Thursday, March 28, 2013

Plum(b) poems by Kim Triedman




by Kim Triedman

Main Street Rag

Charlotte NC

Copyright © 2013 by Kim Triedman

ISBN: 978-1-59948-408-2

Softbound, 78 pages, $14

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

Kim Triedman lives with open windows and with her newest volume of poetry we stand outside her room and hear her thoughts. Reading her reveals even more and we

discover that open windows can tell us something about hearts, open and closed.

The first part of the book, “Plumb” plumbs the history of her house in ways one would not expect. It is the history of two lives, doors, basements, porches, windows, flowers, vegetables and more, all of it riveting reading because Triedman brings you into her world, her garden, her house, herself.

Terra Firma

Forgive me, but I don’t know where

to place my foot.

See how the landscape changes, just like that?

the peas, climbing; the corn?

Nothing is where one might expect anymore, reasonably

expect, given all that time and time

before. There are things I know –

eyes, of course, wet well; the smell of rain

on the tomatoes. Moons

in all their shiny outfits.

But seasons slide beneath our feet

and high above

a hard-bill flicker taps away

at punky time.

I would go there if I could –

the next place. I would find

a way to breathe.

In the “Signs” you see the relationship between Triedman being unsure where to place a foot, perhaps a metaphor for a relationship, and the geese that don’t seem to know where to go. Is there a relationship between fear and ambiguity? Does direction necessarily have meaning?


The hostas, for instance,

how leggy they grow

and those rickety ladders

of lusterless blooms. Look, I know

what it is –

an ending again, a sorting out

of times. I can lift my head and see

the contrails

parsing up a church-blue sky

and the old dog readies herself

for a winter

she may

or may not see.

Beneath the nasturtiums:

dried leaves hang

like crumpled paper hats.

We have been here before, you and I –

a north wind whispers yellow

to the trees, and the old wicker chair sits

waiting, putting on her poker face.

It’s only that wayward flock of geese –

recklessly ignoring all the signs –

only they don’t seem to know

which way to go.

In the second section, “Plum,” the next layer of Triedman’s personal thoughts are peeled to reveal more of her relationships: In Lost In Translation, for example we see loss in a different way:

I thought you said yes

or something like it, something

juiced, a plum, and time out there

calling and calling, moons swaddling us

like silvered gauze. I thought there were

eyes talking, mouths hearing

every single word, not to mention

the pulse.

But enough about you.

Perhaps you didn’t know

that when I tip my head the clouds

no longer matter, nor the light;

that the red fruits on the dogwood

fall without a sound. Even that

thing we made—glitter and fire

and silk—that thing we never really knew

how to hold,

I have lost that too.

The final section is “Laden” and continues her book-long theme of things as metaphors for life, relationship and self.

Pink Lady

Fitting, perhaps—these fruits
just beginning to turn.

I am laden.

Looking down I see
the childhoods—

dappled; apple

I am the bearer, the witness


unable to leave

The way athletes have career years, Triedman has produced a career volume of poetry, which is not to say past and future books have not or will not surpass this one. However, Plum(b) follows in the footsteps of those poets whose revelations about themselves and their relationships have propelled them to legendary status. 

Ms. Triedman has written much about a house, plants, trees and herself. Yet ultimately
this fascinating volume of sixty-two poems is about her – good love and bad, some happy moments and sad ones. You will see her from the outside in – and the inside out. She has left her windows open for you to discover her. This is a highly recommended book by an accomplished poet.


Zvi A. Sesling

Reviewer, Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene

Author, King of the Jungle and Across Stones of Bad Dreams

Editor, Muddy River Poetry Review

Editor, Bagel Bards Anthology 7

Editor, Bagel Bards Anthology 8



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Girl Friend and other Mysteries of Love by Charles P. Ries

Girl Friend
& other
Mysteries of Love
New and Selected Poems
Charles P. Ries
Propaganda Press
ISBN 9780615764344
2013 $11.99

“It's broken now. Fallen to a floor
that does not care about possibilities.
Placed in a closet of lost things,
it's a testimony that our passion
had no privilege...”

The poems touch everyday; relationships made easy, on paper, in a poem. Ries is a magician, he pulls love from each word juxtaposition, “filled with sweet flames,” the poems wear old shoes and worn shirts. We relax into the book, like a glass of wine or a beer warms us:

“...Life dealt us its cruel card. We won't be jumping into
flaming beds with the passion of young bodies. Rather,
I will roll her wheelchair or lift her off the ground when
she topples over. I will be happy to hold her in my heart
as a perfect moment when love blew through the right
window at the wrong time.”

We are not lulled into a lullaby, or tricked by sweet talk and blowing on our ear. We wake up startled by dreams and, “pretending the zit on my nose wasn't as big as a condo,” Ries mixes humor and the mean places we may end up when we fall; all his encounters, from the mundane, to the spiritual, “the constant erection, forgetfulness, and tears. Everywhere was a bed.” Girlfriend & Other Mysteries of Love, fill our glass. Love becomes every emotion, love flies and love returns us to ourselves and love makes mistakes and forgives and eats pizza alone:

“...Years later, after she dried out, moved
away, began to live in real time and
remember her days, she made friends
with life and walked the middle road
between drunks and born-again Christians.
She discovered she could zap pain
away with a flick of her forefinger.
She liked doing this better than
drinking and began to live dangerously...”

There are many girl friends. Ries writes with eyes wide open. The reader participates in all the poems:

“...When I saw her, she wept in sorrow.
Her tongue was heavy with anti-anxiety,
anti-depressant, anti-psychotic drugs she
calls her Vitamin Z. She sounded like I do
on too many beers, but without my
cheery, drunken disposition. “I want to
kill myself. I am sick of being a weirdo-
cripple-psycho-handicapper,” she moaned...” 

This is a wonderful book. Love and those that find love and love coming and going, yet stays on the page in this book-- not to be missed.

Irene Koronas
Reviewer: Ibbetson Street Press