Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Thursday, July 31, 2014


by James Penha

Fleeing European horrors,
God's chosen landed at a great rock
on which they built their havens,
their temples, and their theocracies
and squatted the nomadic tribes
ignorant of salvation and so damned
(if human enough to have life
after life at all). Settlers made
manifest their destiny
to exploit, expropriate,
disease, enslave,
blanket, and reserve the savages.
And when the natives resisted
eternal occupation, the settlers,
republicans by then and democrats,
made war and baubles
of redskins.

And now Washington mouths
itself agape in the mirror of the middle east.

James Penha edits The New Verse News.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


by David Southward

Son, you must learn to take a side
and cling to it with stubborn pride.
Your options are narrowed down to two.
Here’s a map: red state or blue?

Whichever one you pick, have fun
demolishing the other one.
Proclaim its leadership unfit;
its policies, a load of shit;
its followers, Neanderthals.
Don’t be timid.  This takes balls!

If by chance the other team
should rise in popular esteem,
insist their views are really yours
repackaged in new metaphors.
Since anything you say must be
reported on objectively,
it’s rhetoric that rules the roost.
“Truth” is any mass-produced
opinion on the internet.
And if you should misspeak?  No sweat.
The stupidest thing a man could say
can be re-spun, so spin away!

If your team drops the ball, take heart:
Employ the finger-pointing art
to slyly redirect the blame
and start a he-said she-said game.                        
When all else fails, your last resort                        
is to cry foul before the court.
And if there’s no hope in the law,
appoint a judge to find its flaw.
Pull the judicial switcheroo
and make our system work for you!

There’s just one rule you must abide:
NEVER give the other side
a speck of credit for being right.                            
It shows you’ve given up the fight.

And should your children scratch their heads
at all this dog-eat-dog bloodshed,
teach them why nobody gets along:
The other side is always wrong.

David Southward teaches in the Honors College at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  His poetry has appeared in The New Verse News and is forthcoming in The Lyric.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


by Paula Schulz

In the 3 months since 200 schoolgirls
were kidnapped, 11 parents have died.
The town of Chibok is just 1 village
cut off from the world, from all mercy,
by Boko Haram. What Haram’s taken--
how to imagine the wear on parents,

the misery of loving fathers
who could not keep their own girls
safe from violent men. The taken
have taken others with them to death’s
doorway. And beyond. 7 fathers could not escape the merci-
less attack on Kautakari village.

4 more have died of heart failure or illness. A village
themselves, they are the grief-broken parents
of the missing. Life showed no mercy
to the father, coma-like and repeating his girls’
names “until life left him”. Until he died,
to say it plainly. So much has been taken

from these families. The school girls taken,
their fathers taken. Powerless villages
of Nigeria pray for life, expect death.
Waiting is hardest for the parents:
all they can think of is their little girls,
children who are merciful, gentle. No mercy

seems likely for them. What kind of mercy
can be found in mobs who burn cars, have taken
airlines out of service. The 57 girls
who ran home found help in their villages.
Grief and rape counselors for themselves, their families.
Now will food shortages mean death?

Chibuk village, the taken girls, their parents:
it can’t be told in numbers, this story
of impending death, this story without mercy.

Editor’s note: This poem is based on reporting in the AP story 11 “Parents of Nigeria’s Abducted Girls Die" by Michelle Faul, July 22, 2014.

Paula Schulz works daily in a 3K setting, sits for grandchildren and grieves for these children and their families.

Monday, July 28, 2014


by Joan Colby

The Great Wave at Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty–Six Views of Mount Fuji), Edo period (1615–1868), ca. 1831–33. Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, 1760–1849); Published by Eijudo. Polychrome ink and color on paper; 10 1/8 x 14 15/16 in. (25.7 x 37.9 cm) (Oban size). H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (JP1847). The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The tides steal the bones of the cities
Like feral dogs. This is how warming engages a civilization
Built on greed. Ambition fuels the cyclones that rove a landscape
Where the earth’s deep gases are fracked from their caves. Drones
Concentrate on brevity, the riskless killing. Fires rage
In the eucalyptus where no aluminum carapace can save us.
The earth shakes with grievous faults. A wave
Rises in a template of doom on the Japanese woodcut.
No place is immune.
In Mumbai, the boy thief says a bad life
Is still a life.

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers and How the Sky Begins to Fall (Spoon River Press), The Atrocity Book (Lynx House Press) and Dead Horses and Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press. Selected Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize.  Properties of Matter was published in spring of 2014 by Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books). Two chapbooks are forthcoming in 2014: Bittersweet (Main Street Rag Press) and Ah Clio (Kattywompus Press). Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


by Michael Fisher

if they say “jew,” or
if they say “muslim”

if they say “greedy,” or
if they say “dirty”

today is my birthday
I spent it watching the numbers come in from Gaza
refreshed my browser window over and over

mathematically, one number is always greater
than another

if they say “rag-head,” or
if they say “kike”

if they say “zionist,” or
if they say “jihadist”

the Gaza strip neighbors Israel and Egypt
it is home to 1.816 million or less

my own neighbor has a chocolate lab
and a gun

he hates that I can't change my oil,
build a shed, hates that I
spend my days reading books and the news

I hate that he never considered the morality of chaos theories
and loves classic rock

still, when I pull in, I look out for the lab
he waves and adjusts his baseball cap when he sees me

can it be that easy?

they say “sub-human,” “terrorist,”
“child-killer,” “fascist,” or
they say “genocide,” “genocide,” “genocide”

I shut down my computer for the night
tomorrow numbers will grow

I wish I could say I watched the fireflies
surround the bright eyes of a dog through my window

Michael Fisher is the author of Wolf Spider from Plan B Press and Libretto for the Exhausted World on Spuyten Duyvil Press.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


by Phyllis Wax

Detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville, Texas June 18, 2014.
--REUTERS/Eric Gay/Pool 

fifty thousand in less than a year
scarred, scared
stomachs gnawing

to escape violence
there’s no hiding from at home,
in the neck between the Americas,
surviving the trek
through endless Mexico
and now

they sleep on a warehouse floor
in Nogales
sprawled in
the myriad positions
children sleep in—
snuggled to a sibling
arm or leg
flopped supine, mouth agape—
detainees of a resistant state

The soft sighs of their breathing            
warm the cold cement they lie on

while lawmakers want to
send in the National Guard

Phyllis Wax muses on the news and politics from a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, WI.  She's been widely published, recently in The Widows' Handbook:  Poetic Reflections on Grief and Survival from Kent State University Press.  When she's not writing you might find her escorting at a local women's clinic.

Friday, July 25, 2014


by Charles Frederickson

Image source: CKNW

Gaza offspring 3 wars old
Shrapnel unexploded debris littering strand
4 youngsters quicksand sucks victims
Senseless whimsical merciless bullyrag assault

Civilians shouldn’t die 1,780 homes
Mosques hospitals apartment blocs leveled
Leaving distraught families fearing drones
Aimed at tightening stranglehold noose

Power cuts outrage everyday occurrence
Farming limited by security zones
Movement restricted fishermen territorially confined
Raw sewage pumped into sea

UN found that about 25,000
Gaza minors suffer from post-traumatic
Stress disorder infants asking mothers
“Why is Israel bombing us?”

Invader fights simply because it
Can unstoppable grim forecast game-plan
21% deep poverty 40.8% unemployment
Teenager jobless rate skyrocketing 50%

No childhood to speak of
Disappearing dreams replaced with nightmares
Basic human rights freedoms trampled
Unable to live with dignity

No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson  proudly presents YouTube mini-movies @ YouTube – CharlesThai1 .

Thursday, July 24, 2014


by Michael Shorb

The deadly Ebola virus that’s killed more than 600 people so far in West Africa may have been smoldering there for years and has almost certainly sickened people who thought they had something else, researchers say. --NBC News, July 20, 2014

From Pointe-Noire to Mombasa
the AIDS Highway
runs through villages
hunched in smoky blue-gum
cooking fires, veers north
into unbroken rain forest
tracts, peels east at Kisangani,
where ageless women walk
its red clay shoulders.

Goes into Uganda, past
immense and turgid
Lake Victoria, past
the Isle of Plagues
where infected monkeys
shriek and gibber bearing
inner leaf storms
of microbial marauders.

Toward Mt. Elgon's
mantle of blue hills
laced with fever trees
and floods of native corn
where warning calls
of Colubus monkeys
explode from the green
crowns of podocarpus trees.

Elephant herds thundered
on this mountain once
scraped Kitum Cave with
           thrusting tusks
now their
         withered gray skins
are left for roaches
now burnt huts and
blackened rubble bear
Coca Cola bottle
  of human scale.

Look, you can't kill
all this life without resistance
somewhere along lines
                    of DNA and RNA leading
back in time,

back to our own
brooding progenitors
coming to in Eden,
new in the forest,
learning the art
of trapping fire
just getting their
brain cells wet.

You nailed the biggest
ones with ease
the huge in their lumbering grace
elephant clans
              thirsty water buffaloes
              bitten by fruit bats
no match for jeeps
night vision scopes automatic
rifles, even galaxies
of primal forest
are going under as
populations spawn.

Now villages in Zaire, Guinea, Sri Lanka
boil over into bloody death
first shotgun blasts
to the pineal
eyes running red
as unseen predator armies
                         open maws
sharks in feeding frenzy
multiply fission-like inside
besieged cities
               of liver lung and heart.

Man is meat to this thing
fluid a highway
AIDS a warning shot against the enemy
of human reproduction.

Somewhere earth fights back
will not go down without
clawing the faces of its destroyer.

It waits.

Inert mobility endowed with talent
for change,
           easy traveler, breath propelled
villagers afraid Ebola escapes from Grave

dance of microscopic sticks:
Ebola, little sisters of extermination
fire in the cells.

Michael Shorb was published in more than 100 poetry magazines and anthologies including Michigan Quarterly, The Sun, and The Kyoto Journal.  He was nominated for a Pushcart Poetry Award and won a Merit Award for the Franklin Christoph Poetry Contest. Michael succumbed to Gist, a rare form of cancer in August 2012. His book of poetry Whale Walker's Morning was published posthumously in Winter 2013, by Shabda Press.

Editor's note: Michael Shorb wrote this poem when the virus was running amuck in East Africa several years ago; his wife Judith Grogan-Shorb updated it for The New Verse News.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


by Kristin G. Kelly

Adam Kwasman (R) @AdamKwasman “Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law. #AZ01” Deleted after 2 hours at 2:40 PM on 15 Jul, via Twitter for iPhone. (Sources: Politwoops and

Was it
My imagination
When the
Nurse chirped
“Translator to Room 17,
Translator to Room 17”

You and your tennis pal
Washed to the point of
Desiccation then expensively
Moisturized again,
Accessorized with
Sun-sized diamond studs
for velour warm-ups

Was it
That led me
To believe I
Might have
Could have

Pass between you,
Poisoned small sighs
When the
Nurse asked
for Help
One more time

As if
Your children’s
Fevers burned
More cleanly
Than theirs
The throats
of your offspring
Held in culture
More justified
Raging Infections,
Better Pus,
Purer Pain.

Did you actually say,
Or am I
in some
Vision of a
Waiting Room:
“What are you going to do?
They’re taking over the place.”

Kristin G. Kelly is Associate Professor of English at the University of North Georgia. Her current research concerns the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially as reflected in the poetry and prose of combat veterans. She has poems and essays published or forthcoming in journals including South Atlantic Review; Annals of Internal Medicine; and War, Literature and the Arts.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


by Austin Alexis

Immigrant children at Ellis Island gather around a toy horse in 1920 (NYC Vintage Images). Source: The Atlantic

A sea
she will paddle upon
or attempt a desperate swim in
while hoping to shoo off sharks.

A mountain 
she will hike through,
braving mudslides,
slicing through brambles.

A desert
she will trek across,
stepping over rattlesnakes
as she swallows fear of starvation

and guides her children
to reach milk and honey
even if the milk is sour,
the honey bitter.

Austin Alexis is the author of the full-length collection Privacy Issues (Lotus Press/Wayne State University Press) and two chapbooks from Poets Wear Prada. His work has appeared in Barrow Street, Paterson Literary Review and elsewhere, and is forthcoming in Poetry Pacific (Canada) and The Five-Two: Crime Poetry Weekly.

Monday, July 21, 2014


by William Aarnes

He feared he was becoming ill
when, reading the news of the crime,

he could not only see the words
and, when he wanted his wife

to hear, say them aloud but could also
smell them— the gunpowdery musk

in separatists, that hint of antiseptic
in airliner, the electric whiff

in wreckage.   Grief and disbelief
and relief not only rhymed

but also shared the faint aroma
of rot in the refrigerator,

even the ands gone vinegary.
And after he stopped reading,

he could not escape the odors,  
the off-putting essence of altitude,  

the lingering perfume of doomed,
the metallic bouquet of evidence.  

 William Aarnes lives in South Carolina.  His work has appeared recently in Field, Heron Tree, and South 85.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


by Ruth Maassen

“We are the asteroid now.” --Elizabeth Kolbert

We tell ourselves the tale of Gaia, a budding girl
with flowers in her hair, in mortal peril, and nod
and sigh and turn away. Oh, well. What’s on TV?
If we bleach out the richness of what remains
we needn’t know what our every breath endangers.

We can’t see what’s gone when it’s not there.
Species drain away unmourned. Forests shrink.
If the biosphere dies and no one is left to grieve,
will it matter? No one weeps for the dodo.
No one from our galaxy will weep for us.

Blessedly the stars are far out of our reach.
Our incessant observations do no harm.
Stars are impervious to myth and sky-sketched
constellations, they never know our eye-I-eye-I-eye.
Their atoms go on fusing in the far-off long-ago.

Why does the pelting rain not penetrate our skin?
Why is the wind no more than a mass of air moving,
not malevolent, not malign, however it buffets
the thin walls of the house and drifts the snow?
Why does it not burst open the prison cell of self?

Oh, for a sea serpent to surge onto the beach
and grapple us to our doom, like Laocoön.
Oh, for rough music to leak from the crevasse
where ancient gods live on in granite. Sing on,
old ones, before the music goes silent forever.

Ruth Maassen is the poet laureate of the small seaside town, Rockport, Massachusetts.

Friday, July 18, 2014


 by Gil Hoy


Tidings as worn
out as a tree with
200,000 whorls---

You disemboweled
our first-borns, we’ll
decapitate your lawmakers,

You put mines on our
highways, we’ll take the
wheels off of your planes---
Tit-for-tat, tit-for-tat.

Seasons circling in their
rhythmic macabre cadence---
always ending in winter:

We’ll do this to yours,
so you won’t do that
to ours---we’ll set the charge

in your most pious churches,
so you won’t put cyanide
in our park water fountains,

Your spears did what to ours?
Our arrows will pierce your hearts---
Your grenades did what to us?
Our armies will torch your farms.

Different stories
and characters---but always
the same plot---rows of
bronze, field stone and
iron markers show the way,

Scratch up that foul
record loop, so it won’t
play at all---
better yet, burn it---

at an overdue Memorial
Day celebration in Gettysburg,
Robert E. Lee the
guest of honor,

apologizing again to the
Virginians for Pickett’s Charge.
We’ll vaporize your cities
if you put anthrax

in our schools,
we’ll put E Coli in
your meat for
good measure---
Tit for tat, tit for tat.

After all is said
and done, Sir---
can it truly be told
that we are still on

that same broken trail,
founded by our ancestors'
bones, with blood for mortar
and still covered by ice?

Gil Hoy studied poetry at Boston University, and started writing his own poetry in February of this year. Since then, Gil’s poems have been published in Soul Fountain, The New Verse News, The Story Teller Magazine, the Clark Street Review, and Eye On Life Magazine

Thursday, July 17, 2014


by Charles Frederickson

After cease-fire talks failed, Israel said it intended to put an end to “indiscriminate continuous terror.” Heavy artillery fire was reported. (Photo: Mourning after at least three Palestinian children were killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on Thursday. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) - NY Times, July 17, 2014

Daily humiliation collective abusive punishment
Systematic intimidation traumatic racist mistreatment
Ethnic cleansing again under siege
Blindfolded justice unbalanced tipsy scales

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu described
Decades-long oppressive occupation as apartheid
Racially segregated roads partitioned checkpoints
Strip searches targeting most vulnerable

5 decades of military entrenchment
7 decades of forced dispossession
Lost opportunities fragile abandoned truces
Dashed expectations refusals negating agreements

Palestinians denied their humanity since
1948 lacking foresight insight oversight
Expelled private property villages demolished
Uncivil wrongs intimidating bullyrag tactics

Morally bankrupted by sanctified victim-hood
Fair-minded solution demands planetary involvement
Endorsing economic boycott least of
All evils only alternative left

Government-run smear campaigns digging up
Vicious propaganda attacking brave truth-tellers
Labeled terrorists fiction prejudicing facts
Ruthlessly silencing gentle dissident voices

No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson  proudly presents YouTube mini-movies @ YouTube – CharlesThai1 .


by Kelly Jadon

A Palestinian laborer in Israel. Image source: Jerusalem Post

he works with his hands
digging, building, construction
tunneling mountains
putting up walls of steel
one week and three hours
away from home
as many men
to feed families in the north

each Sabbath, driving highway
with cash, eggs, vegetables
a smile, a hug, treats for five children
dinner kept warm
chicken with sumac,1 roasted batata2

yet, my brother is late today
we wait
his wife, Nagla, calls his cell
it rings, no answer
two hours
she phones again
and again, no answer
time moves slowly in the East
with God—in His time

finally, the call comes
not my brother—another
his voice, dry as crackers
raspy, hoarse
Nagla screams
unsure, I take the phone

…”your brother, ahhok,4
he was found, hung,
from the 4th story…”

recoiling in shock
my mind recalls
John—who died on Patmos5
Stephen—outside the gate
with stones6
and Peter—who like
my brother,
was taken where he
did not wish to go7

“a nightmare” cries Nagla

our mother tongue
a cousin
my brother’s faith
the world cannot comprehend
for kosmos8 thinks as the Cretans9
and is natural
without Spirit
full of sin

autopsy, three days, Nazareth

we buried him today
within our crypt—
all others pushed aside
making room for his box
the city present—though media
stayed away—left unreported
yet 30,000 saw the truth
of one of the least of these
who came to bid him goodbye
kiss his coffin
scream, cry
this one, my blood, our blood
he is—one of us
the body

his blood, like Abel’s,
cries from the ground beneath
our crypt
covered over with the Blood
of al Messiah10
awaiting the Great White Throne
when bodies rejoin spirit and soul
“Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.”
Who sees all, knows all
--even, the evil intentions of men
whose wrong thoughts toward murder
led them to believe that
no one is watching


1. sumac—an edible Middle Eastern ground spice
2. batata—Arabic for potato
3. fattoush—a Middle Eastern salad which includes squares of dried or fried pita
4. ahhok—Arabic for brother
5. Patmos—a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, meaning  “my killing”
6. Acts 7:56-60, Bible
7. John 21:18-19, Bible
8.  kosmos—Koine Greek for “the world”
9. Cretans—Koine Greek for those from the Greek island of Crete, meaning “fleshy”
10. al Messiah—Arabic for “the Messiah”

Author' note on the poem: A story that has gone unreported, but just happened a few days ago--to an in-law, in Tel Aviv.

Kelly Jadon is a graduate of Spring Arbor University and holds a degree in English with a concentration on poetry.  She is a teacher, poet, and writer.  Her poem "To Taste The Oil" was recently featured at the University of Colorado "Eye Contact" event as an audible poem.  Her poetry has been published both online and in print in several literary journals. Her poetry book To Taste the Oil: The Flavor of Life in the Middle East was published in June 2014 by Into The Deep Books.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


by Jennifer Lagier

“Columnist George Will thinks that being a rape victim is now a ‘coveted status’ on college campuses.” –The Huffington Post, June 9, 2014. (Image source: Victoria’s Look Into Gender.)

Bethany’s date slipped her
a roofie, tied her up
with her own underwear,
viciously raped her.
She woke up alone,
covered with abrasions,
dried semen, bruises.
Drove herself home,
threw up for hours.
Scrubbed herself raw
in the shower.
Prayed her period
would come, not
HIV or gonorrhea.
Flinched when touched.
Avoided men, even family.
Only felt safe when
among other women.
Couldn’t concentrate
on schoolwork, her job.
Attempted suicide twice.
Lived behind
triple locked doors.
Suffered flashbacks,
night terrors
that lasted forever.

Jennifer Lagier has published eight poetry books and in multiple literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools and is now a retired college librarian/instructor, member of the Italian American Writers Association, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


by Sonya Groves

Citigroup and the Justice Department have agreed to a $7 billion deal that will settle a federal investigation into the mortgage securities the bank sold in the run-up to the financial crisis. “The bank’s misconduct was egregious,’’ Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement. “As a result of their assurances that toxic financial products were sound, Citigroup was able to expand its market share and increase profits.” --NY Times, July 14, 2014

  “His main man Satan planting the learning trees of consciousness” --Miguel Piñero

And the Devil attended the dance

of the button downs, he was surprised

by their invitation.

God normally attended

their balls.

But God had grown bored.





had played out their songs,

so God gave way to Satan.

Typical of management, Satan thought

to pass the shit to a farmer of human

sorrow and expect more profit 

with the same staff.

He wanted a raise
and a promotion.

Sonya Groves is a teacher of English and History in San Antonio. She has published a short story in the Abydos Education Journal, has poetry publications in La Noria, The Voices Project, Aries, and Cliterature.  She has been a conference presenter at the East Carolina University Multi-Cultural Literature Review Conference.  Currently she is pursuing her Master’s degree in English at Our Lady of the Lake University.

Monday, July 14, 2014


by Carol Alexander

KHAN YUNIS, Gaza Strip -- The Al Haj family never heard it coming: An Israeli missile smashed into their home in the middle of the night, destroying the structure and killing eight relatives in a matter of seconds. A survivor said all the dead were civilians. --CTV News, July 10, 2014

You write, this is not fun. Two rockets arc above Tel Aviv
and in the streets, sirens and rubble. I forget you for weeks at a time
until you write about a trip to Mount Hebron, bellflowers, mignonette,
the grandchild's bit of tooth, a logy rock agama in the sun.

I hope you're getting a balanced view. There are bodies in red rags,
pensive cups of coffee after dawn, the drawing heat of the day.
Ordinary death proceeds with its modest civilities, prayers in shul.
In Khan Younis, a family shatters like a crystal cup; no prayer
will bind flesh to soul, no cool wind tame the burning of the coast.

Tell how it is for you, a garden with tall weeds, a son in the hills.
On your land, figs are slowly ripening despite the spider mites,
despite the lack of rain, the sirens louder than a mullah's call.
Heat underlies the very ground where traders shook out silk.

You hope the dusty rocks and rags will be reported truthfully.
You hope, worried by tomato rot, to grow old.

A writer for trade and educational publishing, Carol Alexander has authored numerous children’s books, served as a ghostwriter for radio and trade publishing, and taught at colleges around the metropolitan area. In 2011-2012, her poetry appears—or is scheduled to appear-- in literary journals and anthologies published by Avocet, Boyne Berries (UK), Chiron Review, Cave Moon Press, The Canary, Danse Macabre, Earthspeak, Eunoia Review, Fade Poetry Journal (UK), Fat Daddy’s Farm Press, Fried Chicken and Coffee, The Mad Hatter’s Review, Mobius, Numinous, OVS, Red Poppy Review, Red River Review, River Poets Journal, Sleeping Cat Books, The Whistling Fire, and Write Wing Publishing.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


by Buff Whitman-Bradley

Israel's Operation Protective Edge entered its fifth day on Saturday, with rockets continuing to target Israeli towns and cities and the IDF continuing to carry out massive airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. Palestinian sources in Gaza describe Friday night as the most lethal yet since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, with 14 people killed in the Strip, raising the number of Gaza deaths in to 121. On Friday, ten Israelis were wounded, one of them seriously, by rockets that struck in Be'er Sheva and Ashdod. An elderly woman died after suffering a heart attack while seeking shelter in Haifa, which was targeted for the first time during the current round of fire. Israeli jets have bombed over 1,100 targets across the Gaza Strip since the operation began. Reports from Gaza indicated widespread damage to houses, infrastructure and public buildings, with large numbers of civilian casualties. --Haaretz, July 13m 2014

Ready or not
Scream the maniacal F16s
Streaking across
The scalded sky
Here we come

On the ground
The terrified children
Of the rubble
But they cannot hide

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, July 12, 2014


by Rob Cook

A wood thrush egg thrown out of the nest by a cowbird. (Image source: Tales From the Wild)

Today I wrote a song in which Syria moved its militia into a pregnant woman’s bed.

Today I wrote a song in which a shoe, and all the sinews enslaved to that shoe, were filled with swarms of infant IEDs.

Today I pollinated a song whose final flower with petals of butterfly warheads fled Iran.

Today I praised a song for the babies born with six mouths, six legs, six skinless stomachs, and a six-billion year half-life inside the furnace of every Iraqi sand tear.

Today, by destroying a song, I made sure there were enough beds and chairs to blunt a room’s nothingness, which means a never-ending scorpion’s thirst, its memory of the desert that doesn’t die.

Today I stole a song in which the homeless built houses and raised families and food that will continue growing inside their sunburned entrails.

Today I blamed a song in which the Midwestern snow originated from a drone’s healing circle many Pakistans away.

Today I excavated, from a plant’s groin, a song that infected the Madonna Mafia with a melodic sequence of sonar terrorism.

Today I exchanged a song for the terrorist elephants, the terrorist giraffes, the terrorist oxygen, the terrorist fern forests, the terrorist mercies of medicinal marijuana, the terrorist sunsets, the terrorist shark sleep, the terrorist carrots and celery and kale that do not leave the body, the intestinal photos of the Gaza Strip taken from the cries of a child, the war on shadows, the war on people who find enough to eat without having to plant pancreatic spores in the hells of the soil, the creek bed Lakota whose fully-subsidized drinking earns the status of enemy activity, and though I saved his name on a dollar that trusted me once, I won’t discuss the terrorist child helping a turtle find its little door in the terrorist grass.

Today I climbed to the top of a song that hid the houses inhabited by live chess pieces pillaged for money that can’t be comforted or fed or held in the hand.

Today I developed a song for the water as it died.

Today I protected a song for the water as it was ridiculed.

Today I harvested a song for the water hidden one carbon minute away in the mirages that revealed another child thriving from dehydration.

In the song I can locate the Syrian helicopter nests.

I can count all of the wind’s bodies.

I can count and remove those who’ve made it to the gas chambers of heaven.

In the song I can count the salvations taken from a child’s amputated leg and copy the Western patriotism that nourishes from far away his dirt dinners and his bomb wiring and the syringes used for drinking and for putting the rain back together.

I can abandon that song by deleting the shadows the child leaves unchecked as he crawls through the artillery-cold heroin forests of Afghanistan.

I can dismantle the song by betraying each bird when it sees the child leading his headless animals into the cruel churches of my hand.

Today I beat the last song to death with a bullet casing I stole from the rubble of all the songs that would never make anyone happy again.

Today I felt no remorse for the songs and their misplaced blessings.

Today I reported both hands for their terrorist ambitions—the one that grows its own grain and the one condemned for hiding every song inside the dust hospital where God sleeps by himself with the only feather that survived.

Today I promised I would protect his otherwise secure kingdom, safe because it remains empty except for the sins of a wood thrush weeping

Rob Cook's work has recently appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Zoland Poetry, Aufgabe, Rhino, A cappella Zoo, Caketrain, Weave, and Best American Poetry 2009. His most recent book is Empire in the Shade of a Grass Blade. He lives in the East Village where he co-edits Skidrow Penthouse with Stephanie Dickinson.

Friday, July 11, 2014


by Richard Schnap

Image source: AOL

I watch rockets burn
Across a desert sky
As a murder of crows
Cries upon the wind

And men in masks
Execute their enemies
As a pair of dogs
Howl as they pass

And children cling
To their parents corpses
As a kitten calls
For its mother to come

And wonder if man
Is the mirror of nature
Or if it’s really
The other way around

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, July 10, 2014


by Paul Dickey

John Boehner - House Wrecker

Speaker John Boehner is planning to file a lawsuit against President Obama on behalf of the House of Representatives. Though he's been extremely vague on what exactly he plans to sue for, Boehner wrote on Sunday that Obama has "circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action," and that the House "has an obligation" to try and stop him. What, exactly, would this lawsuit entail, and how would it proceed? --VOX, July 9, 2014

I hear Boehner wants to sue
the President who will not do
just as Johnny likes.
He’s got nowhere with strikes,
but his cud maybe judges might chew.

But the Speaker has no issue.
He sobs into his tissue:
“What charge can I raise?
It’s no good just to curse the Gays.
Should I call Barack a Hindu?”

So he got a lawyer from Texas
experienced with a couple of ex-es
who wrote up a charge
and biggie-sized it to go large
and eat fries all the way to D.C. in his Lexus.

The charge, of course, was serious
but much too confused and mysterious
that Bachmann’s hot air
had barely a prayer
of even getting Fox News delirious.

And thus John comes to grips with his fate.
His put-down of Obama must wait,
so he asks him to golf
while Congress takes July off,
since nothing so big’s on their plate.

Paul Dickey’s first full length poetry manuscript They Say This is How Death Came Into the World was published by Mayapple Press in January,2011 and was nominated by the press for the 2011 National Book Award in Poetry.  His second book Wires Over the Homeplace was published in the Fall of 2013 by Pinyon Publishing.  His poetry has appeared in Verse Daily, Rattle, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, Mid-American Review, Midwest Quarterly, Pleaides, Bellevue Literary Review,  Crab Orchard Review and online at

Wednesday, July 09, 2014


by Janet Leahy

Because the veterans are waiting
their names on a list at V A hospitals.

Because we don’t know the stories
of the men and women who return from war.

Because we do not ask, do not visit
do not reach out.

Because the truth is illusive
and we stumble with language.

Because care is delayed
records falsified.

Because appointments are canceled
calls not returned.

Because when names fall from the wait list
someone receives a bonus.

Janet Leahy writes poetry in New Berlin, Wisconsin.  A member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, she has two collections of poetry, The Storm, Poems of War, Iraq and Not My Mother’s Classroom.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


by Judith Terzi

Argentina, don't cry for Messi yet, he's razzmatazz.
Belgium's a mess, Stella Artois all flat, all teary.

Clear the slate; let's send referees for a prism fix.
Dear Landon, we know what you are saying now:

"Eat your veggies, Schatzi, you screwed up, Luv."
France, oh Vive la France fancy pants, you

gorged on chagrin. Cancel the brie, the escargot,
hold the boeuf bourguignon, chocolate soufflés.

Ich möchte some Spätzle, some Braunschweiger.
Ja, pour some Reisling, Gewürztraminer pdq.

Kiss me Karim Benzema though you didn't top
leger-de-pied Zizou. So sexy with a beard. Who

melts your heart Karim? A French model queen!
Neymar, Zúñiga has your back, your samba dream,

oneiric bossa nova Jobim. You're out for a spell––
punch of knee from hell. We felt the crunch, crack,

quick as Dutchman goalie Krul, as Juan-the-raj.
Rats, Costa Rica, tou-can not drink from the Cup, I

say. We'll visit your rain forests, your three-toed sloth.
Time to say chill, Chile. Alexis couldn't sew the snag

under your cleats. But the poet pardons: Brazil off   
victorious. Pablo tips his sombrero from the grave,

waits: Will it be the Americas or the E.U? The bard
x's out a tercet about dribblers and voodoo magic

you know who is praying will work. Meanwhile, grab
zee zapper and a seat and blow that vuvuzela.

Judith Terzi holds an M.A. in French Literature. Recent poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in journals and anthologies including The Centrifugal Eye, Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems (Tupelo), Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque), The Raintown Review, and elsewhere. Ghazal for a Chambermaid (Finishing Line, 2013) is her third chapbook.