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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

DROUGHT

by John Guzlowski
 
Image courtesy of sighthound through Creative Commons.

See my little girl?
She can read a book

make change for a twenty
tell you what star is what.

She doesn't need
school or love or dolls.

She knows winter is hard
and beds are soft

pumpkins
grow on vines.

She knows
what's useless:

the soft spade
the easy turn.

Maybe in Mississippi
somewhere

the soil is wet and sweet
ready for asparagus

or juicy fruit
but not here.

Here the ground is clay
more clay than dirt.

Here, you see a dog
you know he's leaving.


John Guzlowski’s writing has appeared in The Ontario Review, Atlanta Review, Exquisite Corpse and other journals.  His poems about his parents’ experiences in Nazi concentration camps appear in his book Lightning and Ashes.  He also blogs about his parents and their experiences.
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Monday, July 30, 2012

BUILT-IN OBSOLESCENCE

by Janice D. Soderling

Chinese state media reported breathlessly about a teenager from eastern China who sold his kidney for about $3500 to buy an iPad and an iPhone. --Time Magazine, July 2, 2012 (Photo source: iStock)   

Oh the shelf life of a kidney
and the shelf life of a phone;
Oh the trade-off of an organ
for an iPad all your own.

Oh bethink the youthful seller
lying harvested and sewn.
Oh bethink the wealthy buyer
under phenobarbitone.

Soon phased out is writ in small print.
Upgrades currently unknown.
This sale is firm and final.
It's forever. Not a loan.



Janice D. Soderling is a previous contributor to New Verse News. Recent work at Origami Poetry Project; Prose Poems Project; Able Muse; Rattle; J Journal: New Writing on Justice; Flash, The International Short-short Story Magazine; Right Hand Pointing; The Nervous Breakdown; Subtle Fiction; The Lascaux Review.
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Sunday, July 29, 2012

BEACHCOMBER

by Laura Rodley


With long tanned legs and shorts lined with pockets
she walks beach, spying beach glass, valued lockets
of the heart of the ocean, how it rubs
away time smoothing rocks to sandy nubs,
pockets growing heavy, filled with treasure.
Quiet amongst waves, time without measure
except the clock that the glass holds up high
how its sides are smooth, edge grooved, time passed by.
Having reached the edge of the point, surprised,
She turns around towards home noon surmised
by height of sun overhead.  Time to gather
lunch items, tuna or grilled cheese, rather
easy to fix, keep the mood of time extended,
all sorrows laid aside, all hearts mended. 


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, July 28, 2012

MY LIFE HAD STOOD -- A REPUBLICAN

by LaWanda Walters

                   on the occasion of a politician's remark
                   that the Colorado shooting
                   is the result of religion not being taught in our schools


How would it be to fuck a bee?
I assume Mike Huckabee knows.
And as he spits out biblical fire, his nose
just grows and grows
until, one day, he feels a sting,
a tiny prick that smarts and swells.
A narrow fellow in the grass
has raised itself to hiss,
“Mr. Huckabee, you are an ass!”


LaWanda Walters’ poems have been published in The Georgia Review, The Antioch Review (with another poem forthcoming), Shenandoah, Ploughshares, Cincinnati Review, Best New Poets 2007, Poetry Daily, Sou'wester, and other periodicals.
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Friday, July 27, 2012

THE REGISTRY OF KIM JONG UN AND HIS NEW WIFE COMRADE RI SOL-JU

by Ed Plunkett


One nuclear weapon
Two matching Jeremy Lin Houston Rockets jerseys
Three bottles of that plum liquor I had a couple of weeks ago
Four free downloads of the bride’s song, “Excellent Horse-Like Lady”
Five Olympic women’s soccer players to replace the ones who tested positive for deer glands
Six party talks that proves effective
Seven Portuguese world cup soccer goals to be removed retroactively
Eight defectors to come back from the South to the Fatherland
Nine more years for the Dear Leader to spend in Switzerland
Ten nuclear weapons.


Ed Plunkett is from Columbus, Ohio. He has represented Writers' Block Poetry at the Individual World Poetry Slam in Berkeley in 2009 and has been a featured reader at the Columbus Arts Festival as well as other venues in Central Ohio. He has published the chapbook Nobody’s Poet, the CD I'm Not From Here and has been in the journal The Legendary and the anthology Buzzkill: Apocalypse. His goal is to read in all of Ohio's 88 counties. He has a long way to go
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

MAMMYWOOD

by Gloria

Andy Warhol. Mammy.

As it goes, even J-Lo was maid up to remain the same
Driving Miss Lazy just sticks to
The same crazy creed
racist fantasy greed
Everyone else is maid to serve their old rule colonial need

In just one movie Latifah, Alicia, and two more mammywood made
all 4 one white child
played the past present
set in a time period when they were the ones being kicked to the ground
and as always, through all their plight and nerve
they were timed to serve
How many  actress' or actor' does it take to mammy make for the sake of
1 white 1

Can you count all those mammy movies with me?
Back to Freeman
played a god the right way
all the to save  1 white guy
as a prisoner
all to aid the only innocent  1 white guy
and even in Glory
same ole story
all there to support  1 white guy story
in Batman
Which some know is really black man
His smarts are displayed for the aid of  1 white guy
Miss Lazy did drive Mr. Freeman to award
Denzel maid to protect
What the heck, for consistency
just make it be, same white child again
And, Mr. Washington was awarded
for lesson he gave in mad bad cop acting to
purify the acting role of  1 white guy
and NO in this century
Latifah and LL Cool J would not have it their way
2 play just for romance
Again, forced into mammy dance
Ms. Berry knows the sad game
She had to play the roles just the same
Even Don Cheadle got stuck with the mammy need all
Now they got little black girls
playing "the little girl no one loved"
everyone around her is unfurled of any sympathy
making me wanna hurl
her teacher, a meth-head
and instead she is slapped back
mammy wrapped to care for  1 white guy

There is no independence
Not player hating
Just tired racists mating actors to play only in their mammy holds
over and over and over again
Gotta get over


Gloria is a Brooklyn, NY born poet and performer. Her poetry appears in arts publication D#6, D#3 in Amsterdam, and US lit 'zines  BlazeVox, A Gathering of the Tribes, LUNGFULL!, Interview Magazine, and Aloud, Nuyorican Poets Anthology. A former member of "The Pussy Poets" (defunct 90's, NY based spoken-word performance female ensemble), she has read and performed at KGB Bar, The Bowery Poetry Club, St. Marks Poetry Project, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Exit Art/The First World, Barnes & Nobles Bookstore/NY (for Tribes magazine), ABC No Rio, NY Open Center, Blue Stockings Bookstore in NYC.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

LET ME COUNT THE WAYS

by Ed Shacklee

Propaganda Poster by Bas van Oerle

How do I love thee, Mitt?  Dear weathervane:
I love your trees, which are the proper height,
I love the tax returns you hide from sight,
And your uniquely retroactive flight
from outsourcing our country’s jobs at Bain.
I love your boardrooms, filled with sycophants,
and how you chose, not Vietnam, but France.
I love how you contort when you explain,
your forked tongue, each consonant and vowel;
I love how you resemble Thurston Howell.
I love thee to the vaults and snow-capped mounts
of Switzerland; your shy, offshore accounts.
I love how come November, Mitt, we’ll gloat
if you, or God, don’t take away my vote.


Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia.  His poems have appeared at The Flea, Light Quarterly, The Raintown Review, Shot Glass Journal and Tilt-a-Whirl, among other places.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

BOTTLE IT UP

by Becky Harblin

Image source: Ecologist

Tomato plants droop,
the apple trees are dropping fruit,
and the large leaves of shade plants are dusty and limp.

I scoop up the thick air
and clamp my hands to my face.
My nostrils flare
working to breathe the nothing good
that sits heavy in my palm.

I try again,
wave at the air, stretch out my arm,
as a magician about to reveal the trick.
I cup my fingers to grasp what is a right,
a right to breathe fresh air.
But, I am a magician with no magic.

The sheep cry in the pasture for green
soft, July grass.
And I have no magic.

Who does?

Who will be the one to deliver fresh air and water?
Perhaps I need a permit from Monsanto, or P&G, or is it Exxon?


Becky Harblin lives on a small 'farm' in upstate New York. She works as a reflexologist, and artist: sculptor, painter and poet. She takes much of her inspiration from her surroundings. Her poetry has been published on New Verse News, and in a book by Glover Publishing titled Eating the Bread of this World which will be released in September.
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Monday, July 23, 2012

CENTURY 16 SHOOTING: JULY 2012

a pantoum
by Meg Eden 


Joker-red hair, dyed in the sink.
Always alone, white boy—
Alone, rider. Alone, burrito-eater. 
Even Anne won’t share your apartment.

Always alone, white boy—
What’d you think this is, a movie?
Even Anne won’t share your apartment,
though you flirt, will you visit me in prison?

What’d you think this is, a movie?
The bullets shot into the next theater.
You flirt. Will you visit me in prison? 
You don’t pretend you didn’t do it.

The bullets shot into the next theater.
A boy crawling under the seats.
You don’t pretend you didn’t do it,
but tell them about the mined apartment.

A boy crawling under the seats.
The woman didn’t move when I shook her—
But tell them about the mined apartment,
tell them, you don’t discriminate who dies.

The woman didn’t move when I shook her—
There was blood on the stairs.
Tell them, you don’t discriminate who dies,
six year old girl. Twenty seventh birthday.

There was blood on the stairs.
This isn’t part of the movie.
Six year old girl, twenty seventh birthday,
It's always the quiet ones who take you.

This isn’t part of the movie.
Comic book adrenaline like tear-gas.
It's always the quiet ones who take you.
Don’t you know your own mind, Neuroscience?

Comic adrenaline, book like tear-gas—
Alone, rider. Alone, burrito-eater. 
Don’t you know your own mind, Neuroscience?
Joker-red hair. Died in the sink. 


Meg Eden has been published in various magazines and anthologies and is the recipient of the 2012 Henrietta Spiegel Creative Writing Award. Her collection Your Son has received The Florence Kahn Memorial Award. Her collection Rotary Phones and Facebook is to be released in summer 2012 by Dancing Girl Press.
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FOR SAUNDRA'S CHILDREN

by Wayne Scheer


"i wanted to write
a poem
that rhymes
but revolution doesn't lend
itself to be-bopping."

Nikki Giovanni wrote that
in 1968,
and although
we've stopped tossing around
the word revolution
like Naples pizza bakers,
her poem
still speaks.

Like Nikki,
I'd like to write about
green trees
and blue skies
but with massacres
in Colorado and Syria
all I see is red.

I try turning away
from gory death images
but talk of Romney's taxes
and Obama's birth certificate
fill my ears
like so much
cesspool slime.

"perhaps these are not poetic
times
at all,"
Nikki wrote.

I nod,
wondering
what the hell happened
to the revolution.


Wayne Scheer has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net.  He's published stories, poems and essays in print and online, including Revealing Moments, a collection of flash stories, published by Thumbscrews Press (http://issuu.com/pearnoir/docs/revealing_moments). Wayne lives in Atlanta with his wife and can be contacted at wvscheer(at)aol.com.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

RANDOM ACTS AND HEARTACHE

by Lynnie Gobeille


I lived out in the mountains of Colorado
One could say I spent my Youth out there
Spent it with wild passion
Spent it foolishly.
In the winter I’d come
Crashing down mountains
Skies strapped to my feet
In the spring I’d climb
Up those same mountains
Above Timberline
And begin again
To believe in God and Love and Hope.
I left a husband back there
A son
Have thought of them both quite often.
I spent last night
Sipping on a glass of Bourbon
Goggling their names
Search engine running
Beating as fast as my heart
Wondering why
It takes hearing of a mass shooting
To create the need the want the desire
To hear their voices
One last time.


Lynnie Gobeille is one of the co-founders of  The Origami Poems Project, a world wide “free poetry event” based in Rhode Island. She has  published in The Sow's Ear Review, Crone’s Nest, The Avatar, The Prairie Home Companion, This I Believe (NPR), New Verse News, The Providence Journal (Poetic License) and The Naugatuck River Review.  Her  micro-chapbooks have been published by The Origami Poems Project.
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

DARK KNIGHT

by Karen Greenbaum-Maya

AURORA, Colo. — A former neuroscience honors student dressed head to foot in body armor and brandishing three weapons, including an assault rifle, opened fire in a crowded theater at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie in a Denver suburb early Friday, killing at least 12 people and wounding 59 others, police and federal officials said. --NY Times, July 20, 2012

In the Colorado Flatirons
air is so dry your eyes go beige,
the only color the scuttle
of rabbits over the stubble,
of hawks over the rabbits.
For flowers, columbines
unfurl from a gun-barrel,
a dandelion-head of bullets,
600 a minute, sparking in the dark.

Neuroscience showed him dendrites
spiking out like a dandelion,
every which way.
He studied, looked for clues,
but it was no use.
He used the Emergency door
to give fair warning.
He opened the door.
He made a wish.
He blew.


Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a retired clinical psychologist in California.  She came of age politically when she was 12, and her mother compelled her to make phone calls for Barry Goldwater.  Karen complied, but told her victims that her mother had signed up for the job, and that if she didn’t care enough about the candidate to do it herself, they probably shouldn’t vote for him.  Her mother still doesn’t know about this. For five years, she  reviewed restaurants for the Claremont Courier, variously in heroic couplets, anapest, and imitating Hemingway.  In an earlier life, she was a German Lit major and read poetry for credit, earning her B.A. from Reed College.  Since 2007, more than 70 poems have appeared in many publications, most recently Word Gumbo, The Prose Poem Project, and dotdotdash, with more forthcoming in poemeleon, Inlandia, and Convergence.   Her first chapbook, Eggs Satori, was a finalist of note in Pudding House Publications’ 2010 chapbook competition. 
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Friday, July 20, 2012

THERE WAS A COUP TODAY IN PARAGUAY

by Jose A. Alcantara

Paraguay's ousted president, Fernando Lugo, denounces 'parliamentary coup' 
--The Guardian 24 June 2012

and the hummingbirds are sticking out their tongues
and the guanacos are gathering their spit

and the peccaries are throwing off their collars
and the ocelots are sharpening their claws

and the tapir’s lips are all in a snarl
and the howler monkeys are starting to howl

and everyone is more or less alarmed
than the capybara

who sleeps with only his nose above water
in spite of the disgusting stench.


Jose Alcantara is a former calculus teacher who recently converted to poetry after a quasi-mystical experience in a graveyard involving Dante, a dead woman named Guadalupe, a raven, melting frost, and some church bells.  His poems have appeared in Little Patuxent Review, Sugar Mule, Palimpsest, and Four & Twenty.  He currently lives in Western Colorado where he works in an art gallery and also in one of the few remaining independent bookstores. He is married and has an eight-year-old son.
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

STATUE

by Alexis-Rueal


Let them keep the statue--
we need monuments.
But let this monument be honest;
too often we polish the frailty out of the bronze
or chip away the fault from the stone--
leave nothing but a noble shell of what once was.

But let this statue be honest;
let us ingrain the lessons of the fallen
at the feet of one who once stood so tall.

We will say he did great things--
led many into adulthood, made many better
than what they were before.

But he let the game write the rulebook
to his morality, let x's and o's instead
of do's and don't's blaze the path of
his legacy, let pain-filled cries of the few
be muffled by the shouts from admiring throngs.

He did many great things, but made sacrifices
that were not his to make in order to do so.

So let them keep the statue, let it stand tall;
but do not clean it.
We cannot truly know the man unless
we also know his damaged patina.


Alexis-Rueal is a Columbus, Ohio poet. Her work has appeared in All Things GirlRose and Thorn, and other online journals, as well as Vending Machine: Poetry for Change 2 and Buzzkill: Apocaplypse An End of the World Anthology. She was the first runner-up at the 2012 Columbus Arts Festival poetry competition. Her first chapbook, Letter to 20 will be published in early 2013 by The Poets Haven press. When not writing or performing poetry, she enjoys crocheting, shadowcasting movies, and playing with her Goldendoodle, Sam.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

THE MAN IN THE GUERILLA SUIT

by Laurie Lamon

Logo development and poster design for Guerilla Party by Studio Lineal.

On the curb, a man in a guerilla suit
is holding a sign. He wants me to vote:
hate some more than others, love
some more than others.

Someone gets off the bus; here
is a curb, a rush hour, birds overhead
so I look, the shush shush of wings,
the beautiful assembly.


A Professor of English at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, Laurie Lamon has published two collections of poetry:  The Fork Without Hunger and Without Wings, CavanKerry Press (NJ), 2007 and 2009. Her poems have appeared in The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New Criterion, Ploughshares, Arts & Letters Journal of Contemporary Culture and other magazines and journals, including 180 More Extraordinary Poems for Ordinary Days, edited by Billy Collins, and the Poetry Daily and Verse Daily websites. In 2007 Lamon received a Witter Bynner award, selected by Poet Laureate Donald Hall. She has also received a Pushcart Prize.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

FIREWORKS' BIG BANG

by Robert M. Chute

"Inconceivable! Astronomical!"
one witness cried. Had he guessed?
When the computer software
conspired to ignite all the cities
fireworks simultaneously
the explosion was the very model
of  Hadron Collider experimentation
providing the biggest, shortest
Bang-show the citizens had ever
experienced but unfortunately
the Fox News camera man flinched
missing the vision of the Higgs bason
slipping through the tracks of
material's particles turned to energy
falling with a massless splash
into the waiting bay's pacific waters.


Image source: http://www.gifs-paradise.com/

Robert M. Chute's book of poetry based on scientific articles, Reading Nature, is available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
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Monday, July 16, 2012

NO LOVE LOST

by David Feela

                    (I am the poet, and I approve this poem)


Image Source: RealSimple.com

Political Wimbledon continues all fall,
posturing that lands like lobs and aces,
slams, double faults, the candidates’ faces
served up with the finesse of a tennis ball.

Campaign ads back to back, unfair attacks,
no discourse -- just what the networks do best --
while we sprawl on our couches and digest
all the snacks we have swallowed as facts.


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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Sunday, July 15, 2012

THE STORY OF HOW WE SURVIVE

by Rachel Kellum


After 2 dry weeks of 100 plus degrees I turn off the window unit,
open my midnight window to smell the 30 minute rain.

I have a home with 30 windows. Some cracked.
100 and 4 years of many paned inefficiency.

I don’t always keep the floors clean, or doorjambs.
2 dogs and 3 kids. Moths pee red on the walls.
How many surfaces count as walls? I don’t count them.

But there are windows and doors and walls.

Even a 1-room Colorado cabin in the foothills firefighters saved.
They waited for flames that never came across the dale.

That woman in Rolling Stone living in her minivan in Santa Barbara,
who used to own and operate a desert friendly greenhouse before the crash,
drybrushing her teeth and spitting at the edge of parking lots—
she has windows, doors and walls, too, countable, and rain, uncountable.

I want to ask her to live in my unfinished basement. In wet years,
it leaks. But I have a futon bed for her, even 2. The asking is a dream.

On the street, handing out her resume, she earns more if she cries.
I’m ashamed. Have a 40 grand job with summers off and complain.

White paint peels off my garage. Plastic carpet peels off the porch.
The garden almost burned up the 2 weeks I was away.
The patchy lawn is green from the road.

My van now sits empty on the street. Last week on the way home
from Seattle, my daughter and I slept in a Walmart parking lot in Idaho.
At midnight we heard a couple argue. He got her pregnant
and wouldn’t tell his parents, she screamed. I slept through it.
My daughter couldn’t. In the morning I drove while she dreamed flames.

It was a bargain luxury, I see, to live on 50 bucks a day plus gas,
to vacation on a futon in my minivan, scouting my child’s future
as a fire fighter in a place where it almost always rains.
The men tell her she has what it takes. She reads the books they gave
and prays for upper body strength.

We stayed in the northwest for free. 3 strangers took us in.
The family you can find online! Travelers on the cheap.
Because we have a numbered home, they gave us beds.

When you live in a van no one trusts you, Santa Barbara said.
Despite the resume, the woman looking to hire a dog walker
changed face: How can you not have an address? Money? You’re 45?
The rolling stone took her hand and cried, I’m still the same.

Parking between 2 safe lines, she vacations in the views.
Today the choice is mountain or sea.
Which direction will she face? West or east?

The world dreams a dream in which it is not our home.
Home is a house. The homeless know the lie.

Home is the space inside the story of how we survive.


Rachel Kellum lives on the eastern plains of Colorado where she teaches writing, humanities and art classes at Morgan Community College and chairs the visual arts program of MCC's Center for Arts and Community Enrichment. Her poetry has been featured in several online venues, including Barnwood International Poetry Magazine, Four Corners Free Press, Blood Lotus, Slow Trains, The Telluride Watch, The New Verse News and others.  In 2008 one of her poems was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Most recently, Rufous Press featured two of her poems in the international collection, Lush.  Kellum performs her poetry around Colorado and blogs at wordweeds.com, where you can learn more about her background and read her latest work. Her first book, ah, will be released by Liquid Light Press later this summer.
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Friday, July 13, 2012

NOTES FOR A LULLABY

by J.D. Smith


The languages will keep vanishing,
speaker by aged speaker, before
or after the creatures they have named.

The Northwest Passage will open
and be contested among the nations,
Antarctica’s jagged pie
sliced by flags.

These are not the fruits of one soul,
undone by a vigil,
nor tests that yield to craft and strength
like a riddle, or a sword sheathed in stone.

Instead, think of the Dutch boy
stopping a dike
while waves break over his head,
their foam filling in
for the wool of long-counted sheep.

What’s left to do for now
is nothing, the respite of a grindstone
spared until the morrow’s work and weather,
or a few lost hours to recover,
like Prometheus’ liver.


J.D. Smith’s third collection, Labor Day at Venice Beach, will be published later this year, as will his first humor collection, Notes of a Tourist on Planet Earth. His poems have appeared in journals and sites including 99 Poems for the 99 Percent, Nimrod, Tar River Poetry and Texas Review. He has work forthcoming in Dark Mountain 3.
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

DROUGHT: GUARDIAN OF RAIN

by Elizabeth Kerlikowske 

Source (according to Bing search): http://bleachasylum.com/threads/18802-v56-IchiRuki-FC-The-Story-of-Destiny-Begins/page60

I’m uninvited to the ceremony
of celestial awakening.  Everyone
knew I would show up anyway.
My family are travelers: El Nino,
La Nina, Flooding, my fraternal twin.
Like any tourist, I love a choice spot
but the longer I stay, the crisper
the roadsides become.  Hatchlings
dry up in their nests. I don’t love that.
All living things cede their energy to me,
that guest who can’t leave soon enough.
When “apocalyptic” is my descriptor,
I feel my power, don’t you? I’m smiling,
the sun is shining, smiling on you, wilting.
My dry skin has no borders.
The oven’s on.


Elizabeth Kerlikowske reports here on what is happening in the Midwest..
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

CRINGE

by Scott Keeney

    for Ron Silliman


It’s the age of huts
all over again
now that the sack
has surpassed the strike.


Scott Keeney’s works have appeared most recently in Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, Everyday Genius, Gobbet, On Barcelona, Stirring, and UCity Review.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

EL NORTE

by Sharmagne Leland-St. John


El Norte.
A prayer upon her brown lips.

El Norte.
A dream growing like
plumeria blossoms from
empty chambers in
her heart.

In El Norte
she can make a decent wage.
Her children will not go to bed hungry.
She quits her job at the plantation,
kisses her children’s warm cheeks
as they sleep;
says goodbye to Columbia.

The Rio Grande behind her,
she now mops my neighbours’ floors,
scrubs their  toilets
for ten bucks an hour.

By the time she pays rent for her room,
buys bus tokens, and junk food
there is little left to send home.
Her children grow up without her.
Abuelita sends black and white photographs.
The little one is still frail and thin.

El Norte
The Land of Milk and Honey–
The Promised Land he believes in.
He’ll go on ahead,
send for his children one by one;
then his wife and the baby.

Under the sweltering
San Fernando Valley sun
he pushes the market basket
as he picks through
the neighbourhood trash;
for glass and aluminum
to recycle for pennies.
Surely his job teaching
the village children their ABCs
was better than this.

In the marketplace in El Salvador
his wife almost forgets she is married.
The man with the gold tooth
smiles at her as he wraps the fish
in newspaper–
adding an extra piece now and then.

She misses her husband,
but has nothing to confess to the priest
as he leans in closer
to hear her sins.


Sharmagne Leland-St. John, 5 time Pushcart Prize nominee, is a Native American poet, concert performer, lyricist, artist, and film maker. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the poetry e-zine Quill and Parchment.com. Sharmagne spends time between her home in the Hollywood Hills, in California and her fly fishing lodge on the Stillaguamish River in the Pacific Northtwest.  She is the founder of fogdog poetry in Arlington, WA and tours the United States, Canada, and England, as a performance poet. Sharmagne is widely anthologised and her poetry and short stories appear as well in many  on-line literary journals.  She has published 4 books of poetry  Unsung Songs (2003),  Silver Tears and Time (2005), Contingencies (2008),  La Kalima (2010), and co-authored a book on film production design, Designing Movies: Portrait of a Hollywood Artist (Greenwood/Praeger 2006). Sharmagne is co-editor of Cradle Songs: An Anthology of Poems on Motherhood (2012).
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Monday, July 09, 2012

THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD TOOK OVER EGYPT

by Ayana Edwards


"The Muslim Brotherhood took over Egypt,"
she said that to me as I was stirring my morning tea
waiting for my emails to load.
I gave her the blankest stare I could.
"Have you heard about that?"
If I told her no, she would explain it to me.
If I told her yes, she would have solicited my opinion
“No.”
"Well, the Brotherhood is infiltrating our schools.
It's all over the internet, they start clubs at public schools
and tell the kids to say it is an academic organization,
not a religious one. it says right there on their website, Jihad is our creed."
I check the calender, it is in fact 2012, not 2001
and ten years later this woman hasn't healed any wounds.
We live just ten minutes from D.C.
"It seems like this could be hard to prove,” I say.
She isn't worried, she has been drafting a report
to give to the school board
to shut down the Muslim student organizations.
I told my mother about this,
mostly annoyed and little angry,
and she said, "Well, I'm glad somebody's doing something about it."


Ayana Edwards was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. After graduating from George Mason University with a B.A. in Anthropology, she began to devote more time to using poetry and short stories as a vehicle for self-expression and as a means of social commentary. She has published poetry in Retort Magazine and has a short story in the upcoming issue of The Squawkback.
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Saturday, July 07, 2012

DERECHO

by W.F. Lantry


Outside the heat continues,
unnatural even for July,
even for this place,
while inside the modified air
suggests the unreal is possible.

Yesterday,
when I held the exploded branch of a Sycamore in my hand,
I could still see the veins,
and along the edge between bark and wood,
found traces of the storm's lightning.

Yet butterflies continue to circle three cherry trees near the house,
deer go by at evening, slowly grazing,
as if the world were eternal,
as if the unchanging constellations were unsurprised
by the transformations of this earth.

How many of us have been given this gift:
to stand at our open door,
gazing at the illuminated altering sky,
at the exact moment of its weightless change?

I felt all my past experience prepared my understanding then,
pigtails of clouds predicting tornadoes,
the sounds of approaching trains,
a particular shade of green in the bolt-lit night sky,
and all the cyclones, hurricane winds and bands of rain returned to me,
and I remembered walking as the eyes passed over,
the strange particular calm,
even as we could see the other dark eyewall approaching.

At that moment of gazing
the air was so humid I felt almost underwater,
looking up through sea-green swells
at incandescent clouds swirling past in waves.

Yet just as I understood none of us are immune,
not even the earth,
she asked me to come back inside,
to close the door,
to live a while longer in the cool mechanical breeze.
And I did: I even slept within it.

But I woke again to that single moment,
it returns to me as I stand at the floodplain's edge,
where the giant Sycamore stands broken,
branches and bark and dried green leaves scattered
over both lawn and riverbank,
where the deer still walk,
and butterflies even now resume their dance.


W.F. Lantry, a native of San Diego, received his Maîtrise from L’Université de Nice and holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. His poetry collections are The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012) and a chapbook, The Language of Birds (Finishing Line Pres 2011). Recent honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (in Israel), and in 2012 the Old Red Kimono and Potomac Review Poetry Prizes. His work has appeared in The Valparaiso Fiction Review, Asian Cha, Gulf Coast and Aesthetica. He currently works in Washington, DC, and is a contributing editor of Umbrella: A Journal of Poetry & Kindred Prose.
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Friday, July 06, 2012

UGHERY

Poem by Charles Frederickson; Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote 

 
CHUG-A-LUGGERY

Black & blue listed bruised egos
Barred Unholy Land pearly gates
Entry carrier pigeon wings clipped
Ruffled hollow feathers shat upon

TABOO BUGGERY

Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Statehood
Promised complete equality ensuring socio-political
Rights to all inhabitants irrespective
Of religion race or sex

CROSSBONE SKULDUGGERY

Disheartened IDF soldier of misfortune
Lamented – beyond love of country
Moralistic core values should stress
Respectful human dignity – but don’t

INDIFFERENT SHRUGGERY

Censured cover-ups all too commonplace
Heavy-fisted manipulation authoritatively controlled
Territorial grievances remain unsettled flashpoints
Illegal occupiers violence prone Zealots

SMUG THUGGERY

Miscalculated bullyrag campaign demonizes anyone
Daring to question unanswered proclamations
Divisively silencing debate discussion dissent
Pseudo-security threats labeled “low-level terrorists”

RETURN TO NATURE TREE HUGGERY

Peace within means peace without
Key ingredient to enlightened contentment
Wailing Wall sobs crying shame
Invisible frozen tears dripping tsouris


No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson and Mr. Saknarin Chinayote proudly present YouTube mini-movies @ YouTube – CharlesThai1 .
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Thursday, July 05, 2012

AWWW SHUCKS ANDY DONE LEFT US

by Earl J. Wilcox


We always knew
you’d have to get out
of town one of these years,
sheriff,  but we kept holding on
to your jovial, home-spun humor
just in case the world somehow
turned the clock back
and you helped us toward
an infinity of honesty
justice, peacemaking, fair play
---too much to want, we ask.
Not as long as Andy said it
was possible. We believe.


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.
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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

TWO VIEWS OF THE FOURTH

by Carolyn Gregory


Daylilies burst orange trumpets
on tall green stems,
bending but not breaking
when torrential rainstorms come,
pounding horse hooves of water.

At night, lightning streaks sky
with forked design,
windows flung open to cooling rain
summer gardens and sparrows love.

    In the region of Maroon Bells
    and used up gold mines
    beneath the indigo Rockies
    where deserts grow deeper
    each scorched summer without rain,

    wild fires fly, their thick clouds
    blacker than hurricanes,
    burning off the wings of condors
    and turning snakes and lizards to leather.

Curving through the Gloucester harbor,
sleek boats shine effortlessly
as vacationers toss towels,
toast clambakes, pots full of lobster,
mussels and red potatoes.

Children climb rocks stretched with barnacles,
swimmers stroke through cold green waves,
a lighthouse guarding the landscape.

    In the state of Colorado
    which translates from the Spanish for red
    like sky turned into an oil-charged inferno,

    pets are packed with suitcases
    full of heirlooms and family photos,
    mothers swathed in headscarves,
    carrying bottled water for children,

    unsure if walls remain standing
    and roofs not crumble, scorched
    with wild, insatiable bees of fire.


Carolyn Gregory's poems and essays on music have been published in American Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, Bellowing Ark, Seattle Review, and Stylus. She was featured in For Lovers and Other Losses. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for poetry in 2011 and is a past recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council award. Her book, Open Letters, was published by Windmill Editions in 2009 and her next, Facing the Music, will be published in 2012.
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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

DUST STORM

by David Chorlton


A myopia warning has been issued
for the Phoenix area
beginning now, with little relief
expected. The immediate effects
include distrust of immigrants
and unprecedented affection
for law enforcement. Following a long
dry spell, winds from the south
are stirring dust
into a desert coloured wall
due to pass through the city
and disrupt traffic. Pull over
to the side of the road. Wait
for as long as it takes
to see clearly again. When all men
appear to have been created equal,
it will be safe to move on.


David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in England, and spent several years in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in1978. The latest of his poetry collections is The Devil’s Sonata from FutureCycle Press. Although he became ever more interested in the desert and its wildlife, the shadow side of Vienna emerges in his fiction and The Taste of Fog, which was published by Rain Mountain Press.

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Monday, July 02, 2012

COMMENTARY, POETICAL

by Michael J. O’Brien


So five Supreme Lords of the branch, judicial,
declared that corporations should have the same rights,
political, as a human, individual, and that since donating money
is a form of free speech, metaphorical,
this is a right, constitutional, which cannot be denied
to said groups, institutional. But to suggest that corporations,
that solely exist to profit, that evade taxes
on those profits, that pay the lowest wages, possible,
to the rank and file while paying wages, colossal,
to executives (often irresponsible, even unethical)
to rule that these institutions, which send our jobs
to foreign countries, are entitled to the same rights
as citizens, individual, seems a classic example of
activism, judicial, and of logic, unfathomable.
For corporations are “birthed”  by lawyers filing papers.
Corporations do not breathe,
get hungry, fall in love, do not, themselves,
bear children, except in ways metaphorical,
and do not worship anything but gains, quarterial.
Thus to grant them first amendment rights seems an INjustice,
undeniable, giving them even more power over us.
And to regard the paying of money, which we people do,
to keep the water flowing, the lights on, the house warm,
the doctor paid, the bank satisfied, the tithes made,
the indigent fed, the tuition paid, the tuition loans paid,
the loans that help to pay the tuition loans paid,
to, again, regard the paying of money as a type of free “speech,”
takes the adjective, "conservative," upends it,
requiring “lawyer-logic” to defend it.


Over the last fifty years Michael J. O’Brien has published in a number of journals, including Cimarron Review, Rio Grande Review, Rag Mag, Out of Line, Wisconsin Review, The Orange Room Review and Main Channel Voices.  Also, his work has appeared in three anthologies: Gridlock: Poetry of Southern California,  Proposal on Brooklyn Bridge, and California: Dreams and Realities.

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