On this page: poems by Patti Tana, Rena Lee, Scott H. Urban, Silvia Kofler and Gary Lechliter, Susan Rosenberg, Sy Roth, Tosin Otitoju, Wolfgang Somary, Yaakov ben David, Zev Davis
The following works are copyright © 2013. All rights reserved. No distribution or reprinting in any form whatsoever without written permission from the authors.
Patti Tana is Professor Emerita of English at Nassau Community College (SUNY) and the author of eight collections of poems, most recently Any Given Day (Whittier Publications, Inc., 2011). The Walt Whitman Birthplace Association selected her as Long Island Poet of the Year 2009. She is editor of the anthology Songs of Seasoned Women and associate editor of Long Island Quarterly. To listen to her read her poems, visit http://www.pattitana.com
even in death, my mother
has good posture
sitting in a straight-backed chair
pushing against the pain
her eyes look forward
she walks across the room
shoulders balanced as a beam
wings guiding her toward me
Every Season Has Its Beauty
Walking the woods after rain ––
when I touch saplings
they shower me.
Caught in the branches
the moon blossoms clearer
as leaves fall.
Seeing our bodies age
I think of trees
in their bare beauty.
hot, too hot
this August night
to wrap my body
’round your body
as you sleep
I twine my feet
and I am rooted
Rena Lee, penname of Rena Kofman, is poet and writer, a retired Professor of Hebrew from the City University of New York, and the author of twelve books in Hebrew. Her work appeared (in both Hebrew and English) in many magazines, anthologies, scholarly journals, etc. Her chapbook “Captive of Jerusalem: Song of Shulamite” is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.
For more information please visit her internet site www.renalee.net
Book of My Life
Between Tel Aviv, once mine,
and New York – not quite mine
even after this long time -
runs my life, back and forth…
Always in search of home
between home and home.
As the nomad, I go on wandering
and never arrive,
except at further wandering.
My Janus-faced identity has fallen
in the gap between two passports:
a glimpse of Hebrew here,
a glimpse of English there.
The clerk at the airport seeks
free space among countless imprints,
trying hard to reconcile the face
he sees with the photo
of a no-more existent woman.
Trapped in two tongues, and often
tongue tied, constantly in search
of my own idiom,
I continue writing
the book of my life
from right to left
and from left to right.
Maybe it’s somewhat redeeming
that every end is also
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).
The freshet breaks off
the last glinting floe
and carries it like a crystal platter
on the hand of an invisible server.
Buds, like green shotgun pellets,
balance on branches, wait for
spring to pull its trigger
so their leafy crowns can bloom.
The cow bellows
in the frost-rimed field
where mice and crows hear
but pay no heed to birth-pangs.
The gold Volvo with one headlight
veers across the double-yellow line;
its driver, fumbling to ‘send,’ doesn’t
notice the imminent curve:
it, too, will blossom
in its own fiery way.
The pick-up’s fenders are sprinkled with
a cinnamon-brown patina of dust.
Orange swatches flicker between
branches in unreadable semaphore.
Ragged clouds of steamy exhalation float
like empty comic strip word balloons.
The pool of vermillion offal soaks the trampled leaves:
a sacrifice to which no god stoops.
Steel pellets riddle tree trunks like
periods at the end of obituary columns.
The End of Several Things
Hardly Worth Noting
A camouflaged elbow on the edge
of the Ford’s open window.
A road that looks as if it became tired
of fighting the Joe-Pye weed and simply gave up.
The coal of a cigarette flicked to the asphalt
bursts into a miniature nova.
The echo of a shotgun blast
like a ruler slapped against a student’s desk.
A turkey buzzard crouched over roadkill,
stooped like an old man poking through litter
in hopes of finding a nickel or a muffler.
Virga in the western sky at dusk
as grey and flimsy as a wedding veil
pulled out of a county trash dump.
Silvia Kofler (in collaboration with Gary Lechliter)
Lawrence, KS — Gary Lechliter is recipient of the Langston Hughes Award for poetry and the David Ray Award. His poetry has appeared in Atlanta Review, Mudfish, New Letters, Pearl, Rattle, Rockford Review, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. He has a recent book, Under the Fool Moon, published by Coal City Press. Gary is editor and publisher of I-70 Review
In addition to Radioactive Musings, Silvia Kofler’s poems and translations appeared in the I-70 Review, OR, The Dirty Goat, The Book of Hopes and Dreams, an anthology to benefit Spirit Aid, The Sixth Surface: Steven Holl Lights the Nelson-Atkins Museum, travelin’ music: A Poetic Tribute to Woody Guthrie, and others. Currently, her poems “Purple Passion” and ”Virtual Fame” are forthcoming in English and Korean
in the 2012 Korean International Anthology, edited by Yoon-Ho Cho.
by Gary Lechliter and Silvia Kofler as Anna Freud
The sky is leaden
heavy clouds obscure the light
as I stare at the Ferris wheel
in the Prater and ask myself:
"Was hast du dir nur gedacht?"
What were you thinking as you asked your
how they felt after ingesting the white powder
of the coca leaf?
"The subjects alleged...an intense
feeling of heat in the head,"
Anna, I myself am leaden,
old and so very tired.
I did not sleep last night.
Trucks and boots on our street!
I think the Nazis took
the Weiner family away.
Such a shame, Herr Weiner
sold fine cigars
which I have run out of.
Anna, my dear daughter,
could you manage to find me some?
Zigarren willst Du?
You want cigars?
Maybe we should sail to Cuba and buy some
before they send us to camp.
You have become your own subject
the heat in your head turns your thoughts
in circular motion:
the pain then cocaine
the pain then cocaine
spinning around and around
on the wheel inside
Will you find me some cigars?
Do not concern yourself with my health.
You will carry on what I started
so many years ago, you will change it
and make it your own.
Will you find me some cigars?
Schnapps would also be good.
There will not be any at the camps.
Only rats I think.
Susan Rosenberg, now in her late eighties, began writing poetry as a child. She joined Voices Israel in 1978. Since then, her poems appear regularly in anthologies and journals and she received honorable mentions in two international poetry competitions. Her autobiographical novel, Susan's Story, was serialized on this site.
A Woman Told Me
Now she sleeps alone
longs for a new lover
the last one
filled her life
but gave no nourishment
just melted away
like cotton candy
When I Had Pneumonia
Closer to heaven
I lay still
slowly alter shapes
or strange ones
in flight patterns
into distant grey
when the sun
a socket in
the white cumulous
eye of God.
He comes riding in and then canters out. Oftentimes, the head is bowed by reality; other times, he is proud to have said something noteworthy. Retired after forty-two years as teacher/school administrator, he now resides in Mount Sinai, far from Moses and the tablets. This has led him to find words for solace. He spends his time writing and playing his guitar. He has published in Visceral Uterus, Amulet, BlogNostics, Every Day Poets, Barefoot Review, Haggard and Halloo, Misfits Miscellany, Larks Fiction Magazine, Danse Macabre, Bitchin’ Kitsch, Bong is Bard, Humber Pie, Poetry Super Highway, Penwood Review, Masque Publications, Foliate Oak, Miller’s Pond Poetry, The Artistic Muse, Word Riot, Samizdat Literary Journal, Right Hand Pointing, The Screech Owl, Epiphany, Red Poppy Review, Big River, Poehemians, Nostrovia Poetry’s Milk and Honey, Siren, Palimpsest, Dead Snakes, Euphemism, Humanimalz Literary Journal, Ascent Aspirations, Fowl Feathered Review, Vayavya, Wilderness House Journal, Aberration Labyrinth, Mindless (Muse), and Kerouac’s Dog.
and molting ideas
a hidden cloister
accompanied by tip-tapping keys
of phony words absconding with the seconds
bouncing knees in
anticipation of inspiration looking for
any groundhog freed of winter
the clock ticks on the wall behind him
deft contrivance for an idea
as it dances with its tsk…tsk..tsk
oddly-shaped phrases come to mind
squirreling between his eyes and his medulla
from vowel to consonant
across a page of arctic cold
his catless meow
see-sawing to the
ghostly images of creation
verbiage caught mid-stride
sloughing from stubby fingers
awkwardly jabbing at the keyboard
beneath the ground
those who traipse above
his feathers molt
fill his mouth,
and blind his eyes
yet produce nothing
and the keyboard is silent.
Tosin Otitoju is a Nigerian engineer and writer. She has published two collections of poetry: Comrade (2010) and Yalla! (2011). She blogs at www.LifeLib.blogspot.com
With pallid cheeks and bony hands
We shake the sieve of river sand.
The day is bright because we know
The per-gram price of oro-stone.
Work abounds here, and manly talk
Enough for we who came from naught.
I ne’er desired a golden thing;
The little rocks are what we sell.
Come, little bright rock, into my pan;
Make my daydreams reality.
The Colours Of Arabia
White for dust, rock,
The builder’s stone,
Hot sky above,
The stars, the mosques.
White for the eyes
That commit love.
Rice feasts, white sheep,
Sweets, bread, milk, cheese.
Your eyes are eggs,
So large and yummy.
Wolfgang Somary, born in Zurich, Switzerland, educated in Washington DC, graduated in economics and political science from Trinity College, Dublin, is a retired Swiss private banker with a vocation for poetry, music and astrology. He has published a book on the philosophy of money, is a prolific essayist and received poetry prizes in England. His blog archive is www.wolfgangsomary.com
breath and gasped
Caleb received a letter this morning —
It smelled of patchouli and musk.
A woman unknown yclept Miranda
Proposed to meet him at dusk.
She wrote as a vine that clings to an elm
Or wisteria embracing a trellis,
He relished the thought of a dryad in bloom
Running through woods without wellies.
Miranda! Meet his mysterious muse.
He saw her only in dreams.
When asked: “Who is she”,
He’d reply: “I’ve no clue”
But she pens my poems, so it seems.
Here’s proof that she’s real:
The letter is warm.
That shows, she’s no fancy or vapor.
It’s written with ink (lick it and see)
On expensive Florentine paper.
She’d like to see me tonight in the dark.
Oh, what shall I tell my wife?
As poet I’m driven to take what is given
When sourcing the secrets of life.
In an hour when Venus touches Mars
And Saturn twiddles his rings,
She’ll intertwine with the bark of an oak
That’s rooted in Helicon’s springs.
Caleb quivered to pluck a kiss
From his erstwhile invisible muse
But he’d have to invent for his wife Selent
A ruse to distimble her fuse;
For she’ll spot in his face a blush and a trace
Of a schoolboy truant’s guilt
And notice his power, when sharing a shower
Is lax as a daisy that wilts.
His mind was ablaze with love for his goddess
Who lures him into her arms.
Oh how tender to yield and surrender
To the muse of poetry’s charms!
When Caleb arrived, no muse was in sight
But he heard a rhythmical splash:
He saw in the water a naiad a-swimming
Without a bikini or sash.
She laughed but laughed the laugh of his wife
And he heard her call from the pool:
“Come and get wet and take what you get,
My lovable April Fool.”
Yaakov ben David
Yaakov ben David made aliyah from United States in 1984 and lives in Jerusalem with his family.
the tumult and patter of flipped pages
a thick discourse whispered behind hands
all fins and scales and gasping gills
while the essence swims away
the uncast labored-line
is the sharpest hook
of desert beauty
calipers and colors
the image inverts
in the eye
then a focus toward The
dry morning light
until it floods
Dead Sea deposits
layers of salt
on the question-thorn
shines a light
as the desert night
in the low notes of
sandstone that conceals
the desert-way toward
the desert resplendent with
live-imagination already over The Dead Sea
expectations in the base
and the formal-march of well-dressed prior-knowledge
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 California poet Steve Toth.
The days grow long in little bites
each night tarries less and less
as the moon moans and the stars fuss
sending letters demand their rights
the skies go red at dawn with fights
as the sun rises over us
the days grow long in little bites
each night tarries less and less
still hot and cold mix as the lights
of day go forward on to bless
man and beast look up address
what happens there as they delight
the days grow long in little bites
each night tarries less and less.
Talkin' 'Bout Twelfth Street
Detroit July 1967
It was like a baseball game, as it were,
with a pitch, straight atcha, you thought, it was for you
then the arm turned off to the left. It blew
your mind watching it spin. It wasn't fair . . .
The Algiers Motel was on Woodward. It was a bust
some prostitutes hauled off downtown, a vice
that reached Twelfth Street, a torch, they say the price
of holding to the line, some said it was just
frustration become of the summer heat that spread
down Dexter, turned left and north to Livernois
flaming past the strip malls, carrying the boys
to the Avenue of Fashion, it was incredible
it was a plague, ashes, ashes all fall apart.
What could it mean, how now Robin Hoods
come to Sherwood Forest, so close, towards
Palmer Park . . . don't touch the homeys. Start
back where you began, hello US Army. Smile
you're on candid camera. Get back get back
is what you get for tellin' the man the facts
of your life. Repentant, westside folks they file
onto the gutted streets fellowshippin' hand in hand
as if nuthin' happened. How refreshing. Ain't it great
building the New Jerusalem, 'bout time, never too late,
it's good to know ya', not even a modest demand
oh so polite, my parks, your parks no need
to step aside, a mutual pact. Then came
the bulldozers to make a freeway. How could anyone blame
anyone, jes' looking for a home, movin' they'd
become like boll weevils in the neighborhoods
where they be 'lowed as off past the Base Line
ever'body to wherever they could find . . .
Full circle to the place, so as not to intrude,
lucky for the city, lucky, there was work,
still, something was rotten in Denmark, it hit the fan
that summer day, out of nowhere that Reality ran
up, out from where it was hiding, where it lurked
and no matter how they said it, Oh what
a Beautiful city, a Renaissance come. collapsed
a lunar landscape that lost its
pray come together, all of us, for a new start.