Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


by Sherman Pearl

My car zooms under your words
(of whatever the hell you've scrawled up there)
and at this speed
I can't decipher your language or fathom
how you managed to balance above the traffic
while aiming your fearsome spray.
I drive past
this limb of the city's skeleton
but my mind screeches to a halt, imagining
that a caped super-hero
has swooped down, paint can in hand,
not to save us from evil
but to startle us out of complacency; or that
some dark angel had reclaimed
this road because we've failed to beautify it.

Most likely you're just a street kid
come to remind us you're here among us--
up in our rafters, down in our basements.
No space is safe; you've tagged
all the walls we've erected against you; now it's
the clouds you're coloring.
I think of you suspended above the danger,
the law, the humdrum. I picture myself
next to you risking all for art,
tied to the girder with strings of nerves--creating
something larger than art.

I've never been that high, kid,
but I think I'm beginning to see what you mean.

Sherman Pearl was a co-founder of the Los Angeles Poetry Festival and co-editor of CQ Magazine. His work has appeared in more than 50 literary publications and has won several national and international awards. His fifth collection Profanities was published in July, 2008 (ConfluX Press). He lives with his wife, artist Meredith Gordon, in Santa Monica, CA.