Loren Kleinman


Loren Kleinman






Nothing but hope


There is nothing in the Dead Sea but hope. The rest is silenced by the falling apples. We pick them from the ground and throw them at each other. Quiet now. All clear to move on. I’m falling from the trees. Open your hand and see if I fell unscathed.


Press your finger into the rotted red skin. Bite into the decay if you’re brave. See if you like the juice dripping and stinging the cut at the center of your cupid’s bow. Hold the apple in your hand. Squeeze it. If you can’t smash it in your hand, you’re only human. Now put it in your pocket.


Walk the street, a body full of apples. Throw one at the clear window of the bodega. Don’t try to run. Fall to the sea below the sidewalk. Float on it. I’ll catch you by the ears.




There were no secrets


Long, long, long ago, the night was a lost woman. The trees were bone, and heads hit pillows between two worlds made of glass and rubber. You got tangled in thorns and vines. Gum never stuck to shoes. If you looked too long at the sky, a hawk dropped you a letter from your future self. Branches were arms; leaves were breasts. Worms drank milk, and fleas burrowed in silence. The world was as small as a pea. It might as well have rolled under the bed.




We’re here briefly


Joe and I sit on the rooftop on Fred’s studio in Carol Gardens. We’re drunk as shit, side-by-side, neck to neck, lip to lip. It’s beautiful to watch him smile, to think we were brought here to watch each other smile. Our hands fit together, no breaks. I have salt on my hands from the pita chips, and he dangles the tall boy at his side. We breathe, take deep breaths, close our eyes, and sing in our heads. I lean my head on his shoulder and he twirls my hair. I smell Tequila and mango salsa on his breath and smile.




Breakable Things


My kitchen

is the only thing that exists,


one room,

floating up

above New Jersey’s fault lines.


All the things it holds

within its walls

float around me,

while I sit at the glass table,

on the wicker chair,

drinking a glass of wine.


The ceiling is its own solar system.


The lights circle

around me, like planets,

and orbit around my cat.


Day after day,

I sit in my kitchen,

eating, smoking, drinking



I’m the only girl in the world,

hiding in cabinets

next to the breakable things.




Love Poem


On a Tuesday night,

I get lost

in a love poem by Bukowski.


I want to be held

and loved

by someone with big arms,

with ears and feet,

just like me.


I think of all the men,

all of them,

their hands holding me,

like the women held Bukowski

in the love poem he wrote.


Only he’s him,

and I’m me,

and he’s dead,

and I’m on a bed

on a fancy silver sheet,

legs crossed,

eyes scrambling

over the words

love love love


and I can’t get out of those words

that remind me of men loving me,

and me loving some of them,

and others not,

and them wanting me

to love them back,

but I couldn’t.


Those lines of the poem fill me up

and make me glow

like a hot doorknob,


and I want Bukowski

to take the book from me,

tell me to not read another word

or he’ll smother me with paper,

drench me in wine

and lighter fluid,

and strike a match.




Everything Is Better in Disorder


At the edge of Chelsea and Hell,

I turn to the bartender

and ask for another Merlot.


In my mind, I drive off

and dance in a dark club.

I think of what Italy looks like,

or the glow of traffic

in a rearview mirror.


I take off between now

and later tonight.


Mark sits across from me:

a burnt up engine,

a barrel of supplies,

a cart of groceries

in a full line.

He says I don’t understand

the art of banter.


I watch him,

two feet away from me,

and would rather screw.




At Fifteen


I measured time in cigarettes.

Underneath the underpass

I popped reds

and dropped blues

next to sucked off Popsicle sticks.

I straddled the concrete curb

and anointed the night with love.

I was alive—

snorting coke in abandoned homes

where pigeon shit painted the floor white.

I ripped off loose wood and climbed

to the top of the roof.

I wanted to feel the air

against my cheeks and fuck.

I wanted to break in half.

Fold like heaven and hell.

I was at war with myself.

At fifteen, I hummed paradise,

became those streets that tied

into other streets,

became my own country.

How I talked.

I could’ve been anyone.

I was incurable.





Keep Smiling


On nights like this,

the road bends into blackness,

and the white lines

paved into the tar

look like slivers of bone,

and the air whistles through

the open window,


and the trees rustle their feathers,

and music lights up like stars,


loud stars.

The seat is warm from your jeans

and the smile on your face

feels like the first time

you’ve ever smiled.

It feels good,

so good that you keep smiling,

you hold it there,

that crooked smile

and stare in front of you

through the windshield.

You look through the night

towards something you see,

and you recognize it

in front of you,

like when you recognize

someone you know,

and you stare,

and smile,

and drive past him,

passing through him,


and he into you,


and the night passes

through both of you.


You smoke your last cigarette,

share a light with the wind,

and the wind whistles

as you drive.










BIO: Loren Kleinman’s poetry has appeared in journals such ADANNA, Drunken BoatThe MothDomestic CherryBlue Lake ReviewColumbia Journal, LEVURE LITTÉRAIRENimrod, Wilderness House Literary ReviewNarrative Northeast, Writer’s Bloc, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Paterson Literary Review (PLR), Resurgence (UK), HerCircleEzine and Aesthetica Annual. Her interviews appeared in IndieReader, USA Today, and The Huffington Post. She’s also published essays in Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping and Seventeen Magazine. She is the author of Flamenco Sketches and Indie Authors Naked, which was an Amazon Top 100 bestseller in Journalism in the UK and USA. Kleinman’s The Dark Cave Between My Ribs was named one the best poetry book of 2014 by Entropy Magazine. Her third collection of poetry Breakable Things released via Winter Goose Publishing in March 2015. Her novel This Way to Forever (Evatopia Press), a collection of prose poems, Stay with Me Awhile (Winter Goose Publishing), and a memoir, The Woman with a Million Hearts (BlazeVOX) will be released in 2016. She is a faculty member at New York Writer’s Workshop and a full-time freelance writer and social media strategist. Loren’s website is: lorenkleinman.com and lorenwrites.com.

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