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Poetry Month, Reader’s Den

April in the Reader's Den: Featured Poets from the L.E.S Review


Our final week of April in the Reader's Den will focus on the selected works of poets contributing to a new poetry and arts journal, The L.E.S Review, founded by poet, artist, and Pratt Institute Library and Information Science student Jesi Bender.

In the five years Jesi has lived in New York City, she has accumulated friends in all facets of the arts, and worked for various art institutions throughout Manhattan and Williamsburg.  In other words, Bender saw both the artist and the business of art, and found that these entities did not necessarily go hand-in-hand.  She was continually shocked that even in the hipster "l'art pour l'art" DIY scene, there was such disparity between the vast amount of talented artists in New York, and the limited opportunities for them to display their work.

Determined to create an outlet for promising new artists who don't necessarily have an impressive resume of work already behind their name, Bender created L.E.S. Review , a contemporary art and poetry journal, from her tiny apartment on Clinton Street.  L.E.S. Review remains committed to the promotion of talent, no matter their experience or pedigree. You can visit the journal and submit your work at

Poet Biographies

Gale Acuff has published poetry in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Adirondack Review, Worcester Review, Verse Wisconsin, Sequential Art Narrative in Education, Poem, Carolina Quarterly, Maryland Poetry Review, the Florida Review, Amarillo Bay, South Dakota Review, Santa Barbara Review, and many other journals. He has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008). He has taught university English in the U.S., China, and the Palestinian West Bank.

William Cordeiro has an MFA in poetry from Cornell, where he is currently a Ph.D. candidate studying 18th century British literature. He is also the co-founder of Brooklyn Playwrights Collective and has had several plays produced in regional and off-off-Broadway venues, including a libretto performed at the Johnson Museum of Art.  For the past two years he has been the Artist-in-Residence at Risley Residential College.  His poems are forthcoming in journals such as Brooklyn Review, lafovea, L.E.S. Review, Sentence, Barely South Review, and Word for/Word

Ivan Jenson Ivan Jenson has enjoyed unprecedented success publishing his poetry in the US, the UK, Sweden and France, and has received recognition for his contributions in Pop Art. His Absolut Jenson painting was featured in Art News, Art in America, and he has sold several works at Christie’s New York. Ivan Jenson is highly sought after for his popular and dynamic live readings on the stage. His poems have appeared in Word Riot, Camroc Press Review, Poetry Super Highway, Alternative Reel Poets Corner, Underground Voices magazine, Blazevox, and many others. Ivan Jenson is also a Contributing Editor for Commonline magazine.  He now writes novels and poetry in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Visit his website at

Juan Lamata was born in Venezuela, trained in youth soccer in South Florida, and set loose on a small but densely populated chain of islands in the North Atlantic. He enjoys writing, inspirational bob-sledding movies, and tomfoolery. If you know of his whereabouts, keep them to yourself. 

Marcel Logan is a Jamaican poet living in New York City. He has previously published poetry in the Federal Poets Journal, and McGill University’s poetry anthology, The Montage. Most recently, he has two poems forthcoming in the Summer and Autumn editions of The L.E.S. Review ; and one forthcoming in the online journal, Tongues of The Ocean. He recently read his material at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in SoHo. Much of his work is thematically concerned with the human condition, memory, intimacy, identity and the process and purpose of language and poetry. 

David H. Sutherland has been published in The American Literary Review, The Midwest Quarterly, The Adirondack Review, Poetry Magazine, The Los Angeles Review and others.

(for Ezra Pound)

by D. H. Sutherland

After Barack I lost my karma
the funk the sway
my swagger, gone.

My homie’s kitsch
of bling went blank   
is now a fossil in a 9 to 5 year.

And like a Lucy on record
the Australopithecus unearthed,
my joie de vivre

wears dust and lime.
At the dig site, dear brother
you were

this thoroughfare called life,
a bizness of love and pain,
empathy’s shared history!

Our commerce ends.

Online lament

by Ivan Jenson





all it does is

give and give


to anyone

who searches


when my


goes to


it stays up


the insomniacs



and all

who seek


or fiction


from mind

to mind



so go ahead

and connect

the dot coms

but if you

search for yourself

in this virtual world

don’t forget

it doesn’t matter

what they say

about you

as long as

they get your link right 

If you’ve ever…

by Juan Lamata

If you’ve ever…

Relied on the possibility of hangover
     induced telepathy
Caught a cold, caught a train and caught
     yourself from ruin in one breath
Stared into the sun until it blinked
     and thought My God
Sipped calamity through a straw and become indifferent
     to evil
Stood next to the well-dressed Wall Street standards of industry and chanted ruin
     ruin to draw out the imps and angels of Revolution
Broken a name into its parts such as Bushwick, Bellview
     Springfield or Schuylkill.
Sat on the shore of something immense and thought
     there is always something grander and missing
Over pronounced the words mignon and motel to the point
     of indistinguishability
Written a love letter in a dream
     using only words from the Anglo-Saxon and the fantastical
Been invited to speak at a colloquium on symposiums
     but declined because of a “special” engagement
Spent four days scheming of ways to get locked into a museum
     before abandoning the project after seeing prophetic, profane and prohibitory
     writing on a bathroom wall

Then you know what I’m talking about. 


Dragonfly Ensemble

by Marcel Logan

I brought you something warm
so you could sit and watch 
the dragonfly dance in quartet

by my river and country

which is still developing

with the street vendor

who won't throw out garbage and

the mad-man who guards the entrance

to the hollow shack of a run-down Omni-theatre. 

This dance of dragonfly divas convenes at seven pm precisely

and amidst the din of leaky mufflers chugging over spilled change

these panhandlers are fishermen with hooks 
and those hookers are life-vests, with looks.

 Then you came along and found us,

without expecting the neon lights

or the metropolitan museum of modern anti-art;

we’re still reveling in independence, laughing

with cheap and heavy sighs.

This was my cultural belonging

before we dated and dissolved

into a desire vaster than the idea of desire.

And you.

You and your doubtful mumbles, and that pout,

so petulant a twist on the lips of an orchidian mouth,

with whirls of metallic clips orchestrating hair wound and

worked patiently into Antillean frames. 

I note each melody your skin plays, knot

as I listen to your breath and watch steam lift us home.

You cried happy in the noon downpour

as our glutted umbrellas shook open

fertile with hope against the falling shower.



by William Cordiero

Soon, just minding your own business
of licking stamps and tasting wine,
you’ll feel the quarter-turn
of some memory of her inside you,
its future tense unhinge its breath and coil.
You’ll glance back half a shoulder long,
a sudden sense that something’s wrong.


You’ll suffer back to look again—
where all things rise,
     reverse their gravity

as of a pleasure now revised;

leaf-pattern crippled in her hair
pinned-up into a chopstick bun.
Cinched there, you’ll feel
the face that fits into your eyes.


Unpinned, a gash of sun upon the sea
strides back—a nightfall’s wind-blonde waves
where light alone rides out the tides.


And you are there again, only.


Jesi Belle waits for the hounds

To Yonah, by Jesi Bender

Jesi Belle waits for the hounds,

With coal round her eyes

And tint on her lips,

Or for a dove released from the sea,

Like breath from a mouth -

And she patiently sits.


By the window, the soft glow

Of a halo of red burns

The whore sits and hopes for

Her monomaniacal sailor

Away hunting that thing in the sea

That remains an elusive captor –


It’s that something some deep men feel eating inside them

(Inside the man is a fish inside a fish inside a man)

He knows she’s something that the people do not condone

The cold white of her skin opaquely shimmers like bone

And him, living only “on half a heart and a half lung”

So the woman who loves him sits all alone


In a room cross the water,

Drinking stolen kosher wine

She realizes this is done –

Dogs barking in the distance

A vengeful people grow closer,

The people made in His image have won.


The sky is orange as teeth cut through,

Blood runs sweet as Manischewitz.

Easily erased - though it had been rough

asking, ‘Who’s G-d isn’t a giant phallus?’

And silencing the prophetic tongues

Who told her that love wasn’t enough.


Now - where is the heart, the core of her flesh?

All I see are her arms, her legs and her head.

They wanted it this way,

As far as I can tell,

So no one would ever be able to say;

“This, this was Jesi Belle”.

Holy Love

by Gale Acuff

 After Sunday School today I linger

for a chance to talk to Miss Hooker, my

teacher. I mean our teacher but somehow other

kids don't count. I guess that's not Christian

but the truth is that she belongs to me

and I'm going to try to tell her so

even if it kills me, or she turns me

down, whichever comes first, but in a way

they're the same thing. I've been praying each night

this week that God will grant a miracle

and I won't say that I'm not selfish but

it seems to me what's good for me is good

for Miss Hooker, too. Sometimes love's that way


--Father, for example, punishing me

by saying This is going to hurt me

as much, or more, than it hurts you . Maybe,

but at least his pain isn't in his butt

though it's true I'm a pain in the ass now

and then. I can't help it. I'm only 10

and Father's nearly 40--that's almost

dead. Miss Hooker looks to be 25

so she's getting up there, too, but I've prayed


that God will keep her at that age until

I catch up--that'll be fifteen years. When

we've evened out I'll call on her. I'll bring

flowers and candy and maybe hairspray,

which girls like, and maybe a pair of shoes,

which girls also like. I'm smart, watch TV,

and even have sisters, but won't tell them

how I feel about my sweetheart because

they'd just make fun of me. I'm waiting at


the classroom door for Miss Hooker to turn

around and erase the board--can't have her

watching me march up to her but I don't

want to sneak around, either, and scare her.

When she's erased the big chalk Crucifix

and starts to turn around I make my move

and approach her desk and quietly cough,

--I guess it's a kind of warning, or like

knocking on a door or ringing a bell

--and clear my throat but it's clear already,

adults do that a lot, another kind

of signal--and say Hello Miss Hooker,

again, ha ha, and she laughs Ha ha , and


I look her in the eyes and she looks back

and two eyes plus two eyes equal four eyes,

not to be mistaken for glasses but

she does wear them so I guess it's six eyes.

And I say Miss Hooker, I've got something

to say to you, and clear my throat again

and this time it needs it and she says, Oh

what is it, Gale , and smiles and I reveal

--that's like Revelation in the Bible

or part of it, so God is with me or

Jesus, at least, and the son is better

than nothing if the father is busy

--wait, no, I don't mean that, I'm not too up

on my religion but maybe they're both

equal and as for the Holy Spirit,

He's even more a mystery than They


--I love you, and I have to cough the words

but at least I set them free, maybe they're

what clogged my throat and I had to spit them

out. Oh, that's nice, Miss Hooker says, I love

you, too, and she smiles again but she's lost


my meaning, not that she ever had it.

Won't you walk me to my car, please , she says.

Yes ma'am, I say, words I'd never use with

a girlfriend but I'll be married one day

to some gal, if not Miss Hooker. so that

may change, and Father says it to Mother

though it doesn't seem to make her happy

but he just smiles as he tries to kiss her

and make it better, whatever her pain.


I open the car door for Miss Hooker.

She's my girlfriend now and my next question

for the next Sunday is Will you make me

the happiest man on earth even though

I'm still a boy? I wonder what she'll say.

And the Sunday after that I'll ask her

Can you wait fifteen years for me? Won't she

be surprised then that she hasn't aged one

second? That's if God answers my prayer

for a miracle and I don't see why

He wouldn't, I've already sweated Hell

these past five minutes. I feel older than

that now. Maybe I'm creeping up on her

or maybe it's happening like I prayed.


Miss Hooker gets in and her pretty legs

stick in my throat but I manage to

shut the door and remind her to strap on

her safety belt. Why, thank you, Gale, she says.

That's good advice. Goodbye , and I stand clear,

maybe like Ezekiel stepped back when

those wheels-with-wheels brought him back to earth.

I can see Miss Hooker looking at me

in her side mirror. I wave and her smile

gets bigger but then her face gets smaller

and soon I can't see her at all. Tonight


I'll try to see her again, in a dream,

I mean. We'll tell each other I love you .

I'll teach her how to kiss, not that I know.


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

L.E.S. Review Reading

If you want to see more of L.E.S. Review and our artists, please attend our next reading at Book Thug Nation, 100 N.3rd St between Berry + Wythe ( in Williamsburg on Sunday, June 5th at 7:30p. And as always, please check out our website for future events - Thank you and Happy Poetry Month!

Juan Lamata


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