FIRST LITERARY REVIEW-EAST

Submissions Meet the Editor-in-Chief January 2018 March 2016 May 2018 Meet the Associate Editor July 2016 November 2017 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/August 2018 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 March 2018



 MARCH 2018

  

Haiku—
where do you flow
from, to?

                                      —George Held

George Held publishes poems, stories, and book reviews online and in print. His writing has received ten Pushcart Prize nominations, including one each for poetry and fiction in 2016. His new collection is Dog Hill Poems (Seattle: Goldfish Press, 2017).

 


 

The Professor

A gentle firework,
beauty to the left,
tomorrow’s lunch date,
ah, that line by Yeats.
Unfortunately
I cannot remember
why I came up the stairs.

                                              —Beate Sigriddaughter

[Previously published in Blue Unicorn (June 2011)]

Beate Sigriddaughter, www.sigriddaughter.com, is poet laureate of Silver City, New Mexico (Land of Enchantment), USA. Her work has received several Pushcart Prize nominations and poetry awards. In 2018, FutureCycle Press published her poetry collection Xanthippe and Her Friends. Cêrvená Barva Press will publish her chapbook Dancing in Santa Fe and Other Poems in 2019.

 


  

Spring 

It is only when the orange feeds the field
in soft auburn patterns
when the breeze rests in between the sunlight;
that spring presents herself.
She is swirling behind me like a ghost in daylight
throwing handfuls of leaves in the air
circling the horns of two red oaks,
where the glimmer of lights
has dimmed the shortened breath.
When squashed conker shells
resemble a bronze two-pence piece,
it is then I follow spring in all her delicate moods.  

                                                                                       —Matt Duggan

Matt Duggan’s poems have appeared in Osiris, The Journal, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, Prole, Lakeview International Journal, Harbinger Asylum, and The Dawntreader. Matt won the Erbacce Prize for Poetry in 2015 and the Into the Void Poetry Prize 2016.He has a new collection of poems out called One Million Tiny Cuts, published by New York Publishing House. http://www.claresongbirdspub.com

 


 

Climate Change

Sessions begin in green
The thinnest green
Begat from brown
And climb to white
Arctic white
Melted flow from trumpet blue
Joyful fish in rivers gold
The river’s rocks are smiling too.

                                                            —David Eugene Brown Jr.

David Eugene Brown Jr. developed a passion for poetry while attending a small high school in South Carolina. This pursuit was interrupted for 40 short years by a Civil Engineering degree from Clemson University (and subsequent career), parenting, and some of the time destroying hobbies known to man from stock-car racing to violin. His work has appeared in The Potomac Review. He currently is active in the Environmental Engineering field and lives on a farm in Darlington County, South Carolina.

 


  

Collapse

Her carefully drawn eyebrows stiffly arch above 
dark eyes. Looking over my shoulder, she leans slightly 
forward, says quietly, almost a confession, my grandmother 
is taking the whole family on a cruise to see the Alaskan 
glacierswe want to see them, before they are all gone.
Her voice is almost tender, without a hint of irony. 

When the impossible towers of translucent azure ice 
drop, so slowly, into the churning, dark water, everyone 
on the boat will yell, hands raised like a touchdown 
then frantically grab the gunwales as the boat lurches 
over the cresting waves. My frozen eyes, my frozen 
hands, my frozen heart, feel the water rising all around.

                                                                                        —Deborah Kennedy

A writer and artist, Deborah Kennedy’s work has been presented in the United States and Europe. Her recent book, Nature Speaks: Art and Poetry for the Earth (2016, White Cloud Press), combines illustrations and poetry focusing on the ecological themes of our time. Nature Speaks has won numerous awards, including the 2017 Eric Hoffer and Silver Nautilus poetry book awards. Kennedy presents poetry readings with multimedia slide lectures at bookstores, schools, and to poetry, ecology and spiritual groups. Please visit her at: https://www.facebook.com/deborahkennedyart/

 


  

A clap of the hands
Starts a coyote awake
Beneath the pinion
Part of me leaves as echoes
Part stays in his memory

               ***

Darkness is sudden
Up the road where pavement ends
Coyote voices
Shiver star holes for their frost
Spider tears of wilderness

                                                              —John Hicks

John Hicks is an emerging poet, published or accepted for publication by: I-70 Review, Panorama, Midnight Circus, The Lincoln Underground, and The Society for the Preservation of Wild Culture. He completed an MFA in Creative Writing a year ago at the University of Nebraska — Omaha.

 


 

outside the school gate
Father holds a textbook
with my name on it …
I watch the front page
twisting into a cigar

                                             —David He

David He, from China, has been working as an advanced English teacher for 35 years in a high school. So far he has had twenty short English stories published in anthologies. In recent years he has had haiku published in magazines such as Acorn, The Heron’s Nest, Presence, Rocket bottles, Frogpond, A One Hundred Gouges, Shamrock, Modern Haiku, and Frozen Butterfly. He has also had tanka published in Tanka of America,Skylark, Ribbones, and Cattails.

 


 

tempest

when teapots fall
from the sky
they will either
break or land
safely it is not
your task to try
to save them

about you
people will say
i am calm
when i am
around her

                                  —Jan Emerson

Jan Emerson lives, writes, and paints in New York City. A former professor of German and Medieval Studies, she has published on Hildegard of Bingen and other medieval visionaries. She can be reached through her web site janemersonartist.com.

 



Heartfelt

How few words it takes
to pace a poem
from the soul
it begins always
with the body
any body
will do
so much
depends upon
approximately everything
that urge, a pulse outside my heart
as I try to overhear
the speechless beats 
within the throbbing
world

                                                            —Jill Evans

Jill Evans makes films, media art installations, writes poetry, and teaches about social justice from a female perspective. She is the winner of 4 Emmy awards for video art and documentary films. She also designs and makes one-of-a-kind jewelry in her company Touchstonesdesigns. She lives in St. Louis, MO, and started her career in her 40s, while raising three young children, and being fueled by a graduate degree in Philosophy. This is her first publication of her poetry, which she has been writing all her life. She is not a virgin, just a "poetry virgin.”

[Editors' Note: At FLRev, we love giving virgin poets their "first." Congratulations, Jill!]

 


 

Your Teeth, My Teeth

clatter. chew
through apples (nothing).

half a meal, half a pine,
half of what we hoped for,
if

the way a core reveals itself inedible,
though we knew.

from day one, bites
and bites.

sometimes the juice sweetness
overpowers slow rot.

it was early on, and worms
had yet to emerge from their holes
in the ground to greet us.

all we had to do
was wait for rain.

                                                         —James Croal Jackson

James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in FLAPPERHOUSE, Yes Poetry, Serving House Journal, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle, a poetry journal. Find him in Columbus, Ohio, or at jimjakk.com.

 


 

Always Smash the Woodsy Stalks on Plants

Don’t be duped.  No gardening bible here.  

Be brave.  Get physical.

Remember no one is up to cataloging all wildflowers & weeds.  Remember
these botanically-bent also whisper there are psalms in tires, in tin cans, in the
open jaws of scissors.  Pesky ditties awaiting a voice.  Whose?

Action heroes, politicians, ventriloquists.  Or disembodied — radio, memory,
the common object.  Consider the rocking chair in the corner.  Empty but
stuffed with stories.

OK.   Back on topic.   Back to lilacs.

It’s a bit of an ordeal to get these beauties a mouthful of water.  Smash away
knowing what you are smashing will become compost.  And consult the old
texts:  stars & soup as you hum whatever alights upon your mouth’s
turntable.

                                                                                      —Kit Kennedy

Kit Kennedy serves as poet-in residence of San Francisco Bay Times & poet- in-residence of her church. She has published 5 collections of poetry, including Eating Oysters, published by CLWN WR Books, Brooklyn. She lives in Walnut Creek, CA.  

  


 

When Balloons Finally Departed

she ignored the sunset and gathered his letters, finding
she had lost most of them, and with them his thin hair,
his hands. Now everyone she had missed was returning
as antisocial birds. The clock misbehaved, rotten pulp
made music in the wind. She recoiled from rain, as if
the sky spat on her. Earths recombined themselves
in startling patterns. A lighthouse wandered around.
A panda walked into a bar and betrayed his country.
She couldn’t tell the little boy from the river—
both had lucifers crawling out of their mouths.
She knew she couldn’t stay off camera much longer.
She had to invent a new language they all would love
but no one would understand.

                                                                                         —Anton Yakovlev

Anton Yakovlev's latest poetry collection is Ordinary Impalers (Kelsay Books, 2017). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Hopkins Review, Amarillo Bay, Measure, and elsewhere. Born in Moscow, Russia, he has also written and directed several short films and is the current education director at the Bowery Poetry Club.

 


 
Air-Guitar Gnarlings

you who politick to prevent
irreversible torture-trap carbuncles
are cinching a glee embedded
in the cool-milk thinking
posited by atrocities of the tongue
humming air-guitar gnarlings
of (I swear) speechified deep-dish
grunge uncorked when the wee-folk
poke rebel-rowdy un-bitterings
in the broody loophole language
on the pardon-me pulpit
poised to expose my inner
scar-tissue topography

                                                         —Mitch Corber

Mitch Corber is a New York City neo-Beat poet, an eccentric performance artist, and no wave videographer. He has been associated with Collaborative Projects, Inc. Colab and is creator-director of cable TV’s long-running weekly series Poetry Thin Air in New York City and its online poetry/video archive. He is a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship grant (1987) in the field of emerging artforms.



T
he Once-Was

I am 
the Phoenix 
that never rose

I lay dormant
nearly ossified
sickened and covered in ash

barely alive
in this chamber 
of self-wrought Anhedonia. 

                                                               —
Heath Brougher

Heath Brougher is the co-poetry editor of Into the Void Magazine (winner of the 2017 Saboteur Award for Best Magazine). He published three chapbooks in 2016, one full-length collection, About Consciousness (Alien Buddha Press), in 2017, and has two full-length collections forthcoming from Weasel Press and Between These Shores Books. He is a multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Nominee and his work has been translated into journals in Albania and Kosovo. He was the judge of Into the Void Magazine’s 2016 Poetry Competition and edited the anthology Luminous Echoes, the sales of which will be donated to help with the prevention of suicide/self-harm. His work has appeared or is due to be published in Of/with, Chiron Review, SLAB, MiPOesias, Taj Mahal Review, Main Street Rag, Mobius, and elsewhere. 


  

Faithfully Tending to the Tears

The soles of my shoes
have holes
worn straight through
from all the walking I do
around town,
but I mustn’t stop now
because grace will allow
my soul to finally grow whole
after one more mile
in life’s race
leads to healing.

                                              —Scott Thomas Outlar

Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, and books can be found. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Scott's most recent collection, Poison in Paradise, was released in 2017 through Alien Buddha Press.



IV

May the rat poison be removed from your sight, from mine the senseless shrivelling of the earthworm. Maybe, just for now, now that eyes and hands find a reason to guess crossings and possessives. Now that they dare to mime them. Each mime is deferred, immediately deferred, forever and ever with no rest. It may be that we call indifference that of the unhappiest. Or maybe it is a word valid only for the unhappiness of a people.
Sanded gestures deferred mimes, measured indifference, the homecoming has taken its direction already. But before sleep can disfigure the idea of absence, skin shares its circle touching snails and sticking fingers. All this to stay away from the asphalt and from every hearth.

                                                                                                          —Erika Dagnino

Erika Dagnino, from Italy, is a poet and writer who has performed with important musicians in USA and UE. Recently she is writing about public trasportation and the rights of passengers.


 
a distant neck of the words

Sacred art is electrodes
to the temples, gives any

surface the illusion of
depth for both art lover

& the casual browser. It is
something of a cinematic

essay-memoir, an apparent
parallax shift crafted from

the finest fabrics & an expo-
nent of the power function.

                                                             —Mark Young

Mark Young's most recent books are random salamanders, a Wanton Text Production, & Circus economies & The Word Factory: a miscellany, both from gradient books of Finland.


  

Hermitage and the City

A monk sits in his cell
and sees the Muzart River at Kizil.
He claims a wounded bird
or a broken branch.
In the ridges of mountains
the hours lie horizontal,
constant as water.

But here in the city park
the hours glide away denounced:
a girl wrapping herself with a snake
recites a poem; a man in a black suit
is juggling fire, and the crowd is daze-eyed.

                                                                                       —Rachel Berghash

 [Previously published in Ruach, Vol. XIII 2003]

Rachel Berghash was born in Jerusalem. She has published a memoir, Half the House, My Life In and Out of Jerusalem, Sunstone Press. Her poetry and poetry translations have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Chicago Review, Christianity and Literature, Colorado Review, and in anthologies including Living Moments (Karnac), and A Poet’s Siddur, ed. Rick Lupert. In 2009, her poetry was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in poetry by The Comstock Review. Her book Psyche, Soul, and Spirit: Interdisciplinary Essays, with co-author Katherine Jillson, has been published by WIPF & STOCK, Publishers.

 



Fingerprints

Each one is weightless,
unique. So much changes,

not fingerprints.
Plot lines hinge

on their presence
and absence. Either

incriminates, invisible
on the surface

right in front of us.
In the movies

loops and whorls
appear beneath

the detective’s magic
dust. Or not. Evidence:

an object was touched,
an object was wiped clean.

                                                                 —Erica Goss

Erica Goss served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA, from 2013-2016. She is the author of Night Court, winner of the 2016 Lyrebird Award, Wild Place and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets. Recent work appears in Lake Effect, Atticus Review, Contrary, Convergence, Eclectica, The Red Wheelbarrow, and Main Street Rag, among others. She is co-founder of Media Poetry Studio, a poetry-and-film camp for teen girls: www.mediapoetrystudio.com. Please visit her at www.ericagoss.com

 



Text/subtext

as of the use of other voices in random patdown / he
I mean ya see it’s just that …
interesting the way cautious interferes w/defiance & freedom
 accumulates   somewhere in between/ sketches itself then goes
 to extremes to ward off extremes
 built within the environs of unadorned interiors
interlocking pinnacles fascinating heights
uncompromised accommodations
the harmony of light space & the cylinder of the bell

the collapse of corporations in an instant
so many hands  filthy clean  w/only the pot left
  & they  (the never accused guilty ones)
   luxuriate within the slain head of the
               scapegoat.  

                                                                      —Steve Dalachinsky

Poet/collagist Steve Dalachinsky was born in Brooklyn after the last big war and has managed to survive lots of little wars. His book The Final Nite (Ugly Duckling Presse) won the PEN Oakland National Book Award. He has received both the Kafka and Acker Awards and is a 2014 recipient of a Chevalier D’ le Ordre des Artes et Lettres. His poem “Particle Fever” was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. His most recent books include Fools Gold (2014 feral press), a superintendent's eyes (revised and expanded 2013/14 - unbearable/autonomedia), flying home, a collaboration with German visual artist Sig Bang Schmidt (Paris Lit Up Press 2015). His most recent books include “The Invisible Ray” (Overpass Press, 2016) with artwork by Shalom Neuman and Frozen Heatwave a b\collaboration with Yuko Otomo (Luna Bisonte Prods 2017) and Black Magic (New Feral Press 2017).

 



loyal to the unadjusted just

Somebody will have to put these things back.
What I don’t like about you is your parts.
Everything was happy that day he was sad.
A friendly and welcoming disarray.

Things cling to my clothes.
The tour guide went to a nearby landmark to warm up a gun.
Outrage must henceforth be reserved for bad proofreading.
I am important to this cat.

Another human species? More than one!
On a riverbank in Alaska one bear cuffs another with a broad paw.
So much goes on around here I never hear about.
I am beginning to resent ice cream.

                                                                             —Glenn Ingersoll

Glenn Ingersoll works for the Berkeley Public Library, where he hosts Clearly Meant, a reading & interview series. He has two chapbooks, City Walks (broken boulder) and Fact (Avantacular). He keeps two blogs, LoveSettlement and Dare I Read. Recent work has appeared in Poetry East, The Opiate, and Concis. Ingersoll wishes to thank H.D. Moe for the title of this poem.

 


 

City of Sirens

You hear them at all hours passing:
an ambulance or caravan of cops,
sirens blaring, red lights flashing,
raw emotion like a hamsin rushing
over empty streets. Another stabbing,
a drive-by shooting, a car plowing into a crowd--
we turn inward with each passing day,
wonder where the next weapon is
concealed—in this bag? under that coat?

We carry pepper spray, guns openly
and truncheons. Some threaten
to turn our cities into graveyards.
When death extends an empty sleeve,
we reach for it, shake hands to test
his iron grip and keep new blows at bay.

                                                                       —Steven Sher

Steven Sher is a native of Brooklyn who now lives in Jerusalem. He is the author of 15 books, including, most recently, Uncharted Waters (New Feral Press, 2017), The House of Washing Hands (Pecan Grove Press, 2014), and Grazing on Stars: Selected Poems (Presa Press, 2012). Since the 1970s, his poetry and prose have appeared in hundreds of journals worldwide. He has worked as an editor, media consultant, and journalist; and has taught at many universities and writing workshops. 

 



We Raise Up Our Shadows

These bodies whose shadows roam the earth
Seek to fill the emptiness, to empty out the

Void, to fight the vast abyss so terrifying. To
Illuminate the shadows, we can see, these are

Our bodies bent over holes in a garden of time
We each till. Work to fill the holes, to empty

The void. Love to fill the emptiness. Suffer
To reveal the abyss. Joy to level the soil over

Wounds in our souls. Forgive to heal and so
Die in peace in the gardens of our lives, as

Plants we tended rise above the earth to deny
The void. At last, we raise up our shadows.

                                                                                     —G. Louis Heath 

Louis Heath, Ph.D., Berkeley, 1969, is Emeritus Professor, Ashford University, Clinton, Iowa. He enjoys reading his poems at open mics. He has published poems in a wide array of journals. His books include Leaves Of Maple and Long Dark River Casino.

 


 
Epitaph

More darkness, infinite and dense,
than starlight in the vast surround.
Far more than hollow sound
he sought fulfilling silence.

He valued stillness over action.
Buried in the ground,
here his inclinations found
undying satisfaction.

                                                     —George H. Northrup

George H. Northrup is the author of You Might Fall In, published by Local Gems Press.