FIRST LITERARY REVIEW-EAST
She cut open the apple and found blood inside.
Bob Heman lives most of his life on the page. His words have been published on every continent except Antarctica, and have been translated into Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Italian and Hungarian.
Jasmine, cashmere, sex, tart slurp
of clementine, the ocean’s spar-
kle. So much sple-
ndor; endless ways to lure
a person from the mind’s pure
abstraction into the senses’ sure-
to-end-at-some-point delight. Pause.
Savor. Let the world please
you. Don’t settle for pale,
idea-filled days. Let joy slap
you out of sleep.
Alison Stone has published four full-length collections, Dazzle (Jacar Press, 2018), Ordinary Magic (NYQ Books, 2016), Dangerous Enough (Presa Press 2014), and They Sing at Midnight, which won the 2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award; as well as three chapbooks. Masterplan, a book of collaborative poems with Eric Greinke, was recently published. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Barrow Street, Poet Lore, and many other journals and anthologies. She has been awarded Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly’s Madeline Sadin award. She was recently Writer in Residence at LitSpace St. Pete. She is also a painter and the creator of The Stone Tarot. A licensed psychotherapist, she has private practices in NYC and Nyack. www.stonepoetry.org www.stonetarot.com
In the pith of wake
The wake of an ending
nudges the tide toward shores
where pebbles glisten salty
Mary Newell lives in the lower Hudson Valley. She has taught literature and writing at the college level. Her poems were published in Spoon River Poetry Review, Hopper Literary Magazine, Earth’s Daughters, Chronogram, Written River, About Place, etc.
day after day I watch
the men fishing in the sea
I feel like joining them
I envy their weightlessness
and the weightiness of their lives
every move they make
the way they dive into the unknown
Translated from the Hungarian by Paul Sohar
Zoltán Böszörményi (1953–), a notable Hungarian poet, writer, and publisher born in Romania but now living in Canada and Barbados; two of his novels have also been published in Sohar’s English translation: Far from Nothing (Exile Editions, Canada, 2006) and The Club at Eddie’s Bar (Phaeton Press, Ireland, 2013). The Conscience of Trees, a selection of his poems in English, culled and translated from his numerous volumes of poetry, is slated for publication by Ragged Sky Press and is soon to be released.
Breathing with the Moon
(a fibonacci poem)
million quiet thoughts,
and velvet whispered sounds of night.
Evie Ivy is a dancer/poet in the NYC poetry circuit. She hosts one of the longest-running poetry series, The Green Pavilion Poetry Event, in Brooklyn. Her latest book out is No, No Nonets … the Book of Nonets, available from Amazon.
A praying mantis
snags a red salamander
off a lily pad.
—Milton P. Ehrlich
Milton P. Ehrlich, Ph.D., is an 86-year old psychologist. A Korean War veteran, he has published numerous poems in periodicals such as Descant, Taj Mahal Review, Wisconsin Review, Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow, Toronto Quarterly Review, Antigonish Review, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, and The New York Times.
[Editors' Note: We thank Dr. Ehrlich for his service to our country.]
Night thoughts writhe
at the end of a line.
Some inner fish will always
take the bait, swimming up
from black water
to feed in the dark.
No wonder you wake,
weak and reeling,
the scaly undead flopping
in the bottom of the boat.
Antonia Clark, a medical writer and editor, has also taught creative writing and manages on online poetry workshop, The Waters. She has published in numerous print and online journals, including 2River View, The Cortland Review, Eclectica, The Pedestal Magazine, and Rattle. Her poetry collections include Smoke and Mirrors and Chameleon Moon.
In the warming world,
you’re a little packet
of chill in my palm.
I move you to a pile
of damp wood
careful not to rouse
the toxic milk
beneath your tail:
your one weapon.
I try to catalog
the emotions behind
your flat golden eye.
You stay immobile,
Erica Goss served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA, from 2013–2016. She is the author of Night Court, winner of the 2016 Lyrebird Award, Wild Place and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets. Recent work appears in Lake Effect, Atticus Review, Contrary, Convergence, Eclectica, The Red Wheelbarrow, and Main Street Rag, among others. She is co-founder of Media Poetry Studio, a poetry-and-film camp for teen girls: www.mediapoetrystudio.com. Please visit her at www.ericagoss.com.
A late-blooming poet named Ted
Birthed sonnets and odes in his head.
Though tutored by Auden
He’d really been drawed in
By Shakespeare, whom he’d read in bed.
Fired from Hallmark for writing meaningful greeting-card verse, Fred Yannantuono has currently published 415 poems in 85 journals in 36 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 (population 32), 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. Another book of poems, I Hate to Second-Guess Myself, Or Do I? is due out in 2018. Paul Newman once claimed to have known him for a long time.
Shakespearean Baseball Sonnet #33
Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the uncovered seats with sov’reign eye,
Kissing with golden face the outfield's green,
Shining its beams down from our city's sky.
But other times the bases clouds to race
Over the ballpark's unseen pre-game face,
And under the tarp hide all the bases,
Waiting for the storm's move to other places.
And then when again the sun did shine bright
With only the finest natural light,
The clouds had moved on to another clime
And the game's splendor would begin on time.
The groundskeepers' work we do not disdain;
They have saveth today's game from the rain.
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 at this time, though he can't guarantee he won't do so in the future.
Stones Fill My Belly
father’s, his father,
my lost grandmother,
even Camille Claudel
harbors islands of
broken stones and shells
pricked from scorching sands
with splintered fingers.
Take half of letter S
you’ll find C, that’s me
far from the Baltic Sea
where the Atlantic churns
to meet the Great Lakes—
stones birth, settle in my belly.
Clarissa Jakobsons instructs at a local community college and weaves one-of-a-kind artist books, exhibited internationally as well as at the Cleveland Museum of Art Ingalls Library. Sometimes she combines artist books with her poems and oil paintings. Sample publications include: Glint Literary Journal, Hawaii Pacific Review, Lake, Ruminate, Tower Magazine, and Qarrtsiluni. She writes, “Don’t be surprised to see my inner artist kicking sandcastles, climbing Mount Diablo, painting Provincetown dunes, or walking under an Ohio crescent moon.
The others wear navy blazers as
comfortably as I wear a swimsuit
talk at fundraising soirees as
smoothly as swans swim.
Their private jets deposit them
on Nantucket the second week
of August and the Island feels
heavy with their expectation, thick
as their helps' apprehension. They
try to look casual at the brewery
or on the beach. Expensive haircuts
and unfaded swimsuits signal
their status. Other as their means
are, we're all sailing in the sound,
swinging at Summer Groove; in
love with the same Island.
Monica Flegg has lived on Nantucket Island since the day after she graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. By then she had already figured out that there is more truth in poetry than in the newspaper. Nantucket has been her muse, her music, and her magic for thirty years. She lives there year-round with her husband and two children. Her very first chapbook, Somewhere in the Cycle (which includes “Summer Groove”), is slated for publication by Aldrich Press.
On the night the world ended, the tragic mask moon howled inside its ochre cloud screen.
The Sunday afterwards, we drove, somehow, to Coney Island, then stumbled along the beach,
shuddering like sea creatures who’d emerged from frozen loam. The sun cast a shadow
over every boardwalk crack, blinding us nauseous with each lurch of our boots.
The wood buzzed and bellowed above the blood-clotted guts of discarded fish. The Wonder
Wheel pinned with a diminutive American flag faced waves that long ago
reduced mountains to sand, knowing its countless grains
would remain long after the amusement
park with its places to scream into the salt-whipped wind, subsumed in the wreckage
the citizens left. That night, the clouds, shutter-shocked, looped behind the slate screen sky
as the cold bone moon presided over ornamented streets it knew
one day would subside like pride to the ocean’s rise.
Stephanie Laterza has been selected as a SU-CASA 2018 artist-in-residence by the Brooklyn Arts Council. Her short fiction has appeared in The Nottingham Review, Writing Raw, Literary Mama, and Akashic Books. Her poetry has been published in Ovanque Siamo, Newtown Literary, San Francisco Peace and Hope, Literary Mama, and Meniscus Magazine. Her legal thriller, The Boulevard Trial, has gained acclaim for its portrayal of mother-daughter, lawyer-client relationships, and feminist solidarity. She holds a B.A. in English from Fordham College at Lincoln Center and a J.D. from New England Law School.
in summer half-wild
horses sun in full
flower we ride
come to a grassy
field loll graze
turn homeward late
dusk dark cast
aside hump-back moon
Katrinka Moore's latest book is Wayfarers (Pelekinesis, 2018).
When it was dusk once
I stood down in the valley
between the Round Tops
near closing time for the park
and saw a man silhouetted
against the bluegray sky
on the lower hill
bringing a bugle to his lips
he let out a Taps that passed through
the evening mist and made people
walking out of the park
turn around and look up
to see a shadow praising shadows
as the night gathered
—William Cullen, Jr.
William Cullen, Jr. is a veteran and works at a social services non-profit in Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in Canary, Concis, Gravel, Gulf Stream, Pouch, Spillway, Switchback, Written River: A Journal of Eco-Poetics, and The American Journal of Poetry.
[Editors' Note: We thank Mr. Cullen for his service to our country.]
William Carlos Williams at The Boucherie In Grand Coteau, Louisiana
Chefs gather in a wide field—huge vats
of gumbo bubble on open-air stoves
next to homemade steel barbecue pits.
A caged pig waits, head lowered, a bristling,
glowering gray god. I ask the farmer
if the animal senses what’s in store for him.
He tells us the pig is grateful for the good life
he led. Fear eats away gratitude. Anger eats
away fear. We all ate the pig, it was delicious.
slowly fragments of the day settle
and the view gets pieced together
could that be Roland Barthes across the road
searching for a final missing fragment?
the very moment he finds it
will he disappear?
Pete Spence was born in 1946 and hopes the world doesn’t regret it. He is a small-press publisher, artist, filmmaker, and poet, living for it day by day.
Five O’clock Whistle
It blows, and suddenly the pavements are filled
With men and women going everywhere,
But none are going anywhere.
Women in pretty dresses are not going to dances.
Yesterday was long ago
When tomorrow set shimmery curls in their hair
And summer slipped a diamond on their fingers.
Men in soiled denims are not going on safaris.
Yesterday was long ago
When adventure held the scent of salt-air
And their names were on the roll-call of ambition.
The whistle is a smokescreen,
And somewhere, on the other side,
Lies the "Open Sesame" of youth.
(Previously published in Ascent Aspirations Magazine)
In 2017 an e-book of several poems by Vernon Waring appeared on the POETRY REPAIRS website; the 24-poem collection was titled The Universe Tilts and other poems. Since 2011, his flash fiction and poetry have earned commendations nine times in the New Millennium Writing Awards Competition, while four of his poems have won prizes on contests sponsored by Winning Writers. Nineteen of his short stories have been featured on the Ascent Aspirations Magazine website. A native of Philadelphia and a former newspaper reporter and advertising professional, he now resides in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
Dedication to a Volume of Poetry
Homage to Charles Baudelaire
I know it’ll hurt me but I want you to do it
break my spine if you have to
but spread open the eager pages
and nail them down with
the impatient darts flung by your eyes
my story will return them
with the cruel lashes of the lines
pain added to pain becomes pleasure
an ecstatic dance with nonexistence
as rigor mortis curls the fading pages
sip by sip wedge yourself between the stanzas
wreak havoc with the metaphors
and if the drunken words fly away
leaving the open pages smooth and pale
you’ll become the poem
and I’ll be a book finally freed of words
Paul Sohar drifted as a student refugee from Hungary to the U.S., where he got a BA degree in philosophy and a day job in chemistry while writing and publishing in every genre, including seventeen volumes of translations, among the latest being Silver Pirouettes, Gyorgy Faludy’s poetry (Ragged Sky Press, Princeton, 2017). His own poetry: Homing Poems (Iniquity Press, 2006) and The Wayward Orchard, a Wordrunner Press Prize winner (2011). Other awards: first prize in the 2012 Lincoln Poets Society contest and a second prize from Rhode Island Writers' Circle prose contest (2014). Translation prizes: the Irodalmi Jelen Translation Prize (2014), Toth Arpád Translation Prize, and the Janus Pannonius Lifetime Achievement Award (both in 2016, Budapest, Hungary). Magazine credits include Agni, Gargoyle, Kenyon Review, Rattle, Poetry Salzburg Review, Seneca Review, etc.
“… treat each guest honorably… each has been sent as a guide from beyond …” —Rumi
How to live in this place we call life,
its porous borders flabby as old skin. How to walk
on its muscular surface below our insignificant feet without tripping
or falling or flailing for balance, unaware of grabbing beyond
all that surrounds us. How to
wander away from the old path, the one where
we were taught to tiptoe around everything,
even our shadows. How to
walk in the light as if it were unbreakable, as if
it would linger, as if our lives
weren’t made of eggshells.
Jill Evans, also known as Jill Evans Petzall, makes documentary films and media art installations, writes poetry, and teaches about social justice from a female perspective. She is the winner of four Emmy Awards for her scripts and documentary films. Jill also designs and crafts one-of-a-kind jewelry in her company, Touchstones Designs. She lives in St. Louis, MO, and started her career in her 40s while raising three young children as a single mother. All her work is fueled by a graduate degree in philosophy. Now in her 70s, she has just begun to publish the poetry that she has been writing all her life.
Sophistication isn’t damn good to drink
So why don’t you untie my tongue
like you undress me in the dark, don’t
let my ego ruin our night, don’t scan betrayal
in your mind—life’s not so bad if you don’t pay attention.
Reaching out in the middle of night, I don't
know what I’m trying to grasp with my hand.
When the sound of a trumpet wraps my body,
I want to speak in my mother tongue.
I don’t apologize, Sorry, sorry
English isn’t my first language ...
Yes, I smell like garlic—Don’t kiss me,
I had kimchi—you smell too, like scorched lamb
and limburger; let us just love each other.
—Tanya Ko Hong
(Previously published in F.R.E.& D, 2014)
Tanya (Hyonhye) Ko Hong, poet, translator, and cultural curator, has been published in Rattle, Beloit Poetry Journal, Entropy, Cultural Weekly, Korea Times, Korea Central Daily News, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently, Mother to Myself, A collection of poems in Korean (Prunsasang Press, 2015). Her poem “Comfort Woman” got honorable mention in the 2015 Women’s National Book Association. Tanya is an ongoing advocate of bilingual poetry, promoting the work of immigrant poets. She lives Palos Verdes, CA. www.tanyakohong.com
a wind picks up a hymn afloat upon one stem of flame
My transportation was for life.
Those inside the circle lifted shining faces.
How much history do you need to reread?
The spray bottle’s red wattle.
A slim chain dangling from the off.
Don’t you open outward?
What the law requires is a surprise to the pistoleros.
Last year’s wound healed before you phoned.
What’s going on with my mouth? Only the best things.
I could be your friend. I have an opening.
Blue, the hilarious dilation of its rays.
In the best interests of dreams, I am sending you back to bed.
Glenn Ingersoll works for the Berkeley Public Library, where he hosts Clearly Meant, a reading & interview series. He has two chapbooks, City Walks (broken boulder) and Fact (Avantacular). He keeps two blogs, LoveSettlement and Dare I Read. Recent work has appeared in Poetry East, The Opiate, and Concis. Glen Ingersoll wishes to thank H.D. Moe for the title of this poem.
Things That Work
She says she’s interested in how things work, not how they don’t: a marriage,
pinning each other to the very word with a vow, and a list, a budding friendship
nipped in one-sided opportunism. How things don’t work, we all know, tell the
therapist, lawyer, family, friends, ourselves. Tell it clear, round up a well-armed
posse. She did, she didn’t, he did, he didn’t, he said, she said, you, you, you said,
Things that work don’t ask, insist, stomp off kickin’ up dust, threaten, blame. It’s
the way hydrogen bonds to oxygen, gravity balances opposites, a spark catches, a
seed germinates, the tiniest atom alights. A gift is given to have without owning,
without taking what is not to be taken.
She says, “How do you know he won’t meet someone new, want to marry? How
do you know?”
She clenches fists, wrings hands as if to squeeze the answer drop by drop from
Catherine Arra is a native of the Hudson Valley in upstate New York. She is the author of three chapbooks, most recently, Tales of Intrigue & Plumage (FutureCycle Press, 2017). A former English and writing teacher, Arra now teaches part-time and facilitates a local writers’ group. Find her at www.catherinearra.com.