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Wednesday, June 30, 2010


by George Held

Those goddamned oil-drenched dying pelicans
Are the prompt du jour for every deadbeat
Poet in the land.

Christ, pelicans have replaced grandmothers
As the hot topic for workshoppers
And other wannabes.

Poetic lamentations for those birds
Won’t help them survive any better
Than the Dodo.

Get used to them…they’re with us
For the next few decades. Turn your gaze

Besides, now that Bill Clinton recommends
Nuking the leak shut—destroying the Gulf
To save it—

There’ll be lots of photo ops of carcasses
Of pelicans, porpoises, even whales
And maybe people

To write about.

George Held has collected many of his New Verse News poems in The News Today.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


by Lillian Baker Kennedy

The brown pelican’s helpless

wings bare
a kind of cross.

We know that feeling
when, on our knees, we trusted,
even God, when (We -

“See.  We go with them.”)

were dying; when
someone we loved
was dying.

We watched.

Piteous supplicant,
at Our Mercy.

Lillian Baker Kennedy, author of Tomorrow After Night (Bay River Press, 2003) and Notions (Pudding House, 2004) practices law and lives in an old cape bordered by wild roses in Auburn, Maine. A part-time instructor at USM L-A, Kennedy is a Pushcart nominee and graduate of Stonecoast’s MFA program. Kennedy’s poetry has been anthologized, exhibited and published in numerous small presses and is forthcoming this fall in the Comstock Review and Puckerbrush Review. An interview, critical essay on poetics and some poems are available online.


by Sandra Ervin Adams

They cried the night they saw dying pelicans on TV.
In bed after saying prayers,
their little minds contrived a way to help.

The next day their little hands rolled lemons,
combined sour juice
with water
and sugar,
in an attempt to make a desirable drink.

They poured the mixture from a plastic pitcher,
sold it by the cupful,
told reporters of plans
to send their profits to coastal groups
benefiting birds, turtles, fish, and other sea creatures.

Youthful entrepreneurs, yes, but more so,
budding empaths who would grow
to be like their predecessors
several generations ago
who sold flowers
on street corners.

Sandra Ervin Adams lives in Onslow County, and her first chapbook was Union Point Park Poems. She is listed in A Directory of American Poets and Writers.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Volume Eleven

by Bill Costley



Dick CHENEYs daughter Liz says:
the hospitalized former VPOTUS
could go home on Mon. after receiving
meds. to treat a fluid buildup related to
his aggressive form of heart disease.

The 69-year-old VPOTUS ,
who has had 5 heart attacks,
was admitted to GWU Hospital on Fri.
after experiencing discomfort.
His last heart attack, described
as a mild one, was in Feb.

Liz CHENEY tells
"FOX News Sunday"
that her father is feeling better &
hopes to be released on Mon.

CHENEY's office says CHENEY
has received intravenous meds & 
that he's "markedly improved."



has been discharged from GWU hospital
after his latest bout with heart-related trouble.

CHENEY was admitted to GWU Hospital on Fri.
after reporting that he wasn't feeling well. He
underwent testing & ultimately received
medication to treat a fluid buildup related to
his aggressive form of heart disease.

His office said on Sunday that the former 
VPOTUS's condition has improved considerably,
& he left the hospital as expected on Mon.

CHENEY (69) has a long history of heart disease.


for Peter Bates

CHENEY’s NoFear™ boggles:
“Don’t sweat it” says CHENEY,
“Steele’s in my pocket, Q-balls
safe & sound. Safer & sounder.”
What does CHENEY mean by it?
Can we decode his cryptic mind?
“What I don’t fear, I don’t doubt”
crypticizes big-daddy CHENEY,
“thanx 2 CHENEY NoFear™
America rules the whole world.”


[newspoem based on
 "Cheney's new heart device {LVAD} could be permanent"
by Kathleen Hennessey & Thomas H. Maugh II
Tribune Washington Bureau
Friday, July 16, 2010 12:00 am Updated: 10:30 pm.]

battling a lifetime of cardiac disease,
hasn't decided whether/not to seek a heart transplant,
but could use the device
surgically inserted into his chest
last week as permanent therapy for his condition;

according to a source
close to the CHENEY family
& to heart surgeons familiar with the treatment.
"He has not made any decision
yet about a transplant,"
He is totally focused right now
on recuperation & rehab
with his (current device)."

[The source asked not to be named
as commenting on private matters.]

The device implanted into the former VPOTUS' chest,
known as an LVAD (left ventricular assist device)
is often described as a temporary therapy
representing a "bridge" to a transplant,
fueling speculation that CHENEY, 69,
may be on the path toward seeking a new heart.

But experts said the newest models of the device,
essentially a pump, were considered "destination therapies"
that could last for years."There are patients who have been
having a wonderful quality of life for more than 5 years already,"
said Dr. Richard J. Shemin, chief of cardiothoracic surgery
at UCLA Reagan Medical Center. "Because it's
a more modern device,  smaller,  more efficient,
there is a lot of enthusiasm for it."
[Shemin has no direct knowledge of CHENEY's care.]

CHENEY, who suffered
his 1st of 5 heart attacks at age 37,
announced Wed. that he'd undergone surgery
last week to insert the device.
In a statement released by his office,
he called the procedure a new phase
of "increasing congestive heart failure"
but said he believed he would soon
resume an active life.

CHENEY may not be a good candidate
for a heart transplant,
primarily because of his age (69).
Due to the scarcity of available hearts,
surgeons typically prefer to reserve them
for younger patients with a longer expected lifespan.
Factors that could rule out a transplant:
uncontrollable cancer,
multiple organ failures,
chronic infection.


Whispering’s heard
from furthest right:

"A living donor for
a new red heart to
propel him fwd to
rightest victory..."

Who steps fwd?
bakers’ dozens of
nearly-dead Wyomen.


Mad as a whumping WWWalrus
roaring at a whacky-Hatter,
CHENEY raves: “NO tea!,
NO coffee! NO caffeine!
Can’t you see, hear, heart,
audiate my fix? NO, NO
caffeine! NO caffeine!”

“No caff, you fiend?” quips
the googly-eyed Hatter,
his whacky-grin absorbing
his unnaturalized smile.

The Dormouse burbles, as
The Tea-Pot bub-bubbles, &
The Tea-Party wails w/out, &
CHENEY clutches his metal heart.


CHENEY dreams of publishing
a sold-wood edition of his memoirs
suitable for cold WYoming evenings
before the blazing stone fireplace:

“Hell, they don’t have to read them;
they can just be warmed to the heart
as they feel the paper burn to ash:
The First Book you burn, not read!”

A deathly smile spreads across
CHENEY’s chilly jaws prefiguring
his long-desired DC-monument.
“They will come & kneel before me!”

(he thinks), “Kneel their gratitude!”
(dreaming of grateful generations.)


[newspoem based on “Cheney Calls Mubarak a 'Good Friend’”  SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – (AP)

Ex-VPOTUS Dick CHENEY called
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
a good friend & U.S. ally & urged
the Obama administration to move
cautiously as turmoil continued
to shake that nation's government.

CHENEY said the U.S. should
take measured steps in public,
suggesting too much pressure
could backfire. "There is a reason
why a lot of diplomacy is conducted
in secret, good reasons for confidentiality
in (some of) those communications;

I think President Mubarak needs to be
treated as he deserved over the years;
he has been a good friend," CHENEY said,
on the centennial of POTUS Reagan's birth,

noting it can be difficult for some
foreign leaders to act on U.S. advice
"in a visible way" without appearing
compromised in their own countries.
“The bottom line is, in the end,
whatever comes next in Egypt
is going to be determined
by the people of Egypt."

Looking markedly thinner than
during his days in Washington,
sitting throughout his remarks:

CHENEY said Mubarak helped
the U.S. get military aircraft
into the region in the 1991 Gulf War,
& committed troops to fight alongside
U.S. forces in the liberation of Kuwait.
"He's been a good man, a good friend
& ally to the United States.

We need to remember that."

About a possible outcome:
"I don't know. There comes
a time for everybody
when it's time to hang it up
& move on. That's a decision
only the Egyptians can make."


Pyramids stonily rise
for the CHENEY family
by CHENEY's WY house
in CHENEY Valley(tm)

where the Bozell family
& other conservative
families are choosing
CHENEY pyramids.

You can too. Contact
Click: [Great Families]

Great conservatives
deserve great pyramids.


A wan, drawn CHENEY
said briefly on MSNBC:

“This really is a great day
for an awful lot of people

who worked very hard
for a long time.” [QED]


Former VPOTUS Dick Cheney’s new memoir
claims he urged George W. Bush to bomb
a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor site in June 2007.
--NY Times, August 24, 2011 by Charlie Savage
[Reporting contributed by Julie Bosman from New York,
and Helene Cooper, Mark Landler, Mark Mazzetti
and Steven Lee Myers from Washington.]

“Bush opted for a diplomatic approach after other advisers
—    still stinging over “the bad intelligence we had received
—    about Iraq’s stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction”.
“I again made the case for U.S. military action against the reactor,”
CHENEY writes: “But I was a lone voice. After I finished,
POTUS Bush said: “Does anyone here agree with the VPOTUS?’
Not a single hand went up around the room.”
Bush chose to try diplomatic pressure
to force the Syrians to abandon their secret program,
but the Israelis bombed the site in September 2007.
CHENEY’s account of the discussion
appears in his autobiography,
“In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,”
due to be published next week.
A copy was obtained by The NYT.
CHENEY’s book, pugnacious in tone
expresses little regret about many of the most
controversial decisions of the Bush administration —
casting himself as an outlier among top advisers
who increasingly took what he saw as misguided…
on national security issues. Praising Bush
as “an outstanding leader,” CHENEY
whose guarding the secrecy of internal deliberations
was a hallmark of his time in office, divulges conflicts
with the inner circle: George J. Tenet, CIA director
resigned in 2004 just “when the going got tough,”
a decision CHENEY calls “unfair to the president.”
CHENEY believes SECSTATE Powell tried to
undermine Bush by privately expressing doubts
about the Iraq war CHENEY confirms he pushed
to have Powell removed from the cabinet
after the 2004 election. “It was as though he thought
the proper way to express his views was by
criticizing administration policy to people
outside the government. His resignation
“was for the best.”

CHENEY faults former SECSTATE Rice
for naïveté in her efforts to forge a nuclear weapons
agreement with North Korea, & reports he fought
with White House advisers over softening
the POTUS’ speeches on Iraq.CHENEY
acknowledged the administration
misunderestimated the challenges in Iraq,
but he says the real blame for the violence
was with the terrorists.

CHENEY defends the Bush administration’s
decision to inflict what he called “tough interrogations”
—    like the suffocation technique known as waterboarding —
—    on captured terrorism suspects, saying
—    it extracted information that saved lives
—    & rejects calling such techniques “torture.”
In discussing the much-disputed “16 words”
about Iraq’s supposed hunt for uranium in Niger
that were included in Bush’s
2003 State of the Union address
to help justify the eventual invasion,
unlike other aides, CHENEY saw no need to apologize.
SECSTATE Rice eventually came around to his view.
“She came into my office, sat down in the chair next to my desk
& tearfully admitted I had been right,” he wrote.

CHENEY’s book opens with an account of his experiences
during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001,
when he (essentially) commanded the government’s response
from a bunker beneath the White House while Bush —
who was away hampered by communications breakdowns —
played a peripheral role. CHENEY writes the did not want
to make any formal statement to the nation that day.
“My past government experience,” CHENEY writes,
“prepared me to manage the crisis
during those first few hours on 9/11,
but I knew that if I went out and spoke to the press,
it would undermine Bush & be bad for him and for the country.
“We were at war. Our commander in chief
needed to be seen as in-charge, strong, & resolute
— as POTUS George W. Bush was.”
CHENEY appears to relish much of the criticism
heaped on him by liberals, but reveals he had
offered to resign several times as Bush
prepared for his re-election in 2004
because he feared becoming a burden
on the Republican ticket. After a few days,
however, CHENEY said that Bush
said he wanted him to stay.
In the Bush administration’s second term,
CHENEY’’s influence waned. When Bush
decided to replace Donald H. Rumsfeld as SECDEF
after the 2006 midterm elections, CHENEY
said he was not given a chance to object.
CHENEY praised Obama’s support,
as a senator from Illinois, for passing a bank bailout bill
at the height of the financial crisis,
shortly before the 2008 election, but criticizes Obama’s
decision to withdraw 33,000 additional troops
he sent to Afghanistan in 2009 by September 2012,
and writes that he has been “happy to note” that
Obama has failed to close the prison
in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as he had pledged.
CHENEY’s long struggle with heart disease recurs in the book.
he wrote a letter of resignation, dated March 28, 2001,
and told an aide to give it to Bush
if he ever had a heart attack or stroke
that left him incapacitated.
And in the epilogue, CHENEY writes that
after undergoing heart surgery in 2010,
he was unconscious for weeks & had
a prolonged, vivid dream that
he was living in an Italian villa,
pacing the stone paths to get coffee & newspapers.


admits he hid [in a bunker]
under his DC home "behind
a massive steel door secured
by an elaborate lock, w/a
narrow connecting hallway
lined with shelves filled w/
communications equipment,"
& @ Camp David, Maryland
& wayback home in Wyoming

Click here for Volume Twelve

Bill Costley has served on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers Union. He lives in Santa Clara, CA.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


by Linda De Grand

with condolences to Annie McChrystal

As a good military wife, I have to ask -
Stan, Stan, how could you?
We were good. Visits short,
30 days a year give or take.

As a good military wife, I can sacrifice.
But now you’ll be on the home front 24/7.
You’re supposed to be awaaaay.
Not here on permanent leave.

As a good military wife, what am I supposed to do with you?
You eat one meal a day,
sleep four hours a night. (Don’t get any ideas……)
And  run seven miles a day.  Wanna make that more?

As a good military wife, I’ll pack  lunch for you.
No need for gourmet treats
With your Jack-in-the-Box tastes.
Make it an all day hike.

As a good military wife
I know all about the chain of command, but,
President Obama, how could you do this to a patriot –
a patriotic wife that is.

Linda De Grand is a business and creative non-fiction writer, living in Raleigh, NC.

Friday, June 25, 2010


by Steve Hellyard Swartz

It's easy to focus on the stories of millions of fish and birds killed in the Gulf
But what about the ones which have been treated and released?
There may not be second acts in life elsewhere
But here in America
Where the shadow of the cross serves as starting line, finishing line
Where life and afterlife are as cheap as it gets
And the bullet in the chamber, the oil in the marsh, the falling safe
Serve their function as comic interludes
As in:
Take America, please
As in:
Take Chicago, please
Where 40 people were shot over the weekend
Where, in the evocatively-named Shakespeare District
A lieutenant tells the Sun-Times Media Wire that the little girl who was shot was not seriously injured.
"She'll be fine," the lieutenant said. "She just got caught in crossfire, unfortunately."
And the 1-year old whose ear was grazed by a bullet?
She'll be fine, too
Yup - treated and released
True, seven people were killed
For them there is no second act
To you seven who succumbed
Like the moribund, oil-clotted pelicans
I find it very hard to grieve for you
For what you've done
Is so very, very un-American

Steve Hellyard Swartz is Poet Laureate of Schenectady, NY. He is a frequent contributor to New Verse News. Swartz is a 2011 Pushcart Prize nominee for Poetry. His poems have appeared in The Patterson Review, The Southern Indiana Review, The Kennesaw Review, and online at Best Poem and switched-on gutenberg. He is the winner of a First Place Award given by the Society of Professional Journalists for Excellence in Broadcasting. In 1990, Never Leave Nevada, a movie he wrote and directed, opened at the US Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


by Bill Costley

for Bob Chute

Once gold, iron & copper were
Afghanistan’s fabled minerals;
then rare earth elements,
now niobium, lithium
for the world’s batteries;
soon: depleted uranium.

Bill Costley has served on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers Union. He lives in Santa Clara, CA.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote

Walking the denial-floss thin line
Between anything but the tooth
And abscessed cavity unconvincing justifications
Frayed hangman’s noose tightening slipknot

Washington, DK whitening stained warwar tartar
Drill grinding to clenched halt
Dark McChrystal doomcast drooling saliva
Erosion slipping into cankered abyss

What the halitosis bad breath
Bleeding gums suffering uprooted canal
Trench mouth gingivitis scraping plaque
Periodontis prescribing sinking quicksand extraction

No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote together comprise PoeArtry. Flutter Press has just published Charles’ new chapbook fanTHAIsies.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


by W.F. Lantry

How quickly our best times become the worst,
changing caresses into body blows!
We drink your health, believing that our thirst
could rearrange inevitable woes.

The ball goes rolling through the goalkeep's hands-
he's thinking lingerie instead of lines-
and as it settles in, he understands
he'll not be drinking salutary wines.

And BP, drilling, starts counting its gold
as quarterly reports and profits swell,
they're dancing in the boardroom as they're told
there may be minor problems with the well.

On sunny days we love the weather: warm
is good for punters, partying, and vice!
Who thinks of climate change? It's just one storm,
it's just a fissure in the Arctic ice!

When Father Murphy plays behind his screens,
he hums a little Wagner as he moves,
but when confessing sins, his penance means
he can't believe the Bishop disapproves.

Now Trixie's found her mark, and Jack his queen
or so each thinks, staring across pub smoke
into each other's eyes, neither has seen
his empty wallet or her tender yoke.

I've grabbed this meter from a man named Yeats
though we say 'Yates' when speaking of his song:
if you succeed at verse, each scholar greets
his colleague by pronouncing your name wrong.

Beware your greatest joy! It leads to loss
more quickly than a nightingale sings!
Grab what you can! Give it a healthy toss:
that's better solace than "Pied Beauty" brings!

W.F. Lantry received his Licence and Maîtrise from L’Université de Nice, M.A. in English from Boston University and Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. The recipient of the CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry, and runner up for this year's UMB William Joiner Center Ellen LaForge Poetry Prize, his poems have appeared in The Wallace Stevens Journal, Prairie Fire, Ellipsis, The French Literary Review, Istanbul Literary Review and Writing for Human Rights. He currently serves as the Director of Academic Technology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.


Monday, June 21, 2010


            “coined” by John Michael Greer

by Catherine McGuire

You know it by the smell – rotten,
every penny – lurching
from deal to deal. Undead money
wants only to destroy.

No point in asking why – zombies
have no logic. Brainless,
it drags down the living, grabs
every reachable buck, crams them
into its unsatiable maw.

Undead money creates nothing
leaves the stench of decay behind –
every closed deal a dead business,
a failing bank, an empty town.

There are zombies among us – not hard
to spot. They refuse to die,
they “turn” the living; hate the productive act.
You can’t reform the undead.
Stake ‘em.

Catherine McGuire is a writer and artist with more than 120 poems published in venues such as The New Verse News, The Cape Rock, Green Fuse, The Quizzical Chair Anthology, The Smoking Poet, Portland Lights Anthology, Folio, Tapjoe and Adagio.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote

World’s most popular sporting competition
Returns to native soiled taproots
Dating backgammon to 1862 Cape
Ivory Monopoly board inlaid ebony

African-can exuberant spirit pan-continental obsession
Townships raging with indomitable pride
Shared passion cheering national heroes
Crime unemployment disease poverty waylaid

There’s no freedom without equality
Fitting tribute to Mandela’s magnanimity
Political prisoner 46664 Robben Island
Security guards reconfigure tourist guides

Mahatma Gandhi re-dyed bleached saris
Multiversity slowly never surely progressing
Generation gaps neutralizing toxic landfill
Greatest legacy Freedom to Dream

Ploughshare furrows digging new ground
Enriched black-dirt sodding green turf
Weah Drogba Eto’o Messi Ronaldo
Soaring eagles unshackled glory daze

Caucasians still running Circus Minimus
Foreign coaches taming cagey lionhearted
Le sorcier blanc over-the-big-top faith healers
Conjuring spellbound elixirs mindset skullduggery

No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote together comprise PoeArtry. Flutter Press has just published Charles’ new chapbook fanTHAIsies.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


by Robert M. Chute

As the death toll passes one thousand
it is obvious even to experts
the war in Afghanistan’s an illusion
concealing our foreign aid which
voters would never approve in
straightforward dollars. War it seems
has always been Afghanistan’s
business. We support it with covert
generosity: the bodies collateral cost.

Robert M. Chute's book of poetry based on scientific articles, Reading Nature, is available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Friday, June 18, 2010


by George Held

When I see an oil-blackened pelican
In the Gulf, I know I can’t help her
Any more than BP or government can.
But what can I do for those who suffer

In the Gulf? I can’t help the Other
Despite what Buber advised the Self,
So what can I do for those who suffer—
Laid-off shrimpers, riggers, dying wildlife?

Despite what Buber advised the Self,
We are cut off from the Other in the Gulf—
Laid-off clammers, crewmen, gasping wildlife—
Here in New York City, my native turf.

We are cut off from the Other in the Gulf;
Even with no car, even going green
Here in New York City, my native turf,
We have no power over that oily sheen.

Even with no car, even going green,
We depend too much on petroleum
And have no power over that oily sheen
While TV vends Gulf grief ad nauseam.

We depend too much on petroleum,
Not less than BP or government can;
When TV vends Gulf grief ad nauseam
We must see the oil-blackened pelican.

George Held has collected many of his New Verse News poems in The News Today.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


by Kate Bernadette Benedict

Seems there’s a bee.  

Seems there’s a siege of bees, 

indoors, in cubes, in corridors,

beleaguering employees.

Seems there’s shadow on the air,

Africanized bees, 
diffusing something:
pollen, pods or seeds. 
Windows swarm—

murk and writhing.

Duck and cover.  

Seems there’s a breeze.

Bees in thousands.

Thousand thousand bees.

Kate Bernadette Benedict edits Umbrella: A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose and Tilt-a-Whirl: A Poetry Sporadical of Repeating Forms.  Her poetry collections are Here from Away (CW Books, 2003) and In Company, scheduled for publication in 2011.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


by Robert Wooten

Just buy the new software
and then you'll be set,
a printer and keyboard
and then you'll be set,
a CD and disk drive
before you forget.
They no longer offer
it on a diskette.
Just install the new chips
and then you'll be set.
Pay with the credit card--
they rebate the debt.
Upgrade to new hardware.
You will not regret
the day that you bought it,
and then you'll be set.

There is a computer,
its name I forget.
It's said to be faster
but isn't here yet.
Just keep your eyes posted--
surf the Internet.
One day, it will get here,
and then you'll be set.

Robert Wooten’s most recent collection is a chapbook published by In His Steps Publishing, Famous Last Words, in 2007.  His poems have appeared in The Lyric, Poem, and Asheville Poetry Review and many other periodicals.  His poetry currently appears in Old Red Kimono, Poetic Matrix, and The Dirty Napkin.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


by Scot Siegel

after a letter to DC

If you could read my mind you would know
there is something intrinsically good and beautiful
about holding a book in your hand; and this goes
for fiction, autobiography, horror, poetry, or whatever . . . 

If I were king for a year I would start a poetry press
and pay the authors handsomely; I would do all the marketing,
distribution, and book tour arrangements for them. Together
we would bring poetry back to the front pages of the daily

newspapers, after restoring real journalism and reviving
the papers themselves . . . Next we would bring poetry back
to the schools, real poetry, contemporary-political-love
poems about the earth and the real human condition . . .

and then they would have my head.

Scot Siegel lives in Oregon with his wife and two daughters. He is the author of three volumes of poetry: Some Weather (Plain View Press, 2008), Untitled Country (Pudding House Publications, 2009), and Skeleton Says (just out from Finishing Line Press). Another  full-length collection is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in early 2012. Siegel serves on the board of trustees of the Friends of William Stafford and edits the online poetry journal Untitled Country Review. 

Monday, June 14, 2010


by Scott Simpson

A single cell divided
and then again until the math
was all a matter of history

But even math itself was insincere
as it counted off millennia
in ways that never should have

Added up to credit
default swaps and hedge funds
rerouting vessels

Into clumps and spaces
for the multi-celled among us--
formulas that sucked

Slyly from organs,
bloating tumorous

A body divided
cannot stand, cannot sit,
cannot arrive at reasonable

Conclusions while
consulting pundits
intent on encysting

Against all intruders;
signs incite an offensive waged
this season by the whitest

Of lymphocytes

Scott Simpson is a walker of dogs who lives in a mostly rural state in the US and occasionally speaks to teachers. They pay him to speak to teachers, but his dogs often listen better because he sometimes lets them lick his morning oatmeal bowl when he's through. Scott wonders, since his state has the lowest paid teachers in the country, if the teachers might listen better if the state offered them a bowl to lick. Of course, it does . . . but that's about all it offers--unless the Feds come in with some special treat wanting them to learn some tricks like "roll over" and "beg" (but never, NEVER "speak"). Scott often wonders if this is the best his state can do for its students and the people tasked with helping them grow . . .

Sunday, June 13, 2010


by Richard Ilnicki

The breaking of bread
is no mere mundane event meant
to be shared around a table
of strangers who have been assembled
like a pack of unemployed actors,
rats with eyes bigger than their stomachs,
reluctantly dragged from the streets and alleys
into the church hall
for a buttered slice of salvation.
The significance is the appetite inside
not the bread, when the bread, of course,
is what really matters.
Unless, of course, you have been invited to break bread
with Andrei Vosnesensky, a master baker of poetry
who filled the kitchen's atmosphere with mythical metaphors.
Then, even the bread becomes secondary
to the calloused creative hands
gnarled by pounding, pulling, stripping,
stretching, tugging, squeezing
and the greasy pluck of fingers and palms
baked in the flame of a heart on fire.
The relentless hound's hands of this man
had been bathed in a boiling cauldron of need.

In this celestial the bread had become an extension
of the man's galaxy of thought
pulled apart like the dough body of a rag doll,
sometimes torn asunder down the middle
sometimes a crusty end of Russian Rye ripped off.
Here, in his dynamic presence you bite your tongue
because all you want is one small piece
to be shared with a man who ate
the bread of life wrapped in glaze
and laughed in the face of raised rejection
while dipping his bread
into a communal bowl of hot white gravy.

Richard Ilnicki is husband, father, grandfather, health club manager/personal trainer whose best friend, besides his wife, is his dog Jimmy.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


by Diane Elayne Dees

Ribbon-bright yellows, reds and greens
swirl the fields from Cape Town
to Polokwane, the screams of fans
carried by wind all the way to KwaThema.
There, Eudy Simelane lies silent.
No stars for her crest, no stampede
of admirers. No longer will teammates
lift her above the field and carry her
through a frenzy of celebration.
Those who raped and murdered Eudy,
empowered by a government as silent
as her grave, make every day
a day of fear for sportswomen.

The uniforms are vibrant, the stadiums
shiny and new. Television cameras
capture passion, flags and sweat,
while--not far from the gates of Soccer City--
colors fade, lights dim, the screaming stops,
and Eudy Simelane lies silent forever.

Diane Elayne Dees
is a writer whose political poetry has appeared in several publications. Diane also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog about women's professional tennis.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote

Researchers: Much more oil gushing from well than thought --AP

Bottomless black hole deepwater leak
Oil-soaked pelicans mired in surfeit
Froth clinging to slick wingtips
Fragile rookery sludge wallows coated

Stranded take-offs quicksand flight delays
Nonstop excuses toxic plumes suck
Landing strip-searched stained image toll
Holding pattern rescue nowhere bound

No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote together comprise PoeArtry. Flutter Press has just published Charles’ new chapbook fanTHAIsies.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


by Jan Keough

"Dutchman to do crime scene walk-through in Peru" (AP)

That girl in Aruba, Holloway, and then another
down in Peru, snuffed and gone
and the hunt for
so many girls hidden in trash bins
dumped somewhere
never on
a network or screamed across a newspaper . . .
but god, another girl-woman-victim
and another suspect who walks away.

i don’t want justice
i want it to stop.
i know
it won’t.

Jan Keough is a poet living in northern RI.  Her poems have appeared in print and online including the Providence Journal, Lunarosity, The River Poets Journal, & the upcoming Spirit First Anthology.  Her essay "Experiments" was broadcast on WRNI's This I Believe. She's a co-founder the Origami Poems Project of Rhode Island.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


by Bill Costley

"If I cain't see it, I don't sweat it;
them oil-balls're as natural as
our great Americun Guff, heah?"

Barbour justifies oil as natural
'cuz it comes up frum The Eartf:
"It's done us a lot of good sofuh.
Just let it do it, bubba Guffuhs."

Barbour rubs himself down all
ovuh with BP-brand mineral oil.
"There's nothin' like it! Nothin'!"

Bill Costley has served on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers Union. He lives in Santa Clara, CA.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


by Mary Saracino

In the deep heart of ocean waters
a voice sings
of pelicans and perdition
of sullied shorelines and greed-scarred shrimp
of wailing whales and spewing oil
of dark, black blood gushing
from the severed aorta
of our Great Mother Earth
a grief-crazed Cassandra
howling at the weeping moon
her prophetic admonition racing
through the desecrated waters
a Sibyl’s siren-call
warning, warning, warning
us to mend our ways, save our souls
before it is too late.

Mary Saracino is a novelist, poet and memoir-writer who lives in Lafayette, CO . Her most recent novel, The Singing of Swans (Pearlsong Press 2006) was a 2007 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist. Her short story, "Vicky's Secret" earned the 2007 Glass Woman Prize.


by George Held

The photos of oil-marinated gulls
And pelicans dying in the Gulf
Make me want to see Tony Hayward
Of BP also floating in the shallows

Completely coated with his product,
A stunned look in his oil-glazed eyes,
His rich thick Oxbridge hair stuck
In place with his own tarry gunk,

His hairless baby skin slicked black
With oil, a drop falling from his beak
As he looks pitifully for succor
From the volunteer wildlife rescuers,

Who size him up for triage and say,
“This sad bird is too far gone to save.”

George Held has collected many of his New Verse News poems in The News Today.

Monday, June 07, 2010


by Linda Warren

I promise a five-course meal
sumptuous treat for someone I love
she accepts for later
I imagine it would be fish
but that spoils it because
I heard the greedy power-mongers

net fish indiscriminately
the dolphins drowning in the bloody sea
the rest doused in BP oil
it makes it difficult to plan
a delectable meal for two

then, imagine a first course
vegetarian would be safer
falicula salad with honey mustard dressing
raddichio and pine nuts
no blood, no oil
but the same cynics have determined
a way to fuse animal and tomato genes
so even a tomato might bleed
seeds mixed with the flowing
red river over china plates
racked above the sink
a hairy tomato escapes
over the escarpment
of white-tiled counter
leaping the cockroach
happily munching on last night's
spaghettio rings dried fast against the white mortar
I try again
to really imagine
a fruitful imagination
how to plan a meal with love

but honestly,
all of this dinner talk
seems out of place
especially when one considers
carefully, with full consideration
narrowly, focusing on a beautifully
wrought out argument
a meal of shame

an argument wrapped in skin so tight
no expansion is possible
past the intestinal wrappings
dried carefully on a hand-made wooden bench
made by my immigrant grandfather

high yield seeds
covered over with
sauce, a bit of feta
mozzarella, a pleasant
pasta blended well
even that turns bad
how could it be?
artichoke hearts should heal
but imperial cynicism prevailed
made these seeds into a tool of war
food into a weapon

I understand in Timbuktu
salt was as valuable as gold
even here the colonizers were spoilers
of our repast
needing both salt and gold
taking both

in Afghanistan the courses
were dropped from airplanes in designer yellow
wrappers matching bombs
that kill more children
hard to even list the food:
peanut butter, cheese, crackers

slicing and dicing faster than the $29.95 variety
sold on T.V.

I am not confused by the menu
my government kills
people of Afghanistan
people of Iraq
people of Palestine (proxy killing)
people of Columbia
people of Cuba
people of whole continents
say Africa and parts of Asia
and Mexico, Central America,
South America
this could be a huge banquet

the bananas, the pineapple
the grapes, the strawberries...
and that is just fruit
united fruit company and massacres
in Guatemala and say it is aid

start on the vegetables
cassavas, carrots of Jamaica
rejected for cheap u.s. ones
kohlrabi, creased kale
with a hard purple center
but the vegetables were overturned
dumped into large baskets and ferreted away
to someone's banquet hall with a short guest list

Palestinians lost their orchards
large u.s. tanks making such mayhem
of trees and earth
no course left
not even the first one

when I suggested food security
instead of u.s. sponsored jihads
the man in the meeting stalked out
saying "that'll never happen."

others gritting their teeth hard
lost some enamel
like that on white pots
set on red or yellow Formica
from the fifties

My promise of a five-course meal
broken, and my friend says, "Never mind,
this meal is too rich
and impossible to choke down
the bits of potatoes
green rot, hidden by pesto."

She agrees:
The recipe for security has got to change
no one should have the power to administer
emergency funds
like Castor oil.

give the funds back
to the people who generated them
the people who owned the resources
abundantly flowing
from the earth.

Linda Warren was raised poor in the foothills of the Cascades by a father who was a hobo in the Great Depression and mother who was a maid; however, by the time she came along they had begun a subsistence farm.  She holds a PhD in philosophy from SUNY Binghamton and her poems have appeared in Feminist Studies, Spindrift, And Then..., and Sophia.

Sunday, June 06, 2010


by Andrew Hilbert

my guess is as good as theirs
throwing around solutions
that sound ridiculous
as if willy wonka employed
oompa loompas
to come up with solutions
as whimsical as possible
to this problem

but in the movie
the kids are never fixed
they're just rolled off the screen
with a song and dance
and the audience is supposed
to forget they ever turned blue
tiny, got sucked up a chocolate tube

i get the feeling we're going
through that psychedelic tunnel scene
where gene wilder's eyes get crazy
he knows he's making things up
as he goes along
but that's the fun

but with the dead bodies of wildlife
piling up
it's hard to call this game fun
it's hard to have faith in anything anymore
in our willy wonka world
hopey changey sloganeering
is actually applicable here

soon i suspect
they'll propose plugging up the leak
with dead turtles, seagulls, seals
and whatever else bp's killing
out there

they'll cross their fingers
and hope it works
but it'll be presented in song and dance
and of course,
NO ONE is to blame here!
it'll be rolled off the stage
and never seen again
and we'll all breathe *phew*
and sarah palin can
comfortably fall back
on her red high heels
and once again chant

Andrew Hilbert lives and works in Orange County. He also edits Beggars & Cheeseburgers magazine.

Saturday, June 05, 2010


by E.F. Schraeder

It isn’t just the drilling, but the threat of more
spills and costs, all waste then loss

degenerating fragile feathers dripping and slick
with the thick pasty sludge of inevitable tragedy.

The latest impasse, a blow from a southpaw,
struck me just below idealism,

sucker punched hope in the mouth.
Finally, I’m a believer in apathy.

Keeping up the pace until we’re lost,
behind again, the lot of us driving on.

Look beneath every crop of bright yellow
genetically altered corn planted where prairie

used to be, just north of the spot where migrating
mammals meet border fences or highways.

While the offshore account giants calculate
thirteen ways to charge for sunbeams

citizens turned consumers continue to revolve,
doors to a shopping mall,

in absurd suburban details requiring 40 miles or more
a day, decapitating sorrow into sprawl.

E.F. Schraeder's work recently appeared in the anthology Kicked Out (Sassafras Lowery, ed.), and she holds a Ph.D. studying ethics and social justice.


Friday, June 04, 2010


by Journey McAndrews

Between the haves and the have-nots,
lies a gulf of materialism,
deep enough to bury us all
beneath piles of
plastic products,
hypodermic needles,
dirty diapers,
and broken G.I. Joe “men”.
British Petroleum now joins the ranks
of other big companies,
who cannot suture the wounds
they have inflicted on earth.
And the rest of us just want to fill our SUV’s
with cheap gas,
so we can beat the crowd to Wal-Mart
and stock up on the latest “Rollbacks”.
Outrage comes swift and easy,
then slides between the headlines
of the latest Washington scandal.
Along the way,
precious life is swallowed alive,
someone has to pay for our sins,
who will miss a few birds?
a few grains of sand?
a little water?
a few fish?
A small price to pay really,
to keep our lifestyle alive and well.
By God, to behave any other way
is un-American.
Let the fish drown in the sludge,
let the birds struggle to breath,
let the water burn.
In the end,
God will come and save us all,

Journey McAndrews is an environmental activist, writer, poet, and journalist.  When she is not writing she spends her time growing herbs, berries, vegetables, and flowers on her farm in Kentucky.

Thursday, June 03, 2010


by Joel Solonche

How clever your ancestors
must have thought they were,

looking around at the earth
getting more and more crowded,

then up at the empty sky,
putting two and two together,

never in their wildest dreams
foreseeing how the descendants

of those stupid creatures
swinging in the trees, eating leaves,

sleeping the day away would,
with the black oil of arrogance,

anoint themselves gods
and destroy you here.

J.R. Solonche is co-author (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.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


by Rebekah Orton

Turn on the story about the oil spill,
my five-year-old suggests as we drive
to the dentist.  I click NPR on in my eight
seat minivan and gun it to seventy on the freeway
while Morning Edition circles around
explosions and leaks, gallons and barrels,
animals and people in its path, the future of oil.
Why did it explode, Mommy? she asks again,
the question she asks every time since we first heard the
story a month ago while driving across two rivers
and two freeways to get to her weekly gymnastics class.
They don’t know why it exploded, I remind her.
But they have to close the beaches?  she frets.
Yes, some of them.
And the baby animals might get hurt?
, I tell her.  But the people who made the spill
have to clean it up.

But how did they make the spill?  Was it the explosion?
I explain again drilling for oil and its volatile nature
and the bottom of the sea floor and why they can’t
just stop the leak because it’s coming
out so deep and so dark and so far
apart that they can’t just press a lid on it
(Machines aren’t strong enough, right, Mom?)
but they’re trying to funnel the spill
And sometimes they burn it off, right, Mom? The
ocean is on fire sometimes.
, I agree. But by this time we’ve made it to
the babysitter, so I drop her off with her sister
and brother and hop back, alone, in my roomy van,
to drive back on the freeway to the dentist’s office.

In his waiting room, I pick up a copy of Time with
crimson oil floating on top of blue choppy waters,
and I flip through, looking for answers
to my five-year-old’s questions:  How will they stop the leak
and why was there an explosion to begin with?
The hygienist calls me back and
I read about the future of drilling
while the anesthesia works on the right side of my face.
What are you reading?  the dentist asks and I show him
the map with the estimated oil slick
and explain my daughter’s fascination and concern.
Ah. He says. I don’t know why they can’t
lop off the pipe and do a thread and cap.
But the pressure
. . . I begin.  And the cold.
There’s got to be instruments, the dentist says before
reclining my seat and whirling his own equipment.
But why did it explode?
my daughter asks again
on the drive home while we listen to the proceedings
of a civil case against BP by the families who
lost their men on the rig. Why didn’t that daddy get to
see his baby born? Why was there an explosion? Will it happen again?

It might, I tell her with my hands on the wheel and my foot on the pedal.
Why are there explosions and why are there oil spills?
, I say, the answer I always hated.  But I leave it at that.
I can explain what happened, but it’s too
difficult to explain the why:  because of our drives to gymnastics,
and listening to NPR, and the white van, and the trip to the dentist.

Rebekah Orton has an M.A. from Brigham Young University.  She's a writer and mother of three in Eastern Washington. 

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


by Laura Rodley

after Memorial Day

We got married under that tree,
the oak that careened over
in Thursday’s thunderstorm,
went over like a bowling pin
the bowling bowl the feet
of the storm stamping
down trees through Gill, Greenfield
down through Holyoke.
We got married under that tree
Lucille wore a cream voile dress.
I wore a top hat and tails.
We hired a white horse and carriage
to drive us to the reception hall
and back to our apartment door
where we took our honeymoon in style.
After we bought the house
I built a swing for our son, Tommy
on its lower branch.  Lucy rocked
him on that swing to get him to sleep
when he was 2, 3, 4, and when
he went to school, five, but not
later, he was too big to be rocked
he said and when the news that he’d died
in Vietnam came, delivered by soldier
and chaplain, I cut that swing down
and buried it with his diploma
and graduation cap; we never did
get his body; is he really dead,
sometimes I wonder, wanting
to string the swing back up, and after
a year went by Lucy asked me, please
Edward, I’d like to sit and rock again on the swing
not saying how she’d  remember holding Tommy
in her arms never leaving the ground
rocking back and forth, and I threw
the ropes up for another swing
just as good, even better.  Lucy
sat there holding the two thick
cotton ropes, instead of her hands full
of our Tommy and she just rocked back and forth
never leaving the ground. I planted
pansies all around the roots of the tree.
Though they prefer more sun, they blossomed.
And now some kid tells me he wants $2,000
just to chop the tree up, who does he
think he is, maybe I’ll do it myself.
I’m standing by the blown over dirt and tree roots,
spread out almost as tall as me with my saw,
moving some of the dirt, when, what’s this:
two match box cars and a tank.
Tommy must have buried them here.
And what’s this, all wrapped in plastic.
I pull it out, unwrap the Saran Wrap, brittle,
falling to silvery pieces as I unwrap
a dishcloth, one of Lucy’s red and white
plaid ones, there’s a harmonica,
a package of Jujubees, Tootsie rolls,
two Greenfield Garden Cinema ticket stubs,
a red Swiss Army penknife and a letter: Dear Someone
in the Future,  If you find this, you’ll want
this penknife to carve your initials in this
tree just like my girlfriend Emma and I did,
it has a pair of scissors and a screwdriver if any
of your screws need tightening, especially if you’re
an alien spaceship from another galaxy;
my Dad gave it to me when I turned 14,
it was the most important thing I could think of
to show you America 1964, and some candy
if you’re hungry.  I like the movie--so does
my Mom.  Say hi to your leader for me,
Thomas Brady.  It must a time capsule
he made for a school project.  Holding
the letter against me I peer under and around
the leaning trunk, held up three and half
feet off the ground by its branches.  Sure
enough, E.R, and T.B., inside a heart,
won’t Lucy be surprised when she
sees this, I say out loud,
but I said good-bye to her two
years ago April, didn’t I.  I lay her
dishtowel on the ground and wipe
away more dirt but I don’t find
anything.  This is more than enough.
I take the matchbox cars, the letter
the penknife and candy into the house 
and lay them on the formica topped table
to wait for the tree guy to come later
this afternoon.  He said around 2 PM, he’s got
so many trees to cut he’s running behind.
I pull out the little scissors from the penknife
and they still open without a squeak;
what d’ya think of that.

Laura Rodley's chapbook Rappelling Blue Light was nominated for a Mass Book Award. Nominated fora Pushcart Prize, her work has been in anthologies, Massachusetts Review and many others. On the advisory board of the Collected Poet Series, she works as a freelance writer and photographer.