Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, March 12, 2012


by Ed Werstein

Clinton On Afghan Murders: “That Is Not Who We Are” (March 12, 2012) by reuters

that is not who we are

sixteen innocent civilians shot dead 
in Kandahar
a soldier snaps
and sixteen die
mostly women and children
a soldier snaps
three tours of duty in Iraq
now deployed in Afghanistan
he snaps
sixteen dead

and Hillary says
that is not who we are

who are we then?

are we the Marines who
unzipped and pissed
on their victims?

are we the soldiers who
burned the Quran?

are we Navy Seals who
steal across borders, 
a midnight invasion,
to assassinate our prey
and anyone who gets in the way?

are we predator drones
piloted by remote joystick jockeys
raining terror on guilty
and innocent alike?
they see their kids each night
and never snap thinking 
about the ones they’ve killed

are we people who fight
terror with terror?

who send young parents
on continuous deployment
to unending wars
against undefined enemies
(the war on terror)
and then act surprised
when one of them snaps?

we didn’t foresee that happening
no one could have seen that coming

nobody except anybody
that is not who we are.

Ed Werstein, Milwaukee, spent 22 years in manufacturing and union activity. He now works as an employment counselor helping job seekers. His sympathies lie with the poor and working people of the world. He advocates for peace and against corporate power. He is a proud member of the Hartford Avenue Poets. His poetry has appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Blue Collar Review, Mobius Magazine and a few other publications.