Monday, October 12, 2015

Howard Schwartz Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, October 26

Howard Schwartz will be one of three featured readers at the •chance operations• reading at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, October 26.

Other featured readers will be Allison Creighton and Jeff Friedman.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Howard Schwartz is the author of five books of poems, Library of Dreams, Vessels, Gathering the Sparks, Sleepwalking Beneath the Stars, and Breathing in the Dark. He is also the co-editor (with Anthony Rudolf) of Voices Within the Ark: The Modern Jewish Poets. His other books include Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism, which won the National Jewish Book Award in 2005, and Leaves from the Garden of Eden: One Hundred Classic Jewish Tales, published in 2008. He is a professor of English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Swimming to Jerusalem

The first time
I went on a quest
for forbidden fruit.

The second time
I built an ark
and tried to get there by sea.

The third time
I came in search of my ancestor,

If the sun was hidden
I let the stars
guide me.

If the tablets were broken
I carved
new ones.

In the future
my bones
will roll to that city.

Last night
I dreamed
I was swimming there.

-- Howard Schwartz

Allison Creighton Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, October 26

Allison Creighton will be one of three featured readers at the •chance operations• reading at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, October 26.

Other featured readers will be Howard Schwartz and Jeff Friedman.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is FREE.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Allison Creighton holds an MFA from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She teaches part-time at Washington University in St. Louis and serves as a contributing editor for River Styx. Her work has appeared in Potomac Review, Natural Bridge, The Mochila Review, and two anthologies, and she received first prize in the 2010 Wednesday Club of St. Louis Original Poetry Contest. Her first book of poetry, Drawing Down the Moon, was published by Turning Point in 2015
On a Night Too Hot for a Sheet

Now that you have entered
the space that surrounds me,
we shall be as one.
I will pull you inside with such a touch
that the finest light will waver.
Your lips are bittersweet
as the root of love itself.

One by one
I hand you my secrets.
My fear of the color orange
and all its bold laughter.
A secret buried in a meadow
where no one goes.
How I tried to bind
two distant souls.
Each way I struggled
to force another to speak.
The stark night
when childhood vanished
in an instant.
Days my tires spun
in lost rotations
down a gravel road
far from home.
The shrinking blackout windows.
Shadows of a phantom figure.
The thorn caught in his beard.

A tremor shifts across my body
as I start to tell the secret
too scared to breathe.
Your eyes unblinking,
hover above me.
As you come closer,
for a kiss,
I can’t feel the soft wind
of your breath on my lips.

You wait and wait.

You press yourself
hard against me,
a ghost.

--Allison Creighton

(published in Winter Harvest: Jewish Writing in St. Louis, and in Drawing Down the Moon)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Jeff Friedman Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, October 26

Jeff Friedman will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, October 26.

Also featured will be Howard Schwartz, and Allison Creighton.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Advance sign-up for the open-mic following the featured readers is encouraged. Click here to sign-up via e-mail.

Jeff Friedman has published six poetry collections, five with Carnegie Mellon University Press, including Pretenders (2014), Working in Flour (2011) and Black Threads (2008). His poems, mini stories and translations have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, New England Review, The Antioch Review, Poetry International, Hotel Amerika, Flash Fiction Funny, Missouri Review, Agni Online, The New Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish Poets, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Smokelong Quarterly, Boulevard, Natural Bridge, The Vestal Review, and The New Republic and many other literary magazines. He has won numerous awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship, the Milton Dorfman Poetry Prize, The Missouri Review Editor’s Prize, and two individual artist grants from the New Hampshire State Arts Council. Dzvinia Orlowsky’s and his translation of Memorials by Polish poet Mieczslaw Jastrun was published by Lavender Ink/Dialogos in August 2014.
Bear Fight

When Liza fell in with the bear, I was more than disappointed as I had been in love with her since childhood. “What’s he got that I don’t?” I asked as we walked past the diner together. “He’s a bear.” She let go of my hand. “He gets a little jealous when I’m out with my friends.” “Why do you want to be with a bear anyway?” Two teenagers pushed past us with their skateboards. Balloon floated above Main Street, announcing a sale at the furniture shop. “Why do you want to be with me?” she asked. We parted ways when the light changed, but later I went to her home dressed as a bear. She opened the door. “Come in,” she said, putting her arms around me. “You don’t smell like a bear,” she said, Then in walked the bear, with a fierce look on his face. He growled and so did I. He cuffed me, so I cuffed him back. Then we grappled with each other, bear hugging until Liza stepped in between us and held out her hands. “I’m sick of bears,” she said. “Get out of here.” I ripped off my bear mask. “I’m not a bear,” I said. The bear ripped off his. “I quit this game,” he said. “I’m not a bear either.” Liza removed her mask, and she wasn’t Liza. We ran away as fast as we could. I made it back to my place and locked the door, turning on the outside light, but all night I heard her huffing.

(Published in Spillway)

-- Jeff Friedman