Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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 10, 2009


by Tony Brown

is approximately
25 miles long
and between 4 and 7
miles wide, contains
around 1,500,000
people, is the 6th
most densely populated area
on the planet with around
4200 people per square kilometer;
due to issues
with access and administration,
many of those figures
are a matter of some controversy.

It is controlled
by Hamas
and that is a matter of some

Hamas has frequently launched rocket attacks
from Gaza into Israel. In recent days
(speaking now at the end of 2008)
said attacks have killed 1 person
and wounded dozens,
although numbers may change,
and the figures remain
a matter of some controversy.

Airstrikes by Israel against targets in Gaza
have led to the deaths of at least 275 people
to this point, with the Israeli government promising that
operations will be continuing for some time.
This is a matter of some controversy.

The pronunciation of the word
is a matter of some controversy.
Some pronounce it
"My Lai," or "Sand Creek,"
while others pronounce it "necessary
if regrettable" or "a situation that must be
closely monitored." Which pronunciation
will prevail, even who gets to choose
which pronunciation will prevail --
these are matters of some controversy.

Under the arc of rockets and bombs
there is little to debate.
A limb severed is a limb severed.
A hat still moist with scalp
and brains is irrefutable.
A baby's arm dusted
in the matte silver of concrete dust,
protruding from rubble and still twitching,
is described the same way in every account,
with wailing and gnashing of teeth.

is the art of saying something
that is in opposition
to what someone else is saying.

is the art of saying nothing.

War is the art of attempting to end
controversy. It works best in concert
with silence.

Whether a particular war
is a masterpiece of the art form
is frequently
a matter
of controversy for a few,
a matter upon which
the majority
is mostly silent.

Tony Brown, from Worcester, MA, is a veteran poet and performer whose most recent chapbook, Flood, will be published shortly by Pudding House Press.