FIRST LITERARY REVIEW-EAST

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 SEPTEMBER 2013
 

Haiku

crowded train through sunset ---
someone talking softly
in another language
                               --- Kanchan Chatterjee

Kanchan Chatterjee is a 45-year-old male executive, working in the ministry of finance, government of India.  He lives in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India.

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They Never Say

"i want to thank god
for the miracle
of evolution"
                                  ---Bob Heman

Bob Heman has been published on every continent except Antarctica. He lives on the west end of Long Island in what was once the city of Brooklyn.

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an armed man lurks in ambush (rev. ed.)

A bird whistles like a bullet fired from hiding. I pick up a stone and put it in my pocket just in case. Jews are each given a brush and a can of white paint and told to number the trees. I take a piss against the wall, a wrinkled old woman peering over my shoulder. The ground shakes at shorter and shorter intervals. And such wind! Like a sword waving in glittering circles above our heads! I wasn't born with so many questions. I acquired them the way prehistoric fish acquired limbs. You don't want friends, you want admirers, my therapist accuses. I spend the rest of the afternoon in the car. Twice every hour on the radio, Major Thomas E. Kennedy of New York dies again when a suicide bomber detonates a dynamite vest.
                                                                    ---Howie Good

Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection The Middle of Nowhere (Olivia Eden Publishing) and the forthcoming poetry chapbooks The Complete Absence of Twilight (Mad Hat Press), Echo's Bones and Danger Falling Debris (Red Bird Chapbooks), and An Armed Man Lurks in Ambush (unbound CONTENT).

[Editor's Note: This poem appears in Howie Good's e-book, Apocalypso, published by Right Hand Pointing. You can read the whole book at: https://sites.google.com/site/howiegood2013/home]

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On Second Thought

To overeat is human.
To diet is divine.
To count your every calorie
is a precious use of time.
To pass up fattening goodies
shows your admirable restraint,
a noble cause you've championed
with nary a complaint.
But who could nix banana splits
or pasta, piping hot?
Your diet is well balanced.
Your mind is surely not.
                                        ---Vernon Waring

Vernon Waring is a four-time winner of international poetry competitions sponsored by Tom Howard Books. His work has appeared in Nerve Cowboy, WestWard Quarterly, Poetry Repairs, and The Great American Poetry Show. His short fiction has been singled out for commendation in the Glimmer Train, New Millennium Writings Awards, and Soul-Making Keats Literary Competitions. He lives in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. E-Mail: vkwaring@aol.com.

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                                          New Life

                                    Nine months gone
                                     She went into the
                                       Trance of labour
                                         on the banks
                                         In Port Blair
                                  Waves of razor pains
                                  Rose from the centre,
                                 Tearing the earth apart
                                           Sucking in
                                    Frolicking humanity
                                      With the first cry
                                          of the baby.
                                     They named her
                                           Tsunami.
                                                         ---Sukrita Paul Kumar

Sukrita Paul Kumar, born and brought up in Kenya, is a poet and critic, teaching literature in Delhi University. Formerly, a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, she is an Honorary Fellow of the International Writing Programme, University of Iowa (USA), as also of Hong Kong Baptist University and Cambridge Seminars. She is honorary faculty at the Durrell Centre at Corfu (Greece). She has published several collections of poems and many critical books including Without Margins, Folds of Silence, Narrating Partition and The New Story.

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Nothing important happened today

The evening smells of cow manure.
A spider weaves a web on the satellite dish,
making its own small news.
I could live like this.
The sky hangs wet stars on the clothesline,
Cassiopeia's white dress
and Orion's belt among tank tops,
shorts,
and t-shirts with AC/DC.
                                             ---Claudia Serea

Claudia Serea is a Romanian-born poet who immigrated to the U.S. in 1995. Her poems and translations have appeared in5 a.m., Meridian, Harpur Palate, Word Riot, Blood Orange Review, Cutthroat, Green Mountains Review, and many others. She was nominated two times for the 2011 Pushcart Prize and for 2011 Best of the Net. She is the author of To Part Is to Die a Little (Cervená Barva Press), Angels & Beasts (Phoenicia Publishing, Canada), and A Dirt Road Hangs from the Sky (8th House Publishing, Canada).

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Effects

No, I cannot tell you
what I do with poems
after I have read them
It is less potent than what
they do to me
after they blunt my thorns
You would think it foolish
drinking wine to amass vintage bottles
Now give me back the corpse
I have found a grave
                                          ---Reena Prasad

Reena Prasad is a poet from India, now based in Sharjah. She has several poems published in a number of anthology collections mostly belonging to kind friends and also in online journals: Carty's Poetry Journal, Indian Ruminations, Indian Review and in online magazines.Angle Journal carries 2 of her poems in the Spring/summer issue. She has 3 poems in Revista Cuib-Nest-Nido Anv-Nr.15 Martie 2013. Her poems have found place among the winning entries in contests by Writer's Cafe, Ekphrasis India, Poets Corner and Xpresspublications.

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Duck and cover!                                          (1950-1952)

Girls and boys crouch

under desks

backs to windows

---walls of death---

eyes shut tightly

hands covering faces

faces buried in arms

fearing for their pets

under the mushroom cloud

wear dog tags

with a melting point

of 1400 degrees.
                                      ---Gil Fagiani

Gil Fagiani's poetry collections include: Rooks (Rain Mountain Press, 2007), Grandpa's Wine (Poets Wear Prada, 2008), A Blanquito in El Barrio (Rain Mountain Press, 2009), Chianti in Connecticut (Bordighera Press, 2010) and Serfs of Psychiatry (Finishing Line Press, 2012).

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Hoax Treasure

In the corner, smoke
splattered blood on my chest, you
painted with nervous fingers, me --- stolen
hoax treasure.
it is not the beginning of the words I would write
but this is love I'm in
with you understanding that nothing else matters,
understanding is only rhythmic enough to warrant
a move so drastic as this:
Move. Move
with me.
No please. No thank you.
No words could spring us from a cell at this moment.
No gunshots. No stillness.
In the corner, smoke.
                                      ---Rebecca Gimblett

Rebecca Gimblett is a vagabond poet. She currently resides in Ireland but wants to write herself into at least ten other worlds. She has been previously published in Bare Hands Journal for both her photography and poetry, and was longlisted for The Fish Flash Fiction Prize 2013.

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Our Children (9-11)

Out of the instincts of love we led them to believe in the Easter Bunny, a Tooth Fairy
encouraged their thinking of Birthdays as something they owned.
We fed their hungry anticipations of holidays, vacations
reinforced what they had been taught at school of being so fortunate and blessed
to have the right to become anyone in the world they want to be.
But how . . . how do they believe us now when we press our faces close to theirs
to tell them they are safe when they see the horror of what has interrupted their cartoons
heard the terror in the strange new word 'terrorists' that is suddenly everywhere now
and like the sadness in their parents eyes might never away.
Our children, God Bless them, until we are certain ourselves they are safe . . .
and we can smile and help them believe again
there are no monsters under their beds.
                                                              ---Carol Oberg

During Carol Oberg's writing career, she has sold the copyright to ten of her poems to BLUE MOUNTAIN ARTS, INC. greeting cards and anthology rights to dozens more. Along with the Ancient Paths poetry, one of her poems will be newly published this fall in THE FOURTH RIVER, a literary magazine from Chatham University in Pittsburg, PA.

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 Meet Me at Mao's

Meet me at midnight
At Chairman Mao's ---
We'll have a party line party
Liquidate some wine
And let loose the running dogs
In that gray hour
Just before the dawn
                                               ---Ron Kolm

Ron Kolm is a member of the Unbearables, and an editor of several of their anthologies, most recently, "The Unbearables Big Book of Sex!" Ron is a contributing editor of Sensitive Skin magazine and an associate editor of the Evergreen Review. His most recent book is Divine Comedy (Fly By Night Press).

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Inspiration After
Stamped Lips, Andy Warhol, C. 1959

Pink lips, yellow lips, soft lips,
baby lips, white lips, ruby lips,
ribbon lips, apple lips, open lips,
plump lips, pursed lips, golden lips,
count lips, stamped lips, clamped lips,
same old lips, Liz lips, Jackie lips,
Marilyn lips, whose lips, her lips,
his lips, frown lips, smooth lips,
chapped lips, new lips, Boop lips,
Michael lips, Sophie lips, Marlene lips,
Andy lips, Angelina lips, Mao lips,
butterfly lips, my lips, your lips --- kiss.
                                                       ---Gail Fishman Gerwin

Paterson, NJ, native Gail Fishman Gerwin's poetry, book reviews, fiction, essays, and plays appear in literary journals, other publications, and on stage. Her book Sugar and Sand was a 2010 Paterson Poetry Prize finalist and her second collection Dear Kinfolk, (ChayaCairn Press-http://www.chayacairnpress.com/) earned a 2013 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. She is associate poetry editor of Tiferet. Gail founded inedit, a writing/editing firm in Morristown, NJ.

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Reprieve After An Illness

Dreaminess lifted my bones, hollowed out
for piping, ready to be whistled clean
of gut, its pocked slime leaves, floating thorns,
green algae hairs threading brackish water,
rocked with glancing bits of light. I wanted to
look at and look away from what's rife.
Beneath rocks, bally bugs scattered,
raw worms unrolled to tail-point that no one
goes until they say so. Head-first, they drive,
pain-tunneling me back to the surfeit of being alive.
They'll make a meal another time.
                                                         ---Maura Candela

Maura Candela's debut fiction, "The Boys' Club," was featured in The Common 01. She was published online in Dispatches for a piece on Sicily called "Reunion." Her poetry has been included in Our Little Catastrophes, published by the Women's Studio Center, Long Island City, New York. She is a member of Brevitas, an online society of poets dedicated to the short poem. She has recently finished a novel set in contemporary New York City where Maura herself is a native.

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                                  The Dusk

  The red sun mellows, you walk on tiptoe in dusk
The kohl eyes enamour, as the streaks hue in mirth
     and smack the dusky cheeks, like a halo ring
The wavy hair cascades, the misty darkness ripples

      The sultry lips beam, the ceaseless glee trickles
    The perched nightfall looms, your celestial radiance flows
Once the solitary thoughts, now sublimate in the dusky lurid glow
                                                                        ---Manoj Sethi

Manoj Sethi is an educationist, writer and poet. He hails from Dehra Dun, India, located on the alluring foothills of the Himalayas. For now he lives in New Delhi. He is a postgraduate in Management Business with specialization in Operations Management from Symbiosis, Pune, India.

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Effect of an Oil Painting

Gray winter trees in bracing air.
The cafe's not too deserted.
A cheap oil portrait that I like:
a slender middle-aged woman
in blues and grays, black on one side
of her face, her mouth the only red.
This is a do-it-yourself world.
This day is reserved for dreaming.
But you mustn't look too closely---
there is a rent in her rib cage
through which the wall makes itself known.
Who knows the violent story?
Artist, mover, lover, subject . . .
And yet art keeps the face intact
which even-cheaper time can't touch
because it touches on some dream.
                                                          ---David Francis

David Francis has produced three albums of songs, one of poems, and ALWAYS/FAR, a chapbook of lyrics and drawings. His poems and stories have appeared in a number of US and UK magazines. David is working on a film about his music in New York. http://davidfrancismusic.com/

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The Machine-Gunneress in a State of Grace
(after the sculpture by Hans Bellmer)

From bullets, grace
sanctification
in rat-a-tat prayers
to Athena
goddess of war
mother of inventions
that kill
my finger bent
kneeling
to massacre
for her love
I sacrifice
my womanhood
humanity
and fire.
                                      ---Neil Ellman

Neil Ellman: Twice nominated for Best of the Net, as well as for the Rhysling Award from the Science Fiction Poetry Association, Neil Ellman lives and writes in New Jersey. More than 700 of his poems, many of which are ekphrastic and based on works of modern and contemporary art, appear in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world.

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Sometimes I am punished

Sometimes I am punished
for the inside voice
that I bury inside the well
of my sorrows, unseen to the world.
Sometimes I am punished
for the outside voice
that I raise to save
more than skins & bones of those unknown.
Sometimes I am punished
because I stare
at the tragedy of my crimes
while boasting smell of jasmine in my hair.
Sometimes I am punished
because I am still alive
and embrace what death abandoned
on the streets of despair.
                                           ---Sweta Srivastava Vikram

Sweta Srivastava Vikram (www.swetavikram.com) is an award-winning writer, two times Pushcart Prize nominated-poet, novelist, author, essayist, columnist, and educator whose musings have translated into four chapbooks of poetry, two collaborative collections of poetry, a book-length collection of poetry, a novel, and a nonfiction book of prose and poems. Born in India, Sweta spent her formative years between India, North Africa, and the United States. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, literary journals, and online publications across six countries in three continents. A graduate of Columbia University, she reads her work, teaches creative writing workshops, and gives talks at universities and schools across the globe. Sweta lives in New York City with her husband. You can follow her on Twitter (@ssvik) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Words.By.Sweta).

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Sanctuary Bats

I found your letter penned
in perfumed ink between pages
of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
I'd forgotten how decadent we'd spent
that summer at your grandfather's farm.
Like the night we sneaked into the old
country church, made love on the altar
while rafter bats voyeured our sex scene.
When we cried out, shattering solemn
sanctuary silence, bats screeched, flapped
their leathery wings. We grabbed clothes,
fled into the moonless night, laughing
and excommunicated.
                                                           ---Amy Stone

Amy Stone earned her degree in International Politics at the University of Texas. She spends much of her time as a consultant in foreign countries. When she's home, she lives on a ranch outside Austin. Amy and her partner Bianca mostly hang out at Guero's Taco Bar, ride horses, and watch old B&W Charlie Chan movies together. Her most recent poems appear in Red River Review and Red Fez.

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coming undone

time takes no prisoners. there are no doors that will take you to the beginning, only to the end of oblivion and void. once i was scorched by blossoms of stars, thrown from heaven to earth. i broke my stardom and took on the fragility of mankind whose claws were sharper than any dragon i've ever known. whose greed was wider and deeper than any ocean ever forged. scarred rocks cry out with pain of their doing, but humans don't know how easily they are undone. how one day they'll spool all their borrowed moon silver back to the moon how their souls will fly away. until all that remains is the edifice of broken bones, and spiders and flies breaking from within the yellowed tomes distinctly snapped when they were once one.
                                                  ---
Linda M. Crate

Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh, but she was raised in the rural town of Conneautville. She attended and graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English-Literature in 2009. Her poetry, articles, reviews, and short stories have appeared in several journals online and in print.

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Campo Di Fiori

Abstinence, lacunae and silence,

Breed an often strange collective of fauna.

A probe or Hubble sent out to the nebula,

Or some dynamic ship to urge again

The waters of the Sea of Tranquillity

Into swift action. For Mars, once again, is ablaze

Needing some cosmonauts to engage with.

Far from the madness of Lears on the heaths,

I don't give a damn about them,

Rather with Edmund make a stand for the Bastards.

O Oedipean maze, God's eyes but Bruno's

Blindness in the piazza isn't even worthy of a mention.

"I see me multiple selves," says he, "This one a pilot!"

So, let us make love, not commerce.
                                                           ---Peter O'Neill


Peter O' Neill was born in Cork in 1967. He lived in France for the majority of the nineties and returned to live in Dublin after almost a decade, and has been living there ever since. His debut collection of poems ‘Antiope' was published by Stonesthrow Press to critical acclaim in February 2013. "Certainly a voice to be reckoned with." wrote Dr. Brigitte Le Juez (Beckett avant la lettre 2007) . He has had poems published in The Galway Review, A New Ulster, Abridged 0-29 Primal, The Scum Gentry (IRL), Danse Macabre , Poetic Diversity, The Original Van Gogh's Ear Anthology (USA), The Tenement Block Review, and Angle(UK).

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The First Commandment Anagrammatized 

DOGMA I

I AM GOD

Solipsism Anagrammatized

aloof

a fool

Fan Anagrammatized

shit
hits
this

Realpolitik in 1948 Anagrammatized

Israel

is real

The Mount McKinley Naming Dispute Anagrammatized

Denali

Denial
                                                   ---John J. Trause

John J. Trause, the Director of Oradell Public Library, is the author most recently of Inside Out, Upside Down, and Round and Round, the chapbook Seriously Serial, and Latter-Day Litany, the latter staged Off-Off Broadway. His Eye Candy for Andy: 13 Most Beautiful... Poems for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Having worked at the Museum of Modern Art Library from 1991 to 2000 and participated in The MoMA Strike of 2000, Mr. Trause has been an active part of the New York City art scene as well as an avid devotee of avant-garde public raucousness. His translations, poetry, and visual work appear internationally in many journals and anthologies, including the artists' periodical Crossings, the Dada journal Maintenant, and the journal Offerta Speciale, and the Uphook Press anthologies Hell Strung and Crooked and -gape-seed- and in the Great Weather for Media anthology It's Animal but Merciful. He has shared the stage with Steven Van Zandt, Anne Waldman, Karen Finley, and Jerome Rothenberg and the page with Lita Hornick, William Carlos Williams, Woody Allen, Ted Kooser, and Pope John Paul II. He is a founder of the William Carlos Williams Poetry Cooperative in Rutherford, N. J., and the former host and curator of its monthly reading series. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize (2009 - 2011). For the sake of art Mr. Trause hung naked for one whole month in the summer of 2007 on the Art Wall of the Bowery Poetry Club.