FIRST LITERARY REVIEW-EAST

Submissions Meet the Editor-in-Chief 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 Book Review: Wright Reviews Gardner My Photos Catalog Custom Custom Rich-Text Page



 

  

 

MARCH 2015

 

                                      

                                her tear- 
                                drops wake 
                                the sleep- 
                                ing bears 
                                                      —Bob Heman

 

Bob Heman writes more about bears than lighthouses. He lives a long way from the forest.

                                     

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What they call me

 

They call me Cub because I'm little because I find bears
because a big mama came close reared up next to me I could of
touched her my brother said he'd tell our stepmother who scares
easy so I kept quiet about that smaller bear I bumped into on the
path first I went left he went right so we're still face to face then
I go right he goes left same problem so I stand still he makes a
big circle around me gets back on the path keeps going I didn't
tell anyone not even Angie but the kids still call me Cub


                                                                                 —Katrinka Moore

 

Katrinka Moore's latest book, Numa, was published by Aqueduct Press in 2014 (and will be reviewed by Sarah Stern in the next issue of FLRev).

 

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St. Kateri Tekakwitha

 

Orphaned and half blinded by smallpox,
the Lily of the Mohawks, Inspired
by the missionaries to perpetual virginity.

How can I pray, how pray
to this broken child?
She can scarcely trace the way,

future saint, stinking of bear fat,
she stumbles to the mission house
along the only path left to her.

I pray to the wounded wild,
life of the woods brought low.
She takes the trail to safety

and the glitter of a strange cup.
                                                          —Elizabeth Poreba

 

Elizabeth Poreba is a former New York City high school English teacher. She has published a chapbook, The Family Calling, with Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared in Commonweal.

 

 

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Florence

 

I'll rest my soul on memory now,
on the back of a Vespa.
Pinot Grigio and spaghetti cacio e pepe in the afternoon.
The tangled grape vines waved at us in a blur riding by,
drunk with the moment's brevity,
Sated with garlic and heat,
the green cypress trees and the red hills.
                                                                          —Carolyn Wells

 

Carolyn Wells is Executive Chef at St. Bernards' School in New York City. She has been published in Alimentum Magazine and First Literary Review-East, and is a member of Brevitas, an on-line poet's group. She writes about nature and place in an effort "to hold on to memory and experience as much as possible" She is compiling a collection of food poems and rides horses in her free time.

  

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IV Movement  (from Walls 2010, Italy)

 

In balance. The balance lights up like a long theory of tremors. Each one stretches or stops, shaping that segment of balance. Purple-sun, ancestral-purple, wallflower — which waits for a new pallor.

 

The gravel — or it is earth — cannot even be seen,
but for a lucid mark and cold from congestion.
The arm under the sign of the breakable.
The foot under the sign of the weakened
The knuckles are a torched ant's nest from which mad ants gush out in clumps,
but no, it's just my blood, my hands with all that excoriation game.
Until I run to zero metres from the brackish level of the sea.


                                                                   —Erika Dagnino

 

Erika Dagnino is an Italian poet, writer, and performer, and has contributed to literary and music magazine. She has published prose and poetry books, and produced CDs in Italy, England, and California. She has a strong relationship with the free jazz musical world, especially in New York. Her website is: www.erikadagnino.it.

 

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In the milk of sunlight

 

Feet die slowly in the dark of your shoes
Legs soften to silence in the hollows of your pants
Your voice goes low like an exhausted bird
Tears turn to quartz in the small caves of your face
Crumbs drop in snowfall to the tattered vest
Of a suit you don't remember wearing
The yellowed shirt maps the sallow skin it masks
Worry stains your heart, and bad things stain the fingers
The thin curled hairs fluff on the top of your hand

And the walls of your heart, thin as paper, must tear soon.
                                                                                                       —Thomas Rigney


Thomas Rigney is a member of Brevitas, the invited community of poets. His first published poem appeared in River Poets' Journal in December. He is a poet and unpublished memoirist, and assistant principal of a small public high school in NYC.

 

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the proofreader

 

his eyes follow words sentences
paragraphs his mind seeks order
balance as each printed mark is
examined and a battalion of red
pencil marks pursue the perfect
page his deep blue godlike eyes
peer beyond glass seeking sense
syntax eyes that will not blink
in this selfless solitary quest
                                                                        —Vernon Waring

 

["the proofreader" originally appeared in the September 1983 edition of the South Street Star, a community newspaper which once served Philadelphia's Center City community.]

 

Vernon Waring is a four-time winner of international poetry competitions sponsored by Tom Howard Books. His work has appeared in Nerve Cowboy, WestWard Quarterly, Poetry Repairs, and The Great American Poetry Show. His short fiction has been singled out for commendation in the Glimmer Train, New Millennium Writings Awards, and Soul-Making Keats Literary Competitions. He lives in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. E-Mail: vkwaring@aol.com.

 

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Earth Valentine


You are the only one:
shattered heart, petrol-crush,
core bubbles angina, more babies than
a billion breasts can pump full:
download the planet
onto a mummified chartreuse hard-drive,
brain transplant; yes, Doctor,
frogs, first.

 

 

Hale-Bopp


Humanity needs some angel food, and we need a wizard sous-chef, star-maps with rabbit or worm-holes that open like pilgrim motels.

 

Have you beheld the millennial comet cutting through these April skies with its mystic lip?

 

It comes with a mission in its frozen fire, kissing the world awake: candy-apple-
red alert, heaven's blood in cascade, watch the sky's' carnival.

 

The horizontal Ferris wheels are coming with moon-high angels in cotton-candy bathrobes. And they are landing in your yard.
                                                                                          —Maria Jacketti

 

Maria Jacketti is the poet laureate of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, where she resides with her husband, daughter, and feline tribe. A New York University graduate, she is a well-known translator of Nobel laureates Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral.

 

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BROKE -17

 

Shindig of landscape.

 

The Missouri Breaks
Where the river jolts topography
Into a sensuous rebuttal of
The declarative sentence. A disharmony
Of acoustics. Bar songs. The karaoke of
Willful amateurs. Here the badlands
Erect haunted castles of shadow.
At sunset, the spectrum of ghosts
Breaks into coloratura arias.
Thunderheads to the west
March with bassoons and cymbals.
A flagellated geography
To break your heart.
                                                                              —Joan Colby
 


[The "Broke" series of poems was initiated by having an accident and sustaining a number of broken bones-thus, poems on aspects of the word "Broke.]

 

For over 30 years, Joan Colby has been the editor of Illinois Racing News, a monthly publication for the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation, published by Midwest Outdoors LLC. An award-winning poet, her work has been published in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, GSU Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quartery, Grand Street, Prairie Schooner, The Hollins Critic, Another Chicago Magazine, and many others. She is an associate editor of The Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press. She lives with her husband and assorted animals on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois.

 

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DUMBO's Character

 

Out her window: the bridge stretches like a grasping monster's arm and crude fingers, disappearing into a near-distance of clouds and smog. The roar of trains crossing the bridge in both directions is the sound of a humongous beast. The bridge exists as this creature, capable of terrifying in multiple ways--visually, auditorily--and of amplifying the fears already lodged in a person's psyche.
                                                                                    —Austin Alexis

 

Austin Alexis is the author of Privacy Issues (Lotus Press of Detroit--distributed by Wayne State University Press), winner of the Madgett Poetry Prize for a first full-length poetry collection. His chapbooks are Lovers and Drag Queens and For Lincoln & Other Poems, both published by Poets Wear Prada. Recent work by him appears in the poetry anthology entitled Blanket Stories (Ragged Sky Press of Princeton, New Jersey).

 

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A WINDOW IN FRONT OF THE MOUNTAIN

 

A window in front of the mountain
but from that window you cannot see
the mountain. Trees in front of fog
which is the mountain but sometimes
in front of nothing when fog
obscures the mountain. Fence posts
hold up the fence which will be
invisible every night. And the fence
posts themselves will fall if
they are not perfectly balanced and
nothing is. Clouds themselves like
towels fray and mildew, are impure
because the air is not a vacuum.
Even the cypresses will not last but
turn to sticks, a slight discolored
stain on the grass.
                                                                             —David Francis


David Francis has produced four albums of songs, one of poems, and ALWAYS/FAR, a chapbook of lyrics and drawings. His poems and stories have appeared in a number of journals. In 2013, his film "Village Folksinger" premiered at Anthology Film Archives in New York. www.davidfrancismusic.com

 

 

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Living in A Cold Climate

 

I have a fire now, boxed, glassed, tiled
In. Flames wrap around ironbark
Heavy with life long after death. So unlike
The fires of youth when I took my half-axe,
Swung in neat arcs until the log lay shattered,
Ready to burn the billy black. The cold
slows dreams to treacle, huddles deep in bed.
No room for nightmares but my father's past
Explodes sleep. I dream his wounded nights.
On patrol they ate their food cold. Fire was
An enemy, the field of battle best kept dark.
In this cold climate I do not dream of battle
Or long pork the enemy left simmering.
Only fire, rosy, warming frost on windows...

                             in memorium QX31564
                                                                          

                                                                          —BJ Muirhead


BJ Muirhead is a writer and photographer living in rural Queensland, Australia. He has published online and in print journals, and was included in an anthology of Queensland poetry (1986). He has published art criticism and was photographic reviewer for the Courier-Mail newspaper in the 1980s. His writing and recent exhibitions, Primary Evidence (2011) and Flesh (2014), continue his lifetime interest in the human body and its relation to the inevitability of age and death.
His photography and philosophy blog:   http://bjmuirhead.wordpress.com
His poetry and writing blog:   http://inaforeigntown.wordpress.com

 

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1942

 

Once in a while, the ovens cease working. Future generations stand in the street blowing trumpets and throwing graffiti. Schools are closed for the day. Even the Jewish programmer, perched in his tower, alone night after night, takes the evening off, his lines of code dispersing like chemtrails.  

                                                                                      —John Amen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

[This poem is contained in the author's most recent book, strange theater]

 

John Amen is the author of four collections of poetry: Christening the Dancer, More of Me Disappears, At the Threshold of Alchemy, and The New Arcana (with Daniel Y. Harris). His current collection, strange theater, has been released from NYQ Books. His work has appeared in numerous journals nationally and internationally and been translated into Spanish, French, Hungarian, Korean, and Hebrew. He founded and continues to edit The Pedestal Magazine (www.thepedestalmagazine.com).

 

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Five One-Sentence Riffs on the Yiddish Proverb: "A Half Truth is a Whole Lie"
                                                                           A halber emes iz a gantse lign. ( March 12, 1982)

1. Trying to believe what he declares is like trying to scoop water from a basin with the fingers spread far apart.


2. What the passionately loved girlfriend never really gets is that he doesn't want to give up his wife for her.


3. A romantic triangle is never equilateral for long; it always stretches to scalene before it collapses.


4. When the affair, like the proverbial frog, gets comfortable in that beaker of warm water on the stove, it can't imagine that someone may be secretly turning up the flame under it.

 

5. If she feeds a handsome cat who shows up at her door year after year for breakfast, lunch or dinner, she may not know, but then may learn too well, where he sleeps at night.
                                                                             —Alice Twombly

 

Alice Twombly curates the Poetry Reading Series: Thursdays Are For Poetry At the Teaneck General Store. Her poems have appeared in The New Jersey Poetry Monthly and other publications. She teaches Poetry and Literature courses at The Learning Collaborative of Long Island University and is a Field Supervisor for Fordham University.

 

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Kings 1:5: Twenty-First Century Edition

 

Then-and others exalted themselves,
each saying I will be President,
and consultants prepared each of them,
and prostituted himself to fifty men
to obtain the financing to run

 

Mark 7:15: Twenty-First Century Edition

 

There is plenty from without a person,
that entering into them can defile them
and, further, defile those who come in contact with them,
so the previous proscriptions against handwashing
shall be null and void
                                                                             —Michael Ceraolo


Michael Ceraolo is a retired firefighter/paramedic and is the author of Euclid Creek (Deep Cleveland Press) and the forthcoming Euclid Creek Book Two (unbound content press), as well as numerous chapbooks."

 

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A Stretch of Time

 

Flossing my teeth on the escalator
of the Woodley Park Metro
(more of a funicular if you ask me),
I realize I would have had time
to clean my eyeglasses,
polish my shoes,
even take a sponge bath.

 

Tonight, on the way back up,
perhaps I'll grow a beard,
write my memoirs, learn Mandarin,
become vested for a pension.

                                                                       —George H. Northrup 

 

George H. Northrup is author of the newly-published chapbook, You Might Fall In, available at Amazon.

 

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Gross 15.89

Eddy's sector output roughs obese, ripsaw bronze.
He pukes in the colonnade with staves, a cupidon's
grimace as durable goods like laquearia, stealing
the shakespeherian rag. He mocks Albert Eliot's
supply side economics of fire sermons, that cliché
of unreal cities littered with gashouses. Carthage
stinks, that's why the market's mudcracked, limp
and imputed. Eddy refuses to understand shantih
and the debt ceiling, back to his codependences
on Dr. Hieronymo and Madame Sosostris manic
pills. He gets the names wrong, deters a beating
and an obit in the consumer price index, wearing
slippers and a camisole reading The Wall Street
Journal
like a magnus martyr of exchange rates.             

                                                                             —Daniel Y. Harris                

 

[from the author's forthcoming book, The Rapture of Eddy Daemon]

 

Daniel Y. Harris is the author of Esophagus Writ (with Rupert M. Loydell, The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2014), Hyperlinks of Anxiety (Cervena Barva Press, 2013), The New Arcana (with John Amen, NYQ Books, 2012) Paul Celan and the Messiah's Broken Levered Tongue: An Exponential Dyad (with Adam Shechter, Cervena Barva Press, 2010; picked by The Jewish Forward as one of the 5 most important Jewish poetry books of 2010) and Unio Mystica (Cross-Cultural Communications, 2009). He is the Chair of The New York Quarterly Foundation. His poetry, experimental writing, art, and essays have been published in the Denver Quarterly, European Judaism, Exquisite Corpse and The New York Quarterly, among others. His website is www.danielyharris.com

 

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NERUDA'S APPLE

 

I go from day to day, I take my time — I say what I need to say & I say it slow -— I'm a man not a child & I come up on the rough side of the mountain, so I know you got to take your time with most kind of a woman — it's always been like that always been that way but time is one thing& women is another, in fact there's no most times & this woman she's a blowtorch with a keen sexual appetite — could it be this time I bit down on the wrong end of neruda's precious apple, boys, no one ever knows but I'm not ashamed & I am not sorry — rockslides & deep desperation cannot harm me none, nor steep slopes nor almighty cliffs they are no stranger to me, no —


o woman I'm doing my best to make it pay
what do you want from your man

 

 

POEM FOR A POET WHO IS ABSENT FROM THE AUDIENCE
AT THE SAME TIME SOMEONE IS READING HIS POEM

 

I am a man, I am only a man. I will die with a snow shovel in my hand, while a European actress recites my poetry in Athens, Greece. She will be tall, this actress. She will be beautiful. She will have beautiful beautiful eyes. And her voice will be like a harpsichord played under a Mediterranean moon. When she reads my poems the audience will not be able to sit still in their chairs. They will leap at the stage like salmon, while I shovel snow into a blinding wind, here in New York City.

I am a man, I am only a man. This is my shovel. I kiss the handle. I call it mine.

                                                                  —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.