Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

IF IT'S BROKEN . . . 2009

by Bill Sullivan

Last time we met
you said," So many things broken."

Since then I have heard the cracking,
the splitting, the plunging of the glaciers,
as if a frenetic swarm of aquatic termites
surreptitiously devoured their foundations.
                                   And I am perplexed
by the word calving which continues to define
this calamity, for it is not a birthing
but a dying to be mourned and remembered.

And I have seen bankers and brokers
drunk on greed speeding in their limousines
stuffed with bundled bonds and sordid derivatives.
Have seen them careening through our streets,
heading for the cliff with our savings and misplaced faith.

And if I try I can begin to feel the wounds of war,
the tears and curses that multiply like fruit flies
trapped and nourished in gigantic glass jars.
Can feel the brain forever jarred by the bomb's blast.
Can feel the loss of feeling from the waist down,
the missing limb, the nightmare that comes as it will.
Can feel the futility, the need to inch forward.

Is it any wonder that this year the pear blossom
waited in vain for the loving touch of the honey bee
or that the monarch butterfly seldom suckled
the nectar of the buddleia bush?

Bill Sullivan taught American literature and American studies at Keene State College. He is the co-author of two books on twentieth century American poetry as well as co-producer of a documentary film on the life of Jonathan Daniels, a slain civil rights worker. He has published poems on babelfruit, protestpoems and perigee, on-line literary journals.