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:

Three Poems by Cheryl A. Rice of Kingston, NY. USA
My Master Key by Danielle Madigan of Las Vegas, NV. USA
Notes of an Assassination by Richard M. Johns of DeKalb, IL. USA
TEA AND CRUMPETS by Liberty R. O. Daniels of Ferndale, MI. USA
Some of the wisdom by Ahmed Said of Cairo, Egypt
Two poems by Patricia Aitken of Chicago, IL. USA
My painful shadow by Guillermo L. Barrios of Los Angeles, IL. USA
Tradition by Nicole A. Butler of Binghamton, NY. USA
CIRCLE by Nicholas C. Lutwyche of Haughton, LA. USA
concerning Raymond by Thomas R Harmon of Albany, NY. USA


WESTERN UNION

Word of your demise hardly untimely, I mourn nevertheless,
at my distance, the distance I chose between your son and me.

It has been so long since I've seen your black
watchcap, angled at a jaunty tilt (so unlike the man I knew)

bobbing above the Sunday Times, heard the
letters you never mailed to them, never wanting to brand yourself

in Smalltown, New York as a City Socialist; so long since I've
heard the stories that comfort your family now, how you sped through

Manhattan between the wars and trolleys to deliver telegrams
as a teenager. I don't know the uniform, but can see your lean body

efficient as always, weaving like a tassle thru the crowded
avenues, focused on the task at hand, gracious in tips, shy

and handsome and reserved in your duty. I remember the soldier z
pictures, teased you like one of the kids about the hulas you hid in

your Hawaiian duffles, macadamia fever in drafted young
husbandhood. Married, fathered then before the light,

before leaving the country, picking a new name,
settling into a new life. You on the tractor, you among the hot

orange groves, the man I knew read mostly, walked a little, still cut
sharp figure in fedora and tie. Aloha Joe, Father Sharon,

Joey Kirschbaum, kid who legend has it missed his own
birthday party, held for some strange reason in his absence,

boy with the beautiful mother gone early, wicked
stepmother I heard nothing about, I still see you behind

the smidgen of stained glass that topped the living room window,
shades drawn to ward off intruders, as if the Elephant Man

lived there, not just the rebel, not just the young Zionist,
not just the man who went with his gut and made a country

where none was for him before, entering then his own chamber,
not gas but all open air, much to strangle him off at the heart,

or are you still whizzing thru the city, capped and narrow,
invisible bullet in the mean streets, getting the message through

to addressee? Getting your little ones to the dream,
to live the small, good life, to be your own god?

 

OSAKA

Watching the line of my two chins I fear,
I the shine of the brown fuzz you call hair,
side by side at the sushi bar, we are friends
who imagine the lovers we crave, and I

introduce you to the sting of wasabi, the
hot wash of sake that clears the raw palate,
and you swing chopsticks like you were
born with them in your smart hands.

My bleached buddha, I hold the world
in your arms, your hurricane monologue's
a language I haven't heard in all my lives.

This time is a skip a skip in the disc,
and you and your kiss a star mark I
move without, dancing on clogs of wood,
lotus tea for company and breakfast.

I am glad for the rice, sustainer of much plain life.
Like the moon you change, now bright, now black as
bean paste. I drink the mai-tai of my dreams,
and taste your whole heart in the toast.

 

BIRTH OF BLACK EGG

Born as eggs are from the ass of fate,
denied site of eternity by lowly birth,
black egg crawled from his warm tube,
snug too long, rolling into tomorrow
with his gift for great length, rolling
into autumn with his illusion of
space, invisible sight cloaking
destiny, rolling from the prickly nest
to the grassy knoll, the water tower,
to the guy with the spatula , always
one goose step ahead, armed to the
embryonic beak. Black Egg rolled
and rolled and rollled, rolling
over the rough spots, unchipped,
uncracked by terrain, black egg
polished prize of the Orientals,
taken for ordinary in the West,
aloft in spirit, grounded in yolk,
Black Egg knew from his slimy birth
he was meant for higher things,
got higher, thought higher,
spun his albumen tethers
clinging to the chin of humanity
like a gobbled brunch,
humility chaser, rolling
page in the book of breakfast.

Cheryl A. Rice
Kingston, NY.
USA


My Master Key

Starving for Knowledge,
I can foresee.
The epitome of darkness,
Looking down upon me!
Striving for excellence
In all that I do.
I feel a sense of uncertainty,
Which often makes me blue.

Could I...
Be searching for something
That does not exist?
Or am I...
Afraid and overlooking
Something that should
Not be missed.
There are moments in life,
When I have my doubts.
Those moments,
Which make me,
Question the World,
And what is
This World all about?

Living my...
Life day by day,
Not knowing
The final outcome leads
Me astray.
I often wonder,
"Where would I
Be Ten years from now?"
"Will I still
Be searching?"
Or "Will I
Be standing on solid ground?"

These are questions,
I cannot deny.
I think about them
From time to time.
I search for answers,
I know deep inside.
Only I can answer them,
I've come to realize.
So when I'm afraid,
And I...
Cannot find my way.
I remember
Two important things.

I am...
The Master of my own chastity.
Only I...
Hold the Key to my own destiny.
So if I...
Should find myself,
Trapped in the darkness
Of doubt.
I will...
Not bide my time waiting -
To be let out.
I will use...
My master key.

Danielle Madigan 1/26/2001
Las Vegas, NV
USA


Notes of an Assassination

At last the nightmare is over:
he wakes in a room without shades.
Dust glints in the air.
The particles flash like blades.

Somehow the window is locked,
so he stares at the city below.
The room feels stuffed with force.
Still, there is nowhere to go--

for he thinks that...What does he think?
Nothing: he hears a voice.
"The shots have already been fired," it says,
"that will kill everything in this place."

Richard M. Johns
DeKalb, IL
USA


TEA AND CRUMPETS

As I sit here staring at the bruise on my arm,
I constantly ask myself why he tried to harm
someone that he barely knew. I keep wondering why
he decided that he had to make up a lie
to lure me out to dinner and then up to his hotel room
when all he had to do was to tell me the truth.
If I had wanted to be a willing partner in his quest,
I would have given my all and really done my best,
but he was there under false pretenses, I discovered,
by just wanting to add me to his long list of lovers,
though you can't really consider a lover to be a one-night stand
and this guy had no intention of becoming my man,
plus I'm still in celibacy from my last relationship
so I didn't think he was too cool or too hip
wanting to bed down someone that he just met.
Was he doing this on some kind of a bet
and, if so, what was it that made him so grown?
He could have stated his evil intentions over the telephone,
but yet, there I was sitting across from him
in the hotel restaurant. The lights were so dim.
It was cozy and romantic and I must say
that given any other time and kind of day,
I might have been receptive to what he had in mind
but to try to assume who I was--well, that was unkind!
And exactly whom did he think that he was
trying to feed me alcohol and give me a buzz?
Well, I wasn't going for that kind of stuff.
I ate my meal until I'd had quite enough
so that later, when we adjourned for the business meeting,
I'd be in control of my faculties and my breathing.
On the way to the elevator, he cracked a joke.
Although I felt a little uneasy as he gave me a poke,
I passed it off as a friendly gesture in kind,
not really knowing whether he was about to mess with my mind,
but soon I discovered that this promoter of sorts
was only interested in seeing me without my undershorts!
When I resisted the brazen pass that he made
and he realized that he wasn't about to get laid,
he grabbed me and held tightly onto my arm.
I wasn't quite sure if I'd be able to storm
out of the elevator when it finally stopped,
but as the couple entered, I suddenly hopped
over to the other side and he released his hold.
I clutched my purse and became so bold
that I ran out of the elevator and said a prayer,
held on tightly as I fled down the stairs.
I didn't look back once he had let me go
and never stopped running until I reached the ground floor.
I composed myself and slowly began to walk
out the door, and then, to myself, I began to talk.
As I entered the parking lot and neared my car,
I began to laugh, "Har de har har."
What a night! I thought this was a business meeting.
I wasn't aware that I would be the dessert treat.
Was I being naive or conceited to think
that someone just wanted to buy me a drink
and treat me to dinner and conversation, but instead
ended up trying to carry me off to bed.
And now the purple bruise on my right arm
reminds me of how I escaped all harm.
I don't know if I'll be that foolish again,
giving the benefit of the doubt to some strange man,
so the next time someone invites me to tea,
I'll make certain that dessert is not me!

Liberty R. O. Daniels
Ferndale, MI
USA


Some of the wisdom
Some people are for goodness keys
They live and die for us to breathe

The prophet unsheathed the sword
But saw that better is word

Come meditate to tell yourself
What is bad is put on shelf

They said in Arabic if mendacity
Some time is saver how the veracity?

Some in seeking what is perfect
Come to studying life of insect

Be heuristic when you teach
And "practice what you preach"

Ahmed M. S. A. Said
Cairo
Egypt


I LOVE CHICAGO'S ENCHANTING AUTUMNS*

I love Chicago's enchanting Autumns.
I watch the landscape as its color filter changes.
The glorious hues of red, orange, yellow, & purple please me.
The leaves flutter from place to place with each puff of wind.

I watch the landscape as its color filter changes.
Autumn has music in the swaying branches and crisp leaves underfoot.
The leaves flutter from place to place with each puff of wind.
Green crab apples turn red while the ground is covered with a blanket of gold.

Autumn has music in the swaying branches and crisp leaves underfoot.
As I walk, dancing leaves extol me, intentionally dropping to my feet.
Green crab apples turn red while the ground is covered with a blanket of gold.
Their beauty widens my eyes and makes me smile.

As I walk, dancing leaves extol me, intentionally dropping to my feet.
The glorious hues of red, orange, yellow, & purple please me.
Their beauty widens my eyes and makes me smile.
I love Chicago's enchanting Autumns.

----

*This is a Pantoum, an ancient Indonesian style of verse. It has
eight lines in the following pattern: 1234 2546 5768 7381.

*****

SWEET MAGNOLIA

Sweet Magnolia petals float in a puff of wind and caress your face.

I watch your eyes glitter as the fairy wings tickle you.

Your red and white dress whirls like a magic pinwheel under the tree.

You leap and shake the flowered branches in an impish dance.

Sweet Magnolia petals fall like raindrops and cover the earth with joy.

Patricia Aitken
Chicago, IL
USA


My painful shadow

I wanted to share
the fire inside,
instead
we partook of our
darkness
your nipples brown hard
your black pubic hair
my angry dick crimson
desperation
despair lust shame
fear anger

It's 3:40 p.m.
it's 5:00 p.m.
it's 6:22 p.m.

I am not waiting for your call
anymore

I want to call you
I want you to call
you will not offer your round
mounds of juice anymore

I am tired of the dark
places in you
the hidden parts of you
those I desired so much

I want light sun moon
you can't give it to me

I have to give it to myself.

Good bye dear woman,
be well
find your own light

and let me cry for what it
was not.

Guillermo A. Barrios
Los Angeles, IL
USA


Tradition.

grandmother. babushka. petrushka soup. water with potatoes and barley. a hot fire burning in the kitchen of their warm hut. hanukah candles not yet burning. melted wax dyed pink and blue like tear drops along the metal, in a long stream from the high shemesh. sky. the tallest candle in the menorah is pointed towards the sky. abba comes in from the cold wearing a torn, woolen coat and deerskin cap to shield his ears from Poland's winter winds. his mustached nose catches the smell of ema's shabbos soup and challot baking in the oven.

candles.
like the six burning over the kotel for our six million watching over us like Saba did on the
voyage to america.

at the Kotel
where I now stand
touching the wall
to see if it's real
crying
crying and shaking at the intensity
of my own culmination
of souls passed into me
sharing a desire to pray
like the old women did in Russia
my Grandmothers prayed like I do
here tonight in Jerusalem
while they teach me the prayers
explaing in the language they know,
Hebrew
which I try with all my soul to
learn,
I'm just beginning,

an assimilated american
hearing stories
of my own tradition
being passed from this wall
I touch
into my hand I write
as their conductor throught time
I glow
like the candles of shabbos
I sweat like
dripping wax over a clean menorah
I cry
like the grandmothers did at
the burning of their homes in
the old country
I learn
like the scholars of our torah
I wail
like the wall

I am home.

Bowing now at the power
of the sun over Jerusalem
in a photograph
of my homeland
sitting far away in my room
conjuring stories
in my vast mind
of a desert I
wonder at

I hunger to share
with my ema
the water of the kineret
the salt of the healing
at the yam ha melech
Ahava
love is coming
love is here
through tradition

Baruch ata adonai
I am home
to this masterpiece
ha olam, the world
beating like my heart
a drum
communication screams
from my heart to my lover
like his touch
reigning over my body
in disbelief of this
electrical power

a clean menorah
waits on my shelf
to be lit
to pass our tradition
along to my children

I will soon return
to my ema's house
for her to sing the songs
of our past
in my hands
are hers
lighting together
the match
reciting together
our words
in the same language
of our grandmothers
who brought the
shabbos queen
into our every
friday evening
summer or winter

I continue to sweat
with burning skin
at the memory of
Israel's sun
light
my feet in new york now
but I am still home
wearing the key
around my neck
it will never fall off
I am home
to mushroom barley soup
noodle kugel
mezuzot on my own apartment

this tradition travels with me
in my hands I write with diligence
like a child first learning
how to read
and share
I am home

like I'm snowed in and can't open
the door and look out the window
sipping my tea as
the twister picks up
my jewish house and carries it
between lands
        because,
I am home.

Nicole A. Butler
Binghamton, NY
USA


         CIRCLE

"Mortally wounded you say-
isn't that the usual term for
those whose eyes are blank and
whose bodies gape with the
hideous damage of war?"

"Yes; yes but why then do I have
this pain circling in my mind?".
Where is the connection with
those ghostly shattered corpses
and me, untouched by hot metal?.

Why are these sunken eyes driven to
trickle weakly at the funereal dirge?
Why does this flesh still creep
at the sound of the Ship's alarm?
The silver medals long since tarnished.

Will those ships never rise from the sea bed
and triumphantly return, somehow healed?
And their salt-drowned crews all stand
proudly in line on fresh scrubbed decks
listening to the home-port welcome?

And blinded soldiers, gassed lungs heaving
plodding wearily from the rancid trenches
in file, hand behind on the shoulder
in front. Retreating from what was named
"The Great war"- they knew it not then.

Like so many vital messages, blood writ,
theirs went unheeded. Twenty years on
and another generation of young men
was pitched into the wicked cauldron as it
smoked with greed, power and failed politics.

And now, numerous bloody conflicts later
the World's awash with the walking wounded,
who cry out in their hideous misery, unheard,
as more pitiful refugee columns are formed.
While the uniformed, unwounded, keep returning.

Nicholas C. Lutwyche
Haughton, LA.
USA


concerning Raymond

got a letter from government
"concerning Raymond" first line said.

dead never took so many fancy words
to say

but I got rights
the last paragraph read.

"concerning Raymond"
never used the word son

for the dawn of my life
but I got rights

just no other days.

Thomas R. Harmon
Albany, NY.
USA


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