Eye On Life Magazine

Lifestyle * Literary

The Cross

The cross sat alone
under a naked birch tree,
the grasping, bony branches
waiting for spring
to clothe them again
in verdant finery.
The grass at the base
of the cross
was sparse,
blades protruding from the dirt
at opposite angles
as if placed there by a meaning hand.
The wooden planks
collected dirt
to wear as a coat,
preserving the holy words
inscribed underneath.
The path that had
been worn to the symbol
by grieving footsteps
in the early years
after interment
was now filled in by
patchy grasses.
The nearby ground
had not shuddered
under weight
in many days.
The cross
sat alone under a tree
in the morning sun,
a sacred thought
that carried too much with it
to be made real
any longer.

-- Christopher Hivner 

A Gift Logic Can’t Buy

My boss has a problem with God
or rather a problem with me
because I believe in God
and he doesn’t.
Or so we discover
while taking a break
at a big convention.
I hope I don’t lose my job.

We’re in a bar with Lady Gaga
pouring from the juke box.
My boss has a whiskey sour
and I’m nursing a Coke.
God help me.

He doesn’t believe
faith is a gift no one’s
guaranteed but knows
some folks have it
and others don’t.
Why is that, he asks,
finishing his sour,
signaling for another.

I tap into memories
from philosophy class
and recite the proofs
for the existence of God
some folks accept
and others deny.
My boss sees the logic
but still doesn’t believe.
So I sip my Coke and say
faith is a gift logic can't buy.

A few more drinks and he asks
what a man must do
if he wants to believe.
Ominous, I think, but here goes.
My wife, after all, has a job
with benefits.

I tell him to ask the God
he doesn’t believe in
to grant him faith.
Ask Him more than once
and if he receives it
he will be amazed
that someone
like me believes.

-- Donal Mahoney

Judy's Father and Mine

The only difference between
Judy’s father and mine
is my father didn’t drink.
When we were tykes
they’d come home from work
in a rage every evening,
her father drinking into the night
and mine sitting in silence
in a tiny parlor playing
ancient reels and jigs
on a huge RCA Victrola.

Her father wore a tie
and carried a brief case,
and mine wore coveralls
and carried a lunch bucket
into the alleys of Chicago
climbing light poles to fix
dead wires so all could see.
Her father came home neat,
mine soaked in sweat.

But they were twins,
Siamese if you will,
each miserable in his own way,
driving wives and children nuts.
I always wondered if Judy and I
had normal fathers, if we
would have been
scriveners as adults.

I know I would have gone
to law school and railed
in court in behalf of
the innocent and guilty
and made wads of money
I’d be fingering now instead
of sitting behind a keyboard
at dawn still typing.

-- Donal Mahoney


A Death in the Family

Sometimes it helps to learn
a relative has died
a close relative you haven’t

seen in years and didn’t plan
to see again because
you haven’t talked in years

and wouldn’t talk again unless
you met in heaven or perhaps in hell
and God or Satan said  

it’s too late now to harbor hate
why not shake hands--
and that may happen yet

if the two of you should soar
beyond the clouds or
plummet to the coals

and find yourselves together
in the same place forever.
The two of you always knew

where the other one would go
and too late now you both
may be surprised.

-- Donal Mahoney


Annual Physical

You go to the doctor
at 21, no problems.
Maybe a flu shot.
That’s it.

You go to him
at 40, and you
need a pill or two
and he says
watch your weight.

You go to him
at 60, and you’re
now a fixer-upper.
You need more pills,
he says, and
watch your weight.

You go to him
at 70, and he finds
plumbing problems
and asks questions
to verify that all
your lights are on.
Doesn’t mention
your weight.

You go to him
at 80, and he says
you’re doing well,
all things considered,
but it wouldn’t hurt
to put your affairs
in order.

You tell him  
you can’t remember
any affairs but he
can ask your wife.
She’s still raising hell
about someone
named Mildred,
if that was her name.

-- Donal Mahoney

White girl with dreads

And I love the way she rocks them
As Bob Marley plays in the coffeehouse
In a small college town
Just as a Charlie Parker cd
Is fading away in my headphones
She’s wearing the colors of Jamaica
Around her neck and it
Suits her
To grow dreads is to be
Married to your hair; it’s a commitment
Some take as long as 10 years
To grow dreads
Which come down to her
Like Samson, her hair gives her
I should ask her if she has
Some black in her
Or more bluntly
Does she want some black
In her ?
Cos now,  her body reminds me
Of a yogi’s
And I’m imagining it
Bending into shapes
More complicated than algebra
And she’s either sending a text
On her smartphone
Or receiving one
I’m thinking maybe she’s jewish
Or Italian
She looks soulful and ethnic
I look at her again and she
Looks so epic
I look at her a third time
With the same voraciousness
Dagwood has when he sees a
Six foot long sandwich
I’m not a reggae head; I’m more
Into jazz
But I don’t care, cos her body
Is a jazz song all its own
I’m imagining her dreads
Under a sunsplash of a
Washing all the drama

-- Erren Geraud Kelly

Sugar Maple Leaf

…after the photograph by Alexis Doshas
Dreaming of northern lights
As I'm walking the streets with you
The stars burn white like your thighs
From my touch
We,re the only children of
Twilight , tonight
Though our breaths replicate
A leaf burns white in the
Night, like your thighs
A dream we share becomes
Real as I hold you
The night is a film negative
Truths revealed  ,as I
Hold your hand
On a a maple leaf night
That burns white
As your thighs
I watch as the will
Of your dreams
Control you
You climb up a hill
No scheme lies before
Such are the choices we make
Fragile, as a leaf falling
Are the breaths we take
On a maple leaf night
The sky burns white
Like your thighs

-- Erren Geraud Kelly

To the woman in the white fiat

Your walk is a samba
I listen to some mornings  as
I’m making breakfast
Tall and tan and lovely, you
Move as graceful as a
Maybe you’re not American
Maybe you’re French, Italian or
Beauty easily pulls its
Veil over my eyes
Like a samba, your hips
Swing with the rhythm of
The sea
You are a dream in white
Cotton pants
Moments like you come and
Go like the tide
But your face is the sun that
Never sets

-- Erren Geraud Kelly 

On Patrol

The patrol  officer rides by
As I’m standing in the soup  line
Like I’m headed to purgatory
I  treat  homelessness like a short   sentence
Just do it and get it over with
Sometimes, she patrols without a bike,
Even  without her black shades,  her
 steel  blue eyes  carry authority
I look at her as she  rides  by
 again  and I smile at her,  not to mock her
 authority, but just to imagine If she was
 just a woman
Maybe just riding around in the
Park, showing off her legs
I imagine her wearing her hair down,
 Maybe in a sundress and sandals,long legs
 shiny with suntan oil,  breasts braless  yet tasteful
she rides by me again,  as I wait in line to go to dinner
she looks at me through her dark shades
She’ll never admit it, but she

-- Erren Geraud Kelly


She’s checking out coffee thermoses
At starbucks
As I’m listening to jam bands
She inspects each one and is
She grabs one thermos, the tallest
Of the bunch
She is tall and all legs
She looks like one of those
Earth mother, hippie girls
The jam I’m listening to
Could be singing about
She wants a container
That would
Fit in the container of the
Dashboard of her car
As she’s checking out the thermoses
I notice how white her neck is
Porcelain, whiter than bone
Whiter than the sheets
I imagine both of us
Laying on
I tell her the dress she’s wearing
Becomes her
A dark blue, with various types
Of flowers all over it
I keep imagining what this woman
Would look like
On sheets white as her
Or a sheet covered in flowers
As the jam band keeps playing
In my headphones
We’re basking in the morning light
Her body becoming one with
The flowers

-- Erren Geraud Kelly

Disliking Males, Favoring Females

“Danger, watch for the preying rattlesnakes
biting on impulse, sending paralysis through their fangs,
and never allowing any visitors near their holes,”
says the sign by the forest’s road.

“Rejoice, for the loving peacocks
allowing eyes to view their colored feathers,
never sending them cruel impulsive acts,
and never living on deceit,”
says the frightened bird watcher.

-- David Hernandez 

Address Me as Serious as an Adult

From my stepladder,
I climbed up so high
to my wooden house,
a box held by four branches.

Despite the ants, the termites,
and the wind shaking my house,
I never want to come down.

I see my parent’s house
and wondered, “If my tree will stay,
I won’t be forced to live in a moving van.”

“How do I address those cousins inside?
Do they see me as a shadow
or someone to say hello and goodbye to?”

Out from the door,
I slipped and fell,
hurting my back,
now I won’t climb back up.

-- David Hernandez

Fly on the Windshield

While driving my Camry,
a fly suddenly lands on my windshield,
quickly getting blown away.
I imagined how it would look dead,
and then alive.

Thrown in front of the bus,
his body squished; his blood a splash.
His organs flew with his legs
across the street; his wings severed,
no longer worthy for flight.

He slides down the windshield,
trying to break free,
but couldn’t escape the wipers.

This would be a quick death for the writer,
if he wasn’t a coward,
afraid to address himself
to the world.

-- David Hernandez

Teddy Will Be Home for the Holidays

This year Teddy phoned me
from who knows where
instead of one of our siblings.
This year I’m the honoree
but it’s only a matter of time
before he gets angry again.
He’s stifling his anger
because of the holidays.
He wants a place to eat
and a share in the family glee.

But Sissy is right about Teddy
being nice when he reaches out
after going away for months.
He likes to fly in for a holiday,
enjoy a bountiful repast,
fall back in his chair and
issue the old accusations
recited whenever he visits.

He’s the youngest of seven
and swears every time he comes
that Mom and Pop treated us better,
that he got the hand-me-downs.
I’m afraid if he’s not on his meds,
there’ll be an encore this year.

Right after coffee and dessert
and several snorts of brandy,
Teddy will become a blowtorch
and burn for at least an hour
scorching us with memories.
The siblings will go up in flames
along with Mom and Pop
gasping in their graves.

If it happens again this year,
I’ll take the floor after him
and point out that Gertrude Stein
said a rose is a rose is a rose
but failed to point out that  
a twit is a twit is a twit.
And if reincarnation awaits us,
as Teddy says it does,
he’ll return as salmonella.

-- Donal Mahoney

Movement of Pink Flowers

We are swimming, bodies
arched. Each an active V.
The body does not hesitate.
Seeking only richness of flesh,
saturation. Yet tightness
in limb, vigor to react.

It is mild July.
Birds recite litanies
in wood. Trees
greener every rainfall,
their leaves growing longer.
Pink flowers strewn
over sidewalks.

The body is swimming.
We constantly drift through
dates, locations, through faces.
A mindfloat as we swim along
side one another greeting
new waves when they occur.

It is mild July night now
covering swiftly swiftly.
Air perfumed crepe myrtle.
We are suspended this moment
between light and dark.
Clouds rushing over heavens.
Sun drops from sky.
Pink flowers are blowing
across boulevards.

-- Joan McNerney