Guidelines



Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at]gmail.com. No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

HE'S GONE ABOUT AS FAR AS HE CAN GO

A Doggerel Befitting the Subject
After Rodgers and Hammerstein

by Earl J. Wilcox


I went to DC City on a Sunday
By Monday I learned a thing or two,
But up till then I didn’t have an idea
Of what Mr. Cheney was comin to.
I counted twenty subpoenas on just Monday alone
‘Most every paper I saw said he’d got another one.
Then when I turned on the tee vee
It sounded like he was refusin’
to still be the USA’s V-P!
Good Lord! Good Lord! What next?

Everything’s up to date in DC City.
Cheney’s gone about as fer as he can go.
He went and said he’s not goin’ to toe
The line no more, not even tell anyone
What else he has in store…

He’s gone about as fer as he can go, yes sir,
He’s gone about as far as he can go.

The Demos say they’ll cut off his money
if he don’t tell all about his many deals
Then he up and says he’ll never give in, honey,
And as for the information--they’ll just have to steal.

He’s gone about as fer as he can go, yes sir,
He’s gone about as fer as he can go.


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

Friday, June 29, 2007

MUDFLOW DEVOURS JAVA

by James Penha


Since May 2006, more than 15,000 people in the Sidoarjo district of Java have been displaced by the hot mud flowing from a natural gas well being drilled by Lapindo Brantas, an oil well company. While some scientists have speculated that the earthquake that struck Yogyakarta two days before the well erupted may have cracked the ground, others have suggested that the company’s drilling procedure was faulty. Some 125,00 cubic metres of hot mud continue to erupt every day. Scientists suggest that the eruption may be a mud volcano impossible to stop.


The Company smelled gas in Sidoarjo,
licked its lips,
whetted the borehole,
and forced its fist through the county’s reserve
until it came:

erupting
from the bowels of the earth a geyser of mud gushing from
and by now become Sidoarjo: no villages but
a stinking tsunami, no paddies but
steaming pools of mud, no hatcheries but
glowing mud tributaries, no one but
this immortal volcano of mud

monster released, relentless blob

the Company calls a natural
disaster: the island's
fault.


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 jamespenha.com.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

LAKE SUDDENLY DISAPPEARS

by Rochelle Ratner


A lake suddenly disappears in southern Chile, and scientists are scratching their heads to find out why. It was a glacial lake. It covered five acres and was 100 feet deep. It was there in March, the last time rangers checked. Now there's a huge crater, bits of ice that used to float on top still visible between the rocks. There's been no earthquake. Nothing else to explain this. Experts from all over the world flock to the scene. She's in Arizona now, far from any water, safe. But she turns up the radio. She buys newspapers from other cities. She buys Spanish papers. She stays up half the night doing Google searches. She thinks of her father, and her best friend, and her best friend's brother.


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.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES*

by HL


In Ur ne. Baghdad
Western Barbarians plunder artifacts.
History. Sold to the highest bidder.
Blackened solstice traders
Lurking under crosses of hate
Held at acute attack angles
Bend the light into dollar signs,
Defiling the provenance of George
Washington. Our symbol of hope
Turned hopeless by his namesake
Whose initials got inverted
Perverted beyond recognition.
Drained of their symbolic grace.
No option turns its back,
These feckless warriors
Abscond with the trust,
Honor and country
Granted to their custody.
By their actions, they have
Converted living symbols
To counterfeit promises
In the name of their small gods:
Money, greed and power!


*New York Times headline, June 11th, 2007.


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, June 26, 2007

DON'T DRINK THE BOTTLED WATER, FRIEND

by Robert Anbian


Don’t drink the bottled water,
it’s stolen. It came from the mountain
and flowed through the town,
where people drank and swam,
where they pissed under the sun, where
they let their sewage collect downstream
where it quaked and stank
until the rains flooded
and swept the banks clean. Who
can deny it? Man is a beast.
He thirsts and goes mad without water.
His shit stinks, but water washes it away.
He raises his face to the warm rain
and heedlessly thanks the heavens.
Tell me, friend, who owns the clouds?
Who owns the time of day the rain falls?
Who owns the riverbed and the cracks in the earth?
Now the water is invisible.
It’s a trickle dying in the sand.
It’s a whirlwind of dust blowing
through towns and villages, where once
men had dug ditches to slake the fields
and women cleared ponds to collect the rain.
Now the water’s running away in a parallel world
of steel pipes and gleaming reservoirs.
Now it’s a Dutch-American-Sino-Arabian concern.
Now it flows via a constant percussion of pumps
until it comes tumbling from the tap smelling
of chemicals and costing locals three times as much.
Now it’s sold worldwide in plastic bottles
adorned with pristine alpine scenes
and costing as much as milk, or a day’s wage,
for most souls on this godforsaken earth.
Do you think the air you breathe today
is free when already it’s traded
on the open market of cancer futures?
Don’t drink the bottled water, friend,
as if your life depended on it.

Audio samples from the poetry and jazz CD, "Robert Anbian and the UFQ: Unidentifed Flying Quartet," are available at www.myspace/robertanbianandtheufq and a video of "Haikus for the White House" is at www.youtube.com/robertanbian. The CD is available from www.edgetonerecords.com.

Monday, June 25, 2007

ROADSIDE BOMB SONNET

by David Feela


I heard it again today, another explosion
half a world away. Two or three soldiers died,
or were they civilians? I don’t know.
Nobody knows on this side of the ocean.
I’ll wait for the news to sort it out,
put the bodies into bags,
send the reports home
with the names and cumulative numbers.

At the gas pumps I see their blood
translated into gallons, their duty
ethereal as the fumes escaping my tank.
The line forms on the right,
so many Americans waiting
to pay, whatever it costs.


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 www.geocities.com/feelasophy.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

BLEACH AWAY THAT CANCER

by Rochelle Ratner


The first thing she thinks of is that horrid smell. She can't
even walk through her lobby when they've just been
cleaning. Then she thinks of women who kill their hair by
bleaching it. Now they're trying to tell her ordinary
bathroom bleach can boost the body's immune system.
Probably just more medical whitewash. And it's only bleach
combined with other vaccines. And it only works with
ovarian cancer. She knelt and kissed the hospital floor the
day they took out her ovaries, so thankful that the sterile
odor was momentarily tolerable. But she also has a lot of
friends, and she hugs her friends.


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, June 23, 2007

ANTIOCH COLLEGE:
REQUIESCAT IN PACE

by Earl J. Wilcox


Here lies Antioch College.
Born more than 155 years ago.
Father and Mother to American Liberalism.
Begetter of compassion for all mankind.
Lover and sanctifier of all things hopeful---
African Americans, Gays, Feminists, Scholars,
Poets, Essayists, Literary Critics, Humanity.
Died in an age which forgets so quickly why
Antioch College was born: to save mankind.
Go with a whimper if you must,
Rage, rage against the night if you can.
Rest eternal in the assurance of a job well done.


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

Friday, June 22, 2007

THE PRO-IMMORTALITY LOBBY

by Robert M. Chute


G. W. vetoes a stem cell bill.
No license to kill, he intones,
until you reach the age of consent.
Avid supporters should propose
protection for all those embryos
consigned for destruction. All
to be maintained in storage by
the best available technologies
until — well, why not be the first
to legislate immortality?
Penalties to be determined
for any voluntary termination.
Thousands of human lives saved,
more added every year. (And
sperm deposits left unclaimed?)


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

Thursday, June 21, 2007

FOR THESE REASONS

by Erika Feigenbaum


I refuse that place, the bright shelves hurting
in the yellow lights, workers lifting, loading hourly,

stacking beyond reach, beyond imagining.

The valley now home to stores and tall street lights,
an endless stream of digital things, blinking
red signs for sales and rows of shoes.
So many blue plastic cartons, miles of
microwaves, board games, useless variety.

Every aisle a dull surprise, stagnant
consumer options that tie tight my hands
with dish rags 10 for $1
to a women 20,000 miles away.
She works someplace crowded and loud
for pennies, her hands quick,
guiding brightly checked cotton fabrics
beneath the humming presser foot
all day, before my morning starts,
she sits in this factory

like the one that used to be here
in the valley fifteen years ago,
when jobs paid $18 for a sweaty hour,
enough to feed yourself, your kids
back then, plus the relief of insurance.
Now it’s this store at minimum wage,
keeping its customers employed
for a bargain too sweet to calculate.


Erika Feigenbaum lives in Cleveland, Ohio where she teaches Women’s Studies and gardens with gusto. Feigenbaum's creative work has appeared in Off Our Backs, Sinister Wisdom, The Hiram Poetry Review, Hypatia, Epitome, and other publications.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

TEN

by Lylanne Musselman


The Pope hands thou down
Ten Commandments for the road.
Holy cars and trucks!


Lylanne Musselman is a poet who lives and writes in Indianapolis, IN. Her work has appeared in Alternatives, A Walk Through My Garden, and Poetry Motel, among others. Her chapbook, Prickly Beer and Purple Panties, was recently published by Bacon Tree Press.

NOTE TO PRESIDENT BUSH

by Nils Peterson


If your will is made of iron,
it's subject to rust.


Nils Peterson is Professor Emeritus at San Jose State University where he taught in the English and Humanities Departments. He has published poetry, science fiction, and articles on subjects as varying as golf and Shakespeare. His poetry has been collected in, Here Is No Ordinary Rejoicing, The Comedy of Desire, and Driving a Herd of Moose to Durango.

SIX PREDICTIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE

by Howie Good


1. There will still be wars, but faraway, happening to other people.
2. Your own experiences will feel like stories someone else made up.
3. Children will disappear into silence, flames, the cellars of monsters.
4. Even the dying will believe in the advertised cures for obscure diseases.
5. Crowds will surge to see gods humiliated and animals hurt.
6. The future will be just like the present – so cold it burns.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Death of the Frog Prince (2004) and Heartland (2007), both from FootHills Publishing. His poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals, including Right Hand Pointing, Stirring, Flutter, Eclectica, Persistent Image, The Flask Review, The Rose & Thorn, 2River View, Prairie Poetry, Ottawa Arts Review, Misunderstandings Magazine, Juked, The Orange Room Review, and Lily. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2006.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

FOUR DETAINEES

by Andrew Grossman


1 #489df

Full Name: Abu Ubdullah al-Sizari
Born: September 9, 1983
Birthplace: Salt Desert Region
Height: 5'8" Weight: 134
Position: Likely Al-Queda recruit
Physical Detail: Left-handed/scar on lower right back approx. 3 inches in length/broken nose
How Obtained: 101st AB sweep of Herat suburb in August 2003
Information Obtained: pending

Once, if my memories are still my own, my life
Was a feast where all hearts opened and all wines flowed.
Now misfortune is my God. The wolf spits out the beating heart.

They ask for a name I can hardly think is mine.
They ask me to sing of betrayal, of small detail.
They beat me for the smile I cannot hide.

Ask me why I smile in the baking light of the cell.
It is because I am not the man, and so would sing in vain.
It is true, I was the man when I came to this hotel,

But that has changed. The voice loses itself first,
The form loses its integrity second, and lastly,
The self is gone like a drunken bee into the alley.


2. #892ud

Full Name: Mhammed Begg
Born: circa 193
Birthplace: Quandaha Province
Height: 5'4" Weight: 12
Position: Likely Al-Queda recruitPhysical Detail: Missing right eye. Missing two toes on left foot.
How Obtained: Came with son
Information Obtained: pending

I am forced into the coffin. I am where the blanket enwraps the spirit.
What came near me, alone, was the silver plate of the bomb.
A man and a bomb come together, and there is a new child of iron.
I look to Subai for he has given up; his soul has turned invisible.
I look to extract a mineral from my body that may nourish him,
from the open tunnel that is a cavity too old to repair.
The most alive moment comes when those who love are in tears;
liquid washes out the wounds. I have no more, either tears or blood.


3. Released #29s

The names spoken backwards
and forwards, beat upon and still beating;
the new stories are the same.
We are not grass that may turn brown.

Entry and exit. Wake and walk out.
There is no turning and no terms.
We walk toward the wall only,
having learned not to trust the sky.


4. Released #92v

I meet you in many face-to-face alleys.
The greeting of friends does not bring peace.
The help we asked for did not arrive.
We were left to gather in private ceremony.
I sheathed my identity in a concrete cell.
I learned the reality of body and tissue
And bone and brain and muscle.
I saw both worlds in the face of the wall.
You see I have no scars on my hands or feet.


These four new 'Detainee' poems are are a continuation of the series known as 'Guantanamo Bay' that were included in Andrew Grossman's collection, Hecuba's Other Sons and Daughters: Poems and Photos of the Iraqi War.

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 War. He resides with his wife, Nancy Terrell, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Monday, June 18, 2007

HONOR KILLING

by Mary Saracino


Du’a Khalil Aswad fell in love with the wrong man.

Guided by the bright light of a full moon
she held the hand of the one her heart dared to claim
despite her family’s religious proscriptions.

Did she think their love could transcend
the dogma of ages, outsmart the stony fists of doctrine
that separate one neighbor from another?
Did she hope to overturn the holy laws that sabotage
human desire and stifle the soul’s fierce assertions?

She of the Kurdish Yazidi faith; he a Sunni Muslim.

Was it blasphemy that drove her to defy tradition?
Was her love a heinous crime against God and country?
Or was it true and pure, wanting only to be received and returned?

One April day a posse of Yazidi men — two her blood kin —
dragged her from her home, hauled her to the center of town,
plucked rocks from the parched ground,
pummeled her arms, her legs, her face with outrage,
kicked and beat her until she died.

A crowd of townspeople watched the stones smash her bones,
witnessed the dusty shoes of anger snuff life
from her once-vibrant eyes. The local police watched, too,
abdicating their authority, stalwart in their refusal to interfere.

The stone-throwing slayers walked away
leaving her battered body for others to bathe and bury.

Where is the honor in such a killing?

And what became of her lover?
Did the men stone him too? Or was this crime of love hers alone,
a woman’s unbridled heart a heresy in the making,
a force too feral to tame, too precariously potent
and unpredictable to pledge itself to soul-less rules
or the henchmen who enforce them?


NOTE: Du'a Khalil Aswad, a 17 year old from the town of Bashiqa , in Iraqi Kurdistan, was stoned to death on April 7, 2007. To sign a petition to protest the killing of this young woman, visit: www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/codepink/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=626


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 2007 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist. Visit www.pearlsong.com or www.marysaracino.com for more information.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

TIBET , TIBET

by John Holbrook


Wanting to visit
his sister, his younger
whom he heard from friends
had taken terribly sick,
a Tibetan
she lived so far from him now
lived as he had
up to a few years ago,
yak milk soup and blood pudding
leather skin ball to kick around
under bellies of step-land ponies,
this Tibetan
the fierce winds,
lambskin blankets,
tents of hide, woven yak wool
mother father grandmother sister
grounded in warmth of dung smoke
their laughter
their small herd
nostrils steaming in frigid air
stars in abundance
campfire sparks drifting among them
one Tibetan among others
stories of nomadic life
in mother tongue
only wanted to see her again
so he crossed back
over the border
beginning a 2,000 mile trip on foot
dead of night by star light
and got caught
Chinese style
his wrists
summarily twisted behind his back,
wire of the Great
Peoples’ Republic
digging in
with each twist,
his own blood
sticky between his fingers
his swollen palms
thickening
under the weight
of it, this impenetrable will
of the Republic of China ,
billion strong,
pitted against young men,
infiltrator provocateurs,
on their only feet walking
back into country
called home,
he to comfort his ailing sister.

For this infraction
over a year
under Chinese arrest
each day questioned
each day beaten
after each question
three minutes
to think of his answer
“his sister” he said
and was beaten
for three minutes
and following a third
successive beating
given
a nine-minute rest
to think about the question again
his answer
the whole procedure
always in multiples of three
on and on this went
for nine months
same question same answer same beating
finally satisfied
his wasn’t
a bold attempt
to bring subversive news
of his holiness
the exiled Dalai Lama
back into “liberated” Tibet
from the Indian Province of Dharamsala,
they let up on him
three weeks to the day
they knew of his sister’s passing.

One of the lucky one’s he said
rubbing
the endless numbing
in his hands now
grateful to serve
an additional six-month sentence
Some of those traveling with him
he later learned
were, without question,
hung.


John Holbrook lives and writes in Missoula, Montana. Practicing his craft for over forty years, his work has appeared in some 90 different publications. His collection Clear Water On the Swan won the 1991 Montana Arts Councils First Book Award. In 2002 Pudding House Publications published Loose Wool, River Tackle, Pencil Drafts, a chapbook of river and fishing poetry. He has worked as a teacher, an industrial diamond salesman, a machinist, a draftsman, a jack-of-all-trades laborer and house painter. He writes for discovery: something new for him, something new for his readers. He writes out of his love for the sounds of language: its tones, colors and textures; its subtle rhythms and cadences. Images and narratives unfold embracing a shared humanity. He champions an uncommon and precious natural world. He writes because he has to.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

BABY MONITOR KEEPS AN EYE ON ASTRONAUTS

by Rochelle Ratner


I'm two-and-a-quarter years old, she tells her mother. You don't have to watch me. That monitor thing's only for her baby brother. Sometimes, when she's playing on the floor and making too much noise, her mother picks her up and sits her on her lap and they watch the screen together. But her brother bores her. It's different today, though. There are these funny-looking people flying about on the screen, sort of like Tinkerbell, but fatter than Tinkerbell. They're not babies, they're astronauts, her mother starts to explain. Then she stops herself. Pampers come in all sizes.


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.

Friday, June 15, 2007

TO-DO LIST

by Pat Maslowski


I need to rearrange the stones.
I wonder if there will be time.

It's early in the day.
The news has barely begun.

There is more fighting in Lebanon.
Hamas has taken the Gaza Strip.

The death of Palestinian Democracy
is predicted.

I think the rabbit has eaten the blue blooms
in the pot on the porch.

The porch needs washing and restaining.

“I search for the truth,” the Kosovo Muslim
says as he prays five times a day.

What can be done with all this violence
within and without thousands of miles away?

A Muslim society within a European society.

I hope there is time today for me
to rearrange the stones.


Pat Maslowski lives in Drake, Colorado overlooking a wonderful meadow. She is a retired teacher and librarian.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

BORN BAD

by David W. Rushing


I recently learned a fascinating bit of information,
which you too may find interesting
and one day be able to use.

It goes like this—
in the field of psychiatry,
psychologists and psychiatrists often categorize
certain people
as being what they call either Tier One or Tier Two
personalities.

Tier One is made up of the mentally ill;
however, the mentally ill can very often,
through therapy, medication, or twelve-step programs,
become much healthier and perhaps even “cured.”

But the bane of civilization is those
who belong to Tier Two—the emotionally disturbed.

These are the cruel and misbegotten,
the wicked and unconscionable.

And there are four things about them
that behoove the rest of us to remember.
According to just about every expert in the field,
Tier Two people:

1) Can never, ever be changed, reformed, or “cured.”
2) Love to hide.
(They hate, more than anything else,
to be recognized for what they really are
and for others to call that out publicly.)
3) More often than not, were never abused
sexually, mentally, physically, or emotionally.
(It’s as if they were simply born bad.)
4) Are frequently brilliant and charming.

And so one day, when you meet some intelligent,
charismatic individual
(either male or female),
keep in mind that you may be merely meeting an
intelligent, charismatic individual.

But also remember that you may be talking to a rapist,
child molester, serial murderer,
or the future president of the United States.


David W. Rushing's articles and poems have appeared in over 100 magazines. His two chapbooks are "Unrequited Love, Unfinished Lives" and "Appearances," and his first work of non-fiction prose will be out in the summer of 2008.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

THE ONLY GOOD POET IS A DEAD POET

by Terry M. Dugan


“Nassau Rejects Poet Nominee Over Words About War in Iraq.” The New York Times, June 4, 2007: “I’m beginning to appreciate why poets are not celebrated till after their deaths.” --Wayne Wink, Nassau County Legislator


The war over the war
Rages right here on the shore
Where Whitman, once
Accused of barbarous, illiterate verse
Enshrined as a poet of note
by road, school, and mall.

A shoo in, they said
The nature poet
Maxwell Corydon Wheat Jr.
Laureate for a once bucolic place
Gone to shopping centers and
Fenced fortresses.

Whitman shunned for
Making love to the human body
Wheat vilified for
Blaming war for the corpse of democracy.
In Iraq and Other Killing Fields
Pleading for peace, he wrote
“…black hooded prisoner
draped in a make-shift poncho,
On narrow box
wire his out-stretched hands”
Stand Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush
On either side to
“Warn him he will be electrocuted if he falls.”


Terry M. Dugan has won awards for her poetry and fiction about working in a pediatric AIDS clinic at Bellevue Hospital and recently had her essay about unethical clinical trials in Africa published in Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: Poetry and Prose about HIV/AIDS from the Black Diaspora. Her anti-war poetry has been published in Women's Studies Quarterly and Poetry Ink (Philadelphia). She is currently enrolled in a graduate writing program at Manhattanville College.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

WRITING IN THE SHADOW OF PARIS HILTON

by Rochelle Ratner


She’s sitting at home writing and this man comes in. She doesn't know how he got in the house, she thinks he came from the back door without knocking. He’s looking at what she’s writing and asks if she writes a lot of political poetry. She covers the sheets of paper with hand then realizes he must be from the Prisons Department.

She’s going to have to appear in court on the 19th, apparently because of a poem she wrote attacking IBM. Despite all the other news poetry around, it’s just this one big corporation which is prosecuting and all these people will be going to jail.

She gets talking with the prisons guy and says she’s heard of rapes in prison, so please please please send her somewhere where she’s safe. She’s saying she has nothing against IBM, she even just bought this little IBM computer. She’s suddenly worried about the computer and if she'll be attacked because she’s a rich kid with this computer. Maybe she should just leave the computer home.

She goes to Starbucks with her lover and she’s telling him she knows that she’s going to have to go to jail until July 17th. She’s trying to explain to him that this could be problematic, she doesn't know if she can handle this. Will they put her in a prison hospital because she’s just had surgery? Is she going to be able to take all these headache medications without having seizures? She wishes she'd been nicer to the guy who came over to investigate.


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.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

ON THE ROAD TO HEILIGENDAMM, JUNE 7th

by Frank Joussen


I am thinking of Bono for a minute
on the road to Heiligendamm, Germany,
to protest against the G 8 Summit.
How Bono was visible on TV last night
with one black man and the chancellor
but they hadn´t given them
the benefit of the sound.
So why should I give the leaders
the benefit of the doubt?
Haven´t they betrayed us before,
leaving Africa to starvation and HIV
and the whole planet to a rising fever?

I am thinking of Bono for a minute.
How he said on the march to Gleneagles
in 2006, after Live 8,
"Write us a chapter to be proud of."
He must have been working
on the assumption
that the G 8 leaders,
democratically elected as they are,
are bound to serve us, the people,
whereas the paradox is of course
that they could only become,
they can only stay our leaders
by serving other people´s interests.

But there is no time to be patient
in the face of imminent annihilation.
So unless they give us chapter and verse
on all our issues
we´ll march on
towards fever pitch at the fence -
afraid of the Black Block
plus the other militants,
in fear of the stones,
the tear gas, the water cannons
but even more scared by
the great indifference
live-or-die questions don´t tolerate.

I was thinking of Bono.
Now I´m one of the peaceful crowd again
trying to turn up the volume
and sing the leaders a song
about the saving of the planet
which we hope to reach eventually,
and now listen, lady and gentlemen,
to the words of Bono,
"with or without you."


Frank Joussen is a German school teacher, writing solely in English and published in print magazines, anthologies and ezines worldwide. His ezine publications include The Pedestal Magazine, Kota Press, Raving Dove (U.S.), The Poetry Kit, Caught in the Net, Dew-on-line, The Measure (U.K.) and others. He stresses that he is a very peaceful, politically interested person with relatives in the U.S., but friends in Africa, Asia and Latin America, to whom he thinks he owes this peaceful protest poem.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

OH, PARIS, PARIS

by Earl J. Wilcox


Hundreds die daily in Darfur,
Paris is burning.

A dozen American soldiers die today in Iraq,
Paris is burning.

The ice caps melt, melt, melt
Paris is burning

Putin and Bush argue,
Paris is burning

Imus is rotting on his ranch,
Paris is burning.

Another teen is abducted,
Paris is burning.

The Yanks are a dozen behind the Bosox
Paris is burning.

Barry beefs up more and more
Paris is burning.

Lindsey sulks in Santa Monica,
Paris is burning.

Some days the news is just
Paris is burning in jail tonight.


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

Friday, June 08, 2007

A SCIENCE FICTION WORLD

by Thomas D. Reynolds


In this world,
Even mistakes are sacred.
Not even pounding fists can protest
What even the children can’t feel.
Lies are little birds that flock
Around a raindrop on one fallen leaf,
Every beak frozen before the feast.

Sometimes I walk upon the clouds,
Beyond houses shaped like faces
With shuttered eyes and cavern mouths.
Even sheltered beneath the rocks,
With legs gathered up like serpents,
I can taste the acid on their tongues,
Feel percussion beneath my skin,
Combustible backfire of their misteach.

Only at night, watching offspring
Dangle from limbs already practicing
Their executions scheduled by stars,
Can I see dim outlines of an alien ship,
With the breadth of a shadowy country
And no windows except for the cockpit,
As the captain’s breath fogs the glass
And the myriads kidnapped inside
Oblivious to his decision to hover,
Make like a protector, then destroy.


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

Thursday, June 07, 2007

LEBANONONONONON

by Charles Frederickson


Frothy rabid hatred empty pockets
        Holed up resistance spewing revenge
Rusty tear ducts weeping inconsolably
        Impotent rage drowned in fear

        Enigmatic fir sentinels attention bent
Conical shadows leaning on crutches
        Ghostly skeleton branches eyeless needles
Mud encrusted no longer evergreen

Brittle fragile saplings broken arrows
        Bowing east leaning towards Mecca
Nebulous silhouettes lost twilight prayers
        Bound to nefarious eternal darkness

        As dusk surrenders shrouded nighttide
Passes into itself beseeching Sunshine
        To come out of hiding
Teaching bluebirds to chirp again

Uprooted cringing hostile earthy clumps
        Caught in tangled undergrowth bramble
Thorny rosebuds unshackled cuffs polished
        Dense clueless thicket demons unbound

        Forever yet never vibrant afterlife
Crumbly wick hysteria rendered incarnate
        Trembling flames resettled ashes-to-dust
Snuffed wind-blown votive candle relit


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 http://www.imagesof.8k.com/. This maverick e-gadfly is a member of World Poets Society, based in Greece, with 200+ poetry publication credits on 6 continents, such as: angelfire, Ascent Aspirations, Auckland Poetry, bc supernet, Blind Man’s Rainbow, Both Sides Now, Caveat Lector, Cordite Poetry Review, Dance to Death, Decanto, Eclipse, Flutter Magazine, Greatworks, Green Dove, Indite Circle, International Poet, Listen & Be Heard, Living Poets, Madpoetry, Melange, Newtopia, Planet Authority, Poetisphere, Poetry Canada, Poetry of Scotland, Poetry Stop, Poets for Peace, Poetry Superhighway, Pyramid, Sage of Consciousness, Stellar Showcase, Subtle Tea, Sz, The Smoking Poet, T-zero, Ya’Sou! Ygdrasil, Zafusy.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

NEIGHBORLY

by Erika Feigenbaum


In a room full of colleagues I feel
poor and tired, anxious to get home,
where flashing neon guides me through the
crisscrossed streets and pedestrians
BEER LOTTERY
where unscreened, open windows frame the faces
of little boys yelling to their friends.

Two doors down a HUD house waits for sale
$26,000, less than so many cars on the road,
a college degree, or some surgery.
A white guy my age peers through the window.
I walk over to find him full of smiles and handshakes,

talking about money.
I see the house is not for him exactly—
he jokes about the neighborhood,
it’s amazing how some people will live, he says
glancing at the scrap yard behind the fence line
where stacked metal cars and oily sludge
heap at the bottom of the valley.

where white men come to laugh and invest;
where people want to forget
the stories filling front porches across yards,
between fences;
where dreams turn to meth
and litter rots the field where kids play.

I want to tell him to get his bullshit attitude
and get rich scheme back to the suburbs,
but I think I’ll start to cry, so I mumble
something about gentrification, asshole and
glance across the bridge where a sign reads
STORAGE, but I don’t see the “T” from here.


Erika Feigenbaum lives in Cleveland, Ohio where she teaches Women’s Studies and gardens with gusto. Feigenbaum's creative work has appeared in Off Our Backs, Sinister Wisdom, The Hiram Poetry Review, Hypatia, Epitome, and other publications.

Monday, June 04, 2007

EVERYDAY OPERA

by David Chorlton


The trash collector’s aria is a shock
so early in the morning
and the day’s first chorus rises
from a hundred bus stops
where the waiting has become a test
of patience equal
to the heroine’s whose status
in the kingdom is awaiting resolution.
Dressed as help in a sleek resort
she changes endless sheets and washes
time from her hands
hoping it will pass as quickly as her next
duet, the one she sings with the gardener
about homesickness. Inmates
at the city jail
gather in ensemble, but sing so low
and quietly nobody hears their dull complaint.
A man without a home
performs arioso outside
a strip mall where his feet
move loosely as his voice
and passers by all hide their faces
in a cloud of shame
until the coloratura shines
through the gloom
and a shower of coins descends from
the clouds. Suddenly the traffic
that had stalled
is moving freely and the men
soliciting for work smile and sing
bel canto to impress, but wait; by way
of response comes the basso profundo
from the local police
and the men exit, stage left and stage right.
Decked in jewels, the diva
emerges from a limousine, declining
to perform, but standing long
enough to be envied by the cheaply clad
whose leitmotiv each day is work
in service of the king
they have never seen. Their miseries
begin sotto voce
but rise when the ballet dancers arrive
at a parking lot where the order
is given to clear away all cars
to make space for dancing and they dance
and the voices gain in power and
the libretto is abandoned
for one, glorious finale before
the curtain is drawn and nobody knows
which side of it is reality.


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.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

FAMILY VALUES

by Alex Cameron


To compromise a moral
takes nothing that’s immoral,
if only from whatever side you’re on.

Each issue that is urgent
has always a divergent
counterpoint to base your logic on.

And even if you’re lacking
in crucial public backing,
there’s one sure way to save you from a fall:

start dealing out the Bibles
and tug at their moral fibers –
by whipping out your family values card.

If the polls are badly dragging
and Creationism’s flagging,
cause the dems have cornered you on evolution –

then stop inviting degradation
and start crying accusations
and declare it an affront on institution.

If gay folks are getting married
while your term has hari-karied
and the public eye is frowning on your war –

then get out there and proclaim
an anti-lesbian campaign,
and the voters will forget about before.

If the news cycle is turning
and you’re really not quite yearning
to have the press find out about your ways

then declare a war concerning
the pandemic of flag-burning
after all, who needs those rights today?

And while you’re waiting for compliance
why not up and accuse science
of immoral and unprincipled experiments:

they might just cure a virus
but there’s something more desirous:
that’s preventing you from contracting bad press.

And when the task is done
you will find that you have won
and have four more years to rest upon your laurels.

All the folks that safely floated you
by having conscience-voted you
have put you in your office based on morals.

But when the time has dawned
for you to choose the right from wrong
you will wantonly elect to go to war –

and when parents look to protect
their darling kids from unsafe sex,
they will have no children left to look out for.


Alex Cameron is a junior at Chatham High School in Chatham, NJ, who is managing editor of the school paper and contributing editor of the school literary magazine. His writing has been published before in The New Verse News, and is forthcoming in A Long Story Short.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

UNDISCOVERED PAGES FROM THE REAGAN DIARIES

by Earl J. Wilcox


(exact date of this entry not given)
Today Mommie & I were invited down to the Bush ranch in Texas for some of their style Bar b Q. Mommie don’t much care for the trip, but B. Bush insisted we come see their place since we have our own little spread out in California. Mommie & I flew out there in the big bird & we snuggled all the way to Texas. And so to bed. PS What fun.

(next entry at Bush ranch)
Here we are in Texas tonight. Mommie was right. This place is too hot for us to spend more than one night. Besides, that Georgie Bush boy is just running us ragged talking about baseball & acting like a horses petuttie. They say he’s in his 30s but he acts a lot less than that. Pretty wife of a few years, but not kids. The other Bush kids seem pretty normal, except for Jr. I do have trouble understanding most anything he says, so his mother finishes sentences for him, & his Daddy just winks and nods when younger George stutters and carries on about fishing and horses. I don’t think he knows much about either one, to be honest. And so to bed.

(next entry is day after return to DC)
Mommie and I had a fine time at the Bush ranch. Went out & rode their horses & shot at some jack rabbits. Mommie says she and B Bush talked about ice cream socials and raising unruly children. Don’t think I ever knew rabbits came in those sizes. Georgie Bush about run us down in a jeep by being a smart aleck when his dad & I were just standing out by the barn talking about Texas politics, I think it was. Can’t recall for sure, however. And so to bed.


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

Friday, June 01, 2007

MAN WITH TB LOCKED UP TO PROTECT PUBLIC

by Rochelle Ratner


Her friend's husband has TB. She thought it had been virtually eliminated in the U.S. But this prisoner's been living inRussia, locked up in Arizona now. Solitary confinement. He thought he'd get better medical care in his native country, the sort of care her friend's husband got. Her friend's husband lost weight in the hospital, but began recovering quickly; back home he's enjoying her cooking more than ever. They say the prisoner was hungry late at night and went to a convenience store. They say he didn't wear his mask. A woman she knows in her late forties plans a move to assisted living. Another ailing friend's virtually trapped in her four-story walk-up. But these are risks you accept when you live alone.


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.