Tuesday, November 25, 2014

FERGUSON 2014

by Alan Catlin



Image source: KMBC

Beneath Seasons Greetings banner/
sign spanning Ferguson Missouri
street, armored cars, police behind
plastic shields, slow marching into
unruly crowds doused by tear gas
blasts, bean bag volleys, protestors
carrying Stop the Killing signs, street
fires burning, small arms fire,
no indictment tonight.


Alan Catlin has published numerous chapbooks and full-length books of poetry and prose, the latest of which, from Pygmy Forest Press, is Alien Nation.

Monday, November 24, 2014

PARTIAL CLEARING

by Judith Terzi


Oscar Alfaro embraces his wife Enriquta Juarez and his daughter Gelin Alfaro after Obama’s televised immigration speech. Photograph: Jose Luis Magana/AP via The Guardian


and Woody Guthrie's "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos"


Jesús and María,
step out of the shadows,
look up at the mountain,
the cedar, the pine.
Refresh in the streams
that line your palm,
your brow. Don't stoop
in the furrows, the rows.
Rise up in the orchards,
the vineyards, the fields.
The fruit, it is sweet,
the lettuce not rotting.
Crawl out of the caverns
that nurture tristeza,
despair. The skies
are clearing, relinquish
your fear at least for now.
Gather carnations
from earth that you've
plowed, from gardens
in cities you've loved
then left. The laughter
of children, it scatters
like petals, like leaves.
Oh Jesús y María,
Rosalita and Juan,
you are not deportees.


Judith Terzi is the author of Sharing Tabouli and Ghazal for a Chambermaid (Finishing Line). Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in BorderSenses, The Raintown ReviewTimes They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s (She Writes), TRIVIA: Voices of FeminismWide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque), and elsewhere. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and Web. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

GROUND RULE

by Esther Greenleaf Murer






The common or garden good is a weed
strayed from a Communist plot.
Don’t believe those who loudly proclaim that we need
the common or garden good; it’s a weed
that threatens to crowd out the flowers of greed
by claiming our gains are ill-got.
So root out that noisome and noxious weed—
send it back to its commie plot.


Esther Greenleaf Murer is a relic of the 20th century. She lives in Philadelphia.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

WE ARE THE FLAMES

by Adrian Ernesto Cepeda



A demonstration to demand authorities find 43 missing college students, in Mexico City, this week. Mexico officially lists more than 22 thousand people as having gone missing since the start of the country's drug war in 2006, and the search for the missing students has turned up other, unrelated mass graves.



Hear us strike our match,
our voices glowing
over this capital—
our lower case demands
will only grow louder,
nuestras voces ponderosas
hear us from your palace,
so much fuel in our voices
your quiet fuels to inspire us—
our marching bellow.
The world welcomes
our fire united we, students
as sisters and brothers,
together— you will hear
our loudest uprising.
Somos la llama de Mexico.
Wrapped in our flags
colors of green, white
and red; spirit of águila’s—
We Are The Flames.
El cielo can feel us—
our spirits uniting?
Your silence
will never divide this city,
our country—
Presidente, you will
remember our names.


Adrian Ernesto Cepeda is an L.A. poet whose work appears in the new True Romance Poems collection, 1000 Tankas for Michael Brown, The Lake Poetry, Edgar Allen Poet Journal # 2, Fukushima Poetry Anthology, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, Spilt Ink Poetry, Luna Luna Magazine’s Latino Poetry Project, Love Poetry Lovers, ZO Magazine, Oddball Magazine, The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society, Men's Heartbreak Anthology and in the soon to be released publications: Purrfect Poetry Anthology and Poetry in Motion’s collection Poems to Fuck To. He is currently enrolled in the MFA Graduate program at Antioch University in Los Angeles.

Friday, November 21, 2014

DEATH RETREATS

by Paul Smith



“Those who have been watching the clashes in Kobani and the coalition’s airstrikes minute by minute insist that the military balance has decidedly turned against IS. Particularly after IS withdrew from the Mishtanur hill that dominates Kobani from the east, and the People's Protection Units (YPG) advanced to control the road that IS used as its main supply line coming from Raqqa, it became apparent that the military balance was in favor of the defenders of Kobani.” --Cengiz Çandar, “Watching Kobani,” Al-Monitor, November 18, 2014. Image: A Kurdish man uses binoculars to watch fighting in Kobani, from the village of Mursitpinar, on October 6, 2014. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)



Death is retreating
You can hear his footsteps
In the market
The rubble at Asayesh
In the hospital
Shrapnel
Flying out of a corpse
In the souk
Tents and rugs torn
Into shreds of fuzz
Death is on the run
His footprints craters
Fleeing across Tel Shair Hill


Paul Smith writes fiction and poetry.  He belongs to the Rockford Writers' Guild.  He likes to read about news from all over the world.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

STUD MUFFIN

by James Penha


“A bull branded gay, has been saved from the slaughterhouse by charity donations, including £5,000 from Sam Simon, co-creator of the Simpsons. . . . Benjy, from County Mayo, Ireland, was destined for the abattoir after showing more interest in breeding with other bulls than cows." --BBC News, November 18, 2014. Photo by Joanna McNicholas accompanying the BBC story.


The great white bull is no Moby Dick:
no taste for violence, no hunger
for limbs, no desire to judge black
from his own white, no passion
for bovine of the opposite sex; just
a yen for grass and peace
and an eye for the other studs.
The farmer called it queer, raised
his arms to slaughter this beast
that knows nothing of appetites.


James Penha edits The New Verse News.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

REBEL RECRUITS

by Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote




Vulnerable youth conceived in poverty
Prime target uncivil war combatants
Desperate underage struggle too easily
Manipulated brainwashed drugged forced submission

Hungry for attention affection acceptance
Needing sense of belonging diversion
Exploited as sex slaves spies
Human shields cooks pregnant wives

Unwanted offspring rescued from abortion
        To be sacrificial misbegotten martyrs
Both innocent victims guilty perpetrators
Carrying out barbaric violent acts

Indoctrinated to commit atrocities without
Flinching first kill your family
Relatives neighbors never to return
Crybabies humiliated emotional outburst taboo

Conditioned response demonstrating fearless bravado
Nevertheless dying as helpless kids
Uneducated unable undone unanswered prayers
Resurrected displaced lives forever stigmatized

Our global eradication goal to
Eliminate poverty provide educational options
From evolution to unforgettable revolution
Restoring former child’s damaged psyche


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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

ON RAY RICE

A poem, 
found among comments on YouTube responding to the Ray Rice video,
by Melissa Fite Johnson






Dumb bitch started it.  Cunt
ruined his career.  Too bad
he didn’t break her fucking jaw off.
Act like a man, try and hit one,
get treated like a man.  This is what
equality looks like.  Girls
are as much of a threat
as guys.  She slapped him first.
She’s the aggressor.  What the fuck
do you see?  A man beating
his woman?  He defended himself
against a human being with
the potential to hurt him.
All those white feminists need to
shut the fuck up.  Period.  This is
what equality looks like.  It probably
wasn't his intention to knock her out,
but shit happens.  She should've
thought of that before assaulting
an NFL player.  A woman
deserves equal rights.
She has to take responsibility
for her actions.  She had it coming.
This is what equality looks like.


Melissa Fite Johnson teaches English at Pittsburg High School in Kansas.  She’s had poetry published in Cave Region Review, The Little Balkans Review, and Inscape Magazine, as well as in the Kansas Notable Book poetry collection To the Stars Through Difficulties. The Little Balkans Press will publish her first book of poetry While the Kettle’s On this year. Melissa and her husband, Marc, live in Pittsburg with their dog and several chickens.

Monday, November 17, 2014

ANITH JONES OF MERRILLVILLE

by Patrick Cole



Anith Jones of Merrillville. Image source: NBC Chicago / Twitter


Afrikka Hardy in Hammond Indiana.
Strangled in a Motel 6.
A woman whose body was found.

Anith Jones of Merrillville.
Missing since October 8.
A person later discovered.

Names enforce anonymity. And the
other words about the murdered
have their rhythm, an odd tick-tocking
bone-xylophone: logic plays drums,
not strings, brass or woodwinds.

A second victim had been identified,
the keyboard scats in rigid clacks.
The coroner’s office on Sunday said
the woman was 19.  A man, 43,
admitted to the killing. Police arrived
and searched the empty home.
Her wounds were left unspecified,
and the death was ruled a homicide. They
discovered Hardy's body 9:30 p.m. on Friday.

It shuts you up, living thing. No comment.
So much impossible to know. Care rots like
old rubber, hardens, cannot bounce. Our glory
was just being here – but we are tainted by
the inevitable, the possible, the likely and the
unlikely, all equally.

It’s too bad the newspapers collapsed –
they could be folded, and maybe smacked
on a table, or if called for, burned in a rusty barrel.
But even when left alone, on bended shelves or
concrete floors, they always faded, they had

that decency, to molder, silent, away.


A story by Patrick Cole appears in the Writing That Risks anthology, and others were in recent issues of The Conium Review, Conclave, and Rivet. His work has also been published in Parcel (Pushcart Prize nominee), High Plains Literary Review (also a Pushcart Prize nominee), Agni online, Nimrod International, 34th Parallel, and turnrow. Cole’s one-act play was a finalist in the Knock International Play Competition and was produced in Seattle.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

LA MOTHER'S LAMENT

by JeanMarie VanDine



Ron Chapple/Getty Images


Another Saturday night
someone dies
in this welt of a town.
Black, brown.
Someone goes down.
Someone’s prized son
never reaches twenty-one.
Like the crow of the rooster,
the call comes before the sun rises.
Beacons glare in black puddles
on a balmy summer night.
Rage plays like an oldie,
under a skipping needle.
Brothers, like broken glass,
can’t mend themselves.
Mothers can’t restrain
their young,
pit bulls yanking
on choke chains.
Tears fall, fade
like chalk marks
on asphalt.


JeanMarie VanDine lives in Southern California, and has taught English in urban high schools—where she has witnessed the loss of many young men—due to violence.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

MIDNIGHT SQUATTERS

by Donal Mahoney



Image source: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz via International Business Times



Homeless man
in a Trayvon hoodie
under an old raincoat,
a gift today from

the Salvation Army,
sits like a capital L
against the wall
of a downtown bank

while a homeless cat
strolls around him,
hoping for bits of ham
from the gnawed remains

of yesterday's sandwich
as happens many nights
when the cat visits him
despite no bell or kettle.


Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in various publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Friday, November 14, 2014

EATING BREAKFAST AT COLONIAL AND READING HARPER'S ON THE EGG WARS

by Joan Colby



Meme source: Twitter



Reading how the hens suffer
Crammed by the thousands in metal cages,
Stacked stories high,
The air thick with dust and feathers,
Beaks clipped, thin necks bloody,
The dying decaying beneath calloused claws,
Adhering like bathmats to the wire floors.
Forced to lay seven times the norm,
Until spent, to be seized
By the handsful, gassed and ground
For pet food. Never seeing sunlight
Or spreading wings or nesting in trees
Or taking dustbaths or establishing
The pecking order. Reading that to guarantee
A normal chicken life would mean
Paying triple or more for this
Scrambled plate, I tell you
I’d pay whatever it costs to let them be
Chickens scratching in the dirt, how maybe we
Should set up the nesting boxes
In our old coop and get some
Leghorns, though I know we won’t
Bother really, and much as I abhor
What I am reading, there’s the long distance
Between slick paper and the
Long, long barns and my fork.


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.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

ADAM'S FALL

by Ellen Devlin



The life-size marble statue of Adam, carved by Tullio Lombardo (Italian, ca. 1455–1532), is among the most important works of art from Renaissance Venice to be found outside that city today. In 2002, Adam was gravely damaged in an accident. Committed to returning it to public view, the Museum undertook a conservation treatment that has restored the sculpture to its original appearance to the fullest extent possible. --The Metropolitan Museum of Art

No one knows
if Adam Accidental
fell this time
or was pushed.
His head broke

off, perfect torso
skittered across
the Metropolitan
patio, Adam fragments
found, but not Eve.

In the first fall,
Adam Deliberate yanked
that apple off
with purpose, kept
his footing. Unharmed

in the filming,
First Father still,
Eve, whole as
he, five minutes
before, glistening

under the new sun,
in the god's-eye
camera, ( restoration
experts say) became
Eve Egregious.


Ellen Devlin has studied poetry at the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, Hudson Valley Writers Center and Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Poet's Lore, New Ohio Review, Women's Studies Quarterly, Redactions, Helix, Passager, The Lost River Review, as well as online in The New Verse News.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A DEATH IN GUERRERO

by Howard Pflanzer



Ayotzinapa, Mexico -- Students, parents, friends and residents of this town in southern Mexico are demanding justice in the case of a slain student they say was the victim of horrific torture. The slaying of Julio Cesar Mondragon, the shooting deaths of three of his fellow students and the disappearance of 43 others in Iguala, Mexico, are sending shock waves across the nation. What happened to Mondragon is difficult to describe. Those who knew the victim are outraged and fearful. The body of the 22-year-old college student was found lying on a street in Iguala in the early hours of September 27. The skin of his face had been peeled off and his eyes gouged out, according to witnesses and relatives who spoke to CNN. --Rafael Romo, CNN, November 6, 2014. Image source: Twitter.


I am Julio Cesar Mondragon
A student
Murdered by a hitman in Guerrero Mexico
My face gouged and bloody
Eye sockets staring at the sky
I came here to study
My family was poor
I had no other choice
An opportunity to change my life
Struck down with one blow
I was in the wrong place
At the wrong time
On a bus traveling to my death
My empty eyes stare at you
Pleading
Give me back my life.
                                                                                           

Howard Pflanzer is a poet and playwright.  He has performed his edgy short poetic plays and poetry Dead Birds or Avian Blues (published by Fly By Night Press in 2011) at  KGB, The Living Theatre, Theaterlab, A Gathering of the Tribes, LaMaMa and the Cornelia Street Café in New York. His hybrid performance piece Walt Whitman Opera adapted from Whitman’s poetry with music by Constance Cooper, was presented at the undergroundzero festival in New York this past July. He was featured poet in November 2013 of The Poetry Company.  His award winning plays and musicals have been performed at LaMaMa (The House of Nancy Dunn with Steve Weisberg/Andy Craft), Playwrights Horizons, Symphony Space, Medicine Show, Kraine Theater (Cocaine Dreams), The Living Theatre and broadcast over WBAI and WNYC FM. His multi-media theatre piece Alien created in collaboration with Teatr Palmera Eldritcha in Poland was presented at the 2011 Malta International Theatre Festival.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ON NOVEMBER 11

by Gil Hoy


"Custer's Last Stand" by Harold von Schmidt. Image source: Smithsonian.


Veterans Day Weekend 2014


On November 11, honor the brave dead

from Afghanistan and Iraq, heroes against
German and Japanese imperialism

and the sacrificed souls in “the war to end
all wars.”

But also thank Custer’s soldiers
for not completing the genocide.

I went to bed and dreamt that Sitting Bull
saw Hiroshima and Nagasaki
in a vision quest

and then dropped an A-Bomb on Washington, D.C.

to stop invading Custer
from killing his women and children
like so many insects.

Upon awakening, I discovered that America
attacked Iraq for weapons of mass destruction

after murderous
pecuniary munitions manufacturers
crumbled twin towers
with their boomerang missiles

because recipients of evil often do evil in return.

Russian troops rhythmically
marched in the Ukraine,
a cruel video
beheaded a journalist,

ruinous bombs reined down
on rubbled villages of the weak,
and a bullet to a private’s leg became gangrene
as sepsis spread to amputation and death.

An obscure philosophy book said
that Custer should have refused
to attack renegades

because the Black Hills were the Lakota’s by treaty

and that God had ordered Custer’s men to lay down
their weapons or be shot for insubordination.

By river rapids, a sweating grimacing squaw
watched the blue cavalry approach as
she gave birth to a red son,

who drew his first breath,
wailed loudly and coveted white milk.


Gil Hoy received a B.A in Philosophy from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a law degree from the University of Virginia. Gil also is an elected member of the Brookline, MA Democratic Town Committee, and served as a Brookline Selectman for 12 years. Gil studied poetry at Boston University, and started writing his own poetry in February of this year. Since then, Gil’s poems have been published in Soul Fountain, The New Verse News, The Story Teller Magazine, the Clark Street Review, Eye On Life Magazine, and Stepping Stones Magazine.

Monday, November 10, 2014

'NAM POSTSCRIPT

by Richard O'Connell






Veterans Day Weekend 2014


Now the tunnel at the end of the light
Perceived: no one won, no one was right;
No one lost, but the dead and maimed
Suffered all for the armistice gained.


Richard O'Connell lives in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Collections of his poetry include RetroWorlds, Simulations, Voyages, and The Bright Tower, all published by the University of Salzburg Press (now Poetry Salzburg). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, National Review, The Paris Review, Measure, Acumen

Sunday, November 09, 2014

HERO

by Peg Quinn



Image source: 1stdibs

 
Veterans Day Weekend 2014


easing back
as morphine
soothes his system
he remembers
the Great Depression

walking to school
through snow
without a coat
in shoes
that didn’t match
he drifts

to Guadalcanal
his tank under fire
the slow motion of
body parts in the water
the gunner’s beheading
crimes never mentioned
until his wife’s death
sixty years later

somewhere
his box of medals

now his mind turns bedside
his infant son
an iron lung
polio
the good man
he would become

wife’s smile
swirls the room

he smiles back
remembering
fields and farms from
their Piper Cub
tandem seating
their carnival of friends
ferris wheels
of laughter

his good fortune

the landscape of his
life a clean horizon

this night,
straining through pain
between tabs of morphine
he finds the faded
Navajo rug bought
from the back of a truck
their honeymoon stop
near Santa Fe
the light in the eyes
of his spunky bride
that night
under stars

he tosses the rug
to the garage floor

drops down hard

steadies the gun
metal to mouth

as he remembers

paying full price
without bargaining


Peg Quinn is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, mural and theatrical set painter, award winning quilter and art specialists at a private school in Santa Barbara, California.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

THE WAR COMES HOME

by George Snedeker




Veterans Day Weekend 2014


Many came.
The preacher spoke.
Hearts were broken.
Mourners had nowhere to turn.

With money earned
and with bodies burned.
Someday they will learn
what there is to learn.

Families and friends came to the funeral.
The body was shipped home
with a flag draped over the box.

Tuition paid
for a college education.
He hoped to find a job.
That was his hope,
so many hopes,
all gone now.

Fallen on the battle field:
a post office was named for him,
as if that meant anything.


George Snedeker has published scholarly articles in the areas of social theory and Literary Criticism as well as short stories and poems. His poems have appeared in both literary magazines and sociology journals. His book The Politics of Critical Theory, published in 2004, received several positive reviews in scholarly journals. His satirical novel about college life The Cutting Edge was published under the pen name of David Lansky in 2013. He is the book review editor of the journal Socialism and Democracy and  has served on its editorial board since 1985.

Friday, November 07, 2014

WOEFUL MISERY

by Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote




Amnesty International published a report early Wednesday accusing Israel of war crimes in its 50-day war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip this summer, saying its military showed “callous indifference” to civilians in airstrikes on homes that felled entire families. NY Times, November 4, 2014


Global sympathies aroused supporting disheartened
Palestinians constantly suffering imposed indignities
Humiliated confused cheated cursed outraged
Only recourse uncivil wronged rights

Born into unfortunate misbegotten circumstance
In-denial bias prejudice intolerance narrow-mindedness
Everything old is new again
Long deserving own sovereign homeland

There are more than fifty
Israel laws that discriminate against
Palestinian citizens of Israel including
Land access education criminal procedures

Nakba Catastrophe Palestine’s native inhabitants
Were turned into stateless refugees
Second class non-citizens driven out
Apartheid however you label it

Profound inequality enforcing conspiracy laws
Series of walls military checkpoints
Separating displaced refugees West Bank
Gaza Strip Golan Heights families

Twisted armlock crying Uncle Sam
Ungrateful one time too many
Lobbyists playing politricks mistreated threats
Unsettled grievances claiming tsouris heartburn


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

Thursday, November 06, 2014

IT ISN'T EASY BEING FAMOUS THESE DAYS

by Michael Cantor




I wonder how it feels to be inned;                              
named as a closet straight, extinct, passé,
who never played the games you seemed to play.
What if some sleaze-bag-tabloid-bag-of-wind
rescinds all notions that you’ve ever sinned,
and hints and winks and rumors all convey
the message from Manhattan to L.A.
that you’re sober, steady, disciplined.
And if the vicious rumors multiply –
no drugs, no drinks, no series of affairs –
if out is in, and in is forced to lie,
and nothing quite makes sense, and no cares  
about you, just about how you appear,
what impact would this have on your career?

What impact could this have on your career?
You’ve worked so hard to make yourself seem twisted –
the haggard pouts and all night flings, two-fisted
slugs of drugs and booze, a constant sneer –
your photos and your tweets helped engineer
a life whose self-indulgences were listed
as evidence that you, indeed, existed,
if only on the tube, out there, somewhere.
But now it seems exposed as parody:
or so the critics claim – and they should know –
your singer-dancer-fashionista show
is dead as dead can be on Junk TV,
for in a world that dines on out and in,
being inned means you can never win.


Michael Cantor’s full-length collection, Life in the Second Circle (Able Muse Press, 2012), was a finalist for the 2013 Massachusetts Book Award for Poetry.  A chapbook, The Performer, was published in 2007; his work has appeared in The Dark Horse, Measure, Raintown Review, SCR, ChimaeraThe Flea, and he has won the New England Poetry Club Gretchen Warren and Erika Mumford prizes.  A native New Yorker, he has lived and worked in Japan, Latin America and Europe, and presently divides his time between hurricane-threatened Plum IslandMA, and drought-threatened Santa FeNM