Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Saturday, January 03, 2009


by David Chorlton

I pinch myself to prove
I’m real. There, I felt it
as a flash of grief
for the tigers in a habitat
shrinking around them
like a noose, or for the birds
returning from migration
to a forest smaller
than they remembered.
Never mind; the game show

host is smiling
as he raises the stakes
and the audience holds its breath
the way investors do
when they roll dice
with people’s faces where
the dots once were. It’s all

play-station economics
shrink-wrapping imagination
for a market in which
anything’s for sale
from happiness pills to the fur
off a fox’s back.
It’s virtual money
with genuine debt

when the price is right for a deal
or no deal will occur
when the wheel of fortune spins
out of control
and we can’t afford to save
even what sustains us.

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.