Poems by Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) in Caliban Online #20 and #21

Caliban Online logo from lisabmusic blog
I am thrilled to have poems included in the 20th and 21st issues of Caliban Online, especially since editor Larry Smith has believed in my work since publishing it in the original print version of Caliban (see an earlier post about how groundbreaking Caliban was even then, and this one too). 

Download free PDFs of all issues of the online Caliban at the link above.

Janet Kauffman, Nathaniel Tarn, Ray Gonzalez, Elizabeth Robinson, Timothy Liu, Brian Swann, and my old acquaintance from the 80s San Francisco poetry scene Ed Mycue are just some of the writers in Caliban Online #20, while #21 boasts such writers as Gerald Vizenor, George Kalamaras, Karen Garthe, and Anna Halberstadt. 

This online mag includes the most striking work from a range of visual artists that I've seen in any magazine anywhere not totally dedicated to visual art. Worth looking at!

Here's one of the three poems of mine in Caliban Online #20, from a series identified there as "Persephone Post-War" but whose name I just changed to "Kore: After the Battle." (Thanks to poets D.A. Powell and Brent Sunderland for helping me figure out that change, which is nearly a restoration to the sequence's original name of years past.) 

plums from lisabmusic blog
Plum Juice

The fleshy plums

firm and black-purple

falling, shriveling,

in days

rotting on the ground.

The relief

of just looking.

Just stepping past them,

bits of plum skin

sticking to my slippers.

The space in my throat

where a bite of sweet plum

could slide past.

From that hollow,

my voice

echoing on gray

wood, apples


a woman’s

sweet singing in the lanes

of trees.

A faint

gleam is hidden

in the crack of a mossy

rockface. I reach in

my thumb

—it stings. Pull it out

dripping blood.

I suck it,



I can still feel pain

even gone from the world

which sliced into me

when I saw through it.

Here a simple line

of blood from my own flesh.                         


my juice.                                                                     

See the water pooling

in a hollow of

grassy dirt, sap

in circles in

the bark. And transparent beads

of liquid welling from the sliced

pumice-white fruit

which he places for me

on the tops of tree-stumps

at points along my

unplanned path.

He must see

where I walk and

when I want,

the sharpness of light

and liquid blurring

into hunger.

After each bite

a space of air.

I am inside

and outside

the orchard, a lady

in a gray dress,


treading the leaves.

A matted scent

like singing warms my throat,

and then


warm as the orchard air,

where I can breathe.

copyright 2015 Lisa Bernstein

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