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



 

JANUARY 2014 

 

Winter

While waiting
For the light to change
On the corner of Bowery
And Bleecker, I watch you
Breathe in frigid air
And exhale halos.
                                  -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).

 

***********************************************************************************************

 

February 1861


The air is so dried in the furnace-
heated tenements that, after leaving
the factory with their mothers, the
children commonly light the lamps at
home with their finger tips, dragging
their socks on the carpets, bodies so
charged with electric fluid that when
they raise their fingers toward a
burner, a spark jumps forth
adequate enough to ignite the gas.
                                           -Sandra Kolankiewicz

Most recently, Sandra Kolankiewicz's poems have appeared in, or been accepted by, Prick of the Spindle, Bluestem, Steel Toe, Rhino, Gargoyle--and of course First Literary Review East. Digital Americana took one of her poems as well.

 

***********************************************************************************************   


Tango Texarcana

 

We
As a nation
Dance the tango
In a shoebox
With a partner
Who knows only
The two-step
Backwards.
                                 -Stuart Fishman

Stuart Fishman has had two poems published in the Wisconsin Review. More recently, he had a poem published in a collection called Stars In Our Hearts. An upcoming poem will appear in the Green Pavilion anthology, The Venetian Hour.

 

***********************************************************************************************

The Poem of Laughter and Forgetting


To laugh is to forget
Each old haunting regret.
With you, though, I remember
Not having laughed so since December.
                                               -Ankita Anand

Ankita Anand's poetry has been chosen for publication by journals like The Indian Review of World Literature in English, The Criterion, Writers Asylum, Labyrinth, Black Cat Lit, Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts and DeltaWomen Magazine. Some of these can be read at http://anandankita.blogspot.com/

  

***********************************************************************************************

 

No Love Poems

 

The bruises along her legs are not memories
but empty spaces.

There is no fossilized evidence

love ever existed.
                                 -Jeremiah Walton


Jeremiah Walton is 18 and backpacking the East Coast. He manages Nostrovia! Poetry, WISH Publishing, The Traveling Poet, and is an editor for Underground Books. He blogs at Gatsby's Abandoned Children, where the majority of his publications are available free. His most recent publication, Smile W/ Sparks (of a shotgun shot), is donation based, and can be read at Walking Is Still Honest Press. His poetry has appeared in Boston Poetry Magazine, Dead Snakes, The Blue Hour, 13 Myna Birds, and a number of other journals and publishers.

 

***********************************************************************************************

 

                                   NEW GRAMMAR

                                         This time
                               He told me a different tale
                                      The tale of . . .
                                           as if,
                                             of
                                         although,
 
                               "As if you are the only one"
                              "Although you are the only one"
 
                                 Language of conditions,
                                     of conjunctions.
                                                         -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.

 

***********************************************************************************************

 

SO THERE
              for Mrs. B. May your wool stockings itch until you  
              pull out your hair but I'm not bitter


Lady Chatterley
Playing with a penile wreath,
Lived for sin, said she

English prof at Smith
Crossed out all my written work
You can't write, said she

Poems emerge from pens
Books and journals print my work
Go to hell, say I
                               -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.

 

***********************************************************************************************

 

Time

A watch,
no age lines across its face,
perches on a stranger's wrist
like my mother's cross necklace
perches on her chest.
Both seem to hold more than just skin.
                                                      -Allissa Hertz

Allissa Hertz attends Arkansas Tech University as a junior. She has worked on the literary staffs of Nebo and Black Couch. She has a chapbook which she self-published two years ago entitled "An Oak, A Joke." She is determined to one day grow up and become a poet. 

  

***********************************************************************************************

 

Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis

Good morning
Bad evening
Middling afternoon
                             -Martin H. Levinson

Martin H. Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, Academy of American Poets, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He has published 8 books and numerous articles and poems in various publications. He holds a PhD from NYU and lives in Forest Hills, New York.

 

*********************************************************************************************** 

 

POEM

is the poem
you wrote
in my dream
my poem
or yours?
                (for Alex)
                                          -Bob Heman

Bob Heman has been writing prose poems seriously since 1973. Most of his life happens on the page.

 

*********************************************************************************************** 

 

Two Haiku

At the funeral:
Clarinets blue-mourning tears,
Old musicians wail.

The neighbors' house, dark.
Wind rages, snow swirls in the yard,
The cry of a cat.
                                      -Evan Guilford-Blake

Evan Guilford-Blake writes fiction, plays, poetry and creative non-fiction. His work has appeared in numerous print and online journals, winning 13 competitions and receiving two Pushcart Prize nominations. His novel Noir(ish) was issued last fall by Penguin. Eighteen of his plays are published, and he's won more than 40 playwriting contests. He and his wife (and inspiration), Roxanna, live in the Atlanta area. More information is at http://www.guilford-blake.com/

 

***********************************************************************************************

Unlock my Door

I have been with myself
too often. I have carried
this baboon longer than
necessary. Scheherazade
sits beside me while
I fiddle with the earphones.
The music is the sound
of the ego scraping against
the sides of its pool. I
want another story, I say
to the philodendron. I
want to be a better person.
Unlock my door. Tell me
the same lies, the ones, O love,
that might allow me to listen.
                                           -Corey Mesler

Corey Mesler has published in numerous journals and anthologies. He has published 7 novels, 3 full length poetry collections, and 3 books of short stories. He has also published a dozen chapbooks of both poetry and prose. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times, and two of his poems were chosen for Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac. His fiction has received praise from John Grisham, Robert Olen Butler, Lee Smith, Frederick Barthelme, Greil Marcus, among others. With his wife, he runs Burke's Book Store in Memphis TN. He can be found at www.coreymesler.wordpress.com.

 

*********************************************************************************************** 

 

Tarrytown

From Main Street at dusk, a descent,
houses consumed. Presto: nothingness.
A blue ruffle shows---fields, mountains,
distant trees. I can't recognize
what's what in an unfamiliar town.
But the pale slash on the horizon line
I know: Light uncreating itself.
A valve closing glimmer out of
day's rotation. Before it goes down,
I call it a pale body stretched
toward redemption. One sated with love.
A container of beginning and end.
                                         -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.

 

***********************************************************************************************  

 

Meandering

The many-times-folded map
stays tucked in my pocket
its lines woven
into a web of streets.
I wander alleys and pathways
in these strange cities
passing through conversations
I do not understand
following signs I cannot read.
Revelations engraved on paving stones
and in the semaphore of traffic signals
I search for a destination
and find myself where
I find myself.
                                      -Margery Hauser

Margery Hauser's work has appeared in Poetica Magazine, Möbius, The Poetry Magazine, The Jewish Women's Literary Annual, First Literary Review-East, and other journals, both print and online. She is a member of the Parkside Poetry Collective, for whose feedback and encouragement she is ever grateful. When not writing poetry or traveling in search of inspiration, she can be found knitting, practicing yoga or working out with her tai chi broadsword.

 

***********************************************************************************************  

 

Jesse James 78

From April 8th in the front seat of a silver mist Camry
I knew I wanted to be the reason AA didn't work.
Sober people are unnatural like Icarus ascending
Through a misty moonlit night forever on Step 4,
Listing his fearless moral inventory straight into relapse.
                                                                -Denise R. Weuve

Denise R. Weuve's work has appeared in Bop Dead City, Carnival Literary Magazine, Gutter Eloquence, Poppy Road Review, Red River Review, San Pedro River Review, and South Coast Poetry Journal. More of her writing can be found at deniserweuve.com or contact her at via Facebook.

  

*********************************************************************************************** 

 
Drunken Flowers

Let my evening cups of burgundy
seep through my veins at night
the way flower stems and stamens
take their morning breath ---
a process of osmosis ---

Dark red rush
of roses . . .

                                        -Steve Zeitlin

Steve Zeitlin is a folklorist, writer, and cultural activist. He is the founding director of City Lore, an organization that preserves New York City's living cultural heritage. He has a Ph.D. form the University of Pennsylvania and is the author of numerous books on America's folk culture. He has recorded and fallen in love with carnival pitches, Jewish humor, children's rhymes, family stories, subway stories, ancient cosmologies, and oral poetry traditions from around the world.

 

*********************************************************************************************** 

The Fool

Say yes. Don't look.
Leap!

Every journey starts
with the eager dog of the heart.

Zero is an egg
that holds all numbers.

If you won't dance,
then who's the fool?

Inside my cloth bag -- apple,
table, stallion, sky.

Come! The rich
cliff tempts like wine.
                                          -Alison Stone

Alison Stone's poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Barrow Street, Poet Lore, and a variety of other publications. She has been awarded Poetry's Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly's Madeline Sadin award. Her first book, They Sing at Midnight, won the 2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award and was published by Many Mountains Moving Press. From the Fool to the World was published in 2012 by Parallel Press. She is also a painter and the creator of The Stone Tarot. A licensed psychotherapist, she has private practices in NYC and Nyack. With the poet Kathi Aguero she is currently editing an anthology of poems on the Persephone/Demeter myth.  Her upcoming book, Dangerous Enough, will be published by Presa Press. 

 

*********************************************************************************************** 

 

Superwoman

I wanna become superwoman
learn portuguese in sixty seconds
end pollution single-handedly
feed rice a roni to the planet
win awards left and right.

I wanna become superwoman
paint the Taj Mahal red
knock down bureaucrats by the dozens
create creative pandemonium
flying off the edge of everything.
                                            -Joan McNerney

Joan McNerney's poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Spectrum, three Bright Spring Press Anthologies and several Kind of A Hurricane Publications. She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net. Four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses.

 

***********************************************************************************************  

BLIND PROPHETS (NYC, Subway n. 1/ 8/13)

Wow to the curious
Standing on one leg
While devouring the second one.
Hats off to
Little devils of mystery.
Their warning red lights
Illuminate our doubts
Blinding us temporarily.
I appreciate firm handshake
Just before necessary stabbing.
Glory to the atoms
Behaving like unruly kindergarten.
Now we know what's
The beginning & the end.
But it's not over yet ...
                                       -Gabriel Levicky

Gabriel Ariel Levicky was born in the former Czechoslovakia into the family of Holocaust survivors. Inspired by the American Beat and music, he embarked on his own search publishing his first book of poetry Neznáma Poézia (The Unknown Poetry, 1977). In 1979 he decided to escape via number of countries - fled to Italy, later arriving to the US. In 1982 he left for California, San Francisco where he ran a series of poetry readings, got involved with a Beat scene magazine Beatitude and published his second book of poetry The Unknown Poetry # 2, linking it to his samizdat Slovak publication. His poetry collection B(lack) & W(hite) Wet Paint Poems was published by Xlibris. He is also an author (as Emir Gabpashaberger, the founder and destroyer of Jews For Jihad, orgasmization), a farce absurdity. He is also a published cartoonist and author of hand-made collages, called GabLevages®.

 

***********************************************************************************************  

THE NEWEST MOONS OF DIRT AND ROME
                                              August 22nd, 2004

An electrified trash-can floating above Saturn
just detected two new bodies draped in ether,

unseen during the whole burnt span of human
history, from caves to ziggurats to skyscrapers.

Dwarf-shade of brooding orbs shelled in ice,
fading in the witch-glow of the double suns

but this is all that we could have hoped for-
unnamed twins dodging the spittle of comets.

And you and I, who could not even pay our
taxes or mark our own ballots without doubt

will sleep with such virtue tonight, tumbling
with breakneck grace through the frigid wastes

like the tangled curls of prehistoric maidens,
lying where nothing has been built or dreamt.
                                                     -Michael Meyerhofer

Michael Meyerhofer's third book, Damnatio Memoriae, won the Brick Road Poetry Contest. His previous books are Blue Collar Eulogies (Steel Toe Books) and Leaving Iowa (winner of the Liam Rector First Book Award). He is also the Poetry Editor of Atticus Review. Feel free to visit www.troublewithhammers.com and buy something

 

***********************************************************************************************  

Downpour

world

                         ends

and

        begins                       again

in

        the      rain

                                             -Charles Butler

Charles J. Butler started out reading in the Nuyorican Poet's Café, and has published his work in Asbestos, The Brownstone Poets 2007 and 2008 Anthologies, Dinner With the Muse, Poetry in Performance 36 and 37, Stained Sheets, and Rogue Scholars, among others. He has read in poetry venues throughout the Tri-State area. Charles is the former host of the Park Slope Poetry Project and was the Associate Editor of its publication, Erato. He was also a part-time guest co-host at the Perch Café Literary Tuesdays. His first book, 39 Poems, was published by No Shirt Press.

 

*********************************************************************************************** 

Tender Colors You Won't Know

The colors rise up after the storm in a curve that reflects the smile that flipped.
You don't see the colors, you see what you're owed.
You double talk to the rainbow.
Just be real, say what's up.
How can you lie to the rainbow?
A sad eyed rainbow with an upside down smile.
Stretch around your neck a bit.
See if it's got something for you at the end.
It may not.
But how can you hate the rainbow?
Let go of it. Let it go.
                                             -Eileen Tull

Eileen Tull is a poet, writer, and theatre performer from Cincinnati, OH. She spent time living, working, and performing in Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area. Eileen tours the Midwest performing one woman shows, spoken word, performance art, and stand-up comedy. Her theatrical plays have been seen in Cincinnati, Chicago, San Francisco, Berkeley, Boca Raton, Philadelphia, and New York City. http://eileentull.com/

  

*********************************************************************************************** 

 

A Day Dream

                          "There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told".
                                                                               --Edgar Allan Poe

Peeping in on life---
My name is not Tom---
my name is nightmare!

I come and go as I please
never answer to anyone---
never tell stories or tell on anyone---

Live in a clean room full of yesterday
tomorrow and the next day---
Remember my name and don't

forget---there is no better way to live
than to be somebody's nightmare---
Somebody's story---somebody's unforgettable---

remember the truth does not set you free
the truth wraps you up in its----never forget
I am here to stay.

                                   -Ice Gayle Johnson

Ice Gayle Johnson is a multi-media artist with work published in a variety of anthologies, including Poetry in Performance anthology, City College. She has had a Feature profile with Stay thirsty media.com, which included two tracks from her CD, poems on images. She lives between Chicago and New York. She is a founding editor of Uphook Press, and she travels and performs on all coasts.

 

*********************************************************************************************** 

 
Visions of Tomorrow

Sitting by the music machine
I dreamt that yesterday
became tomorrow
When the depredations of Sauron
are finally ended
          then PEACE is something which rolls in on the next train
We will frolic in the sun
A daydream perhaps
    Yet I'm not sure
the fantasy is unrealistic
  I think dawn is waiting for us
just around the corner
                                            -Matthew Anish

Matthew Anish is a Brooklyn College graduate who presently lives in New York's Lower East Side. He is a widely published poet/writer. His work may be seen on poetrysoup.com and moontown cafe. He is the author of several chapbooks under the auspices of the American Tolkien Society and writes a monthly column for Barr's Postcard News.

  

***********************************************************************************************  

 help for me

I ask those who support life
to add me to their list
my verse hurts when
I am desperate for water
excuse me
but I love the tyranny of lyrics
I am free
I say what are feelings
thoughts
I do not hide behind the nickname
humility
I like to sit on the threshold of memory
/ eh /
remember the feelings posted a week ago
on the threshold of water
soar up
                                   -Marian Dragomir

Marian Dragomir is from Romania; She is a poet with 2 books of poetry published, "Verses for the Big life" in 2010 and "A book with mask" in 2012. She has participated with poems in more than 20 newspapers from Romania and in more than 15 anthologies, and she has also published more than 20 book reviews in different newspapers from Romania.