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



NOVEMBER 2012

Halloween is over. Thanksgiving is over. The Election is over (thank God!) Hurricane Sandy is over, but has left a mess. As poets, we document all the sound and fury of living, and as we weather a whole host of storms (including the coming season, weather-wise and shopping-wise), there is always poetry to help us make sense of it all.  
                                                                                                  -Cindy Hochman, Editor-in-Chief

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The Rich

We like their houses.
                                             -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 www.georgeguida.com.

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Parallel Lives

Parallel me:
The infinite thee,
Never to touch,
Unfortunately.
                                             -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.

 

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Compliance

The moon pinned the sky in place
with a creamy tusk,
wrinkling the stars so they shuddered.

Fog was creeping in from the shore,
but for now  the sky was clear,
a blanket of dark over the earth,
with only a subtle hint of its dominion.

Odd to think, surveying the stillness,
that myriad dramas play out in this realm . . .
birthing and dying among the constellations,
while here below, on a sliver of star,
humanity trudges homeward amid the swirl
of encroaching fog.
                                                                                      -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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More Reasons Not To

a sudden change
of climate

please don't
go the blue
air's full of poisoned wings

wind's blown
bees into your
old love's
hair

whatever you
do there

you'll get stung
                                                                     -Lyn Lifshin

Recent books from Lyn Lifshin: THE LICORICE DAUGHTER: MYYEAR 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 www.lynlifshin.com.

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Sandy, You Bitch

I told my crew we'd have a Halloween party
in the community garden come hell or high water.
Hell came. High water came. 18 foot surge.
Two days later, still without power, in the cold
and dark we lit a fire and stoked the grill.
We ate wild mushrooms foraged from Central Park.
Snowball taxied in from Brooklyn, two bottles
of Sauvignon Blanc in tow. Lorraine came down
from her dark apartment with two bottles of red.
She felt "shell shocked." Mike brought Maker's Mark.
The clown, the pirate and the wizard made up songs
about the new Davy Crocketts of the Urban Wilderness.
You have to be brave and you have to have fun.
Yeah, we had the party anyway. Sandy, be damned.
                                                                                           -Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

Jeffrey Cyphers Wright is a poet, critic, artist and eco-activist who champions community gardens. His newest book, Triple Crown, is a collection of sonnets being published by Spuyten Duyvil. He edits an arts and poetry journal called Live Mag! www.livemagnyc.com.

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Lost in the Bardo

Everyone who was someone is now here,
so busy being everywhere at once
we can't talk to one another, instead
pass through each other like light, even those
with whom we shared nothing, who once, in fact,
refused to toss a metaphorical
rope to our symbolic drowning yet still
collapsed backwards from their point of entrance,
our joint electrons now obvious while
we await an expression of desire. 
                                                                            -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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Weather Forecast

What if the universe suddenly
decided to go on strike?

The sun would don his shades
and go on vacation.

The sky would stretch and yawn
and snuggle in a blanket of clouds.

The dueling mist and fog
would sheath their grey
and call a truce.

The wind would fall back, listless,
not bothering to blow away the
pouring rain,

and in the night when the moon
would be in a lazy, languorous mood,

she'd send the stars
for take-out.

                           -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 Feathers anthology from Indigo Dreams Publishing and the Rising in Hope anthology from Tinfoildresses. 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, starting 2013.

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Beyond the Clouds

 Way above our
Heads
   Lie planets
Worlds of
                Imagination
    Filled with rainbow
Colors
       Circled by
Moons with
        Icy surfaces
   You won't miss
Out on
         The
             Show
If you open the window to your mind
   Let the rings of
Saturn
    Into your heart
                                               -Matthew Anish

Matthew Anish is a widely published poet/writer, who has written for Aim, Alura, Judaism, Beyond Bree and many other publications. He is an employee of CUNY and has also worked in the business world.

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The Widow
              After a Fernando Botero
              painting of the same title

The walls are blue because they are her
horizon. This room, her world. The table
is a raft on a roiling hunger sea. She fights
her boys for               spare inches. She
wonders when the toddler at her ankles
came into the picture.

                                                                   -Joel Allegretti

Joel Allegretti is the author of four collections, most recently, Europa/Nippon/New York: Poems/Not-Poems (Poets Wear Prada, 2012). His second book, Father Silicon (The Poet's Press), was selected by The Kansas City Star as one of 100 Noteworthy Books of 2006. His poetry has appeared in many national journals, including Smartish Pace, The New York Quarterly, Fulcrum and PANK. He wrote the texts for three song cycles by Frank Ezra Levy, whose work is released on Naxos American Classics. Allegretti is a member of the Academy of American Poets and ASCAP.

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Anselm Kiefer, Der Gestirnte Himmel, 1981 (The Starry Heaven)
Gouache on photograph

Starfish, pentangle, star of naht,[1]
of seam -- the seem of life
at night with three-pronged
tracks, scars, holes -
the seams that alter the body
helpless against night,
naht not without pride.
Naht not so naht so
hard to have your heart cut
out -- to feel the ache
before, the hole after.

[1] From Old High German for night, from Proto-Germanic *nahts, from Proto-Indo-European *nókʷts.

                                                              -Jan Garden Castro

Jan Garden Castro's poetry book is The Last Frontier (letterpress, Eclectic Press), with poems in New Letters, Exquisite Corpse, Roof, Chronogram, and clwn wr 09h. Castro's other books include The Art & Life of Georgia O'Keeffe and Sonia Delaunay: La Moderne. Castro was a finalist for the Adirondack Review Fulton Fiction Prize & received the CCLM Editor's Award for River Styx Magazine. Castro is Contributing Editor for Sculpture; her website is http://www.jancastro.com .

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Shrapnel

All through the day
fragments of poetry tear through me
ripping into muscle tissue
rupturing arteries
piercing organs.
Shards of thoughts
broken and sharp
bring me to my knees
with relentless penetration
with unbearable unrepentant depth of feeling
and the pure explosive violence
of beauty.
                                                                       -Kate Boning Dickson

Kate Boning Dickson is a musician by training. She has been a featured reader for Performance Poets Association and is a board member of the Long Island Poetry Collective.

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Ascent

You were your own
fight. You were your
seizure. You were the plow
driven into ground, its bed
full of soil. You were the
teeth of the saw, frothed
with pulp. You were the high
grasses and the sharp
slam of the trap. You
were the ascent
at night, steeled; you,
the inventor of the scale.
There was no
guessing the full
height of the climb. You
were the loud
crack of ice.
I was the cry.
                                                            
-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 her first screenplay. She lives in Vermont with her husband, teenage daughter, her OCD beagle and ADD cat.

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Misjudgments

The bird, hovering a moment,
slowing, misses its branch.
The squirrel who leaps from
its high perch, crash lands.
The raccoon miscalculates the car.
This is my natural state,
falling, crashing, crushed.
Yet, simply human, I lack
the dumbness of other animals,
with not so much as a mask
to cover my eyes.
                                                           -David B. Axelrod

You can check out Dr. David B. Axelrod's doings at www.poetrydoctor.org.  He is a career poet, with 20 books out. He is the former poet laureate for Suffolk County, NY, and now lives in Daytona Beach, FL, where he directs the Creative Happiness Institute, Inc., and continues writing, publishing, and sponsoring writing programs.

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Eternal War

See the ivy, how she creeps, feelers finding root, spreading her life out?
Under snow she somehow stays vividly green, somehow endues nature.

Her only desire; to grow, and he, each spring, attacks with his snipers,
dominating where and how she will exist.

Sweat rolls down his back, his arms. She stoic; stays silent while he slices.
Her aroma lingers, his rake clears her effort away, revealing earth.

Prongs dig into her, into last autumn's leaves, tidbits of trash. He surveys his work,
smiles at the results. She knows this dance, will try again when he isn't watching. 
                                                                                    -Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan

Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan is the first woman to be appointed Suffolk County Poet Laureate (2009-2011). She is the founder and president of The North Sea Poetry Scene, Inc., publisher of The North Sea Poetry Scene Press and the editor of Long Island Sounds Anthology. She has been honored with a Long Island Writers Group Community Service Award and the MOBIUS Editor-In-Chief's Choice Award. Tammy, who already holds a Master of Business Administration degree, has also completed a Master of Fine Arts degree from Stony Brook University South-ampton.She is author of six books of poetry, one of which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She teaches at Briarcliffe College and maintains an active schedule of workshops and performances. Visit her on Facebook or at her website: http://www.tammynuzzomorgan.com/. She is the founder and now the director of an archival/arts center for Long Island poetry, located in Patchogue, New York, that serves as a literary research center and gathering place for poets. News of the center can be found at: www.lipoetryarchivalcenter.com

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Iniquity

There's almost nothing
in this world
that cannot be used
for evil purpose.

Consider the case
of music by Wagner
burning its way into
the mind of Jews

leaving the taste
of ashes on the tongue.
                                                       -Joan Higuchi

Joan Higuchi, a multiple award-winning poet with deep roots in Long Island, NY, is a retired RN/Treatment Leader in the New York State Mental Health System. She has been published in Auroreon, Avocet. The Lyric, Oberon, and Snowy Egret, as well as many anthologies.

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108

restless
is my name,
1st, middle, last,
at a mile & 1/2
syllables
start to (snap, crack) pop
skewered on dappled
sun-striped
chlorine schap-
iarelli conjured
her designs when
driving or walking
she cldnt think
inside 4 walls
the box
                                          -eve packer

Eve Packer, Bronx-born, poet-performer, author of 3 books, Skulls Head Samba, Playland Poems (1994-2004), and New Nails (which will be reviewed in the December 2012 issue of FLRev), 5 cd's w/jazz. She has a chapbook forthcoming this fall from Poetswearprada.. From Donald Hall: "I salute her as the Weegee poet", and from (the late) Dennis Duggan, Newsday," . . . smoky & sexy in a way that makes you think of love."

 

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Out of the Box, Almost
                                                       If you can read this, thank a teacher. 
                                                       If it's in English, thank a soldier. 
                                                                              -Bumper sticker

No more reveille, nor push-ups
for stepping out of line. Boots
are tied together, hanging from
a wire. Wake when I want,

wear a hat indoors, let hair
touch my ears. I can finally say
what I think about the president
without fear of a court martial,

can say or do anything. Leash gone,
still I wait for a bell at chowtime.
Long for a bell. Need it. Freedom
can be paralyzing. So many

colors in the closet, brands of cereal
on the shelf. No orders dictating
which to choose. A dog
can't play fetch with himself.
                                                                  -Bill Glose

Bill Glose is a former paratrooper, a Gulf War veteran, and author of the poetry collection, The 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.

 

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Forensics

He left the picnic at nine, went with Harry and Frank to Muscoot.
Frank swears he said he needed to get home by 10. It was
very important to him
. Frank left at 9:30, Harry and he stayed
behind. Harry can only say they left later. Next we know he is
pulled limp from the wreck. Next we know he is a flattened face
in a casket, wax hands not his. Next we know he is in a box
about to be lowered-men in blue shirts, with shovels, stand
respectfully out of sight. Next we place a carnation on the bier,
unnerved by the gap into six-foot depth. Next we walk away
but not really. We return to the picnic, it was nine when he left.
We hover the grave, wring our hands, say we are sorry,
we don't say afraid.
                                                                                                  -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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Ghazal of the Unyoung Woman

Two hundred forty seasons seen! I'm an unyoung woman.
Who the hell has heard of me? I'm an unsung woman.

How I love my long brown hair! It hangs down past my waist.
Covers me like . . . Godiva! I'm a well-hung woman.

The way I started when you called my name--
No way that I can hide it: I'm a high-strung woman.

Though married, I wear no wedding ring.
I remain--quite faithfully--an unrung woman.

A wandering Lebenskünstler, I have laughed and loafed
my way around the globe. A far-flung woman.

See me groping for this elusive word. I'm a . . .
whaddayacallit? A tip-of-the-tongue woman.

Landsman, get your butt out of that bee-loud glade.
This minute! Or you're going to get stung, woman.
                                                                                           -Peggy Landsman

Peggy Landsman's work has been published in many online and print literary journals and anthologies. Her poetry chapbook, To-wit To-woo (FootHills Publishing), and her out-of-print romance novel, Passion's Professor, which she wrote under the pen name Samantha Rhodes, are available on her web site. She lives in South Florida where she swims in the warm Atlantic Ocean every chance she gets. http://peggylandsman.com.

 

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Sample of Absurdity

the rubbery window light
stretched
expanded
and shrunk
the curtains moved
side to side
appearing to drop
at the foot
of the door
someone knocked
and ran away
creating rubbery doubts
before opening the door
to a red velvet curtain
of thoughts
                                                    -Daniel Pels

Daniel Pels was born in Paris, France, in Feb. 1944. He immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1958 and lived in Syracuse New York. He earned a B.A. In education at Syracuse University, where he met and married his "brilliant and beautiful wife," Jeanette. They moved to Central Florida, outside Daytona Beach, in 2004. He is a bilingual, surrealist poet. He writes in both English and French. He has published 2 books of poetry. "Untying Woodknots" in 2010 and "Afternoon After Midnight" in 2011. His 3rd book is ready for publication now. He is a Vietnam veteran, a retired teacher and mail carrier, and full-time poet. He is also a member of the Florida State Poets' Association. His website is www.danpelspoetry.com

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Frat Boy

Rousted, roused to an arousing carousal
on a carousel, roasted rooster roosted in Aroostook,
mistook, a mistaken misanthropist,
an anthropologist, no apologist, yet
apoplectic, an electric dialectic from an
eclectic electorate summoned by the directorate
directly to the rectory
erected to resurrect and reassure,
to fashion a fissure of fission or fusion
lit by a fuse of confusion
confiscated in fiscal miscalculation;
accosted by an acolyte, lauded with accolades
in an alcoholic bacchanalia of bucolic echolalia
                                                                                       -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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MAY YOU EASE GENTLY INTO THIS HOLIDAY SEASON . . .