FIRST LITERARY REVIEW-EAST
the chalice mouth spills
fire jades and Thai rubies
bursts of black and wine—
shimmer and twirl and plunging
down inside the Mason jars
Lana Bella has a diverse work of poetry and flash fiction published and forthcoming with Deltona Howl, Thought Notebook, Earl of Plaid Lit, KiKi Howell for a War Anthology, Undertow Review, Wordpool Press, Global Poetry, Family Traveling Haiku, and The Voices Project. She lives bi-continentally in the U.S. and Asia, where she is a wife and a stay-at- home mom to two wonderful children.
Our anniversary flower, hidden
under a green canopy, white secret
hanging down, a surprise to both of us.
Then over time, fruit.
—Susan Gerardi Bello
Susan Gerardi Bello's poems have appeared in numerous journals, including the Paterson Literary Review and U.S. 1 Worksheets, as well as on New York Public Radio. She hosts the Bucks County Bards poetry series in Newtown, PA. Her poem The Game was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
feel the need to
unlock and spill in with
nature, going and coming with
Evie Ivy, dancer/instructor/poet in the NYC poetry circuit. Her work has been heard in venues throughout the Tri-State area, radio, and cable TV. Her "Dance of the Word" programs, a combination of dance, poetry and music, have been seen at the Nuyorican Poets Café, Bowery Poetry Club, Cornelia Street Café, Tribes Gallery, and others. She hosts the Green Pavilion Poetry Event, one of the longest-running poetry readings in the NYC area.
Will you come home to me
With arms like thick wet ropes
Circling me, tightening as they dry
And knot around me?
Your legs move into me
Like a ferryboat as it softly
Slams into the pier
And warm from the contact
That drives blood to skin?
Will our legs coil with easy languor
Around each other, as the rope
That the deckhand coils on the deck?
And which of us shall first kneel
Before the other, in private greeting?
Thomas Rigney is a member of Brevitas, the invited community of poets. His first published poem appeared in River Poets' Journal in December. He is a poet and unpublished memoirist, and assistant principal of a small public high school in NYC.
I Movement (from Walls, Italy 2010)
To the sand the marks of corroded shells. So the light stains skim the prey’s skin. Still hidden in the ground swarming sleep. And landslides and rumble of far of wave. Of not new herbs, not yet aromatic or mortal. The ice is to the tremor as the lanced sky is between the eyes and the cloud. Reed thicket of wind of close incense. White doesn’t scatter within the cloud. White scatters within the cloud. Dry river, frozen river, grounded river, river of sides not frightened yet. The eye scatters any fruit either of sacred or of crimson in a heartbeat. Cherry tree not in bloom, bog not in bloom, not in bloom saliva of the failed bud. Bloom not in the end. Cherry tree not in bloom, end not in bloom, like bog or saliva of the failed bud.
Erika Dagnino, Italian poet, writer, performer, has contributed to literary and music magazines. She has published prose and poetry books, and produced CDs in Italy, England, and California. She has a strong relationship with the free jazz musical world, especially in New York. www.erikadagnino.it.
The perfect shape of her two round moons that torments
my dark sleep
rises above my bed.
Just like a heavy and sweet grape
I put them in my drowsy mouth.
Oh, she walks slowly towards
the end of the eternal cold and
her naked body brings the warmth.
She snorts the whiteness of oblivion
and licks the icicles of the piercing chill.
She brings back to life the glittering mirror
of the sea, the frozen veins of the rivers and
the big stony heart of the mountain.
Her naked skin covers with foliage and
for the first time the green dials of the grass
show the right time.
Peycho Kanev is the author of three poetry collections and two chapbooks. He has won several European awards for his poetry and he’s nominated for the Pushcart Award and Best of the Net. Translations of his books will be published soon in Italy, Poland and Russia. His poems have appeared in more than 900 literary magazines, such as:Poetry Quarterly, Evergreen Review, Hawaii Review, Cordite Poetry Review, Sheepshead Review, Off the Coast, The Adirondack Review, The Coachella Review, Two Thirds North, Sierra Nevada Review, The Cleveland Review and many others.
Silver as the Wind
Change is a little garden. All little gardens are changed by the wind. What is immortal then is the wind, not gardens. Fireflies are the wind, therefore they are immortal. They open and close their wings like birds. They take hold of the wind. And they fly in silvery light. Therefore the moon is a firefly, somber as an apple blossom in a little garden. Somber as an aspen with silvery leaves, standing by a pool of water. The moon lives and dies and lives again, that makes the moon immortal. That makes water immortal. That aspens immortal, and a man who plants a little garden immortal too. Like you and me. I am water and you are water. I am an apple blossom that changes. You and I change. And that makes us immortal. Like an aspen, like water, like death, bathed in its own watery light. Like an apple blossom in the wind.
You and me, opening and closing our silvery wings in a garden.
Like a firefly. Like a bird.
George Wallace is writer-in-residence at the Walt Whitman Birthplace, editor of Poetrybay, and author of 28 chapbooks of poetry. He teaches at Pace University and is active on the NYC poetry scene. His most recent chapbook is “Riding With Boom Boom,” from NightBallet Press.
Wait, It's Loud
your breathing ribs
your eyes closed
like ribs of hair
David Francis has produced four 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 journals. In 2013 his film "Village Folksinger" premiered at Anthology Film Archives in New York. www.davidfrancismusic.com
One thing’s for sure: I’ve reached the end of my apprenticeship with Dr. Greensveldt, who, to put it simply, is getting scarier by the minute. Do I look like a howler monkey in a tuxedo shaking its fist at the moon? (Actually, you don’t have to answer that.) More relevantly, why would I be interested in playing Chinese checkers in a medical landfill? I say to hell with The Book of Abnormalities (utter nepotism, irony is not its own currency). I’m going out on my own. My own blog, scaffold, cistern, & aqueduct. Give me that diamond-studded scalpel, dr. It’s time for a few changes around here. Take 4. Action.
John Amen is the author of four collections of poetry: Christening the Dancer, More of Me Disappears, At the Threshold of Alchemy, and The New Arcana (with Daniel Y. Harris). His collection strange theater was recently released by New York Quarterly Press. His work has appeared in numerous journals nationally and internationally and been translated into Spanish, French, Hungarian, Korean, and Hebrew. He founded and continues to edit The Pedestal Magazine (www.thepedestalmagazine.com).
In ancient Egypt the men-—
smirking with pride—
Some were attractive,
even decadently handsome.
Others possessed faces that came alive
only when painted,
when kissed with color,
like the insides of tombs
exposed to sunlight.
Austin Alexis is the author of Privacy Issues (Lotus Press of Detroit—distributed by Wayne State University Press), winner of the Madgett Poetry Prize for a first full-length poetry collection. His chapbooks are Lovers and Drag Queens and For Lincoln & Other Poems, both published by Poets Wear Prada. Recent work by him appears in the poetry anthology entitled Blanket Stories (Ragged Sky Press of Princeton, New Jersey).
Give Me a New Name
Give me a new name
a fresh one
in rainbow colors,
an unfolded butterfly
kites, birds, and the sound of zephyr,
passing through the mountains
and the infinite blue
a sailboat on the shore, and
smile of a child
neither a dark shadow,
a rope, a lasso,
nor a manacle
should fetter it,
give me a new name
—Ali F. Bilir
Ali F. Bilir is a Turkish poet and author. He attended the School of Medicine for a year, but graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Istanbul, in 1969. His poems, short stories and articles on various subjects have been published in local, regional, national, and international periodicals, magazines, and journals. His work has won many awards. Bilir's poetry book "Migration Ballads" is being granted by the Turkish government as one of the significant examples of Turkish written heritage. Migration Ballads is published by Plain View Press, U.S.A, in 2008, within the scope of TEDA project.
Assimilation: An observation of the state of immigration in the U.S.
In a crowded suburban bagel shop
two Mexican landscapers on their way to work
order the breakfast special: fried eggs and bacon
on a toasted bagel. The Korean owner chats with them
in perfect Spanish as the Colombian counterman
fills a plastic container with whitefish and slices the Nova just right for
the Jewish grandmother who is making a Sunday brunch
for her granddaughters in Brooklyn
who speak perfect Japanese.
Alice Twombly curates the Poetry Reading Series: Thursdays Are For Poetry At the Teaneck General Store. Her poems have appeared in The New Jersey Poetry Monthly, First Literary Review-East, and other publications. She teaches Poetry and Literature courses at The Learning Collaborative of Long Island University and is a Field Supervisor for Fordham University.
One step out of the graveyard, just one step.
One step out on the street all by myself.
One step before the cops shoot someone else.
One step before what's right moves to the left.
Just one step for you to jump off the top.
Just one step left before one's hope will stop.
One step left before the next hit song will drop.
One step until TV says, "Go and shop!"
One step left before we can say Amen.
One step left before we find peace within.
One step left before conflicts and wars end.
One step before those who lose start to win.
We all are just that close to change our end.
It just takes one step; that is to begin.
—Jeffrey V. Perry
Jeffrey V. Perry is the self–published poet of numerous books. He resides in Brooklyn, New York, and is of African-American descent. He has been writing since he was seven years and he write on all subjects. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College (BA) and Colorado Technical University (MS).
Portrait of a Girl Swinging Over the Ocean
Swing over the sea, over the swan, into the clouds, what's holding you up—is there a storm?
Swing without a set. Who's holding you up? Is there a god? Or gossamer broomstick, from
which you've embezzled your aerial floss?
Look down into the heart of the sea, the swollen waves of sorerous gray, shimmer of aquatic
astronomies only the unpolluted
can hear the cries, catch the mettle of girl who ventures without wings or fin, over the tongues of
this ocean's opera, lost in swans.
Laurel, Five Years Old, in Kindergarten, Explains Politics
Medusa: Dear Child, what did you do in school today?
Laurel: We prayed to the flag.
Medusa: But what did you learn in school today?
Laurel: We prayed to God in the flag. And then the teacher made a robot. And then we broke it with our feet.
Maria Jacketti is the poet laureate of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, where she resides with her husband, daughter, and feline tribe. A New York University graduate, she is a well-known translator of Nobel laureates Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral.
The sun broke through the clouds
And day was conceivable,
Magenta hemmed in gold.
A seabird silhouetted,
Its squawk birthing hungers,
Barges trawling a harbor’s garbage.
See the prows break the water
Into splinters of light;
Such extraordinary breakage
And waste. So nothing wasted is lost,
But feeds a desperate blood-hunger
That each day awaits
A stained horizon.
A broken pediment
Signifies what? An architectural
Departure. The way a woman might deny
What she never wished to lose.
The mahogany china cabinet,
Its burden of ruby goblets.
Gold scalloped dishes from a lost century,
An alphabet mug from which
Five generations of children
Gulped sweet milk.
Remembering how it stood
In her proper dining room
Before age broke her
Into a comma curled in a cot.
When we were asked to choose,
This is what we took.
Editors' Note: These "Broke" poems were initiated by having an accident and sustaining a number of broken bones-—thus poems on aspects of the word “broke.”
Joan Colby is an award-winning poet whose poems have been widely published in journals including Poetry, Atlanta Review, GSU Review, Portland Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, Mid-American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Kansas Quarterly, The Hollins Critic, Minnesota Review, Western Humanities Review, College English, Another Chicago Magazine and others. She is the 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. Her newest collection is forthcoming from Glass Lyre Press.
Not unlike Greek poets,
they are sands left adrift for want.
Feathers torn from a sun-worn peacock.
Unsung, Unpraised, and Underpaid.
Michael Cantin is an aspiring poet and sloth fanatic residing somewhere in the wilds of Costa Mesa, California. He writes fitfully between bouts of madness and periods of lucid concern. His poetry has appeared both online and in print. You can find his work in The East Jasmine Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, and 50 Haiku, as well as several anthologies, and elsewhere.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Pantheon
C.K. Williams knocked off my laurel wreath.
Stephen Dunn told me I was lacking attitude.
Philip Levine said, "Why the hell would you want
such a crafty aesthetic?"
Eavan Boland wondered if a brogue would help.
Jane Hirshfield urged me not to write every day.
Dorianne Laux suggested I try waitressing.
At last, under the oculus, I was ready—
but only for worship, not to be enshrined.
Dante's Inferno Hotel
What is that musty smell
if not the fetid stench of hell?
The tub is slow to drain;
the tile flaunts an ugly stain.
These towels are as thin
and brown as onionskin.
Doors slam nearby—a rude surprise—
every time I close my eyes.
—George H. Northrup
George H Northrup is author of the newly-published chapbook, You Might Fall In, available at Amazon.
a wiser younger version of you
past miscarried chances
so many windfall aborted selves
asking for both eyes and sanity
you must choose one of them
prayers go answered
or less and less and lesser still
death has many doors in but one out
it is you who
shatters while the mirrors stay whole
the naked eye lies
as does the naked
truth water assumes
the shape of its vessel
you see who's in
the door for the frame
eyes have yet to hatch
I am here you are
there or me clothed
in a fold of where
a gem spun like a top
so many lashes clap
Raymond Gibson graduated from the creative writing MFA program at FAU. His work can be found in the Tiny Truths section of Creative Nonfiction, White Stag Journal, Gravel, Moss Trill, Zigest, Hermeneutic Chaos, Pirene's Fountain, and NôD. His chapbook, Speak, Shade, is out now from Glass Lyre Press.
As though within one skin, I stand with you who twist angst like a thread waiting to be pulled. What we see in the mirror is what cannot be hidden, what cannot be disguised by burial within flesh cold with summer sweat. Like time dried on skin, we are absent, no longer supple, holding memory scabbed with desire, dreaming of something like beauty, each smile caught weeping in eye.
And when we stand alone, bent boned, soft with death gasping through sun dried lips: memory will carry the ululation of life rubbed bone to bone.
BJ Muirhead is a writer and photographer living in rural Queensland, Australia. He has published online and in print journals, and was included in an anthology of Queensland poetry (1986). He has published art criticism and was photographic reviewer for the Courier-Mail newspaper in the 1980s. His writing and recent exhibitions, Primary Evidence (2011) and Flesh (2014), continue his lifetime interest in the human body and its relation to the inevitability of age and death.
Editors' Note: Please check out Mr. Muirhead's wonderful review of editor Cindy Hochman's new chapbook, Habeas Corpus. And then go to the Glass Lyre website and buy a copy of the book. Hey, at least I waited till the end to do this shameless plug: https://inaforeigntown.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/cindy-hochmans-habeas-corpus/