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Monday, March 31, 2008


by Bonnie Naradzay

This is the island of wire pens.

The pens were built for men who fled
their Haitian shacks in leaking crafts
and rowed to the north in the endless sea.

But Coast Guard cruisers barred the way
and fished them out most cunningly,
and sent them to stew on the island of wire pens.

They broiled in the sun on the island in wire pens.
Then soldiers had them lie down flat
And shipped them back to Port au Prince.

These are Islamic renditioned men,
delivered all trussed up on planks,
that reside on this island of wire pens.

The Red Cross saw the ugly stalls
with concrete floors and manacles.
“These men need roofs for their wire pens.”

This is the home of styrofoam cups
where men contrive to write in codes
and live and die on the island of wire pens.

This is Jumah, robbed when he fled Afghanistan,
imprisoned, sold to soldiers bankrolled to buy
enemy combatants posing as friends.

This is the uniformed conscript
billeted in air-cooled Quonset huts
who gamely points out the basketball court

built for those who’ve signed
confessions and wear black hoods,
sequestered far from alien homes,

and die in codes on the island of wire pens.

Bonnie Naradzay is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program and has published poems in JAMA, SLAB, The Heartland Review, and numerous online publications.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


by Kelley K. Vance

day started like any other
news crews blurting into
conversations i was
having with myself
playing their interest-free cards
as if i’d charge ahead
fueling economy

then sirens stopped abruptly
as they so often start
driving down arterial
job paid under-the-table
without a license & expired tabs
no insurance, carload of trash

then parade begins
press of populace growing closer
i can’t join yer revolution
sisters & brothers
friends & lovers
people make me nervous
into mental riot gear
i lurch protecting this
private party-of-one
voicing protests on paper
preach to my choir

until i
bite my tongue falling backward
into a time i don’t recall
ever having inhabited before
reverse deja vu
all is new & unsure
no fate stamp no odious tasks hanging
possibility crackles

& this minute on the fire escape
i hear a dog barking &
it’s not me
seeing swans in asphalt
wincing at swinge across knuckles
hard-earned arthritis

pull up a chair sighing
subsonic whistle of moment suspended
hands feel sun going down
below the watermark
dusk is my greatest success
while city takes tolls &
turns ‘em into bridges going nowhere
road is hovering excitement
rough & coming

Kelley K. Vance grew up in a stifling suburb of south Seattle . She attended some college, never finished a degree. A self-published book of poems, Inkrot, was put out in a limited edition in 1991 by tung d’press. She composed/performed music & lyrics in two bands in the 1980s, Drama Bums and Poptarts. She appeared in one film and read poetry for the soundtrack of another by the local filmmaker Jon Behrens. Her visual art (Lethal Dolls) has been shown at Black Box Gallery and a sample can be viewed at


by Mary Saracino

Stand up
Speak out
Rattle the bars of your cage
Open the doors, unlatch the windows
Stare evil in the eye without flinching
Root your spirit in audacious truth
Let your voice ride the wind
Give your heart ample room to howl
Cultivate compassion
Share your joy with the world
Name the unnamable
Forgive the unforgivable
Remember love is more potent than fear
& more transcendent
Be kind, but fiercely just
Dismantle war in yourself
Sow peace everywhere
Begin to see things as they truly are: spacious
& teeming with paradox
Embrace the conundrum
Become the path you seek
Befriend the enigma with its gnarl of knots
Unravel the questions
Find your answers in the disquieting silence
Celebrate everything you can

Mary Saracino is a novelist, poet and memoir-writer who lives in Denver , CO . Her most recent novel, The Singing of Swans (Pearlsong Press 2006) was a 2007 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist. Her short story, "Vicky's Secret" earned the 2007 Glass Woman Prize.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


by Spiel

just another bombing day
where dozens bleed and die

but this time enacted with images
exactly like a video game

each side so precisely defined
not even sand nor heat comes into play

heaven forbid we might unsanitarily
have to mix our macaroni with our cheese

as our t.v.s consume a few more hundreds of pounds
of willing meat dumped over to some fool’s game

and god help us all that we should ever have to see
our butchered go down then flown home

beneath a flag-draped box
where our joystick

just might be
more lethal than a toy

The Poet Spiel is a tight-wired author painting naked portraits of humankind, thin-layering its hirsute beastiness and, on rare occasion, revealing its humanity. His most recent chap, "come here cowboy: poems of war," is available from For more SpielSpeak and other Spiel Info, go to his website.

Friday, March 28, 2008


by Carmen Tafolla

“It’s a goddam materialistic world,”
says my friend Steve, the poet.
“when people care more for goddam corporate profits
than for the health of kids, elders
or the poor limpin planet.”
But on the news, the President says the planet’s fine,
the air is fine, the elders fine,
no kid’s behind, and won’t we sign
for an additional three billion a week
to protect our troops by bombing someplace new and different.
I change the channel. The Eco-News reports on something positive
ecologically responsible
stylishly simple
“Leave your humble mark
on the universe of future generations.
Choose the eco-friendly option.
No high-priced, everlasting, steel-reinforced
grey metal casket meant to impress
But an artistically designed pod
of sturdily reconstructed, recycled paper,
all guaranteed to be safely
Plan ahead for peace of mind
Pre-purchase available now, March 2008.
The $3,000 sticker price and the jet fuel trail
of specialized shipment from London
such a small cost for being so admirably remembered.”
Steve spits, slams the door on his eleven-year-old
VW Bug, laughs at how his friends all call him “Hell” for short.
tends to the daughter’s cough, the niece’s strange new illness,
consoles the sister-in-law whose mother’s in the hospital
in such bad shape, and keeps on writing, poetry, on a recycled paper bag.
The radio news continues
that going green, after all, means
moving beyond material attractions,
looking for simplicity
in choices for life and death,
not buying the frivolous
or luxurious,
at very least,
the perfectly

Chicana poet Carmen Tafolla is the author of five books of poetry, seven screenplays, and several children's books. She has been awarded the Art of Peace Award for writing which promotes peace and social justice. Her new collection of short stories The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans will be released by Wings Press this May.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


by Anna-Elise Price

brown irises
swimming in deep white
look up at me
from chocolate skin
young man, a child
uncomfortable yet
with his own emerging body
uncertain yet
of his own emerging mind
caught in a trap
not entirely of his own making
he rages, swears
slams his fist into the table
the guard looks up from his paper
stares a silent warning
the boy retreats to silence
until, eyes downcast now
he whispers
not sure he wants me to hear
"When is my mama gonna come?"

Having proved her liberal credentials by serving three years as a public defender for juveniles, and then a further three at legal aid doing education law, Anna-Elise Price is now studying writing at Eastern Illinois University.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


by Patricia Barone

no sound at all
but the filling of a bowl
with icy water
high above their heads

The Deity’s had it with puppets of power & puppet-master
henchmen, whose portfolios hold nations, whose underlings graft
bids on caskets for other folks’ corpses. President Shrub reshuffles
old cards & spins the Jokers to his basket, wasted. He throws
losing suits, faulty plans & armor in the air—this is war!

He deals the losers over then:
the troops will die so he will win.

Sidelined by him, She hears the Prez mouth moral
compassion to the world: the wretched have many more babies,
& the Pope touts an unnatural law, & the theocrats who value profits
— not living or wage— proclaim the working poor do not deserve to fear
illegal aliens, whose hands pull out
the chicken parts no citizen will touch or even see.

God exhales ice as Shrub’s venal men incite the poor
to war on poorest. She has had it and She says so with her silence
in the middle of a work day, and all noise ceases: even archbishops,
inviting boys to perpetual immaturity, pause, exposed: They condemned
the loving—two men, two women—& sponsored hateful acts

of gormless politicians once too often.
Her silence ices excuses:

of holocaust deniers, arms suppliers, global warmers
who ruin our oceans & air, reporters who sit on the truth
at banquets with glittering liars.

For their willful stupidity
they freeze in Her fire.

Patricia Barone has poetry in To Sing Along the Way, Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-Territorial Days to the Present, New Rivers Press, 2006. She has published a book of poetry, Handmade Paper, and a novella, The Wind, with New Rivers Press. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in periodicals such as Commonweal, Milkweed Chronicle, Great River Review, The Seattle Review, Tendril, Visions International, The Widener Review, and The SHOp (County Cork , Ireland). She was twice a semifinalist for the William Wisdom Faulkner Novel award (Pirates Alley in New Orleans) and a long list finalist for the Fish Publications (West Cork, Ireland) novel award. Handmade Paper was nominated for a Minnesota book award. She received a Minnesota State Arts Board Career Opportunity Grant and a Loft-McKnight award of distinction in poetry. She has worked as a teacher, nurse, free lance writer and medical writer, and lives with her husband along the Mississippi River in Fridley, Minnesota.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


by Rochelle Ratner

This is so good. And of course John enjoys it as well. Haven’t felt like this since I was a kid, he says. They sit at a picnic table with a presidential seal. Bush heaps his hot dog high with mustard, sauerkraut. Some mustard drips on his chin. He wipes it off with his shirt sleeve. Then he licks his shirt.

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.

Monday, March 24, 2008


by Amy Holman

What shall we do with the man
whose legs were severed
by the wing of the airplane he leapt from
when we learn his name was Wing III?
He took to the air for stunts
and was stunted? Why not continue
under a wing of inspiration, word granting him
a lighter set of bones? This came late
the same news day as the chimp
at the German zoo forced to cough up
his smokes, and days prior to Denise Coke
getting arrested for possession of coke.
Most news repeats itself, depletes itself, and then,
the awful and absurd threaten to land,
like the agile, agonized flyer in his parachute,
letting himself down.

Amy Holman has been playing around with current news and/or headlines for a couple of years, here and there, including publications in Failbetter, Archaeology (online), Unpleasant Event Schedule, Rattapallax, Shade, and soon, on the Red Morning Press web site. She is the author of Wait For Me, I'm Gone, which won the 2004 Dream Horse Press annual chapbook prize. She writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction and work freelance as a Literary Consultant out of her tiny apartment in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


by Michael Carosone

I will buy a Laundromat
so that
I can take the perfectly blue and green
rounded sphere which we call planet Earth
and give it a very needed cleaning.

I would love to wash the Chinese out
of Tibet, and all the other bully nations
that don’t belong. Those countries that think
they are better. Those countries that need
to feel superior. Those countries that
rape and ruin others. You know, “those” countries...

I would not use chlorine bleach.
I don’t want every thing to turn white.
Colors must be preserved.
I would wash inside out so that the
colors do not fade, and if they happen
to run, then, that’s okay.
Maybe, I will not separate.
Maybe, to save some money on the machines.
Maybe, to have peace.

Or, maybe, I will separate, but for no other
reason than wanting my white underwear
to remain white and not pink from
the dye of my red T-shirt.

I will clean the minds.

I will wash the emptiness from the
stomachs of starving children, and
hope that the suds fill them.
Turn the knob for eight cycles--
for an eight course meal.

I will wash in much needed education,
and dry out too much ignorance.
A fluffy, dryer sheet will read:
“Thanks to ALL of the Teachers.”
Fold in college degrees and jobs
for all. Get rid of wrinkled
unemployment lines, and soup lines at shelters.

Remove the starch from the Republicans.
Add some to the Democrats.
I will wash the Right-winged, Bible-thumping,
fake-Christian, Conservative Politicians out of
Women’s bodies, and dry them in hell.

I will use the spin cycle to spin a woman
all the way to the White House.
(And NOT as First Lady.)
I will wash the eyes of the people in
other countries so that they will see
our Female Leader, and elect their own.
I will wash clean the eyes of the people in
this country so that they will never again
see the darkness.

I will clean minds.
I will open minds.

I will NEVER use detergents filled with
chemicals which were tested on animals for the
safety of humans: pouring the skin
off of cats and dogs, pouring the blood
from the veins of mice, pouring
the sight from rabbits. Pouring out life.
Detergents that clean in the moment
but destroy in the future. Detergents
that wash away the blue and green
of our perfectly rounded sphere.

Mother, I will wash and dry and fold you
just right. I will clean away those
who wish to hurt you.
I will wash you again and again and again.

I will wash in a lot of love.
And dry out all of the hate.
And with the natural soaps, I will add
kindness and honesty. Take out greed.
Cruelty does not survive in the cleanliness
of hot, cold, and warm waters. I will
drown out the sounds of nonsense,
allowing some silence to rotate as the
washer whirls and the dryer tumbles.

The machines are loud enough.

I will clean the minds.
I will clean the hearts and souls.

I will wash away the boredom on the faces
of children, teenagers, and adults.
Pre-treat with happiness.
Fold with happiness. Hang with happiness.
Wear happiness on the sleeve.
Stop yearning for what we do not have.
Satisfy with a simple scent. Every thing
shrinks. Every thing dies. Love what we have.

I must remember that drying shrinks.
Forget dry-cleaning. I’d rather wash and dry.
I must remember to add a new way
of raising boys and girls in with the laundry.
Make the dirty clothes clean again.
Definitely, wash away violence.

I will buy a Laundromat
so that...

In October of 2000, at the age of 25, Michael Carosone was given the National Italian American Foundation’s Youth Award for Entertainment, for organizing the Brooklyn Film Festivals and the Italian American Filmmakers’ Showcases. Since then, he has been passionate about learning more about his Italian American history, heritage, and culture. Currently, Michael is writing a book on the marginalization of Italian American writers and Italian American literature. He wishes to continue to write on marginalized peoples and literatures, especially Italian Americans and people of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (GLBTQ) community. Also, Michael completed his first book of poetry, and is working on the outlines for his novel, memoir, and collection of short stories. At various conferences nationwide, he has presented papers on queer Italian Americans. In the fall of 2008, he plans to enroll in a doctoral program in English, in which he can continue to study gender, sexuality, ethnicity, culture and literature.

Friday, March 21, 2008


by Earl J. Wilcox

Like other days, today I scour the sky,
taste the wind, feel free thoughts
about many splendid things out there,
in here—I must yet tell. Item: in the
front yard a small enclave of dogwoods,
still hibernating from winter’s habit,
no buds or blossoms in sight,
despite its being Easter weekend.
Good Friday’s here, but nature
is off playing games with something
more or less important.

But all is not lost: inside the clutch
of frail dogwoods stands erect a bright
tulip tree. Looking like Lenten purple
the blossoms keep adjusting their heads
for March winds, stares from civilization
as the winsome blooms alone bear
witness to the season, spring and all
that glory of winds freely whirring
around and about---eternal.

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 Barbara A. Taylor

full moon
the smell of a hyacinth
spring fever
outside the temple
stinging eyes

Barbara A. Taylor is a regular reader at poetry nights. Her poems appear in literary journals including Triplopia, The Salt River Review, Tattoo Highway, Kaleidowhirl, Poemeleon, The Blue Fifth Review, and her short form eastern verse is at Lynx, Stylus, Simply Haiku, The Shamrock Journal, Contemporary Haibun On Line, in haiku and tanka anthologies and elsewhere. Poetry with audio is at

Thursday, March 20, 2008


for Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008)

by Deborah P. Kolodji

named for a god,
your cylindrical sea
beckons…old childhood dreams, a death

Deborah P. Kolodji is the president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and a member of the Haiku Society of America. Her work can be found in Strange Horizons, Star*Line, Mythic Delirium, Modern Haiku, and bottle rockets among many other places.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


by Alan Catlin

for Norb Blei

Five years after

the terror war

war protestors in
pink picket

"Stop payment
for the War"

signs say
"The Human Cost

Is Too Great"

recall the red
hands of

Condi Rice
five years after

and counting

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.

STANLEY ANN DUNHAM (1942 – 1995)

PoeArtry by Charles Frederickson and Saknarin Chinayote

Sprung from apparent inspirational stimulus
     Obamama described as original feminist
          Taproot source wondrous probing curiosity
               Unconventional revelatory truthitudes discovery learnt

Heir-conditioned daring free spirited breakaway
     Embracing not shunning cultural diversity
          Chillaxing all that jazz cool
               Struggle to make a difference

Generously empowering others celebrating life
     Championed rural development core issues
          Created sustainable microfinance program model
               Encouraging savings for destitute poor

Intellectually way ahead of time
     Pinball wizard full tilt plunger
          Erudite Ph.D. dissertation subtitled “Surviving
               And Thriving Against All Odds”

Smile sharp wit comfortable self-assured
     Personality shaped our next president
          Macrocosmic worldview challenger questioning nature
               Bridging racial ethnic religious divides

No Holds Bard Charles Frederickson and coloraturartist Saknarin Chinayote edit AvantGardeTimes, a cosmopolitan, sharp cutting edge PoeArtryZine.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


by Don Judson

Go there

The beautiful shirt
The ideals which seem     It's no one's world

Sahel means victory the

Irrevocable dead strung along streets like sacks of cloth  Pitiful starlings
This war
Little bag of God Here at home:     the city   cupped in rain  the mid-

Week morning: sketched trees  a few huddled figures

Just now opening themselves & yet the world is never truly concealed it is
Despite your wishes  no more than the steady

Channeled rain  the dreaming homeless and

There  again  in the morning paper & on the news: Our children   sent
--not with shame
never with shame--Accept

it  embrace
fallen  the drawn sheet


Don Judson is a poet and fiction writer who lives in Providence, Rhode Island. His novel, Bird--Self Accumulated won a Bobst Emerging Fiction Writer Award from NYU. He has published poems numerous journals.


by George Held

The UN Environment Program said glaciers were among the clearest indicators of global warming: "There are many canaries emerging in the climate change coal mine. The glaciers are perhaps among those making the most noise," said the head of UNEP. —Reuters, March 16, 2008

Melting glaciers are the fainting canaries
Of global warming. Both warn of peril

But while miners flee the cave,
The industrial world persists

In prodigal use of energy
That produces greenhouse gases.

Leaders fiddle while Earth warms.
Lack of political will opens the floodgates

Of glacial melt, and sea levels rise.
The best ecologists lack all persuasion,

While the worst polluters are full of beans.
Lethal methane gas in mines

Kills fast, while glacial melting
Slowly floods the lowlands

And drowns deltas and lowlanders
Without means to reach the highlands.

While the canary faints, then dies
Without a cheep, glaciers break

Apart with thunderous roars
And earsplitting cracks, if anyone

Is there to hear them. Meanwhile,
Human beings turn deaf ears and blind eyes

To glacial signs of catastrophe,
Like miners who ignore a dead canary.

George Held has previously contributed to The New Verse News. His latest poetry collection is The Art of Writing and Others (, 2007).

Monday, March 17, 2008


by Rochelle Ratner

The most important thing, they told her after their house burnt down, was not only to have a fire extinguisher handy, but to have one you felt comfortable using. And that made sense to her. She went to the showroom, tested weight and width, bought two that seemed made for her short arms and thick fingers. And she felt safe. Not so safe she'd become agoraphobic, of course. She went out. She met men in bars. She brought men home with her. She opened a new pack of Salem. He asked her not to smoke. No, ordered her not to smoke, one cigarette after another like that, and in her own home. He grabbed the pack from her. She got a new pack. He got an extinguisher. The extinguisher wasn't right for his large fingers. It sprayed out too quickly. The next thing she knew it was like a bomb went off around her. Or inside her. She was covered in powder. She could barely see. She ordered him out of her apartment. He left, still screaming that cigarettes were killers. He didn't even bother to close the door behind him.

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, March 16, 2008


by Avis M. Adams

Your eyes peer into a distance
that holds your adversary.
Weapon in hand, the rock
a projection of yourself,

your gaze level.
To the giant,
you must have appeared
beautiful, graceful, easily

broken. Your hairless chin,
and slender thighs speak
of youth. Your shoulders fall
away relaxed, a half-turn

to your waist as you contemplate,
lean and prepared.

My young son’s
blue eyes round and expectant,
He whispers, “For real?
With his sling shot?

What was his name,
that Philistine?”
I thought of David’s mother,
and realized her fear.

CNN reports from Tel Aviv
how the Palestinian Prime Minister
asked for clemency.
“My people want only a home,”

he says to explain the bombs,
the dust shrouded ruins.

His head tilted to the left,
My son asks,
“Did David miss?”

Avis M. Adams is an English Instructor at Green River Community College in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. Her poems have appeared in literary journals such as Crosscurrents, The Washington Journal, as well as online at Perigee and Anderbo.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


by Anne G. Davies

The candidates grow shriller and wordier
Their high-toned campaigns daily get dirtier
Do they notice that they’re headin’
For a Democratic Armageddon?
Let them stop arguing about who is readier
Who is smarter, who is steadier
Whose health care package fills the bill
Who will work better with Capitol Hill
Who will get us out of Iraq
Who will bring the economy back
Whose spouse said what, whose money is tainted
Whose virtues are too brightly painted
Is there some magic potion or chemical
To make this odd couple less polemical
And get them to focus on their GOP rival
Lest neither have any chance of survival.
Each one, by the other, may be slain
Thus electing a grateful John McCain.

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

Friday, March 14, 2008


by Tony Magistrale

In their absolute world of right and wrong,
we all stand for justice
even if justice proves an elusive
construction, pursued by overly determined men
in Armani suits with silk ties,
women who strut like men in power
pumps and no makeup and never smile.
We all stand for justice
in this solemn and serious place
where boy-men are processed
in and out of the system (why is it
so much easier for them to get in than out?)
for their affronts against the State:
thirty days for alcoholism driving
the wheel, a week for mouthing off
to an officious cop, one hundred dollars
restitution for stealing a pair of jeans.
The suits prosecute boys and men
who are still boys and each one
hangs his shaggy, stupid head in sorrow.
I'm so very sorry
for my failure to learn
since the last time I stood here
and I promise never again
to have my miserable fate derailed
by some stranger drunk on his own cologne
wearing a robe or a uniform
who could sincerely care less.

Tony Magistrale is Professor of English and Associate Chair of the Department of English at the University of Vermont.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


by Martha Deed

You put your rooster where? she asks incredulous with rage
your partridge in a pear tree? your golden spike that binds us
coast-to-coast? your toy that is not yours to touch?
You text-messaged while riding in our car at the Falls
dickering over prices and personnel while on the clock
So far this mischief is only for your clergy and your wife to settle
her crumpled face contrasted with your smooth demeanor
as you trumpet remorse along with the worst of them
standing in the dock before a judge about to render sentence
calm as a rock while all around you – shattered faces
of those who love you and even those you have opposed
your smooth demeanor the opposite of grief condemns you
but there is more – your smirking aide
who has to face his wife each night painted with your brush
because you’re not smart enough to zip your – lips –
or deep-six your indiscretions because you are prone –
as the lawyers say (usually in opposition to you) –
to overreaching. Cleverness is yours, valor your companion,
but you are doing this on our dole, and in the style of a king
you are breaking laws you helped to write and swore
to uphold – and there is a string of corporate corpses behind
you to prove the point you have often made aloud:
show them no mercy who break the law
give them exactly what they deserve
they knew what they were doing
and I will not let them get away with it
strong welcome words coming from the lips of a modern politician
we didn’t see the crossed fingers or hear the rest –
unless they are doing it for me

Martha Deed recently completed a 30-day cross-country car trip which has generated all manner of writing, videos, and poems that can be found on the microblog pages of Sporkworld. Her poems have recently appeared in Big Bridge, Concelabratory Shoehorn Review, 3by3by3, and Iowa Review Web (with Millie Niss).


by Steve Hellyard Swartz

I was thinking just now
What do I do first -
Cut my nails
Or wash the dishes?
My wife emails me that her friend Claire at work has told her that her husband flosses
Three times a day
I guess I should answer that, just not sure what to say
A shower might not be a bad idea, nice long hot shower
It's cold today
Not as cold as yesterday
But it's still cold
In Stewart's this morning, some guy was spouting off, but in a kind of funny way, about this thing with Governor Spitzer
Hey, maybe his floozie will give me a blue-collar rate!
Then he started in on the Lieutenant Governor, who is legally blind
They gonna soak the little guy for his German Shepherd?
When he started in on Spitzer’s New York Jewish cabal
I finally piped up:
Hey, I'm Jewish and I'm losing my sight
And I got a German Shepherd!
But I said it in the kind of way that made him and me laugh
I told them all I had to run
To a glaucoma exam
Oh, man, the loudmouth said, that ain't no fun

As I walked to my car in the Stewart's lot
The guy came out and yelled
Tell your doc to prescribe you weed!
Then come back here so we can share!
Okay, I don't have any more time to waste
First, let me clean up this shit from lunch
And when that's done
Then I can think about
Who or what's coming up to bat:
My nails
A walk for the dog
Feeding the cat

Steve Hellyard Swartz's poetry has appeared in New Verse News, Best Poem, switched-on gutenberg and The Kennesaw Review. In 2008, his poetry will appear in The Paterson Review and The Southern Indiana Review. In 1990, his film Never Leave Nevada opened in Dramatic Competition at the U.S. Sundance Film Festival.


by Jason Kelly Richards

The ghost of prosperity
lingers in the abandoned storefronts
of a hundred towns where trains
speed through but no longer stop.
Plywood paned windows
shadow empty sidewalks
and sun-bleached signs
advertise products of another age.
The lifeblood of the community
sits deserted at the end of Main Street
silent except for the occasional shattering
of glass from the dust covered windows
used as target practice by bored teenagers
and angry ex- employees.
Most jobs were sent overseas,
and the others handed
to the cheap labor saturating our society
with the blessings of an administration
which has lost touch with the people
it promised to represent.
And like street corner preachers
Army recruiters offer salvation
against the rising cost of survival
and suddenly the stakes of possible death
in a foreign country is favorable
to the methodical one
the working class
faces at home.

Jason Kelly Richards was born in Kentucky in a classic year for Chevrolets, raised in North Carolina during the best decade of music and is currently planning his escape from the Sunshine State. His work has appeared in numerous publications online and off including The Chiron Review, AntiMuse, UndergroundVoices plus the anthology Family Pictures.

Monday, March 10, 2008


(or: Eliot Spitzer We Hardly Knew Ye)

by Dale Goodson

how is it ours tanked
and California’s still lives

heavy bearded man of stiff wind and swift sword
undone by carnal drawstring
I drooped
I sagged
I thumbed the remote

off, damned spot

like ‘72
and the suede jacket I left on the hood of the car
in the rain

sad then
sad now

but doin better
than Eliot and Silda

Dale Goodson is a writer from Seattle currently living in New York City and working as a homeless outreach worker in Times Square.


by Rochelle Owens

The paupers ears are drawn
with a quill-point a beautiful form
a calligraphy that is a curved stroke
like the letter C and the C multiplies
becoming cumulus clouds and paupers ears
the paupers ears are pale yellow silk
sliding through henna stained fingers
of the wealthy woman from Delhi whose
gift to her son her only son is a gift
a gift of a red stone bought from a global
market trafficking in human kidneys
whose only son has the dark blue skin
of Siva and Siva wears a rugby shirt
racing his chariot contracting his biceps
his skin mild moist racing his chariot
a bronze Hummer a gift from the wealthy
woman from Delhi her pale yellow sari
a glowing streak of light layers of silk
winding around Kali’s waist the folds
cascading down becoming cumulus clouds
and paupers ears her bloody thumbs and
index fingers knot and tuck cumulus clouds
and paupers ears and swirling around
Kali’s feet and toes light rays of sovereignty
sovereignty under the skin fat muscle
and bone sovereignty is a cutting tool
mass-produced like the toy monkeys
rattling spiral seashells the jingling bangles
of the deaf paupers the flutes sitars
the tam tam gongs

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.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


by Levi Wagenmaker

once read are waste
and dutifully added to the contents
of a cardboard box's collection
of previous paper days
to be recycled
headlines columns junkmail flyers
all heading for the melting-pot
history doesn't repeat itself
history gets recycled
the greedy will once more be greedy
the poor will still be poor if poorer
rain will fall dogs will bark the earth
goes round and round
Mao's little red book
Muammar al-Gaddafi's little green one
just like (formerly) the latter's committees
the Ferris-wheels of recycling
are ubiquitous
everyone everywhere
is old news

Levi Wagenmaker: born in 1944, a retired journalist, resident in the Netherlands. Other poems have been published on the web and in print magazines, in (among others, and most recently) Poems Niederngasse.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


by Anna-Elise Price

Pulling out of my driveway
I run into a wall of corn
dense, green and aggressive
so different from the long low field
there only a month ago
it's almost enough to make me feel hemmed in
under this endless Illinois sky
this flat land of highways
where everything around you
goes whizzing by at 70 miles an hour
even the spring
that has moved on to
summer's full heat
following nature's rhythm but-
when did nature start growing
in rectangles and walls?

Having proved her liberal credentials by serving three years as a public defender for juveniles, and then a further three at legal aid doing education law, Anna-Elise Price is now studying writing at Eastern Illinois University.

Friday, March 07, 2008


PoeArtry by Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote

Earth’s spit-polished veneer chipped away
     Without skin we cannot live
          Sea levels rise coastlines retreat
               Overflowing glacial teardrops flooding basins

               Spitfire core molten anima meltdown
          Crust scraped like burnt toast
     Streaming butter sugary cinnamon sprinkles
Teapot spout letting off steam

Wanton destruction of lonesome planet
     Diminishing water supplies agricultural clashes
          Recycled excuses uprooted windswept soil
               Heat waves droughts tempestuous extremes

               Smoothing wrinkles soothing battle scars
          Plump wrathful grapes sun-dried sultanas
     Twisted clinging vines seedless clusters
Early hoarfrost siege strip searched

Climate change shattering glass greenhouses
     Scorned thunderbolt fury lightning rage
          Flash floods clear as mudslides
               Tornados funneling disaster homeless refugees

               Nothing remains behind thin-skinned masque
          Groovy slits baiting nebulous void
     Bipolar pointless compass run amok
Desperate humanimal instinct leaking out

This eco-friendly PoeArtry Thairade was created by No Holds Bard Charles Frederickson and coloraturartist Saknarin The team also edits AvantGardeTimes, a cosmopolitan, sharp cutting edge PoeArtryZine.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


by Rochelle Ratner

But it’s a big country. A lot of people shoot (or shoot up) here. He needs more target practice, that’s all. Maybe on the ranch, maybe in the desert, the dry air carrying bullets further. Hard to get his footing on the Badlands terrain, though. Mostly he just shoots. He hears the coyotes at night. He hears dogs barking. He dreams of Big Foot. Used to be people believed in him.

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.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


by Mary Saracino

Howling from the mountaintops
wailing from the riverbanks
scooping the moon into their waning wombs
the old women know that lies kill,
distortions maim, hope isn’t enough to feed starving
babies, school the ignorant, put and end to war.

Like Furies, the old ones rise,
clench their furious fists against the blazing sun;
like Harpies they roar, casting dire warnings
upon the winds of change; soothsaying Sibyls
decipher omens, portend the future, speak in baffling koans.
With dakini wisdom they cut through
illusion, vote in primaries, attend caucuses,
raise their voices against power, shatter
the corrupted ceilings that chafe the crowns
of their wizened heads.

The wandering Maenads cry: “This is no country
for old women.

Medea calls down her midnight powers,
prays for revolution, strengthens the tired tongues
of memory. Eloquence isn’t enough to heal
a wounded country; sequined celebrities
can’t mend a nation’s odiferous past. Kali avenges
her sisters, the long-patient Queens & Crones,
Maidens & Mothers. The forgotten ones
wait and watch and warn: “Beware the hubris
of ages. Beware the greedy hand that grabs the golden fleece.”

Mary Saracino is a novelist, poet and memoir-writer who lives in Denver , CO . Her most recent novel, The Singing of Swans (Pearlsong Press 2006) was a 2007 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist. Her short story, "Vicky's Secret" earned the 2007 Glass Woman Prize.


by Charlie Mehrhoff

The circus came to town.
The town left.
The circus remains.

Charlie Mehrhoff has sent out little work in the past decade. Survival issues. However, he was recently featured in ORIGIN 2, Sixth Series. Crafting the Word is a Web site window into his work.

Monday, March 03, 2008


by Scot Siegel

Once, there was an urban planner who wrote zoning codes for a living
Only to break them over the dais. He lost his mind
But they trusted him anyway. And the town soon outgrew its limits
Fueled by federal highway subsidies, sub-prime mortgages
And cheap gasoline. Yes, the developers were happy. And
The Baby Boomers, too – they were all one in the same really –
New maps supplanted old maps, the mayor got re-elected. And
Earth Day became a quaint memory along with Watergate –
Now on every corner of what fails to mimic a proper downtown, citizens sip
Formaldehyde lattes, nibble woodchip scones and gulp bottled water
From factories in Cleveland posing as factories in France; and they relish
Hormone-infused gorgonzola over baby greens, and those all-too-crimson
Genetically engineered tomatoes from the hydroponic industrial zones
Between Sacramento and Buenos Aires – and the planner got a raise . . .

Scot Siegel is an urban planner and poet from Lake Oswego, Oregon, where he serves on the Lake Oswego City Planning Commission and Board of Trustees for the Friends of William Stafford. His poetry has previously appeared on The New Verse News, The Oregonian, Open Spaces, and Red River Review, among others.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


by Steve Hellyard Swartz

This side of snow mountain is Past
On the other side, where I can't see -
What Will Be

We have your snow now
We have the wildlife that died
On your side
Your bears
Your seals
Your glorious emperors of Night
Are here now
I can't see above snow mountain to report exactly and precisely what the nature
Of life is, in its many and varied permutations
And there is no one thing left on your side
To carve the tale of what's to be
I hear the gunning of engines
The running of tongues
The emperor who held sway
Is dressing down as a nun
You had your majesty
Your million year run

We have what is Past
Or what passes as past
We have the fleeing tense
A new construction
A syntax
Built not on cold and permanence
Built, behind snow mountain, which itself was built by the plows in the parking lot of the suburban middle school

What we have, in fleeing abundance,
Is a simple postscript
On every wall, in every hall
Easily interpreted by scholar and fool
What we have
Is cool

Steve Hellyard Swartz's poetry has appeared in The New Verse News, Best Poem, Haggard and Halloo, The Kennesaw Review, and switched-on gutenberg. He has won Honorable Mention in the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Competition and the 2007 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards. In 2008, his poetry will appear in The Paterson Review and The Southern Indiana Review. His film, Never Leave Nevada, opened in Dramatic Competition at the 1990 U.S. Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.