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Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at]gmail.com.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.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

COST

by Neil Creighton


Parkland students watch as Florida legislators vote down a resolution to discuss a ban on assault weapons.


So Sam rose early, saddled his donkey,
and took his children up the mountain.
And his children said
“Where is the offering, our father,
and who is this god we praise?”
“You are the offering, my children.”
Then hail of fire descended
and bright blood flowed until all were gone.
Sam sighed, thought he would pray,
wept a little as he descended the mountain.
A congregation waited below.
“It’s hard,” he said, “so hard.
But what can we do?
We don’t wish it but we must worship.”

And the great congregation shouted “Amen”.


Neil Creighton is an Australian poet whose work as a teacher of English and Drama brought him into close contact with thousands of young lives, most happy and triumphant but too many tragically filled with neglect. It also made him intensely aware of how opportunity is so unequally proportioned and his work reflects strong interest in social justice. Recent publications include Poetry Quarterly, Poeming Pigeon, Silver Birch Press, Rat's Ass Review, Praxis Mag Online, Ekphrastic Review, Social Justice Poetry, Peacock Journal, Poets Reading the News and Verse-Virtual.

A CHILDREN'S CRUSADE

by Ralph La Rosa




The evolution of revolution
is a student-led crusade,
its first and foremost resolution:
the NRA must be waylaid.


Ralph La Rosa’s work has been published online, including at TheNewVerse.News, and in the books Sonnet Stanzas and Ghost Trees.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A KEEPING PLACE

by Mark Tarren



Mungo Man returned to ancestral home where he died 40,000 years ago. Traditional owners say the return of the remains of the historic Mungo Man, who was removed by scientists from his resting place more than 40 years ago, will provide closure and is a step toward reconciliation. More than four decades ago anthropologists removed the ancient skeleton of an Aboriginal man—the discovery of which rewrote Australian history. Now he has been returned home to his descendants, travelling for days in a hearse from Canberra. —ABC News, November 17, 2017. Photo by Dean Sewell, The Guardian, November 19, 2017.


These are the winds
of Country.

That birthed fire leaf and smoke
fish, ear and bone

upon the grinding stone
sparks hooded in a eucalypt sky
the footprint of a face.

A fire of Yellow Box and peppermint
of scented leaf, sand and cloud

that carved out a timbered lake
with gentle ochre limbs

hands crossed deep across
the womb of beginning
in the wounds of Country.

These are the winds
of Mutthi Mutthi, Paakantji
Ngyiampaa

sung forever in the tears
of the tall man’s journey
to return to Country.

My white skin burns against
the red-gum casket lung

unable to remain in this life
as he wraps me to unfold me

in the ancient sands
of dunes and desert wounds

the crack, cry and howl as
my white skin dies
swept away
in the scales of shedding,

of waiting.

Come and dance across our hearts
so we can find

the first fire that remains.


Mark Tarren is a poet and writer based in Queensland, Australia. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various literary journals including TheNewVerse.News, The Blue Nib, Poets Reading The News, Street Light Press, Spillwords Press and Tuck Magazine.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

YEARS AGO AT THE TROLL FACTORY
(A FLASHBACK)

by Melissa Balmain



CNN video from Oct 26, 2016.


"What to know about the Russian troll factory
listed in Mueller’s indictment" 
Vox, February 16, 2018


Chug-chug, the googly-eye machine
goes round; a massive table brims
with squat injection-molded limbs
and fluffy topknots (orange, green)
as workers in white coveralls
toil on without a kasha break.
At last: "We've done it, no mistake!"
the comrades whoop. Then silence falls
as they behold their masterpiece—
that gruesome grin! That triple chin!
That overcooked-kolbasa skin!—
and plot its glorious release.


Melissa Balmain is the Editor of Light, a journal of comic verse. Her poetry collection Walking In on People (winner of the Able Muse Book Award), is often assumed by online shoppers to be some kind of porn.

Monday, February 19, 2018

SHE WAS PLEADING WITH HER EYES

by Darrell Petska


Samir Salim is a White Helmets volunteer in Syria's Eastern Ghouta. Already out on a rescue mission when another air strike hit, Samir rushed toward the smoke: a Syrian government air strike had destroyed his house. He saved his infant nephew, sister, sister-in-law and father, but he could not save his mother crushed by the ceiling. He vows to continue his work.


Save the baby, Samir.
Now, fast to the girls.
Your Papa: Take him!
His cries tear my heart.

Samir, my angel,
release my soul
from this burden of being.
Be strong, as I taught you.

I am above you, Samir.
I am all around.
Tell them we are more,
more than paltry flesh.

Inhabit their eyes, my son.
Toward life's supple altar
draw their misspent hearts.
Show them we can fly.


Darrell Petska learned of Samir Salim and his family and felt a great sadness.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

VIGIL

by Sister Lou Ella Hickman


The Pieta Com. by Water-Lilly-Love at Deviant Art


                your child’s body stretches out on your lap    a pietá
                 as you remove the thorned crown of thoughts and prayers
                                       blood slowly crawls down the leg of your chair
                 then drop by drop marks your vigil on the floor
                                      visitors pass           your silence answers their questions
                 the outside darkness fills the window pane
                 the Senator's secretary says
                                      i have to lock up now
                  you reply
                  i’ll be back tomorrow


Sister Lou Ella Hickman is a poet, writer, and a certified spiritual director.  Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines such as First Things, Emmanuel, Third Wednesday, and TheNewVerse.News.  Her first book of poetry was entitled she: robed and wordless.

HONORING THE FALLEN

by Mary Kay Schoen




At Chichen Itza the guide said the ancient
Mayans threw innocents into the cenote
human sacrifice to forestall the end of the world

In World War II young Americans
died to defeat an evil regime
human sacrifice to make the world safe

At Littleton and Sandy Hook
and the school down the street
we send in our children

innocents in the line of fire
to defend the rights of congressmen
to finance reelection to defend the rights

of the folks who want assault rifles handy
in case the US Armed Forces are insufficient
or a deer might bound away

Shall Congress not hand out thanks
and Gold Stars to all the grieving parents
whose children gave their lives

to keep safe those seats on Capitol Hill?


Mary Kay Schoen is a Virginia writer whose feature stories have appeared in The Washington Post and association publications. Her poetry can be found in Persimmon Tree, America, and an anthology of Southwestern poetry from Dos Gatos Press. She spends too much time reading the newspaper.

RINSE AND REPEAT

by Rene Mears


Family members embrace following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. “Deadliest School Shootings in Modern US History” —VOA, February 14, 2018


Snow falls
Summer calls
                  Crying out for what can not be.
Winter’s chill
Sparrow’s trill
                  Darkness reigns, I can not see.
Many fools
Always cruel
                  The soul, all that remains
Only pawn
Myself gone
                  Invisible, are the chains
Your woe
Strikes the blow
                 So many lying still, asleep
Another gun
Better run
                 I’m left alone, to weep.
Never ends
These trends
                 Infinity. Infinity.  No way to decease
Winter’s chill
Sparrow’s trill
                 Funeral. Funeral. Forget the peace.


Rene Mears lives in Castle Rock, Colorado.  Nurse by day, aspiring writer by night.  This is her first published poem.

THEY AREN'T JUST TAKING SELFIES

by Tricia Knoll


Florida student Emma Gonzalez to lawmakers and gun advocates: 'We call BS'. CLICK HERE to see her dramatic speech via CNN.

having sex before graduation,
or trying pot before sloe gin.

They volunteer, ride horseback
to halt pipelines, engage

with hip hop, rockers and rappers
to say words that need saying,

march in Washington and our city,
enlist, vote, call for police accountability,

and want citizenship for DACA immigrants.
Teenagers and twenty-somethings

see a world every day on their phones
where shooters slaughter friends

in school because there is no will
to ban assault weapons and control guns.

They know shots crack living room windows
on residential streets, that gangs fight useless

wars. When young people knew rightness
of the opportunity for gay marriage,

the nation swayed and so did judges.
They are screaming for gun control

and the right to sit in school
and learn without fear

with no more brush-off praying
for teachers and families

until something is done.
Yell with them.

We need them
to know we’re with them.


Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet who has signed petitions for gun control for more than forty years. "We are children" say the survivors in Parkland. Do we need to hear more? She doesn't. She is tired of the empty rhetoric of pray for the families and do nothing to stop gun lobby money in Washington. Her book How I Learned to Be White is coming out from Antrim House in 2018.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

DRIVING ALL NIGHT IN THE RED STATES

by David Tucker


Graphic from The Georgetown


I will drive all night in the Red States
I will take backroads through towns with one traffic light.
I will shop at gunshows that stay open late,
their windows festooned with assault rifles
at discounts that will make me weep.
I will make my peace with Jesus billboards
that glow from hilltops and welcome signs decorated
with bullet holes. I will make no comments
on the sexual confusion
of flag-emblazoned pickups, the twinkle
of their gun racks. I will give in
to the longing of satellite dishes as they turn
to early bird jewelry sales at four in the morning.
I will marry a trailer park beauty
who sits in a lawn chair beside a road, winding
pink curlers into her hair, I will slouch
in a lawn chair beside her, smoking Camels
as the sun comes up. I will reject national healthcare
and Islam, I will ban homosexuals and burn newspapers,
I will denounce foreign nations, ambitious women
and abortion, I will ignore the jails overflowing
I will oppose food stamps and Spanish,
I will wave to everyone who passes
glad to see them,  glad to see them go.


David Tucker’s book Late for Work won the Bakeless Poetry Prize, selected by Philip Levine, and was published by Houghton Mifflin. He also won a Slapering Hol Press national chapbook contest for Days When Nothing Happens and was awarded a Witter Bynner Fellowship by the Library of Congress. A career journalist, he supervised and edited two Pulitzer Prize winners for The Star-Ledger newspaper.

Friday, February 16, 2018

THRESHOLD

by Scott Bade


A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose is all
of them aligned in their identity a row
of matching matches each one the source
of course of course to the extinguishing
moment that follows a spectacle of what
we have to believe about what we can’t
believe. I’m not shaking anymore, neither
am I feeling much beyond the growl of dog
fattened on tables scraps lounging next to
the fire as someone pounds on the front
door their urgency their hands their rapid
fire knocking their pulling and pushing
and twisting the door handle it will not
give it won’t turn and then the turning
to living room window peering through
frantic hands binocularing now a palm
flat slapping window all heat red as you
guessed it a rose blooming in palm’s lined
lives & the dog’s ears inside perking
as the flames spread from room to room


Scott Bade earned his Ph.D. in creative writing at Western Michigan University (WMU). In addition to teaching at Kalamazoo College and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Scott is also the coordinator of the WMU Center for the Humanities. He is a former poetry editor for Third Coast Magazine and editorial assistant at New Issues Press. His poems have appeared in Fugue, Shadowgraph, H_NGM_N, Foothill and elsewhere. 

LIKE A BULLET HOLE

by Alexis-Rueal




What is left to write when everything
comes out looking like a bullet hole?
When everything sounds like
a coffin door closing.
How do you make room for a pen
in your hand when you are too busy hugging
toddler nephews tight and thanking
God and fate that they’re too young for school?
This time.
How many synonyms are left for despair
and fury? Do they even mean anything, anymore?
How does the poet write
when it has all been written before?
How does the poet write when they know
they will write it again tomorrow?


Alexis-Rueal is a Columbus, Ohio poet whose work has appeared in online and print journals throughout the US and in Europe. She has appeared in festivals and venues throughout Ohio and Kentucky. Her first full-length collection I Speak Hick was published by Writing Knights Press in 2016.

17 HEARTS FOR VALENTINE'S DAY

by Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan



Mourners hug during a prayer vigil Thursday for victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting at Parkridge Church in Coral Springs, Florida. Rhona Wise / AFP - Getty Images via NBC News.



b                e a           t
            red balloons
        b             e     a            t
            red cards
b    e        a                t
            red roses
           b                         e                 a                 t

17 hearts for Valentine’s day           

red                        red                     red               red

b                e a           t
           red hall floors
        b             e     a            t
            red on walls
b    e        a                t
            red of youthful flesh
           b                         e                 a                 t           
         2/14                    celebration of love                
        
2/14/18    life seeps         a                        way                         
children weep

b                e a           t
        b             e     a            t
b    e        a                t

           b                         e                 a                 t

be                          at                peace




Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan, named 2017 Long Island (NY) Poet of the Year by the Walt Whitman Birthplace, was the 2010-2011 Suffolk County Poet Laureate. She is the Founder/President of The North Sea Poetry Scene, Inc., President of The Poetry Place, and the editor of the poetry anthology series Long Island Sounds. She is the author of five poetry collections including Let Me Tell You Something, For Michael, and Life’s a Beach.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

DORSIMBRA FOR COURTLAND SYKES

by Diane Elayne Dees



In Missouri, an acolyte of President Trump is running for the U.S. Senate and denouncing “manophobic hell-bent feminist she-devils.” The candidate, Courtland Sykes, . . . is worth quoting as a window into the backlash against #MeToo and empowered women: “I don’t buy into radical feminism’s crazy definition of modern womanhood and I never did,” Sykes wrote on his campaign’s Facebook page. “They made it up to suit their own nasty, snake-filled heads. . . . I don’t buy the non-stop feminization campaign against manhood. I want to come home to a home cooked dinner at six every night, one that [my fiancée] fixes and one that I expect one day to have daughters learn to fix.” —The New York Times, January 31, 2018


My head is filled with snakes of many kinds—
huge pythons, cobras, moccasins, and corals.
Unlike Medusa’s, mine are hard to find;
they lurk within and poison my morals.

The venom of equality
is stored in my fangs,
paralyzing your patriarchal limbs,
rendering you unprivileged.

The reptiles crawl; they hiss, prepared to strike
at monsters who are deadlier than they
could ever be. You hold me in contempt,
for my head is filled with snakes of many kinds.


Editor’s note thanks to the Poets Collective: The dorsimbra, created by Eve Braden, Frieda Dorris and Robert Simonton, is a 12-line poem consisting of (1) a quatrain of iambic pentameter rhyming abab, (2) a quatrain of "short and snappy" free verse, and (3) a quatrain of blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter). The final (12th) line is the same as the first line. The form's creators suggest the use of enjambment, interlaced rhymes, and near-rhymes to bind the three stanzas.


Diane Elayne Dees's poetry has been published in many journals and anthologies. Diane also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that covers women's professional tennis throughout the world.