Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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.

Friday, January 11, 2013


by Eloise Bruce

The bottom of the ad reads, "If it's good enough for the professional, it's good enough for you." Image source: Business Insider.

When you relish Mossberg, Rock River and Rugger
how do we know if you are a good man or a bad man?
Maybe of two minds, you are a good man who kills the bad man

or vice versa?  Are you the kind of man following orders
to shoot students to death in Kent Ohio.
Are you an autistic boy with an AR-15 assault rifle

or a crazy man or maybe a bad woman
with a sig Sauer semiautomatic?
You can get an assault weapon in mossy oak pink camouflage.

Are you wearing a uniform or a badge
and aiming a Glock 9-millimeter while worshipping
the Berretta, Bushmaster, Colt?

Are you armed like the deputy
was at Columbine?  Did you fire at the bad boy?
Did you miss? did he miss?

Eloise Bruce’s book Rattle was published by CavenKerry Press, and she is a member of the poetry and performance group Cool Women.  She has been involved with Playwrights Theatre’s initiative for Poetry Out Loud from its beginning in 2005.  A a Teaching Artist in schools throughout New Jersey, she focuses on poetry and theatre. She teaches for the Arts and Education Center working with middle school writers.  A fellow with the Cloud Institute for Sustainable Education, Bruce is currently working with Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania on Beyond Recycling, a project allowing children to explore sustainability through the arts.