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Friday, November 30, 2012


by Janice D. Soderling

Madrid Homeless from The Sketchbook Blog of Louis Netter

If the 44m people who are unemployed in the mainly rich members of the OECD lived in one country, its population would be similar to Spain's– The Economist

Rain trickles down the pane
in unpredictable paths.
A flyspeck, a chance gust
can alter water's course.

In the cold glare of a department store window,
a coughing man beds down on the sidewalk,
inside a black garbage bag. Only eleven pm
and already November. I think of socialism
as a bird, or a tree; as upward motion, dignity.
It is not a coin tossed grandly in a cup.
Some define it as a moral choice,
a plan for upholding civilization.
Others simply call it fair play.

Janice D. Soderling is a previous contributor to The New Verse News. Recent work at Kin, Prose Poem Project, Origami Poem Project, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Thrice Fiction and forthcoming at American Arts Quarterly, Literary Bohemian, Boston Literary Magazine and Penduline Press. In October 2012, she was featured reader at the Rattle Reading Series (La Cañada/Greater Los Angeles), and special guest at First Wednesday Formal Reading Series (Oakland/Greater San Francisco).

Thursday, November 29, 2012


by Earl J. Wilcox

After some days of wandering around in his skin,
I found myself imitating his spikey voice, his iconic

glazed look. His crooked nose fit my face when he
scratched his scraggy chin. When he got down on

his hands & knees, crawled to stir the logs in the drafty
White House fireplace, I felt the creak in his battered bones

from years ago when he’d trained his body to deal
with a typing left foot. O, I cannot say just how many

times I felt Godawful, day after day, night after night
of the movie making because the sumbitch kept

pushing and pushing himself to get my stoop,
my lumbering gait just so. Dan’l was maybe best

when he sat or slept on the floor with that little child
actor playing my son Tad, especially when the kid had

to hide his electronic game so the camera could not see
how bored the boy was. Watching the two of them I can

even now feel Tad squirming like a little tadpole,
never still, running around and around---loving me

like I loved him. I am cold to the core today when
I recall that scene early in the movie in the bitter,

falling rain. I hear Dan’l made a movie about Mohican Indians,
so he adapted to the woods, felt as much at home there

as I might have in Kentucky or Indiana. No matter that now.
What I do remember is being soaked through my scruffy

underwear when I visited the battlefields, listening
to the young, death-driven soldiers, sometimes praise me,

lamenting at length, finishing each other’s rendition of
my little Gettysburg speech. The pain, the pain, the pain.

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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


by David Radavich

From Yahoo News: "A Palestinian worker shovels sand as he repairs a damaged smuggling tunnel dug beneath the Egyptian-Gaza border in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip November 26, 2012. Knee-deep in craters carved out by Israeli air strikes, Palestinians wielded shovels and planks to reopen tunnels used to smuggle in goods from Egypt to Gaza, as international aid agencies raced to replenish Gaza's supplies." Photo by REUTERS/Mohammed Salem.

This time invasion
may work.

Bombing, certainly.

We can’t allow ourselves
to be victimized.

You can’t complain
we shouldn’t assassinate
your leaders.

We have declared you

We define you.
We can kill if we choose.

Don’t blame us
for the consequences.

All blood is
not created equal.

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.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


by Iris Litt

Image source: Jacksonville Wine Guide

According to the news report
some downtowners had to resort
to flushing their toilets with wine.
I think that’s fine
but the politically-correct are outraged,
they have a different take:
It’s like Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake”
since, in the projects, people hauled water
up many more flights than they oughta.
So toast this flushing way-to-go
with pinot noir, cabernet, merlot
chianti, montepulciani
or maybe an Italian bubbly
which may act doubly
on all that slush
and you’ll have a royal flush.

Let them complain.
If (please not) we have another hurricane,
me, I’m flushing with champagne.

Iris Litt’s most recent book of poetry is What I Wanted to Say from Shivastan Publishing. An earlier book of poetry, Word Love,  was published by Cosmic Trend Publications.  She has had poems in many literary magazines including Onthebus, Confrontation, Hiram Poetry Review, The  New Renaissance, Asphodel, Poetry Now, Central Park, Icarus, The Rambunctious Review, Pearl, The Ledge, Earth's Daughters, Poet Lore, Scholastic, and Atlantic Monthly (special college edition).  She has had short stories in Travellers Tales, Prima Materia, Out Of The Catskills,  and The Second Word Thursdays Anthology; and articles in Pacific Coast Journal, Writer's Digest, and The Writer.  She teaches writing workshops in Woodstock, NY, and has taught creative writing at Bard College,  SUNY/Ulster, Arts Society of Kingston, Writers in the Mountains, Educational Alliance, New York Public Library, and Marble Collegiate Church. She lives in Woodstock and in New York City’s Greenwich Village.

Monday, November 26, 2012


by Laura Eklund

"Contrary Theses,"Acrylic on Canvas by Laura Eklund

I imagined men in bare feet
and soldiers building the toolbox
that was never big enough.
Half of the stars forgot to see
though I could see Heaven
dotting the sky
in the far-off distance.
We talked over dinner
with faces in the background
though it was barely enough
the roots of the earth kept growing
toward the aspects.
Compressing the story
that could never be told

the protestations of children
tucked into the night.

Laura Eklund is an artist and poet. She lives and works in Olive Hill, KY with the poet George Eklund and their four chldren. She has been writing poetry since she learned to read and write, which was about third grade. She writes in order to breathe and survive.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


by Laura Rodley

Abenaki Indian Pictures. Abenaki Children. Image source: Indians Pictures.

In the back edge of the forest
are stones piled up one on top the other
in a horseshoe shape facing
the quartz vein outcropping
perhaps built by Abenaki Indians
before colonial men sent their servants
to take stones from Indian burial mounds
to build their stone fences,
unknowingly disturbing the peace,
and here my husband and another
man named Jim lift beds of moss
off the stone structure, reveal it
to be as tall as a horse, facing the sky,
the midnight sky when the Big Dipper
hangs low and this is what my eyes
feasted on before the election,
how it is time for the Indian spirits
to walk our land, to look
to the Big Dipper and the old spirits
caught in her cup
for our answers, for forgiveness.

Laura Rodley’s New Verse News poem “Resurrection” has won a Pushcart Prize and appears in The Pushcart Prlze XXXVII: Best of the Small Presses (2013 edition). She was nominated twice before for the Prize as well as for Best of the Net. Her chapbook Rappelling Blue Light, a Mass Book Award nominee,  won honorable mention for the New England Poetry Society Jean Pedrick Award. Her second chapbook Your Left Front Wheel is Coming Loose was also nominated for a Mass Book Award and a L.L.Winship/Penn New England Award. Both were published by Finishing Line Press.  Co-curator of the Collected Poets Series, she teaches creative writing and works as contributing writer and photographer for the Daily Hampshire Gazette.  She edited As You Write It, A Franklin County Anthology, Volume I and Volume II.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


by Tom Karlson

Theodore Roosevelt Equestrian Statue, American Museum of Natural History. Image source: Wikipedia

“I suppose I should be ashamed to say that I take the western view of the Indian. I don't go so far as to think that the only good Indian is the dead Indian, but I believe nine out of every ten are, and I shouldn't like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”  --Theodore Roosevelt, 1886

That original sin
Our original sin
Not a talking snake sin
No Adam or Eve sin

This original sin
This first holocaust sin
This First Nation
60 million
Double helixed
Long gone sin
200 languages silenced sin
This good, dead, jailed, Indian sin


310 million All-Americans
Sit at the table
Football and eats
Giving thanks

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

Friday, November 23, 2012


by M. A. Schaffner

"Decaying City" by FlatCap Illustration

Those without sons in penitentiaries
with money that they’ll never need for bail,
who schedule annual physicals on time
believing nothing bad can come of it,

may wonder at the ones who make their salads
or drive cabs in small towns and case pawn shops
for CDs to resell at flea markets,
or save pills from the emergency room

for when the pain stops and they can enjoy them.
Their grandfathers built the cities they know
in sordid sometimes dangerous decline,
connected to each other on highways

increasingly broken, or rails sagged by freight
searching for a promise or one big score,
aging fast and leaving their unused years
as a gift we have no one to thank for.

M. A. Schaffner has work recently published or forthcoming in The Hollins Critic, Magma, Tulane Review, Gargoyle, and Skirmish Magazine.  Other writings include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels, and the novel War Boys.  Schaffner used to work as a civil servant, but now serves civil pugs.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


by Laurie Lamon

Fifty years ago I waited
in a room lined with
chairs where everyone
was old behind the dark
glasses that unfolded
and rippled, pressed
to eyes and temples,
and tremulous as my voice
when I read every street
sign and billboard each mile
home, 1963, the world 
for the first time hard
and fast and unmistakable.

Laurie Lamon's work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New Criterion, PloughsharesArts & Letters Journal of Contemporary Culture, Plume, and other magazines and journals, including 180 More Extraordinary Poems for Ordinary Days, edited by Billy Collins, and thePoetry Daily and Verse Daily websites. In 2007 Lamon received a Witter Bynner award, selected by Poet Laureate Donald Hall. Lamon has also received a Pushcart Prize. Laurie Lamon has two collections of poetry are The Fork Without Hunger and Without Wings, CavanKerry Press (NJ), 2005 and 2009. Lamon is a professor of English at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington and the poetry editor for Rock & Sling.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


by Joan Mazza
                           for those still suffering

Along the streets of New York, Long Island,
and Staten Island, mounds of debris at the curb
after Hurricane Sandy. Couches and bedding,
pillows and papers, broken dinnerware.
Soggy books already molding. Boats on lawns,
cars deluged. Homes washed away or burned.

Like after Andrew in Miami—
equal to thirty years worth of garbage,
truck after truck in a caravan to the landfill.

Years of clothing gone, some new, coats
knitted sweaters, handmade quilts, towels,
embroidered tablecloths. Trashed.

Some things can’t be replaced by insurance:
the stuffed dog I’ve had since I was three,
my notebooks with first drafts of poetry.
family portraits on the wall, these pie tins
handled by my mother, ladle my grandmother
brought back from Italy. Beloved junk.
Joan Mazza has worked as a psychotherapist, writing coach, certified sex therapist, and medical microbiologist, has appeared on radio and TV as a dream specialist. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Perigee/Putnam). Her work has appeared in Kestrel, Stone’s Throw, Rattle, Writer's Digest, Playgirl, and Writer's Journal. She now writes poetry and does fabric art in rural central Virginia.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


by Buff Whitman-Bradley

Image source: Occupy Wall Street

Inside the heart of the invader
There is a cave where the corpses are stored
A cave of ice that keeps the bodies
From decomposing and putrefying
So the invader needn’t suffer the stink
Deep cold freezes the last expressions of terror
On children’s faces
Freezes the arms of dead parents
Around their slaughtered infants

The frozen bodies are neatly stacked
In the lightless cavern inside the invader’s heart
To make the most efficient use of space
So there will always be room for more
Because the bodies keep coming and coming
And they must be put away somewhere
The grandfather mowed down
In his olive grove
The teen picked off trying to get home to family
The pregnant mother crushed
By her collapsing roof
The toddler burnt to a crisp
By white phosphorous

Inside the heart of the occupier
Are bleak frigid factories that turn the murdered
Into building materials
For constructing homes on stolen land
With lovely gardens and swimming pools
Inside the heart of the occupier
Are bitterly cold prisons
Of torture and indefinite detention
For those who resist
The relentless encroachments
Of the mad blind machine

Inside the heart of the nation
In a cave of black ice
The explosive voice of self-righteous hypocrisy
Booms and echoes off the walls
We are defending ourselves
We are the upright and the good
We are the chosen and
All we do is the will of God

But there are other voices as well
Inside the heart of the nation
And inside the heart of the world
The small voices of grasses in green pastures
The healing voices of warm rain and still waters
The steadfast valiant voices of those
Who refuse to cooperate with bulldozer politicians
With marauding colonists
With tormentors of the rightful inhabitants
Voices nearly impossible to hear
In the roar of war and propaganda
But necessary to hear and to heed
If true justice is to roll down like waters
And true righteousness like a mighty stream

Buff Whitman-Bradley is the author of four books of poetry, b. eagle, poet; The Honey Philosophies; Realpolitik; and When Compasses Grow Old; and the chapbook, Everything Wakes Up! His poetry has appeared in many print and online journals. He is also co-editor, with Cynthia Whitman-Bradley and Sarah Lazare, of the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. He has co-produced/directed two documentary films, the award-winning Outside In (with Cynthia Whitman-Bradley) and Por Que Venimos (with the MIRC Film Collective). He lives in northern California.

Monday, November 19, 2012


by Mary Krane Derr

Image source:   EPA/MOHAMMED SABER in The Telegraph

Israel, Gaza:
same panic rockets over
next-of-kin faces.

Parents dash to shield
children with their bodies though
bodies can't suffice.

Mary Krane Derr is a poet, writer, musician, and nonviolence activist from the South Side of Chicago. Her poems "Rubble Dream,", "At This Address," "Prevents Conception/By Her Very Own Choice,"   and "Transit of Venus?" all previously appeared in The New Verse News"Transit of Venus?" has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


by Emily Ramser

Image source: Newspaper Rock

“We have Asians here,
shouldn’t we get an award or something for that?”
Partin whispers as we turn
Our heads like zoo goers watching
Animals in cages. With all
Their colors, it wouldn’t surprise me
If someone shouted
or used the rifle hanging in the window
of their pickup truck to hunt exotic pelts.

It’s so unusual here to find
Someone not of pale snow or cream
Walking the streets that
They all turn their heads
And stare
Like they’re watching zoo animals
In cages. 

Emily Ramser grew up in Sacramento's gay district, or at least experienced puberty there, but later moved to the southern Bible-belt of North Carolina to finish out her high school career. Rather than average society, she prefers to surround herself with furries, Baptist seminary students, and high school dropouts. Emily works with Impact Magazine editing religious testimonies and translating them into Spanish and is also a reporter and columnist for Wake Forest-Rolesville High School's paper, The Forest Fire. She has been published multiple magazines, but prefers to stick business cards with her poems scribbled on the back on coffee shop bulletin boards. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012


by Laurie Lamon

Image source: Mind Maps

Put them into the scissors’ ovals made for making
parts; fold them into the shape of the bird
crossing a wall, then vanishing into light’s room.
Let one warm the face turned on its side;
let one come to the breast as a sleepwalker touches
a door. Let them both envy the tongue.            
Let them count money like miseries that close
the eyes. Have them write in pencil the forty-two
resolutions against Israel. Have them handle
and return the identity cards of those who are here
and not here. Let them ease the burdens of smoke.
Instruct them to scatter straw, earth’s estate
to be carried in the mouths of the smallest animals.

Laurie Lamon's work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New Criterion, PloughsharesArts & Letters Journal of Contemporary Culture, Plume, and other magazines and journals, including 180 More Extraordinary Poems for Ordinary Days, edited by Billy Collins, and thePoetry Daily and Verse Daily websites. In 2007 Lamon received a Witter Bynner award, selected by Poet Laureate Donald Hall. Lamon has also received a Pushcart Prize. Laurie Lamon has two collections of poetry are The Fork Without Hunger and Without Wings, CavanKerry Press (NJ), 2005 and 2009. Lamon is a professor of English at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington and the poetry editor for Rock & Sling.

Friday, November 16, 2012


by Wayne Scheer

Sure, General P
should have kept
it in his pants;
sure, Ms B,
wife, mom
should have
journalistic distance,
but these things
What is
to me,
is how a man,
whose job it is
to snoop
and oversee
would communicate
to his lover
via email.

could have
at least
used code.

a valiant general
is reduced
to Newt Gingrich-like
fodder for comics.

No more sex
with his biographer,
one points out,
now he'll only
have sex
with his

Even people
like me,
who shouldn't be
allowed to breathe
the same air
as General P,
wonders aloud
if he slept
nude with Ms B
or kept
his purple heart on.

The mighty fall
just as the small,
only with
a louder

I find this

emails General P?

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