Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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 19, 2008


by Spiel

his left hand wrapped in a brown bag
stuffed in his filthy wool coat pocket
he waits patiently in line
like all the others

but aiming to exchange his pain
with desperate thoughts of a poem
more seering than his last
about the dead meat joes of war

and hunkering behind him joe the indian
inhales his tribal blend of tobacco
to spread his lungs so he can face
the grim reality

of three frail babies’ mothers
whose milk has failed to flow
while joe the farmer gasps
for one more breath

of this flu-contaminated air where
all the joes are just joes including joe
the nurse who assigns them by measure
of perceived urgency

joe the poet wondering: have the severed points
of his writing hand gone completely dead
before his turn for an assist to stitch it up
with the fire panging his left arm

Neither the NEA nor an MFA influences Pushcart Prize contender, the poet Spiel, in his diverse works of personal conflict and social consciousness, published frequently online and in independent press journals around the world. His latest books are: she: insinuations of flesh brooding, published in 2008 by March Street Press and once upon a farmboy, published 2008 by MadmanInk.