Saturday, April 18, 2015

ALEPPO DIARY: THE NEW NORMAL

by Mary Jo Balistreri






What follows is a found poem based on “Aleppo Diary: The Carnage From Syrian Barrel Bombs" by Dr. Samer Attar in The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2015

A nine-year old boy a barrel bomb obliterated hand

cylinders packed with explosives/shrapnel dropped by helicopters
Can you sew it back on

Bombs can’t be aimed hospitals pancaked blood smeared floors
slaughter of innocents 12 million in need half of them children
I couldn’t promise

Hundreds dying one weekend alone pulverized bodies crushed skulls
aid alone can’t offset systemic sustained slaughter
Stop barrel bombs the doctors say

Stop barrel bombs the doctors say
a nine-year-old asks Can you sew it back on
the U.N. asks, What more can we do

Steps you can take the doctors say
enforce no fly zones buffer zones too medical neutrality would be a help
more access to camps of refugees but mostly stop the barrel bombs

A nine-year old boy hand blown off you’ll be all right the doctor says
but deep inside the doctor knows the helicopters keep dropping
barrel bombs keep exploding


Mary Jo Balistreri has two full books of poetry, Joy in the Morning and gathering the harvest published by Bellowing Ark Press, and a chapbook, Best Brothers, published by Tiger's Eye Press. She has recent work in Parabola, The Hurricane Press, Plainsongs, The Avocet: Journal of Nature Poetry, Crab Creek Review, Quill and Parchment, Ruminate, The Homestead Review, The Heron's Nest, Acorn, and A Hundred Gourds. She has six Pushcart nominations, and two Best of the Net. She is associate editor of Tiger’s Eye Press. Mary Jo is also one of the founders of Grace River Poets, an outreach for women's shelters, churches, and schools. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

ASSESSMENT 1

by Robert C. Hamilton



Walter Scott in memoriam


Choose the analogy that best fits the example provided. All answers may ultimately prove to be tentative and/or unsatisfying.

1). traffic : stop ::
a). black : white
b). feel : cop
c). fight : flight
d). floor : mop
2). phone : scene ::
a). proscenium : stage
b). atonement : hate
c). lens : insect
d). Woodward : Watergate 
 3). white : black ::
a). parasite : host
b). heart : attack
c). vampire : ghost
d). pistol : crack 
4). Walter : Scott
a). Rob Roy : Rowena
b). running : breath
c). lion : hyena
d). pigment : death

Robert C. Hamilton's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the Blue Bonnet Review, The Curator, and the Eunoia Review. His work was twice selected to receive a Poetry in the Arts, Inc. award, at the Beall Poetry Festivals of 2011 (judged by John Koethe) and 2013 (judged by A.E. Stallings). He teaches English at a small college in Texas, where he is also the faculty advisor to the student literary magazine.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

WHHUU

by Paula Schulz



Rodney Todd cared for his seven children, running their Princess Anne household, preparing meals and then working in dining services at a nearby college. For his five daughters, "he did their hair," said Lloyd Edwards, Todd's stepfather. All of them — Todd, 36, and his children ages 6 to 15 — were found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in their modest, one-story, yellow-siding home on Antioch Avenue on Monday. Police said Tuesday that they died in bed and a power generator with an empty gas tank was found inside the house. "It appears as though they were sleeping," Princess Anne police Chief Scott Keller said. "Probably it was bedtime and they decided they needed some light and probably some heat. ... Even though it was spring we were having some pretty chilly nights." Edwards said Todd had a generator because the electricity had been shut off at the home. —Jessica Anderson, Colin Campbell and Catherine Rentz, The Baltimore Sun, April 7, 2015



When the winter is long and you are cold,
when the calendar says “spring” but the air
won’t keep heat, when even your bones feel old
and you haven’t enough blankets or clothes to layer--

your father’s face is pain.  He must find a way
to beat back chill misery that has crept
into you, the furniture, the walls  . . .  may-
be a generator.  So while eight sleep

(seven children and their father at last
blessed by a late-August harvest-heat)
the terrible machine eats away their last
oxygen.      I see you now as husks of wheat,

golden, rising against a summer sky,
twin to the sun that sparks you alive:
windmill, water wheel, tilt-a-whirl glide.
Carousel, Ferris wheel, carnival-ride-

happy.  Electric slide, boogaloo moving

and endless, in a burnished moment
warm as human breath.


Author’s note: whhuu - onomatopoeic for last breath  Unvoiced, as in blowing out a candle but without force.


Paula Schulz is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, a recent Pushcart nominee and an educator.  She is hopeful, blue.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

THESE DAYS

by Gil Hoy



Robert Bates, a white reserve deputy in Tulsa County, Oklahoma, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Eric Harris, who was unarmed and pinned down by multiple police officers, during an April 2 sting operation, Tulsa World reported. Bates, a 73-year-old reserve deputy, yelled that he was going to use his Taser, before he fired a single shot from his actual gun. Immediately after firing, Bates shouted, "I shot him! I'm sorry." Harris then exclaimed, "He shot me. He shot me. Oh my god. I'm losing my breath." Police officers responded, "You shouldn't have fucking ran!" and "Fuck your breath!" Bates isn't an active member of the police force, Tulsa World's Dylan Goforth reported. He's an insurance executive who volunteers during his free time as a reserve deputy, which is made up of about 130 people total. Many of the people in the reserve, including Bates, also donate equipment to the sheriff's office, including guns, stun guns, vehicles, and even the sunglasses cameras that recorded the shooting.  —Vox.com


These Days

  You need not
  necessarily be

a Real police officer

   to be One.

Millionaire
Insurance Company
Executives
Can pay to

Ride around Playing cop
in Tulsa Oklahoma

 and in lots of other Cities,

   with Guns
   and Tasers too!

And if you happen to have

the understandable misfortune
 
    to reach for the wrong weapon,
Due To your lack of training,

And you grab the Gun
(which you thought was
a Taser)

and Shoot and Kill
   another
Unarmed Black man,

Maybe you can beat the rap

So long as you mind your manners
are courteous
and say:

  Oh, I shot him. I'm sorry.

But it likely
will not help your case

if a Real Deputy
on the scene

says to the Bleeding
     Dying Man

You fucking ran. Shut the fuck up.


Gil Hoy is a regular contributor to The New Verse News.  He is a Boston trial lawyer and studied poetry at Boston University, majoring in philosophy. Gil started writing his own poetry and fiction a year ago.  Since then, his poems and fiction have been published in multiple journals, most recently in Third Wednesday, Stepping Stones Magazine, The Potomac and The Zodiac Review.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

GAZAPPED

by Charles Frederickson




Unemployed Gaza youth unruly majority
Disheartened break out Manifesto declared
Challenging miserable conditions faced everyday
Mental incarceration suffering post-traumatic stress

Fuck Hamas fuck Israel fuck
Fatah fuck UN fuck USA
Dissatisfaction desperation frustration aggression depression
Mission Impossible leading normal lives

Sick of imposed shitty existence
Being jailed for inexcusable offenses
Mentally emotionally tortured by Hamas
Totally ignored by indifferent cowards

We want to scream breaking
Shameful wall of unjust apathy
Shedding sleepless nightmares outraged tears
Overhead F16’s breaking sound barriers

We cannot say what we
Want do what needs doing
Nowhere to run hide escape
Move No shunned hope options

We don’t want to hate
Fear being heavy-hearted victims anymore
We desperately want freedom is
Peace too much to ask


No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson and Mr. Saknarin Chinayote proudly present YouTube mini-movies @ YouTube – CharlesThai1 

Monday, April 13, 2015

APPETITE AND GLUTTONY

by Howard Winn



The Colorado River has been dammed and diverted so many times that it no longer flows regularly into the Gulf of California, leaving its once-fertile Delta on life support. Despite its current state, the Delta can be restored. Photo credit: Blue Legacy Source: Environmental Defense Fund

Wars over California’s limited water supply have been going on for at least a century. Water wars have been the subject of some vintage movies, including the 1958 hit The Big Country starring Gregory Peck, Clint Eastwood’s 1985 Pale Rider, 1995’s Waterworld with Kevin Costner, and the 2005 film Batman Begins. Most acclaimed was the 1975 Academy Award winner Chinatown with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, involving a plot between a corrupt Los Angeles politician and land speculators to fabricate the 1937 drought in order to force farmers to sell their land at low prices. The plot was rooted in historical fact, reflecting battles between Owens Valley farmers and Los Angeles urbanites over water rights. Today the water wars continue on a larger scale with new players. It’s no longer just the farmers against the ranchers or the urbanites. It’s the people against the new “water barons”  – Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Monsanto, the Bush family, and their ilk – who are buying up water all over the world at an unprecedented pace. — Ellen Brown, Sky Valley (WA) Chronicle, April 9, 2015


They are using up the Colorado River
so that hardly anything reaches the sea.
Thirsty fruits and vegetables suck up
the liquid more valuable than oil,
so much so that a fossil fuel billionaire
is buying up water companies to make
the financial killing he feels is coming.
Wind farms, solar panels, tidal generators,
hydro-electric and atomic energy,
all can create that vital commercial power,
but water escapes into the fruits
and vegetable destined for super markets
and the stomachs of millions of the hungry
or the seriously overweight.
Oil and gas is so out of date, not to mention coal,
and the oil baron will sit in his Fort Worth castle
or Upper East Side condo in New York City
and send his billions based on water
to off-shore tax havens surrounded by the sea.


Howard Winn's poetry and fiction has been published recently in Dalhousie Review, Galway Review, Taj Mahal Review, Descant (Canada), Antigonish Review, Southern Humanities Review, Chaffin Review, Evansville Review, and Blueline. He has a B. A. from Vassar College and an M. A. from the Stanford University Writing Program.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

FAIRDALE

by Joan Colby



FAIRDALE, Ill. — At least two tornadoes unleashed incredible destruction through north central Illinois. Two people are dead, and several others are injured. Some people are also unaccounted for. Photo: A lone horse is staying close to what used to be his barn. Owners aren't being allowed back yet. —Sean Lewis @seanlewiswgn via WGNNews, April 10, 2015


The bloodied horse walks in small circles
Where the barn stood with the stall.
Straw, timothy, sweet feed
A bucket of spring water.

From the chopper, he’s observed
In a slow practiced rehearsal
Like a monk at his devotions,
Head bobbing, lame in the forehoof,
Miserably alive.

All that’s left of structure:
Splinters. The body of the mare,
His companion, thrown
Into a nearby field with the
Defeathered chickens. At dusk

The twister plowed a fifty mile
Path like a rogue
Tractor. Huge dark wedge
Of rotating force. Shingles
From the barn’s roof plant a pasture
Thirty miles away. This horse, bewildered
Knows only to stay
In the place that he knows.

All those whose homes are smashed
Pick through the ruins
For the one surviving thing—a photograph,
Quilt, child’s toy—that confirms
The lives they had. The horse
Keeps walking.


Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers and How the Sky Begins to Fall (Spoon River Press), The Atrocity Book (Lynx House Press) and Dead Horses and Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press. Selected Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize.  Properties of Matter was published in spring of 2014 by Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books). Two chapbooks are forthcoming in 2014: Bittersweet (Main Street Rag Press) and Ah Clio (Kattywompus Press). Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press

Saturday, April 11, 2015

ALTERNATIVE FUNDING

by David Subacchi



Many students are secretly turning to sex work to fund basic living costs while at university, a study has found. Research by Swansea University shows one in 20 students has worked in the sex industry while studying for a degree, and men are more likely to do so than women. Students are involved in everything from prostitution and escorting to stripping and internet work, the Student Sex Work Project report found. —The Guardian, March 27, 2015; Photo source: Metro.



Education is not an optional extra
So if you can’t afford the fees
You’re under an obligation
To explore alternative funding

Why pay expensive rent
For conventional accommodation
When you could live quietly
In a van parked on campus

This may interfere with social life
And there would be trouble if discovered
But you would have more time to study
So a calculated risk is worth taking

Like working in the sex industry
To provide essential income
This could finance the purchase
Of text books and extra tuition

It may enrage the family
And lose you many friends
But respectability is a luxury
When means don’t match the ends

Then there is the more direct approach
Towards separated parents
Who look too solvent on paper
Suggest a quick divorce

In order to enable state aid
Also there’s crowdfunding
A kind of on line begging
That everybody’s doing

Lastly don’t forget you can always
Take out even more loans
With no intention of paying
In a learning process we call defaulting.


David Subacchi is a 59 year old former senior civil servant living in North Wales. He is of Italian origin and also writes in Welsh. He studied at the University of Liverpool and Cestrian Press has published two collections of his English poetry First Cut (2012) and Hiding in Shadows (2014).

Friday, April 10, 2015

EXHIBIT A

by Buff Whitman-Bradley



for Walter Scott, murdered April 4, 2015 by Officer Michael Slager

See the police officer fire eight rounds
Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!
Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!
Watch Walter Scott crumple to the earth
See the officer saunter toward the lifeless
Fifty-year-old father of four
With the utmost nonchalance
No evidence of concern or alarm
About the murder he has just committed
Just a little stroll in the park
Just another day at work
Oh look! A body on the ground
Are you alive Mr. Black Body?
Just in case I will handcuff you Mr. Dangerous Black Body
Here is a fellow officer
I will explain to him how you overpowered me
How you wrestled my stun gun away from me
And made me afraid for my life
Where is that stun gun?
Ah yes back there where I fired from
I will bring it here
To place beside you Mr. Black Body
It will be exhibit A


Buff Whitman-Bradley is the author of four books of poetry, b. eagle, poet; The Honey Philosophies; Realpolitik; and When Compasses Grow Old; and the chapbook, Everything Wakes Up! His poetry has appeared in many print and online journals. He is also co-editor, with Cynthia Whitman-Bradley and Sarah Lazare, of the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War.  He has co-produced/directed two documentary films, the award-winning Outside In (with Cynthia Whitman-Bradley) and Por Que Venimos (with the MIRC Film Collective).  He lives in northern California.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

HERE COMES SUSY

by Marilyn Peretti



Large Hadron Collider Gears Up to Go Beyond Boundaries of Human Understanding —Newsweek headline, April 7, 2015



Have you been looking for your gluino
to glue your quarks together,
or have you hoped for a tiny photino
for your particle of light, the photon?

Or if you’re shopping for a squark
to partner with your darling quark—
building blocks of your lovely atoms’
minute protons and neutrons—

you’ve come to the right place,
to the monster Large Hadron Collider
which will be spinning even faster,
having taken two short years of rest after

rushing in circles to collide particles,
smashing out brand new ones—
as predicted by Mr. Higgs—
decaying into little fermions,

particles of matter, and the bosons
which convey a lotta force.
Ah, we’re getting closer to dark matter.
But does it matter? Do we really need

to understand what binds the galaxies
together in the skies?
Just as we found antimatter,
next comes supersymmetric matter.

Now, doubling its collision energy
supersymmetry, or Susy, will fill in gaps,
showing each particle to have
much more massive partners:

the photon’s photino,
the quark’s squark,
the gluon’s gluino,
and dark matter’s neutralino.

Until then, I think I’ll take a nap.


Marilyn Peretti writes with Chicago’s west suburban poets. She has published Let Wings Take You, To Remember-To Hope, Lichen-Poems of Nature and Angel’s Wings. Her poems have been published in Talking River, Fox Cry Review, Christian Science Monitor, Journal of Modern Poetry, California Quarterly, PoetrySky, Kyoto Journal and others. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Poetry Prize.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

HOMAGE TO A KENYAN FOUND DEAD IN HER DORM ROOM

by Ken Craft






Like an anchorite
against hard floor,
she seems to have fallen
into the broken sleep of
war.

Her body’s zigged – black
“w” demanding why –
like Cassiopeia setting
in bullet-constellated
sky.


Ken Craft is a writer living in New England. His work has appeared in numerous literary journals.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

ALABAMA JUSTICE

by Wilda Morris


Anthony Ray Hinton free after nearly 30 years on Alabama Death Row —AL.com


     For Anthony Ray Hinton
“the ball of free will dropped from my hand”
~ Ishmael, in Moby Dick by Herman Melville


black male, poor
innocent, as if that matters
when the DA wants a crime solved quickly

call him a suspect
find his mother’s gun
from which the bullets were not fired
stuff him in a cell

don’t worry if his lawyer
is inadequate
don’t worry if his expert witness
is so inexpert he can hardly see
through the forensic microscope
has little experience in ballistics
is so lamentable the jury
laughs at him

ask for the death penalty
send him off to prison
to live in solitary on death row

without his family
without his friends
without his free will

fight all the way to the Supreme Court
to keep him there

until after his mother is dead
after his youth is gone
after he has almost forgotten
the feel of a loving touch
after decades of not making
significant decisions

when the court bounces
the ball of free will back to his hands
after thirty years


Wilda Morris, a past president of Illinois State Poetry Society, is workshop chair of Poets & Patrons of Chicago. She has won awards for free verse and formal poetry and haiku. She leads poetry workshops for children and for adults and has been widely published. She is retired from a career of teaching graduate student and coordinating a not-for-profit peace and justice organization. Her blog provides monthly contests for poets.

Monday, April 06, 2015

A HELL OF OUR OWN

by George Salamon



AMMAN, Jordan — Islamic State militants have seized most of a sprawling Palestinian refugee district in the southern part of the Syrian capital, Damascus, an area that has been under siege and bombardment for nearly two years already, according to Palestinian and United Nations officials and residents. The officials called for quick action by international organizations, the Syrian government and all armed groups to head off an unfolding catastrophe. Reports of killings and even beheadings were beginning to circulate on Saturday, worsening what is already a longstanding humanitarian nightmare for the 18,000 residents of the Yarmouk refugee camp. —NY Times, April 4, 2015; Photo: Residents of the besieged Palestinian camp of Yarmouk line up for supplies in 2014. Most of the camp has been seized by ISIS, who are fighting a Palestinian group inside the camp. (UNRWA/Associated Press)
                                                           

What is their hell, the eternity we've made their own?
Hunger, fear, murder and death,
the destruction of the spirit.
It is the human will
creates their hell, where human cruelty
burns brightly.

For millions life on earth is
an eternal accident, smoke and mist,
misfortune and despair.
A place where every hope must vanish
and darkness must fall.

Poetry, we are told, is meant to see
the truth of what is, not seek
what is the truth.
It is not honey
for the poet's tongue.


George Salamon taught German at several colleges, served as staff reporter on  the St. Louis Business Journal and Sr. Editor for Defense Systems Review. He contributes regularly to the Gateway Journalism Review, Jewish Currents and The New Verse News.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

SING A SONG O' MIKE PENCE, A CHILDISH SONG AND DANCE

by D. Brian Craig




Song:
Sing a song of Mike Pence
he claims it's our mistake
to read into this Hoosier law
more than wedding cake.


Dance:
But Governor, yes or no,
will the law allow discrimination?
Could you make this about something else?
May I ask you seven more times?


Origins, Meaning, and Interpretation:
Some infer in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night
a prognostication wherein Belch (no accident that) 
tells a clown (nor in that):
"Come on; there is Mike Pence for you: let's have a song."
Some, however, find the name a corruption, or at the very least
too great a price to pay. On this not all folios agree.

Other scholars find parallels in the 21st-century social amusement 
of placing live politicians on a hot plate, 
as a form of entremet (something to be enjoyed between 
servings of cute animal videos).
The recipe most often called for birds
of a uniform feather to be locked in an oven,
or statehouse, from which they would, after a time,
poke their heads out half-baked;
an uproar would ensue, after which they would be returned,
only to emerge finally
singing a different tune
to the great amusement and delight of the electorate.

No corroborative evidence supports either of the above,
though the earliest tradition, in one stanza,
clearly mentions Naughty Boys
from whom little is heard of afterward.


D. Brian Craig is a scientist, engineer, and writer, though not always in that order, nor separately. His writing has appeared most recently in The Pitkin Review and FEBS Letters.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

THE GREEN CITY

by m.nicole.r.wildhood



Shell Arctic Drilling Fleet OK'd To Use 'Green' West Seattle Port. —KUOW.org, January 14, 2015



Boxes clickclack like LEGOS
escorted by confident cranes over
fragile veins to keep the whole world
up and racing.

The city, from their point of view
a sidebar, has enough year-round jade
for mercantile satiation
if only it were capital

and not growing things.
Traditionally, the city has guarded
all its life – it would rather
articulated bus jackknife all over the highway

than salt the roads during a snow
because of the tainted runoff
into the salmons’ stream.
This city that cares so much for its fish

is the same city that is making room
for an armada of royal oil drillers
to station among the blocks and birds.

Every green movement
can be whitewashed;
every commitment to fish
can be watered down.


m.nicole.r.wildhood is a Colorado native who has been living in Seattle – and missing the sun – since 2006.  She has been a saxophone player and registered scuba diver for over half her life.  In addition to blogging at http://megan.thewildhoods.com, she writes poetry, fiction and short nonfiction, which have appeared in The Sun, Lodestone and Ballard: A Journal of Street Poetry, ditchpoetry.com and CafĂ© Aphra.  She and her husband, who is gifted both as a structural engineer and as an artist, often collaborate on poetry/painting pieces.  She seeks to be an advocate for those experiencing mental and emotional suffering and celebrates the misfits, the non-conventional and the bold.

Friday, April 03, 2015

STRANGE CHORDS

by Rick Mullin



Mar 31, 2015: UPDATE 9:57pm PDT
Joni was found unconscious in her home this afternoon. She regained consciousness on the ambulance ride to an L.A. area hospital. She is currently in intensive care undergoing tests and is awake and in good spirits. More updates to come as we hear them. Light a candle and sing a song, let's all send good wishes her way. --jonimitchell.com


I love the way she winged it on Hejira.
Crow, not seagulls, sounded right to me.
She got away with Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter,
Don Alias on the date, and spoke
of Mingus where she used to sing. And Jaco.
It was kinda Blue-to-Kind of Blue.

A kind of transformation of the blue
horizon on a field of that high era
shot in black and white, a season chock-a-
block with ice on lipstick black. To me
she seemed the more divine. She spoke
to me from someplace new, the daughter

of a snowbound country, not the daughter
Woodstock might have wished for. But what blew
me out was anecdotal, the bespoke
position of her fingers, the Hejira
of the coffee house and Do Re Me
tautology. The maundering with Jaco

on the frozen tide, a sliding ride with Jaco
holding down the line. Abandoned daughter
of the Blues, insurgent, blond and white like me,
she bartered for the flatted fifth, a blue
note on the top. Eponymous “Hejira”
spread harmonics, spinning hub and spoke

along the endless highway Dylan spoke
of on the stage at Newport. Him, the jack of
anything he got his hands on. Oh, Hejira
to the new Medina. But Mohammad’s daughter
left behind the radio of blue
oblivion and came across to me

on carbon leather skates. She came to me
exhaling lacy signals where she spoke
into the weather and the grayscale blue.
I caught a glimpse of something like a Jack-o-
Lantern smiling in the clouds, a daughter
lost and laughing on the moon’s Hejira,

longing for Hejira, calling me,
a daughter dancing on the ice. She spoke
of Miles and swung for Jaco in the blue.


Rick Mullin's poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies. His most recent book, Sonnets from the Voyage of the Beagle, was published in December by Dos Madres Press, Loveland, Ohio.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

AFTER SANDY HOOK, NEWTOWN

by Joan Colby



Crews have torn down the home of the man who killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Mass. The school was demolished in November, 2013. AP photo via Time, March 25, 2015.



Nothing will bring them back.
The shooter killed himself as well
So the marble hand of justice
Cannot signal. There’s no one left to punish
Except the building where it took place.
Halls of learning. Books and desks
Stained with the memory of what happened.
Then the house where he planned the monstrous
Acts of unreason. Nothing left but to
Tear it all down. To burn the ground where they stood
And then maybe in time to plant
Something green and tend it.
It seems reasonable, doesn’t it?

I can’t help but be reminded
Of my friend accidentally kicked
By her horse and then lay comatose
For weeks on the narrow ledge of dying.
Her husband in his grief
Had the horse killed. What else could he do?
What could relieve this? Nothing. Nothing.
She woke to the empty stall of loss.


Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers and How the Sky Begins to Fall (Spoon River Press), The Atrocity Book (Lynx House Press) and Dead Horses and Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press. Selected Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize.  Properties of Matter was published in spring of 2014 by Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books). Two chapbooks are forthcoming in 2014: Bittersweet (Main Street Rag Press) and Ah Clio (Kattywompus Press). Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

THE TIN SOLDIERS MARCH

by Howard Winn



Reading John Bolton's dangerously casual argument for yet another war in the Middle East . . . you’d never know that war with Iran poses any risks at all. Given Bolton’s record on Iraq, this recklessness is not surprising. More surprising is that the Times let him get away with it. I understand that the Times, as a left-leaning op-ed page, needs ideological diversity. But when it comes to war and peace, diversity isn’t the highest value. Honesty is. —Peter Beinert, The Atlantic, March 27, 2015


Go to war,
they cry,
even the old
discredited ones
who screwed up
originally,
drop the bombs,
send the drones,
kill, kill. kill.
No one notices,
I am afraid,
that most such
hawks have never
served nor heard
the crack of those
guns they love
like adolescent
suitors in middle
school who yearn
for glory and girls
whose love affair
is with the self,
for whom the thought
of war is a kind
of masturbation.
They do not actually
follow their own
war cries, but hide
in speeches and lead
from behind in what
is only a war dance
to the death of others.
How brave and martial
is the tin soldier.


Howard Winn's poetry and fiction has been published recently in Dalhousie Review, Galway Review, Taj Mahal Review, Descant (Canada), Antigonish Review, Southern Humanities Review, Chaffin Review, Evansville Review, and Blueline. He has a B. A. from Vassar College and an M. A. from the Stanford University Writing Program.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SHOWING A DVD ON THE GALAPAGOS TO A NINTH GRADE CLASS

by Don Kingfisher Campbell




Some watch the projected video
of blue footed boobies
diving down like bombers
to feast on an unsuspecting school of fish

Others would rather stare
into their small lighted rectangles
to play a game, send messages
or simply check out their faces

The British narratress
twistedly intones the wonder
of sea lions snatching by the tail
swimming rock-colored iguanas

And what will become
of the fourteen-year-olds
who don’t care to take notes
on this predatory world

The gliding hawk seizes
the frantically running lizard
The bug-eyed orange crabs
pinch off pieces of wounded seagull

Are these students doomed
to be pushing paper, repairing roads
selling cars, hammering homes
stocking stores, serving plates

The volcanic islands themselves
are born in the ocean
live a few million years
sink slowly to die


Don Kingfisher Campbell’s poetry has recently been published in the anthologies Altadena Poetry Review, Like A Girl, Poems To F*ck To, San Pedro River Review, Attack of the Poems, Gutters & Alleyways, and Lummox #3; and in cyberspace on Toe Good Poetry, In-Flight Literary Magazine, Poetic Diversity, Where I Live-Silver Birch Press, One Sentence Poems, Cadence Collective, and Camel Saloon.

Monday, March 30, 2015

DESCANT ON OUR DEFORMITY

by Rachel Voss




Richard III's skeleton as found in the grave beneath a parking lot. The remains of the King who died in the Battle of Bosworth Field on August 22, 1485 were reburied in a tomb in Leicester's Anglican cathedral on March 26, 2015.



What’s more naked
than bones?  The whitewashing
of history, a ghostly rose

to honor the dead.  Which
dead?  “It doesn’t look like
the face of a tyrant,” a woman

said.  Hasn’t she heard
of Shakespeare (who couldn’t
have written a better ending),

or known any real sons of bitches?
It costs a lot of money
to look this immortal.

The onlookers point their thousand several phones,
and every phone takes several similar pictures,
and every picture condemns us all for vanity.

Now is the spring of our
reinterment.  Despite
the line of worshippers

and the royal craze, I, for one,
am determined to hate
the idle pleasures of these days.


Rachel Voss is a high school English teacher and lives in Queens, New York. She graduated with a degree in creative writing and literature from SUNY Purchase College. Her work has previously appeared in Hanging Loose Magazine, Borderline, WORK, Blast Furnace, and The Prompt Literary Magazine, and is forthcoming in Newtown Literary and the Silver Birch Press Great Gatsby Anthology.