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Poetry April 2012-4
Poetry April 2012-4
On this page: poems by Katherine L. Gordon, Ruth Fogelman, David Golledge, Gretti Izak, Ruth Hill, Scott H. Urban, Violet Samir, William Lewis, Yakov Azriel, Zev Davis, Zvi Sella, Iris Dan

The following works are copyright © 2012. All rights reserved. No distribution or reprinting in any form whatsoever without written permission from the authors.


Katherine L. Gordon

Katherine L. Gordon lives to write in a secluded river valley where the wild cycles of nature inform her work. She is an author, editor, publisher and reviewer, with award winning poetry published in many languages including Chinese and Hindi. She has two full collections with her third Translating Shadows is currently being launched by Craigleigh Press. Myth Weavers, her book of Canadian Myths and Legends, was released by Serengeti Press in April 2007. Katherine is a literary critic and a mentor to young writers. She believes that poetry is the bond cementing cultures and an antidote to an increasingly impersonal world. 


Bachanal for Two

Crackling Rosy
alters your form
fizzes out the norm
girls and boys become one again
Da Vinci smiles
for at the heart of each
prickle and peach
is the wish to be everything
daggers and lace
winking as a moon flare
in one galactic place.


Vintage in a March Glare

He brought me wine -
It's morning I said
the sun is stretching
into dim corners
where those who try
to soften darkness
hide from the ungallant glare -
I looked for you there.

He poured with timeless purpose
into ruby glasses crafted long ago
the night returned
and in our secret blackness
part of us forever shelters oneness.


Sick Leave

The room has joined
the centrifugal flight
spins with the earth
and carries me
where all Will dissipates,
releases me to see how fragile
all the barriers become
how one earth in gathering seas
tides every shore
how we blend
into the beach and forest
spread out into the galaxies
when we are free



Something From Nothing

Physics tells us
you can get something from nothing,
a whole universe in fact.
We probably live in a multi-verse
so next time it hurts
go for the nothing,
turn it into something partic-ler,
try to find a time-crack
where they haven't
got around to aging,
better to be a hawk
swooping up the nothings
soaring into something.
If it's all a galactic coming and going
why....between the dust
of so many heavens
does it hurt?



Limiting Life

There is a corner near the fireplace
behind an old wing-back chair
where dust gathers.
Out of a morbid curiosity
I let it grow
and it did.....
At first tendrils clinging together
wisping off like shroud lace
clumping and weaving
filaments reaching to as far beyond
as it dared explore,
it darkened, took shape
became a distinct entity,
a black elf who watched me.
I feared a lightning strike
would make it leap,
vacuumed it away,
heard it shriek.



Random Creation

It is all so random
an apple close to the tree
a jackal outside a cave
coming down from the tree-tops
inventing reasons why
the god in the sun sufficed
until we lost our tails
learned time and gravity
as long as we could stand.

 


Ruth Fogelman


Ruth Fogelman is a long-time resident of Jerusalem’s OldCity and is the author of three books. Her poems, articles, short stories and photography have appeared in anthologies and various publications in Israel, and the USA, including Arc 22, Poetica, The Deronda Review, New Vilna Review, and International Literary Review. Ruth holds a Masters Degree from the Creative Writing Program of Bar Ilan University and leads the Pri Hadash Women’s Writing Workshop in Jerusalem.

Visit her website at  

http://jerusalemlives.weebly.com



Renewal

Every early morning, 
workers hose down summer’s dust 
from the Old City streets.

Mid-morning, in Mamilla Mall, 
soft music plays,
baby carriages clatter on the cobblestones, 
life hums.

In the New City, bulldozers rumble 
as they move rock and rubble;
above the horizon, cranes hover 
and glide through the air 
as they move cement blocks from here to there
and iron rafters from there to here

and renew Jerusalem.



David Golledge

David Golledge lives in London with his wife and three children though he was born in Sunderland. His interests include running, scuba diving, cycling, karate, music, cinema and literature.

Disequilibrium

This internal equilibrium,
hard fought and hard won,
difficult to achieve in
an indifferent universe.
Tempted to overdose
on the waters of Lethe.
Too much possibility
and quantum reality.

Ifs and failed chance,
the harsh vanity
of fate unkind, upsetting
balance and mind.
Her distant face,
a love now passed. A past
disavowed.

Expanding nonsense rippling
across the order of things,
tsunamis
dancing on butterfly wings.
Dark matter invading
the sun’s extremities,
Violent blue absurdities
falling out
of the Oort Cloud.


Yet one slow kiss…

Her tightened lips
closed and cold,
a flower in bud
colours untold

yet one slow kiss
warms north and south,
those soft petals softly
caress my mouth.

Yet one slow kiss
spills honeydew
and nectar on the
breath was blew
with life...


Her clenching hands
gripped and fell
to lap in fear
of broken spell

yet one slight touch
and starlings dance,
their gentle wings gently
return romance.

Yet one slight touch
and rainbows span
and quietly give to
her this man
with love.


 

Gretti Izak

Gretti Izak was born in Bulgaria. After graduating from London University, she studied History of Art in Italy and in England. She has worked as teacher, painter, head of a multi-language translation program and editor. She has published five books of poetry and a collection of short stories. Gretti Izak lives in Jerusalem.


chestnuts

the alley of chestnut trees
wide-leafed, cool and fragrant

in the corner an old man roasts chestnuts 
schoolchildren pressing around him

at home a mother cooks chestnuts
to decorate a cake

at night in front of a fire with a glass of Chardonnay 
and sugar-glazed chestnuts in a crystal bowl

asleep dreaming of love lying under a chestnut tree
in the Garden of Eden
 

Measured by the Blue of the Sky                                         

The distance of hills measured                                         
by the blue of the sky                                             
the way colour plays tricks
like in a painting                                                
where brush strokes
of lush green relive the past
where the grass is greenest

where the body spreads out 
its cropped field of memories
to the murmur of  trees 
and the rush of streams
 
the green absorbed into the body
with its loud easy groundswell
of every vegetal earthly sound        

as we translate into words 
our presence on earth
the dusk-rose bloom 
of our relationships 
the silver glint of tears
the joys encased in gold

as we lie on the grass 
shortening the distance 
between earth and heaven   


Botox

Women and Botox -
the obsession to stay young,
no wrinkles no sagging skin.
Now you can’t guess the age 
of a woman; no story animates her face. 
She can’t smile, the artificial tautness 
around her lips makes her mutter words, 
living the illusion a man will love her now, 
love me, love me, please love me now

My mother used to send me cut notices
off papers, how I should use sun-shielding creams,
also swallow vitamin pills to stay healthy, etc,etc; 
      she worried about me;
this used to make me mad.

Today I do the same. I snip, scissor, mark with red pen
items in the papers and mail them to my daughters.
      I worry about them, 
love me, love me, please love me…  
 

Dark Wings

My mother and father lie next to each other
in white marble beds close to the sunlit sands
of the Mediterranean. 

There is grief    there always will be
a fresh pool of tears in the ground. Every day 
code words blow through the wind expect to be

deciphered  and even though we all turn to dust and ashes 
there surely is an afterlife as I should not have to remind you
how personal is the message in the meadowlark’s song 

over a grave. We don’t have that many words for the wonder 
of her dark wings continuously outspread to catch the light,
bringing to life the great love story of the dead we miss. 

 


Ruth Hill



“Ruth Hill was born and educated in upstate New York. She has traveled North America extensively. She is a Certified Design Engineer, dedicated tutor, and enjoys spoken word. Her poetry appears in Apollo’s Lyre, Ascent Aspirations, Decanto, Level 4 Press, Little Red Tree Anthology, The Litchfield Review, Lucidity, New Millennium Writings, Ocean Magazine, Poets for Human Rights, Reach of Song, Rose & Thorn, Song of the San Joaquin, and many others.”




iPatch
…dedicated to the memory of Marie Colvin and all journalists.


I used to ride on camel back
sliding off the hump on bony spine.
I used to ride the Spice Road caravan.
I used to load and unload day and night,
sleep in Bedouin tents, wrap my head
and neck from blowing sand and searing heat.
It took a year to get from there to here,
another year from Gobi to Kobe.
A woman from Leningrad once waited 8 years
for a train from Siberia to say if her husband were dead.
The train never said.
At one time a man’s coat served as a witness.
I used to ride a poor donkey like my mother rode.
I used to ride a rickshaw when paid,
walk a lot when not,
through monsoon mud and driest dirt.
I used to ride small ponies yurt to yurt.
I used to write by coal oil light.
I mushed by dogsled past Inukshuk signs.
I was a Shantyman among the mines.
I used to wrap my arms around lampposts 
to sell the chews and yell the news.
Once I had a box camera, once an Instamatic.
In 1914 I used a telegraph
to say Franz Ferdinand was dead.
But now the printing press falls silent.
I fly to satellites in the sky,
and spread the news
with my cellphone camera eye.


Two Color Wheels

They tell me there is a rule,
that pink clashes with red,
that primaries dread
to go with pastel:
they can tell.
Houses should be white
with a dominant color
for trim,
white drapes within.
Oh they tell me that the roof
is part of the pleasure,
and for good measure,
must be tight,
of tiles or tin.
Here is the way
the chimneys go, just so,
tapered under gables,
not in valleys,
along the row.

But then you climb
to mountainside,
where red and pink profusion,
in collusion with the Poles and Scots,
who tie all these goals in knots,
weave gold and mauve contusion.
There, primary green 
with pastel is seen, and lime,
and high chartreuse.
Rocks round a hobo fire,
rickety and obtuse. 


Hope of Heaven

We had heaven when we met
If I could not hope of meeting you again
in Heaven
I could not bear the pain

I could not bear to leave you
How you know it was forced upon me
The memory of us sustains me
Now I cannot bear to leave the memory

The land gave us birth
and raised us as its children
Invaders envied what we had
Anger and hatred are brutal weapons

They scattered all the children
A peaceful people are so easily overrun



Scott H. Urban

Scott Urban’s fiction and poetry have been published in both print format and electronically across the web. Recent work has appeared in or is scheduled to appear in Aries, Cairn, Riverwind, Word Salad, The Horror Zine, and others. His most recent chaplight is Alight (Shakin' Outta My Heart Press). 
 

Vanishing Act

Vinton County, October, 2011, 6:30 am

Like a magician’s cloak
fog envelops the stolid
Appalachian ridge
behind the farmhouse

so thick
it is like walking
through quilt batting
suspended in mid-air

so diaphanous
it provides
the spectral sheet
for the doe and the raccoon

I can only make out
the red and yellow lights
at the rear of the school bus
as it snakes up the s-curves:

an alien craft
bearing our first- and third-graders
to some world
obscured for now



Pastorale

here is the road
numbered but nameless

shrug a shoulder
take the turn

sine wave curves
coast along ridgeback

pavement ends as if
sliced for serving

tires scatter gravel
like rice after wedding

keys dangle in ignition:
a suburban fetish

no signal for the cell
phone on the bucket seat

you exit to a locust hymn
and warming-lamp embrace

the thicket’s branches
shadow a cool reception

it calls with thrushes,
soughing, leaves

you answer with
orphan steps and tears


trigger

each footfall
in the unmown meadow
detonates an explosion
of chitinous shrapnel

fellow travelers
on this whirling globe
camouflaged by
proximity to earth

wingèd things
for which I have no name
whicker and whirr
in gleaming arcs

whisper in the whorl of my ear
lick my sweat like sugar cane
kiss the inside of my nose
fly in my eye to spy on my brain

miniature hitch-hikers
cling to my clothes
travel to another world
on the far side of the field


Violet Samir

Violet Samir was born and educated in Scotland and England completing her first degree in English and French Literature in 1962. She then took graduate degrees in Social Work and worked in London where she met her Israeli husband. She has lived in Israel since 1970. Over the years Violet has written poetry but began to do so more intensively when she retired from social work. She does so for the specially deep joy that writing brings. She is only now beginning to take her poems out of "the drawer" and hope that they will find some readers who will enjoy them too.


A Homecoming

From Europe in ships seething from stern to bulwark with cardboard boxes and children and string tied around creaking suitcase, they came,

As beheaded oaks with burnt leaves and twigs, rough shod, bareheaded exiles vomiting grief and sorrow insides churning green and yellow,

Heads straining over shoulders and necks tilted, evicted from cradle of soft green and Beethoven, bearded on shaven decks pressed cheek to neck, breast to back

Boats rolling and reeling unstable, adrift, engines moaning and children bearing scars with the adults, say parents, perhaps uncle unsure who each is,

Leaving behind dead kin, dead parents, aunts, cousins photographs dead, burnt and gassed, uprooted, threatened extinguishing rootless genes,

Seeking a place for semen to take restless root like sand, new millions, bearers of names half forgotten, Chava and Fania and Yaakov and each one has stories,

Locked stories within, guarded, tearless in bodies from which protrude only bones, flesh stretched thinner than paper, dry breasts flattened,

Coughing through sleeping nights on bunks, dreaming of deaths sweating cold in the night air, and only as morning fingers the sky,

Awaking to heaving sea, the nightmare stored for future sleep and necks craning again for the thousandth time towards the eastern horizon,

Not even landing, feet running on sand and tripping, just seeing the land lying low on the waves dipping sideways is enough for a chorus of Beethoven's joy to escape from dry throats in awe.



On the Cusp of the Tongue

It got started at
grammar school 
where they sent me to learn 
and I learned that diction
indicated income so I spoke 
with pinkie extended
to boost my Dad's wages and status

Before this, the vowels 
were drawn in cobbles, 
less pinkie more fist. 
So push came to shove like lush 
and head, heed as in 'deed' 
and I wasn't "accepted" here either,
since our dad quizzed us weekly
on words like "imperceptible"
from the Readers' Digest
with which I confounded the street.
 
I get along in linguistic limbo 
I speak Belfast and Glasgow
Glesca' and a bit of Pan Am.
that mid-air country 
where it took two repetitions 
of  "Ker fer a caffee?"
to pierce my Celtic filter
first time out to Chicago.
I can say mirror in the mid west 
with one syllable, myrrh, 
and cawfee in NY,
but if I tighten the vowel 
they serve me coke,
I mean the brown not the white. 

There is one dialect 
that defeats me,
Marbles in the mouth English
As once spoken on BBC.
Since everything's gone regional
speakers of English are Indian
And work at CNN
So it's only when I'm speaking Hebrew
and my taf and my tet
Are too sharp, at last 
I've become Anglo-Saxon
with or without the marbles.


William Lewis

William (W M 2) is a parent of four children. After more than 40 years of covering News around the world and working in the broadcast industry, he now works part time, writes and performs poetry in coffee shops and libraries all around Los Angeles, California. 


View Through The Sculptor’s Window

The view through the window
In the sculptor’s door is obscured by day.
The ample glass reflects tall grasses,
A redwood trellis interlaced by a
Broad-leafed vine stippled with 
White trumpet shaped blossoms
Trimmed in lavender and a huge oak tree 
That transforms the bright sky into
Twinkling medallions of blue light.

At night though, when the sun shifts
Its lighting duties to the moon,
A single globe suspended from the high ceiling
Illuminates more clearly the images old and new.

There are many sculpted forms.
Diaphanous flowing figures
Intermix with opaque progeny of metal or wood.
There’s brass and glass, stone and clay
Shaped like men, women and children.

They form a life of their own
In the darkened world of a dreamers’ fancy. 
They pirouette, curtsy, tango, rumba, ballet
Then free form until dawn.

Finally they stagger,
Fatally wounded by iridescent rays
Emitted through the worker’s window.
Mimicking make-believe lives
Conjured from their own fantasies,
They faint with inherent grace
Into the anxious arms of rugged Death
Without whimper or sigh.



Yakov Azriel

Yakov Azriel was born in New York City and came to live in Israel at the age of 21. He has published four books of poetry in the USA: Threads From A Coat Of Many Colors (2005), In The Shadow Of A Burning Bush (2008), Beads for the Messiah's Bride (2009), and Swimming In Moses' Well: Poems of Numbers (2011), all published by Time Being Books. Over 180 of his poems have been published in journals in the USA, the UK and Israel, and his poems have won fifteen awards i international poetry competitions (the latest being First Place in the 2011 Reuben Rose contest), as well as two fellowships from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.



The Divorced Wife

The flame is dying
On us,
A small, sickly flame
As feeble as a husband’s love

Which is a door locked tight,
A sealed letter unopened.

This small, sickly flame
Is burning itself out;
It flickers and flutters,
As fleeting and fickle as a husband’s love

Which is a pair of wrinkled pants
Dropped and discarded on the floor,
Not placed in a bin,
Not folded in a drawer;
As crumpled as a husband’s love

Which is a telephone left off the hook,
No dial tone, no response, no voice,
Not even a recorded message;
As absent as a husband’s love.

If only someone would share the secret:
How to rub two stones together —
Two pieces of flint,
That is to say, two hearts —
To ignite a spark
That could rekindle
A gentle fire
Of warmth
And a little light.


The Approaching Ice-Age Of Doubt

But will it snow this year? For if it snows
This coming winter, I'm afraid the snow
Will never thaw, no plant will ever grow
Again, no grass will sprout. Suspicion grows
A storm is near, and when this blizzard blows
With frigid winds of doubt, its hail will blow
Away all hope of spring. We'll never know
The verdant warmth the unknown summer knows.

Again I ask if it will snow this year.
For if it snows this coming winter, years
May pass before the ice will melt. I fear
The air is growing colder, and my fears
Of freezing sleet are real; is there a prayer
For faith that overcomes the winter's prayers?


The Apostate

O Venus, sweet mistress of the gods,
Daughter of summer sky and ocean spray,
To you I pray.

To you I turn
As you step out of the sea unto the beach at dawn.
Let me lie next to you in the warm sand
Under the rising sun
And stroke your flesh.

Redeem me from sterile white deserts of prophets
Garbed in white tunics who ramble on day and night in white voices:
“Thus says the Lord! Thus says the Lord!”.
Redeem me from rabbis with long black beards,
Dressed in long black coats and black skullcaps,
Holding their black books and scrolls inscribed in black ink
With long lists of black prohibitions.
Sweet Venus of the sleek blonde hair and hazel eyes,
Grant me Tuscany green and Mediterranean blue.
Lift me out of Jewish autumn and gray twilight; let me bask
In your unending June sun.

Venus, be my sculptress and I your marble;
With Pygmalion’s skill, let your hands work my body
And fashion it anew as a male Galatea:
My curly dark hair make yellow and smooth,
My hooked nose straight,
My clouded brown eyes bluer and clearer than your seas.
Tear out from me this incision of circumcision
Maiming my maleness, deforming my manhood.
Let me wrestle naked in your gymnasiums
As in your beds of passion.
Make my body more muscular and younger than Adonis,
My virility more potent.
Let me show Cupid
I am a full man.

     Why do they call me Jacob? I am Julianus;
     Why do they call me Isaac? I am Hadrianus;
     Why do they call me Abraham? I am Aurelius.

O sweet Venus, mistress of the gods,
Enslave me,
Chain me to your divan of desire
As you flagellate me in lust;
Imprison me in your boudoir
With its bed of red satin
And mirrors of burnished bronze.

Lady of lilies and patroness of the rose,
Show me the she-wolf that nursed Romulus and Remus
So that I may suck her milk.

      Do not recite the psalms of David, chant me Ovid’s words;
      Do not repeat the laws of Moses, sing me Virgil’s verse.

Daughter of summer sky and ocean spray,
To you I lift four goblets of wine and swear:
“Next year in Rome!
Next year in Rome!”

      If I forget you,
      May my right hand lose its cunning,
      May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth
      If I do not set you,
      O Venus,
      Above my chiefest joy.




Zev Davis

Zev Davis was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1943, and lived there until coming on Aliyah, officially, with his wife and family in 1981. He has been writing poetry ever since high school, and was published in a national high school publication early on. From then on Zev has been working at poetry off and on over the years, his work appearing in various publications from time to time. Zev has also written poetry in collaboration with a California poet.  


Bitter Lemons
 
Who wants something sour
bitter, sharp and medicinal, inside
the mouth. Who wants to taste
 
the unpleasantness. Yet its
green leaves fill soft grass with shade. All by itself
is sweet enough with a soft blanket,
and a cup of tea on a quiet afternoon,
The leaves flutter, a respite
from the midday sun. Just out of curiosity
 
I pluck the fruit. Maybe
there is more to this moment than meets the eye,
maybe my senses are playing
tricks on me, yes. There is a reason God created
knives, to cut through the things
we have yet to discover
like lemons. I know
 
they are bitter. I know they are sour. I also know
when a confection is saccharine sweet
it causes my palate displeasure. When a lemon drops
ever so slightly my taste buds thank me
for the tartness it sends to them. For a lark
 
I cut through its thin skin, letting my tongue
feel what's there. Above me,
reaching down, that close, waiting
as my lips to tell me, stay and savor
 
slowly. Now I understand, how
the little pockets draw
the sweetness that was always there.
 
 
Peaceful Coexistence
 
She scratches the ground because
she knows her food is 
there. Picking round the roots
on the hillock. Secure,
 
where cats lay low in the shade. Below 
In the summer heat, underneath the window sill
why bother . . . the last chicken left. Anyway,
it was the dogs who did her sisters in
after the neighbors chased the rooster
away. There's enough food, all scraps squirreled 
on the path, along the stairwells, who needs
 
some lone bird. Beats me how she survives . . . 
still lays eggs, too. She eats our greens, so
it's obvious there's no point in pouncing 
on her. Why when
all she does is catch worms. Heck
 
how much more reasonable
could it be—our beetles 
for her water, here 
in our own private Garden of Eden.
 
 
Awash
 
Nothing everywhere we go, the ground is
hard. Our bare feet touch the soil. The clay
beneath us tells that it wants something
only we can give. Alone
 
here and there tufts of grass wave
without a care in the world, a wind whirs across
this arid plain. Our eyes follow the picture
like a monitor, and
 
our minds, boxes with commands waiting
for fingers to fill the empty space. First the lines . .
hands define the landscape, where the 
houses will rest, the cars in the driveway. Once 
 
they say this place was inhabited. Then
everyone left in a frenzy. It's time to renew,
adding words, with meaning. We draw people
talking with balloons. This is no cartoon. Our eyes
 
project the image before us. Stepping into this
world. How strange, how real, how virtual the
objects. Let us touch
them. Take my hand, will you, we
 
together, our eyes awash
bringing our selves to this
Open Space, our Universe of Discourse.
 
 
Migration
 
It's spring and everybody's back. The same trees, and
the same bushes, yet somehow
it's chilly. Are you sure the weather
is right. Not many cats either, that
is what the oriole said yesterday, she noticed mice
 
scampering on the empty lot. They looked hungry
I, myself looked for Mr. Murphy's feeding station. Ususally
there's something, even if it's only pieces of bread . . . Yes,
I heard that too, how that cardinal flew straight through
three houses from one window into the other, without
 
disturbing anyone. Hello, how was Florida. The hurricane
must have made it difficult for you. How did your tree fare. So everybody
got to Cuba safely. They
like us down there, I know, they say we are a blessing. Ah!
 
look at the grass. I like dandelions, don't you. Tractors, over there
It's too early to tell what might happen. Remember that early snow, maybe,
no, it can't be. You mean those pieces of wood,
and ceramics scattered . . . this neighborhood. See those dogs,
over there. Pray for the chickens in Henry Jones's backyard. Oh . . .,
they aren't there anymore. It's not the dogs, it
 
must have been a hard winter. The cold winds
drove them out of the coops to look
for some other place to live. Let's
pray they find something that's suitable. That tree,
don't remind me, the tractor missed the fence
It be's that way sometimes. 
 
 

Zvi Sella


Zvi E. Sella completed his studies in Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Sciences in The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He earned his MBA at the University of Chicago, and then continued in advanced studies in Economics and Sciences at Harvard, Stanford, and the Universities of Pennsylvania and La Havana, Cuba. He served as president and CEO of various high-tech companies, specializing in turnaround and development of rapid growth, and he is now working on his Ph.D. thesis in Philosophy. 
 


Man's best friend 

I got a good deal 
on that car 
so I bought it. 
It used to be 
my Company Car 
Now it’s just 
my car. 
I think 
it brought us 
a little closer. 
In the morning 
we drove around 
and then I took it 
to the car wash 
where old Juan shines my shoes 
as he gives me the latest news 
about his daughter 
(she is in college now) 
A car if you ask me 
should always be 
in top shape 
You never know 
when you might need it 
to drive off the cliff.


Every year                      

Every year
Makes you more
Perfect.
Every year your beauty becomes 
More refined.
When you are falling asleep
Time
Is watching you in astonishment
Like an artist 
Who can never finish
Then with infinite gentleness
Adds one more brushstroke
But you are already dreaming
Lost and amazing as ever.
In the morning
When you come out to the yard
The entire forest is excited.
Elderly trees are pushing their way forward 
To see you more closely
And a doe is peeking shyly through the leaves.
Only the cats
Don’t get
What is all the ado about - 
Just another 
Birthday.


Friday Afternoon 
Down Calle San Rafael

They are called
Yaneisy, Yolaisy, Nileisy,
Sometimes even Zunaiky –
I am not making this up.

They are coming
At you in all shades and 
Scents you didn’t even know exist,
And the feel of their skin
Down the side of their neck
Is the reason we are all here.

It is not even April
Yet their eyes are shining
As if they know something
You don’t
And the music of their thighs
Sailing straight toward you
Is defying both laws 
Of Thermo Dynamics
And everything else.

You count 
Time
By their steps,
Passing you by
One by one -
Forever lost
Behind
You.

What turns your head back
As she is turning hers?

I am following her shy steps
Up the broken stairs
Of a cracked apartment building
Here on the very edge of Centro Habana
It is still standing there
Like some old men 
Who just forgot to die
But from her little room at the top
You can see
The tanker ships coming 
All the way from Venezuela
Passing the El Morro
Into the harbor.

She laughs when
My scream comes gushing out again
And then the night falls.

We did not stop time
But we slowed it down
A little
And that is all there is.


                  Havana, Cuba


Hotel Castillo

In the morning
I don´t remember
this sea in the window,
Nor the palm tree
 
In the morning
I can’t remember
that man in the mirror;
Sometimes he wonders
about me
 
In the morning
Is when I know
time is not taking her away
As they say,
Even if I let it be -
 
In my dreams she comes.
 
Is she dreaming this too?
 
In my dreams she comes
still tamed by the sun
Tenderness is all she bears
as she lets me in -
 
Beauty is – 
you smile when you see it -
what happens to a woman
When it is her you love 

Like a scarf in the wind
hardly touching her skin
my love on her shoulders
as she leaves.
 

                   Baracoa, Cuba 
 
 
 
Zvi Sesling

Zvi A. Sesling has published poetry in numerous magazines both in print and online in the United States, Great Britain, New Zealand, Canada and Israel. Among the publications are: Ibbetson St., Midstream, Poetica,The Deronda Review, Voices Israel, Saranac Review, New Delta Review, Plainsong, Asphodel, Haz Mat Review, Istanbul Literary Review, The Chaffin Journal, Ship of Fools, Chiron Review, Poetry Monthly Interational, Matrix, The Tower and Main Street Rag. He was awarded Third Place (2004) and First Prize (2007) in the Reuben Rose International Poetry Competition and was a finalist in the 2009 Cervena Barva Press Chapbook Contest. In 2008 he was selected to read his poetry at New England/Pen “Discovery” by Boston Poet Laureate Sam Cornish. He was a featured reader in the 2010 Jewish Poetry Festival in Brookline, MA. His poems have been published in the U.S., Canada, England, Israel and New Zealand. He is a regular reviewer for the Boston Small Press and Poetry Scene and he edits the Muddy River Poetry Review. He is author of King of the Jungle, (Ibbetson St., 2010) and a chapbook Across Stones of Bad Dream (Cervena Barva, 2011) and a second full length poetry book, Fire Tongue (Cervena Barva) is scheduled for 2011.


Night Brings Sorrow    

Rain dances slowly on windows
birds hide wherever they can
umbrellas open like mushrooms
windshield wipers hum a dull tune


Not much cash in the register
too little to steal, no 20s or 10s
change jangles with each opening
then register closes

Another chapter ends unhappily
the bride waiting, the groom drunk
shoes are in the bathroom sink
her tiara on a chair

Night brings sorrow to the lonely
the cat stays under the bed
the dog is let out alone
day ends it all again



Night Thought

The swell of night rises with the tide
washes day from the mind
brings new thoughts, nightmares
liquid dreams
keepers of flame
fires extinguished
in a kiss of anger
like a romance
covered with a blanket
smothered in a city hotel
abandoned
now a recluse seeks
the life of day
waits for new dreams



Iris Dan



Iris Dan was born in Bukowina, Romania, in a family of Holocaust survivors. She grew up bilingual (German and Romanian), then studied Romance languages at the University of Bucharest, graduating with an M.A. in linguistics. She has been living in Israel since 1980. She is married, has a grown daughter, and works (quite happily) as a translator from and into a number of languages. From her (existential and professional) Babel Tower she sees the Mediterranean. She has written poetry for as long as she can remember, never publishing any, in the last 15 or 20 years, in English only. Recently she has begun to send her poems on their own way and has been published or is forthcoming in the Voices Israel Anthology, Magnapoets, Poetic Portal, Subtletea, and Poetic Diversity. 


The Hours

I. Waiting for the bus

I know perfectly
what's beyond the corner
and yet
waiting for the bus
my heart beats with happy
expectation of adventure

In the glassy morning sun
the bitten nails of the boy next to me
shine and shimmer
like ornamental plates


II. Flow

At noon I watch a legal translation
writing itself; pure enjoyment:
party of part A trying to cheat
and avoid being cheated by
party of part B;

words jutting out like flowers
without need of a dictionary:
whereas and wherefore
hereby and hereunder
in derogation of and with no prejudice

causal, temporal, consecutive,
conditional clauses
(oh the subjunctives, oh the balance
of the protasis and the apodosis)
and finally, gloriously, the final clauses

hinged and joined
like an intricate mechanism
under the aegis of competent authorities
yet mercifully a faulty clause
easily and safely replaced

Suddenly I'm aware of the cramp in my wrists -
also, if I don't close the blinds
the three o'clock sun is going to shatter the windows


III. The computer cam


Tired
drawn-faced
all color wiped off
the crumbling day stares at me
from the computer cam

I turn my eyes away

Beyond the window boxes
the sea swells


IV. Burrowing

Best are the winter nights

like the beast of the field
like the homeless of the street
you burrow
shivering
waiting

you think you know what it is
to be a mole
a fox
a homeless man

you think
you're all one
inside that dangerous
refuge of the night

before you drown
you see that man
crawling
inside his cardboard box
stretching the rotten blanket
over his wasted body

his soul expanding
gathering in
the night
the frozen moon
the mole
the fox

and you