Saturday, May 02, 2020

Poem during the Plague: Poem 28

Bridget Seley-Galway


We melded into oneness 
became a lively chorus  
of each days anticipation 

there was something of me 
separate from you 
an unrelenting foreboding whisper 
pushed forward 

where nights aching limbs  
wore away possibilities  
and frayed like dust into ether 

then letting go  
there is an after life 

where we are one again 

*****Bridget Seley-Galway artist/poet professional career was developing multi-disciplinary free arts centers and programming for under privileged youth. Her passion and commitment was to prove art to be a powerful tool for self-empowerment. 
Her collection of poems and images “What Moments Yield” has been published by Ibbetson Press, and has been included in the following permanent collections: N.Y.C Poets House, Sate University of Buffalo collections, Umass Amherst W.EB Du Bois Library, and the Truro Library Cape Cod. 
Her poems have also been published in Provincetown Magazine’s Poetry Corner, Wilderness House Literary Review, Poetry Porch, Ibbetson Press, and Bagel with the Bards, to name a few. Her art has been exhibited throughout New England, and reviewed in several publications, including Artist Magazine and Cape Arts. Her paintings have been selected for the covers of Bagel with Bards, Ibbetson Press, and individual poet publications. 

Friday, May 01, 2020

Dancing at Lake Montebello: Poems by Lynne Viti

Dancing at Lake Montebello: Poems by Lynne Viti  ( Apprentice House Press)

Article by Doug Holder

This is not a review, but a reflection and impression of this new poetry collection by Lynne Viti.
The collection is titled, " Dancing at Lake Montebello." Viti, who lectured at Wellesley College for many years, (and I had the pleasure to read with at a Sam Cornish tribute reading at the New England Book Fair) has penned a collection that has much to recommend it.

I have always followed the dictum of William Carlos Williams, " No ideas but in things." And Viti has certainly learned the good doctor's lessons. Her poems are a cornucopia of images--no concept is left floating in the atmosphere, but is attached to something that is tangible--we can taste, hear, feel it--smell it.  In one poem " Charm City" the poet writes about her native city of Baltimore ( me thinks), and traces it transformation-with a gimlet eye. She writes of her youth during the 60s, and all the totems of the times,  " ...watched foreign films with subtitles, learned to roll joints... The posh steak houses grew tired and empty/ as their patrons/ died off,/ too old to travel, began to lose their teeth." I consider my self a student of gentrification, of the change, loss, and rebirth of I could appreciate this.

Viti writes evocatively about a whole range of things from the Civil Rights Movement--the decline and death of friends, of meeting a young Sam Cornish in Baltimore, and is disarmingly honest about her bout  with booze. Viti is a scribe of the cycles of life--encapsulated in her own experience. I was touched by her poem " Judgement"  that describes her experience with her mother when JFK was shot. It captures the intensity I also felt as a 9 year old boy--when we swerved in the car--my mother crying from the news from the radio of the fatal shot. I can remember the long, solemn, black and white processionals across the TV screen--and the intimacy that tragedy can bring on.

I am pleased that I published some of Viti's poems, and I think this book is a fine testament to her craft and more importantly her humanity.

Poem During the Plague: Poem 27

 Mary Esther Rohman

Mary Esther Rohman received her Doctorate of Philosophy from Brandeis University.  She works on the Call 2 Talk helpline as a volunteer after retiring from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission in 2013.  Rohman helps people struggling with the effects of COVID-19 and other problems.  She also writes poetry and is a practicing Buddhist.


By Mary Esther Rohman

The first time in 5 years
I’ve forcibly been away
From the spiritual field that sustains me.
Only two weeks now, but the hurt of not answering the phones
Has left me empty and vulnerable.

All I say when the phone rings is “Call2Talk, I’m here to listen”
Then I proceed to do just that.
Usually, all hell breaks loose:
Miracles and disasters,
Anger and tears,
Laughter and awe,
Frustration and lies,
Truth and bravery,
Praise and blame,
Connection and misunderstanding.

But no matter how it goes,
It is always a miracle
That someone decides to trust a stranger
With the stuff that is breaking their heart.
And that stranger is me.
I’m awed by their trust
That I will always react with compassion
(No matter what I really think)
And love them
The way they really need to be loved.
Right now.

Compassion flows through me,
The best feeling in the world.
I volunteer this experience
Out of a need to be human.
And to remind everyone
That we are all part of a whole.
We owe each other all the kindness we can muster.
Especially now, when we truly hold each other’s lives in our hands.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Poem During the Plague: Poem 26

Eliot Cardinaux 


Along these walls
I set up defeated country.

Even briefly
insane, I’m loved
by these walls, their
shadows faint
& harmless.

I walk each day.
The acorns push disaster,
furnish our living space.

These walls can move.
Someone’s pain
is confined by this.

The sky is a final,
fevered blue, where
chaos laid a hand on them.

****Born in Dayton, Ohio in 1984, Eliot Cardinaux is a pianist and poet now living in Northampton, Massachusetts. Having studied jazz piano at The Manhattan School of Music, as well as contemporary improvisation at the New England Conservatory, he has lived in many places and absorbed a variety of influences. He is the founder of The Bodily Press through which he has released the works of other poets, as well as several of his own projects, including, most recently, the full-length poetry collection “Around the Faded Sun,” and the album of poetry and free-improvisations, “Magpie: Six Feet on Solid Ground,” featuring Asger Thomsen and Jeppe Høi Justesen. His first album as a leader, American Thicket, was released in 2016 on Loyal Label (Brooklyn, NY), and features Mat Maneri (viola), Thomas Morgan (bass), and Flin van Hemmen (drums). He has since been involved in projects such as a trio with bassist Will McEvoy and Max Goldman, Our Hearts as Thieves (with Asger Thomsen, Jonas Engel, and Etienne Nillesen), and his own solo project, Sweet Beyond Witness. His poetry has been published in Caliban Online, Big Big Wednesday, Hollow, Bloodroot Literary Journal, White Heat, Trestle Ties, and Dispatches from the Poetry Wars. Cardinaux performs and records regularly around the East Coast and in Europe, with musicians such as Jeb Bishop, Randy Peterson, Taus Bregnhøj-Olesen, Eivind Opsvik, and Kresten Osgood. He is a current candidate for an MFA in Poetry at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Poem During the Plague: Poem 25



It could be the fossil fuel of memory 
preying on you, escaping you, running 
on parallel tracks through a kitchen  
where you bend baking, as did 
your mother, her mother, and  
all the others down the line. 
The cupcake papers  
thin, shiny fibrous green flutes 
are from chemicals,  
and the batter, chemicals too,  
a mix from a box you could  
still find on the shelf  
in the market of emptiness. 

******Susan Tepper is the author of eight published books of fiction and poetry. Tepper’s honors and awards include eighteen Pushcart Nominations, a Pulitzer Prize Nomination for the novel “What May Have Been” (Cervena Barva Press), NPR’s Selected Shorts Series, Second Place Winner in Story/South Million Writers Award, Best Story of 17 Years of Vestal Review, Shortlisted 7th in the Zoetrope Novel Contest (2006), Best of the Net and more.