FIRST LITERARY REVIEW-EAST
waking with darkness
sweet herb aloe smoke rises
deep breathing as sun
begins her wider arched flight
shutting the windows of night
Kate Lamberg, BA, LMT (licensed massage therapist), has been writing poetry forever! She hosts a monthly open mic poetry/music event at the Port Jefferson Free Library. Kate also loves composing music for the piano, and performing her folk and blues tunes out and about on Long Island. In addition, she runs a healing center, where she shares her love of healing massage, yoga, and meditation.
The character set does not include the letter “L,” the man who has been to war, the trait of “caution.” What is weighed has no weight of its own.
In 1934 the bears were replaced with a penguin and an ant. In 1952 the line was doubled in length. In 1967 the color red was added.
Bob Heman’s poems have been published on every continent except Antarctica. He lives on the west end of a long narrow island that was once called Paumanok.
When did that day arrive?
Our final day of dignity?
How did it elude our attention?
I didn’t see it.
In August 2015, Alan Britt was invited by the Ecuadorian House of Culture Benjamín Carrión in Quito, Ecuador, as part of the first cultural exchange of poets between Ecuador and the United States. In 2013, he served as judge for The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award. His interview at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica Radio, January 2013. His latest books include Violin Smoke (Translated into Hungarian by Paul Sohar and published in Romania: 2015; Lost Among the Hours: 2015; Parabola Dreams (with Silvia Scheibli): 2013; and Alone with the Terrible Universe: 2011. He teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.
High on Marijuana During a Riot
East Harlem, 1967
The blazing arc
of a Molotov cocktail.
in a swirl of diamonds.
The symphonic twang
of bullets ricocheting.
Gil Fagiani is a translator, essayist, short story writer, and poet. His latest book is Logos (Guernica Editions, 2015). Gil co-hosts the Italian American Writers’ Association’s monthly readings in Manhattan. In 2014, he was the subject of a New York Times article by David Gonzalez, “A Poet Mines Memories of Drug Addiction.”
Germs and Jewels
A society ripped in half
nonetheless the psychologist
says move onward
through these silicon times;
modern-day American culture
is a mutated cocktail of sunshine and scoundrel.
Globs of hearsay hang in the hate-filled air
as the idealist trudges painfully onward.
"I am an Idealist within the confines of reality,"
my father once said.
Heath Brougher lives in York, PA, and is the poetry editor of Five 2 One Magazine. His first chapbook, A Curmudgeon Is Born, is forthcoming from Yellow Chair Press. When not writing, he helps with the charity Paws Soup Kitchen, which gives out free dog/cat food to low-income families with pets. His work has appeared or is due to appear in Diverse Voices Quarterly, Chiron Review, Mobius, Crack the Spine, Main Street Rag, Otoliths, Gold Dust, Of/with, eFiction India, and elsewhere.
collapse of shadows in
before the storm
we hold council
pressed to tiger ear devotional claws
perfume mountain skulls with the redolence of
Heller Levinson is the originator of the Hinge Theory. Please check him out at www.hellerlevinson.com.
Mr. President, see me below, a simple goat herder.
Your drones overhead sparkle from reflected sunlight.
See my goats? They will eat anything: sticks, twigs,
turfs of grass, giving back milk, meat, leather and hides.
I want only to tend my flock, return to my family whole,
and sleep under the stars in our black goat-hair tent.
Invite me to your Rose Garden. We can talk of family,
take photographs, sneak cigarettes, and sip beers.
Mr. President, see me below, a simple goat herder,
I wait for your change and tell my daughters it will come
as you do yours.
Dayl Wise was drafted into the US Army in 1969 with service in Viet Nam and Cambodia, 1970 and returned in 93’, 95’ and 97’ in the form of reconciliation delivering medical supplies. He is an active member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace. His poems have appeared in numerous publications, and is the author of Poems and Other Stuff (PTP, 2004) and Basic Load (PTP, 2009). Currently Dayl lives part time in the Bronx and Woodstock, New York with his wife, the poet Alison Koffler and is co-founder of (PTP) Post Traumatic Press.
firstname.lastname@example.org web site: PostTraumaticPress.org.
[Especially during this month of Veterans Day, we thank Mr. Wise for his great service to this country.]
All night we turn away
from each other
your small hard pillow
I reach for it
with my woman’s arms,
push aside the sheets
to touch you amid
our nighttime clatter:
the machine that breathes
for you; my noisy,
Morning light reveals
what we have made:
a boat of blankets,
life raft we cling to.
Erica Goss served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA, from 2013-2016. She is the author of Wild Place (Finishing Line Press 2012) and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets (PushPen Press 2014). Erica teaches poetry workshops and works as a Development Director for California Poets in the Schools. Her poems, reviews and articles appear widely. Please visit her at: www.ericagoss.com.
There is a divide
There’s ocean between them/
Visceral/chested with gut
Horizons spin wrong side/
As if/to throw up
Oh, Anchor! Oh, Anchor!
Through water, ground.
Bed Rock! Shock! Bed Rock!
Stop moving. Stop.
—Shelley Ann Hainer
Shelley Ann Hainer curated Nexus Gallery Poetry Series, New York City, 1997-2002. Her poems are published in BigCityLit and The Same. In 2008, she founded www.bamboojacket.com, an education through entertainment company. Shelley’s poetry in performances: ‘What Flavor Love?' March 2013, ‘The rhyme of the ancient,' August 2013, “Tree. Moon. Dove,” August 2015. In 2010, she was awarded Artward Bound Award, The Field. Shelley has a BA in Theater, an MS in Exercise Physiology, and is certified in Anti-gymnastics/Therese Bertherat (in the lineage of Elsa Gindler).
Ponderings of a Walrus on What Rhymes with Else (With Thanks to Lewis Carroll)
" 'And now, my good friend Carpenter, let's ponder something else,
Like frumious beasts afighting on the Africanny Velse,
Or Knights in vorpal battle in defense of great caselse,
Or butterflies asleep in wheat along the Arkanselse,
But most of all, of oysters, which a local vendor selse.'
But Carpenter heard nothing—he was dining by himselse—
And the Walrus, thinking uffishly, came up with naught but nelse."
And if this verse don’t settle well, please try an Alka-Selse.
Ken Gosse has a penchant for light, rhyming verse similar to the styles of Ogden Nash and Edward Lear. Heavily imbued with humor and whimsy, his use of commonplace language and subjects makes it more at home on picnics than in Elysian Fields. He has received Honorable Mentions in Mad Kane's Limerick-Off contests (http://www.madkane.com/). A native of Chicago suburbs, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, nearly 20 years.
[Editors' Note: First Literary Review-East is proud to be the first publisher of Mr. Gosse's work.]
The Internet arose
out of the celestial ooze to
expand exponentially and to challenge
how we receive information.You phone
when you crave me, email to withdraw.
—Jan Garden Castro
Jan Garden Castro’s poetry chapbooks, The Last Frontier (Eclectic Press) and Mandala of the Five Senses, are out of print. Her poetry and other writings have appeared in periodicals including American Poetry Review, American Book Review, Sculpture Magazine, Bomb, The Nation, New Letters, Roof, and Telephone. Castro was a finalist for the Adirondack Review Fulton Fiction Prize and received the CCLM Editor's Award as Editor of River Styx Magazine. She blogs monthly at www.sculpture.org and is Contributing Editor for Sculpture Magazine. See www.jancastro.com for her art books, interviews, and essays.
Poem #3 (for Cindy)
(I just feel that love
Is very self destructive
It’s called falling
What made you think
It was going to end pretty?)
Maisie Williams was first published in Rattle's Poet's Respond. Apart from disappointing many who confuse her with "that Maisie Williams," she has done not much since. She currently resides in Nashville, finishing high school and avoiding country music.
My heart echoes these old haunts. Your
words are stretched to impalpable deeds.
Yes, flame can produce ash—leave a
trail of soot in my mouth as I try to
find my way through these catacombs—
When skeletal figments dance in your
reflection, tell me there is no lie or jest.
The path treaded is marked by poetry
that falls within each step of your
movement, so please be true.
Tonya Eberhard recently graduated from the University of Missouri. She currently lives in Minnesota. Her work has appeared in Algebra of Owls, The Commonline Journal, Dirty Chai, Yellow Chair Review, Open Minds Quarterly, and many others.
After all's said and done
when you think about it
we can only run so far
consume so much.
But something called love
How many times do you say of the moment
I love this or that?
It can be anything:
a warbler's bright olive-gold mask,
a soft caress, a warm bed,
white fish on an onion bagel,
or the familiar opening allegro
of a Brandenburg
Laurel Feigenbaum credits her father, UC, Berkeley, and Wordsworth with her love of poetry. After careers in education and business, she gathered late-life courage and began writing. Author of The Daily Absurd, 2014, recent work appears in Poeming Pigeon, Poetry Sunday and Muddy River Review online. A past board member of the Marin Poetry Center, she lives with her husband of 66 years in Corte Madera, CA.
Love and Loss
Have you held the emptiness?
Can you taste the dust?
Where the wind has gone off to,
do you know that place?
Prayers, promises, and poetry,
do you know their price?
Who feeds the stones?
Who hides the bones?
Who makes the choir sing?
Tom Montag is most recently the author of In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013. He is a contributing editor at Verse-Virtual. In 2015, he was the featured poet at Atticus Review (April) and Contemporary American Voices (August) and at year's end received Pushcart Prize nominations from Provo Canyon Review and Blue Heron Review. Other poems will be found at Hamilton Stone Review, The Homestead Review, Little Patuxent Review, Mud Season Review, Poetry Quarterly, Third Wednesday, and elsewhere.
you are the book that i will write
i will write you upon my flesh
ink spilling in streams of language long forgot
words laced in volcanic ash
burning singeing down
to the hungry bones of my desire for you
you are the book that i will write
pages blowing in the winds of want
papyrus prayers whispered by your eyes
your smile the final chapter
the story of us indelibly scripted
by your touch
you are the book
Ms. Gilstrap is the author of two books of poetry: Words Unspoken and Gypsy Woman Words. She is a featured poet/artist at both Yareah Magazine and Plum Tree Books. Her work may also be found in numerous online and printed literary publications. A number of her pieces have been musically arranged and recorded by a well-known UK musician/vocalist and some have been performed to dance and music in experimental theatre. She lives in Louisiana [USA] and is currently working on her third and fourth volumes of poetry.
Tonight, a soft voiceless snow
whitens the darkness
out of things.
Strays leave trash cans
rocking in back alleys.
Men outrun the footprints
they think they’ve left behind.
Up ahead, the wind sways
its cobra dance.
Stroking anyone’s cheek,
it whispers, trust me,
trust me. I won’t tell.
Francine Witte is a poet and flash fiction writer. Her latest chapbook, "Not All Fires Burn the Same," has just been published by Slipstream Press. She lives in Manhattan.
Announcement on the platform of the #3 train:
“Beware of debris on the tracks at Wall Street.”
On the N train:
"We went out for a drink. I tried to picture him on Facebook,
but I forgot his name and had to leave.
On the #6 train:
Teenage boys from prep school:
"I cheated off of Joey, and found out he got 17 wrong."
On the platform at Times Square:
The "subway map artist" whistles
the theme song of the Mary Tyler Moore show.
"You're gonna make it after all."
Susan Weiman, in her blog, SC Weiman: New York Notebook, she writes literary nonfiction, poetry, and vignettes. Her work has been published on Citylore.org, run to the roundhouse nellie, and the Home Magazine blog, Hometeam to the Rescue, where she wrote about art. She is an artist, organizer, photographer, and jewelry maker, and resides in Long Island City. http://scwnynotebook.blogspot.com.
Georgia O’Keeffe’s Hills and Mesas
she loved Texas
light coming on the plains
huge dust storms
sometimes she’d come in and couldn’t
tell it was herself
except for her shape
she’d be the color of the road
Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ram’s Head with Hollyhock
She could see shapes
it’s as if her mind
some repeat themselves
sand pink hills
of a ram
beautiful as black iris
she wanted the bones
to make you feel
what she was
your eyes pulled to its center
Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks, including three from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It's Light and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle, Lifshin published her prize-winning book about the short-lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness. NYQ books published A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also just out is a DVD of the documentary film about her: Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass. Just out: Femme Eterna (Glass Lyre Press) and Moving Through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems. Forthcoming: Degas Little Dancer and Winter Poems from Kind of a Hurricane press, Paintings and Poems, from Tangerine press and The Silk Road from Night Ballet, alivelikealoadedgun from Transcendent Zero Press.
The Yard is Overturned
The house has been replaced.
Sharks ambush the whale cow and her calf.
Even the street address has been changed.
The cow bumps, swats and threatens those that isolate her baby.
From up the coast, Mom sends us news, clips and photos.
The predators do not relent, nipping, biting and grinding.
“The house is empty…The house is razed …The yard is overturned.”
The sharks drag the exhausted calf away while the cow watches nearby.
Mom goes to view the new McMansion that replaced her house.
A bloody water cloud obscures the carcass from the mother.
She stands street side, unable to enter the foreign house.
The cow swims from the sinking skeleton.
She drives back to her apartment.
Jeff Santosuosso lives in Pensacola, FL. A member of the Florida State Poets Society, he is co-editor of panoplyzine.com, dedicated to poetry and short prose. His prize-winning work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has appeared in San Pedro River Review (Summer, 2016), Illya’s Honey, Texas Poetry Calendar, Alalit, and elsewhere. You can find him on Facebook
This collateral excursion
takes us far from our destination,
like some discrete entities
having lost a sense of how to climb.
This road map is a colorful cipher,
a fastidious tablature revealing little.
Topographically, we remain inclined
to slope, differentiating in approximate
languages that make further iterations necessary.
Driver, please stop. Turn around.
Change what keeps us awake nights.
Decelerate our alleged independence:
it’s all downhill from here
Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. His works have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. He champions the underdog to the melodic rhythms of obscure power pop. His collection, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press), is available through Amazon, as is a chapbook, Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press).