Saturday, April 18, 2015

Four poems by Ned O'Hanlan


I met the devil outside of Barstow –
he was howling at the moon.
I stopped the car and hit the horn, 
thought I’d give the old man a ride.
Well he hopped right in and with a sly toothy grin
Asked me if I wanted a drink.
He said son I know a place, it’s just up the road, and they tend to all appetites.
But I said no, I had places to go –
still I’d take him as far as he’d like. 
It wasn’t but a mile when he told me to stop,
saying something about a change of plans.
He shook my hand and said thanks for the lift – but I had something to say.
Sir, we both know nothing in this life is free –
every favor has a price,
and I believe you’re indebted to me.
I would have sold my soul for a tank of gas, 
but I suppose that I’ve got you beat.
All the devil did was rear his head and laugh
saying this road is long –
and you’ll be back. 

If were being honest

I can paint you a picture of the canals that run through the city of Amsterdam – 
where the moonlight glimmers like a crown atop darkened water. 
I can tell you all about the blends of highland whiskey,
how you’ve never tried wine until you’ve been to Tuscany. 
There is no love as there is in Paris, 
And no greener hills as there are in Ireland. 
The theater in England stands alone. 
Salzburg is awfully beautiful in the winter. 
But I could never take you there,
Or rather, 
would never take you there. 


I followed you to hell
And when I turned wrong –
You were gone. 
So I wandered in the dark
And studied the silhouettes.
Trying to piece it all together,
and understand what it meant.  

Airport Bar

From port to port –
To you I left behind,
To you I know not
and to you I return –
you are on my mind. 
And my mind wanders,
to a spec far below.
What am I then?
If not a bird headed south,
a blinking light in the night sky,
or simply a departing thought.
A weary traveler –
creating a nest in any branch 
that can bear the weight.
Only to depart once more 
and leave another piece behind

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