Please join us Thursday, October 4, 2018, at 7:00 pm, when poets Jeff Friedman and Moira Linehan will kick off the twelfth season of the Collected Poets Series! Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)
Jeff Friedman’s seventh book Floating Tales—a collection of prose poems—was published by Plume Editions/MadHat Press in fall 2017. His poems, mini stories and translations have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, New England Review, The Antioch Review, Poetry International, Plume, Hotel Amerika, Flash Fiction Funny, Agni Online, New World Writing, The New Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish Poets, New Flash Fiction Review, The New Republic, and numerous other literary magazines. Dzvinia Orlowsky’s and his translation of Memorials by Polish Poet Mieczslaw Jastrun was published by Lavender Ink/Dialogosin August 2014. Nati Zohar and Friedman’s book of translations Two Gardens: Modern Hebrew Poems of the Bible, was published by Singing Bone Press in 2016. Friedman has received numerous awards and prizes including a National Endowment Literature Translation Fellowship in 2016 and two individual Artist Grants from New Hampshire Arts Council.
Moira Linehan is the author of two collections of poetry, both published by Southern Illinois University Press: If No Moon and Incarnate Grace. If No Moon was selected by Dorianne Laux as the winner of the 2006 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry open competition. Linehan has new work appearing, or forthcoming, in Agni, Boston College Magazine, Crab Creek Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Georgia Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Notre Dame Review, Tampa Review, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. She holds a MFA in Writing from Vermont College.
WHITE FEATHER / Jeff Friedman
After Alexsandra kissed me, a white feather flew out of my mouth. I pretended that nothing out of the ordinary had happened, though the feather floated between us for a long while before it fell on the carpet. The feather was long and bowed with soft fringe. I wanted to pick it up and twirl it, but Alexsandra seemed concerned. “Did you eat a white bird?” she asked. I shook my head. “It’s only one feather,” I answered. She eyed me suspiciously, though a moment before she had seemed perfectly happy to be kissing me. To prove that there was no problem, I kissed her, and everything was fine. Our lips met, our tongues touched and tangled as they had a thousand times before. Then another feather floated from my mouth and stuck in her thick black hair. She pulled it out and scrutinized the feather for a long time. “There’s something inside you trying to get out, she said. “You have to do something about it.” “What can I do?” I said. “It’s only two feathers.” She picked up her journal and began writing. Now I was alarmed. Had I done something to deserve this? Had a bird flown into my mouth in a dream? I thought about my dreams, but couldn’t remember anything particular. “Let’s try one more kiss,” I said, but this time, a white dove flung itself from my mouth, flying wildly around the room until it hit the window and fell on the floor. “Is it dead?” I asked. She kneeled down and cradled the dove in her arms. Then she carried it outside—I thought to bury it, but instead she threw it in air. The dove caught itself before plummeting into the pavement and landed on a branch above us. “We’ll figure this out,” she said, squeezing my hand, but I could already feel a tickling in my throat as the dove began singing.
(from Floating Tales by Jeff Friedman, published by Plume Editions/MadHat Press, 2017)
LAST WISHES / Moira Linehan
When I go to leave this world, how do I
take with me the grace it held out, it held
onto, when I go, that momentary grace
I caught now and again as I’d look up,
look out? Once, late afternoon, a March wind
swaying the elm, the shadows Matisse’s
blue cut-outs, thighs thick as limbs dancing
over the rumpled snow on such delicate
pointed feet. Once, columns of snow swirling
across my pond and I saw stampeding
horses, saw again those sheep outside Dingle,
a dog driving them, left then right, lower
to upper field. When I go, that streaming once
more mine. Or when I go, the sudden rising
of hundreds of swallows banking as one,
then banking again. That nearly closed arc
of an Arctic tern’s wing turning in flight.
When, when to the next wherever I’m going—
mound, mountain, lap of God—let my leaving
be its own imprint of grace: the eagle
I once saw drift down over a river,
extend its talons, graze the water, and lift.
The imprint of that long, slow swoop—what’s first
and last remembered when I go. Then, only then,
the shock of it: prize fish taken out of its world.
(From Incarnate Grace by Moira Linehan, published by Southern Illinois University Press, 2015.)