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Thursday, October 31, 2013

VET'S HALLOWEEN

by Linda J. Himot


Image source: Shopsafe


Halloween and all those kids in skeletal black,
glow-in-the-dark green and purple –
no fairy princess pink Mama, please –
roam the streets for candy treats while my neighbor,

secreted behind his kitchen counter – shades drawn,
lights out, hides trembling.  Fears ghouls and worse –
gooks –rise – like ghosts – from steamy jungle floor –
every night – silent, stealthy –  then melt away –

before first light.  Dead bodies left to mark their trail.
He made it back – except his mind – to live alone –
on duty, dusk to dawn.  Forty two years he’s kept watch,
high alert, rifle steel slick with sweat – ready,

mission unchanged – protect his buddies, kill
or be killed.  Sees sallow, shiny, enemy faces creeping
through his front yard swampy grass.  Hears mortar
in the back fire of passing trucks, cruising motorcycles.

Fears he will kill a kid if one should knock.
So takes a double dose of meds, stuffs his ears
with cotton, repeats Hail Mary’s aloud until
the fire horn sounds the end of trick or treat.


After many years as a psychiatrist, Linda J. Himot began writing poetry in 2005.  Her poems have been published in a variety of journals such as The MacGuffin, River Poets, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

TRICK OR TREAT

by David Feela





“My my, and what are you supposed to be?”
“A congress people.”
“That’s precious!  And how did you come up with such a cute idea?”
“My daddy told me to say it.”
“Wouldn’t your daddy help you make a costume?”
“He didn’t do nothing.”
“What a wonderful way to inspire creativity!  How old are you?”
“Eight.”
“How funny!  I know members of congress that won’t survive half as long.”
“Why?”
“Well, little one, it’s because they’re like your daddy.”
“Are they fat?”
“I suppose some are, but mostly they’re just lazy.”
“What’s lazy?”
“Lazy means they want candy for doing nothing.”
“I want candy.”
“Of course you do.  Here, take all you can grab with your grubby little hands.”
“Really?”
“Yes, really.  Better yet, take the entire bag.  And here’s my wallet, my credit cards, plus the keys to my house and car.  Take it all.”
“Gee, you’re a nice lady.”
“Yeah, now scram!  I’ve got to shut off the lights and pretend I’m a Democrat.”


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, October 29, 2013

GENTILITY

by The Bangkok Bards 
Saknarin Chinayote & Charles Frederickson



I choose to live gently
Soft touch trusting gut instincts
Mindful sensibilities overflowing tender mercy
Others-oriented wellness deeply felt

Social superiority polite refined manner
Serene calmness soothing anxious mindset
Nothing achieved by harsh force
Shouts yielding to hush-hush ponderings

Gentleness doesn’t imply weakness brute
Strength most potent life force
The art of introspective contemplation
Manifests kindly compassion universal truths

Remember to be gentle toward
Others stern with humble self
Feeling pleased deeds well done
Genuine good-natured smiles wondrous miracles

Humankind evolves with mutual help
From Nature welfare overpowering warfare
Survival of Fittest habitually practiced
Non-threatening manner stabilizing manipulative justice

Resilient when knowingly vulnerable bravely
Facing fears in masked defeat
Pride nurturing plants acting respectfully
Toward creatures objects needing TLC


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

Monday, October 28, 2013

ONE PERFECT DAY

by Rick Gray




I turned the corner of Bleecker and 7th
On my way to another dead end
And there rushed Lou
Shaded, frowning, all bad influence wrapped in black leather

And when he swept passed
Something knifed me somewhere soft
And I found myself fighting
To keep my burning eyes cool and down

Through the iron bars of a New York sewer
From which rose the voice of
His dark angel daring me
To keep walking all the way home

To kiss my mother’s crazy hand
And let it take another wild swing
not for more crying, but to learn to sing back at it,
bad and grinning, through the sting.


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

Sunday, October 27, 2013

ON SHATTUCK AVENUE

by Zara Raab


Image source: The Monthly


the old homeless men say nothing
these winter nights in the city.
For months they go without speaking,
instead endlessly wandering
as if the stream of love
had stopped,
leaving only boundless pity.

Arms outspread, “Friend!” we croon to them,
when a word said simply would do
so much more to dispel a gloom.
They can’t turn off too soon
from so grand a gesture,
well meant to reassure––
hot food and warm beds––a future.

Are you ever trapped in logic
as I am—caught as if in amber––
willing to act, but no matter
where you aim, missing your target,
unable to stop
or become someone else,
your need for change urgent?

A kind word said simply would do
so much more to dispel a gloom,
an hour in our human houses
feeling out each of many rooms,
their echoes and uses.
We cannot start too soon.
The shelter we seek is human.


Zara Raab
’s latest books are Fracas & Asylum and Rumpelstiltskin, finalist for the Dana Award. Earlier books, Swimming the Eel and The Book of Gretel, evoke the rainy darkness of the remote North Coast. Her poems, reviews, and essays appear in Poetry Flash, Evansville Review, River Styx, Crab Orchard Review, The Dark Horse, and Poet Lore. She is a contributing editor to the Redwood Coast Review and Poetry Flash.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

GUERNICA

by Martin Willitts Jr.



    
    1.

Suddenness is our nature.
Once there was a village;
now there is not.

Once in the Basque Country village
in northern Spain,
love was tuned like a guitar;
now there is no music
ripped hearts of sheet music
no one heard.

Once someone was sleeping
peaceful as grapes waiting for harvest;
then abruptly, without warning,
they were harvested.

Once the houses were quiet;
then they were quieted.

    2.

The men were gone at the time.
The village was mostly women,
and children no bigger than a coin.
There was a building of stored weapons
on the edge of town,
spared during the attack.
This was not about politics,
or who was right, or war.
It was all about intimidation.

All the petty reasons did not apply.
They never do.
The only thing that mattered
was efficiency and expediency.
All that mattered was the quickness,
the shutting of doors,
churning blood passive.

Do not look at the child broken like a doll.
Look at how quickly everything was resolved.
Do not think of it as mean-spirited.
Think of it as progress.
In fact, according to everyone,
do not think of it at all.

Someone says, this does not happen anymore.
I wonder, if they follow the news
or hide their heads in the sand like ostriches.
How self-important and civilized they must feel.

I wonder if they would change their minds
if they were minding their own business
and a drone unexpectedly attacked.

Once there was a village,
a child crossing the street to somewhere,
not doing anything suspicious,
not whistling, not thinking anything terrifying;
then swiftly,
they were not there,
a black smudge,
nothing important,
nothing to write home about.

    3.

All wars are the same war.
No one remembers what caused them;
Collective Forgetfulness.
One minute, someone is eating a sandwich,
the next minute,
someone is killed for eating a sandwich.

All causes of the war are always unexplainable.
Anyone who justifies them
does not remember the pain caused by war.
Collective Disassociation.

Afterwards, the victor gets to write history.
Afterwards, the losers are treated as sore losers.

All dead soldiers are dead regardless of sides.
All wounded make us turn away,
denying we saw anything.
Collective Blindness, Deafness, See-No-Evil.

Someone once challenged me,
if you were in a war you would protect yourself.
I was in a war and I did not protect myself;
I was too busy being a Medic
holding the pieces of bodies,
jigsaw pieces,
wondering what went where.

4.

Someone asked me,
which war I were you in?
Does it matter?
All wars blend into all wars.
All people killed in a war
can look like put through a blender.

Why doesn’t anyone ask me,
what does peace look like?
I have a vision of it.

Instead they want to know,
where were you?
what was the weather like?
They never want to hear,
it was cloudy
with a chance of dying.

Once, there was a village
whose importance was blown up
by bombs
and when they were done
mopping up
nothing remained
permanent.


Martin Willitts, Jr. has had publications in Big City Lit, Rattle, Pebble Lake Review, Hurricane Blues (anthology), Hotmetalpress.net, Haigaonline, Bent Pin, 5th Gear, Slow Trains, Primal Sanities (anthology) and others. He has a print chapbook Falling In and Out of Love (Pudding House Publications, 2005), an online chapbook Farewell--the journey now begins on www.languageandculture.net 2006, in archives), a full length book of poems with his art The Secret Language of the Universe (March Street Press, 2006), print chapbook Lowering Nets of Light (Pudding House Publications, 2007), online chapbook News from the Front, edited a poetry anthology about cancer, Alternatives to Surrender (Plain View Press, 2007), and an online chapbook of haiku with his artwork, Words & Paper.

Friday, October 25, 2013

INNOCENT BYSTANDERS

by Liz Dolan

Michael Landsberry


Lying on the ground of the Nairobi mall
the blood-soaked woman had been lusting
after a pair of Manolo Blahniks in a boutique window,
shards now sparkle in her chest. Are the bits
of skin floating about her dogwood petals?
Al Shabaab took credit. In Mecca
where my cousin studied, the traffic
halted in the circle for beheadings and hand choppings.
I never looked, she said. I stared
out the window to the right
where they say the unlived live. I fancied myself
baling hay in the cool hills of Kilkeel.
In Sparks, Nevada, a twelve-year-old shot
two classmates, killed his teacher who tried to talk
him down. A former marine who survived two tours
in Afghanistan. I smashed a mosquito feasting
on my hand. A bubble of blood spurted out-his or mine?


Liz Dolan’s manuscript, A Secret of Long Life,  nominated for the Robert McGovern Prize will soon be published by Cave Moon Press. Her first poetry collection, They Abide, was published by March Street. A six-time Pushcart nominee and winner of The Best of the Web, she has also won an established artist fellowship in poetry and two honorable mentions in prose from the Delaware Division of the Arts. She recently won The Nassau Prize for prose. She has received fellowships from The Atlantic Center for the Arts and Martha’s Vineyard. Liz serves on the poetry board of Philadelphia Stories.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

THE ECO-DEMON

by Judith Barrington




What kind of beast—wounded or blind—blunders
across dunes, scattering sand with its bleeding limbs
or dives from the sky, fiery breath burning everything
that grows and breathes?

Take a good hard look at the colors of the earth—
even now, much remains behind and beneath
the concrete we’ve poured, the hills shorn of forests,
oceans hilly with trash.

This beast holds back the current of the river
with brute force harnessing the water’s power
to its own greedy strength. Fish slam into the dam
and fall back stunned.

Look at it all while you still can. Resolve
not to feel sorry for the beast’s thick skin
or its red, weeping eye. Step out, alone if you must,
but watch your back.


Judith Barrington has published three poetry collections, most recently Horses and the Human Soul and two chapbooks: Postcard from the Bottom of the Sea and Lost Lands (winner of the Robin Becker Chapbook Award). She was the winner of the 2012 Gregory O’Donoghue Poetry Prize (Cork International Poetry Festival) and her memoir, Lifesaving won the Lambda Book Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award. She teaches classes and workshops in the USA, England and The Almassera, Spain.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

SCHOOL SHOOTING

by Kit  Zak



School Shooting, Washington Post: 10/22/13
garners page three

                         no front page treatment      
          
           a kid wielding a semi-automatic

               middle-school battlefield
                                                                                  common
as  dirt  
                                                                   twelve-year-olds
with PTSD 


                                                                    nightmare’s
undying sun-blot
                                                                   childhood
obliterated
We shrug weary shoulders 

        the politicians’ dead words  
                                                                                   await
the NRA's whitewash


Kit  Zak
retired from university teaching and moved to the beach in Delaware, where she has been involved in environmental causes. She  has published most recently in The Broadkill Review, The Blue Collar Review, A Time of Singing, and Avocet

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

NSA

by Katherine Shirley


Image source: ThePeoplesCube.com


Unsanitary, all this brainwashing
Scrubbing of hands, airing of dirty
Laundry on the backs of those
Still wearing the shirt they lost
To a back-room poker game
Stakes insane with the big name
Cloud-filled, court-chilled shame
At subpoenas, clean-killed blame
Class action, press with no reaction
Pointing silent to the constitution’s
Legal traction while the whole world
Waits to see what deals are done
Smart enough to know nobody knew
What spin was spun by Emcee (squared)
Nobody cared when laws were
Lined up to be broken, just a token
For the public face of politics
A man so softly spoken we forget
That there’s a right and wrong
Enshrined in ink to call anon
Protecting those so spied upon
From those who know what’s going on


Katherine Shirley's poems have appeared in Snakeskin; Poems Underwater; the Gold Dust calendar 2012; Soul Vomit;  and her work The Water Way was lock no. 87 on the Rochdale Canal Festival Poetry Trail 2012.  More of Katherine’s poetry may be found on her blog: A world in her own words.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

TECHNOPHOBIA

by Howie Good




They say the day is coming –
and pretty soon, too –
when the souls of the dead
will be uploaded to the Google Cloud,
and God, if He even still exists,
will be able to rest,
drenched in dire purple
and reclining on plush snow,
until needed as an excuse
in whatever year of whatever war.


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, October 19, 2013

ALBERT CAMUS INTERVIEWS TED CRUZ

by Judith Terzi




Camus:               Did you become a Tea Party member today
                      or yesterday?

Cruz:                  Je ne sais pas. What difference does it make?
                     Adamant or ablative?
                     Buttonhole or brandish?
       
Camus:              Can I call you Ted?
                     Is the welfare of the people the alibi of tyrants?
           
Cruz:                 Entente or egregious?
                     Filibuster or fricassee?

Camus:              Ted, think about your Caucus. Do you consider
                     suicide as the only escape from the absurdity of
                     politics?

Cruz:                 Golf would be that, Albert. Golf. No question.
                     Herring or hubbub?
                     Infuse. Refuse. Refuse. Accuse. J'accuse! Zola, right?
           
Camus:             Eh bien mon frère, vous connaissez Sisyphe?
                    You know Sisyphus, right?

Cruz:                Oui, oui Albert. I graduated Princeton cum laude.
                    Judicious jab.
                    Kebob kingdom.
           
Camus:             LOL. I don't get the metaphor, Ted.

Cruz:                Mordant mincemeat.       
                    Nefarious narcolepsy.
                    Obama!

Camus:             Mon frère, we should be a rockin' & a rollin',
                    pushin' that boulder up the slope ensemble.
                    Together. Juntos! I didn't write that damn essay
                    to waste time. You've read La Peste, right?
           
Cruz:                Plague!
                    Quite a story if I say so myself.
                    Rats, rats, rats, rats.
                    Socialist rats. Everyone helping each other. So creepy.
           
Camus:             TMI, Ted.
           
Cruz:                United we stand, Albert.
                    Vouloir, c'est pouvoir. Where there's a will,
                    there's a way. Voulez-vous . . . High school French, man.

                         So tell me, Al. Why did the Stranger want a crowd
                    at his execution? Can't remember the weirdo's name.

Camus:             Very strange question from you, mon frère. Surely
                    you get off on les cris de haine, cries of hatred, right?

Cruz:                Wrestle with the wrath like I always say.
                    Xerox the xenophobia. You get my drift.

Camus:             Yak or yodel?
                    Zion or Zen?
                    Zut alors!

Cruz:                Yesterday or today?           


Judith Terzi holds an M.A. in French Literature. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Centrifugal Eye; Malala: Poems for Malala Yousafzai (FutureCycle); Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems (Tupelo); The Raintown Review; and Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s (She Writes). Her fourth chapbook, Ghazal for a Chambermaid, is forthcoming from Finishing Line. A former high school French teacher, she also taught English and ESL at California State University, Los Angeles, and in Algiers, Algeria.

Friday, October 18, 2013

THE STRANGENESS OF PARTS WE DID NOT SEE

by Tricia Knoll




What did we not see when
he bought a simple rope,
at very large box store
   testing hemp for stretch, for breaking point?

and when he took it home and wound it
   around the brass bedpost, then around the newel
   on his stairway and leaned
   back as if water skiing on carpet

or when he showed it to his neighbor
   bragging about what a good rope
   it would be for all kinds of purposes
   at a fair price

and when he scolded the dog for chewing
  the end of it before he wrapped
  that end in duct tape to preserve integrity

then when he climbed the stairs
  to the dusty attic and shook his
  head at the wicker bird cage and
  the gray luggage his mother carried
  for thirty years,  filled with yellow
  linens and birth certificates

and he pushed that all aside,
  and took out the maple stool
  his sister had used for milking
  or said she once used for milking
  he wasn’t sure

and then he hung the noose
   from the debt ceiling, bragging to the dog
   that he could hang him too
   if the mutt didn’t stop nipping heels
   and scratching at the door

and how was it that the first responders
   arrived seconds before he kicked
   that stool out from below his noose?


Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

WHATEVER YOU WANT TO BE OWNED BY

by David Plumb




Slip on the Bible of your dreams
The organ will play and for a few short minutes,
perhaps America can fake attentiveness
between the wafer and the wine, the signs,
the blessings, perhaps a sacred universe,
a digression to quieter times,
of ruthless crucifixions,
promises of renewal, awakening,

While today fades in newsworthy bombs,
the theft of America’s wallet,
change chanted again and again
with working, unemployed Americans,
reaching for something, somewhere
beyond the weekend off, or the howling,
drooling, speculating, electrically magnified news,
wheedling, and gnawing at the remotes,
the hearts, the very strings of the sweet harp
we thought we heard in the clouds.


David Plumb’s latest fiction book is A Slight Change in the Weather. He has worked as a paramedic, a cab driver, a, cook and tour guide. A long time San Francisco writer, he now lives in South Florida . 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

THANKS FOR YOUR SERVICE, SUCKER!

by Tim Connelly


Image source: CNN


The head guy at the VA says
he won’t be able to send checks out
if Congress doesn’t end the shutdown.
Overwhelmed with fear.
It turned into an angry day.
I don’t like angry days.
I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder
and the anxiety is in full bloom.
Republicans (yes, republicans) have created a stressor,
and I don’t appreciate it.
I called my doctor at the VA
and told her I’m being used as a pawn
in this political game.
A pawn in Vietnam,
and again expendable.
Don’t "Thank me for my service."
on one day
and then screw me
on the next day.
What are you going to say to me on Veterans Day
when I can’t pay my bills?


Tim  Connelly has been a soldier, a reporter, and without a home. He now has a home and has discovered poetry as a way of expressing his feelings about war, poverty and the human condition.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

SHUTDOWN

by Sara Berkeley



Image source: nationalparks.org


The day the government shut down
the ocean showed up for work.
They put some barricades up
but waves kept coming in, unfazed.
The toilets were locked
and the barricades went up
to stop the people coming in to the park
but we went early, before they closed
the National Seashore, and I can attest
that the seals and the pelicans
and the small fish and the birds that eat them
kept coming back for more.

The waves were giving it their all,
rending the heart of the beach in two,
throwing their violent weight around
while Congress ran aground;
the rush of foam and fuming toil
of the wind blowing spume back
from the crests as loud as the silence
along the corridors of power,
the sand hot beneath our feet,
the water silvery gold, the gulls
laughing and crying as we were
laughing and crying too.

Pelicans flew as low as they dared
we reckoned they hadn't heard
that the government was hung -
hoist by its own petard -
that they'd put some wooden barriers up
to stop the tourist cars
from visiting the National Seashore
while well beneath the roar of the breakers
tearing up the shale
and the keening wail of the gulls
the day was a good day, ungoverned,
lovely, full of miracles.


Sara Berkeley was born and raised in Ireland. She has had five collections of poetry published, one of short stories, and a novel. She has been widely anthologized, including in the Harvard University Press An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, daughter, dog, cat, guinea pig, and varying numbers of fish. When she is not writing poetry, she is a nurse for traumatic brain injured patients. She is well ready for the shutdown to end.

Monday, October 14, 2013

BASEBALL AT MIDNIGHT

by Earl J. Wilcox


Image source: O Canada.com


Some say an old man is loony--up past midnight,
his only companions two owls outside his window
cheering each other the way an old man roots
for his team. After all, it is October—shorter days
longer nights--that time in the baseball year
when the game finally fills its fans like a cup running over
with playoffs. Dodger Blue and Cardinal Red tonight,
colorful enough almost to compete with yellow maple
leaves or white birches falling near Boston or Detroit.
The fields in the old man’s dreams are not filled with
regret for unrequited love, nor hope of immortality
in a land of milk and honey. The sheer joy and love
of baseball: enough to rest for the long winter ahead.


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.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

IN THE HANGAR ON LAMPEDUSA

by Lois Elaine Heckman


“The Italian authorities have so far retrieved 301 bodies from the smugglers’ boat, which caught fire and sank just a quarter-mile off the island. Of the estimated 500 people on board, only 155 survived.” --Gaia Pianigiani, New York Times, October 9, 2013


No, they are not
the undertaker’s casket samples
laid out in rows for choosing.
They are all filled with loss:
a mother and child
still connected by their cord,
a boy proudly wearing
the Italian soccer team’s t-shirt.
They hold people
who desired, searched, struggled
for a better life in another world
and found it in a different place
than they imagined.
There are more stories still
in the cemetery below,
covered by salt water,
like our faces.


Lois Elaine Heckman is from Los Angeles and now lives in Milan, Italy. She has had works published in Tilt-a-Whirl, Lighten Up Online, Prole, Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Persimmon Tree, and others. She won the 2010 New England Shakespeare Festival Rubber Ducky Sonnet Contest and placed in the Poetry on the Lake Competition in 2012 and 2013, and the Hungry Hill Poetry Prize in 2012. Her chapbook, Out of Nowhere (White Violet Press), was published by Kelsay Books in 2013.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

COLUMBUS DAY

by Tom Karlson






financed by Iberian Jewry
the Admiral, Christian or Jew, Spaniard or Italian
leads 120 men in the
Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria
sailing south and west 
India bound
crewed by:
Milton Friedman and his Chicago University goons
     in charge of propaganda, interrogation, discipline,
     race and class consciousness 
Prescott Bush and George Armstrong Custer
     compose the voyage manifesto and mission
below deck are the sun-dried souls of
Rasputin, the Popes, Sylvester the Second and Benedict the Ninth
     in charge of rape, incest, and family values
Pinkerton and J Edgar Hoover
     spying,   pimping, and procuring stool pigeons
Kenneth Lay 
     finance, mergers, and loans
Edward Teller  
     munitions
Robert E Lee’s horse Traveler
will show the way home
where Ferdinand and Isabella’s bishops
find Jews to murder and maim, books to burn, Moors to exterminate

Columbus will trade
measles, diphtheria, small pox, and malaria
for gold and land
as he works out the science of genocide on Hispaniola
never forgetting the University’s tools of slavery   colonization
religious fanaticism   and free market capitalism    
           

Tom Karlson is founder of Poets for Peace, Long Island, NY.

Friday, October 11, 2013

DAMASCUS GLASS

by Peleg Held



Photo: Twitter/@MajdArar

On Thursday Majd Arar, a Syrian Engineer, tweeted this photo taken by a group of activists in the neighborhood of Jobar in Damascus. Jobar, a strategically significant area that leads into the very center of the capital, is a rebel stronghold of sorts and one of the first places hit by chemical weapons on August 21. Heavy shelling and fighting followed. As you can see, Jobar is in the dark while regime-held neighborhoods closer to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's seat of power are lit up. --Michael Kelley, Business Insider, Oct. 10, 2013


An October sea,
curled lip and foam,
teeth born and bared
to the watering gaze
of the afternoon.

The tide slurs its words
and sands grow cold
in the valley of so many footprints.

Something feeds
bodied, dark, too far away
to distinguish.
We gather our own
and taste the coming
winter in the back of our throats.

Through dregs of sky
where haze clots
to horizon, arm or eye
afloat upon lashed bulk
glints a mirror
but we look down, enthralled
by shadow's greatness
stretching across the emptying shore.

Tomorrow, we will wake,
East in expectation.
What there will shine?


Peleg Held lives in Portland, Maine with his partner and his dog Emitt. There is also the semi-feral cat, Smudge. And a kid or two. He writes poetry, does woodworking and lately, dreams of the summer.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

FOR THE 2013 NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS

by Eric A. Weil




Neutrino, quark, lepton, superstring;
The “God Particle” is a Theory of Everything.

Some physicists used the Large Hadron Collider
To make Einstein’s theories just a bit tidier.

Infinitesimally smaller than infinitesimal,
The boson named Higgs flies faintly recognizimal;

So now that we know Higgs bosons exist,
The question remains:  Of what do they consist?


Eric A. Weil teaches at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina.  He has two chapbooks:  A Horse at the Hirshhorn (Finishing Line, 2002) and Returning from Mars (Main Street Rag, 2009).

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

CONTAMINATED

by Howard Winn


Image source: International Marine Salvage

 
Men in space suits are removing
lead and asbestos
from a house down our street.
Begun in the twenties,
this house remained from when innocence
prevailed as did cancer the crab,
moving sideways into the lungs
and other vital organs, both male and female,
from room paint, hot air ducts and shingles
covering innocent Cape Cod cottages,
moon walkers in airtight costumes
earn a healthy living from the fear of death,
this summer house is  now year round.
It holds an angular blonde mother
who runs along Shore Road with like wives,
a sinewy square-jawed father who drives
his hefty SUV to work and to his health club,
and coaches his vigorous son for little league fame
in the weekly mowed large side lawn
cared for by a landscape service that comes
in substantial truck and trailer to haul away
the unwanted grass.
across the street from our front windows.
In the mist of life, death by carcinogens lurks
in the up-scale décor and in the pipes of necessity.
Running, running, running,
they cannot run away.
Running, running, running,
they cannot run away.
Nes est certain, vita est non


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.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

THE CRISIS 2013

by George Held




Safe in gerrymandered districts
House Tea Partiers vie
To end the democratic process
Through calumny and lies.

Hateful of our President
And much in love with Cruz
Tea partiers set new precedent
For filibustered schmooze.

Ask not what to do for country
But just for Red State views –
Pro-gun, pro-life, and anti-tax
And poor and migrant crews.

Safe in gerrymandered districts
Untouched by Reason
And wed to right-wing cliques
Tea Partiers foment treason

And call it Constitutional;
While liberals quake and quail
And cry, “Delusional!”
The nation lies derailed.


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

Monday, October 07, 2013

TUBULAR WEAPON

by Kristina England





I.

No one knows what she was thinking.
How could we?
Half of us are still trying to understand
ourselves
never mind some woman
who drove through a barrier.
The world is full of barriers
anyway.

II.

A gun is designed to discharge bullets.
A car is used to transport.

Place these two objects together
create friction
a chase
a bang bang bang
that leaves people ducking.

III.

Crazy, people say...

to open fire on a car
to keep driving
to be an onlooker

IV.

An officer empties his gun
stumbles home through the headlines
reaches down for his toddler
kisses his lil’ chub-chub.

He thinks of the confined gas within his gun
how he released it into moving windows
that sometimes a tubular weapon
can protect the many
yet leave a child motherless.

He goes about his evening
barely able to sleep
reloads the device in the morning
because the next time could be different
it always is

and he is so close to hearing
his daughter say the words -
“dad”, “daddy”, “dada”.


Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her poetry and fiction is published or forthcoming in Extract(s), Gargoyle, New Verse News, The Story Shack, The Quotable, and other journals.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

WARRIOR WORRIERS

by The Bangkok Bards 
Saknarin Chinayote & Charles Frederickson




If the horrendous losses sustained
During World Wars are not enough
What must be the price
Of arousing our ultimate awakening

Ten million killed twenty million
Wounded emotionally maimed for life
Poisonous gas epidemic creating bacteria
Uncivil secret courts unmanned drones

Pre-war normality means post-war depression
In wholesale murder bullyrag gamesmanship
What if huge wasted expenditures
Aimed for productivity not destruction

Crooked gerrymandering pandering partisan advantage
Scoring F in zigzagging Freakonomics
Disarmament on humane grounds focuses
Attention on rebuked No Nukes

Saving hungry noble caring gesture
Viewed economically it’s first-aid nursing
If enabled destitute produce wealth
There’s no reason for starvation

Changing smug attitudes requires re-envisioning
Relentlessly battling elements through science
Lightning wind air wave energy
While the Sun still shines


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

Saturday, October 05, 2013

THE DIMINISHING MONUMENT

by Daniel Patrick Roche




An ivory mockery of King erected
in the shadows of two slave owners
and the Great Emancipator.
Carved in a foreign land
erected with scab labor
it is a monument--
to Establishment ignorance
rather than to the man himself.

The misunderstanding of its subject
carved upon its walls.
"I was a drum major for justice,
peace and righteousness.”
And then later chipped away,
corrected, like a poor student
unwilling to parade his ignorance.

King died defending workplace dignity.
He is not memorialized by hard white rock
hewn from the earth by exploited peoples
working in unsafe working conditions
for substandard pay, if the pay ever comes.
His legacy is diminished by it.
Go, shutter the Mall.
Hide this porcelain disgrace
from the eyes of workers
furloughed during the pissing match
after five years of frozen wages.
Perhaps they will remember the man
when this graven image is out of sight.


Daniel Patrick Roche is a political organizer and writer living in Northern California. An alumnus of UC Berkeley, he has worked for Nevada for Change, Joe Sestak for Senate, and Diego Bernal for San Antonio City Council District 1.

Friday, October 04, 2013

MAN EATER

by Kristina England



A highly addictive drug whose name derives from the green, scaly sores that develop on users’ rotting flesh was reported to have found a toehold in the United States this week. --LA Times, September 28, 2013


1.

A woman lies on an operating table.
Metal tools deconstruct her brain,
then reassemble it.
She wakes, relieved to see another day,
expects the healing process,
the pain of coming back to life.
Weeks later, doctors inform
her the medical equipment was tainted,
the extra life that surgery gave her
may be eaten away;
she'd go mad in the process.
But they couldn't know for sure.
They had to wait
with her and seven other patients.
So the doctors, the media,
the whole world sat down,
flipped through magazines
while she went mad anyway.

2.

A boy will inject himself in Arizona
with a drug called Krokodil.
Gasoline and oil in the blood,
his arm will bubble up,
go gangrene.

Two years to live,
he'll shoot up again,
reduce the days
with heroin.

3.

A skin rash bans my friend's mother
from hugging her before surgery.

Lauren has stage 3 breast cancer.
Her mother - MRSA.
They can't even be in the same room
or else Lauren could get sick,
contract a flesh eating disease.

They know the odds, separate themselves,
wait to feel that mother-daughter touch again,
believing they will because belief
is the only thing between us
and the facts.

4.

Flesh eating bacteria is breeding.
We find it in our conversations.

My mother and I tongueless from politics,
our conflicting thoughts on Obamacare
some tool, some needle, some rash
we refuse to deal with.

She sits on the right side of the table.
I circle my fork through spaghetti

on the left.

Soon we'll be dead to each other -
a statistic, an autopsy.

It will hurt.
It will be maddening.

And yet, we'll still inject ourselves,
unwilling to believe
we are addicted,
we are suicidal,
we are the boy in Arizona,
senseless,
always searching for that ultimate high.


Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her poetry and fiction is published or forthcoming in Extract(s), Gargoyle, New Verse News, The Story Shack, The Quotable, and other journals.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

VETERAN

by James Penha




The elephant is the soul of Thailand,
the beast that bowed to kings,
built their empires
from jungles, the warrior that bore armies
and the brunt of generals' attacks. The elephant
is the nation's sacred symbol, its
trademark, its commodity, temple-venerable
and night-market kitsch. Without wars to fight
in an age of drones
and caterpillars, the great one follows
Fagins of mahouts
around carnivals amidst city streets,
hobbled and humiliated,
homeless and hungry, trunk
down with its luck. Now cartoon heroes
in masks and dark glasses
are glorified
as one great gray soldier and another
fade away and die.


James Penha edits The New Verse News.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

I'VE GOT NEWS FOR YOU

by Rick Gray


Ted Cruz - Caricature

                               
                       for Tony Hoagland


When real people shut down
their children go hungry
their lovers split
and they die or beg
between the simmering gridlock.

Or maybe they go rogue and
Invest in the promising heroin boom
to keep people fine with
Shut Downs.
But I've got news for you, Mr. Cruz,

even the junkies on the clogged riverside
here in Kabul----remember there?-------
know things shut down don't stop, they rot
and you'll need to score soon, brother, or feel
the shut down in your aching nerves

every fiscal second.


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

MIDNIGHT

by Catherine McGuire




They stand at their podiums –
empty voices in empty chambers –
they might as well be on different planets.
Maybe they are.
The words spoken earnestly
repeated, re-tweeted, their mantras
pass through each other like fumes,
like dogs barking, like that chill
of someone walking on your grave.
Meanwhile, the country folds flat
like a house of cards collapsing.


Catherine McGuire has had almost 300 poems published in venues such as: Adagio, Avocet, Folio, Fireweed, FutureCycle, Green Fuse, Main Street Rag, New Verse News, Nibble, Portland Lights Anthology and Tapjoe. Her chapbook, Palimpsests, was released by Uttered Chaos in 2011. She has three self-published chapbooks.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

BOAT PEOPLE

by Martha Landman


Survivors from an asylum seeker boat that sank off Indonesia say the boat returned to land after it hit trouble in rough seas and sank only 50 metres from the shore. About 50 people are either missing or dead, 30 of them understood to be children . . . One survivor told ABC News he had lost his whole family because Australian rescuers did not come when they phoned a day before the sinking.--ABC News, September 29, 2013. Photo: A section of the boat's hull washed up on the south coast of west Java.


Crude boats navigate open waters
Their cathartic hope a controversy.
A curious myriad of destinations
crowd the dreams of young and old voyagers.
Why are we called boat people, mạ?

Wind and waves swirl higher than hopes
the angry South China Sea a perilous journey
hunger, thirst and disease unstoppable.
Stave off pirates searching for gold.
Why are we called boat people, mạ?

Children battle the wind against rusted rails
their pleasure-filled shrieks fly above the sea.
Torn sails whip at seabirds sweeping from high
not a morsel found on the sardine-packed deck.
Why are we called boat people, mạ?

No school, no chores who cares about poverty
brilliant beginnings await on foreign shores
human remnants won't refuse refuge.
Merry gale winds bluster at 47 knots to the future.
How exquisite to be boat people, mạ!

A luminous moon at the calm end of the storm
dog-tired, famished crew fall into listless sleep.
Bloodied hands and chapped lips a small price
for the merciful miracle of freedom in a new land.
For how much longer are we boat people, mạ?

A snapped mast appeases the heavens
to save the haggard wide-eyed stunted cargo
with unwashed faces and unbrushed teeth.
Cold, stiff bodies a weary tangle at disaster's edge.
We had enough of being boat people, mạ!



The rising sun confirms the arrival of land
timid excitement hovers in empty stomachs
new hope floats up from a broken hull in the
early morning breeze — to be the new kid.
Does anyone want boat people, mạ?


Martha Landman
writes in Tropical North Queensland, Australia. Her work has appeared in Every Day Poets, Eunoia Review, The Blue Hour Magazine, Poetry 24 and others.