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Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at]gmail.com.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, November 30, 2011

MITT ROMNEY PRAYS TO JANUS

by Ed Shacklee


O Thou, who looks both ways through every gate,
Who makes my well-intentioned path seem straight,

Who forked the subtle serpent's silver tongue,
And took away my spine when I was young,

I praise Thee, Lord, who with two faces smiled
Upon Thy faithful, ever faithless child.


Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia.  His poems have appeared in 14 by 14, The Flea, The Raintown Review and Shot Glass Journal, among other places.
_____________________________________________________

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY / BLOODY SUNDAY

by Alan Catlin


In the News:

Lady pepper sprays
fellow shoppers to gain
better access to limited-
time-only sale items.

Temporary employee/store
guard, trampled by shoppers
at Walmart opening.

Thousands wait in line
for midnight opening
of Circuit City mallstore
for while-supplies-
last-sale.

Estimated 150 million
shoppers took to streets
on Black Friday, nearly
half of US population.
Analysts describe the phenomena
as a “National Obsession.

The future not some new 9-11
World Trade Center burning event
but President Bush’s post
apocalyptic vision of defeating
the enemy at the malls with our
credit cards, our cash, our consumption;
what we buy defines us. All the surveys
tell us so.


Alan Catlin has published numerous chapbooks and full-length books of poetry and prose, the latest of which, from Pygmy Forest Press, is Deep Water Horizon including several poems originally published in The New Verse News.
_____________________________________________________

Monday, November 28, 2011

TWILIGHT OF THE GREATEST GENERATION

by Zev Shanken


Born in the Twenties before the Wall Street Crash,
raised with the lessons of the Great Depression,
The Greatest Generation went to war to stop
madmen from ruling the world.

They married too soon and learned from TV
how to think you know things you don't know.
They watched their kids invent sex, their sons invent peace,
their daughters invent women, their gays invent pride.

They watched Jews invent Israelis; Hispanics, Latinos;
blacks invent Africans; Orientals, East Asians.
They watched the century's greatest distracting inventions,
while all along Wall Street was inventing new tricks.


Zev Shanken teaches English at High School for Health Careers and Sciences in Washington Heights, and lives in New Jersey.  His father fought in World War Two and was a freedom rider in the early 60s.  Zev participated in SCLC and SNCC projects in Cambridge, MD and Orangeburg, SC in the 60s.  His chapbook, Al Het, was published by Blue Begonia Press, Yakima, WA, in 1996.
_____________________________________________________

Sunday, November 27, 2011

GREENBACKSTREETS

 Poems by Charles Frederickson; 
Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote 


WALL MAIN SESAME EASY MEAN

Empowering humanimals many shapes colors
Genders political persuasions solidarity struggle
Solo voices blending Kumbaya harmony
Heart soul mindful ethical ideals

ABBEY YELLOW BRICK SILK ROCKY

Armani salvation army deep-pocketed lobbyists
Soldiers of misfortune held hostage
Designer label redeemers rebels radicals
One size doesn’t fit all

HIGH FREE TOLL BROAD APPIAN

Facebook Twitter coming of age
Wronged passage rites we-mail armed
Leaderless cellular not hierarchal movement
Declaring “we are the 99%”

TIN PAN GASOLINE BOWLING OOP

In gold wet rust standards
24 karat necklace missing links
Two-faced silver dollars uncommon cents
Clenched fistful of counterfeit greenbacks

PRIMROSE DOS OFF THE BEATEN


Winner takes all capital gains
Blue chip off Titanic iceberg
What lies beneath hidden assets
Deep freeze global economy meltdown

BOARDWALK PARK PLACE MARVIN GARDENS

Insider trading places duping outsiders
Debt equity swaps bondage hexchange
Corporatocrazy mortgage bailouts subsides bonuses
Greedy least needy tax breaks

VIA DOLOROSA (WAY OF GRIEF)

Dr. Charles Frederickson and Mr. Saknarin Chinayote proudly present 27 free downloadable YouTube videos @ charlesthai1.
_____________________________________________________

Saturday, November 26, 2011

CHILDREN FOR WALL STREET

by Janice D. Soderling


"And shall I still be allowed to wear ribbons in my mane?" asked Mollie. 

--Animal Farm, George Orwell

Her panties are thongs.
She is sexy as lard.

Her gilt purse is frayed.

She is tattooed and scarred.



The shops stretch for acres
with see-throughs and bows.

Synthetic her wants and

synthetic her clothes.



She hasn't much money,

but spends what she's got

on frail fishnet stockings.

She wants to be hot.



Ruby Rose, Lara Bingle,
thin-limbed and wall-high,

look down on this sad child

and croon "buy or die".



Pierced lip and smeared lipstick,

black hair streaked with green,

she flicks through the racks.

She is nearly sixteen.


Janice D. Soderling is a previous contributor to The New Verse News. Her poetry, fiction and translations appear in many online and print venues, most recently Magma Poetry (England), Twelve Stories (USA), The Chimaera (Australia) and The Literary Bohemian (Czech Republic). Now Culture (USA) nominated “Cock-of-the-Walk” to Sundress Best of the Net.
_____________________________________________________

Friday, November 25, 2011

POETS LAUREATE MAKE NEWS

by Bill Costley


Mayor Bloomberg lets NYC cops
demolish a signed first-edition donated
to Occupy Wall. St., by Philip Levine,
current US Poet Laureate.

Former Poet Laureate
Robert Hass & his poet wife get beaten in
Occupied Berkeley on 09 NOV.
He writes about it 19 NOV
in the Sun. NYT

American poets finally make news
in ways anyone can appreciate
on either coast.


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.
_____________________________________________________

Thursday, November 24, 2011

GIVING THANKS

by Lee Patton

 46th November

 This sky seems to write no promises--
 its gray sheet stretches taut, papering
 over the sun. Turkey gravy and pie juice
 bleed on my clients' blotted-ink addresses,
 but I know ‘em by heart.  The streets deliver me
 again, with meals for the homebound.

 Opposite Freedom Park's drained fountain
 an old lady totters to her next meal in robe
 and sneakers.  Every other citizen braving this
 chill seems to be on crutches or skinny wheels:
 "Could you hold that door for me, Sonny?"

 In her room near the emergency exits,
 Judith cries at the offered goods--enough
 for the long weekend, with pie and cake
 besides--and I beg off her gratitude,
 I who only brought and did not buy,
 did not package, did not bake.

 Through his door-chain's widening wedge,
 Mr. Gomez forgets his reserve and shinnies up
 the IV of his dormant self-delight, then frees
 the door and offers his arms to me.

 At the icy crack of noon, feeble shafts
 of sunlight tender a greeting to the street,
 throwing the chimneys' steam into blunt relief
 against faint blue haze.

 Life, I want to tell Judith, has kissed me
 on my sweet ass for so many years
 that I've forgotten the need for wishes on bones
 and lost track of any promises, kept or broken,
 scrawled in disappearing ink
 across November skies.


Lee Patton, a Denverite, writes fiction, poetry, drama and commentary.   Quarterlies that have published his work include Best New Writing 2012, The Threepenny Review, The Massachusetts Review, The California Quarterly, and Hawaii-Pacific Review. His second novel, Love and Genetic Weaponry:  The Beginner’s Guide, was launched from Alyson Books in 2009.

_____________________________________________________

EARLY THANKSGIVING MIGRATION

by Laura Rodley


On our way back home,
from the train window we watch
the dried grass, mesquite, and pinon,
terra cotta adobe homes high
in the Sandia Mountains.
In the San Felipe Pueblo,
a pink hog gutted lies
on its side, its squat people
surrounding it eye the passing train,
the round prickly pears stubby and burned
black by the sun, arroyos dry
footprints fleshed out in its red sand
dirtbike tracks fresh.
As we speak your name
a gathering of cranes flash
before the window, stalking green fields
irrigated underground, their intermittent
bending for barley, final harvest,
cranes such as you had seen
driving back roads in Artesia
flush with dried out sparse green leaves
and the hard green fists of pecans in orchards
waiting for our train to come in,
cranes tall as grey emus gliding, you said
and here the cranes,
the only time we see them,
as we lift your name to the wind.


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.
_____________________________________________________

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FOLLOWING ORDERS

by Tom Karlson



Quan and Bloomberg
New York to Oakland
Master and poodle
Deliverers of well being and health
Big love sent with
Riot gear
Rubber bullet
Beanbag scatter gun
Hunting
Old women
Pregnant females
Kids
Books
At 2 am

Exploding the occupations
Spreading the occupations

Quan and Bloomberg
Following orders
Poodle and master

99 and the 1
The sixties are done
Long live the tens
Long live the tens


Tom Karlson is founder of Poets for Peace, Long Island, NY.
_____________________________________________________

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

FIVE FADING MEMORIES OF NOVEMBER

by J.R. Solonche

November 22, 1963

1.
Gunshots.
A Lincoln convertible.
Walter Cronkite’s tears.
A black veil.
The wheels of the caisson.

2.
A Lincoln convertible.
Walter Cronkite’s tears.
A black veil.
The wheels of the caisson.
Gunshots.

3.
Walter Cronkite’s tears.
A black veil.
The wheels of the caisson.
Gunshots.
A Lincoln convertible.
.
4.
A black veil.
The wheels of the caisson.
Gunshots.
A Lincoln convertible.
Walter Cronkite’s tears.

5.
The wheels of the caisson.
Gunshots.
A Lincoln convertible.
Walter Cronkite’s tears.
A black veil.


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.
___________________________________________

Monday, November 21, 2011

AMERICA'S HEART

by Paul Dickey


I have a stick I bought on eBay 

from a flogging tree 

once in a now closed museum.

I have a poem.

I have a quotation from Martin Luther King.
I have a true story.
But they say poets anymore 

shouldn’t break America’s heart.

I heard Wisconsin election results just came in.
I heard teachers not teaching,

just sitting on a bench.
I heard teachers not teaching 

outside the capitol.

I heard a door close behind a man who lost his job.

I heard voices in victory from the other room.

I heard a governor say –

but don’t you dare break America’s heart.

I see fire in the Bastrop sky 

where there had been blue.
I see the governor calls for volunteers 

to bring their own equipment
the United States of People
it seems no longer can afford.

I see fish dying on a Vermont street.

I see an old man die in Ohio who didn’t need.

I see a true story about a dream.

I see a poem there in front of you.
 To build again, 

we have to break America’s heart.


Paul Dickey’s first full length poetry manuscript They Say This is How Death Came Into the World was published by Mayapple Press in January, 2011 and was nominated by the press for the 2011 National Book Award in Poetry.  His poetry has appeared recently in Verse Daily, Rattle, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, Mid-American Review, Midwest Quarterly, Crab Orchard Review and online at Linebreak.  A poetry chapbook What Wisconsin Took was published by The Parallel Press in May, 2006.
_____________________________________________________

Sunday, November 20, 2011

DEMOCRACY REDEFINED

by Ron Singer


Moammar Gadhafi
was a democrat, self-proclaimed.
“In Arabic,” he explained,
dama means remain,
and kursi is a seat.”
That, you could say,
was ersitz democracy.


Ron Singer’s poetry has appeared, e.g., in alba, Arlington Literary Journal (featured poet, July, 2010), Borderlands: The Texas Poetry Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Evergreen Review, The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, New Works Review (featured poet, Fall 2008), and Word Riot. He is currently working on a book of interviews with African pro-democracy activists called Uhuru Revisited (Africa World Press/Red Sea Press). 
_____________________________________________________

Friday, November 18, 2011

OCCUPY AMERICA

by F.I. Goldhaber


Young and old, jobless
and under employed
they stream downtown
to pitch their tents.

In the face of tear
gas and pepper spray,
false arrest and
imprisonment

they persevere. I'm
reminded of the
Révolution
françaises,  "To the

barricades!" Then the
students, impoverished
bourgeoisie, and
leftists banded

together to fight
for the principles
this young nation
introduced to

the world: Liberté,
égalité, and
fraternité.
We don't set fires

in the street. Instead,
we camp, we march, we
carry signs to
remind passers

by exactly who
the villains in this
conflict are: stock
brokers, bankers,

mega corps who have
bought all three branches
of the U.S.
government.

Unlike seventeen
eighty-nine, police
now throw the first
stones. Across the

country, leaders are
violating the
constitution
they have sworn to

protect, the one that
guarantees"the right
of the people
peaceably to

assemble." This is
where we must make our
stand. On the streets
and when we mark

our ballots next year.
They have the money.
We have the votes.
We're the ninety

nine percent. This: these
tents, these signs,  is what
democracy
looks like today.


F.I. Goldhaber's second poetry collection Pairs of Poems was ranked number three in the Preditors & Editors readers poll for poems. She is an editor, book designer, poet, novelist, and story teller who's written professionally for more than a quarter century and has won a number of awards for her fiction and poetry. Her short stories, novelettes, poems, news stories, feature articles, essays, editorial columns, and reviews have been published in magazines, e-zines, newspapers, calendars, and anthologies. She's also had three erotica novels published under another name.
_____________________________________________________

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WITNESS

by Khary Jackson


When the police violence occurred again later that night, they broke the ribs of another English professor, poet Geoffrey O'Brien. When the police wouldn't stop beating him even after he too had fallen to the ground, a good friend and fellow graduate student, Ben Cullen, rushed in and demanded that they stop. The police, in turn, rained multiple blows on him, bruising his ribs as well. And just in case it's not clear yet that the violence was not only against 'some kids looking to make a fuss,' the police also thought it necessary to jab 70-year-old former Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Hass several times in the stomach with a baton as well.
--Huffington Post, 11/13/11


I think they knew what they were doing.
One of them noticed: the poets were out.
If they jab the laureate in the stomach,
if they crack the ribs of the prof, maybe
they will pen a proper witness for the flailing
and lost. Maybe they will make sense of this,
as if swinging batons can be re-imagined
into farmer hands summoning corn from the
ground. Maybe, months from now, they’ll buy their
first book of verse, and finally understand
precisely upon whom they’d been spitting all along.


Khary Jackson is a performance poet, playwright, dancer and musician.  A Detroit native, he currently resides in the Twin Cities where he serves as a teaching artist and writer.  He has written 12 full length plays, one of which (Water) was produced in 2009 at Ink and Pulp Theatre in Chicago.  He has been a recipient of several grants, including the 2010 Artist Initiative Grant for poetry from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the 2009 VERVE Spoken Word Grant from Intermedia Arts, and the Many Voices Residency from the Playwrights' Center, in 2005-06 and 2007-08.  As a performance poet, he has enjoyed great success in national competition, ranking nationally in 2007, 2008 and 2009, as well as winning the National Poetry Slam with the St Paul team in 2009 and 2010.
_____________________________________________________

NOVEMBER 15, 2011

by Holly Anderson


Never give in.
Never give up.
Sometimes civil disobedience
does smell like shit.
Sometimes civil disobedience
does smell like unwashed bodies.
Sometimes civil disobedience
does smell like cheap, roll-your-own tobacco
and halitosis and sad-eyed rescue dogs.
Sometimes civil disobedience
does smell like garbanzo beans on a fresh-made salad
dished out by an unemployed goddess
who sleeps rough in Zuccotti Park
for all of us.


Holly Anderson
is a NYC poet and lyricist anthologized in Up is Up But So Is Down: New York's Downtown Literary Scene, 1974-1992 (NYU Press 2006) forthcoming in early 2012 is The Night She Slept With A Bear from Publication Studio, Portland, OR. 
_____________________________________________________

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BLOOD MOON KANSAS CITY

by Christina Pacosz


Anything moving in the wee hours
is fair game    Like a hunter in a woodsy blind
these urban shooters kill at a moment's notice
A woman walking home from the store on Sunday at 3 AM
with bread she'd purchased
thankfully expected to recover
Six people total murdered over the weekend
Three in a house    One of them the childhood friend
of the new first time ever
black police chief
Another two men killed
in an apartment
A body found in a burning house
ruled arson and murder

November nights
moonlight and gunfire
An unmistakeable sound
not that far in the distance


Born and raised in Detroit by working-class Polish-American parents, Christina Pacosz’  poetry/writing has appeared in literary magazines and online journals for almost  half a century. A poet-in-the-schools and a North Carolina Visiting Artist, she has published several books of poetry, including Greatest Hits, 1975-2001, Pudding House, 2002, a by-invitation-only series.  Her chapbook, Notes from the Red Zone, originally published by Seal Press in 1983, was selected as the inaugural winner of the ReBound Series by Seven Kitchens Press in 2009.
_____________________________________________________

Monday, November 14, 2011

IN A DITCH, POSTBELLUM

by Matthew Boulay


I.
After ten years of war
I crawled from battle
And took refuge in a ditch

It was the ditch where Ira died
And I pushed aside his bones
And waited


II.
Long and narrow, the ditch was nothing
No water flowed, the crops had long ago shriveled and died
I shed my uniform and lay naked and unmolested
The afternoon sun vanished, the warmth of the day turned cold
And I began to dig


III.
The topsoil was soft and cool and loosely packed
And the earth fell easily from my fingers
I dug without rest and I dug without food or drink
The ditch became a hole and the hole become a tunnel
And the dark silence of the tunnel became my friend


IV.
Night and day took their differing turns
And the weeks became months
And the months grew long
And the earth turned hard and the soil resisted
Jagged rocks ripped my fingers and my hands blistered and bled
My body ached and I became desperate for water


V.
Deep and narrow, the tunnel was nothing
And so I stopped digging
And waited there in the bowels of our earth


VI.
And now, reader, you must stop pretending
There is no soldier, there is no digging, there is no tunnel
There is only war and the emptiness of a writer writing
Cover your eyes, nothing will be salvaged


Matthew Boulay served in Iraq in 2003.  He can be reached at Matthew_Boulay(at)hotmail.com .
_____________________________________________________

Saturday, November 12, 2011

STAND UP

by Michael Shorb


history’s lofted ball
flies just beyond your grasp,
you sprawl on striped grass.

who dreamed this second coming,
this leaderless revolt?
what Nostradamus foresaw
these raw nights and days
when millions stood up
to launch a revolution,
when common people
demanded something different,
roared like an ocean,
waving their shoes to
dishonor the dictator’s rhetoric?
went without food and endured
cattle prods and shotguns and whips,
automatic weapons and jet planes,
ridicule and censure?

you ingrown dynasties,
you legions of clerks and playboys
who devour the lion’s share,
you can’t bluff and you can’t kill
fast enough to evade this flood
of everyday people
driven by the thirst  for freedom.


San Francisco-based poet Michael Shorb's work reflects an abiding interest in environmental issues, history, and the lyrical form. His poems have appeared in over 100 magazines and anthologies, including The Nation, The Sun, Michigan Quarterly Review, Queen's Quarterly, Poetry Salzburg Review, Commonweal, Rattle, Urthona, Underground Voices, The Great American Poetry Show and European Judaism. His collection, Whale Walkers Morning, will appear in Winter 2013 from Shabda Press.
_____________________________________________________

Friday, November 11, 2011

A LIFETIME

by Susan Supley


A lifetime ago the blonde flower child/woman smiled at a grim faced
soldier as she placed a daisy in the muzzle of his upended rifle.
Today she clutched a folded flag from the casket of her grandson to her breast.


Susan Supley lives in New Port Richey, Florida. Not having to work for a living she is able to live as a poet. She posts some work at aturtlespeaks.blogspot.com and anotherturtlespeaks.blogspot.com.
_____________________________________________________

VETERANS DAY

by Robert M. Chute


In the outskirts of small cities and towns
in the boot-leather tough American heart-land
from Iowa to Idaho where the suburbs quickly
fade into prairie, barrens or bad-lands you
may see our national bird, the bald eagle, perched
on the rim of rusty dumpsters in the hunt
for commercial carrion. They show the same
"make-do, can-do" spirit that made America
a great nation, showing the same adaptability
and persistence of pioneer spirit as our
homeless veterans bivouacked under bridge
abutments and vacant lots across the country.


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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

GOODNESS GRACIOUS

Poem by Charles Frederickson; Photo by Saknarin Chinayote 


Venice-of-the-East westernized
Once upon canals paved over
Superhighways displacing bucolic “klong” waterways
Master Plan blueprint left undrawn

Sunken hope bleak future forecast
Naked stray dog turds afloat
Stepmother Nature delivering knockout punch
Kick boxer split decision countdown

Elderly disabled toddlers first evacuees
Un-neighborly family feuds set aside
Thais helping each other devotedly
Humanimal kindness rising to surface

Grinning golden Buddha luster tarnished
Maintaining upturned stiff lower lip
Incensed offerings up in smoke
Barefoot lotus position tucked under

Ageless volunteers providing grief relief
Soldiers recruited to shoulder burdens
Uplifting downtrodden spirits disheartened souls
Prideful resilience smiling through adversity

Massive cleanup private property condemned
Stilted thatch roof promises cave-in
Eternal survivors jump-starting engines anew
Motorcycles spinning wheels of Fate


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 .
___________________________________________

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

FALLING LEAVES

by John Palen

World population reached 7 billion
on or about Oct. 31, 2011
-- News item

Chased from maples
by a stiff wind,
they rattle on the roof,
drift down on what was once
tall-grass prairie.
The lawn I raked yesterday
is half covered again.
Fifteen kraft bags
lean against the garage,
and the giant lindens
haven't even started.
How could there be
so many, when all we did
was plant some trees?


John Palen's Open Communion: New and Selected Poems was published by Mayapple Press in 2005. He has work forthcoming in Gulf Stream, Jelly Bucket, Honey Land Review and elsewhere. He lives in Central Illinois.
_____________________________________________________

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

OCCUPY WALL STREET

by Shirani Rajapakse


The sweat streams
Down her cheeks
And loses itself
In her
Blouse. There’s time
Yet for her to
Leave. The clock ticks
On. Her eyes
Hurt. Her hands
Feel numb. Is this
Life? She
Has no choice.
Its her day.
Darkness all around,
Sweating it out for
A morsel of
Food for her
Family waiting
Patiently for her
Return.
Her fingers ache.
The machine
Throbs in her
Head. She lifts
Her hand to wipe
Off the sweat.
Wall Street’s
Occupied, drones
The newsreader.
She looks up but
Doesn’t understand.
Then back to
The machine.


Shirani Rajapakse is a poet, playwright and fiction writer of Sri Lankan origin who spends her time writing stories and weaving verses out of fragments of dreams and left-over sentences. Breaking News, her debut collection of short stories published in April 2011 by Vijitha Yapa Publishers, Sri Lanka, was shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2010. Shirani has a BA in English Literature from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, and a MA in International Relations from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. She worked at the Sunday Times and Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka and in international organizations including the World Bank and Commonwealth Secretariat.
_____________________________________________________

Monday, November 07, 2011

MUSEUM CURATOR IN A CUBE

by Rochelle Owens

        for Braque and Picasso


Evoking the rhythm of
rhythm of spontaneous changes
the artifact from Africa

heating to the temperature
the temperature of human skin
the artifact from Africa

warming the arms back and chest
of the curator
the artifact from Africa

warming the shoulders and wrists
of the curator
the artifact from Africa

rays of light penetrating
the biceps flexing contracting
the artifact from Africa

resting on the palm
the palm of the curator
the artifact from Africa

smooth as the skin of an apple
glowing warmly
the artifact from Africa

in the palm of the hand
of the curator
the artifact from Africa

lying on the palm
the palm of the curator
the artifact from Africa

the hand of the curator
warming the wood
the artifact from Africa       

the hand cupping the little god
the eyes seeing
the artifact from Africa

in the head of the curator
seeing the eyes opening
the artifact from Africa

the long neck
of the little god stretching
the artifact from Africa

the little god bending twisting
the biceps flexing contracting
the artifact from Africa

the rump hips and thighs
totem and taboo  totem and taboo
the artifact from Africa

rays of light
illuminating the scrotum
the artifact from Africa

the feet circling
feet and toes jabbing
the artifact from Africa

toenails jabbing into the palm
of the curator
the artifact from Africa

the biceps flexing contracting
the rump hips and thighs
the artifact from Africa

rays of light penetrating
the feet and toes
the artifact from Africa

toenails jabbing forcing
deeper deeper into the palm
the artifact from Africa

blood pushing to the surface
oozing drops of blood
the artifact from Africa

pounding deeper deeper
the nails into the palm
the artifact from Africa

the iron nails a silence
in the palm of a hand
the artifact from Africa

in the head of the curator
the ears hearing
the artifact from Africa

breathing swallowing the breath
passing voiceless
the artifact from Africa

the arms and legs tapering
the breath of the little god
the artifact from Africa

the breath of the little god
inhaling exhaling
the artifact from Africa

the breath of the curator
inhaling exhaling
the artifact from Africa

the breath passing voiceless
voiceless as a fish
the artifact from Africa

voiceless as a fiery particle
voiceless as a bed of ashes
the artifact from Africa

glowlng warmly in the palm
the palm of the hand of the curator
the artifact from Africa

evoking the rhythm of
rhythm of spontaneous changes


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-third New Verse News poem.
_____________________________________________________

Friday, November 04, 2011

ASK SOCRATES

by Toby Evanitsky


Always when I enter this old district
Hemmed in and darkened by towers
With streets narrow as New Amsterdam
That sensation of omnipotent powers

Everywhere metal barricades thickening
Like castle defenses until on Broadway
Trees and music implanted in this place
Of hard glances and eyes that look away

Yet Occupy Wall Street is not a festival its
Casual intensity like my occupancy of Yale
All those years ago (yes that was mayhem)
And here too a real sense of danger and jail

With the gloomy fears of the 1% hovering above
This capsule of freedom circled by plutocracy
Looks now more like an ancient Athenian
Forum a vision of the womb of democracy

As the winds of change struggle to unmask
An epidemic of greed these folks also sense
That inside each of them a paradox is at work
Offering ultimate freedom in the present tense

Worldwide are the fallen and the trampled
Where the convenient ruse is always paternal -
Who speaks in their name who shines light
Into dark places where night is eternal?


Toby Evanitsky is an architect, educated at Pratt Institute, who has practiced in New York, Maine and the Carolinas where he now resides.  He has been published in Iodine Poetry Journal.  Toby’s poetry has been particularly influenced by Joseph Brodsky and by Owen Barfield's Poetic Diction.
_____________________________________________________

Thursday, November 03, 2011

WHEN YOU SAY WIS-CON-SIN [lol]

by Darrell Petska


MADISON, Wis. -- State lawmakers in both chambers of the Legislature were working furiously on Thursday to draft measures outlining policies whether to allow concealed weapons in various parts of the state Capitol.


Dairy lawmakers [lol] may soon allow
concealed cattle prods
in both legislative barns
and adjoining holding pens.

Dairy's recent politics [lol]
could portend a blistering
exchange of prodfire in Money
Magazine's darling Dairy capital.

Are weapons in the statehouse
barns the best the wise [lol] lawmakers
can do to help backsliding Dairy
raise more than eyebrows?

But hey, yah, you betcha, if cattle prods
or guns or knives are part of the holy
plan [rofl] for more work and jobs, then
spare the cheese and pass the ammo!


Darrell Petska, writing from Madison, Wisconsin, is a freelance editor in adult education who previously worked as a mental health caseworker, nursing home evaluator, and university editor. Past or forthcoming publications include Modern Haiku, Verse Wisconsin, ProtestPoems.org and others.
_____________________________________________________

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

WE ARE THE JOYFUL NOISE -- #OccupySF

by Buff Whitman-Bradley


Marching and dancing through the streets to discomfit the smug and proclaim the people’s democracy
            We are the joyful noise
Blocking the doorways of larcenous banks
            We are the joyful noise
Inviting downtown shoppers and luxury hotel guests to join us
            We are the joyful noise
Defying the cops and staying put
            We are the joyful noise
Making decisions without leaders
            We are the joyful noise
Exchanging knowledge and skills and learning from each other
            We are the joyful noise
Sharing food and tarps and sleeping bags and visions of another world
            We are the joyful noise
Rejecting the death-worshiping money culture
            We are the joyful noise
Resisting the corporate state and voracious insatiable capitalism
            We are the joyful noise
Standing for the despised the oppressed the imprisoned the tortured the used and abused and discarded
            We are the joyful noise
Standing for the trees and the animals the mountaintops and the rivers
            We are the joyful noise
Standing for soil and seeds
            We are the joyful noise
We are whistles and drums and tubas and trombones
            And we are the joyful noise
We are chants and songs and orations and poems
            And we are the joyful noise
We are full-throated voices and the Peoples’ Mic
            And we are the joyful noise
We are friends and neighbors and parents and kids
            And we are the joyful noise
Celebrating each other and invincible life in our struggle for the common good we are the 99%
            And we are the joyful noise 


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.
_____________________________________________________

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

TODAY ON WALL STREET

by Scarlett Cerna


In the early dying season
fleets of people occupy
Wall Street, to unveil its treason.
The fat cats ate the apple-pie
in the sky,
yet they deny
with no regard for reason.

The people see a sign
that reads, Democracy for Sale,
Sold Out. Bail-out rinds left behind
by the swine, in beat-up pails,
rotten sweet,
perfumed with deet,
are the scraps reserved for the jails.

Stockyards filled with those who dare
to shed their blindfolds and contest
corporate greed. Life is not fair
for the 99%.
The rest feast.
Let’s starve the beast.
We the people are not content.
 
 
Scarlett Cerna is a graduate student at the University of Northern Iowa
_____________________________________________________

HALLOWEEN 2011

by Earl J Wilcox


Like when it’s dark and rainy
and you’ve driven
a long way
in rain and fog
and you think
you know where
you’re going
but discover
with some heaviness
you have no clue
on a road
freshly paved
in black asphalt
without white lines
to keep you
from falling off
the side into
dark gullies
and the road signs
have no incandescence
to illuminate
your way
and falling leaves
paste your windshield
clog your wipers
and the road
narrows
into a lane
barely bigger
than a pig path
and is ending
imminently
when you decide
to pick up a jogger
who might know
where he’s going
as we clearly do not.
In our backseat
he huffs
and drips
rain on us
but soon points
to a bleary street sign
where the house we want
with a warm fire inside
stands in stark silence.


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.
_____________________________________________________