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Sunday, September 30, 2012


by ayaz daryl nielsen

ayaz daryl nielsen is a poet/father/husband/veteran/x-roughneck (as on oil rigs)/x-hospice nurse (and still a nurse)/editor of the print pub bear creek haiku. His poetry has appeared in many fine publications including Yellow Mama, Lilliput Review and Christian Science Monitor.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


by John Palen

Image source: millslegacy

X percent of farm houses
stand empty. Or don’t stand
at all. Algorithms of corn
stretch to the horizon.

Nights stay hot,
and moon-shadows
slip like coyotes
across the fields

to drink and smoke joints
in cool, dry cisterns
that they have cleaned out
for clubhouses.

Only nighthawks
monitor the white puffs
of gross domestic product
rising into the stars.

John Palen has recent work in Poydras Review Blog, The Cossack, The New Poet, Citron Review, and Lingerpost. He lives and writes in Central Illinois.

Friday, September 28, 2012


by Tamara Madison

Liberals flop around in sandals with their tits
hanging out.  They smell of patchouli
and smoke pot.  They have had lots of lovers
and lots of abortions and plan to have more.
They drive bashed-up foreign cars and eat food
that looks like hair.  They give money
to the creeps with the cardboard signs
at freeway exits.  They majored in psych
and work for government or non-profits.
Liberals are always women because
when they’re men, they look and act like women.

Conservatives wear clean shirts tucked in
and slacks, never jeans (unless they’re pressed).
They listen to the Kingston Trio
and the Everly Brothers when they’re driving
their big American cars.  They go to church
with their wives and children every Sunday
and have a huge secret stash of porn.  They favor
the all-American right of business to screw

customers if they can get away with it.
Conservatives are always men except when
they’re women, and then they’re zombies.

Tamara Madison is the author of the collection Wild Domestic (Pearl Editions; July, 2011) and the chapbook The Belly Remembers (Pearl Editions, 2004).  She was the featured poet in Pearl 43, and Moontide Press’s Poet of the Month in February, 2010.  Her work has appeared in numerous small press journals, including Chiron Review, Spot Lit, Hobble Street Review, Tears in the Fence.  Two of her poems were also recently featured on the Writers Almanac. Tamara has two grown children and teaches French and English in a high school in Los Angeles.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


by Judith Terzi

Eugène:        Why do you question the Holocaust?

Mahmoud:    Rabbits are hiding under lounge chairs.
                      Hares under chairs. Pears in pairs. Pears

                      in pairs.

Eugène:        You had doubts before. Do you still have
                      doubts, Mr. President?

Mahmoud:    Snow has just fallen in Telluride. I mean
                      Teheran. Bears hiding under stares. Bare
                      facts. Four and four are more. Or less.
                      There's a parasol in Paraguay. Onions
in Ontario. A parka in Parchin. A home
                      in Homs.

Eugène:        What should happen in Syria, Mr. President?

Mahmoud:    Snowflakes on women's eyelashes are beautiful.

Eugène:        Why is Faezeh Rafsanjani in prison?

Mahmoud:    Desperate housewives are lonely. This is not art.
                      This is a pipe. This is a schoolboy's project.
Bar codes glued to a canvas. Yellowy newspapers.
                      A faded blue hydrangea growing in the distance.
                      The distance may be a close-up option. Two plus
                      two under Assad's shoe. I like flowers. Les fleurs?

Eugène:        Have you read my play, Rhinoceros?

Mahmoud:    Mrs. Martin's tomatoes are rotten. Mrs. Smith's
                      mouth is dry. Fermez la bouche. We have no bald 
sopranos in Iran. We must educate against this. 
My lips are licked. Bugs under rugs. Tornadoes 
                      in Toledo. Gazelles in Gaza. Pachyderms left 
                      to die in zoos. Peace be with you. Vive la France!

Judith Terzi is a poet living in Southern California where she taught high school French for many years. Her poetry has received nominations for Best of the Net and Web and awards and recognition from journals such as dotdotdash, Mad Hatters', and Newport Review. Poems are forthcoming in American Society: What Poets See (FutureCycle Press), Poetry Project Erotic Poem Anthology (Tupelo Press), and elsewhere. Sharing Tabouli was published by Finishing Line in 2011.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


by Buff Whitman-Bradley

On a cold clear night
A thousand years from now
An amateur astronomer
Somewhere in our galaxy
Scans the star-splashed blackness
Through her powerful telescope
And focuses on a vivid blue dot she has
Not seen before
She types its coordinates into her computer
And reads the entry:

K129XX73PSI: A small planet in the R472  region of our galaxy.  The planet has great topographical diversity, including mountain ranges, vast plains and large bodies of water. Its atmosphere contains heavy concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone. Weather patterns are turbulent and chaotic.  Of interest due to evidence suggesting it once supported a highly complex and thriving community of living organisms, including, for a brief time, a species capable of building cities and roads.  Currently there are no signs of life of any kind.

The amateur astronomer
Goes to the kitchen to make a cup of tea
And as she sips
She wonders what happened on K129XX73PSI
Was it a single apocalyptic event
That destroyed all life in a flash
Or a gradual deterioration
Preceding total collapse
She pictures final agonies
But has to turn away

Back at her telescope
She takes another look at the blue dot
But she has no heart now
For exploring the cosmos
She raises her cup to the night sky
To wish a peaceful rest
For the spirits of K129XX73PSI’s departed
And to bid all beings Godspeed
On their journey through the glittering dark

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, September 25, 2012


by Jen Hinton

At least two recent incidents in which empty chairs were hung from trees by rope have critics decrying what they say are racially offensive displays meant to symbolize the “lynching” of President Barack Obama. --NBC News

When I see an empty chair dangling
from a tree, makes me wonder,
Who ruined the Feng Shui?

Perhaps a rampaging tornado
or a vile hurricane blew it up there,
whipped up on the fury of rhetoric?

Likely also, a duty-bound sheriff
at the behest of a ravaging investment broker, 
upchucked that post-eviction relic?

Or heck, maybe the chair himself
had enough of these petty people’s
buttocks down here on Terra Firma
and crawled up there on his own?

Tree limbs and tree bark, beckoned
his wooden legs, “Come back brother,
you were once one of us.”

Chair with the good sense to know.
Now up on high, he’s acquired the
vantage point of the birds and squirrels
who are also brainless;
he's up there now,
looking down at the asses of Earth.

Jen Hinton is a writer and college administrator living in Schaumburg, IL. Her previous NVN poem, Something for Harvey, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Monday, September 24, 2012


by Judy Kronenfeld

after the national political conventions
An early September Monday: we drove on impulse
to a beach in Orange County, away from the viscous,
sulfurous air of our inland valley, smelling of rotten fish—
it turned out—churned up by a storm system
sweeping over the Salton Sea. We tossed into our ’97
mini-van (dents, chipped paint, tattered Obama stickers)
a beach umbrella inherited from my parents
(its two poles still bearing the scotch-tape
of my father’s useless fix) and a couple of new
easy-fold canvas chairs. When we arrived,
thin cloud wisps seemed to stretch
their arms out, respiring; the blue air
was a gift again.  

On one of many streets filled with well-kept
houses, neck-on-neck, that didn’t shout
their hefty worth, a lucky parking spot,
steps from the steep path to the sand
blessed our impetuous decision. The shine
of breeze-swept light recalled the luxe gloss
of the blond college students it had seemed
to blend with, decades before,
when I’d taught, temporarily,
at an O.C. school—a privileged opposite-

But there were people of color in the surf,
some older folks like ourselves in street clothes,
slipping off outer shirts and shoes, as well
as young girls in bikinis—fat and thin.

We read with the concentration of time out
from time for a few hours in the rigged
umbrella’s shade, were soothed by the rhythmic chords
and melodic backwash of the sea, freed a little,
until the sun grew fierce and we plodded
up the slope—then—uh-oh—plucked a note
that had been stuck under our windshield wiper:

I felt a chill, as if I were a suddenly
feverish child with sunburn she didn’t know
she had, after a morning of careless play.
I looked up at the nearest house and this time
saw infinity pool, wine cellar, subterranean
seven-car garage

And—Ph.D. or not—I was—my immigrant
parents, shlepping a vinyl hamper of salami
on rye and hard-boiled eggs on a day trip
to Bronx-on-the-sea Far Rockaway—
only this was more like they’d taken
a wrong turn to the Hamptons; I belonged again
to people for whom a “beach house”
meant two rented rooms in a ramschackle Victorian
the summers they could afford them,
and grey-faced Daddy taking the train out
Fridays after work for a weekend of luft.

My husband, furious, undoubtedly thinking
bitter white guy, rich, or even poor,

scrambled for a pen, and scrawled
under the block letters, nearly breaking its tip:

Now what? Run to a Xerox
and pamphlet the neighborhood?
We stood with the helpless paper
in his hands. He folded it up
and pushed it into a crevice
on the sidewalk. And we drove

Judy Kronenfeld’s most recent collections of poetry are Shimmer (WordTech Editions, 2012) and the second edition of  Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths, winner of The Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize for 2007 (Antrim House, 2012). Recent anthology appearances include Before There Is Nowhere to Stand: Palestine/Israel: Poets Respond to the Struggle (Lost Horse Press, 2012) and Love over 60: An Anthology of Women's Poems (Mayapple Press, 2010). Her poems have appeared in many print and online journals such as Adanna, Calyx, Cimarron Review, The American Poetry Journal, Fox Chase Review, The Hiram Poetry Review, Natural Bridge, New Verse News, The Pedestal, Poetry International, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Stirring, and The Women’s Review of Books.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


While He Roamed Around Preaching

by Earl J. Wilcox

She could have washed his long robes
preparing them for his next excursion

into the hills, the Jewish temples, near
caves and grape vineyards where he preached.

She could have repaired his sandals
the ones he must have worn out many times

from walking and preaching, his favorite
methods of spreading his Gospel. She could

have kept the home fires burning during
the many long nights, days, and years

while her husband was gone from their humble
dwelling place most of his life. She might have

wept with her mother-in-law on a craggy hill
called Golgotha where he was crucified.

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.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


by Brigitte Goetze

Photo source: The Telegraph

It's now confirmed that virtually all the tar balls that washed ashore on the Alabama  Gulf Coast since hurricane Isaac last month are linked to the 2010 BP oil spill. BP says it hasn't seen the study, and they're working to remove the tar balls that are on the beaches. (NBC News)

Bound like witches, their feathers tarred,
trailing wings useless as limbs wrecked on a rack,
all cold, none able to hold anything
with beaks glued shut by crude,
weighed down, like medieval wise women sentenced to drown,
saved only if they can float.
Even the rookeries gooed, fouled
with vomit spewed forth by a far-off explosion:

Blow out! Fast! Fast! Shut the valves—
they are stuck! Top the well—
it’s gunked up! Kill the top—
it won’t stop! Tube the beast—
it still leaks! Pipe the oil, flare the gas—
it’s not enough! Spool and stack—
plugged at last.     But

currents schlepping toxic burdens, spreading
sludge and balls of tar, sliming marshes, soiling beaches.
Volunteers aid ailing turtles, otters, pelicans.
And slicks and plumes escaping booms
get hunted, sprayed, forced to disperse—
yet, dodgers settle, undetained, suffocating bottom life.
Creatures suffer out of sight.
Great the oceans, deep and wide, still—
don't believe this grave delusion:
the solution to pollution is dilution.

Brigitte Goetze, biologist, goat farmer, writer, lives in the foothills of Oregon 's Coast Range . Her most recent poems can be found in Four and Twenty, Outwardlink, and The River.


Friday, September 21, 2012


by Michael Brockley

He’s among friends in Arizona. Slim white men who jog every day. Men whose wives wear yellow dresses. He has fond memories of yellow, like the Dandelion and Canary crayons he used to eat in art class. And the gormless expression he aroused when he squirted mustard on that sophomore’s bowling shirt in high school. He looks at the faces of success gathered around the tables before him, his necktie knotted in a goiter knot. He sips from a glass of Tasmanian Rainwater. Someone in the audience coughs and he begins to share his ideas for separating welfare cheats from the most dangerous men in America. An aside about wearing sidearms to the State Fair, like Rooster Cogburn, earns a standing ovation. He has sweatshops that are shovel-ready in Laos. Another drink. The eyes of his constituents hunger for a lucre beyond wealth, beyond the sculpted and pliant thighs of their clients’ daughters. Behind him tower charts with yellow arrows. Testimonials from toad-like men who hint at oil wells in the San Mariana Trench. He introduces a chain letter to the world for which only the most profligate donors may purchase introductory shares. The Tasmanian water is almost empty. Behind him the slide show pauses on a photograph of the candidate playing polo. He is leaning over his pony’s flank with the mallet in follow through. He is staring toward a distant goal, the pony foaming and slobbering at the bit.

Michael Brockley is a 63-year old school psychologist who has worked in special education in rural northeast Indiana for 25 years. He has poetry publications in Wind, The Windless Orchard, Spitball, The Indiana Review, The Indiannual, The Spoon River Quarterly, The River City Review and The Ball State Literary Forum. Tom Koontz' Barnwood Press published his chapbook Second Chance in 1990, and he has lately placed work in Indiana publications such as Maize, Country Feedback, Flying Island, The TIpton Poetry Journal and Facing Poverty.  A video of Mike reading his "Hollywood's Poem" which was published in Facing Poverty can be found on YouTube. His poem "When the Woman in the White Sweater at the Cancelled Charles Simic Reading Asked If I Was David Shumate" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Barry Harris of the Tipton Poetry Journal.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


by Jude Cowan Montague

Pouring beans into plastic bottle to shake
make noise, to accompany a poet of Syria
calling for Freedom. Sssssh, that’s for the dark.
In daylight the activist has to buy
these threads in different shops so no one
finds out what she is sewing.

Jude Cowan Montague is a writer, artist and composer who lives in London. She works as an archivist for Reuters Television. Her first collection of poetry, For the Messengers, was published by Donut Press in 2011. Her second, The Groodoyals of Terre Rouge, will be published by Dark Windows Press in 2012. She makes musical improvisations on Reuters stories and these are available on the Parisian-based netlabel Three Legs Duck.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


by David Feela

Mitt Romney - Illustration

The ten percent in the center, Mitt,
will remember in November

before they exit the polling booth
to choose their votes

more carefully than your
less elegant words,

and they won’t be voting off the cuff,
and the point they’ll be making

will leave no chad hanging,
and the hole they leave behind

will be no bigger
than the eye of a needle.

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  , released through Raven's Eye Press, has been chosen as a finalist for the Colorado Book Award.


by Jean L. Kreiling

Image source: Smith's World

Although he now claims that it’s not what he meant,
he did say it—in words he deems “inelegant”—
so some folks who had each paid a cool fifty grand
heard him press his agenda and outline his stand
on who’s “thoughtful,” who’s not; and share views (a bit blurry)
on what government’s for; and say he wouldn’t worry
about people who couldn’t have managed the fee
to come and enjoy his well-heeled homily.

Then again, who among the dismissed forty-seven
percent could have stomached this high-rollers’ heaven
or would want to be part of this candidate’s crowd?
(And would non-millionaires even have been allowed?)
Well, his backers might have their own worries today—
is it time to withdraw your support, NRA?
His candidacy may not be quite kaput,
but once again, Mitt’s shot himself in the foot.

Jean L. Kreiling's poetry has appeared widely in print and online journals and in anthologies. She was the winner of the 2011 Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry, and has been a finalist for the Dogwood Poetry Prize, the Frost Farm Prize, and the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


by Ed Shacklee

Jamie Dimon - Caricature

I have squared my uncaring behavior
With a prayer to my personal savior
And ensured my couture remains proper
By retaining a personal shopper.
Now and then, untitled blue collar
Everymen are entitled to holler
If I sack them while looting their pensions,
Which no one who’s courteous mentions:
It’s abhorrent, though, if the poor riot,
As I meant nothing personal by it.

Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia.  His poems have appeared in Angle, Contra, The Flea, Shot Glass Journal and Tilt-a-Whirl, among other places.

Monday, September 17, 2012


by Eric Hagen

Middle Class RIP

It is the reason we lose sleep at night,
the hourly paid, the soon to be laid off,
the single mother who cannot feed her baby,
the pissed off, the raging, the ones who've had enough
the systems broke, it's tough to find time in the day
to keep the lights on with minimum wage

It is the hospital bills because your kid was sick
and now they're going to take your house,
for failure to comply with words like "delocated," "poor" and "down"
"Checks in the mail" and "We don't care that you're already overdrawn"
"We're sorry but you earn too much," you make enough
to pay the bills for medicine, but not enough to keep him fed, it's in
being made to feel like receiving aid will infect you
and all they ask is to tie you to "lazy" and "deadbeat"
because "human" and "fellowship" no longer require
the need to help.

It is what you see cannot be unseen,
the obscene, the cut scenes
of American Idol to keep us docile, rhetoric and hollow
hopes and dreams, some idyllic existence not our own.
When every fiber of your being wants to scream,
but you think you're alone.

You're not alone.

Eric Hagen is in his fourth year at the University of Cincinnati, majoring in English and Middle Grades Education. His works have appeared in Eastfork Literary Journal and Prairie Margins. In his off-time he enjoys hiking and cycling with his wife and two children.


Sunday, September 16, 2012


by Charles Albert

Image source:

Perhaps the crash of twenty-nine

came from a trickling up the line

of laborers who sent their cash

to Wall Street, turning in their stash

from the mattress or the coffee tin.
Investing with the richest men

in hopes they'd pay back even more

was just a pipe-dream of the poor.

The proof was something of a joke:

only the rich did not go broke.

Charles Albert is a writer and small business owner living in San Jose, California. He has previously published poems and stories in a few small journals and websites, including the Rockhurst Review, Words on a Wire, and NSS. His latest chapbook, Essentialism, is now available at

Saturday, September 15, 2012


by Shirley J. Brewer

Source: Upworthy

          A milestone was reached in August 2012, when the
                        United States military reached 2,000 dead in Afghanistan.
                              —The New York Times, Monday, September 3, 2012

Flat chest, hairy arms, biceps
bulging below lime green straps—

the dress paired with hot pink socks
pulled up to his knees—

his buzz cut a stark contrast
to those bold accessories.

They had made a pact
sealed in pizza and beer:

whoever died first, the other would wear
a dress to the funeral.

Back then, Afghanistan a galaxy
away, as foreign a country as death.

Mourners in black
make room for him in the front pew,

where his outfit clashes
with the flag draped over a bronze casket.

Everyone stands at attention,
when a young soldier—stunning in neon—
salutes his friend.

Shirley J. Brewer ( Baltimore , MD ) is a poet, educator, and workshop facilitator. Publication credits include: The Cortland Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Pearl, Comstock Review, Loch Raven Review, Passager, Manorborn. Her first book of poetry, A Little Breast Music, was published in 2008 by Passager Books. A second book of poems, After Words, is forthcoming in early 2013 from Apprentice House/Loyola University.

Friday, September 14, 2012


by Lucille Gang Shulklapper

Obama vs. Romney 2012

In the flashes on TV, embassies aflame, our president he’ll blame, in his speeches made with forked tongue, his lies fact- checked are flung, with no apology to you and me, for undermining our Commander-in-Chief and our belief, in the expertise of the diplomatic corps, and all they give their lives for.  While the Secretary of State meets hate on Middle Eastern  streets, Romney speaks and inflames as much as the video he disclaims, and I worry about the danger he imposes, and the attacks he proposes, right here in the USA, on our own government every day. 

Lucille Gang Shulklapper is a teacher, poet, fiction writer, mother, grandmother.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Poem by Charles Frederickson
Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote

The Libyan Ambassador, Ali Suleiman Aujali, . . .  gave a heartfelt tribute to U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, whom he called his dear friend, killed in Benghazi on Tuesday. "I must tell you . . . that Chris is a hero," said Aujali. "He loves Benghazi, he loves the people, he talks to them, he eats with them, and he [was] committed - and unfortunately lost his life because of this commitment." ABC News

Sunny California positive energy disposition
Catalyst of hopeful democratic change
Role-model’s heroic enduring living legacy
Prince Valiant accomplishments never forgotten

Once slipped into rebel stronghold
Benghazi aboard Greek cargo ship
Amid crackle of gunfire supporting
Revolution to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi

Risked his life to stop
Tyrant from destroying we-evil homelessland
Eloquent multilingual free speech advocate
Giving voice to future generations

Chris loved the Libyan people
Was passionately loved in return
Died doing what he earnestly
Believed in – righting uncivil wrongs

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


by Ron Diener

Rush Limbaugh - Caricature

dredge up combustible claptrap from volatile social sediment
leach out traces of empathy
amend with doses of dark matter proclivities
concentrate in spin room centrifuges and
launch upon diatribes into mass market airwaves

where heat-seeking simpletons lock in and draw down
the kamikaze means of their own oblivion
and your father’s civic mindedness is the new red-bait communism

for rating-shares reign supreme and
the sensible center does not hold
Ron Diener is a Manufacturing Engineer and writer living near Austin, Texas.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


by James Penha

Image source: Prune Juice Media

Remembrances eventually retract
into quinquennials, decennials,
and sesquicentennialism:
they umber into history. And so
I wondered how many years before
no new poem
arrives here on a 9-11. Eleven.
I had watched those towers
grow against a twelve-inch ruler held
to my eyes on the stoop of my frat brother
Matthew's house in Brooklyn. We were awed
but resentful of the umbrage done
to the Empire State castrated
when the big antenna moved
to the ugly new kids on the block, but their
windows when open on the world of my city
invited an elevated self over and over
to that restaurant in the sky for birthdays
and engagements and golden anniversaries
of parents at the height of their joys. And later
when I was but a tourist in my town grabbing
the rings of Krispy Kremes at the plaza-level shop,
I looked up with my acrophobic lover at
buildings somehow beautiful by then. Eleven
years ago I thought about the sweet guys who worked
at Krispy Kremes and the guard at Radio Shack
in the basement who rudely stopped to search us
as if we would bother
to steal from Radio Shack and of Matthew who
worked at a bank across the street. There was
nothing from him for weeks until in November, recovering
from a coronary, Matthew emailed how he couldn't stop
the nightmares:
the figures spinning out from the smoldering buildings
as they fell. Eleven
years later Matthew still has terrible dreams,
and so we must
still have a poem.

James Penha edits The New Verse News.

Monday, September 10, 2012


by Michael Brockley

When I return from writing the morality keynote at the Republican Convention, I find my love dolls converted into revolutionaries, sitting in the kitchen, drinking green tea with ginseng and eating oysters and portobello omelets. Svetlana hands me a list of demands signed by all the dolls. The commie says they’ve divvied the chores among themselves and that I’m free to sleep in the basement if I pay the bills and leave them to their pleasures. Aora and Siobhan feed each other strawberries and slivers of kiwi only Lupe could have sliced. Svetlana will walk the dog and Sister Veronica will mow the yard. They assigned themselves full custody of the remote controls, and I can buy the music they select. Bollywood soundtracks. The Annie DiFranco boxed set. Lupe’s Mexican love songs. They tossed my porn collection into three trash bags for the garbagemen tomorrow. A League of Their Moan. The Devil in Miss Jones. My Priya Rai and Tera Patrick collections. The dog lays against Aora’s chair, chewing the last of the bacon and staring at me as if I were hambone marrow. The list goes on. No more singing the chorus from “Born in the USA” in the shower. My Paradise-on-a-Hanger shirts banished to the trash bags, except for the Highway 66 collectible and the Magnum, P. I. replica Sister Veronica wants. No more Tokyo vacations to visit the love doll brothels. I make myself scarce when they entertain gentlemen. I’ll have to resign from the Optimists’ Club. Siobhan suggests I spend my time reading the Irish and Spanish poets. I’m too bourgeois for the poems of Mother Russia. I won’t be the only delegate alone in his basement, nursing a scotch with his Wall Street Journals. All my alpha-male pals will start sleeping solo tonight.

Michael Brockley is a 63-year old school psychologist who has worked in special education in rural northeast Indiana for 25 years. He has poetry publications in Wind, The Windless Orchard, Spitball, The Indiana Review, The Indiannual, The Spoon River Quarterly, The River City Review and The Ball State Literary Forum. Tom Koontz' Barnwood Press published his chapbook Second Chance in 1990, and he has lately placed work in Indiana publications such as Maize, Country Feedback, Flying Island, The TIpton Poetry Journal and Facing Poverty.  A video of Mike reading his "Hollywood's Poem" which was published in Facing Poverty can be found on YouTube. His poem "When the Woman in the White Sweater at the Cancelled Charles Simic Reading Asked If I Was David Shumate" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Barry Harris of the Tipton Poetry Journal.

Sunday, September 09, 2012


by Earl J. Wilcox

Image source: PeakCare

You might not see at first glance a wolf
in sheep’s clothing—neat jeans, scruffy shoes,
slicked-down hair--yet he dressed the part:
a destitute man seeking funds for surgery
for a cancer-sick son. His insistent ringing
of my doorbell startled me from a noonday
nap, cause enough for me to grouse, despite
his amiable face, infectious smile.

His cloak of smooth speech, humble look,
smiling sick son’s photo woke me enough
to ask his phone number instead of handing
the man money on the spot. Days later,
the little lamb is the picture of good health sitting
on his mom’s lap in a newspaper exposé of the wolf.

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.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

HUG$ & HI$$e$

by Charles Frederickson

Wriggletto soap opera frothy sidewinders
Leaving Hiss Off campain trail
Behind aspirin healing medicine elixirs
Unanswered preyers regurgitating chronic skullduggery

GOPythons tight squeeze neocon reptileublicans
Blueblood donors milking up-scale coffers
Rattler Romney apple python Ryanaconda
Wranglers charming poisonality diamondback zircons

Uncivil serpent twisted forked tongues
Vindshield VIPers cottonmouth promises bent
Fangs for the blurry memories
Deep throats swallowing spitfire venom

Unconventional bushmasters lounge lizard fossils
Skinflints molt shedding underpaid taxation
Bullyrag Warriors donning camouflage fatigues
House of Reptiles casino financed

Obamanaconda demokraits without legs to
Stand on lacking eyelids eardrums
To boa or not to
Pollcats tipping rigged overlapping scales

Black mamba smooth velvety texture
Red yellow brown rainbow coalition
Sum things don’t adder up
Plus minus unequal rights wronged

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

Friday, September 07, 2012


by Max Gutmann


The ladies tell us they resent
  The stupid things we say.
And dark-skinned voters represent
  A challenge any day.
The way the demographics splay,
  It's really looking bad.
We'd better figure out a way
  To make more white guys mad.

Our lock upon the one percent
  Is not enough to sway
The count. To really make a dent
  We're gonna have to play
On primal anger, fears that weigh
  On every true blue lad.
It's not enough to cause dismay:
  Let's make those white guys mad.

We'll say a Muslim's President.
  He comes from far away.
He hates us and won't be content
  Till every bride is gay.
Our guns and values he'll betray.
  Achievement makes him sad.
Don't worry if it's dumb; just pray
  It makes more white guys mad.

Whatever works is A-okay.
  If it's untrue a tad,
Who cares? We'll say it anyway
  To make more white guys mad.

Max Gutmann has contributed verse to Measure, Cricket, Orbis, and other publications.

Thursday, September 06, 2012


by Louisa Calio    

                          In memory of Barry Dixon, MD    

Renowned Obstetric Gynecologist, Dr Barry Dixon, succumbed to injuries he sustained after he was shot by gunmen at his Spring Gardens home in St James this morning, Sept. 1,2012.  The former Senior Medical Officer of the Cornwall Regional Hospital who served in that post for some 20 years, was reportedly shot around 1:00am. --The Jamaica Gleaner

So much violence            
Today another is taken by the gun           
And you keep inviting the tourists in.                  

We suffer under the denial           
everyday, everywhere            
there is a dark violence           
under this sun,           
While you keep showing those ads           
of paradise, talking of attractions.           

It wouldn’t hurt so much            
if you would acknowledge the pain,           
deal with it head on           
another doctor killed again           
another Jamaican returns from England           
is shadowed and shot           
another clerk murdered           
the country’s anguish,             
women raped,           
children molested.           
Ignored again           
you say speaking or acting would interfere           
with commerce and industry.                       

This violence seems a contagion            
that grabs around the neck           
like a noose           
or a pair of man’s hands going           
straight for the jugular          
 cutting off the life force of a nation            
with a steady  voice that whispers low           
“shh, shh,” say nothing           
But fear will only make the problem grow.

Louisa Calio, Director of the Poets’ and Writers’ Piazza for Hofstra’s Italian Experience for the past 10 years, is an internationally published author and award winning writer: Winner of the 1978 Connecticut Commission of the Arts Award to individual writers, Barbara Jones and Taliesin Prizes for Poetry (Trinidad & Tobago) Educational Center for the Arts grant for In the Eye of Balance a multimedia production of her first book, Women in Leadership Award (1987) and mostly recently honored with Alice Walker, Gloria Steinem and other “Feminists who changed America(1963-76)” at Columbia/Barnard. Co-founder and first Executive Director of City Spirit Artists, Inc. a non profit arts organization in New Haven, Ct. dedicated to making the arts available to all members of society, she recently exhibited her photos with poems in “A Passion for Africa” and “A Passion for Jamaica” at the renowned Round Hill Resort in Jamaica, West Indies. She has frequently traveled to Africa and Jamaica  inspired by nature and the cultures there.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


by Gail White

Image source:

O the middle class is bigger
but the wealthy's wealth is vaster
and the rich will be still richer
if we cut their taxes faster.
No more taxes on their profits,
no inheritance obstructions.
And for those with no investments
we will cut their tax deductions.

Any man on unemployment
is a mere potato coucher.
If he has no health insurance
let him buy it with a voucher.
Vote for Romney, vote for Ryan,
and their cap'talist adventure.
Vote the GOP - the Party
that supports the One Percenter.

Gail White is a formalist poet who has recent work in Raintown Review, First Things, and Per Contra, and work forthcoming in Measure and Mezzo Cammin.  She lives in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


by David Radavich

I don’t know where
you will find much history.

In museums,
in roped-off displays
and a few park-like estates
with docents and maps.

The real time 
is only now

and we are living it
without shadow

like a 2-D
group of faces

trying to be upbeat,
trying to be hip
and young and beautiful.

And we are

full of blood now
with a few memories,

but you’ll notice many
pleasant streets

that curl
and rename themselves

with willow oaks
as sentinels

and only the civil war
that race remains

and class extremes
dividing neighborhoods
with an elected fence.

Somehow we were hornets*
at the beginning

and we’re still

now and in the day
of our becoming.

*British General Cornwallis described Charlotte a “hornet’s nest of rebellion” during the Revolutionary War.                                  

David Radavich’s recent collections are America Bound: An Epic for Our Time (2007), Canonicals: Love’s Hours (2009), and Middle-East Mezze (2011).  His plays have been produced across the U.S., including six Off-Off-Broadway, and in Europe.  He is currently president of the Charlotte Writers’ Club and poetry editor of Deus Loci


Monday, September 03, 2012


by Gilbert Allen

"Drought causes problems in unlikely place: Wisconsin cow chip throwing competition" —Washington Post headline / AP Photo, August 30, 2012

Hot air has caused the grass to dull
and wither.  Desiccated bulls
have let sparse chips fall where they may.
Amendment Number Two’s—delayed.

Meanwhile, in Tampa, thousands of balloons
rain down to make a colorful monsoon.
WE BUILT IT hangs beside the LED
whose numbers navigate the new Red Sea.

But here in Carolina, cowering in front
of my own screen, I watch the Gulf Coast bear the brunt
of Isaac—acting more like Abraham, or God,
or both, deaf to each other—climate change bent on blood.

Gilbert Allen and his wife, Barbara, frequently exercise their Second Amendment rights while they tend their gardens in Travelers Rest, South Carolina.  Some of his newest poems and stories can be found in Appalachian Heritage, FutureCycle, Measure, Sewanee Theological Review, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, and Tampa Review.

Sunday, September 02, 2012


by Lylanne Musselman

Before the red, white, and blue
balloons descended
from the ceiling
in clumps and a yawn,
signaling time for this
Grand Ole party
to end,
there was all that
slick packaging:

Rich white men talking,
about their white bred
upbringing, the struggle
of their stay-at-home mothers,
then more talking white rich men,
one white woman boasting
of her “real marriage,”
trying to relate to “you
guys” over and over again,
more white men, rich
in blame and blatant lies:

More Obama will ruin
“you guys!” You guys,
marriage is between a man
and a woman, and abortion
is not an option, says white men
talking rich. They sure love to hear
themselves talk – even
to an empty chair. Another
senile actor playing politics
with an evil agenda, bumbling
about another white rich actor
somewhere in the streets –
“Joe Buck,” the Midnight Cowboy,
one more conservative savior.

Then, the richest white man,
glossy and handsome,
accepts his nomination,
living his dream, applauds
along with his audience –
un-diverse as 1950s America.

Lylanne Musselman lives in Toledo, Ohio. Her poems have appeared, in The Bird’s Eye reView, The Prose-Poem Project, The Rusty Nail, Pank, Tipton Poetry Journal, New Verse News, among others, and many literary anthologies. Lylanne has authored three chapbooks: Prickly Beer & Purple Panties (Bacon Tree Press, 2007), A Charm Bracelet for Cruising (Winged City Press, 2009) and Winged Graffiti (Finishing Line Press, 2011).

Saturday, September 01, 2012


by Lex Runciman

Image source: IRN

Seventeen people were beheaded as punishment for a mixed-gender party in Musa Qala in Helmand - a village battered by fierce fighting between coalition forces and the Taleban. --New Zealand Herald

Like music, this name, a distant place.
Story, Musa, muse – my small education
trying for connection.
Seventeen beheaded bodies
found, we are told now, in this place.
Because they sought a fever and release,
intensity and company.  They wanted to dance.

Graceful, the passive voice, no who did what,
and we do not want to imagine being
that person drawn by its smell to a room,
smell blood-sweet and nauseous, fear
rising in the gullet, sound of flies, a hot place
but green along the river, Musa Qala,
Fortress of Moses.

Through this doorway
passed human arms and hands carrying a body
shot in the dark, decapitated, the intimate
bone-and-flesh effort that took,
seventeen times hands and arms full,
hands and arms emptied.
Windows shut, quiet room.

The bodies wrapped and red.
It must be I am now past outrage.
Who are these stilled, no urgencies of wish,
all song and wonder stopped?
How do I know them?
How to say this – where do we look?
Where are their heads?

Today, this early morning not in any news,
my window open a few inches
into August just gone, I want to say
the truth is – and I stop, the sentence
as unfinished as summer for every deciduous leaf,
breeze desultory with wheat chaff,
sun slanting in, listening, waiting, seeing it all.

Lex Runciman is a professor at Linfield College, in Oregon.  He has published four books including most recently, Starting from Anywhere, from Salmon Poetry (Ireland) in 2009.