Postscript from the Editor, a poem by Peter Sherburn-Zimmer

Postscript from the Editor


Get me on the right page.
Take back my library card.
Turn down the radio.
Watch out for that glass.

Let me back into your world
With the roadblocks and diseases.
Let me see your hands,
Palms up, laces back.

Tell me the holler for the grandpas and ladies
Living in the restaurant, turning up the volume,
Passing the hat around, upside down…
Like a train in the station waiting for a wreck.

Tell all your friends the flag is inverted:
We never came back from the war.
Our fathers are simmering –
The electricity’s been turned off.

The windows are open:
Don’t take the jump.
Hand me that pillow;
I need some rest of my own.

We need to huddle,
Did I say cuddle?
Will you hold my hand
While I hold your nose?


Will you take out the memory we left in the hall?
Will you ring the bell, trace the pattern, call it art –
Call it a vacation from it all.

The tuna melt, that’s getting cold,
My imagination’s getting hot
In the mountain east of the Black Sea.

I have visions of numbers copulating in the sink.
The ticket’s been punched, the web is on fire,
The captain is bordering your ship.

We’ve been pirates so long I forgot we can’t get back.
It’s all for land lovers, anyway, tall waitresses,
Moustaches on Saturdays, bath tubs filled with ink…

Thought police, extraction, capital on the run,
Analysis on the staircase…
Retribution without recall.

If you give me the tune, I’ll let you sit with the dog
Who thinks the only way to meditate is to learn how to stay,
But we seem to be stranded

In a land so familiar it breaks up like wafers and
Matches on a tray. Take a long breath,
Winter ain’t gone yet.

LEROI/AMIRI by Neeli Cherkovski

On the evening of March 2, while the rest of the world watched the Oscars, the Emerald Tablet in North Beach hosted a tribute to the late Amiri Baraka.  It was a standing-room-only event as poets and poetry-lovers gathered from all over to celebrate the life of one of the finest poets of his age.  The following is the poem Neeli Cherkovski read at that event.




there’s people


inside of me

like flies

is how they’d say

in the neighborhood

my grandmother

with her Yiddish ghost stories

as if she spat

against history

but we know yes we understand

what’s at stake

when we got huddled

into one twin tower

you and the deep blue demon

got huddled

and so did the others

all of ‘em

hastening up the ladder

in time


so Amiri

I knew you when you wrote




so clear clean slick

you saw out of the eyes

of someone who makes you so fine

enough and

how you did the BLUES PEOPLE


came to be

stories of childhood and

when you served in the military

and how it was in the Village

those abstract expressionisms

made your work

wade down to the American stream

thick with the crust



Cotrane and Bird

and Thelonius

how he spoke a trumpet on

a piano

this soft night

gone awry

the mist and rain

drives through air

on your history of Negro Music

in White America


you have birds

on your lips are

as smart as a falcon

dreaming far away through

branches in the night


Leroi Amiri hunter

haunted what goes glows

round around

sweat in language

flutter in the sky

fevered words

broke an art

for ever the heart

is on inside

deep down

spin of flesh

no one sees it

but the sun is

inside dazzled

moon face never leaves

no sweet jazz ax

move you are here

now dead lecturer I’ve

been waving

from a bus

on the gray stone

of a road

you re in the

garden at a table

then walking Newark

old moldy storefronts

doors off their hinges


we are there

we’re permitted

to find you

when we’re able

down in the

rose red glow

a heap of leaves

on a corner

raked by a city

crew and some


tooling round exposed wiring

from the remains

of a conversation


you wrote

after the accident

“We be fine”

and finally

you are so finally

you are

in the ink of a page

I cherish

like the open air

one may hold


you said

“We be fine enough

to finish what we started

way back when–

Leroi Jones





New Work by Jack Hirschman: Arcane

Click on the poem to read full-size
Amiri-hospital jack (2)

The Thirteen Best Books of 2013

This is a highly unusual ‘best of’ list. I guarantee there are books listed here you’ve never heard of.

Twelve Books That End Mid-Sentence

Interesting little piece from Publishers Weekly:

BBC on the Best Spring Books

Here’s one woman’s opinion on the best books slated for spring release:

Neighborhood Library Campaign Highlights

Page Turner_Glen Park Library

As the transformation of San Francisco’s libraries continued, 2007 was a busy year for both SFPL and for Friends. Not one, not two, but four libraries opened or reopened that year—West Portal, Sunset, Marina and Glen Park, spanning the history of library construction in San Francisco.  A number of other branch libraries were also closed for renovation, so many San Francisco library users discovered unexpected library treasures in other neighborhoods.  At the same time Friends helped library supporters set goals and raise funds for library furniture, fixtures and equipment in their branches.

The current West Portal library building—the second for the neighborhood—opened in 1939, a lovely Works Progress Administration (WPA) project designed by architect Frederick H. Meyer. West Portal Branch is a Mediterranean style with colorful red, ceramic roof tiles. The library reopened on February 10, 2007, seismically safe and fully accessible with restored historic features as well. The renovation was designed by Thomas Hacker Architects, Inc and managed by San Francisco’s Department of Public Works. Across the street from a transit hub and right in the West Portal business corridor, the renovated West Portal library with its designated teen space and warm feel is popular with users of all ages.

Read more »

Motherless Brooklyn Comes to the Big Screen

Jonathan Lethem is one of my favorite writers.  Motherless Brooklyn is a strange book that stays with you years after you think you’ve finished it and put it a back on the shelf. When someone tells me they loved Motherless Brooklyn I figure I’ve just met a new friend. Just in time for the Oscars, here are two posting about Ed Norton’s MB project:

What are the Most Difficult Books?

Here is one take, from  Publishers Weekly, on the top 10 most difficult books.

Everyone’s Scared of Amazon

Here’s a different take on the Amazon article posted here a few days ago.