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Tuesday, October 13, 2015


by Mara Adamitz Scrupe

A man            is asked. He replies. One day my children's.          Children
will be a minority. In their own.              Country. Thus             taken. This country.
Taken away. There is history.           To consider.   Black haired. Black eyed.Souls.
Like any. Others.         Spoke to     animals. Shoulders to wheels.  Took them.  
In.        On.       Their shoulders. Took    their.   Names.       White man’s.
Names.    The man.        Worries. About      whiteness.      Purity.          

The outside.               Not the inside.

Schedules. Tables. Graphs. Comparisons.   Color. Material.          Or immaterial.
Or mostly. Having to do with           shape. Head.          Or nose. How deep set.
Slanted. The eyes.        Purity. At stake. Negroes. Slavs.    At the bottom. Was. Is. At
stake. Little. Brown. Bottom people.   Bottom. Of the heap. Or behind   walls. Or
thereabouts. Presumed        intelligence. Or. Lack.  Our grandchildren’s.
Inheritance. Systems. Selections. Cranial          measurements. Adjudications.

Phrenologically          speaking.

Tests administered.            Which people. Took.    Anything. Would. Do. Anything. Only.
Let. Me. In. Others had.   Reasons. Reason. On             their. Side. They said. They
say. Ratios are off. The names. Impossible. Everything. Everything.    Things end.
Ending. With a vowel.   Strike it.             The ships.  Coffins. Teem. Not satin-
lined. Rafts. Not immutable. Not sad. Beyond. Beyond          sadness. Beyond tears.            
A thing of the world. This.    World.             To be              endured.       Anything else. Is.

Wreckage. No room for.        No                   room.

Beginnings. Begin. A woman            starts              toward. Concrete block. Shower
head. Bath. Bathe. A woman wants. Starts        toward. Walk. Bathe. Believe. In this
simple. A thing. Thing.         To enfold. Behold. It’s. Simple.      Take these clothes. Yes.
Mine. But I. I give.   Them. If I       can. Have. Search my            pubis.
Filth. Disease. I will.    For simple. For example. For begin. Beyond. For. My.
Daughter. Sister. Try  to hold. Back. But to believe. Is. Simple.  A bath. Clean.   Bathe.

Mara Adamitz Scrupe is a poet and visual artist. In 2014 the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS) named her the winner of the Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition Prize for her first volume of poetry BEAST which was published by the NSFPS Press in 2015. She is also the author of a chapbook entitled Sky Pilot published by Finishing Line Press. In 2015, Scrupe’s poems have been shortlisted or named finalist for several national and international literary awards including the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize, Australia; the Canterbury Poetry Festival University of Kent Prize and Poet of the Year (UK); the Wenlock Prize in Poetry (UK); the Auburn Witness Prize in Poetry (Auburn University); the Janet B. McCabe Prize for Poetry (Ruminate Magazine); the Oberon Poetry Prize (Oberon Poetry Foundation, New York); and the Tomaž Šalamun Chapbook Prize (VERSE Literary Journal University of Richmond, Virginia).

Monday, October 12, 2015


by Alejandro Escudé

Gary Shamblin of Winston, Ore., prepares to leave a parking lot in Roseburg in his truck displaying a sign he made reflecting his views on President Obama's planned visit to the area. (Michael Sullivan / The News-Review) via LA Times, October 9, 2015

To express the grief of a nation,
A ghost in imperial high heels.

I will not be taxed. Join or Die.
Franklin’s snake, let it fly.

Distrust trickles like water
Over the pebbles of legislation.

My musket fires hundreds
Of deadly rounds per minute.

One hears the sobbing of men
Who let the reptiles in.

Many of us believe the cross is
The cross in the crosshairs.

Here’s the split between free will
And determinism, still.

Take this box full of heads.
It is gift, from us to all of you.

The sun, in the yellow hue
Of light, over the earth treads.

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.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

An original menu from the last first-class lunch served aboard the ill-fated Titanic has sold for $88,000 to a private collector at an online auction. —CNN, October 2, 2015

For the last lunch on the Titanic,
the kitchen served corned beef and dumplings.
We know because one of the men
who was saved in a lifeboat
kept his menu with him,
and over a hundred years later
someone bought the old scrap of paper
for eighty-eight thousand bucks.

My friends, just in case I die tonight,
and just in case it’s a dramatic,
exciting death, I want you to know
that for lunch I had Lay’s potato chips
and a Caribbean Spice smoothie
with protein powder. I didn’t
save the menu, I know, what a bummer.
But it’s written in chalk on the wall
at Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli, and if you take
a picture, well, somewhere down the centuries
it might just make a fortune for your kids.

Unlike that lucky survivor, I don’t happen to have
a Turkish bath ticket I can send you.
Too bad. I would have loved one today.
But perhaps at auction
you can make a few extra bucks
if you throw in the knowledge
that the sunflowers were in full bloom,
and the cottonwood trees were golden,
though it was already October 3.

The whole sale would be more profitable
if only I were more famous. Sorry.
Oh yes. Two pickles. I nearly forgot to mention.
They throw them in free with the kids’ sandwiches,
but those pickles might be worth a lot to you.
I hope not many others will die in this disaster,
but know that I am aware as I write this
that there is a sweet danger brewing,
and there are no life boats.

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. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015


by Janet Leahy

SANTIAGO, Chile — Many watched in disbelief: There he was, Pope Francis, calling people in Osorno, a city in southern Chile, “dumb” for protesting against a bishop accused of being complicit in clerical sexual abuse. “The Osorno community is suffering because it’s dumb,” Pope Francis told a group of tourists on St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, because it “has let its head be filled with what politicians say, judging a bishop without any proof. . . . Don’t be led by the nose by the leftists who orchestrated all of this,” the pope said. —NY Times, October 7, 2015

As if he could watch the men
in church vestments and not remember
the first commandment of childhood
“Do Not Tell.”

As if seeing the men in long robes
would not open the dark pit of memory
the threat “Do Not Tell”
nightmares of abuse still haunt him.

As if he would not try to erase the memories
with a final forgetting
the haunting abuse never recedes
the therapist’s bridge difficult to travel.

A final forgetting looms
an escape from the commandment of childhood
the therapist’s footbridge difficult to travel
the watchman walks.

Janet Leahy lives in New Berlin, Wisconsin.  She works with several critique groups in the area and attends a poetry class facilitated by Dr. Margaret Rozga at UW Waukesha. Her poems are published in anthologies, journals, and appear at TheNewVerse.News and other on-line poetry sites.  She has two collections of poetry and is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.

Friday, October 09, 2015


by Michael Shorb

“Sen. McCain Expects A Permanent U.S. Presence In Afghanistan” —NPR headline, October 7, 2015. Photo: U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan walk away from a helicopter at Forward Operating Base Connelly in the eastern province of Nangarhar on Aug. 13. The U.S. formally ended combat operations in Afghanistan at the end of last year. But nearly 10,000 American troops remain in the country and the U.S. frequently carries out air sorties. Fourteen American military personnel have died in Afghanistan this year. Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images via NPR.

A king declared the stars
illegal, not to be seen,
each night thousands were
executed for seeing them,
the king ran out of people
before the sky ran out of stars.

21st century Samson’s
swinging a nuclear jawbone
over his head,
21st century Ahab
kills Moby Dick and lights
ten thousand lamps
ten thousand days.
21st century America’s
gonna control the middle east
with drone missile launchers
and federal air support.

I’m the news no-one listens to.
The TV droning on in a corner,
the politician proudly announcing:

“We’re in Afghanistan
for the long haul.”

Michael Shorb was a poet, fiction writer, editor, and children's book author. As an international poet, his poetry has been published in more than 100 magazines and anthologies, including TheNewVerse.News, Michigan Quarterly, The Nation, The Sun, Salzburg Poetry Review, and Kyoto Journal. He was the recipient of a PEN AWARD, won a Merit Award for the Franklin-Christoph Poetry Contest, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He lived in and loved San Francisco. Michael succumbed to GIST, a rare form of cancer in 2012.

Editor’s Note: Michael’s widoiw Judith Grogan-Shorb sent TheNewVerse.News this eerily timely poem which Michael wrote soon after the United States first invaded Afghanistan.

Thursday, October 08, 2015


by Lylanne Musselman

America has 2 many guns + 2 many assault rifles - respect for education + underpaid educators ÷ by students without discipline + a too “selfie” centered populace 2 pay attention - respect for President Obama [or anyone in authority] × a biased news media + more guns × Trump + (another) Bush + Huckabee ÷ by organized religion + climate change doubters × a polar-
ized climate + deep corporate greed - creativity in schools - critical thinking skills + more stress - genuine laughter × Reaganomics ÷ by class wars + financial stress - the middle class × mounting student debt × the working poor + prescription drugged zombies + unaffordable health care (for some) + even more guns (for more) × pro-life + votes against women’s issues ÷ by Planned Parenthood (pro-choice) - compassion - common sense - empathy for others + more and more guns × gay marriage ÷ by God + Kim Davis ÷ by Pope Francis’ U.S. visit × divisive social media threads × more social unrest + a targeted Hillary’s Bengasi + a torrid Tea Party × an un-
touchable NRA × multiple school shootings + daily drive-by shootings + theater shootings (not on the movie screen) + an anchor shot (dead) live on camera + children killing children (over a puppy) × 365 days of violence: giving even more Americans ammunition. How long will a divided (violent) country last when we keep multiplying these problems expecting an equal (safe) outcome for all?

Lylanne Musselman is an award winning poet, playwright, and artist. Her work has appeared in The New Verse News, Flying Island, The Rusty Nail, So it Goes, Issue 3, among others, and many anthologies.  One of her poems was selected for the Best of Flying Island, 2014.  In addition, Musselman has also been a Pushcart Nominee. Musselman is the author of three chapbooks and she co-authored Company of Women: New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013).

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


by Rick Mullin

The liberals were shocked and grieved
about the tête-à-tête.
The pope and that Kentucky clerk?
...Well, some were less upset.

Conservatives rejoiced as did
the silent Christian Right.
A sit-down with il Papa lent
true credence to their plight.

But then the news about a hoax,
a photo from Peru.
That prayer-meet was a football match!?
Well, everybody knew

an explanation would arrive
to wipe the tablets clear.
A memo from the Vatican.
And, sure enough, it’s here:

It seems the pope was Shanghaied by
some bishops on the ground
gone gravely rogue in Washington
or somewheres there-around

who propped Kim Davis up amidst
a group at some event
contrived for papal blessings in
a big white floppy tent.

A PR stunt by Huckabee
and flunkies of the Huck.
No big surprise, we know these guys
and recognize their shuck.

So everything is back on track.
Godspeed the Holy See.
The Family Synod starts this week.
God save the family!

Rick Mullin's most recent volume of poetry is Sonnets from the Voyage of the Beagle, published by Dos Madres Press last year.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015


by Lois Rosen

Alek Skarlatos, the Army National Guard Specialist who helped stop a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train in August, has rushed back to his hometown in Oregon after the mass shooting there on Thursday. Skarlotos, who is currently starring on ABC's Dancing With The Stars, was enrolled last year at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. He had been registered for classes on this week on campus, but postponed his education to appear on TV. —, October 2, 2015

Believe it when you see it--the National Guard 
hero from Oregon with no dance experience, or 
so they say, waltzes like a young, but broader,
crew cut Fred Astaire. That lithe. 

And why not prance, score 8 and 9 from judges
praising his maturity the week Obama decorates 
him and his two companions for tackling
and disarming the Paris train terrorist. 

He comes from Roseburg, studied at Umpqua 
Community College. How will he manage 
to learn a complicated rhumba or memorize 
a foxtrot, any dance 

when no one in that classroom tackled 
the gunman, and how does all this rah-
rah-you’re-a-hero attention after his quick 
reaction affect him? 

Lindsay, his pro partner, encouraged 
him not to be afraid to talk on camera
to a dancer, ask for a date. She won’t 
refuse you now.

Lois Rosen taught English as a Second Language at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon. Tebot Bach published her second poetry book, Nice and Loud (2015).

Monday, October 05, 2015


by Edmund Conti 

Image source: XX Factor

“You make too much for a woman, Miss.”
What stale male hell is this?

Edmund Conti is a male poet, when it suits his needs.

Sunday, October 04, 2015


by Stephen Siperstein

For Professor Lawrence Levine and the students
killed in the forty-fifth school shooting of 2015 in the U.S.

Our shadow slides across its face
like an invisible hand sealing an eye
then placing an old penny

over the blankness, copper
seeping out like an aura: since 1900
only the sixth time this has happened.

On Tuesday and Thursday
mornings, in a room that looks out
to a pastoral scene: green        

paths, geese thrumming for acorns
beneath moss-maned oaks
I, too, have taught a writing class.

Have stood up to open a door.
Have stood up to say, this is a thesis:
We are human because we hope.

And this its warrant:
If something hopes, then that
            something is human.

Have asked of students:
be vulnerable, take risks, share.
And told them: This may not

be comfortable        
            (I do not coddle them)
but together here we are safe.

Yet we know we’re not.
The unspoken assumption.
The hole in the logic, hole

             in the heart: vulnerable.

But still they stood up, they shared
their light and will again and again
when we consider together:

how could this shadow not
arrive for eighteen more years
not turn to redness such light

             that pools across our sky?

Stephen Siperstein is a poet, literary scholar, and environmental educator living in Eugene, Oregon. He is co-editor of the forthcoming volume, Teaching Climate Change in the Humanities (Routledge, 2016), and his poems have appeared most recently in ISLE, The Clearing, and Poecology. He is currently completing his PhD at the University of Oregon.


by Maryann Corbett

“Somehow this has become routine....”
                —Barack Obama

How this becomes routine, we cannot tell.
The bashful toddler’s ringlet-haloed head,
how early does it hear the songs of hell?

The nattering of talking heads, so shrill
it crawled inside the childish mind and bred?
How is this now routine? We cannot tell.

The silent, brooding boys who tripped and fell
down through the blacklight labyrinth of dread
whose only soundtrack is the song of hell?

We guess they held a hurt, its heft, its chill,
and gripped a fury till their fingers bled—
Routine, routine. This little we can tell:

Post office, movie theater, shopping mall,
and classrooms whence all understanding fled
ring with the screaming antiphons of hell.

What love, ringing its changes on the knell
of cell phones from the pockets of the dead,
must hear routine, routine? We cannot tell
how human ears unhear the songs of hell.

Maryann Corbett's third book, Mid Evil, won the 2014 Richard Wilbur Award. She lives in Saint Paul and works for the Minnesota Legislature.

Saturday, October 03, 2015


by Richard Schnap

I have seen
The candles of grief
Flickering in
The night

And I have heard
The mournful cries
Echoing in
The wind

And I have known
How it feels to learn
Life doesn’t come
For free

It carries a price
That the faceless one
Will someday collect
From you

Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.


by Maura Candela

Aerial view of the campus, the theater, the parking lot of the grammar school, the church grounds, the mall, the police, the EMTs, the stretchers, the ambulances

MSNBC, FOX coverage, press conferences, the killer’s shiftless or middle class or privileged background revealed, three-named moniker trotted out, his social media rants dissected, neighbors saying he’s a nice guy even if he dressed in camouflage, legally bought arsenal discovered in his mother's house

High school graduation photos of the victims, montage of Facebook pics, lives not lived imagined
Interviews with those who hid under bubblegum-pasted desks, velvet theater seats, folding chairs in the church meeting room, carrels in the library, those who found an exit door to grass, to rain, to lungs filling with air, with air

Later, the mothers, the fathers, the students, the churchgoers, those who forgive, those who don’t, reports of the lone hero who attacked the shooter though unarmed, the candlelight vigil, the tears, the prayers, the community pulling through, whatever that means to you, my fellow citizens, demanding the right to bear arms, not your fault, never your fault

Maura Candela's poetry has most recently been published in First Literary Review East. A short story published in The Common got a Special Mention in the Pushcart Prize XXXVII.

Friday, October 02, 2015


by Gil Hoy

Kelly Gissendaner, 47, the only woman on Georgia's death row was executed early Wednesday morning by lethal injection at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison. She was sentenced to death after being found guilty of conspiring to murder her husband in 1997. The man who carried out the kidnapping and murder, Gissendaner's then-boyfriend, Gregory Owen, received a life sentence. Dozens of supporters and death penalty opponents kept a vigil outside the state prison as Gissendaner awaited her fate. Pope Francis, an outspoken opponent of the death penalty, had urged officials to commute her death sentence. Gissendaner's execution marks the first death sentence carried out against a woman in Georgia in 70 years. She was the 16th woman executed in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. —Yahoo! News

Through human veins,
   Through what yellow flesh
Remains on the bones of
  Consistency and justice,

In frozen groves of orange
  Peaches, with worms---
Pious robes and study
  Have no paradisial power

Against the iron hammer,
The wheels
   The powerful pistons,
Pulsating levers of leveraged

Machines that    will not,
cannot, work. Callous
Callousness collides. Thrice
came the ice, no

Small dice of the role
To entice and
  Fatten the leech---
Till the red of his blood

Turns black and cold,
 Old---till she sings her
Song sorry, to be
 Told and retold.

Gil Hoy is a Boston trial lawyer and writer. He studied poetry at Boston University, while receiving a BA in Philosophy and Political Science. Gil received an MA in Government from Georgetown University and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law. He served as a Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman for four terms. His writing has appeared most recently in The Montucky Review, The Potomac, The New Verse News, The Boston Globe and The Dallas Morning News.

Thursday, October 01, 2015


by Mark Sargent

Seventeen Syrian refugees, including five children, drowned Sept. 27 when their boat sank in Turkish waters on its way to Greece. The Turkish coastguard recovered the bodies from a wooden boat that had set off from the Turkish holiday resort town of Bodrum for the Greek island of Leros, Doğan News Agency reported. The refugees drowned when they failed to get out of the boat’s cabin, the news agency said. Another 20 migrants, who were on the boat’s deck, survived and swam back to the Turkish coast, it added. All were wearing life jackets. —Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), September 27, 2015

A leaf detaches from the oak and
drifts flipping down against
the pale blue late afternoon sea below,
a lone cicada takes up a rattling solo,
the white rubble of Mavrovouni
flashes across the bay.  What
mountain?  And still the day
holds the black at bay.

Come, says the sea, enter me.
Sun stunned, lazy with heat,
we obey, para-dicing the flow
into glittering fragments that coalesce,
a phosphorescent shadow
fading in our wake.

The nation reels, nothing’s being done,
all values called into question,
the capitol seethes with plot and betrayal;
driven by hunger and war and need
thousands scramble ashore each day,
possessions and children on their backs
swelling the roads towards the next
checkpoint and north, always north,
it’s a long way from South Sudan
to Berlin, Damascus to Dijon.
Nobody wants to stop here.

Night comes with nostalgia, an ache for
a moment of clarity such as the shore lights’
glimmering fingers splayed
across the black and blacker waters,
poised to sound a Monkish chord and
every creature and the sea linger
together exhaling, tidal, stretched open
to return on the breath
to that darkling pain,
and the night whispers,
take the silence with you.

U.S. poet Mark Sargent has lived in Greece since 1990.  Two books published in 2015: The Li Ho Reflux Tour 2003; Crisis: Letters from Greece 2013-2015.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


by George Salamon

"In America, where the electoral process is drowning in commercial techniques of fund-raising and image-making, we may have completed a circle back to a selection process as unconcerned with qualifications as that which made Darius King of Persia . . . he whose horse was the first to neigh at sunrise is the King."  —Barbara Tuchman, The March of Folly.

Faces sly more than virtuous.
Words slippery more than true.
Hucksters and hustlers, narcissistic
Peddlers of the self  selected from
Political machines modeled after
Families of the Cosa Nostra.
Champions of the elite's freedom
To follow every desire, but ready
To foreclose the advance of the human
Spirit to the rest of us.

Their debates shoot-outs,
Where zingers and gaffes determine
Who sprinted ahead and who fell behind
In this sleazy horse race.

We the people of The Greatest Nation on Earth
Do not say, as ee cummings once did:
"there is some shit I will not eat."
We stuff our faces,
Sated and sluggishly sensing that
Our hearts and minds will follow.

George Salamon taught German literature and culture at several East Coast colleges, served as staff reporter for the St. Louis Business Journal and senior editor on Defense Systems Review. He published a study of Arnold Zweig's novels of Word War One and a reader in German history. He contributes to the Gateway Journalism Review, Jewish Currents and The New Verse News from St. Louis, MO.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


by Marilyn Peretti

China has said Japan is endangering peace in the region after it passed controversial laws expanding the role of its military abroad. Japan should learn "profound lessons from history", China's defence ministry said after Japan's parliamentary vote. The vote allows Japanese troops to fight overseas for the first time since the end of World War Two 70 years ago. Tensions between China and Japan have escalated in recent months over a group of islands to which both lay claim. The security laws were voted through Japan's upper house late on Friday, with 148 lawmakers voting in support and 90 against. It followed nearly 200 hours of political wrangling, with scuffles breaking out at various points between the bills' supporters and opposition members attempting to delay the vote. —BBC News, September 19, 2015

I am Senkaku,
tiny islands embattled
by China & Japan.

     Please remember
     the crack of air
     & shrieks of life

at the fulmination
of an A Bomb
burning Hiroshima.

     Please remember
     Mr. Abe, as you order
     more drones & destroyers,

fighters & amphibians,
in blind opposition to your
beloved model of pacifism.

Marilyn Peretti lives in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She has been published on The New Verse News, Christian Science Monitor, Journal of Modern Poetry, Talking River, Kyoto Journal and others. She has published several books on She takes interest in international politics, the conflict, the violence, losses, threats and sadness, still hoping leaders will make the right choices.

Monday, September 28, 2015


by Edmund Conti

Image source: DonkeyHotey


Among thirteen showy Mountebanks
The only intelligent thing
Was the hair of the Donald.


I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three Muslims.


The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
What would Ayn Rand say?


A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and  a blackbird
Are one for the books but not The Book.


I do not know which to prefer
The beauty of my  inflections
Or the beauty of my brother’s.
Or Dad whistling
Just after Reagan.


Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass
The shadow of the candidate
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
A Princeton man

O thinking men of Ohio,
Why to do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how my resume
Puts to sleep
The women about you?


I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the Bible is involved
In what I know.


When the candidate flew off the radar
Only Senator McCain
Seemed to notice.


At the sight of motorists
Merging  after  a green light,
Even the bawds of gluttony
Would cry out sharply.


She throws stones
From her glass house.
Once, a fear pierced her,
In that she mistook
The shadow of her imagination
For babies.


The tide is turning.
The candidate  must be flying
But not back to Cuba.


It was evening all afternoon
It was snowing
Even in Louisiana
The candidate sat and waited

Edmund Conti is a retired poet.  He is still looking for his golden parachute.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


by A.E. Stallings

A Syrian refugee carries his child at a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing part of the Aegean Sea from the Turkish coast, September 19, 2015. A girl believed to be five years died on Saturday and 13 other migrants were feared lost overboard after their boat sank in choppy seas off the Greek island of Lesbos, the Greek coastguard said. A second, exhausted group of around 40 people reached the island in a small boat following a traumatic journey from Turkey, having paddled through the night with their hands across 10 kilometers (six miles) of ocean after their engine failed. Hundreds of thousands of mainly Syrian refugees have braved the short but precarious crossing from Turkey to Greece's eastern islands this year, mainly in flimsy and overcrowded inflatable boats. —REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis via Yahoo! News, September 15, 2015

When some, as promised, made it to dry land,
He profited, high and dry, but others, owing
To fickle winds, or a puncture, or freak waves,
Arrived at a farther shore, another beach
Lapped by a numb forgetting, still in the clothes
Someone had washed and pressed to face the day,
And lay in attitudes much like repose.
And Charon made a killing either way,
Per child alone, 600 euros each.

A.E. Stallings is an American poet who has lived in Greece since 1999. Her most recent collection is Olives, from TriQuarterly/Northwestern University Press.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


by Philip C. Kolin

The UN humanitarian aid chief has expressed alarm after UN agencies were ordered out of rebel-held parts of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine. Stephen O'Brien said the agencies had been told to leave by Friday, and several international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) by Saturday. Pro-Russian rebels seized parts of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions last year. Almost 8,000 people have been killed since fighting erupted in eastern Ukraine in April 2014, a month after Russia annexed the southern Crimea peninsula. A ceasefire in eastern Ukraine has been holding in the past two weeks, although there have been reports of occasional shelling. —BBC News, September 25, 2015

In the Ukraine this year
it is hard to tell
crops from corpses
except for red cabbages
that bleed all over
the fields. The white heat
from exploding artillery shells
only rain compost heaps of
hearts, lungs, spleens, moans.
The Politburo keeps denying
that its soldiers have been
trying to impersonate farmers.

Philip Kolin is the  University Distinguished Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi where he also edits  the  Southern Quarterly. He has published more than 40 books on Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, African American playwrights as well as  seven collections of poems. His most recent book  is Emmett Till in Different States: A Collection of Poems forthcoming in November from Third World Press.