Max Yoho







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Max Yoho became a widower in 1988 and then, at that time, began his career as a writer by exploring the new patterns of his life alone and composing poems to his pet cat.

He honed his writing skills while writing poetry. Many of the poems in his book Felicia, These Fish are Delicious, were originally published in Inscape, the literary journal of Washburn University.

Besides Felicia, Max has written three well-received humorous novels about life in Kansas. His novel The Revival won the J. Donald Coffin Award of Kansas Authors Club in 2002.  Dancing Goat Press has published his books since 2001.

Born in 1934, Max is a lifelong Kansan; he spent his first ten years in Colony, then moved with his family to Atchison in 1944 and to Topeka in 1949. He graduated from Topeka High School in 1953.  A full-time machinist, Max retired in 1992.






Close enough to feel
the fresh turned gravel
through my thin-soled shoes.
No fake grass to obscure
the reality of that bare hole.


Rifles popped and echoed.
A far away bugle gave us
the saddest of all Amens,
which chilled and chilled.


My father shuddered
and pulled me close.


Embarrassed and ashamed for him,
I watched tear drops leave his eyes
to fall on that ground
which was only beginning to show
its insatiable hunger
for the young men of our town.




My cat is the Princess of Pookistan,
We only found out today.
A letter was slipped through our mail slot
With a stamp from far away.


A second-cat-cousin, some sort of Emir,
Had dropped dead on the Pookistan strand.
And the letter explained—it was perfectly clear—
That my pussycat now rules the land.


I read it aloud, then I read it again.
Puss said, “I just don’t understand.”
Says I, “You’re the Princess of Pookistan!”
Says she, “Bless my soul, yes I am!”


We’ve packed up the linen. We’re leaving in haste.
We’ve told the “Grand Pooh-Bah” by cable.
Old Puss has stopped licking below the waist,
And—I’ve ordered a jewel for my navel.



All poetry on this page
© by Max Yoho,





I was secretly glad when my mother died.
No more lurking, frightening demons for her. 
I carry no burden of guilt.
She had become my Mother, no longer my mom.
I attended her funeral using a cane. (Damned knee!)
Time was, she rode down that old lane, dirt path,
standing up barefoot on her pony.
Time was… Time was…
Shouting at the top of her voice. Down that old lane,
like a wild Indian.


Thoughts on the Unfairness of Life


How rare the cypress—woeful tree,
With knees as knobby as those on me.


Why, my own mother does not root
For me, at the beach, in my swimming suit.


Women whom I cast my glance on
Beg for me to leave my pants on.


For my knobby situation
Far exceeds my reputation
    As a lover.
And they say that they prefer me
    As a brother.


These bony orbs ‘twixt thigh and toe
Turn the hottest lust to snow.


Their only use is punching holes,
In which I plant my marigolds.



Introduction to Physics


Does it matter that we can’t destroy Matter?
We can slice it, dice it, burn it very well.
We can kick it, prick it, shoot it,
Or defile it or pollute it,
And, to me, that seems enough.
Like…what the Hell?


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