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Monday, January 16, 2017

ENEMIES LIST

by David Radavich


This poster was created by Shepard Fairey who eight years ago made the iconic Obama poster that captured a period of HOPE in America. Today we are in a very different moment, one that requires new images that reject the hate, fear, and open racism that were normalized during the 2016 presidential campaign. So on Inauguration Day, We the People will flood Washington, DC with NEW symbols of hope. You can download the set of posters for free at: http://bit.ly/wtpdownloads. You can choose to support this We the People art project via Kickstarter.


I am the one you want.
The one who can be
anything.

Beast, flower, rock,
Arab, Jew, atheist, member
of a congregation,

waters flowing over
the dam,
leaves falling
in a pattern of forgetting.

I want to be on your list.

Registry of those cast out,
cursed and damned.

We wander
and we recollect,
we migrating passerines.

Our faces are wind,
our hearts are silence.

You are the terrorists
whose eyes create shadows.


David Radavich's recent poetry collections are America Bound: An Epic for Our Time (2007), Canonicals: Love's Hours (2009), and Middle-East Mezze (2011).   His plays have been performed across the U.S., including six Off-Off-Broadway, and in Europe.  His latest books are The Countries We Live In (2014) and a co-edited volume called Magic Again: Selected Poems on Thomas Wolfe (2016).   He is currently president of the North Carolina Poetry Society.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

IGNITION

by Catherine Wald




"Nearby, off to one side, Mahalia Jackson shouted: 'Tell them about the dream, Martin!'” —Drew Hansen, The New York Times, August 27, 2016



I heard this story from a Friend who was there at the
Mall in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1963.

It was, the Quaker said, a woman from the speaker’s congregation
who interrupted the great man’s speech.

            “Tell them about your dream, Martin,”
            she bellowed.

            (Later I learned it wasn’t just any little old
            church lady, but Mahalia Jackson.)

                                    “Tell them about your dream!”

That was when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put down his
prepared pages and began to preach his vision.

            That was when the capital crackled with electricity

                        and the words caught fire.

                                    They’re still burning today.



Catherine Wald’s chapbook Distant, burned-out stars was published by Finishing Line Press in 2011. Poems have appeared in American Journal of Nursing, Buddhist Poetry Review, Chronogram, Dragonfly, Friends Journal, J Journal, Jewish Literary Journal, "Metropolitan Diary" (The New York Times), Minerva Rising, Quarterday Review, The Lyric and Westchester Review.  She is author of The Resilient Writer: Tales of Triumph and Rejection from 23 Top Authors (Persea 2004).

Saturday, January 14, 2017

MILD, FOR WINTER

by Ron Singer




Although the day was mild, for winter,
I decided to wear my warmest coat.
Nor did I neglect to transfer my gloves.
I prepared and ate a hearty breakfast,
balancing food groups, vital nutrients.
Checking my wallet, I removed a ten,
leaving enough to placate hold-up men.
On the train, I read selectively
from the paper: soccer, basketball scores.
When the train was full, I ceded my seat
to someone who looked needier than me.

Why do I feel so vulnerable today?
Could it be the prospect, or certainty,
of a four-year political winter?


Ron Singer’s seventh book, a collection of Maine poems, Look to Mountains, Look to Sea (2013) won an award and was nominated for a Pushcart. His eighth Uhuru Revisited: Interviews with Pro-Democracy Leaders (2015) can be found in about 100 libraries across the U.S., and beyond. His ninth, and most recent, is a double memoir Betty & Estelle/A Voice for My Grandmother (2016). 

Friday, January 13, 2017

HERE'S TO THE GREATNESS WE INAUGURATE

by Chris O'Carroll

The issues your wise tweets elucidate,
The tone you’ve done so much to elevate,
Lawsuits you’ll never settle (oh, but wait),
Women not hot enough to violate,
The torture you have pledged to reinstate,
The faith you feign but can’t quite fabricate,
The sanity you sometimes simulate –
These are the things that make our country great.

The faux respect world leaders cultivate
Now that a cartoon is a potentate,
The brownshirt crowd to which you gravitate,
The autocrats you hope to emulate,
Life-saving health care you’ll eliminate,
Your plastic swagger as you vacillate,
The bloated deity you venerate
In every mirror – these things make us great.


Chris O'Carroll has been the featured poet in Light, and has published poems in Angle, The Asses of Parnassus, The Orchards, Parody, and The Rotary Dial, among other journals.  D****d T***p has never called him "overrated."

Thursday, January 12, 2017

AFFORDABLE CARE

by Megan Merchant 


Cartoon by Pat Bagley 


I’m sorry America, please have a seat.
By popular vote we are going to remove

your third rib
without a plan for replacement.

You should pray,
or at least mutter something biblical near a statue.

We are going to snipe the surgeon and replace
him with the homeless man

who is stationed by the automatic door
with his styrofoam cup, tipped with whiskey.

He has seen so many injured and sick welcomed
under the florescent lights that he must

be deft at holding a knife, understand how
to point the sharp edge away.

This is a beautiful approach, believe me,
do not underestimate periphery experience,

it is so close to precision, you won’t even know.


Megan Merchant is mostly forthcoming. She is the author of two full-length poetry collections: Gravel Ghosts (Glass Lyre Press, 2016 Book of the Year), The Dark’s Humming (2015 Lyrebird Prize, Glass Lyre Press, forthcoming 2017), four chapbooks, and a children’s book with Philomel Books. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I WOULD KNIT YOU A PUSSY

by Hope Holz


Image source: Pussyhat Project


I would knit you a pussy
with yarn soft and squishy—
cashmere and mohair and silk with glisten and sheen.
And because it would be a multi-cultural pussy, colors like—
mauve and taupe and aubergine.
And in the spot loved most by us,
a giant, shining pearl for the clitoris.

I would place this hand-crated creation on a golden platter,
but before I could present it to you,
you would grab that pussy,
because that is what you do.
You would be enraptured and caress its
glorious folds with your baby hands
and mark each contour
wherever your pouted mouth lands.
At first, you would not notice
your new pussy has no woman attached.
But soon after, you would find
you prefer a disembodied snatch.

You would brag to everyone who might listen
about your new vaginal acquisition:
            “I own the best pussy.
No one owns a better pussy than me.
            I’m telling you—The. Best. Pussy.—
            and I know pussy, people.”

Months later, you would end your nightly ritual
by gently laying your pussy upon your pillow.
You would lie your head next to it,
nuzzle it,
your hair an orange, glowing halo.
I would slip into your room—a pussy ninja—
and find you sleeping that way
(you and your pussy, best friends forever).
I would tiptoe to your bed,
pluck your pussy from its pillow
and steal it away.

In the morning, you would be a blubbering babe
to find your pussy gone.
How dare someone take something so precious
that you call your own?

And then, you might begin to know
what it is like.


Hope Holz is a published poet who recently completed her Master of Liberal Studies degree in Creative Writing from Southern Methodist University. Currently, she is furiously knitting as many pink pussy hats for the upcoming National Women’s March on Washington. She finds her knitting needles to be fine weapons for resistance.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

LAST DANCE, or CLIMATE TEARS

by Gregg Dotoli





the slow-burn endures
as money-green carbon skeptics
play a ravaging death dance
acidic seas sway
swinging  to que sera, sera
wind blasted  trees stoop  like ballerinas
to gusting cracking notes
Swaying to que sera, sera
polar caps melting
spawning new dirges
and puzzling eerie weather
rainbows and lightning
form natural stages
for the  extant to extinct finale
Biota in decline and decay
Fragile and frail mumbles que sera, sera
we're not here to stay
we're not here to stay


Gregg Dotoli studied English at Seton Hall University and enjoys living in the NYC area. He is a white hat hacker, but his first love is the Arts. His poems have appeared in Underground Books, Quailbell, London Journal of Fiction, Madswirl, Sunflower Collection, Ink Sweat and Tears, Metaphor, and other periodicals.

Monday, January 09, 2017

TILIKUM

by Bayleigh Fraser




I’m sorry, I thought you smiled at me
when your mouth caved open for fish,

teeth gleaming hooks, I thought you splashed
my body because you saw parched lips

with pearly onyx eyes, that you understood
how I, riddled with Florida sun, could not have

what you did, cold, water which was endless
to my child self idolizing the girls in wetsuits

and ponytails riding your back, you looking
blanket soft beneath their hands. I thought

that was love. Maybe it was. I’m sorry
I loved a man who made me feel captive,

like a second skin, who wanted my hands,
my messy apartment, me gaunt-faced, his music

tortured from the television speakers, but then,
I was stroking his silky hair and having his baby,

coming back to him, and you were thrashing
for a way out. I’m sorry for returning to your spectacle.

That you sliced open the pool and bent
into the sun. That your body barrelled with gravity.

The last time I watched you—you still shiny
as a strip of old film, a fresh spill—I fought

with my sister. Blaming the heat, how
it buoyed our tempers. The two of us

huddled in the back of stadium bleachers,
our one handheld fan like a wish we couldn’t decide on.

I’m sorry we forgot your pain. One sweat-baked face
shoving another for the slightest draft, hands and curse words

scraping for a chance to hold the new video camera.
We were stormy voices. Confined bodies.

A breath away from the other’s throat, what no one
could have mistaken for love, but was all we knew.


Bayleigh Fraser is an American poet currently residing and writing in Canada, where she hopes to continue her education in poetry. She previously studied at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 3Elements Review, A Bad Penny Review, The Brooklyn Quarterly, One, Qu, Rattle, and other publications.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

THE FIELD, SOMETHING BORES INTO IT

by Alejandro Escudé



Cover of the 2007 Washington Life feature on the Russian diplomatic compound in Maryland.


The columns are grandiose on the Maryland estate.
Green, greener, and inside, a more Russian Russia,
clean as Vodka, cleaner, and by right, legal. So,
in dark suits, dense cologne, diplomats walk over
‘welcome home’ mats to leave, ousted. The intelligence
apparatus hides in a piece of cake, a delicious cake too.
Something stalks the field, something bores into it,
a veiled screw, a bullet hole in the back but no blood,
a bloodless hole, that is the internet, a leak-less leak.


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.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

PEOPLE

by John Guzlowski




At 530 in the morning
going out for the paper,
I see a guy walking
down the sidewalk
toward me.

He's not whistling
or singing a song.
He’s just walking
straight for me
and my paper.

Why do I have to
consider him
so early
in the morning?

Even before coffee,
even before CNN
brings me
my morning's share
of the sad news

from an airport in Florida
where a kid from Brooklyn
played violent video games
with real guns
real people?

Why do I have to
wonder about this kid
walking toward me,
straight as a razor
or a heart enraged?

Will he listen to
my sorrows,
hear my confession?
Will he say, hello?
Do me harm?

Will he say the word
so that our souls
will be healed,
or not?

All this thinking--
When all I want
is go back
and have the coffee,
and feed the cat,

and not watch
horror unrolling
like a killer snake
straight at me.


John Guzlowski’s writing appears in Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, Rattle, Ontario Review, North American Review, Salon.Com, Crab Orchard Review, and many other print and online journals here and abroad.  His poems and personal essays about his parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany and refugees making a life for themselves in Chicago appear in his memoir in prose and poetry Echoes of Tattered Tongues (Aquila Polonica Press). Road of Bones, his novel about two German lovers separated by war, is forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press.  Of Guzlowski’s writing, Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz said, “He has an astonishing ability for grasping reality.” 

Friday, January 06, 2017

THE DAY CARRIE FISHER DIED

by Guillermo Filice Castro



Coffee shop photo by David Shankbone (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons


How strangely innocent I was a few days ago.

How buoyant I felt before November.

How queer this weather is, warm, cold, warm.

At my usual stops, the coffee shop, the gym,

I’ve been struck by the disappearance
of the regulars.

Their names, birds never caught.

At least the staff at the deli wears name tags.

So what happened to Minh? Where’s
Arturo? And the three of us would
chat for a bit

our accents sideswiping
one another

over a logjam of latte orders and jelly donuts.

Aleppo used to be a lovely place, Minh said
with an ache as if she had been born there.

Count the days, the hours, until any store closes for good.
That’s New York for you,

New Yorkers like to think. Here today and…you know the rest.

This seems silent and precise, not to say fast.
Have I also cruised past the tipping point?

I repeat my order to some unibrowed youngster,

Hot, light, one Splenda. Not the pink packet, the yellow one.

Poor kid. Not his fault I’m feeling hostile, scared.

Tomorrow repeat the order.
Repeat the.
Repeat.

Arturo was my favorite

though he always regarded
everybody with flared nostrils,

gorgeous brown eyes half-way shut. Until he got to know you, that is.

Ever get the feeling you’re about to become invisible?
he asked me once. I wanted to pull off his hat and play

with his black hair. Tell him not to worry
like I believed it.

How he hoped to find a crown
for his girl back in Morelos. A crown?

Meanwhile a CGI princess Leia whispers at the end of Rogue One,

“Hope.”

Where did Arturo and Minh go? They must be OK
I tell myself. Found a job elsewhere.

And the regulars, well, just moved away.

But if I could

tell Arturo, wait, tell Carrie too
the snowflakes that dusted my head
this morning

were not even enough for a tiara.


Guillermo Filice Castro is a poet and photographer. He's the author of a chapbook of poems Agua, Fuego (Finishing Line Press, 2015). Recent work appears in Tarpaulin Sky, The Tishman Review, Glass Poetry, The Brooklyn Rail and others. A native of Argentina, he lives in New York City.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

VICTORY

by Judith Terzi





after "Where Aleppo's Escapees Converge"
by Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 12/19/16


The shelter's in Jibreen. This is no home away from home.
Refugees stream into a factory. Both sides fled their home.

The fleeing & returning cross paths here. Who is who?
Some returning to Aleppo to find the ashes of a home.

Others just escaped Aleppo, a city thousands of years old.
Gunmen set fire to the buses carrying them from home.

Armies shelled a hospital, then a makeshift clinic appeared.
Fathers killed fathers. What to tell the children of home?

Chopped lettuce heaped on a table & vats of donated oil.
30,000 falafel sandwiches. Doesn't charity begin at home?

A teacher writes on a blackboard. Fewer children now.
Some only trace the letters, can't read the syllables of home.

Sweet tea soothes a family huddling to ward off the cold.
Truces broken, re-broken in the broken city called home.


Judith Terzi's poetry has appeared in journals such as Atlanta Review (International Publication Prize, 2015), Caesura, Columbia Journal, Raintown Review, Spillway, and in anthologies such as Malala: Poems for Malala Yousafzai (FutureCycle), Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems (Tupelo), and Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Pacific Coast Poetry Series). If You Spot Your Brother Floating By was released in 2015 by Kattywompus Press and a new chapbook Casbah is forthcoming in 2017. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net and Web.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

SUNSET COMMENT ON THE NEW YEAR

by George Held




29 December 2016


It’s one of those glorious sunsets,
Like an ad for New Mexico, that makes
You feel blessed to be alive even as
Authoritarianism leaks over the horizon –
Orange and gold flames with a purple core
Over New Jersey without the seasonal
Obstruction of leaves on the trees –
What might it presage, what tacit
Message doth it bring, this dynamic neon
Peach Melba of a twilit sky? Not the Orange
Man risen from New York City towers
To loom Kong-like over even the sunset,
The sky, the compliant Universe,
The galactic figure of our tabloid
Imaginations?
And now the fire in the sky
Deepens like a Roman omen, the night
Rushes in to drape dark auguries
About the perishing republic, and we brace
For the inevitable inauguration, the sunset
A mere glowing ember in the charred evening.


George Held, a frequent contributor to TheNewVerse.Newshas received ten Pushcart nominations, including ones for both poetry and fiction in 2016. His new poetry chapbook is Phased II (Poets Wear Prada, 2016).

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

REQUIEM FOR VESNA VULOVIC

by Devon Balwit


A Serbian woman who survived what was said to be a 10,000-metre (33,000ft) fall after a plane exploded in mid-air in 1972 has died aged 66. Vesna Vulović  (above in 1972 AP photo) was found dead by her friends in her apartment in Belgrade, Serbian state television reported. The cause of death was not immediately known. In January 1972 she was working as a flight attendant a Yugoslav Airlines DC-9 plane when it blew up over the snowy mountain ranges of what was then Czechoslovakia. All of the other 27 passengers and crew on board died.Initially paralysed from the waist down, Vulović eventually made almost a full recovery and even returned to work for the airline in a desk job. She never regained memory of the accident or her rescue. She said in 2008 that she could only recall greeting passengers before takeoff from the airport in Denmark, and then waking up in hospital with her mother at her side. She went on to put her celebrity at the service of political causes, protesting against Slobodan Milošević’s rule in the 1990s and later campaigning for liberal forces in elections. —The Guardian, December 24, 2016


The nervous begged to sit beside her on planes,
figuring anyone who had plummeted 33,000 feet
and lived had lucky coiled into her DNA.  Her fall
made her a mosaic reassembled by doctors and
by will.  Changed by gravity, she spoke out,
unafraid to call a butcher’s hands blood-dipped,
even if it cost her job.  The tiniest stone can clog
an engine, resisting from where it’s hurled.


Devon Balwit is a poet and educator from Portland, Oregon. She has a chapbook Forms Most Marvelous forthcoming from dancing girl press (summer 2017). Her recent poems can be found in: Oyez, The Cincinnati Review, Red Paint Hill, The Ekphrastic Review, TheNewVerse.News, Noble Gas Quarterly, Timberline Review, Trailhead Magazine, Vector, and Permafrost.

Monday, January 02, 2017

CHICAGO, OUR KIND OF TOWN

by George Salamon




Two girls, 13 and 14, were shot on the South Side as a violent Christmas weekend came to a close during one of the most violent years in Chicago in decades. A total of 61 people were shot in the city during the holiday weekend, according to data kept by the Tribune.. Seven were killed on Christmas Day alone.   "A Violent Christmas in a Violent Year for Chicago: 11 killed, 50 wounded," Chicago Tribune, December 27, 2016


Chicago, once celebrated by the poet
As the Hog Butcher for America,
Proudly singing to be alive,
You have become
The People Butcher of America,
Killing the brawling laughter of youth.
Why has America abandoned the fight
To keep old Chicago's spirit alive?

That spirit and everything else can go to hell
As long as Wall Street is doing well.
People? Who cares if they survive
As long as corporations thrive.
America, when you wake in the middle of the night
And an inner voice calls your name,
Have you no sense of shame?

George Salamon lives and writes in St. Louis, MO, which boasts of its own All-American murder rate.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

WINTER STARS

by Buff Whitman-Bradley


Winter Sky Rising by Alan Dyer at The Amazing Sky

Stepping outside
To watch the winter stars
Those dazzling divas of illumination
Perform their seasonal pageant
In the infinite amphitheater
Of the cold black sky
I can almost hear the old Earth
Creak on its axis
As it rolls toward another new year.

There have been better years
Than the one just past
When for one thing
The medicos found cancer in me
And had to carve it out
And radiate the environs
To prevent a recurrence.
So far that's worked.
For another, my country
By hook and crook
Selected a new president
Of such surpassing vulgarity and venality
Of such mendacity and bigotry and corruption
As to alarm all people of good will
And those most vulnerable to the predations
Of the greedy and powerful
Of racists and misogynists
Of xenophobes and homophobes
Affirmed and emboldened
By this man's ascension to power.
There is widespread concern
That a kind of civic and social malignancy
Is gnawing away at the body politic
And people all over the land
Are struggling to determine
What treatments will work best.
The prognosis is uncertain
And fatalism seems most apt.

But I remind myself that last year at this time

I was not at all sure
I would make it to now
Yet here I am
Pulsing with life and good health
Bundled up on a cold bright winter night
Shivering happily under the stars.


Buff Whitman-Bradley's poetry has appeared in many print and online journals, including Atlanta Review, Bryant Literary Review, Concho River Review, Crannog, december, Hawai'i Review, Pinyon, Rockhurst Review, Solstice, Third Wednesday and others. He has published several collections of poems, most recently, To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World. His interviews with soldiers who refused to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan became the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. He lives in northern California with his wife Cynthia.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

BERLIN, DECEMBER 19, 2016

by J.D. Smith





Much reading renders dust the myth
Of some past golden age,
As rust and tarnish, canker, rot
Have flyspecked every page.

Outlines emerge, though, that describe
The wax and wane of powers
And which times had the wit to build—
Or only tear down—towers.

As on a crowded street one sorts
The harmless from the threat,
Some stories stand out from the day
And mark a turn, so that

If we can’t quite assay this age
Or what it is replacing,
We still can feel the flames and smell.
The swart smoke of debasing.


J.D. Smith’s third collection of poems Labor Day at Venice Beach was published in 2012; his first humor collection Notes of a Tourist on Planet Earth the following year.. His poems have appeared in journals and sites including 99 Poems for the 99 Percent, Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, Texas Review, and Dark Mountain 3.

Friday, December 30, 2016

HANUKKAH DEMONSTRATION AGAINST HATE

by Judith Lechner


More than 75 people from the new Hudson Valley chapter of the group Jewish Voice for Peace gathered at Wall and North streets in Uptown Kingston late Wednesday afternoon to demonstrate their solidarity with Muslims and other minority groups. —Kingston (NY) Daily Freeman, December 21, 2016


Candles challenge city lampposts, neon signs, passing headlights.
            A miraculous oil lit the lamps in the Temple.
Crowd’s voices gather strength, shout “Love, not hate, makes America great.”
            Hanukkah candle flames remind us of ancient battle against oppressors.
December night chills hands holding placards of painted candles that tell their story.
            Holy Temple in Jerusalem 170 B.C.
            Greek-Syrian despot Antioch  forbids Jewish worship.
            Sends soldiers to massacre resistors in Land of Israel.
            Invaders erect altar to Zeus defiling the Temple.
            Long struggle led by Judah Maccabee wins back the holy site.
            Only enough oil to purify the Temple for one day.
            A miracle—oil burns for eight days.

Hanukkah is the memory of the rededication of the Temple.
            Purification celebrated by lighting eight candles one a day.
We dedicate ourselves to fighting hate in the temple within.
            Shine light on the persecution of Muslims and Blacks. 
We form a human menorah to display our unity in diversity.
            Lights spell out our message of brotherhood and justice.
Each candle helps illuminate inner darkness, clear hatred from clouded eyes.
             The message of Hanukkah --“a miracle can happen here.”


Judith Lechner—poet, short story and essay writer—has also written 24 nonfiction books for school libraries. Her poetry book The Moon Sings Back appeared in 2011. She is a member of the Goat Hill Poets, a performance group and has won the Green Heron Poetry Prize and Tattoo Haiku contest.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

ELECTION SHOCK, TWIN CITIES, 2016

by Sue Reed Crouse




You will tire
of using his face

to pick up dog shit.
You will quit saying cataclysm

because cataclysm unites
a country. You will cull Facebook,

CNN, the front page from your day.
You will say, I’m done, I’m through

fuck it. You will get your household
Canada-ready. You will roam the woods,

call on the willow, golden in the low light
and the pond, steeped in the oak’s rich tannins.

But then, you will go downtown and see
Somali school girls swinging, their shashs

billowing and you’ll drive on Lake Street,
where Dia de los Muertos celebrations—

with marigolds, calavaras, offrendas
were held last week. You will

pass houses
flying the rainbow flag

and you’ll go home
and get to work.


Sue Reed Crouse is a 2011 graduate of the Foreword Program, a two-year poetry apprenticeship at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. Much of her work is elegiac in nature, exploring themes of grief and loss after losing Laura, her 20 year-old daughter in 2008. Finding fresh ways to explore this universal theme through image-driven poetry helps her navigate the sorrow and, hopefully, help others who grieve. Crouse’s work appears in Verse Wisconsin, The Aurorean (Showcase Poet), The Talking Stick (First Prize, Honorable Mention), Grey Sparrow, Earth’s Daughters, Damselfly Press, Midway Journal, Sleet Magazine, Unhinged, Little Lantern Press and a chapbook entitled Gatherings: A Foreword Anthology. Her manuscript One Black Shoe was a finalist for the Backwaters Prize last year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

KARMA COMES FOR CARL

by j.lewis


Carl Paladino, a western New York builder, one-time Republican candidate for governor of New York and political ally of President-elect Donald J. Trump, came under fire on Friday for racially offensive comments about President Obama and the first lady, who Mr. Paladino said should be “let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe. Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford,” said Mr. Paladino, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2010, making an apparent reference to the Hereford cattle breed. He said he hoped the disease killed the president. Asked what he most wanted to see “go away” in the new year, Mr. Paladino — who has a reputation in New York political and business circles for speaking in an unfiltered manner reminiscent of Mr. Trump’s — answered, “Michelle Obama. I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla,” he said. —The New York Times, December 23, 2016. PHOTO CREDIT: HANS PENNINK/REUTERS via HuffPost, December 26, 2016


the knock at the door
startled him from half-dreams
into an irritated shout
who's there?
who's there?

no answer

thinking perhaps the single knock
meant, what else, but opportunity
his curiosity carried him
to the door where he queried
'that you, trump?'

again no answer

so it had to be, just had to be
something special for him and him alone
door opened slowly to quell his questions
and there they stood
gorilla on a hereford led by karma
who urged them forward
'get him, my loves, he's yours'

no answer

but with a shove into the room
the hereford took a mad stance over paladino
while the gorilla waited patiently
to drag the terrified peddler of hate
to a cave in zimbabwe where things

require no answer


j.lewis is a nurse practitioner, musician, and internationally published poet, as well as a contributing editor for Verse Virtual. His poems have appeared online and in print in numerous journals from California to Nigeria and the UK. His first collection of poetry and photography A Clear Day in October was published in June 2016. A chapbook is forthcoming from Praxis Magazine in early 2017.

FOR CARRIE FISHER

by William Cullen Jr.






A princess without a royal entourage
always out there with riffraff and rebels
plotting against an empire
for a yet unnamed republic
ready to spill your blue-blood
for the stardust of all people
you shift now to another dimension
as only our memories can glimpse you
moving forward at light speed
you show us the way to freedom.


William Cullen Jr. is a veteran and works at a social services non-profit in Brooklyn, NY. His poetry has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Canary, Gulf Stream, Right Hand Pointing, Star*Line, and Written River: A Journal of Eco-Poetics.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

GYRATIONS ON THE NATION-STATE:
A MOVEMENT IN STRINGS

by Diane Raptosh


 



Any man who stands

                  near a place the U.S. bombs

                                    is straight off



                                                      Enemy Combatant :

                                                                        One might call this

                                                                                          standing while war.



                                    Still I have yet to speak

                                                       of this in any classroom, yet to speak

                                                                        of nature recently freshened



to Brand: Wilderness™

                  as new world currency;

                                    I’ve yet to point



                                                      to the system

                                                                        of criminal justice

                                                                                          as so many schemas



                                    evolving in tandem;

                                              yet to point

                                                          to higher ed as host



to new mall cities,

                  not to mention

                                    the privatization



                                                      of all that used to be part

                                                                        of the Commons :

                                                                                          schools, public works



                                    parks, fire

                                                      departments  :   soon enough

                                                                        the postal and ambulance service,



Medicare / Medicaid.

                  The making public

                                    of the formerly private :  the orderly



                                                      outsource of chi

                                                                        to handheld devices,

                                                                                          the offshore of memory



                                    to the machine—

                                                      the shower, last bastion of solitude.

                                                                        They don’t have ears



and yet spiders

                  will shake

                                    their strings, reframing



                                                                        vibrations other

                                                                                          arachnids feel

                                                                                                            when leaves



                                                      they’re standing

                                                                           on quiver.  Whatever :

                                                                                         Thoughts glide in



on rhythmic pulses,

                  nothing like

                                    linear-sequence flows



                                                                        we’ve been taught

                                                                                           to instill   drill in   construct

                                                                                                            and there’s something



                                                      mugged about all

                                                                        the states’ answers—somehow

                                                                                          violence-airbrushed,



thesis statements sticking

                  to their guns.

                                    To take in scenes



                                                                        like stands

                                                                                    of weeping birch trees

                                                                                                      asks for a wholeness-synthesis-



                                                         simultaneity, so here

                                                                          I’ll smuggle in

                                                                                          a smithied image:



 pinnate leaves—

                  ridged like vaginal walls

                                      to fetch the attention



                                                                        of winds. Still listening?

                                                                                          I’m a little down

                                                                                                            about every system



                                                         of ranking, down on

                                                                        the quantification

                                                                                          of no end of thing     ~~    quick



name the quotient

                  of a cubed human squeeze  ~~

                                    down about



                                                                        the billionaires’ balls-out-incursion

                                                                                    into food/earth. Water/air.

                                                                                                      Furrowed vaginas. Against that



                                                      junta of generals

                                                                        hunched in power’s tower

                                                                                          graphing the next class war/



world war what-have-you.

                     And while I’m on a roll,

                                    might I gently suggest



                                                      the conscious uncoupling

                                                                                          of market from self? Of big-league

                                                                                          fake from the real?



                                                      This is to say that if over all

                                                                        I seem at a hard bloodboil

                                                                                                      against most scenes like state



-by-state financial cleansing, or floored

                        by the foreground status

                                    of the mock-up self—the world-scale



                                                                        rape of hallowed, heaving truth;

                                                                                          the statutory frack

                                                                                                            of commonplace terms



                                                like entitlement,

                                                                        political correctness   liberal bias;

                                                                                          states’ rights   law and order



sexual preference;

                      Shariah Law   illegal alien

                                     and food stamps  ~~ as if welfare



                                                        meant actual transfer

                                                                        of wealth to minorities. It’s mostly due

                                                                                          to the ways reigning narcissists



                                                      vivisect language

                                                                        to more or less moon you.

                                                                                          This sort of act’s



moral errancy actually lifts them,

                  how the Fed early

                                    this month huddled in



                                                                        to hoick up its rates.

                                                                                          Which brings us

                                                                                                            to the housing crisis,



                                                      the files of rank poverties

                                                                        birthed by nation-state’s neglect,

                                                                                          the Reichwing crew busy



blading their hands in a bid

                  to remake Magnate Nation more openly

                                    vampire-wan. I think



                                                                        I was saying that if I seem

                                                                                          not entirely myself

                                                                                                            you’ll have to forgive.



                                                      I’m pretty sure

                                                                        my sole choice now

                                                                                      is to become an expat



                  of the exterior.




                                    Step into here.





Diane Raptosh’s fourth book of poetry American Amnesiac (Etruscan Press) was longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award and was a finalist for the Housatonic Book Award. The recipient of three fellowships in literature from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, she served as the Boise Poet Laureate (2013) as well as the Idaho Writer-in-Residence (2013-2016), the highest literary honor in the state. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies in the U.S. and Canada. A highly active ambassador for poetry, she has given poetry workshops everywhere from riverbanks to maximum security prisons. She teaches creative writing and runs the program in Criminal Justice/Prison Studies at The College of Idaho. Her most recent collection of poems Human Directional was released by Etruscan Press in Fall 2016.