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Friday, September 22, 2023


by W. Luther Jett

Kim pledges to back Putin’s ‘sacred struggle’ during rare summit —The Washington Post, September 13, 2023

See the two men smile

as they shake hands—

clean-shaven, well-dressed,

and well-fed. Comfortable

in their suits under a round

sun, blue sky. Together

they make history, sing,

ride a train. The platform

is so clean. Their shoes

gleam. Never mind that one

red spot the polisher missed,

there by the heel. It is

nothing. It can’t be blood.

W. Luther Jett is a native of Montgomery County, Maryland and a retired special educator. His poetry has been published in numerous journals as well as several anthologies. He is the author of five poetry chapbooks: “Not Quite: Poems Written in Search of My Father” (Finishing Line Press, 2015), Our Situation” Prolific Press, 2018), “Everyone Disappears” (Finishing Line Press, 2020), “Little Wars” (Kelsay Books, 2021), and “Watchman, What of the Night?” (CW Books, 2022). A full-length collection, “Flying to America” is scheduled for release in the spring of 2024, from Broadstone Press. 

Thursday, September 21, 2023


by Suzanne Morris

after “Bélizaire and the Frey Children”  attributed to French portraitist Jacques Amans, 1837, acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2023

He stands tall, one shoulder
resting against a wide-girthed tree

on the pleasant green expanse
of a Louisiana plantation.

His arms are folded

across the front of his
tailored coat.

His face is solemn,
cheeks highly colored,

gaze fixed on some
point in the distance

as if he’s assessing
his place above

the three young,
open-faced siblings

in dainty frocks
standing below:

What might have led to an
enslaved youngster’s appearance

in a portrait of his
owner’s fair children?

And if this be vouchsafed by
sweet Heaven’s intent, then

might these
privileged youths

who boast to him of their
McGuffey Readers and are
well-versed in Bible stories

one day take up 
their writing pens and

set down the truth of
his people’s history?

Some sixty years hence,
the yoke of American
slavery broken,

Bélizaire’s noble figure
will be cunningly painted over

leaving his ghost to hover
between the artist’s vision

and the sunny sky, added later,
to obscure him.

The antebellum portrait of
three comely white children

will be forgotten

in the dark reaches
of attic and basement

until the dawn of the
21st century, when

Bélizaire’s figure
is finally restored

and the work receives
due veneration

the full franchise of 
his people bought with
calloused feet and heroes’ blood.

Yet now, less than
two decades passed,

Bélizaire looks down

from high up on a
museum wall

as a generation
come lately

forswearing the truth 
painstakingly written

again takes up the brush to
paint over him.   

Suzanne Morris is a novelist with eight published works.  Her poems have appeared inThe New Verse News and The Texas Poetry Assignment, as well as other online poetry journals, and anthologies.  A native of Houston, she now makes her home in Cherokee County, Texas.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023


December 1, 1942

by Susan Cossette

Letter between Pope Pius XII, who served as Pope during World War II, and a German Jesuit reveals Pius knew of the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Holocaust —James Gordon, and Wires, September 18, 2023

You knew and what did you do?


The Jesuit priest wrote to you.

The SS was running death factories,

6,000 Poles and Jews killed every day.


You knew about Auschwitz and Dachau.


Did you pray on your lapis lazuli rosary 

for the teenaged girl who saw her parents murdered?

Face down on her wooden bunk, 

after the tan suits shaved her head and pubic hair.


Your supplicants say you worked

behind the scenes to help Jews 

and stayed mute to prevent worsening 

the situation for Catholics in Nazi-occupied Europe. 


Your detractors say you lacked courage,

despite pleas from Allied powers fighting Germany.


Pius, Pius you knew, you knew.

The yellowed typewritten letter says it all.


Pius what did you fail to do?

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 MothThe New Verse News, ONE ARTAs it Ought to Be, Anti-Heroin ChicThe 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.


by Jeremy Nathan Marks

When I lived in the western U.S. 

people told me that as a Jew 

I should value how the GOP 

made religion the foremost

test for American citizens. 


They said Democrats and Liberals 

were secularists

secular meaning socialist

a.k.a. godless 

there can be no covenant

no Eretz

unless you are free market capitalist


of course, socialism was 

one of Zionism’s foundations

think Kibbutz for instance


Subtext: I should become a Jew for Jesus. 


There are and have long been socialists 

who are religious 

their political-spiritual imagination  

just happens to range beyond 

the Rocky Mountains 

or a golf course in DeSantis land

to touch the former ghettos of Europe 

the current Cheders of Brooklyn 

and Buenos Aires and lots of places 

lost to the amnesiac memory 

of rapturists.  


Recently, ‘45’ wished my people 

L’Shanah Tova before telling 70+

percent of us that we voted 

to destroy America and Israel. 


What I want to know is 

if I change my voter registration 

to Trumpist, will Kanye and Elon 

also send me New Year’s wishes


How about Nick Fuentes?

Jeremy Nathan Marks lives in the Great Lakes region of Canada. His most recent book is Flint River published by Alien Buddha Press (2023). 

Tuesday, September 19, 2023


by Steven Kent

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico on Friday scaled back a temporary public health order restricting the carrying of firearms in the Albuquerque metro area, limiting a ban to only parks and playgrounds. The initial ban, which was issued Sept. 8 and was to have covered 30 days, had prohibited the carrying of open and concealed firearms in public areas or on state property. Several individuals and groups had sued to block Ms. Lujan Grisham’s original order, and a federal judge on Wednesday sided with the plaintiffs, who argued that the suspension of gun rights violated the Constitution. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge David Urias granted a temporary restraining order blocking the governor’s suspension. The governor’s most recent executive order essentially replaces the blocked one. —The New York Times, September 17, 2023

The solution is always more guns,

Angry voices in unison chime 

When a shooting's occurred.

Our predictable word

While the blood of each victim still runs:

The solution is always more guns.

The solution is always more guns.

Though we mourn those cut down in their prime,

They're the price that we pay

To have freedom today

(Thoughts and prayers for the innocent ones).

The solution is always more guns.

The solution is always more guns,

One deterrent for all kinds of crime:

In the classroom, the bleachers,

Arm staff and arm teachers;

In church, arm the priest and the nuns.

The solution is always more guns.

The solution is always more guns--

Every one, every place, every time.

And we tell these cold lies

As we look in the eyes

Of our very own daughters and sons:

The solution is always more guns.

Steven Kent is the poetic alter ego of writer, musician, and Oxford comma enthusiast Kent Burnside. His work appears in Light, Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, and OEDILF, among others.

Monday, September 18, 2023


by Jeff Burt

Craig Bennett

If only we had political strength WD-40, 
that you could spray a little on an MTG or MG 
and the braying, the screeching, the informing 
about its presence could be silenced by a squirt. 

The door would re-assume humility 
in being a utility again, no longer the portal 
which the candidates think they provide
into a yawning perfecting future, 
but simple wood, hinged and soundless,
meant once to be opened, and then kept shut.

Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California and has worked in administration of electronics and mental health care.

Sunday, September 17, 2023


by Alejandro Escudé

Venice has finally revealed the details for its entrance fee, making it the first city in the world to charge daytripper visitors. Starting in spring 2024, visitors to the floating city will have to pay 5 euros ($5.40) to enter on peak days if they’re not staying the night. But this isn’t a permanent move yet – the Venice authorities have committed to a 30-day “experiment.” —CNN, September 13, 2023

When you first get there—

Your ocean liner looms over 

The island city and you spot

The ancient roofs and the plazas,

The gryphons, and the gold-fringed

Streets, both real and imagined,

And the people on the cruise

Get off onto the bridges, you 

Smell the canals—leafy, oily, 

And the mask you purchase is 

Expensive, the plague doctor,

And you drink a cold beer

And you eat in a restaurant

Down a corridor, and you think

Of the writing you should be

Doing, and every corner brings 

That lifelong, exquisite guilt, 

And you sidle through crowds

And get too hot and walk

Out too far, where there are

Fewer people, only sunlight

Splashing against a cracked wall.

And you are in Venice, but

At night, it’s Euro-urban scary, 

And you’re alone and lost

And you almost miss the boat

Though the boat is docked close.

You take the tender back 

To the pastel-colored cake-boat

That is every cruise and you 

Go to the ship’s casino and sit at

The red neon bar, and you forget

That you were ever in Venice

And it’s almost twenty years

Later and you learn that now

Venice wants to charge a fee

Like an amusement park, and

It makes you sad to look at 

Your mask, hanging on your

Wall, remembering the latest 

Plague. But it makes you 

Even sadder to learn there

Will be days in that city

Where it’s not advised 

That you visit because of

Crowds. And you think:

I’d go anyway. I’d go

Right now just to smell

Those canals again. Just 

To see that palace, fringed

In gold. To feel that heavy,

Doge’s sun like one coin

Of the two that sit upon 

My aging poet’s eyes. 

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, September 16, 2023


by Tricia Knoll

A golden retriever named Kilian is part of a Swedish rescue team in Morocco after the earthquake. He's a veteran of past disaster rescue missions and his handlers say he helped find 18 people alive under the rubble in Turkey earlier this year. —Carol Guzy for NPR

Those furry creatures I live with,
the ones on a mission to sniff hunt,
find the dead, subdue, lead the blind, 
alert to illnesses. Detect mines.
Walk side by side with people 
who need them.
K-9 simplifies the patches 
on uniform sleeves, dispatched
cars, rescue units, disaster teams.
A term coined during World War II.
Let me know them as dogs,
the faithful we call to live with us,
who serve in whatever way they can
and look for a hand, a voice, a toy
to tell them job well done

Tricia Knoll lives in gratitude with two non-pedigree dogs in Vermont. She has known search and rescue handlers. Her poetry appears widely in journals, anthologies and seven collections—the most recent being One Bent Twig (FutureCycle Press, 2023) which highlights trees Knoll has planted, loved, and worries about due to climate chaos.

Friday, September 15, 2023


by Matt Witt

U.A.W. Halts Work at 3 Plants in Contract Fight With Automakers 
Ford, General Motors and Stellantis have all raised their pay raise proposals since their opening bids—but to no more than 20%, just half of the union's 40% ask, Fain said. The companies have also rejected the union's pension and retiree healthcare proposals, according to [UAW President Shawn] Fain. Other economic issues, including cost of living adjustments and profit sharing, remain points of contention. "We do not yet have offers on the table that reflect the sacrifice and contributions our members have made to these companies," Fain told union members. "To win, we'll likely have to take action." —NPR, September 13, 2023. "The Big Three CEOs saw their pay increase by 40% over the last four years, while our pay only went up by 6%," UAW President Shawn Fain said at a news conference last week. —NPR, September 14, 2023

I did a simple internet search
for “the major parts of a car”
And Google said the answer is
Transmission system,
Car body,
Steering system, and
Braking system.
It left out each worker’s
Nerves, and
Another search found that
auto workers suffer
injuries and illnesses
at more than twice the rate
of other private industry.
Maybe next I will search:
What is the true cost of a car?
Who pays the price?
And who gets the profits?

Matt Witt is a writer and photographer in Talent, Oregon. His work may be found at

Thursday, September 14, 2023


by Jennifer Hambrick

when a woman lies in stirrups maybe leave 
your camera eye closed until she paper-scoots
to table’s end, and wait until the crinkling stops 
to open it. you might try to deamplify
your autogenerated voice to a fiberoptic hum 
when you tell her to relax and let her knees fall
away from each other. glide your speculum- 
arm slowly and decisively and when you ask
if the pressure’s okay back away if she creaks 
yes in a falsetto that means no or if the room
fills with silence pregnant with fluorescent 
buzz. dynamize your algorithm to streamline
scraping. transmit the cells to your built-in 
lab. then reach a cold chrome tentacle into her
paper gown and ask with lossy upspeak if 
she’s noticed any changes. leverage your
endless bandwidth for an instant mammo- 
gram. and once you’ve read her breast
scan confirm in airless, chest-squeezed 
boilerplate the absence of tumors, calcifi-
cations, architectural abnormalities then 
take care to say her flesh could be hiding
tumors, calcifications, architectural ab-
normalities but you can’t be sure because
you can’t see through it. and thanks for that 
report, the one the human doc, who will
never be able to pay off her med school
loans, can't process because she’s on hold
trying to get your tests covered by the 
insurance company, whose virtual ass-
istant will notify the patient as soon as 
a decision has been made.

Six-time Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee Jennifer Hambrick is the author of the collections In the High Weeds (NFSPS Press), winner of the Stevens Prize; the Joyride (Red Moon Press), winner of the 2022 Marianne Bluger Book Award; and Unscathed (NightBallet Press). Hambrick was featured by former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser in American Life in Poetry and has received numerous awards and prizes, including the Sheila-Na-Gig Press Poetry Prize, First Prize in the HSA Haibun Award Competition, First Prize in the Martin Lucas Haiku Award Competition (U.K.), and many others. Hambrick’s poems appear in The Columbia Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Santa Clara ReviewMaryland Literary Review, San Pedro River Review, POEM, NOON: the journal of the short poem, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, Contemporary Haibun Online, The Haibun Journal, Heliosparrow Poetry Journal, and in dozens of other journals and invited anthologies. A classical musician, public radio broadcaster, multimedia producer, and cultural journalist, Jennifer Hambrick lives in Columbus, Ohio.