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Tuesday, June 28, 2016


by Jonel Abellanosa

As if no one notices yet.  Falling in places, with
Brexit like a planet aligning as the latest.  As if
Coincidence is still the most observable.  No
Doors for fleers from carnage, no asylums for
Escapers.  They’d rather say no and risk Europe’s
Fragmentation than be part of the solution, the
Greatest refugee crisis as if orbiting, our only
Home heating up like the fever of nationalism.
In my country Human Rights will be hanged, extra-
judicial exclusivity for the poor and powerless.  We
Keep divining stars as mankind, rising among us
Leaders with iron hands, lifted to power as
Messiahs, Impunity summarily executing, murder
Negating the promised change, whim from
One man the only law.  In the land of the free, where
Power is Jupiter, the worst of human nature
Quickly gains followers.  In the home of the brave,
Return to a Dark Age cheers a Demagogue.  It will
Shock me if, with this planetary pattern, the
Truest Racist won’t be enthroned in November.
Understand – not underestimate – The Cosmic                
Verity, Which (or Who) guarantees The Karmic
Whirligig.  Mars should perhaps be walled for
Xenophobes, our nostalgia for the strongman rule
Yoked to our willingness, history with the same
Zeal as the Universe granting our careful wishes

Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, The Philippines. A number of his poems have previously appeared on TheNewVerse.News.

Monday, June 27, 2016


by Jerome Betts

Image source: Mcbill’s illustration blog
As round the Hall of Fame I daily wander,
O shades of PMs past, you too are there
With legacies displayed for all to ponder −
Pitt, Peel, and Gladstone, Lloyd-George, Blair,
Disraeli, Thatcher, Attlee, Baldwin, Brown,
The bright, the dim, the strong or puny’uns –
But none so dire as Cameron, the clown
Who gambled, lost, and risked two unions.

Jerome Betts lives in Devon, England. His verse has appeared in a wide variety of British magazines and anthologies as well as UK, European, and North American web venues such as Amsterdam Quarterly, Angle, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Light, Lighten Up Online, which he now edits, TheNewVerse.News, Per Contra, The Rotary Dial and Snakeskin.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


A migrant pushes a wheelbarrow in a muddy field at a camp of makeshift shelters called the Grande Synthe jungle, near Calais in February, 2016. Thomson Reuters via Business Insider.

Cally Conan-Davies is a writer who lives by the sea.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


by Ed Shacklee

Photoshopped image by Freelancer at

Times were hard -- the fearful crowd, unruly,
felt they'd become a television serial
whose laughter track embarrassed them unduly;
they longed for prose both purple and imperial.

The promises the idol strung together
were catchy nonsense jingles if they'd listened.
Its hide, so thin, was stitched from shopworn leather.
A fool could tell it wasn't gold, but glistened;

but they were sold, for God was dead or missing -- 
the brazen moos would answer every prayer.
What did it matter what the snake was hissing?
The Trojan Horse was none of their affair.

Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia. He is working on a bestiary.

Friday, June 24, 2016


by Ed Werstein

"US Senate Response to Orlando: Nothing"
                     The Guardian, June 21, 2016

I’ve been thinking about flesh
and blood
and guts
and guns
and bullets
and assaults
on our sanity.

And I’ve been thinking about guts
and guns
and gold
and gilt
and guilt
and gullibility
and gushing blood
and the gumption
it might take
to change things.

And I’ve been thinking about how
we must not be
disgruntled enough
disgusted enough
about how we must not be
dis-gutted enough
to stop watching the news reports
to stop posting on Facebook
to stop writing ineffective
and useless poems
about it,
to finally rise up
and do something real
to change it. 

Ed Werstein spent years in manufacturing before his muse awoke and dragged herself out of bed. In addition to NVN, his poems appear at Re/Verse and Your Daily Poem. He is East Region VP for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. His chapbook Who Are We Then? was published by Partisan Press. His contact information can be found at the WFOP.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


by Heather Newman

In a frenzied state we grab house seats
at our monthly caucus disguised as lunch,
you, my friend, choose presidential three-course
espousing on your glutton free
while I count empty calories lucky.
Pretense is our nation under God
divisible by the sum of those unfortunates
multiplied by calculated ladies who agree
to disagree as they divvy up the check,
birthdays come and conventions go
to super delegated party chatter
primarily leading to swift completion
if snow or rain glooms decision day,
I vote we stay home and watch TV.

Heather Newman is a member of the South Mountain Poets (NJ) and studies with The Writer’s Studio (NYC.) Her work has been published in Two Hawks Quarterly, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and EChook, and will be featured in the upcoming anthology, Voice From Here, Vol. II.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


by G. Louis Heath

It’s very hot this June 22nd in Yuma. The a/c is
not enough. The sizzling heat stifles my breath
as I dare outside in bathing suit, to spritz my
succulents. My cactus in bloom suffers, too. I
move it into shadow, spritz it. It is a hard, hard
day on the desert when ribs of a barrel cactus
sag in distress.

A tour bus arrived from Vermont today to this
part of the national map that’s been recording
the highest temperatures in the nation. Weather
voyeurs! High temp tourists! Sheer ennui has driven
them out of a clime fit for habitation to these unending
vistas of panting lizards and rugged rock formations.
In their blazing, loud Bermuda shorts and blazing, loud
shirts and blouses, bulging like watermelons, these
invaders photograph the liquid digits aglow on the
sign atop the S and L downtown: 114 degrees! Agape!

For this they took a bus tour? What does this say about
the human condition? Could these same tourists visit
a mass grave of massacred campesinos, a record kill
in Nicaragua or Guatemala, or the killing fields of Cambodia,
with the same gee-whiz detachment? Our common history
says it’s possible. Photograph the sign. Photograph the bones.
Post the images on Facebook. All pixel offerings are savory in
the eyes of the God Facebook.

G. Louis Heath, Ph.D., Berkeley, 1969, is Emeritus Professor, Ashford University. Clinton, Iowa. He enjoys reading his poems at open mics. He often hikes along the Mississippi River, stopping to work on a poem he pulls from his back pocket, weather permitting. His books include Mutiny Does Not Happen Lightly, Long Dark River Casino and Vandals In The Bomb Factory. His most recent poems have been published in Poppy Road Review, Writing Raw, Inkstain Press, Dead Snakes, Verse-Virtual, Silver Birch Press, Poems & Poetry, and Squawkback.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


by S. Siegel

 I'll cast my vote as though I am
 electing an Interim President. She will have four years to
 articulate and hopefully deliver a progressive agenda.
 In the process, congressional seats on both sides
 of the aisle will turn over, removing the last of the Tea
 Party dregs and moving the Democratic Party (or a new
 party) in this direction. Some public officials, including
 local D precinct leaders, will be indicted on election fraud
 and the primary system will shift toward something more
 coherent and democratic, something that resembles an
 ethical vision of America.

S. Siegel lives in Oregon. His most recent book is The Constellation of Extinct Stars and Other Poems (Salmon Poetry, 2016)

Monday, June 20, 2016


by Margaret Chula

Oregon has called for federal regulators to ban trains carrying oil in the state, ramping up pressure for more stringent safety checks weeks after an oil train derailed near Portland, the first major oil-by-rail accident in a year. —Business Insider, June 16, 2016

This summer,
figs ripen too soon
and drop
their soggy pulp

in the town
where nothing
has happened

since a murder
of crows nested
in the orchard
and wiped out
the cherry crop.

On the hottest day
of the year,
wind surfers gather
on the banks
of the Columbia
hoping for a gust.

Mothers sit outside
the ice cream shop
licking cones,
for their children
to get out of school.

In the shade
of a big leaf maple,
old men drink beer
and talk about

At noon,
the sound
of the train whistle
as it rounds the bend

and then
a deeper sound,
like an empty well

as, one by one,
sixteen oil cars
tip over sideways
and burst
into flames.

Black oil
the orange poppies

      along the ground

         slithers into
            the cold river.

Author’s note: This poem was written immediately after the oil train derailment and fires in Mosier, Oregon. My husband and I were about to close on a condo there. We're actively protesting trains of Bakken crude oil passing through towns along the Columbia River.

Margaret Chula has published seven collections of poetry, including Grinding My Ink which received the Haiku Society of America Book Award. She served as poet laureate for Friends of Chamber Music in Portland, Oregon, and as president of the Tanka Society of America from 2011-2016.

Sunday, June 19, 2016


by Lynnie Gobeille

Seated at a corner table in this upscale coffee shop
I watch the folks line up.
Listen as they order lattes, double shot espressos
and coffee—black

I eye the man wearing a full length cashmere coat
his hair freshly washed and gelled.
Notice the couple to his right have their hoodies up
pulled tight, almost covering their faces.

I think of my ex-husband’s words:
“You can judge a man just by looking at his shoes.”
Look down at my old sneakers, notice polished loafers,
scuffed Frye boots & Birkenstocks.

The tall blonde woman leaning against the pastry case
shifts from foot to foot glares at the Barista
seems annoyed enough at life—
to be someone who could pull a trigger.

I change my seat—not wanting my back to the door—
wonder what kind of shoes the Virginia Tech Shooter wore.
wonder what kind of shoes the Binghamton Shooter wore.
wonder what kind of shoes the Fort Hood Shooter wore.
wonder what kind of shoes the Aurora Shooter wore.
wonder what kind of shoes the Washington Navy Yard Shooter wore.
wonder what kind of shoes the Charleston Shooter wore.
wonder what kind of shoes the San Bernardino Shooters wore.
wonder what kind of shoes the Orlando Shooter wore.

Lynnie Gobeille is passionate about poetry. She is one of the co-founders /past editor of The Origami Poems Project, a world wide “free poetry event.” She was the Editor of the Providence Journal Poetry Corner. Besides her Pro-Jo writing credits her work has been published in numerous poetry journals. Gobeille's essays and poetry can be heard on NPR This I Believe and ELFM (UK) radio. Her chapbook Life not quite Understood is available via Finishing Line Press.


by Devon Balwit

Image by Melodi2 via Answer Angels.

I write hate crime, mass shooting, extremist,
target, victim, second amendment, make
my students copy and pronounce, make
them lift their heads from their phones
and listen, all of us awkward, the ones
fasting for Ramadan, the ones who may
be gay, the ones who, secretly, do not care,
Orlando a place they’ve never heard of
in a country they barely know; they want
my language, not my history, and this lesson,
they can do without, my fumbling to do
justice to horror, while balancing the fragile
egg of blame in my tiny spoon, trying to dash
to the finish without letting it fall, homophobia,
intolerance, assault rifles, class ends and
I’ve taught something; none of us sure what.

Devon Balwit is a writer and teacher living in the Pacific Northwest.  Her work has appeared in TheNewVerse.News twice before. Her recent work has appeared or will soon in The Fog Machine, The Cape Rock, The Fem, Of(f) Course, drylandlit_press, and The Prick of the Spindle.

Saturday, June 18, 2016


by Austin Alexis

Devastated long ago by asteroids,
and now stark—
a grim, gray landscape filled with unease.
That's the damn sad moon in bereavement,
resembling the American spirit
after one-too-many catastrophes:
a harbor blasted by bombs dropped from the sky;
a mass shooting
and then another, another;
an attack—terrorist or otherwise—
on a random June morning.
Ragged, scarred, the moon replicates the American soul
stumbling from one tragedy to another,
another, and the another.

Austin Alexis's full-length collection is Privacy Issues (Broadside Lotus Press, 2014).  He has poetry and fiction most recently in the anthology Rabbit Ears: TV Poems and in the journals Home Planet News, J Journal, TheNewVerse.News, and Chiron Review


by Alejandro Escudé

the volcanic gunman     enters

laughter, banter,

the gunman

enters this club,

an alley to find,

a stall in a restroom, a passageway

Pulse— those who had to knock

a fence down

to make it out,

human lava spilling

into the rough seas

of America.

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.

Friday, June 17, 2016


by Barbara Crooker

Cartoon adapted from and image illustrating "The Trump Virus: A Daily News Brief" by Gabe Capone.

As I awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, I found
I had been transformed into a quivering sack of mucous.
Slime oozed out of every orifice, a glaze of yellow-green
the exact sheen  of Vaseline exuded from my pores.  Someone
was churning slugs into smoothies and they poured out
of my nose.  I began to watch Fox News.  I swallowed
huge globules of misinformation, and switched my vote
to Donald Trump.  Everywhere I walked, I trailed a ribbon
of glistening lies.

Barbara Crooker is the author of six books of poetry, including Small Rain (Purple Flag Press, 2014) and Barbara Crooker: Selected Poems (FutureCycle Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Ted Kooser's "American Life in Poetry," and on The Writer’s Almanac.

Thursday, June 16, 2016


by Cathleen Allyn Conway

TOM THE DANCING BUG: The Power of Congress-Man - Thoughts and Prayers

Their families and grieving loved ones are in our thoughts.
Ted Cruz abandons political correctness for $65,300 from NRA; votes for guns
The victims of the Orlando terrorist attack must remain in our prayers.

Cathy McMorris got $14,950 from NRA so we won’t be able to lean on her.
Speaker Ryan took $35k from NRA; issued statement that doesn’t mention guns.
Their families and grieving loved ones are in our thoughts.

Representative Webster got $7,950 from NRA, so he’s only using his prayers.
NRA pumped $922k into McConnell’s re-elect so he doesn’t mention guns.
The victims of the Orlando terrorist attack must remain in our prayers.

How much of a ‘paramount priority’ is it for Mike Kelly if he won’t ban AR-15s?
John Boozman got $24,618 from NRA, votes for guns.
Their families and grieving loved ones are in our thoughts.

NRA spent $2.8m to elect Joni Ernst so gun reform isn’t in her counter-strategy.
Senator Tim Scott got $13,400 from NRA, votes for guns.
The victims of the Orlando terrorist attack must remain in our prayers.

My calendar is out: When can we talk about limiting terrorists’ access to AR-15s?
Rob Portman received $596,489 from NRA, votes for guns.
Their families and grieving loved ones are in our thoughts.
The victims of the Orlando terrorist attack must remain in our prayers.

Source: Igor Volsky, Deputy Director, Center for American Progress Action Fund

Cathleen Allyn Conway is working on a PhD in creative writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is the co-editor of Plath Profiles, the only academic journal dedicated to the work of Sylvia Plath, and the founder and editor of women's protest poetry magazine Thank You For Swallowing. Her pamphlet Static Cling was published in 2012 by Dancing Girl Press. Originally from Chicago, she lives in London.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


by Gil Hoy

Seven minutes. That's how long it took me to buy an AR-15, the semiautomatic rifle used in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Seven minutes. From the moment I handed the salesperson my driver's license to the moment I passed my background check. It likely will take more time than that during the forthcoming round of vigils to respectfully read the names of the more than 100 people who were killed or injured. It's obscene. Horrifying. —by Helen Ubiñas [@NotesFromHel] The Philadelphia Inquirer Daily News, June 14, 2016. Photo: Daily News columnist Helen Ubinas with a newly purchased AR-15 semiautomatic rifle on Monday. AARON RICKETTS / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER 

For so long as the NRA
controls Congress

With its pumping poison
mutant lifeblood

Corrupting souls,
buying silence,

Innocents will
continue to die

From high-powered
weapons of war

As lone wolves sing
their rancid noteless song:

A witch’s brew of shrill
staccato tempo

That our numbed eyes
don’t hear anymore

and that tastes
forgotten anyway.

Gil Hoy is a Boston trial lawyer and is currently studying poetry at Boston University, through its Evergreen program, where he previously received a BA in Philosophy and Political Science. Hoy 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. Hoy's poetry has appeared (or is scheduled for publication) most recently in Right Hand Pointing-One Sentence Poems, The Potomac, Clark Street Review, TheNewVerse.News and The Penmen Review.


Gerard Sarnat is the author of four collections: Homeless Chronicles from Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014) and Melting The Ice King (2016). Harvard and Stanford educated, Gerry’s worked in jails, built and staffed clinics for the marginalized and been a CEO of healthcare organizations and Stanford Medical School professor. Married since 1969, he and his wife have three children and three grandkids.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


by Jim Gustafson

Khartoon! by KhalidAlbaih #Orlando Shooter is A Muslim #Trump #ISIS

Is it too soon to comment?
This morning I read 20 killed, now 49.
I feel no different. I have grown numb
to numbers. One or 49, too many,
and always the guns. I prayed
let the shooters name be Smith or Jones,
thinking that might slow the swelling
hate that now will surely come.
This world is no different than the world
of The Book, the one we share.
How dare anyone make a fool a norm,
and the misguided an example.
But they will come now shouting,
“I told you so.” They will use the spent shell
casings to build their case.
How strange I was to think it could be
other than what it is.

Jim Gustafson holds a M. Div. from Garrett Theological Seminary in his home town of Evanston, Illinois and an MFA from the University of Tampa. He is the author of two previous books, a chapbook Driving Home, (Aldrich Press, 2013), and a collection of essays Take Fun Seriously (Limitless Press, 2008). His collection Drains and Other Depressions will be available from Big Table Publishing in early 2017.


by James M. Croteau

New Orleans firefighters in 1973 assisting a patron of the UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar that had been set on fire. Thirty-two people died in the attack. AP Photo via The New York Times, June 13 2016

We skipped Pride to pack
for our annual Maine trip.
We left about 7AM and
on the on-ramp to I-94
we first heard:

at least 20 dead and 42 injured,
another shooting, Orlando,
a nightclub. This will be
our 27th trip  to Ogunquit.
Our first was 31 years ago.

We've never been there with
the right to be married. We
stopped for lunch just past 1 o'clock
at a Panera east of Cleveland.
I walked our dogs. My partner

went to get food. He returned
with 50 dead and 53 injured, and
at a gay bar. I google news from my iPhone--
the largest mass shooting in US history.
I also know it's the largest mass killing

of LGBT people in US history because
only five years ago I learned of the story
of Upstairs Lounge arson in New Orleans
during Pride month 43 years ago. It took
16 minutes to extinguish the fire and 32

of our lives. I turned to Facebook  feeling
my stolen youth raw and inflamed
again. I get reminded of Wounded Knee.
The biggest depends on how and who
defines what.  The army, with the

semi-automatic weapons of 1890,
massacred at least 150, maybe 300
people. I'll be 60 in three months.
It's near 4, and we're at a toll booth
near the outskirts of Buffalo.

James M. Croteau lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan with his partner of 31 years, Darryl, and their two Labrador retrievers. Jim grew up gay and Catholic in the U.S. south in the 60s and 70s and his writing often reflects that experience. His poems have appeared in TheNewVerse.News, Right Hand Pointing, Queer South: LGBTQ Writers on the American South and Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry among others. His first chapbook will be published by Redbird Chapbooks in 2016. 


by Robert Carr 

Mommy, I’m frightened, Sunday morning
as I reach for my pretty, the beaded strings
I hide in a jar. Mommy I love you
There’s a noise rat-tatting in my head.

It pops, repetitive, like skulls beneath a tire, a 911
voice compressing sound into solid. I hold
a steering wheel caught up in a Pulse, In club they
shooting, in broken maricόn light, in butterfly wing

soft eye-shadow – I imagine two toddlers
wobbling, one pink, one blue, diaper-clad,
running a median, dysphoric in Orlando
along a broken – white – line. U ok

If I wasn’t fucked for being pussy I would slam
my break, hit hazards, drop to a knee on asphalt, hold
them equally, urge them gently – Trapp in bathroom

Set your burned soles in the squat of my hips,
climb on my shoulders, together we’ll make
a larger shadow as we stand.

Robert Carr is the author of Amaranth, a chapbook published in 2016 by Indolent Books. His poems are published in Radius: Poetry from the Center to the Edge, Pretty Owl Poetry, White Stag Journal, The Pickled Body, The Good Men Project, Dark Matter Journal, Canary Literary Magazine, Bewildering Stories and numerous other publications.