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
1. ECHOES OF AFRICA
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
In DRC 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
3.CRY AFRICAN GIRL
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
4.PLEA TO CANCEL THE DEBT
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
5. WHY WAR IN DRC?
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
6.AIDS IN AFRICA
AIDS , AIDS AIDS 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
7. EDUCATION IN AFRICA
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.
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
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 back, 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
(1) 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.
(2) 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.
(3) 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
(4) 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.
(5) 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.
JUSTICE WILL BE SERVED COLD.
(6) 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.
(7) 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.
(8) 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 sails 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
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 Starbucks. 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Dave Ruslander Richmond, VA
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
10:22 a.m. Saturday. 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…
TheWarHeroIsFound TremblingAndGaspingForLife. 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
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,
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.
W.L.Bray 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,
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
LUST FOR COMFORT
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 Iridescently, 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 Eternally 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, a-tishoo!!
only blessed when they sneeze.
Michael Levy West Palm Beach, FL USA
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
1. 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
2. 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
3. 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
4. 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
5. 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
6. 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
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
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 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
Uri Geller unbends
“This is CBS.”
the kandy-kolored tangerine
flaked-out flower child
(after Tom Wolfe)
she clings to his
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
(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
for her pubic hair.
Back to the vault.