Issue No. 1

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Welcome to the inaugural issue of Lucid Eye Review.

POETRY

Morning by Conchitina R. Cruz
27 by Nerisa del Carmen Guevara

FICTION

NONFICTION

Butch Dykes and Macho Men by Kimberly Dark

ART

Joseph Baron Pravda

Wang’s House of Bruddhh
Poseidon’s Gal
Sinead, with Unwanted Visitor to Her HeadRoom

Louis Staeble

Deceive
Perjury
The Works

eleanor leonne bennett

long nights
play me a tune
this
sleep anywhere
float

Ernest Williamson III

Left Ascension
The Grand Ladies of Greece
Censored
Homeless Banjo Player
Fear and Joy


Morning

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You never know when somebody will walk away from you on a bright day on a busy street, never looking back and

you cannot believe the slow disappearance, cannot believe what is moving away from your reach until the busy street no longer needs its presence to look the same, because it is the same.

And the city offers you its fruits and fish, and the churchgoers life their veils as they step out in the open

and you know the picture is incomplete but it can stand for itself

and who are you to ask for more, who are you to insist on hunger?

— Conchitina R. Cruz

Conchitina R. Cruz is a Filipina poet who teaches creative writing and comparative literature at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.

27

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And by the time I reach 80
I would have fallen in love with
An entire city.
All the people on the streets
Would follow me down with
A knowing.
All hate gone. All sorrow.
The word absence would not
make sense.

The dinosaurs are still underground;
All the species the eco-warriors were not able to save
Have walked without regret to wastelands they haven’t found yet;
Most of the people we love, walking or dead,
Are sometimes in the dust we sweep out on Sundays.
The trees always leave an instant mix,
Just add water
And we are still
Here
Remembering even what we try to forget.

The once loved, the once loving,
The kept, the abandoned,
Finally making sense of it all.

— Nerisa del Carmen Guevara

Nerisa del Carmen Guevara was a medicine student once at the University of Santo Tomas. She graduated with a B.S. Biology degree in the same Univeristy in 1993. She finished her Master of Arts Major in Creative Writing last April, 2004 at the University of the Philippines, Diliman.

Butch Dykes and Macho Men by Kimberly Dark

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This is a love letter.  This is a plea.  This is the truth.

I hold masculinity in all of the gentle forms I can find.

Often times, I’ve heard people speculate that perhaps women like me – feminine women who make romance with women, we femme dykes, non-inverts – to use the language of Radclyffe Hall – often I’ve heard speculation that we really are heterosexual.  We would be with men except that we are damaged. We have been abused.  We are fearful of men and so we turn to women.  You poor thing!  I’ve heard people say it.  You’re pathetic!  I’ve heard people infer it.

And so, in good rhetorical style, I’ve considered this argument – not just to find the counter-argument, but also to find the logic in it.  And indeed, there’s logic in it.

I have survived the incest of my parent’s household and moved on to create a family free of incest.  My son doesn’t know the experience, nor does his father – at least so far as I am aware.  I endured incest – as one-third or more of American women have endured incest, rape, and child molestation – sexual violence of some kind.  We are not much of a minority – close to a majority in the culture, if statistics are trustworthy.  We are millions – and millions more still who’ve endured and brought to conscious reason the effects of patriarchy –the organization of a culture, down to its small acts, that supports the dominion of men over women.  And in this climate, where the feminine is maligned, devalued and sometimes torn stem from stern, it would be difficult to understand the existence of heterosexual women, were it not for sexual attraction and the desire for children.  Indeed, how can heterosexual interactions be other than calculated – at least in small degree – because women most often stand to lose status, and money, via divorce.  Whereas, men gain both.  For all the popular culture stories and “I know this guy who lost everything…” kind of talk, the statistics don’t bear it out: women and children are driven into poverty by divorce every day.  And in this climate, how can heterosexual relationships be felt as truly unfettered?

Neither are my relationships with women truly unfettered.  The same social shackles that hold all others bind us.  Indeed, I have often said that there is less homo – more hetero about my lovers and I.  I am a femme-dyke, attracted to butch-dykes; there are many ways to do attraction, but this is mine.  We may be homo-sexual, but we are not homo-gendered.  I do not date ladies. We are same.  I want gendered tension.  Could I not just be with a man?

I have been happy with men as lovers.  Though my passion burns brightest for women, who knows where the fire originates?  Part body, part culture – my guess.  My gay husband and I had a good sexual relationship for many years when our son was small.  We were a good gender-twisted couple; we met in the middle somehow. We had fun. We had love. What is attraction?  Often the stories we tell about each other and ourselves inspire it – why else would a certain dress or haircut or shoes make the picture complete with one, wrong with another?  We don’t rely on the scent of a certain musk to tell us “this is the one.”  We tell a subtler story that is revised often by appearances and actions and meaning.

Many heterosexual men cannot tell the story of how they participate in patriarchy – neither can many gay men nor many women of any romantic predilection. Maybe I could be attracted to more men – who could know?  This is the world in which we live, where straight men are taught a certain hardness, and while butch dykes and macho men share interests and aesthetics, they are often different. For women, the hardness can yield within certain moments – at least from my view.  I know they remember a girlhood that helps them understand my social position differently than most men ever would.  If they find it in themselves to like the feminine in me, it’s an informed liking, a real fondness, and a respect.  Most butch dykes are not out to conquer femininity or protect it like a fragile prize.  There can be something between us that is sweet and meaningful in a way that women in heterosexual unions only yearn toward.  They rarely reach a true understanding of the things that make us different.

Things could be different.  I could be attracted to men more often. Not all queers are the same.  I believe I could.  And maybe with the abolition of patriarchy – for it is only an idea, a practice – men would feel different attractions too.  Gay and straight, men and women – everyone else – could feel different attractions too.  If “being a girl” weren’t the worst insult a man could give another, there could be a different love between men and women, men and men.  The large numbers of men who call themselves straight, but have had the occasional blow job from another man – the occasional or frequent sex with another man – might actually come to see their lovers differently.  So much more could be allowed and shared if being “like a girl,” were not such a sticky, contemptible identity.

My identity as a dyke sticks, I think, because of patriarchy.  Without the shadow of the rules made to keep male privilege in place, we might all be different people.  The only reason anyone feels the need to focus on the quandaries of my romances, rather than their own is that I live outside of normal. And I am female: a certain locus of cultural victimization, pain and damage.  I am a gendered lightening rod for both pity and blame. Certain races, classes, abilities and so on are also focal points for what a person lacks.  The worst oppression is always the one happening to you right now.

This argument that I act and love from damage is not wholly wrong.  And so do others whose loves and lives are told as normal.  There’s no avoiding it – we are all damaged by a culture out of balance where rewards and meanings and sometimes even actions are hidden, even from ourselves.

This is a love letter to masculinity.  I am deeply in love because along with my lack, I have fallen hard for possibility, for the way we can re-create wholeness using nothing more than our minds, our bodies, our words and our lives.  I am in love with masculinity in all of its forms and I am in love with possibility.  This is a plea for all to join me in a good rhetorical interrogation of our gendered lives.  What if, instead of just looking for the counter-argument when an assertion wounds us, we looked for the logic in it?

It makes sense that I hold masculinity in all of the comfortable forms I can find, just as all who love learn to do.  How different would we be without the structures and sanctions we were given?  We’ll just have to try another way, and find out.

Kimberly Dark is a writer, mother, performer and professor. She is the author of five award-winning solo performance scripts and her poetry and prose appear in a number of publications. For more than ten years, Kimberly has inspired audiences in fancy theatres, esteemed universities and fabulous festivals She tours widely in North America and Europe anywhere an audience loves a well-told story. The Salt Lake Tribune says “Dark doesn’t shy away from provocative, incendiary statements, but don’t expect a rant. Her shows, leavened with humor, are more likely to explore how small everyday moments can inform the arc of our lives.” The High Plains Reader in Fargo ND says “Dark’s skill as a storyteller gets to your heart by exposing hers.”

Deceive

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Louis Staeble lives in Bowling Green, Ohio. He has had photographs appear in “Camera Obscura”, “Subliminal Interiors” and “Sunsets and Silencers”. Lately he his photo “Industrial Strength Nation” appeared in the Toledo Museum of Art’s 93rd Annual Toledo Area Artists Exhibition.

Perjury

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Louis Staeble lives in Bowling Green, Ohio. He has had photographs appear in “Camera Obscura”, “Subliminal Interiors” and “Sunsets and Silencers”. Lately he his photo “Industrial Strength Nation” appeared in the Toledo Museum of Art’s 93rd Annual Toledo Area Artists Exhibition.

The Works

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Louis Staeble lives in Bowling Green, Ohio. He has had photographs appear in “Camera Obscura”, “Subliminal Interiors” and “Sunsets and Silencers”. Lately he his photo “Industrial Strength Nation” appeared in the Toledo Museum of Art’s 93rd Annual Toledo Area Artists Exhibition.