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Thursday, May 26, 2016

KOMAGATU MARU

by Akua Lezli Hope





Forgiveness,
                      an evolution
Apology
                is          
                     revolution
Acknowledgment
                               does not redeem
                               but embodies
growth                          maturity                understanding
re                                   cog                                nition            
               known
                                see            again
                                             grant permission        
 now                            better                        now now now    
the  denied
                       arrival
                              has landed
disembark


Akua Lezli Hope is a creator who uses sound, words, fiber, glass, and metal, to create poems, patterns, stories, music, ornaments, wearables, jewelry, adornments and peace whenever possible. A third generation Caribbean American, New Yorker and firstborn, she has won fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts,  Ragdale, Hurston Wright writers, and the National Endowment for The Arts.  She is a Cave Canem fellow. Her manuscript, Them Gone, won Red Paint Hill Publishing’s Editor’s Prize and will be published in 2016.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BISON

by Peg Quinn



“On Monday, May 9, 2016, President Obama signed into law the National Bison Legacy Act, which designates the bison as the official mammal of the United States. . . . Lobbying for the official mammal designation was a coalition of conservationists; ranchers, for whom bison are business; and tribal groups, such as the InterTribal Buffalo Council, which wants to ‘restore bison to Indian nations in a manner that is compatible with their spiritual and cultural beliefs and practices.’ . . . Before the mid-1800s, bison (also called buffalo) lived mostly in the Great Plains, but were also found throughout the continent. . . . The U.S. Army led a campaign to wipe out bison as a way to control [native] tribes. . . . Columbus Delano, secretary of the interior, wrote in 1873: ‘I would not seriously regret the total disappearance of the buffalo from our western plains, in its effect upon the Indians.’ —Elahe Izadi, The Washington Post, May 9, 2016.  Image: A colored-pencil drawing by Peg Quinn of a bison’s head.


A bison's bladder holds seven pounds,
about one gallon, enough
for indigenous people to use
for storing water, clothing,
or food when hunting

Horns sufficed as drinking cups,
or carrying hot ash from one fire
to start the next

Fur became blankets,
papoose and moccasin lining

Skin became saddles, or, when
stretched over low lying branches,
sewn to form teepees, clothing,
quivers, drum heads and ‘canvas’
for recording the year in pictures - their
‘winter count’ during freezing blizzards

String was pulled from sinew
then threaded into carved bone needles

This is no metaphor:
drumming sticks were made
by dropping a round rock into
a testicle then wrapping with tendons
to the end of a stick

Sinew binding teeth and hooves
made door rattles outside the teepee
for announcing a visitor

Bones were carved into knives,
scraping tools, and toys while
tails had second lives swatting flies

Eyes, brains, tongues and organs
were reserved as treats for tribal elders,
meat, berries and fish the daily diet
Snacks were made from intestines
packed with dried herbs and jerky

Though no one knows how they used the nose,
it’s no wonder they were worshipped



Peg Quinn grew up in a rural area outside Lincoln, Nebraska. As a child, she once got her head stuck between the tail and rear-end of a life-size buffalo statue in a public park. Today, she teaches art and paints theatrical sets in southern California, always wearing a bison ring made from an Indian head nickel and morns how they were slaughtered as a means of controlling indigenous people. Her Great-Grandmother was Sioux. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

AMERICAN HISTORY

by George Held


Photograph: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/EPA via The Guardian.


              "I am honored and humbled to announce
the sale of an American firearm icon…"
--George Zimmerman


When George Zimmerman advertised
an auction for “a piece of American history,”
the gun he murdered Trayvon Martin with,
it didn’t take long for the bidding to soar
to 65 million dollars, since withdrawn.

The money, George said, would go to two
worthy causes: protecting peace officers
from the violence of Black Lives Matter
protestors and fighting Hillary Clinton’s
“anti-gun rhetoric.”

Like a magician’s wand, this gun will
“Open presto” not just the wallets
of fatuous rich collectors but also
the deep Pandora’s box of bigotry
and racial discrimination.

Poets have no tropes for dopes who
uphold the Second Amendment in order
to justify the right to shoot to kill
any “other” in a hoodie on a dark
Florida night

And they have no tropes for hope that when
President Obama flies the White House
coop he’ll leave the legacy of a post-racial
society, for America is more racialist
than ever.

It turns out that George Zimmerman,
who’s been unemployable since his
acquittal, has accepted a bid of $138,000
for his piece, enough to keep him in beer
and skittles for a few years.


George Held, a frequent contributor to TheNewVerse.News, has a new poetry collection Bleak Splendor (Muddy River Books, 2016).

Monday, May 23, 2016

THE DOG RUNS ON

by Laura McHale Holland


Alejandro Nieto was killed by police in the neighbourhood where he spent his whole life. Did he die because a few white newcomers saw him as a menacing outsider? —The Guardian, March 21, 2016. Image source: Justice for Alex Nieto.


the dog runs on
and my daughter’s friend
is gone

Alex carries a burrito
up Bernal Hill
a neighborhood jewel
his lifelong home

a husky, off leash, lunges, yips, growls
in pursuit of Alex’s food
the dog’s owner doesn’t notice, doesn’t care
he’s looking at a female jogger’s ass

Alex leaps onto a park bench
the dog lunges, yips, growls
Alex stands, fends off the fangs
the dog’s owner doesn’t notice, doesn’t care
he’s looking at a young jogger’s ass
the dog lunges, yips, growls
Alex pulls out a taser, points it at the beast
the owner notices, reins in his dog,
sees he’s facing a taser, not a gun

he trots off with his dog, calls a friend
says he wishes California were like Florida
he could stand his ground against
a brown-skinned, no good gangbanger
who dares to threaten his lovely dog
he could stand his ground against
a Latino dressed in red 49ers jacket
black 49ers cap, black pants, sunglasses
he could dispense with Alex
who is unnerved by a dog lunging
for a burrito on Bernal Hill
a neighborhood jewel
Alex’s lifelong home

Alex sits down, bites into his burrito
some passersby see a normal guy, a familiar face
others see a menace with gun tucked at his waist
one calls 911, police drive up the hill
Alex finishes his meal, stands up
a security guard with licensed taser tucked away
Alex, ready for work, ambles a familiar route
police move in
Alex ambles a familiar route, police move in
he does not know his new neighbors
ensconced in remodeled homes
believe he’s a threat, police move in
Alex does not know his neighbors, ensconced
see him as a threat, police move in

What happens next?
officers involved say they told Alex to stop
but he crouched, weapon in hand
they feared for their lives
he crouched, weapon in hand

people who loved Alex say
he would never do that
he was a role model, a youth advocate
a community volunteer
he studied criminal justice
he knew better than most
how to respond to police

an eyewitness says Alex did not
crouch, did not pull out his taser
an eyewitness says Alex did not
pull out his taser, did not crouch
an eyewitness says Alex’s hands
were in his pockets

my daughter says Alex, her friend
from Horace Mann middle school,
was a sweetheart, a peacemaker, always
a connector, a sweetheart always
in all ways

bullets blast and soar
through Alex’s lifetime home
knock the young man down
shatter his jaw and teeth
rip through leg bones
blast and shatter his lifetime
bullets pound the young man
already down without motion
bullets mangle his brain
his blood colors the ground
and the bullets stop at last
his blood pools on the ground

Alex, Buddhist, peace activist,
junior college graduate
aspiring probation officer
Alex, campaign volunteer
community event organizer
Alex deeply loved and loving deeply
breathes his last on Bernal Hill, his home
Alex, a neighborhood jewel
loving deeply and deeply loved
breathes his last on Bernal Hill
and the bullets stop at last

When San Francisco’s finest enter the home
where Alex dreamed the dreams of childhood
where he grew from beloved boy to beloved man
they do not tell his parents their son is dead
they interrogate, look for gang affiliations
they do not tell his parents their son is dead
they interrogate, look for drug connections
proof that Alex was unstable, unreliable, violent
San Francisco’s finest fail to mention that Alex is dead
until his parents demand answers
with no warrant, San Francisco’s finest steal Alex’s car
they find no drug connections, no gang affiliations
they smear Alex’s memory, look for drug connections
gang affiliations, look for dirt and find none

police brass, city brass exonerate the officers
the grieving parents seek justice, restitution in a civil trial
the dog’s owner testifies, jokes about the jogger’s ass
Alex’s grieving parents look on
the officers laugh in the hallway
the grieving parents look on
a jury clears the laughing officers
the grieving parents look on
the dog’s owner doesn’t notice, doesn’t care

the dog runs on and on
my daughter’s friend
is gone


Author’s Note: This poem is related to several police shootings being protested in San Francisco. It is specifically about Alex Nieto, who was gunned down in 2014. On May 9, people in the Justice for Alex Nieto group were among the protesters seeking the resignation of police chief Greg Suhr. Last week, after another in a spate of officer-involved killings, Suhr was asked to resign, and he did.


Author, editor and storyteller Laura McHale Holland has published the anthology Sisters Born, Sisters Found: A Diversity of Voices on Sisterhood; The Ice Cream Vendor's Song, a flash fiction collection; and Reversible Skirt, a memoir. You can sign up at her site to receive an excerpt from Resilient Ruin, her new memoir in progress.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

THE RED SUITCASE

by Jill Crainshaw




she borrowed the suitcase from her cousin
a faded fake leather red one that
stood by the door all those weeks holding
a bathrobe and slippers and baby things ready
to go to the hospital when her first son was born
five years ago now so the suitcase was empty
and made to fit in the overhead
her aunt stuck a magazine in that front
zippered pocket at the last minute
just in case she was hungry for a taste of
home while dining in places far away

it bobs in wild waters now
with sixty-six others spilling out
blouses linen trousers a new blue jacket just in case
those pills she always took to help her sleep
handwritten sticky notes hotel receipts
hidden in the corner from
the trip before the last one
toiletries travel-sized
she planned on returning home
her aunt stares at the television screen
"vanished from radar"
"no survivors"
commentators talk on and on while
she watches wind-swept waves
longing
for something
even a flash of red



Jill Crainshaw is a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

STUMP POEM ASSEMBLED FROM DONALD TRUMP’S TWENTY MOST FREQUENTLY USED WORDS

by Mara Adamitz Scrupe 




if they can’t win        stupid            (they’re the)

weak loser(s)           (they’re the) politically

correct          moron(s        they’re not) smart

(enough)        tough  (enough)

dangerous     (enough         to be) bad (as me)

lightweight(s!)         (I’m) amazing           (and I’m)

huge   (I’m) tremendous    (and I’m) terrific

 (not a big) zero       (not like them)          out (of)

control          (I’ll make        this country

truly)             classy  (again!)


Mara Adamitz Scrupe has created significant bodies of work in poetry, book arts, installation, and social practice. Her fellowships include NEA/CEC ArtsLink, D.C. Commission on the Arts, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. She has authored two poetry collections Sky Pilot published by Finishing Line Press, and BEAST, winner of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies' Stevens Manuscript Award. Scrupe’s poems have been widely published nationally and internationally in literary journals and anthologies and she has won numerous prizes and awards for her work.

Friday, May 20, 2016

HILLARY'S HAND

by Davi Walders




As I watch Hillary make her way through the hotel ballroom,
I think of my mother, gone now twenty years. How thrilled

she would have been to be here. Beneath crystal chandeliers,
between tables filled with uneaten finger sandwiches and scones,

I feel my mother’s hand pressing into mine, pushing me to lean
over the stanchions as I wait. Even though guards glare, I reach

out to touch Hillary, to shake her hand as she passes by on
the plush carpet. Smiling in her brilliant red suit, she talks

to each of us as she approaches her daughter already at the podium,
I hear my mother’s voice whisper, ‘Keep going, Hillary,’ (or maybe

it was mine) or one of the other thousand voices as she moves
along the aisle surrounded by ten huge secret service men

with earpieces. Obama won last time; now this time must be
her time. ‘Revved up and rarin’ to go,’ Barbara Mikulski shouts

from a platform box that lifts her tiny figure toward the microphone
as the room goes wild. We have waited lifetimes to see a woman

do this. Seventy years of marching to get the vote, more than another
ninety working towards this moment. It’s Hillary’s turn; it has to be

Hillary’s turn. Not for me alone, but for the joy my mother would
have had holding my hand shaking Hillary’s hand.


Davi Walders is the author of three poetry books.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A KISSINGER IS STILL A KISSINGER

by George Salamon





You must remember this
As our government bestows a kiss.
It's still the same old story
For a warmonger seeking glory.
We forget the sins of the past:
Russian Jews? Let 'em be gassed.
Cambodian women and children?
Bomb 'em by the million.
The democratic government of Chile?
We'll overthrow 'em in a jiffy.
Henry faithfully served Richard Nixon,
To whom he felt intellectually superior,
But owes his career to being up Tricky's posterior.


George Salamon has followed the exploits of Kissinger since the days both spent time in Cambridge, MA.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

MIGRANT

by Frank De Canio





Duress held captive by her will,
she held him thrashing in a boat
then waded through the waves and chill
that kept his hardened heart afloat.
She then assayed the Rio Grande,
less émigré in sore distress
than athlete in a marathon.
Her mettle hammered out US
of A above the custom house
across the line from Mexico.
Nor would the trials still pending douse
the girl’s triumphant afterglow
at having weathered storm and stress.
A tough as leather pioneer,
she trumpeted resourcefulness
to claim her valor’s broad frontier.


Born & bred in New Jersey, Frank De Canio works in New York. Shakespeare is his consolation, writing his hobby.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

THE MIGRANT

by Afzal Moolla





Seeking solace.
Seeking a home.

The migrant

finds
rotten prejudice
fungal anger.

The migrant

alone hoping for
a solitary chance
to belong.

The migrant

alone always
an outside entity
eternal outcast
viral threat
reeking odour.

The migrant

ever alone
and alone knowing
that no place exists
but that lost home.


Afzal Moolla was born in Delhi, India while his parents were in exile, working as political exiles against Apartheid in South Africa. He then traveled wherever his parent’s work took them, spending time in Egypt, Finland, and Iran. Afzal works and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Monday, May 16, 2016

TRUMPTY DUMPTY

by Catherine McGuire





Trumpty Dumpty sat on his wall,
Trumpty Dumpty looked on toward the fall.
“I’ve won their horse race, I’ve got my own men—
I’ll make America greatest again.”

Cheered by a racist, misogynist rabble,
Trumpty Dumpty struts and he babbles—
“It’s gonna be HUGE, cause everyone loves me.
I own the party; there’s no one above me.”

In the hallways of power, the leaders are shocked—
this kind of revolt should be easily blocked,
and yet Trump has smashed the establishment boys;
he can stoop even lower than the worst red state ploys.

And smug pundits claiming, “It could not happen here”
choke on their words and cry in their beers,
“It’s the death of conservatism! Horror of horrors!
If Trump becomes president, there’ll be no tomorrow!”

So now Trumpty Dumpty wants to be crowned;
wants the Bushes to grovel, Paul Ryan to bow down.
Though he thinks he has won this political bet,
Trumpty Dumpty may find elephants never forget.

And Trumpty Dumpty will find in the race,
most voters require at least some social grace.
Small-hand obsessions and childish tweets
show the orangest candidate can’t take the heat.

While the world looks in horror, while the world holds its breath,
the voters will choose if we pull back from the death
of what makes America historically best—
patience and kindness, tolerance, respect.

But that’s not up to Trumpty; that job’s up to us!
Enough with the rhetoric—it’s time to discuss
where we’re going with neighbors, we can and we will
back away from the hatred and turn down the shrill.

Find your opposite number, have a coffee or beer—
chat for an hour, unlearn your fear.
We live here together, and together must work
to uncover and vanquish the hatred that lurks

where people feeling unheard and under attack
blame their lost future on the Latin, the Black—
don’t put your trust in a strange orange man;
let’s bring our country together again.


Catherine McGuire is a writer and artist with a deep concern for ecology and our planet's future. Her first full length poetry book, Elegy for the 21st Century, will be published in October 2016 by FutureCycle Press.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

THE TOILET PROBLEM





Barbara A Taylor’s free verse poems, renku, haiga, haibun, haiku, tanka, and other Japanese short form poetry appear in many international journals and anthologies on line and in print. She lives in the Rainbow Region, Northern NSW, Australia.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

CARLY'S POLITICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

by Richard Hacken


Image by DonkeyHotey


Ms. Carly Fiorina once ran Hewlett-Packard,
Reaping pay package privileges stock-option lacquered.
Critics say she ran HP straight down to the bottom,
And the Board sent her packing four months after autumn.

With executive branch as next target for Carly,
Sure, she lost the primary, but proved herself snarly.
So Cruz tabbed her for VP and heaped her with praise,
And at that announcement she fell off the stage.

After Carly’s VP gig in utero aborted,
A new world record for her was reported:
She had set a new standard of debacle perfection
By losing two times in the selfsame election.


Richard Hacken, an ultraviolet Soul politically trapped in an infrared State, has never been in Hackensack.  A librarian and poet, he has translated the poetry of Galsan Tschinag, a Mongolian poet who writes in German.

Friday, May 13, 2016

TO EAT AND LEAVE THE NIGHT AN EMPTY PLATE

by Alejandro Escudé


A Donald Trump mural painted by street artist Hanksy on Orchard St. between Canal and Division Sts. on the Lower East Side. —NY Daily News Photo by SHAWN INGLIMA


In the blonde hair-skunk, in the barbershop of the mind
where the scissors raise hairs and pat them down
to demand what one wants not needs, the patience of a lion,
ingenuity of a roach, America with a Trump at its head,
the roach motel of the world, on his knees, a nice picture…
what he said to the young woman on t.v.,
a working class woman, it’s a nice picture, you
on your knees. Walled off in the mind, the soul
a mountain range of rage and nowhere to go but
to the streets where a young man bears the likeness
of North America on his bloodied face.
Do we recall the ISIS terrorist in his jeep
happy to drag five corpses? Five corpses
hanging from the moon, five corpses loaded like bullets
into the chamber of a gun, you fire-walker, you brandist,
you woman-basher, you human torture chamber,
you radioactive toad, you lacquered manipulator,
you burnt toast anachronism, you oversexed missile,
you Roman fop, you Towers burning, one man leaps
from a window of the World Trade, martyr man,
L-man, J-woman, moon feces in the shape of Trump,
in the shape of Mar-a-Lago, in the shape of Chris Christie,
piles in the cemetery where Lorca’s body lies forever
falling, never forgetting the artists’ Golgotha
in the rainstorm of human history where Trump’s foot soldiers
come to take Federico away at dawn as the rooster crows
as the apostle drowns his only son as George Washington
steps on the muddy bank as Hamilton takes aim at Burr
as Burr is borne again as the harrowing present grows wings
as the Star-Spangled Banner itself sings as the baseball field
turns to boner flowers or red licorice for wealthy trophy wives
as the hives of the rich enlarge as the states pronounce
themselves more significant than the next. Who comes
in the name of business rats? Who’s driven in Picasso
limousines? Who comes in chariots of designer
water bottles? Who comes in light-clouds Wall Street?
Who comes wagging an Arizona finger? Who comes
riding a marble horse? To eat and leave the night
an empty plate for children to weep, for the landlord
to tie our wrists down in the apex of our city streets
where the thief is arrested, shouting in stressed vowels,
as the helicopter shakes our house out of its safe slumber
and into another broken eight years of politicos and bankers,
eight years of sourceless regrets, eight years of teachers
blamed like communists, eight years of flogging
middlemen, eight years of clown-hog campaigns,
eight years of pornographic magazine covers, eight years
of cigars and neon caviar, eight years of swimming in pools
full of sheep semen. We, it began, we, it finishes, we.


Alejandro Escudé published his first full-length collection of poems, My Earthbound Eye, in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches high school English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

RESPECTING BELIEFS

by F.I. Goldhaber


Ad created by AML


If your beliefs include marginalizing other people
because of their skin color, their religious faith, their gender,
their sexual orientation, their origin, their age;
If your beliefs allow justification for depriving
other people of their civil rights to life, liberty, and
happiness pursuits declared in seventeen seventy-six;
If your beliefs condone slaughter, rape, assault, subjugation,
imprisonment, execution of those you see as "others";
If your beliefs create stigmas to prevent those who appear,
think, love, or speak differently than you from making a living,
feeding their families, buying a home, earning retirement;
If your beliefs allow children to go to bed hungry, the
sick to go bankrupt, the disabled to struggle to survive,
the mentally ill to wander homeless, the store clerks to need
welfare benefits, the elderly to freeze through the winter;
If your beliefs prevent access to reproductive health care
while keeping young people ignorant about the facts of life
and the realities of sexual health, choices, and pleasure;
Then I'm under no obligation to respect your beliefs.
Keep your hate to yourself. Keep it out of our country, state, and
city laws, our schools, parks, stores workplaces, and public restrooms.


As a reporter, editor, business writer, and marketing communications consultant, F.I. Goldhaber produced news stories, feature articles, essays, editorial columns, and reviews for newspapers, corporations, governments, and non-profits in five states. Now, her poems, short stories, novelettes, essays, and reviews appear in paper, electronic, and audio magazines, ezines, newspapers, calendars, and anthologies.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

THE COACH

by Howard Winn


Dennis Hastert. AP photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais via ThinkProgress.



A hero in his small town
as is often the case where
there is a wish for local heroes
and some must be found
to satisfy the need to brag
therefore he and his students
fulfilled the boosters need
for his young disciples won
their matches in the
wresting ring to the glory
of the school and these
adolescent athletes who
spread the fame of their
coach who seemed to love
his young charges learning
the holds and the tricks
of the wresting trade
and much more hidden
from public and pubic
view concealed outside
the showers or the gym.
Taking his deceitfulness
to the shadiness of politics
he smiled as he corrupted
the democratic process
of government while reaping
the financial benefits of that guile
to fatten banks accounts
 both his own and that of
certain colleagues who
shared his lack of ethics
until caught manipulating
bank accounts with an
illegal wrestling of his
fortune to silence a now
grown lover boy who
demanded hulking payment
for his silence so caught
and sentenced as ironic
reward to the prison he
bought with his conduct.


Howard Winn's work has been published in Dalhousie Review, The Long Story, Galway Review, Descant.  Antigonish Review, Southern Humanities Review, Chaffin Review, Main Street Rag, Evansville Review, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, 3288 Review, Straylight Literary Magazine, and Blueline. He has a novel coming out soon from Propertius Press. His B.A. is from Vassar College. his M.A. from the Stanford University Creative Writing Program. His doctoral work was done at NYU. He is Professor of English at SUNY-Duchess.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

HOLY HYPERBOLE, HILLARY!

by Jill Crainshaw





“I am Goliath and I will not be toppled by some sheep-herding
small fry! An eye for an eye.” A pompous fist-pump

pommels the air and pummels the bully pulpit preaching pretentious
promises of presumptive presidential potency. “Sticks and stones can’t

touch these bones and words are no worry either. Winners don’t
lose and I am not a

loser!” Whack! Thud. Kapow. ZZZZZZ----


---pop. ZING!


Ouch.

Penetrating porous clouds around his head
sling-shot slicing dicing slashing gashing backlashing

words of no worry to ballot-blessed bones unless


Ouch.

“Who dares to attack? I am invincible!”  Eeeee! Look. Behind
you. Through a glass dimly he sees

himself. Zinging demeaning
soliloquies. No boy David slinging stones. Just
himself. “Mini-Me staggers me!” “Holy hyperbole!  I think he shot
himself in the foot in his mouth.”


Ouch.


Jill Crainshaw is a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. Her poems have appeared in *82 Review and Five Magazine and in an anthology by Wicwas Press. She is also the author of a number of books on worship and theology.