PoetryIssue 19 | December 2013


by Sean J Mahoney

Tomato, onion, and cheddar toasted sandwiches
and cold pints of Guinness pulled slowly
                from the tap.
During the hour that it takes for
the stout to settle, my cousins take pains
to explain how the claxon of strength
does not travel well, how it tastes different
county to county moving out and away from Dublin.
And two sandwiches later I’m finally drinking
as my next eases into its glass.

Sunday evening at Morgan’s, crammed
shoulder to shoulder with family, families,
and shepherds. When Rita turned, Jimmy
slipped vodka into his orange soda
for purely medicinal reasons. He rang up Harps,
Carlings, and stouts, fags, crisps, and pops
                for the tots.
His raspy baritone held the Rose of Tralee.
When finished he brought rounds out
for the musicians and bade them play more
      for the stars had begun to shine.

The North wasn’t discussed. The divorce
referendum—the button issue—was on ballot
for the first time. The masses sang on key.
They moved in time. A bodhrán greened
the tempo to jig speed, and before I knew
just how smoky it could get
Down by the Salley Gardens,
sweat heavied my homeland spun
                wool garments.
I knew no lyrics but reeled drunk with them
      as the young and foolish are wont to do.

At evening’s end I was a beautiful young man.
I had been invited round for a spot of tea
the following day: three towns, two counties.
I would travel well.

About the author

Sean has swum with whale sharks in Mexico and has been out-boozed by Franciscan monks in Ireland. Damsel fish in the Philippines found Sean quite appetizing. Sean and his wife live in Santa Ana, California, where palateras frequent their street and ring bells. They ring bells quite often. With the help of aspirin and water Sean recovers. After he’s eaten, of course. You can find Sean’s work here and there both in print and online.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok