Blue Fifth Reviews – (December 2015 / #5)

Blue Fifth Reviews – (December 2015 / #5)

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”

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.


December 2015

Bill Yarrow, ed.

Kohl & Chalk by Shadab Zeest Hashmi
Poetic Matrix Press, 2013
56 poems, 78 pages
1.    Listen I am a paper kite in your hands
        and this room is a star-gazer’s hill
        Beyond these Dopplers and monitors
        are the creamy shadows of passing moons
        feathery comets with soft light funneling through

               (from “Labor and Delivery”)
2.    such as the long surviving flower
        in a bottle of cream
        soda, the strategy
        of termites, song of melting ice

Shadab-Zeest-Hashmi              (from “Such as the Weight
of Salt on a Flame”)
3.    King of clocks, king
        of moving clouds
        and of everything still
        roaming, flint-mouthed, raw,
        everything dribbling over the green
        of birth, everything in the soft
        of waste.

              (from “Writing to My Maker from the Café Between Afghanistan and Pakistan”)
kohl & Chalk 51icT+bwPXL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_4.    There is a kneecap in the word diction
        where memory collects

              (from “Malabar Hills”)
5.    I looked but did not find myself
        under the desert’s back lit
        piercing clocks, its lexicon of loss,
        lures and winds
        of woven fragrance

              ( from “It’s in Sleep a Soul Will Know Itself”)




Beast in the Apartment by Tony Barnstone
Sheep Meadow Press, 2014
50 poems, 90 pages

 beast in the apartment 51ffMW+0E-L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_
1.    The wooden Buddha was wrapped in canvas
        and buried beneath a certain spot
        and there he dreamed abstractly
        for twenty wild years while children
        with red armbands cracked the cellist’s
        knuckles with pliers, axed the faces
        from statues, made monks kneel in dunce caps
        and watch the temple whip the sky with flame

              (from “The Buried Buddha”)

2.    I wanted to write something about the shout

        ripped out of the mouth by joy, the strangeness of being
        a being channeled through time
        pierced by the needle of right now, and the way

        I kill my life by living it, and the song of
        all I was unraveling behind me, the song that plays
        as a record spins to its end, and the sorrow

        of that, and how I still sing in the shower.
        That’s the poem I wanted to write

              (from “Why I Am Not a Carpenter”)

3.    Small stars are shining in the sand light,
        and here by me, skirt splashed like melted glass,
        is beautiful you, Gwyneth, curled on the beach blanket
        watching breakers fail to break the shore

              (from “The Strangeness”)
tony barnstone Mezzanine_684
4.    The great oak, hollow as a throat,
        emits the darkest sound when wind
        unwinds invisibly, strange note
        that summons nothing in the mind,

        in a black rush of wings.

              (from “Vermont Ghost Song”)

5.    And so the cosmos wavers, scared by whys
         (Yet still this poem would like to kiss your eyes)

              (from “Rota Fortuna”)




between my eye and the light by Paul Breslin
Northwestern University Press, 2014
25 poems, 73 pages

1.    So little to separate us
        from the one the siren is for,
        whose house flies into the air as cinders,
        who lies on his bed turning purple and clutching his heart.

              (from “Siren”)paul breslin reading
2.    How do you plead?

        Guilty. But guilt
        preexists the crime.

        We investigate crime, not guilt.

        Solve the guilt, and the crime will follow.

              (from “Police Interview”)
3.    Grant us this breath and another, grant us tomorrow.
        Hold us closely, lest we fly apart as we would in space;
        Incline your full weight so that we feel you hold us
        Just as you hold the dew before nightfall, the cloud before rain;
        Kiss us as we wish a lover to kiss us, without forethought or purpose.

              (from “Wind Rose”)
4.    … as new minted stars climbed from the sea,
        And shoals of fish leaped, shedding concentric rings of phosphorous—
        To anchor, after prolonged delicious loneliness,
        Where no one who was not a child could follow me.

              (from “The Lanterns” from “Octets”)
 between my eyes and the light
5.    How do you know you’re broken?

        Because you know it, you are.

        How do you know when you’re not broken?

        Because you don’t know that you are.

              (from “Catechism”)


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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