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Friday, March 16, 2018


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

Thursday, March 15, 2018


by David Spicer

You rest on the Capitol lawn

silent as the senators and congressmen

who ignore you and your former owners
you’re there protesting inaction and corruption

your owners’ names on placards near you
stay on that ground as long as you can

call for your owners to resurrect from the dead
to inhabit you to haunt the bought and paid for politicians

who blame mental illness local cops
unarmed teachers anything but the weapons

yes let their invisible feet wear you again
fly into the sky an invisible insurrection of gentle avengers

every time you see one of the lawmakers strolling down
Pennsylvania Avenue or the steps of the granite

gun church tell the ghosts to slap one of them
on his head knock some compassion into his apathy

perform aerial demonstrations guided by the ghosts
of the 7000 children and of teachers concertgoers,

dancers housewives grandmothers bus drivers
7000 pairs of you all colors and kinds red sneakers brown

slippers blue high heels yellow loafers white crocs
remain together escape from the hired sanitation workers

paid to collect you gather by the Potomac don’t let them
find you and diminish your power no transform your cloth

skin your rubber soles your canvas faces your leather toes
into new life defy science defy reality band together perform miracles

speak for the dead speak for their ghosts speak for future ghosts
oh shoes what will become of you don’t let them take you away

don’t let anybody dump you in the latest landfill and forget about you
whisper shout mutter sing yell into enough ears of enough saviors

who will pick you up and save you for another demonstration
on another lawn at the capitol of a state until you convince

the crooked men with their crooked souls and their crooked suits
to do something to do anything to stop stop stop their crooked silence

until you find more and more shoes thousands of more shoes hundreds
of thousands of more shoes who will join you and join an army

that cannot be stopped an army of 7000000 ghosts of 70000000
ghosts of victims who cannot speak anymore cannot laugh anymore

cannot run anymore cannot enjoy a day with cousins at a picnic on a lawn
much like the capitol lawn cannot return the smile of an infant

because two of the shoes are hers cannot think of a time
when guns didn’t exist cannot live in a land of guns any longer

David Spicer has poems in Chiron Review, Alcatraz, Gargoyle, Reed Magazine, Raw, The Ginger Collect, Yellow Mama, PloughsharesThe New Verse News, The American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. He is the author of Everybody Has a Story and five chapbooks; his latest chapbook is From the Limbs of a Pear Tree, available from Flutter Press.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


by David James Olsen

inspired by the film The Theory of Everything and dedicated to Stephen Hawking ... "who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space through images juxtaposed." (Allen Ginsberg, "Howl")

what twists and turns create the burn that makes the heart’s intones?
what organizing force infuses courage in our bones?
what questions help us quest to truths of how we do exist?
what answers satisfy the dark allowing light, sun-kissed?

a single speck of stardust that comprised him from the start
gave Hawking humble genius-sparks endorsing his own chart
of new galactic concepts none before had dared to breach,
of how the seasons stretch in space defying standard speech.

and facing such a fatal future from an early age,
he forced himself to move his mind to think outside the cage
impounding human theories bound by knowledge found on Earth.
he broke the mold of sanctioned mass, thus causing a rebirth

inside the field of physics where professors marveled more
at how his bright endurance conquered paralyzing odds
than at his hot hypotheses that came at last to bore
through scientific lenses lacking stabilized tripods.

deteriorating muscle strength could hardly stop his flow
of fiery radiation-thoughts and populated spheres
outside our milky, wayward mindsets curbed by what we know,
of places past the brink of time, beyond our pointless fears.

determined, clear persistence reigned till, sev’nty-six, he passed,
his focus never quitting quantum gravity at all,
his wit most sharp, intact until his heartbeat played its last.
study his work for ages so his star shall never fall.

Author’s Note: This elegy is specifically structured with seven rhythmic feet per line and six stanzas so as to represent the awe-inspiring age of 76 to which Hawking lived.

David James Olsen’s iconoclastic and encrypted poetry has been published in various sources including InstigatorzineThe South Townsville micro poetry journal, and three previous times here on TheNewVerse.News. A New Yorker juggling myriad passions, he is currently most focused on intensive poetic study and writing while gracefully diving into increasing vegan activism.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


by Judith Terzi

People protest outside a speech by U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions on Wednesday in Sacramento, where he admonished state politicians for not cooperating with federal authorities on immigration enforcement issues. (Noah Berger / AFP/Getty Images via the Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2018)

Oddly, we (sort of) welcome the Trump administration's legal challenge in hopes that it will clarify not just for state officials, but for the federal government where the lines of responsibility and culpability might lie. We suspect the courts will side with California on most if not all of the legal issues Session's lawsuit raises, and in the process could underscore the reality that California's menu of state and local laws limiting involvement with federal immigration enforcement do not offer anyone anything remotely like sanctuary. —Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2018

Enjoy your Tuesday dinner at $35,000+
a head in Beverly Hills. If you have time,

Mr. Pres., explore SoCal culinarily. There's
an Indian place up the street from your shindig

called the Spice Affair. But beware. You don't
need more tsuris. Their chicken tikka masala

is excellent. Or try their saag aloo, potatoes
simmering in a spinach curry. Instead of

checking out prototypes of prejudice, try some
pork or beef enchiladas at El Portal. You can

have two, plus rice and beans for under $15.
Let's see, would you order black beans or frijoles?

That might be a tough choice. Or try camarones 
a la diabla. That's shrimp in a spicy red sauce.

Very close to the Mexican place is a Salvadorian
hole-in-the-wall delight. Do you know what

a pupusa is? It's not what you're thinking. If
you've got more time, stop by Saladang. It's close

to Beverly Hills. Have you ever tasted pad thai
or ginger chicken? And what about fried calamari?

That's our fave. BTW, you can have two scoops
of ice cream there. Yes, vanilla, if you don't like

ginger or mint tea. But if you want chocolate sauce,
you'll have to cross the street to Kabuki, where

all the sushi chefs are either Korean or Mexican.
So sue us!

Judith Terzi is the author of Casbah and If You Spot Your Brother Floating By (Kattywompus). Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in journals and anthologies such as Caesura, Columbia Journal, Good Works Review, Main Street Rag, Raintown Review, Unsplendid, and Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Web and Net. Museum of Rearranged Objects will be published by Kelsay Books later this year. 

Monday, March 12, 2018


by Alejandro Escudé

The victorious strike by teachers in West Virginia did not only result in a long overdue pay raise. With the exuberance of a nine-day teach-in, the teachers and their supporters have taught the nation a compelling lesson on the historical role of a true resistance. Taking to the streets, picketing on the sidewalks, and charging into the Capitol itself, the strike turned the public commons into a counter space for “we the people.” One by one, the roughly 20,000 teachers in West Virginia essentially forced lawmakers – and the nation – to stop our daily routine and address the growing education crisis on the terms of those most devoted to ensuring the best outcomes for our children: our teachers. —The Guardian, March 10, 2018

The teachers are digging for coal;
They pour out of the mines, dark-drenched,
Unimpressed by the earth’s time tables,
The maps colored outside the lines.
They are heading home from the mines.

The teachers have received the cables
That mark their pay; their fists are clenched
Even grading papers, their precious ore
A losing industry. As the work clock chimes
Apocalypse, for health they pay the fines.

The teachers breathe fumes of a Stygian shoal
As they sail on—confused, wrecked and bled,
Their career an entanglement of labels.
Of their day’s take nothing survives.
They’re servants to the ironies and declines.

Like prophets, they cluster countless Babels,
Their clothes contain the prints of our kindred.
Yet, where gratitude should be, there’s a hole.
A relentless grind, their minds like stripped mines,
For expenses overdue, for quarrying lives.

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.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


by Bill Meissner


The watch slipped from my wrist and dropped
to the sand, burying itself. Retracing
my footprints, I couldn’t find it, though I searched
and searched, my palm skimming the beach
like a metal detector.

Home from vacation, I wonder who might
find that watch, wonder
what lonely, homeless beachcomber—years from now—
might idly sift a handful of sand and

discover it. Would the watch be
silent, its cracked face filled with grains that seeped in,
little by little, smothering the two luminous hands?
Or would it still be ticking away in some other time zone,
each sweep of the second hand like a wave
smoothing a distant shore?
If he held it to his ear, like a spiral seashell,
could he hear the azure roar of the ocean inside it?

If I could replace something, it wouldn’t be
the watch I lost. Instead, I’d retrieve
a minute, an hour, a day or two, a month,
even a whole year. I’d retrieve
a few friendships, the blurred mistakes I’ve made,
the faces that faded from the family photo,
an afternoon of tender touching. I’d recover

those moments that passed
while the grains
in the hourglass fell
and fell
in a line so thin and steady I could hardly tell it was moving.

Bill Meissner is a teacher/writer and the author of four books of poems, two short story collections, and a novel Spirits in the Grass which won the Midwest Book Award.  He lives in Minnesota.  Visit his Facebook author page.


by Jill Crainshaw

“Call for the wailing women to come.”

                Jeremiah 9

she wails
raw voice keening
fists pounding wild winds
chest-cracking sobs
sucking storm-weighted air
for breath

we thought we could live forever
under this steely sky-scraping canopy
if ideas and institutions

would just refuse
to become dinosaurs

did we forget—
our species
inhabits a house of
long-dead dinosaurs

(who mastered the tricky
art of survival
a hundred times
longer than we have)
—so far

she crashes against
a jagged shoreline
mad beauty
digging sandy shallow
graves for wordy lyrics
never enfleshed in song—

grandpa’s wet eyes
look skyward
as his beloved lies dying in
their wrinkled marriage bed

while he harvests her favorite
spring peas from a
fresh-furrowed garden
one more time

—if i could paint on the horizon
all the love i’ve known in my life
i would need a
bigger sky—

she falls silent
anger retreating
sun alighting silver-winged
on salt-saturated sands
an uncertain balm in
this gilead

when we buried her
he wept
as the church choir
encircled her burial plot and
music and mourning
linked arms to rise
up from the earth
and weave
a hopeful hem onto
the grief-worn
fabric of the firmament

Jill Crainshaw is a professor at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, NC.

Saturday, March 10, 2018


by David Feela

Cartoon from HubSpot at Mashable.

If you like me
I promise
to like you.
If enough of you
follow me
a social platform
will emerge
constructed of
digital timbers
sturdy enough
to hold the weight
of a million
similar minds.
We don’t have to be
so long as
you approve of
what I say.
I don’t know
where you live
or even have
the time to find out
but truth conforms
to no geography.
Let’s just say
it’s sufficient
that our thoughts
are linked. 
Connect me
with others
and we’ll grow
a constituency.
Like me.
We’ll be a multitude.

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


by George Salamon


“And Eleanor always took a stand
For the hungry and the homeless all across the land.”

The new liberal elite,
Ungenerous of heart,
Narrow of mind,
Intolerant of the other,
In denial of complexity,
Souls as dead as those
You pretend to hate
But see fit to serve.
Technocrats of delusion,
Your masters orchestrate
Your intrusion into
Their empire of cronyism and collusion.
Amused by your shouts of resistance,
As their paychecks assure your compliance.

George Salamon agrees with the Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt (1818 to 1897) who wrote: "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity."

Friday, March 09, 2018


by Peleg Held

Bones discovered on a Pacific island in 1940 are "likely" to be those of famed pilot Amelia Earhart, according to a US peer reviewed science journal. —BBC, March 9, 2018

We are running on a line between
celestial navigation and dead reckoning
tempting the keepers of the crossings:
To live now into the skies.

Gas running low, unable to reach you yet
Electra's song still sings above the static,
the scraping tide where shells are emptied, torn
and wings churn back to ore--
identification in the debris field is a matter of scale.

We must be on you but we cannot see you.
As the sun-line sweeps towards our flight path
we grope for an island. A large ring
of white sand around a bright lagoon.

This is Emil Harte.

We lay out the bones of frigate birds, a testament
on sand. In our dreams Electra remains on the reef
we lean into the transmitter, spit into sunspot
and whisper our coordinates into the harmonic.
Give us a bearing—what is our position now?

I am an island where lost flyers make landfall,
where mercurial fingertips sign the freckled glass
buried in the strand. Here post-loss transmissions
still crackle the air, even as the rest
is carried over in the pincers of crabs.

We are listening.

Author’s Notes: Italicized bits are from the final transmissions of Amelia Earhart. Earhart submitted her poems to Poetry Magazine under the pseudyonym Emil Harte.

Peleg Held lives in Portland, Maine with his partner and his dog Emitt. There is also the semi-feral cat, Smudge. And a kid or two. pelegheld(at)

Thursday, March 08, 2018


by Lynnie Gobeille

This old woman lost all her power after reaching Turkey coming from Syria, on September 30, 2014. NurPhoto via Getty Images via Huff Post.

Having showered—I remove the bandages.
Look closely at the hallowed out skin.
I see the burnt spots
The singed flesh left
From the Doctor’s biopsy.
Note the spot she cauterized
To stop the bleeding.
Left with the memory of the scent
Like nothing I’d ever smelled before—

“Burning flesh” she said—
“has a distinct odor."

I go all Auschwitz; all Jewess
All checking my arm
For the tell-tale tattoo.
To be clear here:
I am not crazy.
For one moment I felt the fear . . .
The absolute awareness
Of the harm
One Human can inflict upon another.
In that one second of olfactory recognition
I understood why my grandmother changed her last name.

Came to America
My mother in tow.

Lynnie Gobeille is passionate about poetry.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018


by Devon Balwit

Frances McDormand at the microphone and other women nominated for Oscars standing in the audience. Credit Patrick T. Fallon for The New York Times.

The woman crackled when handed
the mic, her anger having traveled
a long distance, gathering momentum.
She glared at the panel on literary activism.
Shame, she said, on you. They hadn’t spoken
badly as far as I could tell, so I awaited
her verdict. It was their ratio that rankled—
three men to a single woman. Her finger quivered
as she counted. I feel like a woman inside,
one man quipped, discomfited. No smiles.
Now I know what each of the four
should have demanded, an inclusion rider,
all chairs left empty until equitably filled.

Author’s Note: Inclusion riders! How I needed this concept two weeks ago when I attended a writers' conference in Mexico. It would have saved me some puzzlement.

Devon Balwit is a writer/teacher from Portland, OR. Her poems have appeared in TheNewVerse.News, Poets Reading the News, Rattle, Redbird Weekly Reads, Rise-Up Review, Rat's Ass Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Mobius, What Rough Beast, and more.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018


by Sister Lou Ella Hickman

Image from The Trace.

                what        and       who
                would you be
                if tomorrow
                all   guns      vanished
                like     children   who   died    in schools

Sister Lou Ella Hickman is a poet, writer, and a certified spiritual director.  Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines such as First Things, Emmanuel, Third Wednesday, and TheNewVerse.News.  Her first book of poetry was entitled she: robed and wordless.

Monday, March 05, 2018


by Terese Coe

"He's now [China's Xi Jinping] president for life. President for life. No, he's great," T***p said. "And look, he was able to do that. I think it's great. Maybe we'll have to give that a shot some day." —CNN, March 4, 2018

Though we took great pains to make it last,
I fear democracy is a thing of the past.

Terese Coe’s poems and translations have appeared in 32 Poems, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Cincinnati Review, New American Writing, Ploughshares, Poetry, Threepenny Review, Agenda, The Moth, New Walk Magazine, New Writing Scotland, Poetry Review, the TLS, The Stinging Fly, and many other publications and anthologies. Her latest collection Shot Silk was nominated for The Poets Prize of 2017.