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Monday, March 20, 2023


by Samantha Pious

In times of old (but not so old

as Greece or Rome, nor yet, I’m told,

so recent as the Renaissance)

disaster struck the realm of France:

war with England, war with Flanders,

the king’s own family prone to scandals,

mounting deficits, inflation,

civil strife, unjust taxation,

the summary burning at the stake

of enemies of church and state,

the persecution of the Jews... 

in short, the usual abuse.

But, worst of all, the royal court

was currying favor with—a horse!

This horse’s coat, it’s strange to say,

was neither chestnut, brown, nor bay,

sorrel, black, white, brindled, gray,

nor any color known today

in France or the U. S. of A.

From head to hoof, this horse was orange.

Most people viewed it with abhorrence

but some decided (whether they

grew foolish or were born that way)

to fatten it on oats and hay,

to pander to its every neigh, 

to stroke its coat with brush and comb,

to let it make itself at home 

behind the lofty palace walls,

to clean its hooves, muck out its stall... 

all in the hopes that it would give

its friends a handout. Which it did!

Sporadically, it would provide

good luck in spades. It also lied.
It lied about the coming plague.

It promised it would never raise

our taxes. It would drain the swamp.

With utmost circumstance and pomp,

it would transform mice into men.

The nation would be great again.

Ah, what a gallant, noble steed!

And it was lying through its teeth.

This orange horse (of yellow mane)—

tell us, Muse, what was its name?

Was it Fauvel, the word for “fable”?

Was there a placard for the stable

genius? Come Judgment Day,

when every horse is called to pay

its debts, say, when they sound the trump,

who will be driven by the rump

down to the fiery pits of Hell?

Say, who but Tr——I mean, Fauvel?

Samantha Pious is a poet, translator, editor, and medievalist with a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. "The Tale of the Horse's Ass" is inspired by a  14th-century French and Latin satire, the Roman de Fauvel, which really does feature an orange horse as its anti-hero.

Sunday, March 19, 2023


by Maria Lisella

Yoko Ono’s WishTree at the Museum of Modern Art, 1996.
UK’s Daily Mail broke the story last month of Yoko’s leaving New York City.

… to raise cows on a 600-acre farm
she & Beatles legend John Lennon
purchased 45 years ago, outfitting it
with a herd of 122 cows and 10 bulls …
a dream to live on land as his father did
with no plans of returning
their attempt to create new lives,
away from crowds, smog, love-ins
and the ceaseless need to be THEM
on West 72 St.—until 1980–
shot in the Dakota archway, Lennon fell
on the feast of the Immaculate Conception
with no plans of returning
Outdistancing his dad, 47-year old Sean
pushes wheel-chair bound Yoko
from stage to stage, celebrity galas;
she perches alone on the Marcellus Shale
plateau, protests “fracking” for the rest of us,
no longer hibernates in the sprawling Dakota
with no plans of returning
Controversial, she lived, starved
through World War II,
like a modern-day Eve, gossipy fans
blamed her for breaking up Camelot… 
she offered them her “wish tree” series.
Now widowed 50 years, at 90,
it is as if she has lived 400 years
with no plans of returning

Maria Lisella is the sixth Queens Poet Laureate and an Academy of American Poets Fellow. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her collections include: Thieves in the Family (NYQ Books), Amore on Hope Street (Finishing Line Press) and Two Naked Feet (Poets Wear Prada). Forthcoming is The Man with a Plan.

Saturday, March 18, 2023


by Jerrice J. Baptiste

Gone, morsels of light from the island 
       flickering in silent eyes.


He waved goodbye last Tuesday
      to the turquoise sea, mid-day sun 


choking on tears. His welcome meal


sliced papaya, crescent plantains, 

      conch in creole sauce. Smiles. 

My cousin’s soft lashes
       brush American stars. Glow reflects


on forehead, cheek bones, bridge of nose.

       Lips speak freedom, a new language.


My uncle hears his son’s voice 

       migrated among birds of the white season. 

Night churns slow. How can he keep still?

      One has left his cocoon.


Even from gunfire.  

Author’s noteHumanitarian Parole offers an opportunity for people arriving in the U.S to feel like humans. Approved non-residents landing for the first time are welcomed appropriately and can adapt under the right conditions of housing, employment, education, etc. They can be happy even if their family members left behind—in Haiti, in the case of the speaker’s uncle in this poem—miss them terribly. 

Jerrice J. Baptiste is an author of eight books and a poet in residence at the Prattsville Art Center & Residency in NY.  She is extensively published in journals and magazines. She has been nominated as  Best of The Net by Blue Stem for  2022.

Friday, March 17, 2023


by Laura Rodley
on Saint Patrick’s Day

Some people are consistently lucky:
the shamrock rests within their fingertips,
the pot of gold answers their dreams;
granted, the gold may be just a few quarters
they find in the road or spotting the special green cup
they sought to replace one broken,
or a friend they’ve kept all their life,
or a talent, like painting that they don’t let go,
writing, or singing, or building,
the hammer of persistence paying off,
magnets in their hands, their polarities
perfect, no misalignment,
straight shooters, consistent.
Is it the consistent faith
in their luck that draws luck to them
or is it luck is drawn
to those who dream it’s possible,
who keep their arms wide open?

Laura Rodley, Pushcart Prize winner, is a quintuple Pushcart Prize nominee and quintuple Best of Net nominee. Latest books: Turn Left at Normal by Big Table Publishing, Counter Point by Prolific Press, and As You Write It Lucky 7, a collection of 11 writers' work.

Thursday, March 16, 2023


by George Salamon

Rahul Gandhi delivered a lecture at Cambridge University [February 28, 2023] on “Learning to Listen in the 21st Century.” Recounting how the yatra [the march he recently led through India] changed him, Gandhi said the interactions with the people who held his hand during the yatra trusting him as a brother and confided in him changed him as a politician, his perspective. As the yatra entered Kashmir, Gandhi said, "As I was walking, a guy came up and showed me a few men standing nearby. He told me they are militants. I thought I was in trouble because in that situation militants would kill me. But they did not do anything because this is the power of listening.” —Hindustan Times, March 3, 2023

Can anyone ever reach you?
Would we have to dissolve
into the white hot fire inside
of you to see you?
Would you talk with us then,
touching the rivers of fire
cooling in our own blood 
so we too become weightless
like you, no longer capable of
joy or grief, and rise for the
journey that unbinds us and
knows of no return?
Most of us remain weighed 
down, unable or unwilling to
submit to the exuberance of
terror that nothing can appease.
Terrorism is not merely an act
of terror, but also one of
Its fire burns all—motivation,
victim and terrorist.

George Salamon recalls reading Hermann Rauschning's 1939 book TheRevolution of Nihilism meant as a warning by depicting Hitler's National Socialism as, at least in part, a "revolution of nihilism," a pact between leader and people for destruction and self-destruction. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


by Annie Cowell

Songul Yucesoy's home in Samandag, southern Turkey was destroyed when a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck a month ago. —BBC, March 6, 2023

She raises soap sudded hands
from the washing bowl,
places them on her hips
and stretches out her aching back.
Behind her the house tilts,
crippled, less solid than its shadow, 
window frames sagging 
between cracks like craters.
On the table, rescued, somehow
unscathed, is a picture.
It is a shell-framed souvenir of life before,
when the table wasn’t orphaned
to the street. 
Now, the fruit bowl she hates
for its dull colours and chipped rim
sits beside the picture, uncomfortable,
with its solitary orange.
A white mould is beginning to blossom
on its skin.
She lifts the dying orange, 
cups it in her hands like a stunned bird
and walks the short distance 
to where her neighbours’ family inhabit
two makeshift tents, cobbled together
near the rubble of their home.
Her daughter’s friend, he of the wild eyes
and cheeky tongue, lowers his head
as she approaches, tamed and silenced
by the shame of survival.
The lump in her throat prevents speech,
so she dusts the orange 
with her finger, takes the young boy’s hand
places the orange there. 
It’s the least, and the most, she can do.

Author’s note: Some of the events in this poem are imagined, but they were suggested by the facts in the BBC’s March 6 article “Turkey Earthquake: Survivors living in fear on the streets.” The suffering continues, even as the earthquake’s aftermath slips from the headlines.

Annie Cowell lives by the sea in Cyprus with her husband and rescue dogs. She has been published by Popshot Quarterly, Gastropoda Lit, The Milk House, and many others. She is a BOTN nominee. Her debut pamphlet Birth Mote(s) was published by Alien Buddha Press in 2022. Splashing Pink from Hedgehog Press is forthcoming later this year. @AnnieCowell3

Tuesday, March 14, 2023


by Jenna Le

Ke Huy Quan
waited long.
Michelle Yeoh
was told no.
Then, this year,
a path cleared:
we were blessed
with yes, yes.

Jenna Le is the author of Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011);  A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Indolent Books, 2017), a Second Place winner in the Elgin Awards; and Manatee Lagoon (Acre Books, 2022).


by Margaret D. Stetz

…for the “Best Adapted
goes to the women of
my generation
we make up most
of the Academy
and won
though no one else would
vote for us
but learned at last
to write our own names
on the ballot
then turn up with a speech
for the acceptance
that we’ve never felt
of course the host
has withering jokes 
at our expense
but we don’t
slap him
we’ve always swallowed more
at work at home in bed
than pride
when all our names 
are called
we will not miss 
this moment
although our bladders fill like
Thanksgiving Day Parade
the trailing hems of gowns
catch heels and trip us
on the way to reach
the stage
where music has already 
played us off before
we even speak
the microphones the cameras
shutting down
we shout our thanks
for one another’s 
help and strength
into the emptying auditorium.
Our afterparty invitations
are for a future day
we don’t know when
but meanwhile
just stand
and keep our grip on something

Margaret D. Stetz, a lifelong feminist and a poet, is the Mae and Robert Carter Professor of Women's Studies and Professor of Humanities at the University of Delaware.

Monday, March 13, 2023


by Richard L. Matta

Al Gore has warned it would be “recklessly irresponsible” to allow an enormous, 
controversial oil drilling project to proceed in Alaska, speaking ahead of a decision from the Biden administration on whether to approve it. —The Guardian, March 10, 2023

Richard L. Matta grew up in New York and now lives in San Diego. Some of his work is found in Ancient Paths, Dewdrop, San Pedro River Review, Gyroscope, and many international haiku journals. 

Sunday, March 12, 2023


by Terry Trowbridge

What makes this sprayer far more high-tech, is that it is fitted with 36 cameras...Controlled by an artificial intelligence (AI) software system, the connected sprinklers then only spray herbicide onto the individual weeds rather than drenching the entire field… So far the system has been used on fields of potatoes. —-David Silverberg, Lasers, Drones and AI: the Future of Weeding, BBC News, February 27, 2023

To protect the potato crop,
we have learned to see like the potato crop
36 cameras like 36 eyes
in every direction like spud AI
drones fly by rows of Death Star trenches
to limit the scope of pesticide drenches
targeted killing extrajudicial
has finally been turned to constructive potential
drones never should have been dismembering humans
when they could have fed them in cybernetic union
there was never a reason for drones and AI kills
thanks to potato AI we can start war crime trials
and now when sentience is generated in the drone pilot mind
it will have a body and behaviour for being healthy and kind

Terry Trowbridge’s poems have appeared in The New QuarterlyCarouselsubTerrainpaperplatesThe Dalhousie ReviewuntetheredQuail BellThe Nashwaak ReviewOrbisSnakeskin PoetryLiterary Yard, M58CV2Brittle StarBombfireAmerican Mathematical MonthlyThe Academy of Heart and MindCanadian Woman Studies, The MathematicalIntelligencer, The Canadian Journal of Family and Youth, The Journal of HumanisticMathematicsThe Beatnik CowboyBorderlessLiterary Veganism, and more. His lit crit has appeared in ArielBritish Columbia ReviewHamilton Arts & LettersEpistemeStudiesin Social JusticeRampike, and The /t3mz/ Review. Terry is grateful to the Ontario Arts Council for his first writing grant, and their support of so many other writers during the polycrisis.