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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TOTAL INFORMATION AWARENESS

by Buff Whitman-Bradley



Surveillance Shoe | Legoland by Jill Magid


In order to save the National Security Agency
The trouble and expense
I am planning to spy on myself –
After all who is in a better position
To do so?
I will record and report
My every move
But even more than that
I will reveal my inner life
To the authorities
The shapes and colors and contents
Of my thoughts musings longings moods
Memories dreams reflections
In this way providing crucial data
For psychological profiling
That could lead to my arrest
And indefinite detention
Lest single-handedly
On some Tuesday afternoon
I overthrow the government.
I would proudly and humbly
Accept a medal from Congress
And the thanks of a grateful nation
For helping to avert anarchy in the streets
But whether or not I receive a hero’s acclaim
For my innovative and brilliant spooking
I will pass my days
In maximum security solitary confinement
Comforted by the knowledge
That I have rendered invaluable service in the struggle
To keep America free


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.

Monday, April 29, 2013

PENSION ADVANCE

by Ellen Devlin

“A review by The New York Times of more than two dozen contracts for pension-based loans found that after factoring in various fees, the effective interest rates ranged from 27 percent to 106 percent — information not disclosed in the ads or in the contracts themselves. Furthermore, to qualify for one of the loans, borrowers are sometimes required to take out a life insurance policy that names the lender as the sole beneficiary. LumpSum Pension Advance and Pension Funding did not return calls and e-mails for comment.” --NY Times, April 27, 2013


Tattooed ticket- taker,
here to loot-
( tasteful tattoo and
a well-fitting suit ).

Amusement park ride,
your body goes faster-
speed of aging,              
speed of disaster.

Kid takes your pension
he's saving you? It's 
a few more Doritos,
maybe fix your car, too.

Pulls the bar down,
your strap doesn't work?
106% interest-
a short ride to broke.

He's yanking your floorboards,
what's left of your teeth,
Get out of that car!
Kid is a thief.


Ellen Devlin is a poet and an artist who sometimes mixes the two. She has studied at Bread Loaf and at the Hudson Valley Writers Center.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

HE SAID I'LL LOVE YOU . . .

by David Chorlton






It takes a slide guitar
accompanied by strings and a backup trio
with sweet, high voices
to fit an opera-sized grief
into a country song. This is where
art portrays feelings
unbearable in life, whether
concerning royalty, gods, or just a man
who lost a woman
and drinks her memory
until the bars close every night.
A singer once, recording
the second take for what became
his greatest hit, stared through
the studio window
at his former wife and never took his eyes
off her until the final
chorus faded. The moment
could have been translated
into Italian, reconstructed on a stage
at La Scala or the Met
with a soprano and a tenor
bringing the audience to tears
the way we might
on learning that George today
at last got over Tammy.

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.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

SEQUESTRATED POEM

by J.R. Solonche





No matter the cost or severity,
we poets adjust for aust . . .



J.R. Solonche is co-author (with wife Joan Siegel) of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). His poems have appeared in many magazines, journals, and anthologies since the 1970s. He teaches at SUNY Orange in Middletown, New York.

Friday, April 26, 2013

INTERIOR

by Dale Ritterbusch


Image source: U.S. Air Force


Two dogs bark back and forth, a common
interruption in summer, but this a cold
night in March, still a foot, maybe more, of snow
on the ground.  He listens, stops thinking
for a moment, turns back to his book,
but nothing holds his attention.  Returned from
a long trip to the interior of a place
he had never been before, he
wants to reflect yet at the same time rid himself
of everything he’d seen: a man bit by a venomous snake
who just sat down and waited;
long worms white and thin as spaghetti
swimming like sea snakes in the drinking water;
bodies carved with machetes,
their limbs swelled in the sun like bratwurst;
and children living in the ruins
of a colonial mission, suspicion in their eyes
when any adult walked near.  These were all
things he’d known or heard of before, of course,
no matter where he traveled or when.  Field workers,
maimed and limbless because of mines, neglect, political
philosophy, it didn’t matter.  Better to stay home
and read about the world, to let considered reflection
or a splendid forgetting get in the way,
like that small boy in the road
the convoy didn’t brake for, because no one
stops for anything in that place


Dale Ritterbusch is the author of two collections of poetry, Lessons Learned (1995) and Far From the Temple of Heaven (2005).  He is a Professor of Languages and Literatures at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he teaches creative writing and literature.  Currently he is the Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of English & Fine Arts at the United States Air Force Academy.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

PREAMBLE

by Lucille Gang Shulklapper


Mitch McConnell - Caricature

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, open our floodgates to end political confusion, we are neither props nor emotional blackmailers, we are citizen cops, and justice nailers, we are the ones who know, you can’t easily track bombs that blow, limbs and lives apart, without a heart, that the NRA has erased, by not allowing taggits in gunpowder to be traced,  that one of us found the tarp bloodied, one of us found Congress studied a poll and a vote, not the body in a boat, who represents our collective desire to demand,  in this our democratic hallowed land, our voice to be respected, from the officials we elected.


Lucille Gang Shulklapper writes poetry and fiction.  She has been published in many journals and anthologies, as well as in four poetry chapbooks.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

WHAT BASEBALL MEANS TO ME

by Zach Fishel





Somewhere in
between the worn edge
of my debit card and bar tabs
sings the sound of an old
guitar leaning
forgotten between
            portfolios and pie charts.
The dust collects
                        as the paint cracks
on every Midwestern
water tower,
                        reaching starward
against this flatness.
            Roaring like the extra
jets arcing overhead,
too many blasts,
            bottles,
            bombings bursting
in bottlenecks as balding
            and half cracked
bells ring out of
their ipods,
            On metro rails, and city subs,
The red and blue lines
pump us through the El or
into happy hours
and coney dogs.  
With the patience
of a forgotten
tree house,
you wait
            for us to remember,
            how to climb
            back to
our thoughts
and prayers,
the quiet little toughness
of deciding to
            cuff that old
bully on picture day.
                        Unless it means
Actually showing up to practice. 


Zach Fishel is the poetry editor for the University of Toledo Press as well as operator of Horehound Press, which specializes in limited run books and broadsides. His poetry has twice received Pushcart Nominations and has appeared in multiple countries. He can be contacted at zachary.fishel(at)gmail.com for all writerly things, especially his chapbook Prayerbook Bouquet

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

FIVE YEARS OLD

by Lavinia Kumar




On the cold floor of void the child cries.
And in the echo she hears only the buzz
of a fly she cannot see.  There’s no end
to the hurt in the fiery bumps once
her face, in the knife edge hackings
over her bottom half.  And he did it.

She brought him water as was proper
for a child.  Then in his room she heard
her screams and his loud breathing
as he tore the blue dress her aunt bought
for her birthday last week – her mother
would be so mad.  And then he did it.

And he did it again.  And more.  Punched
her face when she cried.  Now she feels
hardness of the floor.  Wants to run if
he’s gone.  Cannot move.  Hears the fly again. 
Cannot hear her mother.  Hears her cries.
He put candles in her.  She emptied when he did it.


Lavinia Kumar lives in New Jersey. Her chapbook Rivers of Saris is published by Main Street Rag and her poetry has appeared in several publications in the US and UK. She writes a blog for seniorsmagazine.org , and is an editor of children’s poetry at PoetryWITS.

Monday, April 22, 2013

HELL NIGHT

by Meaghan Ford


Image source: WBZ (CBS Boston)


I dragged all the blankets into the bath tub, raided my closets for pillows. Someone

told me to stay away from the windows and my bathroom is swallowed by the dark.

The police scanner snarls until I fall asleep, fitful. I dream about explosions and body 

parts walking disjointed through downtown looking for their owners. In the morning,

the only things in my refrigerator are water, eggs, and beer. And I've already had breakfast.


The tanks going by my window look more like a movie when I'm drunk. And I am not drunk.

My stomach is a swarm. The television glows. I'm making bare pasta in my bra, hair wet 

from the shower after the lockdown is lifted. Then, shots fired in Watertown and the city

is screaming again. While the bomber is pinned down in a boat my friends tell me about 

gunshots and flash bangs and how loud their fear is. They talk about blood and his age

while everyone waits for it to be over. And then dancing. The people flood the streets.


I eat all of the Oreos, put my feet up, and open each brown bottle slow, meticulous.


Meaghan Ford is a writer from New Jersey who fell in love with the big city shit. She's a regular at the Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge  and has helped organize the National Poetry Slam in both 2011 and 2013. Her work has appeared in Amethyst Arsenic, Phantom Kangaroo, The Legendary, and The Scrambler; she was also a 2012 Write Bloody finalist. Most days she can be found lurking around the local food trucks or taking dystopian photographs in odd places.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

AFTER THE BOMBING

by Howie Good


Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos


Every bush strung
with shreds of bloodstained light,
there’s so much still to suffer,

an Atlantic of emptiness,
greasy & barely moving,
a slow-creeping blue creation,

like the drone of flies
from an adjoining world.


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.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

IMPOSSIBLE TO PAINT, NATURE PERSISTS

by Connolly Ryan


Image credit: suzym / 123RF Stock Photo


That stillness that fills you
larger than up,
smaller than down,
like circles of ducks
upon circles—micro-replicas
of any inkling
imagined or un-,
awash with motionlessness
and the commotion thereof.

The way the illumined blob
of sunlight elongates
in increments across the lake
is miraculous.
It’s as if God is inside
everything that is outside.

Today in Boston
a pair of bombs
at the Marathon finish-line—
shattered glass, splattered blood--
left three dead, a hundred wounded,
de-limbed and counting—
the city and the terror
of its ways. But here
in Look Park, a beaver
nibbles for decades
on a long twig, rapid twitchy
lovebites creating tiny plosions
in the water, then a bird-blur,
possibly a phoebe,
snags a dragonfly
in the throes of aerial cursive.

News of the blast
creeps through the park,
insinuating its menace
upon the pastoral strollers—
rumors of terror,
homegrown or imported,
possibly of cells, obligingly abound.

But the ducks, the phoebe, the beaver
(who, with a perfect oily sleek flip
vanishes then resurfaces
twenty yards away, new to itself)
and the lake,
with signature resignation,
sustain their modest ecstacy,
wisely oblivious
to the spectacular unkindness
unique to mankind: the only
entity to whom
God and Love
are intangible.


Connolly Ryan was born in Greenwich Village, New York in 1967. He is currently a professor of literature at University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he was thrice a finalist for the Distinguished Teaching Award. His visceral and witty poetry has been published in various journals including Bateau, Ditch, Umbrella, Citron, Satire, Scythe, Slope, Meat For Tea, Pannax Index, Satire and Old Crow. He is also a multiple Pushcart nominee. He has two finished Manuscripts: Fort Polio and The Uncle Becky Chronicles.

Friday, April 19, 2013

RUN

by Mitch Grabois




I was always disgusted by my younger sister
a sloppy teenager,
by the time she graduated high school
porcine
the kind of girl that develops a sense of humor
to compensate for all the good things in life
her lack of self-discipline denies her

Somewhere along the way she developed the habit
of slapping her knee when she finds something funny
the only person I’ve ever known who takes
“That’s really a knee-slapper” literally

Over the years, though, I took a kinder view of her
as my own self-discipline slipped
eroded by divorce and an ever-weakening relationship with my son
Her crutch was food, mine drink

Then, at age thirty-eight, something happened to her
I suspect she fell in love
and was spurned
as a fatty

She began running
became increasingly fanatic
ran early in the morning before work
and sometimes in the evening after work
in rain
snow, swelter
Sweat ran from her, detoxification

She became as beautiful as
our mother in her youth

Me, I met a divorcee who owns a house on Cape Cod
Her voice is aristocratic
and she openly despises most people
though she accepts me,
my flaws and foibles
a mirror image of hers

That morning
we were both badly hung-over
She stepped on her Shi’ Tzu’s foot, it yelped
and she burst into tears
but I’d promised my sister
we’d come see her finish the Boston Marathon
013 her lucky number

I didn’t recognize her at first
sinewy
with frosted hair

Then I pointed her out to my new paramour
and we watched her approach the finish line
exhausted
but tenacious

The earth lurched
and because I’d lived so long in California
I thought: earthquake

but instantaneously I heard thunder, saw smoke
 and my sister’s legs
--what were they doing?—
making a sprint for the finish line on their own?


Mitch Grabois was born in the Bronx and now lives in Denver. His short fiction and poetry appears in close to two hundred literary magazines, most recently The T.J. Eckleberg Review, Memoir Journal, Out of Our and The Blue Hour. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, published by Xavier Vargas E-ditions, is available for all e-readers for 99 cents through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. A print edition is also available through Amazon.

GUN RUNNERS

by Frederick Shiels





We blame the NRA and we are right
We blame the senators who promised and who fled
We blame those deaf to Gabby Giffords' words
We blame the treason to the Newtown dead,

Children who might have grown to shoot a gun
With 10, 20, 30-round clips at firing ranges
Or much more likely so our pollsters say
Joined generations in demanding changes,

We’re told that frontier heritage floods the veins
Of hunters bred from generations shooting game
To feed their families, or to settle scores, or
Amendment Two invoked to silence 'Shame'!

Cried out by families of the dead and maimed
And those who stand With them, asking why
Their Congress fears those background checks and more
The voters who will end their time upon the Hill,

The NRA ‘knows’ it’s people and not guns that kill
And more, that offense is the best defense
And so it falls to Bloomberg, you and me
To jettison sweet reason for sweet cash,

To target at election time not just
Those who caved to those who swore to stand
Against the firearms absolutists, but those
Who never gave a thought to voting Yes,

Yes to sane measures-- these must be made to sweat
Offense best defense indeed and yet,
At last only more educated wrath will win
Souls at the polls to redefine what’s Sin.

Sin is allowing the likes of Wayne Pierre
To frame the debate year after year after year.


Frederick Shiels is an aspiring poet and Prof. Emeritus of Politics and History at Mercy College. A few of his longtime friends are Second Amendment nuts.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

THOUGHTS ON TERRORISM

by David S. Pointer




The Boston Marathon
Bombings had me thinking
about the Olympic Games
in 1972 when Black September
killed athletes, and the world
has never come to laud acts
of terrorism, and can’t find
the will for lasting world
peace yet nobody seems to
know how much ethical
deliberation it takes to light
a fuse, build a bomb or lie
on TV about drones killing
all those global children


David S. Pointer served as a Marine military policeman from 1980-1984. Currently, he serves on the advisory panel at “Writing For Peace.”

BURYING THATCHER

by Chris O’Carroll



Margaret Thatcher Funeral: Anger Mounts As Britons Oppose Paying For £10million Service --Fiona Keating, International Business Times, April 14, 2013


Would you splurge 10 million quid
To put her in the ground?  They did.

Back in the Eighties, ’twould have been
A bargain.  Now, it’s just obscene.


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.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

THE AFTERMATH

by Tricia Knoll






At the very finish,
when all the banners fall
and the sirens silence on to home,
legs knocked out from under
holding dear traditions
in our cheers for those who dare
their best and longest and smartest
of what is mammal in us
and human racing
for the joy of wind
in our hair, and the silver blanket
descends, doubling us at the waist,

someone will count
all the ways we hurt
and all that we have lost.


Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet who has run three marathons -- each a learning experience of potential and patience. She ran this morning in full sun behind a garbage truck -- and left home the fantasy that she was winning Boston.

SHARON OLDS, PULITZER PRIZE WINNING POET, BUMPED FROM PBS BY BOMBS

by Alan Catlin


Her book of personal loss,
a marriage gone way wrong,
intense as personal grief can be.

Moving on, recovery, takes years,
if ever; a lifetime, if you are lucky.

This day, Tax Day, Patriot’s Day,
a time of celebration for millions,
the hundreds upon thousands of
people who ran a marathon or who came
to watch as the race is run.

And, Sharon’s Stag’s Leap to be feted
on National TV as well, as it should be,
bumped from the spot by terrorists’
bombs and we all mourn the loss.

Come back Sharon,
come back

we need words that heal.


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.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

MARATHON

by James Penha



                                           after Lucian of Samosata

Philippides, who could run all day
reported the Marathon victory
to the judges awaiting the outcome,
saying, ‘Rejoice, we have won,’
and saying this, died
at the same time as his report,
expiring with the salutation.


James Penha edits The New Verse News.

COPLEY SQUARE

by Becky Harblin


Aftermath of two bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon finish line. Two people were initially reported killed and many others injured.


Red sky sunset
no sailors delight
on this Patriots day.

Healthy bodies trained
for personal bests
hurt by a morass of hate.

We don't know why.

But eventually blame will be laid
and bodies sadly to rest.

And somewhere laurels given
among the sick minds
who glory in their own hate.

We don't know why.

Yet, drums of revenge
are already beating.

We don't know why.
Humans are so small.


Becky Harblin sends with this poem love to Boston and all the runners.

Monday, April 15, 2013

NO. 2

by Sean J. Mahoney



Jose Gutierrez
You first surfaced 22 years ago, rising
From the concrete with much promise.
You are casualty number two,
From Camp Pendleton.

Perhaps you were the one who gave
Us directions to building 73A: down the road
A bit, past the cannon, turn right. We may
Have never met. You may never have asked
Me about the principals of electromagnetics
Though you wanted to know. You may
Have been jogging with your unit to song,
sweat turning your desert t-shirt
Into an apron of badges.

You could have been in one of the copters,
Practicing, too busy to see that we had located
The communications line the brass
Were so worried about. Maybe you were
In the mess when we opened up the sewers
To determine where all the shit went.

Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez -
You were combat casualty number two,
Killed in southern Iraq March 21, 2003,
Pieces of you will remain there.
The Republic of the Soil will erode
And wipe your thumb out over time,
Change the chemical properties,
And release your minerals.

I can imagine that as a tick feeding from you
While you had pulse and pause, I discerned
A lapse in your genetic rouge,
Chips in the clay of your latino
Beauty. And, knowing your end
Approached and no council could deter
That fact, I crept away and tucked into
Your wife’s folds. I would whisper
Into her skin the things I knew of you
As I fed: that you would have fathered
Two more, read Dianetics, won
16 grand in the lottery and lost most
Of it at the track. And that this
Would have come to pass once
You had broken your leg playing football
With the boys on a Saturday, Budweiser
Abounding. You would have slowed down,
Grown a bit around the middle,
Begun smoking cigars and paying
For manicures at the salon with
The wicked sexy Vietnamese lady.
I would issue into your wife anything
And everything about angels, guts
And glory of country for I am a bellcap
Of sorrow and brave people need
To stand up and tell the truth. But she
Does not hear that you will die soon,
And accidentally.

Jose Gutierrez - if I could have set
A 5-foot by 5-foot grid around you,
Marched up and down
The backfill of your life
With a conductivity meter
Through painted barrios and brush
Loaded with ticks I may have found
The locale your composition caved
And registered void.
Or, had I lit you up
With an 8 megahertz current,
I could have measured your growth
And your linear trend from
Your first surface expression
As breathing conduit to copper child
To weathered teenager to rusty
Soldier, to where your line vanished,
Ended suddenly
And without explanation.

That is what happens.
I could have told you where,
Not that it would have made
A difference. I still do not know
Why.

This is what happened.
Jose Gutierrez  - you first surfaced
22 years ago,
Rising from the concrete
With much promise.


Sean J. Mahoney lives with his wife, her parents, an Uglydoll, and three dogs in Santa Ana, CA. He works in geophysics after studying literature and poetry in school. His first published  piece appeared in the Fall 2012 issue of MiPOesias.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT

by J.D. Smith



Someone may have wondered
How much does a mountain weigh?

There was no great balance to set it on,
no human scale, but the question
could be divided, layers taken and tallied
with rounding of inevitable error.

Perhaps the only way to pay for this answer
was to sell off the resulting heaps
of shorn stone and dust,

which some believed
would lighten, if not the earth,
our passage over it.


J.D. Smith’s third collection, Labor Day at Venice Beach, will be published later this year, as will his first humor collection, Notes of a Tourist on Planet Earth. His poems have appeared in journals and sites including 99 Poems for the 99 Percent, Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, Texas Review, and Dark Mountain 3.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

PROTEST CONTEST

by The Bangkok Bards
Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote
 

Dizzy dysfunctional globe rotating counterclockwise
Unnatural disasters undermining climate change
Iffy topsy-turvy meteor illogical forecast
Gyroscopic spin out of control
 
Gay marriage scared straight mirage
Supreme Court deliberations wrongly rightist
Bribe & groom inequitable morals corruption
Legitimate answers out ovda question
 
Anti-social network disconnected jobless youth
Uncivil war wages out-profiting peace
Uncommon cause mass insanity slaughter
Mindfully hidden out of sight
 
Fracking has changed game-plan favoring
Wind generation solar sun power
Unnatural NRG policies oily motives
Running-on-running out of gas
 
Incorporated stealthy wealthy unlimited greed
Wall Street versus Main Street
Marching to different drummer percussion
Dissonant voices out of tune
 
Outlandish aliens second class non-citizens
Wheeler-dealer Americano roulette losing gambit
Lesser humanimals lowly snake eyes
Tarot misfortune out of luck


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

Friday, April 12, 2013

NOTES ON AN APRIL DAY

by David Chorlton



We returned a pigeon to the sky
where he belongs this morning.
Otherwise, it’s a quiet day

if we ignore the news
of the nuclear mouthed supreme
leader watching oriental snow
fall through his binoculars.
There’s fresh snow too

in the country we left behind
where spring comes in disguise.
Is it caused by climate change

or was the past like this
and we simply forgot?
It’s ninety degrees today
in Arizona, where the legislature
wants to take away civil unions
and give schoolteachers guns.

The mailman delivered only
the usual requests for money
while the same message keeps landing
in the electronic inbox
from a friend whose mind

we hear is becoming like snow
and melting away. What use
is information to her, from radio
or the press? Why bother
telling her the world she tried to improve
is refusing assistance? It’s better to reply

with a few words to say
how gently the afternoon has passed
and hold on to whatever peace
is ours to share.


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.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

THE SUPPORT OF SPORTS

by Tricia Knoll

The raffle of an AR-15 assault rifle to raise money for the Saint Helens Girls Softball League will get a public airing at a community meeting Thursday. --Stuart Tomlinson, The Oregonian,  March 20, 2013


I pulled a red Radio Flyer wagon
full of Girl Scout cookies from door to door --
when doors opened with smiles
we assumed were safe.

Despite my wicked field hockey stick,
in high school my only role I could play in sports
was timing the breast stroke in boy’s swimming meets.
Then I bought bras with a label saying Title IX --

and yes, I bought a Barbie Doll or two
for my daughter -- and watched without dismay
when the cattle dog chewed off an arm and then a leg.
I’ve sold dozens of dozens of tulips to raise

money for a high school trip to Paraguay
and delivered those bouquets in a mail cart
to workers’ desks in an office tower
for a month. Flimsy wrapping paper --

we sold that too. Silk-screened t-shirts
for soccer. Chocolate bars for track.
Magazine subscriptions for volleyball. Florida
oranges by the crate, delivered to front doors.

Joannie Benoit won gold in the first
women’s Olympic marathon -- a big moment
for this plowhorse-style distance runner.
Young girls, find your road to fitness,
sweat, movement, teamwork,
combat if you want it.

But please don’t raffle rifles.


Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet with a long, long love of sport and movement.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

WITH GENTLY STREAMING EYES

by Jerome Betts





FARMING leaders have warned that up to an estimated 10,000 ewes and lambs have died in the recent snowstorms, costing the industry hundreds of thousands of pounds and leaving farms struggling to stay afloat. --The Herald (Scotland), 10 April 2013
 

Poor lambs! No chance to play your parts
On legs that learn to leap and run
And touch so many human hearts
With games and gambols in the sun?

Your jumping joints won’t now assert
That spring’s a time to cast off cares −
Though youth and charm would not avert
Your fate as bloody butchers’ wares.


Jerome Betts lives in Devon, England, and has contributed verse to LightenUp OnLine, New Verse News, Per Contra, Snakeskin and Tilt-A-Whirl, as well as numerous print publications.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

ABOUT APPLES

by Rick Gray





Yes, I heard about your bombing today.
Another improvised scrap of death
Planted inside a truckload of apples.

This isn’t about your success.
It’s about apples, driven by ordinary men
into this raped and hungry city every day.

Round, delicious things glowing yellow, green, red,
A traveling circus nourishing even beggars
Quick enough to lift the fallen.         

I have spied blue angels
Slip these wounded below burqas
And carry home your civilian dead 

And all along the muddy roadsides
People you cannot control pile them in little pyramids
Like temples to the God you hate

Who needs no prophet
or book
Only her sweet juice

And a mouth with a few real teeth
Willing to bite down hard
and chew.


Rick Gray was a finalist for the Editor's Award at Margie. He served in the Peace Corps in Kenya and currently teaches at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul.

EPITAPH FOR MARGARET THATCHER

by J.R. Solonche

Spitting Image puppet of Maggie Thatcher (sorry about the reflected lights!)

The Iron Lady is deceas'd.
So may her soul now rust in peace.


J.R. Solonche is co-author (with wife Joan Siegel) of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). His poems have appeared in many magazines, journals, and anthologies since the 1970s. He teaches at SUNY Orange in Middletown, New York.

Monday, April 08, 2013

THE CORPORATOCRACY

by Buff Whitman-Bradley


Wall Street Bull Behind Bars - Illustration


The beast has many bellies
The beast has many eyes
But does not have a single ear
To hear the children’s cries

The beast has certain methods
For entering our heads
For trampling on our spirits
And leaving them for dead

It sells us worthless trinkets
And artificial dreams
It hijacks our tomorrows
With twisted scams and schemes

It threatens and intimidates
To silence all our voices
While chillingly intoning that
There are no other choices!

The beast is always famished
Lucre’s what it eats
It finds the pennies of the poor
Particularly sweet

And when old people die of cold
And infants starve to death
The gorging beast feels not a twinge
Of sorrow or regret

The beast has many bellies
The beast has many eyes
But does not have a beating heart
To heed the children’s cries


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.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

LOOKING FOR THOREAU

by William Cullen, Jr.



“Thoreau with iPhone” by Gretchen Stephenson, The New Yorker, February 1, 2011


Here at Walden Pond
pilgrims outnumber the trees
with their cell phone tones
mimicking every woodland song
the mocking bird is heard no more.


William Cullen, Jr., is a veteran and works at a non-profit in Brooklyn, NY. His poetry has appeared in Camroc Press Review, Gulf Stream, Pirene's Fountain, Right Hand Pointing, Spillway, Willows Wept Review, Word Riot and Written River.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

A ROUTINE BOMB

by Michael Ratcliffe



“Hardly a week goes by in Germany without an unexploded bomb from World War II being found at a construction site or in another location.  [This past Wednesday, 3 April 2013, one such bomb was found in Berlin.] Authorities detonated a bomb in Munich on Tuesday night, August 28, 2012, after efforts to defuse it were unsuccessful. It wasn’t the only bomb scare in Europe that week.” --Der Spiegel On-line, August 28 and 29, 2012


A bomb, five hundred-fifty pounds
of rusted steel, corroded wires, decayed explosives,
found beneath Munich’s center
where it lay hidden since World War Two,
buried in the rubble left by other bombs,
covered as the city rebuilt and tried to forget war;
uncovered by workers sixty-seven years later.

In beer halls and cafés, homes and offices,
curiosity and questions:
When was the last bomb found?
How will it be disposed?
Should we be worried?
This relic of the past,
this failed deliverer of death,
becomes part of the city’s chatter,
along with the economy,
the Greek debt crisis,
and the unseasonably hot weather.

The experts, unable to defuse the bomb,
decide to detonate,
and make plans for a controlled explosion.

At the dinner table, a family talks
about other bombs, routinely disposed—
one defused just the week before in Nuremburg.
They pass the meat and then the bread
and talk about the planned explosion.
The children ask if they will see the blast,
but they are in the evacuation zone
and must leave in the morning—
father suggests a day in the Alps.

A mother leaves her downtown office
and makes her way home, her usual route closed.
It was her country that dropped the bomb.
This is all so strange and foreign—
just part of the European experience, she tells herself.
She assures her children there is no need to worry,
old bombs are found all the time.
Her young daughter listens, but has heard that bombs kill.
She tugs on her mother, and asks if they will be okay.

An old woman remembers bombs falling,
and all the friends and relatives lost to those that did not fail.
She knows bombs kill.
She draws the curtains across the windows,
goes to the basement and huddles in a corner,
where she thinks about her mother
and how they would hold each other tight
whenever the bombs fell,
and pray they would be alive the next day.

August 28, 2012:
A Sufi cleric killed in Dagestan;
four dead in a truck in Kandahar;
one dead, seven wounded in Fallujah;
twenty-seven killed in Damascus;
bank windows shattered in Athens;
a memorial service for Israelis killed in Sofia.
In Aleppo, men, women, and children huddle in fear
as their government continues to bomb the city,
sometimes striking as they stand in line for bread.
In Munich, experts covered the bomb with sand and straw.
The controlled explosion shattered windows,
sparked a few fires, which were quickly doused.
The next day, the city returns to its routine.
In the beer halls and cafés, homes and offices,
talk turns to the economy,
the end of August holidays,
and the much-needed rain
that turns the bomb’s crater
into just another muddy hole.



Michael Ratcliffe lives and writes in the suburbs of Baltimore and Washington area.  His poems have appeared in Symmetry Pebbles, Loch Raven Review, Do Not Look at the Sun, Poetry Quarterly, The Copperfield Review, The Little Patuxent Review, and You Are Here: the Journal of Creative Geography.

Friday, April 05, 2013

THE RED LINE

by Roger Sedarat 
 

Mahmoud Ahmadinajad by Tamer Youssef


                “We will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear
                weapon.” -- Leon Panetta (former US Defense Secretary)

“Where’s all this terror they find in Iran?”
She asked, over the New York Times. “They act
Like it’s the Nazis or the Soviets.”
Long married, they’d had this same talk before.
He wanted to take notes on what they said,
Banal reporter instead of poet.
“They mean the military threat.” He poured
More coffee, pleased to stir the pot again.
“Okay,” she said, the iPad in her hand:
“A single missile on a transport truck.
I saw one of these last time in Shiraz;
They brought it out in some stupid parade
To show their military might (such men).
It’s really all they fucking had besides
Teen soldiers, bearded boys who looked hungry,
As if they missed their moms.” It was his turn
To launch a counterstrike, antagonize
The enemy like Ahmadinejad.
“How do we know what they might be hiding?”
She dropped her breakfast bar and rolled her eyes.
“Oh sure, a nuke! Just like Bush with Iraq;
I think the threat’s completely overblown,
A bluff in poker.” “But Muslims don’t bet,”
He interjected. Using his smug tone
She knew belonged in academia.
“Oh Roger! You’re just looking for a fight!”
“I know,” he said, ‘performing’ my Iran.”
“I know,” she said with heavy sarcasm.
“It all comes down to art for you, who cares
About reality as long as it
Becomes a poem.” “Life is just a dream,”
He said in Persian. “Just a dream?” she asked.
“Suppose we drop real bombs and people die.”
“But you yourself keep saying it’s a game.”
He knew this last comeback had gone too far.
“You’re being difficult!” She slammed her fist.
“I know, and so are you,” he said in kind.
“It’s like we’re taking turns at acting like
The U.S. and Iran, always at war.”
She sighed, frustratingly, and he sighed back,
Aware how much she hated being mocked.
In silence they went back to the paper,
Avoiding talk of new conflicts they read.


Roger Sedarat is the author of two poetry collections: Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic, which won Ohio UP's 2007 Hollis Summers' Prize, and Ghazal Games (Ohio UP, 2011). He teaches poetry and literary translation in the MFA Program at Queens College, City University of New York.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

OUR SAD NEW WORLD

by Eric Greene



http://www.davegranlund.com/cartoons/



Helicopters circle 'round
the little red brick school.

Policemen guard the schoolhouse door,
enforcing strict new rules.

Teacher keeps a loaded gun
inside her pencil drawer.

Mary doesn't bring her lamb
to visit anymore.

 
Eric Greene is a singer-songwriter and poet, who lives in SE Michigan. His first poem accepted for publication will appear in Troubadour 21: Writers and Artists in the 21st Century.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

ICARUS IN INDIANAPOLIS

by Earl J. Wilcox

kevinware


He flies through the feverish air, effortlessly,
raises muscled arms to stop the three-point shot.

His whole body is fueled by forces favoring
the young—the roaring crowd, fame,

the Final Four, a life-changing game.
Soaring and soaring and soaring, he falls,

then falls again, fast---a leg awkwardly bends,
a broken bone pierces his skin. With him,

the world cries in agony.

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 TheNew Verse News. More of Earl's poetry appears at his blog, Writing by Earl.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

TIME FOR THE INDIGENOUS

by B.Z. Niditch


Former Guatemalan dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt goes on trial
Image source: ianbunn
 

The big people,
even prime ministers
face the cry of justice
all over the world,
think of it
through international law
we may now retrace
any dictator's steps
with his cruel hostility
when in a past century
of genocide and penury
he could decide our fate
as a head of state,
now the ordinary people
can take the stand
among theft and murder
and speak up
as witnesses of atrocity
and have the back
against those who plot
the misery of others,
after all,
nothing is more true
that we are
all sisters and brothers.
 


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.

Monday, April 01, 2013

TAKING THE MOUND

by Mick Murphy


Thomas Eakins
Baseball Players Practicing, 1875
Watercolor on paper
Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design


​                For Robbie

​You tidy up,
​as in a boys room,
​moving the earth around.

​Dirt and small bits of stone
​the rakes passed over.

​Sins of omission if
​left untended can cost you
​the game.

​Your pitcher’s crease
​is lamb white, your heart
​the same.

​Yet unmarked by the spikes
​of the enemy.

​Your arms are supple and
​ready under home
​cotton whites.

​Your glove new leather
​oiled and shaped the night before.

​You love our summer game.
​But they come, the people from
​the world, and you have to pitch to them.


Mick Murphy is astudent of Amy Holman at the Hudson Valley Writers center in Sleepy Hollow New York. A former business executive, he has studied and written poems for many years. His work looks at personal and spiritual issues and the intersection of these with the life of his generation. He lives in the Hudson Valley of New York. He also writes about sports.