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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT MELTING GLACIERS

by John Paul Calavitta


floating face up on the sea of this poem

in the house of sleep a bear swimming away
with an axe stuck in it

you can restore melted snow


John Paul Calavitta received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Washington , Seattle , where he is currently finishing his PhD in Eco-criticism.
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Monday, May 30, 2011

MEMORIAL DAY

by James Gage


Hanging clothes, Memorial Day.
Three hours since the procession
threaded through the depot
and now the summer screams
from the Little League field behind Blue Market.
Billy plays the line behind third base,
and I can hear his own hoarse mantra apart from the rest:
HeyyyybatterbatterbatterSwwing!
His hands are fast like mine,
and when he throws to first
his wristbands flash like battle flags.

When I finish pinning his clothes,
I’ll stand at the sidelines with other parents,
some cooler-fed, some quiet. Black flies
will be biting, but no mosquitoes--not yet.

At the parade this morning I couldn’t answer
Billy’s questions about combat. Instead I lied
about the beauty of medals and marching in formation,
about differences between places but not between people.
How to explain that tools become weapons, that fear becomes hate?
How to explain that I don’t know why, that I will die not knowing.

Billy showers after the game, then calls his mother.
Propped on the couch with a magazine open
I listen for a voice I can’t understand
although I still try.
Every few minutes I flip a new page
to let Billy believe I’m just reading.


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.
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

FRAME GAME: THE STRANGE LOGIC OF AMERICAN POLITICS

by Jon Wesick


Bailout, bailout, bo-ale out
Banana-fana, too big to fail out
Fee-fi-mo- mail out
Bailout!

Crack down, smack down. Don’t back down!
Banana-fana, fo-fact down
Fee-fi-mo- mack down
Crack down!

Congress, Congress, bo-bongress
Lobby, lobby, bo-bobby
Fee-fi-mo-mobby
Lobby!

Spin it, spin it, bo-bin it
Banana fana, fo-fin it
Fee-fi-mo-minute
Spin it!

Consumer, consumer, bo-boomer
Protection, protection, bo-brection
Banana-fana-fo-frection
Fee-fi-mo-rection
Deception!

Taxes, taxes, bo-baxes
Banana-fana, fo-faxes
Fee-fi-mo
Maxes taxes!

Crack down, smack dow, bo-back down!
Banana-fana, fo-fact down
Fee-fi-mo- mack down
Back down!

Winner, winner, who’s the winner
Bankers, bankers, bo-ankers
Banana-fana-fo-fankers
Fee-fi-mo-minner
The bankers are the winners!


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.
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

WAKE & RISE!

by Bill Costley


Packing up their kit-bags of invisible tools, 

Patriotic Actors have renewed their vows
to pursue terrorists of all stripes, bands,

colors & color-combinations. Libertarian
Rand Paul (R-KY) & the ACLU object,
among others, making political bedfellows
of strict-constitutional insomniacs. Or is
everybody else comatose? Wake & Rise!


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.
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Friday, May 27, 2011

TECHNOTOPIA

by Howie Good


It’s no longer 4 a.m.
Our children
cross the street
without waking.
The song sparrow
remains silent
and well hidden.
Hearts designed
for another purpose
pump darkness
into the air.


Howie Good
's latest chapbook is Threatening Weather from Whale Sounds.
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

AN AFRICAN REFUGEE

by Bill Costley

A barrel, a box, a basket, a bag.
What will to take to carry all
of my belongings? I need help.
to carry just the containers.
How far am I taking them?


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.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

SECRET POLLING PLACES

by Martha Deed


It is the morning of the special election in the 26th district
the world is holding its breath
the robo calls declare its importance
and no notice of polling places its secrecy

odd to feel so important in this backwater
of rust-belt cities and rain-drenched fields
unfit for plowing – a pair of catbirds hop
under the elderberry bush and sing stolen songs

the e-bird count may be off as well
House Wrens singing or Catbird mimics?
so now we will restrict ourselves
to what we see, not what we hear

the republican in this house informs the survey taker
he is an independent – he is not
he is merely shamed by his party
his vote no secret in this house

no secret to survey-takers
no secret to his friends and family
his embarrassment equal to his rage
he will find the secret polling place – and vote


Editor's Note: Democrats are claiming victory in New York's 26th District special election.

Martha Deed lives in the 26th district in North Tonawanda, NY.  Recent publications include The November 2010 ProjectThe Lost Shoe (Naissance) and City Bird: Selected Poems (1991-2009) by Millie Niss, edited by Martha Deed. She has previously published at The New Verse News.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A LAST

by Daniel Wilcox



Alas, grieving sorrow, tribulating
Don’t ask from where—
Yes, Shenandoah; “Across the Wide Missouri”



Welted eyes, shadowed tears,
Wind-cuffed face with ‘fulled’ lashings

Of more less and less,
Wiping away
With wept wetness
In a downward swirling wet sweep,
The torn sky in
A multiple series of weeping losses



The fall of all welling reveries
In the wreck--aging.



How long, how many tomorrow’s tomorrow
This a las—ting loss lostness?


Daniel Wilcox ages. His writing has appeared in many magazines including The Danforth Review, Counterexample Poetics, The Recusant, The Copperfield Review, Word Riot, P.S.H., and The Write Room. His first book of poetry, Dark Energy, was published by Diminuendo Press. Before that he hiked through Cal State University Long Beach (Creative Writing), Montana, Europe, Palestine/Israel, worked in a mental institution, and taught literature to teenagers. He lives with his wife on the central coast of California.
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Monday, May 23, 2011

ON TAKING DOWN MY FACEBOOK PAGE

by Lynnie Gobeille
 

after reading Sherman Alexie's “The Facebook Sonnet,”
The New Yorker, May 16, 2011, p. 81.
Sometimes
 facebook
was a blessing.
Sometimes
i felt "as if"
i was back in 7th grade,
seated on a metal chair....
during
"social dancing lessons"
sweating,
waiting
praying
to be picked
to dance
before
the teacher
could / would
pair me up
with the
OTHER
fat girl
in my class.


Lynnie Gobeille has published in The Sow's Ear Review, Crone’s Nest, The Avatar, The Prairie Home Companion, This I Believe (NPR), New Verse News, The Providence Journal (Poetic License) and The Naugatuck River Review.  Editor of The Providence Journal Poetry Corner (South County Edition), her essays can be heard on NPR public radio. She is the co-founder of The Origami Poems Project, a state wide “free poetry event” based in Rhode Island. Her “micro chapbooks” can be found on their website: www.origamipoems.com.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

AFTER THE RAPTURE

by Elizabeth Kerlikowske


Blue soldiers on small aircraft that turned into snowmobiles dropped from the sky in triangular formation. Silver cross-bows on their backs and peaked hats. Not good. They supervised the hundreds of us women now working in the fields. Hourly a blue soldier marched another man through on his way to, we didn’t know. It was not good for the men because where their faces should be, there was nothing but a big hole, a tunnel three inches in diameter running through their bodies. Breath hole. Food hole. Shit hole. As if they were worms marching. Hard to say how, but I could tell the man just passing had learned to see. Since he could see, it wouldn’t be too long before he would  learn to talk. I followed him.


Elizabeth Kerlikowske drives to teach and listens to NPR.
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

THE DAY BEFORE JUDGMENT DAY

by Wayne Scheer


I'm not saying I believe the folks who claim the world will end
May 21, 2011,
But I'm not waiting until tomorrow to write this poem.

My prophet is Woody Allen.
He said he doesn't believe in the afterlife,
But he's packing a change of underwear
Just in case.

So what's supposed to happen tomorrow?

If I'm properly repentant
I go to Never Never Land
Where I attend a meet-and greet with
God Almighty;
Otherwise,
I spend eternity repeating, "Hot enough for ya" to
Hitler and bin Laden.

But one of the believers,
Who claims he's absolutely certain of the date,
Also says if he's still here on May 22,
"That means I wasn't saved."

Hey, no fair hedging your bet.
It's Heaven or Hell, buster.

But wait.  Hedging your bet
Is what Woody Allen believes.
And I believe in Woody.

So I'm going to stop writing silly poems
And do my laundry.


Wayne Scheer has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net.
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Friday, May 20, 2011

FEAR IS A FUNNY THING

by Rob Spiegel


We turn to you now, Obama, more.
Something fraying in the thread, the fiber
popping in the tension, You were trying

to answer a question about Sarah Palin.
The threads of the cloth tearing. It’s
awful hot this month. The concrete hurts.

Fear is a funny thing. It starts with
a lost job and builds when the water
goes bad. Mr. President, allow yourself

a moment or two to test the ground
where we live and breathe and have our
lives. Something larger than an enemy.

Because you can see, because you can speak,
we turn to you with our thin and lonesome hope.


Rob Spiegel is a strong Obama supporter who is waiting patiently for the president to address environmental challenges. Meanwhile, Spiegel is getting poems, fiction and drama placed in numerous non-paper pubs.
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THE MOMENT ECHO SAW

after Ted Hughes after Ovid

The moment Echo saw
Buff’s poem below me here
she fell
in love
with verse
or endless war
unaware that like a reflux
it could burn
or that she would be cut down
with the barb of a delete button.


Editor's Note: We apologize for the gremlin that thrice repeated the text of “America Now” until author Buff Whitman-Bradley alerted us at the same time as reader Clint Darch cleverly commented to us that at The New Verse News “History repeats itself.”
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

AMERICA NOW

by


A man walks out of his house and greets the surveillance cameras
But wait! He has forgotten his autographed copy of Leaves of Grass
He turns to go back inside and discovers
That his home is no longer there

Neighbors grow suspicious and call Homeland Security
Who surround him and demand to know his whereabouts forever
And the locations of all ticking time bombs
But he invokes his right to invoke his rights

Interrogators beat him to a pulp
And place him in custody for further consideration
As joblessness and foreclosures keep rising
He is rendered to Uzbekistan to atone for everything

Apocalyptic drones fill the sky over Afghanistan
As video jockeys in Las Vegas hunt for wedding parties
Children scatter willy-nilly all over the ground like crazed beetles
And explode cinematically in slow motion when bombed

The President goes on television to declare endless war
The holiness of The Cause the futility of resistance
While Walt Whitman’s shade wanders lost in America
And does not hear America singing


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.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

UNJUST BECAUSE

Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote


On other side of stonewall
Chipped mortar poison sumac cracks
Envisioning what it must be
Like to live without within

Never passive always active empathy
Passionately longing to tip imbalance
Curious about life beyond barricades
Barbed willpower bare survival existence

Barred entry mindsets slammed shut
Yearning to believe in something
Which reshapes prolonged struggle’s purpose
Besides pain suffering despair loss

Crusty loaves vinegary wine miracles
Leavened dough refuses to rise
Lonesome doves spoon-fed leftover crumbs
Scavenger pigeons grounded wingtips clipped

Shriveled sour grapes sun-dried sultanas
Bittersweet revenge scapegoat milk homogenized
Besieged soil stubble olive pits
Muddy hut roof caved in

Blessed depressed nothing to celebrate
Birthday candle wishes snuffed out
Pesky ointment flies hovering swat
Bottleneck terrorist label coming unglued


No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote together comprise PoeArtry. Flutter Press has just published Charles’ new chapbook fanTHAIsies.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

IT CAN'T BE TRUE (THE CANADIAN HARP SEAL HUNT)

by Alice Bruckenstein



It can't be true
that fields of shimmering ice in spring
explode with life so tender and innocent that silence is its only prayer

I can't be true
that cold and remote as heaven
but unprotected here on Earth
a soulless paradise is streaked in blood
as if from open faults

It can't be true
that trusting eyes
are distorted with pain and disbelief
in spirits too new to crawl or swim away

It can't be true
that skulls are bludgeoned
eye sockets hooked
and skins are ripped like sheaves from writhing bodies
choking with blood
in the morning sun

It can't be true
they have to die
in agony

But it is true


Alice Bruckenstein’s articles have appeared on the websites of various animal rights organizations, including The Wild for Life Foundation, Compassionate Animal TV and Animal Liberation Front, as well as in the online newsletter Dissident Voice.  She also wrote the words and music for "Song for Canada’s Harp Seals" (accessible as Censored Seal Song Reloaded), which can be heard above and on YouTube.
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Monday, May 16, 2011

FLORIDA HOUSE PASSES SIX ANTI-ABORTION BILLS

by Lucille Gang Shulklapper


Tears of rage and sorrow,
of blackened bile,
 of opalescent grief,

fall

from blinded Justice’s eyes,
 her scales tip,
 she can’t balance them.

 Blinded by political
and religious zealots,
with no respect
for her life,
 or the rule of law,

Justice thinks she
still has choice,
to  use her sword
like knitting needles,

or

drop her scales,
the weight of birth
too heavy to bear.


Lucille Gang Shulklapper has published poems and stories in many journals as well as in four poetry chapbooks, the most recent titled In the Tunnel. She has also modeled, sold realty, made recordings for the blind, taught reading from k-college, and led workshops for the Florida Center for the Book and workshops facilitated through the Palm Beach Poetry Festival. Presently, she tutors third graders in reading as a senior volunteer, and lives with her husband, a retired pediatrician, and a rescued cat named Zoe.
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Sunday, May 15, 2011

THE OLD MAN WITH THE REMOTE WATCHES HIMSELF

by Steve Hellyard Swartz


Hard to tell if it's a DVD or a VHS
OBL kept his cards pretty close to his chest
A blanket to drape his festering scorn
Unable to sleep, he downloaded porn
The President says we don't need to see the videos
But I'd sure like to know what the CIA knows
Was OBL into straight, bi, or gay?
Or was he, like so many baby boomers, more into a buffet?
On 9/10/01 they say Mohammed Atta
Cruised the Miracel Mile and ate a fritatta
A Wal-Mart security cam shows him wearing a Polo shirt with a little red stain
For some weird reason that's stuck in my brain
I know that The Brothers were instructed that once in the US to keep it real
But that little stain means Atta ate his meal
And if he ate his meal, before going back to his room at The Budget Inn to shave
himself from his chin to his toe
Then on 9/10/01 Atta was still kind of human, at least partly so
My point being:
If Atta went to a Pizza Hut in Maine and ate a final meal
And if Bin Laden watched Jenna Jameson kneel and do her deal
Then what the hell does it all mean?
Could it be possible that we're all killing human beings?


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.
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

THE POSSIBILITY OF AIR SUPPORT

by Rick Marlatt


Good afternoon from the fortunate winter.
It’s 8 degrees, & I grill brats in the snow.
The meat shakes as it sizzles, the cheese cries
for more heat. I know nothing of suffering.
The snow falls in heaps. It’s like nasty children
who want to hurt each other. How can they know
cruelty you ask. We only know what we’re taught.
A goose barks at me from some misguided altitude.
In Libya fists are forming to the tune of a silent ocean.
I reach through the radio to latch onto their hands.
I can feel their armaments. The accountants flash
their calculators. An engineer jabs his penknife.
Math teachers hum while they sharpen meter sticks.
Once for running the halls, a teacher yelled rebel.
This thought makes my stomach hurt.
When I was young I was scared of dogs, belts,
a particularly mysterious dream lion, & Freddy.
These kids are memorizing their futures in smoke.
I want to build them each a teddy bear, colorless,
out of the earth’s grimiest greatest stuff. Arm
them with two slingshots molten with marrow,
one for their aim & snap, one for their bear.
I’d jam the loot inside my backpack.
I’d call the goose down from his white walkabout.
I’d strap him up with instructions for the mission.
In flight he sees the world unfasten in shades.
He feels direction bop inside his veins,
instinctual rhythm, cadence & candor,
a feral wind whipping him toward the fire.


Rick Marlatt holds two degrees from the University of Nebraska, as well as a MFA from the University of California, Riverside, where he served as poetry editor of The Coachella Review. Marlatt's first book, How We Fall Apart, was the winner of the 2010 Seven Circle Press poetry chapbook award. His most recent work appears in New York Quarterly, Rattle, and Anti. Marlatt writes poetry reviews for Coldfront Magazine, and he teaches English in Nebraska, where he lives with his wife and two sons.
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Thursday, May 12, 2011

MODERN MYTHOLOGY

by David Feela


    Only three twists left
in this labyrinth
    of a line inching forward

like an intestine,
    then I’ll reach the spot
where Homeland Security

    calls me forward to ask
if i have anything to declare
    and I’ll say yes,

I declare this line to be
    a mockery of what
our soldiers died for,

    this uniformed demigod
with a magic wand
    detecting our fears;

I declare there is vigilance
    more fatal than death,
searches and seizures

    of most improbable cause,
and I declare categorically
    unquestionable authority

is the terrorist we seek
    in the shape of a Hydra,
a writhing cold-blooded

    protocol not even Hercules
could have vanquished
    without a sharp object.


David Feela's work has appeared in hundreds of regional and national publications. His first full length poetry book, The Home Atlas, is now available.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

AT THE KING'S TOMB DURING FLOOD TIME

by Earl J. Wilcox



Friends and family stand at the ready
on the front lawn of gaudy Graceland---
Priscilla, Lisa Marie, four grandchildren,
Carl Perkins (his blue suede shoes damp
from a leak in his water pistol), Michael
Jackson, Nicholas Cage, while a southern
gospel quartet sings Shall We Gather
at the River?


Faithful guards with water pistols stand
at the ready on the mansion’s front lawn,
gawk at tourists who snap photos of the
Mississippi River at flood tide, file past
the King’s tomb, his home forever flooded
by gold, silver, and platinum LPs plus
green shag carpet on the floors and walls.


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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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

HORISHI

by Rochelle Owens  


Desiring  e u p h o r  i a
envying Van Gogh  the tattoo artist
begins carving sunflowers

a layer of  s k i n  the  s k i n
the  c a n v a s
absorbing sunlight

s p a c i n g  the petals
each puncture the molten eyeballs
thumbs and fingers of Van Gogh

marking the  s k I n
inserting the pigment 
 the  s k i n  the  c a n v a s

absorbing sunlight
each leaf touches of yellow
dabs of white and green

a single rapid stroke

ravenous the flesh  the  c a n v a s
near the armpits
among the petals of flowers

a bright blue halo
leaves of beaten gold from the sun’s core
the mystical signature of Van Gogh

hidden inside of the thighs
of the samurai warrior
occult words  energy of the Logos

from ink to blood
the thorns piercing  the  s k i n
the  c a n v a s  absorbing sunlight

the sound needles make  the  waves
the waves and wind


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' nineteenth New Verse News poem.
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Monday, May 09, 2011

ANGLERFISH

by Marie-Elizabeth Mali


What if we women were anglerfish, our lures
springing from our foreheads, an irresistible
lighthouse of hunger, our giant-toothed jaws
so unhinged we could swallow prey twice our size?
What if our men were small, unable to feed
on their own, equipped with little more
than a powerful nose with which to find us,
starving to death if they don’t? When they find us
and bite into our sides, what if they were
to dissolve like angler males, becoming
an ever-ready portable sperm factory
hanging off us, of which we might carry six?
No more forest of barstools to hack through
on a Friday night, hoping to meet a kind
baboon in a clearing. No more detention
at the checkpoint for no good reason, no more
booze poured in our eyes, nose, mouth, vagina,
no more army boots to the head, no more
gun-barrel rapes, no more running naked
down the street begging for help from people
who blame us for our blood-streaked thighs.


Marie-Elizabeth Mali is the author of Steady, My Gaze (Tebot Bach, 2011) and serves as co-curator for louderARTS: the Reading Series and the Page Meets Stage reading series, both in New York City. Her work has appeared in Calyx, Poet Lore, and RATTLE, among others.

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

THE BODYBAG

by Abby Tiffany

A Found Poem
based on the essay, “The Hardest Letter to Write” by Parker Gyokeres,
from Operation Homecoming, an anthology edited by Andrew Carroll.

Somewhere I left myself behind.
Where am I?
Who am I?
I want that part of me to return.
A husk is all that is left of me, infected inside.
Leaving behind family;
Leaving behind beautiful, loving memories.
I am not a person, but a stump.
A casualty of memory lost.
“You will forget your family” I was told.
And I did.
There is a brutal terror in my world
when the street is full of people passing by,
do I know them?
I was a fun loving person, I am told.
I think that person left and never came back. 


Author’s Note: The original piece “The Hardest Letter to Write” is a soldier’s reflection of his time spent in Iraq. The letter is a series of recollections of his relationships with others. He encounters bravery, faith, and emotional lobotomization through the lens of living and working with other soldiers and civilians. His story is very real, as are the deeper struggles he and those he detailed have to face: the danger of the unknown, the distress of being away from home, the personality changes that can make you a stranger to those who know you. These echoed to me of the struggles that men and women living with Alzheimer’s face every day. These men and women have lost their home in a very real sense, and in moments of lucidity are able to understand how very much that is. This found poem was written for these men and women.


Currently a fourth year student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Abby Tiffany wrote this Found Poem as an assignment for her Garbage Archaeology class.
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Saturday, May 07, 2011

QUAKERS SIT IN MEETING AT TEXTRON

by Marian Kaplun Shapiro

Wilmington, Mass., Jan. 17, 2010

                   Ten:
                       Seven men.
              Three women.
                  Twelve chairs, two
                  waiting for someones yet
                  uncome. You, perhaps. And you.
                  Cluster bombs don’t explode
here in Wilmington where
you live, where, it turns out,
cluster bombs are made. Who
would have thought it! Bombs
on Lowell Street. Bombs in
                  your neighborhood!  Here sit
                  an ordinary-looking bunch
of people, they might be your parents,
or the FedEx man, or
the waitress at the diner, or
the gym teacher at the middle
school. Here they sit. Their homemade
signs lean like bystanders,
against a leafless tree. Their feet
grounded on frozen dirty snow,
they sit on folding lawn chairs,
heads bowed, eyes closed
in prayer, shrugged in ear-lapped hats/
                  coats/mittens/socks/wool-
                  lined boots/scarves/blankets.
                  One hour, silent.  When
                  you walk/drive past this human
circle you’re not worrying
                  about the ied’s your jeep
                  might meet. Your kids are home, safe
                  in the back yard,  rolling out
a snowman, poking each other,
laughing nervously because
they’ve dared to go ahead and pinch
one of your best rep ties
to knot around  its neck. Your wife
is checking out the on-line after-
Christmas sales. You think, What
makes these people sit here on
a Sunday morning? What do they want?
                  Nothing more than this,  they’d say.
                  You saw us sitting, and you read
the signs. You saw the empty chairs.

                  You made our day.


Marian Kaplun Shapiro is the author of a professional book, Second Childhood (Norton, 1988),  a poetry book, Players In The Dream, Dreamers In The Play (Plain View Press, 2007) and  two chapbooks: Your Third Wish (Finishing Line, 2007) and The End Of The World, Announced On Wednesday (Pudding House, 2007). As a Quaker and a psychologist, her poetry often addresses the embedded topics of peace and violence, often by addressing one within the context of the other. A resident of Lexington, she was named Senior Poet Laureate of Massachusetts in 2006, in 2008, and in 2010. 
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Friday, May 06, 2011

SAUDI ARABIA

by Stephen Lefebure


Sand is called to prayer, and makes ablution
As it must, with dirt, with hands like hair.
Passing through all windows, doors and shutters
Sand considers water a pollution,
Sky a road, the wind a thobe to wear –
Sand is one long trachea which utters
Cries: its inarticulate locution
Summons everything into the air.
Most effective when its message stutters,
Sand disperses with no diminution.
On its blackened knees, sand bends to prayer,
Throws its forehead to the Earth, and mutters.


Poetry by Stephen Lefebure appears in print periodicals and on websites of varying combinations of respectability and coolness. It might also be found between the pages of volumes in the secret lending libraries of Arabia, on the lotus leaves at the base of the pillar of Ashok in Nepal.  One anthology called Wild Song presents it along with poetry by much more famous people.
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Thursday, May 05, 2011

A TEST OF THE GREAT MAN THEORY OF HISTORY

by Romie Stott


In two years we've fought pirates, fixed colleges
brought women where there should be women
brought doctors where there should be doctors
kickstarted three flailing industries
and capped a hole at the bottom of the sea.

It would take at least five issues of Superman to get so much done
and he had but one Lex Luthor
(I wish Donald Trump would shave his hair)

Our Good president, our shining-man hero president,
he says we've done this together
but I don't pay much in taxes
I mostly play solitaire on my computer
and drive politely in traffic, which is good
but not Good - not Nobel peace prize.
Not save the Libyans.

No, I think it's him more than me, or we,
or socio-economic tides, which are pointing the other direction.
Maybe he wasn't born in Hawaii like he says
but on a planet with a dying sun, many miles away.


Romie Stott has worked as an editor with Reflection's Edge and Drollerie Press. Her poems have been published by Strange Horizons, Jerseyworks, and Black Words on White Paper. She is a professional narrative filmmaker whose work has been commissioned by the National Gallery, London and the Dallas Museum of Art.
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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

LONE SNAKE

by Susan Supley

Bin Laden is dead
His spawn live on,
Exult at the rejoicing,
Where lies victory?


Susan Supley lives in Florida, and is retired. Not having to work for a living, she is therefore able to live as a poet. Her work has been seen in The Healing Muse, The New Verse News, Secret Garden Newsletter and her blog, aturtlespeaks.
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GOD’S A CHRISTIAN

by Bill Costley


(CBS) The Evening News interviews
Americans who’d lost family members
in Manhattan on 9-1l. Among people
seeking resolution, a grey-haired

man in a brown suit testifies
what he feels about Osama’s
killing: he’s glad because
“I’m a Christian; God’s a Christian.”

driving the day further backwards.


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.
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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

ON THE DEATH OF OSAMA BIN LADEN

by John Paul Davis
- after Alan Gillis

I want this magic to be true:
After the madman’s body falls
the soldiers who shot him
sneak backward through night
to their helicopters,
which corkscrew tail-first
to waiting aircraft carriers,
where they’re swallowed
down into the briefing rooms
where the mission papers
are tucked primly into top-secret
envelopes. All over the Middle East
this is happening, history’s
most powerful army
loses ten years of sunburn
& PTSD, crates up the fighter
drones, disassembles their machine
guns, backs the tanks onto behemoth
airplanes waiting to snap
back halfway around the globe
where the shining arms
of landing strips wait
to cradle each solider
easing down the ramp,
where tears climb the faces
of spouses waiting in cars
to ferry them to bed
where they make love
like it will never happen
again. The world’s most ancient
and beautiful cities rise
from rubble as the wrath & flame
is slurped back into missile payloads.
Somewhere in Washington DC
your can hear the static
sound of the President’s signature
peeling itself off the Patriot Act
& spiraling back into a pen.
Everywhere police unfrisk
Muslim men & women
as if patting dignity
back onto their no-longer
contentious bodies. FBI wires
shuck themselves from telephones
& shrink away like lost
erections. The rhetoric of talk radio
hosts grows less & less racist
& crazy. An army of volunteers
& heroes rise from their sickbeds,
exhaling toxins & dust
that rides every wind
back to the gleaming beacon
city poking out into the Atlantic
where ruins climb themselves
toward heaven, fusing
back together, smoke & soot
resolving to steel & stone
until people from all over the city
eagerly pour into them, some so desperate
they fly feet-first up dozens
of stories in through windows,
followed by the fairy dust
of glass shards that jigsaw
back into windows behind
them. They land on their feet,
run back to their desks
as the towers spit out
first one airplane,
then another, coughing
deep & loud as God.
The planes race
each other back to Boston,
where nineteen men
grow less certain & foolish,
put away their box-cutters,
forget everything they learned
in a Florida flight school,
go back to their homelands
where they back away
from rich men in limousines
with their diabolical
offers & serpent-twisting
of scripture. They back
away & away, out
of the sorrow of centuries-old
conflict & in under
the blessed doorframes
of their families’ houses,
where their mothers
embrace them
as if for the very last time.


John Paul Davis’s poems have been published in print and online journals such as RATTLE, The Columbia Poetry Review, WordRiot, Apparatus, The Cordite Poetry Review. He was a 2009-2010 writer in residence with Vox Ferus. He is editor and designer of Bestiary Magazine.
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THE DEATHERS

by Earl J. Wilcox


We will not believe Ben Laden is dead until we see the Death Certificate. The DNA is faked; he was obviously a clone, a Ben Laden Look-Alike.

Show us pictures of the person whom Obama claims is the assassinated Osama Ben Laden. We demand his finger prints be proven.

Show us the body. It could not have been buried at sea as there is no water near the compound where he was allegedly killed.

Better yet, put his body on display for all to see. The so-called American Seals are not even in Pakistan. They could not have killed Osama.

America obviously blew up one of its own helicopters to make this story look good.

Obama is playing one of his early Trump cards to win the next election.

Show us the body.


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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MARTYRDOM WITHHELD

Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote


Helicopter blades uncover gauzy haze
Silver linings chewed to bits
As chopper descends wither fades
Fallen blossoms turned into seedpods

Inner circle disconnects forbidden entry
Vultures hover round cornered myth-takes
Impenetrable mystery threadbare homespun Fate
Heretical disbelief in spite of

Gray matter-of-fact shades of black
Pearls onyx diamonds lapis lazuli
Sapphire horizon scrubbed squeaky clean
Flawless gemstone imperfections declared fake

Iconic gold-plated vigil lamp oil
Spilt exhausting crumbly wick trust
Candlewax meltdown both ends lit
Turvy-topsy upended hourglass flipped over

Double-faced mirror sleeps through alarm
Reverse side image time warped
Day of reckoning sticky tarpit
Peacock tailfeathers molten spinal tap

Weathered brow unblinking stare down
Crow’s feet necromancy rear-view blocked
Relentless silence pinhole of light
Focus listing things to undo


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, May 02, 2011

THE DAFFODILS' LAMENT

by Kathryn Ridall


the daffodils now appear,
     strewn across
          our spring yard

winter has been
      a hazardous affair

the only birdsong
      the hoarse rasp of crows

for months I have scrawled
     on crumbling pages
with elusive script

now spring opens her yellow doors,
     I want for a moment
          to forget

how earth’s crust heaved,
      cities rattling
 like bags of bones

how the sea rose
     and a proud people
          was submerged
   
then poisoned by fuel
       meant to aid

now is the time
      of spring’s awaited
           redemption—

a dollop of sunlight,
the flowers with bright
     lamenting faces


Kathryn Ridall is a poet from Eugene, Oregon. She is the author of the chapbook, The Way of Stones, and editor of the poetry anthology. When the Muse Calls: Poems for the Creative Life.
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Sunday, May 01, 2011

PHOEBE SNOW July 12, 1950 – April 26, 2011


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