But Then This

And you have forgotten that the sun does shine on the nothing new.


Life that goes on in face of oppression was also true of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, is true of Arabs in Gaza, Tibetans occupied by China, as it was for Russians and Jews in the Soviet Union, African Americans in the Jim Crow South, the Jews seeking refuge in an isolated fledging prematurely born State of Israel surrounded by 50 million Arabs that swore to drive her into the sea, promised to lose 10 million Arabs to wipe out the Jews . . . even peoples occupied by the Nazis managed to live lives, to shout into the void, to listen for the echo.

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Nativity [a Short Story]

The Falling Leaf Review

for James Baldwin

I cannot fathom the depth of character, of mind, or of soul that is necessary for compassion. I have mastered the art of appearing to be compassionate, when in turn of fact, I am anything but understanding in a degree that qualifies as compassionate. A society bred on the idea that package is as important, or now more important, than product, cannot understand the distinctions between passion and emotion, or how depth of feeling is opposed to the appearance of having felt . . . I am stretching for excuses. I will always find something in my experiences to blame for my choices, a part of our past to use as a rationale for what I do, have done, will become. A native son infers lineage. I do hate as much as others hate, resent others as often as others resent someone else.

I was raised Catholic…

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Failure Meets Our Consumerist Designs

In a consumerist society, what is the pedagogic/educational equivalent of consumerism? Failure. In a society where little is made to last so we need to, thus expect to, buy again soon, a significant percentage of students failing is built into our pedagogy. CUNY for years kept its pass rate for its writing test, whether the … Continue reading Failure Meets Our Consumerist Designs

Another Moment in A Woman’s Life [Prose Poem]

I A conversation between two women, friends, buying coffee with their babies in baby carriages blocking paths they are oblivious to having blocked in the cafe. Do you ever imagine that you have the acumen to understand another person? Why do you call it acumen? I don't get that. Why fix on the word? Because … Continue reading Another Moment in A Woman’s Life [Prose Poem]

A Short Neck Among Giraffes [A Short-short Story]

The Falling Leaf Review

[I am wondering if you, my reader, will wonder what the differences between italics and roman type are in this text, in any text. A text is one that speaks to us, we have said. A text has something to say and all we have to do is listen. I also imagine that this is naive. This is a kind of passivity in the manner of interpreting? What is it that we hear when we listen to a text; what is it we hear when we do not listen appropriately?  I do not agree that texts are categorically distinct from archives; just as I do not imagine that anthologizing is not a form of archival collecting. What it is you take away, understand, listen to or listen for–neither one nor the other is the other not the one. I guess I cannot control everything; my intention is not the matter…

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Ludovico Media [A Short Story]

The Falling Leaf Review


July 4th, 2016; 7:47 AM EST; New York City.

Labyrinth and abyss.

I have always imagined Alex in A Clockwork Orange singing “London Bridge is Falling Down.” I do not think about why I have imagined thus. I have not asked the questions I would need to be able to–I have no questions ready. I have an idea why I imagine I see Alex singing falling down, falling down . . . London Bridge’s falling down,  my fair lady . . . yes, clealy and distinctly I hear Malcolm McDowell in my mind’s ears crooning this nursery rhyme, similarly crooning “Singing in the Rain,” I know you know this from the film even if you know the story from the novel.

I understand why Burgess’s book might have been disturbing to readers when published; I know how the movie was and is disturbing to many who have seen it…

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A Woman’s Parachute [A Short Story by JVR]

Abortion is a Woman's Parachute   ONE When I was a boy, a boy not so unlike any other boy, whatever boy it was I knew, we knew, in our blue collar Catholic neighborhood--there were others living there too, no? Of course there were Protestants and Jews--for my parents Jews were not as invisible or … Continue reading A Woman’s Parachute [A Short Story by JVR]