Category: Poetry

Mother’s Day, 101 Years

Mother’s Day, 101 Years

Mother’s Day, 101 Years

She fumbles with the phone,

puts it on speaker, turns up

the volume, asks how I am.

I wish her Happy Mother’s Day,

ask what she is doing,

which restaurants,

which theater. I tell her how

I have always admired

her zest for life, her interest

in everyone, the details

of their lives. She says that

sounds like a Hallmark card.

Only in the past few years could

she be a splash of vinegar.

That helps her live a long life.


Steven Luria Ablon, poet and adult and child psychoanalyst, teaches child psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and publishes widely in academic journals. His poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines such as The Brooklyn Review, Ploughshares, and The Princeton Arts Review. He has published five full collections of poetry including Tornado Weather (Mellen Poetry Press, 1993),  Flying Over Tasmania (The Fithian Press, 1997), Blue Damsels (Peter E Randall Publisher, 2005),  Night Call (Plain View Press, 2011), and, most recently, Dinner in the Garden (Columbia, South Carolina, 2018).

Rising from His Chair – Steve Ablon

Rising from His Chair – Steve Ablon

Rising from His Chair

He will not hold the arm rests, so his body 

rocks, a windlass, lifting a few inches  

off the chair. He falls back, recovers, pulls 

in his breath for strength, fixes his eyes on  

painting of the Luxembourg Gardens 

on the wall where light below the horizon  

reaches to hold back the dark. His thighs shake, 

each muscle-spindle recruiting strength,  

recruiting balance to slowly stand. 

He walks, scuffs the carpet. When I offer  

a glass of water, he pushes my hand away. 

Neither the young nor the old like to be helped. 


Steven Luria Ablon, poet and adult and child psychoanalyst, teaches child psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and publishes widely in academic journals. His poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines such as The Brooklyn Review, Ploughshares, and The Princeton Arts Review. He has published five full collections of poetry including Tornado Weather (Mellen Poetry Press, 1993),  Flying Over Tasmania (The Fithian Press, 1997), Blue Damsels (Peter E Randall Publisher, 2005),  Night Call (Plain View Press, 2011), and, most recently, Dinner in the Garden (Columbia, South Carolina, 2018).

A Lowkey Search for Something Long-Term – Ben Nardolilli

A Lowkey Search for Something Long-Term – Ben Nardolilli

A Lowkey Search for Something Long-Term

She laughs at me as I stand in the mirror and says 

I should be so glad to be losing so much! 

My mind? I ask. 

No, so much weight, she replies. 

All trace of stomach, gone. 

How educational these days must be for me. 

How high, how high my character must be, 

she laughs, and looks up, 

there it is! On the ceiling, judging us all! 

I say she’s fine as she is. 

She shakes her head, no, 

and anyway, she continues, it’s judging you too. 

She wishes she could go on my diet, 

visions and the gifts of parties, 

alas, bureaucrats and husbands won’t allow it, 

Afterwards, 

she turns on her side and goes to sleep. 

I look at the ceiling, and end my day in wonder. 


Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, The Northampton Review, Local Train Magazine, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at mirrorsponge.blogspot.com and is trying to publish a novel.

The American Selfcare System – Ben Nardolilli

The American Selfcare System – Ben Nardolilli

This poem is the first of two by Ben that we will be posting. The dry, upfront way in which he handles the subject of each respective piece won us over easily. Enjoy.

The American Selfcare System

Fever? Sure, it’s rising around my ears 

and soaking into my forehead, am I red? Always, 

but this afternoon, I feel it. Drop some water 

on me and watch the steam. 

There’s enough energy here for a city of lights, 

what a shame it’s all going to waste. 

Popular theory: it’s another germ 

germinating inside of me, and why’s that? 

I’ve got a sore throat too, of course. 

It makes sense to blame it on invasions unseen 

that seem to be attacking me 

from my ankles, to my neck, to my forehead. 

Unpopular, romantic theory: I’m red 

because a whiff of spring is loose in the air 

and I’m rendered electric over sudden possibilities 

that the winter months shut up. 

There’ll be rain, but the rain will refresh, 

and there’ll be no more snow to contend with. 


Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, The Northampton Review, Local Train Magazine, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at mirrorsponge.blogspot.com and is trying to publish a novel.

At the Gates – Seth Jani

At the Gates – Seth Jani

At the Gates

The quotidian deaths keep piling 

their black ruins into the earth. 

Life approaches on hushed feet, 

carrying her cage of multicolored birds. 

We best make our peace with these mausoleums, 

these open houses of the rain. 

Rickshaws carry our aging parents 

to the gates of the city. 

Their eyes are exhausted 

by the cascading light. 

After so much stone 

I’m hungry for the sight 

of dragonflies. 

Those shimmering blue bodies 

filling my hands. 

Those dark jewels  

quietly clutched 

from a burning sky. 


Seth Jani lives in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven CirclePress (www.sevencirclepress.com). Their work has appeared in The American Poetry JournalChiron ReviewThe Comstock Review, Ghost City Review, Rust+Moth and Pretty Owl Poetry, among others. Their full-length collection, Night Fable, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018. Visit them at www.sethjani.com.

Fireworks – Seth Jani

Fireworks – Seth Jani

Fireworks

Another year, and a golden fistful of moon 

is dropped over the city, exploding nearby. 

Glitter-fish, bodies of disintegrating angels, 

and galaxies, like heart-states, rising and falling. 

When this life ends, I don’t want to disappear 

into the glacial darkness, wavering, 

a barely audible hum. Let the change be tectonic. 

Rocketing as one would expect  

pent-up love to rocket. Entering the stratosphere 

with streamers of light. Creating a halo 

in the otherwise desolate hull  

of time and space. Letting it be known 

that there is always, somewhere, 

a universe on fire. 


Seth Jani lives in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven CirclePress (www.sevencirclepress.com). Their work has appeared in The American Poetry JournalChiron ReviewThe Comstock Review, Ghost City Review, Rust+Moth and Pretty Owl Poetry, among others. Their full-length collection, Night Fable, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018. Visit them at www.sethjani.com.

Storm Cellar – Seth Jani

Storm Cellar – Seth Jani

Storm Cellar

This is one of the paradises 

that we get to 

by opening the blue-flaked door 

and entering the earth, 

by putting everything on hold 

and saying I love you, 

even as the battering rams 

blow through our houses 

and the malevolent rain 

drills into the floor, 

leaving us to stumble 

into a second darkness, 

where the white flowers 

are stark as serpents, 

and the root of grace 

is nearer to our feet.


Seth Jani lives in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven CirclePress (www.sevencirclepress.com). Their work has appeared in The American Poetry JournalChiron ReviewThe Comstock Review, Ghost City Review, Rust+Moth and Pretty Owl Poetry, among others. Their full-length collection, Night Fable, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018. Visit them at www.sethjani.com

Telemachus Creek – Seth Jani

Telemachus Creek – Seth Jani

This is the first of four poems by Seth that we’ll be posting over the course of the next few days. Each of them handle different subject matter, but all with similar grace and fluency. Enjoy.

Telemachus Creek

From every faultline of darkness 

a blue dragonfly skirts 

the glistening stone. 

This is the grace of August 

coming to haunt us, 

to fill the paltry day. 

I cup my hands  

and they fill with water. 

I waltz in the descending night. 

Overhead, a daylit moon 

unsettles the heart, 

dislodges the comfortable chains, 

and the conflagrant self 

steps out of the body, 

solitary and luminous, 

like that single bright godetia  

on the summer hill. 


Seth Jani lives in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven CirclePress (www.sevencirclepress.com). Their work has appeared in The American Poetry JournalChiron ReviewThe Comstock Review, Ghost City Review, Rust+Moth and Pretty Owl Poetry, among others. Their full-length collection, Night Fable, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018. Visit them at www.sethjani.com

Cave with Familiar Faces – David Lewitzky

Cave with Familiar Faces – David Lewitzky

This is the second and final poem of David’s that we will be posting (just for now, of course). We appreciated the wry yet deeply relatable sentiments he raised in “Cave with Familiar Faces,” as well as the edgy sweetness laced throughout “Not an Anniversary Poem.” Enjoy.

Cave with Familiar Faces

In this revealing moment, 

this cave holds many meanings for me. 

My uncertain self, an unsolved puzzle. 

Isolation, suffocation. 

Here’s my mother on the cave wall, 

pushing me. Complaining. 

Here’s my batty father hanging upside down, 

playing solitaire. Mumbling to himself. 

Here’s Julie and our children, 

imploring me and out of reach. 

There’s a gallery of betrayal here. 

The hosts of people who’ve betrayed me, 

the hosts that I’ve betrayed. 

No one will tell me what’s going on here. 

But I’ll have my say. 

Destiny’s a dead end, perception’s mean and fake. 

Fuck Plato. Fuck this cave. 


David is a 79-year-old former social worker/family therapist living in Buffalo, New York. In 2002, he resumed writing poetry after a 35-year hiatus. During that time, he carried a sandwich board in his head declaring him, “Poet. Not writing!” He has published about 100 poems in a variety of lit mags, such as Nimrod, Passages North, and Tidal Basin Review.

Not an Anniversary Poem – David Lewitzky

Not an Anniversary Poem – David Lewitzky

Not an Anniversary Poem

For Julie (and For Me) 

Here’s a celebration of our several adulteries: 

hot and cold, 

secret memories stashed between our ears, 

behind our throats 

where we hide our jewel box, 

where we keep our fancy carvings. 
 

Let’s keep on doing what we’re doing: 

the incriminating emails, the furtive texts, 

the phone sex, the anonymous motels, 

waging, spy-on-spy, our erotic intrigues. 

Let’s play party games: 

Musical Chairs and Twister, 

Red Light Green Light, Spin the Bottle, Switch. 

Yeah! Let’s play Switch. 

Make hay while the sun shines, gather rosebuds, 

live life greedily. 

Let’s be lewd and lovely, 

corrupt and dirty and unrepentant. 

Let’s be glorious in our sinning. 

Let us honor, you and I, 

the complex of betrayals underlying all our vows, 

all those risks we take. 

Ah, the risks we take. 

 
The sacrifices that we make for satisfaction, 

the covert pursuit of joy, 

the dark aesthetic that we crave.


David is a 79-year-old former social worker/family therapist living in Buffalo, New York. In 2002, he resumed writing poetry after a 35-year hiatus. During that time, he carried a sandwich board in his head declaring him, “Poet. Not writing!” He has published about 100 poems in a variety of lit mags, such as Nimrod, Passages North, and Tidal Basin Review.