Unfiltered

Photo p.193

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.

 

 

Paul Lieber

 “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

Mozart’s Starling

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

Chrysostomus Wolfgangus

 

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

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.

Univocity

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.