Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, November 25, 2005


by Mike Marks

Fake butter flavored fumes won’t make you fat,
but they kill your lungs in the Gilster-Mary Lee
Jasper, Missouri microwave popcorn factory.
And a jury has determined that
the smell will get you millions
if you were a popcorn packer who
collected wages mixing the offending goo
and halved your years compared to other civilians.
Was trading your time on earth any stranger
than dancing with that impostor flavor,
choosing it instead of your life to savor?
Now workers wear respirators to avoid the danger,
while lawyers invade this sleepy soybean town
to drink coffee at Judy’s Café and hang around.

Mike Marks is a baby-boomer, the middle child of five born in a six year span. His mom escaped to teach horseback riding full-time, obviously overwhelmed by her progeny. His dad was a traveling shoe salesman. Gwendolyn Brooks became his mentor in 1967. Mike is riding his poetry horse somewhere between Dylan Thomas and Bob Dylan. Anita and he had their own five children, while he operated an art gallery for thirty years. The children are gone, but the poetry stays.