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Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at]gmail.com.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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A HURRICANE APPROACHES

by  Terry S. Johnson                                                                                              


Flashlights, matches, candles, canned foods.
Camping stoves cleaned and filled.  Porch
furniture stored.  Taped windows framing
new points of reference.  I am not alone.
Millions are waiting.  Many with beer.
Others with books, board games.  At first,
a party feeling, routine suspended.
Then memory encroaches with the rains.
Worrying that when my concert begins
my fingers will not remember the difficult
passage in the last movement of the Bach,
the keyboard slippery with sweat.  Praying
my infant son’s fever will break, bathing
him in tepid water, on my knees sobbing.
Longing for the biopsy results.  Negative.
My mother waiting months to hear if her
husband survived his bailout over enemy
lines.  My father roasting potatoes all night
in a cabin, snow and Germans swirling
around bare cliffs.  The winds pick up. Trees
like modern dancers sway in finale or collapse.
Like those caught in the exuberance of nature
who run out towards the waves.  Or the men
who take up their old rifles, bullets scarce and
join the rebels, fueled by decades of repression.
Their women and children huddled in bombed out
buildings, wondering when the storms will end.


Terry S. Johnson explored careers as a newspaper advertising clerk, a library reference assistant and a professional harpsichordist before serving as a public school elementary teacher for over twenty-five years.  She recently earned her M.F.A. in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.  Her work has appeared in The Peregrine, The Berkshire Reivew, The Women's Times and The New Verse News.
_____________________________________________________

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BACK TO SCHOOL IN AMERICA

by David Feela


By now a number two shaded dusk
has settled across California.

Redwoods leaning toward the ocean
cast immense shadows
like a million Ticonderoga pencils

assigned an hour of homework
after a listless summer vacation.

On the east coast it’s already
too late to get started,
good intentions fast asleep,

lulled by a melodious surf 
as it erases every shoreline.


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. A book of essays, How Delicate These Arches: Footnotes From the Four Corners will be available this fall from Raven's Eye Press.
__________________________________________

Monday, August 29, 2011

POLI SCI 101

by Stephanie K. Merrill


You know those dudes--the same two hundred men--
Wall Street dealmakers elegantly wasted,
climbing New York towers, landing hotel rooms with pagoda mirrors.
They play fetch but never scrabble;
the most important games are not their problems.

For the rest of us now it's time to worry--
the school cafeteria has more intelligence than the classroom.
Flint glass patterns freeform on churlish green walls
while outside looters fist through trees whose branches
have been trembling for years warning of a foie gras crisis.

There had never been a goose bearing golden eggs--
just celebrity look-alikes speaking Lady Gaga lingo.


Stephanie K. Merrill lives in Chicago; she teaches English literature and writing to high school students.
_____________________________________________________

Sunday, August 28, 2011

ANIMUS

by Charles Frederickson


I have had stones thrown
At me by preschool toddlers
Fearful hate weaned insults hurled
Spitfire jagged rock covered snowballs

I mercifully forgave innocent guilt
Childhood on hold untold resentment
Turning blurry redeye otherwise cheek
Pockmarked outward dimples pushed inward

I have witnessed inhumane cruelty
Intolerable bullyrag abuse of powerlessness
Contaminated yogurt scummy layer rises
Churning better bitter batter butter

I have heard silent echoes
Reverberating harmony once dissonance removed
Bell clinger-clangers unlashed tongues twisted
Malice driven screws bent straight

I have kept time waiting
Stopwatch secondhand righting uncivil wrongs
Standstill moments midnight high noon
Becoming hours days years forevermore

I have unwisely grown old
Wilted downfall overturning new leaf
Bestowing future blossoming buds legacy
Seductively open to nurtured hope


No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson is one half of PoeArtry. Flutter Press has just published Charles’ new chapbook fanTHAIsies.
___________________________________________

Friday, August 26, 2011

CITIZEN

by Charlie Mehrhoff


Citizen.
American.
The war,

don't say
it hasn't come here,

I read nothing else
upon your face.



Charlie Mehrhoff has sent out little work in the past decade but has occasionally offered some words to The New Verse News.
________________________________________

Thursday, August 25, 2011

SASSOON 1916

by Bradley McIlwain


You said once that
war wouldn't affect

your writing the way
it would your guns –

but there was never
sublime in slaughter,

or the cry of friends.
Kipling didn't warn

you in all his former
glory, or those rich

recessionals that
sent brave men to

death. You bled like
Stewart and McCrae,

letting gore fill your
heavy pen.



Bradley McIlwain is a Canadian-based writer and poet who lives and works in rural Ontario. His poems have been published in national and international print and online magazines. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, Honours, from Trent University, with a major in English Literature. His first book of poems, Fracture, is now available.
_____________________________________________________

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

CRUEL RULES

by Bill Costley


In the coming Time of Resolve
cruel rules will run the world:
Only the least expensive get paid.
Only the most efficient survive.
Only the most productive prevail.
Cruel rules will permit us to survive
in this starkly inhumane world.
We will not be asked to believe;
we will only be told to behave.


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.
_____________________________________________________

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DAIRY FARMING

by Laura Rodley


A back is worth a million dollars;
is a herd worth a back,
milking for 60 years,
holding the hand of time?
Who drinks this cup of milk,
who bakes bread with its moisture?
All of you, all of you.

Soon the price will be too
high to afford, one back
two backs, the herd
salvaged, but not the backs,
the herd sold, the hand
of time let go.  


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.
_____________________________________________________

GREEN SQUARED

by James Schwartz


Libya spills across green squares.
Democracy flickers in oily nights.
The country is falling.
Into,
A sunrise lighting,
Infidels and possible vistas.


James Schwartz is a poet and slam performer striving for the simplicity of Cavafy mixed with modern gay wordplay and elements; Schwartz's poetry / slam material often deals with GLBTQ issues and affirmations of gay (night) life and love. He is the author of The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America (inGroup Press 2011).
_____________________________________________________

Monday, August 22, 2011

UNDEREMPLOYED

by N. D. Martin


I arrived at a coffee dispenser
at the same time as some other guy.
I let him go first.
I noticed he had a cup like mine--
metallic and black plastic.

Mine had lost its shimmer
and the black has been fading
like an old concert tee.

It was a freebie from
a distributer
who wanted my business eleven years ago.
My mind fills in the scratched off spaces
of Talley Communications
and an 800 number.

When he finished he looked up at me
and I knew that we were both thinking
your cup is a lot like mine.


N. D. Martin lives in California.
_____________________________________________________

Sunday, August 21, 2011

MALIGNANT NARCISSISM: SYRIAS'S BASHAR AL-ASSAD

by Richard Ilnicki


A convulsing brain on display
Exposes two enigmatic hemispheres
Revealing thoughts laid bare around the globe,
Convolutions of proud thoughtful strangulations.
The autonomic shocks of galvanic fear engender
A sudden onset of unconsciousness
As the people fall down on shattered kneecaps;

Like dominoes in the desert
They fall-in behind their charismatic leader
Who violently seizes them by the throat like a wolf.
Molded by his manipulative psychotic touch
They have become subservient clay figures
Baked and hardened in ovens.
It appears he may have even slain them in the spirit!

The mysophobic fear of the truth as dirt
Breeds a paranoid motivation to be clean.
So willingly they swallow his purgatives.
His recurrent paroxysmal dysfunctional behavior
Has opened their minds like a can opener
To metaphysically spiritual sensory phenomena,
The bent spoon philosophy of man as God.
Logic and reason have been neutered by fear,
And malignant narcissism rules the day.

It appears he has touched a nerve
Buried deep in the commonality of man, some exposed root
Where the moon’s dark side emerges bathed in gas,
And antagonistic muscle groups contract spasmodically;
The fibers and filaments rip, tear and spasm
Without opportunity for repair,
But there are constant reminders
That gain comes from pain, even one's own.

His abnormal discharges, at first petards,
Innocuous tiny firecrackers, continued for years,
Like father like son,
Until there was a guttural noise quaking the land,
The sound of contracted respiratory muscles
Forcing desperate exhalations,
And a sonorous revolutionary cry
For help heard around the world.


Richard Ilnicki is husband, father, grandfather, health club manager/personal trainer whose best friend, besides his wife, is his dog Jimmy.
_____________________________________________________

WEST MEMPHIS THREE

by Maria del Fabro


Damien Echols
Jason Baldwin and
Jessie Miskelly
they say you sodomized
cub scouts
in Robin Hood Hills

Guilty without DNA
Your lives plundered in solitary
Beneath the  willow in Jonesboro
your years lie buried under
whispers of satanic verse
and shouts of baby killer

Arkansas gnawed your youth
down to the bone
spit out the fat and left you
to rot like fawns dead on the road

Tonight your dreams born along the
Arkansas River
float free of the prison bars
The pies hot from the oven

She irons the sheets


Maria del Fabro is a clinical social worker in private practice. She has had several poems published over the years. The most recent were written in translation and published in Carpe Articulum
_____________________________________________________

Saturday, August 20, 2011

GROUND CHUCK $2.48 A POUND!

by Gilbert Allen


The flyer adds, SUPPORT OUR TROOPS
beneath our future burgers.  Oops.

Publicans (Republicans?)
pour forth those endless Yes They Cans

while never asking why we should
hold privates' blood a public good.

Support our troops!  It's always plural.
Imagine Chuck's a Cub Scout.  War will

dog his troop from Boy to Eagle
till his Marine enlistment's legal.

Tip of our country's sword!  Fantastic!
He'll serve us, till he's sheathed in plastic.

Chuck has no special interest group.
Be singular.  Support a troop.



Gilbert Allen lives in Travelers Rest, SC, and teaches at Furman University, where he is the Bennette E. Geer Professor of Literature.  His fourth book of poems Driving to Distraction (Orchises, 2003) was featured on The Writers' Almanac and Verse Daily.  In 2007 he received the Robert Penn Warren Prize from The Southern Review for his sequence of poems "The Assistant."
_____________________________________________________

Friday, August 19, 2011

YOUNG GUNS

by Kim Doyle


After basic and advanced we shipped
out West to the eternal sand.
Some were slack and some tight lipped,
“Let’s Get Some,” in Afghanistan.

Deserts feel like my forever home,
sand fleas and cool water not bought cheap.
The winds blow cold from the Karakorum,
landing at Red X-Ray was one short leap.

Do those gooney birds really fly -
our helmets tucked under our precious butts.
Counter rotating, I thought we’d all die,
chopper travel is for bravo nuts.

Enemies everywhere on a marathon run,
oh where have you gone my blue-eyed son. 


Kim Doyle writes Op/Ed poetry and articles for The Brunswick Citizen in Brunswick, Maryland.

_____________________________________________________

Thursday, August 18, 2011

MARTIN ROBLES EXECUTED AUGUST 10, 2011

by Maria del Fabro


 Gang member executed in Texas for double homicide
--Karen Brooks (Reuters) AUSTIN, Texas | Wed Aug 10, 2011

Martin, I was doing the laundry last night
and I said to myself you’d better check that list
the list of executions
just in case there is one I missed
the death machine moves so fast
I can hardly keep up
with the poetry

I am sorry Martin it was you
all tattooed and scarred
with your short life story
Last night as I ate my shitake pizza
sitting at the big table with cheese
in my mouth
you Mr. Drug Gang
without family in the witness room
you took the injection

I hope the guys were banging on the bars

You refused a last meal
took your visitors off the list
and didn’t take a call
I think you feel better now
If there is another place
Martin, ask for my friend Louise
she got there just before you
she likes her martinis really really cold
she’ll understand

Martin, you were
created in the image of the tattoo on your arm
the devil eating the brains of Christ
Was anybody home?


Author’s Note: I am currently writing a poetry project entitled An Eye For An Eye.  I am writing a poem for each person executed this year (thirty up to this minute). There is another man scheduled to die this Thursday. I plan to continue writing these poems until there is no more material. My interest is in humanizing the offender. In several poems I include their last two acts of freedom: the selection of their last meal and their last words.  I have written 15 poems so far.  In truth, I do not send my poems out too often, but I have become radicalized over the issue of capital punishment and so I am sending all of these  poems into the world. If has been a very interesting project on many levels.


Maria del Fabro
is a clinical social worker in private practice. She has had several poems published over the years. The most recent were written in translation and published in Carpe Articulum

_____________________________________________________

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

TEA PARTY MANTRA

by David Radavich


Get government off our backs.

Cut it off at the knees,
make it heel like the rest of us,
faceless and undeserving.

Let it knock at the door
and beg for food.

Let it wander in search
of education and health care

like a true American
who will never get old before
using up every last cent.

Let the stars pay their share
of the lighting bill

and the moon ante up for
damages from all those waves.

The free ride is over.

Let the earth pave
its own roads and trees fall
like Afghan soldiers.

We’re the true victims
who whine like wolves.


David Radavich's new book of poems Middle-East Mezze (Plain View Press, 2011) focuses on Iraq, Palestine, and Egypt. Previous poetry publications include Canonicals: Love's Hours (Finishing Line, 2009),  America Bound: An Epic for Our Time (Plain View Press, 2007), Slain Species (Court Poetry Press, London), By the Way (Buttonwood Press, 1998), and Greatest Hits (Pudding House Press, 2000). His plays have been performed across the U.S. and abroad, including five Off-Off-Broadway productions. He also enjoys writing essays on poetry, drama, and contemporary issues.
___________________________________________

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

BLOW UP

by Alan Catlin


    after photos by Don McCullin

This is the city after
the riots, at any time,
any place where red
brick row houses are
still standing in working
class slum, walk up front
doors and windows boarded
closed; KEEP OUT
KEEP AWAY BY POLICE
ORDER, written in white
paint, long streaks trailing
down from rude letters,
overprinted in red:
FUCK OFF. No longer
children, preteen boys
sharing a smoke, sitting on
upper tenement steps, angry,
defiant, sullen, looking toward
where latest action is, car bombs
and Molotov cocktails in
the morning instead of
breakfast, Looking away,
they are already bored, now
that London burning is how
they live now.


Photo Credit:  “[Don McCullin’s] breakthrough photograph was this evocative London image. It shows seven of McCullin’s schoolfriends, moody young thugs from the Seven Sisters Road posing in a bombed-out house opposite the Rainbow in Finsbury Park. One of them later killed a policeman. McCullin sold the snap to the Observer and his career began.” --Peter Watts, “The Great Wen: A London Blog.”

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, August 15, 2011

DID THE HAND OF THE PRESIDENT TREMBLE?

by J.R. Solonche


Did the hand of the president tremble
     as he signed the letters to the parents
          of the twenty-two Americans killed?

Did the hand of the president tremble
     as he signed the same lie twenty-two times?
          Did the hand of the president tremble

each time he told the same lie to himself?
     Did the hand of the president tremble
          each time he willed to believe the same lie himself?

Did the hand of the president tremble
     each time he imagined the parents
          of the twenty-two Americans killed

as they read the letters he signed,
     as they held them in hands that trembled,
          as they believed the lie he told them,

as they believed the lie they have to believe,
     the lie that their sons died for our freedom,
          the lie the president signed that the twenty-two

died for our freedom, while the truth,
     the truth is that they died, that the twenty-two
          died, for our freedom only to ask if the hand

of the president trembled as he signed
     the twenty-two letters, as he signed the twenty-two lies.
        Oh, did the hand of the president tremble?


J.R. Solonche is co-author (with wife Joan Siegel) of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). His poems have appeared in many magazines, journals, and anthologies since the 1970s. He teaches at SUNY Orange in Middletown, New York.
___________________________________________

Saturday, August 13, 2011

MITT ROMNEY'S FRIEND

“Corporations are people, my friend.” --Mitt Romney

Friday, August 12, 2011

RETURN OF THE DOW DOOMSDAY COUNTDOWN CLOCK MACHINE

by Andrew Hilbert


Its re-emergence since 2009 startled me
The red flashing square with an arrow pointed way down
A minus sign with a number too big for me to remember behind it
The newscasters with red eyes pontificated
What could it all mean?

Then
Photos of Somalia
Fleas flying around their stomachs
Dead cattle
Women drawing dirt from water holes

American business men, weary from a day of shouting
And crying and saying words with no meaning,
Come home and turn on Jeopardy.


Andrew Hilbert lives and works in San Antonio, TX. 
_____________________________________________________

Thursday, August 11, 2011

JUSTICE

by Lauren Schmidt


A judge on Thursday sentenced two Eugene men to 25 years in prison for viciously beating a homeless man to death, calling it a senseless act that made the pair less than animals. . . . [Judge] Foote, who is retiring soon after more than 30 years on the bench, said he still doesn’t understand how such crimes can happen. --The Register Guard, January 8, 2010
 

The next morning, they went out for breakfast
as if it were any other Sunday—eggs, sausage, buttered bread—
while their victim’s wounds gummed with blood,
clogged the machine of his lungs till he choked his last breath.
They washed their hands when they were done, red blood
streamed Willamette green with the stipulated facts
that they had no motive for attack except that their hearts
were black, their blood was black, like the night was black.

No more.

After thirty-two years, I’ll hang up my cloak.
I’ve done my job because justice was served:
twenty-five years for clipping fifty-six years
to minutes or so—but they don’t know,
those boys didn’t wait for that.

On this stand, justice prevails

and shouldn’t it feel good to do justice?
Yes, it feels good to do justice until it doesn’t anymore.


Editor’s Note: This poem is part of a full-length collection of poetry based on the poet’s experience volunteering at a homeless kitchen, The Dining Room, in Eugene, Oregon, where several hate crimes occur each year against homeless men. The collection, Psalms of The Dining Room, is due out next year. The collection draws attention to an otherwise silenced problem: hate crimes against homeless victims.

Lauren Schmidt’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in The Progressive, Alaska Quarterly Review, New York Quarterly, Rattle, Nimrod, Fifth Wednesday Journal,  Ekphrasis Journal, Wicked Alice and other journals. Her poems have been selected as finalists for the 2008 and 2009 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and the Dancing Girl Press Chapbook Contest. Her awards include the So to Speak Poetry Prize and the Neil Postman Prize for Metaphor. In 2011, she was nominated for the Best New Poets Anthology. Her chapbook, The Voodoo Doll Parade (Main Street Rag), was selected as part of the 2011 Author’s Choice Chapbooks Series. Her second chapbook, Because Big Boobies Are Necessary (Amsterdam Press), and her first full-length collection, Psalms of The Dining Room (Wipf & Stock) are both forthcoming. Lauren Schmidt teaches writing at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, New Jersey.

_____________________________________________________

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

MOTHER COURAGE

by Bill Sullivan 


In the Horn of Africa there is drought, dust
and death.  There, mothers watch and wail
as their famished children drop-one- by- one-
onto the barren land.  The death march
begins in Southern Somalia where merciless
militants hoard food and water, separate fathers
and young boys from their families, drag them
into the demonic ranks of al-Shabab.

The women gather the remaining children,
pack what little food, water money, clothes
they have, and begin their terrible trek.
If they manage to elude the patrols and bandits,
they face a journey of hundreds of miles
without sufficient supplies or shelter.
Just days out the children begin to drop.
Malnourished before the march, they quickly
lose strength, as limbs become dry twigs
and bellies bloat.  Mothers whisper, “Don’t
stop breathing, don’t stop breathing,” but death
claims the infants and the young.  Mothers
keen, kiss and caress what they have lost.
They turn to the children that still breathe,
lay the lost ones down, cover them with cloth
and desert sand, say a prayer, then clutch the hands
of the children who still stand.  They turn their
eyes toward Mogadishu and Dadaab , Kenya .
They will walk as long and as far as they can.


Bill Sullivan taught English and American studies at Keene State College, NH. He has published his poems in print and in online journals.  Most recently Jetfuelreview.com  included his short story "The Third Shift." Retired, Sullivan now resides in Westerly, RI.
_____________________________________________________

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

AAA RATINGS

by Bill Costley


The next time U need
a AAA rating, B advised
that AAAnybody
can buy as many initial
capital As as they like
in the Yellow Pages where
U can B as A as U sAy  U  R.


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, August 08, 2011

SUPER CONGRESS

by Lucille Gang Shulklapper


May all those chosen desist from positions on which they insist, from finger pointing and mudslinging, from ideologues clinging to each stubborn thought, that brought our economy to a halt, from blaming one another, not working together, for the people they serve, who do not deserve, officials elected, who were selected to represent them, they who created political mayhem.

This committee might be our last, to balance the lives of those miscast, yet I for one now believe, this committee too will deceive, the American workers, the American dream, and work only for their own salvation, with untimely decisions that bankrupt our nation.


Prize-winning author of fiction and poetry, Lucille Gang Shulklapper's work appears in many journals and anthologies, including this one.  Her short story "The Divided States of America" will appear in Main Street Rag's anthology Altered States.

_____________________________________________________

Saturday, August 06, 2011

THE TWENTY SEVEN CLUB

by Lynnie Gobeille

                                                          
Keep breathing
She said
But Amy didn’t listen
Keep believing
She said
But Jim wouldn’t try
Stop swilling down that whiskey
The muse slowly sighed
But Janis was too drunk to hear.

Others used shotguns
Or crawled into small spaces
Knowing Fear
Was best served up cold
Better eaten while stoned.

The muse said
Stop tampering with God
And all of his blessings
She cried
Get to Rehab
Get to Church
Get Help
You can’t do this alone.

 None of them listened.

None of them matter;
Except as fodder and food for this Poem.


Lynnie Gobeille has  published in The Sow's Ear Review, Crone’s Nest, The Avatar, The Prairie Home Companion, This I Believe (NPR), The 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 .
_____________________________________________________

Friday, August 05, 2011

STATELESS TRANSIENCE

 Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote

The Israeli government has given final approval for more than 900 new homes in occupied East Jerusalem. . . . Har Homa is one of the largest and most controversial Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem. It is regarded, under international law, as occupied Palestinian land, but Israel says it is part of its territory. --Wyre Davies, BBC News, Jerusalem, 4 August 2011

Forged passport to anywhere else
Delayed departure cancellations never arriving
Unscheduled stopover compounded interest accrued
Stranded suffering neglect since 1948

Tellers windows barred lending transactions
Corrugated promises soulless savings withdrawals
Banking on counterfeit frayed IOU’s
Discredited life savings loans IMFucked

Sanitized excuses choked silence hush
Tomorrow’s starry twinkle wondrous spitfire
Wished upon No Man’s Homeland
Magna Charta uncivil wronged rights

Polyglot accent setting aliens apart
Naked truth falsehoods running scared
Shameless angst settling tsuris aggravation
Nativity Chutzpah infinity beyond reach

Residence permit disputed borderlines reconfigured
Visa expired Nothing to Declare
Pleated map folds cellophane enveloped
Suffocating barely awakened gritty dreamscape

Unholy war hostage to happenstance
Urgent pleas begging pacifist mercy
Hawks swooping lonesome doves roosts
Abandoned cote hopeful feathers plucked


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

Thursday, August 04, 2011

MY GRANDFATHER WAS A UNION ORGANIZER

by Martin Willitts Jr


He stood in torrential rain so child labor could end.
He was drenched by bully clubs
trying to smack sense into him
so we would have reasonable work hours.
He was arrested for singing in the downcast
with Woody Guthrie, for decent wages.
He was shot at. His windows broken like his bones.
He was a Quaker. He knew wrong was wrong.
He knew the deluge of attacks proceeded justice.
It was simple. All the forecasts of repercussions,
all the accusations drenching him,
could not stop him from singing protest.
Breaking his jaw did not stop him.
They tried to drag his memory into prison.
It did not work. They tried to break him.
It did not work. They blackballed him.
He sang louder, stronger, until things got better.

Some things are better. He was a part of that.
Some things are receding ---
the waitress surviving on tips;
the migrant picking for less than minimum wages;
politicians blame the Union person
for the economic downturn.

My grandfather’s ghost is still picketing and striking.
His voice is in the thunderstorm.
No one can hit Truth over the head
to stop it from becoming the Truth.
Silence is what happens when nothing is done.
Singing is when the heart knows things are wrong
and know something needs to be done.

Me; I am singing.


Martin Willitts Jr
's recent poems appeared in Naugatuck River Review, MiPOesias, Flutter, Atticusbooks.net, Muse Café, and Caper Journal. He was recently nominated for two Best of The Net awards and his 5th Pushcart award. He has new chapbooks: The Girl Who Sang Forth Horses (Pudding House Publications, 2010), Van Gogh’s Sunflowers for Cezanne (Finishing Line Press, 2010), True Simplicity (Poets Wear Prada Press, 2011), My Heart Is Seven Wild Swans Lifting (Slow Trains, 2011), Why Women Are A Ribbon Around A Bomb (Last Automat, 2011), and Art Is Always an Impression of What an Artist Sees (Muse Café, 2011).
_____________________________________________________

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

GREEN TEA PARTY

by Captain Barefoot

for Jack Mueller

i. Green Tea Party

Let’s take back
the flag
& celebrate the wind

Honor the paradox
of this imperfect
union

free for all
visible
& indivisible


ii. Take No Prisoners

Yes I want to
move to
a balanced bud jet

Borrowing
from the future’s
a furtive kind of pederasty

screwing our kids’
kids
Aint no excuse

unless it’s another war
& for war
we always say yes


iii. Highway 145 Apotheosis

Sitting on our bull butts
manipulating
pedals
& buttons & wheels

Looking out the windshield’s
as close to gods & goddesses
as we’re gonna get
this ride


iv. Manifest Destiny

Davenport built the first automobile
a horseless buggy, 1835, & so, if

there’s one ever clear American
icon, it’s on the road again

Exporting the regulated anarchy
of one vote, two cars, as a front for

the depleted precision of manu-
factured military arms virumque cano


Captain Barefoot identifies himself among the Union of Street Poets, Vincent St. John Local, Colorado Plateau, Aztlan Kuksu Brigade (Ret.), Cloud House, San Francisco, Shasta Nation, Pacific Rim.
_____________________________________________________

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

NOT ALL NEWS IS BAD

by Earl J. Wilcox


Every morning about daybreak I stroll
to the street to pick up my newspaper.
Today I hear rare voices: children playing--
laughter, giggles and squeals echoing
through tall pines---yet it is not sunrise.

As many of my neighbors are elderly,
like me, most outside voices I hear daily
are gripes and groans, grousing across
hedges or driveways.  Complaints
of the aging.  I glance up and down

the street. No children. Only Martha
in her gown, Jim in his flimsy robe
scolding his ancient Dachshund
watering Martha’s marigolds. Paper
in hand, I wave aimlessly at someone.

Going back up my driveway once again
I hear gleeful children playing. I smile
to myself, savor every radiant, rippling
syllable. News of war and my baseball
team’s puny playing will wait for later.


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.
_____________________________________________________

Monday, August 01, 2011

AT THE ZOO

by Lavinia Kumar

       “Congress’ mishandling of debt ceiling and deficit is surreal.”
--Suze Orman, CNN, July 30, 2011

The Lord of the Flies is in the Senate, and is in
the other chamber, while council flies crawl
the blue brocade wallpaper before choosing
one of the empty wood chairs. There they feast
on sows' ears and silk purses, their excrement green,
their buzz amplified when they reach the front
microphone, where with swollen chests they preach
to the empty hall.  The cameras focus on their
compound eyes, eyes that see the kaleidoscope
of words, sentences and letters that shoot
from tight jaws and instantly break into pellets
to sail in many directions, as bonfires of money burn
and men kill men.  But no one sees the savagery
except the Lord of the Flies settled comfortably
in each head that rolls, each head added to
the collection behind the tall iron fence on the island.
But people on the outside pass by slowly, looking,
waiting for the next head.


Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey.  Her family includes a variety of cultures and immigrants. Her poetry has appeared in Waterways, Thatchwork (Delaware Valley Poets), Orbis, US1 Worksheets, Caper, Pemmican, Ascent Aspirations, and the US1 newspaper.
_____________________________________________________

DEBT CEILING

by Martha Deed


Smoke is coming out of my ears
I am close to falling flat on my angst
Paragraphs from old history texts
give me vertigo of the pickle
I have fireflies in my stomach
and I long to sink into a swamp of bigotry
where my biases could calm me
or join a sect that disbelieves in debt
My constitution is frozen
sharp as a trout Reality is too much for me
and I am too awake
for the sleep of the doomed
Cable TV is a form of harassment
My budget is weeping
and the finches have rejected
my 2-for-1 birdseed
Truly this is a time
to test men's biceps


Martha Deed lives in North Tonawanda, NY.  Recent publications include The November 2010 Project,  The 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.  Her blog: http://sporkworld.tumblr.com/