Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Sunday, December 04, 2005


by Ed Webb


Up and out! Shake off the daze…
We leave our heroes in the trash compactor and head out


The daily hurtle
Seconds away from machine death
by the hand of some schedule-crazed tank-pilot mother (and how else
should she be, could she be, in such days? These are sanity's End
We live on the edge, without the taste of it -
We will die insulated deaths,
The tankmothers and I


Crowded desert, stretched-thin city
The ghost of the younger Eliot stalks these streets
(his later self, wound too tight, finally leapt
into the embrace of seductive mystery).
Camus is here also, being of the desert,
(contemplating his fiery wreck – sudden impact, blaze of glory,
twisted glamour of twisted metal):
To answer meaninglessness only with
The Struggle itself –
Who can be that strong? And for how long?
If machine death had not ended him, would he too have succumbed?

Instead of the aching hours of poets, we have progress:
We will make the desert green
Because we can –
Shoulds belong to other times, whys compel no answer


Too much,
Too much piling up.
Choose! Choose now, choose often!
No choice to not choose:
Who can refuse this vastness, the always-on machine?
We leave our hero on the couch,
And head out

Ed Webb is a Brit who lives in Philadelphia. His checkered career includes diplomacy on behalf of a faded imperial power, a soon to be finished (no, really) doctorate in politics, and the happy memory of a poetry prize won at the age of 13 back in rural England.