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.

Damning Veneration

I idolized you for so long,

Burdened you with the heavy yoke

Of my hopes, knowing it was wrong.

And when you finally cracked and broke,

I demonized you and burned to smoke

Our ties ‘cause I failed to realize

That your name I could not invoke-

You weren’t God who answers cries.

 

Doxa Zannou

Burn the Midnight Oil

There is darkness within you
born from the light
it is within your heart
all things grow
from seeds that lie within you
waiting for the waters
of your attention
what will you grow
do you have a choice at all
will you let darkness die
how then would you know
how far light spreads
how would you compare
and realize the beauty of each

This sunrise
is it not more beautiful
because it happens
after darkness
each thing has a balance
learn your place
there are those among you
who feed their pain
and lose what it means
to be truly joyful
and others live only for joy
a hollow twisted joy
a blighted emptiness
that has no substance.

why must you live your lives
avoiding one part of you
and embracing the other
why must you mutate
the natural balance of your self
and deviate from what nature plans
within you and around you
life is meant to be
a constant conundrum
a changing of states
from moment to moment
relentlessly sweeping you along
on tides of change
that rise and fall

burn the midnight oil
look at the stars and feel
how they live within darkness
but burn brighter because they do
see how they always end their lives
spectacularly
showing the universe
they lived well
be more like the star
for that is what you are
within your beating heart
the same light burns
and around you
the same darkness reigns supreme.

 

Waqas Rabbani

Berlin Doesn't Love Me

I’m trying to fall in love with Berlin

but she keeps giving me the cold shoulder.

I offered flowers and chocolates

thinking maybe she’s an old school girl

but she ripped the flowers up and threw the chocolates

right into the river

 

which was a terrible waste of good German chocolate.

 

I tried ignoring her,

thought about maybe spending time with her friends

Hamburg and Leipzig

would make her jealous

would make her come to me

and unfold her pretty little legs

and let me love her

but she didn’t care about that,

 

instead just went about with her art making

walking naked down the East Side Gallery,

laughing too loud at the Brandenburg Gate

Throwing rocks at the glass buildings

in Potsdamer Platz

 

until finally I had no choice

but to fall to my knees and say

Goddamnit, Berlin, you’re killing me.

I love you, alright?

I love you.

Just stop being sorry for the war

and let me kiss your Wall

and let’s go get a burger

in Kruezberg and drink some dark beer

cause I love you

and I want you to love me back.

 

But Berlin narrows her eyes at me,

leans in

and whispers

harsh like a cat hissing

and she tells me to shut up

because

I don’t know shit about shit.

 

 

Ally Malinenko

The Waver

If we ever called them retarded, and we probably did,

It would have been in a hushed voice, confronted

We’d say little or nothing, they were the otherness

Around us, sitting in the back row, stringing beads

 

Never reading, never writing, one did the blackboards

After class, I sometimes envied them, especially during

Math class, their simple tasks, their very easy moods

Their ability to sit and fit someone else’s plan for them

 

But, this isn’t about all of them, just the one we called

The waver, he’d come out to the corner of North and

North Willard every afternoon and stand there waving

Sometimes smiling, sometimes blank faced, to the cars

 

Passing by, he never waved to us, just hanging around

The corner store, the harmless street gang he ignored

Mid-afternoon, dozens of cars went by and he’d wave

Some waved back, if they weren’t alone they’d say

 

Something to the person with them, some would laugh

He was the waver waving, whenever we wave it is

Either a greeting or a farewell, but to him the task

Was about the moment, a greeting of sorts, or a call

 

For attention, here I am, look at me, you can’t ignore

Me, I have a role in your life, a part to play, a task

I do so well they call me by it, I am the waver waving

Waving hello, waving goodbye, always a presence

 

After a while an old woman, we assumed was his mother

Would come for him, touch him on the sleeve and say

Something to him, and they’d slowly walk up the street

Home, his day done, his tasks complete for yet another day.

 

 

J. K. Durick

 

My Mother's Poem

What happens to the poem that never happened,

A poem that never made it into words, that never

Went beyond an image, an inspiration, that image

Taking on its own life, summarizing so much?

What happens to the memory of it, the poem that

Never happened, like the one my mother always

Claimed she meant to write, wanted to write but

Never did, the poem she saw one morning, an image

She said she saw waiting outside the front door,

The world deep in leaves, all fallen overnight, lawns

And sidewalks covered, even the street, Route Seven

Was leafmeal deep in it, as if the world had changed

Overnight she’d say when she talked about that moment

Over the years; her poem is still there like those leaves,

Silent memories, but colorful for all that, poems to

Be caught up in a breeze, dance about, blow away or

Be carefully raked up, then collected in neat piles of

Memories, memories of things might have happened

But didn’t.

 

J. K. Durick

It's not for the Usher to Ask

Many churches today 

have a food pantry that never

had a pantry before.

 

I attend a church like that.

Some folks are well-fixed, 

others poor, most betwixt.

 

Some had money before

but not enough now to pay 

the mortgage and then buy food

 

so the pantry helps them

the same way it helps clients

it has helped for years.

 

Some folks in the pews quietly

support the pantry with 

checks and canned goods

 

enabling the nouveau poor

to stand in line with the 

forever poor on Mondays. 

 

A neighborhood baker slips 

into the church Sunday mornings

just prior to the end of service

 

and quietly stacks his trays

of unsold bread in the dark foyer. 

He says nothing and disappears.

 

No one seems to know

who he is but the hungry

love his bread and word

 

of its excellence has reached

the woman who leaves church early

and always grabs two loaves

 

of French baguettes and is

out in the parking lot long

before anyone else and

 

drives off in a red Mercedes.

Perhaps she’s on unemployment, 

low on food stamps or is still

 

making payments on the car.

It’s not for the usher to ask.

I simply hold the door. 

 

-- Donal Mahoney

Envoi

A poem may unfold
Like a life or newspaper
Or a message written
Inside a paper crane

The first line like
Life at the start
The newborn glimpses Mom
Looking at the universe
From the outside

A newspaper headline   
Like a poem’s first line
Nudges the reader
To take that first step
Down the garden path

Paper cranes unfold
Most often by
Accident or whim
Or because the maker
Hinted

Sometimes the message
Awakens the crane
And she takes flight
A symbol of grace
Across the sky

And (alas) so must I
Since poetry editors
In the end always
Are unfolded
By last lines

Wishing a fond goodbye to Eye On Life
Tom Rubenoff
Poetry Editor 2009 - 2015

The Vee of Geese

In August heat, our lawn is dry like husks of corn.
The only catheter from clouds—a kinking,
winding garden hose that wraps its rope around
a chair and will not reach my sacred green geranium
still dappling its scarlet buds.
Fires climb the mountainsides
with nimble fingers of their flames.
It’s strange to see the gusting plumes,
the rising gray, just hanging there
like roofs on homes.

Just miles away from where we live,
evacuations take their toll—lines of heaving
pick-up trucks come crawling by.
Have you seen The Grapes of Wrath or read the book?
On our street, a little girl has lost her doll;
it fell in ditches somewhere close and so we search
like FBI hunting for a kidnapped child.
We set up just one simple stand for lemonade—
free to pairs of thirsty lips—reminisce about
our ancient childhoods when skies were different shades
of blue that rarely made us stop and think.
Before it’s 3:00, we comb the nearest grocery stores—
not a single lemon left, 30 lbs. of sugar gone.
We’re down to drinking from the hose.

Out of nowhere comes a single vee of geese,
just below the bombers plowing through the smoke,
the stinging ash—a tarnished girth
of tragedy I’ve never seen in valleys here.
The little girl is by my side; she walks, I limp—
she asks me why. I make it sound like toes we stub.
I find her doll in piles of rocks,
dusting off the chestnut braids, straightening
pink checkered sleeves, put it in her tired arms.
She grabs my artificial thigh, asks me if it is a tree.
Says out loud to everyone still standing there:
“Planes and birds have come to rescue all of us.”
Then a pause. “I love you”—without reasoning.

-- Janet I. Buck

The Doily

GARAGE SALE HERE!
We walked by all the dusty cars,
scanned the junk, too hot to touch
in August heat. Cracked clay pots,
heaps of clothes still wearing mud
from last year’s raining soccer game,
a row of votives, all half-burned,
wicks too small to light again.

I saw a crumpled doily there,
picked it up and asked some girl
tanning in a broken chair: “What’s the price?”
“10 cents,” she said. “Oh never mind,
just take it. I am sick of it.
My grandma’s grandma made it
umpteen years ago. It’s worthless
and it gathers dust.”

I pressed a $50 bill inside her palm.
She quickly stuffed it in her bra.
Her face grew pale, the color of fresh coconut,
as if she’d seen her first gray corpse.
Riding home, I started scratching
out a poem on backs of two deposit slips,
told my husband, “Skip the bumps;
I cannot join my syllables.”

I saw a woman sitting near a crackling fire,
a shawl around her shoulder blades,
hooking threads in perfect ropes,
the neat design of snowflakes
in a winter storm.
I guessed the fabric started white,
like hides on some albino horse.

It turned a shade of ivory,
then neutered stains
from tea that left a china cup,
missed the saucer, landed there
across the finely woven strings.
This doily stood for centuries
once here and not retrievable.

-- Janet I. Buck

Cichlids Floating in Their Tank

Custard legs.
Walk off and on, but mostly off.
I cannot reach to floss my teeth.
My sister’s stopping by today.
I put my head between my legs—
leave it there,
add some color to my face—
a shade of white like sugar cubes.
Life is liver, not dessert,
but what’s the point of showing it.
I crutch into the living room.
Acei Cichlids, purple Discus, Angel Fish
float upside down or right side up
inside a lit aquarium.
Nothing left that moves with grace.

-- Janet I. Buck

Now

So close—the intimacy of our kiss
is an illusion, an electric echo,

a chemical leap from skin to thought.
We cannot escape this passage, cannot

face the future. You are gone,
a storehouse of presence like a stitch

that cannot be the needle's weave
that pierces cloth. Still our lips meet

with perfect anticipation and brush
a landscape defying delay. We twine

despite our sense's failure. We are
the switch and not the light. We are

the point on the page and not the phrase,
those futile marks our minds design.

Only when we surrender, let
the past propel into the past,

only here, when we forgo
the chance of knowing the other's lips,

that pleasured pressure face to face,
only in that unmeasured moment

do we touch.

-- Bill Trudo

Morning Light, Lake Michigan

The world is copper
as if a sculptor finely etched these lines
where the waves rise along the lake,
and breakwaters jut, and piers,
their darker shades in this scene of metal.

An avenue blazes, unleashes an elemental fire
that eyes must follow to the horizon,
above which the sun sits,
like a small boy in regal dress,
on a ledge of clouds overlooking.

That child sees all in imagination.

-- Bill Trudo

Because We Fail, It Ought to Be

That’s why we go on listening.

— Susan Blackwell Ramsey, 
“The Best Part Of This Story Has Been Left Out”

Fast clouds before your eyes. White lilacs
at the back of my mind. Between,
coffee’s scent dances like the morning flurries.
An ant haphazardly searches the tile, then the sky.

Call it Saturday punk rock. Call it God.
Call it life, the universe, and everything
beyond your thought and feeling, and mine.

I struggle here to bury our ashy allusions,
to rise and not breathe the fallout, but it’s easier
to scatter dry rooftop snow when clouds
rush across the midday sun, leaving us

to embrace the difference.

-- Bill Trudo

Tommy is the Man

Tommy is the only man
for miles around who can knot a tie.
Old farmers come to town on Saturday

and wave from pickups with respect
when they see Tommy on the street
out for a walk in his black suit.

Tommy is the man they know
their families will call to knot
their ties and close their caskets.


-- Donal Mahoney

 

The Capitalist Way

It is easier for a camel to pass
through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich

to enter the kingdom of God,
Jesus told his disciples.
Centuries later Warren

an investor in America
heard about this and
asked Fu a manufacturer

in China to make
millions of 12-foot needles.
Then he asked Ahmad

a bedouin in Oman
to breed smaller camels.
Look for the IPO on Wall Street.


-- Donal Mahoney