Sunday, February 11, 2018

Blood Oranges

—Poems by Martina Reisz Newberry, Los Angeles, CA
—Photos Courtesy of Martina Newberry


Uncle Bo, I dreamed of you last night.
I followed you into your den, put
on gloves and wandered through aisles of your

glass boxes. The activity was
frightening. Ants and beetles never
stopped moving. Spiders and scorpions

were slow and watchful. Earthworms, snails, slugs—
most bugs represented. Your favorites
were the spiders. In my dream, you sat

in a large leather chair, opened two
of the spider boxes and gathered
the spikey arachnids into your

hands. I froze, then put space between us.
Uncle Bo, you smiled, winked, and nodded.
The spiders made their way up your arms

and into your hair. You smiled, nodded.
“You see?” Your eyes saw everything. You
gestured for me to come closer, but

I was afraid and backed farther toward
the door. Your eyes saw everything.
I turned and walked toward escape, exit.

When I looked back to wave goodbye, all
had disappeared except for you, dear
Uncle Bo, and one small spider in

the palm of your hand. You smiled at me,
said, “Love is just the absence of fear.
No more than that and no less. You see?”



It is a church of guttering candles
with its congregation of ghosts

watching, waiting.
Built from concrete memories,

immovable perceptions,
it sits at the end

of a briar-choked path.
Will you climb sounds the bell

that is not there.
Will you join us sings the choir

of non-angelic voices.
All the while, the creek

behind the church
breathes that which

is unutterable, the water
drowning everything

that is not there.
Will you join us sings the choir

of non-angelic voices.
All the while, the creek

behind the church
breathes that which

is unutterable, the water
drowning everything.


As if you breathed in and held that breath for all eternity and, in that holding, preserved each single atom of time and place

As if there was a kind of platinum glow over all the buildings and sidewalks and pissed-off winter trees and as if that glow was immutable

As if a single journal entry held the promise of eternal life, eternal journeying to the farthest idylls; as if history could be held in that one feverish entry

As if each hour held the wantonness of Romani pulses and melodie—the nomadic wildness, the carelessness of dark musicians.

As if at your command—the command of your pen—Spring and Summer could be forever, without Fall’s dim promises and Winter’s punishments.

Finally, as if nothing ever needed a name and could be yours, if you wanted it, with a simple intake of air,
a breath.



there are things more important
than our names or our pastimes.
At the coffee shop where I
spend a dear amount of time,

I saw a man whose beard fell
to his belly. This seemed im-
portant. My friend had a dream
in which her dear father came

to tell her to watch the sky
when she needed guidance. This,
too, I saw as important.
When the dream ended, she looked

out her window and saw four
crows on a clothesline. It was
important—an omen of
something. She didn’t know what.


Doubtless I am a slave to all the
bright trophies of your life. I recount them
on various holidays, summer

mornings, and when the wind comes calling
down through the canyons. I recall that
statue you had at the edge of your

property—a woman holding a
bird. I caught that statue breathing in
the silence of a rising

full moon one night. I recall
the Blood Oranges that lay on
your lawn through June; then, one bright

morning, they were gone, the grass
clean as if the oranges were
never there at all. I did

not see that as an omen
then. It is official now.
Tell me, where did you hide the

economical black and
white notebooks with your poems and
sketches? Have you, after all

these years, reached the margins, the
blank spots you used to fill with
small drawings of diffident

Hooded Orioles and Grey Egrets?
Do you still ask God for that

something else...
something other than...
something new—more...

I don’t want to join you on
the silvery, winged tram to
The Great Beyond or even

the dim not-so-Great-Beyond.
My sole purpose is just this:
to reassure you that I

remain a slave to your ghost,
a constant, needy vessel
searching your poems for blood oranges.


Today’s LittleNip:

When you are open to living and trust the process of life and ready to face all your fears, and not afraid to go astray with life, life definitely comes and talks to you, in its own language.

—Roshan Sharma


Our thanks to Martina Reisz Newberry for joining us this Sunday morning, all the way from Los Angeles. Her most recent books are
Never Completely Awake (Deerbrook Editions) and Take the Long Way Home (Unsolicited Press). She has also been included in anthologies and has been widely published in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad, and she has been awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts. Passionate in her love for Los Angeles, Martina currently lives there with her husband, Brian, a Media Creative. Visit her website at for information, purchasing, blogs, poems.


 Cover, Never Completely Awake
by Martina Reisz Newberry
—Celebrate poetry!

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