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Thursday, May 31, 2012

THE SCREAM

by Howie Good

Syrian refugees take part in a protest in Tripoli, northern Lebanon. Image source: alarabiya.

I want a clock without hands,
and someone to agree
that the moon looks
just like a frozen scream.

I want to find a tattoo
of a woman’s name
when I roll up my sleeve,

and for the millions
that regimes have murdered
to cross back over
on a bridge of bones.

I want to bang on a can
to spread the alarm.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the full-length poetry collections Lovesick (Press Americana, 2009), Heart With a Dirty Windshield (BeWrite Books, 2010), and Everything Reminds Me of Me (Desperanto, 2011), as well as numerous print and digital poetry chapbooks, including most recently Love Dagger from Right Hand Pointing, To Shadowy Blue from Gold Wake Press and Love in a Time of Paranoia from Diamond Point Press.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

NO DRAFT, NO WAR . . .

Just Peace

by Bill Costley

                                  USA Memorial Day 2012

One of my uncles, a submariner,
another, a bomber waist-gunner,
another an OSS assassin in Poland,
another, a mountain ski-trooper
killed in the Italian alps; his widow,
a WAVE, married to an Army cook,

none of them ever marked me for war
except my father, rejected by the army:
for wearing glasses, for being married,
for having a child (me), incredulous that
I wouldn’t accept the Vietnam War draft:
“You’re a citizen! You have to!” He'd never
learn I beat the army's draft by checking-off
“covert homosexual" (hidden in its long list of
debilities) during my pre-induction physical.

How can we deflate war-delusion?
No draft. No war. Just Peace.


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.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

MEMORIAL DAY AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

by Joan Mazza

Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery
by John Moore (Getty Images) on May 27, 2010

A young woman is talking. An explanation?
Apology? She waves her arms and pauses to sob
and find her words. Wadded tissues, a vase of flowers,
American flag, folded note, denim jacket.

The photographer asked permission
to include her photo among those he took
of Iraq veterans visiting buddies’ graves, children
who came to see where their fathers slept.

A woman I knew had lost her fiancé in Vietnam.
Thirty years later, she still wore his ring, carried
his name though they had not married, stayed
faithful to their promise. Never loved another man.

The photographer at Arlington returned to find
Mary prostrate, brow touching his headstone,
as if whispering something her love could hear.
Still crying, shoulder blades prominent

in her sundress like budding wings preparing
to transport her to another plane where Jimmy
would tell her not how to fly, but how
to stand up and take off her ring.


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.
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Saturday, May 26, 2012

MEMORIAL DAYS

by Tom Karlson

This April 1865 photo shows the graves of Union soldiers who died at the Race Course prison camp in Charleston, which would later become Hampton Park. On May 1 of that year, former slaves gave the fallen a daylong funeral. (Library of Congress Image)

they sang and prayed,
naming that day in May,
257 Union men captured, starved
mass-graved, bodies twisted,
joined at hip arm and head, this
Charleston South Carolina
Babi Yar Confederate style burial
re-interred with honor and memory
by 10,000 Freedmen
in 1865 that first day of mourning
the first Memorial Day

today we are at Jones beach
it is Memorial Day
we are fifty souls
remembering our dead, the dead
hundreds of Long Islanders
thousands of North Americans
a million Iraqis and Afghanis

families stroll past
some look, others visionless
all have come to eat, drink,
and salute that insatiable war-beast
they watch the Blue Angels
spin, flip, dive, and swoop,
aging chicken hawks
beg boys and girls to sign up for
the navy, the marines, the air force

I remember other Memorial Days
2010,
the Turkish flotilla
bringing aid to Gaza
the Israeli attack,
nine dead

1937,
steelworkers strike Little Steel,
families march
police-guards-scabs open fire
ten dead
thirty shot
one hundred clubbed

let us remember our Memorial Days


Tom Karlson is founder of Poets for Peace, Long Island, NY.
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Friday, May 25, 2012

MOTOR CITY

by Lori A. May

Diego Rivera: The Detroit Industry Murals

I cannot pretend to be a part of this city.
This city existed long before
me, and its history clashes
amidst what I see now as the newcomer,
the immigrant, the outsider looking in.
Judgment is prepared for me,
dished out in accusations and prescriptions,
yet I wonder where
the truth lies.

I cannot pretend to know life here,
raised up along city sidewalks
settled alongside crumbling cohabitation.
I have only slid into a space
from which to view residency,
to reflect upon what I see, what I hear,
and what I once knew as my own.

I cannot pretend ownership in this city.
What was here before foreclosures?
What was housed beneath
these particle boards and rusted nails?
What was this
before      this?

I was not raised on gasoline fumes.
I was not trained on an assembly line.
I cannot pretend to hear the sounds
of machinery as music,
the screech of metal and industry,
dreaming false promises for all.


Lori A. May’s poetry and prose have appeared in publications such as Phoebe, Caper Literary Journal, Steel Toe Review, and qarrtsiluni. She loves Detroit, despite (perhaps because of) its rough edges.
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

30 DAYS

by David Feela



In a webcam version of justice
the living and the dead meet
to discuss how the clip
seemed so short

but the consequences drag on,
how the apology
will always be four minutes
too late, how the bridge

can’t be seen in the footage
but it’s there
sure as the unfathomable
water beneath it.


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.
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

YOU WON’T HEAR THIS AT OUR CLASS REUNION

by Gail White

"Jazzy Shotgun House". Acrylic on Canvas by Melanie Douthit.

Mo ended up in New Orleans
because the City that Care Forgot
didn’t care that she was gay
and uninterested in making a living.
Mo was interested in her art,
which she thought of as sculpture,
using lumber and wire and glass
that she scavenged from junkyards.
After scraping by to graduation,
she wandered from city to city
in search of patrons,
and when she sank as low as New Orleans,
her family gave up trying
to coax her back home. 

Today you can find Mo sitting on the stoop
of a single shotgun house in the Ninth Ward,
showing her wares on the sidewalk.
She has no electricity
so she sits outside all she can.
Her dress looks as though it would fall
off her shoulders any minute.
She’s as thin as a poster child
for Nigerian famine.
Few in our graduating class
are as happy as Mo. 


Gail White is active in the formalist poetry movement, with recent or forthcoming work in Measure, Raintown Review, and First Things.  Her poems appear in the Best of Barefoot Muse anthology, Southern Poetry - Louisiana, and two Pocket Poets anthologies.  She co-edited the anthology The Muse Strikes Back and is the author of 3 books of poetry, the latest being The Accidental Cynic.  Her new chapbook, Sonnets in a Hostile World, is available from Amazon.  She lives with her husband and 3 cats in on Bayou Teche in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

MUTE. DEAF. BLIND.

by Afzal Moolla

A protester marches next Chicago police mounted patrols on Michigan Avenue during a NATO summit demonstration in Chicago, Saturday, May 19, 2012. Security has been high throughout the city in preparation for the summit, where delegations from about 60 countries will discuss the war in Afghanistan and European missile defense. (AP Photo/ Nam Y. Huh)

Blinded by the cacophony,
with tongues and ears left by the wayside,
dulled senses rotting away,

while all traces of empathy,
swirl into the gutter.

Willingly mute,
gleefully blind,
embracing the soundlessness of a billion cries.

Blind.
Mute.
Deaf,

consciences left to rot,
heartless and mindless,
as the promises turn into rust,

with all traces of empathy,
swirling into the endless gutters,

while the flag of freedom limply flutters,

in the impotent breeze.

Mute. Deaf. Blind.


Afzal Moolla was born in New Delhi, India while his parents were in exile, fleeing Apartheid South Africa. His father Mosie Moolla represented the African National Congress (ANC) in India, Egypt and Finland.  Afzal returned to South Africa following the unbanning of the ANC and the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners. He works and lives in Johannesburg, and shares his literary musings with his most strident critic--his 12 year old cat. 
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Monday, May 21, 2012

WHO WOULD JESUS BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST?

by Chris O’Carroll

                                   I’m not familiar, precisely, with exactly what I said, 
                                   but I stand by what I said, whatever it was. --Mitt Romney



“A less Christian nation”
Is what Obama wants this land to be.
That disinformation
Is what I told my pal Sean Hannity.

I knew it was a lie.
I like to throw the right wing meat that’s red.
So I am standing by
The slur I don’t remember that I said.


In addition to one previous appearance in The New Verse News, Chris O’Carroll has published poems in Angle, Bumbershoot, 14 by 14, LightenUp Online, and Literary Review, among other print and online journals.
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

CATAPULT

by Laura Rodley


Close to the forest duff
the jack in the pulpits
held their sermons,
leaves striped and curled,
their fairy dome buds
beaming light
to passersby, even the hobos
that lit their fires
far enough away
from the Windybush pool
that swimmers could not smell their smoke
and heated their cans of beans
and black bread
to sup in the wild
where maybe God
could hear their prayers,
and that of the squirrel
and deer who wanted
an end to hunting season.
One hobo left his sole-
worn boot, threads ripped, sole
curled under from the damp
just like the curled pulpit leaf,
both claimed by the intensity
of their constant prayer, ceaseless search.


Laura Rodley’s New Verse News poem “Resurrection” has won a Pushcart Prize and will appear later this year 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. 
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Saturday, May 19, 2012

THE FUTURE OF US

by Howie Good

"Church" Painting by Jonathan Burstein. Source: Street Spirit

There’ll be cages of fireflies.
Darkness will be just as much
a true color as red or white

or blue.

Drunk college students
will crowd into the street
during the news
and then vanish again
when the game show resumes.

I will warm my hands
over a trash can fire,
staring up in consternation
at the grim parables
lavishly retold in stained glass.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the full-length poetry collections Lovesick (Press Americana, 2009), Heart With a Dirty Windshield (BeWrite Books, 2010), and Everything Reminds Me of Me (Desperanto, 2011), as well as numerous print and digital poetry chapbooks, including most recently Love Dagger from Right Hand Pointing, To Shadowy Blue from Gold Wake Press and Love in a Time of Paranoia from Diamond Point Press.
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Friday, May 18, 2012

ON BUILDING YOUR OWN LIFEBOAT, OR

Advice to Kate Winslet, Who Revealed on MTV News that Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” Makes Her “Feel Like Throwing Up”

by Marybeth Rua-Larsen




This is just the beginning: the half-joke, the mini-retch
in your mouth while holding back, the “massive internal eye roll”
you can’t keep internal. When fifteen years of frustration lands,
like your handprint in the breathy fog of the back windshield,
it’s a tell-tale sign that your sweet self can be rubbed away in an instant
and you turn into the bitch everyone said you could never be
but suddenly are.

Silence the ear worm any way you can.  Pop
the daily Dramamine for the sea sick and build your boat,
board by board.  You don’t owe your makers more than yourself.
Celine will still live happily ever after without
your  apology.  She’s rested her vocal chords for months
and will soon reclaim Vegas.  She has her twins to adore after
six rounds of in vitro, and she’s making millions
off that damn song.

When you’re drowning in requests to warble it
or sent to the front of the ship and asked to spread your arms wide
and lean forward, do more than decline. Paddle. Swirl your words
into the witty frenzy only you can speak.  True – you’re saving no life
but your own, and little’s at stake besides your sanity.
Say it anyway. A whistle doesn’t make a big enough noise these days,
and you can’t depend on cadavers.



Marybeth Rua-Larsen
lives on the south coast of Massachusetts and teaches part-time at Bristol Community College.  Her poems, essays, flash fiction and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in The Raintown Review, The Shit Creek Review, 14 magazine (UK), The Poetry Bus (Ireland), Verse Wisconsin and The Nervous Breakdown.  She is a Poetry Editor at The Newport Review, a book reviewer at New York Quarterly and was recently named winner in the Poetry category for the 2011 Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Competition in Galway, Ireland.
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

FUMES

by F. S. Symons

Image source: eHow

An old car arrives, leaks
in its exhaust system,
holes in the rusty floorboards.
Inhaling carbon I cough in the lube pit and
shout, turn off your engine. Through the floor,
I see the driver’s long pale legs, inches
above me, safe in the pleats of her khaki skirt.

Years ago, my friend Kyle
had been wearing a khaki shirt,
in our classroom turned shooting gallery,
bright red oozing out of the bullet
hole and  dyeing the cloth. 

Too slow to unscrew the oil pan plug,
I scald my arms with the car’s spewing
black oil. The mechanic’s blowtorch
points at me for a second. I could be
incinerated in this pit, shaped like a coffin.

The woman’s car is dead now.  It
disgorges differential fluid.
I pour in a serum, molasses brown
to nurture it back to life.
Her engine oil stinks of burnt carbon,
unlike the new gold blood I inject.
Her coolant oozes out pinkish  and

I replace it with orange liquid, but first,
 curious, I lick a drop.  It is
sweet.

I finish the job, wipe the oil
off black greasy cuts on my hand,
wounded like my faith.

I observe the woman as she sips her milky coffee.

Her car roars to life, the nutrients flowing.
She pays, the wind nips her
receipt out of her hand and

she’s gone, just a customer, a piece
of receipt paper now,
carried away like a voice in the wind,
like Kyle, like the fumes of this pit I live in.


F. S. Symons Ph.D. lives on a large lake with his wife and six children and dozens of ducks, geese, ospreys, hawks, eagles, grackles and other small birds, and of course beaver, deer, coyotes, the odd bear, and Jake, his cat. When he's not obsessing about critters or poetry, he goes off sailing, visiting his vintage car friends, or cross country skiing.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

FORECLOSURE

by John Perrault

Image source: Lake District Life in Wordsworth's House

Deer sidle into the yard at midnight
For the blackened acorns under the snow—
They watch them from the kitchen window:
Last winter two, maybe three; this year, eight.

Seven doe, a buck, working a good foot
Down to scratch a living—nosing dead leaves,
Frozen grass, small chunks of brittle moss,
For what they have to offer:  bitter fruit.

They sit in the dark with only the lamp
Across the road for light: the buck circles,
Stakes claim to a patch up by the fence—
A doe approaches, backs off with a limp.

Neither stirs, says a word, when the last deer
Moves on.  When dawn defaults to a gray sky
Marbled with gold.  When the clock strikes eight,                                                                       
And the Sheriff arrives with the papers.


John Perrault is the author of The Ballad of Louis Wagner (Peter Randall Publisher), Here Comes the Old Man Now (Oyster River Press), and Jefferson's Dream (Hobblebush Books).  His poems have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Commonweal, Poet Lore, The Comstock Review, and elsewhere.  He was Portsmouth, NH Poet Laureate 2003-2005.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

THE VERY STRANGE STORY OF HOWARD MORGAN

by Makalani Bandele




                                                       "...He resists because he is there"
                                                                    -Jean Paul Sartre

an absolutely lake shore morning
the sun
is obviously on this side of the earth
but you don’t see it or feel it

there is no reason why
you should or should not— why
do doughnuts have holes

nothing strange so far
on the way home          he wants something
other than doughnuts
the van drives the wrong way
on a one way street       cold air
blows red & blue lights in the rearview mirror
instead of a doughnut     a fat rat
breakfasts
on a pigeon carcass    which is nothing strange

there is no reason why you should
or should not—  an eyeball dangles
out of the socket
why do doughnuts have holes

cold air blows
more red & blue lights in the rearview mirror       they need
to see some identification        
—he is a cop        this is the strange part         
—guns discharge

why do they shoot holes
seven in the front                    twenty-one in the back

wait for it
there is no reason why
you should or
should not     wait     for it     and
wait for it a    long time          when      
it finally comes
just about everything in the body
has emptied out through the holes—
and he still survived

why do cops like doughnuts        sometimes
it’s because part of it is missing
so they can charge him    with trying to kill them
and try him as many times as it takes to get a conviction

cold air blows                 through the holes
in the doughnuts
what passes for  justice so often is just
a herd of rhinoceros

Makalani Bandele is a Louisville, KY native. A Cave Canem fellow and member of the Affrilachian Poets since 2008, he is the recipient of an Ernest Sandeen Poetry Prize, and a Literary LEO 1st Prize in Poetry. His work is forthcoming in African-American Review. Other publications include Louisville Review, Mythium Literary Magazine, Tidal Basin Review, Pluck! the Journal of Affrilachian Arts and Culture, Black Arts Quarterly, Platte Valley Review, and Sou’wester.  Hellfightin’, his first full-length volume of poetry, was published by Willow Books in 2011.
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Monday, May 14, 2012

DRONE ON GHAZAL

by Joan Mazza

ADEN, May 12 (Reuters) - Two apparent U.S. drone attacks killed at least 10 suspected al Qaeda-linked militants in Yemen on Saturday . . .
 
Image Source: giftsatpages

The stingless male honeybee, not a worker, is a drone.
Its task of mating is by instinct for this tiny drone.

Outside the screened porch, this year’s carpenter bees
hover, yellow blur, hum of wings a constant drone.

Those years of microbiology lab, each day the same,
like any lab equipment, I was a drudge, a drone.

Scientific research supports flights into unsafe zones.
Don’t send a man when you can send a high tech drone.

In Pakistan, we kill off anyone we think’s a terrorist.
No charges, no trial, no defense, with unmanned drones

guided by laser-like precision, no innocents are killed.
We promise no civilian targets with our advanced drones.

Sitting at computers are those who choose the targets,
decide without emotion who must be victims of our drones.

The newest generation is a stealth technology, small
as a hummingbird or insect, the best of unmanned drones.

Are we just chicken crones, too unmanned to show
our faces? Are we drones who hide behind our drones?


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.
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

REPUBLIGUN MISFIRES

Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote 


Ready – Aim – Fired pink slips
Exploding re-loading assault & pepper spray
Cocksure sniper Magnum Eagle silencers
Rifling 99% pension tension massacre

Bang!

State ovda Onion decrying appeal
Sushi-eating terrorists coddling spineless apologists
Deadbeat crackheads social welfare parasites
Abortion-loving thespians gay-marrying sodomites

Bam!

Pro-capitalism cronyism claiming Hi-Class NV
Confederate flag waving helium ego-inflation
Waterboarding fear-mongering election-rigging hatriots
Smith & Wesson oily KKKwik-E lubrican’ts.

Wham!

Religious Reich utterly unholy moo-cows
Whipped cream banning chocolate milk
Born-Again hypo-Christian homogenized Jesusland freaks
Private hotline to Heaven disconnected

Boom!

God bless John “Duke” Wayne
One-eyed jack professing True Grit
Teflon-coated Charlton “Bonzo” Heston
Ben-Hur delivering Colt-45 Commandments COD

Boing!

Stop GOParty poopers’ unconvincing justifications
Stale old farts passing gas
Exxon – Mobil – Wal-Mart – Goldman-Sachs – FOX – BP – Chevron
Fouling airwaves poisoning oceans meltdown

Splat!

 
No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson and Mr. Saknarin Chinayote proudly present YouTube mini-movies @ YouTube – CharlesThai1 .
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Saturday, May 12, 2012

OCCUPY

by David Radavich

Image Source Page: http://www.myspace.com/tom_heneghan_intel/blog/545015395

Go down in flames!
Torch high,
naming names
of those who try
to game
the system by
repeating the same
high
crimes we came
here to defy—

Go down in flames,
I say, heads high,
and even when they blame
you with a lie,
the same
sky
protects your name
that nothing can buy
or frame
or nullify.


David Radavich’s latest poetry collections are America Bound: An Epic for Our Time (2007), Canonicals: Love’s Hours (2009), and Middle-East Mezze (2011). His plays have been performed 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.
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Friday, May 11, 2012

CROSSINGS

by Margaret S. Mullins 

                                   Justice department sues Arizona sheriff
                                           --NY Times headline, May 10, 2012

Image Source: ADINEWS

in southeast arizona this time of year
immigrants from el salvador,
guatemala, and mexico
flock exhausted over the border
looking for food and just enough space
near fresh mountain water
to settle, build, raise their babies.

tiny anna’s hummingbirds
handsome phainopeplas
elegant trogons of black, red and green
carry no papers of citizenship
are asked for none
by vigilantes carrying guns.


Margaret S. Mullins lives in Maryland. Her work has appeared in Loch Raven Review, Creekwalker, Little Patuxent Review, Magnapoets, New Verse News, Sun, Alehouse, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, and several anthologies. She is a Pushcart nominee and the editor of Manorborn 2009:  The Water Issue (Abecedarian Press.)  Family Constellation, a chapbook, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. 
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

BLUES FOR TRAYVON

by Erren Geraud Kelly


the dead can't speak
for themselves
so, i'll speak for
me
if one thing don't kill
you
something else will
that's why i don't stress
when i walk the streets now
no matter how you live your life
people are gonna hate
no matter who i love
people are gonna hate
no matter what i write
people are gonna hate
live like a thug
die like a thug
haters are gonna hate

i could wear a three piece suit
and get looked at
no differently
than if i wore
hoodies, jeans and sneakers

another black male
is swept under the rug
another dead nigger
to you

i once heard a black woman
in a coffeehouse telling
her white girlfriend
if their were more
black men of quality
she would date them
she said, she didn't date
white guys by choice

she considered herself
"selectively lesbian"
and only chose to be
straight
if a guy was worthy
rap videos brag about
how to murder someone
we talk without talking
by text message
snooki from the tv show
jersey shore gets a book deal
even as she admitted
she only read two books
in her life
(dr. seuss must've been a challenge)
and eminem brags that it's cool to be stupid

if most black males aren't
pulling the trigger of a gun
they'll be looking down the barrel
of one

and it's no different for black men
in 2012, then it was in 1912
you walk the streets with a target
on your back

trayvon martin replaces emmett till
as the poster child
for america's hate
in obama's post racial
america
but we all know racism
doesn't exist anymore !

we "we are the worlded it"
and "kum bay yaahed" it into
oblivion years ago...

but the more things change
they more people fall victim
to cliches

and a cliche is a cliche
because it's true

but why should i write another
race poem?

it doesn't exist...


Erren Geraud Kelly is a poet based in New York City, by way of Louisiana, by way of Maine, by way of California and so on. He has been writing for twenty-one years and has over three dozen publications in print and online in such publications as Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, and PoetryMagazine.com. His most recent publication was in In Our Own Words, a Generation X poetry anthology. He received a B.A. in English-Creative Writing from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

ELEGY OF A CONVICT

by Rochelle Owens


The old convict seeing
a photo  an antler of a stag

seeing  the horns of a bull
fragile the bones

the bones of a bull rider
yellow the bones

white the summer blossoms 
 a girl in his arms

her hips swaying
white her summer dress floating

her hips swaying
between her thighs the black rose
between his eyes a shrunken head
a knife in a loaf of bread

white her summer dress floating
an old tattoo on withered skin

the word ‘captivity’
O Mistress Mine My Lady

My Lady growing
out of a mound of dirt

My Lady growing out of rotten meat
out from core and root

out of an ant hill a waft of air
her apple scented skin

my toothless mouth gentle its kiss
my wounded woman
her apple scented skin
My Queen of Hearts My Marilyn

The old convict whispering—
my ulcerous tongue

broken your knuckles
ripped the callus of your foot

The old convict washing her feet
torn your ligaments

your coffee brown nipples
erect like my thumbs

The old convict trembling
I’m under your thumb

passionate my gums 
my toothless mouth gentle its kiss
The old convict digging
small holes from front to back

from back to front
seeing endless endless summer blossoms

crouching over the earth
white the summer blossoms swaying

squatting over the earth
her hips swaying  between her thighs

the black rose
an old tattoo on withered skin

The old convict hearing
a singing cowboy—mine is the power

The old convict digging small holes
putting in the ground
the root of love
My Queen of Hearts My Marilyn

folding in the ground
words  words of velvety fur

words about to make a kill
My Queen of Hearts My Marilyn

words of small eyes
words of fossorial forefeet

My Queen of Hearts My Marilyn


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.
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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

SOMETHING ABOUT SHEEP

by Lewis Gardner

Source: Financial Post

Let me tell you something about sheep.
You see them grazing complacently and you say,
"This is not mute existentialism,
This is stupidity," and they remind you
Of thoughtless masses swayed by demagogues
Or bowing passively to gods or fate.
But that is too narrow a perspective
On sheep.

In India, in 1967,
A tiger jumped a young shepherd;
His flock, moved by something primordial,
Ganged up on the beast and trampled it
To death; the shepherd was unharmed.
Now, won't that make you look at sheep
With more respect?


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.
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Monday, May 07, 2012

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

by Brigitte Goetze



Pretty woman, call girl—glamorous
doll for corporate raiders and power brokers;

lady of the night, courtesan, cocotte—expensive
trophy of the distinguished gentleman;

demimondaine, scarlet woman—salacious
sharing with a knowing wink;

strumpet, trollop, trull—quaint,
yet filled with Victorian contempt;

prostitute, sex worker—accepted
disclaimer: they chose it;

wench, working girl—poor
servants of the rich;

mobster’s moll, hustler—petty
crime pays pimps insanely well;

camp follower, streetwalker—desperate
steps to stay alive;

drab, tart, slut—distasteful,
but that doesn’t stop a pick-up;

hooker, harlot, whore—offensive
self-congratulatory righteousness;

white slave—miserable
flesh: cut down to size, beaten, thrown to the dogs;

John—faceless
power shuns exposure: no synonyms.


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.

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Sunday, May 06, 2012

TO THE BUYER OF THE SCREAM

by David Chorlton


Why not something restful, like
a still life by Morandi
you could contemplate and find
a sense of order in? Why not a landscape
by Constable to bring back trees
long since cut down? Why not
a Nolde watercolour
bright enough to burn your eyes?
You must have known
your walls will shudder as long
as they contain your new acquisition;
you must have bargained with
the sleepless nights spent listening
to a cry never stopping for breath.
How’s the demand for grief today?
There’s enough to go around:
it runs out of the faucets
when we turn them and a river’s last
drops trickle into our sinks;
it stands at the intersection with
a cardboard sign asking for a dollar;
it comes home from a war in
bandages. And every time you go
into the secret room you keep it in
to stare down the throat of every
person who can’t stand
the world they’re in, that the price
is always rising.


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.
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Saturday, May 05, 2012

FROM ONE BALD GUY TO ANOTHER

by Jesse Millner

for the honorable Rick Scott, Governor of Florida

It would be nice if writing a sonnet
could help you learn how to build a jet engine,
and nicer still if reading a poem
could help you find a cure for metastasized cancer.

It would be nice if your future salary
gave you bonuses for good metaphors and similes
and guaranteed a rosy retirement income
if you filled your lines with vivid images and flowers.

But these days, all the images are dour
like our bald governor’s face.  Last night
I had a nightmare where his head had become
the moon that lurked outside my window

and he spoke to me about making my dreams
contribute to the Florida economy,
how even in sleep, I needed  to transparently
assess what I was thinking and how

it might create new jobs
for waking people.  It’s really
bad when Rick Scott becomes the moon at night,
and worse when that bald luminosity

speaks through crooked lips about productivity
and honest labor.  At this point it might
be better for me to take the Fifth, to remain
silent about the lack of dinero that comes

from writing poems, and from
trying to teach others to write poems. It is an industry, I fear,
of sorrow and regret because Capitalism is collapsing,
but in its dying moments, it reaches

out to strangle any thing beautiful
that cannot be sold at the mall,
that cannot be assessed and quantified
in the way that the music of the lathe and drill bit

spell out meaning in hard woods and metals
that become shelves and muscle cars.
Yes, it would be nice if writing poems produced
factory goods, and if a poetry class

had the same result as a medical technician’s apprenticeship
at a vocational school. But it doesn’t
so I’d like to take a spaceship to a distant galaxy
where liberal isn’t a bad word,

and art is capitalized and imbued with zany importance
that is in proportion to the beauty it brings,
to the meaning it makes in the spirits of the living,
which, unfortunately, cannot be tangibly measured

or assessed via supervisorial review. Can I tell you
all I really wanted to do when I started this poem
was to call Rick a stupidhead?  Instead I’ve versified
about productivity and capitalism, even commented

on the possibility of bringing the free market system
into my dreams. If I were more productive,
in my dreams I could somehow summon bread for the hungry
and wine for the thirsty and a few dollars extra

an hour for the nice greeter at Wal-Mart. Maybe I could
summon poems whose pages stretched into magic carpets
that in daylight businessmen could ride to Tulsa.  Maybe Rick
Scott would love me then and value my liberal art

of not fabricating bits of forlorn reality
from shiny pieces of shimmering night.


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.
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Friday, May 04, 2012

DEMOS UP IN THE AIR

by John Perrault




I’m flying high and light—never been so
Thoroughly relaxed, so laid-back and loose,
Stretching out on the exit aisle, all socks
And toes, head tilted toward the soft shoulder
Of the bomb-shell next to me.  Newspaper
In her lap—the lady reads?  Look at that:
Supreme Court Disses Lilly Ledbetter.
What’s that all about?  Maybe I should ask?
Maybe not.  Do I really want to know?
I was thinking a snooze, not a lecture….
Looks like an older Carrie Underwood—
Hair and clothes—suppose she’d mind if I leaned
Her way a little more?  Shot of whiskey helps.
Wonder if she drinks.  Boy, she’s something else.
                                              
Does you good to shut your eyes, tinker with
Your brain a bit—make up what you’re missing.
I lift the curtain, look out on the clouds—
Like we’re floating on a feather bed, like
We’re flying through pillows—I could take her
In my arms out there, wrap her in my dreams,
Whisper sweet nothings—sweet imaginings:
King and queen of the air at thirty-six
Thousand feet, without so much as a thought
Of the ground—thought of what’s going down, down
There….”Forget all that—your job, your work—come,
Caress my back, my neck, my thighs…caress…”
    The paper?  As she rips out:  Those fucking creeps!
    In my good ear!  That fucking Court! 
                                                So much for sleep.

                                                                                  
John Perrault is the author of The Ballad of Louis Wagner (Peter Randall Publisher), Here Comes the Old Man Now (Oyster River Press), and Jefferson's Dream (Hobblebush Books).  His poems have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Commonweal, Poet Lore, The Comstock Review, and elsewhere.  He was Portsmouth, NH Poet Laureate 2003-2005.
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Thursday, May 03, 2012

MITT, SPINNING

by Bill Costley


“I may look thin, but I’m
so, so thick,” quips Mitt,
“Thick against socialism
which Obama espouses.”
He waits for the cheers
from the invited crowd
to abate. “I don’t care if
Obamacare=Romneycare;
I left it behind years ago
in Massachusetts; 2012
calls for the dismantling
of Socialism-care. Obama
thinks he’s got you fooled!
But he can’t pull black wool
over your heads. White wool
is what I’m all about! White!”
Romney looks & talks thinly.
spinning smartly in a white suit
blinding us all in the sunlight.


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.
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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

POPULATION CONTROL

by Lucille Gang Shulklapper

                                            For Chen Guangcheng

I am the Jew who wears the yellow star
in the hate-ghettoes of America
in the political regimes that kill
torture and maim men
in the Louisiana marshes
in the dead and dying song birds
the broken-winged birds
of Langston Hughes.

I am the old woman
whose feet sank in golden sand
who remembers the living ocean
who  streamed its waves
who watched its minnows wriggle
who tasted its salt
who waded in its kisses
to America’s shores.

I am the one afraid of those
in the thirst of power
bottled in iron-clad leaks
covering bodies with rigged fate
their tongues of sludge swallowing
me with the bitter taste of history
dug from  mass graves.


Lucille Gang Shulklapper's work appears in many journals and anthologies, including The New Verse News and four poetry chapbooks, the most recent titled In the Tunnel. Her first picture book, Stuck in Bed, Fred, has been accepted for publication.
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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

LITANY OF A LONE WOLF: WHEN OBAMA KILLED OSAMA

by David Spicer

Photograph by: Pete Souza , The White House/MCT

When Obama killed Osama
This nation was a blunder
Women loved men and men hated mirrors
Bigots lingered like poison on pot plants
Muggers hovered in alleys of sin and sex
Senators fat or fit or a bit of both
Two phony war thugs dodged a hanging
A cynical runt chose a dimwit diva
Women amassed more money than men
Lackeys of their own balls
Clowns on cable ranting loud nothings
Bombs ticked and exploded
The sky clouded from no answers

I don’t need an Uzi my words will do
Half the damned time
I’m a legend in my mind
I’m a lone wolf motherfucker
Ready to embrace you
With a love song aloft in light

When Obama killed Osama
The country danced a two step
Gas flooded our whiskey-mashed maws
Sheiks’ oil higher than a whiny whore
The world a crooked dick on a limb in purgatory

Obama you killed Osama in his crummy castle
Talk smart shit and slit throats
Like it’s your lonesome hobby
With a noble lie and a cheeky grin
Change the planet like you said you would

Meet me on the mountains
And I’ll sing hello to the sun
The trees stop laughing as I cry out from a rock         
Kiss me in the morning kiss me at night
Say goodbye with a grimace

Obama I’m glad you killed Osama
Be the man I know you are
Then I’ll believe you’re true
Without a mask of skin
A soul free of religion
Guide our light clear of the dusk
With Osama a piss pot full of bones
And a beard to wipe the ass of eternity

Without the golden age
We’re less than nothing
And won’t admit it
Ask yourself why
In the blood-drenched morning
Walk with me Obama
Raise some hell like I know you can

When Obama killed Osama
This country was a blunder

Ask yourself why you preen in private
And kiss the pubes of greed
Like a line of long-gone losers in a haze

Obama you killed Osama
Now you can caw
Like a crow who’s lost his daddy
And beg forgiveness one last time

Oh Obama step on the slope of the blind moon
Crack some whips break some heads
Yell your dos and don’ts when you like
As long as it’s almost now
We’re dying
Show us what you’re made of
After all Obama you killed Osama

Sing me a pardon chant me a prayer Obama
Say hello to the wintertime blues
With a smile of fences
And a charm without chills

Babe  I don’t need an Uzi my words will do
Half the damned time
I’m a legend in my mind
I’m a lone wolf motherfucker
Ready to embrace
A love song in the night

Obama you killed Osama
Whistle why or whistle when
As long as you whistle now
Osama dropping in the dusk
The world a glimmering bit of glitter
For a time until it won’t matter

Nail me on a cross and kill me Obama
It’s now or nothing the play is cast
The clouds will come down crashing
And black will be our favorite color forever


David Spicer is the author of one full-length collection of poems, Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke’s Press) and four chapbooks. His poems have appeared or will appear in The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Alcatraz, Nitty Gritty, Thunder Sandwich, Mad Rush, Hinchas de Poesia, Crack the Spine, The Used Furniture Review, Spudgun, and many others. He is also the former editor and publisher of raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books.
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