The Great White Way looking north,
February 21, 1964.
The smoke hangs over the street
drifting north from Times Square
where the Camel sign reigns
and the man exhales and exhales
the unfiltered cigarette. My father
burned through three packs a day.
Butts would float on top of urine
in the toilet, evidence that he could piss
and smoke simultaneously. I remember
the unending stream. Here the billboard looms
over Hector’s, a cafeteria, one of many
scattered across Manhattan.
Feb 21 1964, a year my father was alive.
It must have been late when this photo was shot
given the lack of traffic. Two dim headlights
in the foreground. Shadows head downtown.
A record store lights up the lower
right corner, but it’s that rhythmic
smoke, the steady beat of the lungs,
that uninterrupted puff of a man in a cap,
a postman, a policeman, Everyman who sends
a plume into the air like a wish, a halo
reimagined over and over. It just killed
everyone who saw it, even my father.
“Interrupted by the Sea,” Paul’s second collection of poetry was published this year. (What Books Press) His first collection, “Chemical Tendencies,”(Tebot Bach) was a finalist in the MSR poetry contest. He also received an honorable mention in the Allen Ginsberg Contest. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Paul produces and hosts “Why Poetry” on Pacifica radio in L.A. and Santa Barbara. Guests have included Poet Laureates, National Book Award Winners and many known and lesser-known poets. Paul’s poems have appeared in The Moth, N.Y. Quarterly, Patterson Review, Askew, Poemeleon, Alimentum, and many other journals and anthologies. He has taught creative writing in poetry, short stories and playwriting at Loyola Marymount University and facilitates the poetry workshop at Beyond Baroque, the oldest literary institute in Los Angeles. Paul works as an actor and has performed on and off-Broadway and in numerous films and TV shows. paullieber.com
I read somewhere that
Mozart had a pet starling
He called the starling singvogel
or was that an old German toy
He taught the bird to sing a song
or was it the other way around
And did the bird really come
when Mozart called or did it
secretly wish it belonged to
Constanze of the soft breast
instead of Wolfie (Johannes
Theophilus Mozart to give
the man his proper name)
If I had a starling I’d call it
Constanze and ask it to sing
a song about the brief musical
career of Mozart’s starling
an avian concerto from
one composer to another
Sally Zakariya’s poetry has appeared in some 75 print and online journals and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her most recent publication is The Unknowable Mystery of Other People (Poetry Box, 2019). She is also the author of Personal Astronomy, When You Escape, Insectomania, and Arithmetic and other verses, as well as the editor of a poetry anthology, Joys of the Table. Zakariya blogs at www.butdoesitrhyme.com.
“All being can correctly be spoken of with ‘one voice’ (univocity) as John Duns Scotus put it. What I am you also are, and so is the world.” —Richard Rohr: What You See Is What You Are
Today I heard my voice speaking to me from the oak outside the kitchen window. Like a good Quaker, she got right to the point. It is a beautiful day, she said. A dreadful day. The sun is warm and glowing. Burning. Blinding. My voice is alone out here. My voice is part of the history of the world, and everything in it that ever was and ever will be, the roar of the dinosaur, the howl of the baby not yet born, the star exploding into lightyears past. Even the trees themselves singing as they traverse the orbit of their rings of life.
I listened. The silence was stunning. Living. Loud.
Marian Kaplun Shapiro
Marian Kaplun Shapiro, a previous contributor, is the author of a professional book, Second Childhood (Norton, 1988), a poetry book, Players In The Dream, Dreamers In The Play (Plain View Press, 2007) and two chapbooks: Your Third Wish, (Finishing Line, 2007); and The End Of The World, Announced On Wednesday (Pudding House, 2007). A Quaker and a psychologist, her poetry often embeds the topics of peace and violence by addressing one within the context of the other. A resident of Lexington, she is a five-time Senior Poet Laureate of Massachusetts. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2012.