Poems of My Home Roztoky

My Belgrade


Umbrella Moon


Poems of My Home Roztoky

Daniel Lamken 

When The Levee Breaks

Illustration by Maria Gyarmati

Not if or your or their or any myth

expecting youth to figure out the sluice,

toe the line, or finger, as the case may be,


we’re in it for eternity: banking what

we can against the thrusts of nature,

swimming lessons in Lake Pontchartrain,


or Bonham’s vodka glass, informing

everything. We have a dike to safeguard

our old town—I walk it with my dog—


and if it ever breaks, folks will flood

to upper ground (maybe to our home),

litmussing some welcome or beat down,


’cause that’s what levees have in mind:

channel danger to another land, whether

storms are known as natural or contrived.


The Tinkerer

I’m thinking of late what it

would take to visit the tinkerer,

a guy down the block who

tangentially sees me and my dog

as he talks with a huge hanger-outer

and ratchets some bolt, sandblasts

a plug, solders some nondescript thing,

hearing the tin-sounding songs

from a transistor lost in the tonsils

of his tiny garage, open for business

it seems. I’ve smiled a hello and

received just a blink at the top of

his wire-rims, slightly below the brim

of a hat that spells ELF, a sponsor of sorts.


I’ll bring in our toaster, its

lever a mess or the coils heat too

fast or—you tell me, after

all, the years you have triaged

something simple as this; I’d wait,

strike up some banter his friends find

so smooth, and finding it hard, I’d resort

to the dog to remind him he’s not to

butt in or bark his advice or mark

this domain as a new claim, however

the visit might go. I’m guessing

some toast would result, maybe a

joke about why folks give up on what

ought to be fixed or tinkered about, at least.


To the Least of These

Illustration by Maria Gyarmati

As if to punctuate the advent of the snow,

migrant ravens perch and pick apart the

remnant walnuts clinging in the breeze,


pelting down like hailstones—lo, a couple

months ago the drunks that wander up

and down our streets would gather these,


grinding nature into nutmeg and maybe

into eggnog, preparing as these ravens for

anything to antidote against the freeze,


mild as it’s become in schemes of global

things. The neighborhood seems numb to

entertain who’d reconnoiter walnut trees,


but coming home I could not abnegate the

clue of ravens clattering above me, carving

nutshells of survival with existential ease.


Apologizing for a Family Tree

She came from nowhere—just across the street,

where Em and I were sweeping up the leaves

and walnut mash that tried to cling to passing wheels,

a slo-mo farrago inching from the parent tree.


„Omlouvám,“ she smiled and frowned, “I’m sorry

for—” the season or the cleanup day, the panoply

of pretty, wrinkled leaves still stemming locally

from her side of the street; we waved ‘don’t worry’


and waited as she ran the corner to catch her bus.

“And that betrays a conscience for the rest of us.”

My daughter wasn’t listening—a spider, likely lost,

was sprinting from our pile, freshly tempest-tossed,


and just as likely bound to be another traffic smear.

Em took a leaf and shoveled up the miniature deer

to place her at the base of some recovery. Fear

will figure out a way back up—if assistance is sincere.


And if not, omlouvám; for what can prep us for a fall?

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in ways affect us all;

the spider can’t be Christian (a net that saves the small),

and neighbors shy away from saying secret stuff withal.

She gathered soul in scarf-fuls, regardless of the chore.

Matthew chapter twenty-six might challenge us more,

but in the end we’re pawns of neighborhood spore:

our roots being what they are, antennae still explore.  


Published in Issue #1, May 2018


My Belgrade

Illustration by Lyudmila Martynova

Savo Bojovic

The first time we met,

you were grey and rectangular,

I had a backpack

and shoes that would light up

with every step I'd take

towards the school or the gym,

where I'd play basketball

just like those guys you'd welcome

at your main square

every late summer at the time,

and then we got to know each other better

when I started going to the cinema,

boy did you have many of those, remember?

well one night after seeing a film

I went to the park across the street

and had my first kiss right there,

the president, the mayor, and the parliament

all triangulating the tree

that gave snowflakes a rest

as I touched that girl's lips

and everything turned slippery,

I thought the universe would lose its balance,

but it didn't,

it just pulled on the rope of our friendship,

mine and yours,

a velvet noose that told me

I'd never forget you

no matter how much I wanted to,

which is what happened

when the school got bigger and the world too,

and I wanted them to go together

so I left you for the first time

when you felt as small as most of the people

you pretended to take care of,

you beautiful traitor,

I loved you so much

from so far away

that it seemed like the color

was back in your cheeks every time

I'd see you for a short while,

and you talked me into coming back,

somehow you did,

and you became a home again

with a special space in your concrete heart

made for me only,

and years would go by,

I watched you disintegrate like never before,

I watched you welcome the mediocrities

like they built you,

I watched you become a home

for those who never needed more than a roof

over their heads,

And saw the pink in your cheeks was

from being slapped around, after all,

and I kept thinking you knew

you were better than that, but no,

you kept getting drunk on piss

and the faces and the coats

and the purses and the smartphones

and the headphones and the billboards

and the reality shows

and the fake tits and the fake lips

and the fake words and the fake lights

and the darkness you needed

but never dove into,

you chased me off again,

you told me to go fuck myself

with everything you threw at me,

every once in a while giving me a taste

of what I could dine on

for the rest of my life

if you weren't so quick to feed me the shit

that's gotten into

your every corner and artery

and traffic light and gum stained sidewalk

and transvestite bus station hooker

and the great mind destroyed with cheap drugs,

even the refugees want to leave you now, brother,

and I will listen to you and I'll go,

I'll get the fuck out of here while I can,

25 years, a quarter of a century of lives, laughs and tears

between what you were and what you are,

your glass ceiling is a mirror and I'm breaking it,

I know the victory is mine only if I come back,

and that’s why I will,

because you never taught me how to win

but you did teach me how to fight.


Published in Issue #1, May 2018 



Umbrella Moon

Gabor Gyukics


Photography by Eszter Fruzsina

leaning away from the lectern

she watches

still she can’t see

what is before her


her mother buried

the navel cord next to

the only tree in the courtyard

to keep her daughter at bay


on her weather and sun beaten skin

the wind takes a break

in the empty

mile wide space


in the raw air

blameless fog-clouds enshroud

her skyscraper solitude


in the cave deep silence

his may-fly long life

disperses in the mist


if she could

she would scatter sand to the

eyes of the thousand tongued wind


she stays alive

as long as she


amidst the crowd


umbrella moon    

Photography by Eszter Fruzsina

you see your double on the water’s surface

you lean closer

your body jostles itself inside the pores of your face

the angle is narrowed down by your glances


the wind won’t dry your skin

in the deepening riverbed


you’re thinking about

a pleasant place

you’ve seen long ago

calming yourself

to get in harmony

with the environment


no need purchasing

a second hand souvenir

from the thug hanging out

in front of the pawnshop



there are things

that can do you in -

a body

with a ripped up abdomen

sinks faster

then the past cajoling



Poems were published in Issue # 1, May 2018 in two languages – Hungarian and English.



Illustration by Lili Judit Pamuk

Andras Gerevich

Translation - Christopher Whyte 

The  men, well, I hardly remember them,

just standing in front of the mirror

doing my best to find myself attractive

in the hope that others would desire

my body's knotted muscles.

What I liked was hankering after,

getting the hots on for a stranger,

someone who didn't need me, didn't

deign me with a glance, someone I wouldn't

know what to do with once the repeated

sex, the fucking were over and done

because all I wanted was their body,

face and eyes filled with desire,

all I wanted was them wanting me,

my body, I possessed them that way, at

least so I thought or wanted, and not one,

not a single one was ever mine,

not one man was mine out of so many.

Nobody. Only the longing lived on.

I can remember nothing of myself.


Published in Issue # 1, May 2018 in two languages – Hungarian and English.