Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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.

Friday, January 21, 2011


by David Chorlton

This could be any Walgreens store
eager to please at any hour
with a discounted smile
valid coast to coast; in Ohio, Florida,
Oregon, or here in the desert,
to which a young man
brings a roll of film at eleven
expecting to have photographs
while frost still coats the stars.
After he stops at the Circle K
identical to those in New Orleans
or Los Angeles, where the same
double cheeseburger
is offered at two for three dollars
behind the same illuminated plastic façade
he spends two hours
in the Motel 6 across the tracks
just like one in Fargo or Bismark
but distinguished by its location
so close to trains that whistle all night
the patrons who want to sleep
can’t. When he fills up at a gas station
he could be stopping in Huntsville, Alabama,
on the way to Austin, where
the Chevron logo blazes
above another row of restless cars.
The Walmart he shops
for ammunition at dawn
might be any one of twenty
around Charlotte, North Carolina,
or the only one in Pullman, Washington,
where the aisles have the same relentless
perspective as those in Tucson. When he arrives
at one of one thousand seven hundred
and forty three Safeway stores
the light that fills his human body
assures him that he
has finally become unique.

David Chorlton's poems have appeared recently online at Stride Magazine (UK), The Blue Guitar (Arizona), and Pemmican. Chiron Review, Poem, and Pembroke Review will feature more in print soon.