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Sunday, October 31, 2010


by Howie Good

Someone has posted
a picture of Somali
child soldiers
on telephone poles
around town.
The only store open
is out of the pills
you take. You can’t
fall asleep without
dreaming you’re
calmly being stabbed.
When you leave home
the next morning,
the mice you keep
in a fish tank
dash their heads
against the glass.
Your office-mate sulks
over your imagined
slights. What do you
think I should be
for Halloween?
he later asks.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of 18 print and digital poetry chapbooks and a full-length collection of poetry, Lovesick (2009).

Saturday, October 30, 2010


by Len Kuntz

My son says he sees Tutsis, Hutus
and machetes in his sleep.
He says there’s an imposter looming outside his window.
When I tell him the Tutsis are safe now,
he asks how I can be sure.
I pull back the sheer curtain
to take study of the twilight and tell my boy,
“No, it’s the same moon.  We only get this one.”

In school he learned that history repeats.
Now he gives examples—Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin.
I tousle his hair, kiss his sweaty forehead and hum songs until he nods off.
Outside the moon looms like a glowing onion,
daring me not to think of evil men in other countries
too busy for sleep themselves,
scheming to make my son correct.

Len Kuntz lives on a lake in rural Washington State with an eagle and three pesky beavers.  His short fiction appears in places like Camroc Press Review and Right Hand Pointing.

Friday, October 29, 2010


by Robert Farmer

we scatter blame as if it were healing
over a landscape littered
with broken tools and standards,

lift clashing political visions like swords,
variations on some common theme
we've lost again.

At eighty, this "eternal recurrence"
impels me to settle it all
with my grandchildren's "whatever"
and another Jack-straight-up/beer back.

Robert Farmer is a retired university professor of forest ecology who views the world from Cleveland, Ohio. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010


by Patricia Barone

“A good time to keep your mouth shut
is when you're in deep water,” This advice
seemed crazy to me at first, me treading
water as fast as my legs could peddle against
the current, trying to stay in the same place
away from the undertow, the hydro-
electric powered dam, but some kind soul
dropped this fortune from the bridge,
like a message from God or even
Glenn Beck the famous political evangelist,
and I swallowed my frantic cries for a life preserver, cries
that might have brought a park ranger, fireman, police
man, or even a life guard from the nearby beach—
to reach me before I died for liberty, safe
from government interference.

Patricia Barone has published a book of poetry, Handmade Paper, and a novella, The Wind, with New Rivers Press. Her work most recently appeared in The Wind Blows, The Ice Breaks, Poems of Loss and Renewal from Nodin Press and in View From the Bed, View From the Bedside, Wising Up Press. She has received a Loft-McKnight Award of Distinction in poetry.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


by Jen Hinton

Sixty-nine days of hope.
Fifteen minutes of capsule.
Welcome back Topside!

But there’s a price tag
for rescue now as with
everything humane.

If you paid your
capsule rescue premiums
you can stay;

but if you’re delinquent,

back down that chute
you go!

Jen Hinton lives in Schaumburg, IL and has participated in performance poetry and literary readings in the Chicago area. She has three previously published poems in The New Verse News and is working on a collection of poetry and short stories.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


by David Feela

Nobody imagines the gods anymore,
that vast nomenclature of kin
tossing lightning bolts or kicking
mythological butt so mere mortals
can explain what defies explanation. 

Now we blame each other, partisan
politics in the temples, pundits for oracles,
elections in the place of edicts. 
It may be that Poseidon is still
at the bottom of the underwater

mortgage, or that Griffins run the banks
but the gods can’t see all -- it’s the drones,
satellites, and security cameras monitoring
our digital labyrinth where the minotaur
invites us in and closes the door.

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.

Monday, October 25, 2010


by Jeffrey McDonald

The old man sat
at the coffee shop counter.

One night a young man joined him
and said he hates this country,
and he can’t trust the politicians
and the military
and the media,
and why WHY do people wave their flags and sing their songs?

And the old man said,
screw the politicians,
let the military do their job
and damn the media.
That’s not your country.
Your country is your friends,
your family,
your favorite basketball team,
Central Park,
Yellowstone Park,
your favorite High School teacher,
your home town.
Wave your flag and sing your song for those things.
Stop worrying about the big ugly things you’ve heard exist.
Your country is a people, and the people are you, me
and that guy back there making the coffee.

Another night another young man joined him
And said he hates these damn Russians
Taking over the neighborhood,
and the blacks in Bed Stuy
and the Jews in Midwood
and the Polish in Greenpoint
and the Puerto Ricans in Sunset Park
and why WHY don’t these people go
back from where they came
and quit taking our jobs?

And the old man said,
imagine your country as a hotel.
This city is the main lobby
and the people mill about
waiting for their rooms
and the wait time is measured in generations.
Some are shown their rooms first, in one generation.
Some take longer.
Your parents, grandparents, or maybe before that,
were shown their rooms, as were mine.
Some are still waiting.
The important part is to keep working hard,
and never block the path of another.
And the people you mention
are some of the hardest working this city has,
including that guy back there making the coffee.

On a third night the old man was joined by another old man,
who said he didn’t understand the kids today.
They either hated their country and freedom,
a freedom he fought for.
Or they didn’t want to work,
after he worked his whole life to make ends meet.
Or they were a bunch of hooligans,
beating on each other over skin color,
when he’d live side by side with any man of medal.
And why WHY don’t they take some responsibility and stop running
this country into the ground?

And the old man said,
I’m not a politician.
A professor.
A police officer.
A guidance counselor.
A movie star.
Or even just a parent,
you’d be amazed at how much you can help
by sitting
at this one coffee shop counter,
if you stay long enough.
And the man making the coffee turned to him and smiled.

Jeffrey McDonald talks to old men in coffee shops.  He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and two sons.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


by Steve Hellyard Swartz

“I apologize if you really think I shouldn’t have called Anita.”
“The court finds undeniably to be in favor of ya.”
“Oh, Clare, why is it that life is just so darn unfair?”
“You mean, as in: Coke Can v. Pubic Hair?”
“That darn Anita! She just didn’t need to–you know–go where she went.”
“Baby, some folks just don’t know the meaning of repent.”
“Maybe, though, this wasn’t the time for unwanted attention.”
“Is my baby girl frettin’ about her Tea Party connection?"
“Heck, Clare, is it so wrong for a gal to be in love with liberty?"
“Golly no – just as long as liberty runs a distant second to little me.”
“You know, when I heard the cockiness on her voice mail, Clare, 

          I lost any notion I had of flinchin'.”
“Yeah, well, what’s done is done. Now who here is in the mood 

          for a little low-tech lynchin’?”
“Oh, Clare, I do declare!”
“What’s fair is fair.”
“Oh, do go there! Do go there!”

(At this point, we lost our audio outright
So apologies to all, and to all a good night!)

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.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


by George Held

  For Sergeant Jeff

75 percent of American teenagers aren’t eligible for the Army because they are overweight or have other physical disabilities, can’t pass the entrance exam, or they have a criminal record.
                            —Politics Daily, 17 October 2010

DuBois could draw on The Talented Tenth
to pull his people up by the boot straps,
and those folks were able to pull their boots on,

while we now have the unfit three quarters,
who are ineligible for military service
so the other 25 must deploy and redeploy

In Afghanland till they are drug addled
or go crazy or kill themselves.

Wait till the other 25 decide it’s not worth
it to serve in battle while the misfits
gorge themselves on burgers and smoothies;

wait till they reject the brass and the pols
who say the war must continue, like
a perpetual-motion machine, that chimera

no one ever has ever perfected, just models
that eventually tick-tock till they stop;

wait till they abandon the hilltop outpost
on the frigid peak near the border of Pakiland—
no “stan” to glamorize the hostile lands

where they fight and die or are maimed
for a slack obese tea-potted criminal
civilization that once bred the heroes

of Iwo Jima and the Bulge—wait till they make
a separate peace and they file orderly

back to face the other three quarters
of their craven, negligent cohort,
for whom they finally refuse to die.

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick . . .

George Held’s poetry chapbook Phased is available in a print-on-demand version at


Friday, October 22, 2010


by David Chorlton

The subject line reads: Man to be executed in AZ next Tuesday,
you can help stop it.
It’s Wednesday.
Six days to go
and thirteen
until the gubernatorial election.
Please take a moment to call
the governor’s office.

I begin counting down and dial the number.
Six days is a short time to wait
for the famous last meal
after twenty years have passed since the trial.
I don’t know who was guilty
or whether the DNA
is proof of innocence, but nobody
comes back from the dead
to tell us they were framed. On Sunday
there will be prayers
going wherever they go and returning
with good news or bad. The governor
will pray for her election;
somebody will pray
for a soul that is to be released
while the body must accept its sentence.
The telephone rings, and a recording says
If you’re calling about immigration
press one, for other concerns press two.

While I wait a few seconds, I wonder
what waiting really means
when it's Monday
with one day to live. Somebody answers;
she sounds to be chewing gum. I say
what I called to say,
and she replies with all the time in the world,
You hadda email, huh?

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.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


by Martha Deed

The first from Buffalo since James Mead in 1946
declares his opponent’s prowess in a non-political arena
shoves his trigger-fingered fist into a reporter’s face and offers to take him out
declares the state assembly speaker a criminal
his campaign guests pay good money to stay in his hotel
rent cars from his car agency
park in his parking lots
and his parking garages
watch commercials made by his employees
read handbills printed by companies that lease space from him
he puts his money in a bank that pays him rent
of the money spent so far – $3.8 million –
more than half has come back to companies
he owns or controls
his accountant charts it all.

It’s the good old days in the Old First Ward
we may never have another person from this area
running for governor one man says
as even the democrats gather round their millionaire
neighbor to share Jimmy Griffin stories
and swell with the pride of reflected glory
from a guy who’s making it
proud for Buffalo
with sixth grade threats and innuendo
giving disrespectful downstate cousins
a dose of their own medicine
something to laugh about
or maybe not
it’s an election, baby.           

Michael Barbaro.  Paladino Campaign Blames Reporter for Taped Confrontation.  September 30, 2010. Robert McCarthy.  Paladino steamrolls to stunning upset. September 15, 2010.
Harold McNeil. In Paladino Country, Democrats Rally. October 7, 2010.
David Halbfinger.  As Paladino Spends on Campaign, He Often Earns, Too.  October 6, 2010.

Martha Deed's chapbooks, The Lost Shoe and This is Visual Poetry, were published recently by Dan Waber's and Naissance (2010).  She edited and designed City Bird: Selected Poems (1991-2009) by Millie Niss (BlazeVox, 2010). 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


by Jon Wesick

I, the baby boomer generation,
being of sound mind and body
do hereby declare this
my last will and testament.

To corporations who can buy a hundred lobbyists
I leave the American democracy.

To the CIA, NSA, and FBI
I leave our personal freedoms.

To bullies and book burners
I leave the offices of government.

To religious and political fanatics
I leave the Constitution in your hands.

To voters needing accurate information
I leave Fox News.

To Generation X
I leave the naïve belief
that an education guarantees a good job.

To Generation Y
I leave a lifetime of waiting tables
and repaying student loans.

The dream of a better world
I leave to no one.

Host of the Gelato Poetry Series, instigator of the San Diego Poetry Un-Slam, and an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual, Jon Wesick has published over two hundred poems in journals such as the The New Verse News, New Orphic Review, Pearl, Pudding, and Slipstream. He has also published forty short stories. Jon has a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


by Rochelle Owens

There goes a Gila monster
in the beginning
of the triumphant twenty-first century
there goes a Gila reptile
following soundlessly
soundlessly following
is a Gila monster a mute animal
a monster of brilliant color
there goes a Gila reptile
studded with yellow and black
beadlike tubercules
there goes a beautiful reptile
with lidless eyes
devoid of dread and shame
in harmony with the microscopic algae
in harmony with a zygote in a moist habitat
in harmony with a basil plant
in harmony with fern and poison mushroom
there goes a cold-blooded Gila monster
a cold-blooded messenger
an ingenious reptile
seeking and smelling insects fruit rodents
the aromatic plants
in harmony with hibiscus and sand dunes
in harmony with chemical molecules
with amphibians and their larvae
with layers of water
in harmony with jellyfish corals and seaworms
with giant redwood trees
in harmony with mammals scorpions fish
crustaceans and turtles
in harmony with layers of water
in harmony with symmetry with layers of water
in harmony with Alpha and Omega
in harmony with the rays of the sun 

Rochelle Owens is the author of eighteen books of poetry and plays, the most recent of which are Plays by Rochelle Owens (Broadway Play Publishing, 2000) and Luca, Discourse on Life and Death (Junction Press, 2001). A pioneer in the experimental off-Broadway theatre movement and an internationally known innovative poet, she has received Village Voice Obie awards and honors from the New York Drama Critics Circle. Her plays have been presented worldwide and in festivals in Edinburgh, Avignon, Paris, and Berlin. Her play Futz, which is considered a classic of the American avant-garde theatre, was produced by Ellen Stewart at LaMama, directed by Tom O’Horgan and performed by the LaMama Troupe in 1967, and was made into a film in 1969. A French language production of Three Front was produced by France-Culture and broadcast on Radio France. She has been a participant in the Festival Franco-Anglais de Poésie, and has translated Liliane Atlan’s novel Les passants, The Passersby (Henry Holt, 1989). She has held fellowships from the NEA, Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and numerous other foundations. She has taught at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Oklahoma and held residencies at Brown and Southwestern Louisiana State. "Ode to a Gila Monster" is Rochelle Owens' fifteenth New Verse News poem.


Monday, October 18, 2010


by J.R. Solonche

Do not send down for me.
Instead send down the food and the drink.
Send down the clean bed-pans.
Send down the pencils and the paper.
Send down the wooden flute.
My eyes are used to the dark.
I’m staying here.

Do not send down for me.
Instead send down the clean bed-pans.
Send down the food and the drink.
Send down the pencils and the paper.
Send down the wooden flute.
My ears are used to my heartbeat.
I’m staying here.

Do not send down for me.
Instead send down the pencils and the paper.
Send down the food and the drink.
Send down the clean bed-pans.
Send down the wooden flute.
My mouth is used to my voice.
I’m staying here.

Do not send down for me.
Instead send down the wooden flute.
Send down the food and the drink.
Send down the clean bed-pans.
Send down the pencils and the paper.
My soul is used to my body.
I’m staying here.

Do not send down for me.
I’m staying here.
The earth is used to me.

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.

Sunday, October 17, 2010



Saturday, October 16, 2010


by Kim Doyle

It's good to know that the biggest
political party is the non-voting block.

I mean, we wouldn't want to go off
half-cocked, now would we?

Selecting the representatives of the people
demands a lot of thought like,

what hath man wrought and stuff like that.
I'll get my yoga mat and rest on it.

I am blinking thinking about it,
don't rush me.

Oh, what was that you say?
The election was yesterday.

Kim Doyle votes at every election in which he is eligible but is generally on the losing side.


Friday, October 15, 2010


by Howie Good

Why call it fog on the lake?

Why not honeybee venom?
Why not the numeral five?

All things are moving
toward becoming one thing

like European foreign secretaries
on their way to a conference

to sell out some small
and unsuspecting nation.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of 18 print and digital poetry chapbooks and a full-length collection of poetry, Lovesick (2009).

Thursday, October 14, 2010


by J. D. Mackenzie

I’m watching the unfolding drama
the hard, compact capsule entering
the earth with a steady urgency
pulling out
then entering again and again
amid passionate Latin screams

This causes me wonder
if you and I could ever make love
in that small space

Sure, it’s cramped
but we should never discount
the motivations of the desperate
how hunger makes us frantic
how longing makes us small

J. D. Mackenzie recently resumed writing after a walkabout in Wales and Ireland, which he describes as the mother ships of poets.  He is an occasional contributor to New Verse News and other poetry journals.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


by Chas Holden

The bag of coins feels a burden
cumbersome and conspicuous
under his white senatorial robes
as he slinks through
moon-shadowed side streets

Yet it had seemed light
a trifle in the Swordsmith’s
war-torn arms when
scarred hands passed
stuffed purse secretly
under the anvil in his shop

This night his mind doesn't turn to justifications--just keeping us
both in business--doesn’t tell himself that he had to sell his vote
on the war in order to afford the votes supporting his seat.
Nor does he seek refuge in the recollection of his constituents:
the peasants’ paean and joyous shouts spring from unwashed masses
when he showers them with sanguinary silver, gory gold
like a grand general’s triumphant march back from barbaric frontier.

his thoughts are fixed
on one observation:
the weight of wealth
and how the bribe
bows him like a beggar
as he retreats to his villa

Chas Holden is a freelance writer/photographer, struggling poet/grad-student, and former practitioner of journalism--his words and images have appeared in newspapers around WV and PA. Today, he is a disciple of poetry as a more potent way to disseminate discovered truths. Recently his work has been featured on the Poets for Living Waters website and in 5x5, a journal of concise poetry.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


by David Radavich


by any other name
would not smell as sweet,

weed most voters pull
from the yard,

wild-headed seedpod
with clamorous roots,

as anything

but life

still clawing
and scrambling

over each wall
and gate,

vine that wraps
every day in its green

occasionally flowering
a full night after

digging up
and tearing out

the vestiges.

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).

Monday, October 11, 2010


by Sharon Lask Munson

It’s not the hand that signs the laws
  that holds the destiny of America.
  It’s the hand that casts the ballot.
    — Harry S. Truman

I don’t vote
the woman proclaims smugly
as the plane approaches the gate.

Every morning she crunches numbers
buying and selling stocks and bonds,
ciphers margins,
scribbles numerals in plump portfolios
while slowly sipping her favorite
vanilla-flavored double-latte.

She never steps into a voting booth
or assumes responsibility,
lives comfortably on the twenty-fifth floor
overlooking the park,
her dark-green, late-model Citroen, garaged
for getaways and country weekends.

She spurns political discussions,
never watches debates
or studies candidates running for office,
doesn’t think political parties stand for her
as she never agrees
and both sides are wrong.

She speaks out against school bonds
as her children are grown,
rejects branch libraries
and rapid transit,
talks down America,
is out of town for elections —

boards planes easily,
packs lightly, flying to foreign shores,
extols the virtues of café crème and Camembert,
peppers her conversation with a little French
and a spatter of Italian,
makes herself at home in the world
as she tangos from border to border.

Sharon Lask Munson grew up in Detroit, Michigan.  After thirty years of teaching overseas and in Alaska, she is retired and lives in Eugene, Oregon.  She has poems in Sandcutters, Windfall, Verseweaves, Earth’s Daughter, Thema, Drash: Northwest Mosaic, Goose River Press, and many others.  Her chapbook, Stillness Settles Down the Lane, was published in Summer, 2010, by Uttered Chaos Press.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


by Anne Davies

It's the mission of snarky John Boehner
Whose intentions couldn't be plainer:
With Republican party connival
Obama's bills are dead on arrival.

In the Senate McConnell's the artisan
Who kills any efforts bipartisan
Threatened by brute opposition
Democracy may die of attrition.

With leaders so flagrant and feral
We ignore their goals at our peril
No time for talk euphemistic
We're in danger of edging fascistic

Though Democrats are a feckless lot
At the moment they're all we've got
Grit your teeth and open your purse
The alternative's immeasurably worse.

Anne Davies is a fund-raising writer by profession and a writer and versifier by avocation. Her work has been published in local and regional papers. She lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


The Mike Douglas Show (1972) with co-hosts John Lennon & Yoko Ono.
Uploaded to DailyMotion by Red_Chuck. - Watch more music videos, in HD!

Friday, October 08, 2010


by Scot Siegel

- after attending André LeDuc's presentation on Disaster Readiness
   at the Oregon Planning Institute, University of Oregon, Sept. 16, 2010

Sometimes when I am not thinking like a planner or a citizen
I wonder why "subdivisions" are included in the definition
of "development," since the division of land, in planner-speak,
is something that happens on paper and not on the ground.

Technically, it's only after a developer receives preliminary
plat approval that you begin to see any land altering activity;
or at least that's how it's supposed to work. But even after
the lots and streets have been staked and the sewer and water mains

and cable and power and gas lines stubbed. And even after the final
lift of asphalt and the recording of the plat. And even after the foundations
have been poured, the walls framed, and the whole place wired and plumbed
for human habitation, the ground beneath us remains idle,

Undivided, dormant as dog asleep in a park, until the next tectonic variance
turns the earth into a wolf and rips the whole neighborhood apart

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. 

Thursday, October 07, 2010


by Terry Wright

Godlessness is dead but even the underworld recycles.  Each sin must be placed in its own colorful asbestos bin.  Outed with shame you look like trash.  Satan is green again.  The preacher is a pol        or a mole slumming on your school board.  His mindset set on detecting welfare scum.  Take care smoking out body mass counts.  Blame is cheaper than training. Stage a filibuster on Foster        and stall that minimum wage hike.  Scrawled in magic marker WILL WORK FOR FOOD is guillotined by your tinted power window.  Cast deep six cheats and slackers under stones and block grants.  Toss around mandates like a rental truck packed with fertilizer.  You say you want a revolution.  Tell the ferryman to stick it as you rock the boat on talk radio.  Charon’s stuck in a hell of a service job without a signal flare.  No way he’s got a future or a free laptop.  No success story here to rant on the House floor or ride out the Third Wave.  Downsize everything.  Big Bird’s resume reads better anyway.  She’s a flamer and will pole you across in a blazing nest.  Hey.  It’s your Viking funeral.  You’ll burn out and drift with the herd before docking.  No crock or urn will hold what’s left.  You signed on     and the blood’s still damp on The Contract.  The hit man is not Mafia but pirate-for-life Scalia     and burial at sea sounds good to me.

Author’s Notes: “Neo-Humanist 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.”
      underworld recycles: Michiko Kakutani, in a NY Times review of Don Delillo’s Underworld, describes the controlling metaphor of the novel as “waste, with chemical and nuclear toxins, as well as the more mundane trash our ravenous, bulimic society recycles.”  sin must be placed: From Aorearoa, 3-8-09: “’Thousands of the worst families in England are to be put in sin bins in a bid to change their bad behaviour,’ Ed Balls announced yesterday.” Satan is green: If the “underworld recycles,” it follows the devil must be green, just as he was in Chaucer’s “Friar’s Tale.”  mole slumming: The moles will not be content in middle management., 6-6-07: “During the first GOP presidential debate last month in California, three Republican candidates raised eyebrows by indicating they did not subscribe to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.” detecting welfare scum:  One member, according to the Urban Dictionary 2010 calendar, would likely be a “scummy mummy,” a “dirty bitch who has kids for one reason only, to get welfare money.”  cheaper than training:  And certainly less expensive than incarceration.  filibuster on Foster: Dr. Henry Foster was filibustered and blocked as a nominee for U.S. Surgeon General in 1995.  Eric Zorn, writing in the Chicago Tribune, 8-22-09, explicates the word filibuster that “originally meant ‘pirate’ and referred to the U.S. mercenaries who invaded and seized Caribbean and Central American territories in the 1800s. Wordsmiths saw a similarity between these pirates and the senators who seized control of legislation by stalling debate to thwart majority rule.” WILL WORK FOR FOOD: An early appearance of an anomaly.   slackers under stones:  Stoning may be the oldest method of execution.  Tom Head, on, writing about civil liberties, explains how it works: “The prisoner is buried either up to his waist (if male) or up to her shoulders (if female) and then pelted with stones by a crowd of volunteers until obviously battered to death. Under the terms of most fundamentalist courts, the stones must be small enough that death cannot reasonably be expected to result from only one or two blows, but large enough to cause physical harm.”  rental truck packed: During the early preparations for the Oklahoma City bombing, according to Delphic Wikipedia: “On April 14, 1995, [Timothy] McVeigh paid for a motel room at the Dreamland Motel in Junction City, KS.  The following day he rented a Ryder truck under the name Robert D. Kling, an alias he adopted because he knew an Army soldier named Kling with whom he shared physical characteristics, and because it reminded him of the Klingon warriors of the Star Trek media franchise.” Here’s McVeigh, later, reflecting on his victims’ deaths: ”Think about the people as if they were storm troopers in Star Wars.  They may be individually innocent, but they are guilty because they work for the Evil Empire.”  want a revolution: The Beatles: “You say you want a revolution / Well, you know, we all want to change the world.”  For a case in point, see Sam Green and Bill Spiegel’s The Weather Underground. Tell the ferryman to stick it: But only if you possess a few coins and have remarkable bartering skills.  Charon:  In Greek mythology, Charon is the ferryman of the dead, a daimon in service to underworld king Hades.  His fee was an obolos (coin) placed in the mouth (or two coins covering the eyes) and collected from only the properly buried dead.  rant on the House floor: Today’s filibusters are bad theater and so literal-minded.  Where are yesteryear’s surrealist 24-7 readings of cookbooks?  Third Wave:  Both the 1980 book by futurist Alvin Toffler and the 1967 experiment in high school fascism conducted by history teacher Ron Jones.  On his web site, Jones says he invented “a class salute by bringing his right hand toward his right shoulder in an outwardly curled position, resembling a wave.” Despite Third Wave’s ontological likeness to Third Reich, Jones claims he “borrowed the term from beach folklore.”  Big Bird’s resume: According to a Usenet post on, 7-17-08, Caroll Spinney, the performer who plays Bird Bird, “remembers a visit to Georgia Tech in 1972, when the costume was ‘ravaged’ by ROTC students. When he found Big Bird, one of the eyes was hanging off.” your Viking funeral: I will have to get my own.  The Contract: The Contract with America, a document released by the Republican National Party in 1994.  President Bill Clinton sarcastically referred to it as the Contract on America.  pirate-for-life Scalia: Antonin Scalia has been  vigorously boosting booty from textualism and originalism on the U.S. Supreme Court since 1986. burial at sea: American director Alfred Hitchcock, dead April 29, 1980, said: “There is nothing quite so good as burial at sea. It is simple, tidy, and not very incriminating.”
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.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


by Susan Supley

Paparazzi business plan
Gone to hell in a basket,
No one hides anymore.
All the walls made of glass
Every hero wears clay feet.
Wayward members beneath the miter
Threaten the Roman treasure.
No lines drawn to follow,
Nowhere for it to go, will find
A friend on Face Book
To tell the problem to, so
All can share opinions
Without solution or absolution
That might present an obligation
To do the right thing and spoil
Somebody’s fun in Farmville.

Susan Supley lives in Upstate New York. She is a retired nurse. Not having to work for a living, she can now live as a poet.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


by Earl J. Wilcox

Political pollutants taint the air this time of year---
Worse than ragweed pollen, loblolly pines,

Queen Anne’s lace, grasses galore. Yard signs,
TV sound bytes, slick flyers, Internet yahooing,

Robodialing, stump meetings, word of mouth
Disease threatening our health more than Swine Flu.

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, October 04, 2010


by James Penha

“Nobody deserves that. I don't care who you are. 
A college freshman was...tied to a fence, and left 
for dead in Wyoming this week. --The Laramie Project

“Yes it's happening again." --Darun Ravi

"Jumping off the gw bridge sorry." --Tyler Clementi

Soaring out of body by a lover’s magic
when a different breed of mate lying
in wait with one fiddleback
webs him on invisible waves even higher
a crisscrossed angel levitation so misdirected
not even the pigeon knows he is on the air
until he sees himself naked and gut-strung
to a link fence infinitely
tweeting caged-bird ejaculations
no prayer can answer
unless houdini in reverse
he will escape into the river
manacled and disappear forever

James Penha edits The New Verse News.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


by Bonnie Naradzay

The time for harvesting olives heightens the ancient moan of violence.
Palestine, your olive oil has survived the deadly zone of violence.

The sound of Arabic floats above silvery trees in ancient olive groves.
Whole families, visible in the fields: targets for stone hurling violence.

Our trees, bulldozed.  We’ll plant more, and water them with our tears.
Arson has carried away our harvest with its fiery wind-blown violence.

O Hebron, the IDF militants are complacent and look the other way.
Trespassing, masked settlers swing chains: bone breaking violence.

What use, coming to the table, weakly mouthing conciliatory terms?
I tell you, Nablus reels from rubber bullets, the harsh tone of violence.

The police station’s located in an illegal settlement.  Why complain?
Eye-witness alone are left to smuggle the word of this unknown violence.

Where are the village festivals and celebrations at olive harvest time?
Instead of sowing seeds, our children grow to anger, honed from violence.

Bonnie Naradzay lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, earned an MFA from the University of Southern Maine (Stonecoast) in 2008, and has published in numerous print and online journals.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


by Paul French

When he saw that it was good, he snatched it,
weak wax paper folding, falling to the ground--
the boll of grape flavored candy bare on the stick.
Unveiled, some teeth in a grin;
he raised the confection
like a baton and marched down book aisles
while his father stared into a display filled
with Confederate dolls and plastic roses;
a gilded cavalry sword lying beside UDC pamphlets,
their sallow sheets highlighting the forward push
of flint-chinned infantry, lining up in defense
of the profit gushing from black
labor marking fields up to their horizons--
their bodies
dipped and rose
like well oiled
When the Father turned around and found
his son, he noticed that the child
was using his mouth's every muscle
to suck.

The work of Paul French, a young poet, has appeared in Din Magazine.


Friday, October 01, 2010


by Steve Hellyard Swartz

While we’re waiting for Superman and Godot, might as well wait for Mr. Welch, who said to Senator McCarthy :

You’ve done enough

Dharun Ravi
Remember that name
Molly Wei
Remember hers, too
Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei
Dharun, the roommate of
Tyler Clementi, whose name isn’t that important, he was only 19, just a kid
But Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei
Those two you’re going to know
Mr. Welch, where are you? Superman and Godot are lying low, but you – Mr. Welch?
In dorm rooms, in playgrounds, in McDonald’s, in chatrooms, Mr. Welch Where is your -
You’ve done enough
It wasn’t there when we needed it
Not there when Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei set up their video equipment to
beam Tyler Clementi, the just a kid, having sex with another just a kid who just so happened to be a man
You’ve done enough
was nowhere in the mix when
Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei broadcast Tyler and the other guy
having sex
Live on the internet
You’ve done enough
wasn’t anywhere in the ether, either, when Seth Walsh, 13, just a kid, only a littler kid, was taunted again and again, so much so that he hanged himself in his backyard
I wonder if Tyler, standing on the railing of the George Washington Bridge, as cars sped by behind him and the Hudson flowed to the sea below
I wonder if Seth, with the noose tightening around his neck
I wonder if Tyler and Seth, two just a kids of the many thousands who kill themselves or try to every year, I wonder
if right before they closed their eyes for the last time, if they didn’t think that this was the only way out, the only way for them in a world where we never ever seem to learn that we have done enough

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.