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Wednesday, January 31, 2007


by Phyllis Wax

The piece of spinach stuck between two of my teeth
cries out for extrication and I remember
Nancy Pelosi as she sat behind the president
during his State of the Union message.
He spoke and she listened, and we at home watched
the intermittent movement in her cheek
as her hidden tongue poked. Was food stuck
in her teeth? Or, maybe, as she listened,
something got caught in her craw.

Phyllis Wax keeps up with the news in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when she is not sailing up the Niger on her way to Timbuktu or trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


by Mel Waldman

Did you hear about the antiwar rally in Washington D.C. ?
It happened Saturday. Hey, that’s nothing new. You see,
I’ve got this uncanny sense of déjà vu.

Demonstrators protested at the National Mall.
Hollywood celebs arrived to attend this ball.
If you were there, perhaps you heard

Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins speak.
And of course, Jane Fonda addressed
the crowd too.

But that’s nothing new. You see,
I’ve got this uncanny sense of déjà vu.

Maybe you remember, or perhaps you don’t-

In the morning of the war, a golden sunrise
soared in the turquoise sky.

We didn’t ask why.

Now, in the evening of the Iraq war,
we see the dying sun, a ball of
chimerical light.

We must demand--NO MORE!
on this endless night
of illusion.

No more troops sent to Iraq to die.
And we must always ask why.

Maybe you remember, or perhaps you don’t. It happened
Saturday. Hey, that’s nothing new. You see,
I’ve got this uncanny sense of déjà vu.

And I see Jane Fonda too,
like the sixties embedded
in my brain.

She was no G.I. Jane,
and we stayed in

even when it was insane. Hey, that’s nothing new. You see,
I’ve got this uncanny sense of déjà vu.

Dr. Mel Waldman, a licensed New York State psychologist and a candidate in Psychoanalysis at the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies (CMPS), is also a poet, writer, artist, and singer/songwriter. His stories have appeared in numerous literary reviews and commercial magazines including Happy, Sweet Annie Press, Children, Churches and Daddies, Down in the Dirt, New Thought Journal, The Brooklyn Literary Review, Hardboiled, Hardboiled Detective, Detective Story Magazine, Espionage, and The Saint. He is a past winner of the literary Gradiva Award in Psychoanalysis and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is currently working on a mystery novel inspired by Freud’s case studies. Who Killed the Heartbreak Kid?, a mystery novel, was published by iUniverse in February 2006. It can be purchased at,,, and other online and local bookstores. Recently, his poems appeared online in The Jerusalem Post. Dark Soul of the Millennium, a collection of plays and poetry, will be published by World Audience, Inc. in 2007.

Monday, January 29, 2007


by devin wayne davis

carried off, the civil
military coup went well;

and this is no oxymoron ...
they accomplished it--


with honor.

devin wayne davis, once called "ink (or inc.)" in a seaside vision, has written well-over 2, 000 poems. His work is printed in the Sacramento Anthology, 100 Poems, Sanskrit, Dwan, Poetry Depth Quarterly, and 17 chapbooks. Selections can be found on-line at Del Sol Review, Perihelion, Pierian Springs, Locust Magazine, Kota Press, Octavo, Jones Av., Pig Iron Malt, Great Works, La Petite Zine, Stirring, Offcourse, Rio Arts, Wandering Dog, Whimperbang, Kookamonga Square, and Split Shot. Both Barnes & Noble and Tower Books featured readings by davis; he has addressed citizens and lawmakers on the northern steps of the California State Capitol.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

December 2, 2006

Kramer's Michael Richards apologizes for the prejudicial
comments during his comedy act, but you have to understand: he
was being heckled. Mel Gibson says it was really the alcohol, and
he's getting help now. Danny DeVito's sorry he showed up drunk
for Barbara Walters' show. Mark Foley's sorry he ever bought a
computer. The Pope's sorry about his Moslem comments, then
again he's sorry the whole world isn't Catholic. The Rev. Ted
Haggard apologizes that there's a dark side of his life, which he
calls repulsive. Senator John Kerry apologizes for his botched joke
about the war in Iraq. And she's sorry to be a year older.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


by Mike McCulley

Sam's old baloney bull
puts its snotty nose in the air
and heads off for the next pasture,
steps into the fence, snaps the posts

off at the ground, stomps wire
into the grass. The neighbors get pissed
and go after the bull with a stick,
trying not to get stomped too.

Sam calls out but the old baloney
is following a fantasy, keeps going east
where there's more trouble to be had.
Sam is thinking how to cure stubborn,

how to stop the old baloney.

Mike McCulley Retired from educating / rewired for recreating / pastime birding, /part time wording. // he posts his tweedledum / at wordanger dot blogspot dot com.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Volume Five

by Bill Costley

Click here for Books XXXVII-XLVIII of The Cheni@d.

Book XLIX: Give Me CHENEY, or Give Me

"Give me CHENEY, or give me
De@th!" autoraves Scooter, deep
in a delirium, unsedated, but still
moving little in his str@ightj@cket.

His conviction increases: CHENEY
Is his deliverer, CHENEY will be his
ticket out of this p@dded cell, or

He will know why. Surely the best
Republican lawyers will spring him
soon. Surely he will get his pardon

w/out even having to have a trial,
surely his service counts for much
more than common criminality. "A

lie like mine is a service to humanity,
not a mere legal technicality. A m@n,
a m@n like me is a kultur-w@rrior!"

Book L: CHENEY Sn@rls As He

CHENEY sn@rls as he reviews the board:
his pieces are all in place, his Rooks look
good, ready 2 surge behind his Knights,
but 1 of his Bishops is boxed by theirs.
"Fuck them, " he spits, "I have 2 Bishops."
Minus 1 Bishop he's vulnerable & knows
it's a probability he'll lose him 2 that new
Red Queen, "That cunt, that whore, Pelosi."
What can he do the save that Bishop? "I
can sacrifice him as @ distraction." Done.

Book LI: A Half-Dozen P@wns Offer Themselves

A half-dozen p@wns offer themselves
2 CHENEY 2 do with as he pleases.
It pleases him so many are willing.
"I'll never run out of willing pawns,"
he thinks. Of course, that's not true;
everything runs out, eventually, even
pawns w/1 only 1 move 2 make. "So,
which 1 of you is willing 2 make it?"
asks CHENEY. They all say they are;
all he has 2do now is choose which 1.

Book LII: CHENEY Ponders Whether

CHENEY ponders whether it's worth it.
"All this planning, all this strategy, all
just2stay ahead of the game,' he muses,
knowing full-well the objective is Gre@t:
the World & all its material assets, oil
chiefest among them; "Wind," he admits
"is a lost cause. Bacon tried naming winds
& look where that got him: nowhere f@st.
No, it's the combustibles that matter most;
& if it won't burn, it'd better flow f@ster."

Book LIII: CHENEY Laughs @ Anyone Who Thinks

CHENEY laughs @ anyone who thinks
they could possibly beat him @ chess;
“Just think of the pieces’ boffo names,”
he laughs, “Pawn, Knight, Rook, etc.
I may as well have invented the game:
I will rook you & I will pawn your ass.”
CHENEY busts-up laughing, falling
off his high, vpotential bar-stool, on2
the padded floor. He rises2 his knees
in autopraise: “I @m the M@n I @m.”

Book LIV: "'Pon My Dong," CHENEY Swears,

"'pon my dong," CHENEY swears,
"rest all my powers, past & present."
Such an admission only strengthens
his belief in the wellsprings of his
vpotential power, & ultimate glory.
"People like me only cum along once
in a millennium" he observes, sure
his position in the millennium secure.
"Count them: Hitler, Stalin, Mao,
Nixon, Reagan, me. I'm CHENEY."

Book LV: CHENEY's Invisible

CHENEY's invisible; or isn't visible, so
2 Analysts are assigned 2 find him; they
start w/AP photos of recent photo-ops.
Somebody looking exactly like CHENEY
seems 2B standing in for him, smiling,
but the smile's wrong, it's normal, not the
sneering gash that CHENEY's known 4.
"Maybe he's just practicing being happy,"
says the 1st-Analyst. "Not possible," says
the 2nd-Analyst. "What's happy 2 Him?"
"That we can't tell if he's CHENEY?"
asks the 2nd. They agree: "Yes, that's it!"

Book LVI: CHENEY Doesn't

CHENEY doesn't believe in Evil,
he also doesn't believe in Good;
he doesn't believe in Black/White.
His favorite suit is sharkskin grey,
because it reflects badly back on2
anyone looking @ him. Example:
Wearing his shiniest grey suit, he
spins around & says 2 Anybody:
"What did You just say?" They
freeze, speechless, dazzled by him.

Book LVII: Libby Complained2 VPOTUS CHENEY


Libby complained2 VPOTUS CHENEY
he was being set-up as a fall-guy. CHENEY
supported that & handwrote a note: "Not
going2 protect 1 staffer + sacrifice the guy
who was asked2stick his neck in the meat-
grinder because of incompetence of others."

Interpreting VPOTUS' CHENEY's note,
Mr. Wells said that "incompetence"
referred2 the fact that the C.I.A. had
mistakenly allowed the White House
2use inaccurate information in Bush's
2003 State of the Union speech about
Iraq's effort obtain uranium in Africa.

The staff official the VPOTUS believed
should not be protected was Karl Rove.
Libby'd been assigned 2speak2reporters
2straighten-out confusion from Bush's speech;
CHENEY: "Libby was his sticking his head
in the meat grinder to protect Karl Rove."

Book LVIII: "Fly Me To The Moon,' Sings CHENEY

"Fly me 2the Moon,' sings CHENEY
as he shaves w/a cyberelectro-shaver
plugged in2 a port in his cyber-head.
CHENEY's already signed-up for a
vpotential trip there once the peak oil
crisis hits the veritable terrestrial f@n.
"Can't get far enuf away," he sings,
"Far enuf away from U!" Who's U?
It's all of youse willing providers of
financial cannon-fodder for neo-wars,
soon 2B implemented by Dubya Bush
in acc.w/ the NeoConical Master Plan
for a new NeoGalactic Imperial Order.

Book LIX: "Shit Flo@ts" Whispers Somebody

"Shit flo@ts" whispers Somebody
standing w/in inches of ultra-loyal
Scooter & Karl Rove on the dias
as CHENEY takes a big, big bow.
Both of them spin around 2try2
catch the culprit, but nobody there
looks likely: it can't be Powell, Sr.
can it? No, he has his own baggage;
maybe 1 of those disgruntleded
supernumerary generals nobody
needs2hear anything from anymore.
"I'm stumped, " whispers Scooter;
"You would B!" whispers Rove.

Book LX: "Rash, My @ss, " Says CHENEY

"Rash, my @ss, " says CHENEY
regarding his own in the shiny mirror
set @ @ss-level just a bit behind him
@ his m@ssive vpotential desk.
"My @ss shows no rash," he @sserts
to his shining @ss's reflected image.
"Do you, old companion?" No answer
issues therefrom, no slowish siffling
whistle, no propulsive picoupial pop.
"My @ss is @s smooth as a baby's,
& easily twice @s innocent!" he says.
Who's 2 judge? Who's the @ssessor
of the appropriate sitting @ssizes?

(to be continued)

Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco chapter of the National Writers Union.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


by Peter Bergquist

As the disease advances,
brain cells atrophy
until all thinking stops
and rigor mortis of the mind sets in.
Unchecked, the strain
becomes contagious,
a rampant plague
mutating into cause,
regenerating war.
Early diagnosis is the only hope;
the only cure, to look within
and find the lie that can’t be hid.

Note to readers: The key to the word puzzle that inspired this poem is that in every "belief" there is a "lie."

Peter Bergquist is a native of Los Angeles with a BA in English from Princeton University . He worked for many years in the Hollywood film industry, primarily in production. He is married with two daughters and is currently teaching English in the Los Angeles Unified School District . He is also pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Antioch University .

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


by Charles Frederickson

Bullyrag justifications fail to convince
Them versus US delusions shattered
Ever deepening chasms impetuously hell-bent
Shaky foundation trench mortar cave-ins

Battle lines drawn in quicksand
Sunken head muckamucks disown lies
Broken hourglass shards barefoot splinters
Shifting dunes burying overblown ruse

Americans more exposed than ever
Stationary targets for uncivil warmongers
Shiites battling Sunnis elsewhere insurgents
Splattered guts juicy squeeze play

Caught between hard-boiled rotten eggs
Scrambled yolks whites trading places
Chickens misbegotten sunny side crossovers
Shell-shocked poultry tried retried again

Trigger unhappy pot shot snipers
Taking aim at spacey invaders
Ragtag militias rocket propelled grenades
Nothing smart about cluster bombs

Mea culpability runneth over faults
Seismic vibrations quaking immovable forces
Refusing to listen learn love
Crimes against humanity guilty verdict

Dr. Charles Frederickson is a Swedish-American-Thai pragmatic optimist, idealistic visionary and heretical believer who has wandered intrepidly through 206 countries, an original sketch and poem for each presented on This maverick e-gadfly is a member of World Poets Society, based in Greece, with 200+ poetry publication credits on 6 continents, such as: angelfire, Ascent Aspirations, Auckland Poetry, bc supernet, Blind Man’s Rainbow, Both Sides Now, Caveat Lector, Cordite Poetry Review, Dance to Death, Decanto, Eclipse, Flutter Magazine, Greatworks, Green Dove, Indite Circle, International Poet, Listen & Be Heard, Living Poets, Madpoetry, Melange, Newtopia, Planet Authority, Poetisphere, Poetry Canada, Poetry of Scotland, Poetry Stop, Poets for Peace, Poetry Superhighway, Pyramid, Sage of Consciousness, Stellar Showcase, Subtle Tea, Sz, The Smoking Poet, T-zero, Ya’Sou! Ygdrasil, Zafusy.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


by Bonnie Naradzay

When you want to talk, just move your fingers.
They tied me to a plank,
fixed a tube to the tap at the sink,
jammed a block in my mouth
to force it open,
wrapped my head in a rag.

The rag was soaked rapidly,
water flowing into my mouth and nose.
I had the impression of drowning
and the terrible agony of death itself
took possession of me.

In spite of myself, my fingers shook uncontrollably.
In the gloom, I saw the captain with a cigarette
between his lips hitting my stomach with his fist
to make me throw up the water I had swallowed.
I hardly felt the blows.

“Well, then?” But I remained silent.
They put my head under again.
This time I clenched my fists,
forcing the nails into my palms.
I did not move my hands.

Three times I feared that terrible
moment when I felt myself losing
control - while fighting
with all my might not to die.
The last time, I lost consciousness.
When you want to talk, just move your fingers.

From Henri Alleg’s memoir of the Algerian war. Alleg was a French journalist who supported Algerian independence. This instance of his “ waterboarding” at the hands of French authorities, used also by the Khmer Rouge, Gestapo, Soviet Gulags and most recently by the American CIA, which terms this form of torture “Enhanced Interrogation Technique,” was included in a complaint filed against Rumsfeld.

Bonnie Naradzay is a degree candidate at the Stonecoast low residency MFA program. She has a poem scheduled to be published in JAMA next month and has poetry in numerous online publications.

Monday, January 22, 2007


by Anne G. Davies

Republican prospects look much less rosy
Under the reign of Speaker Pelosi.
She's moved to raise the minimum wage
A concept inspiring corporate rage.
Stem cell support? she wants to unlock it,
Though Bush has sewn up the federal pocket.

What about defunding the war in Iraq?
Democrats are unlikely to take that tack.
Let's hope they include the war in the budget
Instead of letting the GOP fudge it
By hiding its humongous spending
Off the books in deceit unending.

She might raise taxes on capital gains
To relieve our growing deficit pains
And remind the wealthiest one percent
That their glory days may soon be spent.
And another move to clean up the works:
Choke off lobbyists bearing perks.

Democrats want true investigation
Of how we got this Iraq fixation
And whether the Surge can turn the tide
Or cause more deaths than we can abide.

May Pelosi cause extreme anxieties
As she blasts away at Republican pieties.
This is the congress for which we prayed;
Let's see what they accomplish, unDelayed.

Anne G. Davies is a fund-raising writer by profession and a writer and versifier by avocation. Her work has been published on local and regional papers. She lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


by David LaBounty

They were all complaining
as they sat waiting for
chairs, they were all complaining
as they sat waiting to
get their hair and eyebrows
and ear hair trimmed and cut by
electric clippers all for
less than 15 bucks. They were
and I was waiting and all
the conversations were
basically the same and
they are always basically
the same middle-aged
complaints about the
cost of things and the
quality of things and
of how so many things
are made in China.
And I always feel too young
and thin to be in that
barbershop but the mirrors
say otherwise and I had to
agree; too many things are
made in China and there
was some more complaining
about cheap labor and how
things need to be made here
how things need to be fixed here
because too many don’t have
good jobs anymore. Half the
men in the shop don’t have
good jobs anymore and the
only thing to save this country
would be for people to start
making things here. And I agreed,
I don’t know how
to make

David LaBounty's poetry appears in Four Volts, Boston Literary Magazine, The Verse Marauder and in upcoming issues of Autumn Sky Poetry and Pemmican. He served in the navy for four years and has worked as a miner, a mechanic, a reporter and a salesman.

Friday, January 19, 2007


by Russell Libby

It's warm when it should be cold.
An inch of snow, then rain, more rain.
Trees flower in Boston months early.

We all know it's wrong,
yet the pleasure of working outside
in winter colors our reactions
for a few minutes while we turn
off the lights and let the fire go out early.

Then the stories of polar bears afloat,
skiers breaking through thin ice,
warmest year ever,
and we know it's so wrong
while we wait to park our cars
and stretch our legs
and take those first important steps
into a world of uncertainty,
certain only that we need to start now.

Russell Libby writes from Three Sisters Farm in Mount Vernon, Maine. He feels good that it's snowing today, but doesn't expect it to last long.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


by Robert Emmett

“…so blow up your tv, throw away the papers…go out and find jesus, on your own…”
--John Prine

in the event we pull the nuclear trigger (again)
even if by proxy
not only rendering absurd the idea that such a thing is “unthinkable”
but actually proving it’s “doable”
and i say “we” noting there will be no more finely wrought distinction
among the peoples of the earth
except maybe by a smattering of obtuse dead-end bloggers
and a cabal of specious federalist society wackos
that the u.s. government and its people
are somehow mutually exclusive
or that there’s any lingering doubt
we r israel~israel r us in all things militaristic
(and really is there anything else these days, booby?)
given the imperative
of ruling fat cats everywhere
to protect (their) life, limb and property first
(and, say, wouldn’t that make a nifty new nationalistic motto: PROPERTY FIRST
with thunderbolt graphics and crossed swords and eagles and shit, huh?)
but keeping in mind universal pariah status
will be locked and loaded for, well, for however long
“forever” is going to last
and recognizing that schlepping off north
or south of zuh border vill be verboten, yah?
plus the inevitability of taking and hoarding
weeping and wailing, gnashing and rending
with endless rolling waves of gunplay in the streets
etc. etc.
must above all else remain civil, stay positive, solution-oriented
and remember the following
in precise order:


Robert Emmett is still trying to make a list and check it twice in the snowless woods of Michigan.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


by George Held

The tyrant is dead, long live the martyr,
His defiance with noose round neck
Recorded via cell phone
And broadcast round the world
With the taunts of his Shiite lynchers.

Seeing Goya's "Cannibals Preparing Their Victims"
The same day that Saddam hangs,
I marvel at the artist's audacious depiction
Of naked cannibals in a cave
Carrying out their rites:

One crouched, shaft of arm deep in a dead man's
Abdomen, cloven and pink like labia,
Plunging to extract the last entrails
While a second stands stretching,
Like a ballet dancer en pointe, a g-string

Barely covering his genitals, this trio
Of the prostrate, the kneeling, and the upright
Forever artfully fixed while the hanged man
Flickers in low res on monitors worldwide
For an audience magnitudes greater

Than Goya's.

George Held has published widely in the small press, both online and in print. His most recent chapbook is W Is For War (Cervena Barva Press, 2006). Finishing Line Press will publish his collection of poems The Art of Writing and Others in 2007. He and his wife, Cheryl, live in Greenwich Village.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

First it was one child. Now it's one dog. Better, she thinks,
to have all the children, raise them until three or four, then
send the little girls out to play with the dog. See if you can
predict which ones will pull the dog's tail, and die of rabies.
The dog, of course, would be killed then. But that's better
than killing 50,000 dogs right in front of their owners,
better than letting girls be adopted in California, Oregon,
or Colorado where just sixty years ago the Japanese were in
internment camps. Also Utah. Don't forget Utah. Red
Rover, Red Rover, let them all come over. Just the dogs,
she means. The ones with vaccinations.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Volume Four

by Bill Costley

BOOK XXXVII: CHENEY, By Himself in Secrecy

CHENEY, by himself in secrecy,
his 2 heads in2 a cone of silence;
neither hearing the other, neither
wanting to, needs to hear itself,

in perfect unity with dual-selves:
VPOTUS, ventriloqually, POTUS,
perfect economy of potential scale,
balancing act that none can top,

passes a perfect mirror & sees
himself in perfect unity. CHENEY
raises his right hand, his fist erect,
his erection, below it, his 3rd fist.

How do such tyrants stand for us?
Taller than hydrants, just as hard.

BOOK XXXVIII: Quondam Tam Abutere, O CHENEY

Quondam tam abutere, O CHENEY,
nostra patientia, intones Cicero,
in our times, on our soil, amazed
he’s back in the imperial Senate,

his head & hands still separate,
severed by enemies, nailed upon
the rostrum, but still pleading law.
Law counts for-shit, he now knows,

power counts. CHENEY re-counts
the number of hard balls hidden
behind his impregnable belt: 3, 4, 5,
stopping counting at a half-dozen.

A half-dozen balls make the M@n:
3 men, 3 clones, 1 monstrosity.

Book XXXIX: CHENEY Under Glass

"I will be revered forever for my services
during this international crisis," CHENEY
muses, dreaming of a granite monument
in which he stands, erect, in The District,

but where will it stand? On the Potomac,
or K-Street, Pennsylvania Ave., or beside
Maya Lin's Vietnam Wall? He's The M@n
of the Hour & the hour's quickly passing.

Maybe a gigantic hourglass of Iraqi sand,
CHENEY inside it, being slowly buried,
then flipped over, so it can begin again:
serial fame, eternal oblivion, under glass.

"I @m The M@n & the M@n I @m is Gr@nd,"
CHENEY automuses. "Revere me, y'all."

BOOK XL: Quarantined, CHENEY

Quarantined, CHENEY amuses himself with
doing sudoku puzzles from the daily paper,
finding them easier than he’d thought. “Shit!
This is like correspondence-chess for idiots,
double-entry accounting for morons” he chuckles,
thinking of all the people he’d set up as decoys
in his rise to hypertrophical vpotential power.
“Scooter’ll have prison-years to master sudoku,
unless that boozing punkass POTUS pardons
him, & he will; what the fuck's he got to lose?”
CHENEY dreams of a life of Paraguayan ease,
within sound of the Iguazu Falls, buried in the
Amazonian rainforest, “Fuck it! Who needs it!?”
Burn it! Who the fuck’ll ever really miss it?”

Book XLI: CHENEY Gingerly Weighs

CHENEY gingerly weighs his R b@ll
w/his L hand, his L b@ll w/his R hand,
his scrotum w/both massive hands, joking:
“Am I hung, or what?” ref.2 Saddam &
his half-brother’s hanging by their necks.

No such fate awaits CHENEY, VPOTUS,
shadow co-POTUS, in his hours of solitary
confinement in his mental castle/prison; w/
all the time in the World on his massive hands

he cups one b@ll, then another, a smile spreading
across his face: “Match these, Obama!” he chuckles,
“I came well-equipped.” If b@lls make The M@n,
CHENEY’s more than a M@n, he’s a gog, a magog,
a gi@nt. Each of his balls is a planetoid in itself.

Book XLII: Glimpsing CHENEY & Condi
Rice was Bush’s national security advisor when Libby worked for Cheney. If she were to emerge as a witness for the government, it would provide an additional glimpse into the inner workings of the administration.
--Richard B. Schmitt LA TIMES, Thurs 17 JAN 07
CHENEY recalls the day Condi Rice
opened the door to the Men’s Room
w/out knocking twice first. “Shit!”
he exploded, “Shit! Didn’t I tell you
this john was strictly For Boys Only?”
he bellowed, blowing Rice back out
in2 the hallway & on2 her skinny ass.
“No, don’t get uP,” snapped CHENEY,
“I like you down there, looking uP.”

Rice looked uP at his massive belt, be-
hind which his multib@lls were hidden.
“May I hold one of your b@lls? “she
asked politely, as CHENEY smiled:
“Think you can really…handle it?
If you do, then make my day.” His
zipper stuck, & she nastily smirked.

Book XLIII: CHENEY Counts Cables

CHENEY counts cables, paper, metal, any medium,
knowing they all contain data he alone receives.
"Lucky I can multiport & multitask via my VP-U-bus!"
Luck has nothing 2 do w/it, he's been cyber-fitted
2take all inputs. "I never sleep, my ports are always
open, alive2every danger," he tells himself, his mind
filling w/field reports from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran,
Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Indonesia, all the hot-spots.
"It takes a Br@in like mine 2handle all this input. No
garbage-in, just garbage-out for the media 2suck-up."
CHENEY knows what he knows; we know he knows it;
nobody knows the algorithm he uses2 scramble it in2
VPcode, comprehensible only 2his vpotential-Self.

Book XLIV: CHENEY Couldn't Make It

"CHENEY couldn't make it, his dick's broke,"
Scooter cracks as he lies down on the couch.
(The psychiatrist smiles.) "It needs a quick fix."
(The psychiatrist's eyebrow lifts.) "Quick, get
Mr. Fix-It!" "& who do you think is Mr. Fix-It?"
the shrink whispers patiently, quietly, stilly.
"Well, I am, of course, I'm His Chief of Staff,"
Scooter matter-of-factly states in a mild voice,
his wit finally emptied, "I'm His Chief of Staff."
"You were his Chief of Staff," says the shrink,
"You're under indictment now; you had to quit."
Scooter replies eagerly, "I left my work undone,
projects unfinished, goals un-, unattained.." "Be
that as it may," says the shrink, "You're to@st."

Book XLV: W/out CHENEY, Where Would I Be?

"W/out CHENEY, where would I be?"
Scooter ponders in his padded cell, as he
pounds the padded floor w/his forehead.
Thoughts come to him in waves, crests,
snapping watery tips like wet eyelashes.
He weeps to think of what he might do
for CHENEY at this very moment, if
only he were unbound, unpadded, free.
Free is the key to all his frustration. He
knows freedom drives CHENEY so far
that his enemies yearn to constrain him;
confine him to a padded cell, bind him.
Scooter repeats his mantra of liberation:
"Free CHENEY! Free CHENEY! Free!"

Book XLVI: CHENEY: I Hereby Declare

"I hereby declare all the dead, alive!"
writes CHENEY, in his priv.di@ry,
bound in the skin of a hound-dog
accidentally shot hunting 'coons.

"The dead will surely appreciate it,
The Armed Forces'll go along w/it,
The World will finally see I'm not
just a heartless Merchant of Death;

Life, Life fascinates me, Life
invigorates me, raises me to the
highest heights from which I see
the Future, far brighter than now;
though now's brighter than before."

Book XLVII: CHENEY: If I Only Had @ Nickel

“If I only had a nickel for every time I’d had
a noseful of nickels, I’d have a nickel-nose
the size of the Empire State,” says CHENEY,
making a crack at Giuliani’s expense. “Get it?
Rudy, you’re a New Yorker, you get my drift.”

Rudy smiles like the silvery gilt on a coffin-lid,
coming back at CHENEY w/ “If I had a dog
the size of your hog, I’d have to feed it ‘crats
to satisfy it. Dead ‘crats. Demo-crats. Get it?”

Book XLVIII: Digging Deep In His Pockets, CHENEY

Digging deep in his pockets, CHENEY finds
spare change, lint, paper-clips, used Trojan packs,
& a pen filled w/invisible ink. He tries out the pen
by invisibly writing his name on the Trojan pack,
but it only writes the invisible letters: CHE. "Fuck!"
says CHENEY, "Fuck Guevara, that motorcycle
homo, like Mal Forbes, that kids still try to imitate.
It's that red star on his beret; it sucks the kids in2
thinking he's some kind of a holy red angel, lit
from behind by leftwing Hollywood studios."

(to be continued)

Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco chapter of the National Writers Union.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


by Earl J. Wilcox

I see your tongue first, a fuchsia flame flickering,
darting out nervously from a filthy mouth of sharp
teeth I know lurk in there like tiny, jagged daggers.
You are so brave, buried up to your grisly, gaudy,
slick, and multi-colored yellow top in my dog’s
food box, flashing your credentials--a pointed head,
that forked tongue, those two beady eyes. Mister
Chameleon himself, you bring the news today as
usual, changing colors and shapes, keeping us off
guard as if we’ll forget you and your view of things.
Long ago, before feeding time for my dog today,
I met your relatives. Like you, they were no good--
always picking fights, throwing stones, planting
fear and sinister motives in the minds of even the
best of us. Then you denied trying to do us all in.
Why do you hide in a box? What do you know
about feeding the hungry? Maybe you were
trying to take me by surprise, by waiting until I
scooped a helping of food, accidentally lifting
you up into our world? You have much to learn
about us, old one. We’re learning about you, too.

Earl J. Wilcox founded The Robert Frost Review, which he edited for more than a decade. His poetry was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Friday, January 12, 2007


by Alan Catlin

Weekly peace

given new

by his words

protest signs

Bringing the troops
home means saving
lives more troops
means more lives

Stop the lies

Christ was no

Pickup truck slows
at corner to engage
people for peace
in meaningful dialogue


"Go fuck yourself"

Sums up the latest
presidential speech

foreign policy

in one short phrase

Alan Catlin's latest chapbook is a long poem, "Thou Shalt Not Kill", an updating of Rexroth's seminal poem of the same name. Whereas Rexroth riffs on the abuses of the Eisenhower adminstration, the update observes abuses of power in the current administration with particular attention to the cynical, criminal behavior towards the Katrina hurricane victims. One year later, the victims are not forgotten. No matter how many candles the Bushes light, the appalling lack of humanity and the blatant hypocrisy of the folks in charge is as apparent as the disenfranchised, the homeless, and the poverty stricken people of the Gulf states.


by Mary Saracino

Three thousand lies stain the duplicitous lips
of our oval office oracles,
three thousand excuses to surge
& accelerate, three thousand slogans
to rouse the weary, justify deployment,
as if war was a fanciful diversion,
an innocuous amusement to placate
children easily distracted by the clang of wheels
climbing skyward, every eye glued
to the curve of track, every heart racing,
every belly bracing as the speeding coaster
plunges into the abyss. Three thousand thrilling screams,
three thousand mouths agape, three thousand molars
rattling as the wind rushes into spaces once occupied
by howling, truth-telling tongues. Our breath, like our conscience,
has been stolen — silenced by three thousand decibels
of misinformation, three thousand reasons why
invasion equated national security, why violence
begat freedom, democracy, decency. Three thousand
oil-mongering motives erased the lives
of three thousand sweethearts, three thousand
sons & daughters, three thousands souls sacrificed
to arrogance, greed, the gods of power & might;
three thousand ghosts tally the dead, hover
above the blood-stained sand, keeping watch,
asking: Why, why, why?

Mary Saracino is a novelist, memoir writer, and poet who lives in Denver, CO. Her latest novel, The Singing of Swans, is available at or ask for it at your local bookstore.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


by Robert M. Chute

at a mass grave site pauses, holds out
his hands, looks up. He might have been
asking for help while standing in our city's
solid waste land fill, but this was near
Mahsweed, Iraq. He won't kneel to pray
nor bend to press his forehead to
the ground there in all the filth and flies.

He could have taken an arm of this person
a leg from another, to finally perform
a proper interment. Are we not all equal
under our differing skins: all one to Him?

The photographer was Samantha Appleton.
Samantha Appleton: a real person I assure you.
Be thankful there are still those among us
whose names offer comfort and hope.

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

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


by Carol Elizabeth Owens

“The study found ‘women virtually as likely as men’
to engage in premarital sex, even those born
decades ago.” [ – Wed. 12/20/2006]

as if
it could be done
in the presence of one
couplings have come (as a surprise ?)
now research opens eyes
to acts of girls
and guys

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 "bedtime story 101" is written in a form called eintou (which is West African for "pearl," as in "pearls of wisdom").

Monday, January 08, 2007


by David LaBounty

is the sincerest form of flattery
and there are walls around
Bethlehem and Jericho
and nothing is too holy
so don’t be surprised when
you wake up on some bright
and sunny and cloudless
morning as the mourning
are singing from the eaves and
the power lines to find the
sight of men in green putting
up a wall around your town,
your city,
your country,
and don’t be surprised,
when you turn on the TV
to try to understand it all
that some pretty young
girl with a skirt and legs
behind her anchor desk
will tell you, she’ll tell
you the wall is only there
to keep you

David LaBounty's poetry appears in Four Volts, Boston Literary Magazine, The Verse Marauder and in upcoming issues of Autumn Sky Poetry and Pemmican. He served in the navy for four years and has worked as a miner, a mechanic, a reporter and a salesman.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


by Alex Cameron

Knowing better than Thomas Jefferson
What fires bear a nation,
What baptismal blaze erupts
Like ten thousand democratic volcanoes
Laying thick, sulfuric ash across the land.

Understanding social order far better
Than he – in his powdered wig
And coattails – ever could,
His brilliance overshadowed by the fear
Of vengeful governments past.

We bear the burden of generations –
The cross of wisdom that ten thousand years
Of philosophy has rendered us
The sweat of workers, the blood of patriots –
Collected in specimen bottles
For all to see.

The experiments of the past,
The baking-soda and vinegar combinations
Of Locke – add Montesquieu,
A hint of Rousseau –
Mold the chemical bonds of democracy.

We should know better than Jefferson
What’s forged in this crucible,
What ways of self-government
Pass through our revolutionary furnace

What ideas are boiled down
What logic precipitates
What concepts form bonds –
Make molecules,
Shape orders of rigid cells
That stand the test of time.

We should know better
What layers of thick, black democracy
We litter, like volcanic ash
Cross continents beyond.

Alex Cameron, a junior at Chatham High School in Chatham, NJ, is managing editor of the school paper and contributing editor of the school literary magazine. This is his first online publication.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


by Sandy McIntosh

One afternoon, their God announced that he would destroy the world. (Someone had made a silly joke about him and, as usual, he’d taken umbrage.) “I could wipe you off the planet with my snotty hankie, or burn you with my cigar,” he thundered. “Instead, to teach you a lesson, I’ll do it in a way you’ll understand.” He announced that he would build an explosive device of incomprehensible destructive power. Then he roiled the sky with red and blue theatrical lights, swirling clouds. From out of the sea he arose to confront us, his splendid figure magnificently muscled, standing almost seven feet tall, and wearing a peek-a-boo loincloth.

Then he disappeared into our city. We heard that he’d set up shop in an old barn. Someone saw him at the dump, scavenging parts from discarded televisions. He even came to our door to borrow a screwdriver. A month later, the rumor was that he’d taken a job pumping gas in order to pay the rent on a larger workshop. We trembled at the thought of his huge bomb nearing completion and of the horrendous consequences to follow. We’d already packed our bags, withdrawn our savings from the bank, and let the cat out.

Months passed without cataclysm. The newspaper reported that he had made a speech at a Rotary Club dinner, and the mayor had suggested that he might do well in politics, perhaps becoming a judge. The big factory he’d built at the edge of town for his bomb construction was the second largest employer in the county, surpassed only by Wal-Mart. He was becoming a community big shot, always smiling and throwing kisses when you’d meet him in the street. It was rumored that the leading political party wanted to draft him for the mayor’s job. Anyone could see that he was enjoying himself. Gradually, we began to relax, tentatively unpacking our bags.

But still the threat of imminent annihilation was there like an annoying insect, buzzing and biting when you’d least expected it. We didn’t know whether to renew our magazine subscriptions or pay the cable bill. “Why torture us this way?” I asked my wife when the newspaper hinted that he might be secretly dating a movie star. “Why doesn’t he just get it over with?” My wife mused, “There’s something about these immortal beings,” she said. “They’re thinking, ‘Screw ‘em! We’ve got all the goddamn time in the world’.”

Sandy McIntosh’s collections of poetry include The After-Death History of My Mother, Between Earth and Sky (Marsh Hawk Press), Endless Staircase (Street Press), Earth WorksWhich Way to the Egress? (Garfield Publishers), and two chapbooks: Obsessional (Tamafyhr Mountain Poetry) and Monsters of the Antipodes (Survivors Manual Books). His prose includes Firing Back, with Jodie-Beth Galos (John Wiley & Sons), From A Chinese Kitchen (American Cooking Guild), and The Poets In the Poets-In-The-SchoolsTimes, Newsday, The Nation, the Wall Street Journal, American Book Review, and elsewhere. His original poetry in a film script won the Silver Medal in the Film Festival of the Americas. He has been Managing Editor of Confrontation (Long Island University), (Minnesota Center for Social Research, University of Minnesota. His poetry and essays have been published in The New York magazine published by Long Island University, and is Managing Editor of Marsh Hawk Press.

Friday, January 05, 2007


by Jacqueline Kudler

They looked like us, but more so --
creases in the pin stripe suits keener,
knots in the power ties tighter, more focused,
and if you looked past the patina of the woman’s
smile, you saw something silent there, something
watchful -- the serious child at the party.

The one they called the leader seemed unlikely,
a good old Texas fellow, the kind of larky
character who flips out trick cigars on Rotary nights.
When he addressed us from the front of the cabin,
he looked to the others as if to ask, Am I right, guys?
Am I coming across? Still, when he got to the part
about Evil out there in the world and how he would
protect us his words became less hesitant,his eyes
incandescent --the way the filaments in a long
dormant lamp light up if you touch it right.

It’s been so long since they first seized control
in the air space over Florida, it’s hard to remember
when things were otherwise. Most folk seem happy
here -- we know from nightly polling after the prime
rib dinners, after the speeches. It’s true some talky
ones among us have disappeared. At morning
roll call sometimes we notice the spaces -- send up
silent prayers for them at 10 AM Devotions.

And then -- the bombs. The plane barely wobbles
with each drop but we can see the cities, you see,
and wonder about the poor souls below in all that
smoke. The leader assures us he must do it
to protect our freedoms. Our freedoms.

But mostly we don’t linger on these things.
Between prayer meetings and Stallone movies,
there’s little time to think, much less remember
where we thought we were headed before they
first stole aboard or who or what we were
or once had been.

Jacqueline Kudler lives in Sausalito, California and teaches classes in memoir writing and literature at the College of Marin in Kentfield. She serves as an advisory director on the board of Marin Poetry Center. Her poems have appeared in numerous reviews, magazines, and anthologies. Her full length poetry collection, Sacred Precinct, was published by Sixteen Rivers Press, San Francisco, in 2003. She was awarded the Marin Arts Council Board Award in 2005 for “an exceptional body of work over a period of time,” and her “outstanding commitment to the literary arts.”

Thursday, January 04, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

The index of the Stock Exchange of Thailand is likely to fall
when the stock market is open on Wednesday due to
investors' worries over the New Year's Eve bombings in
Bangkok. –All Headline News, January 2, 2007


Two days before Christmas. Her husband smiles at his two-year-
old grandniece. She smiles back. She rips the napkin out of his
sweater: no bibs! He replaces it and she pulls it off again. Her
father, across the room, points and shoots. Digital cameras are
recycled as quickly as baby clothes.


When she was a child her parents complained she never smiled
when they took pictures. To this day her face can ache from the
forced smiles after days with family. She blinks her eyes. She feels
a migraine coming on. But this is his family, not hers.


Rejoining them at the dinner table, the nephew talks of a business
trip, part of a marketing course. A week in either Thailand, Hong Kong, or
          Vietnam. All up and coming business markets. He
chooses Thailand, "Land of Smiles." He's leaving four days after
Christmas. The niece picks up the camera now. Smile. Wave bye-
bye to Daddy. Daddy wants you to remember him.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


a truepoem by Bill Costley

"I was a civilian advisor to the military. We
went & saw Saddam. We were impressed."

Another quiet American confessing to stealth.
Time: just before closing. Place: a bookstore

in an upscale suburb, in late Summer. We
quietly talked until closing. Regretfully, we

exchanged names. I closed up, went home
& wrote about him in my weekly column

in the regional Harte-Hanks daily. Soon
that quiet American came back, stood,

staring grimly at me, another quiet American
caught doing what quiet Americans do: War

via intermediaries, dictators who invariably
betray, haunt, defy, discredit, disgrace us

in the world's unblinking eyes.

Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco chapter of the National Writers Union. His epic-in-progress The Cheni@d appears here on The New Verse News.


by Alisa Gordaneer

as though transformation is imminent, the pomegranate
spreads news in its juice: from wet red, smeared on the page
like a lover’s goodbye kiss, to dry cold lavender
in an hour or two. it is written, it must be so:
ink is on the page and the seeds are now within, waiting
for earth and another turn
at sky.

yet what good is waiting, when acknowledged wrongs
must push the earth forward? the imminent death
of the dictator weighs. picture an old man
eating each seed of a pomegranate.
slowly eating each last jewel.
then fingering his crepe-skinned neck,
wondering where the noose will fit. how it will feel
when skin turns from red to blue and everything becomes

there’s a reason why executions happen in the lavender
smear of sunrise, the deepening crimson of sunset. we need colours
that transform, that melt like snow into soil
as the earth grows cold before warmth. we need to forget
amid the promise of juice, of flesh opening to begin
the return
of seeds, men, dictators, pomegranates.

we need to forget
before we can see the return
of all blood
to the light.

Alisa Gordaneer is the editor of Monday Magazine, an alternative newsweekly in Victoria, BC, Canada, where she lives and writes on an urban homestead with her family. She is currently working on a novel and a collection of poems.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


by Mary Saracino

We have blood on our hands,
the stench of it coats our throats,
chokes our lungs, muddies our eyes,
clogs our aortas, thick as clotted cream.

They hung the Iraqi dictator,
wrapped the rope around
his neck, an anti-umbilical cord,
aborting decency, eviscerating
the precarious womb
that coddles civilization,
allowing us to murder
in the name of justice,
allowing us to believe a tyrant’s death
vindicates our invasion,
pardons our unpardonable war,
absolves us from our original sin.

There is no righteous victory
in his death, no way to exonerate
his brutal actions — or ours —
no way to erase the indelible stains
from his soul — or redeem the bloody hypocrisy
that lives on, in ours.

Mary Saracino is a novelist, memoir writer, and poet who lives in Denver, CO. Her most recent novel, The Singing of Swans, is available from Pearlsong Press,


by Robert M. Chute

Damn! Did you you see that raw video
on CNN? They can't even hang
a man right. I want to know who snuck
that camera phone past our guards.
Find him. Hang him by his "you know whats" —
and the guards too! And there was that
damn Saddam standing there bold as brass.
They should have forced him to wear
the hood. Standing there, answering
their jeers, not showing his fear, as calm
and straight faced as if his ass were
really bound for their Paradise and not
our Hell. Bold as brass — I wonder if I...

Don't go there, Boss!, Karl Rove said.
Let's just hope Ford's funeral will
squeeze this off the news tomorrow.

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


by Charles Frederickson

Baath tub smutty ring scoured
Tainted bad blood clogging drain
Plug yanked rubber ducky plucked
Dirty laundry bleached sun dried

Tyrannical rise to power ironically
Piggybacked diabolical CIA-engineered coup
Egregious acts heinous crimes committed
During 24-year reign of terror

Ever solicitous of Kurd gassing
Murderous rampage thousands of Shiites
Let’s pretend it never happened
Allied farces turning blind eye-for-eye

Weapons of mass destruction supplied
By arsenal of terror compatriots
Mirage jets helicopters cluster bombs
Biological germ viruses lethal chemicals

Mea maxima culpability runneth over
Wronged civil rights sham poo-pooed
American Grandstand Iraq & payroll be-bop
Do-be-do-be-due process Ivory soap opera

Fairness neither option nor criterion
Remote control trial error prone
Victim of Wild West lynching
Melodramatic villainous charade curtains drawn

Lost cause die hard incompetence
Prolonging illegitimate war without end
Quaking earth chasmal fault lines
Bitter sectarian divide vowing revenge

Dr. Charles Frederickson is a Swedish-American-Thai 4midable, 10acious, cre8ive 1derer who has wandered intrepidly through 206 countries, an original sketch and poem for each presented on This maverick e-gadfly is a member of World Poets Society, based in Greece, with 200+ poetry publication credits on 6 continents, such as: Ascent Aspirations, Auckland Poetry, Blind Man’s Rainbow, Both Sides Now, Caveat Lector, Cordite Poetry Review, Dance to Death, Eclipse, Flutter Magazine, Greatworks, Green Dove, Indite Circle, International Poet, Listen & Be Heard, Living Poets, Madpoetry, Melange, Newtopia, New Verse News, Planet Authority, Poetry Canada, Poetry of Scotland, PoetryStop, Poets for Peace, Poetry Superhighway, Pyramid, Sage of Consciousness, Stellar Showcase, Sz, The Smoking Poet, T-zero, Ya’Sou! Ygdrasil,and Zafusy.