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Wednesday, February 29, 2012


by J.D. Smith
News Item:

Few dare note, on our aging village maps,
The walkways paved primarily with gaps

As concrete once poured out to smooth foot travel
Is turned, by time, tree root and ice, to gravel

Upon which one who saunters, strolls or marches
Imperils ankles, knees, hips, shins and arches.

A town hall without pity will not pave
(And may yet send a runner to his grave)

While burghers charged by law with patching cracks
Instead would have us break our mothers’ backs.

Estranged from neighbor, property and State,
Look down—or take a header to your fate.

J.D. Smith
’s third collection, Labor Day at Venice Beach, will be published later this year, as will his first humor collection, Notes of a Tourist on Planet Earth. His poems have appeared in journals and sites including 99 Poems for the 99 Percent, Nimrod, Tar River Poetry and Texas Review.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012


by Karen Neuberg

Eye sore watching an American dream escaping the reach of that child there, and that one, and that; until the shame of it hangs and flings in no hurry to exit. The rest of us fed on bread and circuses, spectacle, illusion, sports, war, and porn. Except, there is no bread. No cake. No cups. What overflows goes to the few who are amassing well beyond their greed. While that child there, and there, and there, is hungry, is growing hungrier.

empty pots
lines of hungry people
soup kitchens

emptied shelves
lines of hungry people
food pantries

Karen Neuberg lives in Brooklyn, NY and West Hurley, NY. Her chapbook Detailed Still was published by Poets Wear Prada Press. She has previously published at The New Verse News.

Monday, February 27, 2012


by Captain Barefoot

Ain’t easy keeping the Elites from plotting
elimination. Accumulation. Spaghettification

Dense wealth stretches approaching nations
like noodles. Rolling pins it out of ‘em

like a hillbilly wrings a chicken’s neck
or a banker breaks a rancher’s back

Wall St.’s black hole, stringing us out on
 the meth of cheap mortgages. Cheap oil

Walmarts & mutually deterred nuclear voodoo
Thank competitive gravity. Market cabals

& Brahmin capital cliques. Wiping out whole
economies. On line. B y drone. One shop

stupid cupid strategies of Empire, aggregated
in Alpha males. Corporate sales. The climate?

Just details … We live in an America inured
to mass Tell-a-Vision. Armed beyond reason

& our furthest shore. With a spook Pentagon
lock, load & pointed at the Planet’s head

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.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


by Kim Doyle

I want a "sofa sized" painting;
my sofa is seven foot long and three foot wide.

I want to glide with in-line skates
and modify my predatory home loan with Quicken.

I want to get a better sleep with Advil PM
and appreciate the efficacy of next day blinds.

I want to keep unloaded guns in my gym locker
and make eleven million dollars playing ball.

And that's not all.  I would like to be a celebrity
something: houseguest, hair stylist, White House crasher.

There must be something wrong with my life,
with just a wife and two kids and scissored credit cards,
and lard accumulating too fast around my middle.

Kim Doyle lives in a mud puddle and writes Op/Ed Poetry for The Brunswick Citizen in Brunswick, Maryland.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


by George Held
General Motors has said it will close down Hummer.

I’d love to have a Hummer
and bully Priuses and Minis,

blaring machismo as it rumbles
over bridges and through tunnels,

making them crumble, then gobbles
extra parking space in town.

I’d love to have a Hummer
that guzzles gas at 9 per gallon

and give the finger to enviros
who wag their index fingers

and say “tsk, tsk” at me and my Hummer.
I’d force drilling in the Arctic

Wildlife Preserve and opening
the U.S. gasoline reserve.

How I’d love my Hummer,
black and polished, chrome

gleaming all over its body.
But now that I’m laid off

and gas costs over 3 bucks per gallon,
I’ll have to drive a hybrid.

What a bummer!

George Held, a frequent contributor to The New Verse News, has received six Pushcart Prize nominations. His latest books are After Shakespeare: Selected Sonnets and the children's book Neighbors, with drawings by Joung Un Kim.

Friday, February 24, 2012


by Ann Neuser Lederer

                                         "I’m defending their Constitution, too." --Jessica Ahlquist

The Evil Little Thing (he named her)
dares to speak and speak the truth.
The Evil Thing has won.
The Evil Little Thing gets death threats.
She's given an escort to school: the police.
She's interviewed on TV.
She's sad, surprised to hear the stream of meanness.
Her message is skywrit huge and bright and white against the blue.
Still, the hate letters come.
We need to make walls of our arms,
old animals circling in against the wolves.
This is just to say: a praise note, a pride note, a non-hate note
To Our Strong One, our young hope.

Ann Neuser Lederer's poems and creative nonfiction appear in journals such as Diagram, XConnect and Brevity, anthologies Bedside Guide and Best of the Net, and in her chapbooks Approaching Freeze, The Undifferentiated, and Weaning the Babies. She was born in the Black Swamp region of Ohio, and is employed as a nurse in Kentucky.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


by Ed Shacklee


"It’s all the rage," the DJ said:
teen models slink across the stage,
chic but always underfed.
It’s all the rage

that living dolls be underage;
that bones display how well they’re bred.
These hawk-eyed buyers can’t assuage
their hungers with a loom or thread,

and babies strutting in their stead
will not look look out and won’t engage.
Are they stuck up?  Don’t be misled:
it’s all the rage.

Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


by Rochelle Owens 


                                        for Stavros Deligiorgis

Never having seen a wave
frozen in mid-air the glassblower

manifold images in his brain
the rays of the sun

amorphous the forms boiling forming
a floating toothed leaved plant

floating Acanthus
a Black Hole a crucible a bubble glowing

one millionth one millionth of a second
an episode

a ferocious s c a t t e r I n g
white ovals glassy crystals orbiting
never having seen a wave
 frozen in mid-air the glassblower

turning spinning blowing hail-stones
shaping winds oceans storms

storms eddying
layers of ice cracking piling lifting

molten glass swelling lifting arching
never having seen a wave

frozen in mid-air the glassblower
dipping into the furnace

around and around rolling and shaping
around and around

a gob of molten glass
melting shards spiraling flaring
glittering hot glass
amorphous dazzling light frozen

in the glassblower’s brain
hot glass spiraling around and around

amorphous the glass
never having seen a wave frozen in mid-air

cooling scattering flowing
s u s p e n d e d

molten the ice the winds circling
a billion suns

the breath of the glassblower
the brain of the glassblower

moisture and nutrients flowing
the glassblower’s skull
the skull the color of snow
ferocious the heat pouring melting

melting and freezing the seas
spiraling arms

out of the crucible the glassblower
gathering gathering

never having seen a wave frozen in mid-air
rolling lifting arching

the layers of glass surging surging

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-sixth New Verse News poem.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
                              People take the little
                              They know to make a marvelous stew  --David St. John

Once science was dead, the little we knew was leeks,
celery, potatoes, onions, turnips, peppers, carrots,
had only a small portion of  the old substantial meat,
then easily cut up and struck dumb by hot water.  What

we boiled from that exuded its constituent scents,
lost firmness, gained a gummy consistency,
a weightiness we poured out for family and friends,
to satisfy our empty appetites, the greed of visitors.

A stew like this ignores all previous kitchen physics,
may be thick as blood or as thin as a second cousin,
only suggests sweetness when Paul Revere’s horse
is tossed in or when we add ethanol, call it a bisque.

The stew we make then simmers the tag ends of wise potage,
heats to rot the iron fact, boils gospel to compost.

Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the author of two books of poetry and two chapbooks.

Monday, February 20, 2012


by Susannah Palmer Loiselle

Arriving on industrial flatbed trucks,
huge words that fell from liars’ lips,
‘democracy,’ ‘freedom,’ and ‘liberty,’
scarred, twisted; suffering so much bad luck.
It took ten men to unload and appraise
the damage. Triage. Could any survive
the tearing, wrack and abuse? Cracked on all sides,
so deep in those words they might not be saved.
Yet, if each worker handling them treats
each letter with care, to strengthen and repair
restoring them to their former luster and flair,
then hang them high, each to each;
and if better leaders could be found
this banner will never touch the ground.

Susannah Palmer Loiselle lives with her family near rural Locke, NY. She is a retired school librarian and has taken many writing and art classes at Wells College. She has been a part of the Fiction section of Syracuse’s YMCA Downtown Writer’s Program for the past  two years. She has published poems in several literary journals and anthologies. In 2004, her chapbook, God Speaks to Me at the Salvation Army Thrift Store, was published. Her photography has been published in The Healing Muse and in Central New York Magazine. Recently, three of her photographs were on display at the Delavan Gallery in Syracuse. She concerns herself with matters of nature, mysticism, politics,  spirituality, individuality, and history in her writing and photography.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


by Joan Mazza

In Somalia, a small girl sits on a dirt floor,
curls her body, knees to chin under her skirt
to make herself smaller, invisible. Her eyes
are squeezed shut against footsteps coming.
Will it never stop?

A girl in Kenya waits to be called.
Anticipating, her body trembles against
rough cut of the blade that will tear away
the pleasure parts that make women stray.
She will endure, like all the women she knows.
Nothing for pain. Infection guaranteed.

Inside her home, a girl in India can hide
her scarred face. Her mother was whipped
for teaching her daughter to read, sending
her to school. She will never read again.
No one will marry her because she isn’t
beautiful. The acid blinded her.

And you, American girl, slim Virginia girl?
You think you’ve come a long way, baby?
The birth control you use was outlawed today.
Fertilized eggs are persons of greater value
than you. You were raped by a date?
a stranger? your father? Too bad for you.
What were you wearing?

You will have that baby. In the future,
all unwanted, neglected children will have
food and housing. In prisons. Start building.

Virginia women? Your husband’s taking
Viagra and won’t use a condom? You’re
pregnant again? Too bad. You’ll have
an ultrasound, internal probe if necessary.
You can’t refuse. It’s the law. Don’t call it rape.

Worried about terrorists? Look at your House
of Delegates. They work hard to keep you
from loving your life. Forget liberty, the pursuit
of happiness. They call it God’s Will.

Joan Mazza is an author, poet, and speaker. She has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, writing coach, certified sex therapist, and medical microbiologist, has appeared on radio and TV as a dream specialist and led personal growth workshops. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Perigee/Penguin/Putnam). Her work has appeared in many publications, including Kestrel, Slipstream, Stone’s Throw, Writer's Digest, Playgirl, and Writer's Journal. She now writes poetry and does fabric art in rural central Virginia.

Friday, February 17, 2012


by Bill Costley

Newt steps into a revolving door &
spins it expertly-R. “I’m in!” He’s in
when he’s not abutting Santorum,
but he always R-abuts Romney. He
bats R, swings L, catches L/R, like
Ron Paul. He’s a switch-hitter. He
has no directional shame. He goes
where Opportunity presents Itself:
to the Moon, talking dreamily. His
3rd wife joins him, a chilly moonlilly.

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, February 16, 2012


by Laura L. Snyder

Tall mocha in hand, she contemplates
the homeless man asleep
in a cushy chair. Between muddy shoes

is a lumpy black plastic bag.
She looks outside the rainy windows,
February in Seattle is cold and damp.

He’s young, younger than her kids, brown-skinned
and clean-shaven. What of the family

he left behind? He laid
the newspaper sports section
over his knees, but didn’t hide

layers of worn clothes
or the absence of a coffee cup.

Walking out, she sets a half full mug
by his elbow, buying time.

Laura L. Snyder writes in hard-bound journals from rainy Seattle. Find her latest writing in Labletter, The Ravens Chronicles, and in anthologies: Poets of the American West, Classified: Prose Poems and hell stung and crooked. Laura was nominated for a Pushcart by Quill and Parchment, and nominated for Dzanc’s “Best of the Web 2010.” Look for her chapbook Winged coming out this year from Flutter Press.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote







No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson and Mr. Saknarin Chinayote proudly present YouTube mini-movies @ YouTube – CharlesThai1 .

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


by Howie Good

Everybody I know says the same thing,
We don’t make anything in this country anymore.
They say our politics are broken.
They say the Dream is finished, it’s dead.
I requested you in lieu of flowers.

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.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


by David Feela

The news of her death arrives
in a paper cup, bitter and dark,
barely enough to cover the bottom,
its sediment like a fine powder,
and though you know it’s fresh,
you’ve tasted this cup before.

All day her songs will play
on the radio, on the television,
in the short term memory
of the heart, and by the time
you tip your head back to weep,
the news will already be cold.

David Feela writes a monthly column for The Four Corners Free Press and for The Durango Telegraph. A poetry chapbook, Thought Experiments, won the Southwest Poet Series. His first full length poetry book, The Home Atlas appeared in 2009. His new book of essays, How Delicate These Arches (Footnotes from the Four Corners), has just been released through Raven's Eye Press.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


by Earl J. Wilcox

Take two hot-headed nations.
Combine with large doses
Of Israeli freight in your face
Mixed with Iranian insult
In your eyes. Simmer briefly
In hot Judean and Dasht-e-Kavit
Deserts. For worst results: heat
Thoroughly in Russian and American
Politics.  Serve during an Arab Spring.

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.

Friday, February 10, 2012


by Vincent F. A. Golphin

It’s America, half time,
split between two determined tribes
vie for the hearts and minds of the crowd, 
in a widely watched  game
half-time America
phrase born in a bid for profit
praise for a dream gone wild
seized by prophesy
best described in dreary terms
a fight, struggle, challenge
between the US we’ve seen
and the US that’s yet to be
half-time America
crowds shudder in the pull
towards the desires that haunt
dreams - prosperity and peace -
and a past where the few
possessed the Dream in comfort
anxious from the first half
America in half time wonders
at what can happen next
hopes the next  round
has quarterbacks who lead
not team players who
fumble and falter through plans
maybe there is no such thing as
someone who can lead US
down time’s rich green carpet
as individuals merge into a body,
team, for an advance into the unseen
inch by yard, year by year
players fall and sacrifice
to push toward victory
the prize that bends all efforts
out of the morass
of despair, greed and violence
down the way toward
the end that seems so far,
yet looms beyond reach,
every game’s goal, an end
America pushes
into the second half
faces the fate of inevitable choices
renewal or repeat.

Vincent F. A. Golphin writes and lives in Western, New York. His latest work is 10 Stories Down (FootHills Press), poems inspired by two, six-month stays in China. His poetry, fiction and essays have also appeared in Yellow Medicine Review, Washington Living, Upstate New Yorker, The Southern Quarterly, Reporter Magazine, Drylongso, Fyah, MentalSatin, Pinnacle Hill Review, Invisible Universe, Bridges, Ishmael Reed's Konch Magazine, New Verse News, and  UpandComing Magazine.

Thursday, February 09, 2012


by Lynnie Gobeille

They say his last conversation took place two hours before.
Seated in a comfy leather chair
 he leaned forward and told his shrink
 “life was going well.”
His kids were both in college, not Ivy League…
but good enough to impress.
His wife liked her new Audi, but was a tad upset;
was not the Beamer she had coveted.

He was, however, pleased with his medical practice…
the number of patients growing.
In fact,
or so his psychiatrist has begun to tell everyone,
You know they do this;
think eavesdropping on a conversation at a party:
“The man seemed perfectly fine to me.”

They say it must have taken great courage
to climb over the railing on the bridge.
They whisper that his last act was a mortal sin.
Wonder if he hesitated.
Or simply shook his head.
Leaned forward.
arms spread wide
as he executed
one last perfect dive.

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: .

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


by Amy Eisner

and the moon wants us too. It tugs at us, liquid and solid, morning
     and night,
its pulse slow as evening, interminable even if you never got as close

as Ronald Evans on the last Apollo, parked in orbit for four hours and
     six days—
leaning out to take pictures, keeping the Command Module in command

while others scratched at the surface. After that he pursued a career
in coal. In one of his photos, white marks scatter the midnight

like dishwater spots on a wineglass, and in the center of one smudge
is the lunar lander, so high in the frame it looks like the head of a man—

and there’s the body, and the arms and legs: a primitive clockwork robot
laid against a tremendous velvet cushion, and if the robot’s head were only

square I’d say, that’s Newt! He is rising from the surface. He’s not leaving
us behind. His hand is for your shoulder. For all that is buried

will come into light. All that’s forgotten, repeal! and we will rise
and live forever, traveling far and enough and away.

Amy Eisner teaches creative writing and literature at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Fence, The Louisville Review, Madison Review, Poet Lore, Spoon River Poetry Review, Washington Square, and other journals.

Sunday, February 05, 2012


by Ngoma

At 4:00pm
the line to Trader Joe's was down the street and around the corner
the tax office in Cairo was set on fire to protest football violence
Mitt Romney proclaimed he didn't give a damn about the poor
the lines in soup kitchens were not one bit shorter
Israel stood on the brink of attacking Iran
Union contracts were under attack
the 1% still bought box seats
while the 99% Occupied everything else
Tim Tebow was not playing
the commercials cost $3.5 million dollars per 30 seconds
Mumia Abu Jamaal still lingered in a prison cell
The U.S. still had the largest prison population
in the so-called free world
Canada suffered a Katrina moment
birthers still debated whether or not Obama is a U.S Citizen
we were not one step closer to eliminating world hunger
Even with a progressive attitude, watching the Super Bowl,
which seems to float on rivers of oil - think car ads - and beer, is not exactly like holding an
Occupy Wall Street-style general assembly in the red zone
Flava Flave in a Pepsi ad
didn't insure drinkable water in third world countries
James Brown isn't around to collect his royalties for the Volkswagon commercial
No Black performers have performed at a Super Bowl half time since Janet
There was no tribute to Don Cornelius and Soul Train
2/3rds of the worlds population with aids live in Africa
70 percent of people in the world suffer from food insecurity
in the U.S. alone a woman is beaten every seven minutes
a woman is raped every eleven minutes
but overall, there are more people in the world who do not own a TV than those who do
so who wins the super bowl in the real scheme of things
is just not so damn important - is it?

Ngoma is a performance poet, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and paradigm shifter who for over 40 years has used culture as a tool to raise sociopolitical and spiritual consciousness through work that encourages critical thought. A former member of Amiri Baraka's Spirit House Movers and Players and of the Contemporary Freedom Song Duo, Serious Bizness, Ngoma weaves poetry and songs that raise contradictions and search for a just and peaceful world. Ngoma was the Prop Slam Winner of the 1997 National Poetry Slam Competition in Middletown, CT and has been published in African Voices Magazine, Long Shot Anthology, The Underwood Review, Signifyin' Harlem Review, Bum Rush The Page/Def Jam Anthology, Poems On The Road To Peace (Yale Press) and Let Loose On The World: Celebrating Amiri Baraka at 75. He was featured in the PBS Spoken Word Documentary "The Apro-Poets" with Allen Ginsberg. Ngoma has curated and hosted the poetry slam at the Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. Family Festival of Environmental and Social Justice (Yale University, New Haven, CT) since 1996. He was a selected participant in the Badilisha Poetry Xchange in Cape Town, South Africa in fall of 2009. In December of 2011 he was initiated as an Obatala Priest in Ibadan, Nigeria.

Friday, February 03, 2012


by Earl J Wilcox

Gunshot kills woman sitting at home
( Headline in The Herald, Rock Hill, SC, Feb. 2, 2012)

She was up before Monday’s sunrise, putting the sheets
in the washer, sweeping the little back porch, swatting
mid-winter flies away from the kitchen sink where

she’d left a small plate with tuna crumbs from last night’s meal.
Before her grand baby, Chloe, should arrive, she’d have
everything tidied and cleaned and stored, leaving plenty

of time for her to watch Curious George with Chloe
who always came galloping into the tiny house when
her momma dropped the toddler off around eight o’clock.

When 7:15 rolled around, Alma sat in her rocker, tilted
her head back for a brief nap, awoke when St. Peter
called her name, asked her to step lively as the morning

dew was almost gone from the deep back yard grasses
where she was hanging out her fresh wash on a peaceful
mid-winter Monday.

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.

Thursday, February 02, 2012


by Roxanne Hoffman

on Groundhog Day

Awake anxious burrowed below
curious critter doubtful dutiful emerges
eyes furtively facing greyness groundside
harbinger hunched instinctively intuits
jowly judges kingdom keenly

Legendary Litmus:
maybe? maybe? 
no... not...
oh! oh!

Prognosticator’s  Proclamation:
quivering quixotic
regards  retreats
sunshine’s shadow seen
tanking temperatures unrelenting

vernal vibrancy waits
wintering yogi yawns

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

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


by E. F. Schraeder

A shadow operation manages
to paint itself minuscule.
It solves problems

by shrinking beneath doorways,
into bedrooms
to stop lovers from wedding;

into doctor offices
to peek beneath the paper sheets,
and block reproductive services.

Small enough to fit into wires,
listen to protestors plan permitted
events in gated public spaces.

Small enough to build walls
between countries
and boost border brutality.

Small enough to fit into dictionaries,
rename activists as terrorists,
liberals as radicals, radicals as socialists.

Small enough to shrink corporate dollars
into unlimited campaign funnels
in a public court

and small enough to fit
neatly, like a concealed carry
law, in a small space,

offering a perfect fit
for closed

E.F. Schraeder's work has appeared in Haz Mat Review, Blue Collar Review, Hiram Poetry Review, and elsewhere.  She is currently working on a new manuscript of poems.