Monday, April 17, 2017


danny boy, king
of the family
jobs at 12
car at 16
married at 19
dead much too soon

sweet maureen
young foe 
of housework then
many many many
traveler, reveler
also dead too soon

lives unknown
in the great world
without celebrity
but family stars
shooting stars
falling stars
make a wish

copyright © 2017 by pat o'hayer

Saturday, April 15, 2017


barman bonhomie loves us
all barflies behave
blather stay sane pay the tab

barmaid short skirt smile flirty
but take it easy
men are dogs nuts but generous

busman quiet thorough all
but invisible 
backbone of every restaurant

diners divine impossi-
ble facing food trau-
ma in the wrongest venue

hostess congenial glamor
alert friendly wise
first impression best always

owners lean mean investment
shrewd bottomline love
sly worker burden heroes

copyright © 2017 by patrick o'hayer

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


i was not gifted with good hair
Ma sent me to the local discount
barber, who would mutilate my cowlick
making me look even worse
if i walked past the shop
on Addison Street
in summertime he would
wave me in, give me a buck and send
me to the Southport L station
to pick up the Green
Sheet, the tout sheet of the day
so that he could phone his 
picks into the bookie
i managed classroom boredom by
reading Damon Runyon stories,
Guys and Dolls, Blue Plate
Special and such, which led
to my college years horse playing
and academic underachievement
when they weren't running locally i'd bet
two bucks across the board
at New York City tracks
the race results were on page 1 
every day beneath the fold
on the Herald American, the first edition
hit the news stands at 2PM
almost instant gratification
in those glorious years
i met Ralph the Bookie
and Vic the Druggist's nephew
a clerk at the neighborhood downtown
stationery store who
also took bets - my school work suffered
but having become a reader i 
discovered the Daily Racing Form
--one immortal headline: FINISHED FULL OF RUN--
purchased at Chicago and Michigan
which none of my Loyola classmates
appreciated or wished to borrow
i'd think of the barber and his Green Sheet
when i'd visit the south loop warehouse
where Ralph the Bookie 
operated the freight elevator 
to place my bet
or in the Eye-talian grocery store 
with the steam table where the
B&O railroad workers lunched
along with Ralph, Tony, and so many others
i learned how to appear circumspect
these days when i mention Damon Runyon
to the smarties at morning coffee i get
a blank look, even from the guy with
the j-school diploma from an elite venue
among his countless excellencies
Jimmy Breslin wrote Runyon's
biography, as well as many other 
books and countless newspaper columns,
second in the trade only to Mike Royko
during my elective absence from the Vietnam war,
the summer of 1969, when Breslin
was on the mayoral ticket with
Norman Mailer--Vote the Bastards IN--
i thought to volunteer
in some meager capacity but decided
my escape to Canada was more urgent
as luck would have it the Great White North
found me unsuitable for landed immigrant status
O they're all dead by now, Ralph, Royko, Vic's 
nephew, Vic himself, Damon Runyon 
decades ago, then Mailer, in 2007--
and yesterday Jimmy Breslin
there's no finish to this meager
nothing, nothing at all, except for

copyright © 2017 by patrick o'hayer

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


by fashionable enticement
at the library, the supermarket,
the drivers license renewal counter
yoga pants, distressed
bluejeans showing a little thigh
skin, dramatic lipstick
heels that cant the pelvis
appealingly, sort of a public service,
sophisticated suburban hairdo
highlights, gym figures
displayed assuredly, 
almost boldly
my chubby toddler oblivious
to one of her futures
the new feminism, 
almost equal pay, 
equal bedroom rights
equal pain
i hold
the at-home moms
at arm's length
no hug-hello at library
story hour, at music and movement,
the playground swings
at the mall admiring
hand-woven carpets 
with my perfect daughter
who says, let's go, dad
perfect daughter turning 34 this year
good job, dad!

copyright © 2017 by patrick o'hayer

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


cold and crisp, the neighbor 
dog's barking for no reason

bronchitis making the day's
first cigaret go down hard

today's espresso, not
a god shot but entirely satisfactory

some of the family golden-years
elders are improving, some

shut in, no visitors 
until further notice

facebook bristles with the usual
political squabbles and excellent food pics

my relatives all have
employment except maybe for

one--my great-uncles were career 
housemen, at great-grandma's

boarding house, didn't work 
for wages even during the greatest generation war

the great war disabled some permanently
even with the brilliant bannered welcomes

even with total victory, the bomb, beaten 
wives and small children, total silence, victory

copyright © 2017 by patrick o'hayer

been hocking 

for three weeks
i'm dying

until i see 
the neighbor's

dog, he does 
his business

on the parkway
and meeting

anybody on the 
sidewalk wags

his tail using his 
entire body joyously

infectiously, brilliantly
he suffers from

numerous ailments 
so that his

scrumptious owner
forbids my giving

him treats 
bought especially

for the purpose
which saddens me

but with his epilepsy

his social anxiety
so she says

i honor her 
wishes, look on

from afar, from 
across the street

oh, that he 
were mine

oh, that he
were mine

copyright © 2017 by patrick o'hayer

Thursday, February 9, 2017

fresh and fluent, fabulous
a diamond in the rough
diamond dave
but a fidgety ladies man
fraught with love need
handsome dave
but as well a trickster in pursuit
prevaricator, poetic inventor
dave the liar
but huge flightiness
this, that, this, then back to double this
so he went to portlandia to stabilize
returning sometime later
somewhat recognizable
added pounds of text
mathematician, logician, weighted
with quick-fire words on
multiple new subjects
but the labia minora now foregone
in my ending is my
beginning, or words
to that effect
copyright © 2017 by p.j.o'hayer