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Monday, April 30, 2007


by Carol Dorf

The nineteen year old boy
who needed a psych waiver
to join the army, mans
a checkpoint, organizes
a team to storm a 14-year-old
girl's house. They break
her open, smash parents, baby
sister. War crazed desire,
misfortune of boy who needed
a more restrictive
environment, in charge
of the guns.

After that boy serves
his time, along with his comrades
in slaughter, ten or fifteen years,
who among us will greet them?

Carol Dorf's poetry has appeared in The NeoVictorian, The Midway, Edgz, Feminist Studies, and Runes.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


by Leigh Herrick

I am sitting outside sometime past 10:00 pm with a candle and incense to help ward off mosquitoes. The electricity has been off for well over an hour. The solar lanterns light the yard. A poor little moth has just drowned in hot wax. Night bugs always come to light. A cricket sings near the strawberry patch. Time is stilled. I think: The sound of Many Mothers lives in my throat. A slight breeze moves the chimes that touch and ring their soft resounding. I have not felt this content in a very long time. This is how I used to feel, how it used to be: my sense of wonder at small things, uncounted time
We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of the liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America
:a feeling of oneness with place.
The natural world gives comfort like a pleasant memory. Last night I heard a crow caw out in perfect son clavé. Sitting here, now, this little cricket trills its near-perfect 6/8. Africa. I look to the dead moth. "It isn’t enough,” I tell it, “the abolition of cruelty.* I want more," I whisper to its molten float. "I want the disestablishment of the inhumane.” I whisper my terms toward the silent flame into the natural black of night hoping the moth didn't suffer. I wonder at my certainty and doubt. Did I never believe? Or had I simply forgotten from where I had come....

*Adrienne Rich, “USonian Journals 2000,”
in The School Among the Ruins: Poems 2000-2004.

Leigh Herrick is the creator of the embedded poem, a new form meant to draw attention to not just what she calls the "New War Journalism" but to the layered meanings and interpretations able to occur in time and place, often relying on parallel or multi-factional structure. Herrick is the recipient of several poetry awards and, in addition to the 2004 release of her CD Just War, has poetry or essays most recently appearing or forthcoming in: Howling Dog Press, Kalliope, MARGIE, and Unlikely Stories. Her CD is available through CD Baby or at request by emailing PrairieRecords(at) with "Just War CD" in the Subject line.

Friday, April 27, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

And to his young wife back in Leipzig, who loves to sew, he sends a sketch of the latest British fashions. Women in flowing dresses, despite the war. Late into the evenings, perched on a chair in the corner of his barracks, drawing, thinking of his wife, helps pass the time. He doesn't consider himself an artist, but the picture's striking, sleeves and hems intricately, painstakingly embroidered -- dot dot dash dot dash dot dot dash dash. He's trusting no one who might see this letter will realize his wife wouldn't be caught dead in wide-brimmed hats and frilly collars.

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.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


by Barbara A. Taylor

truth lies and American wars
friendly fire
and fabricated

Barbara A. Taylor is a regular reader/slammer at local poetry nights around Mountain Top, NSW, Australia. Her work is published in Triplopia, The Blue Fifth Review, Wisteria, Lynx, Tattoo Highway, The Yellow Bat Review and others. Her poetry with audio is at


by Joe Paddock

Having worked up and down
and round and about
our economic spectrum,

it’s come clear to me as any
shining mansion on the hill
that ability and all-around

worthiness has less than nothing
to do with the link we are on
along the economic food chain.

And I’ve long wondered if CEOs
are worth, not of course 500 times
what their average worker earns,

but twice. Twice what the average
man or woman earns for doing
what needs to be done, is a big bump.

Add to that doubling the buzz those
big egos get seeing their gleaming
photos, them looking wise on the covers

of Newsweek, Time and whatever other
slick rag with economic hiccups prints
pics of that glitzy Olympus where the

big-bucks boys gather in their grandeur
and have a go at being gods: Ed Whitacre
at AT&T, Hank McKinnell at Pfiizer,

Bob Nardelli at Home Depot, guys
who presided over loss, smiling
while slurping in tens of millions,

all aglow there on the peak, their pile
of green, and on top of that, add,
ah, the joy such hyper-controlling

personalities surely find in running
their very own corporate show, proving
their cajones by cutting benetifts,

gobbling pensions, pink-slipping workers
and making love to China. What a deal
for them to have all that and earn double

what their average worker earns. Worth
hundreds of times more? Madness!
And surely such absurd largess

will do damage to their immortal souls,
and as the great Greenspan has told us,
such silly “CEO pay and stock option

windfalls nurture infectious greed.” Yes,
and easily lead to corporate shenanigans
that can send a heavy feeder away

from the light of day. Heavens to Betsy,
boys and girls, everyone knows the one thing
all big-corp CEOs are bound to be good at

is milking their organizations and
the populations they serve into their own
bucket. We’ve all seen them, these

recent years, loaded with lucre, rats
leaping from emptied and leaking ships, with
somewhat more in hand than twice what

is held by those without life boats
left behind.

Joe Paddock is a poet, oral historian, and environmental writer. He has been a Regional Poet for Southwestern Minnesota, a poet-in-residence for Minnesota Public Radio at Worthington, and has taught in the Creative Writing Department of the University of Minnesota. His books of prose include Soil and Survival (Sierra Club Books) and Keeper of the Wild (Minnesota Historical Society Press). His books of poetry include Handful of Thunder (Anvil Press), Earth Tongues (Milkweed Editions), Boars’ Dance (Holy Cow! Press), and A Sort of Honey (Red Dragonfly Press). For his poetry he has received the Lakes and Prairies Award of Milkweed Editions and the Loft-McKnight Award of Distinction.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


by Katherine West

Banned saxophones
From Castro’s
From the Cultural
Meet in secret
With underground
Under Stalin and
Censored books
Under Bush
Suspected visions
Slip through university
Masquerading as
Beowulf and
The Easter Bunny
Black poetry
Paints itself
Women’s poetry
Wears padded
Serious poetry
Studies old Jerry Lewis
Movies and
The Three Stooges
They meet in
Central Park
Before an audience
Of hopeful

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.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


by Maureen Tolman Flannery

They arrive unannounced speaking
their officialese in your domain, review
with suspicion your deficient credentials,

accuse you of being inept
at what you do best and set about
improving on your efficiency.

An edict proclaimed
on an odd numbered page in their rule book
spells out your incompetence to a tee.

Your grass is too long; your paint
beginning to flake. Your polished chrome
sends back a skewed reflection.

A voice in your account book speaks
in colored numbers. And they puff up
with the power of naming your failure,

tower above you in rage
at your not having paid sufficient attention
to the nit they've decided to pick,

blame you for not intuiting intentions implied
between fibers of the manual's bond.
They do not ask you what matters

or by what standards you have governed your life.
They are looking for ways your aspirations
are not in compliance with rules

on a prominent page--and they will find them.
What can you say to assuage their indignation,
for the world has paid them to find your failings

as if they were mining diamonds.
Entirely unable to do what you do,
they will write reports, delight in each citation.

You may not speak of what you have made.
Do not trot out your rose-cheeked children,
a sleek product design or pleased clientele.

This will only convince them they should have
come sooner to prevent your life. You will turn
to words, but words cannot help you in this.

Your only allies are silence, knowing,
and the clean water of time that washes over
and settles to its gently rippling level.

Maureen Tolman Flannery's latest books are Ancestors in the Landscape: Poems of a Rancher's Daughter and A Fine Line. Although she grew up in a Wyoming sheep ranch family, Maureen and her actor husband Dan have raised their four children in Chicago. Her work has appeared in forty anthologies and over a hundred literary reviews, recently including Birmingham Poetry Review, Xavier Review, Calyx, Pedestal, Atlanta Review, Out of Line, and North American Review.

Monday, April 23, 2007


by Paul Hostovsky

I remember Nixon getting up in front of
my mother and father in 1974
looking so earnest and guilty and apologetic
that you had to feel sorry for the guy, I mean
I did. I didn't know what he'd done but
whatever it was, I knew my parents wouldn't
forgive him for it any time soon.
I could tell by the way they clicked
the TV off and left the room, that Nixon
was grounded for life if my parents
had anything to say about it. I remember
turning the TV back on then and feeling
closer to Nixon who reminded me
of myself. Now all these years later with Nixon
gone and my parents gone and with Bush
getting up on TV in front of everyone,
I'm mad at him for not telling the truth,
but he looks so earnest and guilty and he doesn't
have a good vocabulary either--I bet he
never reads books just for the pleasure
of reading them. And I can't help feeling sorry
for the guy, because everybody's mad at him
for the big mess he made, because he's standing
in the middle of that mess, with all the bodies
piling up, with all the arms and legs and heads,
and he has to say something but he can't
say what he has to say. He can't say it.

Paul Hostovsky's poems appear and disappear widely online and in print, with recent sightings in Free Lunch, Spoon River Poetry Review, Shenandoah, Poet Lore, Paper Street, FRiGG, Slant and others. He works in Boston as an interpreter for the deaf.


by Alan Catlin

given the choice
of voting for
George Bush II


I'd have to

At least
you'd be able
to swing a deal

for something
in this lifetime
from Satan

while with Bush
it would all be empty promises
and lies, lies and more damned lies

sort of like
selling your soul
to a gated community

on a time share
plan with no

no money back

and a variable
rate mortgage
all the while knowing

no matter who you
had voted for you
were screwed for all time

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.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


by David Chorlton

Today the rivers flex their muscles
and the heart beneath the ice cap beats
in steady rhythm. Great apes swing
on vines suspended from the sky.
A heron’s wings span centuries
and on the savannah the shadows
form a sanctuary beneath each spreading tree.
Snow bites into the saddle
of a swaybacked mountain where ferns
grow as light and aspens
lean into the sun. This is the day the whales
heave their massive dreams
through the surface of the ocean
and this is the night the nectar bats
dust their faces with sweet pollen.
A fox with a spark at the tip of each hair
sprints through the mist in a blue valley
and the sloth on its bough
in the rain sleeps undisturbed
while we stop the clocks to look
at the world as it could have been.

David Chorlton lived in England and Austria before moving to the desert Southwest in 1978. After overcoming a bias against "nature poetry" he has come to explore the landscape and its ihabitants more often in his work. His book Waiting for the Quetzal (March Street Press) includes references to Arizona, the Arctic, and Costa Rica. Later this year Future Cycle will publish The Porous Desert.


by Beth Myerson-Jacobs

Champagne punch glistened
in the punchbowl
that looked like half the world
the Southern Hemisphere cut from the North
filled with lava and molten pulp
the guests sipped from their cups and discussed the news
of global warming
while the air conditioner strained and spewed
chilly, recycled air
some guests removed their sweaters
and others held them close
they could not agree whether it was too warm or too cold
as they dipped brocolli spears into hummos and babaghanoush

Conversation lagged and then heated up
as they argued truth or falsity
of alarmist claims about our plundering
and drank cup upon cup
of the pink punch now dwindled down
the punchbowl resembling
a parched reservoir during drought
outside the fiery sun
lanced poisonous reds and oranges
through the scorching window
magnifying heat and apprehension
that they could not face the truth
of the punchbowl, drained and empty

Beth Myerson-Jacobs recently retired as a speech pathologist and is studying creative writing with poet, Rochelle Ratner. Her poem, "Railroad Crossing" appeared in the November 2006 issue of Mobius Poetry. Beth lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Jon and daughter, Eva.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


by Mary Saracino

Peace to children around the world
of every hue and nation;
peace to mothers who bring forth life
and nurture us through sorrow;
peace to fathers who understand
that war is not an answer;
peace to blossoms, birds, and bees,
to rivers flowing outward;
peace to verdant fields of grain
that feed us and sustain us;
peace to trees and peace to sky,
may we be vigilant stewards;
peace to women and to men
who seek to mend our planet;
peace in our hearts and peace in our souls,
our blood, our breath, our babies;
peace to those who dare to trod
the path less-often traveled,
who lend their hearts, their sweat,
their tears to healing all that’s broken;
peace to you and peace to me,
may we dance each day to the Mystery
and sing out loud with voices strong
of peace and love and mercy.

Mary Saracino is a novelist, memoir writer, and poet who lives in Denver, CO. Her newest novel, The Singing of Swans, was recently named a Lambda Literary Award finalist in the Spirituality category.

Friday, April 20, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

When the War ended their first thoughts were to protect
themselves. Only a few bombs left, but they had to be hidden.
Somewhere close to home, they thought. Someplace no one would
look. Their zoo was eighty years old, a landmark, something to still
be proud of. They thought of all the Jews headed for Palestine,
their anger like hot sand kicked in their faces. Then they thought of

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.


by Andrew Grossman

At night, the army's Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS)
fills the gap between the unguided Hydra-70 Rocket
and the HELLFIRE anti-tank missile in my home.
I sleep, believing that a laser sensor and guidance package
coupled with the Hydra-70 rocket will keep my family safe.
The MK66 rocket motor,
M151 10 pound high explosive fragmentation payload
and M423 point detonating fuse
are the reasons I need not take Ambien.

Compatible with any 2.75 inch rocket system,
the MK66 faces both neighbors and skyward,
a warhead more reliable than friends or fences,
programmed to enhance community relations,
providing a significantly lower cost per kill
against soft to lightly armored point targets.
Precision guidance will reduce collateral damage.
Lethal in all roles, capable of early entry in support,
the APKWS provides us single shot probability.

Andrew Grossman’s poem, “The Efficient Nurses of Florida” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has been widely published and anthologized. Grossman’s new book is 100 Poems of the Iraqi Wars. He resides with his wife, Nancy Terrell, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida .

Thursday, April 19, 2007


by Rochelle Owens

The hard shallow mask of
Don Imus the jock of shock
has not cracked despite being
caught as Old Geezer Disparager
of young black women college
Take it from me his conjoined
twin who hides under his white
cowboy hat, his little malformed
double, always humiliated and
invisibilized by Imus the superstar
who in our mother’s uterus swore
And prophesized that he, Imus
would pay close attention to the
preferences of his audience in order
to become rich and richer
thus, in music, songwriting and
packaging of my conjoined twin
Don Imus––being a misogynist racist
is profitable and reliable
it is being a member of a superclass
__a superclass of dickheads
self-swallowing self-devouring
A rainbow coalition who are the
solar system! and if I sound a little
bitter and resentful––well chalk
it up to my feeling the way I do
as a conjoined twin always expendable
but morally superior to my brother
                         Imus the parasitic twin

Rochelle Owens is the author of eighteen books of poetry and plays, the most recent of which are Plays by Rochelle Owens (Broadway Play Publishing, 2000) and Luca, Discourse on Life and Death (Junction Press, 2001). A pioneer in the experimental off-Broadway theatre movement and an internationally known innovative poet, she has received Village Voice Obie awards and honors from the New York Drama Critics Circle. Her plays have been presented worldwide and in festivals in Edinburgh, Avignon, Paris, and Berlin. Her play Futz, which is considered a classic of the American avant-garde theatre, was produced by Ellen Stewart at LaMama, directed by Tom O’Horgan and performed by the LaMama Troupe in 1967, and was made into a film in 1969. A French language production of Three Front was produced by France-Culture and broadcast on Radio France. She has been a participant in the Festival Franco-Anglais de Poésie, and has translated Liliane Atlan’s novel Les passants, The Passersby (Henry Holt, 1989). She has held fellowships from the NEA, Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and numerous other foundations. She has taught at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Oklahoma and held residencies at Brown and Southwestern Louisiana State.


by Iris Litt

On the sign-in screen
AOL offered info
on Cho
and how Nikki Giovanni kicked him out of
her creative writing class.
I had turned off the TV;
it was dripping blood,
but I wanted to see
how Giovanni
dealt with a student
who brought in a rant
instead of a poem
and what would I do
if my class had a Cho?
But when I clicked Print
my computer said
"the application AOL has unexpectedly quit."
When I tried to get the offer of enlightenment back
it was mysteriously gone from the screen.
I'd noted that Giovanni said
she had tried to divert Cho from Self,
told him to objectify his thoughts
so I eagerly clicked Print and clicked again.
But AOL couldn't take it.
I couldn't print.
And Cho couldn't quit.

Iris Litt's new book of poetry is What I Wanted to Say from Shivastan Publishing. She is the author of a former book of poetry, Word Love, published by Cosmic Trend Publications. She has had poems published in many literary magazines including Onthebus, Confrontation, Hiram Poetry review, Tiger's Eye, The New Renaissance, Asphodel, Poetry Now, Central Park, Icarus, The Rambunctious Review, Pearl,The Ledge, Earth's Daughters, Poet Lore, Scholastic, Atlantic Monthly (special college edition) and many others. Her short stories and articleshave also been widely published. She teaches writing workshops in Woodstock, NY, and has taught creative writing at Bard College, SUNY/Ulster, Writers in the Mountains, Educational Alliance, New York Public Library, Marble Collegiate Church and many other venues in New York City and the Hudson Valley. She lives in Woodstock, NY and in New York City's Greenwich Village.


by Fred Ferraris

Excess infinity places unfair burdens on irrational slope lines
The Sheriff screwed with chaotic attractors and contracted chains
The Colonel mistook his sackbut for a hole in the pitch pipe
The automatic trowel has launched a denial
Lumpen proles like broken pencils in the white hunter’s frumpy lobe
Moonshine spilled from the mouth of a replica
Gangsters in the Senate form globular clusters in congested cloacae
His Lordship’s parakeet is in the other room, asking a lorilet how to date kewpies
The warhorse loves a clash clash violin
I discovered a theory of life-before-death in your postcards from Golgotha
Fog-bound lawmen flog their pygmies
Reliable sauces are being sequestered inside a fairy tale where the crucified prosper
The blind seer with a saxophone waves his tubeworm in your face
A large sausage has cast its shadow on the Axiom of Piety
Many bathroom mirrors stumble through their careers in fear of the new toilet seat
The single-breasted paradox has ionized my laundry
The troll will now attempt to vacuum his mother’s blowhole
His gestures are being mimicked in theistic cisterns
When the game changed to tribal revenge, the diplomatic shuttlecock blew the truce
It¹s difficult sometimes to distinguish theocratic fascists from Stalinists with stock options
The doorstop that worships Nergal enjoys a timely evasion
The Treasurer declared his moral bankruptcy with an undisguised locution
Poisoned birds cause laughter among the sycophants
The Admiral dined on toad skins as he planned an assault on your mailbox
The huckster choked on Joyce’s hocket
My dog does not subscribe to pulsating universe theories
The President’s foundation garment is an empty oration
The blind seer with a saxophone has forgotten how to beg
My spell of asking impolite questions passed unnoticed
The cool of Baghdad was a great relief after the heat in Pyongyang
My daughter hopes to enroll in a school for galaxy design
The small split infinitive dried in the sun
The Admiral with a steam iron wants to open your spam
Let's go eat some Korean tacos in stained grey coats
The President intends to ask for new taxes to buy off invading Cubans
Government rag pickers prefer their sponges prepared in the Orwellian style
By linking their resources and comparing results, they hope to produce better tubeworms
Thank goodness I died before we reached Crawford
The Governor argues that sleaze should be tax-exempt, but only if used for political purposes
I'd like to find a skald who can take dictation in ghost words
The Pentagon believes their new stealth snail may attain light speed before we know it
Galaxy formation ten billion years ago interests me a little
In the movie, Citizen Kane, if you look through the parrot’s eye, you can see a skeleton dancing
As soon as the tacos arrive, let’s all shout, “Olé!"

Fred Ferraris is a poet, writer, and filmmaker. His recent work has appeared in, among many others: Audience, Epicenter, Heaven Bone, Poetrybay, and The Worcester Review; also in the chapbooks, Marpa Point (Blackberry Press, 1977) and The Durango Chronicles, Book One (Blue Marmot Press, 2004), a full-length book, Older Than Rain: Early and Recent Poems (Selva Editions, 1997), and the anthology, Prayers for a Thousand Years (Harper San Francisco, 1999). His book length manuscript, Loose Canons, was a finalist in the 2003 National Poetry Series. His film collaboration, "Even the Door Must Open," was an award winner at the 2005 Nolita Film Festival in New York. Ferraris was also nominated in 2005 for a Pushcart Prize. He was active in the New York and Northern California poetry scenes in the 1970's. Between 1977 and 1996 he devoted himself to family life and dharma practice. Ferraris lives with his family in Lyons, Colorado.


by Verandah Porche

Time in the slog zone
scanning the war
with tears...

Skin is kind.
A furrow suits your face
If age folds it.

Rut fits tread.
Decode the trace:
Your name is mud.

Blood from a stone…
Dusk hits the spot.

Soft dates and
the palms that weighed them
roll in the marketplace.

The lovely blond...
was her fiancé.

Cinders letter the road.
You bend to read
What wind spews.

Spring rings true
as red hands
in the Green Zone.

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

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


by Levon DeBranch

Nothing failed.

I went Downtown today
for the first time
in months.

I hate taking the bus

By the time I get
to where I'm going
I'm miserable,
and the ride home is
just more frosting on
the cake
of someone
I don't much care for.

Today was different

Even when I arrived
Downtown, the city
and all its timely-opportunities
to open-up to me.

I got done with everything
I had to do
rather quickly,
and accomplished

a lot.

Things truly went
my way.

When I boarded the bus
to come back home
I was convinced
the normally tedious
would just be more to become

contemptuous about.

I was disappointed,
once again.

There was minimal
not a lot of people getting
on and off
and the bridge for once
stayed flush.

By the time I got off
the bus,
I had a smile
on my face
not even the voice
of Sanjaya Malakar
could strain.

And for once,
perhaps the first time
all the most attractive
weren't riding
on the bus going

the opposite way.

What do you think of

and not a single
got pumped
full of lead.

Nothing failed.

Not now.

Not today.

Levon DeBranch is a writer in Connecticut. Not widely-published, poetry of his will soon be appearing in Boston Literary Magazine.


by Robert Emmett

wake up
your child
won’t be coming home again
her room still
sweet with fading memories…

the shadow
of an unseen raptor
crosses the sun
you flinch
and crane your neck
to see
what already has passed

there is no preparing
for this
no barrier high enough
to keep out
what is already inside

a face
in the mirror
a name
on your tongue
what does that matter

a voice on the radio
says the biggest massacre
of innocents
in the country’s history
so many numbers
to breach
what is bred
in the soil

why can’t they listen
seven generations
still grimace
at the thought of
whose corpses
lay in crimson snow
on wounded knee

Robert Emmett writes from the still, leafless woods of Michigan.


by Mike McCulley

Back in school I was a horse
with a heavy load getting beaten
into submission by the almighty
administration, I work for a jerk

who treats me like a dog
performing tricks for a tidbit,
I am bullied by the badgering police,
the politicians and their apologists,

tormented by the credit card company,
the oil company, the cable company,
the telephone company, maltreated
by small minded editors

who believe that only they know
a poem, I'm tired of being the sucker,
the stooge, it's time to strike back,
bite the hand, and somebody

is going to get hurt, it's time
to be the trouble, the plague,
and let the almighty worry
about pointless violence.

Mike McCulley: Two point five decades / on computer escapades, / retired from educating / rewired for recreating, / pastime birding / part time wording. / He posts his tweedledum / at wordanger dot blogspot dot com.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


by George Held

The terror has come home
Where it’s always been—

Charles Starkweather coming to call
In the Nebraska countryside,

Charles Whitman sniping at students
From the U of T bell tower,

The boys of Columbine armed
Like figures in a video game,

Now the gunman with a .22
And a 9 millimeter and a vest

Full of ammo clips playing
The Grim Reaper at Va Tech

While every night we watch
The bloody aftermath

Of improvised weapons
And shoulder-fired missiles

In Baghdad, Karbala, Baquba
But only French and Arab TV

Shows the collateral corpses
Torn apart by missiles

And bombs stamped Made in USA
And aimed by the tenant

Of The White House, now
A Red House steeped in the blood

He has spilled like our other
Home-made terrorists

In Nebraska and Texas
And Colorado and Virginia

And waiting to strike soon
In a state where you live.

George Held's chapbook W Is for War (Cervena Barva Press, 2006) contains two poems nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He contributes regularly to The New Verse News.


by Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan

What do the daffodils know of the day?
They; newly emerged
full of promise, full of splendor.
What do they know of the blue of it?

What do the daffodils know of the day?
They; dressed in their finest yellow,
dressed for Spring.
What do they know of the gray of it?

What do the daffodils know of the day,
the sun clouded by insanity & pain?

What do the daffodils know of the day?
The wet beads drop onto them;
crimson on yellow, crimson on green.

Drops fast enough,
heavy enough
to bend their heads down
as if in prayer & in mourning.

What do daffodils know of an April college day
when class rooms become death chambers?

What do the daffodils know of the day?
What do they know of the youth who will gather
the promises of life no more?

Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan's books include One Woman’s Voice (The North Sea Poetry Scene Press, 2005), Let Me Tell You Something (Street Press, 2006), For Michael (The North Sea Poetry Scene Press, 2007), and Howling The Moon (Street Press, 2007).


by Chris Vierck

The tv crackles to life and the first word
I hear is unthinkable, repeated twice,
said low and grim the way a voice-over
in a documentary might say the Titanic
was deemed unsinkable. Here we go again.
Something's happened. Something big.
The darkened tv slowly flickers and fades in.

Outside, the nor'easter is ripping down our trees
and the waters are flooding New York's tunnels,
the sky itself has taken to a howling rage
but this disaster is clearly made by man,
and this time no one can disagree--

33 confirmed dead

The number scrolls across the screen
without a flicker, under a commercial
for shaving cream that makes your follicles
stand up straight for the slicing down,
and my first thought is-- another bombing in Iraq,
our soldiers perhaps in the emerald city--
but it turns out different as my eyes follow
the scroll along; 33 dead at Virginia Tech,
good old VT, 33 students shot
after being chained into their class
how many years after Columbine?
how many years after McDonalds
a certain tower in Texas
and the latest postal spree?


The leaky red faucets drippin again.
All it takes is one man and his armory.

Chris Vierck is a poet who lives and writes in North Carolina.

Monday, April 16, 2007


by Alan Catlin

Bush's latest

screed against

against troop

bumped by real
news shootings

on campus in

Bush's formerly-

live statements
reduced to sound

bytes same-old

while elsewhere
life does not

go on as usual

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 Robert M. Chute

The year 2007. The place (places)
Kenya and Ethiopia where
agents representing freedom and
our ultimate well fare capture
imprison transport (render cooperative)
we're not sure who. It takes too
little imagination to turn the clock
back to 1940, fold the map
so Africa overlaps Europe where
the routes of secret flights are
marked in transparent ink.

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


by Rita Catinella Orrell

More than 90 people have been killed after a series of explosions at a weapons depot in Mozambique, government officials say. It was the second time in less than two months that aging explosives in the arsenal have detonated. —BBC News, March 23, 2007

Every bullet has a destiny,
each missile its own mission

forged for a greater purpose than
to fester in a boiling weapons shed,
poorly protected from enterprising thieves
and foolish children.

Why sit here waiting patiently
for Mozambique to forget her
cyclones, droughts, and floods
long enough to think again of war,

when we can unionize,
burst from this prison cell,
chase a taste of flesh and bone,
be all that we were meant to be?

Rita Catinella Orrell works as a magazine editor and writer in New York City. Her first chapbook of poetry, Stuck in the Dream Wheel, was selected as a semi-finalist in the 2005 New Women's Voices Chapbook Competition held by Finishing Line Press. "Or Does It Explode?" was inspired by a first hand account of the explosion from a journalist friend who is currently working in Maputo, Mozambique.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


by Earl J. Wilcox

There were a dozen of them in all,
those colorful Marilyn Monroe
paintings by Andy Warhol,
who gave them such obvious
yet oddly sad names
as Orange Marilyn and Lemon Marilyn,
signifying Andy’s choice of colors
to depict the bleak but vapid life
of a soul so lost in the universe
she appeared to us, like him---
the presence of all color,
the absence of everything beautiful.


by Earl J. Wilcox

The tiny auto clatters through our neighborhood, sputtering,
chugging, and rattling like a one-man band having a bad day.

White paint pepped up with brave blues and radical reds, this
car carries medical supplies for invalids. In the 60s when the

first Beetles swept in like a plague of pretty lady bugs or chic
cicadas, they were hailed as harbingers of the age of Aquarius.

Across the street today, the bug from yesteryear brings meds
for a friend who long ago forgot he was the leader of a band.

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.


by Chris Vierck

IMUST remember not to be a royal pig,
wearing a cowboy hat inside to cover my wig,
cuz it puts me somewhere level with don king
when I want to the the mafioso don.... of zings!

IMUST, IMUST, IMUST be freaking insane,
quick, give me somebody else to w/rap with blame.
IMUST remember not to be so old and crappy!
IMUST remember to use happy, instead of nappy,
IMUST remember to use soul, instead of ho,
Check this out to make sure just how it flows....
that team sure is a bunch of happy headed souls!

IMEAN, I-MEAN, I-MUST plead the 5th
I told a silly lil', funny lil' joke that missed
true, my mama told me not to grow up this way
but I just snarled at her aside, and said hey!
you silly, frumpy headed degenerate crone,
it's my mouth, my tongue, my style, my tone
get away from me with that bar of soap!
so what if I talk like a freaking dope?
if people really hated my darned show

they'd.... turn the dials on their radios.

(Ah, for the days it was all about Anna Nicole!)

Chris Vierck is a poet who lives and writes in North Carolina.

Friday, April 13, 2007


by Michael Graves

These faces, thickened, battered,
Heavy, coarsened, leathered, weathered,
With callous unflinching eyes
And lips that do not twitch:
Refugees move like soldiers,
Cauldron born in some dark myth.

Michael Graves is a widely published poet and has a full-length collection Adam and Cain (Black Buzzard, 2006) nominated for a PEN Osterweil Award. Graves was the recipient of a substantial grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation in 2004.


by Charles Frederickson

                    15 million stateless and counting
               Global population shifts forced migration
          Homeless pigeons tossed stale crumbs
     No win impasse future tense

Hordes of disenfranchised nobody cares
     Hidden away in cobwebbed corners
          Prey hanging by single thread
               No recourse to hang onto

                    Dysfunctional loving families torn asunder
               Betrayed innocence toddlers self-help crawlers
          Disadvantaged youth deprived of childhood
     No man’s land trespassers forbidden

Caught in limbo borderline standoff
     Teeming swarm mass poverty survivors
          Begging for mercy leftover discards
               No place to be somebody

                    Bittersweet tainted lifeblood turned sour
               Indigent workers banished from hive
          None of anybody’s business honeycombs
     No job prospects sticky wickets

Without citizenship basic needs unmet
     Overturned slippery welcome mats yanked
          In denial repatriation fearsome threat
               Nowhere to call own home

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.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


by George Held

We're all of us Ghosts....It’s not only what we have inherited from our father and mother that walks in us. It's all sorts of dead ideas, and lifeless old beliefs, and so forth. They have no vitality, but they cling to us all the same, and we can't get rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper, I seem to see Ghosts gliding between the lines. There must be Ghosts all the country over, as thick as the sand of the sea.
— Ibsen, Ghosts

Those received ideas clogging the gears
Of our minds, making them grind to a halt
While synapses snap us to attention
When our leaders say, “War!” “Starve the Beast!”
“Privatize!” and all the other ghostly lies
That keep us immobilized in fear of change

Thick as thieves our masters, who pour
The sand of lies into the hourglass
Of our lives, choking us like a sand storm
In the Sahara , the grains thick on the tongue
Clogging the throat of protest, suffocating
Any cry for relief, for change

Thick as blood the war-wounded suffering
In hospitals, the poor struggling
To stay afloat, the homeless sleeping
In makeshift shelters or on the street,
The mad, the ill, suppurating
From wounds dealt by ghosts

George Held's chapbook W Is for War (Cervena Barva Press, 2006) contains two poems nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He contributes regularly to The New Verse News.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

The forklift grips the luggage and lifts it out of the plane's baggage compartment. A suitcase, a suitcase, a casket. The flag that once draped the casket has fallen off. Flagless, the casket is placed in the back of a truck to be driven to a warehouse in the cargo area. The dead soldier's family can claim it there. With any luck, they'll find another flag. Meanwhile, in a news story she read last summer, a man was shot dead by police as he attacked his mother with a fork. Our government vows it will change all this.

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, April 09, 2007


by Doris Henderson

The honorable gentleman of the Ways and Means Committee,
aware of the magnitude of the issue at hand,
after preliminary expostulation yields the balance of his time
to his esteemed colleague designated for the vital task

of commenting on the magnitude of the issue at hand,
and of earnestly seeking a bipartisan solution,
which task the esteemed colleague has designated
for relieving his loyal supporters of their burdensome taxes,

earnestly sought by partisans of the solution,
in the best tradition of incorporated American values
to relieve the unsupported taxpayers of their burdensome money
through the establishment of an ever-expanding economy

in the best tradition of high valued American corporations
to further the pursuit of accelerated prosperity
in the ever-expanding globalized proliferation
which must be avoided at all costs.

The senator having accelerated his pursuit of prosperity,
his political funding practices are currently under legal scrutiny,
the proliferation of which must be avoided at all costs,
as an obfuscation diverting from the issue in question,

the scrutiny of the illegal funding practices of the opposition,
in pursuance of which the speaker now yields the floor
for obfuscation of the question at issue now diverted.
Objection is raised by the architect of the original proposal,

pursued by the speaker on the floor now yielded
to the esteemed gentleman from the State of Inertia,
raising objection to the original architect of the proposal
obscured by the ensuing debate over the question.

The esteemed gentleman having reached the State of Inertia
yields the balance of his primary expostulation
to the ensuing debate obscured by the raised question
of the Ways and Means whereby the honorable gentleman can be committed.

Doris Henderson is a poet living in Danbury, Connecticut. This poem is a pantoum, a series of quatrains in which the second and fourth lines of each stanza are repeated (with variations) as the first and third lines of the following stanza. It’s very repetitious, but then --- did you ever watch Congress in action?

Sunday, April 08, 2007


by Mary Saracino

Deep in the coils of memory our DNA
sings ancient songs of life, death, regeneration.
We each turn on our own axis,
as the Earth turns through her seasons,
winter’s fallow followed by spring’s eternal greening.
All sacred litanies arise from her soil,
take to the sky, return their blessings
to the wells, the rivers, the oceans.
Why can’t we remember?
Our souls are hung on crosses,
our limbs bound, our hands and feet
nailed to unrelenting dogma,
our tender ribs pierced with thorny spears,
our vulva-wounds ooze with bloody amnesia.
We have forgotten where we come from:
the dank caves of consciousness
littered with the bones of
stone age lovers painted ochre-red
to honor menstrual blood, the original river,
to honor, too, its womb-source, our primal passageway
the portal from which we all emerged, mouths open, wailing
for our mother’s breast,
seeking the milk that sustains us.
Like spring we are born again and again;
we circumnavigate our lives, spiraling forward,
circling back, orbiting our hearts
until we open to the sun
like red tulips in a once-fallow field,
dancing in the breeze, loose with joy,
sharing our subterranean secret,
reviving the buried bulb’s dormant hopes,
reveling in our resurrection.

Mary Saracino is a novelist, poet and memoir writer who lives in Denver, CO. Her newest novel, The Singing of Swans (Pearlsong Press 2006) was named a Lambda Literary Awards finalist in the Spirituality category.


by HL

“Neither can we call this a begging of misery” --John Donne

Inside her, the storm raged
Birds, crazy with desire, swoop into vision
Turn the world up-side-down
Disappear before nonsense becomes truth
The dogs see it all in black and white
& never pay it any mind.

Books can’t explain it. Not this one, nor any other
Yet the universal “we try” suffice,
and yes, we can dream of peace.
Imagine a world, a utopia, somewhere above or below
Just beyond the flight of the phoenix
Where children start out as physics models.

They parade down the time line from paradise
Bless post-menopausal teachers with knowing smiles.
Recreate virginity with time machine travel
as miraculous as the birds flying through tales before
they happen. Sound multidimensional musical
notes of precarious adventure,

Pictures of eyes see the light,
Winds dim the starlight enough to curve space,
Turn a mountain into an Einstein thought experiment
just long enough to stop the sun.
Was it three hours or three days? Damn the oral tradition
and the rhyme scheme for fun.

Apparently, reality is our parent
contrived to make boredom less troubling than insanity.
Roundabout stories satisfying ineptitude
Called out for awards on Saturday morning cartoons,
return the flamingos for Sunday worship,
enticing adolescents to find solace in apple pie.

HL is a computer-nerd bicyclist who cranks out poetry as he rides along prairie grass and gravel roads. He says, "War is not the Answer / Ride a Bicycle," and more at cornfedtrouble.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


by Rita Catinella Orrell

An Iraqi interpreter wears a mask to conceal his identity while he
assists a soldier delivering an invitation to an Imam for a meeting
with an American colonel. – The New Yorker, March 26, 2007

You lend us your tongues,
and we use them until they are dry
and cracked and then thank you
with a glass of sand.
Ice water is saved
for those less troublesome,
safe inside the Green Zone gates.

You warn us don't point with your feet
as it's a sign of disrespect
but who will warn you
seconds before limbs are ripped apart
by a roadside bomb on your way to work?

You instruct us never ask
to meet a man's sister,
while you can't protect your own kin
from those who demand
Are you Shia or Sunni?

And until we figure out
how to cut this oily apron string,
we remain bound together,
strangers, traitors, allies,
unable to leave this war,
this dry and broken place,
a greater country than before.

Rita Catinella Orrell has worked as a design editor and writer in New York City since 1995. Her first chapbook of poetry, Stuck in the Dream Wheel, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2005.


by Shaun Hull

morning breaks like a crack shot through bone
the needs are frightening that I must possess
this hunger in my womb

head out to trenches
crawling on concrete blood
tank and diesel
mortar and pestle
clouds of promise blind my way

the king's in control but the ghosts
are there and their and they're
in hoods of faith to cut the cord

steal down the path of deaths holy trail
hide from Satan's cape in shrines with idols they set ablaze
craters of remains hold pieces of flesh and baby's breath
wretched with veil wrapped tight to skirmish no eyes
reaching sanctuary for my supplies
around and around
to face it again
and again and

again past bloody sheets
car parts for limbs
sparkplug fingers
transmission torsos

naked in hells kitchen i die
for daily bread…

today life goes
and goes not
within me
without me
down a Baghdad
death row

Shaun Hull is an Engineering Technician by trade...a guitarist, singer, songwriter, and poet by nature. He has been featured In Voices For Africa, Poetry Super Highway in the 2005 Holocaust edition, and Winning Writers with Critique by Jendi Reiter. He currently lives in Cocoa, Florida with his cat; skanke' and tons of stuff he can never find. He also has samples from his CD: If The Shoe Fits at:

Friday, April 06, 2007


by Becky Harblin

as always,
but tonight...
Not by clouds,
or evil men,
just the nature
of the cosmos.
Turning not,
on an evil axis,
just turning,
making waves.
Not waves,
of tsunami
just the shining
of its eyes
other world.
the world
where men are bad
just because they
are different,
but, the other
where the moon
while it smiles
on us
and tomorrow
or next month
it will look
upon us,
and smile on them.
What will
we have done
in the meantime?

Becky Harblin, a sculptor who works in concrete and in soapstone also writes poetry daily. Each morning starts with several haiku or senryu, and these words open her day. Becky lives on a farm with sheep in a rural county in upstate New York. After years of working in Manhatten she moved to the more pastoral setting and but life is no less demanding, but, offers different observations and opportunities. This poem was written after watching the news in room lit by the moon.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


in North Dakota

by Nancy Devine

If two men in my state married,
my husband and I would begin
disagreeing about simple things:
toilet paper unfurling from top not bottom,
a chunk of Charmin a tongue stuck out at us everyday,
which brand of ketchup to buy
or is it catsup?
It would get worse:
we’d forget our first date
at a now razed restaurant whose site
is an auto parts shop
advertised with a checkered flag
and worse:
he in a corner of our living room,
standing on a speaker throwing kitchen whisks at me
as I cower under a cheap coffee table
I haven’t gotten around to painting yet
pleading, “Please, please love me! Can’t you just
love me?”
I’d go find him a mistress,
a too-tanned blonde waitress
from a bar half mile away
and bring to her our house,
carry her bride-style across
our front door’s threshold,
her nails scratching at interior walls we painted soft yellow
She’d spin my white Mikasa plates while humming
“Saber Dance” two keys lower than on The Ed Sullivan Show
on Sunday night before leaping into bed
with my husband, his eyes gleaming
gold moons and chartreuse stars, which float
up to our ceiling where I suck
them just before our marriage crumbles expertly apart
just as it was assigned to do a Tuesday in November
that is a long, long
ways off.

Nancy Devine teaches high school English in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where she lives with her husband Chuck and their two dogs, Whitey and Yo-yo. She co-directs the Red River Valley Writing Project, a local site of the National Writing Project. Her poems have appeared recently in Bear River Journal, Main Channel Voices, Matter 09: Fuel. and 42opus. She has work forthcoming in The Minnetonka Review and VOX.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


for Ozzie, Harriet and Garrison Keillor

by Lillian Baker Kennedy

that mother would just get back in the kitchen
with her high heels and her apron tied tight
around her back

that the gays would get back in the closet
and hush up

all that Chico-type talk
surging over the border in the dark

that each man would take his aluminum
lunchbox, get back in line
with all those robot appendages

forming steel and mettle, a Great Nation
on its knees before God and women
on their knees

next to some old rusty spring headboard
in a quick rent room by the overpass

concrete, metal slash – hurtling
side by side, so fast
they are still –

tractor trailers and VW Bugs.
God, what we would give
for hippies,

a few good drugs and a mass concert,
some wistful folksinger
plucking flowers and girls

and making it all round again
all coming round, like things go

and come back around.

Lillian Baker Kennedy, a 2005 Pushcart nominee, author of Tomorrow After Night (Bay River Press, 2003) and Notions (Pudding House, 2004), lives next to wild roses in Auburn, Maine.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


by Diane Elayne Dees

Five rugs for five bucks!
One hundred thousand
dead Iraqi women, children
and bystanders, thirty-two hundred
dead American civilians, two thousand
six hundred fifty dead American soldiers
for four hundred thirteen billion
seven hundred thousand million dollars.
Massive fraud for one and a half billion
dollars. Something no one in Washington
can find for eight billion eight hundred million
dollars. "I encourage you to all go shopping more."
Five rugs for five bucks!

Diane Elayne Dees recently received two Pushcart Prize nominations for poetry. She publishes a blog, The Dees Diversion, and is also a regular contributor to Mother Jones' MoJo Blog.

Monday, April 02, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

She’s never been even tempted to give up teaching,
but this driving home at night alone is starting to get
to her. She double-locks the doors the second she’s
off the highway and calls her mother as soon as she
gets home. For awhile there was another woman
teaching nights, only too happy to split the tolls. And
now there’s Edgar. Most of the time he rides in the
glove compartment, but when she drives alone at
night she places him on the seat beside her. A flick of
a switch right on the steering wheel, and there he is
B muscular in his red tee-shirt even if it seems odd in
the middle of winter, already seatbelted in, attentive
to what’s going on around him. True, he doesn’t
inflate as quickly as he did a few months ago, and
there are hollow creases, especially around his face,
but she likes to think of them as wrinkles. Easiest
way she’s found to calm her parents’ fears, practice
safe sex, and not smear her lipstick.

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.