 
stashed in a safe place overnight—your mind’s eye milky 
with the prospect of a dozen different intractable crannies 
where stray socks, ball caps & dust bunnies obscure 
the purest essence of what continues to 
gnaw at you 
like teeth of an east wind 
on partly cloudy day & the sweet 
buds of May an eternity away, 
or so it would seem, still 
I’m dying 
to know what made you finally 
descend to the root cellar where 
you found that ratty sweater 
fly-tied like a gangrene tourniquet 
around the third rung of a step ladder 
loaned out 
by your brother’s pot-bellied, Kenny 
Rogers-looking suds buddy--who you’re 
pretty sure keeps a hair or two 
up his ass concerning you 
from a long ways back, and trust me, baby he 
talks about it all the time--the whole Doppler gamut 
of prurient hurtful things amongst the social club 
gossip kings but never to your face—never, ever 
to your face… 
I’m an Old School Roker-esque rock 
star forecaster from Terre Haute, my predictions 
are syndicated, nationwide and certified by Ernst & 
Young—I saw Katrina coming in mid-climax while I put it 
to a lanky Avon Lady with sun dress yanked clear 
up to her ice-blue cumulus-cloud-tattooed midriff,
but see, anymore you're not going to catch me 
thumb-licking a stiff breeze like Albino Dowser in mid-
April I’ll already be on a designated sabbatical jet
heading to Barbados or perhaps St. Tropez for
naked gestation in the diamond-studded tropical
brine, 'till I’ve deepened those tan lines, 

and convinced myself the sanctity of Daylight 
Savings is real--one more time… you know, it’s  
like what Fitzgerald said in The Crack Up
about how people will always want to talk
about the weather—but never what’s 
really on their minds, 
not to mention the fact that half 
an hour after you don that frayed purple hoodie, 
peripatetic sun will return like prodigal hot flash 
cut with dust motes & a potentially terminal 
yawn makes you wish to strip right down 
to silk scarf & skivvies, 
my best 
educated professional guess 
is an eighty-plus per cent chance 
Kenny Rogers will hold on to
his closet grudge like some
grimy Linus Blanket, 
you can drive yourself blind 
trying to pinpoint exactly what 
it was maybe some 
trifling condescension slur--spat at him 
from out the side of your mouth in '92 
with half a load on, 
& the mind a million 
miles away, but never 
in this lifetime 
is Ken going to find it 
in his blue-black, viscous 
squalling thunderhead 
of a heart 
to forgive you.

Dennis Mahagin is a poet and writer from the state of Washington. His work appears in publications such as Absinthe Literary Review, 3 A.M, 42opus, Frigg, and Underground Voices. A first collection of his poems is forthcoming from Three Roads Press, a new imprint of San Francisco-based Suspect Thoughts Press.

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