Guidelines



Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at]gmail.com. No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Friday, December 09, 2022

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE...

by Darcy Grabenstein



 

They plastered their hate-filled propaganda
on walls, on posts, anywhere, everywhere
They started with boycotts of businesses
They isolated us, segregated in ghettos
They labeled us with yellow patches
They pilfered property, possessions
They ruthlessly humiliated us
They herded us like cattle
to concentration camps
Working us mercilessly
through illness, hunger
The cruelly conducted
medical experiments
They implemented
the ”Final Solution”
Until we could not
gasp for breath.
They attempt coups at the Capitol
and across the pond in Germany
 
They slaughter innocents
in nightclubs
synagogues
mosques
churches
 
They ban books
they ban choices
they ban love
 
They’re just warming up.
 
And that chills me to my bones.


Always a lover of words, Darcy Grabenstein started her career in journalism. Now a marketing writer by profession, she turns to poetry as a creative outlet. Darcy is a contributing writer for the thINKingDANCE. She has had works published on RitualWell.org and in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

REVENGE

by Howie Good




Antisemitic hate crimes in New York City more than doubled last month from a year ago, NYPD data show — a troubling trend that unfolded against a backdrop of high-profile figures making headlines for remarks targeting Jewish people. —New York Daily News, December 5, 2022


The nicely dressed grandmother
seated next to me at the holiday concert
began to complain under her breath
when the high school orchestra
broke into the Chanukkah song “Dreidel Dreidel”
after 40 minutes of Christmas music.
It’s a good thing I’m accustomed
since an early age to cringing inside.
My father, after the factory permanently closed,
would just stare at the TV for hours,
a broken man, morose, prostrate, unshaven.
Out of the corner of my eye
I examined the still muttering woman
and for once wished that life
was like the plot of one of those
direct-to-video Bruce Willis actioners—
blah blah, pow pow.


Howie Good's latest poetry book is The Horses Were Beautiful (2022), available from Grey Book Press. Redhawk Publications is publishing his collection Swimming in Oblivion: New and Selected Poems later this year.

Thursday, December 08, 2022

WHITE PAPER

by Alexis Krasilovsky


Photocollage by the poet.


Blank sheets of white paper were a symbol of defiance over the weekend as Chinese protesters braved likely prosecution to openly oppose the government's policy of zero tolerance for COVID and public dissent. Newsweek, November 28, 2022.  China has rolled back its most severe Covid policies—including forcing people into quarantine camps—just a week after landmark protests against the strict controls. —BBC, December 7, 2022



the white hibiscus
moves in solidarity
with the protesters
who hoist white posters
of invisible slogans
perfumed with freedom.


Alexis Krasilovsky was born in Alaska, survived sexual assault at gunpoint, knows what it’s like to be completely deaf, and has traveled to over twenty countries. Educated at Yale and CalArts (MFA Film/Video), Krasilovsky is the author of “Watermelon Linguistics: New and Selected Poems” (Cyberwit – finalist, 2022 International Book Awards) and other books. Her award-winning poetry film, "The Parking Lot of Dreams" (2021) has screened in over a dozen festivals worldwide.

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

OLD MAN IN WINTER

by George Salamon


CBS News Sacramento


You live long enough
you're no longer afraid
of death, but of what
life can still do to you.


George Salamon lives in St. Louis, MO, and had his 88th birthday in October.  

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

SOME MEMORIES OF THE QATAR GAMES

by Sister Lou Ella Hickman, I.W.B.S.


A woman holds up sign reading Woman Life Freedom, prior to the World Cup group B soccer match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in in Doha, Qatar, Nov. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)


armbands 
hands covering mouths 
wales a flag 
a falling star 
silent voices for a national song 
(did you know the team and their families were threatened) 
silence for a dead lady 
signs for “Women, Life, Freedom”  
“no politics in sports” the cry
yet politiká in greece where sports also ruled 
a word for a network and affairs of the cities 
a small world if you will 
our world now 
in a game 
where the boundaries of freedom’s speech 
end and begin 
now  
who will speak for those who died building 


Sister Lou Ella has a master’s in theology from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and is a former teacher and librarian. She is a certified spiritual director as well as a poet and writer.  Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines such as America, First Things, Emmanuel, Third Wednesday, and The New Verse News as well as in four anthologies: The Night’s Magician: Poems about the Moon, edited by Philip Kolin and Sue Brannan Walker, Down to the Dark River edited by Philip Kolin, Secrets edited by Sue Brannan Walker and After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery for Life-Shattering Events edited by Tom Lombardo. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2017 and in 2020. Her first book of poetry entitled she: robed and wordless was published in 2015 (Press 53.) On May 11, 2021, five poems from her book which had been set to music by James Lee III were performed by the opera star Susanna Phillips, star clarinetist Anthony McGill, pianist Mayra Huang at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. The group of songs is entitled “Chavah’s Daughters Speak.”

Monday, December 05, 2022

GREAT MEN

by Kyle Gervais




Consider greatness.
A great man must have a following, and this is true,
as death, of Trump, who pulls like a fear-blind buffalo
the pressed herd onward, downward, over the land’s edge
to an imagined security. Kanye too is great,
is he not, in his crazy rage, and a yearning
turning, centrifuge fast, to an ever darker love?
But Elon’s greatness outpaces even these, demonstrably, incontrovertibly, 
one hundred twenty million 
massed numbers following him where he flutters, of all
such vast images that are not good, but great,
today the greatest.


Kyle Gervais teaches Classical Studies at the University of Western Ontario in London, where he lives with his husband and two cats. He has poems in ArionCanadian Literature, Classical OutlookEunoia Review, The New Verse News, Litbreak MagazinePRISM international, and elsewhere.

Sunday, December 04, 2022

CLIMATE CHANGE

by Art Goodtimes




The petro-
geomorphic freight train
keeps chugging along
 
dragging
the ionosphere behind itki
like a superhero cape
caught on a junkyard Edsel


Author’s Note: “Ki” is a grammatical neologism Indigenous science writer Robin Wall Kimmerer advocates for using in place of “it”, “its”, “it’s” or “itself” to help correct English’s objectification of phenomena when speaking of objects in the natural world. The neologist term is harvested from the last syllable of a longer word in Potawatomi for an “earth being.” 
     As a pre-school teacher I learned that we humans learn best by going through the known to the unknown. Instead of substituting “ki” for “it”, I’ve chosen to add the Indigenous neologism to our neutral English pronoun as a suffix, changing the way we speak of things in English from inanimate to animate. 
     Indeed, that syllable, “ki”, is a Potawatomi suffix meaning “from the living earth.” Thus, itki means that even what English sees as gender-neutral objects are in some sense alive.


Art Goodtimes, poet, basketweaver, former preschool teacher and Green Party social activist, served as San Miguel County Commissioner (1996–2016) and Western Slope Poet Laureate (2011–2013). Poetry editor emeritus for Earth First! Journal, Wild Earth, and the Mountain Gazette, he is currently poetry editor for Fungi and Sage Green Journal.

COMING UP

by Chad Parenteau




Trump, Kanye
and a ghost
of others who
the former
President has
never seen
without sheets.
Also, Milo
Yiannopoulos
going Jews
for Jesus
slicing
Semitic bits
to trade
for bodies
of Christ.
A pride
of people
fine to be
on same side
until not.
And also,
why this
is bad for
Joe Biden.


Chad Parenteau hosts Boston's long-running Stone Soup Poetry series. His latest collection is The Collapsed Bookshelf. His poetry has appeared in journals such as Résonancee, Molecule, Ibbetson Street, Cape Cod Poetry Review, Tell-Tale Inklings, Off The Coast, The Skinny Poetry JournalNixes Mate Review, and the anthology Reimagine America from Vagabond Books. He serves as Associate Editor of the online journal Oddball Magazine.

Saturday, December 03, 2022

BALL OF MIRTH

by Dick Altman


As if the fate of nations
hung in the balance,
World Cup enters its final laps.
Though it would bring a smile,
if my hometown America
took home the gold,
I neither hold my breath
nor torture myself
over the outcome.
 
Because, in my eyes, soccer
is less about winning,
than the friendships
that encircle the ball,
whatever color of foot,
language or nationality.
 
I motorcycle—
between grad school
and college—
across Europe.
On my luggage rack,
tied in a net,
a soccer ball.
On every beach,
every campsite,
the ball serves as the key
to a kingdom of friendships.
 
The night I visit Greece’s Delphi,
mythical home of the Oracle,
I doubt even she could
have predicted what would
happen as I slept.
Someone likely too poor
to own a ball of their own
burns—likely with a cigarette—
a hole in the net
and steals the ball.
 
This—after five-thousand
kilometers starting in Amsterdam.
I could only smile.
What they really stole
was the fun—and I,
kid of twenty-two,
on a fantasy trip
most my age
could only dream about,
could afford to share
a ball that would,
in days, months,
even years to come,
produce,
in every dribble and kick,
unyielding rounds of mirth.


Dick Altman writes in the high, thin, magical air of Santa Fe, NM, where, at 7,000 feet, reality and imagination often blur. He is published in Santa Fe Literary Review, American Journal of Poetry, riverSedge, Fredericksburg Literary Review, Foliate Oak, Blue Line, THE Magazine, Humana obscura, The Offbeat, Haunted Waters Press, Split Rock Review, The RavensPerch, Beyond Words, The New Verse News, Sky Island Journal, and others here and abroad. A poetry winner of Santa Fe New Mexican’s annual literary competition, he has in progress two collections of some 100 published poems. His work has been selected for the forthcoming first volume of The New Mexico Anthology of Poetry to be published by the New Mexico Museum Press.

Friday, December 02, 2022

COSMOPOLITAN

by Catherine Gonick


Shirt available from TEEPUBLIC


When my father used the term for what we were
I didn’t know that cosmopolitan was code for Jew,
a proud but dirty word. I thought being rootless
was a good thing, that a cosmopolitan
was the being most at home in the world,
in cities and the wild, with people of every kind.
It was great to be an American, lucky to be born 
into my nationality, but humanity—that word
was the most important one. I breathed in
this idea from my native air, the mild sun and
comforting fogs that daily swirled about
the newly established U.N. in San Francisco,
and all who lived loyally around the Bay, beings
from multiple races and nations, religions
and tongues. Even for those excluded 
from the country club, the fraternity, good
neighborhoods and jobs, forced to stay
in ghettos, migrant fields, old cars,
beaten and imprisoned for wrong speaking, 
that lovely air was equally available and free,
a promise and a sign. From Athens to Berkeley,
the flowers of democracy seem to have asked
for kind climates in order to grow strong.
Wanted: Cosmopolitan gardener able to plant
new words, root fair practices, clean air;
not afraid to get hands dirty.


Catherine Gonick has published poetry in journals including Live Encounters, Notre Dame Review, Forge, and Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and in anthologies including Support Ukraine, Grabbed, and the recently published Rumors, Secrets & Lies: Poems About Pregnancy, Abortion and Choice. She works in a company that slows the rate of global warming through projects that repair and restore the climate. 

Thursday, December 01, 2022

FOR EVERY LOST SOUL, A CANDLE

by Mary K O'Melveny


Glowing Christmas candle in frosted home window, photograph by Thomas Baker —Fine Art America


For every lost soul, a candle
in the window spills its light
into dusky night. Darkening air
softens with hope’s holiday
aromas—sage, balsam, fir, spruce.
Its flame offers a mirror into a forest’s
beating heart, warming deep woods
where easy pathways have slipped
past sight, obscured by doubt, loss.
Its flickered patterns soothe us
as we glance inside into a world
beyond our reach. We want to see
our own reflections there, as if we
had struck the match, poured a glass
of claret, turned on seasonal carols,
smiled at loved ones gathered fireside.
Not the other side where time fells us.
Where its passage startles us anew
as memories sparkle, seduce us
for an instant before they waiver,
then devolve to our collective umbra.


Author's Note: As of November 27, 2022, there have been over 617 mass shootings in the United States and more than 40,000 people have died of gun-related deaths. www.gunviolencearchive.org 


Mary K O'Melveny is a recently retired labor rights attorney who lives in Washington DC and Woodstock NY.  Her work has appeared in various print and on-line journals. Her most recent poetry collection is Dispatches From the Memory Care Museum, just out from Kelsay Books. Her first poetry chapbook A Woman of a Certain Age is available from Finishing Line Press. Mary’s poetry collection Merging Star Hypotheses was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2020.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

FAVORITE GODDESS

by Karen Warinsky


 


Cynthia waxes, manages her money,
shops off season for the children’s clothes,
stretches the meat with casseroles,
smiles at her husband.
 
Selene wanes, 
lights small candles,
bundles the baby, the grandmother,
cocooning them in blankets woven for beauty,
hums to herself.
 
Like Hecate at the crossroads a woman waits for grain,
for water, the line winding and wide like the Nile,
life pressing against her hip,
laying gentle in her tired hand.
 
Beyond, in the pitch and quiet of space,
Artemis flies, seeking herself in beaming moonlight,
hunting a discovery for men
on a mission that will hold no answers 
for Earth’s struggling, steadfast daughters.

 
Karen Warinsky began publishing poetry in 2011 and was named as a finalist for her poem “Legacy” in the Montreal International Poetry Contest in 2013.  She has two books from Human Error Publishing: Gold in Autumn (2020) and Sunrise Ruby, (2022), both.  Her work centers on mid-life, relationships, politics, and the search for spiritual connection through nature, and she coordinates poetry readings under the name Poets at Large.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

RUSSIAN MOTHER’S DAY MESSAGE

by Bruce Bennett


As anger over the drawn-out invasion simmers in Russia, President Vladimir Putin on Friday held his first public meeting of the nine-month-long war with mothers of soldiers who had been fighting in Ukraine, a move likely aimed at quelling discontent. In a clip broadcast by Russian state media, Putin is seen sitting down with a group of women around a table adorned with ornate tea cups and fresh berries for a talk coinciding with Russian Mother’s Day. “I want you to know that I personally, the entire leadership of the country, we share your pain,” Putin said, pausing and clearing his throat. “We understand that nothing can replace the loss of a son, a child, especially for the mother, to whom we all owe the birth.” —The Washington Post, November 26, 2022



“I share your pain,” says Vlad the Great 

to mothers grieving loss. 

He reassures them that the State 

appreciates the cross 

 

They have to bear. To lose a son 

“that nothing can replace….” 

He’s clearly moved. When he is done 

there’s nothing on his face 

 

To indicate he has a clue 

this has to do with him, 

or that there’s something he could do 

to alter what the grim 

 

And vicious plans of godless foes 

have caused and cruelly wrought. 

Grim faces testify to woes 

that reinforce his thought 

 

And make it clear he’s in control. 

The Dark Night’s not near dawn. 

This glib ghost of the Russian Soul 

decrees the War goes on. 



Bruce Bennett is the author of ten books of poetry and more than thirty poetry chapbooks. His most recent full-length book is Just Another Day in Just Our Town: Poems New and Selected, 2000-2016 (Orchises Press, 2017). From 1973 until his retirement in 2014, he taught Literature and Creative Writing at Wells College, and is now Emeritus Professor of English. In 2012 he was awarded a Pushcart Prize. He predicted what we were in for in his November 2016 YouTube video, The Donald Trump of the Republic.

 

Monday, November 28, 2022

MOVING RIGHT ALONG

by Steven Kent



They’re saying now the quiet parts out loud,
These candidates and pundits. Boys are Proud,
Who bigotry and bloodshed advocate
In incoherent rage against the State.
What voices once spoke reason now are still
As zealots do the talking on the Hill.
The party on the Left moved to the Right;
The party on the Right moved out of sight.


Steven Kent is the poetic alter ego of writer, musician, and Oxford comma enthusiast Kent Burnside. His work appears in Light, Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, and OEDILF, among others.