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Sunday, March 31, 2013


by George Held

Image source: The Telegraph


My God, what’s this old bugger doing,
down on his knees, pouring water out that silver pitcher,
washing my feet, his bald dome at my knees?
I hear him huffing and puffing, muttering
about humility and service.

What’s he doing now—kissing my feet!
My God, no wonder the warden made us
wash them before we came here to meet
this new pope, the hope of the Church
that no one goes to anymore.

Now he’s washing the feet of a girl,
a ho’ and a Muslim—she’s wearing a head rag—
who lucked out in the draw at the Casal
del Marmo, where we’re detainees
till the judges decide our fate.

Christ, I should get released now that I’ve
had my friggin’ feet kissed byil papa. Maybe
I’ll win the lotto now so I don’t have to mug
any more tourists. What to make of this feat –
having the pope wash and kiss my feet?

It’s a friggin’ miracle, ain’t it?


My son, allow me, your humble servant,
To kneel before you and lift your foot
So I can pour this holy water on it
And wash it clean of dirt and sins to boot.

I have done this in the streets of Buenos
Aires, where I have served as head Jesuit,
Then archbishop and cardinal, till raised
To the Seat of St. Peter, the top of it,

The Roman Catholic Church, so besotted
With scandal with which I must deal.
Let, O Lord, this ritual washing and kissing
Of feet be a symbol of my desire to heal.

Soon God will help me figure how to quash our woes –
Abuse, corruption; now I bow to kiss these humble toes.

An occasional contributor to The New Verse News, George Held occasionally blogs at

Saturday, March 30, 2013


by Tricia Knoll

All she wanted when she fled up
north was to keep her child and man --
she hummed her song all along.   
All she wanted from mother’s day
was for her son and another
mother’s boy let each other live.

All she wanted from her locked chain
on the White House fence was to vote 
for a man for President.
All she wanted from a wheelchair
rolling her body to the voter’s booth
was a death with dignity.

All she wants running for office
is to oust the jerks who tell her
to do more with less and love it.   
All she wants from her website
is for Muslim and Jewish women
to read each other’s poetry.

All she wants from a pink t-shirt
is to walk with womenfolk
who celebrate survival.
All she wants from bumper stickers
is for neighbors to know
she yearns to marry Isabelle.

All she wants to find online
is work that lets her feed her twins
more than macaroni and cheese.
All I want from holding the queen
is to slide her fleet-foot fury
to checkmate the cross-head king. 

Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet. She never burned a bra but she walked in a Yale graduation in 1970 without one.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


by The Bangkok Bards Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote

Whose fault is it anyway?
Pledging allegiance to whatever flag
Unfurls condemned property claims dismissed
Blame endgame pawns checkmating kings

Rockabye cradle of civilization treetops
Humanimals disappearing from soiled earth
Desert rats replaced by insects
Aphid borer bugs worms beetles

Emerald green caterpillars metamorphosis curtailed
Short-horned grasshoppers exodus flights cancelled
Nomads stripping crops infesting fields
Nymphs form bands adults swarms

Murky often contradictory mixed messages
False pretences invasion propaganda vilified
Imperial superpowers’ vacuum cause uprooted
Both sides conducting war crimes

Oily motives struggling to control
Corrupt harsh authorities brutal regimes
Military contracts favor wealthy elite
Convoluted natural resources geopolitical biases

Global financial crisis youth unemployment
Rising costs of living dangerously
Major ethnic religious faction confrontations
Plentiful share never quite enough


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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


by Roger Aplon

She came to him followed 
by her mother & her three daughters. He waited
sipping strong black coffee 
& reading the interview with Dayan’s wife &
how the country’s moral 
fabric was being shredded, how power soils men.
It had been winter, they’d
made a pact, to plant in the spring, invite neighbors, 
the way it had been then,
as their grandfather’s dreams had been written down, how
the land would bear fruit for those 
who dig the wells, bend to furrow & set the seed.
In his dream, his kids play hard 
ball in Gaza when Rachides’ play in Tel Aviv.
In his dream, the Likud
who strut like crowned-kings in Jerusalem, ignore 
their spite, open the cells, call
off the dogs – demolish these blood corrupting walls.

Roger Aplon was a founder & editor of Chicago’s CHOICE Magazine with John Logan and Aaron Siskind. He has published one collection of short stories (Intimacies) & nine collections of poetry, most recently, The Man With His Back To The Room (2007) & It’s Only TV (2013). He occasionally reads his work with musicians from Wormhole & Trummerflora Collective in Yokohama, Japan & the US: San Diego & New York City. He was recently awarded an arts fellowship from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico.

Monday, March 25, 2013


by James M. Croteau

Making dinner
with my lover
while NPR covers
gay marriage hearings
in the Supreme Court,
in my boyhood
when nothing
was covered, or
was covered, hearing
confined to mother’s words
warning of dirty
old men after little boys
in filthy public restrooms.
There will be no Easter
miracle, I’m sure,
I’ll not live to see
marriage in Michigan
where we cut our vegetables,
but simply standing
here with him,
this simple meal we make
is empty tomb enough
for that gay boy in me.

James M. Croteau lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan with his partner of 28 years, Darryl, and their two Labrador retrievers. Jim grew up gay and Catholic in the southern United States. He recently had his first poem accepted for publication in Hoot: a Postcard review of {mini} poetry and prose.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


by Antony Johae

This early April the sun’s suddenly hot
good for summer suits, light dresses
and children’s spangled frocks.
Church bells jangle invitation to enter
into AC away from open heat and glare.
Candles are carried in procession
olive branches in lieu of palm.
This boy holds a sprig of rosemary, scented for Sunday.
This woman struggles with her wet baby,
she’s breaking out in tears.
Some come in out-worn dresses
pre-nuptial, before male seed misshaped them into mothers
their men baldish, bellies loose-belted.

But here’s a well-formed girl chaste as Mary, Beatrice-beautiful
coming in as the Lord’s Prayer is said:
“ . . . lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil . . .”
This man’s tripped on the west door steps
chagrined that he’s grazed a knee.
That woman’s bra-strap is showing. Does she know it?
These girls’ skirts are short, leg muscles winter-white.
This old woman’s hair is dyed black – and that man’s moustache
camouflage for untold years.
Those dark-skinned maids are looking on as strangers,
some too young to have traveled – they don’t look troubled.

Outside, power pylons stretch up tapering like spires
and thick cables overhang a church of stone
– modern wit enough to make the Lord laugh.
Or is perhaps the joke inverse?
Human circumstance absurd.

Antony Johae lives in Lebanon and is a freelance writer. The poem is taken from a collection in progress: Lines on Lebanon. His work has appeared previously in The New Verse News.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


by Laura Rodley

The hearts of trees are sleeping,
But the sun’s warmth wakes them up
A fever from root to bud
A raging that froths the ground
Boiling bubbles, time to start
Tapping, collect their tears
Drink them as boiled sugar
Syrup for hot pancakes, sausage links.

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.


by Tricia Knoll

The Bybee Timber Sale proposes logging directly adjacent to Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake is Oregon's only National Park and the backcountry forests that surround one of the purest lakes in the world should not be subject to the harmful effects of logging.

The Bybee logging project would log 1,300 acres in the proposed Crater Lake Wilderness. This would effectively cut off several intact wildlife corridors with logging and road building.  The project includes 12 miles of new roads. The logging would be enough to fill 7000 log trucks, which, if parked end-to-end, would stretch 73 miles from Medford to the boundary of Crater Lake National Park.

Not only would the Bybee Timber Sale imperil the fragile ecosystems of the park, but much of the logging would occur in the headwaters of the world famous Rogue River. The gushing, narrow canyons of the Upper Rogue should not be polluted by the sediment and logging debris from the Bybee Timber Sale.

People moved across this land, hunting,
blessing the roaming prey, practicing
plant wisdoms and reciting
chains of lineage. Fireside stories
from before the gathering of time
told of Llao from the
underworld and sky god Skell -- the battle
of their rising and falling, of Mount
Mazama and the cratered lake.

In that wildness of trees, rain, waves,
and crystal creeks, the people called themselves
the Bannock, the Chasta, the Chinook, the Kalapuya,
the Klamath, the Mollalla, the Nez Perce, Takelma
and Umpqua. Many journeyed to Celilo Falls
for the great trading, before
the dam and the rocks walls
that bore their picture stories
of ocean, gods and volcanos at war
slipped under the floodwaters.
Spaniards sailed the rocky coast,
never venturing to find that caldera
of water bluer than skies, or trees
rounding battleground of gods, scoured by fire,
scrabbling in rock, lifting to Skell
and rooting to Llao

before the people became ill
or furs traded out for hats and coats,
two hundred years before Meriwether,
the Oregon trail, railroads, statehood,
and or telling the people falsehoods.
Today: the men come to fell trees sprouted
in that long ago -- trees ten times the girth
of the human belt. Skell and Llao,
forces of below and above,
watch, the old war yet undone,
this battle of up and down,
over and over again. 

Oregonian Tricia Knoll knows that four hundred-year-old trees in Oregon are really BIG.


by Howie Good


I leave

a dying

“is to be

Birds ignite
in mid-air.

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)

Friday, March 22, 2013


by Ann Bracken

     Based “Dreams in Infrared” by Nicola Abé 
     posted at Spiegel Online International, December 14, 2012.

He works in a windowless, air-conditioned container somewhere in New Mexico.
The pilot and his co-workers sit in front of fourteen computer monitors
and four keyboards.
Drone pilots at work.

The container is the cockpit where no one flies. They sit at controls
watching the Predator drone circle in figure eights
high above Afghanistan,
6,250 miles away.

The pilot sees a house made of mud
and a shed used to house goats comes into focus in the crosshairs.
He receives an order to fire and presses the button with his left hand.
Then he marks the roof with a laser.

The pilot next to him
pulls the trigger.
Releases a hellfire missile.
Sixteen seconds to impact.

The moments freeze, ticking by in slow motion.
The pilot can still divert the missile.
No one is on the ground. Three seconds to impact.

A child walks around the corner of the goat shed.

Second zero. The pilot’s digital world collides with the village
between Baghan and Mazar-e-Sharif.
The pilot sees a flash on the screen.
The explosion
the building collapses
the child disappears.

The pilot’s stomach plunges.
Did we just kill a kid? he asks the pilot next to him.
Yes, I guess it was a kid.
“Was it a kid?” they write in a computer chat window.

Someone they don’t know answers.
Someone sitting in a military command center.
Someone far away who observed the attack.
“No, that was a dog.”

Ann Bracken is a writer, poet, educator, and expressive arts consultant whose poetry, essays, and interviews have appeared in Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence, Little Patuxent Review, Life in Me Like Grass on Fire:Love Poems, Praxilla, The Museletter, The Gunpowder Review and Reckless Writing Anthology: Emerging Poets of the 21st Century. Her company, The Possibility Project, offers expressive arts programs for women of all ages. Ann is a lecturer in the Professional Writing Program at the University of Maryland.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


by Eric A. Weil

Image source: WN / Sayali Santosh Kadam

Twenty acres of cabbages
ranked in military green,
harvest coming soon.
My nostrils twitch
with that raw-earth smell,
and I think
of soldiers’ helmets
on rifle stocks
standing between
pairs of boots
in the sand.

Eric A. Weil lives and teaches in Elizabeth City, NC.  This poem is from a series tying the landscape and wildlife of eastern NC to an inescapable weariness about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Eric has published two chapbooks, A Horse at the Hirshhorn and Returning from Mars.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


by Earl J. Wilcox

Clay Bennett,
 Chattanooga Times Free Press, Aug 20, 2002
(click here to view)

Ten years have passed—
Ten long winters and ten long summers,
Ten long springs and ten long autumns.
Yet the WMD are still absent as they were
When the first waves of shock and awe
Killed the first ten thousand.

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.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


by George Held

Barack Obama - Caricature

The handsome President
Wears his black suit gracefully;
Articulate, suave but earnest,
He is the paragon of a graduate
Of the homeland’s finest schools.

The President promised to repel
The Mammon, the Bain brain who
Would lead Capital’s raid on “entitlements,”
To which we are entitled because
We paid for them every paycheck.

But now the President offers our
Social Security and Medicare
As bargaining chips
While the croupier with “GOP”
On his green visor methodically

Rakes in profits for the house,
Which never loses at gaming
The system and we, the losers,
Broke and broken, limp from the table
Dimly aware we’ve been swindled.

An occasional contributor to The New Verse News, George Held occasionally blogs at

Monday, March 18, 2013


from a series by Joan Mazza

Paul Ryan Caricature
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rolled out his latest budget proposal, offering an ambitious blueprint that promises to balance the budget in a decade by repealing President Barack Obama's health care reforms and slashing Medicare, Medicaid and programs to help the poor. --Huffington Post, March 12, 2013

Home health nurse arrives, she says, to ask
a million questions. I acquiesce although
I’ve answered them too many times.
She puts her laptop at the foot of my bed,
gets a chair from my office, and checks
off boxes on her touch screen.

That’s not one of the choices.
Then fill in NONE or NON-BELIEVER.

She chuckles. I’m a reverend.
Maybe we’ll talk.

I guess she’s early fifties. She complains
about hot flashes, wiggles and giggles when
I tell her I’ve used a men’s urinal, but now
can make it to the bathroom and back several
times a day and night with my walker.

Any accidents?
Chest pain?
Abdominal pain?

She looks up from her screen.
In bed, I have to sit up from flat on my back.
That must add up to a hundred sit-ups a day.

Her first husband drowned when she was
twenty-one, two weeks before she gave birth
to their second son. Remarriage, three more kids.
She takes my vitals, looks at my clean incision,
arranges for OT and PT, asks me to sign
the contract, which states I will be charged
nothing if my insurance doesn’t pay. I sign.
She’ll be back in a week, thanks to Medicare.

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, sex therapist, writing coach, and seminar leader. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Perigee/Penguin/Putnam), and her work has appeared in Cider Press Review, Rattle, Off the Coast, Kestrel, Permafrost, Slipstream, Timber Creek Review, The MacGuffin, Writer’s Digest, The Fourth River, the minnesota review, Personal Journaling, New Verse News, Playgirl and many other publications. She now writes poetry and does fabric and paper art in rural central Virginia.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


by Josette Torres

Image source: Google Glass Horror Stories From Your Privacy-Free Future --PCWorld

Sometimes I think my Glass
is more of an impenetrable
barrier than a technological
breakthrough. Sometimes
it's a prison.

     Can I break free?

Josette Torres received her MFA in Creative Writing from Virginia Tech in 2010. She also holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from Purdue University. Her work has previously appeared in The New Verse News, SLAM: Silhouette Literary and Art Magazine, and 16 Blocks, and is forthcoming in Ayris. She is the Writer in Residence at the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


by Priscilla Lignori

Crowd under the rain
eager for the announcement--
centuries' old rite

Smoke pours from chimney 
loud basilica bells ring--
They have a new pope!

Announced in Latin
the huge crowd responds with cheers,
waving rain-soaked flags

New Pope Francis waves
so quiet before the crowd--
A silent prayer?

Is he asking for
the rain to wash away all
that has come before?

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, The Mainichi Daily News.

Friday, March 15, 2013


by B.Z. Niditch

New Pope Tied Up in Argentina's 'Dirty War' Debate
--AP,  March 14, 2013
Image: Jorge Bergoglio, Prepósito Provincial, en 1976. Image source: EstrellaDigital

                  for Pablo Neruda

Where are they
the children
the lost
those living in memory
in our solitude
those without strength
who march with us
in solidarity
who sing with us
toil with us
write on walls
all over the world with us
in prisons
with us
clinging to a future
of the disappeared
and dispossessed
of the earth.

B.Z. Niditch is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and teacher. His work is widely published in journals and magazines throughout the world, including Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and Art, The Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Hawaii Review, Le Guepard (France), Kadmos (France), Prism International, Jejune (Czech Republic), Leopold Bloom (Budapest), Antioch Review, and Prairie Schooner.  He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


by Frederick L. Shiels

Barack Obama - Caricature

 When I consider how my days are spent
 In this marbled city full of plots
 And my people’s legislation rots
 As Republicans withhold consent.
 To all my noble programs evident
 To any voter with discerning eye
 And reporter knowing all’s awry
 Guns, wages, energy’s predicament
 Cry for the modest changes that I seek,
 More schools and medicine for ev’ry child
 That this great nation might enlightened grow
 And healthy like a mighty garden sleek
 With water from my policies unique
 If only Congress could that wisdom know.

Frederick L. Shiels, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus, Political Science and History, at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


by B.Z. Niditch

Frack you,
for all your flaying
of the earth
sinking us
in the quicksand
of limestone
by the dirt husks
of pipelines
with so many hands
pressuring big oil
and powerful forces
to harass
the echoes of nature
near orchards
on upturned grounds
covering floral clean air
near the mountains
of fauna and gardens
the harmony of oceans
to spiral out of hand
with upheavels
taking ready made shovels
rolling into our environment
we, lovers of the earth
are crying out
for human helpers
to alert the planet.

B.Z. Niditch is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and teacher. His work is widely published in journals and magazines throughout the world, including Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and Art, The Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Hawaii Review, Le Guepard (France), Kadmos (France), Prism International, Jejune (Czech Republic), Leopold Bloom (Budapest), Antioch Review, and Prairie Schooner.  He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


by S

Image source: Kind of Creepy

                        for Wayne and Ted

Before I slide between the sheets each night
I kneel and pray to my guns
All 352 dozing in the safes
I call them Jesus

I pray to them they'll never leave
I pray to them for loyalty and inspiration
To commit the be all to end all gun crime
And then I realize there'll never be
What anti-gunners call the tipping point
The tipping point will never occur
Too many people like me are out there

Jesus, why are you so beautiful
In blue and black steel
Home to majestic barrels of death
Why do you seduce me
With holy matrimony
Of terror and helpless innocence

My aunt told me angels of the Bible
Were men with girls' faces
That means they're devious monsters
That means you can call me the angel of mayhem

There is no tipping point
Never will be a tipping point
But I pray I change that
I pray to my companions of love
My instruments of evil
That I'll be the tipping point
The be all to end all

Allen Ginsberg called everything holy
Only the gun is holy
Its supplicants for war and murder are holy
The bountiful bullet is holy
The magazine is holy
The trigger is holy
I'm holy in my embrace of the tipping point

America go fuck yourself with your assault rifles

When I'm alone with Glocks and Colts
And Sig Sauers and Berettas and M-16s
I dream of the last day that'll bless me
With colors of flame and blood
I'd rather be with them
Than a woman who's kind
I'd rather stroke, clean, and wash them
In the oily rags they lie in
Stacked in the safes dreaming

I have too many heroes to mention
Granddaddy of us all
Charles Whitman in the Texas Tower
The two Columbine creeps
The Batman bozo from Colorado
The Newtown nerd baby blaster
Too many to recall
Way too many

When I was small my mother and father
Bought me play guns but never real ones
They gave me a Davy Crockett rifle
And a Roy Rogers revolver
A squirt gun I loaded with piss
A plastic machine gun from Company A
I had more guns as a kid than I do now
But they were fart jokes

I started amassing real ones
All dull steel and forged from sins
Of kind ancestors who earned this land
By killing anybody in the way
Of their manifest destiny
The more I shopped the more I wanted to buy
The more I stockpiled the lovelier they grew
I began to name each one a different name
But then decided they were the Son of God
So I called them Jesus

Jesus protect me in weak moments
Protect me against criminals and miscreants
Who aren't the same color as I am
Protect me against anybody that breaks into this mansion
Protect me against the asshole who pisses me off
Allow me to succumb to no one but you
Bless me with kind and gentle holiness
Caress me like dark women I'll never love

One day decades ago a slick punk pulled
A revolver on me and two sisters
They screamed and before he knew it
I slugged him in the mouth
Grabbed the gun from his skinny hands
And stuck it in his crotch
Pulling the trigger as he begged
When I smelled the smoke I smiled
That was my first gun and first kill
My first hallelujah of sweet horror

My guns are my savior
My guns are my life
I love and protect my guns
As they love and protect me
That's why I call them Jesus
The be all to end all

Two of my favorite gun scenes in movies
Are the Russian Roulette suicide in The Deer Hunter
When Walken wears a bandanna of blood
And when Stallone blasts away
In Rambo with an M60
Now those are righteous kills

I have a room full of gun videos
The Sniper movies, How to Clean Guns Blindfolded
The Jackal with Willis remote controlling
His First Lady carnage
All of them better than titties and ass
And fuck video games because
They're not real enough to get my rocks off

I'm gonna be the be all to end all
The tipping point to tip the balance

I'll sneak into the Academy Awards a week early
Wait for days in a cubby hole
With bags of chips and cases of beer
Hide where no one sees me until it's too late
And pull out Jesus in their black beauty
And imminent destruction
Mowing down glamor icons of America
Hundreds of them in gowns and tuxes
Like the glory hogs they are
Their brains and limbs decorate the hall
Closing credits to end their stupid lives
And I'll own the fame I crave and deserve
More fame than they could ever have
Because I love Jesus with my heart and soul

I'll be the be all to end all
The final tipping point
Of all tipping points

The ultimate glory hog.

Monday, March 11, 2013


by Llyn Clague

Wayne LaPierre - Caricature

The only thing, sings Wayne La Pierre,
“that stops a bad guy with a gun
is a good guy with a gun” –
a song of good and bad that’s certainly fun
at the Cineplex, but less so in open air

EVP of the NRA is WLP,
an intense, insistent man whose voice
promotes utterly unrestricted choice
of weaponry, but leaves us the invoice
for the cost, in lives, love, and therapy.

What you see in Wayne La Pierre
is the balladeer of bullet and bandoleer,
with rhetoric uncompromisingly clear
and a mask-like, macho veneer –
an apostle of assault-gun laissez-faire.

What you don’t see is his terrible fear –
of demons in a streetlight’s glare,                     
of crackling conspiracies everywhere,              
and of himself, open, laid bare  –                     
a terrible, debilitating, soul-destroying fear.

Llyn Clague’s poems have been published widely, including in Atlanta Review, Wisconsin Review, California Quarterly, Main Street Rag, New York Quarterly, Ibbetson Street.  His sixth book, The I in India and US, was published by Main Street Rag in 2012.

Saturday, March 09, 2013


by Rasma Haidri

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the International Women of Courage awards ceremony at the State Department March 8, 2013 in Washington, DC. In celebration of the 102nd International Women’s Day, the State Department honored nine women from around the world with the International Women of Courage Award, including the 23-year-old Indian woman known only as “Nirbhaya,” who died from injuries she received after being gang raped by six men last December in Delhi.

India is a woman
with bangles of gold, yellow silk
draped over a bronze arm
fingers elegant and long
at the end of a hand
lying in the dust, chopped
so the bangles fell off, one by one
like bloodstained fetters.

India is a woman
with slender long limbs
sheathed in folds of softest cotton
that lift and stretch and bend
as she steps into a rickshaw
where two men already seated
smile and wag their heads
and make room for her
between them.

India is a woman
partitioned by a retreating army
into East and West, Us and Them
split along the red rape line
where her blood, like a river,
would have carried sons into the world
and daughters.

India is a woman
who trusts the strength of men
put in position to protect her
but again and again she is flung
like pieces of meat between them
her golden brown body devoured, ripped
by their white gnashing teeth, smiling
like jackals.

Rasma Haidri is an American poet of South Asian descent living on the arctic seacoast of Norway. Besides previous publication in New Verse News, her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies in the US, UK, Hong Kong, Canada and India.

Friday, March 08, 2013


by Luisa Villani

                                    poem pulled from Los Angeles local news, March 10, 2010

A live interview has a witness saw her “dangling”
from a tree outstretched from the sheer cliff-face
before she lost her grip.  Did she "jump”
or just merely "slide?"  The different news outlets
can't seem to agree on this point (her predicament),
nor on whether she was attacked by a rapist,
a would-be rapist, or an attacker. 
What is for sure:  she was on top of the cliff
and something happened, and when the paramedics
got to her, she was at the bottom of the cliff,
and the person who was with her at the top of the cliff,
or who confronted her at the top of the cliff,
or whom she encountered at the cliff top,
got away with her wedding band and her SUV (or her car).
How do you write about the woman, the cliff,
the other, the ocean, the sky's nothing embrace,
the woman above, the woman below?
How do you get it right?  Is there a "right"
when faced with loss, a right way to pick
between two losses, pick which one is greater,
which one is lesser, which one you'd rather lose?
If NPR says she "slid" and CBS says she "jumped"
who picked the right verb?  Sure, you can bicker
about the geography of Point Dume, its rocky face,
its sandy top, and you can guess the extent of her struggle,
the intent of his actions, but let's get one thing straight. 
There was a "him," and there was a "her," and in the long
history of him and her, how many times has SHE
actually had a choice?  And how many times has that choice
been between nothingness, and the horror of something?
Remember the days when she was told not to struggle,
to belay nothingness by submitting to something,
and then the later days when she was told
THAT was in fact wrong?  And if you want to forget
about the him and her, and return to the safe ground
of geography, the "just the facts M'am,”
let me ask you this (yes, there is also a me and a you here,
and you know you've already decided which one
you are), consider where you are right now,
if you’re running from this poem,
and if you really had a choice.

Luisa Villani is a former Wallis Annenberg Fellow at The University of Southern California, who currently resides in New Jersey.  She can't seem to land in the middle.


by Chris O’Carroll

Retail giant Amazon was asked to make a "substantial donation" to a woman's refuge on Saturday night after its UK website offered T-shirts for sale promoting rape and violence against women. The T-shirts, which were also manufactured and sold in the U.S., included slogans were spun off the phrase, "Keep Calm and Carry On", a famous British propaganda slogan and included shirts that read: "Keep Calm and Hit Her", "Keep Calm and Rape a Lot" and "Keep Calm and Rape Them" for $23–$26. --Elise Solé, Shine from Yahoo! Staff | Healthy Living, Mar 4, 2013

Hey, wanna read my shirt?
It leaves some folks agape a lot,
But c’mon, who gets hurt?
It says, “Keep Calm and Rape a Lot.”

That’s one of several jests --
“. . . Hit Her,” “. . . Rape Them,” “. . .  Rape Me” --
Emblazoned across chests
Clad in hilarity.

Some chicks don’t get the jokes.
Who cares, guys?  My advice:
Just do a few keystrokes
And grab the merchandise.

Solid Gold Bomb (no kidding),
That’s the firm that makes the raiment.
Keep calm, girls.  Do our bidding
As they strike gold with each payment.

Zeus was a badass swan;
Now any guy can be.
Log onto Amazon
And buy a pro-rape T.

Chris O’Carroll is a writer and an actor.  In addition to his previous appearances in The New Verse News, he has published poems in BigCityLit, The Chimaera, 14 by 14, Umbrella, and The Cantab Lounge Anthology.

Thursday, March 07, 2013


by Shirley J. Brewer

            "Florida calls off search for man swallowed by sinkhole." 
            --CNN, March 3, 2012.

In the quiet hour before sleep,
he removes loose change
from pants pockets, sets his clock
for an early morning rise.

Sound engulfs him, a rush
like a waterfall of furniture.
He and his bedroom disappear
into the coffin-black earth.

Is this our worst fear—
to be swallowed or suffocated
or lost in a flash? Sudden death,
faster than birth. No time to digest.

Gone—his pennies, nickels, dimes,
the man himself buried too soon.
Grief, his brother’s cry. In some deep cave,
a clock ticking all our wasted hours.

Shirley J. Brewer ( Baltimore , MD ) is a poet, educator, and workshop facilitator. Publication credits: The Cortland Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Pearl, Comstock Review, Loch Raven Review, Passager, and other journals. Her poetry books include A Little Breast Music, 2008, Passager Books and After Words, 2013, Apprentice House/Loyola University. M.A. Creative Writing/Publishing Arts, University of Baltimore.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


by Martha Landman

"Police brutality alleged at Sydney Gay Mardi Gras: Outcry over video showing man being thrown to the ground during arrest." --The Guardian, March 6, 2013

                                "They just slammed his head. There's blood all over the ground."      

I had an epiphany the day before Ash Wednesday:
I drew my tourist card and earned $30m for the state

of New South Wales celebrating equal marriage rights
a thousand police officers proudly parading on my side

for this one day we’ll forfeit the right to see young revellers
manhandled and slammed to the ground, punched in the head

‘cause the cops told us so; during this time of penitence, and
for as long as you love me, we will not film the violence

the blood curdled cries: what have I done wrong?
For as long as we can breathe we’ll talk about

that sound of his head hitting the floor, Delta’s buzz
at the gay parade, the confessions still to be made.

Martha Landman is an Australian poet whose creativity feeds off the news.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

FRIDAY, MARCH 1st, 2013

by Ron Singer

Drawing by Derek at Most Everybody Lives their Lives

Did the lights go out? Bombs begin to fall?
The lights did not go out. Bombs did not fall.
Nothing was literally sequestrated:
no property seized; no juries isolated.

But a bomb did begin to tick, loud already,
and the poor, already isolated,
looked ahead to being sequestrated,
foreclosed by trickle-down democracy.

Poems by Ron Singer have appeared in numerous magazines, e-zines, and newspapers. Some of these poems have been anthologized and/or set to music. His three published books are A Voice for My Grandmother, The Second Kingdom, and The Rented Pet. He recently completed three trips to Africa for Uhuru Revisited, a collection of interviews with pro-democracy activists (Africa World Press/Red Sea Press, forthcoming).

Monday, March 04, 2013


by Tricia Knoll

Open Crocus (D.Salk)
Copyright © 2013 Darrell Salk

spring's gold cup
opens to a downpour

heavy-lidded crocus
stars of cooling night --
closing loopholes

Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet and Master Gardener with a fondness for haiku. Her husband Darrell Salk took the photo of the open crocus.

Sunday, March 03, 2013


by Barbara Lydecker Crane

DAME Maggie Smith strides across a cemetery in this sneak peek from the fourth series of Downton Abbey. --Express, 2 March 2013

Enraptured, I would follow you each Sunday night
ever since your wary entry at the Abbey
as reluctant heir. I gauged your first, wide-eyed sight
of gorgeous Lady Mary–unpredictable and crabby,
she’d treat you badly–but you, steadfast, were charmed.
I swooned for you and sweated bullets as you fought
in French trenches. Oh, that blast that badly harmed
your spine! Feeling paralyzed like you, I thought
that you and Mary might at last be through, until
you walked again and while I wept, you won her hand.
Your baby boy’s arrival brought both pang and thrill.
Overjoyed, you…crashed and died! I understand
the reason is you have another acting  gig?

Matthew Crawley, you are nothing but a pig!

Barbara Lydecker Crane is the author of Zero Gravitas (White Violet Press, 2012) and the children's collection Alphabetricks (Daffydowndilly Books, forthcomingin 2013). In 2011 she won the Helen Schaible InternationalSonnet Contest.

Saturday, March 02, 2013


Poem by Charles Frederickson
Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote 

Sustainable development meets present-day needs
Without compromising future generations’ legacy
Haunted by past demonic plagues
Climate change radical progressive transformation

Essentials food water sanitation shelter
Legitimate jobs ensuring equitable opportunities
Indeed greed poverty becomes endemic
Living beyond perceived ecological means

Endangered humanimals surviving minerals extraction
Diversion of watercourses heat emission
Noxious gases leaked into atmosphere
Commercial forests genetic life-support manipulation

Growth has no set limits
Beyond which lies ecological disaster
Rising costs diminishing causal returns
Taking into account systematic exploitation

Villains and victims joining forces
Unchained reactions missing vital links
Behavioral modification attitudes procedures approaches
Unification of economic ecological factors

Mega-cities deforestation materialism over-fishing commercialism
Inextricably related Common Cause challenges
Combined positive energy people power
We’ll succeed or fail together.

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

Friday, March 01, 2013


by David Chorlton

Stéphane Hessel, writer and inspiration behind Occupy movement, dies at 95.
Hessel, resistance fighter, diplomat, writer of Time for Outrage! and co-author of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, dies. --TheGuardian headline, February 27, 2013

Image source: citizenside

The interviewer opens with a reference to the title
of a book in French, in which the word
for dignity is kept safe for distribution
to a world more interested in the cost of what can be bought
than in the value of anything.
The interviewee makes his claim for nonviolence,
citing Vaclav Havel, Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev,
and his view that you can’t shoot hedge fund managers,
only convince them of a fairer way. His vocabulary
includes the words conscience and justice,
learned during his time with the Resistance.
What kind of a world shall we leave behind?
the interviewer, a man fifty-seven years old, but still
just a boy to the older man, asks, and we’re tuned
to a vision of trust returning, of living with nature
rather than in conflict, of refusing the ideology
that markets will solve any problem, and (here
the audience applauds) of welcoming immigrants.
The conversation turns back to Buchenwald.
We were Europeans there. The interviewee
escaped by taking a dead man’s name and being helped
by a German. We must become good Europeans again.
He was one of three survivors. We have to think about the others.
He says improving the world is a pleasure,
not a moral duty. The next question is to find out
what makes him lose his temper.
When I’m accused of being anti-Semitic for supporting Palestinians
(applause). He says we must be as patient
as we are passionate, that we don’t need another
revolution like the ones that let us down,
but radical reform. Nineteen forty-four, arrested
by the Gestapo, believed to be important as a spy,
he thought his life was over, his body
already giving up, but the spirit had a mission
and he recited Shakespeare, noting the line
to keep inside his coat:
No longer mourn for me when I am dead
David Chorlton has lived in Phoenix since 1978, and still sees his surroundings with an outsider's eye. This helps his writing projects, which include a new poetry collection, "The Devil's Sonata," from FutureCycle Press.