Guidelines



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Thursday, September 20, 2018

SCOTUS BLUES

by Gail White



Image: an inherited photograph at the UF blog of Marsha Bryant.


Matriarchs of my Southern childhood
warned me of predatory men
in theaters, woods, wherever I
might dare to venture out alone.
Mostly I shrugged it off, but now,
thinking of predatory men,
I say to their matriarchal ghosts
Oh, were you right, were you right again?


Gail White is a formalist poet with work in many journals, including Measure, Light, First Things, and Hudson Review. She is a two-time winner of the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. Her latest book Catechism was published in 2016 by White Violet Press.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

SMASHING THE WORLD RECORD

by Devon Balwit




Even for the home stretch of Kipchoge’s marathon
I wouldn’t be able to keep pace. All high-altitude sinew,
he would pull away toward the Brandenburg Gate
while I panted soft behind, years of chips and booze
dragging like a sea anchor. His pacers tired early,
just fifteen minutes in, leaving him alone
with his thoughts. What were they for that 2:01:39?
The years of training at dawn, outpacing Hicham El Guerrouj,
his next marathon? Breaking the tape, Kipchoge
hugged his trainer, held up by giddiness before falling.
He rested but a moment on his knees then rose
for the cameras, the adulation of the crowd.


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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

THE WRECKED SEASON

by George Held


Florence left a trail of flooded roads, broken trees and downed power lines across Leland, N.C. (Ken Blevins/The Star-News via AP via The Washington Post)


              As I walked down to Rotten Lake I remembered
              the wrecked season, haunted by plans of salvage…
                             —Muriel Rukeyser, “First Elegy. Rotten Lake”


Snow & cold in the Northeast
Show your breath on May Day;
This spring will be short –
A wrecked season.

Every rare warm day overwelcomed
As halcyon, a resurrection,
Citizens worshiping the sun
Bare legs & shoulders to welcome warmth.

No one mentions the global warming
Behind each wrecked season,
& few foresee the advent
Of a wrecked planet,

Its seawalls overtopped, lowlands swamped,
Sea wrack & sea foam decorating
Flooded floors & warped siding,
A civilization sliding by on mud.

Cry, the beloved Earth
& cry, the drenched citizens;
Leave your belongings behind:
Flee upland or drown.


George Held, a longtime contributor to TheNewVerse.News, writes from New York. His twentieth collection is Dog Hill Poems (Seattle, 2017). Under the Escalator, his dark fantasy for children, will be released later this month.

Monday, September 17, 2018

LOVE IN HURRICANE SEASON

by Earl J. Wilcox


Parts of a neighborhood are flooded in Latta, S.C. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)


And I will watch the spindly pine
trees shrug and quiver when the thrust
of wild wind one hundred miles per hour
slash across our back orchard and beyond.

And I will speak softly, calmly to you, hold
my heart, your hand if necessary when
the thunder rolls, the bolts of blue skies slice
across our soggy zoysia grass, greening.

And I will never let you go again until
the next hurricane, whether this year
or a century from now, when you and
I and all that’s ours takes us safely home.


Earl Wilcox lives in South Carolina, where Hurricane Florence arrived with gusto and ballyhoo.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

POLITICAL POETRY IN THE AGE OF THE TWITTER KING

by George Salamon



". . . time lost even at the U.. studying poetry and French and subjects that never brought anybody a cent." —Babbitt in Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt (1922).


What links poetry to politics?

Once political poems eulogized
Rulers and heroes.
We can no longer celebrate our rulers.
For they are hucksters and hustlers.
We write poetry about them
On accepted topics
Of outrage and  opposition,
Banning nuance and grace.
Poetry deals with eternal values,
While wearing its social badge.
Americans expect poetry to deliver
Inspiration or consolation.
When poetry stripped authority
Of its mythical cloak, it danced
To an anarchist muse,
More criticism than inspiration,
Seeing the world as does a child
In a Grimm fairy tale.
We were told, not long ago,
"After Auschwitz, no more poetry."
This bad advice was ignored, as poets
Listened instead to poets before them.
Poets are good disciples, still today,
But what happened to their antennas
For sensing the future?


George Salamon lives and writes in St. Louis, MO, where the American Dream met the New Global Economy and lost Round One.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

FELT-TIPPED ON A FORGOTTEN GRAVESTONE




Jerome Betts lives in Devon, England, and edits the verse quarterly Lighten Up Online. His work has appeared in a wide variety of British magazines and anthologies as well as UK, European, and North American web venues such as Amsterdam Quarterly, Angle, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily,  Light, The Asses of Parnassus, Better Than Starbucks, TheNewVerse.News,  Parody, Per Contra, The Rotary Dial, and Snakeskin.

Friday, September 14, 2018

ECHO

by Julie Steiner




She’s hard to recognize within the crowd,
a mob that’s mostly masculinely loud.
She’s there, though. She inhabits every proud,
full-throated fool the autocrat has wowed.


She’s there at every rally, multituded,
repeating all the slogans he’s exuded:
“Us FIRST!” “We’re NUMBER ONE!” But she’s deluded
to think his royal “we” means she’s included.


He loves himself, and no one else. That’s clear
to all but her. He only keeps her near
because he craves the power that her fear—
Without him, I’d be voicelesslets him steer.


She stands behind him loyally (a stance
that guarantees she’ll never have a chance
to look at him directly—or askance)
and scans their shared reflection, in a trance.


“That image isn’t real,” his critics say,
while lobbing rocks to put this on display.
But overlapping rings of disarray
just help him help her see the world his way.


“We’re BEAUTIFUL,” he gushes. “Look at US!”
The water’s not a limpid looking-glass,
but dazzlingly distorted. So it’s less
the details Echo glimpses on its face—


more those she can’t—that make her a believer.
Her mind supplies what’s missing, to deceive her.
“We’re AWESOME! We’re the MOST TREMENDOUS EVER!”
he cries. That vision sets them both a-quiver.


When she repeats his self-congratulation,
he calls it independent confirmation.
Addicted to each other’s validation,
they both keep swallowing exaggeration.


He’ll drown. She’ll waste away to just a song
of glory—We were SPECIAL! We were STRONG!

and grievance—Oh, those VILLAINS did us WRONG!—
until the next Narcissus comes along.


Author's caveat: Stanza 4 above is wrong. This week, 17-year-old Tyler Linfesty (a.k.a. Plaid Shirt Guy) demonstrated that it is, indeed, possible to look askance at someone while standing behind them. I believe that the rest of the poem is still accurate, though.


Julie Steiner lives and writes in San Diego. Besides the TheNewVerse.News, the venues in which her poetry has appeared include the Able Muse Review, American Arts Quarterly, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, First Things, Rattle, and the Rat's Ass Review.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

WHAT SEEMS TO FOLLOW US

by Carol Parris Krauss





The kitchen is disorderly.
The small camping stove, cooler,
And bottles of water whisper
Pine trees, honeysuckle, and rustic cabins
Nestled near the George Washington National Forest.
But this is no weekend excursion,
but instead
Hurricane readiness at its best.

We thought we left the lengthy gas station lines,
Empty grocery shelves, and
Sandbags sentries behind
When we moved from
Florida to Virginia.
Hurricane Flo. She said no. The old folks
Say a hurricane is a do-over, a chance at a second chance.
A clean slate.

I need to see Florence to explain that
my move after
28 years
In Florida was my do-over. Scream in the wind,
Shake my fist. Look her in the eye.
She needs
To take her squat, spin, and spit,
Her erasure.
Elsewhere.


Carol Parris Krauss is a teacher, mother, and poet who is fond of college football and cats. She lives in the Tidewater Region of Virginia. Her work can be found in Blue Collar Review, TheNewVerse.News, The Amsterdam Quarterly, Fall Lines, The South Carolina Review, Storysouth, and other online and print magazines.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

DENIAL VILLANELLE

by Judith Terzi


Cartoon by Rob Rogers.


I didn't leave the fridge door open all night.
I didn't leave the front door ajar all day.
I didn't leave the water boiling. Fire fright.

I didn't leave the bathroom light on. Energy blight.
I didn't leave the water running in the sink, btw.
I didn't leave the fridge door open all night.

Pas moi, pas moi. Must have been Mike.
I didn't leave the toothpaste top off in the mêlée.
I didn't leave the water boiling. Fire fright.

I didn't take the papers off the desk. No sleight
of hand in dawn's early light. No fingerprints, eh?
I didn't leave the fridge door open all night.

Yes you, you ate the apple pie. We have to indict.
I didn't, I didn't steal the cap, the coke, the hearsay.
I didn't leave the water boiling. Fire fright.

I didn't eat the last Twinkie. Pas moi, alright?
Then who stole the cookies from the cookie tray?
I didn't leave the fridge door open all night.
I didn't leave the water boiling. Fire fright.


Author of Museum of Rearranged Objects (Kelsay Books, 2018) and five chapbooks, Judith Terzi's poems appear widely in literary journals and anthologies. Her poetry has been read on the BBC, nominated for Best of the Net and Web, and included in a study guide for the artist-in-residence program for State Theater New Jersey. She holds an M.A. in French Literature.

LODESTAR

by Alejandro Escudé


North Star Time Lapse from Indiana Public Media


Could there be a kind of moral astigmatism?
The misshapen soul, perhaps? An oval moon,
a flat Earth, lightning horizontal like a miser’s
chicken scratch? The identity of this person,
a missing profile on a dating search. Pundits,
linguists, pouring out to decipher the op-ed’s
content, the newly discovered wall in the tomb
of a pharaoh. How much can be spilled forth?
What secrets can be unearthed? A facile ghost,
the remnants of a Southern rebel. One sheet
to hide a thousand sheets, cataracts, so that
one is a bed of trees on which an infant lies.
We shall prepare to say our tender goodbyes
to the land that was. Red, green, white, blue.


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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

THE GREAT FIRE

by Rick Mullin


Trinity Church steeple in silhouette on 9-11-2001.

Trinity Church Cemetery, Manhattan


At lunch, they ask me where to find the grave
of Alexander Hamilton. “The other
side,” I tell them, pointing to the nave
and tower-shadowed trees. “I hate to bother
you...." Don’t tell me... Hamilton. The same.
Tomorrow I should think to bring a sign:
The Other Side of Trinity [an arrow
pointing right], and sit back from the line
of tourists searching wide-eyed on the narrow
paths between the headstones for a name
that Broadway brought to light outside the oldest
steeple on a precipice and port
of no return, September at its coldest
in a New York City of another sort,
more human-scale and redolent of flame.


Rick Mullin's newest poetry collection is Transom.

Monday, September 10, 2018

ROSH HASHANAH 5779

by Sister Lou Ella Hickman


Image source: Makom Shalom


Life,         
you    dark improbable Mystery
would have us trust impossibility
called miracles by some
and the incredible to be sure
is that  life goes on and there is grace among the violences
for it does
among the bloodied, looted, burning streets that scream       
is also the scream of a child’s first breath
then, if we had eyes to see
out of rubble and the fire called hate
passion burns in giving itself way
for no other reason than to give
now as during a thousand always
impossibility is being born
is being lived in the never answered why
we have not despaired in our trying


Sister Lou Ella Hickman is a former teacher and librarian. She is a certified spiritual director as well as a poet and writer.  Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines such as America, First Things, Emmanuel, Third Wednesday, and TheNewVerse.News as well as in several anthologies: The Night’s Magician: Poems about the Moon, edited by Philip Kolin and Sue Brannnan Walker, Down to the Dark River edited by Philip Kolin, Secrets edited by Sue Brannan Walker and After Shocks: The Poetry of Recover for Life-Shattering Events edited by Tom Lombardo. Last year she was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her first book of poetry entitled she: robed and wordless was published in 2015. (Press 53.)

Sunday, September 09, 2018

DELIVERY

by J. D. Smith


Yemeni children vent anger against Riyadh and Washington as they take part in a mass funeral for the 40 children killed in an air strike by the Saudi-led coalition last week. Photograph: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images via The Guardian


“US supplied bomb that killed 40 children on Yemen school bus” 
The Guardian, August 19, 2018


At this late date I have accepted
how the rain falls on the just and the unjust,
as does the air-dropped ordnance.

The downpours’ frequency still eludes me.

Another front, another deluge
far from page one, that is,
far from its readers, and we
might ask “What in the actual hell?”
except that it is already on display
by way of a blasted bus and limbs distanced
from their shattered frames.

What’s left of the means is marked
as coming from my country,
yet I don’t remember being asked
if I wanted to contribute, as if many would
outside of an alternate universe
where a collection might be taken up
as for flowers to send a co-worker
in the hospital, such as can no longer aid
those counted in the story.
Instead of “Best wishes” or “Get well soon”
the card might read “Thinking of you”.


J. D. Smith's fourth collection, The Killing Tree, was published in 2016, and he has received a Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. His other books include the essay collection Dowsing and Science and the children's picture book The Best Mariachi in the World. Smith lives and works in Washington, DC.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

THE UNBELIEVABLE

by Anne Graue


Werner Jaisli constructed the 'ovniport' after claiming to have received a 'telepathic message' from aliens. Consisting of a circle of white and brown rocks shaped like a star, the unusual 'landing pad' measures approximately 48 meters in diameter and is situated in the small town of Cachi in the province of Salta. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 nraliessi / Flickr via Unexplained Mysteries, August 28, 2017


Lights in the forest spun, burned the grass. The buzzing sound has never left my ears.
I wake up every morning exhausted, smell sulfurous fog, and know that a ship is in the distance,

maybe on another continent; could be here any minute, take me away, bring me
back. No one would be the wiser.

My mother listened to a radio
program that shared  earth's mysteries

I have always known that the Loch Ness Monster was real; I yearned to witness the head
and neck rising out of the water, a scaly throwback to ancient times. Now I watch Nessie

CAM,  find documentaries about aliens, giant sea monsters swimming in the waters
off  many coasts, and I believe those who claim to have seen these things so obscure and yet

so prevalent, even with a beer and bad camera in hand.

How can so many claim to see what does not exist?
Where are the giant squid?

Scientists create documentaries, separate fact from fiction, the wheat from the chaff, searching
for the monster under the bed, the Yeti in the Himalayas; Sasquatch, and the Zone

of Silence; the Chupacabra, in Mexico and parts of Texas, kills livestock, drinks blood, leaves
nothing but empty shells, carcasses. We seem to have faith in existence without evidence.

She said that someone in Russia found Hell, could hear the screams and suffering
with a device lowered to the depths of, well, Hell, under the earth's crust,
where it ought to be, where they said it was. 

So we believe that Sasquatch roams the Oregon forests, the Mothman climbed a bridge
in West Virginia, people have been abducted by extraterrestrials, returned naked to their homes.

Another day she told me Bigfoot traveled through dimensions so would never
be found; that is why he is elusive to capture. When he reappears he may be
a Yeti or he may be the man who claims that he was in the famous Sasquatch film
shown in every documentary. So there it is.


UFOs hover over Phoenix, housewives on Bravo are real, and women are always
the ones who snap.

God
Allah
Buddha

I know what I know.

The ovniport in Argentina lays in wait for the ship to return, and a Nebraska farmer
drives at dusk from fields of hay neatly bailed, sees lights streak across the sky

as if they foretold a story, his story and how he came from a sky of meteors
and constellations, where Pluto was always a planet, and the Big Bang was mute. 


Anne Graue is the author of a chapbook, Fig Tree in Winter (Dancing Girl Press), and has published poems in literary journals and anthologies, includingThe Book of Donuts (Terrapin Books), Blood and Roses: A Devotional for Aphrodite and Venus (Bibliotheca Alexandrina), Gluttony (Pure Slush Books),The Plath Poetry Project, One Sentence Poems, Random Sample Review, Into the Void Magazine, Allegro Poetry Magazine, The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly, New Verse News, and Rivet Journal. Originally from Kansas, she lives in New York where she reviews poetry for the Saturday Poetry Series atAsitoughttobe.com and literary magazines and chapbooks for NewPages.com.