old man drooling buying courage to have just one touch
step out the back door for a cig leaving friend and foes
finding places where faces melt to some phony funked out trip
laughing lenny bruce groovy desiring some thing
non-descript superficial scene-scaping landing nodding kind
keep moving card carrying valley proud fractured mind club
hat worn low memorex eyes frequency flying with tuned-up ear
where the parking lot lovers artist and philosophers meet
where hearts and bodies fight for rights to mental containment
contentment knowing no one looks too long or too hard in face
ambulance screams in the distance steel nerved unaffected
frightened only by the answers to the unasked questions
heavily lubed and primed from old man bargain drink shot specials
saints in some rock-an-roll choir unglued and let loose
poets stand silent watching listening to gun shot banter
capturing some feeling some moment some weakness
emotionally plagiarized aggrandized like only a lonely angel can
times slipping dawn’s colour is spitting i announce ‘i’m splitting’
‘chitty chitty bang bang’ kiss kiss goodbyes and ‘alright til next time’
scene was supposed to fade into greys blocking his goddamn rhythm
sky’s-eye bright still mocking as it they he hauntingly pace my stride
bang walls of skull forgetting pictures written melodramatic dylan lyric
bathed in obscene light of the moon exposing secrets held closed
stepping harder faster to beat pink’s yellow’s orange’s mournings
revealing the lines from story…”crying like a fire in the sun”
Stanley H. Barkan
If not the cruelest,
the most unkind.
The buds peek out
of the last snows
only to be blown away,
ripped from their dreaming roots.
Rains still come
but mix with ice.
All the earth
for bright new starts
without true promise.
Which is worse:
of things not to come
or none at all?
The day the fledglings
fly from their nests
they find the beaks of falcons,
the claws of cats.
We all carry our baggage differently
We’ve all got it; just some hide it better than others
The smoke circles around my eyes carry the baggage for me
The baggage my back can’t support
Ten pound limit isn’t much
Especially for the hefty weight my soul bares
Life (present and past)
Career, or lack there of
Family isn’t baggage, but I can’t support them either
Every day just banging away at the words
Trying to find a way to express and support
Doesn’t always work though
As you can tell by the colour and age of the carrying cases under my eyes
Baggage getting greater, my limit getting smaller
“You won’t have to work, I’ll take care of you”
Broken promises that can’t be added up with a calculator
A beaten man, a broken man full of broken promises
Always thought I was hard
Not hard enough, in more ways than one
Something’s going to break
And if it’s me, I don’t want to be around for it when it happens
Charles P. Ries
ČERVENA BARVA PRESS
Gloria Mindock, Editor
P.O. Box 440357
W. Somerville, M A 02144-3222
This Review First Appeared In: PRESA
What do you suppose is in the water in Somerville ? Small press publishers are popping up all over the place: Ibbetson Street Press, sunny outside press and now, Červená Barva Press. Maybe we should all drink some of that Somerville prose juice as it appears to be poetry fortified.
Gloria Mindock founded Červená Barva Press in April 2005, since that time she has published and designed ten chapbooks, three e-books, and twenty-one poetry postcards. Forthcoming in 2007 are four more chapbooks, four full-length poetry books, as well as two plays and fourteen poetry postcards by fourteen poets using paintings by Nancy Mitchell. Oh, and she also publishes a monthly electronic newsletter which lists readings from all over the world as well as interviews with authors. I asked Gloria how it all began, “I started this press because of my passion for poetry. I edited the Boston Literary Review (BluR) for 10 years, and I read high-quality submissions during that period. Since the magazine ceased circulation, I have spent many years freelance writing, but see a need for a new publishing forum. This led me to take it a step further and expand into publishing. I wanted to provide another outlet for writers who take risks, have a strong voice, and are unique. Eventually I will publish more writing from different countries, particularly authors from Eastern Europe . There are so many wonderful writers in this world and I want to give them more exposure.” Mindock’s fascination with Eastern Europe, and especially Prague , prompted her to name her press Červená Barva which means the “red colour” in Czech.
As the following short poetry reviews will note, Mindock has a wide range of tastes and inclinations when it comes to the writers she chooses to publish:
The Whole Enchilada
By: Ed Miller
Wonderful! If this is Miller’s first chap book – I want to put in an advance order on the next ten. I loved “Dear Poet” and “Extraterrestrials Use Holographic Imagery Of Naked Females”. How glorious to read a wry sense of humor who is capable of creating such endless possibilities.
God Of The Jellyfish
By: Lucille Lang Day
We need more poets with M .A.’s in zoology and Ph.D.’s in science and math education, or we will never discover the metaphoric limits of the ocean, stars and universe. Oh, and Lucille Lang Day also has a M.A. in English and M.F.A. in creative writing. She will never run out of material given the galaxies she has chosen to examine. She does a wonderful job making this collision of science, the cosmic, and the day-to-day work.
Of All The Meals I Had Before:
Poems About Food and Eating
By: Doug Holder
This collection of poetry may well elevate food above sex as one of life’s two great pleasures. Holder writes in the spare precise style he is known for. No extras – all meat and potatoes. These are highly descriptive, ambient poems of place and person. I was surprised at how well Holder pulled this collection off.
By: Flavia Cosma
Mindock says her favorite writers come from Eastern Europe . As I read this delicious and somber Romanian born Canadian poet, it is easy to see why. Cosma uses nature as a backdrop and foundation for her poetry. She is a Richard Wilber Poetry in Translation winner for her book of poetry 47 POEMS. One has to wonder if being born speaking Slavic gives a poet the upper hand when painting silk on water.
By: Richard Kostelanetz
I had to work hard to get through Kostelanetz’s work – esoteric word art more than poetry. Begging the question, where does poetry end and visual art begin? Scrabble meets Einstein. Bilingual Poems is on one level a series of two dimensional Mandalas, and on another, a series of Gideon knots. Kostelanetz says that his goal is “to be the most inventive poet ever in American Literature.” He just might do it, but will people read it?
W Is For War
By: George Held
It is hard to create metaphor or image equal to combat. War is horror – how can words ever come close to mirroring moments of such suffering and fear? I give George Held credit for trying and doing such a good job at it. His poem, “From Nam to Armageddon” is a great piece of work. One of the most complete war poems I have ever read.
Fishing In Green Waters
By: Judy Ray
These are effortless poems that spin between here and now using both conversational and lyrical language. Judy Ray lavishes description around the subjects of her observations that are often common in their nature, but elevates their substance with her gentle compassion. Her poems, “Anonymous Valentines” and “Sometimes” are wonderful works. About this Fishing In Green Waters, Judy Ray says, “This new collection is more elusive in theme, and maybe more mysterious for that reason. Several of the poems refer to those sparks of excitement which come from recognition of some moment of transient beauty, or a small gesture which speaks for a historic moment.” This is work by a very fine, skilled, steady hand
I asked Mindock about her background and influences and she said, “ My mother always painted, and poetry was always around me. I always had that artistic background. My dad taught 7th and 8th grade English. There are a lot of artists in my family. My sister is a musicologist. My parents are my biggest influence.”
Doug Holder of Ibbetson Street says this about Mindock, “Gloria has long experience in the poetry biz. We call each other holy fools because we are passionate about our work, and don’t make a red cent, like most of the holy fools in the small press. She puts out a quality product and is a joy to deal with!” Doug is right, and we poets are lucky to have holy fools who work for nothing, but the joy it brings them.