Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Monday, June 16, 2014


by Linda Lerner

Pamela Langford, who took this photo, wrote to The City Birder blog on the subject of Brooklyn Botanic Garden hawks on April 22, 2014: “The BBG red-tailed hawk pair appears to be nesting in the Japanese  garden. Today my friend Jan Kraus and I spotted a hawk flying into a pine tree near the entrance to the Japanese garden (by the cherry esplanade).  It's not easy to see, but after watching a while we saw a hawk in the nest, and later there was a swap when a second hawk arrived and the hawk on the nest flew away. No way to know how far along things are, but the pair appears to be attending either eggs or youngsters. . . . In any case, I am hoping for another delightful summer with fledglings in the botanic garden.”

BROOKLYN - Some Brooklyn residents are concerned to go outdoors after a red-tailed hawk attacked a woman. Tahjah Coleman says she was on her Bedford-Stuyvesant terrace when the bird grabbed her head from behind. News12Brooklyn, May 26, 2014

the muggers were hawk faced and back in
the same hood others were chased out from
with those who couldn’t afford to live here
a few began to occupy abandoned buildings
rent illegal sublets  share small apartments
and now someone’s balcony
the area changed  people felt safer so
she didn’t know what hit her when
something grabbed her from behind  felt claws
scratching the back of her head felt
blood on her hand  blood running down her neck
around the same time another woman was attacked
while sitting on her fire escape … people
feared going outside again …

however news travels outside language they got it:
the coolest city … words on a Brooklyn window sign…
If you’ve been in love, you know how the slightest movement
a fleeting shadow crossing a smile … know when someone has
moved on or in … I have both times …
so they picked it up in the air  in the silent sound waves
the way a couple of others who’d had enough of trees chose
an apartment building across from central park

squawk cries flew thru friend Donna’s words, Why can’t it go the other way
smaller houses with gardens instead of all the luxury hi rises
mingling with my mother’s  be careful what you wish for

squawk cries with the foul smell of another time

Linda Lerner's Takes Guts and Years Sometimes (New & Selected Poems) is published by New York Quarterly Press.