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Friday, August 31, 2012

ON THE OPENING OF THE 2012 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION

by Karl Kadie

                       For Bill Costley


The speakers are all talking about
themselves: me, me, me;
How I made it by myself,
how great it is to be me,
And with an example like me
Someday you become the destined you.
When New Jersey Boss Chris Christie says
What’s needed is leadership,
I’m surprised: I didn’t know I asked for a new boss –
Ding, ding!
– To keep my kids out of the schools and hospitals
To neglect the roads I drive,
To make it easier for the corp lords to
Reduce my pay or cut my job,
To build the black, wrought iron fence
‘Round Christie’s house with a
Healthy, stealthy electric charge.
Ding, ding!. 
The Ninety-Nine Percent bell rings in my head once more.

Yet when I think about the present alternatives,
I can barely breath.  A public meeting at the
Library, whose moldy air sets the stage
For dark coffins of paper to drop
Off the edge of the age’s edifice,
Treasures to trash, a handy metaphor
For our own marginalization.
We enter the meeting,
Arms full with gifts, voices, and money,
And leave by the red exit,
Our hearts vacuumed out, our hands empty.

Standing on the margins
Of a new edifice of power,
I know I’m a Ninety-Nine Percenter,
And when I hear Chris Christie say
What’s needed is leadership,
I suspect I have much more to lose,
And muse that connecting
With my community
May be the only prayer
Ever to be heard.


Karl Kadie has poems in The New Verse News, The Santa Clara Review, Haiku Headlines, and poetry blogs, and featured at Poetry in Song and Cupertino Winter Light.  Karl is a native Californian, and holds an MA in English from San Francisco State University.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

SUPERABLED

Poem by Charles Frederickson
Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote


Paralympics 26 sports 39 disciplines
Ethos
Determination Inspiration Courage Equality
Facing every endurance test head-on
Prideful smiles emanating from within

These very special gifted athletes
Making most of God-given talents
Rigorous training empowers buoyant resilience
Determined to improve personal bests

Defeatist attitudes the real disability
Victors simply refuse to lose
Also-rans brilliant in valiant attempts
Gaining confidence next time victorious

Dominated by latest greatest hi-tech
Prosthetic limbs running on stilts
Wheelchairs of Fire blazing passionately
Steely flint nerves sparking victory

Success calculated choice not chance
Quitting not true grit option
Uncompromising pursuit of plucky excellence
Olympiad moments forever cherished memories

Respectful dignity treatment is non-negotiable
Heroic struggle overcoming daunting obstacles
Reaching beyond dark horse
 blinders
Lubricated hugs soothe heartache kiss-offs


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

by David James Olsen

Image source: Skye

Dear laughing Isaac, listen if you please:
Don't dig your wells in New Orleans now tame.
I beg of you to curve your course with ease
And twirl out toward the sea from whence you came!
For seven years ago your sis did lick
This city's soul and break its levees large,
But screw their courage have they done to stick
And stand against your Grendel's gutt'ral charge.
A pact: like Milton, sell my sight I might
If you'd turn your blind eye at my request.
Ironic and coincidental blight:
Speed not o'er land, just ocean without rest.
Present your cruel account on waves of blue,
And leave pure hearts of people dry and true.


David James Olsen is a 29-year-old writer/actor living in NYC.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

MOONWALK

by Wayne Scheer


I may be the only person in America my age
who didn't watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.
It was a conscious choice.
Talk of patriotism and courage
was too much for me to handle
that July of '69.
I would soon be on my way to Basic Training
and Vietnam after that, I assumed.
After a year of fighting the draft,
I was too filled with hatred and fear
and the resignation that comes with defeat
to give a damn about somebody walking on the moon.


Since his retirement from a college teaching career, Wayne Scheer has published hundreds of short stories, essays and poems on line and in print, including Revealing Moments, a collection of flash stories, published by Thumbscrews Press.  His work has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net.  He lives in Atlanta with his wife and can be contacted at wvscheer(at)aol.com.
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Monday, August 27, 2012

GODSPEED NEIL

by Jon Wesick


Dad handed me the binoculars.
I stared into the Florida sky.
In the distance the big Saturn V
was a splinter atop an inch-long, orange flame.
Five days later we watched
humanity’s thousand-year dream come true
on a black and white TV.
A man had stepped on another world.

There was no end to the possibilities –
moon bases, footsteps on Mars,
travel to the edge of the solar system
but the fickle public grew bored
voted with their pocket books for coffee,
cigarettes, and liquor instead.
Once we raised our eyes to the stars.
Today we look at our shoes.



Host of the Gelato Poetry Series, instigator of the San Diego Poetry Un-Slam, and an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual, Jon Wesick has published over two hundred fifty poems in journals such as The New Verse News, Pearl, Pudding, and Slipstream. He has also published over fifty short stories. Jon has a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest. Jon was fortunate enough to see the Apollo 11 liftoff in 1969.
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Sunday, August 26, 2012

ELECTRIC-BLUE EYES

by Bill Costley


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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Saturday, August 25, 2012

CHECKPOINT

by Sari Krosinsky


After the bus at the head of the line
is de-boarded, inspected, and re-boarded,
the dew-faced, khaki-clad blond asks us
if we’re citizens. All three of you? she asks.

Yes, we chorus a second time. We’re all
white, so our word is good. I couldn’t bear
to be kept from you, the way borders
are thrust between other lovers.

After the blond releases us, I’m impatient
with every pause, every mile that divides
me from you. If I’d been born a little south
instead of a lot east, iron might divide us.

The glass glitter of Albuquerque reflects
below as we top the last hill. Soon, you’ll
be holding me. Soon, the dew-faced blond
will stop someone she won’t let pass.


Sari Krosinsky's first full-length book, god-chaser, is forthcoming from CW Books. She co-authored a chapbook, Yossele: a tale in poems, with Robert Arthur Reeves. She publishes Fickle Muses, an online journal of mythic poetry and fiction. Her poems appear regularly in literary and genre magazines. She received a B.A. in religious studies and M.A. in creative writing from the University of New Mexico. She lives in Albuquerque, N.M., with her partner and cat.
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Friday, August 24, 2012

THE CANDIDATE PLAGUE

by Sarah Brown Weitzman


In the beginning
     they will come in swarms
clogging the air
     waves, spewing abuse
as much on each other
     as on their common enemy
the Incumbent
   
And they will multiply in grass
     roots movements
stirring dissent and fear
     even among billionaires
Casting blame like stones
    in endless debates

In a hail of accusations
    they will denounce
each other as false prophets
     with the harshest epithets:
Conservative, Ultra-conservative,
     Liberal, Intellectual

Bringing the affliction
     of the Handshake
they will be visited upon cities
     and small towns alike
like celebrities drawing crowds
     of the media who will scrutinize
their wives, past utterances,
     past wives, voting
records and tax returns

But nothing will shake
    the enthusiasm of the Followers
who will not let them go
    off the stage
without, youbetcha,
    the prophesy of Cheers

And women will weep
     as they hold up their First Born
high over the crowds
     to let them glimpse
Him who may be
     the Chosen  One

So it will come to pass
      that people in no great percentages
will be called Deciders
    and will be hunched
in narrow private cubicles
     touching the name
of their Candidate
     on a small lighted screen
with reverence like worshipers
     before a sacred relic


Sarah Brown Weitzman has had work in numerous journals and anthologies including The North American Review, American Writing, Potomac Review, Art Times, The Bellingham Review, M.I.T.Rune, Rattle and Slant.  Her second chapbook, The Forbidden was published by Pudding House in 2004 followed in 2005 by Never Far From Flesh, a full-length volume of poetry (Main Street Rag).  She received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1984.  Her latest book, Herman and the Ice Witch, a children’s novel, was published in 2011 by Pure Heart/Main Street Rag.  A former New York academic, Sarah Elizabeth Brown [Weitzman] is retired and lives in Florida. Sbwpoet(at)aol.com
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

SKINNY DIPPING IN THE SEA OF GALILEE

by Dana Yost


House Member Is Rebuked After Nude Swim in Israel--NY Times


Sacred pond,
shimmering pond wet eyes of grief.
Consecration becomes desecration
becomes humiliation becomes castigation:
the frat boys frolic,
drunken choir boys exposed:
they’ve been faking their way through the notes.
Sacred pond,
sullied, soiled by the unholy flesh,
buck naked, ass dragging
through the fishermen’s waves.
An old ruse: playing at God,
but acting the thug.
All hubris, always undone,
often with raw, feral relish:
Mussolini, hung and shot by the mob.
Henry VIII, brain a syphilitic rot.
Ted Haggard, methed up and messed up.
And so many more: a helluva list.
And these merry boys, who filthed-up our pool:
their stain is real,
unlike their pose.


Dana Yost is the author of two published books, 2008's Grace, a collection of new poems, and 2010's The Right Place, a collection of essays and poems. His third book, A Higher Level: Learning Life's Large Lessons Through Small College Sports, is a work of local, cultural and sports history and will come out this fall from Ellis Press. His poems have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals. Yost was an award-winning daily newspaper editor and writer for 29 years until June 2008. His wife and he live in Forest City, Iowa.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

SONG FOR TODD AKIN

by Kimberly Poitevin

      to the tune of “I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General”
     

When the raping is legitimate, a pregnancy will not occur.
I’ve talked to doctors and I know that some of them with me concur.
The female body has a way to try to shut that whole thing down,
And if it won’t, the broad is probably one that likes to sleep around!

It’s true I do maintain that there are rapes that are not forcible—
Like ones that happen when a gal is simply too seducible.
To say I’m a misogynist is wrong, even abhorrible
When I’m protecting baby girls who might have been abortible.

It’s not like when a girl gets raped I can’t be empathetical
When sharing knowledge I possess of truths gynecological.
It might sound paradoxical, but my supporters will agree
That life is life but rape’s not always rape when there’s a pregnancy.

If I misspoke and women's bodies aren't so very magical,
You’ve made mistakes, too—why not try to be more sympathetical?
Abortion is the mortal sin, stupidity’s forgivable.
A simple off-the-cuff remark shouldn’t make me unelectable.

I think myself the model of a modern day Republican:
Compassionate, conservative and red blooded American.
Though Romney, Ryan, and even Sean Hannity abandoned me,
I know that with God's grace I'll win the Senate race in Missouri.

 
Kimberly Poitevin writes poems sometimes. Some of them have appeared in other print and online journals including 14 by 14, Poetry Quarterly, Mobius, elimae, and the Midwest Literary Magazine.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

$TOP NEEDING, $TART LEADING

Poem by Charles Frederickson
Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote



Untaught lessons worth knowing how
2B loved & loved back
Schools don’t instill moral values
Wisdom compassion kindness work ethic

Overdeveloped nations ignore climate change
Child poverty abuse arid desertification
Submersion of barely floating islands
Irresponsible golden rule sliding backwards

Low income outcome dismal failure
Unfair play luxury lap dance
Broken promises supra-wealthy tax breaks
Mutiny of the bountiless 99%

Rich old men start wars
Poor youth filling proxy ranks
Wretched refuse thirsty hungry underlings
Shorn lambs led to slaughter

Accept that all is oneness
Show & tell tolerant multiversity
Undifferentiated mirror image same – sameness
Respecting character something everything around

You’re not in competition with
Anybody except self-imposed limitations
Spirit uplifted to higher altitude
Soaring beyond unattainable lofty heights


No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson and Mr. Saknarin Chinayote proudly present YouTube mini-movies @ YouTube – CharlesThai1 .
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Monday, August 20, 2012

THE SUMMER AFTER HIS SOPHOMORE YEAR

by William Aarnes

Source: Dr. Goodword's Office

Their son comes home from college
thinking his parents have piddled
their promise away teaching public school.

He brags how he’ll profit from the A
he’s earned on a paper that maintains
the Constitution is near defunct.

He’s majoring in Poli Sci,
he tells his hometown buddies,
so next spring he can intern
for a high-ranking Representative
who’ll recognize his worth.

He tells his parents that his prayer
is by thirty to win a House seat
as a step toward serving
on multiple corporate boards.
Yes, he’ll make billions.

Before he’s forty, he tells them,
he means to be an oligarch.
And when he visits the house
he’ll build for them wherever they want,
he’ll fly in with his bodyguards
on one of his eight-passenger jets.

He’ll have occasion, he reassures them,
for giving the needy their due.


William Aarnes lives and teaches in South Carolina.
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Sunday, August 19, 2012

BANKSTER RAP

by Jon Wesick (a.k.a. MC Dimon)


Financial bungle – Sometimes I blunder
nearly take the nation under.
Financial bungle – Sometimes I blunder
nearly take the nation under.

Gangsters’ cash everywhere
in the safe and on the stairs.
We launder dirty money ‘cause we just don’t care.
The folks at HSBC
make narco smuggling easy.
They won’t get caught. They got friends in DC.

Don’t push me ‘cause I’m close to the hedge
fund. I’m trying to make more bread.
Financial bungle – Sometimes I blunder
nearly take the nation under

We took the public’s money, rejected further rules.
We do what we want, play the voters for fools
We won’t pay a fine, won’t go to jail.
Me and my bank are too big to fail
so call me a dog, call me a beagle.
I got Phil Gramm to repeal Glass-Steagall.

Don’t push me ‘cause I’m close to the hedge
fund. I’m trying to make more bread.
Financial bungle – Sometimes I blunder
nearly take the nation under

Your mom on retirement, been days since she ate
‘cause the crooks at LIBOR rigged the interest rate.
You can’t find a job. Wallet’s light as neutrinos
‘cause we play global markets like giant casinos.
We take the winnings while you pay the loss.
Worship free markets no matter what the cost.

Don’t push me ‘cause I’m close to the hedge
fund. I’m trying to make more bread.
Financial bungle – Sometimes I blunder
nearly take the nation under


Host of the Gelato Poetry Series, instigator of the San Diego Poetry Un-Slam, and an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual, Jon Wesick has published over two hundred fifty poems in journals such as The New Verse News, Pearl, Pudding, and Slipstream. He has also published over fifty short stories. Jon has a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest.
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Saturday, August 18, 2012

PEACE CARAVAN

by David Chorlton


At every town along its route
the caravan stops, and mothers from Mexico
unload their dead sons
and daughters to display.
Look at the wounds, they say.

As each one’s story is told
the body stands up for a moment
to show where the bullets went in.

All the while, the weapons makers make
more weapons to sell
on both sides of the border

and the market thrives
with both sides of the law
buying where the dollar
is traded for the peso
kill for kill.


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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Friday, August 17, 2012

AYN AND PRIVATE RYAN

by Gershon Hepner


Ayn Rand declared her first name, Ayn,
should be pronounced to rhyme with swine.
Since she first told us Atlas shrugged
a lot of people have been mugged
by randy views that she has triggered.
Paul Ryan clearly long has figured
how to lead us all by Ayning,
head in clouds whose silver lining
produced by clearcutting the  taxes
of those who’re rich by right-wing  axes,
allowing them with super-pacs
to contribute to those who ax.
By shrugging, just as Atlas did.
Paul’s vice-presidential bid
will, I hope, be terminated
by what Ayn very clearly stated
should be quite legal, an abortion,
ending doctrinaire distortion
of views that hopefully will fade
without the help of Roe v Wade.
Let’s not privately save Ryan,
Ayn’s most unscientific scion,
but publically with our large omni-
bus roll him with his mate  Mitt Romney.


Gershon Hepner was born in Leipzig in 1938, came to England one day before the Second World War, became a doctor in 1963, emigrated to the US in 1968, and has been living in Los Angeles since 1976. He has four children and nine grandchildren, and a wife who is a talented poetess. He has been writing an average of five poems a day since 1992.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

AN EXILE

by B.Z. Niditch


No passport
or visa, green card
abandoned like a poet
with orphaned poses
disorderly at school
but always respectful
to hide
or escape
as is habit
in half-forgotten speech
on loan
from memories,
lost between
two shores
effaced by a century
which cannot speak out
on any exile
or outsider,
with a stained tear
on a foreign tongue
piercing the silence
of travel
landing among the waters
and winds at sea.


B.Z. Niditch, poet, playwright, fiction writer, and aphorist, is published widely throughout the U.S. and abroad. He is also the founder and artistic director of The Original Theatre, in Boston, which has presented original, experimental plays on contemporary social and political themes since 1990. 
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

FAMILY VALUES

by Sari Krosinsky


When my parents dropped me off
in the city after my great aunt’s
funeral, I told them it was to meet
a friend—true—but didn’t mention
he was keeping me company
while I saw a surgeon about
hacking off my breasts—
the one thing I needed
testosterone couldn’t do.

I’d cupped earth in my hands, scattered
it over the slick coffin. Absorbed as I was
in myself, I could at least
get my hands dirty for family.

Later, the dark wood paneling and
shadowed corners made the room
I undressed in like a warm, dank
cave. Looking over my down-pointing
breasts, the surgeon was sure
my insurance would have mercy
on my back. They didn’t, but
I told dad before I knew.
He’d taught me to distrust Western
medicine; he couldn’t understand
how I needed it. He promised
he’d be there anyway when I woke
to drive me home, to love me.


Sari Krosinsky's first full-length book, god-chaser, is forthcoming from CW Books. She co-authored a chapbook, Yossele: a tale in poems, with Robert Arthur Reeves. She publishes Fickle Muses, an online journal of mythic poetry and fiction. Her poems appear regularly in literary and genre magazines. She received a B.A. in religious studies and M.A. in creative writing from the University of New Mexico. She lives in Albuquerque, N.M., with her partner and cat.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

LUSTING TO VOTE 2012

by Susan Vespoli

Source: NakedDC

Oh, Candidate, you are the one adored
by me. Such love I feel; it’s tough to bear.
Sexier, by far, than the other bore,
I long to drag my fingers through your hair.

You stir me up whenever you orate
as honest words slip through your lips and teeth.
Agenda free, those promises you make
illuminate me every time you speak.
                                                                                                                                                           
I see your brain’s been swollen hard with facts,
and that you wear your suits, blue ties with fire.
I’d love to pay for you with federal taxes.
Election Day, with my vote, you’ll be hired.

I want you in November, man of hour,
Just like you, I’m crazy for your power.


Susan Vespoli has returned to Phoenix after living for a few years in the Prescott National Forest. She received her MFA in poetry from Antioch University L.A. in December 2010. Her work has been published online and in print at Monsoon Voices, New Verse News, South85, Threshold, Merge, Verse Wisconsin and OVS Magazine. Her poem “He Lusts after Librarians” was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize.
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Monday, August 13, 2012

VOTING WHILE BLACK

by Chris O’Carroll

Image source: Skreened

The GOP
Is cracking down on VWB.
They long to celebrate election night
In gold, lots of gold, and white, white, white.


Chris O’Carroll is a writer, actor, and stand-up comedian.  His poems have appeared in Antiphon, the Kansas City Star, the New Statesman, Snakeskin, and the Spectator, among other print and online journals
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Sunday, August 12, 2012

OLYMPIC GOLD

by David Feela


I had been paging through a magazine, 
the cat purring on my lap.  With one eye
I glimpsed the electric bill I had placed
on the entryway table so I wouldn’t
forget to put it in the morning mail. 
With my other eye I saw the mail truck
one house away.  I jumped up, the cat went
flying.  I grabbed the envelope, sprinted
to the mailbox, slammed it away, flipping
the flag to an upright position with
my free hand.  I stood aside, panting, as
the mail truck pulled in.  The carrier reached
out her window but instead of picking
my mail up, she dropped a satin ribbon
with a golden medal over my neck. 
“Congratulations” she said, “Best time for
shuffling bills from a home to the point
of delivery, an Olympic record!” 
She politely applauded, my one
woman cheering section, then collected
the mail and sped away, waving as she left. 
I waved back, stunned really, to know I had
the right stuff at my age not only to
qualify for such an event but to
win the gold.  I ambled back to the house,
the sun glinting off the medal’s surface,
catching my neighbor’s eye.  He stepped out to
his porch and flashed me a big thumbs up.  
I think the cat had even forgiven me
for my abrupt departure as I sat
back down, still feeling a little winded
but the glow from such an adrenaline
rush still radiated.  Later on I
picked up a quart of milk at the QuickMart. 
The store manager followed me out to
the parking lot.  “Impressive aisle speed,
the best I’ve seen” he said, and he draped
another gold medal over my neck. 
By the end of the day I’d picked up four
more medals, though I was disappointed
by the silver awarded at the drive-up. 
I should have known better than to super-
size.  Back at home that evening I realized
I’d been training for this day my whole life.


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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Saturday, August 11, 2012

JONAH LEHRER'S TERZANELLE

by Pedro Poitevin


Why did I fabricate Bob Dylan quotes?
Please read this column I just published now,
I quote Professor Kahneman’s new notes

that tell the story—not just why, but how
a person as intelligent as I
would write the column I just published now

and then recycle it the moment my
New Yorker reputation needs a boost.
A person as intelligent as I

has a propensity, like Marcel Proust,
to make sure each and every detail fits.
If my good reputation needs a boost,

it’s not because I fabricated, it’s
because some readers haven’t had a chance
to make sure each and every detail fits.

Aren’t you curious about my stance?
Why did I fabricate Bob Dylan quotes?
Please give my article a second chance:
I quote extensively Kahneman’s notes.


A mathematician by profession, Pedro Poitevin is a bilingual poet living in Marblehead, Massachusetts. He is a contributor to Letras Libres. Other poems have appeared in Mathematical Intelligencer, Boston Literary Magazine, and Shit Creek Review, and other venues.
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Friday, August 10, 2012

APOLOGIES TO THE SIKHS

by George Held

Wade Michael Page, right, with his band End Apathy.

We are deeply sorry that Wade M. Page
So deeply troubled by his rage
At the flood of folks with brown skin,
Turbans, and black hair on their chin
Whom he perceived a mortal threat
To our way of life in America
That he flaunted a swastika
Tattoo high up on his shoulder . . .

We are very sorry that Wade M. Page
Was so confounded by his rage
That he mistook your holy temple
For a mosque and you peaceful
Sikhs for Islamic terrorists,
But you must know the limitations
Of our high-school education
And Army indoctrination,

For those are all that Wade M. Page
Had received to deal with that rage
At the sight of the new unwhites
Who would dilute his great nation’s
Fundamentalist foundation.
So we ask you, please, to forgive
This pitiful example of American
Exceptionalism on a rampage:

He was speaking just for Wade M. Page,
Not all the other bigots in a rage
At all those other brown-skinned folk
Who’ve turned America into a joke
In their eyes. Of course, you Sikhs
Might have been at the movies in Aurora
Or the shopping mall in Arizona
Or the campus at VA Tech

Or somewhere else where an outrage
will be the work of another Wade M. Page . . .


An occasional contributor to The New Verse News, George Held occasionally blogs at www.georgeheld.blogspot.com.
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Thursday, August 09, 2012

BEHIND THE SUN

by Jose Alcantara


If Mubarak stays, we all go down; we go, as they say, behind the sun.
  – Egyptian Protester



I followed Virgil behind the sun
and on the banks of a burning river
I found Emmett Till’s eyeball

the seventy-pound cotton gin blade
they tied around his neck
and the barbed wire they used to tie it.

Further on I found Garcia Lorca’s knees
Romero’s empty chalice
the fence where they hung Matthew Shepard.

And I found a squalid empty room
a sign nailed to the door:
Reserved for Bradley Manning.

And I found myself
sitting at a table, playing cards
a rag stuffed in my mouth

which I took out, lit on fire,
and from the ashes
wrote these words.


Jose Alcantara is a math 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, New Verse News, Sugar Mule, Palimpsest, and Four & Twenty.  His poem, "Lost," was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  He currently lives in Western Colorado and has an eight-year-old son who likes Homer.
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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

AUSTERITY

by Ed Werstein


           the text of this poem has been appropriated as a payment of debts owed


NOTE:
What if, like other states, the state of poetry were in default?
Poets everywhere would be in debt.
A word lifted here, a phrase there,
a borrowed reference
and pretty soon it would start to add up.

The lenders,
wildly rich with words
piled high in library vaults
(words like money, gold,  jewelry,
yachts, estates, off-shore bank accounts,
private islands, portfolios, Porsches),
would lend to us
at ever-increasing interest rates.

We would continue to write,
but eventually our words would
disappear as we wrote them,
repossessed.

We would be left with only titles,
(signifying, not ownership
but our mounting debts)
and these few words:
austerity, crisis,
foreclosure, unemployment,
hunger, poverty, war.

Words that would never be taken from us.


Ed Werstein, Milwaukee, WI, spent 22 years in manufacturing and union activity before his muse awoke and dragged herself out of bed. His sympathies lie with poor and working people. He advocates for peace and against corporate power. His poetry has appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Blue Collar Review, newversenews.com, Mobius Magazine, Your Daily Poem and a few other publications.
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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

KALEIDOSCOPE

by Jennifer Fenn

A man wipes away tears outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek on Sunday. (Jeffrey Phelps / AP)


The Sikh temple door
Is a kaleidoscope lens,
Showing a whole rainbow
Of colored dresses and turbans.
Meditatively still
The rainbow sits
Until the lens turns,
Revealing only bursts
Of blood scarlet,
Amid the black and white truth
That hate is still with us.


Jennifer Fenn’s poetry has lately been published in Blue Collar Review and Nomad's Choir, and is about to be published in Song of the San Joaquin.

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Monday, August 06, 2012

AFTER AURORA

by Howie Good


Chilly
rain
rattles
down

like
a metal
grate
over
a storefront.

Fist,
stick,
rock,
knife,
gun –

nothing
else
grows.

Anyone
still alive
tomorrow
will live

amid
lightning
bolts

& silent
bells.


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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DARK NIGHTS

by Lynnie Gobeille

Photo by Ernest Brown


Dark nights descending
Slanted light illuminates
Bullets ricochet

Each man states his truth
Means to justify their lies
Smoke and ashes fly.

Questioning their story
Trusting is required now
Storms toss our beliefs

Heroes emerging.


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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Sunday, August 05, 2012

ADVICE FOR AN ANCIENT SURVIVOR

by Jerome Betts

On the 4th of August 2012 the (London) Daily Mail published a photo taken by a tourist boat operator of an object in Loch Ness he claimed  to be that of a certain Scottish celebrity.


Dear Thing, is it not rather rash
To surface for a front-page splash
When, as a story, you're much hotter,
Than Michael Phelps or Rowling's Potter?

Why risk extinction in a  lab,
A subject on a giant slab?
(If not first claimed by Alex Salmond,
Politicized and spun and gammoned.)

They’ll wire you up in rubber vests
To drive you mad with trials and tests
Then film you, off your head and raving,
And wonder why you're misbehaving.

By now you’ll be a mass of scars
With vital organs out in jars
As would-be Darwins probe your feces
To fix your origin and species.

So, till the panting of the Press
Has faded south of Inverness,
Steer clear of camera-pointing skippers
And hide those sexy humps and flippers!


Jerome Betts lives in Devon, England, and has contributed verse to Per Contra, Tilt-A-Whirl, and LightenUp Online as well as numerous print publications. He has never played the American version of football.
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Saturday, August 04, 2012

ON THE LATE CONVERSION OF SNOOP LION

by Rick Mullin



                                         Press Conference at Miss Lilly’s Caribbean restaurant

                                                  New York City,  August 1, 2012 



You question his sincerity. That said,

you see a certain logic, call it truth,

to how the knitted crown of Tam O’Shanter
crosses over, green and gold and red.

You see it clearly in the golden tooth.

You hear it in his cold and stolen banter

as he lifts the chalice of the microphone
imparting his endorsement, claiming priests

from deep within the Cockpit changed his name.

You’re backing off and throwing him a bone

despite ambivalence regarding beasts
that hound his moniker. He is the same.

The doggy gangsta lolling like a Buddha.

The Lion of Rastafari, Peace, and Judah.


Rick Mullin’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including American Arts Quarterly, The Raintown Review, and Unsplendid, Méasŭre. His epic poem Soutine, on the life of the painter Chaim Soutine, was published earlier this year by Dos Madres Press in Loveland, Ohio. His book-length poem, Huncke, was published by Seven Towers, Dublin, Ireland, in 2010. And his chapbook, Aquinas Flinched, was published by the Modern Metrics imprint of Exot Books, New York City, in 2008. A second chapbook, The Stones Jones Canzones, will be published by Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, Kentucky.
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Friday, August 03, 2012

CHICK-FIL-A-HOLES

by Andrew Rihn

John Liming reflects on restaurant chain Chick-fil-A’s religious stand against gay marriage. 
Image source: mariopiperni.com


Picking and choosing bible verses
like items from a 99 cent menu,
they come in droves, foxes
to the henhouse. Freedom
of speech like the wolf
in sheep’s clothing, they eat
more chicken as if killing fowl
wasn’t still a slaughter.
Though I’ve said it before, I still believe
that love is a legitimate force.
But in the face of all this capitalism
and deep-fried bigotry, what can I say?
On this day, my queer voice
is too sad to shake this world.
On this day, they celebrate only themselves.
That their hearts are clogged is no metaphor.


Andrew Rihn is the author of several slim volumes of poetry, including America Plops and Fizzes (sunnyoutside press) and The Rust Belt MRI (Pudding House).  He lives in Canton, OH.

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Thursday, August 02, 2012

PUBLIC DISUNION

by David Radavich


When the pensions end,
shall we commit
our suicide?

It is an option
of life,

a kind of torch
carrying

against a night
not of our
making.

Before

I would not
have thought
of endings.

But now

the swan calls
to its mate carving
the still waters.

Tomorrow
is another day
that may

no longer

need us.


David Radavich’s latest books include America Bound: An Epic for Our Time (2007), Canonicals: Love’s Hours (2009), and most recently, Middle-East Mezze (2011).  His plays have been produced across the U.S., including six Off-Off-Broadway, and in Europe .  Recently he won the 2012 MidAmerica Award for his contributions to Midwestern literature and scholarship.  He currently is working on a new collection, The Countries We Live In.
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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

HUNGER

by B.Z. Niditch


Seeing your disappearances
in the pushcart
of worldly sorrows
your child-like visibility
became closer to us
in the port city
where you scavenge
among cast-offs,
shaming the tourists
with their mountains
of cameras
here among a volume
of recycled faces
a ghost-like poet too
was searching
by the harbor
for someone to act
in a drama
about people
of the port city
and no one need invent you,
everyone hides
to keep what is forgotten.


B.Z. Niditch, poet, playwright, fiction writer, and aphorist, is published widely throughout the U.S. and abroad. He is also the founder and artistic director of The Original Theatre, in Boston, which has presented original, experimental plays on contemporary social and political themes since 1990. 

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