Martina Reisz Newberry

Not To Fear The Dark

I've learned that night sounds are the ones that
carry the signs and portents.

The voices of the future come dancing out of the dark
like bits of ice from the sky.

The voices speak softly, remind us of our regrets,
hold out our wishes the way Eve did the apple,

pleading "Be brave with me, taste." Night opens the ears, sings songs of our fathers and
mothers walking behind us,

steering us to the confusion and risks and pleasures of this life. This is why we mustn't
fear the dark-

not as children, not at the last moment of our lives.
It is in the night that our indecencies fall away

and our prayers come up out of us without tangle
or torment. I write this to you now so you'll know

not to fear-not ever to fear-the rippling cloth of night.
It belongs to you. It always has.

이카루스의 가을 (The Fall Of Icarus)
      New York, 2011—Hana Lin, 26, fell from the balcony of apartment 2640 at 101 Warren St. and
      landed on an elevated, park-like common area on the fifth-floor roof of a Barnes & Noble, police
      said. No foul play is suspected. Investigators haven't ruled out suicide

LI gained weight on the way down,
maybe a thousand pounds.
They say you gain weight when you
fall from a high place.

I, who was careful about my figure
most of the time
cartwheeled past the 15th floor,
mourning my days

without chocolates or ice cream.
Oh, I made toasts with the best of them,
but it was with Lite Beer.
A slim figure

counts for something,
don't you think?
The air was cool from the
open window, the view spectacular—

TriBeCa stretching out and around,
lit only for me.
Why should I not want to own those lights
and reach out to stuff them into my eyes

and mouth (as if they were
champagne truffles)
as I tipped over and over in the dark?
Like a one-ton piece of chalk,

I tumbled, watched as windows passed,
and wondered if I was in a dream,
would wake on the couch
when I came to the bottom.

But it was a bookstore roof
that stopped me,
not a couch or a friend shaking
my shoulder, laughing at my

beer-y breath.
I heard the rustling of pages
as my smudged mascara
and Exces de Rouge lipstick

found the 5th floor,
told myself
maybe someone
is writing about this.

Learning To Dream

Lying in bed with issues of Rolling Stone magazine
        and nostalgic thoughts of prior madness
        (euphoria without illumination)
festival of the disembodied nightmares
dancing in dreams.
This is a dream in which I can see the unconscious
of total strangers in their FaceBook posts.
        Their musings are monsters of paradise.
        I see, but do not feel you, brothers and sisters.
I dream in illustrations, in graphic design.
Is this where America ends
seeing how many drinks we can hold down
in one day's drinking(?)
        Bar games, bar talk
        “Cruel Pong” one of the favorites.
Is this where America ends in this sad desert
with bronzed boys and girls vying for notice
playing sand games for the benefit of
We can only text so much meaning into each other.
        Nothing says “I love you”
        like digital letters on a trendy Iphone.
        Nothing says, “I'm lonely”
        like a computer screen.
The sky holds fragments
of what should have been stars,
the sand holds atoms of "Fool's Gold."
The moon holds nothing
        out of self-preservation.
Now and then we hold velvet bags of diamonds,
we sleep with them under our pillows
and memorize them
        so that we might speak the language
        of gems when its called for.
Is this the way America ends, in the lyrics of
"Under My Thumb," in the sweating dreams
of terrified friends and lovers(?)
I dream of America and choose to dream
through its flaws.
The sounds I hear are those
of a never-ending trespass.

Pantoum of Woman in Coffee Shop Window

The woman in the window folds her hands.
Her eyes are poised for tenderness or fire.
Her blue cup is a fountain of strange life.
Her silence braids poppies to chiseled blades.

Her eyes are poised for tenderness or fire
Her insolent mouth celebrates secrets
Her silence braids poppies to chiseled blades.
She sits in the shadow of her conversion

Her insolent mouth celebrates secrets
She's been given the edge of the world
Thought she sits in the shadow of conversion
Her disbelief trembles like ripened lust.

About the Author

Martina Reisz Newberry's most recent book is WHAT WE CAN'T FORGIVE. She is also the author of LATE NIGHT RADIO, PERHAPS YOU COULD BREATHE FOR ME. HUNGER, AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE: POEMS 1996-2006, NOT UNTRUE & NOT UNKIND (Arabesques Press, Amari Hamadene, editor) and RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press).

Ms. Newberry is the winner of i.e. magazine's Editor's Choice Poetry Chapbook Prize for 1998: AN APPARENT, APPROACHABLE LIGHT.

She is the author of LIMA BEANS AND CITY CHICKEN: MEMORIES OF THE OPEN HEARTH—a memoir of her father—published by E.P. Dutton and Co. in 1989.

She has written four novels and several books of poetry, has been included in Ascent Aspirations first Anthology and has been widely published in literary magazines and books such as: Amelia, Ascent Aspirations, Bellingham Review, Southern Review of Poetry, and others.

Newberry lives in Palm Springs, California with her husband Brian and their benevolent dictator/cat, Gato. All her books are available from,,, and several brick-and-mortar shops.

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