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



MARCH 2013

The Ramp Up To the Hagia Sophia

the stones,
smooth and uneven
dangerous, slippery
as the me I'll never
reach for again
                                                    -Lyn Lifshin

Recent books from Lyn Lifshin: THE LICORICE DAUGHTER: MY YEAR WITH RUFFIAN, ANOTHER WOMAN WHO LOOKS LIKE ME from Black Sparrow at Godine., following COLD COMFORT and BEFORE IT'S LIGHT, : NUTLEY POND, PERSEPHONE, BARBARO: BEYOND BROKENNESS, KATRINA, ALL THE POETS WHO HAVE TOUCHED ME, and FOR THE ROSES. Her upcoming book, A GIRL GOES INTO THE WOODS (with a blurb by editor-in-chief Cindy Hochman), is due out soon from NYQ Books. Her web site is http://www.lynlifshin.com/.

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Sometimes It Is Important to Leave the Door Ajar

Ridiculous, she said, & said it again to no one in particular
& thereupon she arose. Put on her traveling clothes.
                                                                                         -Kit Kennedy

Kit Kennedy published Inconveniene (Littoral Press, Berkeley) and Constellations (Co-Lab Press, San Francisco) with Susan Gangel. She co-authored, with Susan Black, the e-book Beyond the Human Voice: 7 poems inspired by the art of Susan Black. She lives in San Francisco. Please visit http://poetrybites.blogspot.com/.


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Tanka

Moon on the wane
Ten degrees outside
Will the moon wax next month?
Will trees leaf in spring?
Will the heart stay young?
                                                               -George Held

George Held's writing appears regularly both online and in print. He blogs at georgeheld@blogspot.com. His latest book is NEIGHBORS TOO, a sequel to NEIGHBORS, his children's book of animal poems, illustrated by Joung Un Kim.

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Mother Nature

her eyes took in
the infinite
she turned toward me
"I speak down to you,
because you are beneath me . . ."
sex is her weapon
she wields it well
                                                     -Peter V. Dugan

Peter V. Dugan has published four collections of poetry: Medusa's Overbite , Members Only,, A Cul-de-Sac Off Of Main Street and Eulogies for Dreams. He has also co-edited and formatted the Writing Outside The Lines poetry anthology as well as hosting readings at the Oceanside Library on Long Island.

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City Snow Storm
(a cinquain)

The wind
whips up the snow ---
makes whirling gauze, then wraps
the distant skyline with moving
white lace.
                                                                 -Evie Ivy

Evie Ivy, dancer/poet lives in Brooklyn. She teaches the ancient art of belly dancing and has been hosting poetry events, including the Green Pavilion Reading Event, for more than fifteen years. Her dance and poetry events, "Dance of the Word," have been seen at the Nuyorican, Tribes Gallery, Bowery Poetry Club, Cornelia Street Café and Smalls. She is the author of the book The First Woman Who Danced, which contains poems on her experiences as a dancer/instructor. Besides dance and poetry, her favorite subjects are art and history.

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Cold Coming On

Tonight wolf wears my skin
tonight wolf fills my bones with blues
moon bangs its tunes into the bruise
of my mouth and I gingerly
sip the tea and take the pills
to cure the howling ills.
                                                                         -Claudia Carlson

Claudia Clarson has worked for many years as a book designer for some of the top publishers in the business, including Farrar, Straus & Giroux and Oxford University Press. She has won design awards at the Bookbinders Guild and Independent Publisher Associations. She also creates maps, websites, and illustrations. Her first book of poetry, The Elephant House, was published by Marsh Hawk Press in 2007. She co-edited, with Jeanne Marie Beaumont, The Poets' Grimm, an anthology of modern fairy tale poems, Story Line Press, 2003. Court Green, Heliotrope, NYCLit.com, and Southern Poetry Review, among others, have published her poems. The Same, The Cream City Review, and Gargoyle have featured her photos.

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First light

bloom-red furrow oozes
between blue-black
sky  &  ash-gray
ridge   /   widens
warms   /   opens
the world / an old
old woman wakes
(again) lifts her face
                                                   -Katrinka Moore

Katrinka Moore is the author of This is Not a Story and Thief. Her poems have appeared in a variety of journals, including Otoliths, Brooklyn Review, The Little Magazine,Web del Sol, 5_Trope, Earth's Daughters, and Georgetown Review.

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First Time

Blue light
     and a thousand
dawns before us
let's see the 
            fire
return
     only another blue
                      dawn
only another
            only another
                  blue light
                                                                 -Matthew Anish

Matthew Anish is a widely published poet/writer. He is a graduate of Brooklyn College and has studied poetics and ESL at the New School University. He has had work published in First Literary Review East, Aim, Beyond Bree and in many other venues. He is the author of three chapbooks - tow by the American Tolkien Society and one from Northern Star publishing. He lives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and currently works as an ESL instructor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. He also writes a monthly column for Barrs Postcard News.

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Long Vowels

Buddha bade me bide my time in my abode with Bede.
A rude raider made me ride a rough road by striking me with a reed.
I woo'd him, weighed him, so wide I whoa'd his horse in the weed.
Gave him food so's not to fade, a bona fide not fauxed charger who loved the feed.
I was not lewd, laid down to rest. I had lied, then put the load on top of the lead.
The horse, nude, then neighed, denied water, a node in his throat in of drink need.
I was not nude, was not lewd, ate my food woo'd by a rude Buddha.
                                                                                                            -Jeff Santosuosso

Jeff Santosuosso is a business executive and poet who splits his time between Pensacola, FL and Dallas, TX. He's a member of the Dallas Poetry Community and the West Florida Literary Foundation. His poems have appeared in Rhyme and PUNishment, HoboPancakes, Pif Magazine, The 2012 Texas Poetry Calendar, Illya's Honey, Red Fez, the Red River Review and other print and online journals. You can find him on Facebook.

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Ghazal of the Rose

What mysteries are hidden in the secret whorls of the rose?
Death begets life: manure begets the flame of the rose.

Drinking tears of the sky, rising in slender veins,
light is captured in the sun-kissed velvet of the rose.

Japanese beetles on serrated leaves of the naked flower,
from its red marrow comes the dark, bitter kiss of the rose.

Even though we've severed bonds, pressed between a hundred pages,
lover's gift, you linger in my dreams with the fragrance of a rose.

The blood-red kiss is kept at a distance, tormented
by a green tangle of thorns-those strict guardians of the rose.

He who yearns will take the wound of love rather than give you up.
He will battle the devilish thorns to earn the love of the rose.

Praise rather than belittle the beauty of the bright snow ruby.
To replenish the soul, is the purpose of the rose.

Don't you get intoxicated, drenched in your own perfume?
Mon ami, who can begin to grasp the dilemma of the rose?

                                                                                                   -Ami Kaye

Ami Kaye is the author of What Hands Can Hold, and the forthcoming Singer of the Ragas. Ami's poems, reviews and articles have appeared in various publications including Cartier Street Review, Peony Moon, The Argotist Online, Luciole Press, Diode Poetry Journal and Scottish Poetry Review. Her work was nominated for the James B. Baker award, and included in the Soul Feathersanthology from Indigo Dreams Publishing and the Rising in Hope anthology fromTinfoildresses. Ami Kaye publishes Pirene's Fountain, and is the editor of the anthology Sunrise from Blue Thunder, a Pirene's Fountain project for the Japan 2011 disaster relief fund. Ami is also the publisher of Glass Lyre Press, an independent literary press, which began at the beginning of this year.

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Love In the Time of War

My only love,
let's beg for moonlight
and a quiet place.
We'll lie on wretchedness
and make it holy.
And if we hear a scream
from out the window,
we'll say it was
a bird; and if
we hear another, more piercing,
scream, we'll say
it was a bird being slowly
slowly bloodied
by the cat
                                                                  -Jay Chollick

BIO:   Jay Chollick: The world's most
harmless terrorist; shadowy
at the open mic; insufferable
in print; bookish in slim volumes;
(p&a) prizes & awards but not
the bluest ribbons; big mouth
on the radio; a tv pipsqueak,
for which only his one hand claps

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We Need the Eggs

Love is the smell of milk vomit that trails you
like perfume, odd-colored stains on the shoulders,
a baby crying, always, somewhere in the distance.
Scurrying things on the edge of vision that may or may
not be. Food tastes like hurry up. A general anxiety
as if an expensive vase is always sitting just on the edge
of a rickety table right out of reach. Stains on everything.
Joy fills the holes punched through your cells by simply
considering the sun. Don't be fooled: I would gut
each of you, leave you in the desert to die, make a trail
of your stinking, warm innards for the vultures to follow
if it meant peace for my daughter. This is also love.
                                                                                     -CL Bledsoe

CL Bledsoe is the author of the young adult novel Sunlight; three poetry collections, _____(Want/Need), Anthem, and Leap Year; and a short story collection called Naming the Animals as well as five forthcoming books. A poetry chapbook, Goodbye to Noise, is available online at www.righthandpointing.com/bledsoe. Another, The Man Who Killed Himself in My Bathroom, is available at http://tenpagespress.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/the-man-who-killed-himself-in-my-bathroom-by-cl-bledsoe/. He's been nominated for the Pushcart Prize 8 times, had 2 stories selected as Notable Stories by Story South's Million Writers Award, and has been nominated for Best of the Net twice. He blogs at Murder Your Darlings, http://clbledsoe.blogspot.com Bledsoe has written reviews for The Hollins Critic, The Arkansas Review, American Book Review, Prick of the Spindle, The Pedestal Magazine, and elsewhere. Bledsoe lives with his wife and daughter in Maryland.

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Divorce Poem

everything's temporary except
what's permanent, and that you
can't recognize till it's way too past
the day to make a difference, the
geographical cure by then in place,
the ever-resented mistake having
been made, which, unlike a moment,
lasts forever in the mind that cannot
discern metaphor from vision, that
hangs on the one thing you should
have done or didn't do, a single
irreducible error which makes
forgiveness impossible and greater
than law, redemption your private
knees on the public asphalt
                                                               -Sandra Kolankiewicz

Most recently Sandra Kolankiewicz's poems and stories have appeared in, or been accepted by, Gargoyle, Monkeybicycle, New Plains, Solo Novo, Inertia, Forge, Per Contra, The Bacon Review, Atticus, Anomalous, and 2River. She lives with her family in Marietta, Ohio, and teaches Developmental English at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

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In a café, killing time,
you find nothing easily done.
The satellite music breathes too loud,
as at the counter orders fill in shouts.
A pretty young boy is
casting grasping eyes your way.
Outside the window an endless cast
of unknowns lead their dogs and kids
on languid rounds, while purpose rests
with joggers, buses and gypsy cabs.
For you with dreams and magazines,
losing this hour is art as hard
to master as what happens now
or promises not to happen next.
                                                                 -George Guida

George Guida is the author of four books, including The Pope Stories and Other Tales of Troubled Times (Bordighera Press, 2012). His volumes of poetry are New York and Other Lovers (Smalls Books, 2008) and Low Italian (Bordighera Press, 2006). He teaches creative writing and literature at New York City College of Technology, and serves as Poetry Editor of 2 Bridges Review. You can visit his Web site at georgeguida.com.

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Bumblebee

Bumps between glass and screen, buzzes, crawls, drops.
Six velvet-black points soon against the mesh. My spouse reaches
in, risking sting from the terrifying yellow hair-shirt. Opens screen an inch.
Taking a deep breath, as if that window were white-hot, he slings up the shaky frame:

Outside rushes in, green air where the bee moves out, and pauses:

we watch its wings draw in the arched blue sky, taste atmosphere pink
with lilac and rose of sharon, the rapid beating an insect applause,
then fly so fast our heavy liquid eyes cannot follow, nor receive
suchapiaried grace, only with clumsy fear and longing bestow it.
                                                                                                        -Ann Cefola

Ann Cefola is the author of St. Agnes, Pink-Slipped (Kattywompus Press, 2011), Sugaring(Dancing Girl Press, 2007), and the translation Hence this cradle (Seismicity Editions, 2007). A Witter Bynner Poetry Translation Residency recipient, she also received the Robert Penn Warren Award judged by John Ashbery.

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interpretation

in the reading of sound, too
pluralized rendition of multilayered meaning

            extracted devotions rename
positional praise of the mind's introverted hearsay, causational
                       to the underneath cycles of unseen collocations:

of
sight and
signified alterations
caressed if by shadowy hands
the
hoary intuition of apparitional movement
wonder/wander
weaving believability
back into virtue's spectrum of oscillating elation
                                                                                       -Felino Soriano

Felino A. Soriano has authored nearly five dozen collections of poetry, including In the parallel of pursued occurrences (Fowlpox Press, 2012), Quartet Dialogues (white sky ebooks, 2012), and Of language|s| the rain speaks (quarter after press, 2012). He publishes the online endeavors Counterexample Poetics and Differentia Press. His work finds foundation in philosophical studies and connection to various idioms of jazz music. He lives in California with his wife and family and is the director of supported living and independent living programs providing supports to adults with developmental disabilities. For further information, please visit www.felinoasoriano.info.

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The Book Responds

I am writing

to say you have broken
my spine

separated me My order from


Entered the intimacy of my
Pages yet
I didn't

Stop

Your printed fingers and

I am
Open and

Torn
Open and

Pregnable again.
                                                          -Anne Loecher

Anne Loecher is a refugee from Madison Avenue advertising, now working in non-profit communications. Having recently completed her MFA in poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts, she is currently revising her poetry manuscript and writing er first screenplay. She lives in Vermont with her husband, teenage daughter, her OCD beagle and ADD cat.

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Robert's Rules

To reconcile your checkbook with this statement,
follow these nine simple steps.
For an upright, moral life,
follow these ten simple commands.

To be happy with others,
follow this one simple rule.

But on the road less traveled by,
the path of most resistance,

we have only ourselves to follow,
only the simplicity of doubt.
                                                                        -George Northrup

George H. Northrup is President (2006- ) of the Fresh Meadows Poets in Queens, NY, a Board member of the Society that selects the Nassau County Poet Laureate, and former President of the New York State Psychological Association. Recent publications include Generations, Light, Long Island Quarterly, String Poet, The Buddhist Review, and The New York Times.

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Orthopedics

"Tomorrow at 10:30 we'll go in
to clean out the hip
examine the tissue for infection
put you in traction for several weeks,
give you antibiotics (a possible
side effect is deafness), then
if there is no infection
we'll go in again
and put in a hip joint
but if there is still infection
you'll be in a wheelchair
for good.

"Any questions?"
                                                           -Adam Fisher

Adam Fisher's poems have appeared in a wide variety of publications. His three books of poems are: ROOMS, AIRY ROOMS, DANCING ALONE, and ENOUGH TO STOP THE HEART.

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Astronomy Lesson

The Dermatologist wanted to remove
a few benign growths from my torso.
I declined. She doesn't know
when my husband makes love to me
our foreplay includes naming constellations
of blood moles and freckles as he traverses
my body. Up North, Gemini the twins. Down
South, the Winter Triangle: Betelgeuse,
Procyan, and Sirius the dog star, guarding
the gates of Heaven.
                                                                          -Blaise Allen

Blaise Allen, Ph.D., Director of Community Outreach, Palm Beach Poetry Festival. An award winning poet and photojournalist, her poems have been widely published in anthologies and literary journals. Blaise is committed to the preservation of voice, culture, and language arts education. She is particularly interested in community outreach to underserved youth and elder populations.

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Wreckage

Bodies drain away. It's not sensible
to live so long you forget
your lover's face.
One of us will live too long.
Fate's got a house of cards
--she deals from the bottom.

Promise you won't get to where
you forget the feel of me,
my name. I'll try to do the same.
                                                                -Susana H. Case

Susana H. Case has work in many journals, including Hawai'i Pacific Review, Portland Review, Potomac Review and Saranac Review. Her most recent chapbook is Manual of Practical Sexual Advice (Kattywompus Press). An English-Polish reprint of her Slapering Hol Press chapbook, The Scottish Café, Kawiarnia Szkocka, was published by Opole University Press in Poland. She is the author of Salem In Séance (WordTech Editions). Elvis Presley's Hips & Mick Jagger's Lips is forthcoming from Anaphora Literary Press.

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four years on

by now
my bones have been scraped clean
of any memory
of what you were to me.

scraped clean and sucked dry
by the greed
of time passing.

all connections sev ered
all emotion singed:
              only
blotched dead bones
c l u t t e r i n g
my floor.
                                     -Vaughan Rapatahana

Vaughan Rapatahana is Mâori, who lives in Hong Kong, with a house in Aotearoa. Wife from Philippines - where they also have a home. Has lived in many places - from the Republic of Nauru to the U.A.E to P.R. China and Brunei Darussalam.  Published in variety of genre worldwide. Two poetry collections published 2011 - Home Away Elsewhere (Proverse Hong Kong) and china as kafka(Kilmog Press,Aotearoa.)Published 2012 -critique of English language agencies - English Language as Hydra (Multilingual Matters, U.K) and part-collections, Karon Beach and Bride Price Two (Good Samaritan Press, Thailand.) Toa - a novel (Atuanui Press, Aotearoa) due 2013.