Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Thursday, December 05, 2013


by Rick Gray

Kabul sunrise. Image source: Panoramio

In a locked-down house of disconnection,
this is the hidden room of yellow exclamation.
Outside its mirrored windows dawn explodes the targeted capital
And strikes a starving boy on the corner waving a smoking tin can
Begging for a fragment of fresh luck.

Deserting an endless war of circling thought
I walk away from the blue face of my frozen screen
and step AWOL passed dreaming guards cuddling Kalashnikovs.
Digging down into the animal heat of my thigh
I grip metal jangling against a shriveled coma on antidepressants.

Oh, it’s so nice to stroll in the Kabul Sunrise!
“Give me muddy!” the boy on the corner orders me,
his English broken as my abandoned laptop.
I release my fist and watch Afghan coins drop 
Flaming into the yellow cracks of a hungry human hand.

Rick Gray teaches in Kabul. He has work forthcoming in Salamander and the book, Neither Here Nor There: An Anthology of Reverse Culture Shock.