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Poetry Breakfast

Serving a little poetic nourishment every morning. Start your day with our new expanded menu. Poems, of course, are our specialty. But we will also be serving a fuller menu that includes poetry book reviews to feed poets' and poetry lovers' souls.

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Max Reif

Moving In – A Poem by Max Reif

Moving In

When I first moved
to this neighborhood,
life came abruptly
to my bed every morning
and dragged me into its river.

I had to wake up
to find my way,
the old maps
weren’t any good!

Houses, sky, trees,
cars, people—
a wild kaleidoscope
whirled around me and
I never walked past
the same place twice!

After a couple of months
it all began to congeal
until now I’m a clever spider
prowling the strands of
the sturdy web I’ve spun.

I cross habit’s intersections
each day instead of being
surprised every time
an unexpected stream
of asphalt rises
before my feet.

And I find myself thinking,
“I need to get away…”

 

About Max Reif

I’m not always sure what poetry is until something MUST be said. Then it does get said, somehow, in the most telegraphic way. This happens frequently during some periods, infrequently during others. I sometimes wonder if a writer is someone for whom an event, an epiphany, does not really “count” until its spirit is somehow rendered so that a reader can enter and share it. 

I currently live in northern California, work and play with small children 30 hours a week, work on a cycle of autobiographical stories, deliver “rescued food” to pantries and shelters (see whiteponyexpress.org), and share a safe, quiet home with my wife, Barbara.

 

Poetry Breakfast accepts submissions of poetry and poetry related creative non-fiction year-round.  See our Submission Guidelines page for details on submitting your work.

Photo courtesy of Max Reif.

Jazz Kahuna – A Poem by Max Reif

Jazz Kahuna *

I heard
my friend Pa-ool
play jazz
guitar last night.

His hands
are a poet
with voice
eloquent
as Lincoln’s—
in his own way,
of course.

Watching his
fingers move,
I move
across water
with him
on an outrigger
made of light.

He plays
moonlight.
In my chair
in the front row
alongside him,
I have landed
a seat in heaven.

2
My friend
washes windows
and cleans houses
for a living.
As I understand it,
he came
to the mainland
for God. (It’s
a long story.)

I want
to ask him:
how
do you live
without letting
those hands speak
to people
every day, do
their hula
on the frets?

Isn’t your breathing
done through
the surfaces
of those fingers?

3
My friend
is a Kahuna.
He sits
in his chair
in his ski-hat,
guitar in arms

and tells stories
of his life
in the islands,
discovering music.

He mentions
a great guitarist
he heard
long ago
on the beach,
then breaks into
“Arrivederci, Roma”,
the way
that mentor
played it.

My friend’s sons
are with him.
They smile
like suns.
He takes up
his ukulele and
they join him
in a song.

4
Pa-ool,
You have found
something of great value
in this world
and brought
it with you
on your long
canoe ride
home

You have made it
your own.
It shines
diamond-bright,
diamond-hard
as you play.

It lights
the room,
and every
heart
in it.
***
*Kahuna: Hawaiian, “Wise Man”.

 

About Max Reif

I’m not always sure what poetry is until something MUST be said. Then it does get said, somehow, in the most telegraphic way. This happens frequently during some periods, infrequently during others. I sometimes wonder if a writer is someone for whom an event, an epiphany, does not really “count” until its spirit is somehow rendered so that a reader can enter and share it.

I currently live in northern California, work and play with small children 30 hours a week, work on a cycle of autobiographical stories, deliver “rescued food” to pantries and shelters (see whiteponyexpress.org), and share a safe, quiet home with my wife, Barbara.

 

Poetry Breakfast accepts submissions of poetry and poetry related creative non-fiction year-round.  See our Submission Guidelines page for details on submitting your work.

Photo by Shawn Gaske.

EPIPHANY by Max Reif

EPIPHANY
by Max Reif

I like to read a short story
not so much for the theme or plot,
but for when in the middle of it all
the character, whoever he or she
happens to be, takes
a moment and just looks out
over the landscape, toward the horizon.
That’s when, all stories forgotten,
I can feel myself, too:
simply here.

Max Reif was first surprised to pull his car over and give birth to a poem in 1968 at age 20, not even knowing he was pregnant! He continues to seek, (in the words of Meher Baba) “to penetrate into the essence of all being and significance, and to release the fragrance of that inner attainment for the guidance and benefit of others…” Some of his stories, poems, jokes, reviews etc are at www.REALnothings.com

DESERT MIRACLE by Max Reif

DESERT MIRACLE
by Max Reif

Whose hand has washed the desert sand
and polished every leaf on every bush?

Who cleaned the sky
and brushed the distant hills,

and placed each pebble
where it needs to be?

And how
did he leave
so fast?

Max Reif was first surprised to pull his car over and give birth to a poem in 1968 at age 20, not even knowing he was pregnant! He continues to seek, (in the words of Meher Baba) “to penetrate into the essence of all being and significance, and to release the fragrance of that inner attainment for the guidance and benefit of others…” Some of his stories, poems, jokes, reviews etc are at www.REALnothings.com

TIME BRIDGE by Max Reif

TIME BRIDGE
by Max Reif

Walking back to my car
in a small lot near the post office,
I see the building where Paul
lived as a young bachelor years ago,

remember how I didn’t knock
that one time because through the glass
I could see him, making out on the couch.
Of course that was before
his marriage and divorce,
before his grown kids were born.

As I walk past today,
it seems Paul could still be in there,
a young man making out.
The building will always be
a landmark in my world.
From among its blank-faced neighbors,
it will call my name when I pass.

I reach my car across the span
of decades and drive away.

Max Reif was first surprised to pull his car over and give birth to a poem in 1968 at age 20, not even knowing he was pregnant! He continues to seek, (in the words of Meher Baba) “to penetrate into the essence of all being and significance, and to release the fragrance of that inner attainment for the guidance and benefit of others…” Some of his stories, poems, jokes, reviews etc are at www.REALnothings.com

Persimmons by Max Reif

Persimmons
by Max Reif

How did persimmons
get that reputation
for puckering your mouth?

When ripe,
they’re sweet
as mangoes.
Should any of us
be judged
before we’re ripe?

Max Reif was first surprised to pull his car over and give birth to a poem in 1968 at age 20, not even knowing he was pregnant! He continues to seek, (in the words of Meher Baba) “to penetrate into the essence of all being and significance, and to release the fragrance of that inner attainment for the guidance and benefit of others…” Some of his stories, poems, jokes, reviews etc are at http://www.REALnothings.com

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