Gregory, I Heart All Over


Staring down the cracker barrel of fifty,
a gap-toothed Aqualung bobbing for apples,
with dentition well shot through, cured
in a pure cane stew of caramello
and nougat.

There was a carnival one time
when I almost lost my mind
staring into the pastel centrifuge
where confectioners run their spun
sugar, and later I got my licorice fixed

right under the hot-buttered grandstand
by a Bubblicious girl, she showed me
her pink, her Jiffy Pop, I came, inhaling
divinity fudge, and quite transfixed

by new constellations in the shape
of sundae boats. Yet I must set sights forward
now, to root canals in Bruges, star bucks on
Venice beach,

talking shop with the poetess Nutrasweet
Cupcake Hostess, and a Beat voice, whistling
through two missing front
teeth says, “go there,
mon frere, go there.”

Old Corso’s right, of course, it’s never
too late to begin routine flossing, a clean
wild hair for such a seasoned pride. Nostalgia
is the candy-coating
on the inside.

Previously published in Stirring: A Literary Collection.
Also available a
s a broadside

Dennis Mahagin has a chapbook Fare and a print collection Grand Mal due out later this year, from Redneck Press and Rebel Satori Press respectively.

Object(s) to bring back to life: “Kurt Cobain … So I could take him on a trip to Aberdeen, Scotland, where we could play bagpipes.”