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Wednesday, February 28, 2007


by Sue Repko

Hey, you, climate change scientist in the back row:
Go wash your mouth out with soap
and Exxon Valdez water
straight from the source.
And the rest of you:
$10K can buy a lot of White-out,
enough to change your story,
change your tune,
there’s still time to get on
the climate-change denial merry-go-round,
a psychedelic, mind-altering,
alternate universe
of findings, all the color of green,
the green that makes the world go ‘round.
Here’s what the good ol’ American Enterprise
Institute of Inaction
would like you to say:
Stay the course in your SUVs,
leave the refining, and the finer points, to us,
the ones who give the grades
the deciders
the empire builders
whose tanks are always empty –
Fill ‘er up! Hit the road!
Haven’t you heard?
School’s out, science is out,
so don’t forget to tune out
and turn in
your revisions.
Class dismissed.

Sue Repko is a writer, urban planner, community activist, and high school girls' basketball and softball coach. Her fiction has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Bryant Literary Review, Kelsey Review, New Millennium Writings and online. Her nonfiction has appeared in newspapers, magazines and online. Her website is She lives with her family in central New Jersey.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

A Lebanese musician has recorded a unique duet
with the Israeli Air Force by recording on the
balcony of his Beirut apartment during a
bombing raid. --Reuters, July 28, 2006

He’s thirty years old. He was born in Lebanon. Israel
invaded when he was three and when he was seven.
He remembers the sounds in the bomb shelters, his
head buried against his mother’s breast. He wanted
to play with a toy horn he’d been given, not with the
other boys. But they said no music, can’t you hear
the bombs? Timing them as if they were
contractions: four minutes and thirty-three seconds.
The first time he heard silence, it was music. The
trumpet he’s crafted himself looks more like a water
pipe. He stands on his balcony. He can hear the
explosions, he can almost smell the flames. He plays
with his eyes closed.

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, February 26, 2007


by D'Lo

The streets of downtown burn,
hot roads walked upon
soles of old nikes keep callus peds covered
but skin tightens here.
It is hell and young souls don’t belong here.

Eyebrows frown in this heat,
as if sheltering retina like awnings.
Sun makes brown skin shine back like mirrors.
Grey eyes are child’s.
Reflections of innocent souls.

Glass tips for toast
another life goes
whispering its departure
in mist
ascending to the heavens,
Some souls weren’t meant for this life.
Not an accident they spent time here,
just sent down to investigate
to witness the lay of the land.
They were told,
‘this is what you’re dealing with.’
Come again, they must
Be leaders here-

Medicated, those left here
I, the observer, beg them no
beg them
to fight
for their life

There’s a fuckin war going on.
Please awaken.
Put down the blunt.
Smoke it in a pipe.
Keep your third eye open.
It’s yours to
Eyes from closing.

I understand nothing, but expect the world
from the world.

Hand woven threads kiss skin constantly
with reminding hellos
my love my dear my love
you are taken care of
good day
good night sweet dreams

While sleeping,
armor must erase fatigue…
Get out of other countries if you are there to fight.
Come back home, I support you
To fight for yourself.

My brothers and sisters are sick
spreading infections to one another
Wipe down
Breathe 2 survival breaths
Hand over someone else’s heart
Get them.
Don’t call 9-1-1
Mouth to mouth
Has been the only thing that works.

Madre Tierra,
you speak to my stupidity
No one wants to listen
I still do not.
No excuses
I’ve lost my mother tongue.

Praying for clouds to lift
To set adrift on concrete
Praying for bravery
Against ourselves
Praying for dreams to stir the sedated
For visions to give the future hindsight
For love to be the root
For the tree to be the proof
Pray for it to be done in silence
Cuz loudness did not get us far at all.

Dedicated to Rene and Raul Salinas of Resistencia and Red Salmon Arts, Austin , TX .

“A jolt of comedic and creative energy”, D'Lo is a Tamil Sri Lankan-American, political theatre artist/writer and music producer, currently causing the most trouble in Los Angeles . In addition to a B.A. in ethnomusicology from UCLA, she trained in NYC in sound engineering. D'Lo's career work has included working as a teaching artist, establishing herself as both a solo and collaborative performer internationally, and being published in various magazines/anthologies. In 2004, D'Lo also had a sold-out NYC run of her first queer hip hop theater play Ballin With My Bois. Currently, she touring with Ramble-Ations: a One D'Lo Show.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


by Deborah Rothschild

The nuclear option is on the table says the Man who is playful
but takes food from the poor, who thinks he’s a people-person but
won’t talk with leaders, who starts a false war but jokes about deception,
who’s invariably affable but exhibits no empathy, who’s deeply religious
but believes in killing, who’s quick to show rage but unable to grieve, who
sounds so confused but acts so decisively, who can always place blame but
denies responsibility, who relies on faith but is terrified of failure,
who talks in
but can’t
deal with
he’s God’s
light in
a world
of darkness.

And i am quite afraid.

Deborah Rothschild lives in Houston, Texas where she is a freelance writer, grandmother, feminist, and supporter of progressive causes. Recently her work has appeared in Accent, July Literary Press - Hello,Goodbye, Houston Woman, Nerve Cowboy, Out of Time, The Weekly Telegraph, Zygote in My, and The November 23 Club.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


by Ken Victor

Forty years later another film
is found, Camelot in sunlight
driving past us. We who watch
are old now, our idealisms
burnished with a patina
of sadness. Then the disquisitions
of conspiracy theorists were
still unformed, as unnecessary
as a nuclear exchange. Today
CNN plays it over and over
as if believing the nation, scared,
at war, is still in denial. Red rover
red rover, won’t you please send
Jackie back over. Dismissed early,
our 5th grade class quietly
walked home to married mothers
darning socks alone by the dull
light of the black and white TV.
The film caught the beautiful
before—can’t we just indulge
ourselves and linger there: blue sky,
beauty in the motorcade, a nation
ready to flower into its full
promise, to bloom into anything
it dreamed of becoming, iris and
orchid and a texas rose.

Ken Victor, an American living in Canada for the past fifteen years, has published in various journals including The Malahat Review, The Texas Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal and The Queens Quarterly. He recieved his M.A. in Creative Writing from Syracuse University.

Friday, February 23, 2007


by Karl Kadie

In the late, not-so-great days of the Iraq-US war,
Fred Kagen, face flushed, scattered with red blotches,
writes with feverish intensity. His analysis
for the American Enterprise Institute
advocates a surge of 40,000 troops in Iraq –
the new key to winning the war.
Kagen's symptoms – physical and mental –
persist for many days. Kagen visits
Vice President Dick Cheney.
Kagen talks later with William Kristol.
Cheney goes home early, blaming his bad heart,
Unaware his face shows the same crimson blotches.
The next day Cheney meets with President Bush.
"The solution is muscle," Cheney says,
"Don't worry about the hearts and dimes."
The President is under public pressure, susceptible,
and catches the virus immediately.
His face turns blood red, and the first lady orders him to bed.
Possessed, the President rises early.
He jokes about his ski-burn with the press,
and advocates a troop surge in Iraq.
"It's nice to see a president showing leadership," says Kristol.
The President meets with members of Congress,
including Majority Leader Harry Reid.
While the glare of the Capitol's Christmas lights
disguises the President's condition,
Reid responds with good cheer,
"We'll go along with that. As long as
the troop surge only lasts a few months," says Reid.
Merely a carrier, Reid is infected but does not have the virus.
Other cases are reported.
TSS is spreading fast and containment is in question.
Nonetheless a spokesmen from the National Institute of Health
counsels that more study is needed.
"TSS is not a yet powerful epidemic," she says.
"Just an epidemic of the powerful."

Karl Kadie holds an MA in English from San Francisco State University and is a native Californian. He has been writing poetry for over thirty years, and published poems in Haiku Headlines, The New Verse News, and on poetry blogs. His poems reflect the political events of the new century. Karl earns his living by marketing high technology products and services for global companies.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


by George Held

How free you feel hairless
Rid of that shock of sexuality

Maybe now the media will care less
About the Mickey Mouse Club babe

Maybe men will stop hitting on you,
Maybe you can rest, catch your breath

After years of celebrity, always on,
No school years, no college days

A lack of meaningful knowledge,
The constant glare of klieg and flashbulb

Yes, shears and razor to the rescue
Then rehab, no rehab, rehab again

O for a friend, a companion,
A mate, a partner, someone to trust

Someone to see the unadorned version
And love it, like it, care for it

Or revile it, like Sinéad after she shaved
Her head and music lovers cursed her

Or like the French girls who took
Nazi lovers during the occupation

Because the only French boys around
Were 4-F and poor, while the Germans

Were handsome and bursting with life
And provided cigarettes and whiskey

And money and those girls paid dearly
With their hair, their honor, their lives

And, O Britney, so will you, so will you
Though we love you for your teen version

Of a Jon Benet who went to the top,
Then toppled into the muck where

Marilyn and Anna Nicole and other
Blonde American bombshells end up

To wrench us, then cheer us up
With the thought: Who will be next?

George Held publishes widely online and in print. His tenth collection of poems, The Art of Writing and Others, will appear from Finishing Line Press this year. He lives in Greenwich Village with his wife, Cheryl.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


by Meredith Devney

I push then pump overpriced unleaded
into my tank, listen to the rushed hush-
hush through the hose that sounds
more like a mountain stream
than gasoline - tiny silver fish
swimming in a fury of clear water
to fuel my car.

The concrete beneath my feet is stained,
and it is certain: Manhattan will dissipate
under the Atlantic. But still,
my fingers squeeze tighter
only to fill faster.

Meredith Devney has just completed her MFA at Emerson College in Boston, MA. While at Emerson she was an instructor of writing as well as a staff member of the literary journal, Ploughshares. She has several articles published, and is just now submitting poetry for publication.

Monday, February 19, 2007


by Nan Bendix


In Year 3 the Romans are on the National Curriculum.
In her book bag a mis-shapen mosaic; a cardboard sandal
cut to fit; a creased colour copy of a cartoon gladiator’s pit.
The Emperor’s thumb up or thumb down
more shocking to her than X-Factor, a hatful of maggots or
a villain pulled from one hole, dropped into another
for our viewing pleasure.


I wrote a poem about the news.
Wrote it, then cut out the excessive bits.
The trap-door, the rope, the plane
going into the building, the vengeance,
the neck broken.
I was left with something cool.
Quite sweet. Palatable, without my disgust,
my ignorant anger.

Nan Bendix lives in South London, where she grew up. She has a BA in English & Film, and a MA in English Literature. She has also lived in Brighton, Paris and New York. She currently works in a library in central London.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


by Earl J. Wilcox

It was not a fancy venue for actors or audiences—
just an aging church building which long ago sent
away its parishioners, though leaving its pews intact.

This was not a show place where you might go
to look at the architecture or the artists. There
were no restrooms, no water fountains, not even
a backstage. On warm nights, audiences sweated
and actors swooned from perspiration rolling
down their faces. In cold weather, we huddled
together for warmth and to cheer on fledgling
acts or floundering plays. Yet, it was all we had—
a place where young actors could practice how to
project, and old actors learned whether they still
had nerve to try their lines for comedy or tragedy.

And now it’s gone. The community theatre burned
yesterday, to the ground, all around, with nothing
left but the stoic sign out front announcing the last
show. You would have to be an uncaring citizen not
to weep with the muses in this loss to our community.

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.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner


Night gowns? Some frilly lace things that couldn't help but
irritate the bruised skin? Or sheer, smooth silk gowns you
could see what was left of the breasts through? No wonder
they were stolen.


Maybe they were dressing gowns. She recalls two months of
radiation treatments, how she undressed in a little room
and put on the regulation smock (though to their credit,
the facility offered varying shades of pink and blue). She
usually just left her clothes on the floor there for however
long it took.


The gowns that were stolen were wedding gowns, she
reads. "They've stolen the last wish and dream and hope of
someone who is terminally ill," the charity's director says.
She has the picture now. Maiden women who no longer
cared about Maidenform bras, marrying longtime lovers, a
cot wheeled into the hospital room so they could spend a
few nights together on what some ignorant society page
editor called a honeymoon. The men wear a rented tux. The
women wear their favorite wedding dress, photographers
rush in to snap three or four pictures before, one by one,
each woman returns to bed.


It's bad luck to marry in someone else's wedding gown.
Even if the couple's still happily married. Even if it was
your mother or grandmother's gown that you sometimes
used to play dress-up as a child. Even if the marriage was
cancelled and the gown never worn. It's as if inviting the
Angel of Death to the celebration, even if the one who dies
is just the bride's estranged father. Besides, her mother
married in a blue pantsuit. Her father, even then, wore a
suit marked portly.


Wrong again. What happens is that the charity sells the
donated wedding gowns to raise money and fulfill other
dreams. But what other dreams could there be, she wants
to know? An elderly breast cancer survivor still sees her
father in dreams. A divorcee wants to go to Fire Island.
And the remarried ex-husband of a woman down the hall,
who still comes around to see his son each weekend, agrees
to pick her up after surgery.

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.

Friday, February 16, 2007


A 1-acter for 3 parties
by Bill Costley

Cast: Consultants - Republican, Democrat; a Waiter; voice offstage.
Location: A K-Street restaurant
Time: The very present.

Background music: "Happy Days Are Here Again!"

R: You probably think you’ve won something, but I assure you we have, we still have, the Presidency and a new crop of conservatives who are more like us than you.

D: Then why are they Democrats?

R: They saw the media’s handwriting on the wall & switched to stay in power. They still do what we want them to. We have their souls.

D: Republican souls? Tell me what in hell a Republican soul is…

R: It’s a deeply anti-governmental one, deeply dedicated to American freedom at home, and universal freedom abroad.

D: By any means?

R: By all means!

The waiter reaches their table.

W: Are you 2 ready to order?

R: I am. The best, nothing but the Best.

D: I am. The most, nothing but the Most.

W: Who’s paying?

R & D: The People!

W: I don’t see anybody here but you 2 . What people?

R: The American People!

D: The Sovereign People!

W: We don’t take American Sovereigns. Whose credit card? Whose plastic?

R: Corporate plastic. (Reaches for a Corporate-themed card.)

D: Union plastic. (Reaches for a Union-themed card.)

W: Hey, one card for one meal, not 2 cards! Which card’s gonna pay?

R & D: (Stymied) His! (Pointing to each other.)

W: Don’t try to pull this crap on me, I gutta idea. Why doncha flip for it: flip ya cards. The one that lands face up, pays.

(They flip; both cards land face-up.)

W: Do it again.

(They do; same result. Both are embarassed by the consistent result.)

W: We're getting’ nowhere by doin’ this democratically (R blusters at the usage), so I’m gonna solve this myself. Tip me, one of ya.

R & D: How much?

W: Let’s just see how smart you are. (Rocking on heels, order book in hand. Smiles; Smirks; Frowns.) I haven’t gut all nite; I have 6 tables in this section. Make this worth my while, or I’m gone.

R: (Loudly) MAITRE 'D, we want another waiter!

Voice from kitchen: This is the only waiter you are ever gonna get here, deal or no meal.

R & D: No meal!

Voice from kitchen: Then haul your sorry asses outta heah! You guys are a dime-a-dozen. A Roosevelt dime.

R: A Reagan dime!

D: An FDR dime.

Voice: A very thin dime. Now haul your asses on out; we have real people to serve, not you 2 fakes. Real people who work for dimes, like the waiter. But before you go, dump your pockets on the tablecloth or you 2 are barred from this place for-ever. We don’t need plastic parasties here. We have real roaches in the kitchen, we don’t need plastic ones like you.

R & D: (On the sidewalk, talking together) Never again! Never again! Let’s go where they appreciate plastic.

(They head for The White House commissary.)


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

Thursday, February 15, 2007


by Katherine West

New Sites Uncovered Beneath Stonehenge
New Bombings in Baghdad
New Super-Size Baby Born in Mexico
And I think about Whoppers and Big Macs
And the mother split in half—
They don’t mention the mother      that
Isn’t News      News is bombs made
By groups of men who hate
Each other      all the casualties
Should be doubled to include
The mothers      who knew all about
“The Stonehenge Mystery” a long
Time ago      published book
After overlooked book
On the Goddess Culture      the Great
Mother      How many henges are there?
Hundreds      but it doesn’t count if
It doesn’t have a point      pyramids
And empire      are News
Henges belong to the Goddess of Death
And Regeneration      the solstice
Funeral feast      the end and
The beginning      in one
Life     death     life                     and the bearded
Archaeologist grins and proclaims
The mystery “solved”     never mentions
The mothers      who fold their primitive
Arms over their embarrassing
Bellies     knowing bombs
Are seeds for new life and I
Watch the sun set behind      Stonehenge
On my computer screen
And I wish
I believed

Katherine West is a poet presently living in northern Colorado and teaching Creative Writing at the local community college, museum, and Naropa University, which is in nearby Boulder, Colorado.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

WAR GATE (a priori)

by Carol Elizabeth Owens

“Who in their right mind would send 363 tons of cash into a war zone?
But that's exactly what our government did.”
— Rep. Henry Waxman during a hearing reviewing possible waste,
fraud and abuse of funds in Iraq. Quoted by Feb. 7, 2007.

news flash
the mint’s been taxed
by tons and we’re taken
in a two-fold manner— conflict
kills and crisp dollar bills
are found missing
this short

green bomb
has a long fuse
it’s not an improvised
device— the deployment carries
concealed costs. so follow
those flows of fast

cools easily
when hidden in danger
zones because we’re swiftly spent there
no one can look around
for that crackling

teams up with oil
for one of the hottest
new opportunities today
terrorism’s clever
and greed is hard
to fight

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 "war gate (a priori) " is written in a form called eintou (which is West African for "pearl," as in "pearls of wisdom").

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


by Barbara Cogswell

There’s this photograph of Pop, young, standing
at attention with his National Guard Unit,
his eyes purposefully intimidating, focused
straight into the camera. Another,

with his high school football team,
helmet under arm, dark curly hair in view,
this time smiling, relaxed. More like
the pleasant man who made the perfect

Oatmeal. He measured water and salt,
tasted it, adjusted the flame, and made
sure it reached the table hot and creamy.
A Roosevelt Democrat, he passed

those values on to me, took part
in the Ford strike, the one in Kansas City.
I wear his badge from time to time, in tribute
to the man he was. Later, he voted for Eisenhower,

(had grown to look a bit like him, in fact).
We differed over politics, civil rights,
the war in Vietnam. When those four
students were shot on campus at Kent State

he thought they all should have died,
called them sons a bitches, traitors.
He’s dead now for thirty years.
I make perfect oatmeal for myself

now, I measure, salt, taste, and I think of him,
the oatmeal in my mouth difficult to swallow.
Standing at the sink, I feel the crosshairs
of his National Guard Focus directly on my heart.

Barbara Cogswell, a 74 year old member of Grandmothers for Peace, only recently realized her talent for poetry. She occasionally attends a Wednesday Afternoon Workshop convened by Don Campbell.

Monday, February 12, 2007


by David LaBounty

It doesn’t matter
who we’ve
It doesn’t matter
because the
they’re still
my town
open my mail
these lines
their hands
into my wallet
each time
I pump gas
or turn on
the lights,
and these
they don’t
look like
They wear
hoods and robes
like the cowards
of old,
hoods and robes
made from the
tattered remains
American flags.

David LaBounty's poetry has appeared in Dogmatika, Zygote in my Coffee, The Cerebral Catalyst, Four Volts, The Verse Marauder, Boston Literary Magazine, Flutter, Autumn Sky Poetry and in upcoming issues of Laura Hird, remark and Pemmican. More info at

Sunday, February 11, 2007


by George Held

The smeared mascara, the rouge and lipstick,
The face of a washed-up circus clown
Stares out at us from online news.

The diaper jokes on Imus in the morning
And Leno at night turn a space hero
Into a space cadet.

The dark wig and the light trenchcoat,
The pepper spray and the restraining
Order—you know all the sordid details

Of Captain Lisa Nowak’s bizarre descent.
From crew on Discovery and capsule
Commander on the next space shuttle flight.

How we love to bushwhack the right stuff
And turn them into the latest humiliation.
Bring her down from the heights

To the muck where uppity women
Belong. So what if she’s still grieving
Lost friends from the 2003 disaster;

So what if she feels a deep queasiness
About her own fate above the clouds;
So what if she needs the love

Of her fellow astronaut now that she’s lost
Her husband and freaked under pressure
More than you or I could bear?

Paste her sorry face on all the tabloids,
Print or electronic, mock her, make her
Pay the price of daring to fly too high.

George Held publishes widely online and in print. His tenth collection of poems, The Art of Writing and Others, will appear from Finishing Line Press this year. He lives in Greenwich Village with his wife, Cheryl.

Friday, February 09, 2007


by David Chorlton

We’re two strangers waiting
for a bus on the kind of morning
everyone prefers staying home.
When a young man walking by
slows to ask us for a cigarette
the one beside me in the shelter
croaks through a wounded throat
that he doesn’t have any
and turns to tell me he gave up
to save his life. The traffic lights
keep changing, red, green, red,
and rain begins and stops
in tune with them. A blast of early salsa
comes from a rolled down window.
It’s the Mexicans you know,
the other man says
as he tightens his coat,
taking Americans’ jobs.
Across the street logos smile
from buildings with foundations nowhere
and I respond with the suggestion
that people deserve at least
the same rights as capital
when it comes to crossing borders.
I’ve lived in Phoenix since it was small,
he says, when I smoked two packs
a day, and there isn’t room
for everyone today. The number seventeen
draws close. We count change
for our fares. They ought to put things right
in their own country, he continues,
but it’s been nice talking. We board
to join passengers
most of whom are speaking
to each other or their cell phones
in the Spanish
neither of us can understand
and the windshield wipers
speak two syllables
that repeat like the indecision
that precedes a run for the border.

David Chorlton lives in central Phoenix where he keeps watch for hawks and other urban wildlife. He has published poems in magazines including Slipstream, Main Street Rag, Poem, Skidrow Penthouse and Parting Gifts, and has several books and chapbooks the most recent of which is Waiting for the Quetzal from March Street Press.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


by Esther Stenson

The rattlesnake
sprawled on the warm boulder beside
blueberry bushes I was stripping
one young summer day,
did not bother to inform me he was there
or give me a dose of his lethal injection.

Nor did a skinny copperhead
calmly weaving its way
in the dusk from one side
of the stony mountain trail to the other
pause to strike needlessly at my feet,
an inch from fangs that could have
given me fever and hallucination.

Neither did the fer-de-lance,
gliding like a mottled meter-long rope
over my petrified feet in the patio,
threaten me with a fatal dose of venom
as he disappeared into the dim recess
of my open kitchen.

Not even did the coral snake
curled under long cool tropical grasses
bent over the path I trod with sandaled feet,
seem interested in needless exertion and
human paralysis on a steamy afternoon.

Now I tremble when the Bushsnake
sends more unsuspecting tender species
into situations seething with
poisons of soul, feverish hallucinations
and paralyses worse than
the lethal strikes,
the fatal venom
of all other snakes.

In other lives Esther Stenson lived in El Salvador and China. Since 1995, she has been an instructor in the University Writing Center at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia. In addition, she is in the Master's Degree program in Creative Writing at JMU. Several of her poems have been published in Dreamseeker Magazine.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

Fly me to the moon, and let me play among the stars...

In fourth grade one of her textbooks was called Rocket to Mars.
She remembers the red-haired boy who sat next to her, sometimes
looking over at her paper, who never gave her a second glance
outside the classroom. She wasn't about to let that happen again.
Still, even when she entered the Naval Academy, women
astronauts were about as real as Cinderella.

Let me see what life is like...

Her husband and sons understand how it is when you work long
hours – even the errand boy becomes like family. Closer than
family. And she's no different than a million other women. Walks
into a room full of men, and immediately selects the one she'd like
to be with on a deserted space craft. All those days and nights side
by side, then he didn't end up accompanying her after all.

On Jupiter and Mars...

She's driven this Houston to Orlando route hundreds of times,
faster than a speeding bullet. She squeezes into diapers, babying
herself. She remembers how it was that first time she squeezed into
the boots, and the orange jumpsuit (like they wear in Attica), and
the space helmet. She was defying fantasy, not gravity.

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.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Volume Six

by Bill Costley

Book LXI: CHENEY Sprechstimms Uberloudly

“Gifs me some Menschen, who are
stout-hearted Menschen, who vill
kampf for the Rechts they A-dolf…”
CHENEY sprechstimms uberloudly
in the shower, “My hog’s a burning log,
burning thru the fog, of the Demoncrastic
dogs I abhor. My cod is a rod I will slap
across their backs until they crack, Jack!”
CHENEY joyously lathers up his scrotum,
singing: “My nuts will drive them…nuts!”

Book LXII: "We R-moving foRw@Rd, " CHENEY Hums

"We R-moving 4Rw@Rd, " CHENEY hums.
"We R-moving 4Rw@Rd 2Praetoria, 2, 2, 2,
2Praetoria, 2Praetoria, we, Praetorians, We!"
His sneering smile breaks open, 2, 2widely
across @ shadowed shaving mirror on his lap
in his camotent in the (unspecified) desert as
he pursues the shadowly elusive Bin-ladenisti,
his uniform, originally grey, now dusty-tan, his
the crusade of @ M@n @mong Menschen,
Menschen who cannot-B forever dev@ded.

Book LXIII: CHENEY Upchuckles As Scooter Lies

CHENEY upchuckles as Scooter lies, doggo,
listening to the media all rushing in, a w@ve
of mee2ismo: Everybody’s ‘got it’ that no-
body told’m but R. (Dick) ‘b@ldy’ Armit@ge,
Melvin L@ird’s middle-aged bastard spawn.
“The plot thickens,” CHENEY mocks, war's
a dead-cert. over deadly, nucle@r Ir@n, Pres.
Ahmadinejad denying all restaged evidence.
“I love this shit,” snurs CHENEY, in the w@r-
room, sc@nning ch@nnels simult@neously…

Book LXIX: CHENEY OK After Afghan Bl@st

from reportage by
Associated Press

BAGRAM, Afghanistan –

2 hours after the blast,
CHENEY left for Kabul to meet Karzai
& other officials, then left Afghanistan.

CHENEY’d spent the night at Bagram,
ate breakfast with the troops, & met with Maj.
Gen. David Rodriguez, commander of U.S. troops in

CHENEY was preparing to leave for a meeting with Karzai
when the suicide bomber struck ~10 a.m., sending up
a plume of smoke visible to reporters accompanying
CHENEY. "I heard a loud boom,"

CHENEY told reporters. "The
Secret Service came in & told me there had been an
attack on the main gate."

CHENEY said he was moved "for a brief period of time"
to a bomb shelter on the base near his quarters. "As
the situation settled down & they had a better sense
of what was going on, I went back to my room,"

CHENY added, "I think the Taliban clearly try
to find ways to question the authority of the central
government. Striking at Bagram with a suicide bomber,
I suppose, is one way to do that, but it shouldn't
affect our behavior at all."

Rodriguez said the explosion wasn’t a threat to
CHENEY. "He wasn't near the site of the
explosion. He was safely within the base
at the time of the explosion."

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said
CHENEY was the target of the attack
by Mullah Abdul Rahim of Logar province.
"We knew that Dick
CHENEY would be staying inside the base,"
Ahmadi told AP by telephone from an undisclosed location.
"The attacker was trying to reach

Book LXX: Time-stepping…CHENEY

Time-stepping his R-foot, CHENEY
knows he’s been subverted, just like
Nixon, by phlebitis, w/a serious risk
of pulmonary embolism. “But I’m 2X
the man that Nixon ever was! I’m
2X-as-wide & 2X-as-heavy. Cheez-it!
How can a tiny bloodclot subvert me?”
his time-step accelerating to a stamp
risking the bloodclot’s disengagement
w/each bootfall walking closer to it.

Book LXXI: Libby Guilty of Obstruction, Perjury, Lying


from reportage by

In a written statement, CHENEY
called the verdict disappointing & said
he was saddened for Libby & his family, too.
"As I have said before, Scooter has served
our nation tirelessly & with great distinction
through many years of public service."

Wilson, whose wife left the CIA after she was exposed,
said, "Convicting him of perjury was like convicting
Al Capone of tax evasion or Alger Hiss of perjury.
It doesn't mean they were not guilty of other crimes."

Libby was convicted of 1 count of obstruction of justice,
2 counts of perjury to the grand jury
& 1 count of lying to the FBI
about how he learned Plame's identity & whom he told.

Libby learned about Plame from CHENEY in June 2003
about a month after Wilson's allegations were 1st published,
w/out his name, by NYTimes columnist Nicholas Kristof.


CHENEY ye@rns for the land of the Wyomen,
far from the fractious District & Beltway:
where his kind nobly ride purebred stallions
over untaxed acres of high desert, freedom
visible at every turn of happy, neoprene head.
CHENEY knows he’ll soon be returning to join
his natural sub-species of super-uber-human:
designated inheritors of his secret labors
furiously converting a nation to a country
open only to those who can deconstruct it.

(to be continued)

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

Monday, February 05, 2007


by HL

On 2007 Super Bowl
the Hegemons face off the Terrorists

In the past it was
the Giants vs. the Patriots
those old timers were eliminated
by those
new age whiners
who had no time for basic training
by those
free agent stars
with oil company sponsors
who practice killer
in the Arab league
where the teams
play on sand
with their WMDs
(wanton military delusions)
no one has ever seen

In a cheerleader’s imagination
there is no harm done
when heroes die

earning victory
for the Gipper’s dream team
in a Iran-Contra instant replay
but today
after the SOTU intermission
pep talks
marching bands
national guard dispensations
the second half begins
the cause

Either young George wins
Daddy’s prize
or he celebrates
when the Cheney gang
moves the sticks
to mark enormous
in the end zone game

Meanwhile back to live action...

When the Baker’s dozen
were caught with too many
Pitiful Man king the quarterback
called the leap-of-faith play
drawing the congress

The game is turning real

Yeah Pelosi

While the officials deliberate
opposing coaches consider
what the US-Iran
to get where they are now

Stay tuned as we go to a media timeout...

On Sunday
the MSM will not disappoint you
but it will cost a lot more honey

War: what we fight for

HL says, "War is not the Answer / Ride a Bicycle," and more at cornfedtrouble.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


by Katherine West

February 2, 2007

Go buy a candle
For Candlemas

Ice on the glass
A forest of frost

Go buy a candle
For Candlemas

Wind crying
With cold

Go buy a candle
For Candlemas

Rabbit tracks
Hungry for grass

Go buy a candle
For Candlemas

Hungry soldiers
Reading poetry

Go buy a candle
For Candlemas

Hungry civilians
Shattered glass

Go buy a candle
For Candlemas

Empty temples
Filled with grass

Go buy a candle
For Candlemas

Empty forest
Silent choir

Go light a candle
For Candlemas

Katherine West is a poet presently living in northern Colorado and teaching Creative Writing at the local community college, museum, and Naropa University, which is in nearby Boulder, Colorado.

Friday, February 02, 2007


by Ngoma

(all resemblances to Bill Clinton are merely coincidental)

the last time i saw
Bubba polar bear he was
dippin down one two five street
stickin' up soul food joints for fish
saying the isht was too hot
in Alaska and the ice bergs was beatdown
from the global meltdown
and there was no fish around
Bubba be on blast bout how he got treated bad due to the color of the
skin he's in
cause polar bears be BLACK
matter of fact
and global warming be
EnvironmentaL Racism
Don't be fooled by the white hair baby
it's really translucent and it's only hair
after all a brother gotta have
warm gear to survive antartica
so Bubba arrived at the world famous apollo just in time to see the
godfather of soul
ride up out of here 23 karats and 2 white horses deep
try'nta one up jesus on cashmas day

See Bubba was'nt your average bear
he was rocking sun shades and plays saxaphone
claims he listens to Democracy Now on line and Afrikaleidoscope
now he can't sleep had trouble hibernating after the realization
of all the B.S going down so he's spreading the word that
Sundiata Acoli, Herman Bell, Bashir Hameed -
Russell Shoats, the MOVE 9, Abdul Majid,
Mumia Abu-Jamal, Sekou Odinga, Mutulu Shakur
the state won't admit that there are over 150 more political
and P.O.W's in this yet to be united states with the largest prison
population of the so-called civilized world - but Hey - that's another

Bubba sez - we be blinded w/blood diamonds in your eyes - Bling Bling
bio-pirates and culture bandits come from the same tree
making profit from poverty
so he's seeking reparations for intellectual property
sueing for stolen images
cause the penguins told him
they did'nt come to tap dance
they're suing for defamation of character
they'll soon be part of the homeless and the dispossed
See - these days Polar bears be scared to pawn their coats
due to killer kops and 50 shots
Even Polar Bears can see that Sean Bell was just trying to mind his
own business
can I get a witness
but it's open season in this environment
so Queens , Elm City and Dodge City
looks the same as Baghdad
and bad karma drips like blood
but the home of Winchester was right down the street
so maybe you should shoot your TV for lying

so Bubba says- umm psssst pssst peep this, I aint tryn'ta start no
trouble but
Saddam had impecabble teeth
rumor has it that Mrs. Hussein and Saddam's 7 mistresses
claims the cell phone footage you witnessed
was the hanging of one of his doubles
and Saddam,Biggie and Tupac be hanging out in Mexico
controlling the scag market from afghanistan
next the real chemical warfare be
coming to a corner in your neighborhood
in the new ghetto of your suburbs
where while you were out shopping
babies died from toxic waste in shanty towns around the world
and auditory polution invades your ear drums
as record companies give contracts to keep the N word alive
cause hip hop was killed by the jiggaz that
sold us out
and now education is no longer popular
in a land where we're shacked with student loans
yet in Cuba - education is free
check the dichotomy in this economy
where the only job opportunity may be to be
all they tell you to be
so - turn off your TV
Tell your children don't sign up for war
soon the dispossessed
w/be sitting on your doorstep

Ngoma is a performance poet, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and paradigm shifter, who for over 40 years has used culture as a tool to raise sociopolitical and spiritual consciousness through work that encourages critical thought. A former member of the Spirit House Movers and Players with Amiri Baraka and the Contemporary Freedom Song Duo Serious Bizness, Ngoma was the Prop Slam winner of the 1997 National Poetry Slam Competition in Middletown, CT and has been published in African Voices Magazine, Long Shot Anthology, The Underwood Review, Signifyin' Harlem Review, Bum Rush the Page and Poems on the Road to Peace. Ngoma has hosted the slam at the Dr. Martin Luther King Festival of Social and Environmental Justice Festival at Yale for the past 11 years. His CDs Ngoma: Alive and In Your Face from NYC, Didgitation: Solo Didgeridoo Musik for Meditation, and Ancient Future Meditational Musik are now joined by his newest CD Reflections (1964 -2006), a collection of music and poetry that pays tribute to some of the activist and cultural workers whose shining example served as a beacon for Ngoma's work as an artist. For more info, go to

Thursday, February 01, 2007


by Robert Emmett

"The play's the thing
Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.”
Hamlet 2.2

what if …

for each action
there’s an equal in return…
spins an unknown calculus

so when thoughts
fire synapses
flash neurons
stream mind
through vortex
of water fire earth
air unseeable
current flows
back equal and
opposite along
the ganglions
of intention?

what valence
of vital force
the first ruined child
with charred flesh?

multiply receptors
from the four directions
by thousands incinerated
beyond air
in marrow yet unborn
no ration of reason
can validate
no geometry of
speech can eclipse

so tell me then
how such an im-
of dark energy
from pious seeming purpose
would radiate back?
except to implode
recurrent circuits
and ignite
this endless conflagration?

Robert Emmett ponders what's at play when the king has no conscience. And scans the horizon for a pulse beyond the frozen forests of Michigan.