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Thursday, September 30, 2010


by David Radavich

                We need to visit
                pain and poverty a while.

                To answer
                who we truly are.

                To go into
                more deeply.

                The inevitable
                result of our past feasting
                beyond the forest

                of recoil
                and ultimate return,

                having slaughtered down
                our sustenance.

                Not to worry:
                That ferocious beast
                we face

                is only

                in ghastly mad

                last frantic
                dash until dawn.

David Radavich's poetry publications include Slain Species (Court Poetry Press, London), By the Way (Buttonwood Press, 1998),  Greatest Hits (Pudding House Press, 2000), and America Bound: An Epic for Our Time (Plain View Press, 2007)as well as individual poems in anthologies and magazines. His plays have been performed across the U.S. and abroad, including five Off-Off-Broadway productions. He also enjoys writing essays on poetry, drama, and contemporary issues. His latest book is Canonicals: Love’s Hours (Finishing Line, 2009).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


by Erle Kelly

A brown rail cuts behind byways and backdoors.                           
The Blue Line travels through the grit of South L.A.                      
Manufacturing gone, waste and a rust belt left for the poor.           

Junk yards, iron works, machine shops dot its core.                        
Small green belts sandwiched in where children play.                     
A brown rail cuts behind driveways and front doors.                       

Houses, yards wrapped in iron hear the light rails roar.                     
Young toughs with drugs abound, keep their community at bay.      
Manufacturing gone, waste and a rust belt left for the poor.              

“Willow,” “Compton,” “Vernon”: stops to explore?                          
Locals trapped in minimum wage can’t get away.                              
A brown rail cuts behind alleys, ditches and side doors.                    

Fast food haven, dotted with 7-11s but no big box grocery stores.    
Meals of sugar and fat: overweight and disease the price to pay.
Manufacturing gone, waste and a rust belt left for the poor.               

End of line: steel glass towers cast shadows on financial whores.
While Mexican families enjoy Olvera Street’s dance and sway.          
Manufacturing gone, waste and a rust belt left for the poor.                 
A brown rail cuts behind alleys, byways and back doors.                     

Erle Kelly is a resident of Long Beach, California and graduated from California State University Long Beach.  He belongs to a poetry workshop conducted by Donna Hilbert.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Poem and Image by Terry Wright

Kill Eliot rubbing
your head and reciting his poem. You're neither.
Your navy patrol boat watched a snail crawl
up a similar river. Join Facebook
to kill Mistah Kurtz. Apocalypse no
accident. Back in Saigon Brando reflects
on the Edwardian era. You have
no right to call me a metaphor when your shirts
are designed by machetes. Are my dark hearts
unsound? Unfriend them. Pig
after pig like
Admiral Cane. My son
might not understand this poet-
warrior thing or terminating my command
with errand boys of extreme horror and a pile
of little arms in the form of gardenias.

Author's Note: “Colonel Kurtz” is from a series called “Google Poems.”  The art images are made first, and the poems are collaged from Google search strings of the poems' titles.
Terry Wright teaches creative writing at the University of Central Arkansas and serves as Associate Editor of the Exquisite Corpse Annual.  Terry believes his sunrise can beat up yours.

Monday, September 27, 2010


by Kim Doyle

River of thought,
river of rhyme,
river of time and emotion.

River of sound.
river that bounds and binds,
river at flood stage.

Take a page from a book
and float it down, it shines
like sunlight on water.

Too bright to look,
send the ashes,
that's all it took.

River in a hurry,
flowing, without worry,
rushing to the sea.

River rolling past me
and the Capital of idiocy.

Kim Doyle sits on the banks of the Potomac River in a small town just far enough away from any blast zones.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


by Margaret Ricketts

Eric  has  been  devoutly  trying  to  break  his
neck  all  day,  as  if  one  more  photo  from
atop  the  frozen  waterfall  might  redeem
a  single  hickory  or  oak, flung
aside  on  the  stripped  mountain.
Dross.   Dredge.    

The  three  of  us  are  driving  back to  the  part  of
Kentucky not  scarped  barren  as  toast.
Eric  and  I   almost  let
ourselves   snarl  at  each other  over  the  CD’s. The  jokes,
the  terrible  jokes,   the  deathbed  jokes.  
David  is  bombarding  us  with  his  relentless
supply  of  fart  jokes,  the   mirth  in a  burning  
room.  I  want  alcohol,   plenty  of  it,  
bring  it  on.  We are a  knot  of
grief  and  guilt  and  rage  and  there  will
be  no  undrugged  sleep for  us tonight.

Author’s Note: On  Sept  25-  27  APPALACHIA RISING  is  coming  to  Washington  to  bring  a  small  problem  to  public  attention.  Five  hundred  of  the  Appalachian  mountains  have  been  blasted  away  for  coal.    If  you're  in  DC Monday,  you'll  never  think  of  hillbillies  the  same  way  again.
Margaret    Ricketts  has  gotten  grants  from  the  Kentucky   Arts  Council  and  the  Kentucky  Foundation  for  Women.


Saturday, September 25, 2010



by Earl J. Wilcox

I ain’t gonna talk about the South
Cause if I do do that, yawl would
Have my hide for telling what
I know about the critters we done
Got from the shack down there
And done brung them back here
To the house. Momma say yawl
Got to take baths after spending
The night with Aunt Reba in her
Cabin for the critters just all over
The place back there. We probly
Took them to Miz Reba’s place in
The first place.  Momma say they
so small they get in your hair like
lice do but these ain’t lice. She call
them the same name we say at night
whens we pray about sleeping tight
and not let ‘em bite. Don’t know
Where they bite, for pityssake.
Come on in and get in the bathtub
with me, Caddy, we got to get shed
of them critters before we goes to sleep.
It’s my birthday today, ain’t it?

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.

Friday, September 24, 2010


by Ed Shacklee

The poppy's a dream for the reaping
as it nods in Afghanistan's fields
and is fed by the bones and the weeping
a graveyard of empires yields.

For the Afghan has always been known
for his fierce but hospitable way --
he loves anyone who will leave him alone,
and he hates anyone who would stay,

and the poppy, whose blooms are like fires,
will grow as it feeds on our dreams
in a graveyard of pipe dream empires,
including our country’s, it seems,

Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents children in the District of Columbia.


Thursday, September 23, 2010


by Jon Wesick

I ran over a child, today.
Watched the sad, little pile of flesh
recede in the mirror. Couldn’t stop.
I was late for an 8:00 AM meeting.
So many piles along the road –
pelicans, polar bears,
an entire 8th-grade class in Arab clothing.
Those good-for-nothing state workers
better get off their butts
and keep the streets clear!

Complain all you want about SUVs
but their bumpers are great! Hardly a dent
and it’s my third collision this week.
Blood will be tough to clean
after baking all day in the sun. Why
can’t they build a carwash at work?
Hell, Amy’s white Lamborghini
is splattered with crimson
and Jim’s always plucking tiny fingers
from his pickup truck’s grill.

I’m not one of those guys
who mounts trophies on his hood
or stencils little stick figures on his door
but the naysayers don’t appreciate
the music of a V-8 engine, its drumbeat
of pistons and melody of alternator,
the harmony of its fuel injection

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.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


by Rob Spiegel

A gala apple tastes the same when you’re
President – a crisp crunch. Pasta isn’t
the same. The ego has gone sideways –

the bravado of free-world leadership straining
against attacks claiming incompetence, the air
filled with prayers for failure, a rough rain on the

thin membrane of personality. And letters
from the parents of dead child soldiers. Not
a way to turn that doesn’t hurt, while living

in a house designed to end all pain. Obama
would like to slip out for Thai food – pot
stickers with sweet and spicy peanut sauce.

Bite down on a gala is all that’s left of
home, of the man we knew who knew himself.

Rob Spiegel is a freelance journalist living in New Mexico. When he's not writing about politics, Supergirl and factory automation, he's making calls for New Mexico gubernatorial candidate Diane Denish (Democrat).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


by Earl J. Wilcox

In a quiet back
corner alcove
of the diner
four friends
swap news and views,
smile knowingly
about family foibles,
faces lit with fervor
in exchanging
political wit worth
a pound of gold
in today’s market.

Nearby, two ladies
pantomime prattle
from time to time,
eyes arch eagerly
at each tidy
crumb their ears
pick up about
their tea party
pals out and about
stirring the pot,
feeding on
fear frenzy.

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.

Monday, September 20, 2010


by David Chorlton

Dear Dr. Dyer, Each time fund raising season comes
to our public TV station, you are there offering assurance
that changing the way we look at things changes the things we see
but as often as I’ve heard you say this
I’m still troubled. I’ve been staring for years at the wall
at the end of our street; the one Mapquest
doesn’t know about. Drivers are told to drive
straight through the wall. I listened to you and tried
to believe that, like any obstacle, the wall
isn’t really there so I tried to run through it three times this week
and it hurt. There isn’t a disaster
you don’t turn into a miracle. There isn’t a problem
you can’t wrap up in a catchy phrase
and mail to oblivion. Watching those attentive people
leaning forward in their seats
to listen to you, I don’t see anybody who looks
homeless and therefore in real need of changing the way
they look at things. Life appears different from behind
a shopping cart. Then you list the reasons
people claim get in the way of doing
what they really want and insist they can all be overcome
as if a man who keeps his worldly goods in plastic bags
and begs for a quarter could ever return
to what you call Source when he can’t even think
beyond fishing the fast food leftovers
somebody threw away out of a trash bin. Still, you’ve built
an impressive mix of references from Lao Tsu
to Jesus and the Buddha, all calculated for broad appeal
except in the case of somebody like me who’d like
perhaps some Machiavelli thrown in.
Do you sell many books in Afghanistan? Myanmar?
Haiti? Does everybody in a country have to change
before its government will? If losing a job
is only God’s way of offering a new opportunity
is an earthquake his way of creating the chance to rebuild?
Would you tell a rainforest that’s been cut down
this is its chance to be a field?
Perhaps I’m not ready for the steps you illustrate with that wooden stairway
you have with you onstage. Excuses, you say,
must be banished. When you insist that
not being able to afford to do something is no obstacle,
I wonder which currency you’re thinking in. It must be
the dollar, not the peso, because if you ever took
a tour group to Juarez, you’d have to ask them
to think of the gunshots as fireworks.

David Chorlton has lived in Arizona for more than thirty years and loves the landscape, but laments that the state legislature has more thorns than the cactus.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


by Ian Demsky
Ian Demsky, a longtime investigative newspaper journalist, often draws from public records to help make visible what J.G. Ballard called the "invisible literatures" of our society.  He is enrolled in the MFA program at the University of Idaho.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


by Carolyn Stoloff

just keep on talking---fast
and as loud as you can
over the newscasters

with your hooked finger
in a cup’s ear

        councils consider taking steps---
        a cease-fire         
        like freeze on a puddle
        broken by a heel

       handshake-bridges split

        most wrung hands,
        pegged up to dry, hang
        but some flap gaily
        in spite   like flags
        orphans usurp
        each other’s blankets
        and ragged bears

        by the red glare    
        you would see (were you there)
        limbs pop off   in air


        collected in buckets
        for the next of kin

       there’s blood on the ground
       how can you tell?
       the form in the middle

       roads explode    
       open graves

       what’s left?     sand;
       heat    fishbone trees
some can  (can we?)
store raw-flesh war
in a secret drawer

with tsunamis
and the earthquake
Carolyn Stoloff makes collages and poems in New York City.  She loves animals, trees and some people. Her books may be found on Amazon,  if you are interested.


Friday, September 17, 2010


by Terry Wright

Debt is like the death of someone you don’t miss.  You feel an absence without the clutter of remorse.  CEOs ask rhetorical not ethical questions.  Just good management sense to cut up workers like a chain pizza.  Hold boardroom discourse on pushing burgers in Red Square.  Cry over dropping the bomb on paper homes.  Slap tariffs on even more expensive imports     then downsize everyone and get mad at ads extolling the impact of falling prices.  But life almost goes on.  Vodka consumption skyrockets.  You move your lips with treaty sincerity while singing karaoke.  Missiles are cheap and common as pencils     and you are easily erasable.  Fire in the hole barks a dog-soldier human-shield before smothering a ticking remote.  Take in a change of scene after one decisive click.  Reboot     until another perfect business major daydreams of tax cuts during a sociology class.  The future looks sculpted and atomic-flash bright.  The shameless New Right invites lobbyists to scribble pet projects.  This practice is called “seeking expert advice.”  The Constitution unravels like a bag lady’s sweater. Your vote is a flashlight in fog.  You have no skybox.  You own no Acura.  You see no evil as the Enola Gay shadow passes over you like an oil slick.  Someone you don’t miss might rehire you to clean up their mess.

Author’s Note: “Corporate Graph” is from a prose poem series entitled “Graphs.”  I once described the series as follows: “In the physical or digital world, graphs display data using a pictorial device.  In mathematics, graphs abstractly represent a set of objects, some of which are linked and shown with abstractions called vertices, while the links that tie pairs of vertices are known as edges.  Graphs often take the form of diagrams that show a relationship, sometimes functional, between two sets.  Generally, these sets take the form of points or numbers, but, here, in these diagrams, other relationships are displayed as the vertices become abstract forms of the heart and mind, and the edges tie together context, whether social, political, cultural, or personal.”
Author’s Glosses: clutter of remorse: The YourFuneralGuy blog, 8-10-09, claims: “The National Funeral Directors Association has declared the average cost of a funeral to be $7,622.00 per year…This figure does not include cemetery costs but does include a casket and a vault. Most Industry experts put the average cost of a funeral in the United States at $10,000 in 2009.”  CEOs ask rhetorical: The Center for American Progress in “Supersize This” reports that “in 2004, the average CEO received 240 times more than the compensation earned by the average worker.  In 2002, the ratio was 145 to 1.” like a chain pizza: I’m thinking of Tom Monaghan, Domino’s Pizza founder and right-wing philanthropist, to whom pizza was a sacrament.  From Mariah Blake’s “Pie in the Sky,” 10-09, in Washington Monthly: “The key to Domino’s growth was a tightly controlled franchise system. When a new store opened, headquarters would send a truck stocked with everything from pizza ovens to forks and aprons. Store managers worked from a thick operations manual, known as ‘the Bible,’ which dictated every aspect of operations, down to the smallest detail.” burgers in Red Square: Ann Blackman, writing in Time, 2-5-90: “Because Soviets are unaccustomed to eating finger food, many of those invited to a preview disassembled the Big Mak and ate it layer by layer.”  bomb on paper homes: John Hershey, dead March 24, 1993, in Hiroshima, writes: “Many people who did not die right away came down with nausea, headache, diarrhea, malaise, and fever, which lasted several days. Doctors could not be certain whether some of these symptoms were the result of radiation or nervous shock.” get mad at ads: From the Mr. Brooks Knocked Up Nancy Drew blog, 5-14-908: “Anyone sitting near me might suffer collateral damage when I throw stuff at TV and yell things that'll ensure my place in hell.” life almost goes on: At least until Azreal shows up. Vodka consumption:  According to a Reuters’ report seen on, 8-12-09, Russian president  Dmitry Medvedev said he “was shocked by official data showing the average Russian drank 18 litres (38 pints) of pure alcohol each year. ‘When you convert that into vodka bottles, it is simply mind-boggling,’ Medvedev said.” treaty sincerity: Red Cloud, Ogala Sioux chief: “I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of a nation. We do not want riches, but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches. We want peace and love.” easily erasable: From on the 50th anniversary of the “Bravo” atomic test in the Marshall Islands: “Bruno Lat was 13 and his dad was working with the Navy as a laborer on Kwajalein. For days after the blast, ‘all kinds of beautiful colors,’ filled the sky.  Bruno also saw the refugees from downwind of the blast at Bikini Atoll, miserable and burned and belatedly evacuated to Kwajalein.  He recalled that the skin on their heads ‘you could peel it like fried chicken skin.’” Fire in the hole: A real-life interviewee in Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air says: “On the stress level, I've heard that losing your job is like a death in the family, but personally I feel more like the people I worked with were my family, and I died."  ticking remote: A finger-on-the-trigger deal -- or a chore for St. Bernards.  Donald Melonson, writes on Engadget, 2-4-05, about an electronic whistle tag device that “helps you find your lost remote simply by whistling.” daydreams of tax cuts: Just a refresher.  According to the Urban Institute, 1-15-08, “making the 2001 and 2003 [Bush] tax cuts permanent would add $3.5 trillion to the national debt over 10 years.  By 2017, the annual revenue loss would be almost $500 billion.” atomic-flash bright: Georgia Green, blind, 18, was on her way to a music lesson in Albuquerque and fifty miles from the Trinity test when she allegedly saw the light from the blast. is skeptical: “The atomic bomb may still have mysteries to it, but producing the kind of light even the blind can see isn’t one of them.” lobbyists to scribble: Anne C. Mulkern in the Denver Post, 5-23-04, writes: “President Bush has installed more than 100 top officials who were once lobbyists, attorneys or spokespeople for the industries they oversee.”  The Constitution: Like cell phones, this document sometimes has a limited coverage area.  own no Acura: Or do you drive an SUV -- or, as they are known in the United Kingdom, a “Chelsea Tractor,” an offroad vehicle that never goes offroad?  Enola Gay shadow: The B-29 Superfortress bomber that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945.  According to ghost writers at Wikipedia, the aircraft, currently on display in Texas, is “shielded by various means to prevent a repetition of the vandalism which was attempted against it when it was first placed on display, which was the throwing of a jar of red paint onto the Enola Gay's wing.”
Terry Wright teaches creative writing at the University of Central Arkansas and serves as Associate Editor of the Exquisite Corpse Annual.  Terry believes his sunrise can beat up yours.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


by Steve Hellyard Swartz

to the tune of "Me and Bobby McGee"

Busted flat in Delaware, pissed off by The Change
And I’s feelin’ nearly jaded as a teen.
Chrissie thumbed a hard-sell down, for white folks deep in pain,
We rode it all the way to victory

I pulled my Penthouse with its fold-out of the girl with the banana,
I was getting off when Chrissie read me the news
She stopped my hands from slapping time, telling me The Lord didn’t take a shine
To masturbation or anything short of procreation and then only if you’re Christian, not a Jew

Freedom's just another word for no more taxes that we’ll lose,
America don't mean nothing honey if it ain't free, now now.
And feeling good was easy, Lord, when Chrissie read the news
You know feeling good was good enough for me,
Good enough for me and my Chrissie O’Dee

From Rand’s Kentucky coal mines to the California Whitman sun,
Hey, Chrissie shared the secrets of The Lord
Through all kinds of polling, through primaries that we won
Hey Chrissie baby? Little hottie made me feel a lot less old

One day up near election time, she let me slip away
She's looking for that Senate seat and I hope she finds it,
But I'd trade all of my tomorrows for just one yesterday
To be holding her scolding body close to mine

Freedom's just another word for no more taxes that we’ll lose,
America don't mean nothing honey if it ain't free, now now.
And feeling good was easy, Lord, when Chrissie read the news
You know feeling good was good enough for me,
Good enough for me and my Chrissie O’Dee

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.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


by Jean Kemper

with indebtedness to Paul Krugman

 All over America
 roads are being broken up
 Teachers let go
 Street lights turned off
 Federal spending sliced,
 State and local governments
 curtailing services
 only the very rich,
who get  tax breaks
can do  without.

Wake Up!
You are on
an unlit
unpaved road
to nowhere.

A member of the East End (Long Island, NY) Poetry Workshop for over 15 years, Jean Kemper has had poetry published in a variety of journals including West Wind Review, MID American Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, Pudding, and Confrontation.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


by Donna Hilbert

Summer, I give up on you.
I roast the last batch
of home-grown tomatoes
with garlic, oil and a pepper or two,
move my long-sleeved T-shirts
to the top of the stack,
put my swimsuit away in a drawer.
Now, the hair on my legs will grow long,
unnoticed, under my tights.
It is still one week till autumn’s
official, but summer’s gone—
it’s damp now and cool.
What I long for:  a box of pencils,
48 crayons, a new dress for school.

Donna Hilbert’s latest book is The Green Season, from World Parade Books.  She is the subject of the documentary Grief Becomes Me: A Love Story, by director Christine Fugate.


Monday, September 13, 2010


by George Held

The first day was like a wired dream,
A narcotic for a young teen:
The girls looked newly vivacious,
Swelling breasts balancing braces,
The boys sprouted whiskers or fuzz,
The teachers loomed Olympian.

Perfume hung in the air and sweat
From anxious pores; the hubbub
In the crowded hall magnified
Shrill and base and cracking voices;
Promise bent to bless or curse us
Lost in the fog of school’s first day.

Pride went before falls, and the meek
Knew that they would not inherit
Anything of value; bullies
Flexed their enlarging biceps, nerds
Formed their own small eccentric herd
While jocks strode and cheerleaders flew

Down the halls and into classrooms,
Laying down the beat of glamour
For the underclass to admire
And resent. Fifty years later,
At a reunion in the gym,
Survivors recall, if they strain,

Through paralyzing mists of time,
Where they fit in that distant dream.

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

Sunday, September 12, 2010


by David Feela

The bus, outfitted as a camper,
pulls into the site opposite mine.
It’s an old bus, out of service
forty years, maybe more,
but children still pour
from its swinging door
when the engine stops.
It’s the school of pine needles
and sumac, wild raspberries
and milkweed pods.
There’ll be rocks tossed
into the creek before lunch,
bushes thrashed with sticks
before nap time, and chasing each other
in circles at dusk.
After the sun disappears
marshmallows will catch fire
to light up the night sky.

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 Free Press. His first full length poetry book, The Home Atlas, is now available.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


by George Held

Yes, I remember the day—
The group of Japanese peering down 6th Ave
At a sight no tourist ever traveled to see,
The sirens of ambulance and fire truck,
The column of smoke wafting toward Brooklyn
And that evening the yellow mist,
The smell of burnt furniture,
And, some said, flesh and bone.

I remember the photos of the lean terrorists,
Especially Mohamed Atta, the bitter Egyptian,
Who prepared for terror in the West
But refused, monk-like, to be seduced
By its blondes and pizza and fancy cars—
All the values we hold dear—
While his Islamic fervor kept his eye on the prize:
Just learn how to drive that big jet into eternity.

And I’ll never forget that Florida pastor
Who thought burning the Koran would fry
Evil Islamic fish, who failed to see that his Christ
Would turn the other cheek and love his Muslim
Neighbors, that the Constitution protects
All faiths equally, that he is as devoted
To hatred and intolerance as Atta and his buds,
That one holocaust can’t justify another.

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


by Margaret  Ricketts

Those  apertures, too  small  to  be  seen.  My 
cousin  the  pilot  flew  a  Delta above the 
Pentagon.  on  9/11/01.  15  minutes.  A 
simple,  concrete  fact,   the  existence 
my  family  is  definitively  not   living. 
After  every  summer  journey,   I  retain 
the  napkins,  the  plastic  cups,  the  

logo   -  DELTA.  Those  gingersnap
cookies. Those  eight  ounces  of 
liquid  -  orange  juice,   white  wine, 
diet  Coke -   that  hold  this  knowledge 
in  part,  for  a  while,   so  I  don’t  hold 
the  full  irony,  not  always.   At  least  ten 
thousand  of  us  in  this  country,   a  

geography  of  the  intimate  strangers. 
Sometimes  our  stories  bob up  in  casual 
talk,  a  nagging  unease these  strange  relics 
of  travel,   this  surly gratitude.  

Margaret  Ricketts  is  a  poet  in  Berea  KY.

Friday, September 10, 2010


by Esther Greenleaf Murer

If by any chance you're alive
and reading this, whoever you may be,
know that when this was written
the American body politic
was solid.  The more the crisis deepened
the more we resisted fluidity,
openness, reconciliation,
healing.  Those we called "terrorism."
And in our terror we clung together,
molecules frozen in place,
quivering with rage.
Rage, terror, the American
way.  Solid.

Esther Greenleaf Murer lives in Philadelphia.  Besides NVN, she has had poems published in numerous other online zines -- most recently Apparatus Magazine, The Umbrella, and The Centrifugal Eye.


Thursday, September 09, 2010


by Alan Catlin

After the blowout, fireball's
concussive force is impossible
to contain.  Initial corporate
efforts are to silence the survivors
even as the dead have not been
accounted for.  No one is willing
to accept blame for what
cannot be denied; The Gulf is ruined:
beaches, wildlife, wetlands, all these
manmade calamities reducing resources
to wasteland, heedless of what comes
after; tar covered roads to nowhere.

Alan Catlin has published numerous chapbooks and full length books of poetry and prose. Pygmy Forest Press is publishing the collected "Deep Water Horizon" poems.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


by Helen Padway

                          Florida church to hold ‘Burn a Koran Day’ on 9/11

Our rope cinches the globe
stretches over continents
fording rivers, floating on seas.
In a spotlight the cord is fraying
one thin strand at a time.
But, still holds a thatched roof,
a three bedroom ranch,
a tall building,
bright with neon flashes.

The twine loops around
stones to grind maize, tea
in a porcelain cup, peanut butter
and jelly on whole wheat.
While a tug of war between
bigotry and bigotry continues.
If the cable snaps we will scatter,
through the cracks and roll into ashes.

Helen Padway writes in Glendale, WI. When she is not writing poetry she is thinking about writing poetry. Has been published in Poetica, Moondance, WFOP Calendars and other regional and national journals.  A member of The Sparks poetry group and The Hartford Avenue Poets. Is very proud of her associate poets and grateful too. 


by Barbara Lightner

He shouts through the crowd 

like a carny barker. “ Coupons!” 

“Get your coupons right here!” 

Meanwhile, from the proscenium 

of self-importance, another voice 

rises and falls to the rhythms
of certitude and the hiccuping
of a small weeping
in assurance
to those who had come there
to save country and
their incalculable right.

Upon his removal, 

the barker halloos
over his shoulder,
"Discounted religion! 

a dime on the dollar and a baker's dozen, 

no cost to body or soul.”

And the crowd claps and claps 

in a synchronicity 

of ill-informed tenacity-- 

whether for one man 

or the other, 

none knew; 

while the gods above
sigh disconcertedly 

at the perturbation 

of the great 

beck and call below.

Barbara Lightner is a 70-year old shameless agitator, retired. She has been a community organizer, an academic, a dairy farm owner and operator, a journalist, a blogger, a bookstore owner, and a poet. Her poetry has appeared here in The New Verse News, The Table Rock Review, Poesia, Come be a Memoirist, and the anthology of feminist poetry, Letters to the World. Several of her poems are to be set to music by Larry Alan Smith. She is listed in Poets & Writers.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


by Lillian Baker Kennedy

I usually see you on State Street at the stoplight,
after I’ve passed through Longfellow’s Oaks,
later in the day, the rose garden on my left,
the duck pond on my right.

You stand like a human X,
holding a cardboard sign, offering work.
The official unemployment rate
is 9 point 6, a full day’s work and lunch.

We just had lunch, my son and I,
on a refurbished ship where we could
sit on the deck and celebrate and overlook
a marina of expensive boats.

We dream about buying a boat
when I get old and maybe live
on a canal near the Gulf.  Who knows
how that will turn out?
Speculation’s at the next dock.

We bike by Casco Bay,
two cruise ships in port,
the sailboats further out.
Most off their moorings.  Why not?

It’s a beautiful day, after the hurricane passed.
The air, no longer in a sweat,
lifts my hair gently up. We talk of fall.
Indeed, as I write this, the acorns drop,
but I haven’t forgotten how

this poem is for the man holding a cardboard business card
that covers most of his chest and half of his face.

I wanted to tell him that given Maine’s drought,
the grass is dry. Go ahead and lay yourself down.
Let the sun rain down on your face
while the children shriek and dance
in the concrete pond beyond the footbridge.

Soon they’ll be gone and the duck house lifted out
so the ducks won’t get stuck in the ice.
The ice skaters come and glide
over everything frozen in muck.

I see the imaginary tracks
of a people with their lives in carts.
Nothing left they can do without.
Everything they own, they haul.
The remains of a ship of state.

Where will they go, these ghosts,
crisscrossing the face of the earth?

We spun by a boat hugging the coast,
choking and chugging, almost sunk.
Two adventurous sailors, or foolhardy speculators,
one on the lookout, one with his hand on the motor,
stuck in first, hauling steel beams through the cove.

There are always those who’ll take risks
and those who thought they were safe
working 9 to 5 or 6, with lunch,
who now ask for our help.
We pass by.  I can only hope,

despite the city fathers’ intent,
removing benches from the circle that blooms,
those who, nameless, wait, will, while the sun lasts, relax
in the rose garden next to Longfellow’s Oaks.

Lillian Baker Kennedy's poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart, anthologized, exhibited and published in numerous small presses.  An interview, critical essay on poetics and numerous poems are available online.  Kennedy practices family law in Southern Maine, teaches online for USM and lives in an old cape near the sea.

Monday, September 06, 2010


Poem and Image by Terry Wright

The commoners
hold a ransom letter. The shogun
works for the NEA. Funding
becomes more like criticism and the audience
hears you yell
fire. Simplify your life
said Thoreau in the woods alone.
No one came to see him
as wanting an iPad or needing a stay
of execution.

Author's Note: “Palace Audience” is from a series called “Google Poems.”  The art images are made first, and the poems are collaged from Google search strings of the poems' titles.
Terry Wright teaches creative writing at the University of Central Arkansas and serves as Associate Editor of the Exquisite Corpse Annual.  Terry believes his sunrise can beat up yours.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


by Michael Monroe

“Drill baby drill!”
they chanted at the Palin rally.
What are they saying now?
As another rig is in flames,
the oily sheen
stealing sunlight
off the Gulf Coast,
waiting to attack pelicans,
fish, and denizens of the shore
with its black muck of hopelessness.

It’s the short-sighted policy of
“If it don’t affect me immediately,
then I don’t care.”

I don’t care if the poor stay poor;
it don’t affect me none.
I don’t care if the sick stay sick;
it don’t affect me none.

I don’t care if the ice caps melt,
leaving the weather in disarray;
blizzards and hurricanes,
record heat waves,
tsunamis in the Far East,
earthquakes in India.
That ain’t here, right?

I don’t care if the whole earth
collapses into a ball of oil
and fire and brimstone
that will engulf our great grandchildren.
It ain’t happening now, right?

And those politicians
can steal our virgin daughters
for all we care,
as long as they lower our taxes.

Michael Monroe's work has been or will be published in Gargoyle Magazine, Lyric Poetry Magazine, Alive Now, The Loch Raven Review, Manorborn, and various other publications.  His poems have also previously appeared on The New Verse News. Two of his poems were recorded on the Words on War CD produced by Birdhouse Studios, and he often does poetry readings with Gimme Shelter Productions to raise money for the homeless in Baltimore.

Saturday, September 04, 2010


by Diana M. Raab

Yesterday across
my television screen
far flung pellets
and bodies were launched
like  rockets
into abandoned fields
of hidden soldiers
body parts scattered
through midnight quarters
nestled in hovering faces
of confused new brides
laden with blossoming bellies
and cryptic kids screaming in fields
of unknown futures
holsters hanging lose
with barren retrievers
and ash-filled faces
stomachs against sandy fields
all in the name of freedom.

Let’s never give up.

Diana M. Raab is a poet and memoirist who teaches writing at the UCLA Writers’ Program and at conferences around the country. Her writings have appeared widely in anthologies, literary journals and magazines. She has three poetry collections. Dear Anais: My Life in Poems for You (2008) won the 2009 Next Generation Indie Award and Reader Views Annual Award for Poetry. My Muse Undresses Me (2007) is her chapbook and her latest collection is The Guilt Gene (2009).

Friday, September 03, 2010


by W.F. Lantry

If you could truly be the day:
any day: one when the wind lifts branches
in rippled waves across the anchored hills
as the sun becomes what it once was
and even the deer take wing,

or a day when everything has calmed
and the silence is like glass
still glowing orange from the forge
small bits of rime forming around the walls
each edge waiting to shatter,

then you could know how the air feels now
with the storm waiting offshore
circling, circling and watching
like an osprey scanning the breakers
ready to plunge and dive,

or you could be the night, and your darkness
filled with untamable wind,
you could be those sounds everyone hears
but no-one sees as they turn
the brick corners of their homes,

you could even be the eye
with chaos swirling around you
but centered, like the pin of the wheel
turning only around yourself
while the waves and branches break.

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. The recipient of the Paris/Atlantic Young Writers Award, and the CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry, his work has appeared in The Wallace Stevens Journal, Ellipsis, Poets for Living Waters, Kritya Journal of Poetry, Interrobang!? Magazine and Prairie Fire. He currently works in Washington, DC.


Thursday, September 02, 2010


by Ian Demsky
Ian Demsky, a longtime investigative newspaper journalist, often draws from public records to help make visible what J.G. Ballard called the "invisible literatures" of our society.  He is enrolled in the MFA program at the University of Idaho.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


by Lauren Camp

Do not say salaam aleikum in my taxi.
     Say Hello.
     Say Drive me to 42nd and 2nd.

As we move slowly up the Avenue,
     do not ask my faith, and do not ask me if I fast.

What I put in my body nourishes me;
what I leave out also feeds my soul.

Do not get out your knife.
     My skin knows its angles already.

     Say Here’s your money, sir
then please remove your soft body from my cab.

"[A] baby-faced college student was charged Wednesday with using a folding knife to slash the neck and face of the taxi's Bangladeshi driver after the driver said he was Muslim."

Lauren Camp (Santa Fe, New Mexico) is an artist and educator. Her poems have recently been selected for J Journal and the anthology Before We Have Nowhere To Stand, Israel/Palestine: Poets Respond To The Struggle (Lost Horse Press, 2011). She is the author of a book of poems, This Business of Wisdom (West End Press, 2010).