Sunday, May 3, 2020

Exit 13 Magazine

Exit 13 Magazine is well-established, internationally recognized, and annual poetry journal founded by poet and newspaper reporter Tom Plante thirty-two years ago in 1988. Based in Fanwood, New Jersey, the journal began as a “homespun magazine patched together on Plante’s kitchen table.” 




A geography major (UC Berkley), Tom’s vision for the journal has been to create a travelogue in poetry, a reflection of the world we see and a chronicle of the people and places we encounter on our individual journeys. Exit 13 focuses on contemporary poetry that celebrates exploration, discovery and testament—all with a geographic slant.


With an eye toward creating community and bringing people together during this time of distancing, Tom is generously offering a special gift to anyone interested. Right now, the recently published 2020 issue of Exit 13 Magazine (#25) will be mailed free of charge (while supplies last—after that a recent back issue will be sent). That's right: both the magazine and mailing costs will be Tom's gift to you! 


To receive your free copy, please mail a note to Tom at Exit 13 Magazine, PO Box 423, Fanwood, New Jersey 07023 USA and include your proper mailing address with your request. Tom notes, “If you have other issues of Exit 13 Magazine, please tell me which one(s) you have and I won't mail a duplicate.”



Samples from Issue #25


Asbury Park in Winter

By Edwin Romond


We would return in winter

sometimes on 20-degree February Sundays,

the beach a frozen emptiness,

the ocean roaring alone without

lifeguard whistles and squeals of swimmers.


We would return in winter

to watch Disney films in lavish

movie palaces with sky high balconies,

ankle deep carpeting, ushers in velvet blazers

and cinemascope screens as wide as the sea.


We would return in winter

in thick hooded coats and scarves, the wind

a razor across our faces as we walked the boards

to the warmth of the Criterion where we dines

behind windows steaming against salty ice air.


We would return in winter

to shiver in front of locked food stands and rides

their signs announcing See You Next Summer!

a promise that good ties come back

like heat from an August sunrise.



The Imbros Gorge

By Nancy Lubarsky


As I approach the rocky path, Crete’s

Imbros Gorge greets me. The cliff walls

rise up. The trail is wide, uneven, slippery.


I need to step carefully. Gradually, the gorge

tightens her embrace. The path narrows, I

am mindful of distractions: dead end paths,


the shadows, uneven terrain. Just ahead, the

poisonous snake dragon flower (long, red, dagger-like).

A warning? Stone arches ascend above, as I


squeeze through tighter passageways. A lost

goat grazes, a donkey (tied to a post), just there

for emergencies. No water flows through the


riverbed. Once voices filled the gorge, as she

guided thousands of troops (Aussies, Kiwis,

Brits), allies against Hitler, who escaped


to Egypt. Only half made it to ships. But,

on this day, I am alone. The trail levels

off, then widens again into the sunlight.



Christmas Eve at the Lagan Palace

By Tom Plante


We knew that Little O’s Pizzeria

was open, as was the Lagan Palace—

a Chinese take-away

on the Lower Ormeau road.

No, we didn’t eat at either.


Instead we chose to walk

along the River Lagan before

early Midnight Mass

at a largely Polish Parish

in South Belfast.


The setting sun wrapped

clouds with pink ribbons,

and stop lights at the bridge

twinkled like tinsel

on Christmas Day.


Back at the house after Mass

we called in an order

to the Palace and waited

fifteen minutes to collect

our rice, cashews and chicken.


It was just us and the kids

taking a break from our jobs,

sharing the gift of our time

and stories by the fire,

reaching for another log.



A Dream of Oisín
By Adele Kenny

In Irish legend, after living three hundred years of eternal youth in Tír Na nÓg (teer-na-nogue) with the beautiful Niamh (neeve), Oisín (ush-een) longed to see Ireland again. Niamh allowed him a brief visit with one condition: if his feet touched the ground he would lose her forever and would instantly grow old. In Ireland, Oisín came across some old men who were struggling to move a huge rock. He leaned down from his horse to help them but lost his balance and fell. The moment he touched Irish soil, he immediately aged three hundred years.

How strange that tonight I dream of Oisín—tonight,
when the moon is nearly full and the autumn wind is
white in the trees. He could have lived forever,
eternally young and in love, but he longed for Ireland,

that other geography (earthly shadow, earthly light).
He knew the terms but didn’t expect to find his
people gone, the family castle fallen into itself as if
the world’s unslayable dragons had taken them all.

Above him, the Irish sky, wind-heeled and high, had
no edge and no end. Deep in the grief of so much
change, he didn’t plan for the bridle’s sudden slip,
the rapid descent into age. He had lived outside of

time and knew great love, but there is never love
without loss, and even paradise was not enough—
the terms too much to trade for the door that opens
inward—what matters most—not love but home.

Burying Jokes in the Deposition
By Bob Rosenbloom

                        —Tums spelled backwards is Smut

I tell the stenographers I want my jokes kept
in the transcript. What if the transcript ends up
on appeal? Before lawyer, I was a comedian.  
One day I said I’m going to take the LSAT. I thought
I’d give the legal profession a shot after philosophy
and creative writing, my majors, didn’t pan out
and before I ended up in the post office. As a comedian,
my show stopper was a fashion show where
I dressed up plastic bottles with material from local stores,
places like Rag Shop and Fabricland: an outfit for Janitor in the Drum
(Janitor in a Jumpsuit made from denim), a floor length banana
yellow evening gown for a half gallon very red bottle of Wisk,
pinstripe suits for Vito and Michael Corleone, using two half-gallon
bottles of Clorox, and a bottle of Dawn in ribbed t-shirt material
marked up by red Sharpie polka dots for all the bullets James Caan ate
at the Long Beach tollbooths. My gullible mother seriously thought
this might work out for me. Her neighbor, Sally Schwartz,
thought I was a little nuts. Nevertheless, I took my show
to the Gil Hodges bowling alley on talent night in the heart of Canarsie—
and the audience  howled. The emcee said he thought I was very creative
but rough around the edges. He had one hit song in 1929 and that’s
what he ended up doing, that and family medicine.

As for the depositions, there were standard questions:
When your car began to skid, what was your speed?
What was the distance between your car and
the back of my client’s Corolla when the skid started?
I was more interested in the jokes and didn’t mind
if some were left buried somewhere in the transcript,
something for the next reader, possibly an appellate judge.
Did you grow up in a poor neighborhood like me?
In the summer, I slept outside on the fire escape.
That wasn’t so bad. What was really bad was that
the guy above me was a bed wetter. Sometimes, he
came home drunk and threw up.* My sister had
quite a reputation in high school for being a tramp.
She was so loose, she used a Frisbee for a diaphragm.**
These vegetarians, what’s their beef?***
I’m 70. What can the ethics panel do to me now?

   *Sent to Rodney Dangerfield, not bought
 **Sold to Joan Rivers for $10
***I’ve heard worse.




Submissions to Exit 13 are welcome!


For submission guidelines, click here. 




Watch a slideshow of the Exit 13 Magazine 25th anniversary celebration 

at the Kuran Arts Center (Carriage House) in Fanwood, NJ.

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