The Café Review

The Café Review The Café Review is a quarterly journal of poetry, art and reviews that is based in Portland, Maine and has been published for close to thirty years.

Craig Sype - Poetry Editor/Audio Danny Louten- Art Director Katie Benedict- Managing Editor Kevin Sweeney- Poetry Editor Lucas Diggle - Online Editor Megan Grumbling- Reviews Editor Roger Dutton- Typography and Design Steve Luttrell- Founder and Publishing Editor Wayne Atherton- Archivist

Thinkingby Anele RubinIt will happen slowly.I’ll stop thinkingso much, so oftenabout you.There are all kinds of riversan...
04/08/2020
Thinking

Thinking
by Anele Rubin
It will happen slowly.
I’ll stop thinking
so much, so often
about you.
There are all kinds of rivers
and streams and creeks and
ponds and lakes and large open seas
and there is time and distance.
You left so quickly.
I don’t know if anyone caused it
or just didn’t try hard enough
to dislodge the obstruction
or if those nearest loved you as helplessly as I.
There was always so much
I didn’t know.
I didn’t let the last fears you spoke
alarm me. I’d become numb
for protection.
The air is heating up now
and rain would be welcome.
My dog is panting.
I miss your raucous humor
and your deep-pitched voice.
I was going to find help.
I had a plan but you died too soon.
I know you couldn’t wait
for what you didn’t trust.
The old graveyard is alive with birds.
They perch on the stones and sing.
https://www.thecafereview.com/spring-2020-poetry-thinking/

by Anele Rubin It will happen slowly. I’ll stop thinking so much, so often about y

Stormby Anele RubinThe heavy fast rainis not angrynor sadand the windis not drivingthe rain madand the dogbarks at the t...
04/08/2020
Storm

Storm
by Anele Rubin
The heavy fast rain
is not angry
nor sad
and the wind
is not driving
the rain mad
and the dog
barks at the thunder
but the thunder
doesn’t bark at the dog
and the cat sleeps
through the commotion
which settles now
to a slight breeze
and a long soaking.
I like the way the storm
makes me feel
though it hasn’t come
to calm me.
I like the steadfast pouring,
the rain’s rhythmic pelting
of the leaves freshly fallen
and the very slight swaying
of the ones still hanging.
I like how the wind keeps softening,
as if relenting,
while the rain persists,
cleansing,
without intention,
and then it’s over:
a few last drops
from the leaves,
a gleam of light
through the haze.
https://www.thecafereview.com/spring-2020-poetry-storm/

by Anele Rubin The heavy fast rain is not angry nor sad and the wind is not driving

These Trinketsby Anele RubinThese trinkets I return to you,these bodies that housedthe spirits of thosewho peopled my wo...
04/08/2020
These Trinkets

These Trinkets
by Anele Rubin
These trinkets I return to you,
these bodies that housed
the spirits of those
who peopled my world,
these I have not power to hold,
I begrudgingly have seen you take,
I have not wanted to release, these
you reclaim.
If only I had had a clear warning.
If only I knew how to act around you.
If only I knew how to cherish the living
and let go of the others,
let my mind release them
since anyway they are torn from my grasp.
If only I could relax my hold
that holds nothing,
if only I could let the dead go
and stay without looking after them
with such longing.
Take these trinkets, these bodies.
Take these people from me.
Why do I say it
when it’s already done?
Why do I need to will
what I have no power to prevent?
Is it my way of denying
you while bowing,
my way of denying
the power I bow before,
acting like it matters whether I go along,
whether I get on board,
pretending I have some say,
that I’m a partner,
that I approve, that I love,
you, that I sanction death?
https://www.thecafereview.com/spring-2020-poetry-these-trinkets/

by Anele Rubin These trinkets I return to you, these bodies that housed the spirits o

How to Extract a Confessionby Ellen M. TaylorHow to Extract a Confession     Pretrial Testimony, U.S. Military Court, Gu...
04/08/2020
How to Extract a Confession

How to Extract a Confession
by Ellen M. Taylor
How to Extract a Confession
Pretrial Testimony, U.S. Military Court, Guantanamo Bay,
January 22, 2020
Hire a companyi to contract enhanced interrogationii:
Waterboarding works best with a dose of sleep deprivation.
To prevent sleeping, hang him from the ceiling by handcuffs
This requires vigilance: edemas can be dangerous.iii
Still don’t hear the particular confession you’re waiting for?
Make him kneel with a broomstick behind his knees, bend back
to the floor.
Stress positions add discomfort: Isolation can work wonders too:
Add more water, a mock execution, you’ll get your breakthrough.
Try “Walling.” Collar a prisoner, then slam him against the wall.
His inner ear will sing, not painful, just uncomfortable iv, the
vertigo and all.
This isn’t torture, citizens, just extreme pressure —
the type used when detainees refuse to say “Sir.”
It’s a program we designed to train our own to be resilient
We’ve just reverse engineered it for detainees — How Brilliant.
Something for Forever v prisoners, never charged with a crime:
We feed them, we cloth them, and guard them on the taxpayer’s
dime Or dollar. Eight million’s the bill for Jessen and Mitchell’s
contract for Black Site vi treatments, to extract confessions, obtain
those facts.
Now we hear these confessions are not considered viable;
seems once you’ve tortured someone, they’re no longer reliable.
i Bruce Jesson and James Mitchell are two psychologists whose consulting
company developed the CIA torture program used at Guantanamo Bay
ii The CIA calls these “enhanced interrogation” techniques
iii Bruce Jesson testimony
iv James Mitchell testimony
v The term used for these life sentences without formal criminal charges
vi The term used for overseas interrogation and detention centers
https://www.thecafereview.com/spring-2020-poetry-how-to-extract-a-confession/

by Ellen M. Taylor How to Extract a Confession Pretrial Testimony, U.S. Milita

Atroposby Ellen M. Taylor     All are architects of Fate     Working in these walls of Time;     Some with massive deeds...
04/08/2020
Atropos

Atroposby Ellen M. Taylor
All are architects of Fate
Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Builders”
“During the war,” my father would say of his days
in the Philippines, “we would hang our used teabags
on a clothesline and get three days from one bag;
During the war, we would share one needle to darn
our socks, Fred Finnegan and I, one spool of thread.
During the war, we were always damp and afraid
we wouldn’t come home.
“When the war was over, we built a fire at camp,
lit the spool tables and the rickety chairs, lit
the pallets where we pitched our tents, lit the molding
cots where we slept, lit our rotting socks, threadbare shirts.
We burned anything we could find, to leave nothing
behind. And when we were stateside, our officers
told us, ‘Forget everything you’ve seen, men.
Get on with your lives.’”
My father returned home to Jamaica Plain, married
his summer girl, built his life with seven children.
Fred Finnegan went home to South Boston, married,
and one winter night when his house caught on fire
he burned with it, crawling down the hall to threads
of smoke curling under the door where his daughter lay
asleep in her crib.
“All are architects of Fate,” Longfellow wrote,
after his lengthy courtship led to married
bliss, six children rich. A decade later
while he retired for a nap nearby, the threads
of his beloved wife’s dress flared, and flamed into fire.
https://www.thecafereview.com/spring-2020-poetry-atropos/

by Ellen M. Taylor All are architects of Fate Working in these walls o

The Language of Cephalopodby Wang PingShe doesn’t have a bone, but her whole body is integrity.She has eight arms, three...
04/08/2020
The Language of Cephalopod

The Language of Cephalopod
by Wang Ping
She doesn’t have a bone, but her whole body is integrity.
She has eight arms, three hearts, blue blood, and a plan.
Her cephalo is her pods, her limbs are her head
Making millions of cells to display fireworks of intention.
She wears thoughts on her skin, travelling
From red to purple to blue to white to dark in God’s speed.
She opens jars, steals crabs from lab tanks and frees herself into
the sea through sewage.
She’s the master of disguise and escape artist.
She wears her dreams up in her bumpy sleeves.
She spreads her multitude intelligence through her hands
She’s a loner, but when she loves, it’s a beak to beak, 8-armed
embrace.
She dies young, after she mates, lays eggs and watches them hatch.
She’s shed her shells in exchange for freedom, at the cost of life,
but no matter.
Young like a newborn, older than dinosaurs,
She’s free like a bird and smart as a whip.
Her whole being has become thought, word, syntax —
Displayed from skin to skin
What you see is what you feel.
What you feel is what you see.
A circuit of intent, expression and goal
A cycle of telepathy, passion and grace
Chameleon of thought
Plume of the sea
I’m your enigma of Cabala, Dao Dejing, Heart Sutra
Ten thousand eyes in my hands
Hold your non-sense of
Time and space
Cause and effect
Beginning and end . . .
I’m your Bodhisattva
Goddess of language
Writing mercy and love
In my pure black ink
Across your continent of mind
https://www.thecafereview.com/spring-2020-poetry-the-language-of-cephalopod/

by Wang Ping She doesn’t have a bone, but her whole body is integrity. She has eight

American Sonnet: after Franklin’s Story Telling Workshopby Wang PingIf a blessing is a transfer of energyIs a story the ...
04/08/2020
American Sonnet: after Franklin’s Story Telling Workshop

American Sonnet: after Franklin’s Story Telling Workshop
by Wang Ping
If a blessing is a transfer of energy
Is a story the needle through our memory?
Elms, hands, sonnets . . . passing through a paper prairie
As the train glides into downtown St. Paul, a whiteout campus
Cajons, hand drums and dumplings for the Year of the Pig
No entry before 5:00, and everyone out by 6:30, says the stone-faced
chaplain
Who could have foreseen the lies plaguing our minds and hearts?
Only good thoughts please, for all sentient beings on New Year’s Day
Pleads the Chinese poet, and every day, till our brain rewires itself
into love fest
Students cheer when Good Heart walks in, drum on his back,
blizzard in his hair
If matter is energy, which wave or particle or song awakens our souls?
What love makes our limbs tremble like wings of Lunar Moth?
What hand threads the story from finger to finger, mouth to mouth
Every word pregnant with fruits of memory and blessing?
https://www.thecafereview.com/spring-2020-poetry-american-sonnet-after-franklins-story-telling-workshop/

by Wang Ping If a blessing is a transfer of energy Is a story the needle through our m

Holiday Greetings 2019by Hilton ObenzingerA girl will lead usA girl provokes the bullies of carbonA girl gives Trump the...
04/08/2020
Holiday Greetings 2019

Holiday Greetings 2019
by Hilton Obenzinger
A girl will lead us
A girl provokes the bullies of carbon
A girl gives Trump the willies
The world learns Asperger’s is a superpower
Time Magazine says she’s the Person of the Year
Trump boils in jealous rage and mocks her
She mocks him back
Bolsonaro calls her a brat
And strikes a match to the Amazon
A girl will speak wisdom
To a room full of clowns
She’s a fool, but not a laughing stock
She’s a fool for God
Or whatever you think hovers over our heads
Or bubbles up from the Earth’s core
But the girl is not the Messiah
She will not save us
Yet when we sing Handel’s Hallelujah
During the holidays
We will welcome her
To save us all
If that’s just one kid, imagine all the kids
Rising up and giving us a hand
A girl is not Hope but Hope is not lost
We are the ones who will bring gifts
To the Future
Stretched out in the hay of an old barn
https://www.thecafereview.com/spring-2020-poetry-holiday-greetings-2019/

by Hilton Obenzinger A girl will lead us A girl provokes the bullies of carbon A girl

Holy Garlicby Hilton ObenzingerHoly GarlicGilroy Garlic FestivalJuly 29, 2019Holy GarlicBloody GarlicStinking Rose now s...
04/08/2020
Holy Garlic

Holy Garlic
by Hilton Obenzinger
Holy Garlic
Gilroy Garlic Festival
July 29, 2019
Holy Garlic
Bloody Garlic
Stinking Rose now stinks of Death
Gun madness makes its way to Gilroy
Make a prayer for the garlic on our bread
No thoughts, no prayers
Remember the dead
And fight for the living
Sacred Garlic
Murdered Garlic
Garlic doesn’t kill people
People kill people — with guns, mainly
Brooklyn mass shooting same day
The shootings happen so often
Like the president’s racist outbursts
Ordinary murder, ordinary hate?
Laughing Garlic
Crying Garlic
Scream out our hope for Garlic
Free of murder, free of hate
Wear Garlic around our necks
To ward off the vampires in DC
Wear Garlic to keep the shooters away
Wear Garlic to fight for the living
Holy Garlic
Bloody Garlic
Sacred Garlic
Murdered Garlic
Laughing Garlic
Crying Garlic
https://www.thecafereview.com/spring-2020-poetry-holy-garlic/

by Hilton Obenzinger Holy Garlic Gilroy Garlic Festival July 29, 2019 Holy Garlic B

Houston, We Have a Problemby Hilton Obenzinger     from ChroniclesHouston, We Have a ProblemHurricane HarveySept. 2, 201...
04/08/2020
Houston, We Have a Problem

Houston, We Have a Problem
by Hilton Obenzinger
from Chronicles
Houston, We Have a Problem
Hurricane Harvey
Sept. 2, 2017
Houston, we have a problem.
Houston, are you there? Houston, do you have a problem?
If you have a problem, what the hell are we supposed to do?
Houston, you’re the one to guide us, and now you have sunk.
Earth to Houston, are you there?
Come in, please.
Earth to Houston — please stay alive.
Houston, it’s 106 degrees in San Francisco, unheard of
Never been that hot, ever.
Houston, the fires surround us, the smoke closes in
And you are swept away in a storm
Houston, you are sprawled across the Gulf
Like a patient etherized on a table
We laugh for you, but we know the ordeal continues
We laugh with floods and fires and earthquakes,
With gases and flows
Maybe Houston knows
Houston, will you guide us to another planet?
Houston, we have a problem.
https://www.thecafereview.com/spring-2020-poetry-houston-we-have-a-problem/

by Hilton Obenzinger from Chronicles Houston, We Have a Problem Hurricane Har

On the (L)Edgeby John J. TrauseOn the (L)Edge     I liked looking at other people in crucial situations. If there     wa...
04/08/2020
On the (L)Edge

On the (L)Edge
by John J. Trause
On the (L)Edge
I liked looking at other people in crucial situations. If there
was a road accident or a street fight or a baby pickled in a
laboratory jar for me to look at, I’d stop and look so hard I
never forgot it.
Sylvia Plath [Victoria Lucas], The Bell Jar
(1963, 1967, 1971)
Behold the Eighth Wonder of the World and
the Most Beautiful Suicide, Fallen Body,
iconized in death and in Life and Life and
screen print, whirling around her May Day
maypole atop the Empire State Building or
nestled on her funeral bier, a crushed limousine,
with gloves and pearls intact, in fact, arrayed
in chic fashion, fashionable and modern,
legs crossed at ankles, made up and perfect,
serene in her slumber, a little Eve tempted to the
edge and ledge, a hedge against survival, a rival
icon for the icon of iconic architecture
Ben-Day
Day-Glo
Pre-Pop
Pop
a hop, a skip, and a jump, a drop,
the most beautiful slump of slumber.
And west in the Westbeth
at rest in the tub,
other photographs shot,
never arranged on a contact she
CLICK CLICK CLICK
https://www.thecafereview.com/spring-2020-poetry-on-the-ledge/

by John J. Trause On the (L)Edge I liked looking at other people in crucial si

Funk Lessons for Lifeby John J. TrauseTeaching funk music anddancing to white people,pumping her neck whilemoving her bo...
04/08/2020
Funk Lessons for Life

Funk Lessons for Life
by John J. Trause
Teaching funk music and
dancing to white people,
pumping her neck while
moving her body,
Adrian Piper,
artist, philosopher,
exile and teacher,
now bops down the streets
of Berlin in her exile.
“What is she like?,”
asks a museum visitor.
“She’s just like that,”
claims the museum docent,
pointing up towards a
video monitor:
Adrian Piper,
dancing and grooving,
now bops down the streets
of Berlin in her exile.
https://www.thecafereview.com/spring-2020-poetry-funk-lessons-for-life/

by John J. Trause Teaching funk music and dancing to white people, pumping her neck w

Salut Papá, a Moment to Talk about some Reveriesby Vanessa VieSalut Papá, a Moment to Talk about some Reveries          ...
04/08/2020
Salut Papá, a Moment to Talk about some Reveries

Salut Papá, a Moment to Talk about some Reveries
by Vanessa Vie
Salut Papá, a Moment to Talk about some Reveries
excerpt from a work in progress
1 There’s Rêverie
near Dover’s White Cliffs —
From the coastal path you see
enrobing fields of wheat
made somnolent by heavy haar
and haystacks that walk toward
the mighty sea
2 Haystacks beckoning in rear fields:
Windmills
blear in a descending cloud
bell to the vacuum of all
serenity . . .
“Look there, friend Sancho, where thirty or more
monstrous giants present themselves . . .”
— To the giants! to the giants
that maw roots entangled in quarry!
“. . . Fly not, cowards and vile beings,
for a single knight attacks you!”
“Look, your worship”, said Sancho,
“what we see there are not giants but windmills . . .”
And getting caught in the spinning
blades and arms of a dying
God —
With fortune put on hold
3 Daughter to father writes to unfold:
Dear seeder of Mother,
I’ve never seen you digging. Digging
like Seamus Heaney’s father. Like my grandfather
for potatoes, for onions; in drill, in blue.
I’ve inherited blue — an overall blue
in my furrowing brow, and a kerchief.
And like my great-grandfather, alone
with the Raitán,
seek food and the rooting
balladry:
One two one two
One with the ground:
Found grub from bold
To cold decades of digging
And of milking —
Three four three four
One with the pen:
Found little and still
Digging
There is Rêverie, papá,
in hammock held up
by two apple trees:
one for Adam, one for Eve
4 But cometh the hour. A worm stirs
the red clay, and in the air
the mighty sea
Six bestriding giants loom
across the farm’s back field:
Haystacks
blear in the descending cloud
advance toward the heir
hiding behind the barn door —
The night is turbulent
The ugly night and the elder daughter
in blade and arms of a dying god
wait for the giants to knock on the door.
And they knock on the door
and in entering saw:
rocked crib and graffito
on wall:
Rêverie (it said) Prithee — Rêverie!
And with this on the tip
of the tongue and nib: she
And the giants left
astride the White —
to ward
NOTES: —
Part 1, Haar: a cold sea-fog on the east coast of England and Scotland.
Part 2, cf Chapter viii of Cervantes’s ‘Don Quijote de la Mancha’ [Don Quixote].
When I was a child I owned a beautiful copy in five volumes with red hard covers and illustrations.
Part 3, Line 7, Raitán: Robin in the Asturian language.
My grandmother told me that when her father was working the land, he would return home at the end of the day’s labour and reassure his wife and extended family of fourteen siblings that all would be well, because the Raitán had been with him the whole day, whirring about his head and resting on the line and branch.
To see the Raitán was an auspicious sign, akin to the Albatross for sailors.
https://www.thecafereview.com/spring-2020-poetry-salut-papa-a-moment-to-talk-about-some-reveries/

by Vanessa Vie Salut Papá, a Moment to Talk about some Reveries

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OPEN CALL: THE OPEN COLLECTIVE is a mentorship program for LGBT poets in New England between the ages of 18 and 28 who have not received a college degree nor are currently enrolled as matriculated full-time students at a university or college, yet have an aptitude for poetry. Applicants need to be open to constructive criticism for the purpose of revision. If you fit this criteria and are interested, or know of someone who would be interested, the application instructions and more details can found here:
guitarist, Peter Albert, at TCR Winter 2019 issue release event. 1/25/19
Hi Steve: Looking forward to the Canuck issue. Trust you're well. I'm going to be in New Brunswick over the summer. Maybe we'll get to cross paths?
Stunning and impressive that you have kept this machine of words going for decades. What staying power. Accolades to THE CAFE REVIEW.
Congratulations to Steve Luttrell and the The Cafe Review team for a wonderful celebration of the spirit of art, music, and of course, poetry, at Maine Craft Distilling. Here’s to exciting times ahead with the Icelandic collaboration and upcoming publication..
I used to live in Maine in the 90s and remember your wonderful journal!