FIRST LITERARY REVIEW-EAST

Submissions Meet the Editor-in-Chief January 2018 March 2019 May/June 2021 Meet the Associate Editor July 2021 November 2019 January/February 2019 Book Review - Lyn Lifshin's "Ballroom" March 2020 September 2021 May 2020 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 2020 March/April 2022 Book Review - Dean Kostos "Rivering" May 2013 Book Review: Hochman Reviews Ormerod Summer Issue 2013 September 2020 November/December 2018 McMaster Reviews Szporluk January 2021 July/August 2014 November 2014 Book Review: Wright Reviews Gardner Stern Reviews Katrinka Moore May 2015 Hochman Reviews Ross July 2020 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 2018 March 2018 May 2019 July 2019 September 2019 November 2020 March 2021 November 2021 WINTER 2022



 

WINTER 2022 ISSUE

 

 


 

At ninety-seven
she'd prefer to drop her leaves
and welcome winter

                                                     —George Northrup

George Northrup is a psychologist and poet in New Hyde Park, NY. His most recent full-length collection is Wave into Wave, Light into Light: Poems and Places, published by IPBooks.net.

 


 

mid-life crisis
staring at each other
an egret and i

        

winter morn
my puppy chases
a dollop of sun

                                  —Mona Bedi

Mona Bedi is a medical doctor in Delhi, India. She has been writing poetry since childhood, but a few years back she started writing the Japanese form, haiku. She has two poetry books published: they you and me and dancing moonlight. She lives with her husband, two children, and a dog. Her haiku and senryu have been published in Failed haiku, Haiku in Action, The Haiku dialogue, and cold moon journal.


 

Winter Haiku

pale wintry sky
she knits a cap and scarf
to match the season
        

gloves go MIA
frozen fingers in pockets
train is late again

                                            —Patricia Carragon

Patricia Carragon: author of Angel Fire (Alien Buddha Press), Meowku (Poets Wear Prada), The Cupcake Chronicles (Poets Wear Prada), and Innocence (Finishing Line Press). Available on Amazon.com. Curator/editor-in-chief (Brownstone Poets, Brooklyn, NY).



 
Persona

I’m a voice
only words and your projections

a voice, a borrowed voice
your voice, I’m available
read me again

                                                     —Chuck Joy

Chuck Joy: Poet, Erie Pennsylvania, about as far away as you can be from Philadelphia and still be in Pennsylvania. Fordham University (Rose Hill) 1973, BA, Sociology. Magazine appearances: Medicinal Purposes Literary Review, Rattapallax, 2 Bridges, Red Fez, Pratik. Author: Said the Growling Dog, Percussive, Fun Poetry (poetry collections). Erie County Pennsylvania Poet Laureate (2018-2021).


 

I hate
when non-New Yorkers
tell me
how to New York 


A poem 

Is like a Facebook status 

Everyone will see it 

No one will comment on it 

All parties will blame it 

On Staten Island

                                                     —Thomas Fucaloro

Thomas Fucaloro: The winner of a performance grant from the Staten Island Council of the Arts and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Thomas Fucaloro has been on six national slam teams. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the New School and is a co-founding editor of Great Weather for Media and NYSAI press. He is an adjunct professor at Wagner College and BMCC, where he teaches world lit and advanced creative writing. Thomas has released two full-lengths: It Starts From the Belly and Blooms and Inheriting Craziness is a Soft Halo of Light by Three Rooms Press.

 



How to Remember the Sun


1.
Peel a clementine.
Separate the sections.
Eat the sections.

2.
Walk through a world of frost.
Lift your hands.
Breathe the clementine.

                                                   —James Owens

James Owens's newest book is Family Portrait with Scythe (Bottom Dog Press, 2020). His poems and translations appear widely in literary journals, including recent or upcoming publications in Grain, Dalhousie Review, Vita Poetica, Queen's Quarterly, and Honest Ulsterman. He earned an MFA at the University of Alabama and lives in a small town in northern Ontario.



 
Blood Orange

Blood orange.
Orange blood.
Bloody orange.
Blood simple.
Simple twist of fate.
Hand of fate.
Hand-in-hand.
My heart in your hand.
Heart to heart.
Heart of the sun.
Orange sun.
Sunny orange.
Bloody orange.
Orange blood.
Blood orange.

                                      —John Tustin

John Tustin's poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals and fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.



After The Party


It was a good party.
“you’ll be seeing pink elephants tonight”
they laughed.
I didn’t believe them
I thought the elephants would be blue,
a better colour for me.
But it was me that was blue.
The elephant I was riding
was just 
elephant coloured.

It was a very good party.

                                                                 —Lynn White   

[First published in The Daily Drunk, April 2020]

Lynn White lives in North Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net  and a Rhysling Award. 
https://lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com
 
https://www.facebook.com/Lynn-White-Poetry-1603675983213077/

 



Mural

A naked tattoo
he wants to wear,
sleep in like a tent, this quilt
wrapping 'round, canvas folds
pulled up, tucked under, large
papoose on the move, room
enough to grow, partner, to paint,
frame inside, sculpture alive
& the images, his own life
living life simply.

                                                      —Stephen Mead

Stephen Mead: Resident Artist & Curator for the online Chroma Museum, artistic representations of LGBTQI persons and organizations predominantly before Stonewall, Stephen Mead has been a published outsider artist/writer going on thirty years now. He is immensely grateful to the myriad publications who have presented his work over this timespan, and given his need to create a voice of support. Recently he has had work published in The Pinecone Review and Neologism Poetry Journal.

 



Hibernation

If I’m early to wake
wakefulness turns on me—

turns its back on me
in judgement of 
my dreams, in which


wakefulness and I embrace
like new love
& welcome the slug I am.

                                                                 —D. Beveridge

D. Beveridge is a stay-at-home dad, former US Navy submariner, and aspiring churchman. His work is forthcoming in Local Knowledge. This is his first literary appearance.


[Editors' Note: First Literary Review-East is always gratified to give a worthy poet their first publication and we also salute Mr. Beveridge's service to the country.]

 



Baltic Amber                                           

Explore the ancient Baltic

shores, curling toes
into white sand,
sift precious nuggets
through your fingertips
like a child kissing stones.
Grab an amber nugget           
hold it tight—

claim life before the birds 
of dawn wake searching 
for the soul of a tiger that purrs.
 

                                                         —Clarissa Jakobsons

Clarissa Jakobsons, Aurora Ohio, teaches art and writing courses at Cuyahoga Community College. Her artwork has been exhibited widely, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Baldwin Wallace College, The Artists Archive of Western Reserve, and Words/Matter, as well as at San Francisco State, and internationally. She has enjoyed an artist residiency at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center.



The boat leaves the harbor.
It's morning.
I hear the screams of seagulls.
The bees that lived on the roof are gone.
There are mice on the ceiling, I hear them at night
in my room when everything is dark.
I have to leave tomorrow and leave this city by the sea.
But I can hear the turtle doves fighting on the terrace.
They are hungry.
I get up to give them food, one last time before winter.

                                                                                        —Ivan de Monbrison


Ivan de Monbrison lives in Paris. This poem was originally written in Russian.

 



Great Lake Shore in Winter

The concentric silences of phantom
isolation splash unscented across
caked ice—expanse framed by violent but
muted thundering of the congealed. Edge
of weather razors faces, encircles
eyelids, and its grimace arcs like light’s blue
sigh. Still, one’s stitched tongue bawls outward in a
brawling prayer, in bottled shouts to the wind,
and names all the luxury gathered here.
Here, one’s peace fronts one’s own ferocity.

                                                                                    —D.R. James

[Editors' note: This poem was first published in Backchannels]            

D. R. James’s latest of ten collections are Mobius Trip and Flip Requiem (Dos Madres Press, 2021, 2020); his micro-chapbook All Her Jazz is free, fun, and printable-for-folding at Origami Poems Project; and individual poems have appeared in a wide variety of anthologies and journals (including FLRev, July 2020). He lives in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan.
https://www.amazon.com/author/drjamesauthorpage
 
 

 

Tincture tiptoe

hemisphere spins
hermetic frissons
nummular as a
phonograph obscures
relegated photon
then embowed
less a comity stripped
aspersion brief but
effective aslant
against kayak
lauric lava kept
calm then abrupt.

                                      —Joshua Martin

Joshua Martin is a Philadelphia-based writer and filmmaker, who currently works in a library. He is the author of the book Vagabond fragments of a hole (Schism Neuronics). He has had pieces previously published in Fugitives & Futurists, Otoliths, M58, Punk Noir Magazine, Beir Bua, Scud, RIC Journal, Ink Pantry, Streetcake, The Collidescope, SORTES, Prolit, E-ratio, Nauseated Drive, and Fixator Press, among others. joshuamartinwriting.blogspot.com



Planet Earth with her

Planet Earth with her tsunamis of droughts. 
Planet Earth with her floods of fire. 
Planet Earth with her famine of glaciers. 
Planet Earth with her feasts of famine. 
Planet Earth with her fiestas of bombs. 

Planet Tsunami with her arms of fire. 
Planet Fire with her eyes of floods. 
Planet Flood with her mouth of drought. 
Planet Drought with her belly of bombs. 
Planet Bomb with her exploding head. 

Planet earth with her teeth of skulls. 
Planet earth with her skull of ash. 


Planet ash with her corpse of sun. 

                                                              —Alison Ross

Alison Ross: Clockwise Cat publisher and editor Alison Ross pioneered the genre of Zen-Surrealism and the tenets of Zen-Surrealist Socialism, and uses those as her guiding aesthetic. 

 

 
Huddled 

They dream of the slaughter
 
Wool over the eyes
 
Tooth at the throat
 
Why the claw
can never be a hand
 
Why the claw
is forever unable to grasp

                                                     —Alex Caldiero
 

Alex Caldiero makes things that sometimes appear as language or pictures or music, and then again as the shape of your own mind. He is Senior Artist in Residence at Utah Valley University.

 



Please Introduce Me to My Life


Rather not read my poems—
those that meant so much before (irrelevant),
those fresh from the fish market
of my virus-angsty brain (sick-scented, desperate).
Choose instead to press against a warm wind,
lose myself in erotic rain that touches my face
with gentleness, & also, sometimes, force.

I have written many poems
but never loved enough
this life I wandered through
as if a grazing rabbit
when every bird’s a wolf
launching from branches,
singing the love song of death.

                                                                       —Ace Boggess

Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, most recently Escape Envy (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2021). His poems have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, and many other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble.


 
from Visions

A rider seems to be falling off
A horse on a starry night
But he never does fall off

Two dogs fight in the darkness
Two dogs made of light

A sledge speeds away at night

A flower has a small eye of light

Pots bubble on every burner
In the dim kitchen
Of the dim apartment

Birches droop under a dim circus tent
Girls dance onstage many decades ago

Sitting in the darkness, watching
We could drift off to sleep
The air weighs on us
The green sky overhead

                                                                  —Michael Ruby

Michael Ruby is the author of seven full-length poetry collections: At an Intersection (Alef, 2002), Window on the City (BlazeVOX, 2006), The Edge of the Underworld (BlazeVOX, 2010), Compulsive Words (BlazeVOX, 2010), The Mouth of the Bay (BlazeVOX, 2019) and The Star-Spangled Banner (Station Hill, 2020). His trilogy in prose and poetry, Memories, Dreams and Inner Voices (Station Hill, 2012), includes ebooks Fleeting Memories (Ugly Duckling, 2008) and Inner Voices Heard Before Sleep (Argotist Online, 2011). He is also the author of ebooks Close Your Eyes (Argotist, 2018) and Titles & First Lines (Mudlark, 2018), and five Dusie Kollektiv chapbooks. He co-edited Bernadette Mayer’s early books, Eating the Colors of a Lineup of Words (Station Hill, 2015), and Mayer’s and Lewis Warsh’s collaboration Piece of Cake (Station Hill, 2020). He lives in Brooklyn and works as an editor of U.S. news and politics articles at The Wall Street Journal.



You Erased Penury and Wrote my Heart

Minutes hurt the small until we kiss them.
Where light falters, voice shallows in.

Poverty accepts its depth.
What shows is creased against a likelihood.

Fall windows into shoots we claim are new
to us and our intention. I read my heart to you.

I rinse my life, and I discover yours
as young as we project toward any wilderness.

                                                                             —Sheila E. Murphy

Sheila E. Murphy is an American poet who has been writing and publishing actively since 1978. Murphy is the recipient of the Gertrude Stein Award for her book Letters to Unfinished J. (Green Integer Press, 2003). Her most recent book is Golden Milk (Luna Bisonte Prods, 2020). Reporting Live from You Know Where won the Hay(na)Ku Poetry Book Prize Competition from Meritage Press (U.S.A.) and xPress(ed) (Finland). Also in 2018, Broken Sleep Books brought out the book As If To Tempt the Diatonic Marvel from the Ivory. 



Preoccupations

I’m stunned at the heart’s laziness
with getting rid of people who go on hurting it.

I’m concerned the heart sees what I can’t see.
A scorched halo?

An aura covered with ashes?
A kindness, impossible to get your hands around?

I’m concerned
not understanding what I don't know

and that some people go around hurting hearts
and getting rid of them is hard.

                                                                            —Juan Pablo Mobili

Juan Pablo Mobili was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and adopted by New York. His poems have appeared most recently in The American Journal of Poetry, Mason Street Review, Broadsided Press, The Red Wheelbarrow, and The Worcester Review, among others. He has also received an Honorable Mention from the Creators of Justice Award by the International Human Rights Art Festival, as well as Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations for 2020. In addition to this, he published a chapbook of poems in collaboration with Madalasa Mobili, Three Unknown Poets, published by Seranam Press.



So Long

                                    So long it has been 

Since I have smelt the sea 
           heard it washing evenly 
           on a shore lost in 
           a black night 

                                    So long it has been 

Since I have seen a thousand 

           thousand stars clouded 
           by the Milky Way 

                                    So long, so long 
                                    it has been … 

Since I have heard 

           a silent night, whispers 
           of a warm breeze breathing 
           through an open window 

                                                                         —Lorraine Caputo

Wandering troubadour Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator, and travel writer. Her works appear in over 250 journals on six continents; and 18 collections of poetry, including On Galápagos Shores (dancing girl press, 2019) and Escape to the Sea (Origami Poems Project, 2021). She also authors travel narratives, articles, and guidebooks. In 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada honored her verse. Caputo has done literary readings from Alaska to the Patagonia. She journeys through Latin America with her faithful knapsack Rocinante, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth. 



Why Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer Finally Ended His Opening Line
 
'Twas a dark, stormy night when he started to write a story filled with allegory, a romantic tale
with rakish glory which might, he hoped, somehow ignite your gleaning to find its meaning
(before you find you’ve changed your mind).
Each phrase was trite, every sentence too long, and as each word dragged you along, it seemed
they tarried to the end, that resting place where all must wend.
The punctuation but a tease, each was met with great unease and brought you to your knees.
At four a.m., storm storming, thoughts and plots still forming,
exhausted, trying to cavort,
nature would retort:
lightning struck!
His line
cut
short.

                                                                                                    —Ken Gosse

Ken Gosse prefers writing short, rhymed verse with traditional meter, usually filled with whimsy and humor. First published in First Literary Review–East in November 2016, his poems are also in The Offbeat, Pure Slush, Parody, Home Planet News Online, Eclectica, and other publications. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years.



Lives Lived

Up from the homeland of memory she rises,
babushkaed and bent,
her exiled tongue crying “brouček, brouček!”
as she bears down on me like a Mack truck
brandishing old-country knedlíčky, kraut
and roast pork, sweet kolache and buchta
her gnarled hands array before me
with a stern “eat, my love, now eat!”

Yet across the great chasm of absence
all I can utter in this toothless month is
“I’m old, babička. I’ve grown old.”

                                                             —Darrell Petska     

Darrell Petska, a retired university editor from Madison, Wisconsin, writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction. View some of his past work in First Literary Review–East, Nixes Mate Review, Right Hand Pointing, Boston Literary Magazine, Verse-Virtual, Loch Raven Review and elsewhere. (conservancies.wordpress.com)



Cherish The Memory of Heaven
 
Today I would like to thank the world that looks like Hell.
It makes the fire that cherishes the memory of the Heaven burning inside me;
it reminds me of the precious fruit of the sweet golden tree.
Those palaces and towers swirling music from outer space,
those giants whose bodies are limpid and happy,
those oceans are blue cocktails,
those rivers are the nectar of the soul;
however those mountains float in the sky like clouds, layer upon layer.
None of stone has no transparent smile.
The wind passes through the body and sings mysterious words.
None of flowers will wither,
as if old sun is both eternal and young.

                                                                                        —Yuan Hongri
                                                                                        —Translated by Yuanbing Zhang
 
Yuan Hongri (born 1962) is a renowned Chinese mystic, poet, and philosopher. His work has been published in the UK, USA, India, New Zealand, Canada, and Nigeria; his poems have appeared in Poet's Espresso Review, Orbis, Tipton Poetry Journal, Harbinger Asylum, The Stray Branch, Pinyon Review, Taj Mahal Review, Madswirl, Shot Glass Journal, Amethyst Review, The Poetry Village, and other e-zines, anthologies, and journals. His best-known works are Platinum City and Golden Giant. His works explore themes of prehistoric and future civilization.

Yuanbing Zhang (b. 1974), is Mr. Yuan Hongri’s assistant and translator. He himself is a Chinese poet and translator, and works in a Middle School, Yanzhou District, Jining City, Shandong Province China. He can be contacted through his email-3112362909@qq.com.