Sunday, May 31, 2015

Poem of the Day Double Feature: “Kahlo” and “Two Poets in a Veterinarian’s Office” by Marge Simon

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Kahlo” and “Two Poets in a Veterinarian’s Office” by Marge Simon.  Ms. Simon edits a column for the Horror Writers Association (HWA) Newsletter, "Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side," and serves as Chair of the board of trustees.  She is a former president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) and a former editor of Star*Line, the journal of the SFPA.  

She was awarded the Bram Stoker for Best Poetry Collection in 2007 and again in 2012.  Both of her 2010 poetry collections, Unearthly Delights and The Mad Hattery were Stoker finalists in 2011.  She won the Strange Horizons Readers Choice Award in 2010, and the Dwarf Stars Award in 2012.  She won the Rhysling Award for Best Long Poem in 1995.   

In addition to the frequent appearances of her poetry in the Songs of Eretz venues, Simon's poetry, fiction, and illustrations have appeared in:  Strange HorizonsNitebladeDaily Science FictionPedestalDreams & Nightmares, and Jamais Vu.  She has published two prose collections: Christina's World (Sam's Dot Publications, 2008), and Like Birds in the Rain (Sam's Dot, 2007).  Elektrik Milk Bath Press published a new collection of her poetry with Sandy DeLuca, Dangerous Dreams, in 2013.  Dark Renaissance Press published a speculative dark poetry collection, Sweet Poison, in 2014 coauthored by her and Mary Turzillo.  

Marge Simon is an active member of the HWA, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), and SFPA.  Find more information about this remarkable lady at

Marge Simon

The artist 
spit on her finger, 
moistened her palette,
chewed a cocoa leaf as she worked,
a dark shade here, a brighter there.

Diego, ravenous,
an appetite beyond hers,
his big voice, his lips
on her mouth, on her breasts
tequila, sweat
bruises, passion, pain.

Still there was sorrow,
so she sharpened it with her teeth,
made it bleed on her canvas.

What came first was flesh,
she gave it to the world
over and over.

Then her vertebrae,
her severed womb.
Roots. Veins. Arteries.
The ties of heritage.

Poet’s Notes:  This is kind of a dedication poem. As an artist and a retired art teacher, of course I know of Kahlo's life and works (besides what was in the movie about her.) I was fascinated from the start by her paintings, especially her self-portraits, so boldly candid and direct. Those eyes. I've written more than one poem about Frieda, inspired by her passion for bright, surreal settings created even though confined to bed most of the time due to a car accident that left her a semi-invalid. I don't feel a need to explain the reference to mirrors, once you've viewed a selection of her amazing works.

Editor’s Note:  Readers who know a little about the life of the artist should really enjoy this poem, even as its words consume them. However, even those who know nothing of the details of the life of Frieda Kahlo and her violent marriage to Diego Rivera should still have no trouble appreciating this piece as a passionate, poetic life story, or even as fantasy.   


Two Poets in a Veterinarian's Office
Marge Simon

He is a big man, with a big voice.
His t-shirt proclaims ZOMBIES RULE.
At his feet a small cat carrier.

The woman is very small and very old. 
She wears a wig that she fancies makes her look
like Sylvia Plath or Emily Dickinson. 
At her feet is a dog twice her size.
From time to time she pats his head.

Both of them are writing in notebooks.
Both of them are writing poetry.


"The sky is dirt,
it holds my blood!
My feet are angry,
I grind the bones 
of enemies beneath."


"Up from darkened tombs 
they rise to meet the moon,
hands outstretched, 
nostrils flared, seeking living flesh."

His kitten mews,
Her dog whines.

Poet’s Notes:  No, this isn't about real people with pets--but wait!!  Yes, it is. Pets say a lot about their owners without speaking. Also a wry comment on "you can't tell a book by its cover". Different strokes for different folks?  I imagined this scene, of course. I've never seen anyone at a vet's office writing poetry. Myself included.

Editor’s Note:  Simon sets the scene beautifully with just the right amount of irreverence.  The poems that the characters write--his after Plath, hers inspired by his tee-shirt--come as a nice surprise.

“Kahlo” and “Two Poets in a Veterinarian’s Office” first appeared in the January 2014 issue of Songs of Eretz Poetry E-zine.  The beautiful art accompanying the poems are some of Ms. Simon’s original illustrations. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Poem of the Day: “Nemesis” by Richard King Perkins II

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Nemesis” by Richard King Perkins II.  Mr. Perkins is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities.  He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee whose work has appeared in hundreds of publications including:  The Louisiana Review, Bluestem, Emrys Journal, Sierra Nevada Review, Roanoke Review, The Red Cedar Review, and The William and Mary Review. He has poems forthcoming in: Sobotka Literary Magazine, The Alembic, Old Red Kimono, and Milkfist. He was a recent finalist in: The Rash Awards, Sharkpack Alchemy, Writer’s Digest, and Bacopa Literary Review poetry contests.  Mr. Perkins resides in Crystal Lake, Illinois with his wife and daughter.

Richard King Perkins II

The last time I saw him —yesterday afternoon—
he was fully alive.
Sandaled, frenetic, mustachioed, scatter-brained;
completely himself.

We could agree on nothing
except that each of us must be the protagonist
in our poorly-framed story.

Less than a day later and I’m trying,
somewhat unsuccessfully,
to think of kind things to say about this man
who I’m sure thought me as much of an idiot
as I did he.

After an uncomfortable amount of time,
I decide to say:
He certainly was passionate about the things he believed in.
To me, this seems fair enough
and I mention it to several mourning
co-workers throughout the day.

When I’m asked to help
sort through his office late in the afternoon
my eyes are drawn to the familiar pattern of my name
scribbled in a binder
with a little blurb beneath—

He believes in the truth of poetry
more than the honesty of people.

Oh goodness, yes.

Almost too late,
my friend.

Poet’s Notes:  This poem is based on a relationship with a man with whom I often sparred professionally. We were seldom in agreement and typically opposed in our viewpoints and assessments. It wasn't until after his sudden demise that I began to see him in a much more complete way. Our rivalry seemed so insignificant compared to the totality of what his unique attributes offered to so many.

Editor’s Note:  Mr. Perkins does well with the set up to the surprise ending, walking the fine line between sentiment and sentimentality--no easy task.  He offers us a thought provoking if sobering piece with a theme that will resonate with many.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Poetry Review Special Feature in Honor of Memorial Day

The Poet Warrior
Steven Wittenberg Gordon

He carried a pen beside his sword
and as he faced the advancing horde
with Leaves of Grass upon his chest
the Book of Psalms beating from his breast
while shaking his spear with all the rest
he wondered if ever a song or word
would ever be sung or writ or heard
of his and his comrades’ deeds that day
or if memory of them would fade away?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Poem of the Day Double Feature: “Shelter” and “Waking Up” by Romalyn Ante

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Shelter” and “Waking Up” by Romalyn Ante.  Ms. Ante was born in Lipa City, Philippines. She was educated in England and currently works as a nurse. She enjoys writing when she is not working at the hospital. Her poems and stories have appeared in the anthology We’re All In This Together (Offa’s Press), The Cannon’s Mouth Issue 47, and Blakenhall Words (2013). She has also performed her poetry at Wolverhampton City Voices and Stafford Arts Festival 2013 in the United Kingdom.

Romalyn Ante

I run barefoot in the field -
Sun-warmed soil
Is caught between my toes,
Bursting mangoes quilt the grove
While each blade of grass
Gleams in morning dew.
The breeze
Hangs like jasmines -
Tending your path towards me.
I let my hair flutter in the wind
As I swing in an ancient tree.

There you are the wind
And I, waters of the river.
Together we create tiny ripples -
With beauty that charms everything.

Waking Up
Romalyn Ante

One early morning
When you were still asleep
My lips touched
Your clammy forehead -
I inhaled your salty skin
And I did not want to breathe out.
Poet’s Notes for Shelter:  “Shelter” is one of the earliest pieces I have written. It is inspired from my early memories in the Philippines. In this poem, I wanted to exhibit light thoughts and images, the comfort of being in a place where we feel safe and at ease, as well as the fragility and impermanence of these things.

Editor's Note:  The lyrical quality and imagery in the first stanza are breathtakingly beautiful, transporting.  The metaphor in the second stanza perfectly merges the lovers in this love poem with their enchanting surroundings.

Poet’s Notes for Waking Up:  The focus of this poem is on the tender yet tangible emotions towards the person we love, as well as the significance and fullness of every moment spent together.

Editor’s Note:  This poem dreamily engages all the senses of the reader:  the vision of the sleeping lover, the quiet sound of the “kiss” to the forehead, the touch of the lips, the taste of salt, and the scent so intoxicating that the lover wants to hold it in her body forever.  “Waking Up” and “Shelter” first appeared in the May 2014 issue of Songs of Eretz Poetry E-zine.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Poem of the Day: “Sounds on a Lover’s Night” by Guy Belleranti

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Sounds on a Lover’s Night” by Guy Belleranti.  Mr. Belleranti writes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, puzzles, and humor for both adults and children. He has been published in: Woman’s World, Crimestalker Casebook, Bards and Sages Quarterly, Liquid Imagination, Big Pulp, The Saturday Evening Post, Highlights for Children, Scifaikuest, Every Day Poets, and many other places. Two of his flash mysteries were nominated for Derringer Awards, and he has won cash awards in many writing contests. His website is

Sounds on a Lover’s Night
Guy Belleranti

Don’t huddle under the covers.
That sound is only the wind
rattling the skeletal branches
of dead and dying trees.

Don’t tremble beside me.
That sound is only the wolves
enjoying the moon
in all its fullness.

Don’t cover your ears.
That sound is only my claws
scraping across the floor.

Poet's Notes: “Sounds on a Lover’s Night” was inspired by a variety of things, including:  the sounds in the bushes and sounds outside my tent while camping, coyotes in the wash behind my house, and a healthy dose of old classic horror films.

Editor’s Note:  This one gives me goose bumps!  And what do you think happened during the glaringly missing “fourth” line of the final stanza?  Yes, it is much more horrifying to leave the phantom “last line” to the reader’s imagination.  “Sounds on a Lover’s Night” was originally published by Midnight Echo magazine in its February 2011 issue and was reprinted in the premier issue of Songs of Eretz Poetry E-zine in August 2013.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Poem of the Day: "45th Reunion Redbook Rubrics" by Gerard Sarnat

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present "45th Reunion Redbook Rubrics" by Gerard Sarnat.  Dr. Sarnat is the author of two critically acclaimed poetry collections, Homeless Chronicles from Abraham to Burning Man (2010), and Disputes (2012). His pieces have appeared or are forthcoming in over eighty journals and anthologies.  Dr. Sarnat is a physician who has set up and staffed clinics for the disenfranchised, a CEO of health care organizations, and a Stanford professor.  A review of his work in The Huffington Post and more may be found here:

45th Reunion Redbook Rubrics
Gerard Sarnat

i.  My boys got a measly sentence; the Greatest Gen garnered fawning praise:

Post Dunkirk those men had no interest in visiting France or camping.

Though none beyond sherry hour elites give a rat’s ass insider

braggadocio martini mills exist, 377 years of

gnarled old fart alumni have made art forms freeloading Havad crimson.

ii. Racing Dunster tunnels to save McNamara’s ass from SDS

hasn’t sat well with me recently – effing Bob never said Thank You.

Then so arrogant, all-knowing, now vulnerable, losses, unsettled.

Still love my job but hate taking direction from goof-offs my son's age...

I am glad to read that a Mayflower a-holio bit the dust.

His ancestors’ coat of arms marked The College’s best-known dorm which housed

Hearst, JFK, Burroughs, Kissinger and my then good friend John Lithgow.

iii. Only Negro I knew, we hitched to Washington for the ginormous

Viet Nam protest, stayed with his mom who worked for the D.C. P.O. --

he’s a Nixon Peabody rainmaker, teaches at the War College.

His freshman best bud quarterback hero sells insurance in Waltham.

Weatherman fled to become Groton squash coach, Zion park ranger, addict;

I live in a halfway house with seven bizarrely familiar frauds...

Riddled with breakdowns, M. won the poetry fellowship I didn’t.

iv. My youngest’s summa, Rhodes, Boston Consulting, NIH doctorate;

pleased son made partner; daughter got into Middlebury -- her first choice...

It’s so tiresome hearing about our perfect children, grandchildren.

My son died. Separated from third wife, somehow I can’t stop working...

Just a dull dentist, I still do consider myself very lucky

v. Heresy to say here but wish I’d gone to Oberlin where I teach...

Every professor who gets to live on a coast makes me envious.

Most highly recognized classmates had no kids, I reassure myself.

So few of us seem to have stayed in touch -- is that normal or Ivy?

Class’s only Nobel Laureate [Dunster Funster Al Gore, ’69,

shared rooms down the hall with Tommy Lee Jones] wrote zilch ‘cept his cell number

while a shrink kids, Waiting for my Prize so’ll have something to contribute!

vi. A girl who wouldn’t date me lives very close by in Los Angeles.

Given transmission into the Suzuki Roshi Soto Zen School...

 I used to pick up fat girls, now I pick up Lipitor prescriptions....

Mild scare from esophagus cancer, fourth wedding, some "near Mrs."...

Bankrupt, regrets, pressure of expectations unmet, divorced four times...

Fine with my cats, marriage was a bad habit I had for a long time...

Living out of my office, not one good career choice, lottsa should-haves....

Occupation: lawyer, not one of those wants to die with his briefs on...

Occupation: Nun, The Little Sisters of Jesus, Jerusalem...

Occupation: semi-retired graduate student in Physics

vii. Same apartment, same man in my life, same dog and pre-occupations.

Decades celibate, snap-in dentures, remain HIV negative

-- truly astonishing since all three of my partners are now deceased...

Dialysis four times a week not near as much fun as you might think.

So tired I had to nap for enough energy to go to sleep...

R.O.T.C., Purple Heart, Boy Scout leader, LDS bishopric,

daughter married, her partner Sue in a wonderful ceremony...

Life is considerably more complex with a two year-old daughter.

viii. Harvard’s hierarchy of self-absorbed, self-satisfied achievers...

Ivy rats, brats in league, Citizens Unite, fuck Harvard Yale Supremes...

Not a strong affinity for those years –won’t be at the reunion...

Subsiding in Oregon, don’t tell anyone I’d been at Havad...

Whistleblower in a deadly experiment, now I’m unemployed...

Dacha south of St. Petersburg, cranky letters to The New York Times

ix. I keep up with a neighbor, who recruits for Harvard, through such missives.

She argues my garden’s stinging nettle choke her fence’s ivy roots...

J. died a half century since dropping napalm near the DMZ.

Battling Parkinson’s for ten years, he was found in the Long Island Sound... 

I sent my closest roomie Rumi for Christmas; he joked, A Jew gives...

One roommate doesn’t write, one gone -- Christ, why didn’t anyone tell me?

The Class has no information about surviving family or life.

A Note on the Text:  The use of italics indicates total fabrication, more or less paraphrasing, mixing and matching, and snatching and snipping from the 643-page Harvard Class of 1967 alumni/alumnae report.

Poet's Notes:  Starting in 1972 with the Class of 67’s first college reunion five years out, twice a decade each classmate received a soft cover Redbook. 

I actually attended only one reunion, the 25th, after a guy met backpacking alerted me, That is the one to go to. So I did. Traveling from the West Coast to The East Coast with my family was a big deal but definitely worth it.  In our mid-forties, those who showed had generally hit our stride.

Since then I’ve kept up, sometimes more, sometimes less, through the Redbooks. Something struck me as special about the 45th: the fullness of our lives shined through all the mundane quotidians. My job was simply to create a “found” poem that mined the sentimentality, irony, humor, tragedy and captured the sadness of lost hopes and dreams.

Editor's Note:  This is one of the most powerful poems that I have ever read.  I've read comparable poetry in high-end mainstream serials such as Poetry Magazine, American Poetry Review, and Boulevard.  The revelation that it is a "found" poem is simply mind-blowing.  Dr. Sarnat has extracted the poetry from a mundane source and really made it sing, manipulating the time stream as a professional pianist manipulates the keys.  

"45th Reunion Redbook Rubrics" first appeared in Dr. Sarnat's third collection, 17s (2014)in which each poem, stanza or line has seventeen syllables.  The poem was reprinted in the November 2014 issue of Songs of Eretz Poetry E-zine.