Monday, November 1, 2021






(a “footnote” after Donald Lev)


I jumped off

the Brooklyn Bridge.


But I failed.

I didn't die.

The Guinness Book of World Records   

called me up,

said I should try again:

If I lived,

I'd set a record.

So I jumped a third time

and succeeded.

At last I've achieved . . .






Some leaves

still cling

to the brown branches

turning black

—purple, red, yellow—

until the last color


like infrequent rain

on thirsty savannahs.

Birds are busy

pecking at the seeds

scattered throughout

the mulch, twig and fern.

Mushrooms, toadstools

rise up by the roots

of the once shaded forest.

It’s certain now:

Summer’s gone;

Fall has fallen.

Autumn’s last memory

flees with the wink

of an eye.

The sky is full

of inevitable white.


From Strange Seasons,

with complementary photart by Mark Polyakov,

originally published by AngoBoy, Sofia, Bulgarian 2007



As Yet Unborn


Oh to be Adam


with all his ribs

yearning for a woman

as yet unborn,

mouth free

of the taste of apples,

ears without

the hiss of snakes,

mindless of

nakedness and shame

in the garden

of gentle creatures

waiting for a name.





When the Devil

fell to earth,

cast out of the light

into supernal darkness,

some of his tainted blood

spilled upon the ground,

and, like dragon’s seed,

sprouted into peppers—

black & red & green

chili peppers, paprika,

but, most of all, jalapeños!

They spread on the winds

of khamsin, scirocco, mistral,

all over the equatorial lands,

providing fire with fire

to sere the tongues

like the seven deadly sins.

When you spice your meals,

oh, sinners of the world,

not only your mouth is burning!


From  ABC of Fruits & Vegetables,

with complementary art by Mia Barkan Clarke,

originally published by AngoBoy, Sofia, Bulgarian,  2012




STANLEY H. BARKAN, editor/publisher of Cross-Cultural Communications, which in 2020 is celebrating its 50th Anniversary with 500 books in print, and as many broadsides and postcards and audio-visual productions in 60 languages (ranging from Arabic to Yiddish).  CCC has also hosted numerous literary events throughout the United States and in many parts of the world (Argentina, Bulgaria, Poland, Puerto Rico, Sicily, Wales), at such locations in New York as the International Center, Poets House, the Yale Club, and the Dag Hammerskjöld Auditorium of the United Nations.  His own work has been published in 29 poetry editions, many bilingual, including Armenian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Dutch, Farsi/Persian, Italian, Romanian, Russian, Sicilian, Spanish.   His most recent books are As Still as a Broom, translated into Spanish by Isaac Goldemberg (2018) and Pumpernickel, translated into Farsi/Persian by Sepideh Zamani (2019) (both published by Oyster Bay, NY: New Feral Press), and More Mishpocheh, with illustrative photos and art by the author’s wife, Bebe Barkan (Swansea, Wales: The Seventh Quarry Press, 2018).  Also, in 2017, he was awarded the Homer European Medal of Poetry & Art.   Barkan lives with his wife in Merrick, Long Island, where his son and daughter and five grandchildren also reside.


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