An Open Page for Earnest Eyes

Your submissions printed here for all to see. In this collection we present, in no particular order, the following poems:

Seven Poems by Handsen Chikowore or Harare, Zimbabwe
the push of time by Nicole A. Butler of Binghamton, NY. USA
CENTRAL PARK: Water Fight, Flight and Tears by Sharon Esther Lampert of New York, NY. USA
Early Autumn with the Son by Tom R. Harmon or Albany, NY. USA
Four Poems by Eric V. Stone of Chicago, IL. USA
"Wet Places" by John J. Quinn of Brookfield, IL. USA
"The Last Cigar" by Thomas D. Jones
"Trickling Words" by Aubrey E. Smith
"SKIMMERS" by Charles Larsen of St. Petersburg, FL. USA
"The Circus Fire" by Barbara Vink of Vorheesville, NY. USA
"Five Haiku by a Western Woman" by Evelyn Jess-Fulwiler of Moss Beach, CA. USA
Untitled by Venita Ana Luciano
"A Cloud" by Richard C. Smith of Enfield, Conn. USA
"Diner" by Dave M. Ruslander of Richmond, VA. USA
"Two Worlds" by Peter A. Hale of Richmond, CA. USA
"Supermarket Dog Days (Morning Shift)" by Joel C. Chmara of Addison, IL. USA
"BROKEN" by Ernest S. Barteldes of Fortaleza, Ceara. Brazil
"Big Bears" by Chris D. Fleisher of Mt. Kisco, NY. USA
"Reason To Live" by W. L. Bray of Irving, TX. USA
"THE ACCIDENT" by Jennifer Bosveld of Johnstown, OH. USA
"Boy With AIDS" by Jerry G. Donovan of Oak Park, IL. USA
"SPRING" by Michael Brownstein of Chicago, IL USA
"LUST FOR COMFORT" by Jill Langlois of Hillside, IL USA
"The Devil's Blood Has Spilled" by Anya Bergman-Mikita of Chicago, IL USA
"Locks with No Keys" by Michael Levy of West Palm Beach, FL USA
"Edmonton Flight" by Marianne Jones of Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
"Come Play with Me" by Wendy E. Caylie of Westmont, NJ. USA
"Over Polly's" by Michael G. Koehler of Appleton, WI. USA
"FIVE HAIKU" by Lewis Sanders of Jackson, TN. USA
"You Have the Strength to Do Anything" by Jack Rossiter-Munley of Oak Park, IL. USA
"A Sailor" by Jerry G. Donovan of Oak Park, IL. USA
"SUNDAY'S CHILD" by Perie J. Longo of Santa Barbara, CA. USA
"BABE MAGNET" by Carlos Colon of Shreveport, LA. USA
"home" by Bill Schmidtkunz of Sutton, Alaska USA
"ANGELS" by Dan Wilcox of Albany, NY. USA


Africa ,Africa Africa
Our beloved continent cries
Problems, troubles haunt the continent
This is the voice of the Africans

In Mozambique
Floods destroyed infrastructure
Outbreak of diseases haunt the nation
Roads and bridges are non -existent
Please help poor Mozambique

In Zimbabwe
We need investors
We want employment creators
Zimbabwe a country with resources
For those who need real investments

In South Africa
Thousands are dying weekly
We talk of AIDS daily
Orphans are increasing daily
We cry for Gods mercy

We talk of war
Peace agreements being breached
We cry for peace in Africa
Peace peace in DRC

In Kenya
We talk of hunger and starvation
Emanating from prolonged drought
Food resources are scarce
We really need urgent help
This is the voice of Africa



Day in day out I am always suffering
No permanent place to sleep
Hunger, hunger my stomach complains
The mouth always dry
Bins are the sources of my food
Clothes are tattered and torn
When I cry for help , no one come to my rescue

Everyday I am always shouting
Begging in the city centre streets
Where the riches do their shopping
Sometimes I dont because of weakness and hunger
They always scold me and neglect me

I walk barefooted
My teeth always dirt
My hair scruffy
No toothpaste and soap available
I use water from public places

My fellows go to school
Whilst I am busy walking in the streets
My relatives denied me
I am an opharn
I have no one to care for me

When I seek help from churches
They say we have no money
They think I am insane
I hope one day in my life
God will rescue me
From this bondage of poverty



Up in the azure sky
Shoots the suns rays
Rises to meet another day
Another promise
To me its not yet any hope
As each day brings more problems
Which trouble a thirteen year old girl

Setting alight fire early morning
Sweeping the sheets of dust and dirt early morning
A beast of burden for firewood so I am bound
All those long distances I have to walk
A throbbing ever throbbing pain to my foot
With the baby clinging on my yonder back

The thorn infested forests
The meandering long walks to boreholes and wells
The back breaking dreary buckets full of water
Its so tiresome my body sweats
Its so punishing my body cannot endure

All African girls
Cry for your rights
The rape, torture and victimisation
Our life an eerie furnace of denied paradise
A sad song of denied education
I am so weary, Oh weary, So weary
A breath for fresh air cometh not
Dont fall African girls
Up and fight
Yearn for another life
Another era.



Our country
Our nation
Our territory
Our dwelling
Have suffered long enough
May you cancel our debt please
Zimbabweans are destitute
Companies are closing up
The dollar weaken daily
Prices of basic commodities
Are sky rocketing daily
Please cancel the debt
The economy is ailing
Trading is becoming less and less
Foreign currency no longer available
Imports are now limited
Poverty, poverty is the daily song
We are in true economic quagmire
Please cancel our debts
Breadwinners are jobless
De-investments at its peak
Unemployment ever-increasing
Mines are closing down
Owing to forex shortages
Please cancel our debt
You the rich giver and the lender
Consider our problems seriously
Have mercy on the masses of Zimbabwe
Health institution faces drug shortages
For the sake of development
We need your best support
Cancel our debt please



People have perished
Infrastructue have been destroyed
Roads have been destroyed
Buildings have been demolished
Why fight in Democratic Republic of Congo?

The economy have been paralysed
Schools have been closed
Investor confidence have disapeared
Poverty is increasing
Why do you fight in DRC?

Africans unite
Do not fight against each other
Our rich land is becoming useless
Stop civil war
Start rebuilding the economy
Why war in DRC?

Please countries fighting in Africa
Stop the bloody war
For the sake of Africas progress and prosperity
We want cease fire
We want development in Africa

Please stop war in DRC
A country full of minerals resources
A country with diamonds
A country with the potential
Lets all unite towards peace in DRC
Lets be part of solution to ceasefie in DRC



Its now a continental disaster in Africa
Millions are perishing
Daily thousands are dying
Hospitals are full of AIDS patients
Its shocking the rate which people are dying

Medical facilities are over-stretched
The African economy being paralysed
Able bodied men and women are perishing
Living the young and the old
Without someone to care for them
Orphans are found everywhere
Africa is perishing

Poverty is increasing daily
Yet Africa is a rich continent
Destitute are found in cities and towns
Streets kids , mothers and father are increasing
The breadwinners are being wiped by AIDS
Its sorrowful , pitiful about the impact of AIDS in Africa

Many organisations are trying to assist
But they are failing
As more and more money is needed
To assist AIDS victims
Its now upon responsibility of everyone
To assist in the prevention of AIDS

The duty is not for governments alone
But for all Africans to unite and fight against AIDS
Lets All Africans promote sex after marriage
And sing our daily motto
Stick to one partner
Let the message spread across Africa.
So as to reduce the consequences of AIDS



Lets all educate ourselves in Africa
With education
Success and prosperity is ours
From Cape to Cairo
Lets educate our children
As they will shape Africa tomorrow

All children must go school
Despite their sex
Being a girl child
Does not mean being disable
Parents , guardians lets all educate children
As they will shape the economy of Africa

Let us send them to school
And fight against child labour
All children should be educated
Parents its our duty to ensure that
Lets all fight have vision for our children
Visions that will shape Africa

Education is the grassroots of success
Without it prosperity cannot be achieved
Lets fight against illiteracy
Lets all have hope for the future
With our children educated
Lets all educate and educate
Until we educate no more.

Handsen Chikowore
Harare, Zimbabwe

the push of time

feet in the sand
body firm on the seat of a swing
heart beats faster and faster
palms get sweatty

a jolting push to my back

that's all it takes
and feet are naturally pumping
cool air awakens
a sleeping mind
an imprint of chain links grinds deeper into my hands
until I flip over the top bar of
this familiar swingset
climaxing fear

I'm caught in a wind
towards the sun
hair is in my face so I can't see where I'm going
and let it carry me
as far as gravity will allow

when I finally get my hair pulled back,
Italy, France, and Israel pass by
out of my mouth comes greetings in each language
to the people down below

I land briefly,
the stranger
not really speaking their language
or familiar with their music
but just an onlooker

their children are running around
they take me into their homes and I watch
them discovering a new world
walking, sometimes running
picking up and examining new flowers
grown bodies
afraid at first to let go of mom
but soon come over and talk to me
taking my hand in theirs
showing me their land and customs
ever so quietly stealing my heart

with a quick kiss goodbye,
I'm back in the air
flying until God's breath grinds
to a halt
the clouds get heavy
and I fall like rain in an unexpected storm
my voice is thunder screaming
from fear and disappointment

approaching the earth
hoping I get stuck in a tree
with my mom's hands on my shoulders
pulling my swing to a light stop
she whispers in my ear
with familiar words
    honey, it's getting dark,
    time for dinner.

Nicole A. Butler
Binghamton, NY

CENTRAL PARK: Water Fight, Flight and Tears

From the five boroughs
of N.Y.C., sixty soulless
monsters came, not knowing
each other, they all found
each other all in agreement:
water all the women with ICE
and bring them to tears.

Disarmed, each woman,
-fifty and counting, and
countless others - is disrobed,
robbed, sexually pawed and clawed.
Concentric circles form
around a sole woman; a first
circle of raging participants;
a second circle of cheering and
jeering spectators; and a third
circle of indifferent police;
4500 police on duty; 900
in the park; eight calls to 911.

Videotapes abound: Sexual Abuse
and Violence Against Women. Madams,
did it or did it not happen in our park;
in the heart of the Big Apple?
Men are everywhere but no real
men are anywhere to be found:
Too afraid:impotent are our men of
the possible knife wielding soulless
monsters attacking.There are no heroes
marching in this Puerto Rican Day Parade

In childhood, my father gave
me an emergency whistle. As a
young adult, a canister of mace
hung from the belt loop of a pant
pocket or from my keychain;
who knows who lurks behind
unopened doors, and the upper
east side rapist is still at large and
nightly, he is on the prowl. Flyers
of his mug hang in every doorway.

As an adult, in full bloom, it is time,
says this breast bearing woman to bear
arms. Nothing less than a gun will
protect my sacred soul from the soulless
monsters who have no fear of daylight
or police and no shame of ganging up
on women, children or the elderly.
This remedy places the victimhood
on the victimizers, as they are now
the victims of their victimization.

Provoked, even a dog would bite-
off the hand or chew-up the leg
of one of these soulless monsters
and remain on the right side of
the law. Quick on a trigger, a cat
would extend its sharpened claws
engraving blood lit scars into each
and every face. Defenseless, women
do not strike back, unable to poke
out the eyes or kick in the groins of
any of these soulless monsters.

And another concentric circle of soulless
politicians say that there are not enough
laws on the books to protect women from
domestic violence, stalkers, rapists and
hate crimes, at home, or on the street or
in the dark, back alley of a court room:
When all women file police reports, to
stand up to stand tall, the history books
will show that violence against women
was a national and international pastime.

All Women, Please Hear My Cry!
Fight back, learn to pull the happy
trigger in front of the monster cocks
that by force, dare to squirt their
poisonous venom inside the wombs
that gave them life. And then justice
will be served cold, and the tears we weep
will taste bittersweet. We will visit their
graves, and weep again, ICE cold tears.

Sharon Esther Lampert
(Kadimah, The Tribal Princess of Israel)
New York, NY.

Early Autumn with the Son

Unbuttoned white shirt billowing
Noah zig-zags
like a river sloop tacking
on course to the basket.

His sun-cured body
stretches and comes 'round
to sink the shot.

Weekends bring
new challenges to navigate
with the boat in dry dock
and roundball season begun.

Tom R. Harmon
Albany, NY

Galveston Shores

We were just boys bouncing in the surf,
Watching the oil tankers with their
Big, red hulls heading toward the harbor,
While white seagulls cried and dove above.

Waves lapped at the brown sand,
Carrying pieces of green seaweed and tar.
I would push my feet into the sand and
Watch the waves cover my footprints.

Sand castles that took all day long to make
Were destroyed in minutes when the sun
Sank over the horizon , and the tide crept in.
Days seemed to last forever on that beach.

Under the hot Texas sun, we ran from the fire ants
We poked dead Portuguese men-of-war and fish
We flung creatures of the sea at our screaming sisters
Who turned pink as lobsters in the sun's rays.

For one day at a time, we lived in the magic world;
Even our parents, covered in lotion and hiding behind
Sunglasses looked like weird apparations on this sandy
Planet, the beaches of Galveston.



Punk fashion from 20 years ago,
On the woman across the street,
Making me feel so old.
The liquor store a flashing beacon of addiction,
Saying: drink!
A homeless man sells Streetwise by one of a hundred
The urban middle class leaving the train plugs into a
Compact disc player and tunes him out.
Taxis buzz by like yellow bees,
And pedestrians fight over them
On the street corner.
A humid night breeze blows in the scent
Of curry, basil and alcohol.
A young girl smokes under the Belmont L
And a paper blows along the gutter.


Freiburg Spring

Market day found the sun shining through the pines of the Breisgau;
The shadow of Freiburg Cathedral looming darkly on the flapping tarps,
Flapping in the wind of early spring.
Colorful apples and flowers from abroad under the tarps, the smell of
Grilled Wuerstl, swallows diving out of the belfry.
The shadow of Freiburg Cathedral looming darkly, and light shimmering
Through stained-glass into a rainbow of colors, not quite reaching the
Wooden Twelve Apostles in the stone immensity of the cathedral.
The friendly faced German woman talks about the good weather, and her
Freckles show up in a burst of sunlight, as the tarp flaps in the wind.
Rivulets of water sparkle in the sun rays, an ancient system.
There is a city gate, but there are only centuries-old memories and ghosts
To guard them.
The shadow of the belfry on the cathedral looms larger as the copper sun
Sinks over the depths of the Black Forest around the city.
Couples stroll arm-in-arm on their way home or into smoky pubs
As peace descends on the valley.


An Accordion at Quincy

From the gleaming stainless steel tower 300 Meters in the sky, the snowflakes look like tiny diamonds floating down gently on parachutes. An office worker gazes out the window of the 76th floor, down at the toy cars and toy people down below. Up here, in this self-contained world, there is order. It is a world unto its own.

At five o'clock in the afternoon, like clockwork, the occupants of the building crowd around elevators to be whisked safely dozens of floors below. They file out of the massive structure of stainless steel, plexi-glass and concrete, heading toward trains, buses, and automobiles. Down here, the piles of snow and slush are real.

An ambulance howls in the distance, taxi drivers honk their horns out of habit, and the workers move along briskly. Underneath the L stop at Quincy, a chubby man in a shabby coat plays sad songs on an accordion. He squeezes and pulls the instrument, held closely to his body; the East European melodies echo off the buildings, only drowned out by the rumbling of the Brown Line train picking up human cargo.

Standing on the platform underneath the electric "Do Not Smoke on CTA Property" scrolling marquis, a young woman listens intently to the music. She zones out as she stares at a gang of pigeons fighting over bread crumbs; soon she would be like a pigeon herself, fighting for a seat on the train. As the unique water structures exist briefly, crushed under wheels and feet as they hit the ground, the Russian plays the accordion.

Vodka, I want vodka goes through her mind. No don't think about it. It's Wednesday. You have to work tomorrow. The pigeons fight over bread, people line up along the platform. A man lights up a cigarette despite the scrolling marquis. In the distance a headlight shines; the platform rumbles. A silver snake slithers into the stop at Quincy, and the accordion music is drowned out once again.

She pushes back her long, dark hair, feeling the dampness of snowflakes melted on the ends. The automatic doors yawn open, and people spill out. People rush inside, scrambling for seats. She has to stand next to an exit. Outside is coldest winter. As the train crawls out of the station slowly, she closes here eyes of hums the accordion song to herself.

Eric Van Cleve Stone
Chicago, IL

                Wet places

So many soldiers, like Manny Cavallo die in wet places
where they can splash when they fall
where life can ebb in soft red spurts
unseen in the murk of muddy waters
where a death mask stays intact until the body is moved
to leave another hollow for beetle and mosquito

where, as Manny expires, breath bubbles
in audible "glubs", gurgling through the ooze
the same sound heard in Three Stooge shorts
that so amuse the world

Statistics are gathered in wet places
dog-tags harvested by sergeant Ed James
casualties duly and dutifully recorded
on Lieutenant William V. Chambers' clipboard
while anonymous privates pile body bags
where the trucks will find them

Journalists work in wet places
quoting smiling colonels and taking pictures
of laughing soldiers washing mud from their trucks
as its not good taste to show dead soldiers

Manny Cavallo's family and Ann Miro
a girl friend since high school, cry in wet places
standing by an open grave in a late June rain
while the polished and pressed color guard
attend the pomp and ritual
and an old guy from the VFW stands proud
and the ceremony ends when
Mama-Jean Cavallo is saluted
and receives a damp and folded flag.

John J. Quinn
Brookfield, IL.

The Last Cigar

As I smoked cigars at night,
the liquor languished on my tongue, the music
spun in circles at my feet beneath
the slicing moon.

The liquor languished on my tongue
as I tried to dance but lacked the skill
beneath the slicing moon, while I took
another puff, then let go.

I tried to dance but lacked the skill, still
A woman traced the lines to step
as I took another puff, then let go, smoking
circles in the center of the crowd.

A woman traced the lines to step
as I stumbled not knowing where I'd sleep, dancing
circles in the center of the crowd at midnight
on the scorched lawn.

I stumbled, not knowing where I'd sleep
as the music spun around in circles
on the scorched lawn at midnight,
and I smoked the last cigar

beneath a vanished moon.

-Thomas D. Jones

Trickling Words

This darknesss
engulfing my heart
a pain
eternally there
the words
the words i wish i could say
pour inside my head
but trickle out my mouth
so many years lost
yet it was always there
i never knew how to say
Say what was on my mind
those years
those lost years
they call my name
if then, the words
could have poured
instead they trickle
still today
 my chance is gone
it will never return
So to comfort me
I let the thoughts trickle
and the words pour

-Aubrey Smith


Long slender beaks slit the slick-smooth
inky surface of the bayou,
skimming at night in lethal
airborne ballet,
avian messengers from the gods
etching on glassy water's slate,
saying that we, like those lines,
won't be here very long.

Perhaps their exquisite, deadly lines
are telling you and me to
grasp this night and
fully use it
together or

Charles Larsen
St. Petersburg, FL

The Circus Fire
to the memory of female child 1565
who died unclaimed and unidentified
in the Ringling Brothers bigtop blaze
Hartford, CT - 1944

We left you there in Hartford, Lily Rose,
a trampled petal on the dusty track
on Independence Day in 1944,
the great war almost at a close.

Your scorched cheek resting in a tangle of your hair,
there are those who wonder still
who loved you in your flowered dress
and left you all alone there, Lily Rose?

Who missed you in your neighborhood,
who saw your empty desk at school,
were you orphaned by the flames,
and who will ever know?

You keep your secrets well
and I suppose that
you will be a girl forever
there in Hartford, Lily Rose.

Barbara Vink
Vorheesville, NY

Five Haiku by a Western Woman

Above the dark trees
Shines the full, still autumn moon.
Shines a single star.

    Warm afternoon breeze.
    White butterfly, white flowers.
    Now orange flowers.

        Fog laden green hills
        A small bird drifts slowly down.
        One hangs on a branch.

            Summer fog covers
            The idle wish for sunshine.
            Waves break just the same.

                Raindrops beat the drain-
                pipes. Not a note out of tune.
                Black night symphony.

Evelyn Jess-Fulwiler
Moss Beach, CA


        We must let everything out,
        that we hold inside.
        Before we explode
        without any pride.
        A little ball,
        is what we hide
        filled with anger,
        deep inside.
        It cracks open,
        but not all the way
        where you can taste a bit of pain.
        for everyday.
        This ball shall never open all the way
        because theres always a little scar
        that won't go away.

        Venita Ana Luciano

                A Cloud

        Run loose like a cloud
        the flotsam of the sky,
        clouds of inconceivable weight
        radiating outward beyond the peaks
        of great mountains.
        These we cannot feel,
        cannot hold, but with our eyes
        a softly moulded expiring breath
        that billows, tumbles and glows
        drifting on light winds
        like powerless dirigibles.
        Though at times becoming
        a silent cancer
        consuming space, capturing the realm
        of hawks and eagles
        furling the sun
        for days on end.
        But when the wind rises
        and storms break,
        all this is in constant
        turbulant change.

        Richard C. Smith
        Enfield, Conn.


The night had that Mars-like orange glow
from street lights. Wet pavement flashed
green and red as the traffic lights changed.
Big Harley hog at the curb, black, white and chrome.

Jackbooted blue-man with silver badge
strolls inside, at 3 AM still wearing his Ray Bans.
Bubbles dance up the curvilinear jukebox alternating
red, yellow, and purple singing "I'm A Wanderer".

Empty booths, a hooker at the bar on break
and the toothless white-haired guy sits alone,
watches infomercials with his coffee nightly;
a slow night in the diner for a Friday.

White-suited cooks with long black arms
mix pancake batter and fry potatoes with onions.
Without being asked, Shirley brings the cop coffee.
Her tight black jeans swish between her thighs

sending a telegraph message to every man..
A brown pond around his ceramic cup slowly spreads.
Heavy clay plates clatter as the dishwasher stacks them.
The grey string mop leaves a shiny wake on the green linoleum.

Graveyard shift workers will be here soon. Seven in the morning
bloody Mary's, beers, and French fries with ketchup.
Another day at the diner, blue-collar workers with dreams
of romance.

Dave Ruslander
Richmond, VA

        Two Worlds

My yard is filled with implements of joy
a boy was here
and left his imagination behind

Some adult with solemn purpose
took his laughter from my doorstep
leaving balls of many colors
Taking happiness away

Far inside the bowels of home
a boy will sit, for what seems lifetimes
marking down the lessons taught
by some adult with solemn purpose
to a boy who plays with sunshine

Patient in my house I wait
for special music; song of rapture
the boy returns with sudden laughter
taking care to share his joy
he rushes in and calls my name
and we are free to play at last

Peter A. Hale
Richmond, CA

Supermarket Dog Days
(Morning Shift)

10:22 a.m.
2 15-year-old lads
wander thru a store
looking for breakfast.
One hates his freckles.
The other,
wishes his facial marks were freckles.
They're both battling uphill
against the active volcano of adolescence.
One says to the other,
"Get the oatmeal with the Old Amish dude
on the front."

Upon securing their meal,
Freckles and Oxy
impatiently wait behind a WWII vet
having trouble maneuvering his cart thru the aisle.
Sighs accompany rolling eyes
and they pass a Purple Heart without knowing it,
continue thru the toy section,
knock down 1/2 a Malibu Barbie display,
and trudge into the 1st aid aisle,
where they move knee braces to the bottom shelf
and neck braces to the top.
A hard slap sound is heard off in the distance.
Freckles announces,
"I'll snag some raisins,
you head up to the register."

An aisle short of the raisins...

In the defining moments that follow,
Freckles calmly accesses a technique
he applied to a rubber maniquin
at school Monday.
As their lips meet,
Frecks can taste stale Cuban green leafs,
it tastes like...

The vet regains his breath,
and salutes Frecks...
Kevin Daniel Shullaw,
with a wink.
Kevin does not tell Oxy or anyone else
about the incident,
calls both sets of grandparents that night,
and unmakes his bed
the way some people unfold flags onto caskets.

Joel C. Chmara
Addison, IL


Fatherless son
Man with no family
Running alone With no one to cry out to

Motherless child
She's just a few blocks away
But dead for her own blood
As she parties away

Like a man with a severed limb
I try to smile in my loss
While the river takes away
The branches of a broken family tree

I cry in the dark
But remain unheard
Who's to listen
But the sleeping birds?

Ernest S. Barteldes
Fortaleza, Ceara

Big Bears

Shielded from emotions upon a golden crest,
Fields of soft gold cradling soft see-saw hearts,
Bouncing alone atop the giant parent mattress,
Face squished hidden inside the cotton stomach of a bear,
        Or a pillow,
                Or a father.
And there a barnacle clenched in the moment,
Soft corduroy vest blocking everything but the warmth,
        The light,
                The love.

Chris D. Fleisher
Mt. Kisco, NY

Reason To Live

Part One: A Daughter's Plea

Dark thoughts resounding in my head, that I don't want to hear.
They will not stop what e'er I try. Death is the keyword here.
Nobody seems to understand the loneliness I feel.
Confusion reigns within my soul: dark thoughts my fate will seal.

My mother screams and rants and raves, she knows no other way.
She doesn't know the pain inflicted festers day by day.
I'm now her tool, a working girl, she uses at her whim.
The only chore that I don't perform, is to service him.

Him's the boyfriend she's now with. Surprise! Another one.
Will this one beat her like the rest, sometimes just for the fun?
If he does, another move? Six times in just two years.
No friends to help me bear the pain, to help me face my fears.

Dark thoughts resounding in my mind, why won't they let me go
To seek the peace I so desire, the love I'll never know?
I'm so afraid that I will find the courage that I crave,
For at that point you'll surely find my body in a grave.

Part Two: The Answer

Crisscrossed scars across the wrists
Scream out no one was there
To help this bright, but troubled mind,
Work through her deep despair.

Should I have known, looked through, beyond,
The silence that I met
To every question asked of her?
Is ignorance neglect?

"I haven't time" or "not today"
Was what I'd always spout.
This hospice bed now holds the one
I can not live without.

Oh God! Dear God! What have I done?
Don't take my child from me.
I'll reevaluate our lives,
Find ways to make her see

How much her life affects this world,
How much she has to give.
Perhaps with time, she'll then perceive
A reason just to live.

Irving, Texas


He had dreams at night
he was dead at roam and
all the women he'd raped placed
pennies over his eyes he
never remembered his dreams from
the dark kitchen cupboard he
pulled one night, meat
tenterizer instead of Murine which
soaked right thru his
contacts which fell thru his eyes
like little man
hole covers like lives
passing thru his eyes

Jennifer Bosveld
Johnstown, Ohio

Boy With AIDS

Boy with AIDS,
Some despise you
For being sick.

If we hate what we
Fear most,
Then this is no mystery.

If you might die,
If we might live on,
What will this prove?

That we stayed healthy?
That we were good people?
Or, just lucky?

And if we do live on,
Then how do we go on,
Without you?

Jerry G. Donovan
Oak Park, IL.


Once we followed the white tailed deer
across paths we made to the water
and we found them by a faucet made of rock.
No one ever entered our spring to bathe.
This is still forbidden. Sweet is the water.

There is a cave in the ledge of rock
and we explore it every now and then.
We look for a source of water, but it eludes us,
and the white tailed deer who find our paths
shows us one way, then another.

Michael Brownstein
Chicago, IL


It is the opposites
that drive home life's meaning.
The struggles of warm with cold,
black with white
that cause these gray days of pensiveness.
It is hardship struggling for comfort
that is lost in soft couches
as we obliviate ourselves with the remote,
cheese popcorn and, maybe, a beer or two.

I have ignored my gardening tools,
allowed weeds their existence.
I forgot to snip off dead buds
to aid the others striving to bloom.
I did not water,
I did not feed,
nor prune, nor rake,
for lack of time, hounding comfort -
a ritualistic summer stagnation.

I let the green days pass.
Although I noticed them leaving,
I did not rise to say good-bye,
yet stood to watch the old leaves falling
with tears in my eyes.
“It’s too late!”
I hear the yellow maples screaming.
I turn away.

The naked branches quiver
in the cold November wind
as I plod toward home
shivering in my penance.

Jill Langlois
Hillside, IL

    The Devil's Blood Has Spilled

Like the roses want the rain
We wanted each other.
Like a poet needs the pain
You needed my soul,
My body,
My blood.
I needed your love.
Your hands
Begged for my body.
Mine begged
For your soul.
We both found what we wanted
In black satin sheets.
You looked into my eyes
And wanted to drink
My soul into yours.
You wanted
To fasten our hearts
Together eternally
With a silver pin.
You needed to cut my delicate flesh
With your tiny sharp teeth.
Ivory turned to crimson.
My veins exploded
With blood and heroin.
You drunk me
Into you.
You drenched your parched lips
With my crimson blood,
Like I drenched mine in a glass of whiskey.
We were one.
Our souls screamed
Like banshees
Into the moonlit night.
We had found what we wanted.
We danced with the devil.
Your pale body
Now shimmers
In the moonlight
Covered with beads of sweat
Like a pearl-trimmed wedding dress,
The one you wanted me to wear.
Two children laugh and play
With their innocence.
Mine was taken away
With my soul.
You possess it.
My every move and breath
Is yours.
You own me.
I love you,
But I hate you.
You're in me,
I can never escape you.
Our hearts are fastened
With a silver pin.
The one you pulled out
Of your voodoo doll.
You control me;
My life
My thoughts
My blood.
You turn it
From candy-red,
To burgundy,
To black.
You make it trickle out when you want.
Now it's my turn
To want
Like those fucking roses want their rain.
To need
Like that poet needs his pain.
To drink my lover's blood
In bed.
My turn to sin

Your love
And your eternal existence
In me
Will shrivel me up
Like an old love letter
And throw me
Into the depths of hell,
Where I will burn
For my sins
And for yours.

Anya Bergman-Mikita
Chicago, IL

Locks with No Keys

Pandering to the taste buds
of failure and ridicule,
molded as a garden elf,
 fishing on our stool,
listen to the critic,
the intellectual fools,
rejection by degrees,

learnt at the University for Mules.

Teaching all the information
one could ever want,
taking holy water,
delivered by the sceptics font,
words finely written,
bouncing off the ceiling,
all dressed up,
but with very little meaning.

Close all visionary doors,
seal opportunities window,
lock up the mind,
no keys to the Spiritual flow,
masters hunt for reason,
numb-sculls Tally Ho,
jesters of the devil,
pity they'll never know.

Treasure chests a plenty,
alas no keys,
their tubes are empty,
 still they squeeze,
books pile high,
souls in deep freeze,
only blessed when they sneeze.

Michael Levy
West Palm Beach, FL

Edmonton Flight

Acrylic blue wing outside my window hovers toylike over
Rorsach blottings of black forests, white amoeba lakes.
Lady two seats forward with copper hair french-rolled smiles brilliantly at her companion
while the flight attendant works the narrow aisles
pacifying us with snacks.
She is young, appears not to mind spending her days
in a metal hull serving coffee and newspapers.

Takeoff was graceful
rising like a breath over forests of twigs,
farmland mapped out in patchwork squares
white pieces joined with straight blue seams.
Businessman beside me opens lapstop.
I squint over lines of paper.

My brother's wife will meet me at the airport.
A nurse, she works Emergency,
making swift, efficient decisions.
I cannot make choices quickly,
am caught between possibilities and doubts,
live in the spaces between silence,
spend my life struggling for the right words.

I almost mailed you a card from the airport, but changed my mind.
Sometimes silence isn't the best, but the only answer.
Frustrating to one wordy as I.
I want to explain, gesturing with my hands for emphasis,
to say, "This is the last time" a dozen more times.
I fear the bitterness misconceived in the dark of silence
like fungus covering damp underground walls.
I do not trust time and God to smooth away the etchings of malice.
I wish to exonerate myself, knowing this is impossible.
We are the imprints in one another's minds,
images more real than explanations.

Marianne Jones
Thunder Bay, Ontario

Come Play with Me

Come play with me, Baby Jean,
Let's look at your basket of toys.
Which toy will be the special one?
Playing with you is one of my joys.

I know you're just 10 months old,
But you can make your choice:
the stuffed parrot or the skunk?
Someday I'll hear your voice!

Wendy E. Caylie
Westmont, NJ

 Over Polly's

The late train rumbles like subterranean indigestion
The blare of its horns scares the good dreams away
What remains is surrender
To walk the streets after so long gone
Relearn how to grow under corner lamps
This is how to be alone in the city at night
Wrap yourself in silence and the dark
Act like no one is waiting at home for you

I sit at the window and play my flute
Maybe someone near needs that
Someone who sits in a dark room
Soul-naked under the street light
Though the flute is not a friend or lover
Something human enters the room
And sleep finally comes
I sit at the window and play my flute

Full moon that peers in on me
Do you see how warm these rooms are
How the books add the fire of loved words
How the wine weaves a blanket over me
If you are cold come in
I have more goblets

Mist hides the tops of office buildings across the street
Street lamps are forty watt bulbs behind grimy white shades
Paper trash spirals up a dust devil in the intersection
A figure in dark coat and scrunched up shoulders
crosses against the flashing red traffic light
into the shadow land of the alleyway
My cat jumps to the sill
Sits and watches
Just part of the night

Through the fog the train whistle carries like sorrow
The air is heavy with years of baggage
My shoes meet the sidewalk like a slap in the face
A woman dances near me with steps light as gin
Slowly her arms weave stories I can't bear to know
I want to throw her down or pick her up
Or leave her to her slow motion stumble
I sail on wine through the sea of hours
No compass  no chart  no cargo  a ghost ship
That has followed too many stars nowhere

I know this one place
I never go there
It is enough to know where it is
There are grasses green as my eyes
Soil brown and refulgent  eager for seed
Depending on the moon it is an ocean or field
Desert or mountaintop  sidewalk or parking lot
My Grandfather is there and my Father
My Mother and Sister are there
I get letters from this country sometimes
They all say the same thing
When you get here you will not need us

Michael G. Koehler
Appleton, WI.


Shadow of the bird-
  small spider
   scurrying away...

Names of the dead-
 dark winter clouds
  and the cawing crow...

Cawing crow-
winter thistle
by the fence...

Cawing crow-
small yellow butterfly
here and there...

midnight hour-
the silence
of crows...

Lewis Sanders
Jackson, Tennessee

You Have the Strength to Do Anything

You have the strength to do anything
you wail in the morning light
after day is done

Jack Rossiter-Munley
Oak Park, IL

A Sailor

A quiet man,
He gets his strength from the sea,
And from the wind.

Strong, Gentle and sure of himself,
He has no need to display his power,
It is obvious in everything he is.

A large man,
So ample in spirit,
He hardly fits into his world.

He is waiting to burst out,
To stretch his limbs, fill his lungs and
Sing his song.

A country is hardly a big enough place for him,
But the earth is, as I am,
His to command.

Jerry G. Donovan
Oak Park, IL.


Tomorrow I will honor the curve
of a leaf, any leaf and how the sun
falls on a mass of daisies laid down
in plenty on my garden floor.  Tomorrow
I will tie them up and call my sister,
I promise myself, tell her it is all right she
doesn't know what to say about my beloved
being so ill--we can't be wise always,
but we can always not know
many things allowing silence to draw us
together; doesn't that create wonder and names
of constellations, even an odd eagerness?
My husband, from his hospital bed, tells me
about a little girl he saw skipping down
the hall so full of life, to watch for her,
and then she appears again bopping along,
her braids bouncing, her socks slipping.
She peeks a sliver glance through the door,
clicks her fingers, then hums off.
Isn't that it? Helping each other notice
each day why the sun really rises?

Perie J. Longo
Santa Barbara, CA


company coming
Uri Geller unbends
the spoons

first sentence:
"This is CBS."

petal pusher
the kandy-kolored tangerine
flaked-out flower child
                                      (after Tom Wolfe)

babe magnet
she clings to his

Carlos Colon
Shreveport, LA


we fine tune the memories of our life
with the love in our hearts
to those warmer frequencies
where the static is absent
and the music is worn by its own groove
deep into the fabric of our spirit

as a spider's web catches dust
from rocks split by glaciers
we too, abraided by our interface with life,
rest in the awaiting arms of stillness and purity
and call this presence of peace

Bill Schmidtkunz
Sutton, Alaska

(from Jane Robbins' drawing)

"Birds sing when Angels masturbate"
-- Onan of Alexandria,
3rd Centrury theologian

When Michael the Archangel flies
his wings push, pull the wind
his feathered flight path
draws a question mark.
Is he nude?
Does his angel dick hang down
point longingly to Earth?

When Gabriel announced
to Mary she would be the Mother
was he a nude angel
with his dick hard & straight
throbbing for the Lord's future?

So if angels don't wear robes
I want my naked Guardian Angel
to be female
with a pretty face
perky breasts and
downy feathers
for her pubic hair.

Dan Wilcox
Albany, NY.

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