Eye On Life Magazine

Lifestyle * Literary

Eye on Life Magazine is a Lifestyle and Literary Magazine.  Enjoy articles on gardening, kitchen cooking, poetry, vintage decor, and more.

Memorials of Plastic Flowers

by Larry Schug


faded to dull pastels

by sun and wind-blown sand,

mark places of accidental death,

the result of inattention, alcohol, speed

along two-lane highways in border states,

Texas, New Mexico, Arizona,

into Colorado and Kansas.

Like habitats and planting zones

trying to outrun a changing climate,

these memorials of make-believe flowers

have migrated north

like Mexican workers into Minnesota,

appearing after the snow melts.

Not surprising.

How fast would you drive

to get to a bar for some relief,

or home to your family,

a change of clothes, a shower, sleep,

after working the midnight shift

cutting the heads and feet off chickens

so someday your children

will not be strangers in this land,

be allowed to live with dignity,

not be buried alone beneath the snow?


by Larry Schug


Not noticing how the waitresses look at each other,

roll their eyes as I seat myself,

on an empty chair at an empty table,

not knowing I’ve innocently sat

at the“Regular’s table” in the local café,

just before the first “Regular”

reaches for his usual chair,

sits down beside me, doesn’t say a word,

as if I’m just a misplaced salt shaker,

when the second “Regular” sits down,

then the third, the fourth, the fifth.

They all begin talking at the same time,

no one says a word to me, gives me a glance,

and I finally get the hint, get up, head to the counter,

wondering on which stool I should sit

as I watch as the “Regular’s table” fills up,

all but the chair where I sat.

A waitress coyly smiles at me, asks if I’d like coffee,

I say, no thanks, I’d rather have a cup of tea.

My Buddy's Girlfriend

by Larry Schug


I once rented a basement house on an old farm

between dead Silver Corners and deader Jakeville

with a couple guys I worked with at the packing plant.

There was a hand pump in the yard for water

and an outhouse out back by the rock pile

where old bottles might be found,

filled with mud and decaying leaves, but unbroken.

What I remember about that basement is this,

I pissed in a fruit jar I kept by the bed,

rather than face that cold outhouse

in the middle of a Minnesota January night.

I put up with the odor until morning,

when I emptied the bottle in a snowbank,

a yellow splotch, like a Charolais bull signing his name.

Suddenly, one morning the outhouse door opened,

you came out cursing the cold,

women can’t pee in a jar, you said.

I laughed out loud, wished

you were going back inside to warm up my bed.

Bluebird on the Roof

by Larry Schug


An early bluebird alights

on the roof peak outside my window,

dances a little hop-step dance,

cocks his head side to side

in rhythm with the happy blues,

the fills and trills

I whistle through my harmonica,

maybe feeling he’s got a song coming

from one of these earth walkers

whom he’s graced withsong

for all his cerulean-feathered life.

I feel blessed when he looks me in the eye,

does one more little hop-step

seems to give me a nod of his head

before flying off to a cottonwood tree,

the day’s business at hand,

as I return the harp to my pocket,

step out the door to my own day’s work

with new eyes, a renewed heart.

An Unveiling

by Michael L. Newell


It is in silence

the heart reveals itself.


When all is still,

each word each gesture


open as seeds do

when the season is ripe:


fingertips touching a jaw

in gentle exploration,


a smile's eloquence

across a wide room


(emptied of distraction)

weaving connection and hope,


and the ineffable resonance

of an unguarded hello...

Vox Populi

by Michael L. Newell


flowers bloom from guitarists' fingers

flowers which float into flowing hair of young women

who whirl with a lazy grace

while young men stamp a rhythm round the circle

spring is come spring is sung

all is new all is born again

life once more is fiesta is carnival

is a joining of lilting hearts


                        La Paz, Bolivia, 2010

What Was That You Said

by Michael L. Newell


Now and again, here and there,

in a classroom some student

refuses to give an expected answer,


and utters words not spoken before

in such a setting -- and the roof lifts

and windows open, and a wind


sweeps through cleaning out the dust,

the inertia, the boredom, the mindless

repetition which infects such environments.


And the teacher, stunned at first, bursts

into laughter and delighted dance,

and the students take over the lesson


and someone actually learns something

unexpected and worth wrapping up

and taking home for further contemplation.


                                    La Paz, Bolivia, December 2008


by Alex Ranieri


You should’ve seen the back of her head laid flat

against the Civic Opera Building.


Such careless hair-- red thrown out over

shoulders, over

the small of her back, it shocked

the gray staid monolith, straight shooting,

and the dull, grimed-up river

and the iron in the bridge.


It shocked me-- and I stopped to stare

(unpolitely). I stopped

to consider

the permanent clouds

and her face, which must

be beauty in a can.


She turned,


and was a bag of old, sagging skin.

Orpheus and Eurydice

by Alex Ranieri


Tongue-tied Orpheus before Eurydice. He loved her

for undoing the knot and setting free dove-sweet sounds, fearful

and terrible

in their beauty. He loved a glimpse

of the tendons in her throat, glistened

with fresh sweat. He adored her

unbound thoughts, squeezed

through a nasally tone. He worshiped at the altar of her

guttural moans.

Her voice was imperfection to his honey-drenched head.

While he could coax a lion into sleep, her shrieks

could wake the dead. But she untied him--

she undid him--

and when death wrapped

her up, he was



by Alex Ranieri


After a lifetime of slime

and slithering we approach

the click-clack-clatter

of sky-high heels in high-end hotels.


Who would suppose such

a thing, a


insect living it up by


putting on the Ritz in all

Four Seasons, pruning to the tune of

rubber reality, bending and stretching.

Life, what a life.


Such an acrobat trapeze.


Human beings no longer skyscrapers but

life-sized. Out

with the old, too too small for the ego

of warm-blooded flesh. In


with the New:


the New, made

on the shrugging

shoulders of our own world-



Now and then

by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen


The music has lasted since
women in green and a boy
in baggy trousers, eternal spirits  
of a chainless mind, tread
through the half-light of waves
and blue winds and a sun
rising and setting, of cheap seats
with a good view, of wild horses, 
blue dragonflies, ristras, nutmeg
sticks, a small shop under the stairs.
Poets will never lie as they praise
those whose music has lasted
since the world began.  And the
music, it happens now and then.

Coming to it then Falling Away

by Frank C. Praeger


Mustn't it be dimly lit, the trash-filled halls,  

evening's uneventful sky;  

mustn't it be a limitless effort with none exorcized  

and for those furious contrition in the fields of grace,  

momentarily,  emblematic, and, then, hunkering down,   

trying to be avoided.  

Tellingly incognito, fettered til distorted   

a carnage of sparrows, of ex-compatriots   

superimposed with burdock, cloves,  

thistle and clods of earth;   

events retried,   


facts, just that; the grey of the just past.  

A message not sent, others reprised,  

as much as that shortage of finales,   

a latter-day grieving resorbed,  

something that could have been said that was gorgeous.  

I am nowhere nearer, nowhere farther;  

a charade for some,  

magic to others. 

Shadowy and Human

by Frank C. Praeger


As near as cicadas stridulating at nightfall, 

wolf spiders occupy the floor; 

a gnat, a gesture and all flukes 

commandeered, not given quarter. 

Not to have gone on, nor gaggedrestating 

infinitesimal querulous 

quandaries, forgetting bungling acts,

their corollaries; 


noting spider webs,  

a crescent moon,  

a piqued human, 

and others 

whispering across a shadowy room. 

Heiroglyphics of the Ordinary

by Frank C. Praeger


Can, do, be able, 

not endless 

nor I; 

gypsum, taconite, 



I will not yield  

whether connected or not; 

stray liaisons, a beetle  

and two fruit flies 

as consequential 

as my dental appointment, 

a furtherance of 'constant conjunction' 

holds off the welter 

surrounding me, 

that is, what assurance that the cat will use the litter box? 

Hieroglphics of the ordinary, 

remarked on, reassembled, 



Clematis, lattices, 

rearranged, to have been part of 

a storyless subterfuge. 

Disgruntled, nearest of kin taxed, 

unnoticed, turned back.  



broadly having been, 



encompassing more than before, 



hiding behind secrets,  




Slouching Towards Somewhere

by Frank C. Praeger




pushed back. 

nor is it necessarily 

jade terraces that can not change; 

Irrelevant, nevertheless - 

nor so much offend. 

a judge slouches toward his fame.  

Placards line the courthouse steps. 

a jury files in 

that has not filed in before 

a hot dog vendor


from the courtroom 

protests his innocence. 

A crow's fixed stare 


the magnitude of the occasion. 

Somebody less than guilty settles in the stairwell. 

twittering, sparrows cower in a gutter. 

Tomorrow and tomorrow all will have gone. 


Just so: cleaning ladies, duty done,  

sequestered in their beds 

may lie awake dreamily dreaming of their appointed place. 

I Remember Who I Was

by Carly Larkin


I remember who I was
Before the world told me who I ought to be
A bright eyed, cunning risk taker
With forbidden knowledge dripping inside my head-and a soul made of pencil lead-
So that I may write, until the day that I'm dead.
Cottage home, hanging bed;
Hundreds of books on the wall, all read.

I remember who I was
Before my voice was taken, and crumpled up like a piece of paper.
Before my zest for life, and vivacious personality was labeled as failure.

I remember who I was-before I spent my nights and days-waiting for a role model to praise.
I remember who I was before my essence was filled up with silence, and my heart filled to the brim with loneliness.
As a kid, I could make new friends so easily, floated around enthusiastically, spreading happiness around.
In adulthood I lost, what in childhood I had found.

In a Stillness

by Allison Grayhurst


           Just add upon our days

of private history

this day, that for each is different.

            Let God get us through

what vanity and determination cannot

and let spirits rise or sink,

like constellations do, given their hour.


Serpent pain, hollow time lingers

like a bad stare from a wounded heart with

bad intentions. I break doors but travel

unseen, thin as a ghost through crowds of ghosts,

placeless in this torrent sea of World.

And World alone, I beg to and compromise for

the duties of my higher heart.

Things tear inside, but I know God is here

just the same as when there was no ache

and love was fiercely felt

from all encounters.

Crush this Colour

by Allison Grayhurst


          Crush this colour

                        of filthy grey that summons

                                    all my parts to follow

                                                into a labyrinth where

                                                            birds and beasts never go.


            Because I am alone in this nadir,

                        and bitterly red is the hope I hold

                                    to relieve me of this sterile station,

                                                crush my name and when that is done,

                                                            my tomb and all its witnesses.


            Strike this snare with almighty

                        Light, let words and flesh fade until

                                    only the nightmare fire remains

                                                to burn and turn me once again

                                                            death-knowing, anew.