Guidelines



Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at]gmail.com. No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

EYES ON THE PRIZE

by Jon Wesick

after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Decision

Finally corporations stand up for their rights!
Segregated in industrial parks no more!
Inspired by the Wall Street Renaissance,
that flowering of creative financial instruments,
freedom riders in sleek limousines
double park at Wal-Mart and 7-Eleven
to remind us how oppressed they are.

Throughout the nation executives slap
company credit cards on lunch counters, CEOs hang
placards stating, “I am a man,” in boardrooms,
and National Guard troops escort ads into high schools.

The march on Washington
fills the halls of Congress with a million lobbyists
but justice delayed is justice denied.
How long must we wait
before a corporation is elected president?


Jon Wesick has a Ph.D. in physics, has practiced Buddhism for over twenty years, and has published over a hundred poems in small press journals such as American Tanka, Anthology Magazine, The Blind Man’s Rainbow, Edgz, The Kaleidoscope Review, Limestone Circle, The Magee Park Anthology, The Publication, Pudding, Sacred Journey, San Diego Writer’s Monthly, Slipstream, Tidepools, Vortex of the Macabre, Zillah, and others. His chapbooks have won honorable mentions twice in the San Diego Book Awards.
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Saturday, January 30, 2010

LIVING ON FOODSTAMPS AND THE $150 THEY GET FROM NIELSEN

by Catherine McGuire


A prolapsed couch, some blankets,
a punched-down pillow, makes a nest
to watch tv from; the tinker-toy tower of gadgets
piled black and silver in one crowded corner —
topped by the Nielsen box. Here are your prime
viewers: unemployed, living on foodstamps
and an equal mite from their willing exposure
to Nielsen's counters. The furniture's hocked
except for that big-screen altar they sacrifice
their lives to. After a year, unemployment
ran out — the queues for jobs still impossibly long.
The day is full of bacon sandwiches,
cup o' soup and prayer. They light
their HD candle, let the glow flood the room
flood their hours with Judge Judy,
with their peephole into rooms of other lives
more fraught than theirs; praying, rapt,
for rich teens marooned on islands
who are surviving on their wits.


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. She is currently assistant director at CALYX Press in Corvallis and will be co-leading a community college workshop, “Ready, Set, Submit!" in April.
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Friday, January 29, 2010

J.D., WE HARDLY KNEW YE

by Earl J. Wilcox
J. D. Salinger, 1919-2010

Dear Phoebe,

You don’t want to know all the ways
I’ve tried, so I have got to tell you, Phebes,
What a sorry sack of shit I am.
After all these years I’ve not been able
To rub out all the fucks on all the walls in the world.

God knows, I’ve tried. Graffiti painters
Rappers, comedians, politicians, poets,
Even Presidents and would be kings
Keep saying fuck like it was a secret
Code or something. You and I know
They’re being lazy. It’s got so bad
I just don’t want to talk about it any more.

See you in the funny papers,

Holden


Earl J. Wilcox writes about aging, baseball, literary icons, politics, and southern culture. His work appears in more than two dozen journals; he is a regular contributor to The New Verse News. More of Earl's poetry appears at his blog, Writing by Earl.
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

SPIRIT AT TROY

by Mary A. Turzillo


On Tuesday, January 27, 2010, NASA said that the robotic explorer Spirit will stay permanently trapped in the deep Martian sand that snared it in the red planet's southern hemisphere in May 2009. --Space.com


Two able rovers, one called Opportunity, the other Spirit,
launched as the Achaeans did to conquer Troy.
Their scientist masters said follow the water.
They landed, trundled through Mars dunes and dust.
Their quest for truth must not be abandoned.
They moved with energy drunk from the sun.

The rover first to spread light-leaves in the sun
was the one who had launched first, robotic Spirit,
true to the earthly life she'd abandoned,
hailing each new rock as if it were legended Troy,
until her sun-wings were defiled with dust,
no cleansing by little green men's feather duster or rainwater.

How can you clean a solar cell without water?
How can it gather energy from the sun?
Both rovers were dirty, hazed with Martian dust.
It seemed the end of both body and spirit.
It seemed they were headed for Hades, not Troy.
After their triumphs, their task must too soon be abandoned.

But the caprice of nature had not utterly abandoned
the rovers. For we found that wind, and not water,
was the secret that cleansed, like Helen bathing in Troy.
Dust devils whisked their solar cells clean in the sun
and their bodies were willing as were their spirits.
The winds blew them free of the crippling dust.

Yet worse ills arose, engendered by gritty dust:
Spirit's wheel jammed. Yet she wasn't abandoned.
The Earth scientists didn't lose spirit,
didn't give up their "follow the water."
The rover named Spirit still charged her engines with sun.
She limped till she stopped, stuck, at the rock named Troy.

Utterly stuck. But nothing could entirely destroy
her mission though now trapped unmoving in dust,
as long as her cells are tipped to the sun.
But forward driving has now been abandoned.
She must measure Mars' cycle as she once followed the water.
The rover is weak, but there's strength left in Spirit.

The rover called Spirit sits sand-locked at Troy
Searching for water, it finds only dust.
It sleeps abandoned, awaiting the sun.


Mary Turzillo's Nebula winner, "Mars Is No Place for Children," and her novel An Old-Fashioned Martian Girl, serialized in Analog, have been selected as recreational reading on the International Space Station. Her fiction has recently appeared in Analog, Year's Best Lesbian Fiction 2008, George Scithers' Cat Tales, Space and Time, and Otto Penzler's The Vampire Archives. Her story "The Sugar" just appeared in Vera Nazarian's Sky Whales and Other Wonders, and her 2008 Nebula nominee, "Pride," will appear in Ellen Datlow's Tails of Wonder and Mystery. Her poetry collection, Your Cat & Other Space Aliens, was a Pushcart nominee, as was her New Verse News poem "Sculpture, Ohio, Spring 1970."
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

THE STATE OF THINGS

by Andrew Hilbert


O American children
with panhandle halos

the swollen eyed angels
of Candy Land dreams


Andrew Hilbert has a degree in History at Cal State Long Beach and lives in Orange County, California.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

IN THE FORESTS OF THE NIGHT

by Kim Doyle


He dealt with the thin ice of expectations.
The must haves, the wannabees, the sweet
smell of failure dressed as success.
Like a sailor on the great wide sea saying
there is a lee shore that we must avoid,
but all the riches there are ours to share.

He skated over all the silly objections.
The can-nots, the ought-nots, the wanting
to table things, or to make a study; to hire
a consultant; a trillion, trea-cly, whining caveats
that dripped down like melting icicles on his
and everybody else’s head.

But then a skate broke through the ice;
he was exposed, and the sharks were up to their dorsal
fins in his flesh. His wife moved to their beach home,
and he was all alone. What happens next is your guess.

It is the age of overexposure; of Just Say No, sir.
But he was so, so accustomed to the big Yes.


Kim Doyle notes: "Sometimes I am pleased to have what some consider to be a woman's first name."
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Monday, January 25, 2010

WAR-MART

by Lizz Bronson


Johnny skips (tra la la) to War-mart cuz its tomahawk Tuesday
The red alert special
In the store, red lights go winding and sirens blare while customers run and dive
For prices, like its bombs or something
Johnny skips cuz its tomahawk Tuesday:
Buy ten atomic twinkies for two dollars cuz
America’s foreclosed and war never
Tasted so good especially when it’s undeclared.
Johnny skips to buy atomic twinkies ---ones he likes even though
They are dangerous but that’s all
Grenadey the cartoon character sells on TV
Despite the sonic boom when opened and the flares going off like red strobes
Grenadey says its good for you
Everybody races to the war store
It’s the only store there is
Instead of atomic twinkies he comes out with a blunt, a forty, and three hand grenades---back
Home all he knows is sirens and chalk outlines
The psychiatrist says he’s out of his mind.
Johnny skips (tra la la) to War-Mart
Everyone wonders why five year old Johnny can fire a gun
But he can’t read.


Lizz Bronson’s work has appeared in The Daily Planet, Diablo Valley College's Magnum Opus, and The Oakland Tribune. She was a prose editor for Milvia Street Journal in Berkeley, and has been featured at several poetry readings throughout the San Francisco Bay area.
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Sunday, January 24, 2010

SUNDAY TIMES

by Margaret S. Mullins


scattered remnants of snow
melting
hurried by the steady gray rain
falling
a dark and quiet day to read
wondering
if the editor of the times was
choking
as he placed pictures of haitians
starving
next to advertisements of tiffany's
selling
fifteen-hundred dollar celebration
rings


Margaret S. Mullins splits her time between the quiet of rural Maryland and the rumpus of downtown Baltimore. Her work has appeared in Prairie Poetry, Loch Raven Review, Welter, New Voice News, Manorborn 2008, Sun, Chesapeake Reader, Gunpowder Review, Long Story Short, and Persimmon Tree. She is the editor of Manorborn 2009 (Abecedarian Press).
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

OBITUARY

by Jon Wesick


Affordable Healthcare lost his battle with cancer this week. Friends say he passed peacefully after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi disconnected his ventilator. Doctors had been optimistic about his recovery until the Massachusetts Insurance Company refused to pay for standard chemotherapy labeling it an “experimental treatment.”

Best known for arranging free clinics that treated thousands of uninsured, Affordable Healthcare was a graduate of the Toronto School of Public Health. Inspired by a government that actually cared more for its citizens than its corporations, he tried unsuccessfully to adapt the Canadian insurance model to the United States. He is survived by his ailing wife, Hope. They have no children.

Republicans will mark Affordable Healthcare’s passing with a seven-course dinner at L’Auberge Chez Marcel.

In lieu of flowers mourners are requested to help pay Affordable Healthcare’s outstanding hospital bill.


Jon Wesick has a Ph.D. in physics, has practiced Buddhism for over twenty years, and has published over a hundred poems in small press journals such as American Tanka, Anthology Magazine, The Blind Man’s Rainbow, Edgz, The Kaleidoscope Review, Limestone Circle, The Magee Park Anthology, The Publication, Pudding, Sacred Journey, San Diego Writer’s Monthly, Slipstream, Tidepools, Vortex of the Macabre, Zillah, and others. His chapbooks have won honorable mentions twice in the San Diego Book Awards.
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Friday, January 22, 2010

LUNCHTIME

by David Chorlton


When you stop for lunch in a landscape
three parts light to one of earth
with vegetation struggling to hold on
to the open space with mountains
pressing up from each horizon
the wind blows cold across the table
next to yours as fragments
from the conversation drift: You know
there was never an armistice so legally
we’re still at war with Germany,
a point which hasn’t occurred to you
during the drive on dirt and asphalt,
but local politics can take a vicious turn
especially when it comes to a candidate
for Sheriff who, in the event of Washington
calling for a gun grab, won’t obey
but deputise everyone in Cochise County
which, I’m reminded looking back
to the TV shows of years ago in England,
is Wyatt Earp country. Black hat, frock coat,
dark moustache, the farthest shooting gun
in the territory, the reluctant lawman
with a cause to justify every bullet fired
as if frontier justice were a blueprint
for foreign policy. Your sandwich is served
as a side dish to eavesdropping
on more complaints about all
the radical extremists out there.


David Chorlton lives with his wife, four cats, a dog, and some birds in central Phoenix, where he also organises a monthly poetry series at The Great Arizona Puppet Theater. After thirty-one years in the USA he continues to appreciate being an outsider, which sharpens vision and makes otherwise mundane observations meaningful. His new chapbook, From the Age of Miracles, appeared in 2009 from Slipstream Press as the winner of its latest competition.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

8 SHOT DEAD IN VIRGINIA

by Steve Hellyard Swartz


What with all the news from Haiti and Massachusetts
It’s understandable that the story of the man who killed eight people
Near the Appomattox Court House
Where the Civil War came to an end
Might get lost
After all, what is 8 dead when you look at Haiti?
8 dead, all adults except for one male teenager, is
Nothing
Health Care Dead
The headline read
A pretty woman said
It looks like the Dems are out of luck
Scott Brown has a nice, shiny truck
His daughter was like fourteenth on American Idol
She’s tall and pretty and plays basketball for Boston College
Did you know they’re called the Eagles?
Did you know that
Virginia is known to have quite lax gun laws.
          Despite the murders at Virginia Tech, the gun laws in the state
          are still some of the most lenient in the nation.
Scott Brown is the kind of guy I’d like to have a beer with
Naked or not
Scott Brown voted for health care for all in his home state
Last year a fella killed 8 folks at a nursing home in North Carolina
Same number dead, different date
There was another aftershock in Haiti today
A big one, 6.1
The Virginia shooter killed seven adults and one male teenager
The male teenager might or might not be his son
8 people shot dead is not Columbine
It’s not Killeen (Luby’s or Fort Hood)
For the Republicans, yesterday’s news from the Bay State is pretty good
The 8 shot dead is no Virgina Tech
Or Charles Whitman in the Texas Tower
Scott Brown assures us
He’s gonna speak truth to power


Steve Hellyard Swartz, a regular contributor to New Verse News, has piles and piles of poems ready to be published. He has won Honorable Mention in the Allen Ginsberg, Mary C. Mohr, and Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards. In 2009, poems of his were published in The Paterson Review and The Southern Indiana Review. In 1990, Never Leave Nevada, which he wrote and directed, opened at The U.S. Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. He was recently selected Poet Laureate of Schenectady County in upstate New York.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

PENTAGONIA

by Larry Litt


We have always lived in Pentagonia
City on The Hill with open pit mining
Claiming the high ground for modern progress.
Workers making metals for weapons of war
Next to factories owned by godly profiteers
Collecting art and culture to assuage their guilt.
Where scientists and inventors create new death
And new ways to save mute, damaged lives.
The holy talk of just wars, wars of the just
That fight evil with collateral damage
To families of evildoers hating our
Gaudy lives as we hate their honor killings.
We kill for good, they kill for good,
Who said two goods don’t make a
Big bad wolf Red Riding Hood?
I expected change but
Got more of the same.
Can we change?
Is change possible?
Do we really want to change?
Change into what?
I am tired of spoken, broken promises.
I want peace like an artist
who wants a museum show
in his lifetime
sadly, drunkenly aware
only Collectors on The Hill
can make it happen.
He cries for change knowing
he has always lived in Pentagonia.


Larry Litt is a writer and performer who can't decide if he’s a 'dirty old man, 'smart olfart' or 'recently bathed geezer.’The NY Times has called his work "Wryly conceived, politically provocative."
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

OUR LADY OF THE FALLEN CATHEDRAL

by Jennifer Fenn


Beams of morning sun
Shine through the shattered stained glass
Of the destroyed Haitian cathedral
Onto the people
Gathered outside
For the first mass
Since the earthquake.

They shine on a lone woman
In pale blue
With a bright red and yellow turban
As prayer lines
Her toughened, brown leather face.

Amid the shouts of starving mobs
Clamoring for the food
Held up at the ports,
The wailing grandparents
Lying outside the crumbled nursing home
And the smoking stench
Of mass cremation,
Her lines deepen
As she wrings her hands harder,
Like Mary
In determined intercession.


Jennifer Fenn’s poems have been published in The New Verse News, Time of Singing, Nomad's Choir and Write On Poetry Magazette.
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Monday, January 18, 2010

HOW MUCH SEMEN

by Jon Wesick


Cum, jizm, jungle juice
How much
          is forced into sex slaves each year?

If half the 27 million slaves worldwide
engage in prostitution,
the result would fill a supertanker.*
55 million gallons! 1.3 million barrels!

What about this ship,
long as a football field
no doubt flying a flag of convenience?
Where does it load its cargo?
Who signs the bill of lading?
What are its ports of call?
Who pockets the profits?
Who is kept awake at night
by rough seas?

Friends, what if this ship foundered offshore
coating our beaches with thick, opalescent goo
and infecting pelicans and sea lions
with syphilis, Chlamydia, and AIDS?
Would we don rubber boots and gloves
to bathe sick otters in plastic buckets?
Would we question the sea trade
or simply make an example of the captain
and pass a law mandating double hulls?

* Assuming 5 mL per ejaculation and each prostitute services 10 clients per day.


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

Sunday, January 17, 2010

AFTERSHOCK TREMORS

Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote


Sea of Despair hopelessly capsized
Raspy faithful voices calling out
Abandoned port stranded prayers unanswered
Homeless nestlings tipsy cradlesong lullabies

Gritty quicksand seepage sinking deeper
Backbone keel overturned hourglass shattered
Ticking time bomb detonating mindset
Alarm sounding twisted tongue bell

Jettison nameless corpses thrown overboard
Mass grave nobodies unceremoniously dumped
Bulldozer scooping up dismembered remains
Danse de macabre masked ball

Buzzards vagrant flies hovering overhead
Breathless stench choking last gasps
Strangle hold wrestling conscience windpipe
Wretched refuse mortal sins disgraced

Bare glimmers kind-hearted stranger dependent
Generous steadfast dawn on hold
Resolute faith constant ebony gloss
Sunrise somewhere beyond lost horizon

Saltern teardrops isle drowning pool
Buoyant spirits rising to surface
Haunted ghosts banished ghoulies dispossessed
Topsails rigging driftwood raft mastheads


No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote together comprise PoeArtry. Flutter Press has just published Charles’ new chapbook fanTHAIsies.
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Saturday, January 16, 2010

THE WOUNDED FARM

by David Feela


From the road nobody can tell who's home.
It looks like a house, a barn, the rusted
remains of a tractor parked
under a cottonwood tree.

The house is in disrepair, as if the family
had all it could handle
turning the earth into cash.
They packed up and headed south,

according to the neighbors,
and the farm still belongs to
the old man living on the ridge.
Nobody else will rent it.

Nobody wants to tame that urge
to have what they want right now.
Eventually the farm will be plowed under
like the fields around it,

the seeds of another subdivision
spread by the wind
and those blood red sunsets on the ridge
right where the old farm waits

simply echo the ache
of its hundred little acres.


David Feela's work has appeared in regional and national publications. He is a contributing editor and columnist for Inside/Outside Southwest and for The Four Corners Press. His first full length poetry book, The Home Atlas, is now available.
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Friday, January 15, 2010

LAMENTATIONS

by Andrew Hilbert


from inside an air conditioned studio
from atop an expensive furniture
pat declares haiti is cursed
for their pact with the devil

he sits comfortably and seamlessly
eases himself into a commercial
about his miracle water inspired
by the bible and a case of this shit
will get you healthy and into heaven
for practically free (spiritually, not financially)

while instruments of generosity
line up to search for the buried
still breathing

on commercial break pat opens up
a bottle of water, looks into the mirror
smiles and jerks off
mixes the ingredients
and tells his sheep to wait by the phones
to answer when his other little sheep
say "baaa" to buy this bottle
of miracle bullshit


Andrew Hilbert has a degree in History at Cal State Long Beach and lives in Orange County, California.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

SWEET AND RIGHT

by George Held

After Horace (Odes iii 2.13)

It’s sweet and right to die for the homeland
Because the President has taken his stand.

Death pursues even soldiers who cut and run
While serving in a war that can’t be won.

Death will not spare the fronts, sides, or backs
Of troops who’ll come home in body sacks.

Generals, send all our troops you can
To fight and die in Afghanistan.


George Held has collected many of his New Verse News poems in The News Today.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

GOOD NEWS

by Kim M. Baker


Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!
--Anne Frank

Miep Gies not only agreed
to care for Otto Frank and his family,
but she replied to his inquiry
with the kind of good news
that seeds soul into a friendship garden
already planted with everyday niceties:
of course.

As if she had nothing to fear
except being found out
that she was not heroic or brave.
Just given to live life naturally and
without doubt.


Kim M. Baker has been teaching writing in academe and business for 17 years. She currently is a writing coach at Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol, RI. Also an advocate to end violence against women, Kim has performed in the Until the Violence Stops Festival Providence: 2008 and 2009. She has been published online and in print. Kim's first play was chosen for the Culture*Park Shorts Plays Marathon, New Bedford, MA, November 2009.
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

OUTRAGEOUS ORACLE

by Mary Saracino



“There are and will be those who think I have gone overboard. Let them rest assured that this assessment is correct, probably beyond their wildest imagination, and that I will continue to do so."


The icy wind bears the mournful message:
a mighty Amazon has relinquished her earthly bones;
the cloudy sky dons a somber shroud
to grieve the indomitable, outrageous Oracle
who has breathed her final breath.
Mary Daly has returned to the arms of the Great Mother
to consult with Nemesis, un-silence the silent tongues
of countless women poisoned by patriarchy
and its malignant misogyny.
Heretic. Visionary. High Priestess.
Mary, the wailing Maenad, still sounds her dire warning,
Mary, the fierce Fury, oozes outrage from every pore,
Mary the Inviolate Word-Weaver, exposes the illusions and the lies
Mary the Spiraling Spark, whirls and twirls, spins and stings
demanding justice, transformation, an end to gynocide.
In Mary’s name, remember everything they want you to forget,
renounce every falsehood you are forced to swallow,
use your wit, your will, your wisdom to rail and wail and howl,
become a revolting, revolving, evolving revolutionary,
go overboard, remake the wide, round wounded world
into a wondrous realm beyond our wildest imaginations.


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.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

VISCERAL PALEOFEMINIST OLDER WOMAN SPEAKS

by Diane Elayne Dees


When I could not go along,
they called me "paleofeminist."
When I objected, they called
me "visceral." When I spoke
my mind, they dismissed me
as an "older woman." Now, this
visceral paleofeminist older woman
waits for the panel on women
to be given a budget, to hire a staff,
or to hold a meeting. I watch while
choice, along with pieces of the Constitution,
are tossed on the Washington trash
heap in exchange for something called
"healthcare reform." I feel no surprise
when the Justice Department files a brief
to defend husbands and wives
from gay marriage. I mourn for the mothers
and babies who will die from the red slash
in the global AIDS budget. And yes,
I become angry
when I remember the soldiers who hide,
weapon at the ready, in a closet in Iraq,
Afghanistan and Fort Polk.
And I cannot go along.
Not then.
Not now.
Not ever.


Diane Elayne Dees is a writer and psychotherapist in Louisiana. Diane also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog about women's professional tennis.
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

THE ECLIPSE

by Tony Zurlo


Crisp autumn leaves crackle beneath her boots,
a present from her warrior hero during his first
tour defending the mainland from overseas.

She pulls her camouflaged jacket tighter—
another present from a foreign land—
desperate to retain any warmth within.

Promises break down like a weapon disassembled
for inspection, jargon lifted from classic films,
patriotism reduced to commercial clichés.

Her warrior overseas defending the mainland
from—She pried into memory for the right
movie, the right enemy, the righteous cause.

The French or British? The North African
pirates? Or the Mexicans? The damn Yankees?
The Indians? The Germans? The Japanese?

She kicks a bed of pine needles and falls.
A huge ball darkens the sun, and she shades
her eyes from the sun’s fiery corona.

She envisions her hero with bayonet drawn,
or planting a flag in the sand, or defending
her from an imminent attack by Klingons.

In mid-day mid-night, two knights in dress blue
walk slowly toward her, each step crushing
a hero’s promise, and offer her a folded flag.


Tony Zurlo has published books on Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Japanese Americans, West Africa, Algeria, Syria, and the United States Congress. His Op-eds and reviews have appeared in many newspapers and journals, including the Houston Chronicle, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Online Journal, Dissident Voice, Peace Corps Writers, Democrats.US, and Writers Against the War.
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Saturday, January 09, 2010

DIVISIONS

by Ann Tweedy


dr. phil is not a person
so much as the idea of one
glib about the most
intractable problems,
subtly insulting the cutter,
bemoaning the example
she provides her children
as though guilt might save her
might save us

he claims he can cure her
as well as the racist who hates
his half-black unborn grandchild
in a visit or two
but he needs them and us to keep up
that imaginary boundary
to track that spurious dichotomy.


Over eighty of Ann Tweedy’s poems have been published in journals such as Gertrude, Rattle, Damselfly Press, Wisconsin Review, and Clackamas Literary Review, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her chapbook Beleaguered Oases is forthcoming from TcCreativePress in Los Angeles. Originally from Massachusetts, she currently lives in San Diego.
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Friday, January 08, 2010

BODY PARTS 2010

by David Plumb


Brought to you by Afghanistan ,

                              Pakistan , Iraq , Iran

               and a worldly host

                              of oil-slick dreams


David Plumb’s latest fiction book is A Slight Change in the Weather. He has worked as a paramedic, a cab driver, a, cook and tour guide. A long time San Francisco writer, he now lives in South Florida . Will Rogers said, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” Plumb says, “It depends on the parrot.”
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OIL WELLS 1859

by Jean Liebert

     The state of Pennsylvania
Was the start of oil-mania.
     After that: one, two, three,
Came World War I, autos and me.

     Was our earth ready for that?
Yes. As fast as you could say scat,
     Grandpa, father, uncles galore,
Bought autos, then marched off to war.

     They were inundated in Maine ,
Germany and France were the same.
     Few spots in the world were car-less.
We had to admit it was a mess.

     Where was I during all this?
Growing up in a state of bliss.
     Not a clue as to what awaited:
“Global Warming for the ill-fated.”

     Now as the end of life comes to me,
I find oil wells up the same tree.
     We all have had our day.
Time to quietly slip away!


Jean Thurston Liebert, age 91, lives in Corvallis, Oregon. She writes poetry, short stories and novellas. Her published work is included in Apricot Memories, a non-fiction history of the apricot industry in California, Linn Benton Community College’s Collections and the Oregon Writers Colony anthology, Take a Bite of Literature. She recently completed a memoir, Another World.
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Thursday, January 07, 2010

JENNIFER AND I

by Dale Goodson


side by side
in her Civic
radio tuned to talk of the President

nobody’s thrilled any more
so much anger
it’s been like this for a year or so

the world is ferocious
our once united hearts are torn
we mourn the conclusion

the President’s year has snarled as well
still there’s hope
we don’t doubt his purpose

our small collapse though
is complete
this cross-town shuttle
our last

I’ll get out
she’ll drive away
nothing is as we’d like


Dale Goodson is a writer from Seattle currently living in New York City.
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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

COMPLIANCE

by Paul Barclay


The President took troops out of Iraq
But he channeled them into Afghanistan
When his pastor spoke of American
Responsibility, the President said “That’s not what I’m all about”

The President moved to shut down Guantanamo Prison
But he expanded the prison in Bagram
Where the US had been sending abducted men instead
Denied them habeas corpus, treated them like dirt

The President backed a two state solution
And then he gave unconditional support to Israel
As it slaughtered Palestinians
So that no solution would come about

The past drowned so many times
In barrel after barrel of blood
The future crucified to fill
As many more barrels with blood

Government lost in fields of poppies
Sadistic acts enact an Odyssey to the home of Defeat

These conditions obtain
In our name, not on our soil
In North America an overwhelming sense of normalcy
That signifies compliance


Paul Barclay is an ex-pat Canadian living permanently in Korea. In the early 1990s he was active in Winnipeg, where a chapbook was published (Creole, Pachyderm Press) and where he himself published a series of poetry zines (including Losing It, The Winnipeg Moon, and the Dark Road Poetry Zine (the Moon Rose and the Spare Change issues). Some recent poems can be found online in ditch.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

FEWTURE INVESTMENTS

Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote


How Now Dow Jones crossbones
Wall Streetwise barbarous pirates skullduggery
No-how crapshoot pairofdice and Thou
AverAge of stocked deck bondage

Brown Cow chocolate milk duds
Utter nonsense speculation raging bull
Bipolar bear market trading places
Age of Taurus steer clear

Powwow teeny wienies blue chips
Snowplow marshmallows burnt to crisp
Gooey insiders running for cover-up
wAges frozen given pink slip

Bowwow freakonomy ruff road ahead
Every jobless litter bit hurts
Maow catastrophe spay neuter castration
Broker breakage bid adieu Ciao!


No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote together comprise PoeArtry. Flutter Press has just published Charles’ new chapbook fanTHAIsies.
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Monday, January 04, 2010

AVATAR

by Catherine McGuire


While downtown bleeds off
another few stores, and acid rain carves
red brick into glacial moraine,
garbage piling like erratics

on the city floor — show me vast
purple landscapes, pixel-perfect
plains — I want to touch them;
let them flow over me, 3-D.

Show me myself in blue green skin
cornrows dangling like whips;
show the world’s destruction, but
let me hope. Let me dream.

Feed me the hero, so much braver than I
yet down to earth — a pal, with inner grit
(like mine, I’m sure), atomic courage
blowing apart all snares and cunning.

Let me sit in gently rocking, cushioned seats
with a ton of buttered popcorn, quart of pop
my “real life” glowing, wall-sized before me.
Race, fight, love, win — while moving nothing more
than hand to mouth.


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. She is currently assistant director at CALYX Press in Corvallis and will be co-leading a community college workshop, “Ready, Set, Submit!" in April.
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Sunday, January 03, 2010

DISAPPOINTMENT

by George Held


Americans are disappointed by their bankers
who are paying too little interest
or foreclosing on them

They are disappointed by their employers
who are paying them too little
or laying them off

They are disappointed by the Congresspersons
who are resisting healthcare reform
or eviscerating it

They are disappointed by their auto dealers
who are offering them gas guzzlers
or not offering them fuel savers

They are disappointed by their President
who is waffling on healthcare reform bank regulation
military withdrawal from Afghanistan curbing pollution

Every day Americans eat the food of disappointment.


George Held has collected many of his New Verse News poems in The News Today.
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Saturday, January 02, 2010

CHRISTMAS ON THE UNEMPLOYMENT LINE

by Ray Brown


Life itself recognizes no holidays.
The earth turns.
Holidays, artificial constructs to keep us busy, distracted.

He thought the worst was over.
          thought he was safe.

To make it to the end of 2009, and still have a job -
he breathed a sigh of relief.
After that it did something for his ego,
for as he saw his fellow workers laid off
he thought perhaps his bosses noticed something in him -
but today, December 23rd,
he found himself with a numbered tab,
pulled - as if at the deli or bakery.
If he had a computer, he could have preregistered on-line,
but a year ago they had given up home internet service,
when their real estate taxes grew ten percent,
and he received a 7.5 % wage reduction.
He had not yet discovered
the free computer internet service at the County library.

To stand in line a failure, is a difficult thing.
Humiliating.
The date made it no easier. In the same plaza
a Wal-Mart packed with shoppers finishing their Christmas lists –
He and his wife had told everyone they
would not be exchanging gifts,
though they would do something relatively small –
for the children.

In a line, it seems all eyes are upon you
not as if anyone was here to look at him.
All jobless,
most wondering
why them?
why here?
why now?
most just worried about the next day.

He was surprised given the date, the hour
that they made him stand in a shorter line next door
to see one of a few counselors
about possible job placement, vocational rehabilitation.
The questionnaire somewhat distracted him from his plight.
He pushed back from the former school house desk,
given an appointment to return
he retraced his steps out to the front door,
but unlike Hansel and Gretel
hung onto the few bread crumbs they threw him
then turned right towards his car
which he was glad had not been reposed, there,
in the unemployment parking lot.

He passed a homeless man, head on a stack of newspapers,
bundled in a coat which clearly had seen better days,
now worn through by the night cold,
body resting against the warmth of the building
which both absorbed, then radiated back, the winter sun.

He shuffled 20 yards further along the sidewalk
approached by a hand with a paper cup,
their common gait uncanny,
this fellow traveler sought change for a coffee.
Only now he realized that when he had the money he would
look askance, disdainfully, as he passed this hand
going into the Wal-Mart to shop with this children.
Now when he could least afford it
he took his only quarter
placed it with some deliberateness in the cup:

. . . when he had much, he appreciated little about what he had--
and now, when he had little,
he appreciated much more, the little he had.


Ray Brown lives in Frenchtown, NJ. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey. His poetry has appeared in the 13th Annual Poetry Ink Chapbook, Moonstone Publishing, Philadelphia; The Star-Ledger of Newark; NJ Lawyer Magazine; and previously in The New Verse News. He received a NJ Poetry Society 2009 Recognition Award, and will be published in upcoming volumes of the Edison Literary Review, the Big Hammer, FreeXpresSion, and the River Poets Journal.
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Friday, January 01, 2010

IN THE WHITE OF BEN BERNANKE'S EYE

by Merry Speece


In a dream I waited for a number to rise on a large hand-drawn chart divided into three columns. I kept my eye on the middle column. The columns on either side began to fill, but the middle column, the one important to my own fortunes, remained empty throughout the designated time.

Then I understood that now the time was over, stop waiting. I had nothing, time to come to life.

Ben Bernanke came by. He took my hand and explained that he'd been forced to suppress the indicator that might have risen in the middle column. He'd had to do this to protect millions. The protection of millions makes more sense than the protection of what little I had had to start with.

Ben Bernanke has a good head on his shoulders. I've always been able to see that.

I looked into the eye closest to my right eye, his left. I looked not into pupil but into the white. The white of his eye was shot with blue, in one bright spot, blue rather than red, the bluest blue, opening up, the white in Ben Bernanke's eye, into sky.


Merry Speece has published two chapbooks of poetry and has been a recipient of a state arts commission fellowship in prose. Her Sisters Grimke Book of Days (Oasis Press, England), which one reviewer called a prose poem, is a work of fragmented historical scholarship.
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