Friday, May 29, 2015

DEAD END

by Michelle Marie



Photo by Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer | The Daily Herald



"Anyone is too good to be a waitress," she told him,
after he asked if she thought her new job was beneath
her. "At 30, I never saw myself making minimum wage

working multiple pink collar jobs." The thought made
her cringe. It was a slap in the face. An affront to her
dignity, her values, everything she stood for. Like her,

I didn't believe in wage slavery. If it kept up with some
combination of inflation, worker productivity and executive
pay raise, minimum wage would be $20 an hour today.

It's not the work, it's the pay that's the problem, we agreed.
She is in a perpetual state of amnesia, trying to forget the
hard facts of her life while maintaining a small degree of

hope. Which is easily dashed when male customers call
her honey or proposition her, like when the amateur
photographer offered to take "professional" photos of her.

He got a strange pleasure from watching her fill orders
and waterglasses and empty the bus bin because there
was no busboy, only her. Like an intrepid reporter in

search of a sad story he asked her nagging questions that
haunted her, that he wrongly assumed would help her see
his depth. But there was no depth to a man who dined with

his camera, toting it around like some big statement. She
knew she was nothing but a walking plot device in this
man's pathetic universe, a keeper of his manhood, a

mirror that doubled his virility. She hated him. And hated
me too. As a patron, I could never be fully on her side
even though I threw a fist up and railed against the system,

even though we exchanged world-weary, knowing glances
as she went about the room fulfilling the obligations of
her dead-end trade, smiling and tolerating stupid questions,

like if she was too good for her job.


Michelle Marie has written for Infita7 and Bluestockings Magazine and is currently a Stop Street Harassment blog correspondent.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

YOUR HANDS WILL BE PREGNANT IN THE AFTERLIFE

by Luisa A. Igloria



After claiming that a man would meet his masturbating hand “pregnant in the afterlife” and “asking for its rights,” a Muslim televangelist has set Turkish social media aflame. Self-styled televangelist Mücahid Cihad Han . . . claimed that Islam strictly prohibits masturbation as a “haram” (forbidden) act. “Moreover, one hadith states that those who have sexual intercourse with their hands will find their hands pregnant in the afterlife, complaining against them to God over its rights,” he said, referring to what he claimed to be a saying of Prophet Muhammad. . . . “Istimna,” the Arabic term for masturbation that Han also referred to, is a controversial issue in Islam, as there have been varying opinions on its permissibility throughout history. The Quran has no clear reference to masturbation and the authenticity of many hadiths is questionable. —Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), May 25, 2015. Image source: MemeCenter



Your hands will be pregnant in the afterlife,
warns the televangelist to men who masturbate,
which makes me put my coffee cup down in alarm and stare hard

at my own hands. What about women? What happens to women's hands?
I mean, not necessarily from masturbating, but from all the things
our hands ​so frequently and ​lovingly do? I know a carver who couldn't stop

touching​ ​any surface of wood he happened across: flotsam on the beach,
the rails​ ​along a ship's boarding ramp on which his fingers could have lingered
for hours if not for the porter's brusque Come on, hurry it up will ya?​ 

I know a weaver who'll smooth and finger each tensile fiber on ​her loom,​ ​
each shuttle's pass setting off ​hundreds of indistinct vibrations that give
​the resulting garment its patterns of flushed color and shade.

If indeed hands could get pregnant in this or in ​the afterlife,
would that provide relief for women who have up to now borne
the brunt of each sexual​ ​aftermath, ​9 months housing a growing body

until it's really time​ ​to ​count out the rent? Think of ​the ​revisions
we'd have to make​ ​in the histories of our science and art, ​including
fashion---​ ​buttoned elbow-length gloves back in style, the idiom peek-

a-boo once more in circulation; artists commissioned to paint
fig leaves like giant Band-Aids over the hands of both Adam and Eve​,
in a garden cordoned off with signs saying Absolutely do not touch.


Luisa A. Igloria’s most recent publication credits include Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014) and Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014).

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

OIL SPILL

by Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco



Last Tuesday, an onshore pipeline belonging to the Texas-based oil company Plains All American burst, spewing roughly 105,000 gallons of crude down a storm drain and into an undeveloped stretch of coastline just north of Santa Barbara. Roughly a fifth of that oil made its way into open water. It may be the worst oil disaster the California coast has seen since a devastating 1969 spill in the very same region sparked a national wave of environmental legislation. This photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department shows an oil slick from the broken pipeline near Santa Barbara on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Photo credit: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP —Gizmodo, May 24, 2015



The water
paints the shoreline
black.

No.

We did this to ourselves.


Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco lives in California's Central Valley. Her poetry has appeared in The New Verse News, The Kentucky Review, Paper Nautilus, The Tule Review, Right Hand Pointing and The Lake, among others.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

MEMORIAL DAY HAIKU

by Jimmy Pappas



Image source: Aftertaste



Memorial Day.
Eating burgers and fries. How
quickly we forget.


Jimmy Pappas is currently finishing a collection of poetry and stories about his experiences in the Vietnam War. He is an active member of the Poetry Society of NH. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

UNKNOWN SOLDIERS

by Paul Smith


Photography by David Jay from The Unknown Soldier. The Unknown Soldier is a series of large scale photographs of severely wounded young soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shot by photographer, David Jay, The Unknown Soldier documents the lives and stories of these young men upon their return home. The Unknown Soldier will culminate in a nationally traveling exhibition. A documentary is currently in production.



One cannot count how many
Unknown soldiers lie hidden
Nor their monuments
From Arlington to Vitkov Hill
To Shevchenko Park
There are more unknown soldiers
Than poetry slams
More unknown soldiers
Than tattoo parlors
More than churches
Their voices silenced
Their bones
White and intumescent
If they could talk
They’d say
‘You don’t know us
But we know you
And we know each other
The earth has joined us
By a seam of metamorphosed rock
Running from Verdun to Leningrad
And all the places in between
And outside of
A road map of futility
That you think leads to
War memorials and museums
But instead
Leads to cemeteries
You don’t visit
Where the known among us are
And to libraries full of books
You don’t read
Pages white and visceral
Inviolate and untouched


Paul Smith lives near Chicago.  He writes fiction & poetry.  He likes Hemingway, really likes Bukowski, the Rolling Stones, Beatles, Kinks and Slim Harpo.  He can play James Jamerson's bass solo for 'Home Cookin' by Junior Walker & the Allstars.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

ON MEMORIAL DAY

by Gil Hoy



In the 1960s and 70s, DC Comics added a slug with the legend "Make War No More" to its war-story comic books. Source: Lady, That's My Skull


  Remember Tens
 of Thousands with
    fervent   frightened
prayers to
Pray       Ringing morning
bells to ring,  remember
Hundreds
    of Thousands with
  tender Flowers to
grow and
    nurture and
       Place on dry
   white bones
at the bottom
   of the Sky blue
watery Sea, remember
   Millions more souls
their Deaths finally
     justified
Heroic Happy
      dead   the
  Deathofdeath on
abandoned brutal
 Battlefields,
remember Memorial
Day
as America’s
    no more
 wars day


Gil Hoy studied poetry at Boston University, majoring in Philosophy and Political Science, and received an MA in Government from Georgetown University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Gil started writing his own poetry in February last year. His poems have been published most recently in The New Verse News, The Antarctica Journal, Third Wednesday, The Potomac, and The Zodiac Review.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

MEMORIAL DAY MUSINGS

by George Salamon



This April 1865 photo shows the graves of Union soldiers who died at the Race Course prison camp in Charleston, which would later become Hampton Park. On May 1 of that year, former slaves gave the fallen a daylong funeral. Source: The Library of Congress via The Post and Courier


"Thus, the men and women we honor this Memorial Day are all those who have served this nation from its founding 239 years ago--since the Revolutionary War, we have lost 1,010,485 men and women in combat--as well as all those who defend us now against the threat of global terrorism." --Robert L. Dilenschneider, The Huffington Post, May 19, 2015


Once it was a  day of memory  to celebrate
The valiant art of war for just cause.
Today we march to bad music,
Civilization's enlightenment a puny seed
As the strong wipe out the weak and
The tyrants of the earth annihilate
Human work and sweat.
From desert in Africa to wheat field in Ukraine
The victors are not liberators
But bitter fear, hunger, fire and death.
         
On Memorial Days past did wise men speak to us?
Today we hear small men with big voices.
Men who know not what they are
And will not become what we know.


George Salamon taught German at several East Coast colleges, served as 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.

Friday, May 22, 2015

AND SO IT GOES

by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer 



Dating back 40,000 years to the Denisovan species of early humans, new pictures show beauty and craftsmanship of prehistoric jewellery. It is intricately made with polished green stone and is thought to have adorned a very important woman or child on only special occasions. Yet this is no modern-day fashion accessory and is instead believed to be the oldest stone bracelet in the world, dating to as long ago as 40,000 years. Unearthed in the Altai region of Siberia in 2008, after detailed analysis Russian experts now accept its remarkable age as correct.  New pictures show this ancient piece of jewellery in its full glory with scientists concluding it was made by our prehistoric human ancestors, the Denisovans, and shows them to have been far more advanced than ever realised. 'The bracelet is stunning - in bright sunlight it reflects the sun rays, at night by the fire it casts a deep shade of green,' said Anatoly Derevyanko, Director of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Novosibirsk, part of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. —Anna Liesowska, The Siberian Times, May 7, 2015. Photo: Vera Salnitskaya



Thirty thousand years before the Stone Age,
someone made a bracelet of chlorite.
In the sun, the same sun that we know,
the bracelet glittered and reflected the rays.
In the night, just as dark and steep
as our night, the bracelet cast a deep shade
of green. Green, even then, was the color
of growth and new life. And the bracelet,
say the scientists, would have been worn
as protection from evil spirits. Not much has changed,
really, though the Denisovan people are long,
long gone from the caves in Siberia, gone
from the planet forever. But I think of how they,
like the homo sapiens, were moved
to make beauty. How they, too, perhaps stood
outside on a clear spring night
and felt the wind, the bright slap of the stars,
the possibility that art might save us.


Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer lives in Southwest Colorado. Her poems have appeared in O Magazine, on A Prairie Home Companion, in back alleys and on river rocks. One-word mantra: Adjust. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

BAN ON MILITARY GEAR . . .

by Marjorie Maddox






except here? Last call
for chain-gangs-
in-training at this chain
bar and grill where each chain-
clad cult sparks shootouts
in a city of brotherly bonds
($1 million and counting),
as bloody as that 90’s Waco,
or trying, nine dead but riding
too fast toward that other road
block, those blasted
and blasting seventy-six bodies
in the siege that inspired
McVeigh, another chain-
reaction of cult-carnage.

History is heavy
on our backs
as are tire tread on a biker’s foot,
muscle-imposed taxes,
rival-enforced respect;
knives, ammo;
as are Bandidos and Cossacks lighting up
the ticking bombs of their lives,
revving up revenge in this parking lot
of smashed-in faces,
bashed-up corpses;
this past of bloody sorrow
and linked pain, ongoing narrative
of chains, chains, chains.


Director of Creative Writing and professor of English at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox’s book, Local News from Someplace Else (Wipf & Stock 2013), focuses on living in an unsafe world. In addition, she has a new ebook, Perpendicular As I (Kindle version, Nook version).

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

MONSANTO MAN, RETIRED

by Donal Mahoney



Image source: David Dicke


You think it's easy,
embalming bodies
in these nightmares
I have every night,

bodies a vulture
wouldn't touch,
bodies rotting
decades later

in the afterglow
of Agent Orange,
bodies found in
villages and fields

in Vietnam where
I have never been
except in nightmares.
I'm Monsanto Man,

chemist nonpareil,
retired now,
but working hard
embalming bodies

for eternity
in nightmares
I know now
will never end.


Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in peace now in St. Louis, Missouri.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

THE ROAD BACK TO YEMEN FROM A BROOKLYN LAUNDROMAT GOES UP IN SMOKE

by Linda Lerner




                                                     
separate, he asks, as he puts my laundry
on the scale.  Yes, separate, I say
still . . . week after week, tries to make
this American woman understand
what it feels like, no, make me smell
the smoke of mortar & rocket fire politics
keeping him from getting his wife & daughter
everything so carefully arranged, end of
June, his graduation from college, and then . . . puff
do you see?
                what I see is the road
twisting and turning  in his mind
teasing him  now it’s here, now it’s gone
he says of a promised cease fire;

when he speaks of his birth country
of things getting worse
I see frightened people imprisoned
in their homes  being deprived of basic necessities

I see a country being raped…
I do not see his wife and daughter
he will not let me


Internally displaced people bathe and wash clothes in a local river close to the Al-Mazraq IDP camps, Al-Mazraq, Yemen. Source: Daily Mail


Linda Lerner’s latest  collection "Yes, the Ducks Were Real" (NYQ books) and her chapbook "Ding Dong the Bell  Pussy in the Well" (Lummox Press) were published recently. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

AS THE HEAVY JAGGED

by Gil Hoy



Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, right, with his attorney William Fick. Credit: AP via Boston Herald



As the heavy jagged
wheels of justice grind on in macabre
cadence an impenitent brutal man awaits
execution which will come in years if ever after
appeals repeating grotesque images lawyers
news stories while young parents of youngest
killed relive the explosions of pressure cookers
shrapnel the ripping flesh the shrill screams
caked blood on sidewalks the police sirens
burning smoke to awaken each night
in a cold sweat for the memory


Gil Hoy studied poetry at Boston University, majoring in philosophy, where he won a silver medal in the New England University Wrestling Championships at 177 pounds. Gil started writing his own poetry and fiction in February last year.  Since then, his poems and fiction have been published in multiple journals, most recently in The New Verse News, The Antarctica Journal, ThirdWednesday, The Potomac and The Zodiac Review.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

THE PEDICURE CUSTOMER'S DILEMMA

by Catherine Wald


Across the country, countless workers in the nail salon industry, mainly immigrant women, toil in misery and ill health for meager pay, usually with no overtime, abused by employers who show little or no consideration for their safety and well-being. It is a world of long days and toxic chemicals, where the usual protections of government have failed, at all levels. —NY Times, May 11, 2015; Photo: A pedicure at a salon on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Credit Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times


Time to choose: should I deprive you of your
livelihood or your unborn children?

Do your lungs need air as badly as my toes need to be
decked out in glorious colors that never existed in nature?

Is it frivolous to pay another human being to caress the
arches and balls of my feet in a way no lover ever will?

In your hands, oh modest Korean or Chinese or Thai woman,
shy, unsightly appendages, emboldened, grab the spotlight.

For two dollars apiece, you give me ten hand-crafted
oriental miniatures, perfect and miniscule as gemstones,

sparkling harbingers of summer, delightful butterflies
birthed in a cloud of formaldehyde, ethanol and XX.

Pedicurists, like most winged creatures, enjoy a short
lifespan: but we all know beauty demands sacrifice.

In this world where gainful employment is hard to come by,
where aesthetic pleasure is so desperately needed, is it

time to turn off the tap?


Catherine Wald's books include poetry (Distant, burned-out stars, Finishing Line Press, 2011), nonfiction (The Resilient Writer: Stories of Rejection and Triumph From 23 Top Authors, Persea Books, 2005) and a translation from French of Valery Larbaud’s Childish Things (Sun & Moon Press). Her poems have been published in American Journal of Nursing, Buddhist Poetry Review, Chronogram, Exit 13, Friends Journal, Jewish Literary Journal, The New Poet, Society of Classical Poets, The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly and Westchester Review.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

ALL CREATED EQUAL EXCEPT

by Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote



Rohingya migrants with airdropped food. A boat carrying them and scores of others, including young children, was found floating in Thai waters; passengers said several people had died. Credit Christophe Archambault/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images via NY Times, May 15, 2015


Pitiful bane of subhuman existence
Despised by masses spewing contempt
Rohingya without nationality precarious allegiance
Leaky boats sunken nightmares capsized

No destined port of call
No place to be somebody
Homeless hapless hopeless leper outcasts
Unwelcome turned away nobody cares

Bedraggled bastards barely hanging on
Dysfunctional once upon family angst
Bony ghosts haunted by skeletons
Wronged inhuman rights constantly betrayed

Blind justice labeling terrorized victims
Raped pillaged occupation unanswered queries
Haunted by Islamophobia anti-Moslem bashing
Hateful demons lacking compassionate kindness

Unanchored adrift dead man’s float
Bloated corpses buried at sea
Long-festering festering wound abscessed
Help beyond intensive care horizon


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

M-MOMENTS

by Lind Grant-Oyeye



Around 1,600 refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh were rescued off the coast of Indonesia on Sunday and detained in Malaysia on Monday. Malaysian officials said Monday that 1,081 Bangladeshi and Rohingya refugees landed on the country’s Langkawi Island. On Sunday, 600 “sad, tired and distressed” migrants were stranded off the coast of the Indonesian province of Aceh. On Monday, another 400 were found aboard a ship, the BBC reports. Hundreds of those people are believed to be Rohingya, the ethnic Muslim minority in Myanmar who for decades have faced discrimination and persecution in the majority-Buddhist country. The government of Myanmar considers the country’s approximately 1.33 million Rohingya illegal settlers, and the United Nations classifies them as one of the most persecuted refugee groups in the world. —Newsweek, May 11, 2015


With silvery hair, bones thinned in-out, of life the silver screen speaks.
The letter M, embossed in audacious colors. It had begun long before her time,

time when clay pots were sanded out to shimmer. She had seen it and felt it.
It starts by falling- falling in love. Minute carts tenderly packed,
full of moments, full of memories delicately put together.

It moves with fantasies of prized certificates, a desire for a stamp-the majestic seal of approval.
It flows to the stage of self- journey through dark subways, tunnels to the unfamiliar,
untested promise lands. She heard some had swam bellied-up in wavy pools,
Chillin’ to the historic tempest.

Others swim to “bien venue”  cat-calls, to honeymoons filled with French kisses,
flowers and fresh caresses, beauty and beautiful feet planted on cozy carpets,
romance lasting into wintery and the hurricane hugging days.

On strange lands were some feet planted. They kissed strangers
and slept with enemies -red juices pressed against their lips,
with the firm force of a heavy weight boxer’s strength, kissing Judas’ doppelgänger
to the sweet sound of the language from Babel, spoken with a lover’s passion.

Faint memories show M in the alphabet song, is for Migration, for marriage.


Lind Grant-Oyeye is an Irish-Nigerian poet and has work published in several countries. Her work discusses issues related to culture, social justice and equality.

Friday, May 15, 2015

DECONSTRUCTING TEXAS

by James Penha



Jim Love’s homage to Texas, “Area Code” (1962) steel, cast iron and lead,
presently on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX.

“The Texas takeover is like Obamacare death panels, or Sharia law coming to a court near you, or fluoride in the water supply. It doesn’t matter if the particular charge is proven to be completely false. Just getting the larger idea (don’t trust Obama’s feds, they want to un-cling you from your guns and religion) into the mainstream media is a victory. It validates the paranoia.” —Leslie Savan, The Nation, May 8, 2015
"Nearly every Republican in the Texas House is sponsoring a bill that would prohibit state and local officials from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples." —AP, May 13, 2015 


The every-which-wayness of tomahawking
oil drills, like Fred Astaire twerking against gravity
on walls and ceiling, does not surprise: Pan pipes after all
and the broad ten-gallon of a new Hermes
wings just above a bookend pedestal. Nor does a
chain-saw tumbleweed, nest of baby crankcases, wild
pig, arrowhead, milk bottle, longhorns and loblolly.
And at center stage a lone Rainmaker curries favor from his Lizzie;
it’s 110 in the shade on a stage a Broadway baby understands.

But that dour visage next to the lug wrench monstrance?
(Paul Frank’s simian Julius would worship a monkey wrench,
and snow monkeys swayed only briefly on Texas branches;
Iron Eyes Cody cried crocodiles for this land much later.)

No, within that overseeing mien
a Vitruvian wannabe struggles to set
his face and place the star on which
the whole of this sorry state depends.


James Penha edits The New Verse News.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

RUN-UP

by Rachael Stanley






little girls in
communion dresses
Dublin city awash
with marriage -
equality posters


Rachael Stanley's poems have been published in various print and online publications. She also has an interest in shorter form poetry such as Haiku, Haibun and Tanka. She is from Dublin, Ireland where she currently lives.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

PILING ON

by Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote




Proud heritage pitiful anti-natural disaster
Architectonic rumbling
Daily bread no longer given
Magical dragons entrapped snowbound lairs

Looking down from isolated heights
Precarious existence smothered by ash
Votive lamps churned buttery meltdown
Trackless Sherpa trails left behind

Empty void filled with tenacity
No vacancy guest houses demolished
Children used to nothing strangely
Making do with even less

Thankless volunteers sifting contaminated rubble
Bloodhounds sniffing vital heartbeat signs
Humanitarian relief anonymous god sent
Colorful life savers myriad flavors


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

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

WHERE WOULD THE KARDASHIANS BE WITHOUT KRIS JENNER?*

by Ron Riekki



'I will never replace his beloved mom': Kris Jenner promises to 'always love' Kanye West like her own son in touching note for Mother's Day —Justin Enriquez and George Stark, Daily Mail, May 11, 2015



When newspapers died,
their son
took over
the business
and he liked boobs,
so he’d write
obituaries
about boobs
and show boobs playing
golf
and he made the weather report
a boob weather report.

The boobs
appreciated the fame.

In the old days,
boobs couldn’t be
involved in politics,
but now boobs
run for President
every year.

When the newspaper industry
died,
it was from all of those years
of smoking,
or,
excuse me,
sucking,
all of those years
of sucking
all of the air
out of the room
to make room
for the boobs.

Here’s a news
flash.

Here’s a news
peep show.

Here’s a noose.


*NY Times Magazine headline, May 8, 2015


Ron Riekki's books include U.P.: a novel, The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (2014 Michigan Notable Book), and Here: Women Writing on Michigan's Upper Peninsula (MSU Press).

Monday, May 11, 2015

DREAMING NEPAL

by Valerie Sonnenthal



Saili, 25, from Selang, said that her 2-year-old son died in the earthquake and that her home was destroyed. She and her two surviving children are now living in a shelter with four other families. Credit: Gardiner Harris/The New York Times, May 9, 2015



silencing her words
lips moving
wordless breeze
swallowing syllables
caught like a tumor
growing slowly
her throat aching
hands twisting
body somewhere
dust thickened
eyes blink
between dreams
days
like yesterday
calm carrying on
errands at the market
life a dream
she once was living
thankful
now thick
in the thick
slow stuck time
floating in wait
weighted
by a city
she once knew


Valerie Sonnenthal joined the Cleaveland House Poets when she moved to Martha's Vineyard in 2006. She writes the Chilmark Town Column plus arts and lifestyle stories for the MV Times, Arts & Ideas magazine, and  publishes Errata Editions' Books on Books series.