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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

PRESSING PANTS ON DEATH ROW

by Buff Whitman-Bradley


He has spent fifteen years on death row, fucked over by lawyer after lawyer – the one who fell asleep during the trial, the ones who didn’t file his appeals. The crime: stabbing a woman during a break-in. Did he do it? We don’t ask -- death row etiquette. You don’t talk about the crime unless the prisoner brings it up. Obliquely he says he didn’t.

Fifteen years on death row in a four-by-ten cell. Locked down from 1:30 PM to 7:30 AM every day.

He was an accidental child and never knew his father. Beaten by his mother and stepfather, and tormented by his half-brothers and -sister. They were New Mexican Spanish, and they called him “the Mexican.” An outsider. He thought his mother loved him, he says -- even when she hit him and told him she didn’t want to keep him -- because she always put dinner on the table. Once when he was about 10, his parents left the kids for six months while they went away to work. It was OK, he says, because there were lots of aunts an uncles in the neighborhood.

Fifteen years on death row, five thousand days of the same-old same-old.

He has taught himself to read and write since he’s been inside. Now he’s passionate about books and loves to tell us the plots of the novels he’s reading. Out on the yard, the prisoners who have read the same books sit and discuss them while others jog or play basketball.

Fifteen years on death row, waking up each morning, going to sleep each night, knowing the state has big plans for him.

Now he has lawyers who are working hard for him. Up to date on all his appeals. They’ve said it may be ten years before the court responds.

Fifteen years on death row. Ten executions. Many more dying of suicide and natural causes.

He has a great sense of humor, a sweet spirit. Even so, how does he keep his soul from curling up and dying? Exercise every day. Out to the yard for fresh air and sunshine. Card games, shared meals. Pen pals from all over. Visitors from outside. His brother used to come, but stopped. Now it’s just us and the lawyers. He always shaves before a visit. And presses his denims. They don’t give out steam irons on death row. How does he do it? Puts a couple of towels down on the floor next to his bed. Folds the jeans with the inseams lined up and lays them down on top of the towels, the way you’d place a pair of trousers lengthwise on an ironing board. Smooths out all the wrinkles. Sprinkles water along the folds, and puts another towel on top. Then walks back and forth on the stack for a half-hour or so, and pulls out a wrinkle-free nicely creased pair of pants that he puts on with a clean chambray shirt and a pair of spit-shined shoes to welcome his guests.

Fifteen years on death row. And counting.


Buff Whitman-Bradley is a peace and social justice activist in Northern California. In addition to writing, he produces documentary videos and audios. With his wife Cynthia, he is co-producer/director of the award winning video Outside In, about people who visit prisoners on San Quentin's death row.
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Monday, September 29, 2008

LACK

by Dion Farquhar

We shall squeeze you empty and then
we shall fill you with ourselves.
--George Orwell, 1984

formerly a radical pursuit: the point where spirit met nerve spine
efficiency eclipses old-time siloed seriality
now cybernetic robot teams dispatched
driven by tokens narrow bandwidth lines of cloak
like a door beyond which lies a spectrum
tiny sets of cues more powerful than a size D
or a hard dick noir anti-metaphysical gumshoe
chasing clues undercover
difference no deeper than the Dewey decimal
tracking the tiny donor in the painting digital signing
whipped up to a theatrical frenzy our artists of the real economists
remake the world (tacitly) celebrating the clean canvas
great floods and fires new tyrannies like absolutions
but the only fetters falling away over fifty years
are restraints on the market caps on corporate license loosened
Sukarno copper nickel rubber oil military coups
Santiago saw slogans painted on its walls in red:
Jakarta is coming
Washington Wall Street
shoveling shared wealth back into private hands
advancing on the crest of disasters
It’s never been a better time to be a robot a repo man
or a corporation
devolved to free market eradicating opposition
before it gets off the ground
imagining resistance still a source of the possible
embedded macros idealizing information
no wonder the attraction of virtual systems
nothing on TV but blowhards and pundits gutless demagogues
pledging sotto voce crying crocodile tears
while I’m logging on for something skeletal
to the right of jihad
that names the closed loop opposes the corporatist model
the poor disposable the rich free
to amass endless wealth the bottom line
increasing the revenue stream
ten times nothing makes ten


Dion Farquhar was born in 1947 and lives in Santa Cruz with the love of her life and their two teenage sons. Formed by the Sixties and repudiating nothing, she still misses New York, her old friends, and off-off Broadway theatre. Her poetry has recently appeared in City Works, Ikon, Fifteen Project, Second Hy(na)ku Anthology, Rogue Scholars, SLAB, Ep;phany, Otoliths, LanguageandCulture.net, AUGHT, Poems Niederngasse, and XCP: Street Notes. Her chapbook Cleaving won first prize at Poets Corner Press in 2007.
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SALVATORE FERRAGAMO LASTS

by Bill Costley


On a brightly sunny Norcal morning,
as we both limp thru an upscale mall,
Ivo says he tells his wealthy friends
“Don’t think about making money,
just think about…staying alive.” He’s
dead-serious, financial times are dire,
nobody knows if/when they will fail,
how far they’ll fall before hitting
bottom
& where the bottom lies.
We 2 limp thru that mall each a.m.,
past Salvatore Ferragamo shoes; Ivo
got a pair for $20 at a thrift-store;
tho a bit tight, they’re dead cheap
& will last him the rest of his life,
& beyond, returned to a thrift-store.


Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers' Union.
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BAIL-OUT

by Barbara A. Taylor


socializing losses
toxic corporate debts
for Main Street–
saved by the State
owned by the few


Barbara A. Taylor's haiku, tanka and short form poems have appeared on Sketchbook, Shamrock, Stylus, Lynx, New Verse News, Simply Haiku, Three Lights Gallery, Tiny Words, Kokako, Eucalypt, Moonset, Contemporary Haibun, Modern English Tanka, and others including recent anthologies, Landfall and Atlas Poetica. Her diverse poems with audio are available online.
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

MORE THAN WE WANT

by Paula Sergi


Even the potted
plants are in shock, either dead
from water-logging
or spindly and anxious as a teenager
trying to understand
such sudden growth. The river’s
settled back,
its brown signature
layered over parking lots, flood’s farewell.

July fourth arrives but it’s more like Spring,
cool days, blanketed nights,
and a slow rebirth of sorts: debris removed
from curbs, always the rolled-up carpet
and lingering brown lawn spots
(marking victims like a cross on the door,)
where faint green can be seen
grass faithful to itself,
while nettles and buckthorn grow wild.

Business is good,
for once, for lawn repairs and fix-it men;
more than they can handle;
not a mason to be had. And hope?
Plenty of that: hope
the basement holds, does not implode
on any rainy day, hope
its loosened cinder blocks stay put
till fall. Hope the banker calls,
approves a loan, or FEMA
comes through ‘cause we’re not black,
just blue collar, hope the best man
wins in November.

Some sodden flags will hang
from door ways, some veterans will walk
down Main Street behind
some farmers on their tractors,
since the crops are dwarfed or gone,
pants low and showing
more than we want to see.

It’s a holiday, but the city feels abandoned
yet neighbor kids insist
on lighting cherry bombs which resonate
less like celebration than combat.
more water than we’d ever want,
even the Fox River toxic.

A holiday, all day to drink
More beer than we need,
to delay or suspend what must be faced.
Some fireworks will flash, saved
from city hall while
documents floated, and notices went down
with the post office,
some wanted men gone free.


Paula Sergi is the author of Family Business, a chapbook from Finishing Line Press, and co-editor of Boomer Girls: Poems by Women from the Baby Boom Generation, University of Iowa Press. Forthcoming from Kaplan Publishing are two anthologies she co-edited, Meditations on Hope and A Call to Nursing. She holds a BSN from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College.
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

THE TWO PROPHETS

by Esther Greenleaf Murer

(Jeremiah 28:1-17 )

Jeremiah wore a wooden yoke
around his neck, made of the stoutest oak.
"Babylon will hold in thrall our folk
     for years to come."

Hananiah said to him, "Our men
will be in Babylon and out again,
victorious, before you count to ten.
     It'll be a romp."

Said Jeremiah, "When we no longer pour
men and money into this foreign war,
when we depend on our own might no more,
     I'll know you're right."

Then stepped Hananiah up and broke
from Jeremiah's neck the wooden yoke,
and cock-a-hoop these gloating words he spoke:
     "Mission accomplished!"

Jeremiah held himself in check
and went away awhile. When he came back
he had an iron yoke around his neck.
     Told Hananiah:

"You have broken off the yoke of wood,
but now we'll wear a yoke of iron for good,
sending our riches and our livelihood
     to Babylon.

"You have condemned this nation by your lie
to endless servitude. I prophesy
that before the year is out you'll die,
     your name accursed."

And sure enough, as Jeremiah swore,
Hananiah died and was no more,
He left behind a greedy, pointless war—
     his country ruined.

And did the people mend their wanton ways
And listen to Jeremiah all their days?
What happened next? Well, that's another phase,
     another story.


Esther Greenleaf Murer lives in Philadelphia. In addition to New Verse News, her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Externalist, The Ghazal Page, Mimesis, Light Quarterly, and Town Creek Poetry.
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STACKED DECK

by Dave Seter


Poker champs cradle chins, rub meaning
from faces, while two channels over
political luminaries fake transparency
on the issues, their true faces obscured,
made-up for the cameras. We the viewers
scrutinize each nuance, bluff or gesture
broadcast into bars and beauty parlors.
Bartenders switch between the channels
of truth and lies—everything entertains.

Outdoors of bars and beauty parlors, slapped
on bus shelter walls, the election’s wanted posters
show waxy brilliance of hair gel, and faces
that stare at nothing—air—leaflets of thought—
night falling – the homeless taking up residence.
Maintenance crews ignore the posters and people
but scrub away the independent thought, graffiti.

His face washed of meaning and bias, the contender
campaigns for survival, trusts his gut that folks
dislike intellect, denies allegations he was ever
a PhD candidate, slams back a shot of Jack Daniels,
slaps a mechanic’s back. Election Tuesday we have
a date with democracy, voting machine, oxymoron.
No bright line between truth and lies, the elect
will oversee the production, fiction of our lives.


Dave Seter was born in Chicago. A registered civil engineer, he now lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. His poems have appeared in various publications including Karamu, Blue Collar Review, Bear River Review, and Switched-on Gutenberg.
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Friday, September 26, 2008

MUDDLING THROUGH

by Scot Siegel


"After decades of investigation, scientists are still unable to explain why no part of the brain seems responsible for storing memories."
-- The Epoch Times 8/28/08

Before decades of memory
the brain was responsible
for investigating scientists
who, until recently, stored
more than a weak curiosity
hampered by a right-wing
ban on stem-cell research...

After centuries of waiting,
the best minds have atrophied;
malnourished, they've clammed-up --
Meanwhile, intelligent life orbits
Washington, as we watch in a stupor
And the human race
     plods on...


Scot Siegel is an urban planner and poet from Lake Oswego, Oregon, where he serves on the Lake Oswego City Planning Commission and the Board of Trustees for the Friends of William Stafford. His first full-length poetry collection Some Weather is forthcoming from Plain View Press in 2009.
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

McCORIOLANUS

by Bill Costley

very slightly adapted from Coriolanus Act III, sc.II, ll. 52ff

McCoriolanus:
Why force you this?

Palinia, his running-mate:
Because that now it lies on you to speak
To th' people; not by your own instruction,
Nor by the matter which your heart prompts,,
But with such words that are but roted (sic) in
Your tongue, though but bastards & syllables
of no allowance to your campaign's untruths.
Now, this no more disses/honours you at all
Than to take in the media with gentle words,
Which else would put you to your fortune &
The hazard of needed bundled contributions.
I would dissemble with my nature, whence
My fortunes & my friends' at stake requir'd &
I should do so in full honour. I am in this like
your wife, your son, these senators, the nobles;
& you will better show mainstream-media louts
How you can frown & spend a fawn upon'em
For the inheritance of their loves to safeguard
What they will surely run at 8&10pm tonite.'

Media-Men: Noble lady! Come with us, speak fair.
You may salve so, not what is dangerous at present,
but bemoans the loss of what was best in TV-past.


Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers' Union.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S
OBAMEO + JOHNIETTE

by Olga Wayne


Two partyholds, both alike in stubbornness,
On fair Potomac, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where "civil" folks are still all much too mean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes -
A pair of criss-cross running mates jump the stage;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Will not, even in victory, make country sage.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd ads,
And the continuance of their parties' rage,
Which, nominee's end, nought could remove,
May not, even despite the hoopla, turn the page.
But you - if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, your blood and sweat shall mend.


Olga Wayne is an attorney by day and a bard by night. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Temple Law School.
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JOHNIETTE'S SOLILOQUY

by Aaron Gillego


Obameo, Obameo, wherefore art though Obameo,
Deny thy Muslimhood and refute those charges,
Or, if thou wilt not, I will be sworn in as president,
And I'll no longer be a Senator.
'Tis but thy party affiliation that you're my enemy.
Thou art thyself, though not a Maverick.
What's Maverick? It is nor Post, nor Fox,
Nor Wall Street Journal, nor any other paper
Belonging to Rupert Murdoch. O, be some other network.
What's in the news? That which we call a pig
Is still a pig even with some lipstick on,
So Obameo was quoted, though that's not what he meant,
Referring to that dear Palin, who talks of oil,
Without any real experience. Obameo, doff thy party,
And for that Hillary, who wants no part of thee,
Her votes I'll take all myself.


Aaron Gillego resides in Miami, FL, where he teaches high school English. He pursued his MFA in Poetry at the University of Miami. He has been published by The Advocate and has contributed two poems previously to The New Verse News.
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YOGI. POET LAUREATE OF BASEBALL

by Earl J. Wilcox


At 83, icon of icons,
there you stand, Yogi,
your shadow smaller
and smaller
each time we see you.

Your clear-eyed twinkle
fills old Yankee Stadium
your presence,
your smile,
your catcher’s squat stance.

O, Yogi, essence of our poets,
your word horde---
tho not deep,
is distinct, your voice unique,
rhythms just right.

We want one more line, Yogi.
We promise not to mangle
this one,
as we have done
over the years.

Your coy smile beguiles,
holds us fast. Laureate
to the end, speaking
on the occasion, echoing
yourself, I’m Sorry to See it Over.


Earl J. Wilcox writes about aging, baseball, literary icons, politics, and southern culture. His work appears in more than two dozen journals; he has contributed 40 poems to the New Verse News.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

THEY WERE CARELESS PEOPLE

from The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald


“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made."
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ANATOMY OF A TERRORIST

by Suzanne Richardson Harvey


Our preliminary diagnosis revealed no apparent abnormalities
No early symptoms of the disease were visible
True he spent hours at the zoo
Observing the cheetah measure her territory
With tethered but predictable speed
Watching the polar bear
Pace from one smoothly hewn stone to the next
With deceptive affability

His favorite pet was his Doberman whom he found user friendly
He remembered to file the incisors
Till they were indistinguishable from the ivory tips
Of the poniard set in the parlor
He neglected to clip the nails
That had carved a hole the size
Of several finely crafted grenades
In the surface of the bedroom floor

At day care he demonstrated an unfaltering sense
Of expertise in the area of property rights
On the beach he staked out the lot for his sandcastle
With a steel tape and a marble eye
He achieved coitus with a treatise
Experienced orgasm with a slogan
Human secretions of any sort disturbed him
Sweat, semen, a tear.


Suzanne Richardson Harvey is a member of the Academy of American Poets. For almost two decades she lectured in the English Department at Stanford University. She is now retired. Her poetry has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Concho River Review, Mannequin Envy, Convergence Journal, Poetalk, Poetry Salzburg Review (Austria), SpeedPoets (Australia), Ascent Aspirations Magazine (Canada), nthposition (UK), Current Accounts (UK), Poetic Hours (UK), and Splizz (Wales), among other venues.
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Monday, September 22, 2008

MCCAINOMICS

by Bill Costley


“I don’t know economics? Like hell!
Holy hell!” explodes John McCain,
“I read Samuelson’s ECONOMICS;
played pinochle & canasta & beat
Alan Greenspan & Andrea Mitchell,
tho why the hell they wouldn't play
poker, I’ll never know! Alan’s face
is just about as stony a poker-face
as I saw anywhere in the Navy.
Why hell, Lt. Dick Nixon made
a bundle running a poker-game
in the Pacific during WW2, or so
my 4-star admiral dad told me . . ."



Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers Union.
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

DIGGING LORCA

by James Penha


"One of Spain's most enduring literary mysteries could soon be solved after the descendants of Federico García Lorca dropped their longstanding objections to unearthing the mass grave where the poet's remains are believed to lie. 'We will not oppose it,' said Laura García Lorca, the poet's niece. 'Although we would prefer it weren't done, we respect the wishes of the other parties involved.'”
--Thomas Catán, Times Online, September 19, 2008


Do these soggy bones matter
more than Bernarda’s broken
cane or New York
tenements or a perfect pair of olives
in hand? For if we hold, Federico,
your delicate fingers, trace the lines
of your lips with our fingers,
and hear your inspiration
even now, we have no need
for the palpable
to imagine you.

Exhumation reminds me more
of the next innocent
to die wordlessly
in a ditch.


James Penha edits The New Verse News.
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Saturday, September 20, 2008

BODY AMMO

by Scott Keeney


1

Over the synagogue
at the end of the road
crows shatter the sky
like small arms fire—
safety is not enough.

2

The generosities of film—
capturing it all in
theory—against
the savagery of actual
footage. Dire, cinematic age.

3

brief endurance
of what
makes
flags whip
ripple or tear

4

The dead arrive on flatbeds
or else disappear around corners—
dust clouds in the streets—
would it be better if
we could eat them?

5

To arrive meaning to leave,
meaning continue, not end,
not unlike what happens
when you fall on your ass
at the Miss Universe pageant.

6

I don't know which to prefer:
the black bird that is oil
at $100 per barrel
or the simple, muscle
mathematics of the surge.

7

The tabernacle at the end of the road
used to be a synagogue,
and before that a pre-school,
and before that a church,
and before that some woods.

8

The moon rises predictably
suddenly—like the stock market—
same as it goes down.
The crows land on treetops
like proud little flags.


Scott Keeney writes from Connecticut. His poems have appeared most recently in Court Green and The Hay(na)ku Anthology, Volume II (Meritage Press).
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Friday, September 19, 2008

AFTER BEER

by Stan Pisle


After beer,
I’m up late
in my Berkeley kitchen.

Hungry, I can’t decide what’s the itch.
I scratch the fridge,
find old democratic green veggies,
and decide, “No.”
Then I vote at the cupboard and notice a candidate: corn oil.
--And I know what I need,
deep fat fried republicans.
Lightly salted, so as not raise my blood pressure.


Berkeley resident Stan Pisle's poems have appeared in Our Magazine of Cleveland, Ohio. He's a supporter of California State University East Bay's writing program, and an advisory board member of CSUEB's literary magazine Arroyo.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

LATE INNINGS

by Howie Good


The man at the ticket window asks
for some identification.
My dark laughter?
The socket of my missing tooth?

I pass through the ancient turnstile.
The war is here and it’s not,
like a book on the nightstand
that you’ll never open.

I’m inconspicuous at the ballpark
in my threadbare mourning clothes.
The crowd is huge but sullen,
as if they know something

the players down on the field don’t –
that the starting pitcher will be betrayed
in the late innings by the bullpen,
that grass crumbles, that everything

that isn’t dying is already dead.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of six poetry chapbooks, including the free e-book, Police and Questions (Right Hand Pointing, 2008).
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

FOOTNOTE FOR A HEADLINE

by Darlene Pagán


I worry less about the grown man
who stumbled into the emergency room
complaining of chest and abdominal pain
after consuming an aphrodisiac made
from toad venom, than I do
about the woman pacing
her apartment floors waiting for him:

stopping to gaze at her reflection
in the mirror then the window then
the mirror then back again, tilting
her head here, parting her lips there,
smiling, nodding, her occasional laughter
sputtering like flame on a wet wick.

With dusk’s fire light gone, the silk teddy
looks too tight under her arms,
where the flesh makes two folds,
one for each child,
first a boy then a girl,
away for the weekend.

She takes a breath, unzips the side,
shuts the curtains, smears the mirror
with No. 217 Lips by Lippy tangerine lipstick,
peels the silk away from her body like
gauze from a binding or a burn
that only the risk of exposure
could possibly cure.


Darlene Pagán’s poetry is forthcoming in Willow Springs and her poems and nonfiction have most recently appeared in Literal Latte, The Nebraska Review, and The MacGuffin. She teaches writing and literature at Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

MODERN-DAY SLAVE: TESTIMONY

by Lucille Gang Shulklapper


Samirah widens the holes in her rags.
These shirt . . . these pants? I never wear them again.

Yes, my name is Samirah; I wander
into doughnut shop
so hungry, I taste the smells.
They force me eat my own vomit

when I can’t keep chili peppers down
where they force in mouth. Yes, I steal
food from garbage. Yes, I do
not want say their name;

please let me point them . . . they cut my ears
and do you have tissue I can wipe
this stuff that comes from them like
bad water? Yes, what you touch hurts,

you call them scars?
Yes, I come from Indonesia
to be maid, to live in
picture of house they send

and for money I send Bunda my mother . . . she . . .
yes, I go home, no holes in food, holes in me.


A workshop Leader for The Florida Center for the Book, the first affiliate of the Library of Congress, Lucille Gang Shulklapper writes fiction and poetry. Her work has been anthologized and appears in many publications, as well as in four poetry chapbooks, What You Cannot Have; The Substance of Sunlight; Godd, It’s Not Hollywood; and In The Tunnel. Living up to traditional expectations led to work as a salesperson, model, realtor, teacher, and curriculum coordinator throughout schooling, marriage, children, and grandchildren.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

ONE PLUS ONE

by Darla Himeles


And how many single-parent children
are lied to, told to call Mommy and Daddy
those who are secretly not

or told dramas of Daddy's death
at war or by other sacrifice
to hide imprisonment, abandonment?

When McCain sideways smiles
as an adoptive parent does
when he is proud of himself,

and says two men could never
adopt a child together, clearly
children need both parents

(by which he must mean both
genders), I wonder about orphans
and the many children lied to

and whether two fathers
or two mothers or even three
would be worse than a man

like Mr. McCain who cannot
understand any one plus one
is always more love than none.


Darla Himeles currently lives in Bryn Mawr, PA, and works as the Coordinator of Staff Education at nearby Bryn Mawr College. This winter she will begin pursuing her MFA in poetry at Drew University's low-residency program. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Mad Poets Review, Getting Read, and Poetica Magazine.
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

FIRST LIGHT

by Joy Gaines-Friedler


This is the hour before the wind,
before watering, winning, oil
cans, gas cans, core issues, clanking
cacophony. Before the word
country. This is the hour when
the mallards stir, clear throats, cluck, shake,
eye thistle and corn at the feeders,
eye tadpoles, float, feed, paddle, pluck.
This is the hour before the sun
has risen over the edge of
arborvitae and spruce, before
daylilies open in its heat,
before another desperate blast
from the hill, noise drummed out
because we can’t stand to hear
the hum of vehemence, another
frame, a roving band of framers,
forging, marching, for the sake
of what? for what? for what? This is
the hour before foreign and freedom,
before dressing, pressing cults and sects,
before suicide, walls, mortar, motors,
employ, deploy. This is the hour before
thirst, before belts and vests, before prayer
and martyrdom. Before breakfast, buses,
bones, backpacks, brigadiers, before nails
and bits of metal, before redeploying
cell phones, web sites, framers. This
is the hour before refilling the feeders.


Joy Gaines-Friedler's poems have been featured in many literary magazines including, The Litchfield Review, RATTLE, Margie and The Pebble Lake Review. Her first book of poems - Like Vapor - was published by Mayapple Press in 2008. Joy lives in Farmington Hills, Michigan, with her husband, three cats, and lots of wild life she tries to protect, including a neighborhood coyote. She teaches creative writing workshops to young adults considered "at risk" through Common Ground, a mental health core provider. She also tutors Political Science and English courses at Oakland Community College.
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

TAXES

by David Chorlton


What don’t you like about low taxes?
Our neighbour isn’t watching
the Republican convention. Says
he doesn’t need to. Always votes
straight ticket, checking off the boxes
arranged on his ballot as neatly
as the discount coupons stacked on his porch
where he invites us to share a glass of the wine
he can’t tell from the expensive brands.
Why pay more? Never misses a deal.
Gets his shoes from a company that sends them
to him in return for a report
on how they fit. He likes to sit and talk.
Another glass? He likes to tell us
what’s free and where to get it.
Then turns the conversation to the way
taxes only benefit those
who want something for nothing.
Like the socialists in Europe. He never had children
to send to college. He’s affable. Just enjoys
an argument. Teases us about our views.
Disparity between rich and poor
doesn’t bother him. They must have worked for it.
And he doesn’t care that the Republicans he votes for
are always talking about a god
he doesn’t believe in. Shrugs his shoulders.
And he doesn’t agree with the war anymore.
Shrugs his shoulders. He’s got a firewall
around him that keeps information away.
He’s not comparing candidates. Blames
the Democrats for every cent he pays
even when they’re not in the majority.
Tell him the state’s run by Republicans
and he shrugs his shoulders. He doesn’t want
to ban abortion, occupy Iraq, or promote
family values; he wants a discount on democracy.
Wants it simple.
Wants to drink it from a box.
Can’t tell snake oil from a good Chardonnay.


David Chorlton has lived in Phoenix for 30 years and come to love the desert around it. He recently won the Ronald Wardall Award from Rain Mountain Press for The Lost River, a chapbook whose contents reflect his unease with what is happening to our planet. More of his work, including paintings, is at his Web site.
__________________________________________________

Friday, September 12, 2008

TRIOLET: LIPSTICK ON A PIG

by R. S. Dunn


Sure, I once put lipstick on a pig.
“It’s not my shade!” the porker squealed
In anger; and danced a frightening jig.
Sure, I once put lipstick on a pig,
But lost my nerve about the red fright wig—
It would have meant somebody’s doom was sealed …
Sure, I once put lipstick on a pig.
“It’s not my shade!” the porker squealed.


R. S. Dunn is the editor of the journal, Asbestos; former Editor of Medicinal Purposes Literary Review, the erstwhile host of the Poet to Poet cable television show, and has appeared in such publications as Krax, Imago, Mobius, Art Times, Rattapallax, Nomad’s Choir, Critical Perspectives in Accounting, and Pegasus. His full-length collections of poetry include Zen Yentas in Bondage, Guilty as Charged, Cannon Fodder (Cross-Cultural Literary Editions), Playing in Traffic (Founders Hill Press), Sunspot Boulevard (Xlibris), and Horse Latitudes (iUniverse.com).
_______________________________

MOO-SLIM O'BAMA

by Bill Costley


“I know you’ll play it proud, “
says Attilla McCain,” as proud
as Mrs. Punch of being called
‘a pig in lipstick’ by moo-slim
O’bama, who can’t eat pig.
Who‘s he think he’s kidding?”

Mrs. AAA-laska belittles him:
“O’bama can’t lay a hand on me;
eyes closed, I can out-slap him,
now he’s got himself in a corner
you know I can lock him in,
'strategically speaking!' "

over a sweet mess of spare ribs.


Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers Union.
_______________________________

Thursday, September 11, 2008

UNSETTLED

by Robert M. Dilley


"The tallest buildings ever," my father's voice rising higher
his hands spinning the wheel of a Buick Skylark Sportwagon
when a fill-up cleaned the windshield with a smile and a squeegee

We emptied our attentions into Manhattan
then filled them up again with twin tower visions across the horizon
from Sunday to Sunday, along the turnpike, and over the Pulaski skyway
we drove rivets through girders to Grandmother's in Jersey City

Hardened structures of steel, and men of similar origin
were swinging by nerves, hanging by the courage to forge America
into the future, for my father, and his children's children

They filled our eyes again, with seething horror
wings and concrete crumbling with loved ones
undone into dust, piled into rubble
lost years aloft, dust doesn't settle
And still, it's not easy to lift these eyes skyward
to ferry them across the Henry Hudson
or drive them south on the Westside Highway
searching east, through debris, and shattered memories
sending them far off to uncertain sands
where men fall like bricks
so the highest building ever
can stand


Robert M. Dilley is a new, old writer. Writes about life experiences, his family, humor, politics.
______________________________________________________

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

SOMETHING IN THE ECO-MADNESS . . .

by Earl J. Wilcox

“Experts Fear Dwindling of Fireflies”--AP, August 30 2008

. . . is dousing fireflies’ lights,
global warming experts warn.

When glowworms no longer glow,
When lightening bugs no longer light,

Soon to follow will be backyard romps
Without ropes and rubber tire swings

Ice cream not hand-cranked,
Kool-Aid pre-made in a kit,

Lemonade in a pill
Canned laughter

Fake tears, fake turf to mow,
Wind-up birds, rubber snakes.

On a ranch in Texas,
Mechanical bulls.


Earl J. Wilcox writes about aging, baseball, literary icons, politics, and southern culture. His work appears in more than two dozen journals; he has contributed 39 poems to the New Verse News.
________________________________________

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

BUSHY WAR BUCKS AND LITTLE ORPHANED FANNIE

by Carmen Tafolla


Little Fannie is crying.
There are holes in her clothes
and holes in her shoes
and a skinny hungry look
on her tear-smudged face.
Daddy’s mad at me, she sobs
Cause Freddie and me lost the
penny he gave us last week.
Daddy Bush-War Bucks
says we wasted it, were
irris-plausible
an stupid.
Says we can’t play outside no more,
can’t play at all till we learn how to work.
“It’s all yore fault,” he said,
“That Mama Gum-Mint an I are sufferin so much.
All yore fault for squanderin the stuff we so
generously give you.
Money is serious bid-ness. Needs to be used on important things,”
that’s what he said.
Daddy’s not home right now. He’s gone out to play.
Don’t know for how long. Doesn’t come home early
usually.

Fannie and Freddie keep looking
for the penny they lost, sweeping every corner of the house
till way past midnight
While Daddy tipsies home
dropping billions at every step,
drunk on his way home to bed
after squandering
everything
at the exotic new casino called
Iraq .


Carmen Tafolla, a native of San Antonio, is the author of five books of poetry and numerous short stories, screenplays, children's works and essays. Winner of the 1999 Art of Peace Award, for work which contributes to peace, justice, and human understanding, Tafolla’s latest book (2008) is The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans: A Feast of Short Fiction.
__________________________________________________

Monday, September 08, 2008

DREAM OF AFTER HOURS

by Marion Deutsche Cohen


In New York City there's a poor old woman in a wheel chair who, every midnight, and on 'til 3:00 or 4:00 AM, hangs out in the various schoolyards. She's old and disabled but educated, and she loves education. So she's just there, available, to teach anybody who happens to come along and want to be taught. All the teenagers and young men who would otherwise be out doing drugs or nothing go to her. Nobody kills her or mugs her, they love and respect her, little kids too, and parents of kids who don't want to go to school bring their kids to her night school. She does this every night, in as many schoolyards as she can get to.

Then, back home in Philly... well, you know how the buses run pretty late but not all night, so there's this young man who, after hours, climbs aboard one of the buses, Septa leaves the key for him, is happy he's doing this, he drives that bus around, for those who have to get to work at 4:00 AM or who just like riding the bus at 3:00 AM. And he's got a full bus. As he drives he talks, tells us about the New York City woman who runs the outdoor night school for those who don't like indoor day schools. She's a distant cousin of his, and there are other distant cousins. It's a chain they're running, a human chain.

Marion Deutsche Cohen's two latest books are Crossing the Equal Sign (Plain View Press, TX) about the experience of mathematics and Surviving the Alphabet (Huge Pathetic Force, PA), a poetry chapbook. Forthcoming is Chronic Progressive (Plain View Press, TX), a memoir in poetry of her well spouse caregiving years. Her books total 18. She teaches math at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA. Other interests include classical piano, singing, Scrabble, thrift-shopping, four grown children, and two grandchildren.
__________________________________________________

Sunday, September 07, 2008

HEROIC STRUGGLE

PoeArtry by Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote


Less hyped yet equally important
Paralympics ignites Flame of Hope
Serving as Agent of Promise
Exhibiting boundless courage mindful strength

These very special gifted athletes
Making most of God-given talents
Rigorous training empowers buoyant resilience
Determined to better personal bests

Defeatist attitude the real disability
Anything is possible overcoming handicaps
Expectations set far too low
Weighty challenge uplifting derring-do bars

Making an impact arena difference
Victors simply refuse to lose
Also-rans brave in valiant attempts
Gaining confidence next time victorious

Facing every endurance test head-on
Goal not to have conquered
But to have fought well
Prideful smiles emanating from within


The dynamic duo of always toptimistic upstARTs, Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote edit AvantGardeTimes.com, an eclectic cosmopolitan poeartry quarterly EZine. Check out Dr. Chazz’s No Holds Bard website: PoetryArtCombo.com, and Saknarin’s new Glad Thaidings exhibition: http://www.poeartrygallery.th.gs/.
________________________________________

Saturday, September 06, 2008

BLUBBER IN A PALE

(since you didn't ask)


by Scot Siegel


I think Palin pales in comparison to Biden
who pales in comparison to Obama
who pales in comparison to Clinton
who pales in comparison to Kennedy
who pales in comparison to Lincoln, a Republican
who pales in comparison to those
Native Americans
who pale in comparison to those
who came before them
across the land bridge
from Russia
to Alaska
When neither existed
and had no need for oil
but had whales and seals
and endless ice, and real
names, like:
     Aleut
     Koyukon
     Haida
     Gwich'in
     Tanana
     Ahtna
     Tlingit
     Yup'lk

Don't believe me?
     just ask the Inuit


Scot Siegel is an urban planner and poet from Lake Oswego, Oregon, where he serves on the Lake Oswego City Planning Commission and the Board of Trustees for the Friends of William Stafford. His first full-length poetry collection Some Weather is forthcoming from Plain View Press in 2009.
________________________________________

Friday, September 05, 2008

The CHENI@D:
Volume Eight

by Bill Costley



Book LXXXV: CHENEY Bakes Mrs. Alaska


Alaska’s armedest hockey mom,
programmed w/Zapruder's clip,
draws a cold bead on Obama,
& gets taken into custody by
MIBs for an attempt on the life
of a presidential candidate. Mc
Cain rages: "Getchya hands off
my own Alaskan Candidate!"
& jabs a VP-destruct button;
CHENEY bakes Mrs.Alaska.


Book LXXXVI: CHENEY: Georgia Will Join NATO

[newspoem]


"Georgia will be in our alliance," CHENEY said,
stressing America's "deep, abiding, & strong
commitment to Georgia’s overcoming invasion.
You were fearless during Russian occupation,
& steadfast in your principles. We respect you."

US officials stressed US aid would not rebuild
Georgia's military which will be decided in Dec.
when Georgian NATO membership is discussed
at a NATO ministerial meeting. Russia insisted
this (draws) a red line in east-west relations; its
NATO rep. said Moscow would now halt co-
operation with NATO over Afghanistan.

CHENEY visited Georgia as Ukraine's coalition
collapsed over the Russian invasion of Georgia.



Book LXXXVII: CHENEY, Preserve Yr VP Records!

[newspoem]
based on the story by PETE YOST, AP Writer
(Wash. DC, 20 SEP 08)


A federal judge on Sat. ordered Dick CHENEY
to preserve a wide range of the records from his time as VP . . .

The decision by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly
is a setback for the Bush administration in its effort
to promote a narrow definition of materials that must be
safeguarded under by the Presidential Records Act.

The Bush administration's legal position
"heightens the court's concern" that some records
may not be preserved, said the judge.

The private CREW, Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington,
is suing CHENEY & the Executive Office of the President in an effort 2ensure
that no presidential records are destroyed/handled
in a way that makes them unavailable2 the public.

In a 22-page opinion, the judge revealed that in recent days,
lawyers for the Bush administration balked at a proposed agreement
between the 2 sides on how2proceed with the case.

CHENEY & the other defendants in the case "were only willing to agree
to a preservation order that tracked their narrowed interpretation"
of the Presidential Records Act, wrote Judge Kollar-Kotelly.

The administration, said the judge, wanted any court order on what records
are at issue in the suit 2cover only the office of the VP, not CHENEY
or the other defendants in the lawsuit. The other defendants include
the National Archives & archivist of the USA.

In response to the ruling, CHENEY spokesman James R. Hennigan
said that "we will not have any comment on pending litigation."

The lawsuit stems from CHENEY's position that: his
office is not part of the executive branch of government.

This summer, CHENEY’s chief of staff David Addington
told Congress the VP belongs 2neither
the executive nor legislative branch of government,
but rather is attached by the Constitution 2Congress.
The VP presides over the Senate.

The lawsuit alleges that the Bush administration's actions
over the past 7 1/2 years raise questions whether
the White House will turn over records created
by CHENEY & his staff 2the National Archives in Jan.

2 historians & 13 groups of historians & archivists
joined CREW in filing the suit 2 weeks ago.


Book LXXXVIII: Engineered by CHENEY

The Piscean Age gasps to a weepy ending.
flooding the world w/frissons of fiscal fear.
Knot-headed Sen. McCain = Cosmo Topper
& nobody’s convinced but other old POWs
raving that “socialism has come to America”
from under their scrambled-egged USN caps.
The Aquarian Age radiates its brightness as
hatless & jacketless audiences listen to Sen.
Obama
smoothly make today’s only sense.
But if neither of them can win in November,
who the hell can? Ivo predicts they’ll either
join to form a unity government, or we’ll get
a 3rd Dubya term, engineered by CHENEY.


Book LXXXIX: CHENEY's Afib & Cardioversion

[newspoem]
based on the story by DEB RIECHMANN, AP Writer
(Wash. DC, 15 OCT 08)

VP Dick CHENEY experienced an abnormal heartbeat
Wed. a.m. & upon the advice of WH doctors, went to
the hosp. for a proced. to "restore his normal rhythm."

For 67-yr-old CHENEY, who canceled a campaign event
he was to attend later Wed. in IL, it will be the 2nd time
in less than a yr that he will have the outpatient procedure
[cardioversion] — which consists of an electric shock.

The VP's office said that after experiencing a problem,
CHENEY saw the WH physician (where) it was discovered
that he was experiencing a recurrence of atrial fibrillation (afib)
an abnormal rhythm involving the upper chambers of the heart,
said Megan Mitchell, a CHENEY spokeswoman.

As a result, CHENEY went to GWU Hospital in the afternoon,
Mitchell said. CHENEY remained at the WH until time for
the proced. & participated in regular morning briefings
w/Pres. Bush, among other duties.

CHENEY told Bush of his cond. The Pres. responded
"like he would with any friend," said spokesman Tony Fratto,
by wishing the VP well & telling him to "go & make sure
the doctors do what they need to do." Later, in Ada, MI,
Bush told reporters that CHENEY is "going 2B fine."
"He said he was confident, the doctors are confident,
& therefore I'm confident," Bush said.

CHENEY also experienced afib in Nov. 2007,
& doctors also administered cardioversion then in 2 1/2 hours.
An irregular heartbeat was discovered while WH doctors
were treating the VP for a lingering cough from a cold.

Dr. Zayd Eldadah, director of cardiac arrhythmia research
at Wash. Hosp. Ctr in Wash. DC, said it's not unusual
for CHENEY to have another such episode. An est.
2.8 million Americans have atrial fibrillation,
the most common type of irregular heartbeat
& one that is not life-threatening in itself.

"This kind of rhythm problem generally does keep coming back over time,"
said Eldadah, not involved in CHENEY's care. "The natural history
of afib in people who have heart disease & are older is that it keeps
coming back, & generally comes back more frequently."

The main risk from alfib is not that CHENEY will have
another heart attack, but that he could eventually
have a stroke if the rhythm problem is not treated.


Book XC: CHENEY’s covered

Ivo worries about CHENEY’s need
for medical coverage post Nov. 4th.
“Who will carry him after that? Will
he be covered until Jan 20th? Or the
anniversary of his 1st-day of work?”
Ivo’s more worried for CHENEY than
he is for Ivo's having Parkinson’s disease.
I don't even try to suggest that CHENEY
can COBRA coverage pre-covered by
all of his pensions: Halliburton CEO;
congressman, SECDEF, VP. Ivo asks:
“Will he retire to Abu Dhabi where he
moved Halliburton's HQ?” "No way;
back to WY (where he grew up.)"


Book XCI: CHENEY: Biden Hopes 2B . . .

[newspoem]
based on the story by NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer
(Wash. DC, 13 Nov 08)

WASHINGTON – VP-elect Joe Biden was all smiles Thurs.
when he paid a courtesy call on the man he will succeed,
VP Dick CHENEY. But he has insisted he wants to be nothing like him.
Biden has called CHENEY "the most dangerous VP
we've had probably in American history" & said
he couldn't name a single good thing CHENEY had done.

But even if he won't acknowledge any similarities,
there's one way that Biden wants to be like CHENEY
— a strong partner in governing the country.

Biden is proving to be a hands-on No. 2 to Pres-elect Barack Obama.
He is carving out his own niche, specializing in foreign affairs,
his area of expertise for decades in the Senate, & sticking close to Obama.

Past VPs have often been relegated to ceremonial roles,
without major input on daily decisions. But the last 2 VPs,
CHENEY & Al Gore, have been extraordinarily involved
& insisted on private weekly lunches with their bosses.

Biden has said he told Obama, before accepting the running mate slot,
he wouldn't want a peripheral assignment like reorganizing government,
which Gore took on along (with other tasks) In a New Yorker interview last month,
Biden said he told Obama: "I don't want to be a VP who is not part of the major decisions you make."

Biden will have an experienced aide who can help his voice be heard in the White House.
He chose former Gore chief of staff Ron Klain to fill the same job for him.

Biden will certainly have a special interest in the Iraq war,
with his son scheduled to deploy there this month.

So far, Biden has been working closely with Obama.
He has been in almost all the pres.-elect's meetings
at his new government office space in Chicago
& has been dispatched to make calls to several foreign leaders.

Biden was asked to smooth over a miscommunication following
Obama's phone call with Polish President Lech Kaczynski last week.
Who issued a statement saying Obama vowed to continue with
Pres. Bush's missile defense project. But Obama's advisers denied it;
the Polish foreign minister later said it was a misinterpretation on their part.
Biden called Kaczynski a couple of days later to explain that the Obama
administration will assess the program before deciding whether to stick with it.

Biden also spoke this week with Afghan President Hamid Karzai,
Jordan's King Abdullah II, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown & Tony Blair.
Israel's foreign & defense ministers, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

Biden has said he'd like to use his 36 years in the Senate,
including leadership of the Judiciary & Foreign Relations committees,
to help push Obama's agenda in Congress. It's longtime insider's experience
that Obama lacks & a role that has not been CHENEY's focus.

CHENEY has been forceful in the White House,
while venturing to Capitol Hill occasionally
to cast a tie-breaking vote or meet with GOP lawmakers.

On the campaign trail, Biden often lambasted CHENEY
In a debate with Republican rival Sara Palin, Biden
objected to CHENEY's claim that the VP is part of the
legislative branch because of its largely ceremonial role as Senate president.
"The idea he's part of the legislative branch is a bizarre notion
invented by CHENEY to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive,
& look where it has gotten us," Biden said. "It has been very dangerous."

When "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric
asked Biden to name the best & worst thing CHENEY has done as VP,
he said he hasn't done much good, then offered admiration for his strength.

"But the thing I think he really, really has done:
I think he's done more harm than any other
single high elected official in memory
in terms of shredding the Constitution," Biden said.
"You know, condoning torture, pushing torture as a policy,
this idea of a unitary executive, meaning the Congress
& the people have no power in a time of war,
& the president controls everything.
I don't have any animus toward Dick CHENEY,
but I really do think his attitude about the Constitution
& the prosecution of this war has been absolutely wrong."

Despite the harsh words during the campaign,
the CHENEYS invited Biden & his wife, Jill,
to the Naval Observatory, the official VP residence,
for an hourlong tour Thursday. Biden had been
in some of the first-floor rooms before. But it was his first
look at much of the mansion that will be his 1st Washington residence
after decades of commuting by train from Delaware.

Both couples were on their best behavior,
at least during their greetings on the porch that reporters observed.

"Mr. VP, how are you doing," Biden said. CHENEY replied,
"Joe, how are you?" & offered his congratulations.

Afterwards, as reporters left, a Secret Service agent
could be heard telling another agent standing guard
for the famously reclusive VP,
"I haven't seen Press here since I've been here."

A statement from CHENEY’S office said the couple
"enjoyed giving the Bidens a tour of the residence
& wished them well as they make it their home in January."



Book XCII: CHENEY Arraignment Pronounced

[newspoem]
based on the story by CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer
(Raymondville, TX, 20 Nov 08)

A TX judge has set an arraignment for VP Dick CHENEY,
former AG Alberto Gonzales & other officials
accused of involvement in prisoner abuse.

Presiding Judge Manuel Banales (buh-NAHL'-ehs)
said Wed he will allow them to waive arraignment
or have attorneys present rather than appear in person Fri.

Banales also said he would issue summonses, not warrants.
That allows them to avoid arrest & the need to post bond.

Willacy County DA Juan Guerra (GEHR'-uh)
accuses CHENEY (CHAY-knee), Gonzales (gun-ZA-less),
a state senator & others
of involvement in prisoner abuse
at a federal detention center in south TX.

Defense atty Tony Canales (kuh-NAHL'-ehs)
accuses Guerra of "prosecutorial vindictiveness"
& not following procedure


Book XCIII: CHENEY Says He's Guilty

[newspoem]
based on the exclusive interview with ABC News by JONATHAN KARL
(Washington, D.C., 16 Dec. 2008)

"Have I changed?" CHENEY asked.
"Well, not in the sense that
I've gone through some fundamental
psychological transition here,
but I have been, since that day [9-11],
focused very much on what we needed
to do to defend the nation,
& I think the policies we've recommended,
the programs that we've undertaken,
have been good programs.
I think those have been sound decisions,
& if that's what they mean by
saying I've changed,
I'm guilty.

"I must say, I think
[Obama has] a pretty good team,"
CHENEY said. "I'm not close to
Barack Obama, obviously,
nor do I identify with him politically.
He's a liberal. I'm a conservative.

"But I think the idea of keeping
Gates at Defense is excellent.
I think Jim Jones will be very, very
effective as the national security adviser.

"While I would not have hired Sen. Clinton,
I think she's tough. She's smart,
works very hard & may turn out
to be just what Pres. Obama needs.

"How they deal with these issues
are going to be very important,
because it's going to have
a direct impact on whether
or not they retain the tools
that have been so essential
in defending the nation
for the last 7½ years, or
whether they give them up.

“Obama's team needs
to look at the specific threats,
understand how the programs
were put together,
& how they operate.
They shouldn't just fall back
on campaign rhetoric
to make these very fundamental
decisions about the safety of the nation.

"I loved being VP &
I loved my time in government
being SECDEF or Ford's chief of staff.
It's been 40 years since I came
to Washington to stay 12 months,
& I think it's about time
I went & did something else."

Asked whether he authorized the waterboarding
tactics against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed:
"I was aware of the program,
certainly, & involved in
helping get the process cleared,
as the agency (in effect)
came in & wanted to know what
they could & couldn't do.
They talked to me,
as well as others,
to explain what
they wanted to do.
I supported it.

"There was a period of time there,
3 or 4 years ago, when about half of
everything we knew about al Qaeda
came from that one source. So, it's
been a remarkably successful effort.
I think the results speak for themselves.

"If you're going to close Guantanamo,
what are you going to do with those prisoners?
One suggestion is, well,
we bring them to the United States.
Well, I don't know very many congressmen,
for example, who are eager to have
200 al Qaeda terrorists deposited in their district.

"I don't know any other nation in the world
that would do what we've done . . .
taking care of people who are avowed enemies,
& many of whom still swear up & down that
their only objective is to kill more Americans.

"As I look at the intelligence
with respect to Iraq,
what they got wrong
was that there weren't any stockpiles.

"What they found
was that Saddam Hussein
still had the capability
to produce weapons
of mass destruction.
He had the technology,
he had the people,
he had the basic feed stock.

"This was a bad actor,
& the country's better off,
the world's better off
with Saddam gone,
& I think we made the right decision,
in spite of the fact that the original NIE
was off in some of its major judgments."


Book XCIV: CHENEY Tells A Story About Surveillance

[newspoem]
based on the interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday
(Washington, D.C., 21 Dec. 2008)

WALLACE: Let's drill down into some
of the specific measures that you pushed —
first of all, the warrantless surveillance
on a massive scale, without telling
the appropriate court, without seeking
legislation from Congress. Why not,
in the aftermath of 9/11
& the spirit of national unity,
get approval, support, bring in
other branches of government?

CHENEY: Well, let me tell you a story
about the terror surveillance program.
We did brief the Congress & we brought in…

WALLACE: Well, you briefed a few members.

CHENEY: We brought in the chairman
& the ranking member, House & Senate,
& briefed them a number of times up until —
this was from late '01 up until '04 when there was
additional controversy concerning the program.

At that point, we brought in
what I describe as the big 9:
not only the intel people,
but also the speaker,
the majority & minority leaders
of the House & Senate,
& brought them into the situation room
in the basement of the White House.

I presided over the meeting.
We briefed them on the program,
& what we'd achieved,
& how it worked,
& asked them,
"Should we continue the program?"
They were unanimous,
Republican & Democrat alike.
All agreed — absolutely
essential to continue the program.

I then said, "Do we need to come to the Congress
& get additional legislative authorization
to continue what we're doing?" They said,
"Absolutely not. Don't do it, because it will reveal
to the enemy how it is we're reading their mail."

That happened. We did consult.
We did keep them involved.
We ultimately ended up having to go to the Congress
after the NYT decided they were going to make
the judge to review all of —
or make all of this available, obviously,
when they reacted to a specific leak.

But it was a program
that we briefed on repeatedly.
We did these briefings in my office.
I presided over them.
We went to the key people
in the House & Senate intel committees
& ultimately the entirely leadership
& sought their advice & counsel,
& they agreed we should not
come back to the Congress.


Book XCV: CHENEY Raves

CHENEY raves alone
on the porcelain throne,
damning Obama’s blood
as lacking real manhood:

“Real men can disagree
about what's tortury,
but only communists
cancel war-contracts!”

CHENEY will retire
to Dubai to the heart
of Haliburton corporat,
protected by Black-
water Men in Black.

“I am who I was & am;
I am the realer Man!”
CHENEY boasts alone.


Book XCVI: CHENEY Unhappy

[newspoem]
based on the Reuters news story by James Vicini 15 MAR 09
editing by Bill Trott; re-editing by Bill Costley
(Washington, D.C., 15 Mar. 2009)


Former VPOTUS Dick CHENEY
said today he was unhappy with
then-POTUS George W. Bush's refusal
to pardon Lewis "Scooter" Libby,
CHENEY's onetime chief of staff
who was convicted in the CIA leak case.

"I was clearly not happy that we, in effect,
left Scooter sort of hanging in the wind,"
CHENEY said in an interview on
CNN's "State of the Union with John King."
CHENEY acknowledged a
"fundamental difference of opinion"
with Bush on the matter.

A federal jury in Washington
convicted Libby of lying & obstructing
an investigation into who blew the cover
of CIA officer Valerie Plame, whose husband,
former Ambassador Joseph Wilson,
had criticized the Iraq war.

Bush earlier commuted Libby's
2-1/2-year prison sentence,
but before leaving office in January,
Bush refused to give Libby an outright pardon.

CHENEY said Libby had been unjustly accused
& deserved a pardon, but Bush disagreed.
It was one of the few areas that CHENEY
has publicly said he disagreed with Bush
on during their 8 years in the White House.

CHENEY continued his criticism
of POTUS Barack Obama's
national security policies, saying they
"raise the risk to the American people of another attack."

In one of his first acts after taking office,
POTUS Obama vowed to close
the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba
within a year. It now holds about 240 terrorism suspects.

He also ordered more humane treatment
for terrorism suspects & an end to renditions,
the practice of transporting foreign detainees
to other countries for interrogation.

On Friday, the Obama administration
said it would no longer use the Bush-era term
of "enemy combatant" for the Guantanamo detainees
& it rejected Bush's position that the POTUS alone
can order the suspects
be held indefinitely without charge.

CHENEY defended the policies
adopted by the Bush administration
in the war on terrorism
as being done legally
& in accordance with
U.S. "constitutional practices & principles."

"I think those programs
were absolutely essential
to the success we enjoyed of
being able to collect the intelligence
that let us defeat all further attempts to launch attacks
against the United States since 9/11," CHENEY said.


Click here for Book XCVII.



Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers Union.
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Thursday, September 04, 2008

DAY THREE

by Jan Pettit


They are vacuuming the sidewalk
outside the hotel next door.
It’s the Republican National Convention and
the sidewalks must be clean, very clean.
To be honest, it’s a rubber-backed rug
they’re vacuuming. Red of course, the red carpet metaphor
in suburban vernacular, rolled out
for the Republicans. I can’t decide which is more absurd,
the rug on top of the sidewalk, or the vacuuming.
On either side, topiary elephants—adorned
with Christmas lights—look on, while the vacuum glides
around their fake moss feet. They wonder what’s gone wrong
here in America. They want to go back,
not to their native Africa, since they are neither
real nor African, but back to their pre-synthetic lives,
the iron ore and petroleum and stuff in the ground.
Before they were pointless, too.


Jan Pettit lives and writes and fumes in Minneapolis, MN. Her poetry has appeared in journals including Great River Review, South Dakota Review, Rosebud Magazine, Tusculum Review and in Nebraska Presence, an anthology of poets from Nebraska.
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ALASKA, SUMMER 2008

by Steve Hellyard Swartz


She loves the unborn
She loves to kill
She loves to fight
She loves being white
And the long long summer days which up there pass for night
She loves a bucket of blood
And long long draughts of water cold as ice
She loves Alaska
And would never ever go
If 18 million cracks in the floor she called home
Hadn't flung her into waters she had never known
She loves life
So much so that she swims for seven days and seven nights
Until she can swim no more
Until
(as is reported by the people in copters above the warming waves who are tracking the death of polar bears)
Until the very end of her life
When she goes down and doesn't come back up
As long day becomes longer night


Steve Hellyard Swartz is a regular contributor to NewVerseNews, Best Poem, and Haggard and Halloo. His poetry has been published in switched-on guttenberg and The Kennesaw Review. In 2008, he won Honorable Mention in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, an honor he also received in 2007. He will soon be published 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 in Park City, Utah.
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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

DELFINA EXPLAINS GLOBALIZATION

by Robert Anbian


When you enter a maquiladora
at Otay Mesa, the first thing you notice
is women, lots of them. Most of us
come from the south, where there are no jobs.
There aren’t even men, except old ones!
The others went north, looking for work
and finding mostly grief and temptation.
If ever I see my husband again,
I will slap him, then kiss him.
Then slap him again.
We women were alone!
We knew nothing about what awaited us!
We brought nothing but children and naïve hopes!
The lords of the maquiladoras welcomed us,
we had small, agile hands, and would be cheap and docile.
They even denied us bathroom breaks, we would suffer in silence.
Or so they thought! But it wasn’t long before we women,
young, uneducated, abandoned by everyone,
began to speak up for our rights. We began
making a little trouble. Above all,
we found we had each other – they couldn’t deny us that!
But a factory woman’s life is a cheap thing in this world,
just like the cell phones we assembled and the pantyhose we packaged,
useful today, thrown away tomorrow.
And this isn’t a David-and-Goliath story, like in church,
or a Hollywood movie with a dream ending.
There is no ending.
The factories are moving to Indonesia,
leaving big, brown stains on the countryside,
and towns full of bitter women and wild teenagers.


Samples from Robert Anbian's new spoken word CD, I NOT I, can be heard on MySpace and is available from Edgetone Records as well as major download services. This is Anbian's fourth appearance on New Verse News.
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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

ANALYSIS OF THE BUSH PRESIDENCY

by Michael Shorb


Bush is the arrogant
white puppy in those
Advantage flea treatment
TV commercials.

He walks across a vacant
lot where an American
steel mill once stood,
smirks at some unemployed
factory dogs sitting
in a tavern scratching:

"Well there may be bugs
on some of you mugs,
but there ain't no
bugs on me," he announces brightly.

At summer camp, he leaps
from a sinking canoe
to the pier in the nick of time.

He slips in and out of Iraq.

He pees on the lawn
of the foreclosed house.

He sniffs the edge of
the VA hospital parking lot.

As the economy sinks and
all the other dogs
begin to scratch and scratch and scratch
he's an inspiration:

     well-invested,
     ranch paid up,
     speaker fees looming

lifetime kennel club
membership.

He smirks into a mirror.


Michael Shorb's work reflects an abiding interest in myth, history, and the lyrical form, as well as a satirical focus on present day trends and events. His poems have appeared in over 100 magazines and anthologies, including The Nation, The Sun, Michigan Quarterly Review, Queen's Quarterly, Poetry Salzburg Review, Commonweal, Religious Humanism, Shoofly, Rattle, and European Judaism, as well as such anthologies as A Bell Ringing in an Empty Sky (Mho and Mho Works), To Be a Man (Tarcher Press) and Names in a Jar: 100 American Poets (Hood Press).
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Monday, September 01, 2008

DIGGING LABOR'S GRAVE

by Bill Costley


To Karl Kadie, for reading me
Alice Winters’ poem “The Displaced of Capital



Americans can't call a spade a spade;
they criticize the economic crisis now
upon us, without ever indicting vicious
neoCapitalism, still shielded by Cold War

ideological armor, no matter what it does
to whom or where: Red China’s relentless
neo-Capitalism’s sweat-shopping millions,
just like all the other Asian-Pacific 'tigers'

as once-American multi-nationals contract
with them for the world’s cheapest labor,
driving a vicious race to the bottom, digging
labor’s grave with neo-capped spades.


Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco chapter of the National Writers Union.
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