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Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at]gmail.com.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, October 15, 2021

WHERE TRUTH AND THREAT TANGLE IN KNOTS OF NO NAME

by Jen Schneider


Judge Donna Scott Davenport during a 2017 deposition. Credit: Obtained by ProPublica and Nashville Public Radio.


Black Children Were Jailed for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist. Almost Nothing Happened to the Adults in Charge: Judge Donna Scott Davenport oversees a juvenile justice system in Rutherford County, Tennessee, with a staggering history of jailing children. She said kids must face consequences, which rarely seem to apply to her or the other adults in charge. —Meribah Knight, Nashville Public Radio, and Ken Armstrong, ProPublica, October 8, 2021


tiny babies on metal swings,
toss rubber balls on concrete
tiny babies clothed in fabric
of NBA stars & NBC scenes
chalk words on concrete
tiny babies entrusted
to institutions of unknown pores
& unsuspecting wills
serve time on concrete
 
NO
           1. __ 2. __ 3. __
 
cold benches
cold eyes
filters everywhere
 
tiny babies on metal cots
fight demons of demonstrative
power & fail to sleep
 
NO
           1. __ 2. __ 3. __
 
cold lots (& bots)
cold plots
filters everywhere
 
dark curtains blanket lives
& squash truths
dark curtains conceal filters
& give breadth to those who
struggle to breathe
journals fail not to reveal
false truths. journalists
fight to reveal hidden truths
 
NO
           1. __ 2. __ 3. __
 
cold data
cold calls
filters everywhere
 
as locks turn right
& shifts (shifty eyes) turn left
truths & threats tangle
in knots (& playground lots) of no name

time ticks. clocks run.colds (& charges) linger.
tiny babies of metal
fences take charge. document false charges.
tally lives on indefinite pause
& subject to indeterminate pain
judicial oaths & pledges
of allegiance
stream syllables of familiar
themes
1. Liberty 2. Justice 3. All
& strings of familiar
knots
1. Truth 2. Transparency 3. All
& cracks of familiar
ideals
1. Peace 2. Fairness 3. All

frayed fibers, tangled twine
false/falsified/fabricated (truths, charges, crimes)  
true fear (& dark curtains) everywhere


Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. She is a Best of the Net nominee, with stories, poems, and essays published in a wide variety of literary and scholarly journals. She is the author of Invisible Ink (Toho Pub), On Daily Puzzles: (Un)locking Invisibility (forthcoming, Moonstone Press), and Blindfolds, Bruises, and Breakups (forthcoming Atmosphere Press).

Thursday, October 14, 2021

WHOSE STORY? WHOSE CHOICE?

by Laurie Rosen


Cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz/AMS via The Washington Post.


I am 35, 
I am 19, 
I am 12. 

Put a bounty on my head,
on my confidants and advisers
my doctor, too. 
Sue the office administrators,
the taxi driver that brought me.

Come for me with handcuffs.
Restrain my arms behind my back,
haul me off to jail.
Lock me up behind bars, 
Throw away the key.

Call me a murderer, baby killer. 
Selfish, hateful. 
I plead guilty. I don’t deny it. 
But, look me in the eyes 
and tell me I am not speaking 
your story or your lover’s,
your sister’s, your best friend’s,
maybe even your daughter’s. 

I am 35, mark my body   state controlled,  
I am 19, proclaim my uterus   conscripted,
I am 12, classify my heartbeat   irrelevant.


Laurie Rosen is a lifelong New Englander. Her poems have appeared in Sisyphus, The Muddy River Poetry Review, Oddball Magazine, Soul-Lit, The New Verse News, and elsewhere. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

SNAKE OIL

by Julie Steiner


Cartoon by Necessary 2021 GoComics.com


“At least seven radio hosts and high-profile anti-mask and anti-vaccine advocates have died from COVID-19 in recent weeks. The men are radio hosts Dick Farrel, Phil Valentine, Bob Enyart, and Marc Bernier, as well as former CIA officer Robert David Steele, anti-masker Caleb Wallace, and conservative leader Pressley Stutts. Misinformation around the virus and vaccines remains widespread as cases continue to rise.” —Business Insider, September 19, 2021


“You shall not—surely!—die. Fake news!”
he scolds. “Don’t do as you are told!
(Except right now, of course.) Refuse
to be so easily controlled!”

“You shall not—surely!—die,” he sneers.
“The risk of death’s been overstated.
Powers That Be keep fanning fears
so Man can be manipulated.”

“You shall not—surely!—die,” he hisses,
half disdainful, half disgusted.
“Keeping you from knowledge? This is
why Authority can’t be trusted.”

“You shall not—surely!—die,” he scoffs,
then bites the dust. But that’s not closure:
Eve’s now fevered. Adam coughs,
aware at last of their exposure.


Author's NoteGenesis 3:4-7


Julie Steiner is a pseudonym in San Diego. Besides The New Verse News, the venues in which her poetry has appeared include the Able Muse Review, Rattle, Light, and the Asses of Parnassus.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

KNAVES AND HEARTS

by Joe Crocker



u/Rhodesy97 at Reddit


Prince Andrew, interviewed by Maitlis
called to mind no arm-round-waist. His
fault, he shrugged, if fault it be,
was honour in too high degree
 
And being honour bound could he
ignore a friend in need or flee
the duty that behoves a Royal
or, God forbid, appear disloyal?
 
Appearances. That is the key
to understanding how men see
yet fail to notice girls beneath
the clothes, the curves, the smiles, the teeth.
 
But girls don’t count for much apart
from being pretty: they’re just tarts
for knaves to steal. Boys will be boys.
who rubberneck like angle-poise
 
lamps in search of something sweet.
And, finding honey at their feet,
take their pleasure as they please.
Lips are licked and chances seized.                   

Well, times have changed. They’re better now.
Or would be if we could learn how
to be excited by success
that marries want with tenderness.
 
Let lawyers push the paper round 
—their casuistry may rebound
to shame them as they batten down
(including he who wears a crown).



Author's Notes: Previously, in interview with BBC’s Emily Maitlis , Prince Andrew, said he had no recollection of being photographed with his arm around the waist of 17 year old Virginia Roberts Giuffre. He defended going to stay in the house of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, saying “at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgement was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable.” Now Prince Andrew accepts he has been served US court papers over sexual assault claims. The issue of whether the royal had been notified about the case had previously been contested (Guardian). Prince Andrew’s lawyer Andrew B. Brettler had argued at a previous hearing that Ms. Giuffre had entered into a "settlement agreement" with Epstein that would end her current legal action. He believes that the agreement "releases the duke and others from any and all potential liability."

 

 

Joe Crocker gets suspicious when lawyers look for loopholes. He has had poems published in The New Verse News, Snakeskin, Allegro, The Orchards, Philosophy Now, and Light.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Haiku

Photo: A seagull rests as workers clean the contaminated beach Wednesday after an oil spill in Newport Beach, Calif. Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press, October 10, 2021.


Deborah P Kolodji is the California Regional Coordinator for the Haiku Society of America and has published over 1100 haiku worldwide.  Her first full-length book highway of sleeping towns won a Touchstone Distinguished Book Award from the Haiku Foundation.

PIPELINE

by Scott C. Kaestner


Birds are seen as workers in protective suits clean the contaminated beach after an oil spill in Newport Beach, Calif., on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. A major oil spill off the coast of Southern California fouled popular beaches and killed wildlife while crews scrambled Sunday, to contain the crude before it spread further into protected wetlands. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu via The Columbian, October 8, 2021)


The pelican covered in oil dying on the contaminated beach
doesn’t give a shit about how much you love your new car
or how cheap the gas is at Costco 
it’s too busy taking one last breath.


Scott C. Kaestner is a Los Angeles poet, writer, dad, husband, and a man trying to get more fiber in his diet. Google ‘scott kaestner poetry’ to peruse his musings and doings.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

"FLUFFY DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE,"

by Gil Fagiani




Richmond Center for Rehabilitation, Staten Island
 
my son says, as his new roommate: black teeth,
angry eyes, mumbles to himself, as he storms
out the door when I ask him to lower the TV.
 
Chubby, gentle, slow-talking Fluffy went every-
where with his pink teddy bear: the bedroom,
the dining room, the dentist’s office, he even
took showers with him—“that’s how he got
the nickname Fluffy,” my son reminds me.
 
He loved to sing Sammy Davis Jr. songs with Jill:
“Everything Is Beautiful, ” “The Candy Man.”
Last week he reportedly touched her backside,
“inappropriate contact,” the head nurse declared.
 
“He was sent to another unit,” my son says.
“Everyone on the ward misses Fluffy, even Jill.”


Gil Fagiani (1945-2018) was a translator, essayist, short-story writer, and poet. He  published nine books of poetry: Connecticut Trilogy: Stone Walls, Chianti in Connecticut, Missing Madonnas; as well as his collections Logos, A Blanquito in El Barrio, and Rooks; plus three chapbooks, Crossing 116th Street, Grandpa’s Wine, and Serfs of Psychiatry.

THE CALL

by Maria Lisella




The call came
A three-story roof,
not a big building
serious enough
to break bones.
A day later,
another call comes.
A room
at Jacobi.
 
I plan.
He drives.
I’m the passenger.
She’ll be there, you know.
I know, I hear myself say,
the mother is always there.
 
I hate
the stereotype, but it fits.
The mother takes him back.
He doesn’t get better.
He never leaves except
this way.
 
The cycle—failure,
salvation, failure,
a passive remote control.
Patched up.
Lateral moves
ward to ward.
Suicide watch.
 
From the parameter,
I watch.
Stepmother
not blood
not natural.
Despair respects no borders
legal, illegal.
 
You love what you touch,
love more what touches you.


Maria Lisella is the recipient of a Poet Laureate Fellowship from the American Academy of Poets and the author of Thieves in the Family (NYQ Books), Amore on Hope Street (Finishing Line Press) and Two Naked Feet (Poets Wear Prada). She co-curates the Italian American Writers Association readings and is a travel writer by trade.

Saturday, October 09, 2021

SHOOTER

by Stan Pisle


@Walt_Handelsman


Shooter 

Reported in Florida…

Forget how many times. 

An involuntary pulse throbbing 

in the dark, in the light,

Our schools, our arenas, our malls, courts, playgrounds, homes. 

 

A shooter took the life four cops in Oakland, 

five in Dallas, 

two in New York, 

26 people at a Sutherland Springs Church 

Nine in Charleston

58 in Las Vegas

—with 851 shot. 

Eight hundred and fifty-one people shot by one man. 

The numbers grow too much for a poem.

Stop 

Telling us life stories of the dead.

Window dressing over crackles of bullets.

Building fences between shooters and the shot.

NPRing, obits of people murdered for mercantile. 

Attempting animal warmth on cold dead bodies piled up.

Dividing and parsing the pile, determining which shot member counts. 

 

Show

Bullet riddled heads.

Emmette Till open coffin the funerals.

Zoom in where the casing entered under the nose, ejecting the soul.

Fuck that, assault rifle hollow points facture on contact.

Nothing’s left, only pulverized.

Narrate the blood cone spurting across theaters, schools, country music festivals.

Interview the bump stocked woman baren from five shells raping her womb. 

Collect the pools of bone and hamburger from the 100,000 shot each year.

Let gravity channel it to the twits and fat bros of Fox.

To the manufacturer of the hollow points 

Let them wipe up the fragments flowing in a bath the rest of us are forced to take.  



Stan Pisle is a Berkeley California poet. His work as appeared in the Arroyo Magazine, on KQED San Francisco, The Ravens Perch, and The New Verse News

Friday, October 08, 2021

BLACK LIVES MATTER?

by Shoshauna Shy




Another daughter gone missing
and this time the prime suspect
her fiancé.
In the 'newsroom,' Jerry brightens:
This'll loop in the masses since
the Jan 6 redux and Pfizer boosters
fizzed flat, the public worn thin
by Ivermectin, Gresham memoirs,
voting laws rewritten, so here's
a scoop to revive our
sagging revenues.

I locate her photo off Instagram,
prep to launch the story when Jerry
muscles me aside.
Think Natalee Aruba, Mormon Smart Girl,
JonBenét—and he photoshops bluer eyes,
streaks the chick's hair more blonde.
Nobody will click if she's beige
or black or brown.


Author of The Splash of Easy Laughter and four other poetry collections, two of which won an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association, Shoshauna Shy's poems have appeared in a variety of anthologies, journals and magazines, inspired videos and even decorated the hind quarters of city buses. One of her poems was nominated for the Best of the Net 2021, and flash fiction pieces were selected for the Best Microfiction 2021 anthology, and another was among the seven finalists for the Fish Flash Fiction Prize out of County Cork, Ireland. She is the founder of the Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf program, and the Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Awards.

Thursday, October 07, 2021

ZERO SUM HUMANITY

by Tricia L. Somers
“All the People—Oppressed by Black Cloud,” 1982, by Evelyn Williams


Under the rubble
Our loved ones, homes, and any kind of hope
We’ve been robbed
by a criminal we cannot see
Our loved ones killed and already buried
We are victims of this Climate Crime Catastrophe

Under a bridge
Huddled with our scared children
Our faith has been shaken
and our babies are still...shaking
Invite the world to witness your humanity
Anxious and jittery awaiting a fleeting glimpse
Like an endangered species or already extinct

Under hooves and cracking whip
We find ourselves in seeking but a mere chance
Have us to walk over your bridges
Only in shame do you chase us away
You don’t necessarily need an earthquake
for your country to crumble away


Tricia L. Somers can be found at Outlaw Poetry, Milk Carton Blog, and the upcoming Rat’s Ass Review for Winter 2021. Also the semi-annual print journal The American Dissident includes poetry, essays and debates with the editor, who is known to be somewhat testy. Issues 41 and upcoming 42.

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

CIRCUS

by Imogen Arate


Met Police officer Wayne Couzens has been sentenced to a whole-life term for the murder of Sarah Everard (above), in a case that sparked national outrage and calls for more action to tackle violence against women. Couzens admitted the kidnap, rape, and murder of the 33-year-old marketing executive when he appeared in court several months ago. But it was only during his sentencing that the full details of his crimes emerged. —BBC News, October 1, 2021


Don’t ask me to write a poem about her death
because there’ll be another before I can find
the perfect synonym that excites murders to titillate

Though I think we’ll be just fine with our hot
breath fogging up whichever screen that
protects our voyeurism as a news craze

Don’t look for nuance as there won’t be
hues apart from those that sell well
Misogyny has a target market like any

I mean do we really care about the loss
of peoples whose value we’ve decided 
to debase long ago except during

their assigned celebratory terms
How else can we virtual signal without
Ah sorry #Timesup For your month

I mean Not your demise Amphitheaters
must be filled Come come we’ve broken
through the boundaries of brick-and-mortar 

decades ago but bloodlust is evergreen 
And since we’ve dispensed with shame
only thumbs ups are allowed 

though we’ll deliver all the same 😉


Imogen Arate is an award-winning Asian-American poet and writer and the Executive Producer and Host of Poets and Muses (https://poetsandmuses.com), a weekly poetry podcast that won second place at National Federation of Press Women's 2020 Communications Contest. She has written in four languages and published in two. Her works were most recently published in Rigorous and The Opiate and on the Global Vaccine Poem project. You can find her @PoetsandMuses on Twitter and Instagram.

Monday, October 04, 2021

AMERICA SINNING

by Robert Knox


via Demcast


Walt Whitman heard ‘America Singing’
I’m hearing things as well,
some of them sadly off-key.
In Texas those who run the place
like the last rodeo of the unforgiven
want to make voting hard to do
for those who have already run the obstacle course
     of history,
returning the privilege of suffrage to a comfortable,
white-sheeted nightmare 
from back somewhere before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
 
We once stayed (in our day; not Walt’s, not King’s)
in Florida, next to the motel where they poisoned the pool
to keep those they did not wish to see at the polls
out of their purely chlorinated water as well.
Everybody out of the pool! 
and nobody at the polls.
 
‘Some better day,’ as we so often say, we will look back
shaking our heads in horror
at what our fellow Americans got up to.
Sorry, sun-sick Florida, hypocritical Texas,
I am voting you out of the club.
Fly the battle flags of your disgrace all you want,
but you are no longer part of my America.


Robert Knox is a poet, fiction writer, and Boston Globe correspondent. As a contributing editor for the online poetry journal Verse-Virtual, his poems appear regularly on that site. They have also appeared in journals such as The American Journal of Poetry, Eunoia Review, and Unlikely Stories. His poetry chapbook Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty was nominated for a Massachusetts Best Book award. He is the winner of the 2019 Anita McAndrews Poetry Award.

Sunday, October 03, 2021

THE USHERS OF AID

a villanelle by Jeannie E. Roberts


“Giant sequoias are hardy souls. They have stood their ground in California for as long as thousands of years, surviving drought, earthquakes and wildfire. With their thick bark and seemingly sky-high crowns, they have generally defied any fire that would turn them into kindling—and even thrived after a burn. The heat causes the trees’ pine cones to burst open and release seeds to the ground. But as hotter blazes like the KNP Complex fire—ignited by lightning on Sept. 9 and still uncontained—headed into the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in the Sierra Nevada, the trees needed some extra help. And they got it in the form of aluminum foil. Now, the largest tree, by volume, in the world is cradled in shiny, silvery wrap.” Carla Hall, Los Angeles Times, September 26, 2021. Photo: The historic General Sherman tree is wrapped in protective aluminum foil at Sequoia National Park in California. (Gary Kazanjian / AFP via Getty Images via Los Angeles Times)


The world is on fire, flames fill our home. 
The Earth’s rising heat ignites global burn. 
The ushers of aid fall to humans alone.

The forest floors smolder as embers roam. 
Infernos scorch fauna, flora, and fern. 
The world is on fire, flames fill our home.

Some trees are stalwart, persist as if stone—
most render ash, where Earth serves as urn. 
The ushers of aid fall to humans alone.

Encircled in tin, from large base to loam, 
General Sherman stood strong, ever firm.
The world is on fire, flames fill our home.

The famous sequoia thrived, held its own—
it beat the fierce grind, conquered the quern. 
The ushers of aid fall to humans alone.

Envision our planet polished like chrome, 
where vigor exists with each gleaming turn. 
The world is on fire, flames fill our home. 
The ushers of aid fall to humans alone.


Jeannie E. Roberts has authored five poetry collections and two illustrated children's books. Her work appears in Sky Island Journal, The New Verse News, Verse-Virtual, and elsewhere. Her newest collection, As If Labyrinth—Pandemic Inspired Poems, was released by Kelsay Books in April of 2021. She is a Best of the Net award nominee.