November 20, 2013

Donal Mahoney

The Whole Mad Swirl

I was out of control, spinning 
on the whirligig of youth, 
giddy to be caught 
in what Kerouac called 
"the whole mad swirl
of everything to come."
I didn't know what to expect. 
I was ready for nothing
though I had spent years 
in solitary confinement

with books, exams and degrees.
You would think I'd have learned 
something about life as it is,
not as I wished it to be. 
I went out on the street 
to look for work
and was surprised to discover 
no one spoke Old English 
like Beowulf or Middle English
like the Wife of Bath.

An old professor told me 
I talked the way 
e.e. cummings wrote 
and no one would hire me.
A few years later I married 
a woman with several degrees. 
She thought I was normal.
We had five kids in six years 
and drove landlords bonkers.
"The Lord will provide," 

we said, and He did.
Fifty years later, the five kids
have rucksacks of their own
packed with jobs, marriages, 
children and good lives
measured against 
the standard of most.
Their mother is dead, 
and like everyone else
on this strange planet 

I am in the process 
of dying in the jaws
of what Kerouac called 
"the whole mad swirl
of everything to come."
I have seen almost all 
of "everything to come" 
except for the best part
and that, I am told, 
will take my breath away.


Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his work can be found here:

1 comment:

Javed Hayat said...

An epic told in a simple yet beautifully poignant way. A pleasure to read, with a tenderness about it that is very touching.

Its hard to pick one fav from this, but the one I loved the most ...

"I am in the process
of dying in the jaws
of what Kerouac called
"the whole mad swirl
of everything to come."
I have seen almost all
of "everything to come"
except for the best part
and that, I am told,
will take my breath away." Beautiful!