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Saturday, March 25, 2017

AMERICAN CENTRIFUGE

by Brendan Cooney




'In an interview on Friday with The Washington Post, Trump made his inclinations clear: 
“The best thing politically is to let Obamacare explode.”'
The Washington Post, March 24, 2017



At least if your house is bombed,
you can see the rubble.
You can sit on it and wail.
You know who did it.
Forever after, you can bend
your story around
and then my house was bombed,
and everyone will get it.

Those of the slow fade
have none of that.
Only a diminuendo
hard to explain,
with no one to blame.
The depleted,
what can they say?
Everyone moved away.


Brendan Cooney’s work appears in Spillway, Sugar House Review, New Ohio Review, Prairie Schooner, Guernica, Crab Creek Review, Columbia Journalism Review, National Journal, Salon, and many others. He is a journalist, anthropologist, and poet from Maryland, now living in Copenhagen.

Friday, March 24, 2017

LONDON FLASH

by Linda Stryker


Image source: Belfast Telegraph


I forfeit my untroubled life
flashed in Parliament’s windows
he yells in a rose-red voice
when noise is the only turn
hang my body on the news

who-the-devil on the bridge
vile car shoots forward
runs down the oblivious
revs onward to double the dead
screams of agony and loss

a flashed knife toward an innocent
a yell      get the crazed runner
stopped sound of many breaths
a chaotic quiet in the aftermath
tourists on their pleasant strolls


Linda Stryker writes from Phoenix, Arizona, and is a volunteer radio reader and musician. Her work has been published in Highlights for Children, Ekphrastic, Chiron Review, and New Millennium Writings, among several others. Terrorists, like a pack of hungry coyotes, tear at the flanks of of civilization.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

I COULD HAVE BEEN IN NEW ENGLAND

by Linda Lerner


“The picturesque old town of Dachau invites one to linger and enjoy its many places of interest.” —Dachau.de


my father’s voice that I hadn’t heard
since he died interrupts a news report
about anti-Semitic crimes increasing
here, didn’t I warn you, he says
the smoke from 70-year-old explosions in Russia
rises up from bomb threats at Jewish centers now
and I’m fighting with him again to
stop living in the past, that’s over with,
I say, but as the newscaster
continues citing threats across
the country I begin marching
back to my college years protesting
discrimination against blacks
signing petitions against segregation
do it from the safety of my birthright;
there’s nothing to worry about, I tell him
it’s not us, it’s Muslims who have to worry
who need my help today…

outside the sun is shining; in the warm
winter light everything looks as it always has;
a friend is telling me about her trip to Germany
to where the death camps are now tourist sites;
as she walked around the city, went into shops
visited a park, watched children playing,
their parents looking on, relaxed,
said, I could have been in New England


Linda Lerner has new work in Onthebus, Chiron Review, Gargoyle, and SoFloPoJo. In spring 2015, she read six poems on WBAI for Arts Express. Her recent collections include Yes, the Ducks Were Real and Takes Guts and Years Sometimes (NYQ Books) and a chapbook of poems inspired by nursery rhymes Ding Dong the Bell Pussy in the Well.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

TRUMPLAND

by Brad Whitehurst


Driggs, Idaho


The yurt’s tent-flap unzipped, three Newfie hounds
ecstatic in their freedom jostle past,
sloshing John’s morning mug. They gain the trees,
inspect interstices in rock and root,
cavort through creek beds, drop fresh pats. Half-blinded
by the stroke, John navigates by sound
as his good eye makes out the blur of firs
dividing meadow from the woods. He follows
in Crocs and bathrobe, clods that mine the path
be damned, and makes a beeline for the clearing:
trampled earth, trailed twigs, fine tumbleweeds
of dog hair, Adirondack chair, and stump
cum coffee table. A sign nailed to a tree
reads Aggie’s Place. Ensconced, he senses the Tetons’
rising alpenglow; spies breeze-whipped, flip-
flopped coins of aspens, gold and copper; cocks
an ear for flocks invading the willows. Here
is retirement: three dogs, two homes, one wife,
dear Linda, preservationist of wildness
in daily life.

                      The etiquette of freedom,
Gary Snyder wrote, is how to live
with nature ordering impermanence:
improve the campsite, teach the children, oust
the tyrants. Done at last with all the awful
blather of alternative facts that stick
in the gorge and choke, we might, like Snyder, take
the longer view, unplug devices, and hike
till ego is fatigued and hubris humbled
by the parks. Take John, for instance, the only
Democrat in Idaho (save Linda
and the folks from the conservancy),
who makes his halting way each day to this edge
of wilderness. In geologic time,
these stratigraphic eras of rock uplifted,
scattered like pages of ancient manuscript,
expose rare Paleozoic fossil beds
with palimpsests of species long extinct.
Other lines have metamorphosed through their offspring
across the eons, only to decline
in genetic cul-de-sacs. In this pathetic
fallacy, a landscape that devolves
at a glacial pace, indifferent to regimes
outlasted, lacks the human element,
this mortal urge to act. Some men make idols
of themselves, which others worship, scorn,
ignore. And some like John get moving, refusing
to hunker in a man cave of self-pity,
lamenting democracy. He’d rather run
the dogs unleashed and trust in a blind man’s timing.

His coffee cooled, he listens to the pack,
bur-snagged and tuckered, amble up as Aggie,
the eldest in the back, stiffens, sniffs,
turns gyroscopic, howling at the scent
of dinosaur descendants in retreat
or coming home to roost. Three sandhill cranes
raise another prehistoric ruckus
—staccato trumpet bleats to tease the seers—
and, rising, wing past John’s appointed seat.


A native of Richmond, Virginia, Brad Whitehurst lives in New York City and teaches at the Nightingale-Bamford School.  He has earned degrees in English from The College of William and Mary (BA), Georgetown University (MA), and the Bread Loaf School of English (MLitt).  His poems have appeared in Shenandoah, Meridian, Sewanee Theological Review, voidmagazine.com, Iambs and Trochees, Country Dog Review, The Episcopal New Yorker, waywiserpress.com, among other venues.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I HAVE BEEN COUNTING ALL HER LIES

by Barbara Crooker




Here's what Kellyanne Conway had to say about T***p when she was working for Cruz.


for Kellyanne Conway


Alternative truths, facts in disguise.
Microwaves that act as spies,
telephones containing bugs,
politicians who are not thugs
or Russian agents; no, not them.
Healthcare run by businessmen
whose focus on the bottom line
ignores the needs of yours and mine.
Whose vision to make this country great
will just include the ones who hate
and those whose income isn't taxed—
that's only for those of us who lack
loophole savvy CPAs—
If Kellyanne could have her way
America would soon become
a land of rich and white and dumb.
So watch out for your TV set
that now surveils your every step.
No Meals on Wheels left at your door.
No free lunches, that's for sure.
No one succeeds by being poor.


Barbara Crooker is the author of eight books of poetry, including Small RainBarbara Crooker: Selected Poems, and most recently Les Fauves. Her work has appeared in The Bedford Introduction to Literature and Common Wealth:  Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania, and on The Writer’s AlmanacBarbara Crooker has received a number of awards, including the 2004 WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the 2003 Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships.

Monday, March 20, 2017

METAPHORICALLY SPEAKING

by Howie Good



via GIPHY


Pushing again and again
as though intending to lift
the cumulative weight of heartache,
just the very, very tips emerge,
the first shoots of spring,
medieval pilgrims in weird green headgear
leaning out of the dark past.


Howie Good is the author of The Loser's Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize from ThoughtCrime Press, and Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

BEGIN OVER AGAIN (BOA) BUDGET

by Tricia Knoll


Image Source: Hasbro


Whoever coined that penny-dreadful acronym BOA played too much
Monopoly. Report to Jail. No go by go. No payment for the work
you did, for what the artists painted beneath the bridges, for the songs
that mothers wet with milk dripped into their baby’s mouth or
that fathers moaned as regrets of what they hadn’t done to help,
you know, the sounds you could hear once in a while on public radio.

The beginners-again movement men whacked all the monuments
to pieces, loved it that Ramses’ head showed up in a sewer works hole.
When they carved out human services, they cared not a whit
(and I have it from a very reliable source that whit is much smaller
than bit), that zombies, the victims of flesh-eating cut-backs,
careened around downtowns with nowhere to go, washing in McDonald’s
restrooms, or giving up and pitching a tent in the graveyard
next to the wild sweet peas and the four-leaf clovers.

You won’t have this. You won’t have that. That refrain echos
in the school yard recess warning bells and the sirens that get people
to the hospital emergency rooms where they might be treated
depending on their documents. If they are legal people.

You will have bombs and walls. Lots of bombs and because we have big
sticks, we can use them wherever we want. We don’t have to lend them
to friends because the nations we once called friends aren’t very nice.
We can keep them all for ourselves. The BOA men don’t believe
it will go nuclear. BOA work, choking and squeezing, is not noticeable
to the average person who doesn’t care about tax returns or Putin.
The hungry might feel tightness in the gut. The sick or the less abled
may make unhealthy comparisons to the old play board
where they did collect $200 every once in a while.

What you will notice is how BOA men get new black suits,
gleamy gold badges, and red hats with bills

to keep the sun from blinding them.


Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet who has been writing poetry of protest for some months. Her collected work includes Ocean's Laughter (Aldrich Press) and Urban Wild (Finishing Line Press).

Saturday, March 18, 2017

THE SURVEYOR'S REPORT

a belated Pi Day (3.14) poem
by Karen Greenbaum-Maya




It's a cruel people.
Barbarians, they keep dead trees
among the struggling living, shocked green,
though they must know
the hate they cause.

They ignore the stars,
prefer five-armed simpletons,
castrated travesties
of those scalding selves.

Not utterly beyond redemption, though.
They worship pi,
even dedicate a day,
prepare charmingly symbolic pastries.

These, also called pi, are imperfectly round,
contain round foods,
and, like these primitives,
are perfectly irrational.


Karen Greenbaum-Maya's first book The Book of Knots and their Untying came out last fall. She co-hosts Fourth Sundays, a poetry reading series in Claremont, California.

Friday, March 17, 2017

CHRONICLES

by Judith Terzi



They are taking something away in America.
They have stolen all the cows in South Sudan.

They are hawking their egos on minor stages.
They have forced villagers to flee South Sudan.

They will forsake the poorest among us.
Their women cup hands in dust in South Sudan.

They will not succumb to offerings of reason.
Their women search for grain under straw in South Sudan.

They camouflage their fortunes under the radar.
They offshore in the West stolen assets from South Sudan.

They inhabit the wilderness of equivocation.
They create wastelands out of farms in South Sudan.

They speak in fiction to preserve potency.
They have massacred for power in South Sudan.

Now, they are taking compassion away in America.
Now, one hundred thousand facing famine in South Sudan.


Judith Terzi's poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in BorderSenses, Caesura, Columbia Journal, Raintown Review, Spillway, Unsplendid, and Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Web and Net, shortlisted in the Able Muse Write Contest, and included in Keynotes, a study guide for the artist-in-residence program for State Theater New Jersey. Casbah is her latest chapbook from Kattywompus Press.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

BLOOD, COFFEE, AND A COVERED LIFE

by Jill Crainshaw

Daily Signe Cartoon 03/14/17


The old hymn from my childhood pounds out
a heat-beating rhythm in my head.
“There is power, power,
wonder-working power
in the blood,”
while plasma charts a course
through octogenarian veins,
a crimson thread
marking a jagged line
between life and death.

“Here you go, honey,”
the Starbucks barista said
and her eyes smiled
while her mouth hid
behind one of those disposable face masks
medical center workers were wearing
that windy winter day.
I smiled back, took the potent elixir,
and drank,
as the dark roasted incense swirled.

Battle lines are drawn,
expiration date unknown but certain
as soon as womb-water breaks
onto unmapped territory.
“It could go either way,”
the hospitalist said.
“But it’s all covered.”
I Googled “hospitalist”
and waited
for a lingering red pearl to let go.


Jill Crainshaw is a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity and a Presbyterian minister. Her work has appeared in Star 82 Review, Mused: Bella Online Literary Review, and Panoplyzine. She is a frequent contributor to the Unfundamentalist Christians blog.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

SONG OF 45

by Alejandro Escudé




I listen for the listener
in my darkened airplane of a home,
stars cycle within me, the sun blazes
as if it rose for me alone.
I twist clouds into euphemisms.
I’ve created my own celestial hive.
What you hear comes in sideways,
the voice in the voices of my advisors,
the little muses I carry in my pocket.
When I give orders, I perform a pirouette
to avoid the microphones hidden in
the molecules (they can do that I read).
Everything I sign will remain nameless.
The curtains are opened on purpose.


Alejandro Escudé published his first full-length collection of poems My Earthbound Eye in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches high school English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

MIGRATIONS #1

by Judith Partin Nielsen


Shifting Perception, painting by Jay Alders

                                                                                                  In Memoriam
                                                                                                  José Angel Alfano Solana


We crossed over the border
I won’t say how
and what can I say of
freezing desert nights
black sky blazing stars
then searing, burning sun
tearing into flesh
relentless, relentless
the walking, and fear
then- - - - - - -running, running
as sand clouds appear
against the far sky
running, running- - -and then
I lost you and Juan and
the girl running, running
and falling face down
breathing sand and
dreaming, dreaming of naranjas and
water, rain falling and
phantoms unfurling like giant
sails across the desert floor
and the pounding, pounding of
ocean waves in my ears
and then- - - - -the face, the face
of El Senõr

                                                                                                 
Following a trail of words, mountains, spirit and tears, Judith Partin Nielsen, writer, mother, wife and eventually psychoanalyst left Texas for Colorado in 1985. "Freud said 'everywhere I go, the poet has gone before me.'  May we keep following those footsteps on our paths thru the worlds."

Monday, March 13, 2017

PLEDGING ALLEGIANCE

by Thomas R. Smith




Late afternoon sun on snow. Intense
flare concentrated in the west, skimming
cold shadows pooling below the dam.
On the path I stop a moment to commiserate
with a friend, both of us scalded by
the daily piss shower out of the White House.
Still January and the open river
hosts hundreds of ducks, geese, and swans. The new
EPA head listens to oil and coal
companies but not the community
of beings. I see my neighbors the water-
birds almost every day. I must owe them
something. Does money and power have
the right to disregard their fate? Ryan
and Pence stand smirking behind T***p while
the lit fuse sparks past their ankles.
Do they really believe that only
the President will be burned? Things can
get corrupted so inconspicuously—
a file, water, air, democracy—that we often
notice only when the screen’s gone blank.
The body politic knows it’s infected,
will the immune system mobilize?
The purveyors of “alternate facts” tried to
smear Rachel Carson too.  Heroically
she saved us from ourselves. Do we have it
in us to save us from ourselves this time?
I look out past the fliers and swimmers
at home on the river, toward the sun’s
setting splendor.  Our twilight will be
uglier, like the men at the top. To them
say, Earth first! You can’t be my government
if you won’t be the government of the geese.


Thomas R. Smith has had hundreds of poems published on three continents.  In the United States, his poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.  His poems were included in Editor's Choice II (The Spirit That Moves Us Press), a selection of the best of the American small press, and in The Best American Poetry 1999 (Scribner).  His work has reached wide national audiences on Garrison Keillor's public radio show Writer's Almanac and former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's syndicated newspaper column, American Life in Poetry. His most recent book of poems is The Glory from Red Dragonfly Press.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

ON THE PRACTICE OF DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME

by David Feela




The clocks, advanced one hour, will not
save us, not from the imaginations of oblivious children
exhausted in the moist dark while waiting for school buses,
still comatose from that lost hour of sleep.

Not the shadows lengthening into evening
like tails on a tuxedo, all dressed up without
the energy to dance. Like Sisyphus’s rock,
we know pushing the sun back up the hill

won’t keep it there, and the gods won’t change
the sand in our hourglasses, and this life,
as we know it, remains fixed like a nail in the wall
where we pick up the same old hat on the way out.


David Feela writes a monthly column for The Four Corners Free Press and for The Durango Telegraph. A poetry chapbook, Thought Experiments, won the Southwest Poet Series. His first full length poetry book The Home Atlas appeared in 2009. His new book of essays How Delicate These Arches released through Raven's Eye Press, has been chosen as a finalist for the Colorado Book Award.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

EXAMPLE

by Salvador Díaz Mirón 
from his 1901 collection Lascas [Stone Chippings]; 
translation by Julie Steiner


Iraqi children giggle at the body of a half-buried Islamic State militant while talking to an Iraqi soldier in the al-Barid district in Mosul, Iraq. Photo: AP via Metro, December 19, 2016.



The flyblown corpses of Islamic State militants have been rotting along a main street in north Mosul for two weeks, a health risk for passersby.  . . . Islamic State has executed thousands of Iraqi soldiers and policemen, and their comrades are eager for revenge. "We leave them in the street like that so the dogs eat them," said soldier Asaad Hussein. "We also want the citizens to know there is a price for supporting terrorists.". . . A few streets away, a group of young boys walked towards three more Islamic State corpses. "The bodies should stay. Daesh killed lots of people so why should they be buried," said Salem Jamil, 13, . . . but a man who approached said the bodies should be buried because that is everyone's right. —“Iraqi forces wage psychological war with jihadist corpses” Reuters, February 6, 2017


Brandished from a tree-branch, the cadaver was decaying
as if it were a gruesome fruit still dangling from its stalk:
a testament to judgment whose absurdity would shock;
a pendulum intruding on the roadway with its swaying.

The nudity’s indecency, the stuck-out tongue displaying,
and hair that formed a jester’s coxcomb, lock by upright lock,
gave him a buffoonish look; and where my horse should walk,
a group of ragged children mocked, derisive laughter braying.

And the melancholy carcass, with its head inclined to yaw—
abominable, bloated, on a gibbet leafy-green—
spread odors on the breeze (which was a wind, in fact, and raw)

as it rocked with swings like censer-passes, solemn and serene.
And the sun went on ascending through a blue without a flaw,
and the landscape was idyllic, a Tibullus-lyric scene.


EJEMPLO
por Salvador Díaz Mirón (de su colección Lascas, 1901).


En la rama el expuesto cadáver se pudría,
como un horrible fruto colgante junto al tallo,
rindiendo testimonio de inverosímil fallo
y con ritmo de péndola oscilando en la vía.

La desnudez impúdica, la lengua que salía
y alto mechón en forma de una cresta de gallo,
dábanle aspecto bufo; y al pie de mi caballo
un grupo de arrapiezos holgábase y reía.

Y el fúnebre despojo, con la cabeza gacha,
escandaloso y tumido en el verde patíbulo
desparramaba hedores en brisa como racha,

mecido con solemnes compases de Turíbulo.
Y el sol iba en ascenso por un azul sin tacha,
y el campo era figura de una canción de Tíbulo.


Salvador Díaz Mirón (1853-1928) was a Mexican poet from Veracruz. Julie Steiner (1968- ) is a translator in San Diego, California.

Friday, March 10, 2017

DEM(ENT)OCRACY

by Jon Wesick




In retrospect, her symptoms were obvious.
When American democracy mooned her neighbor,
the sheriff didn’t press charges. Who could blame her, after all?
And even though she forgot the last financial crisis,
the last phony war, and the last human rights abuse,
she could talk for hours about the framers’ original intent.

Once books and newspapers filled her study.
Now she spends days glued to reality TV
and only gets out of her easy chair
to answer phone calls from salesmen
offering magic beans and mercury supplements.
Her home smells of rot and petroleum
and since shopping is too much bother,
she simply hands defense contractors her bankcard.

By the time police found her bewildered
at the grocery store, it was too late.
She’d already wired our inheritance
to some Nigerian “prince.”
Guess we just didn’t want to know.

I don’t know what to do.
I search her blank expression.
Something’s in there. There has to be,
maybe a memory of lightning bugs
and backyard barbecues.
Somewhere behind those cataract-filled eyes
is the image     of us
standing on a Florida beach
while the distant, orange spark
that was the first moon rocket
arced into the sky


Jon Wesick hosts Southern California’s best ice cream parlor poetry reading and is a regional editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual. He’s published hundreds of poems and stories in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, Metal Scratches, Pearl, Slipstream, Space and Time, Tales of the Talisman, and Zahir. The editors of Knot Magazine nominated his story “The Visitor” for a Pushcart Prize. His poem “Meditation Instruction” won the Editor’s Choice Award in the 2016 Spirit First Contest. Another poem “Bread and Circuses” won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists Contest. Jon is the author of the poetry collection Words of Power, Dances of Freedom as well as several novels.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

MOTHER-DAUGHTER

by Mary McEwen




My mother was successful.
She grew up in a small valley town
In Evergreen Colorado,
Born to an Italian father and Scottish mother
Who immigrated to New York just before
She was born. She went to a local college
And majored in English. Then she got a job
working in communications.
She was only one of three women working
For the company.
She worked there for over twenty years.
After year thirteen she married my father
And they decided to start a family. I would
Come along a bit later.
My mom used to tell me this story over and over:
An example of how much she loved me.

My mom was proud of her career.
She worked hard.
She was one of the first people to have a cellular
Phone installed in her car.
At the end of every year,
Her boss would make every employee in the office
A performance list, a list of goods and bads,
What employees were doing well, how they improved…
But that year my mother got her performance letter
From her boss and her heart sank.
It was not a complimentary letter like usual.
It had a few things on the “good” list,
Like she was always “punctual” and “organized”,
But nothing really notable.
And then there was the “bad” list.
Only one word.
My name.

The choice to have a child was selfish, unthinkable.
If a woman wanted to have a career then
She couldn’t possibly be a mother and housewife as well.
It was inconvenient timing, he said, it would affect her job performance.
She would have to take time off. She would be distracted.
I wasn’t even born yet. I was a little speck in her womb.
And she stood up for me.
My mother defended me.

Maybe because she and my dad were trying to start a family,
Or maybe because she refused to be threatened,
Or because she didn’t consider it a valid reason to leave her career,
But my mom continued to work there.
And after I was born, she took a few weeks off
For maternity leave. And then she went right back
To work, and took her with me.
I had a little corner in her office with a crib and toys.
I would sit in silence in board meetings,
Wide-eyed and attentive, seated across from her boss
At the other end of the table.
I wasn’t a bullet point on a list anymore.

I was a person.


Mary McEwen lives in Colorado Springs, CO and is a English and Poetry major at Colorado College. She published her first book of poetry in 2014.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

SLEEP AFTER A T***P SPEECH

by Ben Kline 




What are facts if they lack
truth in telling? He was the bad lover I left

five weeks and sixty two months before
the March hail behaved like July and everyone

succumbed to citrus words and coral colored lip gloss
that shined like a silver watch in waters shallow

with guppies looking for a bite, barracudas
for purple blood so thick it shoved the sand

aside before his foot could find your throat.
What is the warning

shared by mothers on the beach
when their daughters spot men with cameras

walking too slowly by? He was brutal
but unskilled, a successful punch

lacking cause or defense like a tree
the wind sends onto a sleeping home

busy with inconsequential dreams, vivid truths
we only tell ourselves.


Ben Kline lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he writes about the modern digital existence and his dark Appalachian past. His work has appeared in KNACK Magazine, Headmaster Magazine, Birds Piled Loosely, and apt.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

A FRIEND BREAKS HIS RENAISSANCE SWORD ON A PAPAYA

by Kristina England




Any fruit can hide the fierceness of its rinds.
We should never believe the weapon invincible.

Record low temperatures today, risk of frostbite,
hard wind claps bathroom vents.
It's like they're cheering on the cold.

President of United States accuses former president
of wire tapping, calls him "sick," then berates
Arnold Schwarzenegger on Twitter
for being a "pathetic" reality show host.

Brain hurting from malnutrition,
I reorganize the living room two times,
split myself in half, one part here,
one part looking back at what we had.

Sometimes the chance of turning
to salt is more rewarding
than the alternative.


Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Her writing has been published in several magazines, including Gargoyle, Silver Birch Press, and Tipton Poetry Journal.

THE NEXT DAY

by James Grabill



So it’s the next day and we’re still alive on the planet where we’ve thrived beyond overflow capacity and immersed ourselves in collective interdependence propped up by long-evolved mineral sense and other species.

With all the fasting and ascension, retooling of Arctic winds for the hog-blinking duration, through certain rains we’ve inherited, amounts of arrogance from before science occur in the underbelly of thought.

And yet this is the chance we were given, to live while the clock hands wheel and numbers vanish along with the sky eventually darkening, where heads of the sunflowers eventually bend heavily toward the ground, as if sizing up where their seeds will fall.

Unfinished presence extends, where mushrooms stake out reclamations.

Stitches Grandma made to dresses on her seamstress bodices I’m sure still exist where they were drawn with attention taut, right for the baby in arms of her mother, in the room behind the door that stays closed.


James Grabill’s recent work is online at the Caliban, Green Mountains Review, Kentucky Review, Elohi Gadugi, Buddhist Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Terrain, Mobius, Calliope, The Oxonian Review, The Toronto Quarterly, Mad Hatter’s Review, Plumwood Mountain, and others. His books include Poem Rising Out of the Earth (1994) and An Indigo Scent after the Rain (2003), both from Lynx House Press. Wordcraft of Oregon has published his new project of environmental prose poems, Sea-Level Nerve: Book One and Book Two. A long-time Oregon resident, he teaches 'systems thinking' and global issues relative to sustainability.

YA THINK?



William Aarnes lives in South Carolina.

Monday, March 06, 2017

ORGASMO DE NEGOCIOS

by Ashton Jaymz


Cartoon by Jeff Darcy


White hoods give way to smiling white faces
Trim suits, white shirts, smooth in all the right places
Plantations give way to shimmering new offices
When you’re licking balls for status, you can't tell what a farce is
But it's all so shiny, neat, and clean
Your insides are all sanitized, so the dirt can't be seen
We're all fucktoys of a freshly printed bill
I'd die for a green orgasm, and let my tomb eat its fill


Ashton Jaymz is an English major currently residing in St. Louis, with a fondness for cigars and the theater.

DEPARTMENT OF INJUSTICE

by Howard Winn




where lies have become dogma
and law breakers rise to the top
for no good reason except they
kiss the feet of he who has lied
the most to achieve notoriety
that fills the coffers of the star
in the fake world of so-called
reality which has always been
scripted by the alternate world
populated by the anarchists
who want a war to prove that
they are manly enough to get
others to kill for them in a
martial view of what is success


Howard Winn's work, both short fiction and poetry has been published in Dalhousie Review, The Long Story, Galway Review, Antigonish Review, Chaffin Review, Evansville Review, 3288 Review, Straylight Literary Magazine, and Blueline.  His B. A. is from Vassar College. His M.A. is from the Stanford University Writing Program. His doctoral work was done at N.Y.U. He is Professor of English at SUNY.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

TODAY

by Laura Rodley




For you, my grandchildren,
I am saving pine needles in the forest.
For you, my grandchildren
I am hanging up my clothes, saving energy.
For you, my grandchildren,
I am walking the hot sand at East Sandwich.
not flying using fossil fuel, not expanding beyond.
For you my grandchildren,
I am weaving the leafy fronds at Ashfield Lake,
swimming in it, swimming prayers.
For you, my grandchildren,
I drive as little as possible,
work as expeditiously as I can, conserve.
For you, my grandchildren,
I hold my hands over the cool breath
of the snow, so blue, so crisp, so cold,
so I can pat your cheeks with the snow’s breath,
so you can remember the feeling of snow.
For you, my grandchildren, I pray
for the earth’s forgiveness for walking
on her surface, how she holds me suspended
in this time, so close to your future.
For you, I wear sweaters, and burn less oil, no wood,
and send my emissary ghost to Standing Rock.
For you, my grandchildren,
I keep watch for the barred owls that rest
on the hemlocks in our yard.
I’m remembering it all for you:
their wide wingspan, their dark eyes
that hold the future of the long dark night, infinity,
and I tell you this, my grandchildren,
I chose not to be afraid, because I am remembering,
I am remembering all of this to give to you:
the cold breath of the snow, the people
at Standing Rock, the tall hemlocks, the green water
of Ashfield Lake, I am giving you the coldness
to hold onto when the sun bears down
and Massachusetts gets hotter,
I am giving you forests full of hemlocks, ash trees,
beech, canopies of leaves to walk under;
I am giving you the shelter of pines;
this is what I am handing down to you, my legacy.


Laura Rodley's NVN poem “Resurrection” won a Pushcart Prlze and was published in the 2013 edition of the anthology. She was nominated twice before for the Prize as well as for Best of the Net. Her chapbook Rappelling Blue Light, a Mass Book Award nominee, won honorable mention for the New England Poetry Society Jean Pedrick Award. Her second chapbook Your Left Front Wheel is Coming Loose was also nominated for a Mass Book Award and a L.L.Winship/Penn New England Award. Both were published by Finishing Line Press.  Co-curator of the Collected Poets Series, she teaches creative writing and works as contributing writer and photographer for the Daily Hampshire Gazette.  She edited As You Write It, A Franklin County Anthology, Volume I and Volume II.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

DON'T GET SICK IN AMERICA

by Alan Walowitz




Despite not being a doctor, I give him my best advice:
AARP, I tell him.  Always, At all costs, Remain Perpendicular.
My old pal Willard would laugh if his hearing aid hadn’t come loose
and we’d been sitting at the diner,
shooting the breeze over coffee, him telling me the same story
the third or fourth time.  I love the guy.
But now he’s lying on a gurney in the ER corridor for the 4th straight hour,
getting edgy, and who can blame him after all this time,
and against my best advice, parallel to the floor
along with all the others, quiet on their gurneys
or writhing gently in pain,
even the pain-energy wrested out of them?
Each either has or doesn’t have insurance—
they’re black and brown and grey and young
and the doctor--who hurries by from time to time
gives me a look that signifies, I know, I know, it’s crazy—
she’s a beautiful yellow-beige, with a face shaped like a heart
and I think I’m in love. The ER, this is America,
the great equalizer, no one’s special here,
no one gets to see the doctor first because he’s middle class or white,
or he used to be a Protestant from Rochester back in the day
and he was famous for clicking his heels and proclaiming,
In Germany they stand up when I enter the room!
And everyone would tell him, Sit down and shut up, Will!
Though I’m not next of kin,
a nurse figures I must be close, so stops by and tells me,
he’ll have a stress test first thing in the morning,
after spending the night in the hall
cause the treadmill’s booked the rest of today.
And just in case you needed a reminder,
Don’t get sick in America,
you gotta have patience to burn,
and one way or another,
you’re gonna have to pay.


Alan Walowitz has been published in various places on the web and off. He’s a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry, and teaches at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY and St. John’s University in his native borough of Queens, NY. Alan’s chapbook Exactly Like Love was published by Osedax Press in 2016 and is now in its second printing. He’ll be reading at the Cornelia Street Café in Greenwich Village on Tuesday, March 7th at 6 pm.

Friday, March 03, 2017

TO SAVE THE COUNTRY

by Brenda J. Gannam


ACLU People Power


with sincere apologies and enormous gratitude
to paul simon


the problem’s not all inside the beltway, can’t you see
and the answer’s not easy, if you take things personally
i’m going to explain it—so we can defeat this tromperie
there must be fifty ways to save your country
fifty ways to save the country

you say it grieves you so to see your rights withdrawn
and you can’t sleep at night, you toss and turn till dawn
so please tell yourself you won’t just lie there, fret, and yawn
there must be fifty ways to save your country
fifty ways to save the country

just jot down a plan, dee ann
go to the poll, noel
vote out the jerk, kirk
come, listen to me

march on the square, claire
give your voice sway, josé
protest the wall, saul
soon, results you will see!

join in a rally, sally
promote the facts, max
speak out the truth, ruth
till the seed grows a tree

e-mail a friend, hind
make your tweets ring, ming
keep the thoughts straight, kate
they can’t stop you and me

start a campaign, lorraine
draw a cartoon, haroun
sing a strong song, jong
even better, all three!

counter that spin, gwen
support the press, bess
write an op-ed, ahmed
for the truth sets you free

yes, the truth sets you free!


Brenda J. Gannam, an Arab-American living in Brooklyn, has been a member of the New York poetry community for 25+ years and has published her poems and haiku in a variety of journals and anthologies in print and online.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

SEED CORN MUST NOT BE GROUND

by Pamela Wynn


Seed Corn Must Not Be Ground: A mother protecting her children, lithograph by Käthe Kollwitz, 1942. Image source: Spartacus Educational


Haunting the halls of the museum
paintings protest a war the young know little of.

My nephew, eighteen, reports for duty today.
Army recruiters assured him, his vision is 20-20.

My sister pours cereal as if today were like any other.

The youngest spills milk. She scolds the child
harshly, as if spilling milk were the end of the world.

Once I stood atop Masada. There
Israeli soldiers swear allegiance.

There ancestors killed themselves and each other.
They would not suffer at the hands of another.

In nearby Be’er Sheva, sirens pierce lives of children
—bomb shelters minutes away.

In neighboring Palestine children have no time at all.

We are marching toward the end of the world.
Barely a pause to bury broken young bodies in the ground.

Who can forgive us? We know what we do.


Pamela Wynn is author of Diamonds on the Back of a Snake (Laurel Poetry Collective, 2004) and co-editor of the anthology of poems Body of Evidence (Laurel Poetry Collective, 2012). She has published widely in journals and anthologies such as The Religious Imagination of American Women (Mary Farrell Bednarowski, Indiana University Press, 1999), Arts: The Arts in Religious and Theological Studies, Bryant Literary Review, Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality, Water~Stone Literary Journal, Blue Collar Review, Christian Century, and Sojourners Magazine. She has received support for her work from the Dayton Hudson, Jerome and General Mills Foundations, Minnesota State Arts Board, Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, New York Mills Arts & Cultural Center, and Walker Art Center.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

TERRIFIED

by Marsha Owens


Image adapted from Scott Brundage Illustration.

Who are you? roared the Cyclops.

I’m terrified, I whispered back.

And well you should be, Cyclops said, because it’s like snakes in the baby’s crib.

We are babies, you know, we haughty Americans, two-year olds running around aimlessly, peeing our pants, little boy babies pulling their diapers down to gawk at their penises, all self-absorbed, too young to understand how grown-up 21st Century countries behave, grown-up men and women, you know, the ones who build high-speed rail, and grow a belief system that says YOU, you, and you, all of you will be educated and be able to pay for your blood pressure medicine and be able to have food enough, and YOU, you, and you will live in houses, unlike stray dogs scrounging downtown, still some say YOU, you and you are undeserving because you don’t pray to our father who is in heaven, you don’t speak English, you wear a scarf on your head, you walk with a limp, you run away from bullets shot at your back.  Yes, YOU . . . be afraid, feel the dead of the darkest night, guiding stars dimmed, voices of reason gone underground, black faces smashed, bodies dumped on the trash heap beside McDonald’s wrappers, throwaways, mountains of loss, and the red truck sits in the yard outside my window, says nothing, all metal and strong.


Marsha Owens lives and writes in Richmond VA. #Resist

GRAVE DIGGER

by Carolyn Gregory




He digs his own grave,
throwing in the bones of other
dead men first—
a femur and skull
from a couple of immigrants

climbing over an electric fence
that sizzled as they tried
to get over it

They died, instead.

No matter to the grave digger
who is always thrilled
with carrion and bones.

The wheel of fortune will point
to him in several revolutions
when the universe calls his number
and the other grave diggers carry him
quickly to Hell.


Carolyn Gregory’s poems and music essays have been published in American Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, Off the Coast, Cutthroat, Bellowing Ark, Seattle Review, Big River Review, Tower Journal, Stylus and Peacock Journal. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and previously won a Massachusetts Cultural Council Award. Her first book Open Letters was published in 2009 and a second book Facing the Music was published in Florida in 2015. She is currently working on her third book of poetry.

IMMIGRANT

by Alan Catlin




Does it matter?
Now,
here, today

That they were
grunts in Vietnam,
her father,
uncles, cousins

and that she
the niece,
daughter,
married an
Asian guy

Not a Vietnamese,
not a Japanese,
or a Chinese
but a neighbor
to Nam guy

That he spent years in
refugee camps
before he made
it here

All of those awful years
dreaming of a better
life, of America

That he finally made it.
Worked a decade, more,
for his phd,
fought
prejudice,
discrimination,
ridicule

Does it matter
That he has
a good job,
no a great job,
is a provider
is the father
of their grandchild,
their only grandchild

a half-Asian,
half-American
beauty?

Oh, yes it matters

A lot.


Alan Catlin is poetry editor of online journal misfitmagazine.net. His latest book of poetry is American Odyssey from Future Cycle Press.