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 Wehrman Reviews Dhar July 2017



 

JANUARY 2012  

A new year! Full of new promise and, hopefully, new founts of creativity for all of us. (Also a presidential election year, but I won't get into that!) In the past year, FLRev has been privileged to publish what we feel are the finest contemporary poems being written today (in 16 lines or less!) We hope to continue that tradition in the coming year, beginning with the amazing poems in this issue! We also have a new feature in the works: every other month, our issue will feature a book review, which we hope will inspire you to buy the work of your fellow poets. Karen and I wish you numerous blessings! (And by the way, although our book reviews are usually by solicitation only, if you would like to be considered as a reviewer - and we pay $20-$25 per review - - feel free to e-mail us at firstliteraryreview@yahoo.com).     -Cindy Hochman, Editor-in-Chief

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with

 

gypsy blood spilling from the warm brick

contagion

ripens
                                                            -Heller Levinson

(previously published in Mr. Levinson's full-length book, Smelling Mary)

Heller Levinson lives in NYC, where he studies animal behavior. He has published in over a hundred journals and magazines including Sulfur, Jacket, Hunger, Talisman, First Intensity, Laurel Review, Omega, Otoliths, The Wandering Hermit, Fire (U.K), Tears in the Fence (U.K.), Alligatorzine, Counterexample Poetics, The Jivin' Ladybug, Moria, Woodcoin, Mad Hatters Review, etc. His publication, Smelling Mary (Howling Dog Press, 2008), was nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and the Griffin Prize. Black Widow Press will be publishing his from stone this running in 2011. Additionally, he is the originator of Hinge Theory. Please visit www.hellerlevinson.com for more information.

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Spontaneous Combustion

You figure me out
yet still want me,
so there's that
between us.
                                       -Jan Castro

Jan Garden Castro's The Last Frontier, limited edition letterpress poems, is now at The Berg Collection, New York Public Library. Since moving to New York, her poetry & fiction have appeared in Chronogram, ClwnWr, Adirondack Review, Literary Gazette, & Winter Harvest. Castro is author of two art books & co-editor of two literary anthologies.

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Is Kiss An Orphaned Lamb?

Spirit, espiritu, breath. We walk around saying more
than we're aware, making us weary, all the time straining to hear
someone mumbling in a secret language. Word in Old English is thornbush-
spirit, espiritu, breath  and I am running through them, panting, scratched.
Secret is Old French for tongue. Lately, I've been hiding a kiss
far away, wanting to drink your invisible ink. To cosset is to make a pet
of a lamb without his damn: coss, kiss, kyssa, cosset. I'm woolly, too.
Lust is from listen, to please. I don't just hear you speaking. I desire it.
                                                                                                               -Amy Holman

Amy Holman is the author of Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window, published in 2010 with Somondoco Press, and the prize-winning, Wait For Me, I'm Gone, published in 2005 with Dream Horse Press. She's been in many magazines including Archaeology online, American Letters & Commentary, Barrel House, Barrow Street, Failbetter, Gargoyle, New Verse News, The Potomac Review, and Zocalo Public Square. She writes prose as well as poetry, teaches poetry workshops, gives lectures on how to publish, and consults with writers on their literary careers. Check out more at her website: www.amyholman.com.

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Haiku

Fragile as snowflakes,
we are born, we live, we die,
leaving little trace.

Where does winter go
when the shards of ice dissolve
and then disappear?

Bird nests punctuate
the stark naked limbs of trees,
disrobed by winter.

Even my soul buds
when spring warmth pushes new life
to dormant branches.

Songs from yesteryear:
pegs in the walls of time where
we hang memories.
                                                            -Ted O. Badger

Ted O. Badger: native Texan, graduate of Baylor University, veteran of World War II, author of five books of poetry, published in manyjournals over years. Editor of the Lucidity Poetry Journal since 1985, founder of the annual Lucidity Ozark Poetry Retreat in 2001. Life member of both the Poetry Society of Texas & Missouri State Poetry
Society.

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Hidden Bomb

Like the pigeons cooing in the rain
you never know   it may explode while you're
sipping Pinot Noir, eating a hamburger
getting a haircut, or thinking about getting one.
And then again, it may go off while you're trying on
a new pair of loafers, selling stock, or buying another yacht
and singing ,"Down by the Old Mill Stream".

Maybe you'll only lose an arm or a leg
or your mind: thoughts of simple things
the sun coming up, pigeons cooing in the rain.
                                                                                -Sanford Fraser


Sanford Fraser was born in Boston in 1932 and began writing poetry at the age of fifty in New York City where he now lives. A new edition of his bilingual book of poems "Among Strangers I've Known All My Life" (English/French) was just published by New York Quarterly Books in September 2010. His book of poems, "Tourist", was published by New York Quarterly Books in 2009, and his bilingual book of poems, "Among Strangers I've Known All My Life/ Parmi les Étrangers Que J'ai Connus Toute Ma Vie," was first published by Tarabuste Editions in France in 2007. His chapbook,"14th Street", appears in "The New School Chapbook Series of 1995". Numerous magazines here and in France have published his poems.

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Optimism

Deep within something says you can't do it because there is nothing to be done if it means going on and on without end. Easier, by far, to sit, tea cup on saucer shaking in hands that one day will let their clench go forever.

Duet

Starting at the edge he snouts across bed, hand held hardness guiding mist of life fire curling across the expanse of sheeted hope. He wants to touch right words with lip but you seal unspoken phrases with a finger, train them to disappear and taste the absence behind salted shadow of day-still too far away as breath returns and secretions dry shrinking flesh, flopping back to the middle with nothing at hand but your face and bedside darkness returning.
                                                                                                               -BJ Muirhead

BJ Muirhead is a writer and photographer living in rural Australia. He has published art criticism, poetry, short fiction, and has exhibited paintings, drawings and photographs, and has two delightful young children who frequently take him away from artistic work.

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Jan 1, 2005 - 12:13 AM

A New York New Year. Nowhere
         else could it go down like this, except
         the center of the cyclone. Unseasonably
         warm, chilling on the fifth floor "patio"
         (what the people below would style their roof)
         celebrating a joint in refractured light
         fireworking across windowpanes
         towering to the east.
         Concrete chameleons red
         green gold and blue, to the hidden
         pounding
         of the party in the park
         sounding from the back-lit building
         west to east and west again.
         (it would resound
         long after the flaring faded)
         Looking away revealed

         what couldn't be seen
         directly. On the other side
         of the glass, Miles celebrates
         his second week sleeping
         on Jessica's breast.
                                                     -Matthew Hupert

Matthew Hupert is the author of "Ism is a Retrovirus" [Three Rooms Press] which has been lauded by Mondo 2000 editor R.U. Sirius. Dennis McNally, author of "Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation and America", and "A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead" , says that "[Hupert] sees how the words work, listens to them working, feels their meaning and spits ‘em out. I love his poetry." Matthew believes the primary role of the Artist is to be the stick that your Zen master smacks you in the head with. His poetry has been published in "The Formalist", the Dadaist journal "Maintenant3″, and the Anthology "150 contemporary sonnets."

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First Date

So here we are in Park (after dark-
I saw you before you crossed
7th Avenue; there is an entire world
inside you that I do not know, but I do know
that I want a collision, and so I issued you
this silent challenge: skip the small talk, and
jokes, and quotes; peel your soul for me like a
banana, and then ravish me in the restroom
of an organic coffee shop, for anyone
can be good, so we should be great) Slope.
                                                                           -T.C. Gardstein

T. C. Gardstein is a writer, copyeditrix, artist, southpaw, and native New Yorker who is currently doing time in Bay Ridge. Her first novel, Circuit, is available on Xlibris.com and Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Circuit-T-C-Gardstein/dp/0738826766. T.C.'s erotic poetry has appeared on cleansheets.com, and she was the best-selling author on the recently defunct Paper Bag Press with her two erotica eBooks, Sandwich Filling and The Poetry Prostitute (also published as an audio book). Her anti-horoscope astrology blog is http://pluto-rising-astrology.blogspot.com. T.C. has given featured reading performances at such NYC venues as Galapagos, Madame X, Cornelia St. Café, Yippie Cafe, and Ding Dong Lounge.

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Memory Motel

damp sheets and the
blanket thread-bare pink or gray rose-
petal thin wool, hot light seeping through
the frayed fibers
cold light slatted in the window cut-
outs of the paper weight walls

i remember nothing, only the
tangle of sheets, the
too-warm spread, sliding to
the floor. not your face, not your
lake-blue eyes
                                                          -Susan Landry

Susan T. Landry is a writer and an editor. She is a member of the *14 lines or fewer* poetry group, Brevitas, and the international group, Tuesday Poem; has published short-form memoir online at Brevity, the journal of concise literary nonfiction, at Word Riot, and at Pindeldyboz; and was editor of the late, lamented literary magazine, Lifeboat: a Journal of Memoir. She lives in Maine now, but learned her survival skills on the Lower East Side.

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Jazz

Almost perfect
the basement venue
drummer smiling manically
saxophonist getting in his chops
bass player strumming preoccupied
the star, ancient,
still playing a cool trumpet
music enfolding us "yeah"
only one thing missing
the smoke.
                                              -Dorothea Hutton Scher

Dorothea Hutton Scher was born in Vienna and emigrated to New York at age six. She has been here ever since, an enthusiastic Manhattanite. Dorothea has two grown daughters and only began to write poetry a dozen years ago. Her poems have been published in Pearl. She has also been published in France.

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Watershed

Tomorrow, Dad will have been dead three years, to put it bluntly.

Our lives are marked by our parents' passing, it becomes always a certain time since, so it will be for our children, so it always was; from the paradise (however fallen) of a parent's love the point of being shut out from it forever

is always memorable

-----

for Gabriel guards the way back . . . while no other place you can't return to either really matters
                                                                                           -Philip Beitchman

Born in Philadelphia a bit before the outbreak of World War II (his first memory is Pearl Harbor Day), Philip Beitchman has called himself a poet since that proud Proustian ‘moment' his "Arbor Day Ode" appeared in his high school yearbook. Over the years, mostly by dint of monographs he's published, he's called himself other things too: critic (I Am A Process With No Subject, 1988); scholar of mysticism (Alchemy of the Word, Cabala of the Renaissance, 1998), philosopher (The View From Nowhere, 2001), and theatre historian (The Theatre of Naturalism: Disappearing Act, 2011). His first book of poetry, Getting Back, is in now in press. Philip Beitchman lives in Flatbush and teaches literature at Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York.

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          He strives against wind     over waterless dunes

          sandblind & solitary.   Sand-shuffles

          on shifting terrain.    Enticing music -

          singing, strumming         summons the traveler

          & leads him astray.     Lost, deceived

          by invisible voices      vying & calling

          his name, he stumbles.      Gnarled, afraid,

          he wills himself     to walk, to turn

          to fight, shun    fears & wishes

          leave hope    behind.  He stuffs

          his ears, sets free.     Earth-bound

          he follows his bones     beat of his heart.
                                                                           -Katrinka Moore

Katrinka Moore is the author of Thief (BlazeVOX, 2009) and This is Not a Story, which won the New Women's Voices Prize in poetry and was published by Finishing Line Press in 2003.

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Of Things Material

Avoid synthetics,
alloys too. Though
nylon serves a purpose-
dries fast, it is
always running first and
never lasts.
Tears your heart right open.

Silk stockings for me,
strands of pearls
on which to teeth,
a velvet underground,
kid gloves and a
Louisville Slugger.
Now, there's some real hardwear.
                                                        -Ronnie Norpel


Ronnie Norpel earned a Wharton degree, then went into poetry for the money. She is an actor, a photographer, and the author of BASEBALL KARMA AND THE CONSTITUTION BLUES (on Three Rooms Press), a ficto-memoir loosely based on her days as a ballgirl and season ticket sales champ for her hometown Phillies. Ronnie is the host and producer of TRACT 187 CULTURE CLATCH, the hot reading & music series happening at the Ding Dong Lounge on the Upper West Side, which next convenes this Wednesday night at 7 p.m. COME! GATHER! (IF you dare travel above 14th Street!)

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CODB

More
                    o' the same
motion's goin' thru
                you
not th' other
                way
fakin' it
       pretty much
smiley face t' this world
        th' rage
           ‘n' burn
                             deep within
ten thousand years o' sleep
        sounds like
                a winner
only, no sleep to be had
only . . .
         joy, pain, hope, sadness
just the
        cost of doing business
‘n' livin'
               is bizness
bridge is
               burnin'
                      under y'r feet

so

       you

                jump
                                                                -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, amongst others. He has read in poetry venues throughout the Tri-State area. Charles hosts the Park Slope Poetry Project and is the Associate Editor of its publication, Erato. He is also a part-time guest co-host at the Perch Café Literary Tuesdays. His first book, 39 Poems has just been released (No Shirt Press, 2010)

[Editor's Note:  Please check out Cindy Hochman's review of Charles Butler's book at New Mirage Journal:  http://newmiragejournal.com/book_reviews_fall_2011/book_review_by_cindy_hochman]