Guidelines



Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at]gmail.com. No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Monday, December 31, 2012

NEW YEAR'S EVE

by Buff Whitman-Bradley


Image source: Sessions College


Wars bleed
From one year to the next
Greed takes no holiday
Poverty and desperation spread
Like black mold
Across the pages
Of the calendar
I see no reasons to believe
That the coming year
Will be any better
Than the last and
Likely it will be worse
Nevertheless at midnight
I stand outside
In the shivering blackness
And feel myself elated
Once more
By the ancient tableaux
Of winter constellations
Settled into their familiar places
Among the icy stars . . .

No sound no sign
No flash of light
No message from heaven
No harps or bells
But a moment of beauty
On a winter’s night
And an old pessimist’s blind hope
That all will be well


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

GOING OVER

by Marjorie Maddox


Riding the Lame Duck to the Fiscal Cliff


not the white cliffs of Dover, but our own steep igneous face,
weathered to the core, all fossilized
values chipped away—with pick, with chisel—
while the granite-grey sledgehammer in the room
of House and Senate smashes three hundred million
blue-collar manufactured piggy banks
into bipartisan shards, and the coins, their faces
likewise eroded, cascade like water-
                                                                   falls.


Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 8 poetry collections, 2 children's books, and over 400 poems, stories, and essays in journals and anthologies. Co-editor of Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania, she is the recipient of numerous awards.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

TO THE DEAD


by Sarah Edwards




They say
you died for something noble

flag
cause
defense
revolution
greater good

They say
you died for something gained.

ground
territory
respect
equality
justice

But if you are a child
they say
this time you died for nothing
except my right to kill you

before you learn nobility and gain,
before you get a chance to choose
what is worth dying for


Rev. Sarah Edwards is a retired clergyperson in the United Church of Christ.  She is active in the North Carolina Poetry Society, is a student of poetry at Duke University and the poetry of life.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

CNN UNIVERSE

by Don Kingfisher Campbell




Beirut car bomb kills 8
Charred buildings, smoke in air
Chaos in the streets
Photos: aftermath of the blast
Rover spots shiny objects on Mars
Meteor lights up sky in California
Taliban threaten reporters
Beheaded for refusing to be prostitute
Dad in disbelief over son's terror arrest
U.S. contractors drunk on tape
Four women shot at Florida hair salon
Parents: man mocked disabled kid
Will Cain: Room for GOP at colleges?
Court: Fort hood suspect can be shaved
Elephant crushes Australian zookeeper
Man dumped, wins $30.5M lottery
Two-time rape victim fights for justice
Justin Bieber's mom on raising the star
McJordan BBQ sauce sells for $10K
Youth coach hits ref in face
Coroner: Heroin killed son of NFL coach
Duck lives with arrow in head
Cheerleaders OK'd to cheer God


Don Kingfisher Campbell has recently been published in Crack The Spine,
Lummox, Poetic Diversity, The Sun Runner, Poetry Breakfast, Pink Litter
and
the Inner Child Press’ Hot Summer Nights anthology.  He is currently working
on an MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch University, Los Angeles.

BEAN ME UP^ SCOTTY!

Poem by Charles Frederickson
Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote 




Human beans emerging from seedpods
Lentil rentals uprooted humanure soil
Colorful multiversity uniquely different flavors
Green Creole bayou Cannellini white

Boston Baked sturdy ceramic pot
South American Andes Lima natives
Japanese adzuki Tex-Mex frijole pintos
Thigh legumes muscle sprouts workouts

Brazilian feijado Goomba Garbanzo chickpeas
Spanish spinach guisante French pois
Yellow wax red kidney succotash
Black-eyed cowpeas symbolizing Good Luck

Lebanese hummus disguised as legumes
Coffee beans actually berry seeds
Soybeans miso tofu protein powerhouse
Source of potassium iron magnesium

My fave veggie is salsa
Delicioso feuds always fattening fitness
Retired has-bean angry grump-peas
Clearing old farts’ gassy air

What the health bean appetite
Whirled peas visualized from afar
Avant-garden auld nutrition recycled
Unzipped shucked shells soupy split


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

Friday, December 28, 2012

MARS

by Howie Good





The god of carnage has grown
a balding man’s stringy ponytail.
Red, he says, means danger.
He shrugs his cruelly thin shoulders.

A tractor stands abandoned
in a field of what looks from here
like black puddles of blood.

The future will burn a full 40 days.
We will walk beside our coffins.
Starvelings will stare out

from behind barbed wire.
Mothers will shriek. There will be
nice grass in the cemetery.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Cryptic Endearments from Knives Forks & Spoons Press. He has a number of chapbooks forthcoming, including Elephant Gun from Dog on a Chain Press. His poetry has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net anthology. goodh51(at)gmail.com.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

CIVILIZED DENTISTRY

by Caru Cadoc




We pay dentists to shave down our canines
nice and flush with the others
to help us dress up
and play humanists.
It's vain but honest.
They're such savage looking teeth.
And who needs canines anyway
when we have blow guns of chrome
Powered by powder more forcful than our little jaws
To project shards of metal designed to tear far deeper
Than our quaint little teeth.


Caru Cadoc is the lyricist for the Pseudosufis.  His work has appeared in Dead Flowers,The BoilerMAKEJersey Devil PressWord Catalyst and Storyglossia.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

THE APOCALYPSE GOES UNNOTICED IN NEWTOWN

by Catherine McGuire



No one needs predictions, there.
And on Turkish borders, huddled tents
have no preps for crisis. Trenton slums,
the barrios of Rio, the drained and droughty deltas
of Tigris, or Sudan – Apocalypse can knock
and enter; no one will care.
Which is to say, the world is always ending;
our treasures crumble, dust to dust.
The myth-inflated bogeys threaten
while behind our backs, our futures rust.


Catherine McGuire is a writer and artist with a deep interest in philosophy, the “Why we are here?” question that lurks under so much of our lives. She will have a chapbook released by Uttered Chaos in September. It is tentatively titled, Reflections, Echoes and Palimpsests. She is webmaster for the Oregon Poetry Society and claims her entire garden as her 'poetry office'.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

THE CHRISTMAS AFTER

by Carolyn W. Callighan




A storm the size of all of Europe blew
Along the coast. The buildings and the dunes,
Mere toys against a sea, urged through the moon's
Insistent push of water, spun and flew
In all directions. Picked up by the wind,
Possessions were encased in sand. Each one,
Grief-stricken, stared at damage done.
And, turning, Sand and damage to no end. . . .
And now, weeks later, holidays and lights ring in
A time of joy, but how to celebrate
When all is topsy-turvy? How do we create
A place of peace and joy, and stop the spin?
We look within ourselves, and here we find
The strength we need to heal, and to be kind.


Carolyn W. Callighan grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, then moved to the East Coast for college and work thereafter.  She lived and worked for several decades in Boston, Phildalphia, Washington, and, finally, the New York City area.  Now, after several decades, she is back in Nashville.

A CHRISTMAS LYRIC FOR THE NVN SURVIVORS

by Earl J. Wilcox



If (as the old adage goes)
only two things are certain,
death and taxes—
and the Apocalypse did not
happen, then what
are we left with. Right!
Taxes and Christmas fruitcake.

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.

Monday, December 24, 2012

FOR THE REPOSE OF SOULS

by Carol Alexander

A Berkeley, CA vigil held to remember the victims and families of the Newtown, CT, massacre. Photo: Jeremy Pollack/Creative Commons


A pair of peafowl floats down from the trees,
the wan hen and florid cock picking their way
while the river slowly slips back in its banks.

The boy in his tall wading books creeps after,
licking rust from the muzzle of his gun.

The juddering of a turquoise fan perhaps will be
as close to flame of phoenix  as spirit will draw.
But we were born in fire, and to fire will come.

The woman with the small communion dress
rocks in her chair in her ordinary room
room with its proportions rudely skewed;
shocked feathers of the peafowls gently float down.

With their saintly calendar of woes,
country men and women walk in sober twos.

Still the shops stay open; trees blink red and green,
children dash across the street, cars swerve,
we hear the Morse code of the coming snow,
birds in starry park all the news that we can bear.

A pallid smoke in its helix twists and frays,
as if to question who to go and how to stay?
You mummers in a masquerade of death
shoot off your pop guns, begging cakes and ale.

Neither the country nor the quiet grave where we lay
our old ones down in the lightness of their years,
is this cold town where we have just begun to pray.

But unicorns and little maids remain entwined
(in sable trees an archer waits and strings his silent bow).


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

Sunday, December 23, 2012

THE RAIN OF MERCY

by Laura Rodley

Image source: Dipity.


Now your waves drink the sky,
an everflowing cup,
that soothes your skin
constantly scorched by daily sun.
See how my raindrops
speckle you with sweet relief
so your tides can surge
upon the sand, keeping
the promise of everlasting life
a promise in danger of being broken
but here, the falling drops
wet and seal the cracks
so your waves tumble, tumble,
the ground sure beneath your reach.


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

Saturday, December 22, 2012

THE NEWTOWN MASSACRE

by Buff Whitman-Bradley

Human Giraffe by Subwaysurfer. Image source: Art Jumble Blog


When my children were little
I used to tell them that I was a giraffe
You’re not a giraffe, Daddy!
They would insist
But I stuck to my story
Oh yes I am

When their friends came over
My children would say
Our Daddy says he is a giraffe
But he’s not
The friends would look at me quizzically
And I would say
Oh yes I am

One year I decorated a birthday cake
With a pink and green giraffe
That’s me I said
And although my daughter was growing older
And no longer amused by the same old routine
She indulged me and said
You’re not a giraffe, Daddy
But I could see in her eyes
What she was really thinking –
Whatever
And soon I stopped being a giraffe
Once and for all

I remembered all this today
As I stood silently in the rain
In our little town’s park
With one of my grown daughters
And a score of others grieving the gunning down
Of twenty school children in Connecticut
And I thought about
All the silly-dumb-boring family jokes
Those murdered children will not hear
Over and over and over again
About all the stories that will not be read aloud
About the bikes and games and snazzy sneakers
That won’t get bought for birthdays
About the pet names and nicknames
That will go unused
Missy, Natty, Buddy Boy, Baby Cakes
Mikey, Skeeter, Nan

I believe I chose to be a giraffe
Because it seems such an odd and improbable creature
Something Evolution doodled on a notepad
During a long dull meeting
A goofy-looking non-threatening beast
That doesn’t scare little ones
A gentle quiet Mister Rogers kind of animal
With a body as big as a house
Where a child could take shelter during a storm
And be safe

It is morning in the Serengeti
Clear skies 60-plus degrees and climbing
And while giraffes are waking up to another day
Of browsing in the treetops
And caring for their young
A long cold dark night begins
In Newtown, Connecticut
And in the wintery, violence-wracked heart of America


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

A CALENDAR BROKE

by Martha Landman

            for John

            and heaven is imagined as whole and unceasing
                        -- Christina Murphy


Dawn enlightens a Puter jungle
a classic world

ends

in different time zones
God grins

yesterday
my Mayan calendar broke —

guess it’s no use
claiming on the warranty.

The moon, the earth
the stars dance a wild galaxy

a small eternity

this earth
this planet
a last cigarette

suffocates a man’s son
Gerald Benedict broods in

silence

tomorrow has come.


Martha Landman is a South African-born Australian poet residing in tropical Queensland.  She has published on- and off-line and recently co-authored a book of poems and short stories with Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke, titled The Paradoxophies, which is available on www.lulu.com.

Friday, December 21, 2012

APOCALYPSE

by Joan Mazza

Image source: End of the world

This time it’s true, when all prophetic books
agree the date is Winter Solstice, 2012.
The Mayans knew; it’s in the Bible. Just look
at world weather. You can see for yourselves
the increase in earthquakes, floods, volcanoes.
Watch out for Planet X, the government knows
but won’t disclose.  Look in front of your nose:
magnetic poles shift, buildings fall like dominoes.

Earth’s rotation will switch direction, sun
rising west instead of the east. No gun
will save you. Tsunamis inundating
coastal cities. No time for one last fling.
Let all expect a magical ascent.
The End is now an annual event.


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.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

777 MILES FROM SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

by J.M. Green



December 14, 2012

I.
Had lunch with Jim. It’d been like months. We shelved
work shit – talked girls, our little girls. A choice
unspoken. Something eyes and breaths just delved
into. His talk: importance of her voice
when boys round first base. Mine: importance of
her keeping track of mittens. We agreed
joyful and kind were virtues far above
“gifted.” By God our ladies better bleed
real empathy and social justice! Jim
shared family stuff he never shared before.
The secret turned to silence, not a grim
silence, but strong silence with dad rapport.
We laughed down Ludlow Avenue, both bugged
by Christmas pop songs. We shook hands then hugged.

II.
I drove off, pressed for time. This day was my
day – carpool pick up. We drive because of
school cut backs. More recession bullshit I
adjust my day for. News brooded above
the dashboard like a gray haze. Blindly I
fell in the carpool line at Heritage
Elementary. Not the same school some guy,
no, some fucking crazy psychopath barged
into killing our kids. A saved school for
now – thank God. Parents sat in their cars, I
saw, staring through their hazes. My car doors
opened – Audrey and the neighbor girls – I
switched channels quick. They jumped right into song
with Mariah’s Christmas wish. I stayed strong.


J.M. Green is the author of the chapbook Super Rich (Pudding House, 2008). His work is forthcoming or has been recently published in New Mirage Journal, Ginger Piglet, The Oklahoma Review, Cincinnati Magazine and other journals. Green is a librarian with the Wyoming Branch of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. He lives in West Chester, OH with his wife and daughter.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

PUSH & PULL

by Judith Terzi

Metro Station, Pasadena, CA. Image source: The Old Pasadena Blog

Push to open the gate. Empuje para abrir.
Look both ways before crossing the tracks.
Do not enter while the bells are active.
Search for invisible things: Higg's boson,
a wish inside a Bushmaster. Grief. Kill me
softly with a Venti. Head straight home
in your penny loafers, stiff striped shirt.
Free People jeans, Citizen of Humanity.
Not Your Daughter's Jeans. Oh not your
mother's guns. Search for the invisible.
A secret inside a Glock. Wounds inside
the shells. Despair inside terror. Courage
inside despair. Radiance inside a law.
Grief. Lick the latte. Dunk the Madeleine.
Pull to open the gate. Jale para abrir.


Judith Terzi is a poet living in Southern California where she taught high school French for many years. Her poetry has received nominations for Best of the Net and Web and awards and recognition from journals such as dotdotdash, Mad Hatters', and Newport Review. Poems are forthcoming in American Society: What Poets See (FutureCycle Press), Poetry Project Erotic Poem Anthology (Tupelo Press), and elsewhere. Sharing Tabouli was published by Finishing Line in 2011.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

AFTER READING THE HEADLINES

by Howie Good


Image source: Julia's Journical
I went
along the road.
Gravediggers
followed.
They followed
everywhere,

eavesdropping
on painful
memories

being
described
in hushed
tones.

Suddenly
the sun set.
The red
came off
on my hands.

Nobody said,
How sad.

Night was
a dark room.
The stars
were the holes
in the ceiling.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Cryptic Endearments from Knives Forks & Spoons Press. He has a number of chapbooks forthcoming, including Elephant Gun from Dog on a Chain Press. His poetry has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net anthology. goodh51(at)gmail.com.

Monday, December 17, 2012

DECEMBER ONCE AGAIN

by Diana Woodcock


"Jazz Beat" painting by Debra Hurd


What can I write to shed light
on this dark December night?
A Connecticut town grieves for
twenty-six dead—victims of the latest
school shooting.  Tibetans are setting
themselves on fire for freedom,
ninety-five since February, 2009.
Listening to musicians walking the bass,
feathering the line, I let the blues take me,
wrap me in the Great Mystery.

All are one, meant to sing and sway
together, to love.  The blues is all about
love, longing, loss, listening,
improvising, sharing our stories and
struggles, recognizing each other
as sister and brother.

Look into the faces around you
moved by music—see how they
seem familiar?  What better way
to pray for justice, an end to violence,
than to sway to the swing of jazz?

A Pakistani girl shot in the head
because the Taliban cannot understand
her hunger and yearning for higher
learning; they do not recognize
she is their sister.  Let the blues take me.
shape my prayer for peace, lead me
to transcend nihilism, alienation.

Listening to the blues, to the sounds of
migrant workers in this oil-rich desert town.
Thinking about blood diamonds,
underground railroads, women and girls
sold into the sex trade.

This is Advent season, time
for preparing for the light.
Long dark December nights.
Listen to the blues.  Gaza.  Aleppo.
Keep listening.  The call to prayer
mid-day, the mosque.  Revisionist
Zionist leaders.  Jihad.  Refugees.
Cambodian children amputees
still playing among landmines.

Dear jazz drummer, please
keep feathering the line.


Diana Woodcock’s first full-length collection, Swaying on the Elephant’s Shoulders—nominated for a Kate Tufts Discovery Award—won the 2010 Vernice Quebodeaux International Poetry Prize for Women and was published by Little Red Tree Publishing in 2011.  Her chapbooks are In the Shade of the Sidra Tree (Finishing Line Press), Mandala (Foothills Publishing), and Travels of a Gwai Lo—the title poem of which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  She has been teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar since 2004.  Prior to that, she lived and worked in Tibet, Macau and Thailand.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

by Rhiannon Thorne

"This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter, and we'll tell them that we love them, and we'll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight . . ."


Next year I will wrap you presents
and you will not understand the need for bows,
but will reach towards them for days
in anticipation.

I will fret my wardrobe decision: do I dress you
for photographs or in a pattern that will hide
your smudgy fingerprints?  Or maybe the floral one
your grandmother, your father's mother,
will surely buy you to match her couch.

You'll have to wear it sometime, anyways,
to appease her.

You will laugh, pressing slobbered fingers
into sticky cake, and scowl at the flash while I sing you
Happy Birthday; whisper in your ear:
it was the happiest day of my life.

In Connecticut, a former mother will spend the week crying.
She will wonder what flowers
she should order for your birthday: White roses
or something with color?

She will sink down to her knees on a fresh wound
with well established grass.

I love you, she will say; it was the worst day
of my life.


Rhiannon Thorne’s work has appeared/is forthcoming in Gr@wl!x, Surreal Grotesque, The Legendary, Ditch, The Junk Lot Review, Vox Poetica, Zygote in my Coffee, e-Fiction, and Fried Chicken and Coffee. She also co-edits the online publication cahoodaloodaling.

SHOWER OF BULLETS

"Will you still see meteors tonight, December 14, 2012?" --EarthSky
by Priscilla Lignori


Shower of bullets
replaced one of stars - heartbreak
in Connecticut


Priscilla Lignori is a psychotherapist in private practice and the winner of international awards for haiku poetry. The founder and teacher of Hudson Valley Haiku-kai, a community dedicated to studying and living the Way of Haiku, her poems have been published in the World Haiku Review, The Asahi Hakuist Network, Ko magazine, and The Mainichi Daily News.

TROJAN

by J. Bradley



With Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut reviving the national debate over gun control, some Louisville gun shops said Saturday they were already seeing an uptick in customers concerned that the shootings could lead to stricter gun regulations.
“There is an increase in calls and sales,” said Steve Hixenbaugh, owner of Oakwood Guns in Middletown. “Any time a tragedy like this happens, people do worry some type of legislation will go through.” --CourierJournal.com


In my country, we use bullets
as birth control.

Yet the parking lots of gun factories,
the sidewalks parallel to gun shops,
the stalls of shooting ranges remain
clean of poster board outrage.

The cycle whirs; we’ll always
keep the axle greased.


J. Bradley is a contributing writer for Specter Magazine and the Interviews Editor of PANK Magazine. He lives at iheartfailure.net.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

NEWTOWN EPITAPH

by Alan Catlin



A circle of flags
lowered to
half-mast;

someone has been
killing our
children.


Alan Catlin has published numerous chapbooks and full-length books of poetry and prose, the latest of which, from Pygmy Forest Press, is Alien Nation.

CONCEAL AND CARRY

by Lucille Gang Shulklapper



The families of victims grieve near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman opened fire on school children and staff in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Adrees Latif


In a landmark announcement,  yesterday’s breaking news, licenses in Florida to conceal and carry, will reach one million, who’s willing to parry, as gun owners may also choose, to Stand Their Ground, and who will defend the dead victims found; who will speak for little children, in kindergarten class,  who dead and dying in numbers amass,  who clutching crayons and teddy bears, will carry horror in numbered  years,  who can no longer say, what we learned in Newton today, as gun fire boomed, and tiny bodies fell, who will give witness to what they can tell,  what they know and what they saw, who will add to the numbered law?


Lucille Gang Shulklapper is a poet , fiction writer , workshop leader, mother, and grandmother.

Friday, December 14, 2012

THE TWELVE DAYS OF DRAWDOWN

by David Feela

Image source: Snaxattacks

On the first day of drawdown
my sergeant gave to me
a drone in a foreign country.

On the second day of drawdown
my sergeant gave to me
two parachutes,
and a drone in a foreign country.

On the third day of drawdown
my sergeant gave to me
three folding stretchers,
two parachutes,
and a drone in a foreign country.

On the fourth day of drawdown
my sergeant gave to me
four rocket launchers,
three folding stretchers
two parachutes,
and a drone in a foreign country.

On the fifth day of drawdown
my sergeant gave to me
five IEDs...,
four rocket launchers,
three folding stretchers,
two parachutes,
and a drone in a foreign country.

On the sixth day of drawdown
my sergeant gave to me
six ammo boxes,
five IEDs...,
four rocket launchers,
three folding stretchers,
two parachutes,
and a drone in a foreign country.

On the seventh day of drawdown
my sergeant gave to me
seven ROTC raincoats,
six ammo boxes,
five IEDs...,
four rocket launchers,
three folding stretchers,
two parachutes,
and a drone in a foreign country.

On the eighth day of drawdown
my sergeant gave to me
eight Israeli gas masks,
seven ROTC raincoats,
six ammo boxes,
five IEDs...,
four rocket launchers,
three folding stretchers,
two parachutes,
and a drone in a foreign country.

On the ninth day of drawdown
my sergeant gave to me
nine nylon butt packs,
eight Israeli gas masks,
seven ROTC raincoats,
six ammo boxes,
five IEDs...,
four rocket launchers,
three folding stretchers,
two parachutes,
and a drone in a foreign country.

On the tenth day of drawdown
my sergeant gave to me
ten aircraft tie downs,
nine nylon butt packs,
eight Israeli gas masks,
seven ROTC raincoats,
six ammo boxes,
five IEDs...,
four rocket launchers,
three folding stretchers,
two parachutes,
and a drone in a foreign country.

On the eleventh day of drawdown
my sergeant gave to me
eleven Swedish headlamps,
ten aircraft tie downs,
nine nylon butt packs,
eight Israeli gas masks,
seven ROTC raincoats,
six ammo boxes,
five IEDs...,
four rocket launchers,
three folding stretchers,
two parachutes,
and a drone in a foreign country.

On the twelfth day of drawdown
my sergeant gave to me
twelve Kevlar helmets,
eleven Swedish headlamps,
ten aircraft tie downs,
nine nylon butt packs,
eight Israeli gas masks,
seven ROTC raincoats,
six ammo boxes,
five IEDs...,
four rocket launchers,
three folding stretchers,
two parachutes,
and a drone in a foreign country.


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.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

TIBET IS A COUNTRY

by Judith Partin-Nielsen


Image source: globalpost


BEIJING — Chinese police officials have detained a Tibetan monk and his nephew and accused them of playing a role in a series of self-immolations, according to Xinhua, the state news agency. The move appeared to be part of a campaign to prosecute Tibetans who are accused of aiding others who set fire to themselves in protest of Chinese rule. --Edward Wong, The New York Times, December 10, 2012 



1

young monk’s red
and saffron robes
dissolving into flame
the intersection of
faith, courage and despair

2

Outside the rug shop
Tibetan flag flutters
Mourning the death
of the “land of Snows”


Following a trail of words, mountains, spirit and tears, this writer, mother, wife and eventually psychoanalyst left Texas for Colorado in 1985.  The land of the Arapahoe welcomed me and called me by name.  The love of poetry, poet and high mountain valleys has warmed my heart and made my home.  Freud said “everywhere I go, the poet has gone before me.”  May we keep following those footsteps on our paths thru the worlds.  Judith Partin-Nielsen teaches contemplative psychotherapy at Naropa University, practices psychoanalysis and writes poetry.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

5TH AND AVENUE E

by Stephen Cafagna



“Bus Stop” by Reginald Marsh. Image source: Encore Editions


i stod at the bus stop as a man late for work
looking down the street
wishing this bus would appare from thin air
I’d trade the life of every passing car for my bus

I stod at the bus stop alone
feeling as if i where to die at any moment
almost in shock that i wasnt

i stod as a man looking for his only ride
like when I was four
me and my father waited for the tractor
to take us around the apple ranch
i look down

staring at my hands
think if all i have done with these
ive build, destroyed, takin and give
but what did you do?
What was your triumph?

I stod at the bus stop as a boy
hearing the rpms
twine as when the transmission shifts
the complete stop
Kushhh! brakes awoke me to another dream…

And the only thing i had of my father’s was a glass from Venezuela
He died when i was 5, his glass went when i was 21
the corner where it broke still smells of old whiskey

I had my heart ripped out before
I dont like doing it to others, tho it happens…
Would you rather be the gun shot victum?


This poem by Stephen Cafagna is from his dissertation, finalized in Fayetteville. It functions in the interstices of language and urban life -- in dialect, representing a bridge of sorts, connecting the world of illiteracy, in all its unappreciated beauty, to the literary world.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

UNSEASONABLE CLIMATE CHANGE

Poem by Charles Frederickson
Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote



Imploding lonesome planet soiled earthlings
Perverse intolerant misunderstandings amongst Christians
Jews Muslims Buddhists Hindus Sikhs
Praying to whatever god listens

12 days of Christmas solemn
Ramadan 28 Kwanzaa lasting 7
Hanukkah Menorah aglow 8 eventides
Overstuffed feasts celebratory tummy aches

Kwanzaa Swahili meaning harvest bounty
7 guiding Nguzo Saba principles
Umoja (unity) Ujima (responsibility) Imani
(faith) Kuumba (creativity) unmitigated joy

Hanukkah from Hebrew connoting dedication
Honors victorious revolt entering Jerusalem
Holy temple sanctified eternal flame
Oil lamp kindling black light

Ramadan most intensely worshipful time
Profoundly serious compassion giving charity
More about dependence than abstinence
Fasting from sunrise to sunset

O Tannenbaum emerald forest blighted
How lovely were your branches
Hoping faith recycled comfort bring
Resilient strength throughout New Year


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

Monday, December 10, 2012

EXILED LIGHT

by B.Z. Niditch

Asylum-seekers back to where they started: A boat carrying asylum-seekers, believed to be from Sri Lanka, is intercepted off Christmas Island in June this year. Picture: Daniel Wilkins. Source: The Australian


Exiled light
held out
another dawn
a lamp
to another horizon
more certain
and human
than I believe
exists
returning
into a black sun
of memories,
lit up in love
with peace
for the visionary,
your tossed boat
between rough shores
of two continents
trembling for shelter,
to land in
a resting place


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.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

STEREOTYPE

by Joan Mazza

The unlikely faces of same-sex marriage. --PostPartisan, The Washington Post
Larry Duncan and Randy Shepherd (Meryl Schenker Photography)


Seated— two white haired, white guys
with long white beards down their chests,
their right hands raised to take an oath
or pledge. Each wears a flannel button-down

under a dark blue quilted jacket. Their USMC
camouflage baseball caps look new.
They could be lumberjacks or loggers buying
hunting or fishing licenses, might be taken

for brothers. A wooden cane leans against
one’s chest. Harley- Davidson logo peeks
from the other’s unbuttoned winter layers.

Good ‘ole boys who love their guns and brew.
In another era, each might have lived alone
in a remote cabin, called hermit, loner, scary.
Do they chop their own wood and have a still?

But this is the state of Washington at the end
of 2012. A black man has been re-elected
president, and these two men, ten years
together, finally get to marry.


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.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

REVIEW: FALL CONCERT 2010

by Robert Farmer

 

To the piano in his own sweet way
on the arm of the conductor,
while the packed-house crowd stood,
sang Happy Birthday through tears.
On his ninetieth, not just another gig.

He pulled us back to festivals
and the 50’s college stands,
our youth now gray throughout,
old ladies in dress circle
dancing again to Take Five.

His chops still simple, straight, lyrical,
no pyrotechnical improvisation.
Our age ordered silence on the solos
as we grazed back through lives
to sounds once lost,
now avengefully heralded
by today’s Downbeat recognition.

The Cleveland Symphony played backup,
then stood and cheered.

 
Robert Farmer is a retired professor of forest ecology who lives in Cleveland. He occasionally publishes poems in various journals, including New Verse News.

Friday, December 07, 2012

SOCRATES AND CASEY ANTHONY, A DIALOGUE

by Jan Keough



The poet's photoshopped image of Casey Anthony with Socrates and a young student in Raphael’s "School  of Athens".


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Florida sheriff's office that investigated the disappearance of Casey Anthony's 2-year-old daughter overlooked evidence that someone in their home did a Google search for "fool-proof" suffocation methods on the day the girl was last seen alive. . . . WKMG reports that sheriff's investigators pulled 17 vague entries only from the computer's Internet Explorer browser, not the Mozilla Firefox browser commonly used by Casey Anthony. --Huffington Post

The wily fox, as some called Socrates,
spoke with Casey Anthony the other day
at an unknown cellular location.

Casey, in hiding after the trial, and Socrates,
freed from bodily inconvenience after his trial,
converged to resolve a thorny dilemma.

“Which is best,” she texted, “to escape punishment and live to regret?
Or to face the punishing side-effects of actions
made from a selfish and immature attitude?”

Socrates, reclining on his metaphysical marble couch,
lifted the Droid close to his eyes.
Texting was not his favorite method of communication.

He preferred to gaze directly at those
who wished to be freed
from the burning disgrace of ignorance.

“Tell me,” he began,
“which Browser is best to use,
Internet Explorer or Firefox?”


Jan Keough lives in RI and the internet.  She is co-founder of The Origami Poems Project which aspires to free the poet by promoting micro-chapbooks of original poetry.