Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Friday, January 16, 2009


by David Chorlton

Let someone meditate
with all the nation watching. Let someone
be seen to look inward.
Between the fanfare and the public prayer
let someone sit cross legged
and recall what has been done in all our names.
Keep poetry out of this. The art
of speaking truth to power can’t translate
into speaking for power as truth.
Let someone contemplate the way
of handshakes and whispers masquerading
as democracy, but don’t ask poetry
to mark the occasion. It has a reputation
to uphold. Let someone hold a blank
sheet of paper to say
the poem that would have appeared here
would never have been allowed
to be read with so many listening. It would
have been too graphic, too honest, too intent
on seeking justice. It would have spoiled
the day. Let silence ring.

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.