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Wednesday, May 31, 2006


by Rochelle Ratner

It came in the mail last week, pre-thanking him for his

donation to some charity or other. He threw out the

brochure but shoved the gadget in a drawer that held rusty

spatulas and soup ladles picked up at garage sales. He

remembers peeling carrots when he was eight or nine,

forced to help his mother make dinner. And his mother

showed him to always slide the blade away from himself,

then pointed out if he was standing at a low table he'd get

better leverage, and helped him put a band-aid on his

finger. You'll be cooking for yourself before you know it, his

mother said. You'll make some woman very, very happy.

More of a threat than a promise.

Rochelle Ratner's books include two novels: Bobby's Girl (Coffee House Press, 1986) and The Lion's Share (Coffee House Press, 1991) and sixteen poetry books, including House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003) and Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, October 2005). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage:

Tuesday, May 30, 2006



We know
what a disarmed regime looks like. We know
what it means to disarm. There's no

--George W. Bush, Bush-Blair Press Conference, 31 January 2003


It's important to recall
how we got there
and take stock
on how far we've come
over the last three years. The violence and bloodshed in Iraq
has been difficult
for the civilized world
to comprehend.

--George W. Bush, Bush-Blair Press Conference, 25 May 2006


What makes the deaths of Paul Douglas and James Brolan
and the dreadful wounds suffered by Kimberly Dozier worthy
of more than a mention
is not merely that they were colleagues,
companions and friends, but that they died
and were hurt
trying to make sense
of all the other deaths and maimings
which have no names,
no stories about which we care,
even if we ought to do so.

--Alan Pizzey, CBS News, 29 May 2006

Monday, May 29, 2006


by Suzanne Gullotto
For Robert

This is science,
faithless ones will tell you,
using technical terms,
citing complicated physics
to describe the way a hardball
interacts with air,
clears the confines of a baseball field,
inherently dependent on what is soulless:
bat speed, horizontal velocity,
density of the atmosphere,
the upward angle,

From the bleachers, #12,
it's a whole other ballgame,
a spontaneous wonder, contingent
upon the strength of your wish,
welling up from the deep fount
of your faith, lifted by fanfare,
carried by cheers, ascending
on the wing of a Little Leaguer's
Fenway stadium dream.

Technically, science, to those
who would use equations to tally
height, width, depth of glory,
to extract, examine the essence
of pure, undiluted joy, to measure
the immeasurable: the grand
in a grand slam.

To you, to me,
it's the time, the place
where God says, "Here,"
tosses you a dream
round, seamed,
equal in size to your
out-of-the-park belief.

Suzanne Gullotto is a new participant at poetry workshops led by poet and friend, Donna Hilbert. "Home Run Science" was written for Suzanne's son, Robert, who recently hit his first grand slam at Continental Little League, near their home in Cypress, California.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


by James Penha

This island will eat me alive
absorb me
and I will learn its dance
from nerves to blood
hand to hand
eye to eye
among the millions
open and closed and if the quaking
earth doesn't . . . if the smoking
mountain doesn't . . . the ocean
wave will overwhelm
the gongs and harmonize them:

lullaby, love song,

James Penha edits The New Verse News. He lives in Jakarta, on the island of Java, Indonesia.

Friday, May 26, 2006


by Phyllis Wax

They want DNA,
fingerprint, retinal scan
for a driver's license
or passport, to get on a plane
or train, enter
a public building, go
to a dentist or through
a supermarket checkout.

They read our emails,
listen to our phone calls.

I am afraid to whisper
nothings in your ear.

Phyllis Wax’s work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies including Thema, Porcupine Literary Arts Magazine, California Quarterly, Free Verse, Wisconsin Academy Review, and she co-edited the 2002 Wisconsin Poets' Calendar. Wax lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


by Bill Costley
for Slavoj Zizek

Whenever They say it,
it’s no-longer still-True;
They rely on lie-l@gs
& they s@p you w/them:

You f@ll for mantras:

Jobs will B technic@l;
Jobs will B @bund@nt.
Jobs will B find@ble:
M@ny jobs in Indi@!
More jobs in Chin@!
Job-boom: cyborgs!
Job-boom: n@nobots!

W@r will B victorious.
W@r will B glorious.
W@r will B cert@in.
W@r begins 2morrow.
W@r m@y B ongoing.
W@r m@y never end.
W@r’s @lw@ys On.

De@th's (just) inevit@ble.
De@th will B conquered.
De@th will B postponed.
De@th will B endur@ble
De@th will B be@r@ble.
De@th wasn’t so b@d.
De@th’s inevit@ble.

Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco chapter of the National Writers Union. The first twelve books of his epic-in progress The Cheni@d appear here in The New Verse News. Book XIII begins Volume Two here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


by Robert M. Chute

On March eighteenth the son,
our President then, delivered
his ultimatum. The war
would soon begin. That night
I dreamed of his father--
the father had also been President.
Working together the father and I
were busily burning a building.
With face masks and air tanks
we began at the top, worked
our way down, starting fires
on each floor with crumpled paper,
book matches that frequently failed
to light. I woke not knowing,
not dreaming it could come true.

Robert M. Chute’s new book from JustWrite Books, Reading Nature, poetry based on scientific articles, is available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


by Mary Saracino

no bands of gold, no tiered cake, no training veils
of lacy white, no engraved invitations, no roses entwined

in hair, short or long, no gifts wrapped in silver paper
no bells ringing, no mother or father to smile and beam

no certificate inked with official signatures
no baby’s breath bouquets, no minister or priest

no Jordan almonds to decorate china plates
no champagne toasts, no tears of joy, no eloquent speeches

no colorful streamers kissing the edges of chrome bumpers
no honking horns, no waving well-wishers

No way

merely two women in love, defying the No of laws
subverting the notion of matrimony, two souls

eye to eye, under the starry sky or the cloudless morning
daring Yes, making a marriage where none is perceived

forging a union where one is forbidden, enacting
a lifelong commitment where one is denounced

vowing to have and to hold, from this day forward
‘til death do they part, despite what the naysayers say

Mary Saracino is a novelist, memoir writer, and poet who lives in Denver, CO. Her newest novel, The Singing of Swans is to be published by Pearlsong Press in October 2006.

Monday, May 22, 2006


by Robert Emmett

during the war
buddhist monks
set themselves on fire
in the streets of saigon
in their silence
far away static crackles
in the shimmer
this infinite plane melts
did they shine
an offering
to rectify the carnage to come
not for them
but for us

what tethers us here
our great riches
and powers
squandered again
for the whole suffering world to see
the conflagration crowning
each atrocity imprints
the image of another shadow
on the ground

who are the quiet givers now
what reparations will suffice
with wires cut
dark circuits blown beyond understanding
how can we possibly atone
awash in white noise…
the resonance
of reconciliation

Robert Emmett practices wordcraft somewhere in the woods of Michigan. Printed above is the final section of a longer poem.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


by Verandah Porche

Click on the cross
to enlarge this image—

Black gold,
a nice chunk of change.

arrogance makes you see
W snicker, swagger,
jog with Judas
over Jesus.
Cover a prairie with lies.

back in the day
your dad wined and dined
We didn’t know him
from Adam or Satan.
Now the Evil One’s
sprung from his Armageddon-
subsistence on Mars bars
and Spam.

Posture to the pastor,
lick your lips and fib:

axe, bamboozle, connive, doctor, erase,
flimflam, grandstand, hyperventilate,
impinge, jinx, kink, lisp, misspeak, nullify,
obscure, prevaricate, quash, rehash,
slander, trash, undermine, vandalize,
warp, x-ray, yammer, zap

Lies: white collar, red-handed,
blue-in-the-face, apple pie,
pants-on-fire, wool-pulled-over,

That way madness lies.
Love-lies-bleeding in the garden.
Lie down with the dog, rise with the fleas.
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.

Mendacity, mendacity—
Mend a city
or there’s no sky left behind.

Based in rural Vermont since 1968, Verandah Porche has published The Body’s Symmetry (Harper and Row) and Glancing Off (See Through Books) and has pursued an alternative literary career. She has written poems and songs to accompany her community through a generation of moments and milestones. As a teacher and facilitator, she has created collaborative writing projects in schools and nontraditional settings: literacy and crisis centers, hospitals, factories, nursing homes, senior centers, a 200 year-old Vermont tavern and an urban working class neighborhood. Her work has been featured on NPR’s “Artbeat,” on public radio stations around New England and in the Vermont State House. The Vermont Arts Council awarded her a Citation of Merit, honoring her contribution to the state’s cultural life in 1998, and a recent grant to support the preparation of poetry for publication and performance.

Saturday, May 20, 2006











And her father didn't think the places in Chinatown or
Little Italy looked clean enough, so they ate instead at

Rochelle Ratner's books include two novels: Bobby's Girl (Coffee House Press, 1986) and The Lion's Share (Coffee House Press, 1991) and sixteen poetry books, including House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003) and Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, October 2005). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage:

Friday, May 19, 2006


by Jon Wesick

I found her naked and unconscious in the bathroom on election night.
Her lost blood pooled on the linoleum. One red handprint on the door –
did she change her mind before passing out?
I wrapped towels around the gashes and called 911.

I didn’t follow her to the emergency room like the last time
and the time before that. Instead I stayed behind with a sponge
and can of cleanser. Let her deal with her own medical bills for a change!

The next day I tossed a change of clothes and a pair of stiletto
heels into a plastic bag and grabbed her fur coat out of the closet.
A nurse buzzed me through the reinforced glass door into the locked ward,
where patients drugged listless wandered. I found America sitting up in her bed.
White media noise cushioned her self-inflicted wounds.
She wore a thin hospital gown, and her stringy blonde hair needed washing.
I set the bag down and noticed the moth in her hands.

“I’ll be out of here tomorrow. Carl, I mean Dr. Rowan,
says I need to be more assertive.” America pulled a wing off the moth.
“I’m thinking of buying a gun.”

“Do you think that’s a good idea?”

“You’re so negative!” America pulled the other wing off
and flicked the moth to the ground. “You know,
you could use a little therapy, yourself.”

I returned to the home we shared and looked
out the picture window at the plum tree. Its bare skeletal
branches raked the cold Wehrmacht-gray sky. How different
from the warm spring day we planted it thirty years ago. The long war
had finally ended, and the tree’s blossoms scented the air
with the perfume of hope.

Jon Wesick has a Ph.D. in physics, has practiced Buddhism for over twenty years, and has published over a hundred poems in small press journals such as American Tanka, Anthology Magazine, The Blind Man’s Rainbow, Edgz, The Kaleidoscope Review, Limestone Circle, The Magee Park Anthology, The Publication, Pudding, Sacred Journey, San Diego Writer’s Monthly, Slipstream, Tidepools, Vortex of the Macabre, Zillah, and others. His chapbooks have won honorable mentions twice in the San Diego Book Awards.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


by Mark Jackley

Dropped, perhaps, by a soldier
marching to his fate
in 1943, and landing
in the pocket of
a hobo in Fort Wayne,
before escaping to St. Cloud,
where a thin boy found it
shining in the mist,
it is smooth and brown
as the graves of all who had
the copper-bright luck
to be in currency.

Mark Jackley is a business writer by day in the Washington, DC area. His work has appeared in numerous print and online magazines. His chapbook, Brevities, will appear later this year from Ginninderra Press.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


by Doris Henderson

Maybe you’re thinking about your lost love
or looking at that spot on the wall where you meant
to hang a picture, and suddenly you realize
you forgot to turn the page on your calendar ---
another collection of wildebeests sent to you
by those conservation people.

Whatever happened to all those other calendars?
What year did you look at a new suffragette every month?
What about Georgia O’Keeffe and her suggestive flower petals?
The ancient goddess images, the dancing wiccans,
photos of the ERA march you did in '81?

* * * * *

The lady on the TV screen is grim:
Men are being marginalized in the colleges.
Androphobic women are taking over the system.
Lady professors are forcing students to watch
The Vagina Monologues and other scary things on stage.
Conservatives everywhere are horrified
at what’s happening in higher education.
And it’s all your fault.

Isn’t that refreshing?

Doris Henderson has a graduate degree in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, has taught, edited, facilitated, currently runs a writing workshop in Danbury, Connecticut. Her poems have been published in Slant, Comstock Review, Parting Gifts, Connecticut River Review and others, have won various awards and a Pushcart nomination. Her feminist activism spans several lifetimes.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


by Thomas D. Reynolds

I'm dying,
cried the oak,
though I never dreamed
I'd lived forever.
That pine
with top half
cropped by two lightning strikes
stands over one hundred years old
yet pleases no one,
not even the boy
who builds tents beneath it
and carves initials in the bark.
Even he complains
about the smell,
the bitter sap
that stains the hands,
how fallen needles
poison the grass.
Yet in late afternoon
he sits in my dwindling shade
and writes a poem
lauding the stoic pine,
how it endures the seasons.
It's easy to be stoic
if you're a pine tree
or young.

Thomas D. Reynolds received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University, currently teaches at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, Flint Hills Review, The MacGuffin, The Cape Rock, The Pedestal Magazine, Eclectica, Strange Horizons, Combat, 3rd Muse Poetry Journal, and Ash Canyon Review.

Monday, May 15, 2006


by Carol Elizabeth Owens

“Connecticut hasn't always given its poor and minority students an education as good as it's given its rich and white students.”
– (4/20/06)

isn’t access
to resources factored
in? probability says class
is always what really
counts. poverty
adds up.

the books
just don’t balance
properly across lines
artfully drawn to subtract some
who are calculated
as having less

“no child would be
left,” they said. yet so much
(of such little things) goes without
saying. the budget’s sharp-
tongue is swift. no

Carol Elizabeth Owens is an attorney and counselor-at-law in Western New York (by way of Long Island and New York City). She enjoys technical and creative writing. Her poetry has been published in several print and virtual publications. Ms. Owens loves the ways in which words work when poetry allows them to come out and play. The poem "a quick lesson on making the cut" [above] is written in a form called 'eintou').

Sunday, May 14, 2006



by Bonnie Naradzay

Tonight we are lulled by the pretense of true understanding,
a fleeting vision of paradise. Blue tiles make the backdrop
for this pink dogwood evening where palladium windows
admit the cerulean sky. This divine weapon, poetry, unveils

the compelling tales we hear tonight: lovers who float
over Mayan monuments, the residue of dream in the pillow,
dawn, How to Paint the Sky. Fluent with wine but at sea
in a language I cannot penetrate, I seize on cognates.

We don’t hear much of their country – an Aztec rebellion
far to the south, the drug trade, village girls sold to pimps,
graft. There is another world: Nahuatl poetry, harvest gods,
the Mystery Region of Death, the quetzal’s emerald feathering.

We walk through a minefield that could explode anytime.

We understand why Mexican icons with tenured positions
don’t risk their lives to get in. Are they reading poetry
in English and does it matter? Palomas sounds better
than pigeons. We forge costly bridges for cultural beacons

Their visas all in order, they fly over the Rio Grande high
above the continuous vanloads of campesinos who wade
through water, eluding searchlights to die in the desert.

And if the average wage in Canada were $700 an hour,
wouldn’t we crawl through ditches, claw at riverbanks
to risk prison or getting shot by Mounties and militia?

Bonnie Naradzay, in the Stonecoast MFA program, has poems in numerous online publications.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


by Mary Saracino

The penniless men wield blue
shopping carts down city sidewalks,
wending their way past a gurgling creek
that ekes a path through mountains
of over-priced condos.
Vagrant boxcars derailed
from the mighty engine of commerce,
they escape from the wrong side
of the tracks, wheel their worldly goods — soiled sleeping bags,
a tossed-away orange, a half-eaten
ham sandwich, a purple hat
scavenged from a green dumpster — to the teeming
urban corner, where their outlaw hands
cradle wind-torn cardboard signs — Will work for food;
Anything helps, God bless — and their
freight train eyes scan passing cars
searching for the wayward engineer
who failed to claim his missing cargo.

Mary Saracino is a novelist, memoir writer, and poet who lives in Denver, CO. Her newest novel The Singing of Swans is to be published by Pearlsong Press in the fall of 2006.

Friday, May 12, 2006


by Andrew Grossman

Detainee #493993s

I dream of my boy playing in black water.
They talk of years-he is drowning now!
Some nights he counts the stones
In the wall around the village,
Some nights he walks by a stream,
An armored hand reaches out to grab him.

There was no intention to be gone.
I went to drive my uncle to a medical exam .
What happened then? The capture was soft.
I did not know the meaning of the smoke
That drifted from the soldier's nostrils,
Sighing with his questions that reached the sky.

Detainee #193433r

Heavy the pot in which I carry
bubbling stews of slaughtered lamb.
People are starving in the next valley.

Most fragile the glass that is balanced
near the tip of my nose, a drop
Might allay the world of the hatreds condensed.

Detainee #844263v

You and me and the demon
in Cell 32, beneath a half moon.

The tall priest stands by the short one.
Strands of hair fall from their ears.

We are going to wrestle,
The devil and I, and I will be alone.

Down in the brown essence, we will
Test the nowhere to run principle.

Wild flowers grow tall in the country,
In the country beyond the walls.

Wild flowers such as adorn
The impossible hair in the impossible movie.

The hair that grows from the ears of infidels
Contains music alluding to midnight trysts.

One must separate the word from the metal
to enlarge the word, and the metal from the air.

There is a woman in my mind, quite still,
Waiting in the garden through which I stroll,

This woman is a part of the cell;
She is in the excrement and in the soul.

Her eyes are deep brown, her hair is styled
As one of the harlots in an American theatre.

She and I and the demon
in Cell 32, beneath a half moon.

She and I on the ship, having pleasure
As the sun flickers at the solid shore.

Andrew Grossman's poem, "The Efficient Nurses of Florida" was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has been widely published and anthologized. Grossman's new book is 100 Poems of the Iraqi Wars, comprised of work from the Middle East, Israel and the United States. He resides with his wife, Nancy Terrell, in Palm Beach, Florida.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


by David Radavich

What do we not talk about?

What do we not say,
now that every dark night

can be electrified,
every moon traveled to

flagged and revisited,

every bomb blows white as sun
what we most feared, dispossessed

as if it had never
seen into our fear and called

forth our furious
dance of righteousness—

What can we not say,
now that we’re so cornered

with ourselves,
so sure of soft footing

that our shoes will find
the path that was hidden, eyes

will flutter, believing
all shadows have been lost—

while in the dark forest
words run from us

with fear in their eyes
like refugees

David Radavich's poetry publications include Slain Species (Court Poetry Press, London), By the Way (Buttonwood Press, 1998), and Great Hits (Pudding House Press, 2000), as well as individual poems in anthologies and magazines. His plays have been performed across the U.S. and abroad, including five Off-Off-Broadway productions. He also enjoys writing essays on poetry, drama, and contemporary issues.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


by David Chorlton

Some men walk into a coffee house
with bombs inside their coats
while others stand beside the flag
and watch their bombs explode
on land where only animals reside.
They name their bombs

to give them personality
like cartoon figures from a theme park.
Their tests are dress rehearsals
for the day they say they hope
will never come, but it is marked

on their calendar in ink
as black as the ash
their victims become
just as they answer the telephone
to engage in the inconsequential talk
that invariably comprises
the last words of the innocent.

David Chorlton came to Phoenix in 1978 from Vienna, Austria, after growing up in England and then living in the waltz city for seven years. Arizona made him appreciate nature even more than he had, and this is reflected in much of his writing. His latest chapbook, Places You Can't Reach (Pudding House), owes much to the current administration and its violent ways.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


by Shadwynn

Arabian nights, their exotic stories
long veiled in intrigue; Aladdin's lamp dusty,
undisturbed, its jinn asleep
beneath layers of alien archaism
as kingdoms rose, fell,
caliphs came and went;
history's weather blowing changing winds,
invisible currents of fateful foment.

Proclaiming an ancient pedigree, new arrivals
raised their standard, staked their claim;
heraldry of the Hebrew hexagram
asserting its upstart hegemony
as Zionist zealots and sons of Saladin
pursue their checkered destiny
in a tit for tat tournament of terrorism,
power players pushing pawns
on territorial squares
of a Palestinian chessboard.

Religion, real estate, revolution:
volatility fueled with blind-sided vision
ignites the flesh-charring firefight of battle
as armies occupy ancient memories
in a desert doomed, domes of gold
glowing brilliant like flashing mushrooms.

Soldiers' boots dream the dust
of fallen heroes, forgotten victories,
retracing invisible footprints
on surreal expedition into spiritual minefields
where jihad bloodies
the other cheek of best intentions,
orphaned dog tags
crushing compassion's resolve.

Prophetic paranoia
insinuates its apocalyptic awareness
into struggles for justice
as judgment manifests
from the Temple Mount to the Tigris,
an End Game eager to eradicate us all
while we wait for the ashen phoenix
to rise and fly.

For a conflagration of flaring jinn
to escape the magic bottle
corked by our collective sanity
bodes well for the arrival of Armageddon
as sinister inklings of Iblis inhabit
incendiary pronouncements
from imams and ayatollahs
gore-hungry for the glory of Allah.

A lingering menace,
this iconoclastic impulse,
sharp as the points of Mohammed's crescent
contrasted against peaceful purples,
muted shades deepening a dying, desert sky.
How deceptively restful, this prelude
to a dawning epiphany of the true believer
upon billions of glassed granules
dune-rippled in iridescence,
melting reflectors for atomic fire
shimmering, scorched
with unrelenting, intolerant intensity,
medieval certainties triumphant.

Iblis is an Islamic name for Satan.
Jinn are shape-shifting spirit entities prominent in Muslim legends.

Shadwynn is the author of The Crafted Cup: Ritual Mysteries of the Goddess and the Grail (Llewellwyn, 1994). His poetry has appeared in the online journals Lily, L'Intrigue, Farsight Magazine, Ithuriel's Spear, SubtleTea, and Seeker Magazine. He is self-described as a wordsmith and heretical contemplative currently residing in the urban environs of Richmond, Virginia.

Monday, May 08, 2006


by Rochelle Ratner

Bob's been incarcerated since he was apprehended
in transit at the Buffalo border after his owner
had agreed to sell him to an American buyer.
The Toronto Sun, April 6, 2006

She thinks of Ellis Island and all the immigrants detained

there before permitted entry, and how the people with
limps or poor eyesight tried to go through Canada instead.
Savvy enough to know forest paths wouldn't be silver-
paved, they expected moose to be roaming all around them,
barking at night like coyotes. When nothing went as
expected, they began to hunt the moose. They'd roast and
carve it, hang its head over their mantles. Every so often a
woman, lonely and cold, would throw her arms around his
neck, cuddle up against his soft brown face, and stroke his

Rochelle Ratner's books include two novels: Bobby's Girl (Coffee House Press, 1986) and The Lion's Share (Coffee House Press, 1991) and sixteen poetry books, including House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003) and Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, October 2005). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage:

Sunday, May 07, 2006


by Nancy Caronia

Maybe George Bush will go missing
Become one of the disappeared
Bruce—as in Springsteen
The real Boss of Bosses—a good ol’ boy from Jersey—will storm
The Oval Office; take over the White House
Cure our ills with good old-fashioned rock and roll.

Maybe the leaders of other countries will send delegates
There’ll be lots of hand holding and shouting
And singing—War, What is it good for?
Clarence will pump his sax in the air
Standing at the right hand of Bruce
And Little Steven will make eyes
At each other—the real romance
Of the E Street Band.

Maybe the House and the Senate will resemble
Something more than a bunch of old white guys in power ties
There’ll be hugging and kissing
Happiness (and the elimination of alternate side of the street parking) will reign
Or at least exhaustion will set in
From the nightly four-hour
State of the Union Addresses.

No one will want to hurt

Maybe the people will be huddled together—
Arms encircled
Baby kisses on a forehead
Hands clasped
Tongues too tired to lie.

Nancy Caronia’s work has previously appeared in Coloring Book (2003 Rattlecat Press), Don't Tell Mama! The Penguin Book of Italian American Writing, and Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture (Feminist Press). She writes the monthly Lesson Plans column for Government Video magazine.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


by Martin Galvin

When working on a war poem,
Don’t write in a pink book
Or, if you must do so, use
A livid red greasestick
Or a shade of black
Sufficient to overwhelm
Any hint of sentiment.

No blush either, to simulate
A dream of woman writing
A poem at night in a pink book
Whilst staring into a dark pool
For words that will jump out
Of the water into her mouth,
Lured by the lipstick,

down her gargled throat
and, in due course, through
her fingers to the pen, poised
as a weapon over paper.
In no case, let the words
be pink, which will not hide
the blood, blackening as it ages.

Martin Galvin has recently had poems accepted by Poetry East, Commonweal, Ekphrasis, Out of Line, Petroglyph and Natural Bridge among others. He is the Book Review Editor of Poet Lore. His books include Wild Card, which won the Columbia Prize for 1989, judged by Howard Nemerov.

Friday, May 05, 2006


by Heather Van Doren

The radio deejays say seals are jerks
during a story about one that bit off
a woman’s nose, chewing it up and
spitting it in the snow, coldly
ungrateful for her rescue effort at
a hunters’ clubbing spree.

You contemplate this on your
morning drive while the deejays
move on to plugging the air guitar
contest at an upcoming nightclub
remote, a chance to win a free mug
with their faces on it.

Heather Van Doren’s poetry and fiction have been published in Word Riot, Yankee Pot Roast, Long Story Short, Spillway Review, Pemmican, Poetry Scotland and Wicked Alice.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


by Barbara Eknoian

The polar bears
are drowning
off the coast of Alaska,
swimming eighty miles
to find seals.
It's the Big Melt,
the CNN announcer says,
and walrus pups swim
without their mother;
they can't keep up
with her search for food.
The camera pans in
on lean polar bears
desperately eating
birds and berries
on their way to extinction.
The polar bears
are drowning
off the coast of Alaska.

Barbara Eknoian is office manager at Family Service, a counseling office. Her poems have appeared in Pearl and Chiron Review.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


by Bill Costley

My short Glaswegian grandfather Francis
shoveled coal furiously in a steamer's hold
across the Atlantic to Boston & jumped ship
to stoke the Penny Ferry from Boston to Eastie.
With that money, he sent for his wife & 2 children:
Mary/Peg & my dad, Wee Willie Winkie w/bad eyes.
Francis was driven to seek U.S. citizenship in 1920
after U.S. Atty Gen. A. Mitchell Palmer, a Quaker,
hot to follow Wilson as president, raided anarchists;
his strategy failed; but frying Sacco & Vanzetti in '27
tapped & re-ignited that opportunistic political fuel.
Francis & his children became citizens; their 'illegality'
lasted just 5yrs, but shamed them for aye, exempting
Francis from an imperial war among rivals, seeding
itself w/anti-imperialism. I'm its late red fruit.

Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco chapter of the National Writers Union. The first twelve books of his epic-in progress The Cheni@d appear here in The New Verse News. Book XIII and XIV begin Volume Two here.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


by Edward Coletti

I want to pitch a new reality TV show.
It will be called simply,
“How Much Can You Take?”

Millions of Americans will watch and countenance
Round after round of escalating degrees of torture
Inflicted upon willing contestants,

Eager participants from all levels of American life
Juiced on the fame and hope of winning
The million dollar grand prize

For withstanding the nine levels of hellish torment.
No prizes for those who reveal anything,
Even emotion will go unpaid.

Now here’s the big “twist”:
From another pool of carefully screened guests
Emerges this week’s “Grand Torturer;”

In return for his or her prowess and success
He/She (actually, test audiences have preferred females)
Will win Carnival Cruises, home entertainment centers,

Ultimately even a brand new Cadillac Escalade
By extracting interesting and titillating information
From their cash-hungry torture subjects.

Think of the fun, the appeal to virtually all the senses.
The visuals beginning with the older light-hearted
Pillories of Olde England where crowds of spectators

Seize the opportunity to also participate by tossing
Insults, feces, stones and whatever else they can find.
Then we see things move up to other quaint antiquities

Like the stretching rack or the iron maiden.
In spite of the fact that familiarity breeds boredom,
More modern methods from “The Electrical Age” –

-the genital and nipple shocks- can be
Spiced by punked-up body piercers encouraged
To release all restraint from their imaginations.

And these are only the first two of the nine Dantesque levels of pain!
I need not go on except to anticipate your next question:
“What,” you ask, “happens

Should a contestant fail to recover, even after,
Half an episode’s attention paid to heroic efforts at resuscitation?”
Well, here’s a beautiful thing:

We budget for that with a double-indemnity prize,
Two Million Dollars! Paid posthumously
On the air the following week

To the late contestant’s grieving but grateful family.
I recommend one of those huge faux checks
Held jointly by the family, our emcee and
The President of The Fox Network.

What do you think, America?
And, of course,
Will you support our fine sponsors?

Edward Coletti is a graduate of Georgetown University and the Creative Writing Masters Program at San Francisco State University. He is also a Vietnam veteran, fiction writer, vocational rehab counselor and business consultant. Publication credits include two separate editions of Light Year (Bits Press Anthology), Tucumcari Literary Review, Orphic Lute, InterGalactic Poetry Messenger, Riverrun, Parting Gifts, Green's Magazine, Mediphors, Gryphon, The Pedestal, Cafe Pushkin etc. Mr. Coletti is also indexed in Granger's American Poets (Columbia Univ.) and was Sonoma County, California’s Featured Writer. Information about his most recent book, thawts, is contained at He lives with his wife Joyce in Santa Rosa, California and can be reached by email.

Monday, May 01, 2006


A Treatise on Social Darwinism and Intelligent Design

by Jon Wesick

There is no truth, only politics.
For the Iraqi Marsh Arabs
the speed of light may indeed be infinite.
And you, who have not grown up on the ice and snow,
cannot impose your acceleration of gravity
on the Utkuhikhalingmiut Eskimo.
How do you measure the vibration
of a seal’s death spasm on a harpoon
or a wildcatter’s thrill at a new well’s
plume of light, sweet crude?

You say the polar ice is melting.
I say our economy is growing.
All observation is subjective.
So until you become a shareholder
or feel the preacher’s hot breath on your neck,
do not burden me with your interpretations.

Somewhere beneath the sands of Iraq
tons of yellowcake uranium lie buried.
Even if it costs a million lives,
I will not stop until I find them.

Jon Wesick has a Ph.D. in physics, has practiced Buddhism for over twenty years, and has published over a hundred poems in small press journals such as American Tanka, Anthology Magazine, The Blind Man’s Rainbow, Edgz, The Kaleidoscope Review, Limestone Circle, The Magee Park Anthology, The Publication, Pudding, Sacred Journey, San Diego Writer’s Monthly, Slipstream, Tidepools, Vortex of the Macabre, Zillah, and others. His chapbooks have won honorable mentions twice in the San Diego Book Awards.