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Poems — Press the three bars next to "Search" for contact and more info

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 Here are some links to some recently published poems — 

Promo video for “Signs of Marriage”: The poem Stones depicted in video.

Promo video for “Intimacy with the Wind”: The title poem of the book depicted in video

"Deliverance" (first published in the Smoky Quartz Anthology, 2022, and now online at NHPR)

The Inquisitive Eater: "Rhubarb," and "Applesauce,"

Leon Literary Review: "Farm Life," a commentary on someone's wishes for end of life

Triggerfish Critical Review: "The Flawed Melody of  Family,"

The Ear: "Umbilical" and "How He Leaves," Two poems about death by drug overdose

PoetsOnline: "Dream with a President of Princeton," and "August." Search link for "Carla"

Two Hawks Quarerly: "Brother to Brother," a poem about families and suicide

Misfit Magazine: "Voodoo."

WCAI Poetry Sunday "Forsythia Drive By" July 28, 2019

 Lunch Ticket "Anthem", May 2019, Lunch Ticket Twitter Poetry Contest Winner,

 The Sunlight Press "To the Posting Facebook Users,"

Lost River Literary Magazine  "This Rope," 

and "Weighing a December Swim,"

 Tales from the Forest  "Sweet Potato Harvest," and "String Theory," May, 2018.

 Paddock Review "Rings", May 2018. This poem also appears in Intimacy with the Wind, Finishing Line Press, Oct 2017. 

 Submittable "Submittable," a runner up in the Submittable-centric poetry contest.

 Zingara Review "The Road" May, 2018

 Mojave River Review "Photographs of my Mother," and "Phone Call to a Functionary," 2018

 Leveler "The Wood Pile" April 23, 2018

 Gyroscope Review "Self-Portrait with Perlmutter, a Father, and a Dead Mother" (search the pdf)  (you might have to open this link in an incognito window) 

 Weatherbeaten Literary Journal "Antidote" 2017

 Amsterdam Quarterly "Tax Reform" 2018

 Varnish "Wormageddon" and "Beginnings" 2018

 First Literary Review - East  "Scars" (click this link and search for Carla Schwartz (November 2017 issue). 

 Long Island Literary Journal  "Trimmed and Burning" and "Burning Bushes" 2017

 Triggerfish Critical Review, 2017 "On the Aqueduct"

 "On Seeking Forgiveness, After Simic"  2017

 Somerville Times  Asparagus Also in Intimacy with the Wind, 2017

 Sweet Tree Review Photoshopping the Body: Also in Intimacy with the Wind, 2017

 The Wild Word  "At Breakfast" (Also in Intimacy with the Wind, 2017) and "Cape Cod Thanksgiving"

 Eyedrum Periodically  "Hot and Cold" Fusion Issue: Also in Intimacy with the Wind, 2017

 First Literary Review - East  click this link, and search for "Our Dance" or "Carla Schwartz" ... Also in Intimacy with the Wind, 2017

 Inkstain Press Lost Hour: Also in Intimacy with the Wind, 2017

 Panoply Zine "Trying to Leave Mallets Bay" (Also in Intimacy with the Wind, 2017)  

 "When Someone Dies"

 Switched-On Gutenberg "Black Trumpets" Also in Intimacy with the Wind, 2017

 Bluefifth  "The Bereaved Mother" Spring 2017 issue, or see archives.

 With Painted Words "Water Under the Bridge" June 2017 (from May 2017 Challenge)

 Soul-Lit "My father's Hiking Boots", and "Dream", Summer, 2017 Also in Intimacy with the Wind, 2017

 Art on the Trails Five Ekphrastic poems by Carla Schwartz (search for my name) 2017

 SHARKPACK Annual "Nick Flynn Reads My Feelings" Also in Intimacy with the Wind, 2017






All poems © Carla Schwartz:



Photoshopping the Body* 


Surely my mother would have known what to do.

Would have understood Masking, Healing.

Once, she used Illustrator to make a rainbow

Medusa of my sister's hair. That was back in the 90s,

when nothing was obvious. She was just that kind of woman—

to dive into a computer program & wrangle with it

until she got what she wanted.


For this image of me in my bikini

she would have been a Magic Wand wizard—

smoothing out the wrinkles & shadows

removing the thickness around the thighs—

that same belly, those same thick thighs she bore

with the click + drag of a mouse, wouldn’t she?


To look in the mirror, & see my mother’s rounded body—

the sunburst of skin from the naval, the rays, the folds,

the darker, vertical depression that leads netherward—

what I was once embarrassed of for her, saddens me.


My mother never wore a bikini

but would have relished summers on this lake—

to swim every morning after waking just a few steps from shore.


My mother, if only she were here, would sit with me

overlooking the lake, wearing shorts & oversized T,

an iPad in hand—never mind her belly—

& swipe, tap, hold.


*This poem first appeared in “Sweet Tree Review,” 2017, and in  “Intimacy with the Wind” Finishing Line Press, 2017.


Asparagus appeared in The Mom Egg, Spring, 2017, Also in Intimacy with the Wind, 2017.


A few minutes after hanging up, my father calls back to tell me
three new asparagus are coming up.
I had started the patch from seed at my parents’ house, years ago.
Now, my father calls me every time a spear pokes through. With each call,
I am reminded of my shortcomings and feel inept—I’m not sure why.
The soil in that corner of their yard is rich. The crop had barely started to yield
when I moved to a land that forbids overwintering.
I tried, but the transplants failed in Florida.
When I moved back north, I tried to transplant again. This time, the original patch
was so dug in, I could not hack off enough root for the plant to take.
Or maybe it didn’t stand a chance with woodchucks and voles.
I still plan to dig up some more asparagus plants,
the next time I visit my father.
And here, the generations are:
Water and soil, and seed, not much bigger than coriander, but smooth as a bearing.
Years and years of waiting, watching, and missing the ones that race to flower and reseed.
The key is to catch the plant when it’s young,
before it really roots in.
Now, my father gets mature spears. When he finds one just three inches tall,
he gambles on the optimal time to pick. If he waits too long, he says it goes to seed.
What to do with this girl?
I learned to grow raspberries, but not to build fences.
I once battled a groundhog with a shovel, in a world full of groundhogs.
I dreamt my mother helped me dig up some of the plants, and instead of asparagus,
she rose from the groundfull, fleshy, green.


My Orchard (appeared in The Aurorean, Spring, 2016. Also in Intimacy with the Wind, 2017)

My Orchard

What’s left of the large pines
I had cut down last winter
is dead now.
Garlic mustard,
Virginia creeper,
poison ivy
thrive in their place.
My neighbor: What are your plans for the area>?
First thought—no plan.

The ground—uneven, littered with remnants of weed trees

I sawed down in past seasons.
New growth sprouts
around the Norway maple and buckthorn stumps.
Where she sees a mess,
I see a canvas.
Today I planted three peach pits,
three apricot seeds,
and a whole cherry.
I transplanted blueberry plants
dug from the woods.
Thistle, bittersweet,
prick and strangle.
Oh, and the jewelweed—
oh nuisance
oh orchard.


Crisis, 1962 (first appeared in Fourth River Review, 2017. Also in Intimacy with the Wind, 2017)

Our father might have said,
You’re nuts.
Kennedy can handle this.
Don’t go.

All over the television
talking heads, talking their heads off.
We were too young to understand —
our nervous mother’s, Where can we go?
We have to get out of here.
Jugs of water and batteries
vanished from grocery stores —
New York, a sure target.
Then, lunch-packing —
peanut butter and apple butter.
Did their friend, Jim, another refugee,
infect our mother,
or, was it the Kristallnacht shards
imprinted on her little girl eyes
that fed Jim’s frenzy?
What tipped their scales?
When, during the 13 days, did they flee?
Whatever, it must have been a bad translation.
Upstate New York, their haven
for the potentially bombed.
Maybe a door slammed,
a motor revved.
Packed into the car,
we girls, voiceless,
left our father with the fallout.


Before We Know Darkness first appeared in The Fourth River Review, 2017. Also in Intimacy with the Wind, 2017

Before We Know Darkness

Before WalkMen. Before iPods. Before we know better,
we hop on a subway uptown, two young teens.
This is 1974, the year of the Laserium, the laser show that
lights the night sky of the Hayden Planetarium.
Dark Side of the Moon marries the haze of the good reefer
Julie and I roll expertly between the two fingers of each hand,
careful not to tear the paper as we lick the gum band and twist the ends.
The swish-flare of match, and a deep hiss-suck lights.
We smoke to the change-clink of Money.
We hop the Express by mistake.
As we wait for the Local to sweep us back from Harlem,
a man, tall as the train and dark as the ties, shoots, Got five dollars to spare?
 If I push you over the tracks, would you have five dollars?
J. flips, Pushing us won’t make five dollars appear.
I am scared. He needs his smack.
We suck in the relief as he turns away.
Suffering time before the train arrives,
cradled in jugga-jugga-jugga, we think we are safe.
In the near-empty car, out from behind a gray trench coat,
a flash of whole prick.
We are teens with stories in our pockets.
We move to the next car before anyone smells our fear.


The poem, Gum Surgery was chosen by the 2017 Boston Poet Laureate, Danielle Legros Georges as one of 30 poems to appear mounted at Boston City Hall as part of the Mayor's Poetry Program for 2017. It also appears in Carla's book, Intimacy with the Wind  by Finishing Line Press (2017).

Gum Surgery

Matter of fact, I was under her knife 
a small leaf of upper pallet en route to my gum
when I realized she was telling her assistant an interesting story. 
I was thinking about raking the leaves and missed the beginning—
the part where she planned to go to the charity ball and meet up with friends
so she found a date to escort her. He seemed so suitable—
picked her up, checked her coat.

I came to just in time when the story unfolded that the rake snuck off
and left her there. She had lost time from her friends as she leafed 
through the ballroom for him—needle in a haystack. 
Finally she texted and learned from his reply—ever-polite—
he had blown her off—she, without a car, in her heels, 
no money for a cab in her skimpy dress
leaves of fabric to be blown by the damp harbor winds. 

I heard South BostonDowntown CrossingGarden
I thought about the night characters blowing through the downtown streets 
like the leaves swirling around her. The thread she pulled
through my gum emerged bloody. She threaded it through again. 
She thought maybe he didn’t like her friends. 
I thought, Date from Hell
I thought, This is my mouth
I kept it open.
I said nothing.


D├ęcolletage *

Undress me from turtleneck.

Roll your hand along my cords of throat.

Prick with silted fingertips.

Uncottoned kisses. Rose petal lips.

Weave me in. Can’t be too tight.

Tight is not close enough.

Slide inside my silky sleeve.

Chest to chest, I wear you

braless. Keep me on.

You see, I am naked.

You nake me, neck down.

* Equinox 2008

© Carla Schwartz

The Flirt*

Her saggy breasts bulge as she leans

tableward, like a ship on stormy sea. She

swings them up and down, shapes them to

his face as she talks. They pose a big question.

Beg it. Will you come home with me? Will you love

me, sweet stranger? She sits taller than the Girlfriend,

flustered green. Girlfriend wills her to put on a shirt, but

she waves victory with her bathing suit top, pressing

her flaccid pickles closer. Although she looks only

at him, her double barrels are aimed at both

of them. Take this sweetheart. This is

a test. I have his number. Watch

him ask me for mine.

* Stone Highway Review, 2013

© Carla Schwartz



We will count to ten and time will collapse.

The snow starts its melt drop by drop,

from snow to ice. Rich mud becomes a puddle,

a trickle, a stream, a stream, a roaring river,

its stone walls gouged. I would call it a gorge,

but that sounds too gorgeous, one thing you called me,

often. And now you're gone. How many days, months,

eons? I am still counting. I will count

to ten. To 100. I will hold our breath,

as mine is still yours, and suck

in all that water. The gorge

will collapse. The water,

dry up.

* Stone Highway Review, 2012

© Carla Schwartz

Ginger Beer*

Take a finger of ginger,
a thumb's worth
to the shredder.
Bring to a boil
a large pot of water,
then lower to simmer,
and add in the ginger.
Let it cook for a hour.
Add some honey.

Chill overnight,
and the ginger will settle.
Strain the ginger mixture into a bottle.
Honey for sweet, ginger for bite.

Sip it, share it, and delight.

* Literary Juice, 2012

© Carla Schwartz


Show Me Your Toolkit (audio, with a great band, the White Owls)*


Carla's poems in the Boston Poetry Magazine


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