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Friday, August 31, 2007


by Hugo De Sarro

We sat on the grass
and listened to the bells,
and I was elsewhere
pretending and listening
to a more disruptive sound.
There were whispers, soft laughter,
and white faces floating
in the dim and sensual light,
and I observed at a distance.

And when we walked in the dark
of the trees across the road
and held hands and didn’t talk
and stopped now and then to kiss,
I strolled a separate path,
unhanded and unkissed.

At the freshmen fire,
I felt no glow, no warmth.
I didn't sing; my voice wasn’t mine.
I knew I was miscast; too much had changed.

Hugo De Sarro is a former adjunct college English instructor. His work has been published in a variety of journals, including Eureka Literary Magazine, Absinthe Literary Review, Colorado Review, Pulsar, Oklahoma Literary Review, and others in the U.S. and internationally.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


by Liane Ellison Norman

Say one child dies.

The house that houses grief may stand intact,
books on the shelves, dishes in cupboards,
towels on racks, scraper on the porch,
where dirt from muddy shoes falls off, floors

Disease storms the door, rips up
the floor, interrogates incomprehensibly.

The house becomes a foreign place
to stumble through at night into a land
of numbed not-sleep, broken at last
by the dull thud just before the grenade
of morning explodes.
Then multiply.

Liane Ellison Norman won the Wisteria Prize in January 2007, awarded by Paper Journey Press, for her poem "What There'd Been." She has also published poems in the Madwomen in the Attic Anthology (2007), Pittsburgh Post Gazette and Pittsburgh City Paper. Her first book of poetry, The Duration of Grief, was published in 1990 by Smoke & Mirrors Press, which also published her novel, Stitches in Air: A Novel About Mozart's Mother (2001.) A biography, Hammer of Justice: Molly Rush and the Plowshares Eight (1990) and Simpleton Story: A Fairy Tale For a Nuclear Age (1985) were published by PPI Books. She has also published many essays, articles and reviews.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


by Charles Frederickson

Monos = one Polein = to sell
        Lazy unfair as loaded dice
                Supply & demand virtual unreal estate
                        Fake moola GOing for broke

                        250 million gamesters hooked worldwide
                27 trance-elations languages including Braille
        Goal financial solvency while forcing
Opponents into bankruptcy assets lost

Little greenhouses red do drop-inns
        Railroaded to part with utilities
                Placing hope in Community Chest
                        Last Chance sub-prime mortgage foreclosed

                        Wall Street Boardwalk tumbling down
                Tarnishing In Gold Wet Rust
        Infestment broker blamed for indebtedness
Get out of jail Free

Dr. Charles Frederickson is a Swedish/American/Thai No Holds Bard who may be described as a Wired Weirdo, Independent Outsider or Wonkish Ex-spurt. This e-gadfly has wandered intrepidly through 206 countries, an original sketch and poem for each presented on A member of World Poets Society, based in Greece, his unique poetic style has been featured in more than 200 publications on 6 continents. A gallery of his artwork can be viewed at Ascent Aspirations and his “PoeArtry” word and image combos appear regularly as Poem of the Day @

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


by David Chorlton

You're minding your own business on a sunny day
when a man wearing a raincoat sidles up beside you
and before you have time to inquire
after his manner of dress he touches the sleeve
of your shirt with a Pssst to attract your attention.
He glances around, licks his lips, eyes you up and down
which makes you nervous, but he quickly acts
to reassure you that you're in no danger.
The weather today is idyllic. The stock market is in bloom
and there's a spring in everyone's step. Now this man
steps in front of you, peels back one side of his coat
to reveal a few inches of the lining. Do you want to see more?
Of course you do. So he shows you more. It's small print.
You didn't see this on TV and not this and not this
he salivates. You can't divert your attention
from the stories as he points to them, the one about
the victims of the war for which you're paying
and the one about who met with your senator before the vote
on health insurance. He's showing everything now,
breathing heavily. Here's surveillance, torture, contributions
to campaigns that never end, memos leaked from secret
meetings and a list of scapegoats to activate in case
of national emergency. And he's off. There he goes
gripping the edges of his coat and laughing the way
a person laughs when nothing is funny anymore. When he acts
in good conscience and when he leaves
it's you who feels dirty.

David Chorlton lives in Phoenix, writes and paints and keeps track of local wildlife. His newest book, The Porous Desert, was published this summer by FutureCycle Press, and testifies to his having internalised the desert during the past twenty-nine years. Some of his art work can be seen at

Monday, August 27, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

He's getting buried in the morning! Ding dong! The bells are gonna chime. Pull out the stopper! Let's have a whopper! But get him to the morgue on time! He's twenty years old. His motorcycle lies by the side of the creek, and the water's rising rapidly. They might have killed him, but they didn't get the bike. His father and brothers drag his body further from the water, but it's nearly impossible in this mud. They've been waiting five hours now. The hearse is busy retrieving the bodies of other murdered sons, those who have no motorcycles left. The stench is becoming unbearable. Finally his father flags down a taxi. This is in Caracas. And there probably won't be any bells.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Leads (Otoliths Press, 2007), Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


by Nancy D. Tolson

Dogs dead
A thug in a football jersey
Money don’t buy sense nor dignity
Endorsements for leather sneakers should remain
Instead of time to think about you becoming more humane

Nancy D. Tolson is an associate professor who writes both academically and creatively. Her poetry and stories can be found in various journals (online and print) and books including Bum Rush the Page; A Def Poetry Jam (2002), Erotic Haiku (2004) and Bleeding on the Page: Women Writing About Menstruation (forthcoming).


by James Penha

Astronomers observing a distant region of space say they have discovered something truly remarkable: a whole lot of nothing. The enormous void, nearly a billion light years across, is empty of normal matter ... "What we've found is not normal, based on either observational studies or on computer simulations of the large-scale evolution of the universe," [co-discoverer Liliya] Williams said. "It looks like something to be taken seriously,” said Brent Tully, a University of Hawaii astronomer.
--CBC News, August 24, 2007

A vast starless, spherical silence
emptied of gravity,
matter, reason,

galactic articles, amendments,
justices, bills,
and rights
(balanced so infinitely before in orbits)

spreads astronomically across this universe—
a great nothing—
from Washington to Baghdad,
Afghanistan to Guantanamo.

James Penha edits The New Verse News. A new collection of his expatriate poems, No Bones to Carry, is due out from New Sins Press this summer. Info at

Friday, August 24, 2007


by Earl J Wilcox

You were as hard to contain as chicken with its head cut off.
Speaker for the dissident, fiction writer for those of us who

wanted to learn our craft from the inside out---such stunning
use of the vernacular. Then all that verve and vivid verisimilitude

like nobody before and not for a long time afterward. One of a kind,
Grace, we do all adore you, but we don’t want to make you an icon.

You’d come back and haunt us, chiding the hell out of us, telling
us how to make a poem out of your obit. Or a short story. Or show

us how to stroll through the park while reading our stuff to see if it worked. Today is the day, dear Grace, the time to try it, but I don’t

think I have the guts you did. I’m afraid the dogs will bark, the locals munching on feta or sipping on pinot grigio will run away and doves

will shit on me for trying. But if you think I should do it, by God, I’m going to do it. Here I go. Wish me luck. Don’t you dare rest in peace.

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 Steve De France

He lies on his side, eyes open--- watching.
They don’t focus---his gray eyes just watch you.
Hugging the legs of an L.A. bus bench, his arms
are tangled around the iron in an unnatural way.
Naked legs thrust out onto the sidewalk.
Most people walk around. A few step over.
The bench back above him is an advertisement.
(maybe for him a bomb shelter).It has a picture
of a fat black man. He looks well fed.
Above him in red letters are the words:
In small letters a disclaimer. It states each case is unique.
And as in life, there are no guarantees.

A bus hisses & thunders to a stop.
An Indian or Pakistan woman
is lowered off in a wheel chair.
Her chair can't roll over the man.
He blocks her sidewalk. She screams.
Brown & black faces gather to poke
& punch the guy. He groans.

A Los Angeles police car shows up. Two cops.
A white female, a black male.
Politically correct.
Suspicion swells---the crowd stops chattering & scatters.
Half don't have identity papers. Others are inherently
afraid of any police.

The police guy's very short, the female's unusually tall.
I imagine them as lovers.
The cops sit the guy up. He starts coughing.
Suddenly he pukes on the female officer's leg.

They stand him up against the wall
at Washington & Grand.
traffic's tangling around them,
for a minute I thought they might shoot him.

Suddenly the man stands to attention and says:
"Is this Baghdad? Am I under arrest? What are the charges?
I am corporal Jones serial# 2yusmc…”
The small cop says, “It’s OK, soldier.
Almost gently---he touches his shoulder.
“There are no charges.”

The female reads his rights & with rubber gloves
leads him toward the police unit.
They drive off without conviction.
They'll leave him somewhere behind the lines---
where no one cares too much,
maybe Chinatown.

Steve De France is a widely published poet, playwright and essayist both in America and in Great Britain. His work has appeared in literary publications in Canada, France, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, India and Australia. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Poetry in both 2002 and 2003. A few recent publications include The Wallace Stevens Journal, The Mid-American Poetry Review, Ambit, Atlantic, and The Sun. In England he won a Reader's Award in Orbis Magazine for his poem "Hawks." In the United States he won the Josh Samuels' Annual Poetry Competition (2003) for his poem: "The Man Who Loved Mermaids." His play The Killer had its world premiere at the Garage Theatre in Long Beach, California (Sept-October 2006). In 1999, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Chapman University for his writing.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


by Nancy Kenney Connolly

for Barack Obama

You cannot marry a giraffe, his mother was told, think
of the children---what kind of son---

his mother was staring at clouds, seeing tufts of milkweed in the
mouths of white-winged doves, seeing rainbow seeds
conceiving a new breed of son who stood

above, head and shoulders,

and she watched his cottony lips
munching, munching mimosa leaves
of every flavor---
sweet and sour, au vin rouge, drenched with ketchup

sometimes bitter as an empty stomach---

and then she heard
him negotiate with gangly grace the underbrush, the strangling vines,
to flex his telescopic neck

and scan the sky for a far savanna where
rainbow seeds could sprout, he

leading others there.

Nancy Kenney Connolly lives in Austin TX, though she will soon move to the Chapel Hill area of NC. Her poetry has been published in such journals as Asheville Poetry Review, Cider Press Review, Concho River Review, The Lyric, Sycamore Review, and many others. She has three books, most recently Second Wind, and a chapbook, I Take This World, winner of the Main Street Rag Chapbook Contest.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


by John Grey

Had it been a president,
it might have made page one.
A governor, at least,
would have had his name
spelled correctly.
But fifty men
suffocated in the back of a truck,
not a passport between them,
must lump together as one
smelly, sweltering corpse
to fit the column inches.
The last line states,
the driver was arrested.
But it says nowhere
how the country got away.

John Grey's latest book is What Else Is There from Main Street Rag. He has been published recently in Agni, Worcester Review, South Carolina Review, and The Journal Of The American Medical Association.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


by Bill Britton

Above an arc of black coffee,
ebony figures,
gnarled and wrapped
in dusty parchment,
lean across the screen,
their eyes charred by hunger,
their nurslings adrift
in a wasteland of withered breasts,
their bodies bent by indifferent winds
that swirl over umbered landscapes
and scourge this kindling of races
raked into barren corners
and lost in the gaze of camera lenses.

Bill Britton is copy editor for American Journal of Philology and is presently associated with a project designed to raise public awareness regarding the immediate dangers inherent to greenhouse gas emissions. His earlier therapeutic regimen as a commercial shellfish harvester has been replaced by daily rides on his bicycle and motorcycle, both of which serve to clear his brain and thus make way for new trivialities. A (faithful) former Marine, Bill is an adamant pacifist and atheist, an anathema to today's U.S. polity.


by Earl J. Wilcox

Walking bare foot in our back yard wet from dew,
we survey our fifty-foot kingdom, where zesty
zinnias, scrawny marigolds coexist in a sunny spot.
The flowers--- with equal fertilizer, encouraging words
---remind us of an ongoing oncology concern
roiling about South Carolina’s spiritual health.

Revolutionaries have coexisted here for more
than three hundred years. Our landscape is
littered or decorated—depending on one’s view
of history---with battle sites and cemeteries.
Markers stake out gardens of hallowed ground.
A new revolutionary battle cry is heard in our
land: an ultra-conservative religious cult signals
its intent to invade, take control of the citizenry.

If this rapturous revolution explodes,
will our morning rituals be altered, can
we still choose sunny spots for planting,
walk unfettered among lush grass, hearty
or puny plants? Such trivial catechism is not
preached lightly by these heaven bounders
seeking to convert our population. In their
theology, Sundays may be only for church
going---no more back yard worship, sipping
pinot grigio, praising marigolds and zinnias.

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, August 18, 2007


by Marcelle Kasprowicz

Which one do you want
I guarantee you will not find
a better assortment anywhere

The white crusader on the red horse
is obsolete
but still very popular
It also comes
as a black-garbed masked warrior
with curved sword
or belt of plastic
strapped around his waist
I have an overstock
in that line

On special today
I have this mud spattered trench doll
slumped over barbed wire
It used to be sold as
“Warrior to end all wars”

You're looking at the one
dearest to my heart
The one with the steel pot
and the parachute
It comes with its own landing craft
chocolate bars and chewing gum
Another option on this one
is a model of the Enola Gay

If you cannot find one you like
they're making new ones everyday
I have several on order
from this catalog
this one comes with its jury-rigged armored MV
A nice touch
Don't you think

And then you have the grab-bag
with quite a nice selection
tribal warriors with spears or machetes
genocidal militia...

Marcelle Kasprowicz was born in Niort, France. She received an M.A. from UT at Austin. She is an Austin resident. She writes in English and French and also translates her French poems in English. In 2001 she was awarded first prize for her poem "House of Bones" in the Austin International Poetry Festival Anthology. She had her poems published in Ascent Aspiration, Farfelu, The Texas Poetry Calendar, (on line). She is the author of Organza Skies, a book of poems about the Davis Mountains of West Texas, published in 2005.

Friday, August 17, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

She's seventy years old. Her house is small, but with a large yard. She naps a lot during the day. She coughs sometimes. She has trouble breathing. She lies down in the shade of a tree behind the house. It's ninety degrees today, and she doesn't dare risk the sun. Still, she imagines light traveling through her body, stopping in her chest. Her chest is bright green and the light is transparent, flowing. She envisions it entering her veins. She imagines it healing her. The medication that she can't afford, she hopes. Or simply cool, clear water.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Leads (Otoliths Press, 2007), 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, August 16, 2007


by Grace Marie Grafton

the exercise of the mind strong enough to explain or neutralize when days' news comes in the locusts of women willing to explode themselves in markets citizens of the world trapped like ants under collapsed buildings or displaced by bombs and the righteous then I'm as full of fear and helpless to act as the time I accidentally crushed the back half of the spider that crawled on my bedroom floor (I was a heedless ten year old) its front convulsing in a last gasp of Oh My Life and I'd caused it we humans seem so unredeemable every day I ask what are we hurtling toward want to carry my kids and grandkids up to the ridge where we'll fill our arms with poppies lupine rising moon poetry each other

Grace Marie Grafton's poetry won first prize in the annual Bellingham Review contest, was a finalist for Nimrod's Pablo Neruda Prize, and was twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her chapbook, Zero, won the Poetic Matrix Press contest. Her book, Visiting Sisters, was published by Coracle Books. Poems recently appear in The Modern Review, Ur*vox, good foot, Spoon River Poetry Review, and may be viewed at (also under G. M.Grafton).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


by James Arthur Anderson

I’m standing at the station with no ticket,
like a jilted lover, and the train is about to leave
                                       for parts unknown.
It seems I’ve pinned my hopes and dreams
on the might be and the could have been,
and now I’m sick and tired of waiting
                                       for that bell to ring.
The damned thing’s cracked,
a damaged, useless icon
                                       for something we no longer have.
The Leader’s on the train, riding in the Pullman car
with all his donor base wearing party hats
and waving flags and eating pork rind sundaes free
                                       for the asking
                                       for those who pay the price.
He gives a fancy, abstract speech about his love for love
and God and country and making the world safe
                                       for you and me
and then He calls
                                       for support
from you and me and everyone else in Dixie ,
and then he leaves those of us who can’t afford the ride,
leaves us standing on the platform
to watch the train and wave goodbye.

James Arthur Anderson is currently Professor of English at Johnson & Wales University ’s Florida Campus, and Adjunct professor at Florida Memorial University , where he teaches creative writing and British literature. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island, and his B.A. and M.A. from Rhode Island College .

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


in January 2007

by Liane Ellison Norman

I really don't know why, she says.
A dozen kids make their own
posters to hold at the corner

of Forbes and Braddock
on a blustery day in the teens.
This corner's named for another

time, another war, when General
Braddock's forces failed to take
Fort Duquesne from General Forbes.

She's nearly seven, mover
and shaker. My teacher's son
is in the war. Now he's in

the hospital. Maybe, she thinks,
that's why. We're layered,
sweaters, parkas, hats, scarves,

mittens. More cars honk than
don't, thumbs up and the V
of first and second fingers,

the sign for peace. Hey, Mr.
President. We're out here
in the cold saying No.

Liane Ellison Norman won the Wisteria Prize in January 2007, awarded by Paper Journey Press, for her poem "What There'd Been." She has also published poems in the Madwomen in the Attic Anthology (2007), Pittsburgh Post Gazette and Pittsburgh City Paper. Her first book of poetry, The Duration of Grief, was published in 1990 by Smoke & Mirrors Press, which also published her novel, Stitches in Air: A Novel About Mozart's Mother (2001.) A biography, Hammer of Justice: Molly Rush and the Plowshares Eight (1990) and Simpleton Story: A Fairy Tale For a Nuclear Age (1985) were published by PPI Books. She has also published many essays, articles and reviews.

Monday, August 13, 2007


by David Feela

It’s the anchor woman
that attracts me.
The Taliban or the latest presidential polls
are just bits of gossip fluttering
past her glossy lips.

I imagine she’s talking to me,
directly, and that between the storm
on the east coast and the 9th inning home run
during yesterday's major league game
she’ll ask to see my stamps.

When that happens, who cares
how many people died in a Japanese earthquake
or if the cost of crude has hit a new high.
The shadows playing across her blouse
make me want to care about world affairs.

Or it’s her slender legs
barely touching in the half light
beneath her news desk
that open my mind to the potential
for peace in the Mideast.

I don’t know why
but I’m in love with the news.

David Feela is a poet, free-lance writer, writing instructor, book collector, and thrift store pirate. His work has appeared in regional and national publications, including High Country News’s "Writers on the Range," Mountain Gazette, and in the newspaper as a "Colorado Voice" for The Denver Post. He is a contributing editor and columnist for Inside/Outside Southwest and for The Four Corners Free Press. A poetry chapbook, Thought Experiments (Maverick Press), won the Southwest Poet Series. His web page can be viewed at

Sunday, August 12, 2007


by Emily Wharton

Only 70% of people surveyed
believe in the devil

First a fall from paradise
then this drop in the polls

some demons can’t catch a break

I’m sure he’s crying himself to sleep tonight
wondering if it’s even worth plotting

a big PR stunt. Psycho killers keep
all their own press. Everyone thinks
“possession” is a fragrance. A 21st century Job

would be featured in a Lifetime original movie.
but then again, even God’s numbers are slipping

and he’s the one with the infrastructure
and the make-or-break-your-eternity reputation

The devil decides he’s overreacting.
Any agent will tell you, all trends are cyclical.
as Monty Python said: “No one expects

the Spanish inquisition”

Emily Wharton is a poet living and working in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She earned her MFA in creative writing at Hamline University. Her poems have appeared in the Minnesota Poetry Calendar and Split-City Review. She is a recurring participant in the Talking Image Connections reading series.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


by Dan Lewis

Juxtaposition is
everything. Matter
believes nothing. The task
is to infuse the world
with meaning. The children
are strapped into the car
with the bomb because faith
is required after all, and because
sacrifice is the only answer
that is not already spoken.

Dan Lewis lives in Worcester, Massachusetts where he earns his living as a technical writer. His work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Café Review, Southern New Hampshire University Journal, Paper Street, Diner (feature, Spring, 2003), The Worcester Review and others.


by Terry Swann

nothing to fear
but fear itself!
bellowed the man in the wheelchair
the great depression and
world war two
wilted in his strength
and ours
mission accomplished!
bellowed the man in the flight suit
but the enemy did not wilt
war on terror!
was his mantra
as he tortured
and tapped
and rendered extraordinarily
and cut paper dolls
from the constitution
and we
and we
in our fear gripped guzzlers
forgot that we feared
and weakly submitted
to the coward
in the cold comfort costume

Terry Swann is a writer-photographer who lives in Phoenix, AZ. He sold eight screenplays while a Hollywood screenwriter and he ran his own advertising agency for 20 years.

Friday, August 10, 2007


by Mary Saracino

In the Age of iMeMine
iMacs, iPhones, iPods infiltrate our lives,
our ears ring with the ubiquitous iMantra: “Me-me-me, what’s in it for me.”
Shell out $600 for iMmediate access,
a 24/7 WiFi-Fest, guaranteed to keep
you plugged-iN because iAm-so-important iCan’t ever miss
the latest iMusic, iVideos, iNews, iWeather, iCelebrity iNcarceration;
In a gotta-have-it world, it’s the latest drug of iChoice for
iMpulsive culture junkies.
It’s a crying iShame we can’t see
how we’ve traded our iSouls for an iMitation life;
iMagine the creative revolution that might ensue
if we had the courage to pull the iPlug.

Mary Saracino is a novelist, poet and memoir writer who lives in Denver, CO. Her most recent novel, The Singing of Swans, was a 2007 Lambda Literary Awards finalist. For more information visit or


by Robert Copeland

The polar bears have no money,
And very little political influence,
Yet I watch them in the background
Of the talk show, while the economist
Explains his theory that the poor,
In third-world lowlands, will rise
With the tide of prosperity
And therefore have the capital
Necessary to move inland.

Poets have very little money,
And no political influence,
Yet I hear their voices by the graveyard
Of reason, where the governor
Exposes his program for the disadvantaged,
On strip-mined mountains, to learn,
With the help of scholarships,
The skills they will need to use
To sell ice to the bears.

Robert Copeland studied poetry with Hayden Carruth in the graduate program at Syracuse University. He is the recipient of a Danforth Fellowship. He owns a record store in Kentucky.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


by David Radavich

That is not a flag
hiding a corpse.
That is not a man
who failed to live out
his span.
That is not
a war
but a performance
of return.
The family, the public
need not witness
the arrival.
The plane disgorges
like a giant fish.
The box is carried out
by uniforms.
Trumpets help
to silence the sun.
This is not
a poem about war.
You do not
hear any grief.
You do not read
any shame.

David Radavich's poetry publications include Slain Species (Court Poetry Press, London), By the Way (Buttonwood Press, 1998), and Great Hits (Pudding House Press, 2000), as well as individual poems in anthologies and magazines. His plays have been performed across the U.S. and abroad, including five Off-Off-Broadway productions. He also enjoys writing essays on poetry, drama, and contemporary issues. His latest book is America Bound: An Epic for Our Time (Plain View Press, 2007).


by Marguerite Bouvard

As he scans the list
of battle-frayed soldiers,
the officer shrugs.
Their night sweats,
their inner numbness
are a foreign language to him.

No longer of use

is what he doesn’t say.
But in a small town up North
a college president walks out
of his kingdom of books
and humming classes,
across neatly mowed lawns
and into hospital wards
where days keep collapsing
in the corridors. A former marine,
he comes with his own
searing memories,
speaking the language
of tremors, nightmares
and invisible wounds.
He moves from one
bed to another, opening
windows and doors,
holding each young patient
with his words. He turns these
words into ladders the seriously
maimed can climb up
and out into the world again.

Marguerite Bouvard is the author of several books of poetry as well as books on human rights and one on grieving. Her latest, Healing, is available from the University Press of New England. She is a resident Scholar at Brandeis University’s Women's Studies' Research Center.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

Welcome to the state's only honest-to-nature lake. Caddo Lake we call it, as in the Caddo Indians who gave our single star its name. We boated here. We fished here. And now it looks like a field of poison ivy. It's like a badly made too brightly colored horror film. Didn't even make it to the drive-in. Salvinia Molesta doubles in size every two or three days. Nothing can live beneath this. Part of the lake's in Louisiana, and screw Katrina and all its hardships, it's time to move on. We're talking wildlife here. We're talking homes for future generations. This god damn plant's just the latest wetback swimming past guards at the border. Tejas, Tejas, they can't even say where they are or what they're doing here. Friend.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Leads (Otoliths Press, 2007), 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 H.L.

When speaking American, beware
We are all so advante-guarde
Tho' we do not use those words.

It's like, like so Paris
She went to glamor prison, you know,
or maybe it was Martha what's her name.
My one word of concrete evidence:

Laura cares!
When bridges fall down
She makes a public appearance
White dead people are so PC
even George can help them.

Sigh! We'll let People Magazine
and Rupert Murdoch tell how
Texans lead the World.

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.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

OF THEE I . . .

by George Held

The middle of a street blows up near Grand Central;
People think “terrorism” and run for their lives.

A bridge over the Mississippi lies crumpled
As though a terrorist bomb had detonated mid-span.

Hospital beds in New Orleans remain scarce as doctors
As The War on Terror drains needed federal funds.

America crumbles while in Washington the real terrorists
Are called “Senator,” “The Honorable,” “Mr. President.”

They sleep in white houses and sit in the Capitol,
Defending the rich from taxes and corporations

From accountability and themselves against the will
Of the people, the “We the People” who once declared

“a more perfect union,” now reduced to complainers—
bloggers, writers of letters to the editor, petition-signers.

When the President declares martial law on the eve
Of the 2008 elections and states that he does this

In order to protect the “homeland” from terror, will the people
Know where the real terrorists lie and rise up, will the military

Help defend them against the putsch, or will the 230-year
Experiment in republican government—never a democracy—

Blow up like that street in Manhattan , crumble like that bridge
In the Twin Cities, strain under the old, old yoke of tyranny?

George Held has previously contributed to
The New Verse News. His new collection of poems, The Art of Writing and Others, is available at

Monday, August 06, 2007



by Millie Niss

Whaddya know? This bridge is broken. This bridge was necessary for crossing the river. You can’t cross the river now on this bridge. You can’t get to the other side! That is because this bridge has fallen in the water. This is not good. As your president, I am very proud of our highway infrastructure, and it is a sad day when I see exit ramps and traffic cones crushed into rubble. But don’t worry. My good friend Mary will fix this bridge. That’s Mary Peters, my Secretary of Transportation. She has a good heart. She is joining me in praying for the bridges of America, to ask God to protect them from any future harm.

People need bridges to get to work. People need to go to work to feed their children and to promote the national economy. If this bridge does not get rebuilt, China might some day beat us economically and become a dangerous military superpower. The Chinese do not share our values. They have no respect for the American way of life. They imprison Christian pastors who dare to put God above their godless state. But do not worry. This broken bridge has been a wake-up call for America. We can no longer ignore the yellowy red menace lurking in the East.

I am proposing a new piece of legislation, the Minneapolis Bridge Disaster Relief Act of 2007, which will provide twelve billion dollars in new military and Homeland Security spending to protect us against China and Chinese-influenced sleeper cells in American cities. This bill will provide American-made weapons to Taiwan and India, put surveillance cameras in Chinese restaurants, and add everyone with the last name of Lee or Wong to the national no-fly list.

Once this bill is enacted, and I am counting on my friends in the Democrat Party to join me in getting this essential national security measure passed before Congress adjourns for its summer recess tomorrow afternoon, America will be even safer from Red Chinese terror attacks than it was before the bridge broke. You can count on me, as your commander-in-chief, to keep you and your loved ones safe from the crafty Chinese. So why don’t you pick up the phone and give your Senator or Representative a call asking him to support my bill. You can tell him the President told you to call. Or you could use that Internet thing my friend Al invented.

I just want to remind you before I get back in my helicopter: Our safety as a nation is not a political issue, it is a national issue. In the fight against global terror, there should be no party politics, no business-as-usual in Washington. I have a message to the Congress: “The people of Minneapolis are counting on you. Do not put special interests above the needs of the bridges of our Heartland.”

God Bless America and God Bless the City of Minneapolis!

Millie Niss is a poet and web artist. She has a chapbook in furniture press's PO25CENTSEM series, has had her poetry published in print in The Buffalo News, Artvoice, and other journals, and online in Unlikely Stories,, furtherfield, Big Bridge, Beehive, m.a.g. and others. Her video art and multimedia art (often done in collaboration with Martha Deed) has been widely exhibited, including at the 2006 Scope New York Art Fair and in a juried show at Harvard University's Dudley House, and has been published online in The Iowa Review Web, trAce (UK), The Museum of the Essential and Beyond That (Brazil),, etc. A collection of her electronic poetry, "Oulipoems," was part of the Electronic Literature Organizations Electronic Literature Anthology, Vol. (2006). Millie has a degree in mathematics from Columbia University and is interested in the interface between art and computer programming. Her website is, and her blog is

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Image by Jeff Crouch
Poem by Christopher Woods

Christopher Woods is the author of a prose collection, Under a Riverbed Sky, and a collection of stage monologues for actors, Heart Speak. His play, Moonbirds, about doomed census-takers at work in an uninhabited desert country, received its New York City premiere at Personal Space Theatrics. He lives in Houston and in Chappell Hill , Texas .

Jeff Crouch is an internet artist; he lives in Grand Prairie, Texas . Google “Jeff Crouch” to see what he currently has on the internet or go to:

Saturday, August 04, 2007


by Scott Wiggerman

You could coax it with feed,
pretend you’re a friend, even coo—

then grab it like a submarine sandwich
and pluck out a feather or two.

You could put on French affectations
and twist its stocky neck askew,

braise, broil, sauté, or grill it,
add leftovers to a Provençal stew.

You could pull an Ozzy,
chomp on its head, let profanities spew.

You could, of course, kick it,
as businessmen often do,

or stomp it with a well-placed heel
if it refuses to move or shoo.

You could act like a President
and shoot it right out of the blue,

or pose as a Prime Minister
and coat its feet with Superglue.

You could be shipped to Iraq,
sent off with a strong heave-to,

where pigeons are everyday people
but doves are far and few.

Scott Wiggerman has published one book of poetry, Vegetables and Other Relationships (Plain View Press, 2000) and has been published in dozens of journals, including Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Windhover, Midwest Poetry Review, Spillway, New Texas, and Paterson Literary Review. Most recently, he has been published in the anthology Queer Collection (Fabulist Flash, 2007). In addition, he is one of the two “cats” (i.e., editors) of Dos Gatos Press, which publishes the annual Texas Poetry Calendar, now in its tenth year.


by Shelley Ettinger

Some of these birds are so small and pass so fast, propelled at time-warp speed, they seem to me not natural creatures at all. More like futuristic flying machines. Tiny transistorized plasticine. Unlikely confabulations. The next generation of robots, perhaps; I wouldn't put it past the Pentagon and aviation industry to keep the wraps on something like that. Our feathered friends all dead—acid rain, the greenhouse effect—secretly replaced by contraptions conflated of gene-spliced avian DNA and synthetic aerodynamic material developed in top-secret labs. Painted high-tech hues. An innovative chemical mix. First generation experimental, ergo the wild haphazard unlikely appearance of some of these craft. Ridged beak red chest. Tufted plume tinged blue. Deep dusky gray for this throaty warbler, that busy thrifty nest-builder a mousy brown. And ah it's an eerie iridescent yellow for you, little gal or fellow of the weirdly wide wingspan. In olden days we'd lift our gaze, chickadee flycatcher grackle tanager, marvel at the whimsical ways of this wondrous world. No more. These colors too amazing, variety too crazy, flight too swift and evincing way more grace than any Mother Nature could possibly conceive. They can try, the white-coated creators of rainbow dazers, but they can't fool me.

Some birds stop and rest under the manse's eaves. Shelter from the midday heat. Dip their timorous miniscule feet. Furtive quick refreshment in gutters puddled with last night's rain. Cock their heads. Splash puff flutter display. Peck about a bit and take off. Peculiar conduct for mock beings. Unusually innovative programming, to mimic the behavior of living organisms. Then there's the way they dive and soar, dip, ascend, swoop, trace long languid routes then skid branchward for shimmying skin-of-their-teeth landings. I begin to doubt my deductions. They're laughing at me, discreetly of course behind politely tightly clamped beaks, but like no artificial apparatus I've ever seen. They also make mistakes. The occasional crash. Collisions when two try for the same crumb. The rather unbecoming worrying over worms. Constant tittering. Compulsive flitting. Like louche loopy lorgnetted gossipers divvying dish on a party line. They're actual birds, I'm driven to conclude. Too quirky to be fake, I see.

Some girls take a while to get it: what can I say? Monolinguist at a foreign film, I've a tin ear for fauna. An early morning chirp wakes me from each night's sleep: unfailingly I think I hear a touchtone phone. I've no feel for no nose for no frame of reference no innate sense no way to know the whole from the wrecked, the unspoiled from the dwindled by half, genuine article from fascimile. I admit: I'm unadapted for rural life. In the urban dodgescape I'm an accomplished negotiator. Sniff danger spy obstacles measure risk: navigate through hop around cross street. Here, terra unfirm beneath my city-slicker feet, I'm a beast of diminished capacity.

Shelley Ettinger's work has been published in Mississippi Review, Mizna, Mudlark,, Word Is Bond and other journals. She recently completed her first novel and am at work on collections of short fiction and poetry.

Friday, August 03, 2007


by George Good

"Now what would Jesus do?" Bush told the press.
"Hey, to be honest, I could not care less."

Dick Cheney sat down for an interview
and every word from first to last was true.

Gonzalez testified to one and all
there actually was something he could recall.

Supreme Court Justice Thomas sided with
a poor black man who was condemned to death.

In humble tones Scalia would decline
to make a snap decision or opine.

Pat Robertson conceded God was dead
and spoke this mea culpa: "Sorry, Fred."

Ann Coulter to the Muslims: "I repent.
You guys just have a newer testament."

A tearful Rush discussed the urban poor,
demanding that the government do more.

Podhoretz realigned and took a vow
that Israel shouldn't be a sacred cow.

"Let's speak no more of 9-11, please,"
cried Giuliani and Fox News agrees.

"Don't cut our taxes. The conservative
who's patriotic is obliged to give."

"Pull out our troops. We chickenhawks admit
that when it comes to war we don't know shit."

At their convention the Republicans
resolved to flaunt, not hide, their many sins:

"The letters GOP henceforh will stand
for: Greed--Oil--Pollution. Ain't we grand?"

George Good has published verse in The Evansville Review, Iambs & Trochees, Light, and Contemporary Rhyme.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


by Charles Frederickson

The MortgAge of Crisis unleashed
        Ripple effects across Pacific rim
                Sending FantAsian market panic waves
                        Drowned in losses capsizing trust

                        Default tremors felt around globe
Shaky infestments sinking ship bailouts
        On verge of edgy collapse
Wall Street quakes seismic cracks

Made in America dollar doldrums
        Turning greenback on unstable nightmares
                Grunge plunge lacking .common cents
                        Monopoly Chinese checkers lost marbles

                        Bravo newwworld pecking order
                Cocksure gambling clipped hedge bets
        Recycling chicken feed protecting assets
Cracked nest egg dirty yolk

Bulls and bears trading places
        Bondage dominated by corporated X-spurts
                Volatile stock market defaulty panic
                        Hiccoughs cure-all elixir censorry blips

                        Rising Status Quo Vadis downfall
                Crap shoot roll of indices
        Playing Euro-peon fantAsian American-can roulette
Cornered pawns squarely unbalanced Checkmate

Dr. Charles Frederickson is a Swedish-American-Thai No Holds Bard renowned for his foxy moxie and muckamuck pluck. This feisty e-gadfly is a member of World Poets Society, based in Greece, with 200+ poetry publication credits on 6 continents, which include: Above Ground Testing, Angelfire, Arabesques, Ascent Aspirations, Auckland Poetry, Blind Man’s Rainbow, Both Sides Now, Carillon, Caveat Lector, Cordite Poetry Review, Dance to Death, Decanto, Eclipse, Flutter Magazine, Fullosia Press, Gangway, Greatworks, Green Dove, Indite Circle, International Poet, Listen & Be Heard, Living Poets, Lunarosity, Madpoetry, Masque Publishing, Melange, MuseCrafters, Newtopia, Neon Highway, New Verse News, Planet Authority, Poetisphere, Poetry Canada, Poetry Cemetery, Poetry of Scotland, Poetry Stop, Poets for Peace, Poetry Superhighway, Pyramid, Sz, The Smoking Poet, Vintage, Ygdrasil, Ya’Sou! and Zafusy.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


by Margaret Ricketts

We had demos. We chalked the
bathtub. We spread our legs at
the airport. We tried to shrink our
prior notions of privacy. We moved
to Washington and saw the apertures of death.
plain as a sewer cover. We never discussed it,
the way you ignore a dead roadside dog.
We nagged our sons
about their GPAs. We applied marking
pens to posterboard, We listened to the
resistance, futile, bare
palms beating on plastic drums.

Margaret Ricketts has studied writing at the Fine Arts Work Center and the University of Kentucky.