FIRST LITERARY REVIEW-EAST

Submissions Meet the Editor-in-Chief January 2018 March 2019 Meet the Associate Editor July 2016 November 2017 January/February 2019 Book Review - Lyn Lifshin's "Ballroom" March 2017 September 2016 May 2014 Book Review: Amy Holman's Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window July/August 2018 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 November/December 2018 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 September 2018 March 2018 May 2019 July 2019



 

DECEMBER 2011

It's been our pleasure to bring you so many talented writers this year, and we thank everyone whose work has graced our journal. Cindy and I wish you, our readers and contributors, a season of peace and joy, and we hope you take pleasure in our December issue.    -Karen Neuberg, Associate Editor

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Seed

We have two eyes to prevent what we seed
One autopilot
One senseless greed
                                                   -Scott Rummler

Scott Rummler mashes up classical and modern forms of poetry. He has an MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology and has read his poems at several venues in New York including with the Brownstone Poets of Brooklyn.

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Wall Street

I stand with those who march.
I walk with those who run.
I run with the ones what fly
and fly with them who dream.

I dream a long truce,
of banners with a green X.
I walk behind the leaders.
I lead the ones behind.

My country, I sing of thee.
Unwind the wind and be free.
Fight for justice and peace.
My country, of thee, I sing.
                                                  -Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

Jeffrey Cyphers Wright is the author of 11 books of verse.  He writes criticism, does art, and plays music.  He is the editor of Live Mag!  www.livemagnyc.com

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Liberty Haiku

You have all the time between when

The trap opens

And it snaps shut
                                                 -Philip Beitchman

Born in Philadelphia a bit before the outbreak of World War II (his first memory is Pearl Harbor Day), Philip Beitchman has called himself a poet since that proud Proustian ‘moment' his "Arbor Day Ode" appeared in his high school yearbook. Over the years, mostly by dint of monographs he's published, he's called himself other things too: critic (I Am A Process With No Subject, 1988); scholar of mysticism (Alchemy of the Word, Cabala of the Renaissance, 1998), philosopher (The View From Nowhere, 2001), and theatre historian (The Theatre of Naturalism: Disappearing Act, 2011). His first book of poetry, Getting Back, is in now in press. Mr. Beitchman lives in Flatbush and teaches literature at Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York.

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The 99%

the 99%:
Wall Street bailout
$ changes everything

the 99%:
walking in gutters
paved in bullshit

the 99%:
not fat-free,
just pissed off

the 99%:
one city, one nation,
one world kicking ass
                                                      -Patricia Carragon

Patricia Carragon is a New York City writer and poet. Her publications include Poetz.com, Rogue Scholars, Poets Wear Prada, Best Poem, BigCityLit, CLWN WR, Chantarelle's Notebook, Clockwise Cat, Ditch Poetry, MÖBIUS, The Poetry Magazine, The Toronto Quarterly, Marymark Press, Maintenant, Mad Hatters' Review and more. She is the author of Journey to the Center of My Mind (Rogue Scholars Press). She is a member of Brevitas, a group dedicated to short poems. She hosts and curates the Brooklyn-based Brownstone Poets and is the editor of the annual anthology. Her new book is Urban Haiku and More (Fierce Grace Press, 2010). For more information, please check out her Web sites at http://brownstonepoets.blogspot.com and at http://patriciacarragon8.wordpress.com/.


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Bottled Up

Went down
the cosmetics aisle
at an Orthodox Jewish drugstore
and found
Oil of Oy Vey!
                                           -John A. Todras

John A. Todras, retired teacher, was a First Place prize winner in a Shelley Society of New York poetry contest and the Borders Book contest on Long Island. He has also served as Associate Publisher of the New Press Literary Quarterly, as well as having developed the business plan and trained the hosts of events for a Long Island poetry organization. A former concert pianist, he has devoted many years to creating comedic cabaret and love songs.
Contact:
ElizabethOne1@msn.com.

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Tanka

If your joyful bag of tricks
poetry music parks and love
holds more than
your peckel of problems
life should go on
                                            -Sue Machlin

(Peckel is a Yiddish word for a bag of problems you carry over your shoulder, I think)

Sue Machlin has lived in Manhattan since she got off the boat at the age of 6. Currently, she teaches ESL at Lehman College and also frequents the city parks, museums, and galleries. Her daughter, Loraine, a graphic artist, produced a chapbook of Sue's poetry, written between 2002 and 2003, titled Somewords. Her son, Dan Machlin, is a poet and founder of Futurepoem Books.
 

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Conjunction

Exxon Mobil has profits of $8 billion in one quarter.
A woman living on Folsom wants to teach me how to fly.

On the café radio, the story of a girl being raped in Darfur.
The score from last night's Giants game implodes.

Says a poet, to live is to do evil.
I climb a mountain and won't stop until I glimpse heaven.

The closer we are to Sinai, the closer we are to the truth.
In my daughter's Midrash, God as talisman.

Another car bomb in Baghdad.
A new device controls your TV from anywhere in the world.
                                                                                           -Stewart Florsheim

Stewart Florsheim was born in New York City, the son of refugees from Hitler's Germany. His day job is in the technical writing field. He is also co-chair of the Board of Directors of Compassion & Choices of Northern California, an organization that helps the terminally ill make end-of-life decisions. Stewart lives in the Bay Area with his wife, two daughters, and their dog, Roxie. A review of Stewart Florsheim's book, A Split Second of Light, by Cindy, appears in Pedestal Magazine - - please check it out here: http://www.thepedestalmagazine.com/gallery.php?item=19582

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Knees

rain knees.
sunday afternoon knees.
skateboard knees.
potato food.
bank robberies.
go on living.
                                          -Ryan Buynak

Ryan Buynak is a very good-looking young man who happens to be the future of American Poetics.

[Editors' Note:  We are not responsible for the egotism of our contributing poets!!]

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bête noire on the stroll

walk in darkness
                             truth and light
far
       and
               gone
he
       is
               damned
and
                             free
                                                    -Charles Butler

Charles Butler is one of the former editors of Erato, and has hosted poetry readings at various venues in Park Slope. His full-length collection of poetry is 39 Poems (No Shirt Press, 2010).

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Winter Missive from the Sunny Southwest

They're already calling it the Al Gore
Global Warming Snowstorm.
Snow everywhere in Arizona
with three-foot drifts piled
up against the door. How
am I going to get out?
Here at the Camino Real they're asking
for volunteers to push the wheelchair bound.
The big transports are supposed
to be dropping food supplies.
The dryers in the laundry room
are frozen solid. Ghostly vapors
rise from the pool. My main concern:
cabin fever. Send money.
                                                         -Maria Lisella

Maria Lisella's Pushcart Poetry Prize-nominated work appears in Two Naked Feet (Poets Wear Prada) and Amore on Hope Street (Finishing Line Press). She co-curates the Italian American Writers Association readings at Cornelia St. Café.

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Matthew Served Hot

Mother baptized me. Splashed
her fear of God into my right eye
like a priest flicking holy-water.

One Sunday morning she ladled her morality,
seasoned with marjoram and a dash
of hell, into my cupped hands;
watched me sup it
like lamb shank stew.

Eventually, I swallowed it all:
virgin birth, the feeding of thousands, the rise of a man
once dead.

Monday, she woke me to
‘Get up! Evildoer! Sinner!'"
By 7:23, the pot turned bitter.
I was afraid to die.
                                                    -Tammy Houtz

(Previously published in Fruit of the Banyan Tree)

Tammy Houtz currently lives in SC, but grew up in Baltimore and graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her work has appeared online at Stirrings: A Literary Collection, Triplopia, and Word Riot. In 2009, her poems appeared 'Fruit of the Banyan Tree', An Anthology of Poems by Ten Upstate South Carolina Poets, published by Orchard Park Press.

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While You Watch the Dance

It seems that
the
   fresh taste of water
is about all we can expect
                           in this
barren year
 No new hopes
They've all been
             still born
Let the old one
out with
the wind
Don't worry 
         about
         any          
         of this 
 for very long
For there's a new year in the offing
Filled with sex and candy
 magic and spices
from
      far
         distant
lands
                                                   -Matthew Anish

Matthew Anish is a Brooklyn College graduate who presently lives in New York's Lower East Side. He is a widely published poet/writer. His work may be seen on poetrysoup.com and moontown cafe. He is the author of two chapbooks under the auspices of the American Tolkien Society and writes a monthly column for Barr's Postcard News.

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Canto VII, from ‘Canti of the Eye'

To support ourselves on the irregular path, we grasp
the persistence of the branch.
It's this dampness of tears emerging from the groove
of our palms. Not even hesitation wakes us
in front of the heavy trunk, hewn with the aid
of bad weather.
From our gesture a little blood gushes out
warning us of the consistence of our echoes. It's the
ankles balancing between one bark and
the other, the ankles to surveillance and survey,
as if between the wind and the sea the only way were
an open trap.
Nostalgia is to exile as incompleteness is to immortality.
We wait looking through the darkness for the passage of
a black meteor. We wait looking through the
darkness for the black of every dark passage. The cold
saves us the visible toil of the ants' nest.
The purity of any animal eye,
remote to the ghost of any dissonance
                                                                   -Erika Dagnino
                                                                     (translation by Emilia Telese)

Writer and poet Erika Dagnino has contributed to literary and music magazines. Her musical collaborations include the CD liner notes for Anthony Braxton's Italian Quartet, Standards (2006), recorded live at PP Café, Brussels and works with Italian avant-garde violinist Stefano Pastor, English saxophonist George Haslam and American pianist and composer Chris Brown. He toured in Italy, England, France, USA performing at festivals and events like Clusone Jazz Festival (IT),The Abingdon Arts Festival (UK), Oxford Jazz Master Series (UK), Fiera del Libro di Torino (IT), COMA Show at ABC No-Rio (USA). She has performed in New York with Ken Filiano, Steve Dalachinsky, Dominic Duval, Satoshi Takeishi, Ras Moshe, Blaise Siwula, Jason Mears Josh Sinton, Kevin Farrell, Mike Pride, Chris Welcome, Reuben Radding, Harris Eisenstadt ... also collaborating with the American poet Mark Weber and with a number of visual artists. Her poetry, fiction and drama have appeared in various anthologies and have won several awards. Her latest works include Ru e Fro, Gèr e Màl (novella), Cycles (mixed media, with Stefano Pastor and with English translation by Anthony Barnett), Racconti dell'ombra (short stories), I canti dell'occhio; Dal fondo del metallo; Motions and Narcéte (poetry) and Nel gesto, nel suono. La percezione-decifrazione dell'evento musicale, a book of interviews with professional musicians from different countries.
 

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A Long Year

Out flowed the lines from inner voice.
The river runs, no time of choice.
Each corner brought no upturned smiles.
I strode too long those hardest miles.
Pained heart of mine the words did treat.
They conjured paisley magic,
and bore unfrocked relief.

Preserved in verse
so dark and terse,
weeks of cold too clear,
both sun and moon were filled with fear.
Yet past my quaking head in hands
lie glimpses of far richer lands.
                                                         -Tom Oleszczuk

Tom Oleszczuk has published his verse in Pivot, the New Press Literary Quarterly, Medicinal Purposes, and several other poetry magazines, including Poetalk (in Berkeley, California) and Roguescholar.com. He has co-hosted poetry readings a few years ago, and has featured in readings in various Boroughs as well. Tom has written two chapbooks ("Time Off For Good Behavior" and "A Million Tons of Rubble") and has edited two collections, "Lunch with the Muse", and "9-1-1: The Help Haiku". He received an Honorable Mention in the Spring 2010 Clarity Poetry Competition, and is currently working on a book of his own poetry of the last five years. Tom has been in academia for 34 years, as a professor and now as an administrator. He lives happily in Brooklyn with his wife Heidi and their four cats.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE!!!!