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Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at]gmail.com.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

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

ON THE DEATH OF ANOTHER AGED MOVIE STAR

by Earl J. Wilcox


 

So sorry to relegate your obit
to a short poem which might,
but does not, describe your many
roles with other aged stars long gone
along with their contemporaries—
and yours. 
 
So sorry we don’t even know a single
movie you made, nor do we recognize
most of the stars with which you danced
or lay in bed with or any song you sang
with a catchy tune back in the day. 
 
The news of the day, alas, is too crowded
with stories about starving kids, murdered
brides, corrupt lawyers, not to mention
floods and droughts and hurricanes
and wild fires and earthquakes...
for us to know how much we’ll miss you.
 
 
Earl Wilcox notes with sadness the passing of Jane Powell, Ed Asner, and way too many others to list here, though he will miss them.

Monday, September 27, 2021

HEARTACHE FROM THE NUMBERS

by Ken Gosse


Cartoon by Pat Byrnes at Cagle.


They laudit, applaudit,
and so many boughtit—
the Big Lie the former guy nurtured—
they taughtit.
Eschewing all facts,
praising mutinous acts,
so many fools caughtit
and none of them foughtit,
the great pumpkin’s pie in the sky—
AZ Fraudit.


Ken Gosse generally writes light, rhyming verse. First published in First Literary Review-East in 2016, since then by Pure Slush, Spillwords, The Ekphrastic Review, and others. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years with rescue dogs and cats underfoot.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

LA PALMA




James Schwartz is a poet, writer, slam performer and author of 5 poetry collections including The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America. Twitter: @queeraspoetry

Saturday, September 25, 2021

CONFLUENCES IN SEPTEMBER, 18 MONTHS OF LOSS

by Mark Danowsky


Fighting a Losing Battle 8, a print by Alexis Lekat at Saatchi Art


It was so nice to read Butler revisiting Butler—
their change to they for our times


We let some people off so easy
& others we will forever push to the limit


Waiting on the next check
for survival


We are losing our birds
& much more than I know how to notice


I want to save our homeless
more than I want to save children abroad 


The people I know are not pleased
with my ethical quandaries


My city’s beverage tax is abysmal
when we’re debating if 200K or 400K means rich


A credit card notification informs me 
my address falls in a natural disaster location


All signs point to no one coming for aid  


I know it’s tempting to pretend
the worst might be over in 6 to 8 months


Try 10 years of losing
only to lose the nexus of all your efforts


Let the record show I tried


Mark Danowsky is Editor-in-Chief of ONE ART: a journal of poetry, Senior Editor for Schuylkill Valley JournalPoetry Craft Essays Editor for Cleaver Magazine, and a Regular Contributor for VersificationHe is author of the poetry collection As Falls Trees (NightBallet Press) and JAWN forthcoming from Moonstone Press.

Friday, September 24, 2021

EVEN THE DOG

by Barbara Loots




Three family members whose bodies were found in the living room of a Glenaire house over the summer all died of natural causes possibly related to the untimely  death of the home caretaker… The family dog was also found dead next to a toilet in the bathroom. Kansas City STAR, September 21, 2021


No one knew it when the old man died.
The uncollected mail, unanswered phone,
untended grass.  Nobody notified
authorities.  He’d always coped alone
with caring for his sister and his mother,
dependent as the dog for food and drink
on one who didn’t want to be a bother
to friends or neighbors.  What are we to think
of this small tragedy?  Whom shall we curse?        
Who counts inconsequential lives like these,
as millions vanish from the universe
from hunger, guns, disaster, and disease?
Humanity has nothing new to learn.
When time has ended, still the stars will burn.

 
Barbara Loots wonders why we worry when we are all so small in the overall scheme of things.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

POSTSCRIPT TO AN ACTIVIST'S LIFE

by David Chorlton


Unrest #1, a painting by Alyssa Liles-Amponsah



                nobody rich or famous…
                                Richard Shelton
 

The car in the driveway
has barely a pulse
and the windows don’t let in the light.
The palm trees no longer
aspire to the sky
and the garden hose hangs
on a hook.
Something’s eating the house from inside
say the neighbors,
no one answers the door when
they knock. The ceiling gave way
and a bucket of grief
stands under a hole where
time drips day
after day. The telephone’s hoarse
from repeating
I’m sorry I can’t speak now…,
the doorbell plays a dirge
and every minute makes
a tiny splash as it falls
into the unwashed dishes
in the kitchen sink.
 
He brought the border home with him,
unrolled it on the floor,
ran it through the kitchen to
the living room and cut
it into strips to hang instead of curtains
at the windows where a light
shone upon every nationality and exposed
the fault line between the rich
and poor. His trash bin
was filled with tailings from a mine
and every day he emptied it and
every next day it was full
again but he kept emptying. When the nails
fell out from where they held
the world together, he picked them up
to hammer back. Meetings.
Petitions. Meetings. Letters.
Meetings. Always somewhere to be,
to drive across town
on the sweating summer asphalt
with the windows down
to save money for gas.
 
Nobody knows for sure. It was
a mystery. The neighbors didn’t care much
for the man. He kept
largely to himself. Didn’t have a lot
to say. Kept going out, revving up
his car and coming back
then leaving again six
or eight times a day. The lady who lives across
from his house knows; she kept count.
Never really spoke
to him. And he spoke only
when spoken to. He was alone the last
few weeks. Come and go. Feed
the cats. People watched but didn’t know
what they were seeing. Didn’t
ask. Left him alone. And the weeds grew
like secrets in his yard
until one night the moon tipped
on its side, spilling
silver dust onto the moths around it
asking ancient questions
of the passionate light.


David Chorlton is a longtime resident of Phoenix, who continues writing, painting, and keeping track of the local bird life. His newest book is Unmapped Worlds, a collection of rehabilitated poems from his files of the past.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

SWEET LAND OF LIBERTY

by Buff Whitman-Bradley



It is good to know

That in these troubled and confusing times

When old values are under attack,

When what we hold dear 

Is mocked and undermined

By those who have no respect

For the venerable ideals, 

The policies and practices,

Of American democracy

That have stood this nation in good stead

Through trial and tribulation,

Through unrest and upheaval,

Through multiple wars

And challenges to our hegemony,

It is good to know 

That those finely-crafted

Highly developed techniques

Of civil and social discipline

As American as, oh, 

Genocide, slavery, lynching,

Suppression of dissent,

That those undeniably effective,

Satisfying,

And invaluable means

Of exercising our rightful authority

Are still in use at our southern border

Where inconsiderate people 

Eager to avail themselves of the advantages

Of this God-favored land

Are being whipped and beaten

To teach them a lesson

About the distribution of privilege

In our world,

About who are the deserving 

And who the undeserving,

About how we deal with those

Seeking to take advantage

Of our famous kindness

And get a free pass to enter

Our sweet land of liberty.



Buff Whitman-Bradley’s poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals.  His most recent book is At the Driveway Guitar Sale: Poems on Aging, Memory, Mortality, from Main Street Rag Publishers.  He podcasts poems on aging at thirdactpoems.podbean.com and lives with his wife, Cynthia, in northern California.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

SHARHRK-FIN SOOP

by Rémy Dambron


A new study in the journal Current Biology has published some stark news: one third of the world’s Chondrichthyan fishes – sharks, rays, and chimaeras – are threatened with extinction according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List criteria. —Forbes, September 15, 2021


They arrive in massive ships
industrialized killing machines perfected 

for the hunt.
Nets stretching far and wide

enough to ensnare an island, 
sprawling from the wakes of the stern like

giant mechanical tentacles 
baited with the flesh of bonita, king mackerel, ladyfish 

eager to grab hold 
of any life form that touches it.

Sea turtles, dolphins
blue fin tuna, birds, even whales

an endless list 
all by the day falling prey 

to the savage entanglement
collateral damage, what they call bycatch.

As if this were somehow normal, 
fisherman reeling in their lines 

knives at the ready
taking seconds to sever the sharks’ limbs,

stacking them up into piles 
like gambling chips on a casino floor 

waiting for the highest bidder, 
who will market them to purveyors 

who will sell them to chefs
who will prepare them for servers

who will present them to fancy diners
high-profile entrepreneurs,

hedge funders and yacht goers,
the power hungry and privileged

plotting the expansion of their empires, 
anxious to boost their status

by flaunting one hundred dollars 
for a bowl of distasteful soup.

While somewhere, off the coast
not far from their lavish banquet

bleeding bodies slide down a ramp
back into the sea from which they were poached 

helpless, 
unable to maneuver.

Hearts still pumping. 
Eyes still watching.

Electroreceptors still firing, 
fully processing the repugnance 

of their own slaughter
as their living remains plummet, 

down into the deep. 


Author's note: It may be hard to find compassion for ocean life when the lives of humans, every day, are being attacked by disease, violence, and unconstitutional legislation. But to dismiss the perils of our environment is to turn a blind eye to a global crisis that, on its own, poses the greatest threat to our collective existence.


Rémy Dambron is an author and activist whose work focuses primarily on denouncing political corruption and advocating for social and environmental justice. His poetry has appeared on What Rough Beast, The New Verse News, Poets Reading the News, and Writers Resist.

Monday, September 20, 2021

SO FAR

by Sister Lou Ella Hickman




                                                            for sister colette

                                    

this year 

84 died 

brooks county 

nicknamed 

the real death valley  

flesh 

dropping away 

under the texas sun 

each face  

each name 

disappearing 

like a drop of water 

in the sand 



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 new verse newsas 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 Y92 in New York City. The group of songs is entitled “Chavah’s Daughters Speak.” 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

IF YOU SHOULD STUMBLE ACROSS ME IN THE BARREN WOODS

by Amna Alamir



“Barren Wood” by Mindy Newman


Hooded and lonesome, untie 

the shrouds and the clouds that 

walk among you and I will 

gently open inviting you in.


Reach out with tender curiosity 

your fingertips, feign a lasso out 

of heartstrings and I will share 

the taste of the ocean, the many 

travels I have bottled up and 

tossed at perturbed sailors.


Where they turned their backs on me: 

this is night country 

this isn’t right country 

in the blackness I am suffocating 

this isn’t my country. 


My body is changing 

has taken on your culture 

and become momentarily ill. 

There are parts of me 

I had to give up, I lost 

gave to you in exchange 

for your acceptance. 


I covered myself in barberries 

ginger root, cardamom. 

I am a rare sighting, now

beyond the star-shaped stars 

that float like lucid ribbons 

when it is time to die 

the earth shivers. 


 

Amna Alamir is a Kuwaiti writer who currently studies and resides in the UK. She is finishing up her MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and is pursuing further research on silence, the female voice, and somatic practices. 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

I SEE TONIGHT




Earl J. Wilcox has been seeing days and nights poetically for The New Verse News for years and years.

Friday, September 17, 2021

TWENTY YEARS IN & OUT

by Art Goodtimes




For the first ten years after 9/11
a band of us peaceniks marched our
San Miguel County Seat’s main street
in protest & remembrance
Once a month. Every eleventh
Doves preaching to the peacocks
 
No permits. Just commish & citizen kin
remembering those who held hands
falling from the Towers like shot duck
 
Remembering those eagles in uniforms
racing up stairwells intent on rescue
as the crushing hate of true believers
came crashing down on their heads
 
Remembering America’s lashing out
without true purpose. Invading Iraq
Afghanistan. Predator strikes. Collateral
damage. A nation bent on inflicting
endless terror on endless terrorists
 
After decades of foreign wars
we peace-marchers kind of lost heart
Chickadees with PTSD. Crows
becoming accustomed to carrion
So industrial Telluride’s unreal
estate bubbles on undisturbed
 
Now, explains
Capt. Barefoot
lives of peace
our only protest
 

Parade-master & poet-in-residence at the annual Telluride Mushroom Festival, Art Goodtimes served fives terms as Colorado’s only Green county commissioner. He is currently represented in Congress by U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Rifle).

Thursday, September 16, 2021

TWISTED OLIVER

by Geoffrey Aitken

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 


 

“Please sir, can I have some more?”



Cartoon by Alan Moir. Twitter: @moir_alan




Note: The Australian Tax Office has opted not to pursue $180m in jobkeeper paid to ineligible businesses due to “honest mistakes” by employers claiming the money. At a Senate inquiry hearing on Friday, independent senator Rex Patrick said the decision contrasts with the government’s approach to social security recipients, with thousands of individuals asked to pay back money they received during the Covid pandemic. —The Guardian, September 10, 2021



A minimalist industrial signature drives Geoffrey Aitken away from the scene of mental unwellness for the eyes and ears of those without voices. Widely published locally (AUS), and internationally (the UK, US, CAN, CN & FR), he chases ongoing congeniality.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

INITIAL PROMISES

by Stephen House




there were initial promises
from the Taliban
to form an inclusive government
 
there will be no women
in government
 
women playing sport
is not appropriate
 
women will be killed
if they commit adultery
 
LGBTQ people’s mere existence
means an automatic death sentence
 
LGBTQ Afghans are on the run
fearing they will be stoned to death
under Taliban law
 
Ahmadullah says
the Taliban beheaded his boyfriend
on the day they entered Kabul
Ahmadullah is in hiding
 
UN and US warn the Taliban
we are watching you
 
what will watching do?
 
there were initial promises
from the Taliban
to form an inclusive government


Stephen House has won many awards and nominations as a poet, playwright and actor. He’s received several international literature residencies from The Australia Council for the Arts and an Asia-link India residency. His chapbook real and unreal was published by ICOE Press. He’s published often and performs his acclaimed monologues widely.