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Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at]gmail.com.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

Monday, October 31, 2011

ALL HALLOWS EVE

by Roxanne Hoffman


arched
            black
                        cats
                   darken
                   entranceways;
                               fire-eyed
                     gargoyles
hiss;
incisors
jutting,
kissed
lips
moan;
nervous
ogres
prance;
quaffs
raised,
skeletons
two-step
under
veils
whilst
X-Philes1,
youngsters
zigzag ...
 

1.  X-Phile -noun (plural X-Philes) a fan of the television series The X-Files; etymology: punningly from X-Files and –phile; usage: a term used in the title of the book by  Ngaire Genge, The Unofficial X-Files Companion: An X-Phile's Guide to the Mysteries, Conspiracies, and Really Strange Truths Behind the Show (Three Rivers Press, 1995) — Wiktionary

Roxanne Hoffman worked on Wall Street, now answers a patient hotline for a New York home healthcare provider. Her words can be found on and off the net in such journals as Amaze: The Cinquain Journal, Clockwise Cat, Danse Macabre, The Fib Review, Hospital Drive, Lucid Rhythms, Mobius: The Poetry Magazine, The Pedestal Magazine, and Shaking Like A Mountain; the indie flick Love And The Vampire; and the anthologies The Bandana Republic: A Literary Anthology by Gang Members and their Affiliates (Soft Skull Press), Love After 70 (Wising Up Press), and  It All Changed In An Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure (Harper Perennial). She and her husband own the small press, Poets Wear Prada
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT

Directed by Cut Cartel & Our Lady Peace

Friday, October 28, 2011

MOTORCYCLE ROAD TRIP THROUGH SIX STATES

by Susan Vespoli


Riding in the wake of his confidence
sheltered by shoulders and back
contained in a capsule of body slapping
wind, rain pellets and unexpected air.

Sheltered by shoulders and back
roads, tires grab streets that
wind.  Rain pellets and unexpected air
bombs nose with aftershave, barbecue, trails of pot.

Roads, tires grab streets that
cut mountains, towns on map gone ghost,
bombed.  No more aftershave, barbecue. Trails of pot
holes, weeds, and dark windows boarded up.

Cut mountains, towns on map gone ghost,
waitresses and desk clerks without teeth smile through
holes, weeds and dark windows boarded up.
Shrubbery and crabgrass push through asphalt.

Waitresses and desk clerks without teeth, smile through
poverty; paint praying Jesus murals on hotel stucco,
Shrubbery and crabgrass push through asphalt,
optimistic signs, still readable and hanging.

Poverty paints praying Jesus. Murals on hotel stucco,
customers, hotel guests, gas pumps pried up.
Optimistic signs still readable and hanging
“We’re here for you” and “winner.”

Customers, gas pumps, hotel guests pried up,
washed away by economic tide, presidents
“We’re here for you” and “winner.”
Red against blue, black against white, political snits leave victims.

Motorcycle slices view of a country
contained in a capsule of body slapping
holding on to what works: lovers, politicos or Jesus.
Riding in the wake of his confidence


Susan Vespoli lives in a tiny cabin in the Prescott National Forest.  She received her MFA in poetry from Antioch University L.A. in December 2010.  Her work has been published online and in print at Monsoon Voices, The Artists’ Page of Naturally Speaking, Threshold, Merge - Phx Poetry Series Anthology, Verse Wisconsin  and OVS Magazine.  Her poem “He Lusts after Librarians” was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize.
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

PSYCHOTICS ARE EMOTIONALLY DEAF

by Frank Eannarino


They hear the sounds of weeping
but cannot see the weeper—
their eyes are deaf but not the ears.

To see sadness and not perceive it,
touching naked skin with all of the warmth
of wearing mittens, and the husband

hears his wife crying like a portrait
of a woman crying, and she hears him
shredding on the fret board of his

neglected guitar, and the sounds
are like notations of sounds rather than
music. They are visitors

in each other’s art galleries, passive
viewers of historical catastrophes
unexploded bombs housed within

a war museum, paintings of detonations
where people that they do not recognize
as people suffer in a kind of

second-hand silence and the therapist
becomes the medium of sensory
integration—didn’t you hear that?

someone just made a terrible sound,
an earth-rending retort—my God
didn’t you hear that?


Author’s note: This poem came from an NPR piece  but went elsewhere.

Frank Eannarino has an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His poems have been published in AGNI on-line, American Literary Review, Crab Creek Review, Denver Quarterly, Exquisite Corpse, North American Review.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

LOST AND FOUND

by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

A part of me died
when I saw Libyans
weep for their missing relatives
in a land where I had found laughter.

Power and politics evicted bees,
demolished homes with hands of protest.
The sand dunes that caressed my feet
witnessed shapes that didn't belong there.

How can a parent kill
knowing the dead child won’t come back?
The wind changed direction,
camels drowned in the water they stored.

The journey looks lost,
I gasp at the time that’s gone by.
Eyes don’t keep written evidence,
seeing the revolving doors, memory suffers most.


Sweta Srivastava Vikram is an award-winning writer, Pushcart Prize nominated-poet, novelist, author, essayist, columnist, blogger, wife, yoga-devotee, dancer, and oenophile whose musings have translated into four chapbooks of poetry, two collaborative collections of poetry, a fiction novel, a nonfiction book of prose and poems (upcoming in 2012), and appeared in several anthologies, literary journals, and online publications. A graduate of Columbia University, Sweta lives and writes in New York City with her husband. Sweta also teaches creative writing workshops across the globe. Follow her: On Twitter (@ssvik) or Facebook.
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

COLD PEACE

 Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote 


Sending shivers up spineless backbones
Taproot vertebrate will power won’t
Capsized fake-believe Promised Land sunken
Once upon certainties currently aren’t

Water cycle solar energy powered
Evaporation condensation precipitation infiltration runoff
Cooling oceans trickle causing cracks
Eroded sediment clogging peace-pipe calumets

Plate tectonics nudging cosmic lithosphere
Seismic abysmal fault lines drawn
Hateful dynamic breeding fearsome distrust
Tug of peaceful coexistence frayed

What lies beneath monolithic icebergs
Flaky cover-up hidden from view
Enigmatic sphinx rainbow halo refraction
Inverted pyramid winged oracle grounded

One-ninth of volume above surface
Compressed air bubble fizz trapped
Stark naked tip-off justifications exposed
Skinny dipper appendages frozen stiff

Bipolar slow unsure glacial meltdown
Split personality wedges aimless adrift
Liquid vapor solid cubes gas
Lunatic phases no-man’s floating island


Dr. Charles Frederickson and Mr. Saknarin Chinayote proudly present 3 YouTube mini-movies depicting Glad Thaidings at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZcKQ4xMqQU and at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXR-0-0EIZ0&feature=related and at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgPmNP8Gsh4&feature=related .
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Monday, October 24, 2011

OCCUPY POETRY

by Howie Good


If nobody tells anybody,
how would anybody ever know?
My words long to be as bees
making honey in a lion’s head.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, 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), as well as numerous print and digital poetry chapbooks, including most recently Love Dagger from Right Hand Pointing, To Shadowy Blue from Gold Wake Press and Love in a Time of Paranoia from Diamond Point Press.
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

JUBILATION

by Judith Terzi

            The Nafusa Mountains form the boundary between the Libyan
            coastal plain to the north and the Tripolitanian Plateau to the south.


These mountains greet the children, back for good,
and fathers, brothers home to rugged terrain.
The warriors' blood has dried, their battles won.
Shepherds carry staffs again, no guns,
their flocks no longer roam in solitude.
The storks fly overhead, no drones, no planes,
and cooks decry a soldier's fare of beans
and rice, prepare the feasts for weddings now.
And birth. The orchards, olive trees bear gifts
of victory fruits. And youyous echo, a show
across the valleys, from minaret to cliff.
All trace of fear has disappeared, no seams
of solemn earth in sight. The opened door
excites the freed, no future need for war. 


For many years a high school French teacher in Pasadena, California, Judith Terzi has also taught English at California State University, Los Angeles, and in Algiers, Algeria. Her poetry has been recognized and received prizes from numerous journals in addition to nominations for Best of the Net and Web. Her books include The Road to Oxnard and Sharing Tabouli. Poems are forthcoming in Raintown Review and Spillway.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

WAR (CASUALTIES OF)

by Alan Catlin


The desert is a  dream
with soldiers in it,
warriors stripped down
to their shorts and boots
as each layer of sand
becomes a cloud of dust
blown by invisible wings
from above.  In black,
tortured sky, smart bombs
are flying, choppers are
dissolving, liquid metal
falls from tentative
frames like the skin of
troopers hurtling to
the ground; a phantom
noise follows them as
they go, weightless as birds
who have lost their wings.


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.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

by Wayne Scheer


It can be confirmed:
Both Muammar Gadaffi
And summer are dead.
While it requires gruesome photos
And verification from varied sources
To certify the end of the evil colonel,
Summer's demise is easier to ascertain—
My turtle has stopped eating.

So to what poetic heights
Or depths
Will I take the end of an evil era
And the start of a new season?
You got me, bud.

While dictators topple
And nature cycles
I'm left at a loss to express what it means
Beyond change happens and we adjust
Our politics and response to nature accordingly.

I wore a jacket over a sweatshirt on my walk this morning
Although I hiked the woods near naked this past weekend.
The people of Libya will rejoice in the downfall of a tyrant
And then settle into the realization that it probably
Won't change what they'll eat for dinner tonight.

We humans have about as much insight into what it means
As my turtle has about why he's lost his appetite.
Still, we go on,
Wearing jackets, and then coats with fleece-lined gloves
As the citizens of Libya cheer change
Before returning to the routine of their lives.


Wayne Scheer has locked himself in a room with his computer and turtle since his retirement. (Wayne's, not the turtle's.)  To keep from going back to work, he's published hundreds of short stories, essays and poems, including Revealing Moments, a collection of flash stories. He's been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

SIRI

by Andrew Hilbert


What is Siri's opinion
of occupy wall street
or Herman Cain's
9-9-9 plan
or its opinion of the champagne-
drinking-let-them-eat-the-crumbs-
of-my-lobster-cake-investment-
banker-crowd-
after all, shouldn't New York's
Senators recognize these fools
as the ones they serve? their true
constituents?
These are important questions
but every news reporter
on every channel
is asking Siri the important
questions like,
"where is the nearest Apple store?"


Andrew Hilbert lives and works in San Antonio, TX.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WHETHER

by Daniel Wilcox

 
Of the Arab Spring
Spiritual or Natural,
Theological and political;

Whether Egypt’s
Of two natures
An ancient debate

Related to their 'Origen'

Whether

Coptic
And
Muslim?

And which Brotherhood?

Or
Truly
One--
We the people…

Or
Once
Again
One’s
Chosen
By militant power,
Not
Nazarene
Nor
Meccan,
But
Strong
Nasserite,
Another
Indigenous
Napoleanite


Daniel Wilcox’s writing has appeared in many magazines including The Danforth Review, The Write Room, and The Copperfield Review. His book Dark Energy was published by Diminuendo Press. Before that he hiked through Cal State University Long Beach (Creative Writing), Montana, Pennsylvania, Europe, Palestine/Israel, and Arizona. He lives with his wife on the central coast of California.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

WOMAN OF JESUS

by Rochelle Owens


It is about skin
and hair of the yoga mistress
from Rosario Portugal
remember how I said her hair
was a long hanging rope
winding down
her collarbone
under her armpits
hanging down
her breastbone
ravenous the skin pulling apart
the skin like
the petals of flowers
ravenous the knives of Portugal
repetitive rhythmical
monotonous hacking off bones
slicing off rotting flesh
remember how I said
the hard horny skin and hair
shedding dead cells
transforming becoming a bud
becoming a bud
a flower a pale green lily
emerging from the mud
a place where oysters breed
from the mud of Rosario Portugal
remember how I said

unearthly pale and red light

her skin and hair
remember how I said magnetic
metal striking clashing
her voice saying
“les Portugais sont de grand voyageurs”
remember how I said
she had washed the bodies
of amputees
 winding the bandages
how she had clothed and fed
the  maimed
of automobile accidents  of train wrecks
of war
attaching their prosthetic limbs
 humming and singing in Portuguese
seeing them come back to life
rising up like Lazarus
like Lazarus rising from the grave
her kindness banishing evil
from the world

unearthly pale and red light

remember how I said
she dreamed of a black bull
of Portugal
amputated at the knees
she dreamed of a laughing dwarf
with a virginal face

unearthly pale and red light

it is about how she stood before
a hive of bees listening—
Barbara De Jesus of Rosario Portugal

unearthly pale and red light
the yoga mistress breathing
the long rows of students breathing
bending their hands backwards
like Balinese dancers
skin and hair shedding dead cells
remember how I said
she sat on the heel  of one foot
chanting chanting chanting
lingam yoni natal cleft  vida morte
vida morte lingam  yoni natal cleft
vida morte vida morte

unearthly pale and red light


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' twenty-second New Verse News poem.
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Monday, October 17, 2011

SMILES TO GO

 Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote 

 “I thought poetry could change everything, could change history and could humanize, and I think that the illusion is very necessary to push poets to become involved and to believe, but now I think that poetry changes only the poet.”
--Mahmoud Darwish


Do-gooder intentions paving bumpy gravel
Road rage crumpled map gridlock
Fender bender speed bump dents
Dusty ruts slippery when wet

Soft shoulders shrugged scapular switchblades
Decalcified hollow crossbones echoing skullduggery
Jolly Roger masthead raised spar
Shipwrecked pirates walking splintery gangplank

Dangerous blind straightway concentric rings
Steep wind-up spiral stairwell descent
Crash course downgrade destruction bent
Slinky steel wills won’t yield

Double-crossing yellow line zigzags
Twisted stretch beyond next curve
Wronged right of one-way minefield
Mo U-turns signal blinking caution

Rush-hour traffic jammed down slit
Cutthroat compromise to confrontation motives
Rearview mirror bullyrag hindsight shattered
Myopic focus blurry vision quest

Cul-de-sac impasse no exit strategy
Around the block dead end
Love your enemies hate mongers
Bloated egos inflated on impact


Dr. Charles Frederickson and Mr. Saknarin Chinayote proudly present 3 YouTube mini-movies depicting Glad Thaidings at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZcKQ4xMqQU and at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXR-0-0EIZ0&feature=related and at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgPmNP8Gsh4&feature=related .
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Sunday, October 16, 2011

OCCUPIER Q&A

by Bill Costley

Demonstrators affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street rally in New York's Times Square. -AP

Q: How can you tell a Wall  St. Occupier?
A: By their lack of hierarchy, no rigid
 party program, & real handmade signs.

Q: Where are all the Wall  St. Occupiers
going? Nobody really seems to know.
A: To a big local bank, to stand outside it
holding up real handmade signs saying:
THIS BANK’S TOO BIG

Q: What can you tell a Wall St. Occupier?
A: Anything you like.  Whatever you say,
there’ ll be someone who agrees with you,
& someone who totally disagrees, too.


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. The latest volume ( Number Eleven)  of Costley's  New Verse News epic The Chen@id can be accessed by clicking here.
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

COMES NOW THE 99% DAO

by Captain Barefoot

for Jack Mueller


Two emails in one day
& both women self-
identify

as provocateurs. I’m
starting to get
nervous...

Wistful for iPhone
high-tech
to come cycling back

to home-made
apple high-touch...
 But worried

as the Bush-Clinton
Naisbitt-Reagan
days

of Everyman
entrepreneurs
gives way

to a fog
of Fox News
in-your-facebookateurs

Wall Street America occupied
with the falling Dow
The rising tide


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.
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Friday, October 14, 2011

MAKE-BELIEVE LIGHT

by David Chorlton


In the damp light that follows
a stormy rain
it’s easy to imagine peace

has been declared between the rich
and poor; that nobody wants
more than they have; that the train

whose whistle carries
all the way from where it crosses
Grand Avenue is carrying

blankets for those who sleep
on our streets in the approaching
winter; that the clouds

have parted to signal
a cancelled execution; that the sunset
is a glow of satisfaction

and that the air
has been cleaned once and for all.
It’s easy to imagine

the end of an occupation
with the advent of a true democracy
or that a baseball game has just ended

where, under the blessing
of a benevolent god
both sides won.


David Chorlton has lived in Arizona since 1978, when he moved from Vienna, Austria. While much of his poetry is about the Southwestern landscape, his newest publication, and first work of fiction, is The Taste of Fog from Rain Mountain Press, reflecting a darker side of Vienna.
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

REGULATION

by Jean Thurston Liebert

“Give her an inch and she’ll take a mile
“Never losing that angelic smile.”
A good description of cousin Flo,
Also most of the banks I know.

Regulation always involves a fight
With Ponzi schemers or the far right.
It is quite ‘unpatriotic,’ too
To tell big business what to do.

The many recessions of our nation
Can all be blamed on poor regulation.
Big business and ever bigger banks
Squander our money and never say, “thanks.”

Years ago anti-trust laws were imbedded.
We knew where corporations were headed.
Many of those laws are here today.
They would be enforced if I had my way.


Jean Thurston Liebert, age 92, lives in Corvallis, Oregon. She writes poetry, short stories and has written a novella, Another World.; Her published work is included in Apricot Memories, a non-fiction history of the apricot industry in California; Linn Benton Community College’s Collections; the Oregon Writers Colony anthology, Take a Bite of Literature and The New Verse News. Her 2010 fiction was cited as notable by Oregon Writers Colony.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

PANCHO AS "SHOW NOT TELL" MINI-LESSON IN THE HIGH SCHOOL CREATIVE WRITING TEXTBOOK

by Daniel Romo


Pancho is a hot mess is not good enough. You must highlight his blazing disarray. Create a trail of words that singe fingertips during peer revision.

          Examples:

He is dirty.

Pancho’s pores hold filth hostage. His skin is a grimy husk. He scratches his head for a glint of relief, but lice are immune to fingernails the color/scent of cow shit. The ringworm on his back keeps growing and laughs at this attempt.


His clothes are ugly.

Pancho’s wardrobe consists of holes that house bits of fabric. His shirts were too small two years ago. His pair of pants can also function as shorts. His sandals are held together by masking tape and a miracle.
  

He is poor.

Pancho and his family stay in a one bedroom structure. They call it their casa. Ingenious sleeping arrangements allow fifteen heartbeats to reverberate off rotting drywall.


His future doesn’t look good.
  
Pancho picks fruit with his father. He has inherited a life of strawberry-stained
hands and honest sweat glands that work from dawn to dusk. Baskets of berries and beating sun on skin runs in the family.
      


His life sucks. I’d hate to be him.

His life sucks. I’d hate to be him.


Daniel Romo is half curve ball/half prose poem. Proof: http://danielromo.wordpress.com/
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

THE PRIME MINISTER MUSES

by Robert M. Chute


Reviewing my visit to America
an advisor tells me of those who are
Native Americans, but we call
red indians. Their leaders say they all
understand our plight, the similarities
between ours and their troubled history.
The land on which they lived became the prize
of French and British wars. To their surprise
they found they lost their own land whoever won.
How could a king across the sea give someone
else your country? It's as if they didn't know
people already lived there: some still treat us so.

It's clear I should have studied their history
when I addressed the UN assembly.
I should have said I'm Mahmoud, chief of the
Palestinian tribe. To Israelis,
their allies, I say: we will be a nation.
 We are too many for any reservation.
That, until the once Dead Sea rises again
we will be ourselves, Palestinians,
and as long as the Jordan River flows
we will be there as either friends or foes.


Robert M. Chute's book of poetry based on scientific articles, Reading Nature, is available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
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Saturday, October 08, 2011

LET THE EARTH SPEAK IN TONGUES AND IF YOU LISTEN HARD ENOUGH, YOU WILL UNDERSTAND

by Michael H. Brownstein


The voices in the graveyard have been known to scream
and if you settle where the crab grass grows,
you can hear them skipping over locust burns and dandelion bones.
Water, too, needs a sorting place away from confusion
but the voices flow into it, the voices flow with it
even as we death bomb and death bomb
bone, powder, flesh, fog, burning hair--
stone and scorpion, marker and--

our edge of the Ethiopian dessert, the grand vulture waiting,
and further south, the grander elephants stepping off track
to caress the bones of a fallen sister poached for its armor.

In 2001 we rat bombed islands near Panama and killed the deer
and later people bombed villages in Afghanistan
with enough poison to cover their dead.


Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, After Hours, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004) and What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), and I was a Teacher Once and Other Philosophis (Ten Page Press, 2011). Brownstein taught elementary school in Chicago’s inner city (he is now retired), but he continues to study authentic African instruments with his students, conducts grant-writing workshops for educators and the State of Illinois Title 1 Convention, and records performance and music pieces with grants from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the Oppenheimer Foundation, BP Leadership Grants, and others.

Friday, October 07, 2011

AFTER 10 YEARS OF WAR

by Susan Gabrielle


Which do you think would be cooler:
fighting a war in the desert, or fighting a war in the jungle?


Slack-jawed I stare at him, unable to answer back at first
Who is this 12-year-old in my kitchen, eating my food, wiping the milky mustache with the back of his hand like some Cro-Magnon?
Is this really as far as we’ve come after all our time on earth, with our upright-walking, our fire-taming, our tool-making skills?  Ah, tool making.
My mind runs over the list of where I might have gone wrong in my parenting:

no violent TV shows – check
no realistic toy guns – check
no video games glorifying war – check
no plastic Army guys (Although my ex slipped him a few cowboys and Indians when I wasn’t looking.  Could that be the cause?)

I never thought a library card would become my worst enemy
A military parade of books – tanks, Vietnam War, aircraft carriers, weapons of destruction, Navy SEALs, attack helicopters – the selection is good there
What happened to Dr. Seuss, what happened to toy trains, what happened?

Fighting in the desert must be pretty hot, I finally say
a joke that isn’t funny, to keep the conversation light when it weighs heavy
Mom, he says, with the eye-roll
Voice calm, I remind myself.  Don’t panic.
He’s just asking.
War isn’t cool, honey
People die in wars, whole families are lost

But he’s gone already, out to watch for Charlie
Wood scraps transformed into an M16, or maybe a SAW
Dressed in green, since I won’t buy him camo gear.  Gotta blend in, he tells me.
His buddy comes over to help patrol, their conversations low and secretive, hushed further when I’m near
Still, I catch: pretend you get shot in the leg, you’re surrounded, use the tree fort as your lookout base, here’s a pine cone for a hand grenade, pull the pin and pitch it

He checks the paper daily for the latest skirmishes in Tikrit, in Kabul
Checks the statistics there along with the scores of his favorite baseball teams
The Padres won, so did the Phillies
followed by
I wonder what a suicide bomber looks like when he explodes
I wonder, too, but don’t have any answers to this
I don’t have answers to a lot of things these days, these years of war

I threaten (in my mind) to have a full evening of violence, of blood, of pain, show him the true glories of war
Full Metal Jacket followed by Saving Private Ryan followed by The Deer Hunter followed by
On and on this way until he’s crying, until he gets it
Maybe then, maybe just then

But what if he doesn’t get it?
And what if the only one in the room crying is me?
What then?


Susan Gabrielle is an adjunct writing instructor at a university, and obtained her MFA from University of San Francisco.  She has had work published in the The Christian Science Monitor, TheBatShat, and local publications.  Susan is currently at work on a poetry chapbook, War Games.
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Thursday, October 06, 2011

FREEZE MELTDOWN

 Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote 


Wailing wallflowers obstacles to peace-makers
Illegal collision crash course violations
121 Israeli condemned property colonies
Flagrantly breaching just international laws

Palestinians denied own landscape access
Restrictions imposing tunnel vision underpasses
Unsettled claimants ideologically violence prone
Bullyrag terrorist intimidation granted immunity

Desert blooms with concrete cacti
Prickly security infrastructure missing link
Key water basins springs wells
Confiscated broken promise unnatural resources

UN gambit Old Maid virgins
Domino blanks dicey crapshoot pips
Online gin rummy bingo roulette
Oily pitted olives squeezed dry

“21” hit split double down
Beat the bottom o’ deck double-dealers
BlackJacks or better to open
One-eyed faceless aceless Royal Flush

Unilateral occupation solitaire rhinestone isolation
Misguided missiles perpetuating uncivil wrongs
Crooked green line zigzags drawn
Quicksand sinking allies undermining trust


Dr. Charles Frederickson and Mr. Saknarin Chinayote proudly present 3 YouTube mini-movies depicting Glad Thaidings at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZcKQ4xMqQU and at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXR-0-0EIZ0&feature=related and at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgPmNP8Gsh4&feature=related .
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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

FACT AND FICTION IN HONDURAS

by John Kotula


President Obama will host President Porfirio Lobo of Honduras at the White House on Wednesday, October 5 . . . 

The State Dinner Menu

First
Jicama with Oranges, Grapefruit, and Pineapple
Citrus Vinaigrette


Wine: Ulises Valdez Chardonnay 2007 “Russian River”

The President looks forward to discussing a broad range of bilateral and regional economic and security issues…
 
Medardo Flores, a radio journalist who supported former President Manuel Zelaya, was gunned down on the night of 8 September, joining the long list of journalists who have been killed since Zelaya’s ouster in a June 2009 coup.

Second
Herb Green Ceviche of Hawaiian Opah
Sesame-Cilantro Cracker

 
The President also welcomes the opportunity to underscore the strong bonds of friendship between the American and Honduran people…

September 7…a fervent supporter of former President Manuel Zelaya has been shot to death… Mahadeo Roopchand Sadloo was shot five times Wednesday inside the tire shop he owned. ...Roopchand Sadloo was a naturalized Honduran citizen from India and he often led protests by the National Popular Resistance Front... more than 200 members of the movement have been killed since the coup and... none of the cases have been solved.

Main
Oregon Wagyu Beef in Oaxacan Black Mole
Black Bean Tamalon and Grilled Green Beans


Wine: Herrera Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 “Selección Rebecca”

…as well as President Lobo’s efforts to restore democratic and constitutional order in Honduras…

Osmin Obando Cáceres (age 22), son of Eliodoro Cáceres, Coordinator of the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) in Tela, department of Atlántida, has been disappeared since Sunday, June 13, 2010 at 4:30 PM when he was driving his taxi and told his family that he couldn’t speak to them by phone because he was surrounded by police.

Dessert
Chocolate-Cajeta Tart
Toasted Homemade Marshmallows
Graham Cracker Crumble and Goat Cheese Ice Cream

Wine: Mumm Napa “Carlos Santana Brut” N/V

 
…and the country’s return to the Organization of American States earlier this year.

…there were two police/military raids on the same community (Los Rigores- September 16, 19) in which 22 people were temporarily detained, tortured and threatened with death. A 16 yr old was drenched in gasoline by the police and threatened with being burned.

Author's note: The language of this poem was drawn from The White House website, White House Press releases, news articles, and statements from human rights groups.

John Kotula is an artist and writer who lives in Peace Dale, Rhode Island. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras from 2005 through 2007.
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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

MAMBO ITALIANA

by J. Bradley


I’m waiting for the beauty pageant
of acquitted murderers, the reinstatement
of electric chairs for mood lighting.

The occupation is prepared, justice
as soundbite wide enough to gnaw
the Achilles heel of the 99%.

We will know her favorite color, the food
and English she missed. We will learn nothing.

 
J. Bradley is a contributing writer for Specter Magazine and the Interviews Editor of PANK Magazine. He lives at iheartfailure.net.
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Monday, October 03, 2011

TO THOSE LOOKING DOWN: WATCH, LISTEN

by Linda Lerner
Rat, I thought, seeing that dead animal,
could have been a small squirrel or large mouse
by the cellar steps where I put out food the night before
for two black cats I feed, but
kept coming back to rat

flung it out loud at
a white shirted tie-flung-over-his shoulder guy
ahead of me rushing thru the heavy metal subway turnstile
his hand flying back against it, smacked me in the face
blood  squirted from my nose; people offered tissues
he tossed out  sorry like a black rose,
I’m in a hurry vanishing  down the steps....

the rat outside my building was still there next morning.
I walked around it, picked up the cats’ plates
put them on the other side and quickly ran in
to wash my hands...first one rat then 
hundreds, soon a whole town infected dying,
recalling  Camus’ The Plague 

all you really need is one rat....
saw  homeless fear  in a former colleague’s eyes
a decades old best friend of  his boss, a man trying to 
show higher ups he’s keeping costs down, 
get a promotion, told him, you’re no longer needed....
over 50 is no longer needed

I kept hoping the rat would be gone each morning
that a neighbor or the part time super 
would get rid of it...

I’ve never been good at getting rid of rats 
once at a job, in my bed, my home
put up with it  longer than I should have
than anyone ever should..

the fourth morning the rat was gone from my building;
even if it was a small squirrel, as my neighbor thought,
I saw a rat...others were seen
on the terrace of  the Cipriani club at 55 Water Street
looking down at the crowd  protesting thousands of firings
looking down at scared, hungry, out of work 
for months, a year , or more, others
drinking champagne and looking down 

a crowd armed with mental pesticides  gathered around Wall  Street
quickly grew ignoring boundaries, spread 
across bridges and state lines;
In less than a week they outnumbered the 1%
looking down 


Linda Lerner's Takes Guts and Years Sometimes (New & Selected Poems) is published by New York Quarterly Press.
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Saturday, October 01, 2011

JOURNEY OF THE CARDS AND RAYS

by Earl J Wilcox
with apologies to Mr. Eliot

A hot coming we had of it,
Just the best time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey.
The ways were wild and the weather
Hot, the very dead of summer.
And the bullpen wilted, sore-elbows,
    Broken toes,
Getting up and down in the Atlanta
And New York heat.
The summer doldrums, dog days,
Bud Lites beckoning, pizza
Parties till midnight.

Then came Duncan leaving the Cards
Alone, going back home
To nurse his ailing wife, and Maddon and
La Russa pushing and pushing the Rays
And Cards, and the Sox and Braves
So sure with chopping axes and a
Green Monster that had their backs
And the Yanks with all their snide ways.

Then, just then, as sunset fell in
Houston town and the Yanks and Sox
Looked away, the Cards and the Rays rode in,
Their piss ‘n vinegar hotter than all Hades.

All this was just a short time ago,
We remember here in Mudville, and
We know the Cards and Rays would
Do it all over again, so set down this:
We were led all this way
For the national pastime, the national psyche
Our angst satisfied until the playoffs,
The championships, the Series.
When Obama fails and Perry and Romney
And Bachman Tweet to the Almighty, only
We endure, we have no hard and bitter agony,
Our kingdoms secure, though no longer
At ease. There are Cubbies and Red Legs and
Pirates and next year’s Sox, (both Red and White)
And Texans, and Giants---and all our fathers
Yelling, “slide, dammit, slide.”

 
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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