Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Poems by Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) in Caliban Online #20 and #21

Caliban Online logo from lisabmusic blog
I am thrilled to have poems included in the 20th and 21st issues of Caliban Online, especially since editor Larry Smith has believed in my work since publishing it in the original print version of Caliban (see an earlier post about how groundbreaking Caliban was even then, and this one too). 

Download free PDFs of all issues of the online Caliban at the link above.

Janet Kauffman, Nathaniel Tarn, Ray Gonzalez, Elizabeth Robinson, Timothy Liu, Brian Swann, and my old acquaintance from the 80s San Francisco poetry scene Ed Mycue are just some of the writers in Caliban Online #20, while #21 boasts such writers as Gerald Vizenor, George Kalamaras, Karen Garthe, and Anna Halberstadt. 

This online mag includes the most striking work from a range of visual artists that I've seen in any magazine anywhere not totally dedicated to visual art. Worth looking at!

Here's one of the three poems of mine in Caliban Online #20, from a series identified there as "Persephone Post-War" but whose name I just changed to "Kore: After the Battle." (Thanks to poets D.A. Powell and Brent Sunderland for helping me figure out that change, which is nearly a restoration to the sequence's original name of years past.) 

plums from lisabmusic blog
Plum Juice

The fleshy plums
firm and black-purple
falling, shriveling,
in days
rotting on the ground.
The relief
of just looking.
Just stepping past them,
bits of plum skin
sticking to my slippers.

The space in my throat
where a bite of sweet plum
could slide past.
From that hollow,
my voice
echoing on gray
wood, apples
a woman’s
sweet singing in the lanes
of trees.

A faint
gleam is hidden
in the crack of a mossy
rockface. I reach in
my thumb
—it stings. Pull it out
dripping blood.
I suck it,

I can still feel pain
even gone from the world
which sliced into me
when I saw through it.
Here a simple line
of blood from my own flesh.                         

my juice.                                                                     
See the water pooling
in a hollow of
grassy dirt, sap
in circles in
the bark. And transparent beads
of liquid welling from the sliced
pumice-white fruit
which he places for me
on the tops of tree-stumps
at points along my
unplanned path.
He must see

where I walk and
when I want,
the sharpness of light
and liquid blurring
into hunger.
After each bite
a space of air.
I am inside

and outside
the orchard, a lady
in a gray dress,
treading the leaves.
A matted scent
like singing warms my throat,

and then
warm as the orchard air,
where I can breathe.

copyright 2015 Lisa Bernstein