FIRST LITERARY REVIEW-EAST

Submissions Meet the Editor-in-Chief March 2014 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 

 

[Editors' Note: If you read this issue from beginning to end (which we, of course, hope you do), you will note that we've begun with the phrase "sweet panic" and ended with a poem called "Sweet Panic." However, we hope the poems themselves (along with the colorful backdrop) induces in our readers a sweet sense of CALM.]    

                                                         —Cindy Hochman & Karen Neuberg

 

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Love Bed


sweet panic dark hot silk sudden home serious

                                                                                           —Zev Shanken

 

Zev Shanken teaches at colleges in the metropolitan area. Recent poems have been published in Yes!, New Verse News, and The Brownstone Poets Anthology, He is a proud member of Brevitas, an online poetry group dedicated to the short poem.

 

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Purple

                                                                                                            

As clouds gather in the evening—we are moved to speak of the dance

Can't you see that the reality which so motivated you has been swept away by the four winds?

Let us breathe in the pure air—

it's a long trip up the mountain

                                                                       —Matthew Anish

 

Matthew Anish is a widely published poet/writer who lives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He has published 7 chapbooks of his work. He is a graduate of Brooklyn College and he writes a monthly column for Barrs Postcard News.

 

 

 

 

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[The meaning of the name is ‘the Sea,’ or `bitter`]

The doorway is a stream upon which the lantern sets. Night aspens, weeds wink.  I am kept by this rifle. I am spared.


Latin Meaning, Dark

The glass carries a yellow glaze of traffic, the whorl of crimson wing tips, the slop of salt-water.

You announced the body’s clean love of imagination I am bound always outward by my dazed repetition of boots into the wilding sun. Snow lacerates the valley. Meaning there is no disrespect for your transition—flakes puncture the dry edge of your boot.

Face down, though there was no space, something in you lay and would not get up.

 

                        —Maureen Alsop 

Maureen Alsop, Ph.D., is the author of two full-length collections, Mantic (Augury Books) and Apparition Wren (Main Street Rag), She is the winner of Harpur Palate's Milton Kessler Memorial Prize for Poetry and The Bitter Oleander's Frances Locke Memorial Poetry Award. Her recent poems have appeared in various journals including The Laurel Review, AGNI, Blackbird, Tampa Review, Action Yes, Drunken Boat, and The Kenyon Review. Maureen is an associate poetry editor for the online journal Poemeleon and Inlandia: A Literary Journal. She presently leads a creative writing workshop for the Inlandia Institute, the Riverside Art Museum, and The Rooster Moans.

 

 

 

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From the A-Train I gaze at the moon,

A dollop of white pastry strewn

Over the city—

Oh, what a pity!

If only I had a long spoon.

 

Nothing enflames tachycardia

More than the fear of being tardy. A

Thing that I hate

Is hitching in late.

That’s why I’m headed to LaGuardia.

                                                                                —Fred Yannantuono 

 

Fred Yannantuono’s book, A Boilermaker for the Lady www.nyqbooks.org/fredyannantuono), has been banned in France, Latvia, and the Orkney Isles. His work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2006.  He has been a featured poet for Light Quarterly. His latest book, To Idi Ami I’m A Idiot And Other Palindromes, is due out very soon.

 

 

 

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from BEARINGS

 

The bears are decorating their house for the holidays. There are figures of beehives and figures of bees and figures of foxes and figures of trees, and figures of wolves and birds and badgers, all of them strung with many-colored lights.  And at their center is a life-sized replica of the golden-haired one, her hair festooned with tinsel, and holding in her arms a baby bear that looks very much like themselves.

                                                                                                       —Bob Heman

 

Bob Heman has been writing prose poems for over 40 years.

 

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Nonet

I Had to Admire

 

At the flea market the elderly

lady wants the earrings I picked

of lapis and gold. “You don't

know what that is!” she says.

She’s at least ninety,

still competes for

earrings, those

golden

things.

                                                            —Evie Ivy

 

Evie Ivy is a dancer/instructor/poet in the NYC poetry circuit. Her work has been heard in venues throughout the Tri-State area, radio, and Cable TV. Her “Dance of the Word” programs, a combination of dance, poetry, and music, have been seen at the Nuyorican Poets Café, Bowery Poetry Club, Cornelia Street Café, Tribesgallery and others. She has published and helped edit two anthologies for The Green Pavilion Poetry Event, one of the longest running poetry venues in the NYC area: Dinner with the Muse and The Venetian Hour . . . Dinner with the Muse Vol. II. She is a member of Brevitas, and the Parkside Poets.

 

 

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Cotton Candy

 

Why has it been a million light years away from you and your blank stare of the unknown? How can I miss the wax and wane of your tidal wave of nonchalance and silent lullabies. A single circulating mobile rotating on the axis of all the different bulbs of color and confetti. A pint of a punctured piñata full of stale cotton candy woven from a thread of a thoroughbred.

 

                                                                                                   —Karen Kristi Adger

 

Karen Kristi Adger lives and writes in the Bronx. She is currently working on her first chapbook.

 

 

 

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Natural Blonde

 

Distinguished by royal Spanish blood

brown eyes and white highlights,

her pedigree demands that her hair gleam

 

like a freshly minted gold coin.

She stands apart from the pack,

graces ancient oriental paintings,

 

lends pageantry to parades.

Distant cousin to Pegasus, Trigger, Mr. Ed,

the Palomino’s ancestors befriended Native Americans;

together they helped settle the new frontier.

                                                                                    —Amy Barone

 

Amy Barone wrote poetry chapbook, Views from the Driveway, from Foothills Publishing. Her poetry has appeared in such publications as Apiary Magazine, Avanti Popolo, Gradiva, Maintenant, Philadelphia Poets, Red Wheelbarrow and Wild Violet. A Bryn Mawr, PA native, Amy lives in New York City where she works as a freelance business writer. She organizes monthly reading in New York City for the Italian American Writer’s Association and performs at readings in New York City and Philadelphia

 

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A light touch

She walks as if
she does not step
on her footprints
but on the air just above.
The ground might plead
for an avalanche
someday.
                                               —Reena Prasad

 

Reena Prasad is a poet from India, now based in Sharjah. She has poems published in English anthology collections and also in online journals: Carty's Poetry Journal, Indian Ruminations, Indian Review, Angle Journal, and The Copperfield Review.

 

 

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Racing on the Edge

 

On her morning run,

call-me-Ree rubs

the carved words
on her forearm:

"I have more scars

than sense,”

pulls her sleeve

down, smiles,

and sprints

toward sunrise

                                                —Kim Peter Kovac

 

 

Kim Peter Kovac works nationally and internationally in theater for young audiences with an emphasis on new play development and networking.  He tells stories on stages as producer of new plays, and tells stories in writing with lineated poems, prose poems, creative non-fiction, flash fiction, haiku, microfiction, and three-line poems, with work appearing in print and on-line. He is fond of avant-garde jazz, murder mysteries, contemporary poetry, and travel, and lives in Alexandria, VA, with his bride, two Maine Coon cats, and a Tibetan Terrier named Finn.  www.kimpeterkovac.tumblr.com

 

 

 

 

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(B)utterfly

                       for Joshua Beckman

 

The empty field

my sight fills

 

Sky, drunk on blue,

stitched by geese

 

Sun a bouquet

of knotted yellow

 

Cloud flowers

stirred in like sugar

 

A boat glosses

the river, splash

 

Yeah, well

my heart’s a reed

 

This poem blows

through the wind

                                           —Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

 

Jeffrey Cyphers Wright is a New Romantic sonneteer. He studied with Ted Berrigan and Alice Notley at St. Mark's Church. After studying with Allen Ginsberg (who wrote an introduction for his second book) at Brooklyn College, Wright received his MFA in poetry. Publisher and editor, he currently runs Live Mag! http:www.livemagnyc.com  A column of Wright's poetry criticism called Rapid Transit appears regularly in The Brooklyn Rail. Wright's graffiti-based collages have been included in several group shows. His latest book of poems is Triple Crown, published by Spuyten Duyvil.

 

 

 

 

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HERE’S THE THING
 
Spine doctors twist under the duress
of diagnosis. Who's teaching juxtaposition
these days? Stars like hash-tags
beg a response. I just want to get
along with all the others. We share
our tender moments with machines.
 
The sudoku master slurps
milk of amnesia, stifles regret. Are we
going to war again? Her face imparts
the stingy beauty of filthy snow. I
don't insist I'm right. Discs
bulge everywhere. It's guaranteed.

                                                                                            —Dan Giancola


 

Dan Giancola is the author of two chapbooks and four books of poetry. His last two books—Part Mirth, Part Murder and Data Error—were published by Street Press (Sound Beach, New York). Dan lives in Mastic, New York.

 

  

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White with Waves

 

Fast, fast the river flows,

White with waves;

Speeding through cold years;

Icy, dark slaves.

 

Troubled, the deep river goes,

Past cliffs, into sight;

Caves of silent, waiting darkness,

Windows of night.

 

Dark eyes, burning in hate, that see,

See the hidden, distance goals.

Deep in the swift, wild, fleeing river,

See the lovers, lost souls.

 

Caves of wisdom, cold eyes of fear,

Our dim future now reveals.

All hope secures, all truth, freely tells;

With words, broken from seals.

                                                                         —Jerome Brooke

 

Jerome Brooke lives in the Kingdom of Siam. He is the consort of Jira, a princess of the lost Kingdom of Nan. He has written Mirage and Selected Poems (Amazon) and many other books.

 

 

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The Emperor

 

Every life needs edges.

I protect you from the meadow’s

wanton splendor,

passion running amok.

 

Lean against my law

the way a child lets go

into a father’s arms. Pruned

and tethered vines bear stronger fruit.

 

Defy me

if the sobbing
of jailed innocents

grows louder than rain.

 

Kill me

when the names

for animals and sky

replace the animals and sky.

                                                                       —Alison Stone

 

Alison Stone’s poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Barrow Street, Poet Lore, and a variety of other publications. She has been awarded Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly’s Madeline Sadin award. Her first book, They Sing at Midnight, won the 2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award and was published by Many Mountains Moving Press. From the Fool to the World was published in 2012 by Parallel Press. Her most recent full-length book is Dangerous Enough (Presa Press). 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.

 

 

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Canvas

       For Mark

 

Pen and ink on grainy off-white

meet charcoal on canvas, blending

with soft pastels on thick matte board.

 

Three Koi of varying sizes

embody three traits of unique distinction---

love, luck, and hope.

 

Swimming in a circle on canvas,

facing the outer edge,

but staying close to each other.  

                                                                        —Cristine A. Gruber      

 

Cristine A. Gruber, a Southern California native, is a registered caregiver and a devout vegan. Her poetry reflects her view of the human condition in all its pain and beauty. Her work has been featured in numerous magazines, including: North American Review, Writer's Digest, Foliate Oak, Full of Crow, Leaves of Ink, The Old Red Kimono, The Penwood Review, Poetry Now, The Poet's Haven, and The Tule Review. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Lifeline, was released by Infinity Publishing and is available from Amazon.com.

 

 

 

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Chiaroscuro Ephemeral

 

                                    Umbrellas carried as the snow falls

                                    White flakes fading to dampness

                                    Against the black cloth

                                    Itself held by the skeletal structure

                                    Telling the viewer (if he/she needs to be told)

                                    That as the snow falls and fades

                                    (Each flake like each person none similar

                                                                                    to another)

                                   

                                    So, too, the viewer's

                                    Time between the parameters

                                    Of light and dark

                                    Chiaroscuro ephemeral

                                    And not without

                                    A beauty

                                    Of its own

 

The more so for its brevity

                                                                                        —Larry Lefkowitz             

 

Larry Lefkowitz’s literary novel, "The Critic, the Assistant Critic, and Victoria," is available from Amazon books.

 

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This Vision In Hiding

                                                                          

Unsteady, forever reviving

the withered skin on my back

and in the straddled stride of

this and every night, getting through.

Dead now, my old teacher, never famous,

never big on sentimentalized mercy,

but like the cloud and the maple trees

and even the animals that stared into your windows

you were like the cold air all around, necessary and impersonal.

I said goodbye long ago. I do not visit your

headstone, but your being is beside me

and we remain important friends. I keep you here

and one day, when my infants have grown, I will return

to your country and hear your voice humming

once more in my ears.

                                                                                —Allison Grayhurst

 

 

Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. She has over 395 poems published in international journals and anthologies. She has eleven published books of poetry and four collections, as well as six chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com  Some of places my work has appeared in include Parabola (summer 2012); Literary Orphans; Blue Fifth Review; South Florida Arts Journal; Gris-Gris; New Binary Press Anthology; The Brooklyn Voice; Straylight Literary Magazine; The Milo Review; Foliate Oak Literary Magazine; The Antigonish Review; Dalhousie Review; The New Quarterly; Wascana Review; Poetry Nottingham International; The Cape Rock; Ayris; Journal of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry; The Toronto Quarterly; Fogged Clarity, Boston Poetry Magazine; Decanto; White Wall Review. 

 

 

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What A Gem!

Hubby went out shopping to buy me a surprise.
Something that would please me, put a sparkle in my eyes.
He drove the poor clerk crazy in his quest to find perfection,
'til she had pulled out nearly the entire jewelry selection!

"I'm not sure that she likes pendants. Pins are iffy, truth be told.
Is that silver? Oh, it's platinum? Do you have that one in gold?
Earrings would be lovely. Are her ears pierced?  Can't remember.
Do you have a chart that designates the birthstone for December?"

He didn't know my ring size, or whether I like pearls.
The clerk acquired a clenched-teeth smile, and pulled her frazzled curls.
Finally he queried in a voice grown slightly hoarse,
"Were you my wife, what would YOU want?" Her answer: "A DIVORCE!"

                                                                                     —Sharon Anderson 

 

[previously published in Rhyme & PUNishment, Local Gems Press]

 

 

Sharon Anderson has been published in many international anthologies, is actively involved with several writing groups in her area, is a member of the advisory board for the Nassau County Poet Laureate Society, and sits the Board of Directors for the International Poetry Fellowship, a non-profit group working to promote and encourage poets of all nations. Her first book of poetry, published in May of 2013, is titled Sonnets Songs and Serenades.

 

 

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Sweet Panic

 

I recall a story in which I never belonged.

 

A tale you would tease me with by

falling asleep just before I was pushed

into the larger dark of your imagination.

 

Sweet panic would slip

from your mouth as you whispered

a nightly resurrection, praying your words

would talk us back to life.

 

I recall a story, which I helped to write.

A story that I rescue ever often,

where broken nights push into the present

in the same sudden way

rain changes to snow.

 

I recall a story where we stood invisible,

a coward and a thief

our backs to each other,

our eyes to the sky.

 

Silence piling in drifts.

                             —Todd Hunt

 

[Editors’ Note: This is Todd Hunt’s very first poetry publication, and we are darn proud that we were “his first.”]

 

Todd Hunt graduated from Fordham University determined to tell stories similar to those of my heroes. His first published work was a successful Diamond-distributed graphic novel entitled “The Secret Adventures of Houdini.” Having completed the second iteration of this series, he has been able to dedicate himself fully to writing poetry again. His website is http://secretadventuresofhoudini.com