Guidelines



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Sunday, January 19, 2020

TASHONNA

by Nadia Farjami




black. healthcare. matters.

she died from
their silence, from

sealed lips and silicone gloves that
pushed

her aside—her
pulse would have kept pushing,

but they put her
on pause.


Nadia Farjami is a poet from California. Her work has been recognized by The New York Times, Cathexis Northwest Press, High Shelf Press, The Esthetic Apostle,  Prometheus Dreaming, Polyphony LIT, Youth Poet Laureate, Body Without Organs Literary Journal, Marmalade Magazine, Cagibi Literary Journal, The Athena Review, & more.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

SMALL TALK

by Gil Hoy





What breed of turmoil
and woe are we seeing, when

casual conversation
about favorite movies
can seem uncaring,

tacit silence
in the face of
so many lies.





Gil Hoy is a Boston poet, semi-retired trial lawyer, and progressive, political activist who is studying poetry at Boston University through its Evergreen program. Hoy previously received a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He served as a Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman for four terms. Hoy’s poetry has appeared most recently in Tipton Poetry Journal, Chiron Review, TheNewVerse.News, Ariel Chart, The Potomac, The Penmen Review and elsewhere.

Friday, January 17, 2020

AS THE WORLD SLEEPS

by Jen Schneider





A man has been left seriously injured after the tent he was sleeping in was removed by an industrial vehicle in Dublin. The man, who is believed to be homeless, was taken to St Vincent's Hospital, where he is reportedly being treated for "life-changing" injuries and remains in a serious condition. The incident, which took place at Wilton Terrace near the city centre of the Irish capital, happened on Tuesday afternoon. —ITV News, January 15, 2020

The Toronto Homeless Memorial now includes the names of more than 1,000 people who died while homeless; a grim milestone that some advocates say underscores the extent of Toronto’s poverty crisis. —CP24, January 14, 2020


In my dreams, the Butterflies dance – 
Monarchs, Swallowtails, and Brush-Footed Beauties.  
Flittering specks of crimson, pale pinks, warm yellows – 
like the cotton patchwork quilt I use to warm myself
as Night falls.

In my dreams, the Radio sings – 
Ellington, Bach, Armstrong
Sweet, sometimes off-beat tunes of jazz, hip-hop, classical notes – 
like the lyrics of childhood verse I sing to calm myself
as Night falls.

Sleep is a Noun, much like any other
until it’s Not:
Regenerative blocks of eight hours, cycles
of REM, light, and deep slumber.
Wakefulness, too.

Sleep is a Verb, much like any other
Until it’s Not:
Engagement in a nightly ritual
of rejuvenation. Eyes close. Muscles relax.
Consciousness suspends, too.

Sleep is a Basic Necessity, much like any other
Until it’s Not:
The lowest, most fundamental tier
of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs turned Off.
Out of reach - a victim of city regulations, zoning boards,
and inked signs informing us of our camps’ demise.

What happens when the steps—Maslow’s, City Halls, 
Bus Terminals—turn off. The music stops playing. 
The dreams turn sour. Strips of yellow and black
ribbon turn bedtime into a nightly scavenger hunt. 
With no treasure or prize.

I’m told we’ve made the News.
Sometimes dreams do come true. Childhood fantasies 
of my name on Billboard Lights.
Arms sway as I belt out verse of the Masters, 
dance with the Monarchs, and look Up to the Heavens.

My focus, now – Down – to the Concrete - for a place to rest.
Down by the Rec Center. 
Down near the Church. 
Down under the Bridge.
A folksong gone wrong, with lyrics all my own.

Sleep is Talk Show Filler, much like any other
Until it’s Not.
Tips, Tricks, and Strategies in the form 
of downloads, software applications and endless talk
of background noise and strict schedules.

What happens when the background noise –
Roaring Interstates, Tree Lined Highways, Dark Tunnels 
is the Bedroom?

What happens when the schedules – 
City Collection Trucks, Patrolling Officers, Slow Moving Vans 
are the Nightmares?

Sleep is…
Shivers turned to blankets of fuzzy warmth.
Arms wrapped around tired bones.
Lights off on social experiments gone wrong.

Until it’s Not. When the lights stay on and the arms arrest.
Sleep simply Ceases to Exist.


Jen Schneider is an educator, attorney, and writer. She lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Philadelphia. Her work appears in The Popular Culture Studies Journal, unstamatic, Zingara Poetry Review, Streetlight Magazine, Chaleur Magazine, LSE Review of Books, and other literary and scholarly journals.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

MARE NOSTRUM

by Janice D. Soderling


Eight children were among the 11 migrants who drowned when their boat sank off Turkey's western coast, state media report. Eight other people were rescued from the waters off Cesme, a tourist resort on the Aegean coast opposite the Greek island of Chios. —BBC, January 12, 2020.


It is the ghost ship Hope-No-More
that sails a bitter sea.
Stiff on her misty deck there stands
a doleful company.

Her sails are spun of baby breath.
Her masts are made of bones.
Her draft is deep, but deeper still,
the halls of Davy Jones.

Her keel is carved of hard goodbyes.
Her rigging wrought of grief.
Her rotting hull is empty as
the honor of a thief.

She sailed from war and hunger.
War and hunger are no more.
She sails like fog forever.
The good ship Hope-No-More.


Janice D. Soderling is a previous contributor to TheNewVerse.News. Her work was recently at Better Than Starbucks and Light. She has published one chapbook in Swedish and two in English, another soon forthcoming titled War: Make That City Desolate.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

CREDIBILITY GAP



Robert West is the author of three chapbooks of poems, including Convalescent (Finishing Line Press, 2011); the co-editor of Succinct: The Broadstone Anthology of Short Poems (Broadstone Books, 2013); and the editor of both volumes of The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons (W. W. Norton, 2017).

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

ECLIPSE

by Gail Goepfert


Thick plumes of smoke rise from bush fires on the coast of East Gippsland in Victoria, Australia, on Saturday. (Australian Maritime Safety Authority/Reuters via The Washington Post, January 5, 2020)


Fog out the window. Low-
slung and grayed,
eddying
near the ground.
Veiling what will come of this day.

Waken, light summons.

©

I read snippets—
weigh want and need
to know
against my belly’s grit.

Bulletins. Updates.

Winter. Closed in.
No sound of the wire-buzz,
outside—safety and beauty de-
flowered by a string of high-
voltage lines, transmits
news that’s breaking.

©

Nothing gray about cancer.

I shouldn’t be recycling
store receipts—paper
with Bisphenol A, a cancer-
causing chemical that contaminates
what China recycles
of “foreign trash”—
yang laji.

How to recycle the unrecyclable.

©

Australian bushfires
beyond beyond.
A smoke cloud
discernible by satellite vaster
than our continent.

The ache of witness—
beneath plumes and plumes
of orange haze, droves
of charred carcasses, kangaroo
and koala, slumped
on the roadsides.

People wobble
on their heels in the sand,
imprint the beaches
of retreat and escape—
lungs’ bronchi robbed
of oxygen.

Who cannot succumb
to the fire-slaughter?
The news of it?

Some still blind-eyed
though they see.

©

At home, in the land
of the free, I skim word
of the playground bravado
vis-à-vis the erasure of Iran’s
Soleimani as if erasure
will cure anything.

Tarzan-­ian inflated chests
playing Red Rover
with weapons
forgetting others left to spin
on the merry-go-round.

He should have been killed years ago.

Promises of hard revenge,
the boasts of bullies.

You started it. We will end it.

©

Will anyone be left to weep
where the gravediggers bury?

©

Forecast: ashen.


Gail Goepfert, an associate editor at RHINO Poetry, is a Midwest poet and photographer. She has two published books—A Mind on Pain in 2015 and Tapping Roots 2018. Get Up Said the World will appear in 2020 from Červená Barva Press. Recent publications include Kudzu House, Stone Boat, Postcard Poems and Prose Magazine, Bluestem, Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, SWWIM, and Beloit Poetry Journal.

Monday, January 13, 2020

AUSTRALIA'S BURNING

by Laura Rodley





This is for the kangas,
the koala bears,
the duck billed platypus,
the lizards in the soil,
this is for the tree trunks
left standing, for the people,
for the sky full of smoke
above them, I wish you
great clouds of rain,
nimbus clouds bottom heavy
to quench your thirst,
no more fire-induced thunderheads,
to avoid more lightning strikes.
I wish you moist cooling breezes
sent from far out in the ocean,
a place to rest.


Laura Rodley, Pushcart Prize winner is a quintuple Pushcart Prize nominee, and quintuple Best of Net nominee. Publisher Finishing Line Press nominated her Your Left Front Wheel Is Coming Loose for a PEN L.L.Winship Award and Mass Book Award. FLP also nominated her Rappelling Blue Light for a Mass Book Award. Former co-curator of the Collected Poets Series, Rodley teaches the As You Write It memoir class and has edited and published As You Write It, A Franklin County Anthology volumes I-VI, also nominated for a Mass Book Award. She was accepted at Martha’s Vineyard’s NOEPC and has been a participant in the 30 poems in November fundraiser for the Literacy Project for Center for New Americans. Latest books Turn Left at Normal by Big Table Publishing and Counter Point by Prolific Press.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

HUNTING SEASON, JANUARY 2020




Katherine West lives in Southwest New Mexico, near the Gila Wilderness, where she writes poetry about the soul-importance of wilderness, performs it with her musician husband, Yaakov, and teaches seasonal poetry workshops that revolve around "wilderness writing."  She has written three collections of poetry: The Bone Train, Scimitar Dreams, and Riddle, as well as one novel, Lion Tamer.  Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Lalitamba, Bombay Gin, and TheNewVerse.News  which recently nominated her poem "And Then the Sky" for a Pushcart Prize.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

SOWERS

by Alejandro Escudé




We’re on a passenger plane
On its way to Ukraine.

All of us on board—the ones
Who economically strain

To carry our beloved,
Unaware of the warlord

Below, strafing shrapnel,
Sower of discord,

Or planning assassination
As though it were a tea.

Who cares? It’s only people
Who have ceased to be.


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.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

IRAN CRISIS

Background art: Two Devils ...:  a lithograph by B. Williams, c. 1833


Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco lives in California's Central Valley and co-edits One Sentence Poems. Her chapbooks, Various LiesLion Hunt, and Water Weight are available from Finishing Line Press, Plan B Press, and Right Hand Pointing, respectively.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

PRO PATRIA REDUX

by Janice D. Soderling




You won't find the old men going.
Death and rotting bodies are too much on their minds.
You won't find their scions going either.
Too much capital invested in those victorious sperm.

You won't find the old women going.
They are too canny.
They have dealt with blood
and shit and pain and broken promises
all their lives.

A few young women will go,
The gullible ones trying to prove their equality.
The rest, the smarter ones,
are too busy with their hair and high heels.

Uncle Samuel isn't going.
Uncle Samuel would like the glory, but he hedges;
he deals in futures and private equity.
And he figures, “Why do we have all these young men
if we aren't going to use them?”

So that leaves you, m'boy,
inner city dropout, son of immigrants.
Step up and make your country proud.
Yes, you from the backwoods, the back roads,
the back of the class, the back of the line,
the backbone of Exceptionalism.
And anyway there are no jobs,
and as everybody knows,
nobody (except in action movies),
nobody dies in war.


Janice D. Soderling is a previous contributor to TheNewVerse.News. Her fourth chapbook, forthcoming in February, is titled War: Make that City Desolate.

NOW THAT HE'S HAD A TASTE OF WAR

by Joan Mazza


Trump's reelection campaign is fundraising off Soleimani's killing. —Yahoo! News, January 8, 2020


He pats himself on the back for the drone
strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.
We got him! he brags at another rally,
smirks while his supporters cheer, eager
for the blood of brown-skinned people.
He calls them scum, terrorists, animals,
as he called Mexicans rapists and murderers.

The old playbook is wide open, rage
fueling rage, war and more war. Poor boys
fed into the machine return in body bags
with flags. He promises to bomb cultural
heritage sites like the Golestan Palace,
or Persepolis first looted by Alexander
the Great, or Pasargadae from 600 BCE—

meaningless places for an egomaniac sans
empathy, ethics, or education. The only
sites he cares about are those he owns,
those that make money, with his name
in giant gold letters across the façade.
Would the beauty of mosques with tile
mosaics or gardens move a man who lacks

feelings for the children he separated
from parents? Nothing will pierce the heart
of a man who always gets what he wants,
who suffers no consequences for fraud
and cheating. The laws of war and human
decency do not apply to him. He’ll take
a bit of purple rubble as a memento.


Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, seminar leader, and she is the author of six self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam). Her poetry has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Rattle, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The MacGuffin, Prairie Schooner (forthcoming), and The Nation. She lives in rural central Virginia, where she writes a poem every day and is working on a memoir.

52 LIES

by Julia Marsiglio




On social media I see the thunderous applause
for crushing bones under buildings
for bullets that close the eyes of children
forever—whose last words are unspoken
replaced with a cacophony of heavy
artillery, and the screams of mothers who hold them
under the rain of hellfire, and instead of running
count their eyelashes, one by one, and join
the dust, brought in rolling out from under tanks
manned by twitter fingered horsemen
who expected seas of sand but instead
colored the mountains with bright red blood.

The domes are imploding under 52 lies
all written by 45.
The explosions started at home—
on Facebook. Tic Toc. They don’t stop.
They are ours, but we don’t own them.
We watch them, like fireworks and we clap.
As flesh parts from flesh
mother from child
child from life—
we yawn
and we laugh.


Julia Marsiglio is a writer currently located in Montréal, Québec, who has been writing poetry and fiction since she was a child. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish language and literature from the University of Alberta in 2011. Her work has previously appeared in Montréal Writes.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

WHITTLED LIES

by Jan D. Hodge


Faith leaders pray with President Donald Trump during a rally for evangelical supporters at the King Jesus International Ministry church, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)


When
Sir
Impresario rose for the vacuous ritual discharge of pomp
      In that dismal political swamp,
Insulting and faulting those who dared to oppose him
      (Sneering and jeering at them),
Meeting their protests with humbug and shrugs
Amid the capuchin clicking and whining
Of cameras, his answers were dreary as verses on Stalin,
Then echoed in turn by a toadying chorus of dim-
Witted grim apparatchiks routinely intoning:
O leader of peoples, our nation spearheading,
Great One, our Sun, applauded by millions of hearts
      (Chanting in classical metres).
Like Vergil recited from packets of cue cards, they
Hailed and regaled him.  Not one of the thugs
Had conscience or courage enough to consider resigning
               . . . Preferring fine dining!


Author’s note: The situation, alas, is all too recognizable.  For those not familiar with the model for this verse, I refer you to Edith Sitwell’s “Sir Beelzebub.”  (My title, incidentally, is an anagram of "Edith Sitwell.")
     To explain the allusion to verses on Stalin, consider these lines by A. O. Avdienko:
           When the woman I love presents me with a child
           the first word it shall utter will be: Stalin. . . .
           O great Stalin, O leader of the peoples,
           Thou who broughtest man to birth . . .
           Thou who makest bloom the spring,
           Thou who makest vibrate the musical chords . . .
           Thou, splendour of my spring, O thou,
           Sun reflected by millions of hearts.


Jan D. Hodge's poems have appeared in many print and online journals. Two of his books, Taking Shape (a collection of carmina figurata) and The Bard & Scheherazade Keep Company (double-dactyl renderings of Shakespeare, tales from the Arabian Nights, and Reynard the Fox) have been published by Able Muse Press.