Eye On Life Magazine

Lifestyle * Literary

A Singular Repast

We are to each other now
many decades later
what we were the day

we got married, a couple
at the kitchen table on
a summer night—she  

a slice of watermelon,
corners touching the ceiling,
covering my face in juice

and I the corn she butters
before she devours it.
We eat as fast as we can.

-- Donal Mahoney

Storming at Us

Addicted to forecasts, we watch each storm come at us
Weather Channel, computer modeling, radar and all
A nor’easter coming up the coast, Carolinas, Jersey shore
Montauk, the Cape, Boston and beyond, the itinerary set
Each stop, each drop anticipated; sometimes they line up
Warmer in the Midwest or swoop down cold from Canada
Line up in formation on the map, like armies advancing on
A battle map on the History Channel, Caesar taking all Gaul
Or Sherman marching, this time, up the coast from the sea
And sometimes they get here, worthy of the anticipation
Worthy of the wait, but many times they stay to the south
Or go to the north, as if willfully avoiding their duty to us
Their followers, their devoted fans who closely follow their
Careers and watch them die off in the ocean somewhere
A quiet, lonely death, and then, each time, we go on, check
The extended forecast and anxiously await what the weather
Man or woman has to say on our local six o’clock news.

-- J. K. Durick

Waiting Room

Guys never get good at all this, especially here
At the Breast Care Center; it’s hard to pretend
To read old magazines, recipes they’ll never try,
Fashions so old, almost out of fashion, already;
It’s hard to stare without staring at anything in
Particular, at the women, at the couples coming
And going; time passes so slowly when you‘re not
Alone in this waiting, she’s there with you, it’s her
Turn, it’s her health, things beyond your control,
Things that appear as shadows, the slightest shade
Of difference on film, tracked by an ultra sound,
Then biopsied; it becomes all a matter of waiting
Like this; so much depends on outcomes beyond
Your control, so it becomes this waiting, time spent
To hold your breath, try to read, try not to stare, and
Try, most of all, not to look as frightened as you are.

-- J.K. Durick


Endless renovations give it
a fleeting quality, an impermanence
that coincides with its function --

to contain the flow of arrivals
and inevitable farewells,
to be this temporary backdrop
to the passing fancy,
the whim of essential design.

Forever mutable, it moves us
with an efficiency our ancestors
only dreamed of.
Pilgrim man has progressed
this far, steps briefly
chiefly to the right
up moving stairs
through doors and detectors.

Disarmed and ticketed,
the seatings, the greetings
behind him,
he leans into his comfort
and awaits the final call.

-- J. K. Durick

The Shish Kebab Genocide

The Germans made certain history
would know what they did when
they stacked the Jews in camps
before putting them in gas chambers.

Not so with the Ottoman Turks
who slaughtered Armenians
in 1915 and for years thereafter.
More than a million Armenians died.

Today their kin live like Jews
in diaspora the world over.
Had the Turks taken time to chunk
Armenian corpses and put them

on skewers held over a fire
struck for a festive dinner,
the world would know today
the Ottoman feast was a holocaust

raging hot as the German slaughter
that claimed six million Jews.
Today no pope would have to call it
genocide when others waffle and won’t.

-- Donal Mahoney

Dazzle and Whirr

Millie remained on the farm
in the valley after Ollie died.
Their children moved on
getting jobs in town.

Nowhere for Millie to go but
that place in town where
they stack old folks to die.
She never let Ollie go there

and she won’t go there either.
Instead she’ll sit in her rocker,
work crossword puzzles,
sip tea on the porch and wait

for the dazzle and whirr
of hummingbirds coming
to the feeders she hung,
announcing spring.  

Death’s on hold for Millie.
The hummingbirds will flame
in her garden all summer,
a bright heaven to live for.

-- Donal Mahoney


Missiles and Land Mines

After the poetry reading
the lights go on and a lady
under a big hat rises  
behind dark sunglasses
and asks the poet why
he never writes about sex.

He says for the same reason
he never writes about war.
What more can be said
about missiles in flight
and land mines that need  
the right touch to go off.

-- Donal Mahoney


urine stink blasts  
as our team hurries in
lungs suck in
swollen acid smell
voices of rapists
addicts   murderers   thieves
crash over my head
prostitutes    hair-dyed  
black-satin-tight    wise eyes
ensure each girl in their cell
has Kotex   water
handed by team
I reach through low bars
to solitary    lying
face-down in shit
groping for clean water          
                 no escaping my bars
                 shake them   stretch to
                 prisoner on inside

margins break
thrust water bottle
it squirts    joined laughter
top floor single male
in far left cell … lost   loco   
crying for kid
take a name    phone number
he says shouldn't be here
illegal to know    to note    
pocket memo fast

yells ricochet walls    rasp iron bars
rattle on concrete stairs    metal rails
prisoners from long ago shout
from burial in these walls
          I served two hours
my feet still print that dirt                                                                                                 
my voice murmurs under shouting    
          while thieves steal pride
          feed their sexy laughter

God walked through here once
mark of his cross
made a channel in concrete   
for piss to flow out

-- Joanna M. Weston


curves birth to death
with meetings  partings    

woman walks the lane
first to last

watches ruts
hands deep in pockets

her bent reflection
quivers in dark glass

no one shares or greets
as icy living
grips them

in a warp of movement
to     from somewhere

-- Joanna M. Weston

Wheelchair with a View

When you sit in this chair all day
and look out the window for years,
the garden is calendar and clock

declaring the coming of seasons.
You know when to expect them
but spring is always a surprise.

After surviving long winters
you forget after so many years
the daffodils will shout again

and blooms on the redbud cover
leaves that will hide young robins,
their beaks open for more.

Winter is all you remember until,
for reasons only God knows,
spring smiles again.

-- Donal Mahoney

Makes Forever Shorter

When a bullet goes in
and doesn’t come out
you read about it
in the paper, hear
about it on TV.

A person takes a bullet
near the heart and learns
a surgeon can't remove it.
It's part of him forever.
Happens like a drive-by

shooting when a loved one
makes a comment no
apology can remove.
The loved one doesn't
know there’s a problem,

doesn’t realize lightning
through the cerebellum  
is by far a better option.
Doesn't let the victim linger.
Makes forever shorter.

-- Donal Mahoney

we do

"I want to", I tell her
and she knows enough to ask
how I feel late at night
under sheets seldom warmed by another
her curiosity layered with tones of tears
and understanding of the banished ones
the forgiving ones
the tolerant ones so often driven beyond

"I need to", so I do
and she responds in kind
gestures of anointment, like
pointing to the moon for no reason
or stopping me in mid-sentence to assure me
that silence is not exclusive to the lonely
but a realm where mystery begs for pause
to reveal the magician's secrets

"I have to", and I will
and she caresses my bleeding palms
with a voice blessed with salve
with concern
with a Shaman's gliding touch
that heals from within our cynical walls
and I realize just enough to know, I am

-- Rob Dyer