Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


by Janice D. Soderling

Rapid changes in media focus make it difficult to assign an attention-grabbing title to this poem. The reader is requested to fill in an appropriate country. Consult your morning paper or favorite news program. Thank you.

Where are the brass bands?
Where are the waterfalls and the blue lagoons?
And the girls in sarongs, sloe-eyed and sexy?
Where is the team of white huskies racing under
          the cracking whip?
I mean, like, where is Joe Palooka?
Where is Bob Hope?
All we got here are morgues full of little kids.
          Also some pregnant women who claim they
          have been raped.
Why are all these people crying? Why?
Get me somebody who knows what’s going on.
We got top-level statesmen on live telecasts,
          waving like rock stars or a sales convention.
We got boy soldiers killing their parents.
We got torture camps that everybody knows about
          and that’s no way to build up suspense.
I want a close-up of Randolph Scott's strong jaw.
I want church bells ringing in the distance and
          a cowboy in a white hat settling firmly
          into the saddle and the sun going down like
          thunderous stripes of Cinemascope
          and a little blond girl in a sunbonnet,
          riding in a covered wagon.
This war is hell.
I ask you: Where are the brass bands?

Janice D. Soderling has contributed to online and print journals in several countries. Her fiction got a first prize at Glimmer Train, and poetry is recent or forthcoming at Blue Unicorn, Anon, Orbis, Nthposition, Stirring, Mannequin Envy and Literary Bohemian.