Guidelines



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Monday, June 29, 2009

GOOD MORNING AMERICA, WHERE ARE YOU?

by Joan Gelfand


Now that the buck has stopped
The jig is up
The well done run
Dry your eyes. You’re done.

The party’s over the game is played
The bad boys took off
With the cache.

Now that the buck has stopped
Where are you?

I mean not in time, as in ‘where can you be found,’
I mean, what’s your place?
Minus the accoutrements, the overflow
The excess? What’s really on your mind?

Once the future planning stops
The next distraction plummets
The cold hard facts can’t hide
Do you really like, can you face
Yourself? The one in your bed?

Can you remember anything she said?

Now that the buck has stopped
Did you make the right choices
Sacrifice the best of times?
Can you remember your kid’s last season?
Who won, who lost, who’s behind?

Did you forget the name of her favorite actor?
Did you catch the school play?
Did you have anything to say?

Good morning America.
The drug of distraction has worn off
The cocaine high of overvalued
Done gone good-bye.

Now that the buck has stopped
The well has dried
Are you filled with dread?
Not that you won’t survive -
Worse has happened.
Than losing a million
You never earned in the first
Place. It’s more about not hiding

Behind it all.

You’re not really that tall.

And this downturn, this turn down,
This big big disappointment, bummer slump
Is just nature’s way of cooling us off
Cooling us down - all that dough
Rising and rising making us feel
Super
Natural but you know she’s the boss
Even if you think that dough made you
Hot hot shit you were taking out chicks
Who wouldn’t have looked twice if you
Were working in the P.O.

You were getting blow
Jobs from girls who
Never gave bj’s before but for three carats
And some Charles Jourdan shoes
They were going down.

Yeah nature had to cool that shit off
Man she was feeling the heat
Feeling your four by four feeling you
Feeling like you’re feeling like the boss of
Things.

You have lost and
I feel for you
All that hard work and
Faith in the street

Or was that greed
I heard knocking
Your knees
Back there?


An award winning poet and writer, Joan Gelfand’s work is published in national magazines and literary journals. A graduate of Mills College Masters in Writing, Joan currently serves as President of the Women’s National Book Association, a national organization of publishing industry professions with 10 chapters and over 700 members. Her two full length collections are: Seeking Center published in 2006 by Two Bridges Press and A Dreamer’s Guide to Cities and Streams published in January 2009 by San Francisco Bay Press.
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SO SORRY

by JoAllen Bradham


The Age of Faith makes sense: worship, serve,
Eyes upward, souls aimed for life eternal.
“Age of Machine” stamps out hard images
Of wheels and gears, smoke stacks, ill-lit mills.
And the Age of Aquarius felt so free—
Rocking, blasting, long-hair flying
To strobes and sounds of souped-up sex.
But this nouvel Age of Apology
Is simply sorry, I regret to say.
I hope this won’t offend your tender ears:
It sucks.

Since when could apology compensate
For initial stupidity, you swine?
Oops, sorry! Mea culpa, I misspoke.
Since when did the band-aid of apology
Cure wounds cut by some oaf’s ignorance?
Damn! Please be so good to forgive my slip.
I’m all contrite. Didn’t know the mike was hot.
I’m filled with shame—at least I hope you’ll buy
This pious plea. Where, oh, where are they—
My slimy sackcloth, my verbal ash?
Haute couture today, in such demand
Penitents Mart can’t keep such garb in stock.
I’m abject. Hell, no, I’m only CYA**.

How did we make an apologia of apology
To overpaint our general sorriness?


JoAllen Bradham lives and writes in Atlanta. She is a published novelist (Some Personal Papers) and, by training, a specialist in satire.
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

WAND WAVERS OF AMERICA

by David Plumb


I left my wand, in Argentina. High on a bed with luscious breasts.
I left my brain in Argentina. High on shelf and out of breath.
I left my mind in Argentina. High on a cloud with a tiny head.
I left my pants in Argentina. High on a flag I love to hoist.
I left my family for Argentina. High on a dream I had to waste.
I left America in Argentina. High on myself and to hell with the rest.


David Plumb’s latest fiction book is A Slight Change in the Weather. He has worked as a paramedic, a cab driver, a, cook and tour guide. A long time San Francisco writer, he now lives in South Florida . Will Rogers said, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” Plumb says, “It depends on the parrot.”
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

POP STAR DEATH

by David Feela


When the actual death occurs
it’s not conclusive until the coroner’s report
details those last moments,
what it felt like for everyone
had they been crowded into the same room
and only then do heads nod,
the public finally told
what it suspected all along.
And it’s mostly the air electrified
with media frenzy that people feel
against their skin, the close up
that swells like a tear
from a camera lens,
not any bona fide separation
from a personality they never knew.
The public owns his first record,
or a ticket stub from a concert
with a hundred-thousand other fans,
and this intimacy substitutes
as an emotion, singing along,
spending time with the disembodied soul
of a musician. He touched our lives,
the anchor explains, and made such a difference
we’ll never be able to hear
that song without remembering
how he thrilled us into
creating for him a life.


David Feela is a poet, free-lance writer, writing instructor, and book collector.. His work has appeared in regional and national publications, including the High Country News' "Writers on the Range," Mountain Gazette, and in the newspaper as a "Colorado Voice" for The Denver Post. He is a contributing editor and columnist for Inside/Outside Southwest and for The Four Corners Press. A poetry chapbook, Thought Experiments (Maverick Press), won the Southwest Poet Series. His first full length poetry book, The Home Atlas, is now available.
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Friday, June 26, 2009

HE'LL CRY FOR HIMSELF, ARGENTINA

by Barbara Lightner

The Governor’s staff does not know where he is.

He left a country where getting along
with pedestrian things
like a wife,
pork barrels and pigs,
and running a state,
seemed boringly wrong;

Some place else becked his call,
at first sight,
one of great exotic,
erotic,
delight;

an Argentinian smack-of-the-lips
to ignite
his very insides.

But when he got there,
was the cupboard so bare?
he so hung in mid-air?
that he had nowhere to go
but home?

(to the crux of a wife
who’d already said
get out of my life).

So he'd sigh, blubber and cry
for himself;

a cock horse in a desolate farmyard,
suspended between home and Argentina.


Barbara Lightner is a 70-year old shameless agitator, retired. After a career of community organizing and teaching at university, she turned her hand to poetry. As a bookshop owner, she sponsored poetry readings, and published chapbooks of local poets in Milwaukee, WI. Her poetry has previously appeared in New Verse News; Poesia and Table Rock Review; as well as in Letters to the World, an anthology of women’s poetry.
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

by Steve Hellyard Swartz


We pass signs for
Scottish Souvenirs
Cheese Art
Theme-Shaped Pools
Maple Wine
Dinosaur Steaks
Wax-Figures from the War on Terror
Day-Old Soldiers
All-U-Can-Eat at the Returned Hero Buffet

On the road again
We pass signs that are
Part-nightmare
Part-fantasy
You learn early in America that you’re always 21 miles from something
You learn early that
There’s not enough time for everything
So you need to prioritize
And most important of all
You need to forget


Steve Hellyard Swartz is a regular contributor to new verse news. His poems have also appeared in best poem, switched-on gutenberg, Haggard and Halloo, and The Kennesaw Review. He has won honorable mention in The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards (2007 and 2008), The Mary C. Mohr and the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Awards. In 1990, his film, Never Leave Nevada opened at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

CLEVELAND: UNLUCKY NUMBER

by Catherine McGuire


One home in thirteen empty,
that thirteenth family set wandering,
the albatross mortgage dead around their necks.
To whom do they tell their tale?
This one is coffined -- cheap plywood
closing windows like dead eyes.
Next door is newly-orphaned, ghosted
by the family who fled last night or last week --
the windows unclouded, the lawn still green.

Two doors up, a third -- rivulets of black rain
graffiti the trim, as does paint sprayed in gang-spoor,
red and black, on the door.
A block away, one like road kill, vulture-ridden:
insides gutted of appliances and lamps
even the copper veins are stripped;
hacked corpse left rotting.

Across town, duplex rowhouse doubly forsaken,
red bricks sprayed with hot orange note --
Do Not Enter - UNSAFE. Whatever happened inside
stays inside. Curling up a hill, three half-baked shells;
the bubble burst before their studs were dry;
the cul-de-sac now twice a dead-end.

Nearby, a foreclosure sign: the bank is looking
for some brass-knuckle investor to drop-kick the old widow
still living inside. She peers from between dishtowel curtains
at the clear-windowed box with its colorful descriptions
of her family’s much-loved rooms.

The blight proceeds unevenly: an unseen loft above a vacant grocery;
a pretty yellow bungalow, front porch strewn
with collapsed lawn chairs, trike, plastic buckets, bags of trash.
Some blocks have just two families left;
some are whole -- for now.

Take a walk; count thirteen as you go; picture it.


Catherine McGuire now peeks at the news through sheltering fingers. A third of her poetry is political; the rest is about Nature - before it's too late.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ANTHROPOLOGIST AT PERSIAN FUNERALS

by J. D. Mackenzie


I’ve tried and I’ve struggled
to make sense of their suffering
encountered while crashing
these gatherings of grief

My senses can’t keep up
with sounds and bright colors
persona that seem to
re-appear over time

What kind of sick mind
can find some fulfillment
in rituals and rites
beyond tragic and strange?

I craft Farsi subtitles
lacking all truth
no personal ties
no sense of their pain


J. D. Mackenzie took a break from political poems after the 2008 U.S. elections but resumed writing when the Iranian elections started to sound like our own in 2000.
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Monday, June 22, 2009

AMERICAN STUDIES

by Howie Good


Capt. Miles Standish
a runt from all descriptions
crosses my mind

pikes and muskets
on bruised shoulders
and the Pequots

in a panic
making haphazardly
for the forest

very near where
the high school senior
last week

took the curve
too fast
and accompanied

by everything
that cries
ran out of road


Howie Good has a Ph.D. in American Studies.
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

DEAR MR. PLOUFFE...

by Wess Mongo Jolley


Thank you for your recent
solicitation for money to support
President Obama's goals.

Unfortunately, I'm not able
to reach my wallet
while wedged
under this bus.

Sincerely,
The Gay Community


Wess Mongo Jolley is a poet and poetry promoter living in Vermont. He produces and hosts the IndieFeed Performance Poetry Channel podcast. His work has appeared in Off The Coast, and in the Write Bloody Press book The Good Things About America. Audio versions of his poetry have been featured on the IndieFeed Performance Poetry Channel and Cloudy Day Art. He has performed his work at many open mics across the country, including The Green Mill, The Bowery Poetry Club, and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. His first book is forthcoming.
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Friday, June 19, 2009

THE PROTESTERS

by Mary Hamrick


Every time I open up,
I climb a thousand feet.

Every time I'm new, enlightened,
I burn a thousand eyes.

I know the voice of different, of change;
it is the sly giant of this particular day.

Fist over heart,
my spine is no longer drunken quiet.


Mary Hamrick was born in New York and moved to Florida when she was a young girl. Her writing often reflects the contrast between her Northern and Southern upbringing. Current and forthcoming publications include About.com, Arabesques Press, Architecture Ink, Cezanne’s Carrot, Howling Dog Press (OMEGA 6), League of Laboring Poets, Mad Hatters' Review, On the Page Magazine, Pemmican, Poetry Repair Shop, Poems Niederngasse, Potomac Review, Presence, Scholars and Rogues, The Binnacle, The Subway Chronicles and others.
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

LAKER DAY PARADE

by Andrew Hilbert


in LA 95,000 assemble
to celebrate a victory
in a dying city
in a dying state

in Tehran hundreds of thousands
assemble to prove
that they are not dead
and will not die quietly


Andrew Hilbert has a degree in History at Cal State Long Beach and lives in Orange County, California.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

MaleVolence

by Elisabeth von Uhl


“(Here) the barrel is uncovered. Soldiers in Iraq use standard issue covers or condoms to keep sand and dirt out of the weapon.”
- Defense used to question the authenticity of photos taken at Abu Ghraib.


In his mouth, the soldier mixes pain
          and memory
expecting honor, now a broken tooth:

          kept breathing, throbbing
through guns. Condoms keep dust
          out of barrels, keep

forever in the “flesh of flesh” bestowed
          to binge, purge, create.
Failure forces the soldier to lean on men

          in darkness, neither faces
seen to remember nor to accuse.
          Clutch his steadfast steel,

forget casings, cuss words keep
          him warmer
than embraces. Trust the only light

          the soldier sees is of the stars.
and desire layers of fight to fall, crumble,
          twist away. Reveal instincts

to have war-torn him beyond tongue-
          tied around prayers.
Combat, a storm never strong enough

          to douse his drought
and, like everyone: his violence
          is the only justified violence.

Those lands the soldier has said to conquer
          with earth against
his shield, broken armor, and enemies

          fully aware are now kept away
from loss by beating
          blind-clad unsuspectings.

Is it still prey
          if the soldier’s strength is not known
until they are defeated

          and pinned beyond
their surrender?


Elisabeth von Uhl graduated in May 2005 with an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She now teaches composition at Fordham University in New York City. Her work has been published in Lumina, The Broome Review, Moria, and The Cortland Review. Also, her chapbook, Ocean Sea, is published by Finishing Line Press.
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

LIFETIME GUARANTEE

by Bill Costley


Like Rip Van Winkles, the whole
BabyBoomer generation awakens
to plenty reduced to the spare change
any grizzled guy on any streetcorner
hawking the STREET NEWS asks for;
last Wed. nite across from the S.F. Opera
he said “God Bless You” as I hobbled by
on my segmented folding metal cane, as
at 67, I’m being rebuilt knee-by-knee
with a rest-of-lifetime guarantee.


Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers Union.
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Monday, June 15, 2009

CONDUCTING IN THIN AIR

by Lori Desrosiers


(June 11) - In an unfortunate twist a fate, a woman who missed the Air France flight that crashed into the Atlantic last week has been killed in a car accident. Johanna Ganthaler was vacationing in Brazil with her husband, Kurt, last month and was scheduled to fly into Paris May 31 on Air France Flight 447. The Italian couple missed boarding the flight after arriving late to the Rio de Janeiro airport, according to the Times Online.


So, when your time is up, it’s up:
the male or female deity takes
his or her scepter and that’s that,
you will die even if you miss
the first chance to die, even
if it’s not your fault and both
times may involve a serious amount
of accident insurance money,
your symphony is over, your
song is now sung, finis, kaput.

Or is it just a strange coincidence,
these folks who bumbled through
their lives, missing flights,
forgetting where they put their keys,
dropping pens, spending too much
time with friends, maybe lingering
too long in a conversation,
enjoying the music a bit too much,
like my dad used to when he drove,
conducting Beethoven in thin air,
while my mother yelled at him
to keep his hands on the wheel?


Lori Desrosiers' chapbook Three Vanities is being published by Pudding House Press. Her poems have appeared in Common Ground Review, Big City Lit, The Equinox, Ballard Street Poetry Journal, November 3rd Club, Blue Fifth Review, Gold Wake Press' mini-chapbook series and others. She is the managing editor/publisher of Naugatuck River Review, a journal of narrative poetry. She lives in Westfield, Massachusetts.
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

UP IS LIKE DOWN

by Christopher Dollard


When hot days get hotter,
and blizzards throw more snow,
and deserts grow.

When banks go bankrupt
and all the top floor bankers
jump from their downtown skyscrapers
with golden parachutes.

When exurb neighborhoods expand
miles down our highways
packed with cars like sardine tins.

When we are being born
twice as fast as we are dying.


Christopher Dollard was born in 1986 and raised in Montville, Connecticut, and South Kingstown, Rhode Island. He is currently a student at Rhode Island College and lives in Providence, RI. His work has appeared in The North Central Review.
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Friday, June 12, 2009

TO KAING GUEK EAV

by Ann Malaspina

Kang Kek Iew (Comrade Duch) at the age of about 17Comrade Duch at age 17. Image via Wikipedia


PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Khmer Rouge guards killed babies by battering them against trees under an official policy to ensure the children of the brutal Cambodian regime's victims could never take revenge for their parents' deaths, the group's chief jailer testified Monday. Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch (pronounced Doik), said he was to blame for the brutal killing of infants as the commander of the Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 prison in Phnom Penh during the 1970s. - Associated Press Writer Sopheng Cheang, June 8, 2009


You thought what is gone
can’t come back for revenge
and you were right,
but haunting is still possible.
Deep in the night
they appear like new bamboo
shooting up from black soil
in the swamp --
so pale, you see each vein
and muscle, brave bones
and beating hearts.
So strong, they will
grow high as the sun
and not bow to wind
or drought. Their voices
rise up, a soaring chorus
impossible not to hear.
They'll never leave you;
and still you speak
of them by day
as if you have no shame.


Ann Malaspina is a former newspaper reporter and children's book author living in Northern New Jersey.
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

FOR THOSE WHO WERE EVICTED

by S.M. Gillespie


While you laid there sleeping
A handshake stole your home
Omens black, your teacup cracked
Dark clouds
Wrought crowds
Walls moan.

They’ll come to force you out
But fight, protect your land
Hardhats in red, pull guns instead
Throw rocks
Roadblocks
Bare hands.

Your house stood there for 15 years
Away! Strike to your head
Rubble grey, no place to stay
Move on
Cry long
Drop dead.

Cruel joke, your compensation
Displaced by more than miles
Towers gold, forget the old
Sad day
Rik Reay
Broke smile.


S.M. Gillespie holds a bachelor's degree in French language and literature from the University of Central Missouri, and is currently a graduate student in English literature at the University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

TARP?

by Catherine McGuire


They were the Trinity of Wall Street: Bear, Merrill and Citi—
until the close of the year, the train wreck piling up bodies
leaving the pinstripes toothless, seeking salvation
from a slew of quack nostrums peddled by Paulson.
The world teeters on a precipice; from Portugal to Petersburg,
we feel the shuddering shock of empty portfolios,
hiding money in crocks and mason jars,
anywhere it might not vanish overnight.
As the summer marigolds spread the only gold
in sight, the idled bankers watch Wallace and Grommet,
avoid the finance channel like it was bird flu;
study infomercials selling new gizmos and garbanzo beans
while their world continues to fracture; retirement
just a figment of a blue-collared Ponzi scheme. And
sure as dandelions, crooks will exonerate
the other crooks, will find serenity in trading
sureties scribbled in Crayola, crank collaterals
that burst like armed Jack-in-the-Boxes, bruise
Joe Six-Pack til he retreats, like an armadillo
into his foreclosed home, posting with angular scrawl,
"Do Not Disturb...Further"


Catherine McGuire now peeks at the news through sheltering fingers. A third of her poetry is political; the rest is about Nature - before it's too late.
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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

THE PARANOIA OF A CLINIC ESCORT ON HER AFTERNOON WALK

by Phyllis Wax


Are you the one who blocked the sidewalk,
called out “Murderer!”
as I walked the trembling teen
to the clinic door?

The sun’s in my eyes
Shoot me down
Now’s the time

Off to the east
the darkening lake,
a few sails heading in

Let me die with that scene in my mind,
the blinding glaze of sun
in my eyes so I can’t see the gun
or your backlit face          Teach me
your lesson of life


Phyllis Wax escorts patients at an abortion clinic in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Among the publications her poetry has appeared in are Out of Line, Free Verse, Ars Medica and The New Verse News.
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Monday, June 08, 2009

THE WOMAN'S BODY IS SMARTER THAN THE DOCTOR

axiom of the late Dr. George Tiller

by Andrew Rihn



the woman’s body is not a silent thing
but the gun speaks its own language

the woman’s body is not using equal terms
but the gun can simplify difficult equations

the woman’s body is often obscured
but the gun can solve for X

the woman’s body is unresponsive
but the gun marks the spot where words fail

the woman’s body leaves quietly after dinner
but the gun can be colder than fingernails

the woman’s body does not stay the night
but the gun is warmer than flesh, hotter than a temper

the woman’s body is like an absent disease
but the gun is a fever, forever sweating

the woman’s body is a dry thing, without taste
but the gun holds a sweetness

the woman’s body is dressed in nice shapes
but the gun has such an elegantly carved handle

the woman’s body demands its attention
but the gun’s aim is so straight

the woman’s body is everywhere
but the gun is self-correcting, a virus-hunter

the woman’s body is neither animal nor vegetable
but the gun is not a vegan

the woman’s body is unwilling or unable to speak
but the gun will not complain

the woman’s body is a symbol
but the gun is something real

the woman’s body holier than it can know
but the gun is a cleansing agent

the woman’s body unapproachable
but the gun mails invitations every day

the woman’s body is as irrelevant as the name of Lot’s wife
but the gun is a proper noun

the woman’s body is surely crying out for me
and this gun is smarter than the doctor


Andrew Rihn is a 25 year old writer and student living in Canton, OH. He is the author of two chapbooks, While Grasshoppers Mate (Spare Change Press, 2008) and The Alphabetical Atheist (Scars Publications, 2009). Two chapbooks, The Accidental Body and America Plops and Fizzes, are forthcoming from New Sins/Winged City Press and sunnyoutside, respectively.
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Sunday, June 07, 2009

AN OLD CUSTOMER ASKS ME, "WWJD?"

by Andrew Hilbert


i'll tell you what he'd do
he'd stand in the middle
of two adults
and tell them no
out of spite
because he's not allowed
to get married
being the son of god and all
so why should you?

i don't know.
i don't see him doing that.

but i see his followers doing it
every god-damned day.

love your neighbor
so long as you live
in south orange county
and all of your neighbors
are white, rich, and christian.
if they had white picket fences
out here, your neighbors would
have them.

love your neighbor.
of course, if you don't agree
with them then it's okay
to march in the street
and wear signs proclaiming
how much god hates them
the same god that created them
the same god that is love
the same god you bow down to
and proclaim your own greatness
at him

you are the prophet that is loved
in his own home town.
that is not a prophet.


Andrew Hilbert has a degree in History at Cal State Long Beach and lives in Orange County, California.
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Saturday, June 06, 2009

ON BEING ASKED, WHILE MAILING POEMS, WHETHER THESE PACKAGES CONTAIN ANYTHING POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS

by William Orem


O my girl, you can’t be sure.
It could be just eruptive. What’s in this cool manila may

contain the spunk of Mt. Vesuvius , the hook
and thump of Tyson, with more teeth.

There may be wizardry in here
could turn your brain to curds

rend your hohum day beyond
     repair;

one word uniquely forged
or unexpected image sprung

upon you like a thousand thrashing adders.


     Or perhaps here’s gentler stuff,
     some quiet note.

     Perhaps

     to look in here
     you’d balk at simple 3:15

     falling cleanly through the afternoon
     and resting as it does
     upon a yellow desk

     beneath a young girl’s hand
     so perfect in its shape.

     I mean
     this light here,

resting on this very desk; I mean
     your simple
     outstretched hand.


William Orem's first collection of stories, Zombi, You My Love, won the GLCA New Writers Award, previously given to Sherman Alexie, Alice Munro, Louise Erdrich, and Richard Ford. His collection Across the River won the Texas Review Novella Prize and is being published this summer. Other stories and poems of his have appeared in over 100 publications, including The Princeton Arts Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Sou'Wester and The New Formalist, and he has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in both genres. His plays have been performed in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Louisville, Buffalo and Boston; currently he is Writer-in-Residence at Emerson College.
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Thursday, June 04, 2009

STIGMA
4 June 1989

by James Penha


In Tiananmen’s youth
I petted children
who would terrify ancients,
watched them build a bold frailty
with scraps.
Smiles carried me to a tent where Guo confirmed
“You are American?”
He grasped, held tightly
my hand in his
left upon his naked chest.
With the right,
he took a knife
and before I was asked
or needed to think
to speak,
he slashed our index
fingers and they stained his belly,
pants, his toes, my shoes
and he held my hand
until I felt one scab
between us.
“I need to have the blood
of freedom in my veins
before I die.”

Home in Hong Kong
a Saturday later,
I searched on tv
the Square
for the sign of my life.”


James Penha edits The New Verse News.
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TWENTY YEARS ON
Tiananmen Square, 4 June 1989

by Barbara A. Taylor


Remembering
“The Tankman”
twenty years on,
where the square’s sealed off
and six out of ten
are security police
hiding behind umbrellas,
blocking news reports
to its own and the outside world,
refusing to allow
expression of speech
or grief for lost students
slain by this unchanged
stolid repressive state,
now waving its banner:
“You get rich.
We decide.”


Barbara A. Taylor's poems appear in literary journals and anthologies, including The Salt River Review, Tattoo Highway, qaartisiluni, Lynx, Modern English Tanka, Kaleidowhirl, Umbrella, Magnapoets, Triplopia, Poemeleon, Loch Raven Review, The Blue Fifth Review, Contemporary Haibun On Line, and elsewhere. Her diverse poems with audio are available online.
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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

WE'RE GOING TO DIE

by Paul Hostovsky


I'm sitting here thinking
about that plane crash,
all 228 people on board
sitting there thinking
they're going to die--

the fuselage ripping apart,
the suitcases and bodies
and dinner trays flying...
the mouths opening, screaming:
We're going to die!

I imagine myself
sitting among them, thinking:
I'm gong to die...
gripping the arms of my chair
as though it were the steering wheel
of that doomed plane,
as though holding onto it tight enough might
help to steer it through to

safety... I'm sitting here
in the relative safety
of my chair, thinking,
I too am going to die,

though probably not any time soon.

We're going to die. It's a commonplace
to say that. But to scream it
gets people's attention. It's as though
that were the only way we can hear it.

Maybe we should scream it more often.


Paul Hostovsky's poems appear widely online and in print.
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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

THERAPY

by Christopher Dollard

after W.S. Merwin

What woke you that morning?
Four explosions.
Paper fell from the sky.
What wakes you now?
Silence at 8:45.
Bells and hymns at 9:03.
Why then?
The start of my guard.
The memory of the skyline.
Where is your mind?
In bullets and bombs.
Prying under black hoods.
Yes. Where else?
Somewhere across the ocean.
On the shores of oil fields.
Where are you?
Right here.
In this room.
Where is the terror?
Overseas in a jetliner.
On the shores of oil fields.
No. Where is the terror?
Right here.
In this room.


Christopher Dollard was born in 1986 and raised in Montville, Connecticut, and South Kingstown, Rhode Island. He is currently a student at Rhode Island College and lives in Providence, RI. His work has appeared in The North Central Review.
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Monday, June 01, 2009

SURPRISE, SURPRISE

by Kim Doyle


It never occurred to J.P. Morgan
(the bank not the man) that other
banks would ignore all their risk
controls, and roll the world of finance
into credit fault swap knots.
It never occurred to me I’d care
at all about this.

It never occurred to Dick Cheney
(the man not the Vice-President)
that someone would be fake drowned
88 times, or maybe it did make rhyme
and reason to his unreasoning little mind.
It never occurred to me that representatives
of my country would act like Nazis.

I am so naïve about greed, avarice and hate
that it dates me as a hippie, I guess.
The Weather Men would not have gotten us
into this mess, they would have just blown it up or off.
No wonder Bank of America was on a target on their shortlist.

It never occurred to me I’d say this.


Mr. Kim Doyle notes: "It occurs to me a lot of things have not occurred to me and I wonder if having too much fun is at the root of all this."
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