FIRST LITERARY REVIEW-EAST

Submissions Meet the Editor-in-Chief March 2015 Meet the Associate Editor January 2012 Book Review - Lyn Lifshin's "Ballroom" March 2012 Book Review - George Held's "After Shakespeare: Selected Sonnets" May 2014 Book Review: Amy Holman's Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window July 2012 Book Review: Kit Kennedy Reviews Heller Levinson September 2012 Book Review - Patricia Carragon Reviews Leigh Harrison November 2012 January 2013 March 2013 Book Review - Dean Kostos "Rivering" May 2013 Book Review: Hochman Reviews Ormerod Summer Issue 2013 September 2013 McMaster Reviews Szporluk January 2014 July/August 2014 November 2014 January 2015 January 2015 Book Review: Wright Reviews Gardner Stern Reviews Katrinka Moore May 2015 Hochman Reviews Ross



 

  

  

JULY 2015

 

 

Pink Martini

 

the pink martini

trickles her curving contours

down his waiting mouth

                                                                            —Lana Bella

 

Lana Bella has a diverse work of poetry and flash fiction anthologized, published and forthcoming with more than ninety journals, including a chapbook with Crisis Chronicles Press (2015), Aurorean Poetry, Chiron Review, Contrary Magazine, elsewhere, First Literary Review-East, The Criterion Journal, Poetry Quarterly, and Featured Artist with Quail Bell Magazine, among others. She resides in the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam with her novelist husband and two frolicsome imps.
 
 

 


 

City Heat    (from Inspirations)

 

On the street corner

A flash of the brightest red

This city is full of pain

                                                  —Matthew Anish

 

Matthew Anish is a widely published poet/writer.  He is a graduate of Brooklyn College and the New School University. Many of his poems can be found on poetrysoup.com and he has published 7 chapbooks of verse. He also writes a monthly column for Barrs Postcard News. Much of his work can be seen on poetrysoup.com

 

 


 

 

bubbles 

pop

stop

walls

crash

mirrors

exercise

demons

release

light

melon seeds

unripe

fetus

dreams

                                    —Vashti Puls

 

Mary C.  Puls has written since the age of two. She was first published in Cricket Magazine at age 12.  She has had the pen name, Vashti, since age 18. She has been published in a wide variety of media, including Baywindows, Santa Fe Sun and The Milwaukee Journal.  She holds a BA degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

 


 

 

Vociferous Silence

 

White scars along the body of the sea.

 

The sun slowly rises,

towed by the clouds.

 

The color of pain is melting in the first light.

 

And then I see the dead calm lake of the sheets,

the milk of her body rising.

 

Then the stones roll in their sleep and

a lullaby tune starts playing.

 

Shadows hide under the flourishing flowers,

their white aroma covers everything,

 

and the last piece of the night’s flesh

disappears into the empty belly of the new day.

                                                                                    —Peycho Kanev

 

Peycho Kanev is the author of three poetry collections and two chapbooks. He has won several European awards for his poetry and he’s been nominated for the Pushcart Award and Best of the Net. Translations of his books will be published soon in Italy, Poland and Russia. His poems have appeared in more than 900 literary magazines, such as Poetry Quarterly, Evergreen Review, Hawaii Review, Cordite Poetry Review, Sheepshead Review, Off the Coast, The Adirondack Review, The Coachella Review, Two Thirds North, Sierra Nevada Review, The Cleveland Review and many others.

 


 

Collage

 

in piercing silence,  i ask 

wind to collect all memories 

of you into a firefly flickering 

away nonchalantly without 

stirring any ripple in my wine

 

i leave the city with a work 

of collage containing a miniature 

of your naked body with your

gaze your skin your complexity 

transmuting in my eyes into 

stars, rising and shining into a 

much colder more distant galaxy

                                                                   —Olivia Wu 

 

Olivia Wu’s poems have appeared in Aberration Labyrinth and Shanghai Times.  She is a member of Brevitas, an invited community of poets. She is an active participant in Poetry Society of America’s weekly workshop on poetry writing. Olivia resides in New York City. 

 


 

Ebony and Apathy

 

The price of apathy is telepathy, or so I am told by the microchip that lives in my brain. I have learned to surf the wave of the future before it is patented by Bill and his Gates of Hell. Rodin called and wants his search engine back, but I was too busy sculpting something out of the nothingness that resides in my secret soul on certain Thursdays. So he cruised the furthest reaches of the disinformation highway using the sheer power of his Will Shakespeare, who wrote a sonnet for the epitaph of the obituary, which said something to the effect of, "RIP e-books; The Next New Thing is disappearing couplets fueled by lack of interest and running on solar disempowerment." So it goes, etc.

Anyway, her traumatized eyes, which are the Windows 8.1 into her darkest, deepest desires, tell a story that no one listens to but that everyone resents. 

                                                                                                              —Alison Ross

 

Clockwise Cat publisher and editor Alison Ross has been published here, there, elsewhere and nowhere. She experienced rave-levels of ecstasy when she found out she was shortlisted for the 2014 Erbacce Prize among 20 others, down from 5,000 entries. She was also giddily bemused when she was nominated for the Best of the Net a few years back, though she lost out to savvier scribes. Alison's chapbook, Clockwise Cats, recently released from the venerable Fowlpox Press, will subvert your dissonant dystopia into a euphonious utopia of Zen-Surrealist bliss.

 


 

How I Get Home

 

I navigate

by many means;

the tail end

of heavy traffic,

a random planet burning

through the dusk,

the sweet scent

of your little summer dress

alive

on the clothesline.

                                                   —Walter Worden

 

Walter Worden is a visual artist who has been writing poetry for decades. Born and raised in New York State's Hudson Valley, his recent return to the region has inspired a focus on nature as a means to comment on the human condition. His poems have appeared in various publications, such as Anthology, Chronogram,The Literary Review and The Huffington Post. Worden is the former host of a reading and performance series, and has recently published his first chapbook, This Land and Every Stone.

 


 

Trying

 

to get out of the girl box

begins the process of flying

 

 

Sex is Easy

 

Taking out the trash, hard.

Some nights kissing’s harder still—

being present to the tongue’s

probing demands.

Questions arise. Answers,

true ones, far

too dangerous to utter,

or to swallow.

                                       —Alison Stone and Suzanne Rae Deshchidn

 


Alison Stone is the author of Dangerous Enough (Presa Press 2014), Borrowed Logic (Dancing Girl Press 2014), From the Fool to the World: Poems in the Voices of the Major Arcana of the Tarot (Parallel Press 2012) and They Sing at Midnight, which won the 2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award and was published by Many Mountains Moving Press. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Barrow Street, Poet Lore, and a variety of other journals and anthologies. She has been awarded Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly’s Madeline Sadin award and has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. She is also a painter and the creator of The Stone Tarot. A licensed psychotherapist, she has private practices in NYC and Nyack. She is currently editing an anthology of poems on the Persephone/Demeter myth.

 

Suzanne Rae Deshchidn is a confessional freeverse poet and freelance editor. She earned her MFA from Solstice Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College. She earned her Creativity Studies Master's Degree from Union Institute. She is currently teaching developmental studies at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, NJ. Additionally, she teaches in the English and developmental studies departments at various New Jersey Berkeley College Campuses. Suzanne won an Honorable Mention in the Ginsberg Poetry Prize 2014 ,

 


 

Sprinkler Head                                    

 

The ground sprinkler undulates in the grass. Soon, soil will soak and flow and yield once more between bare toes.  The spray lofts across the lawn onto my eyelids and earlobes, some droplets collecting along the arc of my jaw and across my collarbone. A trail runs down my chest toward my navel. I watch, fixing on the water surging just at the curved head, as it rises and falls, pitches and rolls. Indoors, my wife reclines on her side in shorts, hips like a sprinkler head.

                                                                                                —Jeff Santosuosso

 

Jeff Santosuosso is a business executive and prize-winning poet living in Pensacola, FL. He is a member of the Florida State Poets Association, former member of the Dallas Poets Community, and board member of the West Florida Literary Federation. His poems have appeared in a variety of print and online poetry journals. He has edited and written summaries and reviews of a variety of poetic works. He is currently working on a novel, as well as continuing with poetry.

 


 

 

Awe Anagrammatized

 

sacred

scared

 

The Scarlet Pimpernel Anagrammatized

 

rogue

rouge

                                                                                                      —John J. Trause

 

John J. Trause, the Director of Oradell Public Library, is the author of Eye Candy for Andy (Finishing Line Press, 2013); Inside Out, Upside Down, and Round and Round (Nirala Publications, 2012); Seriously Serial (Poets Wear Prada, 2007; rev. ed. 2014); and Latter-Day Litany (Éditions élastiques, 1996), the latter staged Off-Off Broadway.  His translations, poetry, and visual work appear internationally in many journals and anthologies, and Marymark Press has published his visual poetry and art as broadsides and sheets.  He has shared the stage with Steven Van Zandt, Anne Waldman, Karen Finley, and Jerome Rothenberg, the page with Lita Hornick, William Carlos Williams, Woody Allen, Ted Kooser, and Pope John Paul II, and the cage with the Cumaean Sibyl, Ezra Pound, Hannibal Lector, Andrei Chikatilo, and George “The Animal” Steele.  He is a founder of the William Carlos Williams Poetry Cooperative in Rutherford, N. J., and the former host and curator of its monthly reading series.  He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize (2009 – 2011, 2013) and is fond of cunning acrostics and color-coded chiasmus.

 


 

 

Starting Wet

 

While half the night

is filling up

with whispers—light rain, lissome

in its pattering, that’s how

 

It starts, it taps

the glass. No puddle

visible; or sudden gust—umbrella’s

beaten rag when nylon

flips—or any force that hustles

sodden

from the dictionary, there’s none

 

Of that. No weather of

anxiety, this rain

is sweet—is it a kiss? Of course

it’s not, it’s heaven’s liquid

giggle

                                                                                                                                                     —Jay Chollick

 

Jay Chollick: The world’s most harmless terrorist; shadowy at the open mic; insufferable in print; bookish in slim volumes; Colors; American Vesuvius; FiveO The Stately Poems; prizes and awards but not the bluest ribbons; big mouth on the radio; a tv pipsqueak, for which only his one hand claps.

 


 

SPRACHSPIEL
 
a man dreams of rain
it is raining outside
rain falls into his dream
 
suppose he is right
neither crackle of grease
nor so much clapping
 
his dream-self says aloud
it is raining outside
as he mouths it silently
 
supposing there is sleep
and two voices between
where did the words go

                                                        —Raymond Gibson

 

Raymond Gibson graduated from the creative writing MFA program at FAU. His work can be found in the Tiny Truths section of Creative Nonfiction, White Stag Journal, Gravel, Moss Trill, Zigest, Hermeneutic Chaos, Pirene's Fountain, and NôD. His chapbook, Speak, Shade, is out now from Glass Lyre Press.

 

 


 

Backwash

 

Mother Nature scorned
scatters asthmatic windbreaths
moaning through branches
slapping bottoms of Babylon.

Offers no relief from crying clouds.
Opens an angry mouth and swallows
to nurture  bottom feeders.
Returns only skeletal remains.

Sometimes old bones become
the chalk of concrete children.

                                                                      —Robert Savino

 

Robert Savino, the current Suffolk County Poet Laureate, is a native Long Island poet, born on Whitman’s Paumanok and still fishes here, for words. He is the winner of the 2008 Oberon Poetry Prize. Robert’s first collection Inside a Turtle Shell, published in 2009, is a diverse journey of paths crossed, family and friends . . . lost and found.

 


 

song of songs . . .

 

breaths come in staggered sonnets

winding their way on the river’s tide

songs to be sung in three-quarter time

 

and the waters run deep and wide

 

hearts beat in baroque ballads

winging their way on salacious seas

words to be spoken in first-person mime

 

and the waters run wide and deep

 

bodies move in luminous nocturne

weaving their way up and down in and out

notes to be played in black and white

 

and the waters run deep

and the waters run wide

 

what might i reap

where might i hide

                                                                             —Jenean C. Gilstrap

 

(Previously published in yareah magazine 11/09/2014)

 

Ms. Gilstrap is the author of two books of poetry:  Words Unspoken and Gypsy Woman Words.  She is a featured poet/artist at both Yareah Magazine and Plum Tree Books. Her work may also be found in numerous online and printed literary publications. She is currently working on her third and fourth volumes of poetry.  

 

 


 

It is I

 

It was I

Who called upon you

For sage advice.

 

It was I

Who dallied among daffodils

In the meadow while morning

Sun’s first rays danced

Among emerald ferns

And I caught a glimpse

Of your familiar face beaming.

 

It is I

Who calls your name now

Over and over

But the silence of empty rooms

Is deafening.

                                                              —Juanita Torrence-Thompson

 

Juanita Torrence-Thompson  is a (Pushcart Prize-nominated poet), speaker, columnist, adjunct professor, actress & Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of lauded, MOBIUS The Poetry Magazine. The Secret Life of Scrambled Eggs (Torderwarz, 2014) is book #8. Her award-winning poetry is translated into 15 languages. Her adult & children’s poetry & short fiction & feature articles are published in U.S. & abroad. Reads in Singapore, Switzerland, South Africa, Canada & U.S. Juanita's second play, "The Place," to be directed by veteran actor/director Arthur French, will be performed August 22nd and 23rd at The Bowery Poetry Club www.bowerypoetry.com. Her website is www.poetrytown.com.

 

 


 

four –play

 

summonsing the wilderness experience sparks altitude.   clouds formulate, transfigure, . . . resign.   sea air refurbishes.   dark days are here again.

 

***

 

my arms are roped behind me & dark skinned men  dance around a large fire ablaze with malice.   white letters script through the darkness:  they want to eat you.   fiery drums escalate their intensity.   I dream of alfalfa & the berry tree.

 

***

 

. where do we go from here.   that’s if.   that’s if everything we hold to account is no longer feasible.  that’s if.  

 

***

 

of noteworthiness is that parsimony can kill you.   in a manner of speaking.   if one considers that it is not an enviable trait.   & bad traits are bad for your health.

 

***

 

if the situation arose I would be very jealous also very opinionated.   situations slow to develop often have no future.   a future implies there will be a will be.   possibility  under the weight of postponement.

                                                                                                      —Heller Levinson

 

Heller Levinson lives in New York where he studies animal behavior.  His publication Smelling Mary (Howling Dog Press, 2008) was nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and the Griffin Prize.  Black Widow Press published his from stone this running in 2012.  Hinge Trio was published by La Alameda Press in 2012.  Wrack Lariat  is newly released from Black Widow Press.  He is the originator of Hinge Theory.  


 


 

 

Five Hinge-Inspired Four-plays  (offshoot of the Hinge Universe inaugurated by Heller Levinson—see above)

 

Sometimes I have the urge to be the Queen of Sheba. But the mood passes. Especially when I look in the mirror and see that I’m quite white. With freckles and auburn hair.

 

***

 

I spent the night fretting about some cherished, lost film. As if it were a lost child. The second one I never managed to have, drowning in sorrows as I was. What a waste.

 

***

 

Other people’s business is so much easier to manage. “Balderdash” was the last thing I heard her say - appropriate, under the circumstances. I couldn’t have put it better. Now let’s see if I have anything to say for myself.

 

***

 

Fighting like cats and Chihuahuas with muffled claws and no syncopation. Tambourine raids the pantry finding scant sustenance. Any clue will take you in – deeper. Apricot kernels may cure or kill, but liquor’s quicker to squelch the query.

 

***

 

The pot calls the kettle soothing names, but it’s too late to avoid recriminations. Aghast, the lilt-spirit sways in the fresh breeze, but can’t get in. Who is witness to this impasse? Let (s)he who is without judgment enter here.

                                                                                  —Mary Newell 

 

Mary Newell, Ph.D., lives in the lower Hudson Valley. She has taught literature and writing at the college level, most recently at West Point. Her publications include essays and reviews, and a few poems published in Jivin’ Ladybug and Howling Dog Press and forthcoming in About Place. Her poem, “The Traffic in Old Ladies” will appear as an honorable mention in the Best of 2014 Anthology of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

 


 

 

 

Double Dating

 

I love you

You love me

You love you

I love me too.

 

 

Global Madness

 

Pakistan, Afghanistan, Baluchistan

Please pass the jam.

Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

Are on the lam.

 

Colombia, Bulgaria, Zambia, Abkhazia

It seems like I am getting crazier and crazier.

Mongolia, Estonia, Malaysia, Mauritania

The doctor says I may have geographical insania.

 

Mali, Malawi, Fiji, Burundi

This medicine is making me feel kind of funny.

Iceland, Switzerland, Swaziland Somaliland

Can anybody tell me what happened to my wristband?

 

Germany, Italy, Hungary, Turkey

This stuff I have written seems weird and quite quirky.

Norway, Paraguay, Vatican City

James Thurber lives and I’m Walter Mitty.

                                                                                         —Martin H. Levinson

 

Martin H. Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He has published 8 books and numerous articles. His poems have appeared in The Potomac Review, BRICKRhetoric, Occupoetry, Specter Magazine, First Literary Review East, WestWard Quarterly, Poets and War, The Prompt Literary Magazine, Boston Poetry Magazine, The Broken Plate, Literary Mama, Third Wednesday, Freshet, Musings, Message in a Bottle, Still Crazy, Mindset Poetry, and other publications. He holds a PhD from NYU and lives in Forest Hills, New York.

 


 

Arizona

 

Café” painted on adobe,

framed by “Handicap Parking.”

Too much information for me.

 

A window blanked out by sheets

of particle board: woodchips,

synthetic resin, pressed

 

and extruded. So much effort,

so much language expended

in stasis. Don’t park here—

 

my handicap doesn’t show.

This is Arizona, here, there

up in the hills and down below.

                                                                       —William Doreski


William Doreski’s work has appeared in various e- and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013).

 

 


  

AFTER A GOOD NIGHT DRINKING
after a good night drinking morning opens its eyes like the remnants of a sad red rose. porch light’s out, world war two never ended & your wife has left you for a man named paul. she’s taken your dog along with her & you don't care. god is in the next room rearranging the furniture & sunlight's pouring in through a hole in the curtains like unwanted beer.

 

after a good night drinking your voice is wooden & hollow & your gut’s barbaric. there’s an alarm clock somewhere, you can’t see it but you can hear it moaning, loud as a pickle. a fly’s cutting thru the air like a chainsaw through dead electric wires. that woman or man lying beside you? dull as dust. big as a fucking circus tent. massive as unexploded ordnance.

 

yes after a good night drinking morning is having itself a good laugh at your expense. & you’re just waiting for the damn thing to blow up in your face.

 

AN OLD MAN TUNES HIS GUITAR

An old man standing on the edge of his grave

has three gifts to give back to the world. One

of them is his guitar. The others do not count

for much, though they have kept him company

most of his days. A young girl in a dusty attic in

rural Pennsylvania who made him up so she could

have an imaginary friend to tell her stories to.

An old witch in a cupboard who barked orders

at him each and every morning, like a spider barks

at the terrible shuffling moon as it stumbles through

heaven in its blind search for coffee. What to give

back? What to take with you into the darkness?

Stumped by the matter & the seawind whispering

thru his long white hair, the old man tunes his guitar.

                                                                                            —George Wallace

 

George Wallace is writer in residence at the Walt Whitman birthplace, editor of Poetrybay and author of 28 chapbooks of poetry. He teaches at Pace university and is active on the NYC poetry scene. He was the first poet laureate of Suffolk County.