Guidelines



Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at]gmail.com. No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Friday, June 24, 2022

TODAY STARTED OUT WITH A HOPEFUL MOMENT

by Mark Danowsky


by Andrew Shu



“My dear fellow, who will let you?”
“That’s not the point. The point is, who will stop me?”
                        - Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)

 
a story about an eagle
saving a baby hawk
instead of devouring

an eagle
the symbol of America
making a surprising choice

a moment of silence now
for humanity
who often shows no mercy

here comes the blood
sacrifices of scapegoats
who cry out the injustice

the weight of voices in pain
screams must echo
there is no way to ignore this 


Mark Danowsky is Editor-in-Chief of ONE ART: a journal of poetry. He is the author of As Falls Trees (NightBallet Press) and JAWN (Moonstone Press). A short collection Violet Flame is forthcoming from tiny wren lit. 

THE DAY ROE V. WADE WENT AWAY

by Susan Cossette


This is where I woke up,
sweaty, in beige underwear
a dirty nightshirt,a
my hair in moist tendrils.
 
The light barely comes in
through the grey shades.
When it does,
there is dust in the light.
Skin cells, pet dander float.
 
There are black wool robes,
hung on an iron bar along the cement wall.
The cats claw and climb, then flee.
 
Dark-robed figures point at me
and put the red hood over my head.

Judges, all of them.


Susan Cossette lives and writes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The author of Peggy Sue Messed Up, she is a recipient of the University of Connecticut’s Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust and Moth, Vita Brevis, ONE ART, As it Ought to Be, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Amethyst Review, Crow & Cross Keys, Loch Raven Review, and in the anthologies Fast Fallen Women (Woodhall Press), Tuesdays at Curley’s (Yuganta Press), and After the Equinox.

A LOADED GUN

by Ann E. Wallace

after Emily Dickinson


by C.B.


Had my life but stood 
a loaded gun, I might have 
roamed these sovereign states
with ease and in the open.
 
But though this woman’s body
may live longer than its lover,
or its foe, it receives no such 
constitutional protections.
 
We grant inalienable safeguards 
to our guns, as to the men who
cock and press the sacred trigger
with force and as they please.
 
If I were indeed that loaded gun, 
my liberty to choose, to carry 
or to abort, would be a right 
that is secured in perpetuity.


Ann E. Wallace is a poet and essayist from Jersey City, New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter @annwlace409 or on Instagram @annwallace409.

GRANDMA'S NIGHTGOWN

by Sally Zakariya




Handed down and down 
faded to palest purple
now tissue-soft cotton

A slit in the seam 
allows a quick glimpse
of that intimate intersection
of love and creation
hers to do with what she will
or so we thought for years 
until the high court snatched
that liberty away

Sleepy, she smooths
the thrice-owned nightgown
snuggles down under
the supposed safety 
of a heavy blanket 
dreams of owning 
her own self


Sally Zakariya’s poetry has appeared in 100 publications and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her publications include Something Like a Life, Muslim Wife, The Unknowable Mystery of Other People, Personal Astronomy, and When You Escape. She edited and designed a poetry anthology, Joys of the Table, and blogs at www.butdoesitrhyme.com.

U.S. SUPREME COURT PROTECTS GUNS

by Penelope Scambly Schott


Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast: “Inside the Celebrity Murder Behind the Gun Law SCOTUS Just Gutted,” June 23, 2022


“A State may not prevent law-abiding citizens from publicly carrying handguns because they have not demonstrated a special need for self-defense,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote.


Through the arched cap
of my neighbor’s brick chimney
the sky so deep blue
and above his chimney
and all around town
while here in my garden        
yellow roses pink roses
and across the continent
over distant chimneys
under other skies
the noise of gunshots
the triumph of lies


Penelope Scambly Schott is a past recipient of the Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Her newest book is On Dufur Hill, poems about the cycle of the year in a small wheat-growing town.

THERE'S A WORD FOR IT

by Leonore Hildebrandt




All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become president, and you are the happiest people. APPLAUSE. (January 6, 2021 at a rally on the Ellipse near the White House.)


The royal we
is willing to usurp us,
but there’s more—
this we promising 
a glory-to-be-shared
is needy. It’s endemic—
the we who owns land 
is vying for water and sky,
it wants more time supreme, 
the we who pulls strings
absolutely needs 
more applause 
from us—which is 
the happiest you,
the you that we now needs 
to storm our building
and more—to holler 
and ram it all through.
And then it’s us 
who’s put to shame.
Pleonexia—more
than greed. 


Leonore Hildebrandt is the author of Where You Happen to Be, The Next Unknown, and The Work at Hand. Her poems and translations have appeared in the Beloit Poetry Journal, Cafe Review, Cerise Press, Harpur Palate, Rhino, and the Sugar House Review among other journals. Leonore lives “off the grid” in Harrington, Maine. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

UNNATURAL DISASTER

by Dick Altman


The U.S. Forest Service failed to consider how a changing climate could make the landscape more flammable, didn’t adequately estimate the risk of a controlled fire escaping and used incomplete weather information as a prescribed burn went awry and later formed the largest wildfire in New Mexico history, the agency said in a report released Tuesday. The 85-page report describes how federal fire managers, who felt under pressure to complete the prescribed burn while they had the available personnel, made miscalculations and overlooked warning signs—including low humidity, the potential for erratic winds on complex terrain and the heavy, dry fuel loads that could stoke a runaway fire. Although crews followed the burn plan, it contained flawed and incomplete analyses, and some guidelines were out of date amid a prolonged drought, the report said. The result: The prescribed burn ignited a wildfire that later merged with another prescribed burn to create the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire, scorching 341,746 acres as of Tuesday and destroying hundreds of homes in a 500-square-mile area. Santa Fe New Mexican, June 21, 2022. Photo: Hot shot crew members keep an eye on a blaze June 15 as fire crews ignite the underbrush in an effort to contain the Pipeline Fire near Flagstaff, Ariz. (Rachel Gibbons/Arizona Daily Sun/AP via The Washington Post)


Northern New Mexico

Sixty days of flame—
and I watch the sky
as a sailor watches the sea—
for signs in color and wind
and heading—to tell me
how even the air tires
of hefting its load of ash—
of remains of homestead
and livestock—tall-pine
forest—tractor and pickup
 
Until you’ve seen
a high plains landscape
scorched into a nightscape—
a contagion of char—
blackness wherever you look—
you don’t realize what a task
to bend language
into a portrait of asteroidal
extinction—a voided canvas
of negative space that may
take nature forever—if ever—
to paint over and fill in
For friends who’ve lost all—
out of fire simmers the future
in a boil of uncertainty—
a rage smoldering in the mind—
no dream fully smothers
 
How can I with words reseed
generations of struggle—
sow trust that morning ignites yet
with sun’s benign fury—perhaps
not tomorrow—or the next—
but one day—amid sapling
of needle and leaf—short
grass prairie fed upon
by mother and calf—fields
you begin again to recognize
as the only soil you’ve worked—
and wept over—since you were
born
 
 
Dick Altman writes in the high, thin, magical air of Santa Fe, NM, where, at 7,000 feet, reality and imagination often blur. He is published in Santa Fe Literary Review, American Journal of Poetry, riverSedge, Fredericksburg Literary Review, Foliate Oak, Blue Line, THE Magazine, Humana obscura, The Offbeat, Haunted Waters Press, Split Rock Review, The RavensPerch, Beyond Words, The New Verse News, Sky Island Journal, and others here and abroad.  A poetry winner of Santa Fe New Mexican’s annual literary competition, he has in progress two collections of some 100 published poems. His work has been selected for the first volume of The New Mexico Anthology of Poetry forthcoming from the New Mexico Museum Press.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

PICTURE PROBLEM

by Rémy Dambron


Video footage (via The Texas Tribune) recorded inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde at 12:04 p.m. May 24. Authorities stormed the classroom at 12:50 p.m.


this picture
evidence we all see 
now for the first time

released 

officers’ long guns drawn
from behind ballistic shields 
formed up for an advance 

but shockingly at a halt

at least five men
sworn trained and well-armed
against the one 

*murderer of children still

the photo’s caption 
stating the time scene was 
captured

12:04pm

just underneath 
another detail displayed
authorities storm the classroom

12:50pm

forty-six minutes
they stood by to witness
as calls for help simply went

(unanswered)

as parents right outside 
against their wishes 
hands tied

by more armed men who just waited

for forty-six minutes
they wouldn’t act, only witness
another sickening school shooting

ensue


Rémy Dambron is a former English teacher now Portland-based poet whose writing focuses on denouncing political corruption and advocating for social/environmental justice. With the help of his chief editor and loving wife, his works have appeared in What Rough Beast, Poets Reading the News, Writers Resist, Words & Whispers, Spillwords, Robot Butt, and The New Verse News

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

TWITTER VS THE NEW VERSE NEWS — UPDATE

It wasn’t easy, but finally we found the right place at Twitter to complain about the undermining of our urls on their platform. We sent them yesterday’s posting (below) to explain our position. 

Within hours—albeit without explanation or apology—Twitter reversed the sanctions against us.

You and we can again tweet all of our urls.



A few years ago, Facebook took down, without explanation or right to appeal, our page on that platform.

Yesterday, when we tried to tweet an announcement that included our url TheNewVerse.News about the day’s new poems, our tweet was disallowed with this explanation: “We can't complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful. Visit our Help Center to learn more.”

The same happens if we attempt to tweet our basic url: http://newversenews.blogspot.com .

And if anyone tries to click those urls from a tweet, they see this message:


NVN readers know that this journal is guilty of none of the characteristics Twitter lists above.

Neither @TwitterSupport nor https://help.twitter.com/en has provided any specific explanation or any path to appeal.

We can’t help but believe that right-wing haters who loathe the progressive politics of this journal have fed Twitter lies about us.

We will try to work around these problems on Twitter for as long as we can.

And, of course, The New Verse News site itself has not been affected. Not yet anyway.

But we are discouraged.

James

Monday, June 20, 2022

SEQUEL

by Susan Barry-Schulz



          
 
we’ve started
already
 
marring Mars
with our glittering
litter
 
dotted earth debris
in the form
of blended aluminized
specialty fabrics
 
first wind-blown
across a dusty landscape
 
now lodged
in the rugged rocks
of an ancient river delta
on another planet
 
how capable
how culpable


Susan Barry-Schulz grew up just outside of Buffalo, New York. She is a licensed physical therapist living with chronic illness and an advocate for mental health and reducing stigma in IBD. Her work has appeared in The New Verse News, SWWIM, Barrelhouse online, Nightingale & Sparrow, Shooter Literary Magazine, Kissing Dynamite, The Wild Word, Bending Genres, Feral, Quartet, Wordgathering, Gyroscope Review, Harpy Hybrid Review, West Trestle Review, and elsewhere.

I SMELL HER CHOKE

by Mayank Chugh




as I lay/ under the Joshua tree/ I hear the rain/ drown/ the rainbow history/ while I cry/ with my Yellowstone/ earth/ rumbling in pain/ her resilience wavering/ my love/ endangered/ there’s nothing wrong/ with her you said/ it’s all a lie/ the fireplace/ in your homes/ fuming/ with her black blood/ since when/ it’s a lie/ science & suffering/ a cure it is/ for survival/ with instincts/ if you can/ save your mothers/ with pills & potions/ why not mine/ don’t you see her/ melting/ with betrayal/ breathing hardly/ with her mouth/ cracked open   


Author’s Note: This piece is based on the urgency of climate change. Last week we saw rippling videos and images of flooding in the Yellowstone national park, which led to closing of the park in decades. We also discovered world's biggest gas leak of methane in a coal mine in Russia. Although these two events might be unrelated, they are correlative and suggestive of what is about to come. Science does not lie. As a scientist and inhabitant, it hurts to see the planet, the only home we have known, slowly dying, and not doing enough about it. I hope you will resonate will this personal work. 


A cell biologist and diversity activist at Harvard Medical School,  Mayank Chugh is a poet and an artist. He is a selected poet at Through These Realities, a New England art installation project 2022 challenging the narratives of mass media that invalidates experiences of people of colour. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Narrative Northeast, The Lumiere Review, Spry Literary Journal, and Pepper Mag.Twitter/Instagram @mayank_mchugh

ON "FLICKERING" BY YOSHIO OKADA

by Jenna Le


“Flickering” Box with Sprinkled Design of Jellyfish, 2020, by Yoshio Okada


Wood box decorated with
gold and silver lacquer
on a polished black lacquer ground
with shell inlays and shell overlays
depicting the coin and ribboned-hat shapes
of jellyfish, 

those invertebrates prophesied
to engulf the ocean entire
if climate change continues unchecked: 

if this is how we must die,
well, Yoshio,
this wood box of yours
would at least make a beautiful coffin


Jenna Le is the author of Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011); A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Indolent Books, 2017), a Second Place winner in the Elgin Awards; and Manatee Lagoon (forthcoming from Acre Books, October 2022). Her poetry appears in AGNI, Denver Quarterly, Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Poet Lore, Verse Daily, and West Branch

Sunday, June 19, 2022

BIGOTS SHOWED UP TO PRIDE WEARING KHAKIS

by Chad Frame


Authorities in northern Idaho are leaving open the possibility for more criminal charges against 31 white nationalists accused of planning to riot at a weekend Pride festival. Members of a group known as Patriot Front face misdemeanor charges of conspiracy to start a riot. —NPR, June 14, 2022


and it was tacky. So, you want to send 
a message to the gays? Don't do it dressed
like you're about to solicit us all 

to open Best Buy credit cards. Don't rent 
a gas-guzzling, garish orange U-Haul 
and blare Skynyrd out the rolled-down windows

on the Interstate (I want to say I-
eighty something—which, by the way, is how 
old you look. Do you even moisturize?) 

Okay, we get it—you hate us. Still want
to get your point across? Let's start with names. 
No gay will ever repent at the sound

of the name Patriot Front. How about
Patriot Daddy? Patriot Power 
Top? Or Patriot You've Been a Naughty

Prideful Little Piggy and Here We Are 
to Set You Straight? Now we're getting somewhere.
Now, let's talk about that slogan—Reclaim 

America. We already did that 
at Stonewall, remember? That is so June
1969. You'll need something fresh, 

catchy—a real earworm. Might I suggest
Hey, Girl, That Look's Fire, and We Mean Hellfire?
Or consider Stop Trying to Make Fetch 

and Your Alternative Lifestyles Happen
Look, I don't know. Workshop it a little.
Christ. Do I have to do everything?


Chad Frame is the author of Little Black Book (Finishing Line Press, 2022), Director of the Montgomery County Poet Laureate Program, and Poet Laureate Emeritus of Montgomery County, PA, a founding member of the No River Twice poetry improv and performance troupe, Poetry Editor of Ovunque Siamo, and founder of the Caesura Poetry Festival and Retreat. His work appears in Rattle, Pedestal, Barrelhouse, and elsewhere, is available on iTunes, and was sent to the moon.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

ASSANGED

by Lisa Seidenberg




UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has signed an order to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (above) to the United States, where he faces espionage charges, in a decision his organization said marked a "dark day for press freedom." —CNN, June 17, 2022


For publishing classified documents
Of military strikes on innocents
Hits on civilians and wartime blunders
In Iraq and Afghanistan, in shocking numbers
It was not a surprise they took him down
Debating if he is journalist
Assange was a one man wanted list

Sheltered for years in the Embassy of Equador
Until they booted him out the door
His mental state, on view, alarming
But, even so, could still be quite charming
Befriended Pamela Lee, a Hollywood alum
Then fathered two babies and married their mum
While passing the hours awaiting a decision
By London magistrates on his extradition

Why does one choose a life so perilous
When most of us risk so much less?
Or did Julian not know what fate would hold
For one who opted to be so bold
To defy the FBI 
And the CIA
To imagine they would look the other way?
In a more principled world - but not today.

Present day martyrs like Assange and Navalny
Join those in history who took a stand
And paid a high price with stern reprimand
For the crime of speaking truth to power 
And not run away—or cower
I would not do so but let us pause to admire
Those who step out of line and into the fire.


Lisa Seidenberg is a writer and filmmaker residing in Connecticut. Twitter: @Leeside33