Guidelines



Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at]gmail.com.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

Sunday, June 30, 2013

SMALL WAR

by Richard O'Connell


Image Source: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism


Evil is statistical: a long-range game of mind:
Programming the data: it's merely a matter
Of parallel logistics: a mythic country
Ground in the joint jaws of an identical cancer.

Look at the map: It's a lesson in dissolution.
It could go on forever if we're careful,
Diverting blood and the precise amount of terror:
The only treason: reason: quelling the confusion.

It's a matter of girding them: a bright meat grinder:
Of obfuscating all the nasty boring facts:
Those muddy faces fleeing towards you from vague fire,
Carrying their homes and the maimed on their backs.


Richard O'Connell lives in Hillsboro Beach, Florida. Collections of his poetry include RetroWorlds, Simulations, Voyages, and The Bright Tower, all published by the University of Salzburg Press (now Poetry Salzburg). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Measure, Trinacria The Atlantic Monthly, National Review, Margie, The Texas Review, Acumen, The Formalist, Light.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

AFFIRMATIVE

by The Bangkok Bards
Saknarin Chinayote & Charles Frederickson



Say yes to natural existence
Observing how plants animals grow
Learning to live dying gracefully
Acceptance simply being truly yourself

Life’s rhythms coexisting in harmony
Unfinished symphony awaiting upbeat coda
Spiritual serenity vision quest guide
Wholehearted cooperation with inevitable Fate

Accepting things we cannot change
Focusing on making positive adjustments
Governing ourselves without being overruled
By external circumstances beyond control

Seedling sprouting from infertile soil
Revitalized cool breezes soothing angst
Overburdened restless spirit regaining strength
Restorative nature uplifting serene oneness

If only I could grow
Stronger firmer quieter perceptively wiser
Learning what sedentary rocks know
Perpetual stillness simply being content

Life adapts to irresistible spontaneous
Change letting things flow calmly
Nurturing nature’s strange creatures world
Freely running own predestined course


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

Friday, June 28, 2013

DRIVE-BY PROTEST

by Mark Danowsky





Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves.
                                                                                   -Ralph Waldo Emerson



I’m listening to DFW read This is Water
while driving Route 30 midday
on office errands.

This time, I slow down
& shake my fist at two human billboards
in protest of their protest
against women’s reproductive rights.

The result could have been scryed.

One of them shakes a fist right back
as if to settle our discourse—
the way you inch your car
closer to an intersection
& the car at your side or behind
predictably inches that much closer.


Mark Danowsky’s poetry has recently appeared in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Red River Review, Right Hand Pointing, Snow Monkey and The Best of Every Day Poets Anthology Two.  He resides in Northwest Philadelphia and works for a private detective agency.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

BRIEF SONNET FOR SNOOPS

by Jen Karetnick


Image credit: mjak / 123RF Stock Photo


The government is reading my emails,
they say. I wish they’d read my poems instead.
I would submit them for review as shells
of free-verse, villanelle grenades, bomb threats
whose line breaks they can’t unworm from their ears.
I would send them to the front lines to serve,
volunteer them as SEALs, special forces,
if that’s what it takes, poems leading the charge
in the fight to be the best in the world,
submissive soldiers of allegory
and slant rhyme. But poems are dismissed as girls.
Metaphors don’t receive the attention they
deserve. My emails are scanned, deleted,
the poems in them no gun to anyone’s head.


Jen Karetnick is a Miami poet with three published chapbooks, the latest called Landscaping for Wildlife (BigWonderful Press, 2012). Her next two books, an anthology of South Florida poetry and prose, Sun-Struck Matches (Tigertail Productions), and a cookbook, Mango (University of Florida Press), are forthcoming in fall 2013 and fall 2014. Jen works as the Creative Writing Director for Miami Arts Charter School and a freelance food-travel critic and writer. These poems are from a manuscript-in-progress, My Buddha Wears a Pout.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

REALITY SHOW

by Howard Winn



Image source: The Village Voice


I find no meaning in popular works about
zombies, human vampires, or extraterrestrial aliens,
nor even the legendary Texan chupacabra –
blood-sucker human flesh eating
monsters of the myths, ancient
and contemporary, even when written
by well-known authors to pander,
or to make the New York Times Best Seller List,
and pay for their next European tour,
not when
we have our very own investment bankers,
our hedge-funders, pyramid schemes,
insider trading, cold-calling predators,
off-shore tax havens, numbered bank accounts,
money-laundering, oligarchs, Russian
and other wise, bought elections
that subvert democracy to boot.
Reality is quite sufficient,
enough to raise the hairs on the back of the neck
in dread and distress.


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.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A MURDER MOST FOUL

by Christina Pacosz




Jimmy they're digging up the earth again
to find you,  a Valentine's Day baby
from the Hoosier state.
An old farm of disturbed earth. Not even a barn remains.
I am crying at the news.  Startled by my tears.  So much went down with you.
July 30, 1975.  Nixon, for chrissakes, pardoned you.  You did your time.
Your  children mourn you still.  Your daughter, the retired Missouri judge,
says she is grateful to the FBI for trying to find you.
A bone fragment, a bit of hair. Something.  You were a man others turned to.
You understood the word solidarity as something in your bones. Your blood. They could kill you
but not that.   The Oakland County sheriff calls your disappearance an open wound for Detroit.
You made the Teamsters the biggest union ever and used your clout until they took you out.
You.  Hoffa.  Your son still runs the union.
This isn't pop history but a midden heap, a litany of woes you tried to fix
so what if you wanted to get yours?


Born and raised in Detroit by working-class Polish-American parents, Christina Pacosz’  poetry/writing has appeared in literary magazines and online journals for almost  half a century. A poet-in-the-schools and a North Carolina Visiting Artist, she has published several books of poetry, including Greatest Hits, 1975-2001, Pudding House, 2002, a by-invitation-only series.  Her chapbook, Notes from the Red Zone, originally published by Seal Press in 1983, was selected as the inaugural winner of the ReBound Series by Seven Kitchens Press in 2009.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

COMING-OF-AGE POEM USING 50 WORDS THAT MIGHT CAUSE THE NSA TO FLAG YOU AS A TERRORIST

by Martin Ott


Image source: popdecay.

Source for the 50 words in the poem: Business Insider: Australia.


His impatient mother would place her mace in an indigo
purse, and badger him, “Slow-poke the artichoke,”
for preferring Reno to the college snuffle, beef market
of lacrosse tossers, Jello shots, and credit card fraud.

His sometimes flame Jasmine got him in the zone,
loin to loin, on the basement couch, their chosen niche,
utopia of quiche and salsa, his red-headed Capricorn
quick to unzip for sex, and call his thrashing fish a minnow.

His friend Jack told him to run, Austin nerd, full of cocaine
and malaise, afraid of Texas, and dropping dead from blowfish
darts from gorilla boyfriends transformed into clandestine snipers
with Ninja stealth from keyhole eavesdropping on his sister’s friends.

Today he suited up, Roswell cowboy, not afraid to strap on his big
asset, his Macintosh, to face the fangs of starving career advisors
peering at him like a veggie burger without French fries or a bun,
the enigma of missing something almost as hard as missing none.


A former U.S Army interrogator, Martin Ott currently lives in Los Angeles, where he writes poetry and fiction, often about his misunderstood city. He is the author of 3 books of poetry: Underdays, Notre Dame University Press (to be published in 2015); Captive, De Novo Prize winner, C&R Press; and Poets’ Guide to America, co-written with John F. Buckley In 2013, he published his debut novel The Interrogator’s Notebook, Story Merchant Books. His blog - writeliving.wordpress.com - has thousands of readers in more than 75 countries.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

WITHOUT A NET

by David Chorlton


(Reuters) - When daredevil Nik Wallenda caught sight of the taut cable stretched over the yawning chasm of the Grand Canyon for the first time on Friday, his reaction ahead of his death-defying high-wire crossing on Sunday was pure glee. 



                                    . . . and gravity
            Gets every one of us eventually; what matters
            Is the beauty we can do, our balance
            Before we meet the ground.

                        ("Once, We Were the Wallendas" by Don Haynie)



You can walk on air
or a two-inch wire spanned across the heat
to show the land beneath you
perfect balance.
                        From one red rim
to the other in the company of ravens
with concentration for a safety net
and a view that cuts into the earth
is a straight line that sags a little
where you tread.
                        The canyon walls
watch every step. The river below
dashes itself against rocks,
gathers itself together and asks
whether you can do that.
                                    All that holds you
is a cloven-footed pact with the forces
of chance as you lick
the taste of falling from your lips
and become the centre
of attention.
                 The crossing takes years
while the seasons rotate around you
through forest fire to ice
with everyone wanting to know
if the other side
                        will still be there
when you reach it.


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.

Friday, June 21, 2013

YOU SENT ME TO KILL OR BE KILLED

by Roger Aplon



Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the enigmatic figure at the center of the worst American war crime in recent memory, admitted for the first time on Wednesday deliberately killing 16 Afghan civilians last year, most of them women and children . . . Critics of America’s decade of conflict in the region . . . seized on the stresses experienced in the war by soldiers like Sergeant Bales . . .  --NY Times, June 5, 2013


It’s Late. Night hangs heavy in Kandahar Province. Scorpions. Wood lice. A Mantis prays. Staff Sergeant Robert Bales injects his nightly dose of  anabolic steroids, buckles up his gear.

Four tours in ten years. No time to reminisce, no time to dream. He’s careful to climb down the ladder reserved especially for him. At the bottom is the pit, Dung Beetles scurry. His head throbs.

You’ve seen your buddies’ shredded bodies baking in the desert sun, babies dangling dead from barbed wire, a woman blown to clots & bone by the bomb she’d wrapped around her waist.

The medic’s say PTSD – The lawyers say, booze & drugs. Tonight, Robert dreams mayhem: Spirits of the brave & lost will cross the devil’s river – He’s locked & loaded . . .

Night goggles & high octane Wild Turkey 101. My enemies are everywhere: In their tents, behind their walls, in their gardens & in their beds. They babble in tongues, sneer & wail.

I need silence to think. My throat chokes on our renegade soup. There’s nothing to be done. Extermination. I am the champion of justice, the avenger & the priest. Locked & loaded.

Bless me father for I . . . I am a missile unleashed & proud, a drone in desert camouflage. I’ve been sent to redeem my country’s honor. I am without home, without mercy, without guilt.

Pray for me as I kneel in the sand & light my torch. Nothing is left of me. I am slag. I am heroic. I am disaster. See me for what I am, what I have been trained to be. I am a machine.

Running on fumes. Nothing matters. The mission is at hand. How many must die? & why? I am marked. Absurd. Without guile. A bomb. Fused. As intended. Poison. Catastrophe.

Collateral damage . . . It is – I am – What must be known – What must be expected.


Roger Aplon was born in Chicago and was a founder & editor of Chicago’s CHOICE Magazine with John Logan and Aaron Siskind. He’s published one collection of short stories, Intimacies, and nine collections of poetry, most recently It’s Only TV.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

TO THE WEST WIND

by David Feela


Colorado fires. Image source: ABC News


Sitting on tinder,
the sun shining bright.

Not sure where we’ll
be sleeping tonight.

Forced evacuations,
grab what we can.

The air white with ash
like winter again.

Smoke clouds the skyline,
slurry falls like rain.

Hopes for containment
predicting no gain.

O blow wild West Wind,
like ghosts we disperse.

Lives may be salvaged,
memories are cursed.


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.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

THE PEACE PROCESS

by Rick Gray

                                               for Marie




When the elections were finally over
and the call to prayer
went soft

I slept through three whole dawns
not working and dreaming of giggling dolphins
before today's suicide muse

blew me sideways out of bed.
Three dead, six wounded ghosts
are flying across the page

towards a red ice cream cart, slanted,
and singing Happy Birthday
in Chinese.


Rick Gray served in the Peace Corps in Kenya and currently teaches at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul. He was a finalist for the Editor's Award at Margie, and has an essay that will be appearing in the forthcoming book, Neither Here Nor There: An Anthology of Reverse Culture Shock. When not in Kabul, he lives with his wife Ghizlane and twin daughters Rania and Maria in Florida.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

THE LOOP AT NEHALEM STATE PARK ON SUNDAY

by Tricia Knoll



Brandon J. Prescott (U.S. Army photo)


I had to get out of the shore wind.
I’d eaten so much of it this week.
I choose the woods loop, where hawks swirl,
overseeing the weekend wind-down,
families packing pots, kites, kids’ bikes.
Shivered mist chased out two days of sun
and tastes of rain tomorrow. One unattended
campfire smolders sugar smoke.

Running the bike trail, I notice
how huckleberries grow best
cuddling up to pines and song sparrow
melodies dip below the ocean undercurrent
lullaby to blue lupine and white
strawberry blooms. Grandparents recover
on log benches from childcare stints,
the low tide laying slime flats open,
a smell of old sea.

I stop at the park ranger’s shack
to chew the fat about the bald eagles
circling the bay. I report the fire
smoldering. He says he'll put it out.

The park flags lie limp inside the
tree buffer. I ask the ranger why
both the U.S. and the Oregon
fly at half-mast. An Oregon boy
died in Afghanistan.
Silence
without a voice in the wind.

I head out the only way
to a soft path through dunes
turn north on hard-packed beach.
The stiff wind finds my back.
That lost boy follows me home.


Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet who lives some of the time in Manzanita, Oregon on the windswept northern Oregon coast. Her poetry appears in local and regional poetry journals as well as haiku publications.

Monday, June 17, 2013

FREE ACCESS

by Joseph Dorazio


Image source: Cone10 Studios



What's forbidden
always entices,
as was the case with Eve,
who wasn't as peckish as
we were lead to believe,
or with Pandora who was
admonished:  don't open
this box!
  If only
we were granted
free access from the start
so knowledge & reason
could flourish. This
would have greatly
pleased Descartes.


Joseph Dorazio
is the author of three volumes of poetry.  His latest book, AS IS, earned an Editor's Choice Award at iUniverse.

A GREEK TRAGEDY

by BZ Niditch


Yannis Ritsos (Photo source: http://mhsteger.tumblr.com/)
Even the ancients
would be surprised
when news had
to be whispered
by great old trees
outside captive cities
of knowledge
and you can no longer
listen in
to debate issues
in Athens
of all places,
it leaves us breathless,
that one quiet day
there is silence
by the news waves
on your beautiful side
of the sea,
for it is to language
we turn when rising up
at the amazing sun
with our eyes open,
to comprehend
what this portends,
not since Yannis Ritsos
your great poet
had read his poem
"Epitaphios"
publicly out loud
at the Temple of Zeus
in that dark day in 1936
speaking for the worker
murdered by Mataxas
and his work banned
when life was unveiled
and were exiled to Lemnos,
and then Yannis,
imprisoned and exiled
during the military junta
spoke again to us
from islands of forceful
words in Gyaros
and you made dictatorship
and censorship uncomfortable
to the democratic world,
rise up again partisans,
remember Ritsos
who stands with you
wanting to hear
the latest news
occupying your mind
defying all attempts
at these fresh outbreaks
against all democratic souls,
speak again Yannis Ritsos
to us, and like before
public opinion will rally
by the Temple of Zeus
and only fascism will die.


BZ Niditch's latest international poetry appears in the Alembic, Outlaw Poetry, Vscorpiozine, Exercise Bowler, Third Wednesday, Dead Snakes, Prairie Winds, Big Hammer, Main Street Rag, Epiphany, London Grip.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

CROSSROADS

by Robin Sampson




There are new pedestrian crossings, traffic signals, turn arrows,
granite curbs, sidewalks. The weird little island in the road is gone.
The corner restaurant has another name, a new sign, as does
the coffee house next door, both closed overnight this past winter.
On one corner, a new spruce has been put in place across the street
from the older, stressed tree, and I wonder if both will be lit later this year.
It is hard to think ahead to more holidays. The laundromat is not as busy
anymore, though the liquor store is probably busier. This little village center,
with its bridge across the Pootatuck River, is busy landscaping the new normal.
Painful memories still cloud these streets. Some say they cannot, will not return,
and so they stay away. But some of us live here. To go just about anywhere,
we must pass by the firehouse, the school driveway, often many times a day.
This year, like many years passed, we sat at long tables in the station there,
eating fundraiser lobster with neighbors, without intrusion, and we could
almost forget. This little corner of town has never felt as much like home.
I’ve watched the snow melt, the trees leaf out, the flowers bloom,
just like they have every other year. I hope the new signals do their job,
hasten the flow of traffic at this intersection, site of overwhelming attention
just a season or so ago. We still harbor a scabbed-over hostility
to those pointing their lens noses too close, or well-meaning pilgrims
who just have to see for themselves. We brand our cars with green and white
magnetic stickers, tailgate the tourists when they slow down in front of . . .
to gawk, to leave flowersheartsangels, to take their pictures.
We still politely accept the condolences of customer service representatives
on the line when doing business over the phone. The kumbaya moment
is over, and we are back to squabbling amongst ourselves, voting down
the budget, and complaining in letters to the editor about things petty and not.
Outside the laundromat, I sit scribbling in a repurposed composition book
while my wash tumbles, and watch a great blue heron glide in through the trees
over the river. My body still reacts to the sound of an approaching helicopter. Muscles
tense, heart rate quickens. Across the parking lot, the lush green of late Spring
softens the edges. When the road work is finally done, I will walk the mile
from my house to this crossroads, push the button to cross, get a cup of coffee,
and sit by the river, watch the water, as I have so many times before.


Author’s note: “We live a half mile from the school and were home that morning. Our three grown children all went to that school, and it was part of our neighborhood. As I said, this is the first time sharing any of my writing about it publicly.”


Robin E. Sampson writes poetry, fiction, essays, etc. Her poetry's been published in The New Verse News, FeatherLIt, Bent Pin Quarterly, Connecticut River Review, Bitter Oleander. She lives in Sandy Hook, CT.

Friday, June 14, 2013

ON FLAG DAY I THINK BACK TO MY YOUNG STUDENTS SPEAKING

by Jane Herschlag


Photo: Jane Herschlag

                  
               Two planes, each crashed into one tower.
               People got hit by flying pieces of glass and concrete.
               All people care about the dead people and their families.
               We need to make flags.  The blue part stands for liberty.
               They draped a big one on the collapsed building.
               In France they were praying and many countries sang,
               God Bless America.

Despite the terrorists’ actions they see love in the world.
They see the pure, mythical America
as I saw it in childhood, the country that
saved my family from Hitler when others refused.

Our big red-white-and-blue blowing in the breeze—
a dwarfed pride still swells in me despite our lost democracy,
our taint of WMD’s, of Corporations Are People,
of Monsanto’s GMOs, for the first time in the history of the world,
changing the DNA of humans, animals, vegetation,
contaminating organic farms.

As wealth rules, America declines,
ethics fall to the toxic curb, along with the poor.
Betsy Ross what do you think of us now?
Each of your stitches were sewn with hope
and wishes for America’s wisdom.

I can’t even find my thread; it’s hidden
under years of fallen bodies,
corrupt bankers’ viscous lies.
Big Pharma and giant chemical companies
have smeared our red and blue into
our white stripes of virtue.  Our field of blue is dotted,
not by stars, but by lobbyists demands.

I want our flag to mean what it used to mean,
when city colleges were free, after
the Civil Rights and Women’s Movements.
I want my flag to wave for immigrants,
lesbians and gays.  I want again
to be proud of being American.



Jane Herschlag, a former apparel designer, textile designer, teacher, and model home decorator,  has a degree in Apparel Design, a B.A. in Creative Writing, and Women’s Studies from Hunter College.  Her Masters in Creative Writing is from CCNY.  Jane has won numerous writing awards and placed 1st with her  photography/poetry at Richter Assoc. for the Arts in Danbury.  She is an avid poet, photographer, and loves to Stage Homes for selling, refinancing, and simply enjoying.  She has shown at the Danbury Fair Mall, Midtown Café in Danbury, at the historic building—30 Bridge Street in New Milford, at American Pie Restaurant in Sherman.  She combines her passion for the visual and the written by writing ekphrastic poetry, poems inspired by the visual.  She curated readings at the West Side YMCA in NYC for seven years and has run a peer workshop since 1997.  Her Docu-Poetry collection Bully In The Spotlight is published by Pudding House Publications.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A SNOWDEN SIGHTING

by Rick Gray




I don't know who I'm betraying, my TV doesn't work, 
but I must confess I saw Ed Snowden yesterday
on Chicken Street in Kabul.

It was only a glimpse
from the cracked, glaring window of a coughing taxi
near a dangling, pine-scented Quranic quote

but I'm certain it was him.
He was clutching a naked chicken over a laptop
and had the hunted look of a refugee

sort of like everyone in town
sort of like me
maybe that's why I couldn't help waving

and maybe that's why he nodded back
in the secretive, American way of those
gone to ground

and searching for a cheap hotel room
to spend the rest of your life
not going crazy in.

You've been a bad boy, Ed.
Me too, though in a less Boozy way.
So when all this toxic dust settles

which you will soon learn the UN calls "fecal matter"
let's get together at an undisclosed location and
shoot the shit.

I encourage you to let the postmodern goatee grow primitive,
and ditch those glasses. They are as deadly here as a square Humvee.
I'll teach you everything like a big brother

though you probably don't like Big Brother
call me whatever you want
I'm just another one who fell

between the new, prismatic cracks
and am searching for the old rainbow of
friendship untapped.


Rick Gray served in the Peace Corps in Kenya and currently teaches at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul. He was a finalist for the Editor's Award at Margie, and has an essay that will be appearing in the forthcoming book, Neither Here Nor There: An Anthology of Reverse Culture Shock. When not in Kabul, he lives with his wife Ghizlane and twin daughters Rania and Maria in Florida.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

FEW GOOD MOLES

by Mark Danowsky


Image sources:
Christian Science Monitor: Edward Snowden: NSA leaker reveals himself, expects retribution
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2013/0609/Edward-Snowden-NSA-leaker-reveals-himself-expects-retribution
Frontline: The Private Life of Bradley Manning
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/wikileaks/bradley-manning/slideshow-manning-family/


If you want a balanced ecosystem
you need a few good moles. Ideally moles
with independent streaks
stalwart internal compasses
and sensitive noses.


Mark Danowsky’s poetry has recently appeared in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Red River Review, Right Hand Pointing, Snow Monkey and The Best of Every Day Poets Anthology Two.  He resides in Northwest Philadelphia and works for a private detective agency.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

BE OUTRAGED

by Joan Mazza


Image source: Mashable


The morning news is meant to wake you up.

Your phone records are being collected
at the government’s request. The deep sea
floor is littered with trash, most of it recyclable.

A man running for lieutenant governor in Virginia
warns that Yoga lures Satan into your life because
you empty yourself during meditation.

In Texas, a man was acquitted of murder after a date
with an escort who refused to have sex with him.
He shot her and took back the 150 dollars he’d paid.

It’s not even six and I haven’t made coffee and gray
wolves are no longer an endangered species. Isn’t it
too early to despair, especially over gray hair?

China, whose milk industry killed and maimed
their own children, now owns Smithfield farms,
largest pork producer to the world.

A pregnant actress tried to frame her estranged
husband for bioterrorism by sending ricin letters
to President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg.

Why worry when there’s so much good news? Cheating
wives are ready to have an affair with me NOW!
Beautiful Russian women want to marry me.

Plenty of Viagra available for the many men
in my life. And yours, too. We can have solar
power installed in our homes at no cost at all.

Several lending companies will deposit 2,500
dollars into my account in the next ninety seconds.
Why would I accept a pittance when I can have

9.2 million? Surprise— I’m next of kin to Roger Morris
who died in a plane crash in 2004! I’ll just tell them
where to deposit the money. No bad news today.


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, American Journal of Nursing, The MacGuffin, Writer’s Digest, Emerge Literary Journal, the minnesota review, Personal Journaling, and Playgirl. She now writes poetry and does fabric and paper art in rural central Virginia. “By reading and writing poetry, I come to terms with my obsessions.”

Monday, June 10, 2013

TINY GIANT STEPS

by The Bangkok Bards
Saknarin Chinayote & Charles Frederickson




WHAT can one person do
To improve Status Quo Vadis
Somehow making genuinely significant impact
Without looking back rewinding past

Enabling others we must first
Transform ourselves shed scaly glisten
Grown out of shrunken snakeskin
Non-venomous version of old self

Life recoiling from fire we
Just do it almost fearlessly
Heir-conditioned that flames singe flesh
Walking barefoot across smoldering coals

Destiny choice not chance reliant
Taking control of own Fate
Moment-to-moment daring to take risks
Ignoring distorted anti-clockwise time warp

Solo voice attuned to nature
Protecting endangered species eco-environment safeguards
Counterpoint harmonically interdependent rhythm contour
Unfinished symphony awaiting upbeat coda

WHY Just because we care
About out beloved offspring’s future
Ensuring hopeful legacy left behind
On borrowed interest loans un-repaid


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

Sunday, June 09, 2013

CHRIS CHRISTIE

by Llyn Clague


Chris Christie - Caricature


Friends, Americans, countrymen, hear me out.
I come to praise Christie, not criticize him.
The good that men do lives on after them,
While their mistakes typically die with them.
He is an honorable man, who has at heart
The welfare of the people.  His critics cry,       
He has ambition.  But did he not embrace
Even Obama, prince of the other party,
After Sandy?  Ambition should be made
Of sterner stuff.  Did he not excoriate –
Excoriate, I tell you – John Boehner,
Leader of his own party?  This is not
A man who puts his own ambition Ahead
Of the people’s weal.  His enemies complain
He’s costing the state $24 million
For two special elections to fill Lautenberg’s
Senate seat.  To save the people’s money,
Did he not cut pensions and health benefits,
Slash $8 million in college tuition subsidies,
$10 million in after-school programs
And $12 million more in charity care?
Would a man of overweening ambition so flaunt           
The common people’s needs?  Just to “win big”
In his own re-election and impress the fat cats             
Who dominate presidential politics?
Chris Christie, my friends, has the people’s good
At heart, and he is an honorable man.


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, June 08, 2013

FOR WALT AND ALLEN

by Rick Gray

                                                                 


My name is announced before takeoff.
It’s JFK again, but this is a new terminal.
I haul my carry-on past rich kids pouting
In First-Class, already juiced,
 and step back onto the homeland.

Outside waits a man in a blue uniform and a silver badge.
“Are you a writer?” he asks.  There are tribal scars
On his fat cheeks.  I don’t ask.
“Follow me,” he tells me, and we walk together back
Down the tube to America. Our footsteps echo out of rhythm.

At the American Airlines check-out desk ten men are hovering over
my lost notebook of poems. I relapsed in the wine bar and my God punishes.
A man no older than thirty introduces himself as Tim from the Terrorism Task Force.
I told him I was not impressed, and that I believe in respect for elders.
I’m very traditional that way, Tim. Maybe it was my years in Africa when I lived in a hut.
Tim’s training did not include humor and, confused, he steps away.                                                          

The Boss moves in, a man with the pink alcoholic shade my ancestors taught me.
His face looks frozen in 1974. Very pre 9/11, with a suit that looks
lifted from the costume room of The French Connection.
“You’re a poet?” he starts. “You said it,” I swing back at him, “not me.”
“ A woman found your notebook and was very alarmed,” he frowns.
I try to break his Popeye scowl with a grin. He goes grim.

“Your poem called Bomb Threat is of concern,” he continues,
Lifting a torn page out of my notebook. Everything is written in green.
“And your comments about Homeland Security we all find curious.”
“That shit is weird,” the black guy with the scars exclaims. Everyone nods before
French Connection waves them still.

“I’m missing my plane,” I say, and a cop tells me to forget about flight.
“What was your destination?” another one asks.
I am going to Afghanistan to teach Shakespeare, I calmly explain.
I finally get my first laugh. But when I tell them to go fuck themselves, fascist pigs,
They’re back to business with my notebooks.     

But not I.
No, I now have a growing audience of passengers for the Paris flight
And I was raised not to waste. Children are starving in Africa.
THIS IS NOT AMERICA! I shout to them.                                                                                  
I AM BEING HELD FOR POETRY! I cry, and don’t know why I raise my fist.
This must be the oral thrill of the spoken word I’ve read about    
And I can feel Whitman and Ginsberg grinning below the New York dirt of JFK.
“Front page!” I bluff to the boss, flushed with my little fame, “New York Times!”
and pull out another notebook and start writing, staring into his badge.

Walkie-talkies come out and soon an alternative ticket is being printed.
They give an Irish cop the job of returning my notebooks; no one else will touch them.
“Hold onto these,” he gives me a wink I might, in a better mood, call Whitmanesque.
“It’s a shitty job,“ he apologizes as I take back my poems and head to another gate.
“Any good publications?” I hear him call out to me.
“Nope,” I shout back, “my job sucks too.”

Oh America, I don’t want to leave you!
I want to stay and write poems that make men huddle in airports!
I want to be pulled off your American Airlines and asked by scarred men if I’m a writer!
I want to make speeches about liberty to passengers to Paris!
I want to alarm everyone in the country!
But instead I’m off to another stupid war
To pay for my daughter’s ballet.
No one in America responds to my resume,
only these lost notebooks that don’t pay.
So before I step away from my homeland
I get one last jab at the Irish cop trailing me.
“I’m coming back soon!” I shout back at him from the tube.
“And we’ll be waiting!” he calls back to me, waving a little blue book.


Rick Gray served in the Peace Corps in Kenya and currently teaches at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul. He was a finalist for the Editor's Award at Margie, and has an essay that will be appearing in the forthcoming book, Neither Here Nor There: An Anthology of Reverse Culture Shock. When not in Kabul, he lives with his wife Ghizlane and twin daughters Rania and Maria in Florida.

Friday, June 07, 2013

DOOM

by George Held


Image credit: philipus / 123RF Stock Photo


brought early dawn
to Aurora,
early recess
to Newtown,
early marathon-ending
to Boston
early tornado season
to Moore, Okla,
and lurks
on the outskirts
of your own town:
so hunker down
and pray
it passes by
before it’s
your turn.


An occasional contributor to The New Verse News, George Held occasionally blogs at www.georgeheld.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 06, 2013

EXHUMING NERUDA

by Catherine Chandler


Was Pablo Neruda killed by Pinochet? When the great poet died 40 years ago in Chile, it was said to be from cancer. Now, lawyers say it was murder. --Nick Clark, The Independent, June 2, 2013


At Isla Negra, Neftalí, you sang of joy and pain,
of poverty, Matilde, birds, of artichokes and rain.

And once at Isla Negra, they searched each corner of
your hideaway, but all they found was bread and wine and love.

And now at Isla Negra, they are digging up your bones;
they'll fly them to the capital then rearrange the stones.

In Santiago, Chile, nearly forty years have passed;
may this, your final journey bring the truth to light, at last.


Catherine Chandler is the author of four books of poetry, including Lines of Flight (Able Muse Press, 2011) and This Sweet Order (White Violet Press, 2012). Her second full length collection, Glad and Sorry Seasons will be published by Biblioasis Press (Windsor, Ontario) in March 2014. Catherine is a native of New York City, but has lived and worked in Canada for many years, most recently as lecturer at McGill University's Department of Translation Studies.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

THE ART OF SEEING VALUE

by Lylanne Musselman


Image source: HuffPost Detroit


I went to see Vincent
van Gogh’s painting
on loan from Paris,
Bedroom in Arles,
in Detroit, a place
so bankrupt, city
officials are looking in-
to assets the Detroit Institute
of Arts owns. Yes,
Michigan politicians
and many citizens
could prostitute
irreplaceable art. It exhibits
how some would
sell their souls, aid
the American idea
money saves
at all costs. In Detroit,
citizens comment:
Sell the DIA and open
a money making business
like a casino; Art is
just a perception, it might
evoke emotion for people
or nothing; If Detroit goes
bankrupt the museum collection
could be seized…
I stood less
than a foot away
from the painting
van Gogh brushed
life into. The awe of it all,
knowing he painted this
bedroom scene to show
his brother, Theo,
how tranquil Arles was,
to see his perspective,
his ever-present blues.


Lylanne Musselman lives in Toledo, Ohio. Her poems have appeared in Brevity Poetry Review, Literary Brushstrokes, The Rusty Nail, Pank, Tipton Poetry Journal, New Verse News, among others, and many literary anthologies. Lylanne has authored three chapbooks: Prickly Beer & Purple Panties (Bacon Tree Press, 2007), A Charm Bracelet for Cruising (Winged City Press, 2009) and Winged Graffiti (Finishing Line Press, 2011), and is a co-author of the recently published book, Company of Women: New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013).

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

ALMA MATER, CONTINUING CARE RETIREMENT COMMUNITY

by Mary E. Moore


Photo: Paul Moock


There are no commuters. All live on campus.
Spacious, well-maintained dormitories are coed.
A diversity of social activities is offered and,
in the absence of sororities and fraternities,
an atmosphere of universal fellowship prevails.
Elective classes, lectures and discussion groups abound.
Independent Study is the only required course.
Continuous throughout residency, it incorporates
elements of philosophy, psychology and physiology.
Some students graduate after short enrollments.
Others graduate gradually over many semesters.
Commencement services are held off campus.


Mary E. Moore is a retired physician/educator who moved to a Continuing Care Retirement Community almost three years ago. Since living there she has been struck by the similarities between life there and what she encountered living at college. Dr. Moore's poetry has been published in print journals such as Light, Raintown Review, Modern English Tanka; on-line at The Hypertexts, Tilt-a-Whirl, and Bumbershoot; and in several anthologies.

Monday, June 03, 2013

THERE IS ANOTHER TURKEY

by B.Z. Niditch


Image source: Common Dreams, June 2, 2013, via twitpic.


In the mines
and slag-heaps
of bards and patriots
that our ears
do not follow
in the early June dust
of yesterday's cries
where all peaceful
people will crystallize
in freedom's march
like Nazim Hikmet,
his life stolen away
yet stone-hard
under a strong sunshine
of the mountains
he is there with you
for liberty
against sorry evasions
and invasions of the mind
from the wounded in body
in the heart of your cities
lodged by history's 
freed sheltered souls
yet a militant solidarity
suddenly without notice
enfolds upon another fold
faced by jury and injury
circles upon circles
not to be hesitant
or silent.


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.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

CARBON ADDICTION

Source of original image: PB Learning


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.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

A TORNADO CHASER

by Martin Elster


Image source: FEMAcontracts


I chase tornados all around the Plains
like a knight-errant looking every day
for fresh adventures. Just can’t stay away.
She’d say that a devoted spouse abstains
from risky trips. I’d tell her I take pains
not to crash my jeep, yet her dismay
hung like a storm cloud when I went to play
and photograph Earth’s mightiest winds and rains.

It’s true folks sometimes lift and whirl like leaves;
yet funnel-hunting’s fun. A thousand suns
are not as grand as watching barley sheaves
rise from a ranch and vanish in a breath.
I think now, as I race one, how she runs
with Ian — safe, monotonous — toward death.


Martin Elster is a composer and serves as percussionist for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. His poems have appeared in journals including The Centrifugal Eye, The Chimaera, Lucid Rhythms, Mindflights, Scarlet Literary Magazine, Thema, and in the anthologies Taking Turns: Sonnets from Eratosphere, New Sun Rising: Stories for Japan, The 2012 Rhysling Anthology, and Poe Little Thing. Martin’s poem “Microchiroptera” recently took first prize in The Oldie’s 2013 annual bouts-rimés competition. His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Poetry Award.