Monday, May 21, 2018

"Where Drought Once Loomed" by Lauren McBride

"Break in the Plain" Watercolor on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
Where Drought Once Loomed

Grey clouds gathering gloom - lightning flashing.
Sky lashing down rain, then BOOM.
Crops are spared a dusty doom.

--Lauren McBride

Poet's Notes: I learned about englyn penfyr poetry from Steve and wanted to choose a topic that wasn't limiting (like weather, which became a thunderstorm) and use words that had many rhymes (sky, crash, boom) to try to fit meaning into lines of specific syllable count with primary and secondary rhyme schemes. The hardest part for me was to break from traditional rhyme schemes that kept coming to mind at first.

Editor's Note:  An englyn penfyr of mine and a link to information about this fun but challenging form may be found here

Saturday, May 19, 2018

FC Lee Has 5 Poems Published In Other Venues

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to announce that Frequent Contributor Mary Soon Lee has had five poems recently published in other venues.

"Irene" appeared in Uppagus #28

"The Holy Firmament of Venus" appeared in Star*Line #41.2, which also has five poems by fellow Frequent Contributor Lauren McBride.

"Time Cats" appeared in Eye to the Telescope #28

"On Reading 'The Journey to the West'" appeared in the Oakland Review, Volume 43, Spring 2018.

Friday, May 18, 2018

"Blind Date" by John C. Mannone

Blind Date
John C. Mannone
             Baltimore 1967

At a mixer in an all-girls college up the road
from where I went, I met a beautiful coed:

                 short sassy blond
                 hair, brown eyes,
                 athletic, feminine.

We danced to a live band most the night under stars
glinting off the faceted mirror ball above the dance floor.
"Blip" Watercolor on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon

That gold colored fixture spun a little faster than a slow
dance, its sexy red lights changing to green then blue,
bathed our faces too.

                 When I kissed her
                  goodnight, I knew
                  I’d want to taste those
                  supple lips again.
                  She invited me
                  to another date.

Funny thing, though, she wanted me to do her
a favor and take her lonely friend to a junior prom.

I wasn’t used to blind dates, especially dress-up
ones, but reluctantly agreed. She was a pretty girl,

                 a quiet blond, large
                 hazel eyes, blush rose
                 cheeks; feminine

in her full-figured gown; nice smile. I suppose
she was as nervous as I. We danced to the band,

talked about our futures. She wanted to be a nurse,
I, a doctor. And of course, we talked about the weather.

                 When I kissed her
                  goodnight, I knew
                  she was too innocent.
                  She invited me in
                  to her car for a ride
                  to the lake or park.

I kissed her again, told her to make out
the details of her dreams until they’re reality.

And I went home to work on mine. I never
saw either one of those two girls again.

Poet's Notes: Relationships are like a dance, sometimes elegant and smooth, sometimes wild and jerky. The structure has long flowing melodic lines as if in a waltz, punctuated by short enjambed lines to a different more jazzy rhythm to echo this.

I had a nostalgic moment thinking about my college days (Loyola College, Baltimore). Much of this “coming-of-age” poem is true, but I took some liberties.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

"Hungry" by Doris Ferleger

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Hungry” by Doris Ferleger, the winner of the 2018 Songs of Eretz Poetry Award Contest.  Her biography may be found here

Doris Ferleger

You can love someone, then come to a day when you're forced to think "it's him or me" think "me" and kill him. —Marie Howe

"Heart" Watercolor on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
The FED EX guy has taken away the unwieldy, unopened, almost
unliftable box, containing the 55” TV that would have been our lifeline 

to the “us” you kept longing for me to embrace, lifeline to your love 
of humanity in all its suffering and singing. I’ve kept my world small.

It’s my secret how full my mind is without a word from the outside.
I drink ginger tea from a floral cup. Pull the blanket, fleecy white, 

back in place upon waking, squeeze the creamy bleach into the sink, 
let it sit for hours, put my body in plank position—recall how each of us 

felt we were walking the plank. I eat an overripe banana sliced 
into sour cream, recall how my father used to down sour cream 

by the tablespoonful then place the spoon to my mouth saying, 
taste, taste, then smack his lips and sigh, so lucky to be alive. 

How you proffered the pinkest slice of filet from your plate, 
your hunger for my eyes, the comely shape of your shiny head, 

you reminded me so much of my father whom I loved beyond measure. 
Right now I am wearing my size 11 bling-covered black sandals 

last worn the day I first came to your house, that is, the first day we met, 
that is, the same day I invited myself to stay and we, newly young, fully-

clothed, pressed our passions into your deep couch, your body thick 
and ravenous, my body famished too. Our mouths wide open. Last we spoke, 

you were breaking up with me, reminding me of the time you first slept 
at my house and I left the next morning for a shiva service, 

a relative you didn’t know, dead at sixty, you said you felt bereft, left 
in my rambling house, all alone, perhaps you wandered in and out 

of the rooms imagining the years you were not in my life, 
and who can say how much pain can settle into the body. 

That day, it’s true I left our night to enter the day 
of mourning without you. And for you, that was an everlasting 
sign of my failure to embrace you in my mind. 
I dreamt last night you asked me to marry you

and my dead husband told me he was moving to Montgomery
as he was no longer attached to the house. And I’m mad-mad-mad, 

in the dream, blame him for my love of home, blame my-love-
of-home as the reason you left me. I will dine alone tonight 

on mango and coconut salmon at DaDa’s cafĂ©, sit in a rattan chair 
on the porch, recall when I drew on the blackboard table top inside, 

pink and yellow chalk flowers, hearts, your name, called you 
amidst the noise. Your breath after breath lifts me. Your vines, 

unruly, your fruit, sweet… I put the voices of my beloveds,
the dead and the living, into my mouth so I can finish 

the conversations we never had.

Poet's Notes:  This hungry, angry, heartbrokenness—this love lost, this regret, this "what if," this disbelief — are the subjects of “Hungry.” The drive of the poem comes from the line. The line lengths come from the drive of the speaker to speak, but also from a Terrence Hayes prompt that asks the poet to answer twelve unrelated questions. The answers become the poem. Some of the seemingly mundane questions were, "What is a food you used to love as a child?" "What are you wearing right now?" "What is a quote by a poet whose work you admire?" "Quote a line from one of your own poems." Such simple questions allowed this complex poem to emerge. 

Editor’s Note:  Ah, the one(s) that got away!  What a riveting narrative of loss and regret, of a life lived to the fullest yet empty all the same.  Ferleger creates just the right mood of joyful melancholy here--a push-pull that tears at the emotions of the reader.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

"Autumn Burns" by Ross Balcom

Autumn Burns

Autumn burns.

"Autumn" Watercolor on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
With flames of red, yellow, 
and orange, it burns.

I set ablaze
a pile of autumn leaves,

and threw myself
on the flames.

My charred tongue spoke
from the ashes,

spoke to my children,
my people, the world:

"May you burn,
may you all burn."

Our ashes
flow like a river

among the stars,
the stars far and cold,

the stars
silently screaming.

Autumn burns,
autumn burns,

autumn burns.

--Ross Balcom

Poet's Notes: This poem began as a celebration of autumn and its colors but quickly became a psychedelic death trip.

Editor’s Note:  I read a bit more into this poem, seeing a combination of the sublime and the macabre with the apocalyptic.  For me, the brilliant leaf-fall colors are a metaphor for a future in which autumn literally as well as figuratively burns--in which earth “falls," as will happen when our sun changes from small and yellow to gigantic and red--sooner if the climate change crowd is correct.  I also read "tongue" in part 2 as "tongue of flame."  Sometimes a tongue is just a tongue.