Blue Fifth Reviews – (September 2015 / #3)

Blue Fifth Reviews – (September 2015 / #3)

Any conscientious critic who has ever had to review a new volume of poetry in a limited space knows that the only fair thing to do would be to give a series of quotations without comment but, if he did so, his editors would complain that he was not earning his money.
               –W. H. Auden, “Reading”

Each month the editors will select collections of poetry, flash, and short fiction to present to our readers. We will be heeding Auden’s advice, listing, without comment, key passages that we consider representative of the featured works. Our hope is that readers will also be moved, and will seek out the books.


September 2015

Bill Yarrow, ed.

Alloy by Jan Bottiglieri
Mayapple Press, 2015
56 poems, 78 pages
 Alloy Bottigliari-Front-Cover-Medium-192x300
1.    I love how the sky doesn’t murder us,
        how even daffodils, with their big dumb
        faces and skinny necks, will get a chance.

        I understand it all: your igneous
        skin; your melancholia, the tide
        that brings boats in. With me, you’re not alone.

               (from “Dear Atlas”)

2.    Today I practice making kolacky. Outside, the turning leaves.
        Poring over my mother’s recipes, I cried while turning leaves.

        I fold two points of each square to the middle: small crossed hands.
        Colors of apricot, berry, darken inside, like turning leaves.

        Like my mother, I make kolacky, and I want to get it right.
        Waste, a bitter taste: the sugar-scorched underside that burning leaves.

               (from “Baking Ghazal”)

3.    The boy nearby pretended
        to be poisoned by berries
        so everyone would laugh, but no one did.
        She thought the boy was beautiful
        as a bowl-eyed pony.

               (from “Persephone of Maple Street”)Jan Bottiglieri

4.    And suddenly I want to know how turquoise
        is mined, I want to see the river of rock supple
        beneath the earth, I want to bring water
        to the ones who freed it from stasis,
        polished it, brought it to the light.

               (from “Squash Blossom”)

5.    But if there were time or world only
        for one more bite of this

        soft-spilling flesh, this gold
        greening ripeness

        I would eat
        from the bottom of the pear

        where gravity has pooled
        the sugar

               ( from “The Pear”)




Brief Nudity by Larry O. Dean
Salmon Poetry, 2013
32 poems, 82 pages

1                        Her eyes toggle
        like a clock’s second hand
        in a synchronized spasm of deliberation;Larry O Dean
        blinking, she straightens herself
        and resumes walking westward

        when a sudden breeze flips Tweety
        up and over, underside a bright white
        against colors corroded by sunlight

              (from “$8 Towels”)

2.    She crossed her legs and smoothed the skirt she bought.
        She babysat for change and for the chance
        to learn the things that girls could not be taught.

        The stockings that she wore were torn but taut.
        She thought that she might wear them to the dance.
        She crossed her legs and smoothed the skirt she bought.

               (from “Pulp Villanelle”)

3.    My penis doesn’t get what all the fuss is about.
        My penis is financially irresponsible.
        My penis likes quiet nights at home,
        and long walks on the beach.
        My penis is bona fide.
        Cogito ergo penis.

               (from “My Penis”)

brief-nudity-cover4.    Cuneiform

               (from “New Age Baby Names”)

5.    Enough already. We get it:
        You’re a badass. Your reputation
        precedes you, your fans need you
        to flex that steroidal muscle, but if
        you didn’t, would they love you any less?

                                                                       (from “Hey, Hercules”)




Letters from Aldenderry by Philip Nikolayev
Salt Publishing, 2006
99 poems, 122 pages

1.    Time to recount the sparrows of the air.
        Seated alone on an elected stair,
        I stare as they appear and disappear.

               (from “Hotel”)philip nikolayev_philip-processed

2.    In this modern age and style
        everything is crocodile:
        crocodile purses, crocodile tears,
        crocodile sized chandeliers.

        Purse me something crocodile,
        weep me something crocodile,
        light that candle and redial
        something likewise crocodile.

               (from “Crocodile”)

3.    Local cries for local, distant for distant.
        Oven of knify long phosphorescent
        testimonies, the soul in common parlance,
        whenever thus touched blends
        the Syracuse of your presence
        with the ports of my syzygy.

               (from “Morning”)

4.    Don’t ask. I can’t explain. Roses stream forth deciduous
        froth. Smoke exacts its toll, celibacy or not.
        Lucid, we grow to grief, faltering past invidious
        symmetries still unwooed, battles as yet unfought.

               (from “In a Hospital”)

5.    Snow is a cad. The phlox-plucking
        snow. Rude lips whisper
        more than the mind knows,
        yet it is by whispering
        that the mind learns to know
        how to whisper
        and the body how to understand.

               (from “Pensées”)


About bluefifthreview

Blue Fifth Review, edited by Sam Rasnake, Michelle Elvy, and Bill Yarrow, is an online journal of poetry, flash, and art.
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