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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

HUNTING WILD STRAWBERRIES IN SEPTEMBER 2009

by Jan Keough


I would like to meet Ingmar Bergman on Faro,
his island retreat on Sweden’s Baltic east coast –
but he’s dead two years and five marriages ago,
his things to be auctioned at the end of the month,
people will travel from all over to bid on
his awards, furniture, pictures - all that he owned,
all to be sent away with the highest bidder
until that owner dies or decides to resell
the something that once belonged to a famous man.
The film ‘poet’ who quit for a time, accused of
tax fraud, who thought that every film was his last
so he’d be loyal to the film he was making.

I would like to meet Ingmar Bergman on Faro,
meet him walking the tip of this ragged island,
filled with the silence he loved and solace he craved.
Faro stole him and he thanked her by staying,
letting her rescue him from that bright, careless sunlight
he could never quite trust with his fearsome magic.
But he’s dead two years, five marriages, eight children
ago - some who seldom ever met their father
except as a name on the screen or when mentioned,
and maybe, too, they’ll read his last words about all this,
‘that no discussion or emotional tumult
must come as a result’ of selling off his things.

I’d like to have met Ingmar Bergman on Faro
before this great worldliness reached out to claim those
three hundred and thirty-nine things he left behind,
lost in the wake of death, sitting like closed-off feelings,
inert to any value since he is now gone,
waiting to be temporarily owned, again,
until death or decision sells them one-by-one
as something that once belonged to a most famous man.
And the conversations about them will circle
around profits and margins and who gets how much…
but his films are already dispersed and well-owned
by those who only knew his name in the credits.


Jan Keough’s poems have appeared in The New Verse News and, this summer, in the River Poet’s Journal. She is on the committee for the Origami Poems Project of RI and has contributed several poems. She’s still waiting for the Providence Journal to publish the article & her poem ‘A little encouragement’ but the Arts section has been severely cut down in size. Poetry and the economic turndown are not a good mix.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A WEEK’S DOINGS DOWNTOWN

by Carolyn Stoloff

with a bow and an apology to The Villager

The alliance presented a plan for a thoroughfare for adolescents,
a corridor down the middle of several streets
where the invading screamers could congregate.

There were four days of hearings, several lawsuits, grudges sprayed
on city walls. Meanwhile nothing changed.

The speaker still refuses to sit down.
As for night-revelers, the issue became moot, they’re still here.
And the kinky mortgage scams.

The sapling was planted as planned.
An atheist wielded the shovel. When this was announced
Smith rose and silently crossed himself.

As of now Judge U has not yet ruled,
the Governor is still breathing heavily into the phone,
and a developer declared bankruptcy bringing business to a halt.

Making matters worse, both piers collapsed.
The council member made his feelings known: ‘I’m just sick,’
he said, unabashedly holding his head in his hands.

A soft-spoken rainforest activist threatened to throw
a fit unless park benches were constructed with recycled plastic.
The couples present swore

they’d stick together in the absence of an effective solvent.
When, at the next meeting, a landlord insisted his square feet
were worth 25 million,

the announcement was met with silence.
But when the Chairperson moved to mandate
indoor bike lanes in all new buildings, the room erupted in applause.

The Chair looked every bit the proud parent.
A subway rider urged the meeting to continue to begin
expanding mass transit by allowing a passenger to enter

both doors of a train car at once, a proposal that met with 196
percent approval the last we heard, despite
the Mayor’s declaration it was an extreme remedy

that didn’t go far enough.


Carolyn Stoloff is a New York poet and painter, lover of deserts and dogs, Metropolitan Museum and trees, clouds and wildflowers. Six full-length collections and three chapbooks published, and others looking for homes.
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Monday, September 28, 2009

THE LOST PILOT

by David Plumb


You sit in the cockpit still
upright in the May Day position.
Hand on the stick, pistol rusty, shoes too big.
The watch on your wrist bones stopped.
Trees and brush cling to the tangled fuselage.
Birds and snakes inhabit the tail.
Where a shout might have been
a gaping hole in the calendar says
you are seventy one years old.

Fifty years you sat in the cockpit
Your nosedive buried, your war over and no one told you,
No one knew where you went. You just sat
There. Skin rotted off your once handsome face
Insects ate your flesh, everybody went home.
and your sweetheart stopped crying
and became a grandmother.

In this monument to absurdity, insanity
and silence, may you be in some sweet place
where if there is such a thing
it was a good war that you helped win.
God knows it should have been.
May you be with your new lover on a beach at sunrise
your arms stretched your chest to the East, free of this endless killing,
a rich smile of famous teeth, money to go around, wisdom.
May you know, if only for an instant
a truth of your dream.

Now, I step across this world to your Indonesian grave,
reach into the cockpit and take
your yellow bony hand in mine.
Your fragile history crumbles softly.
Flecks of you melt on my skin and I know.
I cannot wear your shoes
In the distance I hear new trumpets, better guns.


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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Sunday, September 27, 2009

ABOVE US, PLANES LIKE SILVER CRUCIFIXES

by Howie Good


Darkening streets.
Impossible to avoid

the scurrying figures
huddled in their ratty coats.

Some live in the cabs
of the big machines,

others in the jagged hole
the machines were digging

before the work was abandoned.
A dog on a chain smiles fiercely

at me with discolored teeth.
Voices whisper in the hall outside

my door when I try to think.
Later, I’ll stand on the porch

with my hand on the dog’s head
and watch as the bombs approach

through the familiar mist
of the customary painkillers.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of ten poetry chapbooks, including Visiting the Dead (2009) from Flutter Press. His first full-length collection of poetry, Lovesick, has just been published by Press Americana.
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

UNEMPLOYMENT

by Andrew Hilbert


outside the liquor store
there’s a guy in a wheelchair
with both feet gone,
where they were
are now two rubber bands
holding the pant legs together
to hide the wounds
he’s in between two other Mexicans
waiting to be picked up
for some work

my girlfriend has to hear me complain
about how much i hate my job every day
and today she’s driving me to work
when i see this

on my way home at 11pm
a well dressed Cambodian is biking
as fast as he can somewhere
i guess to work because i want
to feel worse about feeling
sorry for myself

the streets are littered in Norwalk
and i complain in an air conditioned vehicle
to and from work
because i can afford to complain
because i don’t have to look or wait for work


Andrew Hilbert has a degree in History at Cal State Long Beach and lives in Orange County, California.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

REPUBLICAN RHETORIC TO IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIP

by Kenneth Nichols


In honor of the American soldier, could you do the dishes tonight?

If you’re not with your mother-in-law, you’re against me.

Turn that burner down. We don’t want the signal for dinner time to come in the form of a mushroom cloud.

Let’s fight with each other in the car so we don’t have to fight each other at the party.

I’m trying to answer your questions to the best of my ability, but there’s not much I can do if I don’t recall the answer.

I am not a cook.

Don’t mess with breakfast.

Remember: You’re here at the pleasure of the president of this house.

Come now, we haven’t preserved the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman in over a month!


Kenneth Nichols is currently in the Creative Writing MFA Program at Ohio State and teaches in the English Department. His poetry has appeared in the online edition of Hobart, and he reviews literary journals for NewPages.
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

JOURNEY OF THE TRAGI

by Earl J. Wilcox

After T.S. Eliot

A warm time we had getting here,
Just the best of times—selling off
Oil fields to the Brits for our bomber boy’s freedom,
Camping out in a tent overnight
In Donnie Trump’s back yard,
Watching the babes walk their
Poodles in the neighborhood.

Yesterday, my pal Ahkie from Iran
Stopped in for a quick puff on the big pipe
(unbeknownst, of course to the Khomani)
and we talked into the night about all
things oil and weapons and nuclear fission.

Today, we shall go over to the tall building
With the elevators. I hate elevators,
But they say I can walk up the stairs,
Swish my beautiful jeweled turban,
My silk robe, gold inlaid sandals.
It’s important to display gifts given
To me by the big boys just before
They make their speeches today.

It’s been a while since I was here.
But I should be glad to wait again.


Earl J. Wilcox writes about aging, baseball, literary icons, politics, and southern culture. His work appears in more than two dozen journals; he is a regular contributor to The New Verse News. More of Earl's poetry appears at his blog, Writing by Earl.
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

DALAI LAMA LATTE HITS TAIWAN

by Amy Holman


Dashes, circles, lines and an egg shape are all he is
in the milk froth not yet descended.
Suddenly, it's all too political. What is the etiquette
between your open mouth and his? Do you kiss
his holy caricature and swallow, or wait,
like China, for him to disappear?


Amy Holman has been playing around with current news and/or headlines for a couple of years, here and there, including publications in Failbetter, Archaeology (online), Unpleasant Event Schedule, Rattapallax, Shade, and soon, on the Red Morning Press web site. She is the author of Wait For Me, I'm Gone, which won the 2004 Dream Horse Press annual chapbook prize. She writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction and work freelance as a Literary Consultant out of her tiny apartment in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BARBIE FRIETCHIE AT THE GLENN BECK RALLY

by Steve Hellyard Swartz

with apologies to John Greenleaf Whittier

Up from the suburbs of downloaded porn,
Irate on this cool September morn

The clustered squires of Fox News stand
Red-faced near the hills of Maryland.

Round about them Birthers sweep,
Nutty as fruitcakes and fruited deep;

Fair as their warden, their Overlord
Aye! Aye! croak the family-valued horde.

On this pleasant morn of early fall
Answering Rush and Sean's mutinous call:

Countless flags with their silver stars
Countless flags with their crimson bars,

Up rose young punk Barbie Frietchie then,
Unbowed, unmanned e'er the demise of Ken;

Bravest of all in DC town
She took up for the fags that Beck put down;

On her VW Golf the staff she set
To show that one was loyal yet.

On the ellipse the rebels tread
Michelle Bachman riding ahead.

Under her gaze glazed by Prozac and a tiny IQ
Bachman glanced at Barbie, mistook her for a Jew.

Halt! - the angry pale minions stood fast
Fire! - the NRA'ers loosed a blast.

Barbie leaned out her car after popping some pills
And shook forth her Pro-Choice banner with a royal will.

"Shoot, if you must, this young goth head,
But spare my Rainbow Coalition decal," she said.

A shade of madness, a blush of insane
Over the face of Michelle Bachman came.

The drugs kicked in, Bachman stirred
To a Pro-Life position at Barbie's words:

"Who touches a hair of yon skank's head
Earns a weekend in Myrtle Beach with Joe Wilson," she said.

All day long through the DC streets
Sounded the tread of Payless-shod marching feet;

All day long that OBAMA '08 flag tossed
O'er the Bic lighters of the rebel host.

Barbie Frietchie's work is o'er and done
The Bircher/Birther/Deathers had their fun.

Over Barbie Frietchie's grave
Flags of the AFL and SEFCU wave!

Peace and order and beauty, Hee Haw!
Crash thy cymbals, trample our laws!

And ever the liberal stars of Hollywood look down
On the stars in the gutters of DC town!


Steve Hellyard Swartz is Poet Laureate of Schenectady County in upstate NY. A regular contributor to New Verse News, Swartz has also been featured in Best Poem, switched-on gutenberg, and The Kennesaw Review. A two-time Honorable Mention in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, Swartz is also a filmmaker. Never Leave Nevada, which he wrote and directed and in which he co-starred, opened at The US Sundance Film Festival in 1990.
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Monday, September 21, 2009

POLAR BEAR

by Rob Lewis


The helicopter swings out
banking over the shelf ice
as the biologist points his Nikon
and clicks on the polar bear
looking up from her shrinking floe
doing the only thing she knows to do
keeping, to perfection, her half
of the promise, while the other half
melts around her.


Rob Lewis is a natural materials painter and plasterer living in the northern puget sound city of Bellingham, Washington. His poem “The Painter” received the 1999 International Poetry Award in the Atlanta Review.
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

KARL ROVE

by J.R. Solonche


I hear Karl Rove is an agnostic.
And I thought he was just a prick.


J.R. Solonche is coauthor (with wife Joan Siegel) of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). His poems have appeared in many magazines, journals, and anthologies since the 1970s. He teaches at SUNY Orange in Middletown, New York.
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

MALTA DREAM

by Anca Vlasopolos


this is how it will be
and only for those who can pay
the way it is here and now
half a million souls on a rock
farming water from seas ever hotter
shallower
each saint day with its gay banners and papier-mâché debris choked in fumes
each trip taking
a little longer
each boat bobbing in other’s wake

at large no more
squared like terraced earth
only
fish hemmed into aquaculture
only
birdsong from balcony cage
then
ever more
reading
lights
water
interrupted
breath
even holding hands
kissing
in unbearable violent
heat



Anca Vlasopolos has published a detective novel, a memoir, various short stories, over 200 poems, the poetry collection Penguins in a Warming World, and the non-fiction novel The New Bedford Samurai.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

KRENOV

by W.F. Lantry


Take down the plane and turn it in your hands:
Krenov is dead. The man who showed us form
was something else entirely is lost.
No longer will those hands shape spalted wood
into the unimagined silhouettes
of rhapsodies remade in textured grain.

Pear wood, burr elm, pink ivory and ash
combined into a single piece, the legs,
bubinga, curved by hand, and cedar slats,
all harmonized, each graceful element
shaped and enriched by hands that even made
the implements he used to craft and teach

there in the redwoods, far from his lost home:
Siberia, Shanghai, Seattle, then
put out to sea from Puget Sound, the war
took him to Vladivostok, and he stopped
in Sweden, where at last he learned to love
the simple arc one only makes by hand

and only with great patience. As he planed
he knew that other hands would touch the forms
and so would never compromise, he said
one shortcut leads to many, and he held
beauty and harmony above all else
and taught the rest of us to slow our work.


W.F. Lantry received his Licence and Maîtrise from the Université de Nice, M.A. in English from Boston University and Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. He is the recipient of the Paris/Atlantic Young Writers Award. His poetry has appeared in Gulf Coast, Literary Bohemian, Soundzine, Unsplendid and The Chimaera. He currently serves as the Director of Academic Technology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

A MUSICAL AFTERNOON

by David Chorlton


A crown of thorns hangs by the door
of our hosts’ spacious home
and a black old Bible rests
on the table next to programs
for an afternoon of Brahms and Chopin.
The pictures on the walls
in living room and hallway are
scenes by Thomas Kinkade in which
village windows glow with tranquility.
A poem framed retells
in rhyme what a sand dollar has to say
about Christ, and from here with a glance
back across the foyer
the eye settles on the weapon displayed
on the cabinet top close
to the wedding portrait. I’m trying
to settle down for the soprano
but the cross on the wall makes me feel
like a vampire
and the hunting magazines
fanned beside the Bible
suggest the Lord’s last words
may have had something to do with reloading.


David Chorlton watches the world from central Phoenix where he lives and writes. His new chapbook, From the Age of Miracles, appears this summer from Slipstream Press as the winner of its latest competition.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

DID YOU GET YOUR TICKETS TO THE SHOW? WHAT SHOW? THE GUN SHOW.

by Noah Renn

For the tactless gun carriers who show up at Obama’s speeches.

On my street,
yes, the same street with the empty lot
and the drainpipe that looks like a middle finger
sticking out into Pretty Lake ,
people had guns.

Scott’s rusty revolver in the Phillies box.
Dale’s 45. cal, top shelf closet.
Esco’s sawed off in the trunk.
Jessica’s twenty-two in her knock-off hand bag.

When I got my first one, I kept it on me.
And you don’t have to believe me but I’ve changed since then.
Since I used to smoke in that empty lot
since I climbed into that drainpipe
and came out the man
hole up the street.

And I don’t want to be
like the young kid who shows off his Glock.
pulled from the saggy jeans and grey hoodie
and points it you—
but just for show.
I want to be the old head, and less drunk
off the idea of killing people.
I want to be the one to tell you
to put that shit away.
And you do.


Noah Renn is an MFA student at Old Dominion University. He has several publications in literary journals, including North Central Review and Blue Collar Review.
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BROKE

by Sheryl L. Nelms


is the hollow
echo of

no potatoes
in the

vegetable bin

the coin purse
full of blue
fuzz

sore calves
from the early morning

walk to work

the hopelessness
of window

shopping

the possibilities
in a packed
dumpster

the long drag
until pay
day


Sheryl L. Nelms has had over 4,500 poems, stories and articles published in magazines, anthologies and textbooks such as Readers’s Digest, Modern Maturity, Kaleidoscope, Capper’s, Grit, Country Woman, Poetry Now, Confrontation, Strings, This Delicious Day, The American Anthology, and Men Freeing Men. Fourteen collections of her poetry have been published including Their Combs Turn Red In The Spring, The Oketo Yahoos, Strawberries and Rhubarb, Rural America, Land of the Blue Paloverde, Friday Night Desperate, Aunt Emma Collected Teeth, Secrets of the Wind, Howling At the Gibbous Moon, Greatest Hits 1978-2003, and Bluebonnets, Boots and Buffalo Bones. She is currently the Fiction/Non-Fiction Editor of The Pen Woman Magazine. She makes a living as an insurance agent. She is also a painter, a weaver and an old dirt biker.
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Monday, September 14, 2009

AROUND AND AROUND

by Peggy Landsman

Supreme Court Revisits Campaign Finance Reform

Corporations need to be one
individual when it comes
time for campaign contributions.
It's one of their best solutions.
We should not control their incomes

by prohibiting them these plums.
What they can do with their huge sums!
What generous contributions!
Corporations need to be one

voice raised in support of freedom
to rewrite the Constitution,
the right to own politicians,
influence legal decisions
so democracy can be fun.
Corporations need to be one.


Peggy Landsman's work has been published in online and print literary journals and anthologies, including Breathe: 101 Contemporary Odes (C&R Press), Spindle, The Muse Strikes Back (Story Line Press), Bridges (Indiana University Press), and Iodine Poetry Journal. Much of her work has been translated into Romanian and published bilingually in the Romanian journal, Contemporary & Literary Horizon. Her poetry chapbook, To-wit To-woo, is available from FootHills Publishing. She has also published a contemporary romance novel, Passion's Professor (Midnight Showcase), under the pen name, Samantha Rhodes.
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Sunday, September 13, 2009

I'M READING SUNDAY'S HEADLINES THAT CALL FOR THINGS LIKE JUSTICE

by John Sibley Williams


I want stone
or a word for stone-
you can’t have both.

And though my childhood
spent chucking stones at
lakes, factories, friends

bled many mouths,
they have forgiven
or forgotten me

and in forever recounting to new
lovers, bartenders, friends
the sins acquired these first thirty years,

the repetition- stone stone stone-
has regressed to word
the smooth reality of stone

and the weighty joy in singing
silently my hands’ actions-
whatever their consequence.


John Sibley Williams has an MA in Writing and resides in Portland, OR, where he frequently performs his poetry and studies Book Publishing at Portland State University. He is presently compiling manuscripts composed from the last two years of traveling and living abroad. Some of his over seventy previous or upcoming publications include those in The Evansville Review, Flint Hills Review, Open Letters, Cadillac Cicatrix, Juked, The Journal, Hawaii Review, Barnwood International Poetry, Concho River Review, Paradigm, Red Wheelbarrow, Aries, Other Rooms, The Alembic, Phantasmagoria, Clapboard House, River Oak Review, Glass, Southern Ocean Review, Miranda, Language and Culture, and Raving Dove.
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

STATUATORILY SPEAKING

by Bill Costley


A weary, stony Abe Lincoln slumps
reading a newspaper, slowly speaking
over his shoulder to the statue of Liberty:

Abe: “Libby, will you wash those boys’
mouths out with some American soap?”

Fatboys in shorts crowd around her,
spewing some truly deranged slogans:

“Don’t listen to Father Abe!"
"Obama is a Communist!"
"Obama is Hitler!”
“Gov’mint wants to kill the old.”
“Abortion leads to euthanasia.”

Liberty quickly fills a large tin-tub
with boiling water & foaming pink
liquid soap. Raving Fatboys scatter.


Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers Union.
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Friday, September 11, 2009

SMOKE 911

by Ellen Kombiyil


On this particular Tuesday – flawless sky
Cornflower blue, the same color
As the miniature flowers hand-painted
On my porcelain teapot from which
I poured bancha – I warmed up leftovers
In the microwave, set teacups
On starched linen. If only
Steamed dumplings in sweet broth could have
Returned me to Sunday, to dim sum
On Pell Street, the fish tank near the register,
Black goldfish, gold goldfish, red carnations
On tables. But they couldn’t. And after
The running, the walking: all morning
Thousands past my window and into
The afternoon. In the dusty air
The smell of metal. Memory of dessert
Was twin-pronged, the after and before:
Bean-paste buns, sunshine, autumn wind.


Born and raised in Syracuse, New York, and a graduate of the University of Chicago, Ellen Kombiyil’s poetry has recently appeared in 2river, Beloit Poetry Journal, Juked, and MiPOesias, among others. She currently lives in India with her husband and two children.
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JOEY WILSON'S WAR

by Steve Hellyard Swartz


You lie!
When you say They're just as good as us
You lie!
When you say There's a one of 'em a man can trust
You lie!
When you say It's okay for black to marry white
You lie!
When you say The South gave up the fight
You lie!
When you say This country ain't a Christian one
You lie!
When you say It's all over but the shoutin', son
You lie!
When you say I'll ever march to a tune sung by Obama
You lie!
When you say This ain't no Selma, Alabama


Steve Hellyard Swartz is Poet Laureate of Schenectady County in upstate NY. A regular contributor to New Verse News, Swartz has also been featured in Best Poem, switched-on gutenberg, and The Kennesaw Review. A two-time Honorable Mention in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, Swartz is also a filmmaker. Never Leave Nevada, which he wrote and directed and in which he co-starred, opened at The US Sundance Film Festival in 1990.
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

WITCH HUNT

by Spiel


this time
you hold the sway
at the click of your mouse

this time
you strike the match
that ravages trust

this time
you write
the blacklist

that imprisons tongues
of those who would speak
to free you


There is no NEA nor MFA influence in diverse writings of personal conflict and social consciousness by the poet Spiel, published frequently, internationally, online and in independent press journals. His latest books are: she: insinuations of flesh brooding (March Street Press) and once upon a farmboy (MadmanInk)
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TRUANT DISPOSITION: A HAIKU

by Barbara A. Taylor


don’t go to school
today you might hear
your president speak


Barbara A. Taylor's poems appear in international journals and anthologies: Landfall, Atlas Poetica, Modern English Tanka, Haiku Scotland. Canadian Zen Haiku,, Ginyu, Riverbed, Lynx, Presence, Sketchbook , qaartisiluni, Ribbons, Frogpond, Wisteria, 3lightsgallery, Shamrock, Eucalypt, Lynx, Simply Haiku, Kokako, Moonset, Magnapoets, Poetic Diversity, and elsewhere. Poetry with audio is at http://batsword.tripod.com.
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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

WRONG: THE SUMMER OF 2009

by William Aarnes


“But suddenly you’re half a lifetime old.” Kevin Hart, “The Ship”


Suddenly Jack is seven-eighths a lifetime old—or even older. In the passenger’s seat, he insists to Claire,
“Something’s wrong.”
                                        When Jack steps off the treadmill,
the cardiologist looks at him as if he is dead. “Angiograph,”
the man insists. Then “pecutaneous”—as if that word
could reassure.

                              In the ambulance that hurries Jack
the forty miles to the hospital with the costly equipment,
the attendant explains that Jack should take heart
from how one of his arteries has already performed
its own bypass.

                              A confident cardiologist
shakes Jack’s hand. “Balloon,” the young man beams,
“carotid.”
                      With no rooms left in Cardiac Care,
Jack’s rolled into ICU. And Claire, with disbelief,
lets a Lutheran chaplain comfort her with prayer.

Fox News attends the patient on the other side
of the curtain: Strident griping that the President
wants to betray the American way of life.

                                                                                A nurse
wakes Jack to remove the catheter. For half an hour
she has to press a folded towel against Jack’s groin
to staunch any bleeding. She seems to sleep.
Jack lies awake but unaroused.

                                                            At five a.m.
Fox News comes on loud: a glee club of complaint,
excited by the rumor of government death panels.

Then Claire’s in a chair, holding Jack’s hand, saying breakfast
will come soon, smiling as if something’s wrong.


William Aarnes has recently had poems in The Vocabula Review, Forge, and The Dirty Napkin.
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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

AFGHANISTAN

by Howie Good


flops on
its back

wants you
to rub
its belly

don’t


Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, has just had his first full-length collection of poetry, Lovesick, published by Press Americana.
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Monday, September 07, 2009

LETTER TO KEITH WILSON

by Edward Dougherty


Ink coated
the nib, black
droplets on gold—

I thought of all
your pens there
in the desert.

At the reading
against the war
I offered yours

from Graves
Registry, telling
historians

of the future
how much we love
war, shape lives

and families,
policies
and businesses

for it—a book
of vision, Keith,
remarkable and true.

Despite our poems,
they shocked, they awed.
Your work helped vets

haul what they witnessed
and what they did but later
understand into some

healing sunshine,
Now, though, nightmares,
Keith, we’re fashioning

nightmares again.
I know because your poems
are urgent, fierce

animal growls, warnings
to heed since they issue
from our own mirrored faces.


After finishing his MFA in Bowling Green, Ohio, Edward Dougherty and his spouse volunteered at a peace center in Hiroshima for two and a half years. They now live and work in Corning, New York, and are active in their Quaker Meeting. Dougherty is the author of Pilgrimage to a Gingko Tree (2008 WordTech Communications) and Part Darkness, Part Breath (2008 Plain View Press) as well as four chapbooks of poetry, the most recent of which is The Luminous House (2007 Finishing Line Press). His textbook, Exercises for Poets: Double Bloom, co-authored with Scott Minar, is available from Prentice-Hall. In 2007, he received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities. "Letter to Keith Wilson" was written to/for the poet and Korean war vet, Keith Wilson, on behalf of all the men and women engaged in the "war on terror."
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Sunday, September 06, 2009

UNEXPECTED OFF-SITE

by Michele F. Cooper


Mahogany and velvet,
two dozen sedations
for Sunday brunch,
personal comments like burrs
on the dark wool,
spring mix
with a navy napkin,
china waiting
for the quiche and soup,
chairman entering
during dessert,
taking the podium,
smiling the bad news,
the red line up,
stocks in mothballs,
pink slips in the office,
he knows the numbers
will improve, and then
his plan for the short term,
plan for the long haul,
tightening of belts,
discipline and loyalty,
salaries only in half
till the third quarter,
having no doubts,
they will rise again,
and thank you all.


Michele F. Cooper is the first-place winner in Poetry Canada's Rhymed Poetry Competition and the TallGrass Poetry Competition, second-place winner in the Galway Kinnell Poetry Competition, author of two books and numerous published poems, founding editor of the Newport Review and Crone's Nest literary magazines, and of a chapbook series, Premier Poets. She recently won honorable mentions in the Emily Dickinson and New Millennium Poetry Competitions. Her book Posting the Watch has just been published by Turning Point, the narrative poetry imprint at WordTech. She is listed in Who's Who in America, Contemporary Authors, and the Directory of American Poets and Fiction Writers, among others. She recently moved from the edge of a small horse farm (not hers) to Providence, RI, and now to the Cleveland area, where she writes and works as a book editor.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

WARM-UP EXERCISE

(Obstacles To Health Care Reform #2)
by Scot Siegel


raise your hand if Health Insurance Premiums
Rise by Double-Digits

makes you resent North Dakota
Unemployment Rate Lowest In The Nation

and raise both hands if Ocean Temperatures
Rise Across The Globe
For The Fifth Straight Year

feels oddly familiar

like Galveston Floods Again
or Polar Bears Left Stranded
or Thousands Flee
California Wildfires

and stand up
if Youngest Of Nuremburg
                    Prosecutors
Dies In His Home

makes you long for a time

before Twenty Die
Outside Mosque
In Roadside Blast
Detonated By
A Woman

and take a seat
when [we interrupt to bring you…]

Solar Prominences Active
But Sunspots Conspicuously Absent
According To Scientists
=0 A
At Lowell Observatory

Recession Nearly Over––


Scot Siegel's recent books include Some Weather (Plain View Press 2008) and the chapbook, Untitled Country (Pudding House Publications 2009). He serves on the board for the Friends of William Stafford.
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Friday, September 04, 2009

STANDING OVATION

by Karen Greenbaum-Maya


Pale orange light carved by leaves
makes pumpkin eyes on the sidewalk.
Cream-sicle orange, then bright orange crush.
More smoke billows up, soft and dirty,
a standing ovation you can see from Vegas.
L.A. : every live act gets a standing ovation.

The air smells—ashtrays, old fireplaces.
Ash sifts down, fine grit lays down a rash.
You find it all over everything’s skin, like cursed dander.
The sun has turned into a cut pink guava,
this year's false harvest moon.
The moon pretends to be in eclipse

Neighbors thought they didn’t have to run,
rashly thought they could face off the fire,
somehow it would leave them standing,
thought we’d return with their standing ovation.
Nothing alive still standing. The dirt is charred,
the trees ashen from the fire-storm, stripped pillars.

Running shoes melted, dishwasher skeletons,
orange trees made coals piled for barbecue.
Hills gone to hot orange heaps that smolder by night:
live coverage from Melrose, Hollywood, Vegas,
all sifted over with ash-fine grit.
The sun is an over-ripe guava.
Burnt hills are a standing ovation.

Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Claremont , California . In another life, she majored in German Lit so she could read poetry for credit, before making the seamless segue into psychology. Her poems and photos have appeared in O Tempora!, Superficial Flesh, Still Crazy, NewVerseNews, The Dirty Napkin, Umbrella Journal and Lilliput Review. A poem of hers was nominated for the 2010 Pushcart Prize.
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Thursday, September 03, 2009

SLICE OF THE PIE

by Phyllis Wax


Health care for all—
In America ?
Pie in the sky

Some get pecan, pumpkin, coconut cream
Peach, cherry, lemon meringue
Strawberry, blueberry, key lime

A mud pie for others—
Or maybe a cow pie
Pie in the face
If they can’t pay

Eat humble pie, swallow the bile
Die out of sight As American as
Apple pie

Demagogues stir up mobs
To protest change
With rhubarbs and
Raucous tea parties

Know-nothings don’t believe
There can be so many places
Where people live longer
Everyone gets care
Fewer babies die

Get pie-eyed or
Open your mouth for
Sweet Eskimo Pie
To help you forget

You won’t get a slice
Of American pie


Phyllis Wax lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she seeks to understand history and the world. Her poetry has appeared in The New Verse News before, as well as in numerous other on-line and print journals and anthologies.
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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

CASH FOR BUNKERS

by David Feela


In Afghanistan where the Taliban
have dug in for the duration
of the next army’s occupation,
an old woman with an afghan

draped across her shoulders
suspects the streets are busy
because so many are trading in
their bunkers from the last war.

When the election is over
they’ll dig some more
but for now they need cash
for food, which explains

why her thumb is so dark,
her indelible right to
stick it in the place where
it does her the most good.


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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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

OBSTACLES TO HEALTH CARE REFORM #1

by Scot Siegel

                         ...and speaking of the pre-apocalyptic age
               can we please rewind to a time
when unicycling

                                             down a mountainside
                              rock-hopping & slaloming
               among the fragrant pines
on a snowy day

was considered
          an acceptable,
                     even heroic,
                        form of
                      extremist
                    recreation?

                  ...and rewind to the days of Clinton

in the age
     of sexy surplus,
          luscious transfats,
               and campaign sax riffs...

               a much younger
       and more innocent

though much more robust

time

in American life


Scot Siegel's recent books include Some Weather (Plain View Press 2008) and the chapbook, Untitled Country (Pudding House Publications 2009). He serves on the board for the Friends of William Stafford.
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MALTA DREAM

by Anca Vlasopolos


this is how it will be
and only for those who can pay
the way it is here and now
half a million souls on a rock
farming water from seas ever hotter
shallower
each saint day with its gay banners and papier-mâché debris choked in fumes
each trip taking
a little longer
each boat bobbing in other’s wake

at large no more
squared like terraced earth
only
fish hemmed into aquaculture
only
birdsong from balcony cage
then
ever more
reading
lights
water
interrupted
breath
even holding hands
kissing
in unbearable violent
heat

Anca Vlasopolos has published a detective novel, a memoir, various short stories, over 200 poems, the poetry collection Penguins in a Warming World, and the non-fiction novel The New Bedford Samurai. She was born in 1948 in Bucharest, Rumania. Her father, a political prisoner of the Communist regime in Rumania, died when Anca was eight. After a sojourn in Paris and Brussels, at fourteen she immigrated to the United States with her mother, a prominent Rumanian intellectual and a survivor of Auschwitz. Anca is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She is married to Anthony Ambrogio, a writer and editor; they have two daughters: Olivia Vlasopolos Ambrogio and Beatriz Rosa Jimenez Ambrogio.
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