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Friday, January 31, 2014


by Chris O'Carroll

     “And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it, let’s take that discussion all across America, because women are far more than Democrats have made them out to be.”
     -- Mike Huckabee addressing a Republican National Committee meeting

Hey, ladies, listen up.  Mike Huckabee
Gets where you gals are at.  The GOP

Rejects those Uncle Sugar Democrats
Who want you doing it like alley cats

While taxpayers shell out for your libidos.
We live by holier free-market credos.

You do the reproductive heavy lifting,
We do your thinking for you.  We are gifting

You with a chance to raise your girlish voices
And cry, “Please, fellas, take away our choices.

Please give us more deception and distortion
Regarding contraception and abortion.

We don’t want rights.  We don’t want dignity.
Give us prescription-strength Mike Huckabee.”

Chris O’Carroll is a writer and an actor.  In addition to his previous New Verse News appearances, he has published poems in BigCityLit, the Kansas City Star, Lighten Up Online, Umbrella, and the Washington Post, among other print and online journals, and also in the anthologies The Best of the Barefoot Muse and 20 Years at the Cantab Lounge.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


by Mark Danowsky

Image source: pundit from another planet

Today, I have heard from innumerable sources
the way it is. I can’t tell you everything
was useful or important or even-
handed or fact checked.
I have handpicked many of the voices
who daily inform my worldview.
If it is a narrow view, well
I have myself
to fault.
Without time for primary sources
on which second tier channels
must we depend upon?
Certainly nothing
We know from binge watching
Genius is a product of one.
Schizophrenia results
when a congress

Mark Danowsky’s poetry has appeared in Alba: A Journal of Short Poetry, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Red River Review, Right Hand Pointing, Snow Monkey and The New Verse News.  His poem "5am Summer Stormwon Imitation Fruit’s “Animals and Their Humans” Contest, in 2013. He resides in Northwest Philadelphia and works for a private detective agency.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


by Larry Litt

He was Planet Earth’s Minstrel Poet,
wedging his way into worried minds,
making activists out of Davids
who didn't know they could control
American Goliaths.

Larry Litt is a writer and performer who can't decide if he’s a 'dirty old man, 'smart olfart' or 'recently bathed geezer.’The NY Times has called his work "Wryly conceived, politically provocative."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


by George Held

            "That old black [widow] has me in its spell . . . "

            “‘You carry enough stuff in your pocket to blow yourself  and everything within sixty yards of you to pieces.’”          —Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (1907)

Those young Moslem women terror-bent
from Dagestan and Chechnya now are sent
to Sochi with bombs embracing their bodies
like the arms of their dedicated husbands,
already blown to bits by suicide bombs
to earn their tickets to Paradise.

The young ladies now arm themselves
like Conrad’s Professor, “hand closed round”
the detonator in his pocket,
an armed flask bomb sitting
in another pocket like a sleeping
black Angel of Death.

Call these young women “black widows,”
conjure our primal fear of black spiders
with red hourglass shape on their abdomen,
who devour their mates for giving the gift
of fertilization. The old misogynist myth
is summoned again to feed nightmares

for the well-heeled with tickets to Sochi,
the Winter Olympics Paradise,
with palm trees, by the Black Sea,
while at its back, in the snow-clad Caucasus,
Moslem revolutionaries fight
for independence and send (black) widows

to detonate the fun and games.
Which is your choice: the curious
tourists who require armed security
to bolster Vladimir Putin’s coffers
or the widows dedicated to avenge
their husbands and help to liberate

their ancient/nascent nations
from Putin’s pitiless grip?
Let the games begin.

An occasional contributor to The New Verse News, George Held occasionally blogs at

Monday, January 27, 2014


by Richard O'Connell

Image source: Neatorama

It came with the house—
God in the attic
And a stream underground
That made him rheumatic.

Why shouldn't he be
Self-righteous?—the mortgage
Almost paid up & the kids gone
To war and marriage.

It's a good house
Still,  he tells himself,
And the heater may hold
Through another winter;

For the heavy ghost
Who creaks on the stairs
And stoops by the window
To peer out at stars.

Richard O'Connell lives in Deerfield 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 YorkerThe Atlantic MonthlyNational Review, The Paris Review, Margie, Measure, Southern Humanities Reviw, AcumenThe Formalist.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


by Sharon Lask Munson

A little over a year ago
I wrote about a school shooting,
young children on the evening news
making their way to the fire station,
coatless on a cold December day
clad in jeans, cotton shirts.

Their heads were down,
hands planted on the shoulders
of the child in front,
marching between emergency vehicles
and state patrol cars.
Their crying, drowned by the voices on CNN
relating the day’s events.

The park-like setting
in the snowless landscape
displayed the last of autumn’s leaves,
hues of golden yellow to burnt orange—
like an impressionist painting,
all light and shadow.

Today its happened again.
Not a school, but a neighborhood mall.
This time January tones fill the television screen—
snow packed parking lots,
the same biting cold, cold.

Shootings seem remote
until the television announcer
utters Columbia, Maryland
and I race to the phone to call my niece.
You’re home, I say.
Fine, fine, she responds.

We speak of tragedies—
schools, malls, movie theaters.
She speaks of not wanting her children
to live in constant fear.
I remember back to Thurston High,
a shooting closer to home.

We grasp the new meaning for the words, to hide.
We learn the word, lockdown.

Sharon Lask Munson is the author of the chapbook, Stillness Settles Down the Lane (Uttered Chaos Press, 2010) and a full-length book of poems, That Certain Blue (Blue Light Press, 2011).  She lives and writes in Eugene, Oregon.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


by Robert Farmer

Image by RachelO at

Fighting a McDonald’s in Queens for the Right to Sit. And Sit. And Sit: For the past several months, a number of elderly Korean patrons and this McDonald’s they frequent have been battling over the benches inside. --NY Times, January 14, 2014

McFish sandwiches are always delayed,
demanding my observation of you old men
drinking endless coffee from paper cups,
polluting the place with the thick accents of age and origin.
You demean the décor in this room designed for delight
of children and of colorfully-haired teens
with trinket-pierced flesh.

We’ve designated appropriate places for you, don’t you know:
Try cheap diner counters
where you may communicate over watery soup,
or benches fronting backcountry stores
where you may contemplate red dust.
Maybe seedy city bars
with their atmosphere of long-spilt beer.
Perhaps even hospital corridors
where you sit with bewilderment across your faces.

But not here!
I will ignore you until my McFish arrives.
Then I will flee before your contamination.

Robert Farmer is 83 and lives in Cleveland where he sits around in Starbucks and the YMCA.

Friday, January 24, 2014


by Jim Gustafson

Image source: Business Insider

Just South of Lovers Key
the whales have hit the beach.
It is said they are pilots,
though one must wonder
about whales that come to land.

Just outside Sparks, Nevada
100,000 fish washed-up on shore.
It is said the lake‘s ran out of oxygen
and the catfish, bass and trout
died in its breathless water.

Just above Rio De Janeiro
lightening has touched Jesus.
It is said, his finger broke,
He will be healed. He will point
once more to the fish in the sea.

Jim Gustafson’s book, Driving Home, was published by Aldrich Press in 2013. A 2013 Pushcart Prize Nominee, Jim is poetry editor for the Tampa Review OnLine, a MFA candidate at the University of Tampa, teaches at Florida Gulf Coast University, and lives in Fort Myers, Florida, where he reads, writes, and pulls weeds.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


by C.S. Fuqua

Image source: Outside the Beltway

with a gift to make
crazy sound sane,
speaks gibberish,
calls it fact,
and his group of loonies
cheer him on,
enact his whims.
all the way
to the bank.

C.S. Fuqua's published books include White Trash & Southern ~ Collected Poems ~ Vol. I, Hush, Puppy! A Southern Fried Tale (children’s picture book), Rise Up (short fiction collection), The Native American Flute: Myth, History, Craft, Trust Walk (short fiction collection), The Swing: Poems of Fatherhood, Divorced Dads, and Notes to My Becca, among others. His work has appeared in publications such as Main Street Rag, Pudding, Dark Regions, Iodine, Christian Science Monitor, Cemetery Dance, Bogg, Year's Best Horror Stories XIX, XX and XXI, Amelia, Slipstream, The Old Farmer's Almanac, The Writer, and Honolulu Magazine.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


by Adrienne S. Wallner

Image source: Adventure Journal
Image source: Inhabit

Two butchers
both alike
in their savagery,
killed to eat and killed to sell.
They were both successful
and prosperous
and fat.
One butcher
slaughtered his hogs.
The other butcher
slaughtered his cows.
The hog butcher
used a saw
when he cut bones
and a knife to stick.
The cow butcher
used a saw
when he cut bones
and a knife to stick.
“The way you use that
rusty saw to
split your hog
is terrible,”
said the cow butcher.
“The way you use that
dull knife to
shank your cows
is horrible,”
said the hog butcher.
The butchers
wiped their cleavers
on smeared aprons.
“Something should be done
about a butcher like you,”
said the butchers.
The butchers
wiped their cleavers
on smeared aprons
and shook their heads.
Each went back home to skin.
“I’m glad I’m not a butcher like he is”
said the hog butcher.
“I’m glad I’m not a butcher like he is”
said the cow butcher.

Poet, photographer, and traveler, Adrienne S. Wallner teaches composition in Wisconsin.  She is currently working on a book about her and her husband's road trip to America's National Parks.  To join the journey visit

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Poem by Charles Frederickson
Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote 

In imperfect practice of tolerance
Perceived enemy is best teacher
Learning unity in spite of
Differences not unity without differences

Unable to end bullyrag phobias
At least we can make
Our bluish dysfunctional planet safer
Saner haven for future generations

America has become the most
Pluralistic nation on soiled earth
All men are created equal
Transplanted with major minority exceptions

Bringing together Christian Jew Muslim
Cavalierly excluding Hindu Sikh Buddhist
Taoist Jain Zoroastrian Wicca Atheist
Agnostic perverts damned to Hell

Let us not just tolerate
One another striving to create
Interconnected  cordless spinning globe
Without borders rotating counter clockwise

Our common cause inclusive aims
Should confront ignorance with wisdom
Bigotry with tolerance vowing racism
Can will must be overcome

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

Monday, January 20, 2014


by Chris O’Carroll

Image source: Cats That Look Like Hitler

Your kitten’s face is white with a black patch,
A toothbrush mustache, underneath the nose.
You named the little furball Adolf, natch.
(You could have gone with Chaplin, I suppose.)
Since cats cleave to no ideology
That one could label pro- or anti-Jew,
And are not really into irony,
What the name signifies depends on you.
It could be just a joke about a face
That seems as comical as monstrous now,
Could be a shout-out to the Master Race
That operated Auschwitz-Birkenau.
  The eponym enjoyed such baneful fame,
  It’s hard to know what’s in a namesake’s name.

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 Angle, Folly, Light, The Rotary Dial, Snakeskin, and other print and online journals.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


by Rick Gray

AFP photo source: BBC

                 for Alexis Kamerman, shot to death by the Taliban
                 while dining at Taverna Du Liban, Kabul, on January 17, 2014 

Near our exit door, on the white check-out board
you can still read the name Alexis.

Her magic markings cry TAVERNA, her destination written
with the subtle, unarmed wrist of a woman's flair

that swept her outside, her uncovered hair running wild
like a river of light into war's grudging, dark valleys.

That was before she reached TAVERNA, where Kamal Hamide
poured miracles of sweet red wine from discreet teapots

and winked over the charms and the affairs, all conspiring against
the rotting paradise of the expired minds plotting outside.

A covered head grunted a cheap God is Great into a filthy street
and crouched like a jackal against Kamal's welcoming gate,

and before we could say farewell, or rush her away
all our misfit Kabul dreams exploded into the twisted shape of every mean thing,

except Alexis, and one perfect, eternal word,
a written destination untouchable.

No one in this silent house today dare lift a rough, empty hand
to erase it. It was the last word. It was a woman's secret farewell.

None of us, or them, can ever break her spell.

Rick Gray has work currently appearing in Salamander and has an essay forthcoming in the book, Neither Here Nor There: An Anthology of Reverse Culture Shock. He served in the Peace Corps in Kenya and teaches in Kabul, Afghanistan.


by Winston H. Plowes

An omen lost at birth.
This island on the edge of light and secrets.
This stretch of sound
less-visited, still and unclaimed.

A hart guarded
like a freshly cut trench
surrounded by layers of love.

Something in the tiny pine coffins
sounds like summer had stopped beating.

Lifeless in part,
afraid of burying the detail.

Author’s Notes: This is a transcription of a found poem in the erasure style where all the above words appear in an article in The Times (of London) on 17th January 17,  2014 "New Yorkers demand access to mass graves on convict island". Original article by Will Pavia addresses the concern over access rights to bodies of young children buried by convicts on Hart Island.

Editor’s Note: More information at The Hart Island Project.

Winston H.Plowes writes his words on a narrowboat on England’s inland waterways. His compositions have been widely published, hopefully making people pause and ponder the magical details of life.

Friday, January 17, 2014


by Tricia Knoll

NAMIE, Japan — His may be one of the world’s more quixotic protests.
Angered by what he considers the Japanese government’s attempts to sweep away the inconvenient truths of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Masami Yoshizawa has moved back to his ranch in the radioactive no-man’s land surrounding the devastated plant. He has no neighbors, but plenty of company: hundreds of abandoned cows he has vowed to protect from the government’s kill order. --NY Times, January 11, 2014

I grew up on the myth of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, that careless bovine
kicking a lamp that burned down Chicago. Hot time in the old town
tonight we sang. When Mrs. O’Leary was officially cleared of wrong-doing,
it was too late for kids that learned that song in grade school.
That kerosene lamp, and she didn’t do it. The cow was innocent.

I like cows. I’m lactose in love. Ice cream. Cheese. At the Oregon coast,
we have a herd of Oreo cows --black at the butt, black at the head, a middle stripe
of creamy white around the belly. People tell stories about those Oreo cows.
Tourists go out of their way to take pictures of them, officially --
Belted Galloways.

Today’s hot time cows...well, they surprised me. Those radioactive cows,
the Fukushima cows, all one color cows -- I guess you’d call them licorice
unlucky cows. Cows of Hope. Officially Japanese blacks. Radioactive cows
feeding on contaminated grass and Mr. Yoshizawa who says the fault
is not the cows’, they are more than walking accident debris. So he lives
along side-by-side them to stop the genocide of licorice unlucky cows,
a shooting and a push into the big pit. He too will learn just how hot
time is in the old town.

Yup, those cows. Waiting at the dwindling manger to join the ranks
                 Mrs. O’Leary’s cow
             moon jumpers
             the Oreo cows
                 Y Fuwch Frech
and the Licorice Unluckies in the hot town.

Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet. Finishing Line Press is publishing her chapbook Urban Wild in May 2014. She once rode a pregnant cow on a ranch which was a filmshoot site for a documentary highlighting the danger of the widespread use of DDT.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


by Rick Gray

Dennis, I hate to interrupt your cry
but the prisoners are ringing in my ears
and demanding I offer you another trip, or at least a smack.
They don't care if your piercing ruins my anonymous hand,

They are worked to death, and have been waiting for years for this.
There's no courts in the camps, though I hear the nets are everywhere.
Only the guards get to shoot. Dennis, I can't let them down.
Just like you cried, "I'm sorry. I'm just trying to help."

What's it like being so cool and eccentric?
Even when you say "I'm sorry" it sounds so ironic,
like your pink wedding dress. Marriage and divorce must be jokes
when you get to hang court side like Nicholson with the Dope.

Here's their suggestion, Dennis.
Instead of me hitting you, which you won't even feel,
The prisoners want you to play for real next time.
No more games. You go to a prison camp and just sit in solitary

and keep your metal smirk shut.
We'll do it it like the Aztecs.
If you eventually crack and start blubbering tears to the press, you lose,
and the prisoners cut off your famous head and have a ball.

Rick Gray has work currently appearing in Salamander and has an essay forthcoming in the book, Neither Here Nor There: An Anthology of Reverse Culture Shock. He served in the Peace Corps in Kenya and teaches in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


by B.Z. Niditch

MIKHAIL Kalashnikov, designer of the AK-47 rifle, told the head of the Russian Orthodox Church before his death that he felt guilty for those it killed. --

The arms trade
profits at the world's
children's expense,
who merely ask for love
or just a chance at living
now with no arms or legs
begging for food,
body parts now seen
on technicolor screens
with scars on skin
that cannot be erased
or some without remains
only the memory
of historical or geographical
error of being existentially
at the wrong place or time.

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, January 13, 2014


by Alexis-Rueal 

The New Yorker cover out today.

He said what he needed to say--
gave the hordes heads on a platter
garnished it with his disdain,

and denial.

For nearly two hours, he
closed off the bridge bombasity and pride
had used as inroads to public perception.

"Traffic Study," he told them.
Had to test-drive some humility before the
exploratory committee holds their first meeting,
before the Iowa caucus. Before the first straw poll.

Before everyone forgot how he once stood next to the President.

When people had thought he could build bridges.

is a Columbus, Ohio poet. She is the author of Letter to 20 from Poet's Haven Press, was a member of the 2013 National Poetry Slam team from the Writers' Block poetry night, and has performed at the Columbus Arts Festival "Word is Art" stage,

Sunday, January 12, 2014


by Joe Pacheco

“I worked the cones, actually, unbeknownst to everybody.” 
--New Jersey Governor Christie joke at his Press Conference, January 9, 2014

By the bridge of Fort Lee city,
Guys once went to make their bones,
Unbeknownst to everybody,
Actually, I worked the cones.

Port Authority bogus study:
What if we shut down two zones?
Unbeknownst to everybody,
Actually, I worked the cones.

Timed just right for 9 September:
School begins for Buono’s clones.
Unbeknownst to everybody,
Actually, I worked the cones.

Four full days of jams and tie-ups,
Staff delights at drivers’ groans.
Unbeknownst to everybody,
Actually, I worked the cones.

Jersey Dems from their glass houses
Have no business throwing stones.
Unbeknownst to everybody,
Actually, I worked the cones.

When they vote me Chief Commander
With full power over drones,
Let it beknownst to everybody,
Actually, I worked the cones.

Joseph Pacheco is a retired New York City superintendent living on Sanibel Island.  His poetry has been featured several times on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Latino USA and WGCU. He has performed his poetry with David Amram’s jazz quartet at the Bowery Poets Café and Cornelia Street Café in New York City. He writes a poetry column for the Sanibel Islander and his poetry has appeared in English and Spanish in the News-Press. In 2008 he received the Literary Artist of the Year award from Alliance for the Arts. He has published three books of poetry, The First of the Nuyoricans/Sailing to SanibelAlligator in the Sky and, most recently, Sanibel Joe’s Songbook.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


by Lylanne Musselman

Cartoon by Chip Bok.

wind turbines
stand erect
in farm fields
like robotic soldiers
on high alert for
a spin at certain

of unsuspecting
victims collect –
at the base
of these warlords;

the ones
that harness the wind,
to power human interests,
but strip the life
from natural flight –

collateral damage
in a war to save
the environment
from toxins and
corporate greed.

Lylanne Musselman is an award winning poet and artist, who lives in Toledo, Ohio. Her poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Literary Brushstrokes, Pank, New Verse News, Cyclamens & Swords, and The Prose-Poem Project among others, and many anthologies. She is the author of three chapbooks, and a co-author of Company of Women: New & Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013). Presently, she is Coordinator of Creative Writing at Terra State Community College, and teaches online writing courses for Ivy Tech Community College, while diligently working on a full length poetry memoir.

Friday, January 10, 2014


by Richard Schnap

Image source: The Hoopla

It was just about the time
I noticed the number of beggars
On the sidewalks of my neighborhood
Seemed to double overnight

It was just about the time
That the local cable TV station
Began to show hardcore porn films
More explicit than ever before

It was just about the time
I started to hear the rumors
Of people I once befriended
Dying from heroin overdoses

That whenever I passed a church
I thought about going inside
And sit in a back row pew
To pray for the fate of the world

Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.

Thursday, January 09, 2014


by Amy Brunvand

Colorado River Drought Forces a Painful Reckoning for States --NY Times, January 5, 2014. Photo source: Western Resource Advocates.

A watercolor wash of
Smears darkly from a thunderhead,
Dangles, unraveling in the
Virga drips from the arms
Of an ochre painted ghost
With hollow white eyes
Who keeps watch from a sandstone
Bearing witness to the blood-red
Pulsing though the veins
That branch through the heart of red
Carrying water viscous with red
That no longer bleeds into the

Amy Brunvand is a librarian and a monthly contributor to Catalyst Magazine in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014


by Bill Backstrom

Global Warming
now officially over
according to Fox News
See the cold weather
Make fun of Al Gore and
those scientists who
can’t realize it is cold outside

Whew, what a relief to us all
No more problems with glacier melt
Ice caps will be fine,
no more sea-level increases
All over

I was so mistaken to believe
this was just a colder than normal
blast of cold air during a season
called Winter

But Fox is clear, this cold disproves
Global Warming
So I am glad it is over

It is over, right?

Bill Backstrom is a part-time writer in rural Minnesota. He balances a day job and family with some evening writing of poems and short stories.

Monday, January 06, 2014


by Buff WhItman-Bradley

Cartoon by Joel Pett for Planet Under Pressure

Lizards skittering across the trail
Birds decorating the woods
With song
And me wondering
If there is some miniscule
Cluster of neurons
In the tiny brains of lizards and birds
That stores the memory of when
Their Mesozoic ancestors
Were the planet’s Big Kahunas
And fills them with nostalgia
For the glory days
I like to think that the dinosaurs
Didn’t go out kicking and screaming
That they ceded supremacy graciously
Then lumbered off
To the distant edges
Of the possible world
Willing to grow small
Rather than disappear forever
Which might not be
Such a bad idea
For us

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, January 05, 2014


by David Feela

Image source: Before It’s News

As the new moon rose
for the first time in 19 years
on the first morning

of this New Year
positioned invisibly between
the earth and the sun,

so thin it practically
didn’t exist, the old
belief resurfaced

like tarnished silver,
the notion of resolving
to be bigger than we are.

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.

Saturday, January 04, 2014


by Wayne Scheer

After being criticized for lip syncing through her Las Vegas residency debut, Britney Spears is now being accused of faking her abs.  --Huffpost Celebrity, December 31, 2012

The year is brand spanking new
and already Huffington Post
has broken a scandal
that could rock the world--
“Britney Spears Accused
of Faking Her Abs.”

Faking her abs?
Apparently, she uses makeup
for the rippling effect.

Is nothing sacred?
Next they'll uncover
Miley Cyrus has a secret
doctorate in astrophysics
or the Kardashian girls
as homebodies,
happily married,
content to play dominoes
before an open fire.

Who knows what else we'll learn
from Huff Post's crack reporters:
Mel Gibson born Melvin Ginsberg?
Jennifer Anniston wakes with morning breath?
John Wayne a transvestite?
(His birth name was Marion, after all.)

My world may be shattered,
my illusions swept away
like New Year's confetti on January 1,
but greeting the new year
with eyes wide open
has its advantages.
No more stomach crunches for me;
pass the body make-up.

Wayne Scheer has locked himself in a room with his computer and  turtle since his retirement. (Wayne's, not the turtle's.)  To keep from going back to work, he's published hundreds of short stories, essays and poems and has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net. Wayne can be contacted at wvscheer(at)

Thursday, January 02, 2014


by Rick Gray

Hello Kitty, he said again
emptying another mini bottle of vodka

into a brittle plastic cup of Red Bull.
Want one, sir? he asked. It gives you wings.

Hello Kitty, he went on,
Dubai getting closer, I don't know why

it was always Hello Kitty.
I don't know what you mean, I finally said.

He turned to me, his nose veined red
Flying home to Montana with toys

for all the kids on Christmas.
Those watches, his words began to slur,

the ones they set as timers
to detonate what killed my friends

they were always Hello Kitty,

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


by Tricia Knoll 

One of the two recently released members of Russian punk protest band Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, said on Friday that their release was aimed solely at improving Russia's image before it hosts the Winter Olympic Games rather than a humanitarian gesture. --Mail & Guardian, December 29, 2013

May the games begin
the announcer calls
and may the best man,
oops and best women
carry the gold

for a nation waiting
for its glory count,
so speaks the media.
An embarrassment
of riches -- each nation

locks away those who speak
with the timber voice
of righteousness and pussies.
Amnesty is the tool
not of enlightenment
but of international spotlight.

Were the games to witness
to the strong
to commit peace
with unlike others,
with the soil we walk,
air we breathe,
and the creatures
who out-run us, out-sing us,
out-fly us, and out-think
us under the waters.
Were these the games,
a turning revolution,
victors might repair
the spoils.

Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet who for decades has imagined winning the women's Olympic marathon while slowly jogging through an urban landscape. Her chapbook Urban Wild will be published in 2014 by Finishing Line Press.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014


Poem by Charles Frederickson
Graphic by Saknarin Chinayote 

revived hope positive energy vibes
fast-forward aspirations reconfigured priorities
resolving to stay healthy eating
properly exercising all fitness regimes

optimistic outlook focused courage determination
tolerance kindness compassion reconfigured me
following inner consciousness back roads
paving under construction bumpy detours

stalled idle engine revved up
shifting gears from neutral into
accelerated highs rearview mirror perspectives
remapping way to go outlook

continuous learning practice making excellence
doing what you love doing
living as if this is
all there is perhaps true

trusting destiny goal achieving it
seemingly impossible until it’s done
achievements balancing prideful self-respect options
never settling for second best

expressing knowingness however you choose
better being wise than clever
recognizing unlimited potential nurturing capabilities
memory sightseeing along sentimental journey

embracing what’s never been lost
letting go of what no longer
serves your needy wanton desires
deciding what’s best for YOU
No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson and Mr. Saknarin Chinayote proudly present YouTube mini-movies @ YouTube – CharlesThai1 .