Guidelines



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Monday, November 30, 2009

THANKSGRIEVING

by Elizabeth Kerlikowske


A few of us still at the table with cake and pie
and strong spiked coffee, another Thanksgiving
where football insists that men and Hoosiers gather
before an ever bigger screen in a choreographed
silence, where the judge sits as far away
from the felon as possible, and on the couch
an adopted black girl naps next to my father who
regularly says “nigger” except for today.
There’s that to be said for football.

But back toward the kitchen,
the next generation of women dishes to the next
about their aging folks, their quirks and questionable
decisions. When does helping become enabling?
And isn’t talk of what parents do always just
a little bit about money? To vent is good; to solve
from hours away impossible. Days of indigestion
elapse before I realize this. Sweet sight of faces…
if only their mouths were basted shut.


Elizabeth Kerlikowske's fourth book of poetry Dominant Hand is now available from MayApple Press. She teaches at Kellogg Community College and runs the annual Poems That Ate Our Ears Contest in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

THANKSGIVING 2009

by George Held


The old football coach tells the radio host,
“It’s great we’ll have a night game
in the NFL on Thanksgiving this year.
Previously we just had the two early games.
Now we'll have something to watch
After we eat the turkey.”

Now, that’s something to be thankful for,
Like the news we’ll be out of Afghanistan
By 2017. Of course, that “we”
Won’t include the thousands of war dead
And the thousands who’ll die without health care.

The formula is dazzle ’em with football
And ignore ’em on ending the war
And providing universal healthcare
And reducing carbon emissions,
And pray the market won’t tank.

“We cower together to ask the Lord’s blessing,”
The old hymn goes. “He chastens and hastens
To make His will known.” Can his will
Include a gluttonous assault on factory
Farmed turkeys while the Lions mew on TV?

The first whites to give thanks in “The New
World” fasted a day or two before feasting.
Today only the poor fast and without choice
While gluttony produces obese, diabetic cattle
On two hooves throughout the land.

In the land of the fat, a slender black man
Will be king. Like other monarchs, he will
Gird his loins for war, grant favors to the rich,
And soothe the poor with resonant rhetoric.
Yea, we are thankful for him: he’s not the king
We had last year. Pass the gravy, please.


George Held has collected many of his New Verse News poems in The News Today.
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

DUBAI ON E-BAY

by Earl J. Wilcox


First on the auction scene,
a multi-billion dollar ski slope,
followed by seventy-five sand islands,
and the world’s tallest (unfinished) building.
Bidding bonus: 500,000 Expat slaves
from the Philippines , Egypt , India , and Croatia .
Opening bid: Emirates’ dignity.


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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Friday, November 27, 2009

TOUGH YEAR TO GIVE THANKS

by Ray Brown


It was a tough year to give thanks.

Grandmother had seen it in the depression,
but she learned a long while ago to stay out of it.
The teenage daughter wanted a Blackberry
and the mother used to like an Italian Prosecco
before Thanksgiving dinner,
but after being out of work for nine months,
worried the unemployment was going to run out
he took a job at ShopRite bagging -
and they gave him a free turkey for Thanksgiving -
that was the only way they made it.

When he was a young boy, his parents had little.
He was happy then with little.
They were happy then with little.
Gave thanks for the little they had.
He and his family now had much more
and would not be happy until they had much more yet.
These are hard times….


Ray Brown lives in Frenchtown, NJ. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey. In 2009, his poetry has appeared in the 13th Annual Poetry Ink Chapbook (Moonstone Publishing), The Star-Ledger of Newark, and NJ Lawyer Magazine. He received a NJ Poetry Society 2009 Recognition Award, and will be published in upcoming volumes of the Edison Literary Review, the Big Hammer, FreeXpresSion, and the River Poets Journal.
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

THANKSGIVING: OUR PUSHCART PRIZE NOMINEES

The New Verse News is proud to nominate for the Pushcart Prizes the following poems published in our pages in the last twelve months . . .

Venison” by Thomas Reynolds

News On a March Full Moon” by David Plumb

Sacramento” by Eliza Kelley

Gunman Kills 8 at N. Carolina Nursing Home” by Steve Hellyard Swartz

Sculpture, Ohio, Spring 1970" by Mary Turzillo

Autumn Turns Through Stratified Wars” by Scot Siegel

. . . and thanks all the writers who have shared their passionate poetry with our readers this year.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

RAPTORS

by CB Follett


High on the thermals, raptors are winging.
They circle the heights, easing south.
           Buteos, Accipiters, Harriers, Peregrine
Red Tail hawk banks against clear air, flashing
the rufous under-blush that gives him name.
          Sharp-shins, Coopers, Merlins, Ferruginous
Their beaks are curved, their plumage concinate.
Slicing the wind, in sweeps the Kestrel,
sleek, small, and bullet straight. The Windfucker.
             klee klee klee    killy killy killy

Down in the canyons, raptors are circling
in long limousines. On executive-gray car phones,
they are riding the thermals of stock buys and leverage,
their sharp claws extended. They are wheeling the air paths,
and dealing down, and their beaks are red.
             sell sell sell    buy buy buy

In the deep dark of the penta-building,
raptors rip the flesh of war,
circle the heights of power, riding
thermals of their special interests.
Hawks tear the clean white dove feathers
into ribbons of red.
               rat-tat-tat    rat-tat-tat

Deep in the dark undergrowths, the raptor is waiting.
His breathing circles, riding thermals of night,
in the parks, in the big, unweeded city.
His claws are curved, as he grabs, hurts, kills.
               And his cry is silence.


Winner of the 2001 National Poetry Book Award from Salmon Run Press, CB Follett has had poems published by Ploughshares, Alligator Juniper, Calyx, Americas Review, Peregrine, The Cumberland Review, Rain City Review, Ambit (England), The MacGuffin, Snowy Egret, Birmingham Poetry Review, New Letters Review, Psychological Perspectives, Without Halos, The Iowa Woman, Heaven Bone, Green Fuse, Black Bear Review, among others. She has been in many anthologies; received contest honors in the Billee Murray Denny, New Letters Prize, the Ann Stanford Prize, the Glimmer Train Poetry Contest and several contests from Poetry Society of America, among others. Five poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Poetry Prize plus three nominations as an individual poet. The most recent of her four collections of poetry is And Freddie Was My Darling, 2009. CB Follett is publisher/editor of Arctos Press, including the anthology, GRRRRR, A Collection of Poems About Bears; she was publisher and co-editor of RUNES, A Review of Poetry, 2001-to 2008.
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

GUERNICA

by Alan Catlin

"in my hometown
there's even a nightclub named
Guernica." Jessica Hagedorn

where they play nothing but
dangerous music, atonal and
dissonant, so strident unmuffled
ears bleed, are assaulted by solo
guitar riffs, percussive drum beats,
organ blasts; killer sounds one and
all. The bouncers are all armed guards,
uniform like Nazis. No one dares
to intrude, tires to leave once they
are locked in for the night of danger
and beauty, gangster love and heart
throbbing infarctions. The heat inside,
the unnatural light inspires visions,
tropical apparitions vivid as death
squads, angles from hell with pilot's
licenses, machine guns and bombs.
In my town there is a night club named
Guernica where turf wars are fought
and lost, where the innocents plead
for mercy and are denied. In Guernica,
I am the demon on the dance floor,
the one with a coat of arms: blood
splatters on a field of clay.


Alan Catlin's latest chapbook is a long poem, Thou Shalt Not Kill, an updating of Rexroth's seminal poem of the same name. Whereas Rexroth riffs on the abuses of the Eisenhower adminstration, the update observes abuses of power in the previous administration with particular attention to the cynical, criminal behavior towards the Katrina hurricane victims.
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Monday, November 23, 2009

ONE SALAAM, TWO SALAAMS

by Michele F. Cooper


1
Barack salaams the Emperor,
cameras rolling and Fox lit for joy.
“We don’t bow,” they insist.
“He’s a Muslim, a fake, has links
to terrorists, wasn’t even born here,”
all on prompts before the President
straightens up and CNN’s showing tapes
of Nixon and Eisenhower bowing low.

2
No salaams for an old lady,
stooped as she walks to the bus.
She’s been cowed by the years
since she lost the twins
in Qandahar , caught in crossfire
on their way to a temple station,
plus the neighbor's boys in Iraq ,
scared to death, they were,
saying their last goodbyes at Hood.

3
I asked Barack, after shaking his hand
and keeping my posture tall,
why he salaamed that skinny emperor.
“In a word?” he asked. “Respect.”


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.
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

DISSOLUTE SONNET

by Esther Greenleaf Murer


Sundays I drive three blocks to services
and pray the Lord to banish all these strange
ill-mannered folk that twist my world awry.
What could be more dire, what could be graver?

I like my burgers! Damn the consequences!
So what if the cattle never see a range?
It's not my fault that prices are so high,
when they take all the jobs and do no labor.

Here's what we need: a supermanic pres-
ident with magic powers to rearrange
the universe and so construct the pie
that I will always have more than my neighbor.

For all the world is clamoring for change,
and so am I, but only in my favor.

Esther Greenleaf Murer lives in Philadelphia. In addition to New Verse News, her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Externalist, The Ghazal Page, Mimesis, Light Quarterly, and Town Creek Poetry.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

PUBLIC DISCOURSE

by David Chorlton


Between a plane out of Georgia
and his connection
to Las Vegas, a passenger in Phoenix
wears a T-shirt with the words
Keep the South Beautiful
Put a Yankee on the Bus
beneath the confederate flag.
When incivility takes off

there’s no telling where
it will land. Maybe route seventeen
where a young man has music
turned loud enough for me
to hear through his earphones
and the only word I discern
is bitch, growing longer
each time until it is biiiiitch. Look away

and there’s a woman
who chose for today
a shade just grey of blue
with her message to humanity:
I’m busy
Your (sic) ugly
Have a nice Day
Sometimes it isn’t even words,

but a crucifix that blazes
on its chain
where it says Believe,
believe or get out of the way.

David Chorlton watches the world from central Phoenix where he lives and writes. Sometimes, though, he rides buses. 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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Thursday, November 19, 2009

WATER ON THE MOON

by Dale Goodson


well, they said they found it
24 gallons in a crater
somebody could take a bath there
somebody probably will

there’s excitement
there’s dismay
water, water everywhere
but no funding
isn’t that always the case

first things first: EARTH

can’t take a step here (giant or otherwise)
without poverty or peril
(“micro loans before millions”
the bible says)

the moon isn’t going anywhere
but this planet is
we’re flush with “can-do”
crashed a satellite
into the lunar surface
created a 60 foot pit
and got a bucket of ice

does that sound like a winning formula


Dale Goodson is a writer from Seattle currently living in New York City.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

FLAILING PALIN

by Erle Kelly


The ex-Gov going rogue,
springs from the compost
of a deep political hole.
She flew in on a northern frost,
a Bull Moose, lipstick and all,
though a T.R. she is not.
They put her name on a book,
a diatribe to solidify her base:
The Birthers, Tea Partiers,
Creationers, and more of that ilk.
They salivate when she gives them a wink,
dismembers her Grand Old Party
and labels all Liberals a shade of pink.
With loud harangues
of resentment and blame
she deals out political smack
and shouts to her sheep,
“Let’s take our country back!”
She makes the talk show rounds
with Letterman, Leno, Conan and Ms. O
while the fallen in the GOP and Neo-Cons
sift through their political debris,
scratch their white-haired heads
and ask, “where did our party go?”


Erle Kelly resides in Long Beach, California, attended Cal State University Long Beach. He attends a poetry worshop conducted by Donna Hilbert, a locally renowned writer and poet.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

AT THIS ADDRESS

by Mary Krane Derr

For Felix Fritz Pytel (2001-2007)

The No Child Left Behind Act slips in a mandate, for this time of Vietnam-plus, of four and five traumas of redeployment, for schools to fork over the contact info of all students to military recruiters, they know where you live now.

Felix is five, can’t walk, talk, swallow, or eat by mouth, 4-F if there ever was one. Fuh, fuh, fuh, fuh, he can almost tell you himself through his random plosives. Yet still, the mail bombards glossy brochures of such full-color youthful fun, who wouldn’t want (to die bloodily for Big Oil) to have that eternal hang gliding summer?

That order Felix, be an Army of One. But Felix, son of Father Zivildienst and Medicine, of Mother Urban Community Gardening, isn’t and won’t be an Army of Anything.

The troop he belongs to says & does, no distinction between “fit” and “unfit” to divide so a sundering of sacred life from sacred life, no matter how short or long. The troop he belongs to says & does, works 24/7 to suction his mouth and nose, maintains and fills his G-tube, salves the chapping of the drool zone around his mouth, soothes him while he poops out his pain, whatever it takes, whatever it takes, that’s our mission, take heart, take heart in the heart of God, do not leave this our child behind.

Felix never hang glides, doesn’t have the muscle tone, but his life is an eternal summer of fun sometimes. Like anyone’s left in robust peace. Even in wintertime, when he spies the red watercolor burst of amaryllis in the glass vase on the counter above his head, when he kicks and rustles in the nonlethal spreading wonderment of it.

Truth be told, they don’t know where he lives now.


Author's notes: Please learn more about the militarization of No Child Left Behind. Zivildienst: Conscientious objectors in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland can perform this community service instead of compulsory time in the military.
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Mary Krane Derr is a writer, musician, multi-issue nonviolence activist, and fourth generation South Side Chicagoan. Most recently her poetry has appeared in a collection for International Day of Climate Action; Canary: Literary Journal of the Environmental Crisis, and Kritya's tribute to Polish Diaspora poets.
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Monday, November 16, 2009

A IS FOR ASTHMA

by Scott T. Starbuck


“Corporations spend $2 billion each year targeted specifically on the young, intending to lure them into a life of unthinking consumption. [ . . . .] Young people on average can recognize over 1000 corporate logos but only a handful of plants and animals native to their places.”


Our goal was not to save the forest
and animals we knew
but to give them more time

so we jacked up pickups
and stole the wheels,

turned a tractor upside down
in the creek,

moved survey markers
around already-built homes.

We were nine so we painted our faces
like warriors and, at the end,
when “developers” destroyed our valley
we were still whole enough
to sit on a hill and cry.


Scott T. Starbuck's newest poems are at poetryfish.com; his new chapbook, The Warrior Poems, was one of six finalists of over five hundred entries at the 2009 Pudding House Poetry Chapbook Competition, and will soon be published by Pudding House. His creative nonfiction essay, "Another Short Ode to Kurt Cobain in the Time of Decay of the American Empire," is forthcoming in issue 11: "Life in a Time of Contraction" at drunkenboat.com.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

THE SHORT SELL

by Del Doughty


The guy who lives across the street
has got chapped hands and got sore feet.
Works all day for the D.O.T.
then pulls second shift at a factory.
It’s hard to get a good job in this town
so most folks hold three shit ones down.
My neighbor’s daughter, she waits tables.
Buys a full tank of gas when she’s able.
Ivy Tech, three more semesters—
it’s the cut in her aid that really tests her.
Her mother works as a legal secretary
for the firm of Curly, Moe, and Larry.

Just up the street there’s a mortgage broker.
He sees his job as a game of poker.
It doesn’t matter if he makes bad bets
when working-class folks will fade his debts.
If we played like that, we’d go straight to jail,
but his institution’s too big to fail.
All this talk about socialist specters!
While you fret about it, he’ll vivisect you:
he’ll take your chips and “loan” them to a friend,
who sells ‘em high then buys ‘em back again
when the price has dropped, ‘cause that’s what matters.
Someone else’s loss makes his wallet fatter.

Tonight at church, there’s a big fish fry
and afterwards, some coffee and pie.
My neighbors will go because it’s a good deal:
all you can eat for six bucks a meal.
Everybody there’s gonna get their fill
and the proceeds will pay someone’s doctor bills.
Then back at home, they’ll put up their feet,
sit on the couch and watch TV—
a reality show on their twelve-inch screen.
I hope it’s one that they haven’t seen.


Del Doughty has published two award-winning books of haiku, The Sound of Breathing (Saki Press, 2000) and Flow (Red Moon Press, 2004). He teaches English at Huntington University.
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MY INTERPRETATION OF AN EXECUTION

by Andrew Hilbert


defiant to the bitter end
toe tapping as the injections
went in
there were no final words.

he appeared "stoic"
so the reporter says
but she did mention his toe
tapping
something i do when nervous

perhaps
he was nervous about what
happens next
perhaps
there was remorse behind his
quietly defiant eyes
perhaps
there was not.


Andrew Hilbert has a degree in History at Cal State Long Beach and lives in Orange County, California.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

FALLING

by CB Follett


  Business has no apex.
On the curve of fortune,
all pinnacles are hindsight.
You don't know you've been there
until you hit the slippery downside
of the curve and look back up.

Success is a house of cards.
Layer on layer, each depending
on the other to hold taut.
Default one and the floors may come
tumblin' down.

Borrow, leverage, guarantee,
All paper courage.

We know our apex, seeing it
high now, above us. Back there.
Its shrinking pinpoint gleams in yesterday.
The cards are tumbling, turning
into torrents of water
from the cracked spillway. Rushing
down upon us. Sweeping
us away with the trunks and branches
of our possessions and hopes
taken in the flood,
in the lost footage of the torrent.


Winner of the 2001 National Poetry Book Award from Salmon Run Press, CB Follett has had poems published by Ploughshares, Alligator Juniper, Calyx, Americas Review, Peregrine, The Cumberland Review, Rain City Review, Ambit (England), The MacGuffin, Snowy Egret, Birmingham Poetry Review, New Letters Review, Psychological Perspectives, Without Halos, The Iowa Woman, Heaven Bone, Green Fuse, Black Bear Review, among others. She has been in many anthologies; received contest honors in the Billee Murray Denny, New Letters Prize, the Ann Stanford Prize, the Glimmer Train Poetry Contest and several contests from Poetry Society of America, among others. Five poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Poetry Prize plus three nominations as an individual poet. The most recent of her four collections of poetry is And Freddie Was My Darling, 2009. CB Follett is publisher/editor of Arctos Press, including the anthology, GRRRRR, A Collection of Poems About Bears; she was publisher and co-editor of RUNES, A Review of Poetry, 2001-to 2008.
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Monday, November 09, 2009

STAR GAZERS

by David Feela

“Investigators believe the Dickinson State students
were on a stargazing trip Sunday and likely drove
into the water in the darkness.” (Associated Press)

I hope those three college friends
had only stars in their hearts
when the jeep they were driving
slipped from the road
over the embankment and into
its grave of pond water.

The next day the search plane
spotted the white jeep shining
from below the surface, as if death
could light a beacon, or the stars
fastened to Orion’s belt might
burn brighter with their last breaths.


David Feela's work has appeared in regional and national publications. He is a contributing editor and columnist for Inside/Outside Southwest and for The Four Corners Press. His first full length poetry book, The Home Atlas, is now available.
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Saturday, November 07, 2009

PANDEMIC

by Jon Wesick


Thanks to the guy
who coughed pork virus
over every commuter in the train car.
Thanks for the fatigue and body aches
for days spend shivering under thick blankets.
Thanks for the depth charges of nausea
and emergency runs to the toilet.

Thanks to the mother
who brought her feverish child to the theater.
Thanks for gallons of mucous, thick, green fondue
for the throat scraped raw and bleeding
by a cough that rattled like hundreds of BBs in a crankcase.
Thanks for the doctor’s bill, and a thousand dollars
of lost wages.

Thanks to you who made this possible.
How can I ever repay you?


Jon Wesick has a Ph.D. in physics, has practiced Buddhism for over twenty years, and has published over a hundred poems in small press journals such as American Tanka, Anthology Magazine, The Blind Man’s Rainbow, Edgz, The Kaleidoscope Review, Limestone Circle, The Magee Park Anthology, The Publication, Pudding, Sacred Journey, San Diego Writer’s Monthly, Slipstream, Tidepools, Vortex of the Macabre, Zillah, and others. His chapbooks have won honorable mentions twice in the San Diego Book Awards.
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Friday, November 06, 2009

FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH . . .

by George Held




I wish I could feel the outrage this news
Ought to bring like a punch in the nose,
Eyes watering, blood flowing,
Pain sickening . . .

But I’m just a comatose patient
Lying on a gurney after being battered
By tests and probes and meds; like
A liberal after one year of Obama-lala,

One year of watching the great Oz
Pull the rug out from promises of change
We can believe in, like bringing home
The troops, offering healthcare to all . . .

You know the list, and you know the cast,
Chosen from auditions by Summers,
Geithner, and other Bushites—that’s “shite”
The way the Brits say “shit.”

Hey, that vaccine’s a private matter, as the news
Says, and the US worships private deals
The way it bows down to private property
And its owners, who own the government.

So, know your place, Proles: If you want
A flu shot or treatment for a gun shot,
Get on line at the clinic or the ER,
And don’t mess with The Man

At JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs;
He don’ wanna hear your bellyaches.
Hell, he don’ know you exist . . . so when
Your fever hits 104, take an aspirin

And don’t call anyone for help; your life
Ain’t worth a banker’s fart.


George Held has collected many of his New Verse News poems in The News Today.
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Thursday, November 05, 2009

ABOUT THE EKE-ONOMY STOOPID

Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote


&Now
Worthless vanity put on hold
Diversified self of worldly goods
Immeasurable bad habits thrown in
Eking out barely living existence

Less is More usually Least
No account checkbook iffy balance
Seesaw fulcrum bottomless darkling holes
Voids taking up valuable space

&Then
Fake marble mortar speckled pestle
Reset after hollow bones pummeled
Infestments swallowed then spit out
American Excess credit limit surpassed

Dimly lit past retrieved from
Abandoned dreams leftover trash discards
Fleshless corpse no longer alive
Greed dead not yet buried

&Again
Future gains outweighed by losses
Groundless accusations Destiny in limbo
No forwarding address SWAK letter
Insufficient postage Return to Sender

Moonless night held by mirror
Long since reflection not shown
Anima caught between jagged cracks
Pitch black nostalgia tackling lunacy


The dynamic duo of always toptimistic upstARTs, Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote edit AvantGardeTimes.com, an eclectic cosmopolitan poeartry quarterly EZine.
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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

FUN GAMES

by Andrew Hilbert


russia,
today i guess,
simulated
a nuclear attack
on poland

oh,
it was really
no big deal
you know,
it's for
just in case
we ever want
to bomb the shit
out of you
we know best
how to do it

nothing too much
to worry about


Andrew Hilbert has a degree in History at Cal State Long Beach and lives in Orange County, California.
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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A PIECE OF THE WALL

by Meredith Escudier


Like a chip off the old block,
a splinter from its mother ship,
a shred of exploded concrete
found on the ground.

Stilled in grey dullness,
compact in craggy roughness,
just one of many to crash down
and resound.

Checkpoint Charlie was your gate.
You watched and lay in wait
while desperate souls sought escape
in suitcases, car trunks, hot air balloons…

Some got caught.

But on a festive night in ’89
you cracked up and went flying,
exploding in shards, miscellaneous missiles
shooting off crazy in the cold night air.

Brigit, my Berliner friend,
was there. So was the world,
beholding the unfolding.

So she brought you to me
as a grey chunk of memory,
a nothing, a lackluster thing on my shelf.
Yet 20 years on, the power’s still there
and I startle at this souvenir,
the bitter now dear.


Meredith Escudier’s non-fiction work has appeared in various literary magazines, anthologies, the International Herald Tribune "Meanwhile" column and as an ongoing column in a monthly based in the south of France. She has just started submitting poetry, which is a genre that suits her more and more.
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Monday, November 02, 2009

WHEN FOG INVADES CLEVELAND

by Mary C. O'Malley


“Consider how the lilies of the field; grow. They do not work.”
Matthew 6: 28



Consider how well fog becomes Cleveland,
how it hides the houses stripped of humans,
haunted buildings without windows, and
ghosts falling through cracks in factory roofs.

Consider fog ghosts when they moan
over diamond ruined dreams while layers of
soft water cloak the lost Irish Banshee who
groans over the trapped souls of Lake Erie.

Consider how in the past; fog hid dead hacks in
our lake- Pinkerton men who searched for stewards
hidden in the night, sailors who failed to heed
the sandbars and sudden winds.

Consider the old orange crib where laborers
underneath suffocated and died
and there, Garret Morgan trying to use his
new gas mask no one believed would work.

Consider how we older ones miss the foghorn
calling sounds of warning blaring through West Park,
Buckeye, and the lake. And oh, to have had
that warning before our corrupt sandbar years of silence.



Fog can
become frost,
become rime
frozen without
upward movement
but a
cold sense
of time

But sometimes
on warm
July nights,
you can
see fireflies
dance twirl
in patches
of low
white mist,
where when
green life
still blesses
the last
of Cleveland’s
frozen lilies.


Mary C. O'Malley has been published in both print and online. Her latest work, published by The International Centre for Women's Playwrights, is a dramatic monologue.
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