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Friday, December 31, 2010


Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote

Year of tamed housebroken Tiger
Losing marriage top ranking endorsements
Iconic image luminosity aura eclipsed
Focused Nadal gaining rose-pink spot

Pissed off Wiki-Leaks wet dreams
Soiled slitted sheets shat upon
Julian Assanger exposing topless XS-rated
Inhouse – outhouse cables secreting double-dip-lunacy

Hi-lites footie’s cosmic champ Spain
Jump-starting enlightened Dark Continent ’s Afreakonomy
Aung San Suu Kyi unarrested
Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Green NV

Bye-buy Dubai blunder to asunder
Burj Khalifa tallest manmade erection
Devastating Haiti Chile China earthquakes
Oily greed volcanic ash holes

2011 Year of White Rabbit
How’s Wonderland Mad Hatter 4D
Twilight Twitter vampires flexing absolutes
Gaga Google I-tube Blackberry Yahoos

Collaborative up-stARTISTS Charles Frederickson and Saknarin Chinayote have created more than a thousand colorful hand-drawn, colorful e-gadfly etchings. Art gallery exhibits can be accessed in the archives of Ascent Aspirations, Listen and Be Heard, New Verse News, Poetry Cemetery and Avant-Garde Times. Published covers and graphics artwork have appeared in Dance to Death, Decanto, Eclipse, Poetry Sz and Taj Mahal Review.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


by Phyllis Wax

The old guy with his long white beard
has nothing to teach
his baby-faced replacement.

The child doesn’t need lessons    
in how to continue the journey
from war to war, from cruelty
to torture. It’s in his genes,
part of his DNA.

Phyllis Wax keeps up with the news in Milwaukee, WI, where she also muses on the prospects for the future.  Her poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from Your Daily Poem, Wisconsin Poets' Calendar, Ars Medica, Out of Line, Verse Wisconsin, Seeding the Snow, A Prairie Journal, The New Verse News and many other journals and anthologies. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


by Buff Whitman-Bradley

Undocumented poem

This poem has traveled a thousand miles
And risked its life to get here
Now it waits on the corner hoping
That someone driving by will offer it work

Homeless poem

When the cops see this poem in greasy fatigues
Sleeping in an alley
They roust it out of its cardboard shelter
Jab it in the ribs and tell it to move on

Jobless poem

This poem asked to use the toilet
Once too often during its 16-hour shift
And was fired from its job
Making $150 jeans for $2 a day

Indigenous poem

The reason this poem is lying
Beheaded in a ditch next to its murdered infant
Is that it refused to vacate its ancestral land
To make way for mining corporations

Orphan poem

When this poem was still in utero
Its mother sought treatment for AIDS
But couldn't afford to pay for the drugs
And died soon after the birth

Collateral damage poem

This poem lost both of its legs
And all of its friends
When the school they'd taken refuge in
Was repeatedly bombed

Incarcerated poem

When it complained about the food
This poem was dragged from its cell
Savagely beaten
And placed in spirit-crushing isolation

Evicted poem

The banker misrepresented 
The abstruse technicalities concealed
In the fine print of this poem's mortgage
Which caused it to lose its home

Uninsured poem

When this poem was diagnosed
With breast cancer
Its insurer fabricated a loophole
And cancelled its policy

Indefinitely detained poem

This poem does not know
What it is charged with
Or the evidence against it
And will never go to trial

Combat veteran poem

Tormented by what it saw and did in the war
This poem tried several times
To commit suicide
And finally succeeded

Amazonian poem

By the time the oil company stopped drilling
The pristine waters of this poem's home
In the rainforest
Had become toxic sludge

Campesino poem

This poem was forced to leave its fields
For sweatshops on the border
Because agribusiness corn
Destroyed small-scale farming

Dineh poem

The government hired this poem
To dig up uranium on its own lands
And paid it with
Radioactive tailings and cancer

Enemy of the state poem

While it was handcuffed to a metal bed spring
Thousands of volts convulsed this poem's body
After which it was raped
Again and again and again

Enemy combatant poem

Sold to the CIA by a rival faction with a grudge
This poem endured years of torture
To force disclosure of information
It did not have

Buff Whitman-Bradley's poetry has appeared in many print and online journals.  With his wife Cynthia he is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, Outside In,  and co-editor of the forthcoming book About Face: GI Resisters Turn Against War (PM Press, 2011).  He is also co-producer/director of the documentary Por Que Venimos.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010


by Becky Harblin

Corn spread out for the deer
each and every hoof print
in the snow filled.
Spots of blue, gray, and red.
Mourning Doves, Blue Jays,
Cardinals, Squirrels, and briefly,
a small rabbit.

Bellies being filled in the houses,
cookies and toast
and eggs surround electronics.
Wrapping paper
piled in the computer box,
one-handed Wii being played
while drinking hot cocoa.
Children’s voices.

The old computer recycled,
landing next year in Africa.
Where 10 year old dusty dark
kids strip, burn,
and search the piles
of hard drives,
to sell the noxious metals.
Their bellies only filled for a day,
these children with no voice.
And no one is computing
the damage
to their kidneys, livers, and brains.

Becky Harblin works as a sculptor and Wellness Arts Practitioner. She lives on a small farm in upstate New York with a few sheep, and an old newfoundland dog. The daily haiku she writes can be found online.   Her poems have been published in various places including New Verse News.

Monday, December 27, 2010


by Andrew Hilbert

They complain.
Obama's not doing enough!
Obama is not delivering on his campaign promises!

Then Obama does something.

They complain.
Obama didn't do it the way I wished he would have!
Obama didn't take up this other issue before the one he just solved!

When you're going to do something
Just do something else instead.

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

Sunday, December 26, 2010


by Steve Hellyard Swartz

The jester draped in moons and stars
Poses the question: Just How Far
Are we willing to go
Before we give up hope?
The jester and I were up at three
To watch the moon and the earth come between him and me
A sheep nearby said what the heck
And begin to ba-ba something from Brecht
Eine kleine Moon of Alabama
Talk turned as talk does to our old friend Obama
For three hours we three watched as the sky turned black
We watched, as we've watched, as the clock turned back
We watched, as we've watched, for something brilliant,
earth-shattering, life-changing, something golden and great,
to at long long last, start
The jester, the sheep, and me watched
As it just grew more dark

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, December 25, 2010


by Roxanne Hoffman
))  a  ((
//  baby  \\
)) CRIES! ((
\\  doubt  //
\\ exits //
// === \\
// father- \\
//   HOOD   \\
J grinning :-)
\\  holding  //
\\ infant //
// José \\
//  knows!  \\
||  ======   ||
||   LIFE’S   ||
\\ ====== //
\\ === //
// == \\
// Night’s \\
//  oblivion  \\
// Peaceful  \\
\\   redshift   //
\\   ===   //
// == \\
//    talk    \\
//    unto     \\
))   Virgins,   ((
((    WISE-    ))
))     guy!     ((
\\   =====   //
\\  ====  //
// FACT \\
//    or     \\
//     ??????    \\
((     Y~chrom~    ))
))  oh~some  ((
((        j       ))
      (( ZERO-gravity ))     

Roxanne Hoffman worked on Wall Street, now answers a patient hotline for a New York home healthcare provider. Her words can be found on and off the net in such journals as Amaze: The Cinquain Journal, Clockwise Cat, Danse Macabre, The Fib Review, Hospital Drive, Lucid Rhythms, Mobius: The Poetry Magazine, The Pedestal Magazine, and Shaking Like A Mountain; the indie flick Love And The Vampire; and the anthologies The Bandana Republic: A Literary Anthology by Gang Members and their Affiliates (Soft Skull Press), Love After 70 (Wising Up Press), and  It All Changed In An Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure (Harper Perennial). She and her husband own the small press, Poets Wear Prada

Friday, December 24, 2010


by Barbara Lightner

Christ the Claus hefts
the Christmas cross
to the holyday hill.
A star shines in the heavens
showing the way for
His red rattletrap truck
to a windswept world
where each chimney awaits
the fire of new birth.

On the billboard-lit strip
into the known world,
He hefts the tree to His shoulder,
dragging it the long way ahead.

The road is lined with
the sad, lonely, lives of those
who have lived in walled enclaves
of high and ignoble consumption.

He clambers past proud-as-a-peacock
Moms and Dads carrying Wal-Mart away.
He sees children glazed with the glut
of too many toys; grans and gramps 
deep in their cups,
 a’snore in the dark of it all.

Through the valley of the shadow
He vexes on, Greed and Confusion
darkening the way. He sees into the homes
of children, sickly, scraggly, from lack.
He shakes his head sadly for the kids
squatting on playgrounds in isolation
or grouped into broils of bullying
and bragadocchio.

He shudders at the unkindliness
of neighbors, watching them leave
on the last train streamlining
its way to Harangue and Harass.

He ascends, to miracle a morrow
rid of muck in a world run amok.

Psalms of the day break night’s illusion
to morn. Chimneys await a phoenix-fire
of new birth. Christ the Claus descends.

The crackle of fires in last night’s grates
snaps a new day’s triumph;
everyone up at the crack of dawn
to a hearty God rest, ye, merry
in a rum-pum-pum of the heart’s drum;
like a mustard see in a cauldron of fire.

Author's Note: Santa Claus’s precursor St. Nicolas was known as Wonder Worker, Wundertäter, for his good deeds on behalf of the poor and the suffering.
Barbara Lightner began writing incidental poetry in law school to escape the tension and boredom of death by law. Currently she is a 71-year-old shameless agitator as poet living in Milwaukee, WI. She has been published in works by Grey Fox Press, the Angel Press, IOBA, Wisconsin Light, Out!, and the Lovely County Citizen. Her poetry has appeared, or will appear, in Verse Wisconsin, Poesia, the Table Rock Review, New Verse News, Come Be a Memoirist, the Zocala Press’ chapbook series, and the feminist anthology Letters to the World. Her website is The Book Barrow.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


by J. D. Mackenzie

Even my old friends
who never write fiction
provide great amusement
as Christmas draws near

They send us long lists
of glowing achievements
running with bulls
and promotions at work

I read of new toys
the red cars and sailboats
golf scores and condos
honor roll kids

Somehow they leave out
the scandalous secrets
their sad midlife crises
their doubts and their fears

Our Christmas letter
is boring by contrast
the truth is quite tranquil
we like it that way

It’s not that we suffer from
lives less fulfilling
it’s just that we share them
in far different ways

J. D. Mackenzie was born in rural Oregon and wandered through brief careers as a steelworker, sommelier, psychiatric aide (following in the footsteps of his much older fraternity brother Ken Kesey) and grant writer before eventually settling into his current roles as college administrator and poet.  A 2011 Pushcart Prize nominee for Poetry, his work has appeared in several anthologies and publications, including Rogue River Echoes, New Verse News, Four and Twenty, Poets Ponder Photographs, The Moment, and Poets for Living Waters. He lives with his family in the foothills of Oregon’s Coast Range.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010


by Erren Geraud Kelly

We hold hands in a prayer
Circle before and after games
Sometimes, I make strikes
Others, gutter balls
My mom limps and with her one good hand
Wins a game
Aunt Cleotha thinks the immigrants
Should learn English, if they are going
To live in America
She’s in the 175 club
Me and Aunt Irma talk about the TV show
“Desperate Housewives,”
When she’s not picking up spares
The trailer park by her house
Is full of Katrina victims
Irma also got two strikes in a row
The brotha bowling beside me
Hits strikes every time

Erren Geraud Kelly is a poet based in New York City, by way of Louisiana, by way of Maine, by way of California and so on. He has been writing for 21 years and has over three dozen publications in print and online in such publications as Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, and Poetry Magazine(online). His most recent publication was in In Our Own Words, a Generation X poetry anthology; he was also published in other anthologies such as Fertile Ground and Beyond The Frontier.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


by Mary Saracino

Deep night, Dark night
Night of the longest sigh
Soulful night, Sacred night
Night of the longest dreams
Cold night, Holy night
Night of unfurling desires
Womb of the world, Birther of hope
Bringer of peace and good will
Pray, pray for all good things
That suffering for all will end
That life will thrive and generosity reign
In the hearts of all humankind
That joy will rise and children will fly
On wings of prosperity
Oh hear our plea, this silent night
When the moon is round in the sky
When hopes are high and eyes are wide
with delight and audacity
May Love prevail tonight, and always
Leading us back to our Source
May we dance with the dark, without hesitation or fear
And savor her promise of plenty
Deep night
Dark night
Night of the longest sigh
May our weary hearts stay vigilant and receptive
To all that is loving and dear

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 Christina Pacosz

                         With apologies and gratitude to Lou Rakowski, 
                                  my best friend Suzanne's father,
                                  whose Christmas village was a wonder
                                  he surpassed each Christmas of my childhood.

The century-old granite fireplace mantle has been cleared
of found statuary and object d'art
in favor of this new town of miniature ceramic buildings
lit from within.
An image usually reserved for the description of a certain look in the eyes
that, we are told,  means
a soul is staring out at you.

But the exiled Russian princess is having none of that religiosity
as she prepares to play the tiny piano –
Tchaikovsky, maybe Chopin, or Glazunov, who knows?
She's even considered
a Joplin rag in honor of the new world she's come to.
The boy and girl cheerfully decorate the tree while the calico cat plays
          at their feet
with the milk she's spilled.
The goral couple are down from the mountains – the Tatry, the Urals,
          the Wasatch, the
Appalachians – the peaks they've missed since they took their very
          first step toward the valley.
Still,  they're happy to be in the village on the bedrock of stone.
The snow lies deep
lit from within – there's that image again! – by all the wishes
of this world and beyond for peace and bread.

The Christmas Fool, the Solstice Jester
believe they hold everything together
but not without the help of the Star Boy,  the Gwiazdka,
who is eyeing the sky in the Alaskan print on the wall above him:
a grosbeak pair, red and yellow, perch on birch branches; Prussian blue fills the horizon.
He's ready to ring the bell in his hand
when the first star appears on Wigelia, Christmas Eve.
This is a Polish village, too, after all.
Star of wonder
the English carol says.

The animals
- the bear, the donkey, the beaver -
who refuse – now – to talk
on this most magical of nights
though once they shared all the Stories the world knew
with anyone who would listen
wait for the evening edition of the newspaper
to hit the street.   The woman in red
with the white apron and scarf
has written an expose
about the destruction of habitat, the diminished diversity,
the loss of lives.
The blast furnace of greed
lit from within
that kills us all.

Born and raised in Detroit by working-class Polish-American parents, Christina Pacosz’  poetry/writing has appeared in literary magazines and online journals for almost  half a century. A poet-in-the-schools and a North Carolina Visiting Artist, she has published several books of poetry, including Greatest Hits, 1975-2001, Pudding House, 2002, a by-invitation-only series.  Her chapbook, Notes from the Red Zone, originally published by Seal Press in 1983, was selected as the inaugural winner of the ReBound Series by Seven Kitchens Press in 2009.

Monday, December 20, 2010


by Jon Wesick

There’ll be no midnight ride in a sleigh.
The ice cap’s melted away.
No smiles for your daughters.
His workshop’s underwater.
Santa’s not coming to town.

Smog-belching SUVs
mean empty spaces under trees.
Those wanting presents
better take antidepressants.
Santa’s not coming to town.

He’s traded boots and red coat
for wooden mast and lifeboat.
He’s no longer jolly
due to man’s carbon folly.
Santa’s not coming to town.

Those bright Christmas wishes
now sleep with the fishes.
Christmas gets meaner.
His home like Katrina
Santa’s not coming to town.

With polar climate like Aruba
the elves all learn SCUBA.
The children now frown.
The reindeer have drowned.
Santa’s not coming to town.

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.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


by Earl J. Wilcox

You don’t know us without you’ve heard about a man named Mr. Mark Twain
or Sam Clemens. The lies they’ve told about them two is mostly true, though
who can believe a lie if a feller can’t even make up his mind about what his
name is. Now the way we hear it is Sam wrote a book about hisself and Mark,
but made it clear he did not want anybody to know what he said in the book
until a whole hundred years after he was dead and gone.  Land o’goshen, child,
enough could happen in a century to make a person want to just up and tell
a stretcher or two.  Hell fire and damnation, telling the truth about Teddy Roosevelt
or any of them writer friends of Sam and Mark might just give the whole world the heebie-jeebies or even cause us to git religion and go to church. Shoot, we ain’t going
to give away everything they said in that book they wrote a hundred years ago
because if we did it might make us feel civilized— and we’ve been there before!

Yrz truly,
Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

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.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


by David S. Pointer

A beach mounted machine gun
A flag flat as a floral rag rug
A Marine bending into history
picking it up as an artillery
shell shares flying metal bits
A John Basilone type Marine
will fire on the enemy until
the Island swallows his blood
like a home country consumer

David S. Pointer lives in Murfreesboro, TN. Recent publications include "The Baseball Chronicle," "The American Dissident," and "J Journal: New Writings on Justice." David is a sociologist and has a recent surgical technology diploma.

Friday, December 17, 2010


by Patricia Barone

 “Virtuous, you will revenge yourself
for your limitations by inspiring boredom.”
Once in church, Identi-Cal, my twin, succumbed
to inspiring boredom and was elevated by his
collar and the seat of his pants from the pew,
becoming an abject lesson—all for lighting
a sparkler in my braids. Who wouldn’t
scream? But the others blamed me—goody-
goody! fraidy cat! I’ve been hiding ever since.

So when this box of cookies came
collect from my brother, I opened this crumby
Confucian quote and took him at his word—
Confucius that is; there’s a limit to my
paranoia but no limits on my vast ability
to bore my entertaining twin who busily
drowns our civic order in a pickle jar.

I, Identi-Cat, knit and tat, tat and knit,
and hike and bike while reciting verses
from the Congressional Register. I can’t
decide which of my limitations causes
millions of gaping mouths each time
I mention the homeless, jobless and sick.

The yawns of the people are so contagious
my own jaws ache from holding back
my boring useless tears.

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.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


by Louise Robertson

It is surprising how close the men come to me.
The footsteps don't care. They rasp against
the ground, desultory, a chore, another
way to wear off the rubbers soles of time.
In the game, you play without a heart stitched
by adrenalin. Now I think it pierces the head.
Soon I will be heard and it will be my fault
and they will see and I will be dragged,
another shoe scrapped away,
a chore of rape. What
do you call a group of birds? A flock.
What about crows?
So this will be a murder of rape,
a suicide of rape, an evisceration
of rape, and of course, a war of rape.
Everything will be cut off, a flock
of cuts, a pound of cuts, a body of
cuts, a female of cuts.
And my head will be a box
to stuff myself
into. And I will pray
to the birds, to the crows
to have it all
spilled out.

Louise Robertson lives in Ohio with her two children. She also has graduated from Oberlin College and earned an MFA from George Mason University. A winner of the Mary Roberts Rinehart award for a poetry manuscript, she has also won the Columbus Arts Festival poetry competition twice and has performed in poetry slams locally and regionally.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


by Rochelle Owens

Naming a wish wishing a name
Gila monster descended
into  this world
in the twenty-first century
hatched from the egg of the sky
emerging from a fiction
her body an astrological plan
in harmony with the rays
of the sun
slowly slowly slowly slowly
towards the four directions
a monster
of brilliant color
sleeping underground
dreaming of monkey cup
and cobra lily
vulnerable flesh eater
spiritual carnivore
Gila monster
the warmest of mothers
like the warmest of mothers
righteous and paradoxical
vulnerable flesh eater
spiritual carnivore
there goes a beautiful reptile
slowly slowly slowly slowly
towards the four directions
a cold blooded messenger
a monster
of brilliant color
her fatty tail
studded with yellow and black
beadlike tubercles
her gift of spit
her healing reptile spit
spit of power spit of cure
spit of metamorphosis
in harmony 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. This section of "Ode to a Gila Monster" is Rochelle Owens' sixteenth New Verse News poem.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


by Alan Catlin

"the future is oil and gas"

After the blow out,
a metallic spray of
color: burnt manganese,
rust sheeting, black
dollops of oil with an
overlay of fire spread
on a liquid surface; pure
undulate # 9.
In the morning, twin rainbows
of hydrocarbons and gasoline,
a deep water horizon that
has no future in it.

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.

Monday, December 13, 2010


by Laura Rodley

Just Before the Oil Leak Was Capped
With Ongoing Thanks for the Cap Still Working 

Now you are a lightning bug bleating
your lantern against the pitch black core
of the sky, through to the core of the earth

where oil lies almost frozen, sluggish to the touch,
no fire before the flame, no fire before the gusher
no fire before the deep freeze staring dinosaurs

down in the dust, dinosaurs stuck in their tracks,
fossils dissolved in the black gold spewing now,
worthless like confederate money after the Civil War,

trunks full once hidden in attics used to stuff chinks
in the wall to stop cold winds from blowing in,
dowries turned to rubble, brides turned into spinsters,

spinsters hoeing fields meant for cotton turned to wheat,
fields lying fallow, the fields buried under the curtains
of rocks, the shower curtains of methane gases parting,

seeping through, the leaks bubbling to the top, the flame
ignited, the erupting, the gusher, there’s no stopping it, no Eureka,
just God Almighty and a new language called hopelessness

churned into a new currency called we will, we will pray
the sludge off the surface of the ocean, the dinosaur so large,
still breathing, walking on this earth with liquid feet

and prehensile tail, her waves she sends to each shore,
each crevasse left unlicked now licked, we will take our hands,
hew them together, turn them into hoes that roll away

the weedy beds of tar, the seaweed fronds of oil, the leaks,
the drafts coming through the open window of the ocean
the window that only God can shut, the window

that lays open asking for mercy as boats skim across her surface
as kayakers tremble beside dolphins, as the huge loggerhead turtles
tumble back into the sea tired from freshly laying their eggs,

only two tries they take to lay their eggs on sand they’ve forgotten
how to walk on, can only drag their feet on land they were not meant
to traverse, their humps invisible in the darkness of the night,

their eyes shining back unexpectedly in flashlights when my son
took a walk in Florida, their pictures snapped on his cellphone,
one turtle turning its head and huge dark eyes back to look at Erika,

my son’s girlfriend with the long tumbling dark hair, seaweed curls
down her back; the turtle swims now in the Atlantic remembering
the girl on the beach, the turtle swims now with the imprint

of my son’s hands on her mossy back, my answering the cell-phone,
Mom, guess what, I just saw a turtle laying her eggs, I can touch her,
and I say, touch her for me, and back into the dark water beaded

with foam, her face crusted with barnacles, the turtle lumbers to speak inside
the belly of the sea, ask the oil to stop bubbling so the rest
of the world can have a drink and the girl on the beach

and the boy who touched her back can be waiting for her next year
in the same spot, the pathway in the currents clear, her lungs
full of air, her song heard now by you.  

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.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


by David Wojnarowicz

David Wojnarowicz "A Fire in My Belly" - Smithsonian, National Portrait Gallery Edit
from ppow_gallery on Vimeo.

 Press release posted at
P·P·O·W and The Estate of David Wojnarowicz disagree with the Smithsonian’s decision to withdraw the artist’s 1987 video piece “A Fire in My Belly” from the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition entitled “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.” P·P·O·W has represented Wojnarowicz’s work since 1988 and maintained a close working relationship with the artist until his death in 1992. The gallery now represents his estate.

On behalf of the estate, the gallery would like to offer the artist’s words to illuminate his original intentions. In a 1989 interview Wojnarowicz spoke about the role of animals as symbolic imagery in his work, stating, “Animals allow us to view certain things that we wouldn’t allow ourselves to see in regard to human activity. In the Mexican photographs with the coins and the clock and the gun and the Christ figure and all that, I used the ants as a metaphor for society because the social structure of the ant world is parallel to ours.”

The call for the removal of “A Fire in My Belly” by Catholic League president William Donahue is based on his misinterpretation that this work was “hate speech pure and simple.” This statement insults the legacy of Wojnarowicz, who dedicated his life to activism and the arts community. David Wojnarowicz’s work is collected by international museums including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, The Whitney Museum, The Library of Congress, The New York Public Library, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Reina Sofia in Madrid, Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, etc. Wojnarowicz is also an established writer; his most well known memoirs are Close to the Knives and Memories That Smell Like Gasoline, which are included on many university syllabi.

In 1992 the artist won a historic Supreme Court case, David Wojnarowicz v. American Family Association. The courts sided with Wojnarowicz after he filed suit against Donald Wildmon and the American Family Association, who copied, distorted and disseminated the artist’s images in a pamphlet to speak out against the NEA’s funding of exhibits that included art works of Wojnarowicz and other artists. We are deeply troubled that the remarks, which led to the removal of David’s work from Hide/Seek, so closely resemble those of the past. Wojnarowicz’s fight for freedom of artistic expression, once supported by the highest court, is now challenged again. In his absence, we know that his community, his supporters, and the many who believe in his work will carry his convictions forward.

Three versions of “A Fire in My Belly” will be posted on P·P·O·W’s YouTube channel for viewing and screening, This includes the original 13-minute version edited by Wojnarowicz, a 7-minute posthumously edited and audio re-mix featuring Diamanda Galas, and the 4-minute version shown at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, edited by Jonathan Katz. We invite anyone to download and to screen; please include this statement with any screening and inform P.P.O.W when the film is being shown so we may keep a record and list venues on our website and social media pages.

Additional images of his other works, including “Christ with Ants” and “Untitled (One Day This Kid…)” can be found on his artist’s page:

For further information or a DVD of these videos please contact the gallery at
(212) 647-1044 or email
Download PDF version of statement here:



by Kim Doyle

A street person begs for cash,
a woman with facial sores says hi to me,
I stumble on a corner filled with trash,
and report suspicious activity.

A hydrocephalic baby waves her hand,
children live without a family,
I taste water filled with rust and sand,
and report suspicious activity.

Millions die in every way,
raw sewage flushes to the sea,
I get my mail late most every day,
and report suspicious activity.

A President starts a war,
dead soldiers’ faces cry painfully,
I help my neighbor cut his lawn,
and report suspicious activity.

Kim Doyle asks: Just who is on the end of that suspicion hotline, and what do they think of me?

Friday, December 10, 2010


by Bill Costley

While you’re reading this
Somebody’s deciding whether
it’s filling empty minds with
stuff of the classifiable category

that oughtn’t be open to just

anybody reading this. Trilemma:
Open, Closed, Classified.

Classified’s a transient value
of sometimes no value @ all.

[Ex. Air is getting sorta scarce.]

Classified /not-quite classified?
Classified; lest panic ensue.

You can all breathe now. Closed.

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.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


by W.F. Lantry

The parking structure buzzed. Six stories up,
we circled, and we found an empty space
at last. The snow was coming in.
We slipped, and held each other up. Our coats
let in some wind, until we reached the stairs.
Snowflakes were dusting frozen metal treads.

As we came out, a man was leaning back
against the wall, half settled. On the ground
a nearly empty turned up hat. He shook
the snow flakes off as we went by. The lights
of cars danced by in continuity
and we walked to the restaurant row, where warmth

spurred on our conversation. Chilled with ice
our mixed whiskey and cosmopolitans
where just enough to make the scene outside
seem picturesque: snowdrifts against the trees.
We walked around a little, then turned back
towards the car. He was still there. The wall

gave little shelter. We went by. The snow
had found its way inside: we brushed it off,
backed out, and drove in line around the ramps.
I stopped before the exit, and stepped out.
I gave him what I had. It wasn't much.
The snowflakes settled on his upturned hat.

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. In 2010, he won the Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (in Israel), the Crucible Editors’ Poetry Prize and the CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry. His work has appeared in Kestrel, Prairie Fire, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, carte blanche and Now Culture. He currently works in Washington, DC and is a contributing editor of Umbrella: A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


by David Radavich

The dreaded death panels
have come to pass.

In Arizona.
Under Republicans.

What the seers foretold—
ahead of schedule.

Just in time
for the arrival

of the babe
in the manger

but before the wise men
can bring any gifts

that will save
anyone from dying.

The ads
become flesh

in our
dark time.

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).

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


by Steve Hellyard Swartz

My mother fell in the bathroom and because she’d shattered her hip, the best she could do was to crawl back to the couch in the den

I think she probably went back to sleep, on the floor, which is where I found her

This is a story about meat, by the way, real meat, red meat, as in--

The newspapers she liked to read, by the couch which had become her bed, the newspapers red with blood, her blood

The newspapers and little Teddy Bear notepaper, the phone, and her pillow, all wet with blood and urine

She was confused, she didn’t think to call me, it was the middle of the night--

red meat time - the time when old people bleed on the floor, bleed and pee, confused, spent, gone as far as they’re gonna get, hugging the legs of couches and chairs, two o’clock in America, red meat time, real meat time, finger-poppin’, heart-stoppin’ time

Today I read that former Senator Alan Simpson is saying that he can’t wait for

April, when the debt limit comes up for a vote again

“I can’t wait for the blood bath in April. . . . When debt limit time comes, they’re going to look around and say, ‘What in the hell do we do now?”

When I came over and found my mother on the floor she asked me: “What have I done?”

Before calling an ambulance I tried to clean up the mess on the floor

I didn’t want strangers in her house before I’d done something

“What have I done?” my mother said, again and again

In the hospital, a Nurse Supervising Case Manager told me that my mother might not qualify for rehab

I asked her if she’s crazy, which she didn’t like

“What’s your plan for her?” I asked, “What’s your fucking plan for an 85 year-old woman with a broken hip?”

“Well, she can just go home,” the Nurse Superannuated Case Manager said, “and be cared for by friends and loved ones.”

Alan Simpson, Nurse Manager to the nation, has a twinkle in his eye when he says:

“We’ve got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give ’em a piece of meat,

 real meat,” meaning spending cuts. “And boy, the blood bath will be extraordinary,” he continued. 

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.

Monday, December 06, 2010


by David S. Pointer

Burst top banking
erupts not as an
idle volcano, but
as an active friend
oozing collegiality
into woozy lands
brimmed by poverty
coughing the dusty
past days of decaying
centuries frail with
invaders, investors,
and others waving a
vast welcome under
the cool crush of
the ongoing smile

David S. Pointer lives in Murfreesboro, TN. Recent publications include "The Baseball Chronicle," "The American Dissident," and "J Journal: New Writings on Justice." David is a sociologist and has a recent surgical technology diploma.

Sunday, December 05, 2010


by Rasma Haidri

And the boy says:

               After 10 days I said to the Ocean,
               Tell me your name so I will know where I am, but the Ocean replied,
               All water is this water. The ocean is one.

               After 20 days I said to the Ocean,
               You are trying to kill me, but I will drink the rain, and the Ocean replied,
               Rivers return from whence they came. The rain is ocean returning home.

               After 30 days a seabird landed and I said to the Ocean,
               Is this another one of your jokes? The Ocean replied,
               I have many shapes of bird or fish or boy. Did you think I was water?

               After 40 days I said to the Ocean,
               I will die now and be gone. The Ocean replied,
               To the one being born it appears the world is coming to an end.

               After 50 days I said to the Ocean,
               There is no place where this water does not belong, and the Ocean said,
               You will never go out of the ocean that is you.

The boy’s weeping mother holds him close.
He knows her tears are ocean.

Rasma Haidri is an American writer living on the arctic coast of Norway. 

Saturday, December 04, 2010


Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote
The UN Climate Change Conference, Cancun, Mexico, 29 November - 10 December 2010.

Spinning globe axis off kilter
Frothy teal glaze veneer chipped
Phantom oblique myth-takes debunked
In-denial bloated varicose veins burst

Sea levels rise coastlines retreat
Overflowing glacial teardrops flooding basins
Spitfire core molten anima meltdown
Crusty Wonder burnt toast scraped

Climate transition jaded green envy
Ex-spurts gushing longi- lati- platitudes
Tropical storms unbuckle equatorial belt
Paunchy gut overhanging rainforest ravage

Wanton destruction of lonesome planet
Skewed credibility drought bi-polar extremes
Diminishing virgin springs depleting reserve
Recycled excuses mainline taproots soiled

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

Friday, December 03, 2010


by Catherine McGuire

As the implacable iceberg of debt
rips industrialization into archipelagoes
of misery, unrelieved by a smidgeon of hope,
the gossamer excuses of the pirates
in charge (colossal rapscallions who can’t be stopped
by exegesis nor exorcism as they hold
steely claws to our carotids), rings
as false as the famed Crystal Skull
of Meso-American fame. They don’t give a banana
for our fate – we are as innocent manatees
amid the blades of their powerboats, as they
endorphin through our savings, our lives.
The ramifications of this? Apprentice yourself
to a smith or weaver – bandanas will have
more value than bonds. Caveat investor.

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.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


by Rochelle Owens

In front of a
carved wood sculpture
in the violet light
Mary Magdalene Mary Magdalene
In the violet light
there goes a Gila monster
a Gila monster
majestically formed
a monster of gorgeous color
her body an astrological plan
studded with yellow and black
beadlike tubercules
like atoms locked into a pattern
vibrating particles
dabs of orange blue and green
forming an image in
the violet light
light rays entering the eyes
of a Gila monster
her body sovereign of
stems branches roots  plants
of bones flesh blood vessels
sovereign of the wood sculpture
of the long slender limbs
delicately modeled hands
and feet carved with a chisel
Mary Magdalene cut from cut
from a single length of poplar
her hair highlighted with gold leaf
strands of her hair blowing
blowing across the lidless eyes
eyes of a Gila monster        

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. This section of "Ode to a Gila Monster" is Rochelle Owens' sixteenth New Verse News poem.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


by James Gage

"To do evil a human being must first believe that what he is doing is good.”
                                                            --Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Torture is a word
with more than four letters
but of course there are worse,

words like earlobe or gulag or
Bagram Air Base, places you hoped
your concealment might keep you from seeing.


It has been two years since Aleksandr
returned to the taiga,
two years since he left us for dusk
and the world is the same now but
different, the appeals have grown louder.
The court has drawn down
its heavyweight robes and
butterflies are trapped in its vestments.
The bailiff keeps checking his watch.

Still the old man in the back
stares stalwartly on,
beard spilling from his eyes
like silver tailings from a mine,
he is quiet, there is too much to say
and he’s already said it, bellowed
from the hemlocks and his solitary cells

against the fear and the hate
for the hope and the love          
without raising his voice,
without raising his hand.


Through ribboning birch
the snow hums down like an iron
branding on skin. A voice rings out
and then fades, swallowed by
a silence that spreads like an inkblot.

James Gage is a freelance writer and editor who has published poems in Main Street Rag, Inkwell, Mountain Gazette, Powhatan Review, The Iconoclast, and Out of Line. A native Vermonter, he is increasingly interested in the Vermont Independence movement.