“Gamblers Hands” by Carl “Papa” Palmer

“To my father, now rolling those dice in Heaven. Happy birthday, dad (April 19th).” ~ Carl “Papa” Palmer

Gamblers Dice

Gamblers Hands

My ring and middle fingers are the same length,
showing me the open cupped palm of his left hand.
I have the hands of a gambler. You have them, too.

Knowledge passes from father to son at the kitchen
table as he picks up four dice and hands me a pair.

His lesson begins:

Opposite sides of each cube add up to seven:
one and six   two and five   three and four 

Always curl a six with your little finger, picking up
a dice cube in his right hand holding the six on top.

Sliding a six guarantees you’ll never crap out,
explaining an instant loss occurs with the roll of
two or three, losing both your bet and turn to shoot.

With the solid six all you need is a one or five for
the instant win, Seven Come Eleven or another
six called Boxcars which pays the shooter double.

Shake the other dice in your hand against the held
six, sounds like you’re rattling them both for luck.

This won’t work at a casino tossing dice off the
far wall of a crap table, but on a pool table at
any bar you’ll make more than running the rack.

Practice until you can win when you want, but
show you can be the  occasional good loser, too. 

Win often enough it looks like luck, use their
money to generously buy the next round of beer.
It takes talent to be a winner, not just with dice.

 


Authors Bio:

Carl “Papa” Palmer of Old Mill Road in Ridgeway, Virginia, lives in University Place, Washington. He is retired from the military and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) enjoying life now as “Papa” to his grand descendants and being a Franciscan Hospice volunteer. Carl is a Pushcart Prize and Micro Award nominee.
MOTTO: Long Weekends Forever!

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019

 

“Hye Holiday Gathering” by Elaine Reardon

Elaines Family
Top Left: Elaine’s great grandmother Hripsoma, her grandmother Miriam, and her Aunt, Sitanoush. Top Right: Elaine being held by Father Kevon as a child. Bottom: Elaine’s parents when they got married

Hye Holiday Gathering

Gram prepared paklava and bourma
without a written recipe. Like a newly
hatched bird I’d wait for a bits of sweetness
to fall, walnuts covered with cinnamon,
honey mixed with lemon. I stood on a stool
to watch. Before me, at this table Hrpesima and Mariam had
mixed the phyllo and rolled it by hand, but when I was six we
bought phyllo papeer-thin sheets from Sevan’s Market in Watertown.

Gram melted butter in the cast iron skillet.
Don’t let the butter sizzle-too hot!
She mixed sugar and cinnamon in a bowl for me to add
then got out the heavy rolling pin. I crushed
walnuts beneath it’s weight. Gram said be sure
the nuts are ground fine! Grind them again—
still too big. I pushed the rolling pin hard against
walnuts, then we mixed in sugar and cinnamon .

We took one layer of phyllo at a time,
brushed with melted butter, sprinkled in nuts,
then rolled as quickly as we could.
Finally, using the sharpest blade,
we sliced the fragile rolls and
placed them on the cookie sheet.
Gram’s were straight and long,
mine crinkled, like thin fabric.

I have the recipe still, yellow with age,
thin and tattered, like phyllo dough,
filled with handed down memories from those
who sat at this table before me —Shushan, Bedros,
Kevon, Katchador, and Sitanoush cooking
to honor Kharpet and homeland no longer on the map.
Now I’m the old one. When I cook, my
grandmother’s voice follows me, step by step.

 


Dedication and Background for This Poem:

This poem was written to honor my Armenian family. My grandmother came to the United States in 1915 from Kharpet, where she and some of her siblings survived the town’s massacre and the genocide. My Great Great Uncle Katchador was the tallest, strongest person I knew when I was four years old. My grandmother Mariam had immediately married and lived with her new husband’s family. Hripsame was her mother-in-law. Her first two girl-children were Ana, my mother, and Sitanoush, my aunt. When I was five, Father Kevon, my grandmother’s cousin, found us! He was the only survivor from his part of the family. Monks from the school he attended took him in. When he was old enough, he became an itinerant monk and traveled in the mountains with a donkey. Years passed, and when I met him, in the photo included with my poem, he was working at the Vatican. He visited whenever he came to this country, and he was like a grandpa to me. Cooking traditions were passed from each generation around the table. For Armenians, food is nourishment for the heart as well as the belly. When I begin to mix up some cherog dough, or when I make paklava, I feel close to my ancestors, and I can still hear my grandmother’s voice in my ear. Sometimes I find that I’m 4 years old again, standing on a stool at the table, pressing down hard on the walnuts with the rolling pin.

May all beings live in peace
May all beings have food
May all beings live in safety

Elaine Reardon


Author Bio:

Elaine is a poet, herbalist, and educator. Her chapbook, The Heart is a Nursery For Hope, won first honors from Flutter Press in 2016. She’s recently been awarded the Beal Poetry third place prize,and was shortlisted at the International Hammond House Poetry contest and the Writer’s Digest Poetry Contest. Most recently Elaine’s poetry has been published by UCLA journal, Automatic Pilot, Sleep-ZZZ Journal, Crossways Journal, The Dublin Inksplinter’s 2019 anthology, and similar journals. Elaine has also been nominated for the Push Cart Prize. Visit her website at elainereardon.wordpress.com


Find Elaine at:

Elaine’s Website
The Heart is a Nursery For Hope on Amazon

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019

“The Girl of the Mountain” – poetry-photography collaboration by Deborah Setiyawati & Carl Scharwath

image.png

 

The Girl of the Mountain

When you gaze the moon smiles
In the midst of gloomy eve
You might see a silhouette vaguely
Amongst sand and rocks
A girl descends from the mountain
You might think she’s a selene goddess
Until the wind blows you up
From the dream of
The Girl of the mountain
Under the full moon

 

* Poem and photo model: Deborah Setiyawati (Indonesia)

* Alcohol-ink drawing and photography: Carl Scharwath (U.S.A.)

 

Bio PicDeborah Setiyawati is an Indonesian writer. She has been published numerous times internationally and is currently working on her first collection of poetry. She is also a dress designer, singer and advocate for women and children rights.

Carl Scharwath has appeared globally with 150+ journals selecting his poetry, short stories, interviews, essays or art photography. Two poetry books Journey To Become Forgotten (Kind of a Hurricane Press) and Abandoned (ScarsTv) have been published. Carl is the art editor for Minute Magazine, a dedicated runner and 2nd degree black- belt in Taekwondo.

Deborah and Carl have known each other for two years and have had two published collaborations previously where she writes the poetry after seeing his photography.

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019

“April Blue” by Joan McNerney

April Blue

This is when we search for
color to transform cold grey.
Rainfall begins its magic
high lighting sky blue.

We see stacks of luminous clouds
as plants pop out and forsythia
bursts sparkling yellow stalks.
Just today a breath of warmth
brought alive crepe myrtle.

Aromatic lilac bushes cluster in
soft bunches while birds and bugs
encircle them. Ten trees all dressed
up in lustrous greens boogie through
noontime breezes.

Spring is waiting for us!

Author Bio:

VivitarJoan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Warriors with Wings, Blueline, and Halcyon Days.  Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work.  Her latest title is “Having Lunch with the Sky” and she has four Best of the Net nominations.

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019

“Chocolate” by L. Shapley Bassen

Chocolate

Sip hot
or not.
Truffles
ruffle.
Bites
ignite.
Toppings,
I’m hoping.
The way
to say,
to show.
From sips
to lips
and know
melting.

Some Background Information About This Poem

This poem was inspired by Valentine’s Day and chocolate.


Author Bio:

LoisbiopicL. Shapley Bassen is a poet and author who has many published works to her name. Her “Portrait of a Giant Squid” was the First Place winner in the 2015 Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest. She was an editor at the Prick of the Spindle[archived], and is now an editor at Craft Literary. Bassen indie-published Summer of the Long Knives (Typhoon Media), Lives of Crime & Other Stories (Texture Press), and Showfolk & Stories [Inkception Books]; she was a finalist for the 2011 Flannery O’Connor Award, a first reader for Electric Literature, won the 2009 APP Drama Prize, a Mary Roberts Rinehart Fellowship, and was a poetry/fiction reviewer for The Rumpus, etc. Her first poetry collection, What Suits a Nudist? is forthcoming from Clare Songbirds Publishing House.


Find L. Bassen at:

L. Bassen’s Official Website


Read More by L. Bassen:

Coda chapter of NEW MARWA
(a novel, unpublished, and a quick read)

L. Shapley Bassen’s “Portrait of a Giant Squid”
The First Place winner in the 2015 Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019

 

“A Dormouse Dreams” by Lynn White

A Dormouse Dreams

“Let me out, let me out!”
cried the dormouse.
“I don’t want to live in a teapot,
not even in a dream!
Let me out, let me out
before the water boils for tea!”
“Boiled dormouse!
Now that could be a tasty morsel”
Hatter said thoughtfully.
“But would it be worth the risks
of mousicide?
We must consider”
All nodded in agreement.
“Let me out, let me out!”
cried the dormouse.
“Escape is difficult.”
said the March Hare,
“To escape you must go back,
through the glass like she did,”
nodding towards Alice,
“but backwards
and as we know,
time only moves forwards.”
All nodded in agreement.
“It’s getting late,”
said the White Rabbit.
“But where is the glass,
there is no glass!”
cried the Dormouse.
All nodded in agreement.
“It’s time for tea!”
cried the White Rabbit.
And time waits for no one,
not even a mouse.


Originally published in Scrittura Magazine, March 2018

 

Some Background Information About This Poem

The poem was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories.

 

Author Bio:

LynnLynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud ‘War Poetry for Today’ competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Vagabond Press, Light Journal and So It Goes Journal.

 

Find Lynn at:

Lynn’s Blogspot

Lynn’s Facebook Poetry Page

“A Dormouse Dreams” original publication in Scrittura 

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019

“AI! AI! AI! (A Tartarus for Youth)” by David Estringel

tartarus

“AI! AI! AI! (A Tartarus for Youth)”

I.
AI! AI! AI!
Sated with stolen life,
emerged from mother’s Night,
there is longing to be free
from the warmth of darkened humours–
to be crowned by The Light of Artificial Gods.
Our worlds quake and rip,
tossing us upon gory shores
beyond fertile crests,
illuminated by a cold Sun.
Messengers sweep down in clouds of winged oblivion
to wet lips with Lethe’s waters
upon cruel fingertips.
“Shhhh.”

II.
AI! AI! AI!
Blinded,
light brings pain
in rushes of movement and sound
that sting the flesh.
Icy
with invasions
of steel and sterile prodding,
souls rouse to profess philosophies
in cries and screams
that crack the air,
unheard
like the falling of leaves upon the ground
from distant trees

III.
AI! AI! AI!
Swaddled bodies,
searched in vain for the safety of familiarity,
tell much, tell little
like symbols in scrying mirrors.
Their fictions, written with sweat and tears,
anointing
foreheads, eyes, and lips
with benedictions of shameful regret.
As if it were better to have the heads of babes
dashed and bloodied
upon the Rock,
than to suffer Spartan destinies, impaired.
Left only to linger—a world apart—
in bloodless mediocrity.

IV.
AI! AI! AI!
What are these ragged paths
to be stumbled upon
under tender foot,
with stones that cut
and scratching thorns from the briar
that temper flesh,
supple and pink,
making hard what was once soft to the touch.
Fed by an earth
that feasts on cuts,
bodies devolve to walk upright—and alone
upon roads, paved with the hands and backs
of brethren.
Knuckles crunching beneath soles like so much gravel.

V.
AI! AI! AI!
O, the passion of attainment,
upon which the masses engorge,
aimless in its metal
and promises
of faceless adulations
and the settling of laurelled wreathes
upon heads of cartilage!
How empty, these violent strikes against the Self,
incessant and passionless,
carving out pounds of flesh,
victory for victory,
‘til nothing remains–
all for narratives
that are not their own.

VI.
AI! AI! AI!
How thirsty are these–
the razor-tongued buds of spring.
Driven
to the drinking of others’ tears
for satisfaction of sanguine thirsts.
To revel
in the tearing
of white petals
from tender stems
with poisoned fingertips,
delighting in themselves,
as if masters of ceremonies
at blood-lettings
and vivisections.

VII.
AI! AI! AI!
The sooth of touch’s fidelity
has melted away–
soured–
like cream in the sun.
Replaced,
the quality of distance
makes, explicit, one’s worth,
across arid plains
of air and silence.
Fallen away, the allures and charms
of communion,
only to make room
for the play of shadows
on Plato’s walls.

VIII.
AI! AI! AI!
There is a science,
oppressive
and cold,
behind the collisions of heavenly bodies of light (in love)—
clashing
explosions of atoms
over chasms—
the spaces in between—
that define and separate.
Souls, burning brightly,
cannot coexist
in their starry majesties
without a surrendering of fire.
My Ares takes your Aphrodite.

IX,
AI! AI! AI!
Upon paths paved with gold,
under the azure
of a fanning sky,
herds
are driven in blithe procession
to the precipice.
Cast into the maw
of their society.
Without the iron shielding of wings,
they perish,
masticated,
like everyman’s meat,
leaving them shades
that stain the wintry air.

X.
I, I, I,
will crawl to the grave,
worn
and weary,
upon the Earth I have salted
with tears,
violent and hot–
but harmonious–
in Time’s own poetry,
where I will find
the Peace and Solace of Rest,
drinking from a forgetful cup,
enshrouded
by the arms of my brother—
The Undergloom.

Originally published at Terror House Magazine and currently in David Estringel’s book Indelible Fingerprints (Alien Buddha Press). https://terrorhousemag.com/tartarus/

 

Some Background Information About This Poem

“Reflecting, I see how much simpler things were when I was young, which makes for a starkly contrasting backdrop against the chaotic world young people navigate today. I find the way things are truly saddening and mourn for the lost innocence of youth. One day, I thought too long about it and “AI! AI! AI!…” came about. Many think “AI” means “artificial intelligence” but that isn’t the context that it is used in here. “AI! AI!” is a classical lament from Ancient Greece, which seems to fit the bill quite nicely, I think.” ~ David Estringel

 

Author Bio:

David Estringel is an avid reader, poet, and writer of fiction, creative non-fiction, & essays. His work has been accepted and/or published by Specter Magazine, Literary Juice, Foliate Oak Magazine, Terror House Magazine, Expat Press, 50 Haikus, littledeathlit, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Route 7 Review, Setu Bilingual Journal, Paper Trains Literary Journal, The Elixir Magazine, Soft Cartel, Harbinger Asylum, Briars Lit, Open Arts Forum, Cajun Mutt Press, Former People Journal, The Ugly Writers, Writ in Dust, Cephalopress, Twist in Time, Merak Magazine, Salt Water Soul, Cherry House Press, Subterranean Blue Poetry, Printed Words, Sunflower Sutras, Tulip Tree Publishing, Salt Ink, PPP Ezine, Digging through the Fat, Haiku Journal, Foxhole Magazine, The Basil O’Flaherty, Three Line Poetry, Agony Opera, Siren’s Call Ezine, Alien Buddha Press, Synchronized Chaos, Channillo, and The Good Men Project. He is currently a Contributing Editor (fiction) at Red Fez, Lead Editor/columnist at The Good Men Project, an editor/writer at The Elixir Magazine, fiction reader at riverSedge, and columnist at Channillo. David’s first feature-length collection of verse and prose, Indelible Fingerprints, was published by Alien Buddha Press April 2019.

 

Find David at:

David’s Twitter is @The_Booky_Man

David’s Official Website

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019