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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

ADAM SCROLLS THROUGH HIS APPLE

by Katherine Smith


“‘How do I feel about Trump? I’ll tell you’ he said. He punched up an app and held his phone to display the digits 26, 447.” —"As Suburban Women Turn to Democrats, Many Suburban Men Stand With Trump," The New York Times October 13, 2018


He notes a murder in another zone,
unwraps his turkey sandwich, smiles
at the Dow rising on his phone.

He eats his lunch in his car alone,
this ancestor of SUVs and wiles.
His thumbs flick: murder, bone

saws, Kavenaugh, He grins.
He won that round. Meanwhile
the Dow is rising on his phone

like pride’s origin. Damn right he’s done
well by his kids and wife. The dead guy’s
only some hack for the Washington Post.

The words that Moses wrote on stone,
are numbers he no longer dials,
replaced by the Dow Jones.

Before the apple, there was testosterone
and oil. The price of crude is undefiled
by fingers severed at the knuckle bone,
and the Dow is rising on his phone.


Katherine Smith’s publications include appearances in Poetry, Cincinnati Review, Missouri Review, Ploughshares, Southern Review, and many other journals.  Her short fiction has appeared in Fiction International and Gargoyle. Her first book Argument by Design (Washington Writers’ Publishing House) appeared in 2003. Her second book of poems Woman Alone on the Mountain (Iris Press), appeared in 2014. She teaches at Montgomery College in Maryland.

Monday, October 22, 2018

ODE TO MY CITY

by Elizabeth Stansberry




When I ask my friend in California about Portland,
She says that it is a
Liberal Bubble,
A land where you can sleep until noon,
And still have a career,
A place where the shooting star tattoo on your face,
Will not
Get you fired.
I breathe in church music,
And I never tell her.
I curve my body into a crooked question mark,
Never wanting
To tell her.
She should know
I think.
Haven't you watched the news ?
There is possibly a new planet,
Again,
And a new Portland,
On the rise.
While gliding down Broadway street,
My liberal blinders tightly fastened,
My liberal blinders highly fashioned,
I anticipated the glamour of an art show.
Roche chocolates, white wine,
white walls,
A tingling white noise in the night.
Portraits of suburbanite ghosts and
Goblins.
Snippets of Halloween intentions.
I would sip the white wine, tasting of olives
Dipped in sugar.
This is Art?
I would whisper to my friend.
I look up to see,
I have walked through a red light,
Admist my dreaming.
I am suddenly sharply aware
Of everything.
Like a bat looking for
Prey.
I see the Patriot Prayer March.
They are not
Praying.
They are not
Marching.
They are waving American flags,
They are waving Signs that say ,
"Proud to be White."
Proud boys.
Proud to be racist.
Proud to be angry.
Proud about beating a liberal with
the American flag on Saturday night,
And going to church in white dress shirts,
Sunday morning.
I am standing in my fake diamond necklace,
And the dress that looks expensive,
And I am suddenly angry
Too.
I am waving my middle finger at the patriots,
Like it is the last thing I will ever do.
I am waving my cane at rabid bystanders,
Unhinging,
Unhinging the armor of
White Privilege.
I want to tell my friend in California,
That there is a new Portland
On the rise.
I know she wouldn't believe
Me.


Elizabeth Stansberry has been writing poetry since she was 8 years old. She has been published in Oregon Art's Watch, Eclectic Muse, Soul Fountain, Skyline Review, Eskimo Pie Journal, Mused Magazine, Red Fez Journal, and others. She is a secretary and security guard at Prosper Portland. She has many other day jobs. Her most recent poem is published in the book Not My President from Thoughtcrime Press. Stansberry currently resides in Portland, Oregon.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

BLACK ANGEL

by Anne Myles




Last week, a long-awaited report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change showed that the worst consequences of global warming would occur even sooner than previously thought. Listen to the story of the findings at The Daily podcast.


Cellar cracks seep after long days of rain
in summer-like October. The ground is full,
water pressing out like tears that can’t be held,
staking its claim to prairie’s ancient ocean.
I hear the crows call now! and now! again
as gold leaves fall and grass glows emerald,
and far away, a hurricane archangel
rearranges edges of the continent.
Oh angel, I’ve heard myself plead half-aloud
sometimes in longing, with no one to address;
oh crow, fierce eye, what lies beyond the clouds?
We see the years roll towards an emptiness
of heat-scorched fields, drowned earth, and barren reef.
Let your black wing fold itself around our grief.


Originally from New York, Anne Myles is associate professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa. A specialist in early American literature, she has recently rediscovered her poetic voice, one effect of the present troubles she is thankful for. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ghost City Review, Ink and Nebula, Friends Journal, Lavender Review, and Thimble.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

AN AGING IRA FIGHTER REFLECTS ON BREXIT’S UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

by Mary K O'Melveny




Borders are on everyone’s mind these days.
Not just the ones where two-year olds
are stolen from their parents and sent
to courtrooms to plead their cases.

I’m thinking back to how the way one prays
could turn quite deadly if one strolled
down the wrong street, or someone’s accent
might cause them to vanish without traces

of guilt on men wearing soldier’s berets.
I used to live in Derry’s bogside, patrolled
night and day by those who aimed to prevent
our claims to history’s rightful places.

More than most, I know there are multiple ways
for lines to be drawn. Then, as truth unfolds,
we seem surprised at first, before we lament
our decisions. Occasionally, we wonder if grace is

a solid thing we can retrieve. I am amazed
still at our will to oppose treaties to control
our destinies. At first, peace arguments
made us skeptics. We stared at those sad places

where rigid boundaries left us dismayed
and divided, household from household,
and our viewpoints stiffened in dissent.
We fervently believed that no place is

safe except the one that meets our gaze
with like-minded visions. As tales were told,
we often found it necessary to augment
details that would emphasize the basis

for the walls we built. Soon, malaise
transformed us. As barbed wire unrolled
to top our fences and gates, we vented
and raged while men with briefcases

drew up documents filled with clichés
that some judge would use to uphold
our divisions. Eventually, if we went
on this way, we would be locked in stasis,

staring out from colored passageways
of green or orange, martydom tales retold
until it was time for us to invent
new heroes to take up their places.

The Good Friday accord was praised
for pushing back against the grief we hold.
We hoped it would allow us to reinvent
ourselves after the Troubles had disgraced us.

I am not eager to return to those days.
I drive tourists around now. I’ve been long paroled.
Yet, my days on the blanket can still disorient.
My tribal thoughts will fill in bordered spaces.


Mary K O'Melveny is a recently retired labor rights attorney who lives in Washington DC and Woodstock NY.  Her work has appeared in various print and on-line journals. Her first poetry chapbook A Woman of a Certain Age will be published by Finishing Line Press in September, 2018.

Friday, October 19, 2018

HOW MANY SAUDIS

by Paul Smith


The Guardian has published information about the members of the 15-member team alleged to be responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The photos above shos Dr Salah al-Tubaigy, identified by Turkish authorities as one of 15 men present in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, when Khashoggi is suspected to have been assassinated. On the left Salah al-Tubaigy is pictured in the annual report of Australia’s Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine where he trained after being sponsored by the Saudi Government. At right is an image published by Turkey’s Daily Sabah (via ABC) that purports to show the Saudi doctor arriving at Istanbul Airport.


How many Saudi hit men
does it take to do a journalist in?
ten to cut off his fingers
one to take off his head
one to buy several valises
to haul him off in pieces
when he’s dead
another to play some music
to soothe their jangled nerves
one to make up a tale
how this lowlife disappeared
and the last one to
talk to Washington
to make sure the arms deal
goes through


Paul Smith lives near Chicago. He writes fiction and poetry. He likes Hemingway, really likes Bukowski, the Rolling Stones, Beatles, Kinks and Slim Harpo. He can play James Jamerson's bass solo for 'Home Cookin' by Junior Walker & the Allstars.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

IN THE VIDEO STILL OF THE SAUDI JOURNALIST KILLED BY THE SAUDI GOVERNMENT

by Alejandro Escudé




The victim strolls into the scene
wearing dress shoes and a sport coat.
His icy gait is that of a strong, idealistic man,

a man whose life has been propped up
by words written in looping Arabic.
The man independent, unsympathetic.

To the journalist’s right, a Mercedes van,
black, parked like a stand-in for death.
It is the quietus of the journalist.

Mourn his words, wheeled like scimitars,
like mosaic pieces of a shattered mosaic.
The Mercedes ornament on the van’s grille

reflects the dead man in the sport coat
with the fallen words, walking assuredly past
—who is that? A conspirator? A guard?


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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

DEJA VU

by Phyllis Wax



'WORST FAMINE IN 100 YEARS' COULD SEE 13 MILLION PEOPLE STARVE IF SAUDI-LED COALITION KEEPS BOMBING YEMEN: U.N.” —Newsweek, October 15, 2018. The United States supplies bombs and other support for the war that’s killed civilians and is creating famine. Children in Yemen are acutely malnourished. Those who survive will often be stunted for the rest of their lives, physically and mentally. Photo Credit: Hammadi Issa/Associated Press via The New York Times, September 26, 2018.


Some of us remember the photos
when the camps were liberated

skeletons
lethargic from lack of food
legs and arms just fleshless bones
ribs perceptible without x-rays                       
                                                                     
In Yemen
it’s the children—
big-eyed
visibly starving                           
                                                     
pinned in place
by warheads
made in the USA
targeting markets
funerals    schools


Social issues are a major focus of Milwaukee poet Phyllis Wax. Among the anthologies and journals her work has appeared in are Portside, Obama-Mentum, TheNewVerse.News, Surreal Poetics, Ars Medica, Naugatuck River Review, The Five-Two, Star 82 Review and Mobius.  When she’s not writing you might find her escorting at a local abortion clinic. She can be reached at poetwax38 (at) gmail.com.

SIMPLE MATH

by Marissa Glover




When he calls her horseface
I hear dumb bitch and remember
when you texted to tell me
Wife #2 is 5x the woman I am.
It doesn’t matter if I’m 1/2 Italian
or 1/4 Irish or 1/1024 Cherokee—
you’ve always got my number.
If only one drop of Eve’s blood
lurks inside these arteries, the heart
pumps sin to the body.
You point your finger > I take the fall.
Cow + Crazy + Lowlife + Loser + Cunt
Never equals,
we’re reduced to a name
that is not our own.
Not even the one our fathers gave us
because zero plus zero is always zero.
5,246,670 women could march on Washington
and, still, the sum of every woman in America
is nothing.


Marissa Glover is a teacher and writer who shares her thoughts more than necessary, which she considers a form of charitable giving. If it counted as a tax deduction, she’d be rich. Her poetry has been published at Easy Street, The Opiate, Lipstick Party Magazine, Unbroken Journal, Helen: A Literary Magazine, and Muddy River Poetry Review, among others—and is forthcoming from Riggwelter. Twitter:  @_MarissaGlover_.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

OLD MAN SHOUTING IN A BARN

by Tricia Knoll

Photo by the poet.


On any given fine fall day and this one was given
as gold on the hills, gold in sunshine after rain,
two young parents push a stroller for a baby
wearing a knit hat down a fine gravel road.

The sun might have known it would dip soon
to a sunset but in that moment’s radiance, I asked
what brought them to this Vermont farm
this afternoon. They had many choices

on a day as fine as this. Snow has already topped
a nearby mountain. My purple petunias took on frost
last night. These October days are numbered
more reluctantly than most days, double digiting.

They said they came to u-pick a pumpkin
for Halloween to carve the baby’s first ghost face.
Light a candle. A fine Sunday to get out. Then
they heard “the old man shouting in the barn.”

I nod to the baby, ask “Another first?”
They smile. Another first for sure.
Too bad the baby won’t remember this.
That old man is Bernie Sanders,

a rally three weeks before mid-terms.
The baby inherits our crisis of climate change
and on this fine day, the old man whipped us
up to cheering his amplified words in a barn.

The mother, father and little boy—who will soon
see his first ghost—go rolling up the road to a field
where they might find a perfect pumpkin,
harvest gold despite this fine summer’s drought.


Tricia Knoll attended the rally in a barn in rural Vermont for Democratic candidates in Vermont on Sunday, October 14. This is a true story that means whatever you think it does.

Monday, October 15, 2018

WHAT KIND OF BIRD

an erasure poem by James Penha derived from 
"You Thought Modern Life Was Bad. This Neanderthal Child Was Eaten By a Giant Bird" at Smithsonian.com 


“About 115,000 years ago in what is now present-day Poland, a large bird ate a child. As Laura Geggel at LiveScience reports, it’s not known whether the bird killed the Neanderthal child or happened upon its body and scavenged its remains, but two tiny finger bones found by paleontologists tell a gruesome tale, all the same.” —Smithsonian.com, October 11, 2018. Image by PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk.


“Trump says he is considering a new family separation policy at U.S.-Mexico border.”
The Washington Post, October 13, 2018


The lingering question is what kind
of bird could attack and eat a human child?

Researchers don’t address the topic,
but the record shows
other instances of hominin children becoming
bird food. . . .

When you dig into it,
there’s actually somewhat of a rich history of hunters
gobbling up children.

Even today, there are occasional reports.


James Penha edits TheNewVerse.News .

Sunday, October 14, 2018

OBJECTIONABLE SUSTAIN

by Scott Keeney



Judge, it’s hard to remain calm and measured
and I’m not even alone in a room with you,
not even a teenage girl, not even a woman
of today looking out at a landscape of tattered gowns
and heels in the trees and slips on the wires,
listening to the clamor of countless voices
that might as well be the silence
of the countless others, hum and burn.
It’s hard to remain calm and measured
even without a hand over my mouth
and another groping the smooth hellacious
curves of my salacious details
until I want to throw up, and maybe do a little
in my mouth under your hand
and under the snickering in my ear
under the echoing snicker of your friend,
until I want to vomit the musculature
of an entire culture of pretty domination.
Judge, you have made a mockery of us
who stood all night in a drunk girl’s room,
who got in maybe half a kiss
before realizing she was about to pass out
and so eased her down on her bed
without so much as copping a feel
and watched out her window
and stood by her door other men had entered before,
and wondered if we were a chump, a loser,
an impossible man, missing our chance
for what, the anonymous no-glory
of doing the right thing? And it’s not
that we should be judged by what we did
in high school, I liked beer
so much I drove my mother’s car
into the broad side of the Public Works garage,
but we shouldn’t misrepresent ourselves
before congress, before the people, and that
shouldn’t be a thing that needs pointing out,
and we shouldn’t forget that to be Supreme Court Justice
is not a right but a privilege and any
who would hold that position should be above
causing consternation and palpitations,
agita and outrage to a huge swath
of our population. It’s October 8th,
the Monday after your unholy confirmation
and a mosquito lands on my hand
as I type this. Judge, should I squash it like a bitch
who’s confused about the past?
Karie at work emailed me today to say
she was leaving the office early, too much talk
about how could this happen, how could women
vote that way? She couldn’t concentrate,
was shaking inside. I don’t know when
she’ll return. It’s enough to almost make you
forget there are still kids in cages, separated
from parents sent who knows where, for
the crime of impatiently wanting
nothing more than a better life, wanting just
to survive. Unconquerable violence.
Do you know what it’s like just to want to
survive? My teenage daughter rages every day
that we have a sexual assault artist
in the oval office, and now that artless force
of capitalist nature, with his congenital
shell games and compound interest, has his
justice. The Liar in Chief and his Liar in the Court
blaming the blameless, shaming the shamed
who should not have been shamed, but who always
are. Liar in the court. Liar in the court.
Bang, gavel, bang! Liar in the court!
Go sit well in your seat in your death-colored robe.
Go ahead and adjudicate the defiling of Democracy
with your green hand over her mouth.
Go, you Strawman, go and judge.
Go bury your past, you Executioner of Justice,
you sword in the hand of the Galahad of doublespeak
in this land of liberty and whatnot for all.


Scott Keeney has published four collections of poetry, most recently Pickpocket Poetica. His works have appeared previously at TheNewVerse.News (here and here) as well as in Columbia Poetry Review, Failbetter, Mudlark, New York Quarterly, Poetry East, and other journals.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

THE MAN WHO WANTED MORE

by Nancy Gauquier     





Once upon a time, before sustainability,
in a land far away and ruled by greed,
there was a man who wanted more

he was born to riches and power,
a lot more than most, but to him
it was just a ghost of what could be
in his imaginary reality,
though he was treated like a prince
of the most elite and revered,

clearly, he needed more,
he didn’t want to be loved,
he wanted to be adored
why couldn’t the people see
that he was the emperor of all
that best that could possibly be
from sea to shining sea

the people thought
he must be right
what he says must be true
he has more than I have
he has more than you.

He surrounded himself with sycophants,
men who worshiped him on their knees,
and women who exercised their spleen,
until they were so skinny and mean,
they looked like beauty queens on meth,
addicted to important men who shot up death
and preached hate, but they didn’t come
cheap, they came with silver bullets, bombs,
and armored jeeps.

The poorer people were in so much pain,
that they started to complain.

FAKE NEWS! The big man sputtered,
FAKE NEWS! He cried,
It’s all lies, and I should know
I’m the bigliest liar and that’s how it goes,
BELIEVE ME,
I’ve talked at every business meeting,
I’ve danced at every entitled ball,
I know how it works, I know it all.

And the bullets and the bombs began to fall,
again and again and again,
the war makers became so rich,
on the blood of the poor,
they thought it was only their due,
their egos overcame their brains,
they were better than me,
they were better than you,
no one could beat them,
nothing could stop them now,
they chanted More, more, more, more,
and they didn’t care how.

They would rape their own mother Earth for oil,
regiment their own children to feed on the fear,
rob your piggy bank because their money is dear,
they would do it all and cheer,
More, more, more, more,
Year after year after year.

Until finally the people got so sick
of being so poor,
they just couldn’t take it anymore,
and they started going door to door.
We need to take back the power
they said, we need to give it back
to ourselves instead.
Let the rich sleep in their soft little beds,
we’ve got work to do,
you for me, me for you,
all together, for now and for all
take out your cell phones
and call all your friends!

They rushed through the cities,
they rushed through the towns,
the nurses, the teachers, the actors,
the clowns, they rose up all together
and they put their feet down.

The statesmen all shook in their shoes,
they tried to stifle the news,
but the people all twittered and tubed,
they called and they shouted out loud,
You cannot hide the truth anymore,

it’s time to open the doors and let us in,
to let us breathe, to live without poverty
or fear, and they all began to cheer
for themselves, hand in hand,
black and white and red and tan,
every color, every size, every sex
and otherwise, they marched together
and strong, in a line that was so long,
you couldn’t see the end of it –

the plutocrats all ran for their lives,
they ran to their islands where their money
was stored, and stockpiled so high,
it formed a wall for them to hide behind,
but the surrounding seas began to rise,
they swallowed the islands whole,
along with all the pollution and coal,
the ones who cowered there disappeared
without a sign, they did not even have time,
the wall they built to keep them above
the sea of humanity, gave way, so the people
and all the other creatures could finally be
free
of all the lies and hypocrisy.


Nancy Gauquier lives in central CA, and has been published in many off-beat obscure lit mags, online and off, including Defenestration, Hermaneutic Chaos, Melancholy Hyperbole, and Lummox. She is a single parent and has worked in child-care, and as a nanny, and has been influenced by one of her favorite authors, Dr. Seuss.

Friday, October 12, 2018

POST-KAVANAUGH MUSINGS

by George Salamon






Let us read the Kavanaugh debacle not as
Map of the future but as a map of our history
In which most men aspired to power,
To command an empire, a city, a family,
Employing their talent to be obeyed,
Fulfilling their need to excel, and
Succeed in dividing humans into
Executioners and victims, exempting
Only madmen and wise men,
Saints and beggars from engaging
In this jostling game, played in every
Nation and tribe and their institutions.
This political instinct that dominated
The hearings for Justice Kavanaugh
Disguised the cannibalism that rules
Where humanity is taught and raised to see
Itself as leaders and their followers,
Tyrants and slaves, where human beings
Enter a pact, sacrificing their dreams
For either committing or enduring crimes,
And pretending that the tune of this
Dance is the music to the march of progress.


George Salamon watched the Kavanaugh hearings but, so far, has noticed no side effects, He lives and writes in St. Louis, MO.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

YOU MAY IGNORE THE DUPLICATE REQUEST TO FRIEND ME

by Devon Balwit




not that it was from a bot; it was not,
but from me after I unfriended you. (It’s true.)
Working the warp and weft of us left
me stressed. I thought it best to regress
to solitary, me alone already more than I
can handle. You (and other yous) weighed
in on myriad matters—I wanted my view
unskewed. So, rather rude than band-wagoned,
I un-cliqued. Now, riddled with regrets,
I suspect there might have been another way
to maintain center. But thus it ever is—
the act, the doubt, the retraction, the plow
of one’s furrowed brow into whether.


Devon Balwit has six chapbooks and three collections out in the world. Her individual poems can be found here or are forthcoming in journals such as The Cincinnati Review, apt, Posit, Cultural Weekly, Triggerfish, Fifth Wednesday, The Free State Review, Rattle, Poets Reading the News, etc.