Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Monday, September 30, 2013


by Tricia Knoll

Nope. Don't have one. No breaks,
no plans, no backpedals, no forward go way,
scientists seeing climates
gone crazy, sideways, edgeways,
overblown, flooded, fired in heaps
of forest ash, a steady
climb up a particular way.

They testify, witness heads
nod to the words
coal in China, coal in freight
up the Columbia River,
chug a bunch, chug a bunch
coal to China, jokered
coals to Newcastle,
ashes to ashes. Dust to
dust muting the bell clap.

Saturday car ads big deal
35 miles per gallon can’t get
me to Newcastle with clean
air, can’t get me nowhere
I want to go in an orderly

Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


by Leah Givens

Jordan Linn Graham, 22, was charged with second degree murder in a Missoula, Mont. federal courtroom on Sept. 9, after admitting she killed her husband of one week by pushing him over a steep cliff in Montana’s Glacier National Park. --Laura Zuckerman, Reuters, September 13, 2013

Stone and hope intersect
on a trek no longer
since it's been trodden
so often before.
She knew, though, she
hinted at executing
a vicious trick
if the sky resumed a
certain shade of gray
(or maybe on
a sunny day).
Would do “something,”
which never signifies
blithe, especially
when ascending
a precipice.

In wedding photos
she glows, neck and
below, but eyes pray
like a gas tank
aching to be filled.
He grins, cautioned
but already fixed
on a widow
to be. Women quiver,
he counseled his
soul. Once the ring
is clinched, life's
content. Like-
minded, one trips,
the other recovers.
How fleetingly dreams
lead astray,
crash into a chasm
where they remain.

Leah Givens’ writing has appeared in Sleet Magazine, DOGZPLOT, and The Yale Journal of the Humanities in Medicine, among others. She is currently revising a novel. She received her M.D. from Washington University in St. Louis and focuses on medical research. Her photography is also widely published.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


by The Bangkok Bards 
Saknarin Chinayote & Charles Frederickson

Nothing in nature is constant
Habitats ever-changing dense woodlands overgrown
Shading out caterpillar-dependent herbivorous plants
Heartlands afire deserts toughen parch

All humanimal species including butterflies
Emerge genetically programmed leaving homespun
Cocoon dispersion exploring ephemeral Newfoundland
Windswept transitions diverting obstacle course

Seasonal migratory sun compass evolution
Following vitality source riverbed path
Internal time-compensated cyclical rhythms
Circadian clock built into antennae

We’re all descended from immigrants
Pilgrimage sentimental journey without maps
Mass movement penniless not cultureless
Synthesized traditions unwelcome only tolerated

Cast into giant meltdown cauldron
Forced to assimilate own alienation
Borderline disoriented outsiders belonging nowhere
Starved souls hungry for certainty

Estrangers created unequal labeled illegal
Fleeing past escaping oppressive lethargy
Cherishing those who matter most
Understanding family friends being understood

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

Friday, September 27, 2013


by Lucille Gang Shulklapper

Every day we die a little, buried in the news,
suffocated by poison gas, kidnapped, beheaded,
bombed, burned alive, drowned,
struck by gunfire, massacred
in schools and shopping malls.
We are the nameless named by violence.

Four-year old Elliot Prior
at Nairobi's Westgate mall,
sees a jihadist wound his mother
with an assault rifle.  Angrily, he says,
"you are a very bad man."
The terrorist lets them escape.
Inside the carnage continues,
Outside are dead bodies,
The nameless cannot speak.

There are no brave four-year olds
in our bully pulpits, We are  hostages in
shopping malls.  Our names appear
in obituaries and on grave sites.
Our papered deaths roll to the curb
in black garbage cans.
Every day we die a little, buried in the news.

Lucille Gang Shulklapper's  poetry and fiction appears in many  journals including Slant, The New Verse News, and The Prose Poem Project, as well as in four poetry chapbooks.  She lives in Boca Raton, Florida.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


by Rick Gray

Image source: Yahoo! News

We're not sorry, al-Shabaab, for wasting
our troubled youths on African pleasures
your imported bullets will never find.

Your aims will forever miss us,
whose aging hearts have grown wise on
everything you so preciously despise.

So kill the kaffirs in the mall
to satisfy your schoolboy's mind.
We know those who can make you cry

why God is great, without books or prayers,
pure as a country who offered us
everything she had

all that is holy and wild
in the wicked smiles of lovely women
who have cursed you blind.

Rick Gray served in the Peace Corps in Kenya. He currently teaches in Afghanistan. He has poems forthcoming in Salamander and r.kv.r.y.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


by Frederick Shiels

Fiscal Farce: Approaching the Cliff

Through mists of battle high on Capitol Hill,
a light emerges from Republican troops,
2014’s budget may be passed, government
Not shut down, with one small caveat:

“We’ll ‘Defund’ Obama-care and leave
the government to do its other work this next fiscal year,”
Healthcare held hostage, passage of this charade
has not a prayer, we know,

The Senate will not pass it,  if they do,
Obama’s veto pen comes crashing down
upon this hoax so patently designed
to waylay not the government this time,

But rather out the Senate Democrats who vote
to kill a bill that strangles the Affordable Care Act in its crib,
“Too clever by half” experts-- some Republican-- say
Washington Will shut down if this drama plays out,

Perhaps Lord Cantor and the Earl of Boehner forget
the lessons of 1995 and ’96 when,
Lord Gingrich took the hated Feds to the brink
to spite King William and then sank,

In 1996’s elections, the public, not amused
did vent its wrath upon the GOP “abused.”

Frederick Shiels has taught public policy and U.S. politics at Mercy and Baruch Colleges, and at Cornell (teaching assistant). He has published with New Verse News and is working on a book on Obama and America’s Progressive Future through his blog.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


by George Salamon

Jerry Moran - Caricature

  They stride in Washington's corridors of power,
  shit-eating grins on their well-fed faces,
  irresponsible thugs wearing dark suits and conservative ties.
  They strive to deprive the poor and the helpless of
  food and health, of dignity and hope.
  Jesus would have chased them out of the temple,
  Moses would have smashed tablets over their heads,
  God would have told them that He does not
  help those who already help themselves.

  The trio of love, mercy and compassion
  has abandoned us to  mean-spirited
  bookkeepers and power-hungry Caesars,
  rulers of the market and governors of nations,
  CEOs of selfishness preached in our
  business schools and bibles of management.
  These new priests of the global religion
  cut the heart out of what was best in us.
  We stood by and eagerly scooped up
  the crumbs that fell off their table.

  And now we are forced to swallow the dessert.

George Salamon taught German literature and culture at several East Coast colleges, was a reporter for the St. Louis Business Journal and senior editor of Defense Systems Review. He has contributed to The Washington Post, The American Conservative, New Verse News and writes regularly for the Gateway Journalism Review. He currently lives in St. Louis, MO.

Monday, September 23, 2013


by Howie Good

A Bering Sea crab fisherman with a king crab. Photo by Corey Arnold


The tail fin of a sockeye salmon
caught in a net in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

Matthew Sullivan releasing a gull
that crash-landed on the deck of the Rollo.

New buoys sit aboard a crab vessel.

Billie Delaney, a fisherwoman, holds
a dead seabird at Graveyard Point.


One morning she flew
to an early analyst meeting
and realized too late
that she had left
her dress shoes on the plane.
So she eyed women
in the baggage claim area,
spotted a suitable pair
worn by one of them —
and approached
with a $120 cash offer
for the emergency footwear.
The stranger said no
but offered a second pair
from her suitcase. Done.


Arrested by the Seattle police
for shooting a car’s tires.
Enlisted in the Navy Reserve.
Spent two days in jail
after a bar fight in Georgia.
Investigated for shooting a gun through his ceiling.
Honorably discharged,
despite “pattern of misbehavior.”
Contractor security clearance re-approved.
Told the Rhode Island police
he was hearing voices.
Twice went to Veterans Affairs hospitals
seeking treatment for insomnia.
Killed 12 people at Washington Navy Yard.

Sources: 1. “Eat, Fish, Sleep, Click”; 2. “Former Amazon Executive Dies in Bicycle Accident,” 3. “A Troubled Past,”

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)

Sunday, September 22, 2013


by Donna Barkman

MADISON, WI (WKOW August 27, 2013) -- Capitol Police have been arresting the Solidarity Singers for gathering without a permit since late July.  But for the first time on Monday, those arrests turned violent.
Lady Liberty on Lake Mendota.

They forced me to my knees—the censors
and the haters of your speech, no longer free.
The cost of congregating: a strong fence
and the punishment for protest songs, a fee
or jail time— length to be decided.
My mouth is gagged, I gasp for breath
since they wrapped me, thickly iced,
strait-jacketed, to await my death.
But my tablet bears the law of freedom—
still!—and dated Independence Day,
so legislators are forewarned we’ll come
to march and sing, and have our say.
Imprisoned lightning – my torch – will thaw
our frozen rights:  reclaim our law!

Author's note: Text in italics from "The New Colossus" (1883) by Emma Lazarus, engraved on The Statue of Liberty.

Donna Barkman lived in Madison in the 70s and watched Miss Liberty on ice from her office window in Helen C. White Hall.  Since then, she continued as a librarian and added the job titles of performer, writer and teacher.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


by B.Z. Niditch

A series of demonstrations concerning the anti-fascist hip-hop artist, Pavlos Fyssas’ murder by Giorgos Roupakias, supporter of the Greek political neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, are organized in European capitals by Greek immigrants and local left-winged organizations and students. - Greek Reporter         Meanwhile, mass protests against police abuses have resumed in the Turkish city of Istanbul, as well as in Ankara, the national capital, and in Antakya province on the Syrian border. The latest country-wide demonstrations began after the death on September 10 of Ahmet Atakan, a male aged 22, in Antakya. -- Gatestone Institute

Because poems
touch your faraway eye
and dictators
flee from word memory
silence cannot conceal us
from any occupying justice
our initials in blood
rise on city graffiti walls
over roofs and presses
others are written
with bark of hundred years
on old trees,
whether in Turkey or Greece
or anywhere on headlines
we hear impure speech
of the general staffs
who wage war
against people
even in nuclear times
only with ink threats
of our pens
can fascism be exposed
and die off.

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; LeGuepard (France); Kadmos (France); Prism International; Jejune (Czech Republic); Leopold Bloom (Budapest); Antioch Review; and Prairie Schooner, among others. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Friday, September 20, 2013


by Janice Lynch Schuster

They will know us by our guns
The fierce industry of our arms
As we drag our heavy bodies
Loaded and overwrought
Into coffee shops where we never sit
With our backs to the door

We will think they love us
When really, it is fear that keeps them
Frozen at our sides, unable to turn
In any direction.  We can take them out
And never feel a thing.

We will carve our names and terrors
Into wood and steel, the way we once
Left our initials in trees and school desks

We will want someone to know
That we were here, and by damn
When the levee breaks
We will shoot that water down.

Janice Lynch Schuster
is the author of a collection, Saturday at the Gym, and has been published in various print and online venues, including Poet Lore, Your Daily Poem, and The Broadkill Review. She writes about health care and public policy, lives in Annapolis, MD, and works in Washington, DC.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


by Mary Sexson

How often do whales clean their ears? Well, never. And so, year after year, their ear wax builds up, layer upon layer. According to a study published Monday, these columns of ear wax contain a record of chemical pollution in the oceans. --NPR, Sept. 16, 2013

An exquisite thought,
the whale as the canary
in earth’s liquid mines, its
ear wax the testament to their lives,
to our foolishness.  It reads like
a book, the layered spikes
of fibrous rings pages that reveal
the oceans they traveled,
the depths they plumbed.
The mercury showed up,
and the DDT, the garbage
we dumped into their waters
as they passed beneath us,
these leviathans of the world,
silent singers, filtering
the darkness, listening
with ears we did not know they had.

Mary Sexson is the author of the book 103 in the Light, Selected Poems 1996-2000 (Restoration Press, 2004), and co-author of the recently released Company of Women:  New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013, with Jayne Marek and Lylanne Musselman).  Her work has been included in projects such as Arts Kaleidoscope and Poetry in Paint.  Her poems have appeared in various literary publications, including Flying Island, Tipton Poetry Journal, and Grasslands Review.  Her newer work has been published in several anthologies, including The Globetrotter’s Companion (Lion Lounge Press, London), Trip of a Lifetime (Sleeping Cat Books), and A Few Good Words (Cincinnati Writer’s Project).  She has forthcoming work in the Reckless Writing Anthology (Chatter House Press, November 2013).

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


by Judy Kronenfeld

We've all seen, or heard of it--
some chemical  sparked by pain
does a crazed dance
in the brain, and the geek nephew
everyone thought a natural, can’t
face another year in school and
come September, comes unglued, almost froths
at the mouth by the breakfast bar,
spittle roping from his lips,
violently throws off the arms
that try to comfort him, and who knows
what next; the co-worker not yet
in the news, who’s had it up to here
plus, with more work and a benefits
cut, rampages in the Men’s,
pulling sinks from the wall
and smashing them, or goes home
where his wife mysteriously falls
and breaks her arm. O.K. they’ve always
had a tendency, drank too much,
yelled at their wives or parents,
bullied their classmates or younger
brothers, locked themselves
in their rooms; O.K. some of us
tried, we really did, got them
to counselors, it’s not our fault,
is it, if they refused to go,
or quit their meds? And some of us
closed our eyes because familial
ties make anything familiar,
and the desire to protect can blind,
and some of us sternly disallowed
the inappropriate—“Pull up those
bootstaps, kid! Right-face!”—
and some of us kicked the fellow
to the side of the road. And some of us—
lots of us—have no way to recognize
what goes awry, ourselves already brutalized,
and so many of us have no way
to guide, no knowledge, no resources,
not a dime to spare to soothe
a crazy head. We don’t help
these people—we give them

Judy Kronenfeld's most recent collections of poetry are Shimmer (WordTech Editions, 2012) and the second edition of  Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths, winner of The Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize for 2007 (Antrim House, 2012). Recent anthology appearances include Before There Is Nowhere to Stand: Palestine/Israel: Poets Respond to the Struggle (Lost Horse Press, 2012) and Love over 60: An Anthology of Women's Poems (Mayapple Press, 2010). Her poems have appeared in many print and online journals such as Calyx, Cimarron Review, The American Poetry Journal, Fox Chase Review,  Foundling Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Hiram Poetry Review, Natural Bridge, New Verse News, The Pedestal, Poetry International, Spoon River Poetry Review, Stirring, and The Women’s Review of Books.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


by A.J. Huffman

George Zimmerman

seems to lead to Florida.
To unpredictable judges and juries that care
more about holiday weekends and release
from sequestering than thoughtful consideration
of evidence, appropriating punishments
befitting the crimes.  To televised courtrooms
and litigation as the latest national pastime.
To reporters who lack proper research skills
and knowledge, but excel at sensationalism
and working up the viewing masses.  To underpaid
prosecutors and overpaid defenders, both paying
more attention to the fine print of their book contracts
than the necessary loopholes rampantly found
in evidentiary procedures, waiting to swallow
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
So help them.  God?

A.J. Huffman has published five solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  Her sixth solo chapbook will be published in October by Writing Knights Press.  She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and the winner of the 2012 Promise of Light Haiku Contest.  Her poetry, fiction, and haiku have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Monday, September 16, 2013


by Cally Conan-Davies

Flooding in Boulder, Colorado on Wednesday evening, September 11, 2013. Photo posted by brandish on Instagram @photogjake

(An Australian in Colorado relives . . .)

Bring your pillow, what comfort you can carry,
when you evacuate. You wont be home
any time soon.

Keep clear.

Revise your estimate. You will be caught
in a matter of minutes.
Pontoons and yachts are breaking from their moorings,
mangled hulls are hurtling downstream,
battering at the bridges.

Although we sunk our sandbags in the heart
of city streets, and braced against the waters,
the city’s pride— its cafes, party-barges—
powers down the river to destroy us.

The river is collecting all our junk,
rushing away with bathtubs and backyards,
broom-handles, buckets, pots and picnic benches.
Things become missiles when they’re in the flow.

Never cry for what can’t cry for you.

Bury the thought of what waters might unearth;
forget what you’ll recall—
stench, stains, stuff you never thought
would have to be replaced; and despite all
the waters everywhere, we must preserve
our water from the waters.

Find high ground because you cannot know
what lurks inside the waters – snakes, car doors, bodies
wrapped in tarps and blue pool-linings.

Below, backwater bubbles up through drains;
disease will come this way. Sever everything
you thought you knew of water, except for this:

when all revising up and down is done,
and levels finally marked, and mess is cleared,
and rivers shrink from us, and we look back
to praise the volunteers, think of the dead,
and honor the man who held a woman’s son
when the line holding her in his other hand went slack,

we’ll only know how far this flood has spread
when boy and man (see his eyes! how wild the water!)
drown again in the dream where he had caught her.

Cally Conan-Davies taught and practiced bibliotherapy in Melbourne, Australia before moving to the United States in 2012. Her poems have appeared, and are forthcoming, in Poetry, The New Criterion, The Hudson Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Raintown Review, The Sewanee Review and The Southwest Review, among others. She lives in both Colorado and Oregon.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


by Tricia Knoll

The Voyager-1 spacecraft has become the first manmade object to leave the Solar System. "This is really a key milestone that we'd been hoping we would reach when we started this project over 40 years ago - that we would get a spacecraft into interstellar space," said Prof Ed Stone, the chief scientist on the venture. "Scientifically it's a major milestone, but also historically - this is one of those journeys of exploration like circumnavigating the globe for the first time or having a footprint on the Moon for the first time. This is the first time we've begun to explore the space between the stars," he told BBC News.

They deserve a dance
of joy, a cheer, a beer
these people who tracked
that small ship into the outer

limit of imagination, the caffeine,
the endless nights brought home
when science goes further,
goes better, does beyond

into the interstellar cloud
of stardust, the dark where
both goatherds and villains
have stared, wondering. 

Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet. The night sky in western Oregon is frequently obscured by cloud cover. When it's not, she too stares, wondering.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


by Jean Thurston Liebert

Image source: Lowbrow Art Company

In this never-never land of the disabled
    there are unshed tears, I know.
    Tears of pain, stoutly endured,
Tears of frustration stopped in mid-flow.

Intermittent drops causing concern
    are those of loneliness - forever alone.
    Sometimes a good cry can be of comfort
After being deprived of all that one owns.

My unshed tears near the surface
      when I meet tiny Alice
      wandering the halls endlessly,
Seeking her life that used to be.

Ninety-four  year old Jean Thurston Liebert, a New Verse News regular, has moved from her home into an assisted living/residential care facility where she has taken-up the banner for society's oldest. Her daughter tells us, “Because of fading vision and her lack of mobility, Mom taught herself to use an iPad.  And as soon as Comcast connects her, she'll be emailing the next in her poetry series on those ‘sentenced to life’ in facilities for the aged. For my mother to live in this environment,  resist being treated as a child -- a ‘non-person’ -- and to so ably write about the indignities encountered by the very oldest of our seniors, gives hope of a better future for all of us."

Friday, September 13, 2013


by Rick Gray

Horns honked nonstop, and car radios blasted Afghan pop and patriotic tunes. Dancing crowds overwhelmed traffic circles as grinning police looked on. Flares and rockets arced and sparked overhead, and celebratory gunshots rang out, but no one flinched. . . . "It was not lost on the celebrants that Wednesday was the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States that had branded their country a terrorist haven and plunged it into war once more. All day, national television stations here replayed film clips of New York’s twin towers falling and featured solemn interviews with experts about the event." --Washington Post, September 12, 2013. Image source: Twitter.

From a distance it sounds like
More war
But drive in closer and reach
Your open hand
Outside the cracked window
And feel it take hold.
This is nothing like what you dreamed.
It leads you recklessly into cheering mobs
beside your taxi, and won’t let go.
You are together now, and committed
Just like you said you always wanted
And with its free hand it pulls
the trigger of a rusted Kalashnikov
That shouts in English, just for you,
Straight up into thirty years of darkness
It’s over! Afghanistan two! India nothing!

Rick Gray has poems forthcoming in Salamander and Rkvry. His essay Total Darkness will appear in the forthcoming book Neither Here Nor There: An Anthology of Reverse Culture Shock. He teaches at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul. When not in Kabul, he lives with his wife and twin daughters in Florida.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


by Judith Terzi

Jean-Paul:      La ligne rouge? Have you crossed the red line?

Bashar:            Qu'est-ce que c'est?

Jean-Paul:      Did your regime use chemical weapons?

Bashar:            Facebook is a loaded pistol. A powder keg.
                          We are Syrians, not tweets. The story does
                          not hold together. Let me tell you the truth:
                          Hell is social media.

Jean-Paul:       If you were a philosopher, what would you do?

Bashar:            I would stop dyeing my hair, for one. It looks
                          horrible on screen. I would strive to become
                          authentic. How do you say: authentique?
                          I would dance naked with French women.
                          Naked as a worm. French women kiss like rebels,
                          n'est-ce pas? Oh, pardon, I mean like...terrorists.
                          I would sing  Non, je ne regrette rien. Wonderful
                          song. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha...
Jean-Paul:       Did your regime use chemical weapons?

Bashar:            When the rich go to war, women and children
                          die in the blink of an explosion in a tunnel. Red
                          line, red blood, red tulip, jungle red (my wife's
                          lipstick), Russian red, Rudolph red. You see,
                          Syria is a secular regime, Jean-Paul. Stockpiles
                          have no meaning if you are condemned to be free.
Jean-Paul:      Would you leave Syria if safe passage were offered?

Bashar:            Ah, Jean-Paul, the chips are not yet down. How do you
                          say: Les jeux ne sont pas faits?

Jean-Paul:      Oh, you have it wrong, cher Bashar. Les jeux sont faits.
                          So you read my play? What will happen if France
                          decides to strike? Or the U.S.?

Bashar:            I am no fortune teller, Jean-Paul. You can expect
                          the unexpected anywhere, anytime. Ha, ha, ha, ha...
                          Your peoples are no strangers to the accessories
                          of war. Engagement is an act, not a Kind
                          regards from my wife. She wishes you would chill.

Recent poems by Judith Terzi have appeared or are forthcoming in: Malala: Poems for Malala Yousafzai (FutureCycle Press); Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems (Tupelo Press); The Raintown Review; Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s (She Writes Press); and elsewhere. Her fourth chapbook, Ghazal for a Chambermaid, is forthcoming from Finishing Line.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


by Shirani Rajapakse

Image source: Wikipedia

Remember, you said, that day. People
falling from the sky like stars,
burnt out flares unable to cling on. Fire

in the sky metal crashing above. Remember
how it felt as you looked up at the
heavens, the noise deafened

and the dust from the stars crumbled
into your eyes. Horrorstruck, was this the end?
Remember the smell, flesh, iron roasting

cheap like a giant barbecue in the sky
while all around the grey dust of construction
falling like haze on an early morn.

You screamed but no one
heard amidst the noise of a world gone mad.
You cried in vain for what you

couldn’t hold, then forgot as
the years flashed by and they made plans anew
leaving you out of it. No use to no one

anymore.  Remember how you forgot
it all, buried in your life, the chores, the rush
and swirl of work, the demands

of modernity. Remember how she felt falling,
burning, crying. But do remember
how a madman rose in the sky

one day to steal the future leaving her
with tears and nothing else except a few
burnt out shreds. Remember.

Shirani Rajapakse
is a Sri Lankan poet and author. She won the Cha “Betrayal” Poetry Contest 2013. Her collection of short stories, Breaking News (Vijitha Yapa 2011) was shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award. Shirani’s work appears or is forthcoming in Linnet’s Wings, Channels, Spark, Berfrois, Poets Basement, Earthen Lamp Journal, Asian Cha, Dove Tales, Buddhist Poetry Review, About Place Journal, Skylight 47, The Smoking Poet, New Verse News, The Occupy Poetry Project and anthologies Poems for Freedom, Voices Israel Poetry Anthology 2012, Song of Sahel, Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology, World Healing World Peace and Every Child Is Entitled to Innocence.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


by Howie Good

The thin waxing crescent moon and dazzling planet Venus make for a gorgeous evening couple on September 8. Image source: EarthSky.

Hear that? you ask.
Hear what? I say.
Both of us look,
but only you see
the fuzzy gray silhouette
of a bombed building.

Nothing matters
and nothing connects.

The torn gum wrappers
are one small hint.
Elderly tourists
covered in cameras
are another.

You must have been thinking
of a different country,
somewhere where they cut
the sugar cane by hand.

It isn’t until later,
while I’m still shaking my head
at your question,
that the sky bangs shut.

I used to love the dark
or just after,
when there’s no longer
a near and a far
and what may really only
be planets look like stars.

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)

Monday, September 09, 2013


by James Cronin

A change in air soon defines a lonely beach
after Labor Day, as if a calmed breeze,
dark clouds and serene gunmetal seas
could lineate my life’s declining reach.

A world away, the gassed move, but not much,
the juvenile debate of where to draw,
or not, a line in sand. Its final flaw
—the dead don’t count—waits for sand’s tacit touch.

Displayed, as in an Irish wake gone mad,
the bodies, lacking souls that once they had,
their lungs gargled with blood, the air as gun,

it’s murder, and it cries out, but for what?
Revenge?  Justice? The law is pled for naught.
What sire lets sand entomb the rising sun?

After a four decade career in the law, James Cronin has returned to his first loves, literary studies and writing.

Sunday, September 08, 2013


by Howard Winn

I have to confess I am not a block party sort of person
and I live on a block that has an outdoor party
in the neighborhood of Labor Day.
I go, usually, to prove that I am not a snob;
although, I would prefer that those people
ringing the barbecue did not think about the fact
that I am an English teacher. “Oh, English was always
my worst subject,” they say, taking a step backwards
in case I beat them about the head with a run-on sentence,
or attempt surgery without anesthetic on their split infinitive.
Body language is always clear, if not their expository prose.
I suppose I must be a snob since I cannot discuss the Super Bowl,
the World Series, nor do I have another Bud with my burger,
knowing that the Big Mac Double Cheeseburger
is a weapon of mass destruction,
eating and drinking neither at this block back yard party
of the good people in my neighborhood who ask for
a moment of silence from us while one says Grace
to the lawn, the trimmed hedges, the bird feeder where
the squirrels forage, elbowing aside the finch and chickadee.
Deer walk through the yards, consuming ornamental shrubs;
wild turkeys chuckle in the woods at some fowl joke.
Do they all have a moment of holy silence
before consuming the natural and unnatural set before them?

Most recently Howard Winn had poems and fiction published in The Dalhousie Review, Descant (Canada), Cactus Heart, Main Street Rag, Caduceus, Burning Word,  Pennsylvania Literary Journal. Southern Humanities Review, Cutting Edgz and Borderlands. His B. A. is from Vassar College. His graduate degree is from the Writing Program at Stanford University. His doctoral work was done at New York University. He is a State University of New York faculty member.

Saturday, September 07, 2013


by Kim Baker

Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was found hanged just a month after being sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years for holding three women captive in his home, a prison official said.  At his sentencing, he denied doing anything wrong, saying that the victims were "asking for it.", September 4, 2013

We don’t know yet whether he used a bed sheet,
soaked in the sweat of his fear or bravado,
no knife available to slit his wrists, too bloody,
reminder of the way he miscarried her,
no palm full of pills, too dainty for his rage and rationalization
no, this death is not poetic or pain free, does not follow
in a long line of agony and guilt self-killings,
nor a shameful addition to the history of lynching innocents,
this is the only way out for a monster wanting
to continue holding his victims in bondage
as he silences his voice that will never repent.

When she isn’t teaching the abundant virtues of the comma at Roger Williams University School of Law, writing poetry about big hair and Elvis, and doing the Cha Cha, Kim Baker works to end violence against women.  Her poems have been published online and in print and essays broadcast on NPR.  Three short plays have been stage-read at Culture*Park in New Bedford.  Kim’s first chapbook of poetry, Under the Influence:  Musings about Poems and Paintings, is now available from Finishing Line Press.  Kim is currently working on a book of ekphrasis poems about the stories and portrayals of women in the paintings of female artists.  Kim can be reached at bighairedpoet(at) .

Friday, September 06, 2013


by Greg Scott Brown

Khan al-Assal Massacre

I imagine the young man kneeling in a ditch
in Syria would rather hold forth on Miley
and twerking, to wit: simply awkward,

morally bereft, or downright un-American?
The young man kneeling in a ditch
in Syria is not American, of course.

No matter.
Given a choice to debate the reprobate
Miley, or taking a bullet to the brain,

I imagine which choice (which is no choice)
he might make while waiting
to add his blood and brains to the ditch.

Might he imagine something more
than Miley in a Syrian ditch
where his voice is blood and sand and void?

Greg Scott Brown lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he teaches Composition, Critical Thinking and Literature at Los Medanos Community College.


by Will Stockton

On the D train north
D – isn’t that just too cute? –
twerks my husband.
Without cable we live
in 2009. I saw the performance
on YouTube the morning after.
Without cable Miley Cyrus
is still Hannah Montana
and Robin Thicke is no one
we know. Cyrus says – You're
wanting to make history, y'all –
so pulls old strings of slut shaming,
of swift love and theft.
I thread the move into a lyric
I sang on the El south from Fullerton –
Is it worth it? Let me twerk it –
as D, white hipster, high school
musical dancer, bends over to touch
his toes, to keep his balance
as the train swerves left.

Will Stockton is associate professor of English at Clemson, South Carolina, where he teaches Renaissance literature and queer studies. His most recent book, Crush, forthcoming from Punctum Books, is a collection of poems and lyric essays co-written with D. Gilson.


by Barb Crane

    with apologies to James Henry Leigh Hunt

Jenny twerked me when we met,
jumping from the chair she perched in.
Jenny moved in etiquette
that took my breath away. She lurched in
time to music, thrusting hips.
I’m old and weary but she perked me
up, and my lapsed member-ship.
I’m renewed. Jenny twerked me.

Barb Crane has published two chapbooks, Zero Gravitas (White Violet Press, 2012) and Alphabetricks (for children, Daffydowndilly Press, 2013).  In 2011 she won the Helen Schaible International Sonnet Award. Her poems currently appear in The Rotary Dial and Atlanta Review, and are forthcoming in Mezzo Cammin and First Things.

Thursday, September 05, 2013


by The Bangkok Bards 
Saknarin Chinayote & Charles Frederickson

   Decades of incessant bullyrag meddling
    Dysfunctional US versus THEM universals
    Imposing patriotic homeland socialized insecurity
    Anti-communism anti-terrorism anti-violence anti-clockwise rotation
    Having rained napalm white phosphorous
    Agent Orange misty bunker busters
    Misguided drone missiles peed upon
    Raging bonfires burning themselves out
    Contrived false truths catastrophic consequences
    Innocent Vietnamese Cambodians Iraqis Afghanis
    Pakistanis Yemenis Serbs Somalis Libyans
    Prejudged guilty debunking good intentions
    Bloated Cold War machine should’ve
    Been dismantled demobilized long ago
    Collateral damage exceeding exaggerated threats
    Spymeister propaganda bamboozling public awareness
    Taxpayer loot morally bankrupt squandered
    Faceless faded greenback Monopoly revenue
    Funding well-greased assembly line productivity
    Chancy condemned Boardwalk private property
    Thousands of minors major challenge
    Overburdened underage deprived of childhood
    Dispossessed ghosts haunting boogeyman nightmares
    Brainless etchings permanent indelible tattoos

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

Wednesday, September 04, 2013


by David Feela

The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold
And released lethal doses of chemical gold;
And the corpses in white shrouds could not testify
When Assad shook his fist: all the dissidents lie.

So Death spread its wings without making a sound,
no staccato of gunfire, no bombs shook the ground.
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill
And their bodies convulsed before growing quite still.

No gashes or wounds, no bloody revolution;
They died to save bullets, a thrifty solution.
And the UN, they came, took the samples away
To be tested in labs before bodies decay.

And the streets of Damascus are quiet tonight,
And the militants home while they wait for first light;
And how sad the last volley of lies to be hurled
Has melted like snow in the glance of the world.

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.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013


by J. Bradley

SLAUGHTER, LA, Aug. 24, 2013 (WAFB) - East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office officials say they believe an 8-year-old intentionally pulled the trigger and killed an elderly woman Thursday evening right after playing 'Grand Theft Auto IV'. Although they believe it was an intentional crime, according to Louisiana law, the child will not be charged.

Aim for the head; you need
the rest of the body intact.

Reload as dictated. Melt
the spent casings.

Plead with your guests
to ignore the smell.

Ask them how comfortable
mother is as arm chair,

little sister as ottoman.
Tell them about the wine

as you pull a bottle off
your father the wine rack.

J. Bradley is the author of the forthcoming graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014).

Monday, September 02, 2013


by B.Z. Niditch

In this zig zag life
still breathless for a swim
over reddish waves
at summer's ending
a patient first light
stills the crystal waters
where a sun reflects
the cork bottles we throw
overboard into the sea
containing peace wishes,
hoping on some muddy shore
a soft glance will lead
these words like shadows
to speedily embark
with our small voices,
or on earth-wise hooks
to crisscrossed fates
telling with our tongues
to stop quicksands of war,
that with elated eyes
by states along the equator,
between continents
or by a footbridge
children on all fours
at another humid morning
such as this,
searching for fish or shells
outstretched to sail
or diving along a salty beach
will discover our note
and bring into play
what Picasso's dove
would convey.

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; LeGuepard (France); Kadmos (France); Prism International; Jejune (Czech Republic); Leopold Bloom (Budapest); Antioch Review; and Prairie Schooner, among others. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Sunday, September 01, 2013


by Jeff Burt 

When the fish will jump into the net
Then I will as well.
When the grain will gather and compose itself to be ground
Then I will as well.
When the rich will give up their wealth
Then I will as well.
When the glaciers stop calving and breaking silence
With thunderous roars like fathers and mothers
Who have lost their sons and daughters to war
Squelch the deafening cry in their throats
Then I will as well.
When the warriors come home happy
And we take them in the envelope of our arms
And they wish to be taken in by the same arms
That sent them to war
Then I will come home happy as well.

Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California and works in manufacturing.  He has work in Barnwood, Rhino, Verse Wisconsin, The Write Room  and Red River Review.  He likes the aroma of freshly sharpened #2 pencils.


by Tricia Knoll

BBC Panorama has released footage of an apparent incendiary bombing of a playground in Aleppo, northern Syria, with 15-year-old Ahmed (pictured) among those injured. --The Independent (UK), Aug. 30, 2013.

We sang we ain’t gonna study war no more
     no more, no more, no more
     no one really believed it

we boomers
     the children of sixteen million who came home
         after the nuking of Hiroshima, Nagasaki
     children of ones who liked Ike
     we cowered under desks, in pencil dust,
        from atomic bombs
     everyone said wars were cold
     we couldn’t watch the war in Korea over dinner
       some people forgot
no one said World War II was the war to end all wars
     there’s no believing that in death camps
     there’s no hiding the snow and dust
     of camps in Tule Lake

Viet Nam: our lovers talked about Canada
    we sang, we marched, we swore
    war was no longer cold, just secret
    the agents were orange
    we heard death counts
    veterans came home, stooped
       to pick up pieces

We have been there
      green rocket traceries on the night sky
      friendly fire, civilian casualties
      surgical intervention minus surgeons
     Operation Desert Storm    Panama    Libya
     Afghanistan   Iraq   Somalia

we declared wars
   on poverty    hunger     terror
   in the name of enduring freedom

I stand here today tempted to lay my burdens
down -- but there’s no safe place for rusted freedoms.
         Our children are hungry.
         They cannot afford higher education.
         We are still afraid.

Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet whose work has appeared in many journal publications. She is a regular contributor to The New Verse News.


by Judith Terzi

"He targets the genitals but also likes kill shots to the head and chest."

The Karaj al Hajez crossing that spans Aleppo's Queiq River is a no man's land where Syrian residents are picked off daily by a government sniper. --Raja Abdulrahim reporting from Aleppo, Syria, The Los Angeles Times, Aug. 21, 2013.

The crossing spans a river. A no man's land.
A sniper lurks inside Aleppo's City Hall somewhere.
Some victims are lucky, lose only a foot or hand.

Families are separated, the sniper doesn't care.
Yesterday three boys, four girls were killed.
A sniper lurks inside Aleppo's City Hall somewhere.

Mortar fire is heard. Boxes of groceries spill.
And blood. Victims are carried to the rebel side.
Today three women, four babies are killed.

This division of a city allows nowhere to hide.
Cross over the bridge to study, to work, to shop.
The triage team saves lives on the rebel side.

How long can a people bear the danger, the chaos?
An old man bleeds to death, fear forever ebbed.
Cross over the bridge to study, to work, to shop.

In the middle of the terror, a dusty woman begs.
The crossing spans a river. A no man's land.
An old man bleeds to death, fear forever ebbed.
Some victims are lucky, lose only a foot or hand.

Recent poems by Judith Terzi have appeared or are forthcoming in: Malala: Poems for Malala Yousafzai (FutureCycle Press); Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems (Tupelo Press); The Raintown Review; Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s (She Writes Press); and elsewhere. Her fourth chapbook, Ghazal for a Chambermaid, is forthcoming from Finishing Line.