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VOL. 3 # 1 SUMMER 2018

3. Through the window, on The bed—the full moon shining. The crickets pause.

A HAIKU SERIES By Jay Ruvolo Variation in Theme: four Haiku 1. On the steps at my Feet--bottom to bottom, two Cicadas mating.

4. The telephone rings In my dream. I answer it. Nobody responds. 5. I read your silent Responses, responding in silence To your heavy absence.

2. A seagull gliding, Drops a crab onto the rocks Splitting a wave. 3. Pigeons surrounding A woman on the park bench Not feeding them. 4. Waves spread into wakes At my feet sucked in the sands-I step and stumble.

Again 5 Haiku

Serious 3 Haiku

1. A squirrel scurries Up an oak with an acorn Never to be an oak. 2. Sunlight on the Window sill—midmorning shadows— A breeze blows through leaves. 3. A flock of wrens lands Outside my kitchen window— Cacophony with sparrows.

1. No moon above; No night of stars—clouds cover November sky rains. 3 by 3 2. Not the cruelest month-November is the cruelest-Everywhere graying.

1. Shower water runs Down the length of my body Down the shower drain.


2. I stand alone with You with me—I look out the Window to see you.

3. The tree I see in Me in the window. I leave A puddle at my feet.

1. on the ground, at my feet, shaking—the absence of a leaf above me on a branch.

2. a boy and two girls run away from a boy with two boys—playing.

7 Haiku Contingency 1. A handful of rice At the wedding of a friend I put in my pocket. 2. I throw rice at them-I must not have thrown it all. I find some months later.

Outside my Window 1. The window’s closed— The morning sun on the sill. I open my eyes wide. 2. A hole in the bricks Of the wall of my house Perpendicular To the wall with the window I look out—I see sparrows.

1. Without the clock, without You--it deafens even my Thoughts of you again. 2. A toppled bird bath, Flower petals frozen in The ice, still colorful. 3. Larger than you, Your still presence anywhere— Your absence tonight. 4. So I can make it To you late—I wait for the doors Of the train to close. 5. Muted by the train, Guitar strings lightly strummed—I Wait for another. 6. Spinning on the pole On the train, over the bridge— A boy without words.

7. Ten hundred thousand Thousand ripples of river To the sea, water flowing, Waters flowing Below my feet to the sea,

Falling Leaf, Fallen Leaves by Jay Ruvolo 1. the window is closed early morning sun sits on the sill my feet fumble with flip-flops-I open my eyes wide fixed on the shadows of the branches of the tree on the wall opposite

5. Waves spread into wakes at my feet sucked under the sands of the surf on the beach in Montauk, Hither Hills-I step, then stumble

the window facing east

6. no moon above me in the night

2. I open the stoop door in front of the building where I live--

no night of stars in the skies 

I look down to see on the steps at my feet bottom to bottom, two cicadas mating I remember the position or so I imagine

November's crueler than April everywhere all around me decay-clouds graying more grayly grayer not raining now the clouds breaking apart

3. a seagull gliding as a kite glides, drops a crab onto the rocks of the jetty, splitting a wave

7. crickets pause as I watch the full moon shining through the window onto the bed

4. I watch pigeons surrounding a woman sitting on the park bench in the courtyard outside below my bedroom window not feeding them

8. the telephone rings in my dream I answer it nobody responds

9. heavily silence in my bedroom to night with you next to me still

14. I watch thickening gray skies See birds having found shelter-the storm coming soon-under an air-conditioner in a window in the wall perpendicular to the wall with my window

10. a squirrel scurries up an oak with an acorn never to be an oak

11. A breeze blows through the leaves Of the tree outside my bedroom window This early morning after dawn Sunlight on the window sill Mottled by the shadows of the leaves Moving in time with the leaves on the tree Raking the breeze

A floor above

15. the tree I see in me in the window glass-I leave a puddle at my feet-a breeze through the hairs of my leg

16. I find some months later, A handful of rice, The wedding of a friend I put in my suit pocket

12. a flock of wrens outside my kitchen window-cacophony spreads with the sparrows who follow one two another onto the cable box

I did throw rice at them As others threw rice at them Not understanding why We throw this polished rice That lays everywhere on the ground For someone to slip on and fall I must not have thrown It all

below the fire-escape In my pocket

13. water in the shower runs the length of my body down the drain

A friend slipped on the ice Outside a neighborhood bar And hit his head And fractured his skull And died a week later After the doctors drilled holes in his head.

17. A hole in the bricks of the wall of my building Perpendicular to the wall with the window I look out of To see the sparrows gathering on the fire escape

She added that he had said, "I once in a while ask if they are really asking an Italian Catholic, who is also Irish Catholic, that particular question because the Day of the Dead and the festival of All Hallow's Eve (the origin of Halloween) and All Saint's Day, November

Another's Shoes BY JAY RUVOLO

1st and All Soul's Day, November 2nd, have, all of them, been familiar to me since childhood."

[a flash fiction polemic] And she said he had said that these were ". . . familiar When he was an undergraduate, on all forms to fill out for the college bureaucracy, there was a choice labelled "other" when the question of race or ethnicity was

to my Irish Ancestors since the fifth Century A.D., as Catholics, and centuries before that, as Celts, in Ireland, celebrating their Ancient Festival of the Dead that

raised. He used to check this choice "other," and in the

coincided with their New Year, which coincided with

line provided would write Non-White Caucasian. There

what became our November 1st. Our October 31st was

are essays he has written explaining what he thinks on

Celtic New Year's Eve and was a time when the Here of

this; however, herein is offered only a quick look at, what might be called a scan of, what he means might have meant by Non-White Caucasian, or so you could

the Living converged with the There of the Dead." She paused thinking of what it was he had said after

assume. Let's follow her who had known him--you

what she just said he had said. She then said he had

need names now, don't you? I suspect as much

said: "Patrick Christened it, and November 1st became

concerning place--where is this? You ask. I imagine.

All Souls Day until it became All Saints Day, a day

Nothing by way of an answer will be forthcoming.

commemorating the lives of Saints and the Death of

And so she said he had said--who is she? You ask, I

recollection few I have ever known possessed. (So,

hear . . . it does not matter, could not matter, only what

Martyrs." She had an incredible memory, powers of who am I? I suspect you ask.)

he said thought imagined matters now, how he found it amusing . . . if not sometimes also annoying, when White Protestants living in New York City from somewhere outside of the city that no one from anywhere in the world not interested in agriculture, or being a rabid Trump supporter, or hunting deer,

She then aid he had said: "The following day, November 2nd became All Souls Day, and thus there were two days commemorating the Dead, the two principal days of the three days of Mexico's Day of the Dead Celebration."

alligator or students (on days when the world seems bleak) would want to visit, ask me if I know what the

To say or not to say has become her question? Another

Day of the Dead is, having themselves recently

to be or not . . . and she continued on what he said,

discovered it. In a protracted adolescence of mind, these white people assume they might be some of the

saying what she thought she recalled, sometimes apart from what she would and could recollect, recollection

earliest finders of such knowledge, exactly the kind of

and recall not being one and the same thing, just as all

thinking that lead the West to call Columbus landing on

recollection is remembering but not all remembering is

what he later called Hispaniola, a discovery.

recollection . . . yes, it was annoying when White Protestant farm boys and farm girls from Nebraska, Iowa, North Carolina or anyplace else where everyone

is, how should I say it, pasty-faced--yes! Whenever

are not just the Old Money WASPS, nor are they the old

these pasty-faced White people come to Brooklyn to

New Money WASPS trying to lace curtain themselves

gentrify black neighborhoods, and then reconstruct out

away from their cracker red-neck ancestors. And after

of their own guilt the term 'White' so that a new-found

shitting where they live and eat here in Brooklyn, they

rhetoric of outrage gets adopted by other really stupid

mostly go back to their White People lives, the fucking

White people, to include all the Caucasians the term

closet Crackers!

had never included before--yes, there are Non-White Caucasians. Let me then say that White-White People

He paused, she said. She then said he said, I am Italian

had never allowed inclusion to me or mine in any kind

and Catholic, and more intelligently so than many who

of real or imaginary America before; and so they now

also claim as I have here; so I will assume that there's

reconstruct Whiteness, principally, so they can then

nothing contemporary White Protestant Americans can

condescend to Northern, Eastern, Urban ethnic

teach me in just about anything, especially concerning

Caucasians, most often Catholics because in their

Passion and Death.; that is, as far from their traditions

Protestant uptightness, greed and prudishness, they

as too many of them are, becoming as heinously

found themselves compatible with Northern Urban

bourgeois as too many of them have, even when they

Ashkenazim, allowing the Neo-WASPS to point a finger

think they are continuing traditions, only managing to

at these Non-White Caucasians as if these non-White

make one grotesque bourgeois revision or another,

Caucasians were like their pasty-faced Protestant

themselves lost to their Folk wisdom, and Folk

Grandfathers--whether Klan members or not, or

traditions and culture, succumbing to one semi- or il-

whether among those who benefitted from Klan or not

literate notion or another, half-baked as they


persistently are, always criminal as illiteracy is in bourgeois terms; but then, as mentioned above, they

She said he did not mean Anglican when he said

want to forget their Folk and so become even more

Protestant--yes, whenever these contemporary Brooklyn

insipidly bourgeois. But then, I can't even begin to ell

White-People assholes talk to me like they are going to

you how many people share one or another of my

educate me in the ways of my own culture, it reminds

identities who are equally lost to their traditions, their

me of college students I've met over the last thirty years

culture, their Folk . . . or so I have begun to think as of

talking to me in their half baked, pseudo intellectually


managed third-hand dis-coveries of Post Structuralist or Post-post Structuralist critique, as if they were the

. . . and he said, being a man who used to walk around

first ever to think what they were parroting in one

with a copy of the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead,

American received idea after another, all or some of it,

a transcription of the Papyrus of Ani which was nearly

most assuredly usually, from some pseudo intellectual

4000 years old at the time of Christ, myself chanting

rehashing of French anti-humanism. Enough!

some of the Hymns to Amon Ra and Osiris in an invocation to the rising sun on the sands of the beaches

Yes, real White people parroting received ideas about

in Rockaway when I lived there how long ago now I

diversity while remaining truly terrified of races other

will not count, having viewed as many corpses and

than their own . . .including all the ethnic Caucasians

carried as many coffins as I have.

they manipulate the image of in order to deflect critique of white people and hopefully get them to share some of

"I really do not suspect that the pseudo intellectual,

their over-burdened WASPy guilt--and fuckin' WASPS

systematically under-educated college under graduate

today has a whole lot to offer in the ways of

[. . .]

understanding Death, or any of the ways people deal with death, as grotesque as his being has become, as

A crazy man speaks of his having discovered he was

crassly bourgeois, as insipidly Wonder Bread,

crazy in a world far madder than he, or so he wants to

hopelessly materialistic, ahistorical, contempo-centric,

think, thus believe, know in a way other than how

emotional rather than passionate . . ."

others know the things they say they know for certain, or so I imagine, of them and of him; or as I think from

Don't puzzle too much over the use of quotes and

time to time about him, remembering quite accurately

absence of them in other places.

everything this man has ever said.

She said he had said as much. The when and the where

Who is he? You ask. Who am I? I need to know when

and the to whom are not important, are they? He said:

considering this man I am, was will be might have been

And you want more, I can suspect, have suspected, do

in another time wearing another mask, the many roles I

know from experience--I cannot say that I really cannot

play in the world, in a series of contexts differing from

stand Protestants--I can't. I grew up imagining that

one another greatly, slightly, at times I discover new

Protestantism might be a disease, at least one of culture

men to be, I have never had the fear of being crazy that

. . . crackers are WASPS, red-necks are WASPS, the

so many I have known over the time and course of my

KKK are fucking WASPS irrespective of the pretenses

life--living has provided me with many courses to take,

many white Anglo-Saxon Protestants want to evoke . . ,

traveling them as I do, the morels travelled ones, you

of course, I cannot say all Protestants are uptight,

remember; has provided me with many roles play, all

pasty-faced, narrow-minded, fat mother fuckers--

the world we remember, a stage, the many stages I have

although a whole lot of them are. But there is

walked on, fretting about an hour or two or more,

something metaphysically incompatible with me and

sometimes repeat performances, we are always acting,

mine and them and theirs, something I know I have felt,

acting, acting; and yes with many transformations to

have seen obliquely, understood intellectually,

make, take, endure--we do endure our transformations,

historically, interpersonally in incidental and other than

one or another metamorphosis, yes, who can really say

incidental communication . . . mea culpa, mea culpa,

he is the same person today he was last week--and I am

mea maxima culpa. I want to say in order to say that I

not talking about Gregor Samsa transformations, you

understand I should have another understanding, the

know. Yes, no one the same today as he was last year or

ability that comes from having stood under what I need

at any moment or string of them extending for minutes,

to carry, hold up, a variation on walking in another's

hours days weeks months, whatever have we at our

shoes? I do not want to walk in any other's shoes. No

finger tips to say At that time then I was nothing like I

one wants to walk in another's shoes. It's bad for you to

am now.

walk in another's shoes, structurally. Is it only about lessons learned, or is it otherwise

Brief Encounter by Jay Ruvolo [flash fiction]

something else in the metamorphosis of the being I am--what is it about being and existence that I recall from some discussions I think I could recollect having had about the distinctions between existence and being . . , what is it about my being? Firstly and lastly I have it, no? I mean, the tree outside my window exits

but does it have being? No, right? I do--I have being. See what I mean? No? Of course, you do.

I could have considered more here, no? What else could I say about existing without being--isn't that

He said, "One does not explain all things by one thing

about what the state wants from you, from me? Why

alone, but by explaining all things by all things at

am I again posing the questions of we,excepot in the

once." yes, he did when I did as I did as he does will

ways that I am this we, right? So what is it that the new

do, he and I another wee I become. I am we as I have

State as God wants from us? Or from whomever it

said before here and elsewhere, over and over saying

might be possible to thrust this upon? Existence for

the same things again and again. Not in time extended

people--what people? For humans? That does not

can anyone explain everything needing to be explained,

amount to what being is; thus, another form of not to be

but by explaining everything needing to be explained in

comes with this existence without being. Yes, not the

pure simultaneity. Pure? What is it about anything we

suicide we imagine Hamlet thinking out loud about--

have we do we become we say think write paint

and is it interior monologue or soliloquy, his to be or

compose that is pure? There is no purity in our being so

not? They are not the same thing, you know, to be or

composed of uncertain potential as it is, what do we

not to be, being and becoming. They serve separate

actualize? No, I am asking. What do we?

functions, don't they? What has utility to do with what we are talking about here. Metaphysics; Ontology;

"Adam would have needed infinite time to name

Epistemology--I remember these from Philosophy

infinite things," he said. Paradise is heaven on earth? If

classes as an undergraduate when I thought I might

so, then it is of eternity and does not participate in the

want to be a Philosophy major.

laws of infinite space, infinite time, duration, bow do you count infinity? You cannot. Yes, infinity never

I wish I had the time to make clear to you this suffering

comes. Infinity is never reached in time or space.

of folly or madness or something else quite

Infinite time would not be enough time. No amount of

synonymous in the mind of another, not so synonymous

time would ever come closer to infinite time. One

in mine--no two words share complete or absolute

billion to the one billionth power is no closer to infinity

synonymy in every context of usage. I do not even

than one. How do we not see that infinite possibility is

imagine that they share anything other than a limited

an avalanche waiting to bury us, as I have said before

synonymy. What more will I say could only be

and again after that, before.

completed by you, the reader--and now a new rub is introduced. You don't think that it is interesting, at least

Eden was a space for eternity to exist--the walled

for incidental consideration, if not ordered inquiry?

garden where heaven on earth . . . how does Eden relate to the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem? But

[. . .]

nevertheless, yes, Paradise in this way was heaven on earth. It is only from eternity that infinity is resolved. It is only in this way that the Incarnation of the Son of God begotten not made before time and creation could be Alpha and Omega, beginning and end at once. You do have to get this, that infinity and eternity are not synonyms, never have been. It is confusion that allows this to persist in our contemporary meaning.

Past Perfect; or, The Reconciliation of Inaccuracies by Jay Ruvolo [Fiction in Slightly More than a Flash]

I remember you every day. I am remembering you now.

Obstacles are at the ready wherever we go, wherever

I remember you always; I have remembered you since

we are, however we arrive. No matter how we imagine

the day we met. Memory engaged in the act of itself for

we can avoid them, they are ever present, and not

you, I remembered you this morning. I had

within our control as to whether or not they come up

remembered you in my dreams. I am remembering you

before us . . . memories of the ocean, memories of the

fondly; I was remembering you fondly; I have been

shore, more memories of the sand of the sun of the sky,

remembering you fondly since we first . . . I will be

of the photos I took of the clouds, the horizon, the surf

remembering this for many years to come. I will have

with the waves rising, curling, turning, tumbling one

been remembering this for many years when it comes

after another in perpetuity forever and ever no mater

time for me to die. I have remembered fondly many

how the beach shifts, erodes, changes irrevocably as we

times in my life; I had remembered you many times

would see if we were to have a glimpse of things as

before we separated. I will have remembered you for

they happen millennially. Reveries now and then, of

my whole life when it comes time for me to die, I

all--how can we remember all the things that have

suspect. I would remember you even if I forgot my

happened except in some hyper-fragmented way, like

name; I would have remembered you even if I had

trying to collect confetti and piecing it together into the

forgotten my name; equally, I could and I could have; I

sheets of paper they once were. I recall of each of us,

should and I should have, however, whenever,

both of us, there, as we were, have been this time or


that, on the beach... I see her walking ahead of me. I turn to find her walking behind me. I reach out to touch

To remember is to become a member of the past again.

her as we walk side-by-side.

Once more ,this special membership of the mind. In memory---you are all about in memoriam. Living, an

I recollect mornings on the beach in Montauk waiting

old man once told me when I was a boy, is an

for sunrise . . . standing in the changing shades of the

accumulation of death and dying; and here I am on the

gloaming I cannot put precisely in words, I record on

shore at surf's edge in Montauk. 180 degrees of ocean

film, digital, video. I also take in photographs of the

horizon, from the shore looking out over the ocean to

sun over the horizon, the length of shadows it casts and

the horizon, all directions, from left to right, ocean and

the changing length of the shadows as it rises higher

sky, a line that sometimes appears as if it were

and higher, the light in the sky from gray to blue gray

wobbling, horizons in New York are foreshortened,

to an enriching blue, at least on the day I last recorded

unless you get high enough up, everyone needs to get

sunrise from the shore---what the fuck is an enriching

to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building, at least


once in a life. I do not recollect how many times I've been to the top, in the day and at night, clear skies most

What more do I say? else can I? I do not need to

preferable, of course, the horizon is not foreshortened

consider this at present . . . what present am I talking

at Land's End, as far away as the curvature of the earth

about? You might think to ask, ask in-loud . . . a present

allows us to glimpse when there are no obstacles . . .

in time, now at this moment; present in time now in my life; present as in present tense, usually, not now at this moment, but maybe now in my life, as what I usually

do I am doing now in my life, darkness everywhere

and the rising sun. The setting sun reflects off the

pervading my life . . . the shadows are shades are

windows opposite the window perpendicular to the

ghosts--ghosts, I have imagined; ghost stories I have

window that lets in the morning light. I have tried to

always liked more than horror stories with monsters. I

catch the shadows in the knotted hollows of the cliffs of

have learned others have believed in ghosts . . . all of

Shadmoor, the Hoo Doos, the natives called, the spirits

them, these shadows, these shades, this Wayang

that dwelled in the echoes, we used to pause to listen to

performance I once saw, puppet master from

the ocean echoing off the cliffs of Shadmoor coming to

Indonesia . . . all of them--are they them there . . . here

them from our room, coming back from them, times of

and there, now and then, everything falling between, all

the day different, walking there late morning, coming

reaching for me, clutching at me, scraped as I have said

back early afternoon, walking there, virtually due east,

elsewhere . . . ghosts--I have not seen a ghost in a long,

some time mid afternoon, coming back with the nearly

long time.

late afternoon summer sun in our eyes.

A skeleton hand clutching at me from behind, not the

When I was a boy walking at night, I imagined the

ghost's hand, the ghost did not have a hand I could see,

shadows clutching me jumping out at me grabbing me,

no skeleton ghost, always close behind me, behind

taking me to some unknown between, what lies

everyone, the icicles of a skeleton hand. The fear of the

between here and there, I have asked this elsewhere. I

dark is another kind of fear of the unknown . . .

watch the branches, winter bare, on my block all the

remembering is by volition or without volition,

way home alone after after-school, look to, look at,

recollecting is to remember by volition, and to recall is

watch. The London Plane trees in my old

to bring to mind, remember by volition, that is, to

neighborhood--East Flatbush--we had a lot of trees on

recollect with the intention of telling. No one recalls

our streets. Winter bare trees shaking in the wind--I

without telling, even if we recollect to tell ourselves, an

would sometimes scare myself and have to run home

attempt to fix more securely in mind so recollection can

beneath them, convinced that if I slowed, they would

be had and it will not be subject to the random side of

bend and grab me, pick me up and that would be it, I'd


be gone, I used to run out of rooms after turning out the light when I am a boy, not the same fear now, but the

We would walk to Ditch Plains and collect shells,

memories of then are fiercely vivid, and sometimes I

collect rocks, pebbles, I have a collection of wave worn

find myself hastening my step out of room after turning

stones on a window sill in our bedroom. I have them

out the light at night, recollecting with the same

arranged around the small pieces of driftwood we

intensity as the felt what I had experienced as a boy.

brought back from Montauk after our son found them and picked them up from the beach one walk how long

To remember, to recall, to recollect, to remind, how is it

ago I cannot say.

we keep track of which one to use? What then do I say about what it is I do in mind, in, with and for memory?

I have tried to sketch the shadows of the rocks on the

I now recall what the French say when they want to say

sill in the afternoon light, the window in the wall

I remember; they say, Je me souviens, or, literally, I

perpendicular to the wall with the window facing east

overcome myself, the French souvenir a compound of

over and come as in the English to overcome or to be

you when you remember, thus upsetting you, which

overcome, a different connotation, but then, to

does not always mean to make you sad or angry, but

remember is a way of overcoming one's self, to be

just some experience that takes you off of your firm

overcome with images or emotions or the echoes of

position, a pulling the rug out from under you, if you

words . . .

need another idiom to explain an idiom.

And why he imagines that he has not mis-taken the word is not beyond me. I can see why he thinks souvenir is sous venir. I just do not understand how he has not understood that he has mis-taken sous for 'over' and not 'under,' so then the compound, if it is in fact one, would be under-come, or I under-come myself? What he says about memory being a way to overcome one's self is true. The rest of it is confused. Maybe not the rest of it? He is in fact only mistaken about "over" and "under" . . . perhaps it is memory that comes under



ANOTHER'S SHOES, by Jay Ruvolo


PAST PERFECT; or, The Reconciliation of Inaccuracies, by Jay Ruvolo

THE FALLING LEAF REVIEW © 2018, Jay V. Ruvolo Publishing and Contributing Editor, Jay V. Ruvolo

ALL PHOTOGRAPHS (herein this issue)


a. . . . and this peopled world, only a world of people-however yet

b. without her here I wish she were more than I wish otherwise with her here--summer showers now falling as rain falls falling

c. summer grass brown tipped blades once bold green outside my window looking down

e. a broken fence peeled of paint chips lost in the tall grass high as the post

The falling leaf review, summer 2018  

A Literary Review

The falling leaf review, summer 2018  

A Literary Review