Friday, September 30, 2016

"Vampire Linked Landays" by the Editor

Vampire Linked Landays
Steven Wittenberg Gordon

I am pursued, cursed, and reviled.  Why?
Unwillingly was I made.  Not born to this was I.

Unwillingly was I made, not born.
That only blood slakes my burning thirst, am I to blame?

That only blood slakes my burning thirst
Is the sad truth of my existence--my only food.

Is the sad truth of my existence
Unacceptable?  Anathema?  Monstrosity?

Unacceptable!  Anathema!
The villagers point and shout at me, stakes of oak poised.

The villagers point and shout at me--
Not a drop of charity in them for a lost soul.

Not a drop of charity in them,
So why should I feel any remorse in slaying them?

So why should I feel any remorse?
I am pursued, cursed, and reviled.  Why, then, should I care?

Poet's Notes:  Vampires are made, not born, usually against their wills.  But are they created evil, or are they made evil by the way they are treated?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

"Pennies in a Fountain" by David Pring-Mill, Frequent Contributor

Pennies in a Fountain
David Pring-Mill

The purpose is absent,
but still,
they mill
about with shopping bags.

A copper toss
of luck,
so passive,
adds something
to the cycling airs.
Punctuated, by a splash, a plunk…
with sinking glint, distorted
by the fountain's
flowing water.

Still, dozens of coins
slink together
in random patterns,
to shine upon that shallow surface,
with all the dazzle
and significance
of forgotten wishes.

Poet's Notes:  As a writer, I started off with fiction first. From there, I tried poetry. And then I gravitated towards nonfiction, particularly essays. And to be honest, that final genre is where I'm most comfortable and content.

I still remember one of the first poems that I ever attempted. It was about a shopping mall. I sent it to a couple of publications, but then I turned against it and threw it out. Dozens of my poems were published in the last two years, and so I thought it would be appropriate to return to that original subject and give it another chance.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Anglerfish" by James Frederick William Rowe, Frequent Contributor

James Frederick William Rowe

An answer I once gave
For the habit of my philosophy
On why I am so often immersed past my head
In the fathoms of inquiry:

     I suppose I am like the Anglerfish
     Combing the abyssal plains of knowledge
     So accustomed to the deeps
     That the shallows would kill me

Poet’s Notes:  This poem is taken from a conversation I had a few years ago, where I actually did answer precisely as in this poem, likening myself to the seafloor-combing anglerfish in respect to my philosophical inquiries. These fish are known to explode from depressurization when brought to the surface by fishermen, so accustomed are they to the crushing water pressure in their natural climate, meaning they quite literally cannot survive in shallow water (or the open air). An anglerfish is also known for having a lit “bulb” at the end of an antenna that hangs before its mouth, which serves both to light its way and to entice prey to its maw, both of which seem oddly suited to philosophy.

Aesthetically, I simply took the actual conversation and made it into the second stanza. The first was later added to give the poem an explanation of why I so uttered these words, so that the context would be preserved as well. I did not want the poem to simply be my clever retort, and so be reduced to something like a quip.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"On this Porch and in the Weeds" by David Pring-Mill, Frequent Contributor

On this Porch and in the Weeds
By David Pring-Mill

The twisting print of a sandal settles blackly on the edge of one square tile. Skewing every direction, wildly, a mat of Palmyra
fibers awaits gunk, with deliberate teeth, synthesized to this task by man and industry and conformed to mat. Black mosquito
screens enclose these little Florida porches. Dripping down over tanned forehead, beads of sweat escape and are expelled by
the back of my hand, as I wait to be welcomed, lost in this peninsula of sprouting highways, fractured strip malls, droplets of
oil exploding beautifully onto asphalt. Porcelain angels decorate the tiles near my sandals, and lizards cling onto angelic
faces, and a pulsing, fiery dewlap distinguishes the male pumping blood through a body quick and agile, with those reptilian
eyes complacent and erratic. If this brown anole ever meets a predator, it will part with itself, and continue on, undeterred with
a bloody stump; a kinetic, slithering, and twitching tail left behind, like a souvenir for the bird. And with eyes of unknown
properties, tired wrinkles, well-defined grooves, tinted bifocals, and a resigning amount of slicked back, thinning white hair, the 
widowed old man answers his door, having shuffled over after I rang his doorbell and pierced the silence of his home with a
friendly, intrusive chime that surely resonates, through all those cloudy memories stirring gently under the bluest of skies. He 
recognizes me, and feels the humid air flooding in, and on this porch and in the weeds, a Floridian day somehow slips through
the collective presence, with creatures and people fumbling after time, parting with pieces of their souls along the way, kinetic
and slithering.

Poet's Notes:  I spent a lot of my childhood in Florida. This is a prose poem about the imagery of that state.

Monday, September 26, 2016

"The History of Speech" by Tricia Knoll, Frequent Contributor

The History of Speech
Tricia Knoll

Those ancients on the riverbank
heard furred ones thrill to the night sky
or moan to death throes. They knew
sounds for news meant to be heard.  

They did not hear the snake
whisper its passage through tall grass
until they had seen shed skins
in the dry rustle of left behind.

The old women showed younger ones
how to nuzzle in their babies’ neck skin,
how to purr and sniff at the folds and rolls
that boasted of fatness against winter.

Beneath warm coverings of night
as sparkling fires of sap wood popped,
they spooned into each other
and drew out murmurs of stretched peace.

Oh, there were warnings
high-pitched and loud.
Whinings of fatigue.
The sobs of mourning.

Calls to move again
in the m-m-m-m of throats
that know living beyond lingering,
brilliance beyond stars.  

Poet’s Notes: I have a voice disability, spasmodic dysphonia, which tends to come on in later decades of a person's life. I have been thinking a great deal about speech and talk and communication.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Don't Miss Your Chance To Win a
Deadline for entry:  October 15, 2016

Guest Judge Former Kansas Poet Laureate
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, PhD 

Find out more about Caryn here and by enjoying her feature as the Songs of Eretz Poetry Review Poet of the Month for August 2016.

Friday, September 23, 2016

"recyc" by John Reinhart, Frequent Contributor

John Reinhart

shipping containers, ion stabilizer
casing, fuel cartons with pictures of all those missing
children: last seen crossing the Eagle
Nebula on skis, at Orion’s spaceport,
hawking jetpacks illegally, with a stranger
on the shores of Medea’s black hole –
images of beings lost to the single
stream of vibration just perceptible
as light particles wave goodbye
before darkening someone else’s
threshold, shadows of former selves
playing supporting roles to the universal
clamor for more, new, shiny, improved,

still we cobble together
the discards of daily life, through
the wash again, then spin dry, a grand
cyclone in the promise of sparkle
generated from a little elbow grease

Poet's Notes:  As we stand upon the shoulders of giants, as Ellis Island stands upon a mountain of garbage, as playgrounds sprout atop city dumps, we increasingly recycle aluminum cans, yogurt containers, and newspapers, the refugee children of Saturn's age, praying for another future, a future only possible if we drop pretenses off jagged cliffs to crash into ocean spray below, and dig our hands into the soil, watering seedlings with our blood.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

"Eighty" by Mary Soon Lee, Frequent Contributor

Mary Soon Lee

Tomorrow he would have been eighty.
I see him driving round Europe
with a woman who is not my mother,
stopping at a restaurant

overlooking Lake Como,
bowing his head in thanks to waiters
who bring him Coca Colas,
a camera or two on the table
in front of him.

Tomorrow he would have been eighty.
He would have chased his grandchildren
round our back yard,
telling them to climb higher,
jump further;
he would have played on the floor with them
the same games he played with me,
acting the part of Spottyfellow,
the huge old ladybug
that I still have,
faded and coming apart a little,
as he would be too.

Tomorrow he would have been eighty,
still playing poker,
still betting the pot
on the right hand;
he would have left notes on my fridge
in his beautiful flowing handwriting;
he would have left messages
on my answering machine;
he would have learned
how to email me;
he would have burnt 
the eighty candles on his cake
from both ends.

Poet's Notes: This is a poem about my father, Dr. Lee Wee Chye, who died at the age of fifty-two (when I was twenty). He was far from a perfect man, but he was close to being a perfect father. I wish he had met his grandchildren.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"on a slight embankment" by John Reinhart, Frequent Contributor

on a slight embankment
John Reinhart

across the street,
my neighbor
has parked his Trans Am

between juniper bushes
and elm trees, dandelions
and butterflies paint
a scene -
meets Black Sabbath

spring has obscured
his intentions – despite
plenty of water,
the car refuses
to blossom

Poet's Notes:  Another neighbor from down the way, though he does not speak verbally, makes abundantly clear through gesture how he feels about this car belonging to our mutual neighbor, one of two automotive islands. As tiny houses are bought, leveled, and lots filled with rectangles devoid of the soul infused in the ramshackle additions and improvements and repairs in most of the buildings hereabouts, there are still holdouts in the working class digs I call home. Though the Trans Am is not my preferred view out the dining room window, it is a reassuring reminder that spring has only just begun.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


The Winner Will Receive a

Deadline for entry:  October 15, 2016

Guest Judge Former Kansas Poet Laureate
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, PhD 

Find out more about Caryn here and by enjoying her feature as the Songs of Eretz Poetry Review Poet of the Month for August 2016.

Monday, September 19, 2016

"whitecaps" by Lauren McBride


rough winds
ruffle waves
ordered rows
racing to shore

Lauren McBride

Poet’s Notes:  I have long enjoyed watching wind-whipped whitecaps rushing across an ocean or big lake. I love how the water turns to white lace between the rows of waves crashing onshore, where I would like to be. From within a boat, I would tell a different story.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

FC Knoll Has 9 Poems Published

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to announce that Frequent Contributor Tricia Knoll has had nine poems recently published in other venues.

Two poems are up on a newish journal, Peacock Journal: "Silence" and "Coloring Postcards".

Two poems appear in the summer issue of Portland-based VoiceCatcher - "I Want to Unfold" and "My Stairway".

"The Sign to the Dream Cafe" is up on September's Verse-Virtual...a poem written while farm sitting at Broadfork Farm in Trout Lake, Washington. 

"Mother Emanuel" is in the Fall 2016 issue of Snapdragon - A Journal of Art & Healing.

"The Mare's Eye" is on Verse Visual.

"One 1986 in a Lifetime" is on Whispers in the Wind.

"Clothing My Toes" appears on Flora's Forum, the garden blog Knoll writes for twice a month. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

"Great Silence" by Tricia Knoll, Frequent Contributor

Great Silence
Tricia Knoll

            “A great silence comes over me
            and I wonder why I ever thought to use language.”  – Rumi

A great silence comes over me, not
for lack of mellow round vowels
that make my mouth drool.

Not for fear of how my small phrases
dwarf to nothing in scatter winds
that shake crabapples in flower.

Not the silence of giving over
to sleep, drink, the first lines
of a play, or talking heads on break.

The silence of those who listen. 
That silence that reels in
what the earth speaks

of multitudes that live in mud,
antiquities pummeled into dust,
growth rings in heartwood. 

Poet's Notes: There is some irony in being a poet with a voice disability. I have been thinking lately that perhaps the message to me is to listen more, observe. Silence can be a practice. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

"Solstice" by Mary Soon Lee, Frequent Contributor

Mary Soon Lee

Their wedding,
hastily arranged,
hastily performed,
took place in the courtyard
where the bride,
one week earlier,
had begged
that the groom
be executed.

Four guests,
three officials,
eighteen guards.
No musicians,
no attendants,
no dancing, no feast, no kiss.

Then a twelve-day ride
to the burnt ruins of Harmouth,
the marriage unconsummated,
and Mei (the bride) appalled
by the groom's (Connol's)
lackluster horsemanship.

At Harmouth,
winter drawing in,
Connol spent his days
out in the frost,
planning the reconstruction of the town;
came back each day, past dark,
to his cold bride,
the fire of her past
an open book through which he leafed
(the hundred passions, tantrums, generosities
of her privileged, protected youth) --
all quenched now,

Mei married him
out of duty.
She ran the house for him
out of duty.
She offered her body to him
out of duty.

He used her body
out of duty,
to beget sons,
he who had lusted for each inch
of her flesh:
the soft inside of her elbows,
her earlobes, fingers, buttocks, breasts,
areolae, nipples, neck, knees, navel,
but his lust lost
in the cold wasteland
of her disdain.

On the shortest day,
the longest night,
Connol handed her sheepskin boots,
a sheepskin coat
(she who had come to him in silk
embroidered in gold and scarlet),
led her down to the deep harbor,
the fishing boats rocking
on the dark water,
the fishermen standing
on the stone quay.

Connol and the fishermen
and the handful of other townspeople
and every farmer within a day's walk
and the two dozen soldiers under Connol's command
sang the sun back,
as it had been sung back in Harmouth
each winter solstice
since the first stone
was laid in the harbor wall.

No musical instruments, no dancing, no feast;
only the voices raised,
over and over,
in chorus and chant,
canon, counterpoint, call-and-response,
and, twice, Connol sang
the long solos
in his rusty baritone.

Mei, listening,
forgot the smell
of fish and sweat and smoke and salt,
forgot how cold her nose was.
There, in the dark,
as she sang, softly, unobtrusively,
the words as she learned them.

Poet's Notes: This is part of The Sign of the Dragon, my epic fantasy in verse. This poem belongs to a thread about Mei, King Xau's sister. The poems about Mei and Connol have fairytale elements, but their story doesn't unfold in the traditional way. Mei never falls in love with Connol. There is no happy-every-after ending, only, for a time, a friendship. More poems from The Sign of the Dragon may be read at