FIRST LITERARY REVIEW-EAST

Submissions Meet the Editor-in-Chief March 2016 Meet the Associate Editor July 2016 November 2015 January 2012 Book Review - Lyn Lifshin's "Ballroom" March 2017 September 2016 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 Stern Reviews Katrinka Moore May 2015 Hochman Reviews Ross July 2015 Tocco Reviews Simone September 2015 Simone Reviews Cefola May 2016 Bledsoe Reviews Wallace November 2016 January 2017 May 2017 Wehrman Reviews Dhar July 2017



 

JULY 2017

 


  

Disappearing Act

Hair turns gray,

face wrinkles,
coffin closes.
How did he do that?

Want to see it again?

                                       —George H. Northrup

 

George H. Northrup is President of the Fresh Meadows Poets in Queens, NY, and a Board member of the Society that selects the Nassau County Poet Laureate. In the last three years, his poetry has appeared in more than 30 journals and anthologies. His chapbook, You Might Fall In, was published in 2014 by Local Gems Press.

 


 

FUNNY FRIDA PALINDROME

Lol! Ha, Kahlo! Lol! Ha, Kahlo! Lol! Ha, Kahlo! L …

 

JEWISH POLITICIAN PALINDROME

Mayor? Oy! Am I mayor? Oy! Am I mayor? Oy! Am …

                                                                                          —Fred Yannantuono

Fred Yannantuono: Hired by Hallmark for writing meaningful greeting-card verse, has currently published 401 poems in 90 journals in 30 states. Was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2006, 2013, and 2015. Widely considered one of the greatest poets to ever come out of northern Bronxville, his book, A BOILERMAKER FOR THE LADY, has been banned in France, Latvia, and the Orkney Isles. TO IDI AMIN I’M A IDIOT—AND OTHER PALINDROMES was recently published. A subsequent book of poems, I HATE TO SECOND-GUESS MYSELF, OR DO I? is due out in 2017. Paul Newman once claimed to have known him for a long time.

 



Colors

You’re blue
I’ll pretend I’m yellow
together we’ll grow
like green after rain.
                                                  —Linda Kleinbub

Linda Kleinbub is a volunteer at Girls Write Now. Her work has appeared in The New York Observer, The Brooklyn Rail, Yahoo! Beauty, Front Porch Commons, Grabbing the Apple: An Anthology of New York Woman Poets, The Nassau County Poet Laureate Society Anthology 2016, and The Best American Poetry Blog. She is a painter and organic gardener.

 


 

The Butterfly

Inspired by Lewis Carroll who was inspired by Isaac Watts

How doth the lovely butterfly
emerge from its cocoon,
which caterpillar deftly made
beneath a springtime moon.

Unwrappéd from its silky robes,
its lovely wings expand—
a quick bite for the appetite
of robin, close at hand.
                       
                         —Ken Gosse


Ken Gosse prefers using simple language with traditional meter and rhyme in verses often filled with whimsy and humor. First published in The First Literary Review—East in November, 2016, verses have been accepted by The Offbeat, Pure Slush, and One Sentence Poems. A Chicago native, he has lived in Mesa, AZ, for twenty years.

 


 

Carnal

Mouth to mouth, your gasps are

hot blasts of air coming out of a
volcano; I'm an insect caught up
in that maze, flying ever so close
to my destruction. You arch over
me, biting my sanity with ferocity
of a madman, and the stillness
of the night outside gets smashed
with noises.

The thrusts are primal, pushing into
a hollow, and I fall into a spiral of
lust, petrified by your body, hypnotized
by your smell.

                                                                    —Suvojit Banerjee

Suvojit Banerjee is from India and the United States. He started writing early, but found his niche in his early twenties. His works have been published in many Indian and International journals and magazines and featured in several anthologies. He currently works in a software company, and has worked as a lead writer/reviewer for a technology website.

 


 

Nutshell and Flower Bud

I have been drinking the wine we made from summer flowers. I fell asleep in sunlight, and now
here I am, woke up with a book of poems in my open palms, and the small taste of almond
blossoms in the air.

How long have I been sleeping, why am I outdoors? I touch my lips together, nutshell and flower
bud, draw my tongue across the teeth in my mouth. Sunlight and bright clouds. The sun, and the sun,
always the sun.

A yellowjacket drowning in a plastic cup. That's my cup, isn't it.

My lips are cold as window plate.

                                                                                                      —George Wallace

George Wallace is author of 30 chapbooks of poetry, writer in residence at the Walt Whitman Birthplace, and serves on the editorial boards of Poetrybay, Great Weather for Media, and Long Island Quarterly. A regular on the NYC performance scene, he travels internationally to present his poetry.

 


 

Advice to Self

Keep a list of the items stolen

from unlocked vehicles – radar
detectors, golf clubs, laptops,
cameras, sunglasses, CDs – but
use them as needed. Ask yourself
why it’s an iPad, and not a WePad.
Admit you don’t go to museums
to learn how to paint hair. Touch her
properly so you don’t creep her out.
Avoid any big box store with a sign
in the window that says Now Hiring.
Discuss the late-season collapse
of the Mets with grief counselors.
Pretend one size does fit all. Find
a place to rest your head. Pray it lasts.
                                                                  —Howie Good

Howie Good is the author of Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry. His other books include A Ghost Sings, a Door Opens from Another New Calligraphy and Robots vs. Kung Fu from AngelHouse Press (both 2016).

 


 

Casey at the Bat: Fib

In
the 
bottom
of the ninth,
with the game at stake,
the hero took two and then swung
at the third one, and failed in spectacular fashion


Casey at the Bat: Sonnet

It didn't look good for Mudville that day;
they were down two with one inning to play
And when the first two hitters were retired,
a little of the crowd's hope expired
But Flynn's bloop single kept hope alive,
and Jimmy Blake's double did the same
They caused the crowd's optimism to thrive:
the mighty Casey once more in the game

Cheers buoyed Casey as he stepped to the plate
The swagger of the star was plain to see
He took two pitches he thought were not great
No chance in hell he would take number three
But he was badly fooled, and swung and missed
The winning pitcher would be the one kissed
                                                                            
—Michael Ceraolo

Michael Ceraolo is a 59-year-old retired firefighter/paramedic and active poet with a long list of credits he won't bore you with now, though he can't guarantee he won't do so in the future.

 




Sand and children dream

The children are running on the wet sand as
the tide goes out.  Running down the beach
into the remnant of seawater, leaping over the
sculpture of an ancient city and running
onto the flat wet sand far out towards the waves
and leaving no footprints.
                                                                        —Judy Katz-Levine

Judy Katz-Levine is an internationally published poet. Her books include When The Arms Of Our Dreams Embrace, Ocarina, and the chapbook When Performers Swim, The Dice Are Cast.  Poems have appeared recently in Salamander, Ibbetson Street, Muddy River Poetry Review, Ygdrasil, Miriam's Well, and Soul-Lit. Her poem "Stark Light" was the featured poem for "The Sunday Poet" edited by Doug Holder. She is also a jazz flutist and at readings peppers her poetry with original flute melodies.

 


 

A Ringing In The Ear

Like pulling a knife across my tongue,
skin echoes a bomb’s explosion,
rocking the cells of all we know as human.

A shadow rises, suspended, and lilacs
pool in place of mushroom clouds.
The bees promise they’ll save us.
                                                              —Dd. Spungin

Dd. Spungin, a host for Poets In Nassau and Performance Poets Association, writes a monthly poem for Brave Hearts (St. Francis Hospital), and has had poems set to music by NY composer, Julie Mandel. Spungin’s work has been published in both online and print journals, most recently PPA Literary Review,  Nassau County Poet Laureate Society Review, Maintenant 9, and Syzygy. 

 


 

Hair, Skin, and Bones

My hair by morning bathroom mirror wooled itself

sheeply. In the glass I woke a hundred years

early, a pasture at my feet in moccasins
and sins of priests to stoop me. I can’t know

where my wife has lost the salve that smooths
my locks. The chosen ones sailed dreams of faces,

contours familiar as centuries’ pebbled paths.
Red eyes squint at a lifetime’s fecal ash that cakes

the earthen voices from this porcelain throat.
I wash my mouth with a river’s run

where women who birthed these crow’s feet, this nose
beat hope from well-worn clothes with children’s bones.
                                                                                               —George Guida

George Guida is the author of eight books, including four poetry collections—Pugilistic, The Sleeping Gulf, New York and Other Lovers, and Low Italian. His poems, stories and essays appear in many journals and anthologies. In addition to writing, He is Professor in English at New York City College of Technology, and Poetry Editor of 2 Bridges Review.

 



Overland  

Island of lava, rain springs
out of every crevice
reckless water-courses.

Flocks of light, thickets
of the season, whid
of unnamed creatures.

Basaltic plateau—
a rider gallops
into the trade wind, misses
the track and so finds
this jumbled village, rill
over rock, over ruins.  

Children round up
cries rich and harsh
as fast as the ponies will run.
                                                      
—Katrinka Moore


Katrinka Moore is the author of Numa, Thief, and This is Not a Story. Her next book, Wayfarers, will be published by Pelekinesis in 2018.

  


 

Out in the Pond

I’m in the deep part, wish me luck
touching bottom with a toe.
When I am down will I get stuck? 
I’m in the deep part, wish me luck. 
The floor, friends say, is thick with muck.
They say it’s where the dead things go. 
I’m in the deep part, wish me luck
touching bottom with a toe.
                                                                  
—Carol Shank

Carol Shank is a former teacher living in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and numerous pets. Her poetry has appeared in High Five, Cricket, Ladybug, and Chronogram magazines. She’s written picture books for Capstone Press and Reading A-Z. Carol enjoys kayaking, bicycling, and gardening.

 


 

Shark’s Teeth

A handful washed ashore
By the storm that ruined
Their week in the sun. Fossilized triangles
Shed ten thousand years ago
At Manasota Key.

Soon they will be on a flight north,
Shark’s teeth and shells in backpacks.
She will make a collage
For their powder room with its
Oceanic theme. A row of shark’s teeth
Like an alphabet
Of a lost language unearthed by tides.

A silvery sunset over the gulf.
Margaritas, conch shells, starfish.
Every shark loses 35,000 teeth
Before it dies.
                                                           
—Joan Colby

Joan Colby: Editor of Illinois Racing News for over 30 years, a monthly publication for the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation, published by Midwest Outdoors LLC. She is also 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.

 


 

Nothing to See

The phosphorescent fish lit up the tank.

How loudly the garbage trucks slamming in the next block at
  three in the morning.

An amusing tune except the words were indecipherable.

Paid to believe it is necessary to make improvements that aren’t
  improvements.

They had words, but only for show.

A final preface after which it’s too late for a new beginning.

He sharpened his eraser at the water cooler.

Telltale tallow stains on his black bowler.

Actors who become actors by acting like actors.

We are eating the world, no wonder it wants to eat us.

Either way it says the same thing either way.

Not to mention detritus, some of it quite smelly.

Like mussels in a basket, alive alive-o.

Whoever seemed to stand still for a moment, then moved on.

                                                                                                   —Ian Ganassi

Ian Ganassi's poetry, prose and translations have appeared in over 100 journals, in print and online, including, most recently, Sonic Boom, Pif, Otoliths and New American Writing. His poetry collection Mean Numbers was published by China Grove Press in September of 2016.

 



To Meet the Day

In any weather,
the gaze turned two ways
meets the day,
blending without bonding.
Sojourner winnows through tall grass
discerns a promising path                           
tastes grainy textures in passing
hums invocations for insights and transpicuity
listens for reverberations down to the toes.

                                                                                     —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 poems have been published in Earth’s Daughters, Chronogram, Written River, About Place, Jivin’ Ladybug, Avocet, and Kind of a Hurricane Press’s Best of 2014 Anthology, and are forthcoming in Spoon River Poetry Review. Her poem "Just a White Girl" is a finalist in the Poetrymatters 2017 contest. 

 




Time

Concentric circles, day turning into night
Seasons folding together, warm into cold
Time rushes by me, giving me a fright
Weeks spinning by me, turning me old
Seems that I'm somersaulting into my soul.
                                                                      
—Dee Jordan


[Previously published in Contemporary Writers of Poland: The Other Side of the Screen by Danuta Blaszak & Alicja Kuberska, Dreammee City, 2015 page 46.]

Dee Jordan is a retired schoolteacher and artist from Alabama who lives in a senior retirement center in Mobile. Her newest novel, In the Shadow of Sin: The Confessions of a Sex Addict, is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online.

 

 


 

The Sea of The Golden Palace

Happiness is like the memory of heaven
And the soul is like the sweet sun.
On the canvas of death
you daub a smile from the gods.
Oh, that is its lightCthe honey of heaven.
If you can hear the music of heaven
It is like the sea from that golden palace
lapping sapphire over eternal space.
                                                                          —Hongri Yuan
                                                                             Translated by Yuanbing zhang

Hongri Yuan was born in China  in 1962. He is a poet and philosopher interested particularly in creation. Representative works include  Platinum City, Gold City, Golden Paradise, Gold Sun and Golden Giant.

 


 

Night

quiet, deep
warm in the house
outside, breeze cools
the ninety-degree day to
liquid dark, rustle of leaves
smoke trail from someone’s cigarette
dog’s bark from blocks away
sporadic traffic still strives
at home, darkness spreads, time slows
room for dreaming, letting go
night reigns
                                                                          —Ann Wehrman

 

[previously published in Medusa's Kitchen, August 7, 2011]

Ann Wehrman is a creative writer and musician living in Northern California. Ann is a faculty member at University of Phoenix, where she teaches English composition. Ann's writing has appeared in print and online journals, including Tule Review, Blue Heron Review, Medusa's Kitchen, The Ophidian, Rattlesnake Review, and Poetry Now. Rattlesnake Press published Ann’s broadside, Notes from the Ivory Tower, in 2007 and her chapbook, Inside (love poems), in 2011.

 


 

all the hours

here the beast still
breathes its burning stone
these hours of heat
i lay waking hearing men alone
fight into death
i rise and fall in some other world 
that can't be named
these hours of the war
beginning again and again and again
it's the goddamn noise
that splits you in two
i fight for breath
i fight to recognize myself
                                                                   —Stefan Lovasik

Stefan Lovasik is a U.S. Army combat veteran. During the Vietnam war he served with the 1st Special Operations Command. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the Atlantic, Gravel Literary, Main St. Rag, Meat for Tea: the Valley Review, Offcourse Literary Journal and Pedestal among others. His chapbook, Persona and Shadow (FlutterPress 2015), has been praised by Bruce Weigl, Jan Beatty, and John Amen. He is a four-time nominee for a 2016 Pushcart Prize.

 



The Burning Sun

There is nowhere left to run. Behind you, smoke billows black and foul
Hot enough to melt lead, turn flesh to liquid, more smoke. The air itself glows red
Burns like the red eyes of a Hollywood-set tiki statute, moves in visible
Currents against the gray starless night, thin wisps of fire in the dark.
This is where even vampires come to die, to burn in agonizing freedom
The confines of flesh shaken, immortality sloughed, denied

In a single sunburst of pure nuclear flame, hot as the heart of a star
Burn shadows of Nosferatu silhouettes into concrete bunker walls
Claws curled and extended in frightening final black-caped profiles, specters
In a cemetery, never to be visited. Buildings loom, dark, glassless, baked
To diamond-hard perfection by the billowing clouds of fire, stand
In empty memoriam to
The final infantile thrashings, the last shadow dance
Of a doomed precocious race.
                                                                                                   
 —Holly Day

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Tampa Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, while her recently published books include Nordeast Minneapolis: A History, A Brief History of Stillwater Minnesota, and Ugly Girl.