FIRST LITERARY REVIEW-EAST

Submissions Meet the Editor-in-Chief March 2016 Meet the Associate Editor July 2016 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 July 2017 September 2017



JULY 2012

Happy Summer To Those of the Poetic Persuasion - - we hope you will begin your summer reading with First Literary Review's poetry picnic feast.  This issue is chock full of magnificent verse, including some sultry odes to summer, with a nod or two to America's favorite pastime (I mean baseball, folks!) and the astronauts of 1969 (both real and imagined!)   ENJOY - - AND, AS ALWAYS, LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF OUR EDITORIAL TASTE!  -Cindy Hochman, Editor-in-Chief

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 is there no end

to stars that climb
over each other like children
eager to hear how the story ends.
                                                                    -Ann Shalaski

Ann Shalaski has been published in many literary journals and magazines. An author of the poetry collection World Made of Glass, published by San Francisco Bay Press, she lives and works creatively in Newport News, VA.

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Crowded

A crowded scene. . .
Euphoria
sits nestled between
anticipation and curiosity

Guilt claims its corner
and glares balefully.
                                           -Sharon Anderson

Sharon Anderson is a native of Maine, but has lived on Long Island since her marriage in 1963. She has been writing poetry and short stories since childhood and was first published in Young America Sings in her teens. Since then, she has been published in a series of international anthologies entitled "On Viewless Wings." In association with these publications, she has been awarded the Bruce Dawe Certificate of Excellence twice, placing first and third. She is actively involved with several writing groups in her area, and is an adviser on the Nassau County Poet Laureate Council. Sharon's other activities include editing for the above-mentioned anthologies, gardening, and square dancing.

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Flirt

This lurid aeschynanthus
with outstretched arms
and blossoming fingers,
hanging in the window
by the bed,
looks as if it might, it really might
begin some foreplay in the night.

 

Summer Tableau

The picnic done, on blankets now
their well-conditioned bodies sprawl.
They do not wilt, they do not burn
beside the sunlit waterfall.
The air is pure, their breathing free.
She has no phlegm, he does not sneeze.
Despite the tingling breezes here,
no pollen sprinkles from the trees.
Although today beams bright and warm,
no perspiration stings their eyes
or stains designer bathing suits.
It's never dank in paradise.
Around their heads and naked limbs
swarm no mosquitoes, gnats, or flies.
In kissing her from head to toe,
he tastes no bug spray on her thighs.
                                                                                                    -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.

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Dancers

Ocean gusts
swirl hot sand
from the shoreline

into wild figures
turning ever higher
across summer's sky,

their quick
fevered leaps
writhing like fire.


Mirror

My cupped hands
shimmer
with ocean water,

where I see myself
far from the shouts
of family voices,

free of the house
which grips me
like a dark fist.
                               -Charles Pierre

Charles Pierre is the author of three poetry collections: Green Vistas (1981, 2009), Father of Water (2008), and Brief Intervals of Harmony (2010). He has recently completed a fourth collection, Coastal Moments, which he hopes to have published soon.
 

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Brilliant in Rita's World
for my Nonna

Sunshine came in
through the kitchen window

and all was bright and
brilliant in Rita's world of

tomato plants, pasta,
fig trees and grandchildren

in her backyard
all summer long.
                                   -Ed Smith

Ed Smith is the Manville Library Director, NJ.  He has had his poems and essays in numerous magazines, including Exquisite Corpse, The Poetry Project Newsletter, The World, Abraxas, Beehive, Giants Play Well in Drizzle, Paterson Literary Review and Big Scream, as well as in anthologies Under a Gull's Wing, Blue Stones & Salt Hay, The Temple of Baseball.  Artist Larry Kirkland has cut his poem "the morning cracks" into red marble for permanent display in New York City's Penn Station, 7th Avenue Concourse.  He is Assistant Editor of www.NJPoets.com where his interview with Allen Ginsberg can be viewed with poems from his chapbook I  Am That Hero (Gaede's Pond Press) and Greatest Hits 1980-2002 (Pudding House)    

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Primal Scream

Cover your ears and listen:
I am sending out my astronauts
to find my lost voice,
the yawp of a lustrous hag,
still fertile,
the jazz of a buttery crone,
her girth equatorial,
yes again, I am rolling out song,
that hot pink dough,
my hormone happy howl,
I am rolling aloud, across the highway,
up and down hurricane alley,
lighter than a beach ball.
                                                   -Maria Jacketti

Dr. Maria Jacketti is a multi-genre writer and long-time college professor. She has six books, over two hundred articles, and hundreds of poems in print. Her work spans poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, journalism, and copywriting. She and her husband Wayne Funk run a three-year-old writing business, Mountain Laurel Consultants. The focus of the business is copywriting, e-writing, and white paper composition for enlightened companies and organizations. Her long collection of poetry, Medusa's Hairdresser, has been accepted for publication by Warnborough College Press, as has her novel, When Kundalini Comes Home. These books should be published before the end of 2013.

[Editor's Note:  I first became a fan of Maria Jacketti's poetry in the pages of Voices International, a small press journal from Arkansas where she and I had some early work published (circa 1985).  I recently dug her up on Facebook, and we have been sharing poetic ideas since then.  I am happy to publish her work in FLRev].               

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Space Pioneers
On Nov. 17, 2011 the Congress awarded gold medals to the original astronauts

Where is our well deserved recognition
For venturing where no (wo)man has tread before
Inner space astronauts
Psychedelic survivors
We've earned our Congressional props plus ceremonial bling
America commemorates those who were launched midst the stars
But it was us, "the highest hopes of a generation"
Not the generation of war, greed, genocide or pollution
A peace and love embellished Age of Aquarius
We walked on the moon, cavorted on the edge
Intergalactic space travelers with no need of fossil fuels
Deep space exploration but a blotter away
                                                                          -Ilka Scobie


Ilka Scobie is a native New Yorker who teaches poetry in the public school system. Her poetry appears in LiveMag, Vanitas, and Poetry in Performance, and her art criticism is published in Artnet and ArtCritical. She collaborates with her husband, photographer Luigi Cazzaniga, for Italian Marie Claire.

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Man Builds Guillotine to Kill Himself

Maybe he suffered from killer migraines. Maybe
his neck itched. Maybe he had body issues.
Maybe he was guilty over being the executioner
in a past life. Maybe 41 is not the new 31. Maybe
it was mind over matter.
                                                                  -Amy Holman

Amy Holman is the author of Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window, published in 2010 with Somondoco Press, and the prize-winning, Wait For Me, I'm Gone, published in 2005 with Dream Horse Press. She's been in many magazines including Archaeology online, American Letters & Commentary, Barrel House, Barrow Street, Failbetter, Gargoyle, New Verse News, The Potomac Review, and Zocalo Public Square. She writes prose as well as poetry, teaches poetry workshops, gives lectures on how to publish, and consults with writers on their literary careers. Check out more at her website: www.amyholman.com.

[Editor's Note:  Here at FLRev, we pride ourselves on having a macabre sense of humor.  That's why Amy's poem is being published just in time for Bastille Day (July 14th).  HEADS WILL ROLL!]

Oh - - and please check out Sweta Vikram's review of Amy Holman's book, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window, in our June issue  (click above).

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Aberration

At Point Reyes today, I watched
snow fall to the gray green sea,
whitecaps swept the cragged outcroppings.
Two boys in striped caps ran along the
sandy shore, laughing, heads back,
tongues out to catch the odd windfall.
A black dog with curly ears loped ahead
barked, flushed a flock of sandpipers
into the strange thick sky.
                                             -Susan Supley

Susan Supley's work has appeared in several online publications. In addition, she posts poetry at her blog  anotherturtlespeaks.blogspot.com/  She also has work included in Liberty's Vigil anthology, 99 Poets of Occupy Movement, which has been accepted to The Library of Congress.

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Devil Moon

Lonely hours of late night
are when my body aches
for strange and wonderful
curves of yours. My hand roams
bed's flat terrain seeking
oasis of your hips,
soft shape so different
from my land of angled planes.
Darkness removes anger and hurt
from my breast pocket,
hides them in hazy tomb
of selective memory. Midnight
gets drunk on dreams of kisses
while fights and accusations
are plucked from my window
by a devil moon.
                                     -Bill Glose

Bill Glose is a former paratrooper, a Gulf War veteran, and author of the poetry collectionThe Human Touch (San Francisco Bay Press, 2007). In 2011, he was named the Daily Press Poet Laureate. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such journals and magazines as Narrative Magazine, New York Quarterly, and Chiron Review.

[Editor's Note:  Especially as we celebrate the Fourth of July, we thank Mr. Glose for his service to this country.]

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A Moment in Silence

There is no mark or trace where only sight has moved like mist hovering between creek and scrub. Even leaves do not rustle as something arises and descends, and inward movement held in the silence of a waiting eye, within a drawing of breath trapped in stone, leaf and water, curled within the flow of sight, prayerfully, irreligious within the silence where sound begins.
                                                                                    -BJ Muirhead

BJ Muirhead is a writer and photographer living in rural Australia. He has published art criticism, poetry, short fiction, and has exhibited paintings, drawings and photographs, and has two delightful young children who frequently take him away from artistic work.

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The Movie My Murderer Makes

My murderer slid his hand under the curve of my back while I slept in my friends' hammock. I was on a spring getaway to their cabin in Tuscaloosa, AL. I was not sleeping. I was pretending.

Another Parade

o my god look at the clouds
moving across the moon
you are drunk at a shitty bar
wishing you were not
so far away as the clouds
moving across the moon you
look at while you are
drunk as clouds at a shitty bar
there is no way out of
this patio of ping pong heroes
and you and the mustache
men who ask to try on
your glasses and your plea
o my god look at the clouds
                                               -Christopher Shipman

Christopher Shipman is author of Human-Carrying Flight Technology (Blaze VOX Books), Romeo's Ugly Nose (Allography Press), and coauthor with DeWitt Brinson of Super Poems (forthcoming from Kattywompus Press). Latest poems appear or are forthcoming in journals such as Arkansas Review, Airplane Reading, Bayou Magazine, H_NG_MAN, The Offending Adam, Spork Press and TENDE RLOIN, among others. Shipman has been featured on Verse Daily and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Shipman is poetry editor for DIG Magazine of Baton Rouge, where he runs the River Writers Reading Series with Vincent Cellucci. www.christophershipmanwritingwork.com

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The Pursuit of Happiness

The waitress doesn't smile
The cabbie doesn't speak
The salesman is all business
(This hasn't been his week)
The boss is rude and angry
He drives us all to tears
The barber flails his scissors
And almost cuts my ears
This band of moaners and groaners
Is no treat for a happiness glutton
The only grin I've seen all week
Was on a "SMILE" button
                                             - Vernon Waring

Vernon Waring has a background in journalism, public relations, and advertising. His poetry has appeared in The Iconoclast, The Great American Poetry Show, Ascent Aspirations, and Nerve Cowboy. His light verse has been featured in the Philadelphia Daily News, Saturday Evening Post, WestWard Quarterly, and WRITERS' Journal. A native of Philadelphia, he now lives in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

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Loner

I called life a gift when I was young
but yes, I took it for granted.
We're here so what's the big deal?
I asked my relatives
who bit their wise tongues
and wouldn't say
It's no gift --
just a
loan.
                           -David Elsasser

David Elsasser was a host of the Saturn Reading for nine years, and has been published and featured in many of the usually suspect places around town. His chapbook, Last Call, was published by Poets Wear Prada Press. He currently runs a weekly peer poetry workshop, the Parkside Poets.

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Another Venus

Armless, headless, onyx
weight shifts to the left foot
the other leg bent at the knee
a modest gesture shielding
her love muscles
belly and hips
square over thick thighs
pressed close, a ballast of strength
her trunk dips to the left,
almost a twist, a nod
to a natural posture, a middle-aged
sculpture but for the breasts so
oddly at their prime.
                                            -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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Sated

See the woman stir and rise
naked at dawn
from her damp bed,
reach for one last
piece of fruit
in a blue-green bowl
by the window
where a breeze disturbs
the curtains above
where her lover
now comes awake,
watching her move
silent and sated,
seeing her peel back
the skin of that red-ripe
mango, savoring the slick
wet fruit that drips to her leg.
                                                   -Arthur McMaster

Arthur McMaster is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. He also writes short stories and stage plays. His poetry and fiction have appeared in Poetry East, Wisconsin Review, Southwest Review, Rhino, North American Review, and Subtropics. He has two published, prize-winning poetry chapbooks, includingThe Spy Who Came Down with a Cold, published by Finishing Line Press. Arthur is Contributing Editor of Poet's Quarterly. Having previously taught creative writing for Furman and USC Upstate, Arthur now teaches creative writing and American literature courses at Converse College, in Spartanburg SC.

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The Strip

Runways are like brothels
brewing business at lonely hours.
Disloyal imprints, enticing limbs,

nomadic breaths, consumed by
the cloak of deceit. Impatience burns
Fortune. Patience helps. In due time,

all paying clients get their chance.
Cue for the queue to end -
a husky voice, a number, "Your turn now."
                                                        -Sweta Srivastata Vikram


Sweta Srivastava Vikram (www.swetavikram.com) is an award-winning writer, poet, novelist, author, essayist, educator, and blogger whose musings have translated into three chapbooks of poetry, two collaborative collections of poetry, a novel, a nonfiction book of prose and poems (upcoming in 2012), and a full-length collection of poems (upcoming in 2013). Her scribbles have also appeared in several anthologies, literary journals, and online publications across six countries in three continents. Sweta has won two Pushcart Prize nominations, an International Poetry Award, Best of the Net Nomination, Nomination for Asian American Members' Choice Awards 2011, writing fellowships, and was short listed for the Independent Literary Awards. Taj Mahal Review describes her as "A poet with hauntingly beautiful talent." Sweta has held several artist residencies in Europe and America and worked on collaborative projects with artists from Zimbabwe and Australia. 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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Journey

She has been sitting on that egg
all morning and
won't leave soon.

The river beneath her glides
gently, crystal music for a
thinly cased unconscious mind; a
rock lullaby.

She straddles the egg and fights
for its life. Pond snails and bullet
ants collide and form blood thirsty
armies only to be met by her
alcohol spit. Soon they and she will be
found by curious Biology majors
who hate cigarettes.

She sends two prayers:
One for the river who carries her
on and one for her child who (she
knows) will never be born.
                                               -Brian Minnick

Brian Minnick is a recent graduate from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia ,with a Bachelors's in Music. He has been published in various small magazines, such as Cyclamens and Swords and Frontage Roads.

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His Eyes Are Golden Straws

His eyes are golden straws,
Deep inside amber moons
Reaching through gauze sighs.

My eyes sing an aria
High as Parisian towers
Gliding along the Seine.

His eyes soar past blue windmills
Then flutter and dip
Rising towards glistering stars.

My eyes cruise like crickets.
Images elaborate as dawn
On a luminous lake.

When our eyes meet,
They sing an opera              so rich and deepening
The heavens are put to shame.
                                                                                -Juanita Torrence-Thompson

Juanita Torrence-Thompson was nominated 2009 Woman of The Year by American Biographical Institute of International Research. She is a Puahcart prize nominated poet and a speaker, writer, critic, adjunct professor and Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of Mobius, The Poetry Magazine. Her poetry, fiction and feature articles are published online, internationally and extensively in U.S. She writes newspaper poetry columns in New York & Massachusetts. She has read in Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Canada and at many schools and universities including Yale, Princeton, Columbia, as well as on TV, radio and at Borough Hall for Queens Borough President, Helen Marshall. She was a featured speaker at NFSPS national convention at the San Antonio Hilton. Her audiobook, Poetry Among the Flowers: Queens Meets Asia was excerpted by Poets West into a half-hour radio show with music and broadcast in the U.S. and simulcast live internationally via the internet for weeks. She has an M.A. from Fordham University. www.poetrytown.com /www.youtube.com/poetrytown

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1.
    Where the weeds
break into wildflowers --
  a deer's fetlock

2.
    Drizzle on the lake?
Just a few zillion skeeters,
  ravenous, flailing

3.
    A boulder
in the sun leached arms
  of a spruce stump

4.
    Lilies slide under
the canoe -- some more of Mom's
  memory is gone

5.
    Wavelets within
wavelets -- eight million seconds
  of summer
                                                        -Andrew Kaufman

Andrew Kaufman grew up near NYC, graduated from Oberlin College, earned his MFA in poetry writing from Brooklyn College, and his MA and Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto.His Cinnamon Bay Sonnets won the Center for Book Arts chapbook competition, and was followed by Earth's Ends, winner of the Pearl Poetry Award. He is the recipient of an NEA award and two Pushcart poetry nominations, and his poems have appeared in numerous journals. He has also published critical work on William Blake, and written for New York Newsday and The Detroit News. He lives in New York City and currently teaches literature at Purchase College. www.andrewkaufman.wordpress.com

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A rose is a Rose is

Of all the Roses
I've ever known
Pete's the one with
The biggest thorn

Whatever you'd call him
There's no fake denying
He'd dash to first
On a walk

Belly flop into second
Prince Valiant doubleknit
Dust up off the bag
Shakes his belt

The pitch he's gone
Texas leaguer takes third
Suicide squeeze
The bet

Our money -- always on him.
                                              -Ronnie Norpel

Ronnie Norpel earned a Wharton degree, then went into poetry for the money. She is an actor, a photographer, and the author of BASEBALL KARMA AND THE CONSTITUTION BLUES (on Three Rooms Press), a ficto-memoir loosely based on her days as a ballgirl and season ticket sales champ for her hometown Phillies. Ronnie is the host and producer of TRACT 187 CULTURE CLATCH, the hot reading & music series happening at the Ding Dong Lounge on the Upper West Side, which next convenes this Wednesday night at 7 p.m. COME! GATHER! (IF you dare travel above 14th Street!)

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                                            I am the exact same age as
                                                             you
                                    stab your plastic fork in watermelon
                                      dump the yolk out of your egg diet
                                          warn me not to bake you bread
                                                          anymore
                                        young women no longer notice you
                                               complain during our picnic
                                                             full
                                        of love I am for you look delicious
                                                 hint of salt and pepper
                                                           except
                                  you no longer notice the flirt between legs
                                                  the exact the same age as
                                                              you
                                                                     -Flash Rosenberg                                

Flash Rosenberg is an “Attention-Span-for-Hire” who draws, photographs, writes and performs. She is artist in residence for LIVE from the New York Public Library where she live-draws discussions to create animated "Conversation Portraits" vimeo.com/flashrosenberg She is a recipient of a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship.  She lives with three turtles, a plethora of apologies, abundant merriment, and infinite questions   ***************************************************************************

Midpoint

There is a thin line,
a taut wire trips
leaving us kissing ant
hills. Those tiny smugglers
carry us from picnics of youth
across borders of time.
Deposit us at the insidious
moment. Like an uncooperative child
refusing to hold a hand, we resist.
Realization creeps up, like a thief
on a dark night. Accosts.
Warns the cusp is near.
We teeter between
youth and old age.
                                   -Karen Jakubowski

Karen Jakubowski lives on Long Island where she was born, raised, fled from, and returned to. Her poems have appeared or are scheduled to appear online at Poetry Breakfast, Vox Poetica, Houseboat, and The Barefoot Review.

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What You'll Remember

when dusk thickens
to black, breaths pull
slow as taffy
and legs, stonestill sequoia,

will be an argosy of what swims
in the muddied waters of your head:
shock of teeth, white gems in a small boy's grin
the cardinal - a red sunset that never failed you,
peau de soie of your mother's cheek
cold wet nuzzle of a dog.

You'll remember stanzas were roadmaps
leading you to the place you always knew
was home.

This is what you'll remember-
and the last imprint: a hand
holding back, letting go.
                                                    -Linda Simone


Linda Simone's work has appeared in journals and anthologies, including Cezanne's Carrot, Italian Americana, Lavanderia, Mandela, and most recently, in Assisi and the anthology Wait a Minute: I Want to Take My Bra Off. Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her chapbook, Cow Tippers, won the Shadow Poetry Competition.