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Saturday, April 30, 2011


by Phyllis Wax

29 Apr 75 - Last American soldier killed in Vietnam (the first was 8 Jul 59).
The official American presence in Saigon ends when the last Americans are 
evacuated by helicopter from the US Embassy roof.

Planes flew out to spray and defoliate
the forest canopy hiding the enemy,
to destroy the crops—their food.
More than 20,000 sorties,
multiple missions to mist each area.
Spills from vats where the chemicals
were mixed saturated the ground,
seeped into the water.  Still in the water
people drink today.

Villagers replanted forests, farmed fields,
ate what they raised, ate toxic chickens,
toxic pigs, fish and shrimp from tainted rivers
and lakes.  Cancers and skin diseases
in those the fog descended on,
in those today who fish those rivers,
who work that land.

marked at birth: spina bifida,
grotesquely twisted arms and legs,
babies with two faces, three ears,
no eyes or eyes without lenses,
babies without arms, without legs,
babies whose legs each have two knees,
arms with two elbows.

More than forty years later it
Even into the third generation. Perhaps beyond.

Editor's Notes:
Agent Orange: Birth defects plague Vietnam; U.S. slow to help 

Agent Orange & Birth Defects  

Phyllis Wax muses on the news and history from a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, WI.  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 Newsand many other journals and anthologies.  She can be reached at poetwax(at)

Friday, April 29, 2011


by J. D. Mackenzie

I don’t really know you
and we won’t likely meet
but I’ve seen you round
mostly at the check-out counter
and you seem nice enough

So I just want to tell you
you’re making a huge mistake
start walking
and don’t look back

This life you’ve chosen
is filled with perfidious people
who want to dress you up then undress you
make you over then drive you mad
chase you round in motor cars
as if it’s all a game
shoot your picture
until there’s nothing left to shoot

You’ve still got time to leave
to find someone less needy
who doesn’t want a statuary
who’s not an answer on a history test

Why not find an internist
or a nice boy from the club?

A girl like you has options
and needn’t rush these things

So keep walking, Kate
you seem nice enough
and you deserve a life of your own

J. D. Mackenzie is a 2011 Pushcart nominee for poetry whose recent work has appeared in The New Verse News, The Ekphrasis Project, Four and Twenty, and Poets for Living Waters. Now writing furiously for National Poetry Writing Month, he is fast acquiring the temperament of an obedient Golden Retriever.  He lives with his family in the foothills of Oregon’s Coast Range.


Thursday, April 28, 2011


by Quinton Hallett

You’ll enter and leave, like snowflakes,
quickly, primed from birth for cameo.
When subjects bruise or blight your startled mirror
in violation of genuflect and royal perk,
run fast or that old hyperbole,
prefabricated awe,
will snag your purple hem on its rush
down the ravenous royal drain.

Quinton Hallett writes and edits from Noti, Oregon. She is the author of three chapbooks, founder of Fern Rock Falls Press, and her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including: Windfall, hipfish, Writing our Way out of the Dark, la fovea, Four and Twenty, Tiger's Eye, The Medulla Review, and Original Weather, a Collection of Art and Poems. Active in the Oregon State Poetry Association, she coordinates poet visits to a rural high school. Her most recent collection is Refuge from Flux (Finishing Line Press, 2010).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


by Matthew Rodgers

I listened to the sky, the howling romance of the breeze,
coming and going, into the blue, which is black.
I lived the life of caterpillars, where limbless bodies,
and impassioned minds are eaten by towers of tall eyes.
I cried out, to reason, to happiness, and silence pervaded the sky.
Where is the blind mole, where are the blown off petals, victims to time?
It’s very serious when the crowd of ants invade the scenery of the heart.
And into the clouds I saw shapes of butterflies pinned to rainbows,
but the sky was blue and gave no impression to characterize
the extent to which the void had deepened, because it is black.

Matthew Rodgers writes only from those impulses that nag at the mind until they are out. He has been published in local university and private presses in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


by Michael Shorb

This must be what grover
norquist meant by drowning
the baby of government
in a bathtub of course
we want police and military
let’s not get carried away
a few clerks and congressmen
to ratify useful measures
but government’ll hafta
sell its children down
the mississippi
no more nurse and midwife
generous uncle launching
second chances
welcome to a world
illuminated by darwin’s lightning
you slip on the jungle floor
you die right there
in the shade of endless war
where your competitors,
ants and millionaires, await.

Michael Shorb's work reflects an abiding interest in myth, history, and the lyrical form, as well as a satirical focus on present day trends and events. His poems have appeared in over 100 magazines and anthologies, including The Nation, The Sun, Michigan Quarterly Review, Queen's Quarterly, Poetry Salzburg Review, Commonweal, Religious Humanism, Shoofly, Rattle, and European Judaism, as well as such anthologies as A Bell Ringing in an Empty Sky (Mho and Mho Works), To Be a Man (Tarcher Press) and Names in a Jar: 100 American Poets (Hood Press).

Monday, April 25, 2011


by Earl J. Wilcox

Something about hail fixes us like
nothing else that falls from the sky.

Rain drops the size of sand---
or big as cats and dogs---after all,

are still only water, while trillions
of unique snowflakes falling fast

enough to cover the state of Texas
in seconds do not master us like hail.

Yesterday: lightning, thunder, rain,
wind, threats of fire storms, tornadoes,

hurricane warnings, blackouts, auto
accidents from driving winds, water-

logged streets, sewer stoppage.
Yet just at night fall hail grips

us with fear. In all sizes from peas
and pellets to golf balls and bigger

it pelted us, pelted  us hard, pocking
a teenager’s car, ruining an old man’s

young lettuce, demolishing Aunt Mary’s
dogwood blossoms, stripping

Johnny Jacob’s early corn, and smashing
windows at the car wash. Some may say

the world will end in fire, while others think
ice. If ice, then hail is spring’s apocalypse.

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.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


by Laura Rodley

Never again will a tsunami
come silently out of the unknown,
it will be tracked by radar
so there will be just enough
time to run.
Never again
will people walk unaided
by the spirits of those
drowned by the tsunami;
smell this rose for me
they will say, dipping
their head closer as
if for a kiss,
taste this smoked eel
for me, as they lean
by your cheek
to hear you chew,
touch this they will say
willing you to lean towards
the magnolia bud
ripe with the wish to burst,
but not yet the pink halo erupts.
Carry this, they ask,
carry this load of bamboo
tied with rope upon my back
take this load to my mother,
tell her I got lost upon the way
and now in deep waters of the ocean
I have not forgotten.
Untie the bundle for her,
her hands knotted with age,
lay the bamboo in a neat pile
for her to use as she wishes.
She had so admired the way
I cut the stalks without
bruising their ends;
it takes a clean, sharp knife.
Tell her I am calling her name,
speak it for me,
Mamasan, my little Rebecca,
speak it for me
so she can dry her tears.
And for my brother,
pull his hands away
from the damp soil
tell him I am not here,
he will never find my bones,
but you have found me,
oh kind stranger,
walking beside you
and you will tell him
what I say; I beg you,
and I am not ashamed of that.

And take these slippers
for my sister, red with
embroidered flowers, beaded.
They were for her birthday,
tell her I have not forgotten;
I was just looking for a way
back in to bring them to her,
a way back in.

Laura Rodley’s chapbook Your Left Front Wheel is Coming Loose has been nominated for a PEN New England L.L. Winship Award and a Mass Book Award.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


by Ngoma

the latest buzz is
u can call it a crucifixion if u want to
but real talk says it was a straight up lynching
it's up for grabs
whether or not it's fiction
but judas was the snitch
we still be trying to figure out
what was good about good friday
moon of blood in the sky
ocean beds black with oil
gaia in need of triage
vomiting tsunami
the stench of retribution
karmic debt
the yin and yang of it
out of balance
with itself
from nuclear disaster
we seek someone to twitter
to find the answer
for survival on the planet
why the bees are disappearing
pointing fingers
passing blame
naming names
for fifteen minutes of fame
like it's a game
looking down the rabbit hole
as they level mountaintops
for coal
acting as if there's no need for water
defying nature's order
proselytizing 10 Commandments
ignoring Thou Shalt Not Kill
trying to comprehend
life's cycles
Badu singing
"where's my 42 Laws"

Ngoma is a performance poet, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and paradigm shifter, who for over 40 years has used culture as a tool to raise sociopolitical and spiritual consciousness through work that encourages critical thought.Poetry  published in African Voices Magazine, Long Shot Anthology, The Underwood Review, Signifyin' Harlem Review and 'bum Rush The Page/Def Poetry Jam Anthology& Poems On The Road To Peace and Let Loose On the World: Celebrating Amiri Baraka at 75. He was featured in the PBS Spoken Word Documentary, "The Apro-Poets" with Allen Ginsberg. Ngoma has hosted the slam at the Dr. Martin Luther King Festival of Social and Environmental Justice at Yale University for the past 14 years.  His latest C.D. State of Emergency: The Essential Ngoma is a 2 Disc "best of" compilation available on and iTunes.


by Sophia Boettcher

Lo! I watched a chrome-hue smog
Engulf the skies, burning as a torch;
The skies, which were His Pacific blue throne,
Became as fire and hyacinth and brimstone.
Indeed, it seemed a new epoch
Inherited the earth.

And as it were a wildfire kindled
By wind and thirsty trees -- this new,
Chrome-hue epoch blew
Across all things, consuming the tender grass censer
Arrayed with dew.

The watchful contrived picket signs, aiming spear pens
At stuffed suits,
Courage blossoms on street-corners
And behind marked lines,
While lightning among gloaming cloudbursts and great hail
Lit their eyes as candles,
Whose flames were puffed in shadows.
Old oaks fell to shivers;
We took their flesh for doors.
When the lions ceased to roar
And the eagles did not soar,
The watchful hung their heads,
With clamped hands uttering:
The earth shall be avenged.

But, enraptured by the dusk
That overtook the air --
The intrepid carried forth
Their plans,
Holding firm for evermore.
They thrust in-
To the earth with blades,
Whose hilts were girt with starry sparks.
The blades burnished rims of clouds
That looked like unto golden shrouds.

Sand piles leapt in a furnace
Burning coke and ashes.
Alight as if by magic,
They rendered something new, tinged
With blue and full of crystalline faces --
Twinkling and chrome-hue.

Oil came up thru wells
On land and ocean floors,
Dark as sack-cloth of goat hair.
We tore our robes in despair,
Because the intrepid
Could care less about
The suffering whales, cranes
And polar bears.
Woe! And Behemoth found no grass to eat;
Rivers grew too shallow and unclean
For It to drink.

Unrelenting, the intrepid raised their towers,
Chanting, Hosanna, It is come.
It is coming.
Silicon had they for bricks
And oil -- for mortar.

Behold! the dead animals
Looked as if to say. Silicon and oil
Have voices like unto trumpets
And teeth as fearsome teeth of Leviathan.
...hosanna, It is coming.

Sophia Boettcher is a 20-year-old undergraduate Engineering Physics major at Santa Clara University. In her free time, she writes science fiction and informative articles under the pseudonym "Alice Snark." Despite dyslexia, she holds roughly eight years of online freelancing experience under a number of pen names. She hopes to someday become a published author, as well as a professor of physics.

Friday, April 22, 2011


by Mary Saracino

Author’s note: As part of her Earth Day-Sing for the Trees campaign, Susan Hale invites people from around the world to sing to their special trees to help raise awareness about deforestation.

If you listen you can hear
the trees singing

boababs & kauri
sugi & sugar maples

their voices
rise in harmony

Norway spruce & sequoia
ginkos & elms

across the wide round world

yews & oolines
Persian mulberries & pomegranates

one steady stream

magnolia amazonica & aspen
wattle trees & oaks

one impassioned aria

crab apple & peach
olive & fig

singing, singing, singing

almond & apricot
wild cashew & carapa

to us

black walnut & cedrela odorata
mahogany & beni kawa

of peace & love
joy & justice

Divi-divi & wabito
amla & okagami

of sorrow & solace
laughter & lullabies

Chinese catalpa
Buddha coconuts

reminding us to

balsam & fur
cedar & chestnut

sing with them

pawpaw & persimmon
leatherwood & larch

breathe in
breathe out

kapok & karri
willows & birch


ghost gum & guava
maiden’s blush & mangosteen


avacado & acacia
banana & buckeye

save our lives

sumac & satsuma
sassafras & silverberry

save our planet.

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.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote

Every morning Earth Day dawns
Celebrating shared commonplace caretaker responsibility
Belonging to nobody in particular
Private property ownership greed condemned

Good old bad old planet
Interred with hollow crossbones skullduggery
Cremation pyre glowing ember ashes
Piled stones pyramid shedding teardrops

Equatorial waistline bulge stuffed full
Last scarecrow straws poking through
Stalking stubble lumpy humanure turds
Don’t fall into compost heap

Going out involves coming within
Our own vulnerable nature exposed
Blessed depressed no less deserving
Of misbegotten loans interest withheld

Emptiness overflowing jagged edge void
As the world turns unhinged
Sun inexorably rises shines sets
Tomorrows fostering ordinary rainbow renewal

Loud silence overheard listen attentively
Wretched refuse unable to whisper
Eating everyday sameness each meal
Crusty loaves of half-baked nothingness

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


by Martin Marcus

A glacier in a hoary epoch
dug some holes in its retreat,
filled them like bowls with crystal water,
where the pines migrated to drink.
Pristine was the word the humans thought of
for this lake, the glacier's bounty.
Men who'd walked from Asia found it,
spirits from their minds infused it.
Then a blue and green cathedral,
saintly fishes, god as eagle.
So for centuries it languished
far from rationalization,
moving up and down in cycles
at the wishes of the spirits.

A modern man makes his assessment
now the lake is shrinking badly,
year by year its shore expanding,
day by day its water drying
by the will of mystic forces?
But his head is full of science,
god of global, god of warming.
Native people know the omens,
slowly pound the drums of mourning.
Modern fellow shuffles homeward,
shoulders down in awful guilt
Glaciers melting, seas arising,
shallowing lakes his dismal doing.

Martin Marcus claims to be the oldest poet in the room.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


by Emily Keller

It is the slow burn collapse we know so well,
the rise of shimmering oil wealth through the Gulf of Mexico,
the pile of burning steel and futures in lower Manhattan
that takes months to settle,

the mold and drowned treble clefs
scattered through the Big Easy,
washing up on shores like seaweed,

the broken homes in Thailand, snapped like bone and brick
by tidal wave drowning the only reality that was ever known,

a radioactive demise in Japan,
the slow pulse of monitor swaying from bad to worse,
panic to ignore, inhale to forget.

We have pulled destruction from beneath the earth’s crust
and toppled it from cloud cover.
We recognize the taste of tragedy that begins when a disaster ends,
that starts the first time we ignore imminent warning for luck,

the complicated quilt of human and nature caused,
the implosion of pride-filled towers and high technology from sky to ocean,
the rise of high winds over wood-framed steeples
shaking in the earth’s dust for decades.

There is a sound of a town sinking,
it is a silent siren of evacuation, more mud than gloss,
pushing coastlines inches lower, shortening the day by milliseconds,
a plume like weather cloud reminding us we are all connected,

that we flee in so many directions we eventually run into each other,
realize we are running not from city or ocean but intention and fate.

There is a cloud of radioactive regret hovering outside Tokyo,
where fifty martyred workers could not stem the tide of shame and fear
escaping through metal fuel rods.

We cannot fan the flames to any other direction but us,
to absorb what we found here,
to suffer what we have built on top of it,
to embrace what we have left.

Emily Keller is a poet, journalist and creative nonfiction writer whose work mixes personal stories with social commentary. She writes about relationships, New York City, social issues, news and skateboarding. She has been the featured poet at the Cornelia Street Café, the Jujomukti Tea Lounge, Sonic Verse and Poets on White. Her poem “Fly Before Breaking” was published in First Literary Review-East. She released her first chapbook, Shadow Puppets, in April 2011.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


by Alan Catlin

earthquake buckled roads
that will never be repaired,
power lines down, second floor
high water marks after the great
wave on houses coded with half-
lives; the only living presence
here: toxic crops, stray dogs,
infected cattle.  The future is
now in this unoccupied zone,
there will be no reclamation,
no restorations.  Near the plant,
radiation readings too high to
calculate; just beyond the melting
down reactors, a dead sea glows,
a surrealist painter’s sunset.

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, April 18, 2011


by Catherine McGuire

To boldly go . . . every week, non-negotiable.
The paint-on-canvas sets no drawback
to this ex-Barbie fan, who drove plastic dolls around
in a cardboard convertible. Mentally I colored in
the grey-toned scenes, hummed the theme song
during recess, sneered at Gidget girls.

Adulation bubbled in awkward screenplays –
the situation on the bridge always required
two attractive 7th grade girls.
My handwriting flailed
as I raced to the romance:
always me and the Captain;
my best friend wore Spock ears to class
horrifying the nun in her earless white wimple.

When parents turned Klingon, treacherous,
their harsh gutturals power-mad –
what did they know of clean-cut  courage? –
I cloaked myself in the plucky ideals
of resistance and happy endings
far enough away to be possible.

Keep her at maximum, Scottie.

Always forward, where adventure waited.
But this destination wasn’t on the charts . . . was it?
The Captain’s pudgy face selling hotel rooms on tv,
my smooth-skinned youth dopplered in the distance.

Some warp drive shot me to this unfamiliar universe –
now, I watch red tracers over Tripoli,
actinic white shoom, shoom bursts
into Mizrata.
Fire when ready, Mr. Sulu.
But be careful.
Remember the Prime Directive.

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.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


by Geoff Kagan Trenchard

3 fulltime public school employees whose job it could be
     to help advocate for gay kids
who get called faggot everyday. 6 part time employees
     who could at least run
an after-school program where kids could talk about what it’s like
to be called a faggot everyday. 500 day visits from teaching artists
who could facilitate workshops on what happens when it’s permissible
to call kids faggots everyday. 5000 bouquets of flowers for families
whose children killed themselves because they attended a school
where they were called faggot everyday.

Geoff Kagan Trenchard’s poems have been published in numerous journals including Word Riot, The Nervous Breakdown, The Worcester Review, SOFTBLOW and November 3rd. He has received endowments from the National Performance Network, Dance Theater Workshop, The Zellerbach Family Foundation and the City of Oakland to produce original theatrical work. As a mentor for Urban Word NYC, he taught weekly poetry workshops in the foster care center at Bellevue as well as in Rikers Island with Columbia University’s “Youth Voices on Lockdown” program. He is a recipient of a fellowship from the Riggio Writing and Democracy program at the New School and the first ever louderARTS Writing Fellowship. He has performed poetry on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, at universities throughout the United States, and in theaters internationally as a member of the performance poetry troupe “The Suicide Kings”. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.


by Lita Kurth

They listened to your protests at 23 degrees
surrounded by dirty snow
Named them mass talk
a series of mass talks

Mooing and baaing
from your slatted jail
as if someone could hear

No one gives warning
Or persuasions
But you know
you’re not going to a wedding

Before the dark confrontation
lift your opaque voices
tongues green with silage
Lift your throat
Demand until the roads collapse
the slats break into scrap
and the prisoners
walk immediately
into the cool corn

Lita A. Kurth  (MFA Rainier Writers Workshop) teaches Composition and Creative Writing and regularly contributes articles to and reviews publications for TheReviewReview. She has published essays, poems, and short stories in the Santa Clara Review, The Exploratorium Quarterly, Tattoo Highway, and Vermont Literary Review as well as erotica (under a pseudonym) in and A story, “Marius Martin, Proletarian” appears in On the Clock: Contemporary Short Stories of Work (Bottom Dog Press). A work of nonfiction, “Pivot” is forthcoming in the University of Nebraska anthology, Becoming.

Friday, April 15, 2011


by Leslie Schmeisser

with apologies to P.B. Shelley

A cruel, malicious tyrant-governor—
Fitzgeralds, multiplying, nod and bow,
A blight of creeping weeds sent to deter
On Walker’s say-so—cut, deny, allow—
Unionicidal despots bludgeon all
Negotiation, file contempt and fine
The fab fourteen, block access, kill the call
For civil discourse—bloated, lawless, blind
With power and deceit, arrest the drums,
Suppress the chants that echo through the state,
Clear granite halls ‘til righteousness succumbs,
And twist democracy to sponsor hate.
Still, high above, Wisconsin lifts her hand,
Defiant.  Forward: hope, her grim command.

Leslie Schmeisser is a Wisconsin native living in Minnesota.  She is a high school English teacher and holds a B.A. in English from Northwestern University and a M.Ed. from the University of Minnesota.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


by David Chorlton

The wolf, having insufficient vocabulary
beyond the calls that leave a trail
of silver in the air, cannot understand
when it is spoken of as being expendable.
The wolf is a social animal

and has no room in its pack for division
between parties. It takes
what it needs but never has anything
left to collect interest. Wolf time

is the present moment; making platforms
or agendas irrelevant. To the wolf,
a kill is never veiled
in political justification. It does not
first deliberate, and afterwards
pretend remorse. A wolf

doesn’t know its range
is disappearing until
there isn’t anywhere to go
when it runs to the end of its breath.
Wolves have not romanticized their freedom,

they just hold on
to as much of it as they can.
It isn’t easy

when politics comes down
to trading them away in a deal
from which nobody
can vote them back to life.

David Chorlton is not happy with the budget deal. He lives and writes in Phoenix, increasingly with the sensation that his poems are distractions, but they huddle together into manuscripts, for instance From the Age of Miracles, which won the Slipstream chapbook contest in 2009.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


by Robert M. Chute

I tried to read the Iliad again.
No use: this veteran is too old, there've been
too many senseless wars since that brutal
exercise in classic pride and ego.
It was not the fabled face that launched those
thousand ships but a cuckold husband pride and
his bloody-minded brother's ego that set
the stage for a petulant teenager to
ease his peeve with slaughter as easily
as Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter.

To glamorize this Trojan war you might
as well pretend battling ten years to turn
Afghanistan to Kansas would have a
noble end and you'd return a hero —
when even Kansas isn't Kansas anymore.

Robert M. Chute's book of poetry based on scientific articles, Reading Nature, is available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


by Bill Costley

Libyan conceits

Paid mercenaries play cards.
People risking death play spades.
People seeking freedom play hearts.
Troops suppressing freedom play clubs.
(The Colonel’s already got the diamonds.)
The suffering People play backgammon.

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.

Monday, April 11, 2011


by Rochelle Owens

For a thousand years the glacier
expanding outward outward from the walls
of a dead artist’s garden in Tuscany―
a hallucination of an obscure poet
living alone in Angola
writing in Portuguese

‘Green the gardens of Tuscany’

the word ‘avore’ tattooed on her forehead
snow forming ice
the glacier expanding  outward outward
moving slowly slowly
lumps of ice tilting twisting
rows of words order of words

‘Green the gardens of Tuscany’

parts of words
the word ‘abandon’ stuck in her throat
lovely the letters like roots
spirals of roots multicellular
slender pliant twigs
lovely the letters like arteries

‘Green the gardens of Tuscany’

interlacing shapes  colors  wind  rivers
blood of her mammalian brain
flowing outward outward
forming pictures of hieroglyphs
a honeycomb  candles  metal  glass
an elephant  gothic script
the mouth of a fish

‘Green the gardens of Tuscany’

leather bound books  crop dusters
the mass of ice moving downward
the glacier  flowing  cresting
sound and meaning breaking break
ing rocks and ice
lovely the letters like the spine
of the aardvark bending

‘Green the gardens of Tuscany’

her mammalian brain
expanding outward outward
forming rows of letters
order of letters
parts of words rushing darting
stinging jellyfish
the debris of words from wind and fire

‘Green the gardens of Tuscany’

solid  liquid and gas
chunks of stone and iron
the letters cooling  gleaming  dimming
the word ‘abandon’ stuck in her throat  
 letters orbiting her head
fusing into words
giant storms of letters spiraling
the glacier expanding outward outward 

Rochelle Owens is the author of twenty books of poetry, plays, and fiction, the most recent of which are Solitary Workwoman(Junction Press, 2011), Journey to Purity (Texture Press, 2009), and Plays by Rochelle Owens (Broadway Play Publishing, 2000). 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 is Rochelle Owens'eighteenth New Verse News poem.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


by Bill Duvall

Jackie Robinson went deep
in the hole between first and second
snapping a dirt strafing scorcher

from the turf barehanded
and threw to first freezing
the Oriole runner halfway to the bag.

I was 9 this was 1946
this was the only time
my father took me anywhere

he was KKK. Montreal went on
to win the Little World Series
from Louisville; words spitooned

slurs of chaw t'baccy
from Kentucky dugout jaws.
Canadians carried Jackie

on their shoulders & chased him
down streets & thru alleys
out of love. The Kentucky dugout

moved to America & slew Acorn, voters
moved to the dugout channel, opened the bag
of XXX flour & found weevils chomping clumps

of Schwerner gobs of Cheney gulping down
Goodman & Liuzzo choking on
Bayard Rustin gagging finally on King & Jackson.

Harriet Tubman falls on top'a ol' ol' boll wevil
in one'a her spells. Rosa Parks does her best
iconoclastin' staying right where she is.

William Still James B. & Peter Still everlasting.

Bill Duvall is a Baltimore native living in Vass, North Carolina. He is a retired Federal employee and holds a BS in Economics and MFA-In-Writing (poetry) from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His poems have appeared in contemporaryamericanvoices, North Carolina Literary Review, Comrades, and other online and paper journals. He belongs to the North Carolina Poetry Society and the Dramatists Guild.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


Certified in psychoanalysis by the American Psychoanalytic Association, Stephen Maurer has practiced and written about psychoanalysis for over 20 years, most recently from a Lacanian perspective. His poems have appeared in Boston Lit. Magazine, Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine, Tiger's Eye, Darkling, Blueprint Review, Desert Voices, Switchback and Deronda Review.  His first chapbook, Side-Effects; Poems of Remedy and Doubt, from Big Table Press, appeared this Fall.

Friday, April 08, 2011


by Ngoma

concentration camps at the ready
the gps was loaded
in the last flu shot
so be careful what you think
your brain's been tapped
your eyeball print too
a golden seal and rose hip dealer
was convicted yesterday
accused of practicing medicine without a license
in futurespeak north of carolina
the buddhist massage therapist tortured
for refusing to pray to jesus
koran burners blood runs deep thru the streets of kabul
the status of religious relationships are complicated
democracy doesn't live here anymore
got deported by homeland security
with the wrong gang colors
but you still think this can't happen
in this yet to be united states
pay attention wisconsin looks like animal farm
the future is now
the memory hole is constipated
with newspeak
causing earthquakes near Tokyo
you don't hear me though
living under the illusion that you're really free
thinking that the matrix is only a movie
fat sam's sold the contract for your liberty
and the white house promises a shut down
by the end of the week
oh say can't you see
the crow on the cradle
the eagle is dying
full of radiation
we made it through 1984
2012 will soon be
knocking at the door
raven squawking
never more

Ngoma is a performance poet, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and paradigm shifter, who for over 40 years has used culture as a tool to raise sociopolitical and spiritual consciousness through work that encourages critical thought.Poetry  published in African Voices Magazine, Long Shot Anthology, The Underwood Review, Signifyin' Harlem Review and 'bum Rush The Page/Def Poetry Jam Anthology& Poems On The Road To Peace and Let Loose On the World: Celebrating Amiri Baraka at 75. He was featured in the PBS Spoken Word Documentary, "The Apro-Poets" with Allen Ginsberg. Ngoma has hosted the slam at the Dr. Martin Luther King Festival of Social and Environmental Justice at Yale University for the past 14 years.  His latest C.D. State of Emergency: The Essential Ngoma is a 2 Disc "best of" compilation available on and iTunes.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


by Lucille Gang Shulklapper

Like the tanned giant of Tea Party fame
With tears awash from coast to coast
Here at our oil-washed shores shall boast
The mighty rich who pay no tax and frame
The old and frail, the sick and poor by name
Parent of Rape and Incest.  In his poker hand
Lies bluff so real; he speaks in tongues to command
the end of EPA, NPR, that civil rights union game.
"Keep trickle down, cut it or shut it"  cries he,
With his cup of tea.  "Give me your gays, your middle class to bash
Your police and firemen picking money from the government's tree
They think they're in Congress with our benefits and cash
Send your teachers, hungry children , and budget cuts to me,
I lift my arms, no rebuts, and fill the land with party trash.

Author of four poetry chapbooks, Lucille Gang Shulklapper’s poems and fiction appear in many literary journals, including this one. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


by Howie Good

Spring had arrived early,
then coffins, each covered

with a soldier’s greatcoat.
The government took flight.

People crossed the street
on their hands and knees

Howie Good is the author of the full-length poetry collections Lovesick (Press Americana, 2009), Heart With a Dirty Windshield (BeWrite Books, 2010), and Everything Reminds Me of Me (Desperanto, 2011).


Tuesday, April 05, 2011


by David Chorlton

The humanitarian bombing has begun.
The peaceful use of nuclear technology
            has resulted in the evacuation
            of two hundred thousand
            people from their homes
while the Forest Service approves permits
            to drill for uranium around the Grand Canyon.
Arizona’s legislature wants a state firearm
            as a reminder of how the West was won
while at opening day for baseball
            the pre-game flyover frightens the opposition
            more than the home team.
The price of an education is rising in proportion
            with the cost of not having one
and the man executed this week
            didn’t have one
            although it would have cost less
            than the million dollar cost of an execution,
but it’s spring
            with the acacia in bloom, all the better
            for those who walk the streets
            until one day they disappear.
Speech has become so free radio call-in shows
            hire scripted callers to ensure
            their argument won’t be argued with
when they say we’ll have accidents drilling
            and clean up the mess
            as easily as breathing life into the dead.
But democracy won’t be held back,
            the humanitarian bombing has begun.

David Chorlton looks forward to the warm months in Arizona and enjoys the bite of the heat when it comes. He lives and writes in Phoenix, increasingly with the sensation that his poems are distractions, but they huddle together into manuscripts, for instance From the Age of Miracles, which won the Slipstream chapbook contest in 2009.

Monday, April 04, 2011


Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote

Trapped in time warped cesspools
Oily motives fueling hapless discontent
Brutal intelligence disservices uncivil warmongers
Sustained by fake Monopoly deeds

Lady Liberty passing rusty torch
Enthusiastic youth energizing revolutionary faith
Corrupt dictators pillaging disowned populace
Antiquated despots prolonging unruly endgame

Fragile emotionally disturbed rebellious cause
Toppling polka dot domino pips
Lionhearted pride peaceful non-violent resistance
Tomorrow’s leaders taking reins today

Reaffirming commitment to sovereign independence
Multiversity trumping wild card double-dealing
Unemployed jobless progressive prospects dependent
Zigzag steps heroic uphill climb

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, The New Verse News, Poetry Cemetery , Poetree Creations and Avant-Garde Times. Published covers and graphics artwork have appeared in Dance to Death, Decanto, Eclipse, Dogzplot Flash Fiction, Poetry Sz and Taj Mahal Review.


Sunday, April 03, 2011


by Laura Rodley

You do not know it
oh people of Japan
but thirty Canadian geese
are holding  the ground in place
here on the other side
of the world, in a field
laying fallow, their feet prickled
with sheared-off corn stalks.
They nestle on the mud
in places where you would
search for your houses,
your friends, your families, their bodies.
These geese chose this mud
here to hold the earth
in place just for you,
their tucking their heads
under their wings
a constant prayer that such destruction
will never happen again.

Laura Rodley’s chapbook Your Left Front Wheel is Coming Loose has been nominated for a PEN New England L.L. Winship Award and a Mass Book Award.

Saturday, April 02, 2011


by Alan Catlin

During the 50’s atomic testing
in the Nevada desert worried
business leaders who felt they
might negatively impact gambling
interests, tourist trade:

all those folks might stay away
who were meant to be sitting by new
in-ground pools with binoculars,
watching the mushroom clouds
spread across the sky, up into
the jet stream, out across the country,
while other visitors lay in the sun
with their reflectors soaking up the rays,
sipping their especially-created-for-
the-occasion, Atomic Cocktails.

In the modern age,
a new Atomic Cocktail is invented
without alcohol or fruit juice by
substituting radioactive fallout
in water for the fancier concoctions,
allow it into the reservoirs and the food chain
making it unsuitable for children and,
most likely, adults to consume, then
evacuate a fifty mile radius area around
melting down reactors for minimal impact;
no need for binoculars or sun screen now,
we’re way beyond that now.

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.

Friday, April 01, 2011


by Stephen Maurer

I'm no Albert Schweitzer,
but I think life sacred,
each in its own form and sphere.
My lawn is weed-free, mowed and edged,
a putting-green background
to foreground a fertile life,
flower beds, home,
wife, children.

An underground army invades.
Trespassers in the darkness below,
the moles of spring came in nocturnal silence.
Their velvet blindness scavenged,
groping the roots of young nubile plants.
I saw pansies wilt, shrubs fade,
my lawn spotted
by the defiant squalor of mounds,
My wife thought them good for the soil.

I tried nudging them into the next yard,
chemicals to offend, vibrating stakes to frighten.
To no avail.
They were like neighbors
whose spreading trash shames an entire street.
I could hold back no longer.
The rules of engagement shifted:
their lives or my reputation.

I ran an exhaust into tunnels,
spooned poison into caverns,
buried jaw traps along subterranean runways.
There were casualties, but the body count
didn't keep pace with new mounds.
I stomped them flat.

My son unearths a buried boulder,
revealing a den of three frail,
squirming newborn moles.
A gift from god!
His vengeance would take them before they bred.
Blinded by the light of my wrath,
they would not find safety.

Reflexively, my enraged shovel blade dives,
severing whole bodies into bloody fractions.
Startled, my son stares at me, unbelieving,
like the six vacant eyes in the tiny heads.
He stays on his knees, paralyzed,
as if Abraham had murdered Isaac.

What god demanded this sacrifice?
The implacable veneer of the garden
accuses me, my guilt expands,
my explanation soundless.

Certified in psychoanalysis by the American Psychoanalytic Association, Stephen Maurer has practiced and written about psychoanalysis for over 20 years, most recently from a Lacanian perspective. His poems have appeared in Boston Lit. Magazine, Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine, Tiger's Eye, Darkling, Blueprint Review, Desert Voices, Switchback and Deronda Review.  His first chapbook, Side-Effects; Poems of Remedy and Doubt, from Big Table Press, appeared this Fall.