On this page: poems by Eric Evans, Breindel Lieba Kasher, Michael E. Stone, Judy Swanson, Jennifer Lagier, Jeffrey M. Green, Maude Larke, David Trame, Katharyn Howd Machan, Patrick B. Osada, Carisa Danielle, Hayim Abramson, Miriam Stanley, Yaakov ben David
The following works are copyright © 2013. All rights reserved. No distribution or reprinting in any form whatsoever without written permission from the authors.
Eric Evans is a writer and musician from Buffalo, New York with stops in Portland, Oregon and Rochester, New York where he currently resides. His work has appeared in Artvoice, decomP magazinE, Tangent Magazine, Posey, Xenith Magazine, Anobium Literary Magazine,, Pemmican Press, Remark and many other publications and anthologies. He has published seven full collections and three broadsides through his own small press, Ink Publications, in addition to a broadside through Lucid Moon Press. He is the editor of The Bond Street Review as well as the proud recipient of the 2009 Geva Theatre Center Summer Academy Snapple Fact Award.
We are all, you'll find, Japanese
tourists in one way or another,
all prone to a Paris Syndrome
of our own design, all set up
for the inevitable divide, the
towering truth that the magazines
have lied to us once again, that
your Paris and theirs can't ever
possibly be the same.
We are all, you'll see, partial to
the palpitations of the supposed
runway lifestyle where no Parisian
is poor but merely less rich, where
no city-dweller is ugly but rather
simply subject to the degrees of
beauty where their lives, by sheer
existence, overshadow the drab
quaintness of yours.
We will, inevitably, like the loose
tied Tokyo businessman with the
visitors guide in hand, miss the
joke and its stilted translation
as we take hold of the fractured
references we understand and spin
out our own internal tale, a yarn
of yes in a world of no, a returnee's
report from the far reaches of
the other side.
Easy, Holden, Easy
Not so fast, Holden, not so fast -
that righteousness only suits you
for so long and only works for
the briefest of periods, only hangs
so well on a select few and
even then it never ages the way
you hope it will, never maintains
it's seamless sell.
Easy, Holden, easy - your parents
may be nice and all, maybe touchy
as hell as you so readily claim,
but after a disappointment or
two or ten, after a ceremonious
dissection of your in-love heart,
you may see them a little bit
differently, may sense some of
the truth beneath their titles.
Are all adults such goddamn liars?
So bound to the hue and cry of
their own basket-case days? Goddamn
right they are - and by "they" I
mean we which means I. Goddamn
right they/we/I trap themselves
with such alarming frequency. But
it's the braver ones you'll one day
meet who'll at least be honest
about it from time to time.
She makes me feel all Chagall, so
weightless and free, bound to scoff
at gravity and its feeble insistence,
to sail above a muted village
astride a defiant rooster, over-sized
flowers our only protection against
whatever the elements may have
She makes me feel all Chagall, our
lips connected and the elasticity
that ensues, the puzzle pieces of
the day just an ecstatic jumble,
but mere suggestions of time
spent on much lesser things, such
as never considered on court stands
and death beds, those last supposed
filters of truth.
She makes me feel all Chagall, my
lines fluid yet defined, prismatic
as stained glass, no definitions
of beginning or end, the layering
of lives and the meshing of details,
the smiling headshake of this
intangibility and its unending
implications, the ways of discovery
and the welcome of arriving home.
Breindel Lieba Kasher
Breindel Lieba Kasher is a poet. Her work appears in: Prism, Yeshiva University New York; Midstream, New York; The 21st Century Text, Jerusalem; The Seventh Quarry, Swansea; Off the Shelf, Boston; Cyclamens and Swords, Israel; and Poetry Super Highway, Los Angeles (to name a few). Her work has been translated into German and Polish. She is also an independent documentary film maker.
A curtain opening
Hanging out the window
With all the time
In the world
A cigarette dangling
From red lipstick
I see you
In old photographs
Calling me home
Life is a spiral
The root of you
You wind up
Back in the lobby
You have a grip
That lasts a minute
Poland is “Yuden Frei”
Jewish is virtual:
It feels like necrophilia
We are so popular, now
In ’89 the air was thick
And survivors I met
We fell in love
Like the only two left
From the beginning
Until the bitter end
After too many rains
Krakow, on the bridge
To the ghetto
I look into you
I look for my people
I must say
The café is perfect
Candles, embroidered tablecloths
Cognac, a man plays violin
I fit right in with my
Poetry book and my
In the Ariel “kosher” cafe
There are no Jews here
Poland Is Yuden frei
Michael E. Stone
Michael Stone was born in England in 1938. His family moved to Australia in 1941, where he received his schooling, up to the completion of his BA (Hons.) degree in 1960.
He lives in Jerusalem with his family.
He has published poems in numerous literary journals as well as translations of medieval Armenian poetry. His poetry has also been anthologized in a number of collections.
A book of his, Selected Poems, was published by Cyclamens and Swords Press in 2010.
A poetic translation of Adamgirk', a medieval Armenian epic about Adam and Eve in 6,000 lines, appeared with Oxford University Press in 2007.
Stone's academic activities have been devoted to two different disciplines, Jewish literature and thought in the period of the Second Temple, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Armenian Studies. His research and academic publications have been divided between these two fields.
He holds the degrees of PhD (Harvard) and DLitt. (Melbourne). He was appointed to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1966 and became Gail Levin de Nur Professor of Religious Studies and Professor of Armenian Studies in 1980. He is now retired.
He holds an Honourary DHL (Hebrew Union College), Honourary Doctor (Armenian National Academy of Sciences). He is recipient of the Landau Prize for Contribution to the Humanities (Israel).
A Fragrance in the Air
The tail end of sunset
yellow-reds the sky,
the trees silhouette
on the ridge.
In the quiet house
the ceiling fan hums,
and the shutter
bars the bright lamp outside
and I am alone now
as I talk to the Apple,
write, write, write,
and the world's without.
It's empty here,
it's void, voided,
and the tail end
of her life
as memory of
in the air.
New Blank Document
New blank document
that's what it says.
newly blanked out.
What am I?
not a blank document,
overwritten for more
than three score
I alone can read
the writing that
we wrote both
together and alone.
Now I read it alone.
I keep writing this poem,
over and over,
and my memory goes over
those last five minutes,
over and over.
One day, it will start to go over
the years before those minutes.
A lonely rehearsal
before an empty hall
peopled by insubstantial.
A retired paralegal, Judy Swanson has been writing music lyrics all her life and performed professionally for more than 15 years. She attended the InnerVisions poetry workshop in Windsor, Connecticut from the fall of 2006 through April of 2010.
She has been published in the Poet’s Cove section of the Monhegan Island Commons website and in two editions of Poet’s Ink. Additionally, her poetry and artwork have been published in numerous editions of Cyclamens and Swords.
Judy is also a professional artist whose paintings are in many private collections in the United States and abroad. Her website, www.judyswanson.com, features her artwork and her poetry.
brite as newpeni mahn
slitely tar nisht but
hugivsa fuck mahn
She’s finally lost her mind, we say,
the message peals throughout the land,
‘cause the poem Upinda Mornin
is one she can understand!
The poet promised balderdash,
and, for that, we do agree —
he’s come through with his commitment
to confuse us thoroughly.
We knew that she was dif’rent,
not quite one of us, you see,
but now it’s there for all to view —
yes, most assuredly!
There’s a lesson in here somewhere,
and not at all at random,
that we are blessed with reason,
or else — great minds think in tandem.
It’s the age-old question …
is the cup half empty
or half full?
Sometimes I sit
in an abyss …
other days, at the top of a mountain.
The phone rings and I cringe,
afraid to answer.
Is it news from half a world away,
in an embattled country
where danger is at every turn?
Aaaah … no ...
it’s the little girl
with blond hair and blue eyes
who has inherited
all my genes
and some of my kookiness.
The lilt in her laugh warms my soul
better than a night by the fire
with a cup of tea.
While only a moment ago
I was ready to burst
at the expectation of bad news,
picking up the phone
to whatever today may bring.
My cup …. runneth over.
Jennifer Lagier’s seven books are: Coyote Dream Cantos, Where We Grew Up, Second-Class Citizen, The Mangia Syndrome, Fishing for Portents, Agent Provocateur, and Hookup With Chinaski. She taught with California Poets in the Schools and is now a retired college librarian/instructor, member of the Italian American Writers Association, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Rockford Writers Guild and helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Visit her website at: http://jlagier.net
Cinderella’s Support Group
Her cigarette shakes
during her turn
to describe how
went dramatically wrong.
She crumples Kleenex,
tells the traditional
rescue by prince
on a white charger story.
Her step-sisters understand
the familiar betrayal motif,
smile wryly, nod when she
sobs about the poisoned apple,
She is over forty and
the magic is dead.
There are no cotillions left.
Youth’s glass slipper has shattered;
the ball gown no longer fits.
Freebies at Mac World
New York City, 1997
I share the Roseland lobby
with a bearded transsexual
on an over-sized tricycle.
S/he rides in a circle,
wears glitter, feathered angel wings,
a ballerina’s white tutu.
We greet guests arriving
for a software firm’s gala.
I dispense drink tickets,
vouchers for palm readings,
mock tattoos, foot rubs,
photo ops with the band.
Instructed to circulate and
be friendly to male customers,
I distribute boxer shorts emblazoned
with the company’s logo
and a “Size Does Matter” slogan.
I am 47, have two masters’ degrees,
am on my fifth shot
and last nerve,
cannot believe just
how far I have fallen.
Jeffrey M. Green
Jeffrey M. Green was born and raised in New York City, studied French literature at Princeton and Comparative Literature at Harvard, married in 1970, moved to Israel in 1973, and, after learning Hebrew, became a translator from Hebrew to English. He has translated many novels by Aharon Appelfeld and is now working on a novella by S. Y. Agnon.
Putting him on my Skin
I ironed the deep blue shirt
And listened to “Giant Steps.”
I found it in the back of a closet.
Didn't remember whose it was.
His mother found him wearing it
In a picture from his sister's wedding.
He's missed two since then.
May I use his clothes?
His ring was in his knapsack.
I wear it. If people ask, I tell them.
Otherwise it's our secret.
I don't know where he got it.
In the café where I'm writing,
They're playing “Giant Steps.”
Coltrane left us his music
And he could be alive, too.
Everything the Fortune Teller Said was Wrong
“You will never return to this place.” Her skinny fingers
Trembled as she laid out the greasy cards and mumbled
What everyone thought. “It will be too cold for you
In Nueva York.” The cards (or my aunt) told her
Where I was going, but not about the heat, this kitchen,
Steamier than our rain forest. “Keep to yourself,”
She warned, “Don't listen to the other Mexicans.
They'll say, 'Play cards with us, buy beer, smoke dope.'”
So I trade lessons with a Gringo, Spanish for English.
And I will come home to you with dollars.
Our children will never cross the Rio Grande
Hidden in a trailer truck to wash pots in Nueva York.
Maude Larke has returned to writing after years in universities, analyzing others’ work, and to classical music as an ardent amateur. She has been published in Bird’s Eye reView, the Syracuse Cultural Workers’ Women Artists Datebook, Naugatuck River Review, Oberon, Doorknobs and Bodypaint, the Society of Southwestern Authors, Flowers & Vortexes, and The Story Teller.
She accompanied each piece
by a tongue-hanging-out
shake of the head.
But she would not release
one single white bite.
As she washed
her paws, relieved,
I promised sincerely
that next time
I would serve her
her portion of cod
before I sprinkled the vinegar.
we took a walk
through the small stretch of wood
behind our house
and I was sad
that of all children to cry “tenderfoot”
my sister was the one
like me country-born
or rather born in what was left
of “Gramma’s pasture” and “Gramma’s brook”
that I sit on dressers and backs of couches
perch on higher places
because of my old habit
of sitting on “my rock” in someone else’s field
and watching the sun give its goodbye colors
we rested on the rocks
now pushed together out of everyone’s way
and I watched the birds
flying in black domino dot patterns against the blueness
my sister whined to be carried home
the clouds form the milky round
of an eye –
the moon, a stark negative pupil –
the electric discs of cat’s eyes
the cat lies in the curve of the child
the child lies
in the curve of the mother
the curve wraps
nurture within nurture
long curves of concentric properties –
the sky itself is round
round is continuous
the world as ring
“la mort” – that thin
that shell curving
round is continuous
all in the same curve
Davide Trame is an Italian teacher of English, born and living in Venice-Italy, writing poems exclusively in English since 1993; they have been published in around six hundred literary magazines since 1999, in U.K, U.S. and elsewhere. His poetry collection “Make it Last” was published by Lapwing Publications, Belfast U.K. In 2013.
The Grandfather Clock
A light-green wall I remember,
in the kitchen of my first world
with the pendulum in its box
and hear the large ticking,
the beating out of earth and air
in the spreading summer afternoon.
Time. Time passing, swarming.
Now like then, with this electric
clock in the kitchen, its present stare,
now like then, the spacing of seconds,
even if that other ticking was fuller,
light leaning on airy fingers,
waving with shadows of leaves.
Time. The stare of the beginnings,
afternoons like unending plains,
the fields of grass stretched
in shivers of swirling heat,
in a buzzing entering your heartbeat,
in the flooding sun’s gaze
and the clock beating the regular
instants of its own age.
An age of parents and grandparents,
dignified, moving without pressure,
along the furrows of a kitchen garden,
on the plains where time
has never wanted to leave,
on gravel roads and shiny dust
and the swishing crowds of cornstalks.
Family. Everybody gone now
and time’s countenance just essential,
time’s fist leaning on its cheek
in the rhythm of its own reverie
that is just a passing and being here,
always full and ungraspable
and simple, simple like this ticking
accompanying the pen on the paper
and, outside, the wavering
fingers of a birdsong.
The ticking so at one
with the body of silence
beating out like a stare
filled with buzzing bees,
so interwoven with the texture
of this insubstantial pageant,
so close and ours, both a same
and further sea.
Life is a rope
which you pull and relax,
it is often a rough rope,
you relax because
it is bruising your skin.
Which with time
it bruises anyway,
But what is happiness?
Please don't tell me,
do not brandish this sword,
do not waste any further word.
Katharyn Howd Machan
Katharyn Howd Machan, Professor of Writing at Ithaca College, holds degrees from the College of Saint Rose, the University of Iowa, and Northwestern University. Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines; in anthologies/textbooks such as The Bedford Introduction to Literature, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013, Poetry: An Introduction, Early Ripening: American Women’s Poetry Now, Sound and Sense, Writing Poems, Literature: Reading and Writing the Human Experience, etc.); and in 30 collections, most recently When She’s Asked to Think of Colors (Palettes & Quills Press, 2009). In 2012 she edited Adrienne Rich: A Tribute Anthology for Split Oak Press.
Fox Adventures Where The Blue Map Shows
time turns itself to dust
that sparkles, shimmers:
my favorite color is glitter
she quotes, liking the catalogue
of gifts that try to ease
her faith, make her believe
years matter. Gray lines, thin lines,
curves of chin and thigh and belly
and, oh, those mountain twins of breast
becoming a soft valley! Fox
tries to understand the world
has room for many splendid countries:
Byzantium, of course, but also
halls and hills for aging queens
and shepherds who know birth
as once again, as here it is,
life a universe the brave can travel,
trembling wonder, open to wisdom,
fingering the great beyond
kept new by untried heroes’ yearning,
held old by lovers’ touch.
Patrick B. Osada
Patrick B. Osada is an editor, reviewer of poetry and a member of the management team for south poetry magazine. His current collection, choosing the route , is published in england by indigo dreams publishing. For more information : www.poetry-patrickosada.co.uk
Sometimes the meaning comes in code:
Reflections on a pool; flower tints;
Sea, sky or hills as cyphers.
Or information set in tongues:
Bird call; the constant drone of bees;
Whispering grass or cold wind’s song.
Keeping air waves clear, tuned to all
Known frequencies, I wonder will
I hear….”Your message understood?”
Carisa Danielle is a writer, waitress, and freelance transcriptionist residing in Portland, OR, with a lifelong love for books and language.
If stars had lives
like ours they’d be
homesick in expanding space:
imagine your neighbors pulling farther apart,
your front lawn getting bigger.
You’d have to yell across an expanse
of lengthening grass
to borrow sugar.
And at first it's fine, more time
to yourself, more space to rest,
but one day the distance has grown too vast:
One day out-stretched arms reach across gaps,
paths don’t cross, the lost don’t get found.
One day all that echoes back
are your own raw sounds.
We would drown
in space as it spreads too vast,
burning weak, anemic things,
until one day we collapse,
until one day we fade,
until one day we fail
to light the way.
Life Iced Over
When my brain brims with fire
and sanity is severed
I grapple with time --
days long like fake smiles
Birds pause mid-flight
and leaves seize even
in the breeze
like something cold scraping
as my heart
The wind blows biting
and scatters bits of my past --
a moment in time, frozen:
me left behind,
and sleeping pill dozing.
Meanwhile, my bones being chewed
to the last
by something sharp that has me and
is lonely, and is holding fast.
Yes, it’s okay that nothing lasts.
Hayim Abramson (Ph.D.; M.A.) lives Bet El. He teaches Jewish subjects in English and Spanish; He writes in both languages and also teaches Spanish and Hebrew as a second language.
He teaches a weekly lesson at the Israel Center, Jerusalem; and in other settings.
Land of the six-pack
and non-tobacco cigarettes
smoothing cancer down
makes a man out of you.
Country of low-insured
leaving with a will.
of modern problems,
Splashed in headlines
for the working mass.
of forewarned worries
will drown in easy plan
Disasters sell newspapers
privacy is exposed
to the eye of millions
“with malice towards none.”
dressed in plain jeans,
blue is in
and formal is out.
to see the mountains,
See it all through pictures
kept in the drawer.
bad news travel fast;
the president goes by jet
as for myself, not quite yet.
Miriam Stanley has been published in the US, Nepal, and Israel. She was included in Voices Israel 2008 and Voices Israel 2009.
Loneliness gripped you like a rope. Dragged your feet together. Down in the basement in basement, you boxed up your paints. There was nothing left but family.
I fasted for days, mom shopped; one sister got pregnant then married....you were the turtle on the tracks...One day, I overdosed, the ambulance came, you rushed down in your pajamas; Mom insisted I was happy.
Love is a train that skips stops; you stood there like a sick passenger waiting to get off. You were so damn gentle and hurt.
I spent a month in a halfway house. You drove two hours in the traffic with Mom. Parked in the spaces saved for crazy people's family.
Walked towards the corridor reserved for teens.
Passed the adult alcoholics on the other side.
Swam in bloodstream of resilience.
We felt like vigilantes had gathered and attacked the wrong home. I showed you my suicidal roommate. You spoke to the psychiatric and argued insurance.
The heat outside was awful.
Yaakov ben David
Yaakov ben David made aliyah from United States in 1984 and lives with his family in Jerusalem, Israel.
villages and lives
last year’s color
on the tel
cropping rot to the field
an emptiness sets
trailed by remorse
as square night