Profile photo of Lisa Sawyer

This poem was published in our Fall 2015 print issue and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Single copies of the issue are available for purchase. Listen to an interview with Robert Carnevale. We say light, steady, driving. We do not say deep, do not say dead, we do not say the rain is down. And all the while, whatever we say, the rain is not even here. Where the rain is there is no here.  That is just one of our schemes. But once you are here, rain is here with you; once there, you are there with the rain. We are of the same place as the rain, we hear it, and it is true.  Sometimes we even see it – if not so plainly as Hiroshige. Speak for me too, rain, and I will listen. — ROBERT CARNEVALE was born in Italy and grew up in Paterson, NJ.  He worked in several capacities on the Voices and Visions film series on American poets and was Assistant Coordinator of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Poetry Program for six years.  He teaches in the graduate school at Drew University and in the college at Kean University. Aside from Tiferet, his Read the Rest…

Comments
Profile photo of Lisa Sawyer
March 28th, 2016 at 10:56 am

Excerpt from Stifled by Talia Carner

Added by Lisa Sawyer

This short story appeared in our Winter 2011 Issue 17. The entire issue is available for download in Kindle format.       I had been playing hop-scotch for an hour with Deena, a sixteen-year-old Orthodox girl who lived across the street from my grandmother’s Tel-Aviv home. Deena shook her calf-length skirt to cool her stockinged legs and tried in vain to blow into the top of her neck-to-wrist blouse. A year younger than she, I drank water from the faucet in the yard and splashed water on my exposed midriff above my short shorts.       My friend cupped water near her mouth, and asked, “Will you come to my wedding?”       “You’re getting married?” I assumed she meant light years away. “Seriously?”       She shrugged, her eyes downcast. “Tuesday.”       From the entrance to the wedding hall, I could see hundreds of bearded men in the Hassidi garb of black hats and long, belted coats. An usher blocked my way and directed me to the women’s hall, where the ceiling was lower and the harsh fluorescent lights made the panels on the wall look like Formica. Holding glasses of orange and grape juice, women in long modest dresses and head covers eyed my white-and-red mini suit Read the Rest…

Comments
Profile photo of Lisa Sawyer

This poem appears in our 2010 print issue 13. The entire issue is available in Kindle format. For Moira Egan you talk about the /margin of silence/: this twilight hour: how it puts holes in the body: where the lungs and the diaphragm live: you say /this is the real Witching Hour/: voiceless: wrapped blind in a shroud: with the light boring through you: no, no—this is how you feel: as though you have taken a vow: and this moment when the sun is already past the shoulder of the earth: when night is rushing: this margin: when the animal shifts are beginning and ending: here where departure and entry are done in soundless respect: you sit taking in the quietude: the music of pause: here it would be so easy to plummet into prayer: sheet flapping in the wind: you say /in this hour I was a mere ghost/: /I did not wander outside my shell/: /I sat in the margin of silence/: /refusing to follow/: /refusing to leave/ — J.P. Dancing Bear is editor for the American Poetry Journal and Dream Horse Press. Bear also hosts the weekly hour-long poetry show, Out of Our Minds, on public station, KKUP and available Read the Rest…

Comments
Profile photo of Lisa Sawyer

This interview appeared in our Fall 2013 Print Issue 23. It is available for download in digital format and in Kindle format. How do you see the Spirit of God, the Divine Spirit, or the Holy Spirit perhaps, at work within the world? The enigma of who we are leads to spiritual adventure, to keep seeking forward, beyond where we thought we were going. After graduating from high school in Paris with a baccalauréat in math and physics, I found myself in medical school at seventeen. After two years I crashed, it was like giving up my soul. I went through a deep depression and nearly died. Which is what saved me. It was a deeply transforming spiritual experience (in a way which I had not been able to achieve by going on pilgrimage to Chartres at fourteen), and put me on my path. That is when I knew that who I really am never dies and is connected to something bigger and stronger than I ever knew, unconditional love, the Mystery. The human being is an animal who differs from the other animals by the fact that he knows he is such; although one can ask if animals have Read the Rest…

Comments
Profile photo of Lisa Sawyer

The following book excerpt appeared in our Fall 2010 Print issue 13. The entire issue is available in Kindle format.              One day at Twenty-Nine Palms, while Master was revising his Bhagavad Gita commentaries, he asked Dorothy Taylor to read sections of it to a group of monks who had come from Mt. Washington. During her reading, Miss Taylor came to a passage that described the state of oneness with God. Once the devotee attains this divine state, Master had said, he realizes that the Ocean of Spirit alone is real. God took on the appearance of the little ego and then, after some time, withdrew that wave into Himself again. In effect, the dream-child wakes up in cosmic consciousness to find himself God once more.              However, Master went on to explain, the enlightened being, after attaining that consciousness, never says, “I am God,” for he sees it was the vast Ocean which became his little wave of ego. The wave, in other words, when referring to its little self, would never claim to be the Ocean.              At this juncture Debi, who was Read the Rest…

Comments
Profile photo of Lisa Sawyer
February 24th, 2016 at 10:26 am

Excerpt from The Rooms by Therése Halscheid

Added by Lisa Sawyer

The following poem appears in our Fall 2011 Print Issue 17. The entire issue is available in Kindle format. A road led to the water that ribboned the mountain. And not wanting to disturb a brook’s rushing thoughts I walked the rest of the way, softly 
into other moments I wanted
 to see and hear. Beyond the rickety bridge and bamboo gate, the world turned clear and the long distance to get there
 was gone and ahead the green 
land glistened. Then, in the sunlight, in the sunlight, there— were small rooms, open, of three sides only, each facing the elements of ground and sky,
 each with a bed, candle or lamp, with a bowl
 for cool water but that was all. One room perched in the crook of a tree, 
another just over the water, while others were set in hollows or upon a bright spread of grass, as if the old earth had made them,
 this place. How could it be otherwise; how could it not be— that later, our own bodies would open
 with stars entering, and night, and the wind. — THERÉSE HALSCHEID’S previous poetry collections include Powertalk, Without Home, Uncommon Geography, which won a finalist award Read the Rest…

Comments
Profile photo of Lisa Sawyer
February 18th, 2016 at 9:03 am

Excerpt from Ziprin’s Ghost by Ronald Pies

Added by Lisa Sawyer

The following short story appeared in our 2010 Print Issue 13 and is available in Kindle format.         Shlomberg didn’t know from methane—its physics, its reliability, how it behaved in a leaky wooden container like his Brooklyn apartment. Why should he? He was a scholar, not an explosives expert.         From the tinny speaker of his Westinghouse clock radio—a remnant of his marriage to Rivka—Joseph Suk’s “Fantastic Scherzo” soared and swooped in its melodic argument: a piece that, for Shlomberg, always evoked the cliché, “Life’s sweet, sad song.” From his own body, perhaps from a region near his groin, Shlomberg’s nose registered a sour, ammoniac smell.         How sweet, in the final analysis, was life, for that matter? Arthritis wasn’t sweet. Diabetes, maybe, but checking fasting blood sugars wasn’t the kind of sweet that made you eager to rise in the morning, cook a bowl of oatmeal, and greet the day. Sad, Shlomberg knew about, though Rivka had always considered him something of a cry-baby.         “You confuse sadness with self-pity,” she had said to him once, over divorce papers and luke-warm coffee.      Shlomberg fingered the box of wooden matches, rubbing the rough striking area like a Hasid caressing the fringes of his prayer Read the Rest…

Comments
Profile photo of Lisa Sawyer

This essay appeared in our Fall 2012 Print Issue. It is available for digital download and also in Kindle format.         The first snake I saw that wasn’t in the pages of the encyclopedias my mother bought from a door-to-door salesman was a rattlesnake hit by a speeding car on the curve by the Railroad Pass Casino, the driver probably unaware of having extinguished a life. It was definitely dead, even though its rattle twitched in the air as my father slowed the car for us to see what had happened. For days, my six-year-old self saw ghost images of that twitching tail, almost like a message from the other side saying we should have stopped and laid that creature to rest (or at least paid our respects).       During the summers, my brother and I spent hours roaming the Mojave Desert south of our red-shuttered, whitewashed house in Boulder City, searching for hideouts of who-knew-what creatures. We were valiant explorers, Steve and I, mostly picking on red ants, whose species had bitten the toes of our bare feet one too many times. We burned a few of their hind ends with our magnifying glass and a hit of direct sunlight. Read the Rest…

Comments
Profile photo of Lisa Sawyer

The following poem appears in our Fall 2013 print issue 23. The full issue is available for download in digital format here. It is also available in Kindle format here. Not that you didn’t recognize the dragonfly landing on the zipper of your backpack
 or register the bulbous, black compound eyes and segmented abdomen       as they dipped and bobbed. You were expert at observing appearances, the iridescent blue-green wings cantilevered, fluttering in the air, ready to hover       or bolt in ten directions, and then the water at your feet sheering into the tall river grasses. But what you saw was what you added: tint and shape, context and purpose,       the old narrative tick triggering into motion the unending deluge              of desire. Hear me out. You were drained
 by looking, swiftly circulating through dust off cliff face and trailhead,       busy. Maybe you never truly learned to sit
 for one moment in summer’s phototropic glimmer,       or hear the sizzling grains of sunlight crawl through the aspens. Maybe you are the one I dreamed would come some day,       the one smitten with the apocrypha and rigmarole of measurable things,       the one almost ready for emptiness. — SIGMAN BYRD’S first book of poems, Under Read the Rest…

Comments
Profile photo of Lisa Sawyer

The following lullaby appeared in our Fall 2006 Print Issue 7. The entire issue is available for download in Kindle format. This is how the moon will know us when we are dead, or almost dead, or near some strange equivalent thereof: It will know us most unknowingly, as a leaf in the dark caresses a child’s face. It will string up the sea like a lyre, and play the dark glissando of waves. Oh hips! Rose startled and sublime!
It will feel most impossibly deep
the needles and pins that prick our unhappy lives. I swear the moon has no need for beatitude or praise. I have seen it in an irrigation ditch making a holy thing of filthy water. This is how the moon will know us
when we are dead or almost dead or near: it will feel most impossibly deep
the deep divinity we bear: night’s air. — JOE WEIL is an assistant professor of poetry and fiction at Binghamton University at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. In 2013, NYQ Books published Weil’s New and Selected Poems, The Great Grandmother Light. Joe’s publishing credits include multiple publications, both in print and online, as well as chapbooks and poetry volumes. He Read the Rest…

Comments