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Monday, April 30, 2012


by Alan Catlin

                                      WARNING: This video contains disturbing scenes of war.

                                      The American war in Vietnam ended
                                      with the dissolution of the Saigon government 
                                      on April 30, 1975.

In Proctor’s theater lobby
after hearing war stories,
dramatic monologue presentations,
vet with gray/ brown hair tied back
in pony tail, unkempt beard,
black t-shirt that says:
Harley Rendezvous Florida,
“Man, brings it all back.
So good to hear it said like that.”
Same basic look, same aged
bro says, “Man, don’t I know it.”
“Realist thing I ever heard.
Forty years later, I can
still feel the heat.”
“Come to the meeting, Man.
Lots of guys you need to know.”
“No, Man, don’t need to know
nobody or know nothing. Know it
all already. Trying not to know, Man,
that’s what I’m all about  Look at this,
Man, still got the blood on my hands.”
They both look down in silence.
Vietnam was yesterday.
Today too.

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.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


by Karen Schubert

If you were the god you believe in
what planet would you make? Me, I like this one,
but I think I’d talk to my humans,
say something like imagine
you are walking around in a world
I made for you. Clean up the air, the ground.
You’re making your own kids sick.
It won’t be easy so get started.
Tough love. Then once they did that,
who knows what else?
If I had a company maybe
I’d say, hey, I can’t run this place
myself so if you help me run it, I’ll help you
thrive and we’re in this
together. If I had a state
and I knew some schools were,
you know, the way some schools are,
maybe I’d go there, talk and talk
until everyone said, ok, ok, we hear you
and everyone picked up books,
the parents, the teenagers, even the little kids,
they’d picked up newspapers, too,
I’d make sure they all got what they needed
to help me run the state.
I’d tell them, that’s the way it is
in a democracy, you gotta help. If I had an income,
in April I’d pay my taxes. I’d say
I love this country, and I want to do this
thing to make it strong on the inside.
No more wars, dirty air,
working poor, kids who can’t read.
Wait a minute, I already do that,
pay my taxes, that is.
And I’d  write a song, I’d call it Utopia
or Wisconsin, whatever name we want,
and we could sing it together. One line is
we might not get there, but let’s go towards it.
Let’s just go.

Karen Schubert is the recipient of a 2012 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award in poetry. Her poems, interviews and essays appear or are forthcoming in the Review Review, Best American Poetry blog, riverbabble, AGNI Online, Knockout Literary Magazine and others. She is the author of Bring Down the Sky (Kattywompus, 2011) and The Geography of Lost Houses (Pudding House, 2008). She lives in Youngstown, Ohio, among poets and artists and some beautiful sculpted bike racks, and she teaches English at Youngstown State University.

Friday, April 27, 2012


by Diane Payne

Source: condomania

Daughter receives a text message from her mother stating:
Wear a condom.
Republicans are pro-life.
You know what that means.

Daughter receives an Obama nightie in the mail,
a weirdly political gift from her mother.  It’s pink.   Perversely
cute.  Libertarian boyfriend shakes his head in horror.
She moves Obama’s lips and whispers, “Don’t you
want me tonight?” He wonders if he’ll ever want her again.

Daughter receives an envelope filled with Obama  2012 bumper
stickers. For your friends at college, Mother scrawls on the
note. It’s daughter’s first presidential election.  She
has no use for bumper stickers.  Sighs.  It’s only March.
Eight more months of merchandise propaganda.

Daughter longs for old days when apolitical cookies arrived in the mail.

Diane Payne shares her home with several dogs and cats, and during breaks from college, her daughter reappears.   Diane  teaches English at University of Arkansas-Monticello.   She has been published in hundreds of literary journals.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


by Crystal Simone Smith

There’s a set-aside broken teacup look you shall receive if you mention Wal-Mart. Please Note: We have driven twenty-two miles west to the local farm to kindly request any hay that may no longer be suitable for nesting the grain-fed quails. We have taken this hay and soaked it for days in spring water and dried it for many more in the sun. During these days we have taken up weavery at the arts center. (The truth is you can self-produce almost anything you will ever need). We have whittled the handle from old firewood, bundled and tied off the hay. All for the good sense not to support a wicked, monstrous monopoly that’s making little Chinese women do this for FIFTY CENTS A DAY!

Source: 123RF Stock Photos

Reuse, Recycle, Regurgitate Response

Please Note: While you are a finer citizen than I for not supporting this, I should explain that oil prices will not allow me to drive twenty-two miles anywhere. Also, the art center class sounds enriching, but like spring water, expensive, and lastly I’d be hard-pressed to find some spare hours in the week to dry hay and whittle wood. I’m certain a $4.00 broom will kill no one any more than the $24.00 local quail one would consume in the Franklin Street Bistro and regurgitate in the bathroom. Besides, the fifty cents a day may pay for dinner for an entire Chinese family, rice, mainly, but nonetheless nourishment they will ingest and keep down.

Crystal Simone Smith is a graphic designer, artist, and poet. Her poems have appeared in The African American Review, Louisiana Literature, Obsidian III: Literature in the African Diaspora, Southern Women’s Review and are forthcoming in Spillway, Nimrod, and Alimentum. Her work was nominated in 2011 for the pushcart prize. She holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


by Jesse Millner

Photo: Vincenzo Pinto / Pool via Reuters

“He is picky about his robes and his red shoes are tailor-made, but Pope Benedict has taken the meaning of bespoke to a whole new level by ordering a custom-blended eau de cologne just for him. The fragrance, which mixes hints of lime tree, verbena and grass, was concocted by the Italian boutique perfume maker Silvana Casoli, who has previously created scents for customers including Madonna, Sting and King Juan Carlos of Spain.”
                                            --Tom Kingston in Rome, The Guardian,
                                              Wednesday 14 March 2012 20.33 GMT

So, now the Pope’s got his own specialty cologne
that he can wear with his silk pajamas and fancy slippers
when he reclines in his Pope chair and convenes with the angels.

I imagine, that at this very moment, a thousand poets
are writing about the holy man’s perfume, and the sweet
irony of an alleged follower of a poor Palestinian carpenter

spraying himself with Eau de Pope before praying
to Jesus and then issuing his infallible commands
about birth control, aliens, and universal love.

I say, pontificate all you want, you good smelling old dude!
Personally, I prefer to wallow in my sacred human stink,
that odor of sweat, dirt, and righteous movement

through this humid, tropical world
where right at this moment light is assembling
the areca palms outside my window.

Because I am a failed Southern Baptist,
I have spent much of my life
defending the persecuted Catholics,

once a much maligned minority in Protestant America.
When I was little, the preacher told me
that Catholics and Jews were all going to Hell.

I rebelled by embracing polytheism
and looking for god in the green reign
of Whitman’s grasses.

These days, however, some Catholics
seem as silly as most Baptists,
and I wonder what’s the difference

between them, really?  Catholics like
pomp and circumstance, believe in mommy
Mary, fill their churches with iconic splendor,

while the Baptists insist on a leaner diet
of gospel pie, on a much narrower
road to salvation.  And there is

this: Baptists believe the Pope
is the Antichrist.  Which makes me
consider marketing an Eau de Antichrist perfume,

when properly applied, would cause
the believer to tremble and speak in tongues about
the coming Apocalypse.  My own wife

hates perfumes and colognes, complains
every time we fly, trapped in those aluminum
scent boxes with hundreds of other humans

who smell of fake flowers and  real b.o.,
who like us, fasten their seat belts and ascend
into the Florida sky.  Here’s the honest

to god, infallible truth: the Pope, like all of us,
is merely another mammal,
another smelly seeker on this journey

of stargazers and reality show contestants
all looking for that sublime moment
of delicious, good-smelling transcendence.

Jesse Millner's work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including River Styx, Willow Springs, and Pearl. His most recent poetry collection, Dispatches from the Department of Supernatural Explanation, was released by Kitsune Books in April 2012. Jesse teaches writing courses at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


by Lynne Knight

In the shower this morning I saw the girl
my mother had been, gathered with her brothers
around the piano while her grandmother
played whatever tune someone called out—

laughing and singing and clapping,
a brown-eyed girl of seven, ten, eleven—
and then she was twelve, her favorite brother
shot dead—and again, again, a nightmare

she woke mute from night after night, like the girl
on KTVU news last week, and the week
before that, and back, and forward, and back
on the streets of Oakland or Richmond,

Newark or Pittsburgh, the list far too long
and the brothers too numerous
to name, those dearly beloved who never
finished their lives, leaving girls

who carry their names into prayer
until they become the language
of prayer, syllables attempting to still
those over-and-over cries in the night—

Lynne Knight’s fourth collection, Again, was published by Sixteen Rivers Press. Her awards include a Lucille Medwick Award from the Poetry Society of America and an NEA.

Monday, April 23, 2012


by Judith Arcana

We sprayed graffiti on our Facebook walls
     tweeted outrage to the websites of senators
marched around our living rooms with Wii
     zapped cyber-petitions to the Pentagon –
some of us phoned in flashmobs; lots of us
     taped everything for You-tube. We were virtually
unstoppable! Actually though, some of us did
     hit the pause button. When sidewalk time
came, hitting the asphalt, fault lines opened
     up along the edges of our keyboards, striking
letters into questions older units used to ask –
     like, to be or not to be – you know that one?
Whether to take arms against a sea of troubles
     and, by opposing, end them? Question is,
is there – I mean, like, now – an app for that?

Judith Arcana writes poems, stories and essays; her books include Grace Paley’s Life Stories, A Literary Biography, the poetry collection What if your mother, and the poetry chapbook 4th Period English. Forthcoming are a poetry chapbook (The Parachute Jump Effect - 2012) and a linked fiction collection (Hello. This is Jane. - when it finds a publisher). Judith lives in an apartment upstairs of her neighborhood library.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


by Carol Alexander

We do it, but with less fanfare.
Where once a crowd in Sunday best,
munching chestnuts, held children up
to watch the jittery gallows dance,
we lay out sterile needles on the tray,
needles that betray the raging blood
short-circuiting riotous artery and vein.

Now rewind to the indelible frame:
the mother with her smoking pipe
attacks the rain upon the screen,
while children braided to a fault
anatomize the foul and flooding street.

Rough justice from the fraying rope
should bitterly appall the novice heart;
yet somehow thorns grow up around that heart.
Children of the pipe and drain, relentless,
stream into the city’s maw, tattooed and torn.
The rows of workers sit, unhinged,
uneasy buttocks on the varnished bench.

Such stories of the skin and knife,
such bitters left from judge’s glass of gin.

How should we plead in that great skein
that tangles knife and wound?
What sentiment should be crushed out
so that the bright annealing fire
burns the dross but spares the suspect gold?

In the strong cage of the city
in the stench of cells
the guards walk up and down.
A pack of smokes, a whispered curse,
the young girls weeping in their lace:
the judge instructs us
these are not our load, but rest upon
the burden or the flim flam of the state.

Once, twice, we sat on that same dreary bench,
a pulsing in our own precarious veins.
We could not help but look, to hold the eyes
of that young man, so unremarkable a child,
quartered here, soon to be drawn.

Blind justice, flakes of tobacco in its robe,
left us in a double blind, set upon,
smelling our way to Dover.

A writer for trade and educational publishing, Carol Alexander has authored numerous children’s books, served as a ghostwriter for radio and trade publishing, and taught at colleges around the metropolitan area. In 2011-2012, her poetry appears—or is scheduled to appear-- in literary journals and anthologies published by Avocet, Boyne Berries (UK), Chiron Review, Cave Moon Press, The Canary, Danse Macabre, Earthspeak, Eunoia Review, Fade Poetry Journal (UK), Fat Daddy’s Farm Press, Fried Chicken and Coffee, The Mad Hatter’s Review, Mobius, Numinous, OVS, Red Poppy Review, Red River Review, River Poets Journal, Sleeping Cat Books, The Whistling Fire, and Write Wing Publishing.

Friday, April 20, 2012


by Laura Shovan

They are robotic at fifteen, some boys,
quiet as proverbial church mice. Their motors
skitter discreetly beneath the hum
of the family refrigerator, beneath their mothers’
“how was school” banter, beneath the nagging,
the talk-talk, the “I’ll try anything”
to chase him out of this Tin Man stage,
this heartless construction with its monotone
and monosyllables. Even his angles are jerky.

My son called from Nebraska, at last
back at the Best Western late
from Robotics, where his machine,
concoction of metal, gears,
arm lifting objects in its ingenious elevator,
was not picked for the team. It sat
in its 18 by 18 shipping box,
ignored and folded on itself,
elevator arm tucked away.

And in the morning, driving somewhere --
a distraction from my son’s distance -- the radio.
A boy in Datta, not yet sixteen, no church mouse,
volted into protest, its jolts in his wires,
powering up his voice box. Later,
when he called home from jail, his mother said
his voice had changed, the words almost
unrecognizable. Electric shock will do that.
Still, he said what they all say.
It’s in their wiring. We have programmed them
to say it. Now they are men
and they are fine.

Laura Shovan is editor of Little Patuxent Review. Her chapbook, Mountain, Log, Salt and Stone, won the inaugural Harriss Poetry Prize in 2010. Her work has been featured at Verse Daily and won an Honorable Mention in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards. She is the editor of Life in Me Like Grass on Fire: Love Poems (MWA Books), featuring 50 Maryland poets.  Laura is a Maryland State Arts Council Artist-in-Residence.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


by Kelly Fordon

Census takers, television producers,
urban explorers come to the
tall grass prairie, gawk at the ones
who stayed, the two people who are still
constructing motorized boxes,
the decimated buildings where they
crouch wide-eyed through the night,
like owls, like coyotes, like
whacks in the rafters. Train your cameras
on the swirling graffiti maelstrom,
all the meaningless desperate words
draining down the sewer grate.
Here we dissemble. We say the sky is not falling,
that if we use the magic words,
Renaissance Center our sweet talking
mayor will ride back into town
with all of our money.  This
is a dead zone with an attitude problem.
Nobody will admit that we are
no longer empowered. Plant a garden
in this toxic wasteland and watch
the flowers twirl like disco balls.
We are the ones who built the
Empire State, we are America ’s
empty bread basket.  In our town,
snipers lurk behind gargoyles,
the water has stopped seeping through
the rusty pipes, the children have stopped
asking for toys.  Could this be your
final destination? Don’t rule it out.
You could end up sitting next to us
on the curb dreaming about
rejuvenation.  You could find yourself
recalling how beautiful you once were,
before all the people you carried
turned their backs.  It happens
all the time.

Kelly Fordon’s work has appeared in The Kenyon Review (KRO), NPR’s This I Believe, Flashquake, Red Wheelbarrow, The Windsor Review and various other journals.  Her poetry chapbook On The Street Where We Live won the 2011 Stranding Rock Chapbook Contest and will be published in February 2012. She received third place in the Katherine Handley Prose Poem Contest, was a finalist in the 38th Annual Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest and received an honorable mention in the 2011 Tiferet Journal fiction contest.  She is currently working towards her MFA in fiction writing at Queens University. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


by Bill Costley
Gareth Pugh Tessellated Gold Wallet

In the cold back room
golders stack gold coins;
coincidentally as they’re
increasing their wealth
increMentally, the world’s
wealth’s being tallied,
told out metallically.

Specie still speaks loudly
in gold bars stacked up
to lie in cold rooms, but
the world’s money moves
digitally over copper wires,
in satellite-signal pulses.

Old golders feel oblivious
to this until they cash out
in curious tesselated codes.
Tax-time translates them all.

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.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


by Richard Storm

                                              for Judy Shepard and Sybrina Fulton

Another mother’s son is dead.
He was different, out of place,
perhaps underestimated his enemies.
Hardly capital crimes.

The mother could be curled up in her bed,
blinds drawn, taking sedatives.
She is making statements, talking to reporters,
thanking supporters, crying out for justice.

She knows it will not bring her son back.
She hopes it may prevent another
mother feeling what she feels.

My son is dead.
Let it mean something.

Richard Storm moved from his native Oregon to Manhattan in 1978 to pursue an acting career. A charter member of brevitas, an email poetry collective, he believes poetry need not be obscure to be poetic.

Monday, April 16, 2012


by Richard Meyer

Look! Deep inside the devil’s den
nest bankers, lawyers, businessmen
who weave a diabolic spell
that leads us blindly down to hell.
But they’ll not share our fiery fate
because they’ll own the real estate.
We’ll pay to keep the furnace fed
and they will watch from overhead.
From heaven they will rule the horde,
for I suspect they own the Lord.

Richard Meyer, a former English and humanities teacher, lives in the family home his father built in Mankato, a city at the bend of the Minnesota River. His poems have appeared in various print and online publications, including Able Muse, 14, SCR, The Flea, and The Classical Outlook.


Sunday, April 15, 2012


(Lines on the loss of the "Titanic")

A New Verse News Classic
Originally published in 1915

by Thomas Hardy (1840 - 1928)

In a solitude of the sea
Deep from human vanity,
And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she.

Steel chambers, late the pyres
Of her salamandrine fires,
Cold currents thrid, and turn to rhythmic tidal lyres.

Over the mirrors meant
To glass the opulent
The sea-worm crawls — grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent.

Jewels in joy designed
To ravish the sensuous mind
Lie lightless, all their sparkles bleared and black and blind.

Dim moon-eyed fishes near
Gaze at the gilded gear
And query: "What does this vaingloriousness down here?" ...

Well: while was fashioning
This creature of cleaving wing,
The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything

Prepared a sinister mate
For her — so gaily great —
A Shape of Ice, for the time far and dissociate.

And as the smart ship grew
In stature, grace, and hue,
In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.

Alien they seemed to be;
No mortal eye could see
The intimate welding of their later history,

Or sign that they were bent
By paths coincident
On being anon twin halves of one august event,

Till the Spinner of the Years
Said "Now!" And each one hears,
And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres.

Thomas Hardy, the son of a stonemason, was born in Dorsetshire, England, in 1840. He trained as an architect and worked in London and Dorset for ten years. Hardy began his writing career as a novelist, publishing Desperate Remedies in 1871, and was soon successful enough to leave the field of architecture for writing. His novels Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891) and Jude the Obscure (1895), which are considered literary classics today, received negative reviews upon publication and Hardy was criticized for being too pessimistic and preoccupied with sex. He left fiction writing for poetry, and published eight collections, including Wessex Poems (1898) and Satires of Circumstance (1912). Hardy's poetry explores a fatalist outlook against the dark, rugged landscape of his native Dorset. He rejected the Victorian belief in a benevolent God, and much of his poetry reads as a sardonic lament on the bleakness of the human condition. A traditionalist in technique, he nevertheless forged a highly original style, combining rough-hewn rhythms and colloquial diction with an extraordinary variety of meters and stanzaic forms. A significant influence on later poets (including Frost, Auden, Dylan Thomas, and Philip Larkin), his influence has increased during the course of the century, offering an alternative—more down-to-earth, less rhetorical—to the more mystical and aristocratic precedent of Yeats. Thomas Hardy died in 1928. Source.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


by Joan Mazza

Tell Facebook: Withdraw Your Support For CISPA

                  Expert: New CISPA Bill Isn't SOPA, But Still Attacks Constitutional Rights
                                                                                        --Chicago Tribune, April 13, 2012

You can be stopped, arrested,
and strip-searched for any reason,
no matter how small the suspected
offense. No recourse if they grabbed
the wrong person. Your employer
can fire you for photos on the Internet
where you’re shown holding a glass
of wine or wearing a low-cut dress,
while you were on vacation in Italy.

While you’ve been hiding from news,
sheltered under a rock, digging
a hole in the sand for your head,

your employer is asking for passwords
to FaceBook accounts. You can be evicted
or dismissed for your sexual preference,
although those in power give other
reasons. Religious people believe
atheists can’t be trusted, put them
on par with thieves rapists. (You’ll
do anything if god isn’t watching.)

You think the Supreme Court
has nothing to do with you? Those
folks in long robes aren’t deciding
your future? You better buy another
truckload of sand, bury your journals.

If you speak openly about your beliefs
on equality, if you value scientific evidence,
be prepared to be investigated and called
a liar. If you’re held under the Patriot Act,
you better be brave. It’s not torture
to jail you indefinitely without charges.
You better have courage and a good attorney
because nothing is free.

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.

Friday, April 13, 2012


by Jean L. Kreiling

Improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.’s, are home-made bombs. Often used by insurgent groups or rebels who wage non-traditional warfare, they can be made from almost any material and are designed to kill or maim. 
                                                                                          --The New York Times, April 11, 2012.

The word’s been misappropriated—taken
and twisted, so that now when we awaken
to morning news, we’re sickened by its sound:
we think of body parts strewn on the ground,
stilled breath, spilled blood, lives brought to gruesome ends,
and devastated family and friends.

When Mozart improvised, he scattered notes,
not bones.  Cadenzas rang like antidotes
for discontent, not meanly ruinous
concussions; trills might be gratuitous,
but never vicious. He dreamed riffs and runs,
and gave them life. Improvisation stuns

with beauty and with spontaneity
or with premeditated cruelty,
explosions of pure art or pure ill will,
devices meant to dazzle or to kill.
We’re either entertained or brutalized—
it all depends on who has “improvised.”

Jean L. Kreiling’s poems have appeared in numerous print journals, online journals, and 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.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


by David Chorlton

A shock of silence passes across the Earth.
News reporters struggle to translate it.
Dictators stand nervously at their windows.
A fine snow fills television screens.
Rebels have halted their advances.
Diplomats sit up all night beside their telephones.
Arms shipments are held up at the border.
The moon is a red light in the sky.
Negotiators wait to speak
with cocked hammers for tongues.

David Chorlton has lived in Arizona since 1978, when he moved from Vienna, Austria. While much of his poetry is about the Southwestern landscape, his newest publication, and first work of fiction, is The Taste of Fog from Rain Mountain Press, reflecting a darker side of Vienna.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


by Brigitte Goetze

We have to have oil, after all
that devastation is old history. BP’s ads show
spotless beaches, a cheerful voice announcing
thousands of samples analyzed, not mentioning
their results. Busy work, smiling faces
to lull us back into consumption;
this modern day wasting disease—
carbon-dioxide the Mycobacterium tuberculosis of the atmosphere.
Treatment of the infected lung is becoming
more and more difficult, resistances
outgrowing our options to create
workable solutions.

Brigitte Goetze, biologist, goat farmer, writer, lives in the foothills of Oregon 's Coast Range. She has published a chapbook Rosehips. Her most recent poems can be found in Mused and Imitation Fruit and in the forthcoming Fault Lines and The River Journal

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote 

Labels for clothes not humanimals
One size doesn’t fit all
Designer names branding iron tattoos
Emaciated Small Medium Large Obese

Radical rebel crackpot loose cannon
Never fear stigma of non-conformity
Stuck on pressurized tinhorn cans
Empty suitcase excess baggage tags

Ivory ebony light/dark shades drawn
Nothing’s the gray matter flattery
Pastel chalk clean slate rewritten
Charcoal embers disintegrate into ash

Feminist misogynist communist socialist ToDolist
Queens princesses bisexual gay straight
No Passing judgment S-Curves Ahead
Stirs slurs his hers its

Hip-hop punk rock country jazz
Recording industry bigwigs bald-faced copywrongs
Twain interconnected Yahoos upstaging print
Poison pen stereotypes disappearing inkblots

Our nuanced existence defies labels
Musky bottled essence transcending categories
Human hearts non-conswervative liperal demoncrats
Virtuous sinner winners-losers draw

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

Monday, April 09, 2012


by Earl J Wilcox

St Patrick’s Cathedral, 2012  

Visiting NYC on spring break with my family
I insist we pause to see the great city cathedral
iconic place of funerals, weddings, intrigues

both great and small, this must-see sight on
many tourists’ agenda. My companions shrug,
say they’ve seen it before, urge us onward toward

shopping or pub hunting for lunch. We agree
to stop for a few minutes, momentarily forgetting
the noontide hour. A Holy Week Mass is in progress

as faithful from everywhere kneel, stand, sign---
placid, serene faces lift toward the altar.
A youthful-looking priest chants a liturgy

followed by a full-voiced contralto singing praises
heavenward.  Shepherd’s Pie, Sam Adams beer,
souvenirs fade as our trio of tourists witness.

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.

Sunday, April 08, 2012


by Janice D. Soderling

A god by any other name 

would be a rose on the third day
and how about this paper wall
between the church and the terrible state
of a fair trade off for homeland security
and guns across America in beautiful

paintings of the signing of the Constitution 

do you see a black founding father etcetera?

Which has significance for a real patriot. 

So move along and love me, your enemy,

for even as we taser, even as we pepper-spray,

even as we flamboozle, we are deep-googling you, 

my unfriend, my gullible, my god's lamb chop.

This land is my land and my prattle is your prattle too.

Exactly what would Jesus say
about this god-awful wallpaper?

Janice D. Soderling is a strong supporter of The New Verse News and a previous contributor. She has published hundreds of poems, fictions, and translations at print and online venues based in twelve countries. She hails from the United States.

Friday, April 06, 2012


by Gilbert Allen

Now is the time for all good men
to come to the aid of their country.
Letters, words, open spaces
her hands learned by heart
in 1942, for her audition in the towers
of New York.  Twenty years later

I’m only eleven, but still
she’s no man, either.  Twenty fingers, suspended
over the stiff keys. We take turns
closing our eyes, filling
blank paper as if the world
depended upon our play.
On any keyboard, that sentence
still draws the deepest
music from my hands.  Eyes shut
or open, light, no light
no matter.  Now is the time . . . .
For her sake, come home.

Gilbert Allen grew up in New York but has lived in upstate South Carolina for the past 35 years.  Some of his newest poems and stories appear in Able Muse, Appalachian Heritage, Appalachian Journal, Flyway, Measure, The South Carolina Review, and The Southern Review.

Thursday, April 05, 2012


by Rochelle Owens

On the pale yellow wall
above the frame  an apparition

piles of rocks  the nomad’s camp
the village on fire

an unlit cigar in the fabulist’s mouth
the still wet brownish color

a smell of autumnal decay
In the galleries of Japanese Art
ambling  meandering  strolling

zigzagging  zipping past
heads  shoulders  hands  hips  feet

rushing through unpainted space
a photo of a mushroom cloud
an asymmetrical form

an unlit cigar in the fabulist’s mouth
the still wet brownish color

a smell of autumnal decay

In the galleries of Romantic Art
joining the wedding feast

a tribal elder chewing hashish 
a little boy eating a nut cake

a skeletal frame
the limbs spreading apart

cinnamon  cumin and honey
savory the smoke of roasting meat  

the clerk who is a fabulist
who calls herself Ezra

Ezra kicking the goat head
a goat smile on her lips

slender and elongated is Ezra
swaying from side to side

from her pocket springs a flower
out of the hole of Baudelaire

vomiting the bride and groom
long ago  an hour ago

only a minute
strolling through unpainted space

a photo of a mushroom cloud
an asymmetrical form
autumnal ivy leaves
beginning above the frame

heads  shoulders  hands  hips  feet
piles of rocks  the nomad’s camp

the village on fire
an unlit cigar in the fabulist’s mouth

the still wet brownish  color
a smell of autumnal decay

Rochelle Owens, a frequent contributor to The New Verse News, 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.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


by John T. Hitchner

Early spring, early April 1968:
I didn’t hear the rifle shot,
didn’t see the man fall.
I heard only news reports,
saw pictures of the fallen man
on the motel balcony,
his friends leaning over him
and looking for the source of the rifle shots,
looking for the assassin.
I saw the man’s widow and children dignified in grief.                                                                                                   
It was early spring, early April 1968.

I thought of Russell Campbell,
wondered if he had heard the shot;
if he had seen the pictures
and wept with the widow and her children.
When we were children
Russell and I had raced
Summit Avenue School playground
to reach home plate first.
Russell always won.

January 1953 my father bought our first TV.
Russell’s family did not own one.
I invited him to our house
to watch the Eisenhower Inauguration.
We saw America’s hero
lay his left hand on the Bible,
raise his right,
and solemnly swear
to preserve, protect, and defend
the Constitution of the United States.

“What’s he doing here?”
I heard my father ask my mother.
I didn’t hear her answer,
only the protective sound of her words.
A year later
Russell’s family’s house burned to the ground.
The family survived and moved away.
I never heard from him again.

Where was my childhood friend
that early April 1968?
On patrol in Nam
trying to preserve, protect, and defend
the Constitution of the United States
and a people he could not trust?
In school, or working for the Man?
Would he have called me ‘Whitey’
that early spring
like some African-American students did
at the school where I taught
civilization’s rises and falls.
The day before the man fell,
we had been friends
or at least collegial acquaintances
chatting about Mets’ and Yankees’ fortunes
that season.
Now we were strangers
in a not so strange land.

The fire next time had begun to rage.
It would scar, it would kill.
I hoped then, I hope now,
Russell somewhere, somehow,
teaches how to put out fires
never to flame again.

John T. Hitchner
teaches Creative Writing and Coming of Age in War and Peace at Keene State College. His chapbook Not Far From Here appeared early 2010; Seasons and Shadows, another chapbook, spring 2011. His poetry most recently appeared in the Aurorean, Slant, and Third Wednesday; short fiction in First Class, SNR, Ginosko, and Timber Creek Review. “The Broken Cross,” a long story, is presently serialized in Wild Violet; “Memorial Day,” a short story, was recognized as ‘Highly Commendable’ in the Tom Howard / John H. Reid Winning Writers Short Story Contest fall 2010.

Monday, April 02, 2012

ADRIENNE RICH (1929-2012)

by Bill Sullivan

Did any poet dive any deeper to locate
the wreck, to find out who she was
and who she is?  Go deeper to identify
what was essential or salvageable
or detestable?  Go deeper to discover
the voice and the language within that bore
down to the core of war and oppression 
and what they wrought? Say it so that we
and she had to not only acknowledge
that horror but also atone for it, struggle
against it- as she did until her battered
body left her?

Bill Sullivan taught English and American studies at Keene State College until he retired to Westerly, RI.  He has co-published two books on twentieth century American poetry and co-produced two documentary films.  His poems have appeared in both print and on-line publications.

Sunday, April 01, 2012


by Lewis Gardner

                     Around New York, Clarifying Identity
A cloudy, damp Sunday in Washington Square—noon,
but no one’s around. I’m early for a film shoot,
my lunch the foil-wrapped remains of last night’s
Indian meal—flatbread and half-eaten hunk
of tandoori chicken. Two neatly dressed people,
on their church’s mission to feed the homeless, offer me
(in my old jeans and windbreaker, with food that appears
snatched from the trash) a sandwich, water, an orange.
Instead of telling them It’s not what you think,
I accept a bottle of their water, and they are happy.
A student and sort of good-looking, every Wednesday
I went to a Central Park South hotel to read
to a nearly blind businessman—legal contracts,
novels, a book on equitation. Once he paid me
at the elevator, just as its doors opened.  I’ll see you
next week, he said as I stepped inside, pocketing the bills.
The elevator man gave a knowing smirk and grin.
I could have said It’s not what you think, but that would mean
understanding what it was that it wasn’t. And what if he saw
that my pay for the session was only four dollars?
We’re filming a satanic ritual for a music video—lit
candles in a circle on the floor, monks in hooded robes,
me rising from my knees in a posture of inspired power.
The Chinese-restaurant delivery guy is reluctant to enter
the space. We should reveal it isn’t what he thinks.
Someone who has my name goes to the same dentist,
who luckily realized this before drilling. Someone else
with my name acts in movies. We’re confused with each other
on the Internet. Excuse me, a woman says, after stopping me,
I thought you were someone else, I inform her, I am.
We’re about to shoot a true-crime re-creation for cable—
another actor will fake a savage attack on me.
The director jokes to him: Do you really want to beat up
this nice old man? I say to myself: Wait a minute.
I never thought I was either old or nice—the man part
I got used to when a college girlfriend called me one,
I think because I wore a corduroy jacket and smoked
a pipe. A photo you’d swear is me appeared in last week’s
paper, but it’s actually someone else—someone I know,
who I never thought looked anything like me.
There’s a video on YouTube called “Do You Know Who
I Am?” and that is in fact me, though I’m acting and not
being me. Or am I? I think I have it straight now,
who or what I may be. Though what you think, or I do,
maybe isn’t. Or is.
Stanza 1. This was an NYU student film, in which I was playing God.
2. Their church was Seventh Day Adventist.
3. This took place on an upper floor of the Hotel Navarro. On another occasion I startled Joan Sutherland when I got out of the elevator. She gave a small, unmusical shriek. Equitation is the art of training and riding horses.
4. Two dollars an hour for reading aloud was not a bad rate of pay in 1962.
5. The video was for Born of Osiris, practitioners of “progressive death metal” music.
6. The man with my name lives in Rhinebeck, New York. The dentist did not tell me this, but the heating company, without the same strictures of confidentiality, let it slip. The confusion is in the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Being “someone else” is a logical paradox.
7. The program is “Investigation Discovery: Fatal Encounters.”
8. The newspaper is the Woodstock Times.
9. The song is by the Fabulous Thunderbirds. I play a laid-off GM worker in Detroit. I have never been to Detroit or worked for GM, though I have been laid off twice.

Lewis Gardner has published poems and plays in a number of anthologies and magazines, as well as more than 60 poems and light-verse pieces in the New York Times. Originally from New England, he lives in Woodstock, New York.