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Florence Weinberger was born in New York City, raised in the Bronx, educated at Hunter College, California State University, Northridge and UCLA is the author of four published collections of poetry, The Invisible Telling Its Shape (Fithian Press,1997) and Breathing Like a Jew (Chicory Blue Press, 1997), and Carnal Fragrance, (Red Hen Press, 2004), and Sacred Graffiti, (Tebot Bach, 2010.) Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her poetry has appeared in a number of literary magazines, including The Comstock Review, Antietam Review, Jabberwock, The Literary Review, Solo, Rattle, River Styx, Pacific Review, Askew, California Quarterly, Confluence, Nimrod, Calyx, Blue Unicorn, Jacaranda Review, Manhattan Poetry Review, onthebus, Another Chicago Magazine, The Deronda Review, The Pedestal, The New Vilna Review and The Los Angeles Review.  Poems have also been published in many anthologies, including Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust, Truth and Lies That Press For LifeInvocation LA, The New Los Angeles Poets, Ghosts of the Holocaust, Grand Passion, Images from the Holocaust, Claiming the Spirit Within, Lifecycles V. 2, The Cancer Poetry Project and So Luminous the Wildflowers. Among awards are first prizes in the Poetry/LA Bicentennial, Sculpture Gardens Review, Mississippi Valley, Red Dancefloor and the dA Center for the Arts poetry contests.

ANGUISH

Thereís a man waiting for me to lay down
my pen, and it is not you.
His presence in my bed says
we wonít be discarded now
that our friends and lovers are dead,
even if we are strangers to one another.
After you died and I was left breathing,
the charge that glows off skin
in the dark drove me so far past you,
I could no longer keep what was us.
I rub the manís back, plunge my fingers
into his hair, knead his shoulders.
My hands shake with their lack of knowledge.
I practice like a swimmer in shark-filled waters,
loving here, where blood has been spilled.

 

ITíS NOT CHINATOWN

Iím on a bus in China, and itís raining, and Iím reading
OíHaraís poem, The Day Lady Died, for the second time
today, having bought a Dove bar at the last rest stop,
bypassing the fake Oreos and the dried black things
on the shelves.  The familiar calls me home to New York
poetry.  When will I know more than I know this time,
Ladyís voice driven into my heart, on a gloomy Friday,
on the way to Shanghai, OíHara on the way to
Easthampton, on a Friday.  I feel our slightly parallel
journeys because Iím not at home just anywhere. 
Who else on this bus would know who OíHaraís talking
about when he says Allen, Peter, Norman? Thereís
no news in China, only CNN headlines and baseball scores. 
The picture-perfect canals in Suzhou hide the poor
behind their hung laundry.  I had no heart to photograph
the girl going blind in the embroidery factory.  Whoever
saw China in 2005 saw a thousand cranes, orange mantises
praying up skyscrapers.  Men spitting on city sidewalks. 
Smoke everywhere.  An Entire Country Killing Itself blues.

 

SMOKING WITH MY FATHER

In those days I could have poise
for the cost of a cigarette, so
I enlisted the help of my father.
Eager to reopen the door shut
when I entered adolescence,
he taught me the skills of smoking.
Heíd clear his throat with those
familiar little coughs, heíd take his time,
demonstrating deep inhalation,
masterful fingering. Years later,
a man in a Max Beckmann painting
holding a cigarette European-style
reminded me how my father and I
bonded, when I was sixteen,
how I later dated and married
a smoking man, all of us too young
to take on the heat and grief of love
with our empty hands.


from Sacred Graffitti

 

 


 

Florence Weinberger - featured poet at Moonday Poetry


© 2011 Florence Weinberger


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