Series Editor - Jim Bennett

Introduction by Jim Bennett


Hello.  Welcome to the next in the series of CITN featured poets.  We will be looking at the work of a different poet in each edition and I hope it will help our readers to discover some new and exciting writing.  This series is open to all to submit and I am now keen to read new work for this series.


You can join the CITN mailing list at - http://www.poetrykit.org/pkl/index.htm and following the links for Caught in the Net.



“Are you America?” each wary sojourner asks.

Soft pillows and ample blankets nestled

in vast tiers of bunks, nightmares you help smother,

sweet dreams you set in motion;

talent shows, chess tournaments, movies,

“Are you?” 


                    from; Into the Light: Safe Haven 1944 

                    by Ruth Sabath Rosenthal





For Want of Red

One Art Too Much


Riding Past the Museum of Natural History ... 

As If Anyone Gives a Whit

Into the Light: Safe Haven 1944

Mother’s Wishbones, No Doubt,

Frank, Burger, Chop & Steak

I Ate My Mother’s Hair





RUTH  is a New York (U.S.A.) poet, well published in poetry

journals and anthologies, including: Connecticut Review, Ibbetson Street, Jabberwock,

Mobius-The Poetry Magazine, Pacific Review, Taj Mahal Review, Vallum.  Anthologies

including: primal sanities! a Tribute to Walt Whitman, Songs of Seasoned Women,

Voices Israel, Long Island Sounds, Empty Shoes.  On October 6, 2006, Ruth's poem

"on yet another birthday" was nominated for a Pushcart prize in 2006 by Ibbetson Street

For more about Ruth "Google" her, and also visit the following websites:









For Want of Red

                              after Kim Addonizio’s, “What Do Women Want?”


I see men wanting a red-clad woman:

see-through-cheap red, backless

& sleeveless, breast-tight, cheek-taut.


Behind their ogling, no thoughts barred.

What ecstasy, peeling her ruby-ripe layers,

her glistening core color revealed. O!


to see the body in red slink past

“All You Can Eat” to “The Pink Pussy

Cat” down the street; to nosedive into hard-


core fantasy, rock & roll in it. Hey,

in the thick of it all, they appear master-

fully cool — cucumbers that’ll escape


getting caught red-handed eyeballing

the eye-catcher. In the dogged pursuit

of red, each voyeur cocksure of coming


home fulfilled, no shred of red

showing — my old man, a looker

from way back, home to me, his post-


menopausal wife whose red faded

dress grows threadbare, eyes bloodshot

bawling over this most wearing state of affairs.


I look to my husband to redress despair,

hold me, at the very least, notice me.

He looks my way, turns away.


One Art Too Much


Mastering the art of love, no easy matter.

My brush strokes naturally take wrong

turns winding me up in one sticky corner


after another:  First, with Eddie X.  His dolor

tainted my paintings beyond salvage.  I moved on,

the art of loving him too gray a matter.


Next, Jerry Y. — worst piece of work I’d ever

endeavored, but for our daughter & son,

whom he sent running to my corner


shortly after Alfred Z. inspired me more

than painting ever had.  I penned a song

in AZ’s honor: “Loving You, All That Matters.”


No hit with his family, I hit canvas with color

piled thick, painted harder, faster over objection.

Disaster!  In the mother of all dark corners


of the “Thick-As-Thieves” gallery, right near

the exit sign, an unsigned portrait of me hung,

next to it, the yellow “Post-it” reads “You Don’t Matter!”


My likeness (Write it!) like a deer in the brush, cornered.







A longing for heart quiet,

end of further fall

into winter — short days of sun

forwarding to spring’s

longer days, circling back

in the sameness of time —


heart-and mind-numbing time

with no respite. A longing to quiet  

thoughts playing back

battle after battle, the failing

to even half-fill life’s wellspring.

And in my darkest season


of discontent, convinced the sun

will no longer shine in this lifetime;

feeling that sting

as from a bee disquieting

green slumber, swelling to a fault

every damned day, slamming me back.


Season upon season, holding me back,

chilling me with doubt that the sun

will come to warm body and soul without fail

and, invariably, given time,

better times will rise each dawn quietly

advancing into spring.


Fast forward, past spring

to summer, autumn, back

to winter, and round again, disquiet

ever more glaring under the sun.

Then, out of the blue, a glance, nod, time

stopped. My heart races falling


in love, doubt conquered . No fooling!

Empty seasons done for, Spring

burgeons and flowers time —

a new lifetime. No looking back.

Moved past risk and reasons,

my heart basks. Quiet


as snowfall, springtime-sprouting,

sun-bursting-through-cloud quiet,

a kiss blown, then blown back.    






Riding Past the Museum

of Natural History

and Seeing the Steps  


I first took toward infidelity,

how far I descended. 


My lover is history, has been

for some thirty-odd years, yet


I still remember the nervous

excitement.  How unashamed


and unnaturally good

I felt.  How beyond stupid


thinking I’d scale that high

unscathed, so sure I was just


stepping into my husband’s footprints

made long before I ever thought


of venturing to make hurt go

by going the ways of wayward


flesh — before I knew what I know

now: the crawl space one could reach


by carving out a niche in a marriage

preserved for the children’s sake.







As If Anyone Gives a Whit

                                                     "…I'll find your wits again.

                                               Come, for I saw them roll

                                               To where old badger mumbles

                                               In the black hole."


                                                            W. B. Yeats “Who Stole Your Wits Away”


I ask you, where is my body of wit,

For I, a writer of doggerel, so wish

To gain feasting on Yeats’

Poetic delights?  Oh, that those treats

Would yield me a brilliance, even if pale

Next to the man’s clearly stellar feats!


Though I wolf down the richness, still,

Line, by waste-line, I grow less

And less status.  Where is the genius

In that?  Honor?  Medals?  Believe me,

I’ve long considered silver sterling, truly


Would never so much as bold a wish for gold,

But bestowed either, my head would spin,

Left hand crank out poem after poem

From my lexical well, then I’d well hold

My own among poets, young or old,

Literally grown phat on W.B.’s great wit.





Into the Light: Safe Haven 1944


 "And you that shall cross from shore to shore

  years hence are more to me,

  and more in my meditations, than you might suppose."


                                                                               Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry


Thank God for you, Henry Gibbins,

ship of dreams laden with bedraggled brethren

dark and fair, tall and short,

frail-boned and gaunt, each and every one a survivor

reborn in the wake of conscience.

Blessed, their leader, Ruth Gruber,

praised, her leader, Franklin D. Roosevelt;

and you, Captain Korn, your kind face and outstretched arms,

your smiling crew, their helpful hands,

your great vessel's stalwart bulk, hallowed halls, glistening

white toilets, your sky-crowned decks

surrounded by sea-speckled rail—a far cry

from barbed wire.

Divine are you, clean fresh air that fills sunken chests,

lungs ashen from the fires of Auschwitz-Birkenau,

Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau, Treblinka.

And you, buoyant sea, revered for strong currents, changing

tides, gulls that glide the breeze and assuage wounded spirit;

and you, dining halls bejeweled with vegetables,

cornucopia of meats, kaleidoscope of sweets that swell

shrunken bellies, smooth withered souls—

“Are you America?” each wary sojourner asks.

Soft pillows and ample blankets nestled

in vast tiers of bunks, nightmares you help smother,

sweet dreams you set in motion;

talent shows, chess tournaments, movies,

“Are you?” 

Oh, most wondrous throng—my ancestry—

it is you who are America, my America!






Mother’s Wishbones, No Doubt,


all furculae with not a frag-

ment of dried-up flesh


or sinew to despoil their luster,

the slew of them ranging in size


from Cornish hen to turkey. Funny,

I never noticed her extricate


one, strip it clean, secrete it

somewhere long-forgotten. I


took possession of those bones,

pried loose some of my own


(from birds broiled, barbequed,

fried), primed each, applied Gold


Leaf. Made more of them

than she could’ve conceived —


the gilt, over the generations

of bones brittling whole, striking


beneath the wait of wishes.





Frank, Burger, Chop & Steak



Careful now, food foolery could keep us

from catching good Z’s, shock the likes


of Bo Peep, make countless sheep flock

to play beat the clock.  Poppycock?


Fairy tale, you say?  No way, for I’ve heard tell

of a spook-man in the moon who sees that cows fall


to raging disease: whole herds, at first fattened

with, then stricken by foul feed we make


of sickened animals’ departed kin.

If you don’t buy that livestock, postmortem, retaliate


posthaste with a slew of deadly steaks, burgers

& chops, then frankly, you’re off your rocker!







I Ate My Mother’s Hair


standing behind her, as she sat

on a stool in the shower stall


of her nursing home bathroom,

tile floor catching silver snippets

I cut from her statue-still head.


What could I do with the comb

when I had to wield scissors

with one hand, clasp her locks


with the other, Mother’s tangled

brain not letting her grasp that

she could ease my task, she could


turn her head when asked, hold the comb

and look in the mirror when I finished,

see what a fine job I did?  Every month


for seven years, I stood at the sink

in that bathroom rinsing her traces

out of my mouth, the sadness.





 4 - Publishing History;



Previously published in:  anthologies:  Songs of Seasoned Women, 2008, Quadrasoul Press

                                         poetry journal:  Ibbetson Street                     


As If Anyone Gives a Whit                                    

Previously published in:  anthologies: 

primal sanities—a Tribute to Walt Whitman, 2007, Allbook Books; Voices Israel 2008;

Empty Shoes, 2009, Popcorn Press;

Mizmor L'David Anthology: Volume I – Holocaust, 2010, Poetica Magazine Press;

poetry Journals: Mungbeing; Poetica Magazine


Into the Light: Safe Haven 1944

Previously Published in:  Vallum Contemporary Poetry- Luck issue 2010


Mother’s Wishbones, No Doubt,

Previously published in:  Birmingham Review; Creations Magzine;

                                        (titled: What Goes Around Comes Around);

                                        Cyclamens & Swords


Frank, Burger, Chop & Steak

Previously published in:  anthologies:  Songs of Seasoned Women, 2008, Quadrasoul Press

                                                              Pain and Menory 2009, Editions Bibliotekos Inc.

                                  Poetry Journals:  Ibbetson Street; Sarasvati; Taj Mahal Review;

                                                              Cyclamens & Swords; Message in a Bottle;

                                                              92nd Street Y Podium on-line journal


5 - Afterword

Email Poetry Kit - info@poetrykit.org    - if you would like to tell us what you think.  We are looking for other poets to feature in this series, and are open to submissions.  Please send one poem and a short bio to - info@poetrykit.org

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