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Friday, October 31, 2014


by Laura Rodley

Cut from reams of white satin sprang Lawrence
of Arabia, my son Joseph fenc-
ing with a sword made of rough-sawn maple,
a yellow band round headpiece, a staple
from the house to hold it all in one place,
curtain cording his belt, the saving grace,
his sandals of brown leather geared for sand
even as hot as desert, Lawrence’s land.
“Awrence,” he yodeled through the house, so tall
I had to stand on a stool, fashion all
on top his head, long flowing headdress, sheik’s
gear changing a gentle boy, now not meek,
then out the door with friends with worthy cars,
too old for trick-or-treating, too young for bars.

Laura Rodley’s New Verse News poem “Resurrection” appears in The Pushcart Prlze XXXVII: Best of the Small Presses (2013 edition). She was nominated twice before for the Prize as well as for Best of the Net. Her chapbook Rappelling Blue Light, a Mass Book Award nominee,  won honorable mention for the New England Poetry Society Jean Pedrick Award. Her second chapbook Your Left Front Wheel is Coming Loose was also nominated for a Mass Book Award and a L.L.Winship/Penn New England Award. Both were published by Finishing Line Press.  Co-curator of the Collected Poets Series, she teaches creative writing and works as contributing writer and photographer for the Daily Hampshire Gazette.  She edited As You Write It, A Franklin County Anthology, Volume I and Volume II.


by Gil Hoy

Corporations are no longer
inanimate sterile things.

They’re now breathing fleshy
with blood money flowing
through wheels levers pistons
rhythmically turning
deep sea blue to ghoul red

anointing black robed
Victor Frankensteins
to keep Fiends well nourished
and magically cause Creatures
to rise from the dead
with their wild incantations.

While Monsters use up
all free speech that is uttered
mere mortals can't buy a word
just a consonant here and again
found in a graveyard.

Some Adams of Victor’s Labors
think (?) contraception
against religion (!), then
Wretches trump people (!?)
as The Modern Prometheus

dissects ghostly law
like a science school project
held together by webs
taken out by morticians
with the afternoon’s trash.

With all mad scientists
the Vile Insects may elect
the black sky’s the limitless.
In the meantime

have mercy
on the poor corporation
yellow lips watery eyes
shriveled face
resist the temptation
to be a bigot.

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, Eye On Life Magazine, and Stepping Stones Magazine.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


by George Salamon  

"I didn't get my ideas from Mao, Lenin or Ho Chi Minh;
I got my ideas from the Lone Ranger."
--Jerry Rubin, Do It (1970)

The class war is over, the verdict is in:
Working people and the middle class have lost.
The world's superpower
Is ruled by the Wolves of Wall Street,
Who are served by the Sheep of Main Street.
No Lone Ranger from Brahmin Harvard
Rode to their rescue this time to
Become a traitor to his class.
The best and brightest shine on
As entrepreneurs of the self.
A Lone Ranger couldn't cut muster
In their world of resumes and networking.
But this I know:
Our nation no longer turns its eyes to you,
Lone Ranger, you who have left and gone away.
With Joltin' Joe DiMaggio you still bat away
In the reruns of our mind.

George Salamon taught German at Harvard, Haverford and Smith colleges, served as reporter for the St. Louis Business Journal and senior editor at Defense Systems Review. He contributes to the Gateway Journalism Review, Jewish Currents and The New Verse News from St. Louis, MO.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


by Charles Frederickson and Saknarin Chinayote

Global aim should be to
Keep civilization from destroying itself
Overcoming white man’s notion he’s
Less savage than other creatures

Overdeveloped egotistical rich becoming richer
Hapless helpless poor becoming poorer
All species not treated equally
Myopic justice failing colorblind test

Books hardcover carriers of civilization
Extolling knowledge wisdom freethinking mindsets
Outlandish insight progressive aesthetic sensibility
Trusted friends companions tutors mentors

Say Yes aiding unnatural tempests
Floods earthquakes volcanoes tsunamis tornadoes
Rejecting all forms of violence
Tolerating eccentricities respecting dignified uniqueness

War is brutal inhumane blood-letting
Say No to out-of-control handguns
Lethal weapons of mass destruction
Poisonous gases nuclear biological arsenals

Peace as essential to existence
As polluted air we breathe
Friendly persuasion agreeing to disagree
Preserving ethical moral aesthetic values

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


by Paula Schulz

Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped at least 30 boys and girls from a village in northeast Nigeria during the weekend. The abductions appear to be the latest in a string of recent kidnappings by Boko Haram that dims hope for the anticipated release of 219 schoolgirls ‎held by the group since April following a controversial ceasefire declared by Nigerian authorities. --CNN, October 27, 2014

Women and girls abducted by the Islamist group Boko Haram are forced to marry, convert, and endure physical and psychological abuse, forced labor, and rape in captivity, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The group has abducted more than 500 women and girls since 2009, and intensified abductions since May 2013, when Nigeria imposed a state of emergency in areas where Boko Haram is most active. Human Rights Watch, October 27, 2014

I am

forgotten by all but a few wasp-like
men, evil by design, who live only

to make more evil. And now their evil
is in me. I feel it. Daily I am

hollowed out as they build their lair
beneath my ribs, one cell at a time.

Fear buzzes in my brain. To my body
also they do what they want. 100

days and more of doing. They want
to remake me in their image, fill me

with mud and crumble. I spend my days
sweeping them away, cleaning all

the paper chambers of the heart.

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

Monday, October 27, 2014


by Peleg Held

"Give me to the wind to take away." 
                                 Reyhaneh Jabbari

Black form, blue thread
at half the weight of man
you're lifted up unwed
from earth and still
they deemed you born
by crane to bear the weight
of laws now hung in taught lines
tethered to the clinging center
where before the dawn
can sing men in from sin
they're led to run and run
with kites in tow, following
upon their heels the faithful's fear
of height and hair, of wing and word
the sweeping trembling defiance
of every wind-ruled thing.

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. pelegheld(at)

Sunday, October 26, 2014


by Elizabeth Johnston

"Man is the only animal which devours its own kind." --Abraham Lincoln

The public panics; fevered hunt begins--
headlines howling, posters plastered,
masses come in drives, map out the grid, throw light
to dark corners, comb tall grasses, dredge
the waters, at night join hopeful hands, hold vigil
clutching to their chests her picture.

    Have you seen her face?

The experts speculate, sniff and salivate,
imagine the psycho-surgeon's fridge:
    one wholesome beauty sliced and bagged
    bowlful of noses, cheese drawer of eyelids,
    dimples like cherries stuffed in a jar

Elizabeth Johnston's poetry appears in a variety of print and online publications, most recently in The New Verse News, Rose Red Review, The Luminary, Mom Egg Review, and NonBinary Review. Forthcoming is work in Cahoodaloodaling, Carbon Copy, and Veils, Halos, and Shackles. She lives in Western NY with her husband and daughters, and teaches writing at Monroe Community College and the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


by George Held

Image source: I am a Liberian not a virus

African nation created by and for freed American slaves in 1820;
name derived from “liberty”

The stout ebony man in the navy pinstriped suit
And steel-rim specs and white hair and goatee
Speaks into the mike of the lone news station
To cover his presser. His voice is strong, his speech
Articulate, with a faint African lilt. He just wants
To say that he is a Liberian, a West African,
And a healthy man; he is not ebola, he does not
Have ebola. Please do not stigmatize me
Or other West Africans or Liberians as though                        
We are a virus. We are human beings.

What he leaves for his American audience
To think is that he is a despised black man,
He is a cursed West African, a Typhoon Mary
Of a Liberian trying to excuse his type of danger
To our spacious skies, that he should be deported
From our fruited plains, our purple waves of disdain;
O say, can’t you see the fearful American faces,
The hateful American resentment that wants him
Gone from our midst? O God, bless America
And preserve its totally deserved purity.

George Held, a regular contributor to The New Verse News, has a new book out from Poets Wear Prada, Culling: New & Selected Nature Poems.

Friday, October 24, 2014


by Robert Farmer

BEREA, Ky. — I WAS raised amid the coal fields of eastern Kentucky, but I was always drawn to nearby Berea. The hamlet, tucked into the lush green hills on the western side of the Appalachians, has a long legacy of equality and free inquiry — among other things, it’s home to Berea College, the first integrated and coeducational college in the South. There are lots of folks like me in Berea, who came here for its professed openness and diversity. But we had a rude shock last week, when the City Council voted 5 to 3 against an ordinance to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The vote illuminates a new reality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. The equality divide we face is no longer between red and blue states, but between urban and rural America. Even as we celebrate victories like this month’s Supreme Court order on same-sex marriage, the real front in the battle for equality remains the small towns that dot America’s landscape.  --Small Towns, Small Hearts, The Battle for Gay Rights in Rural America, Silas Housecoat, NY Times, October 22, 2014. Image source: Angela Worldtrekker.

Whatver happened to Johnnie
who wouldn’t dress out for high school gym,
loved chatting up the girls,
rode them around
in his blue convertible back in ’48.

Once later when we gathered,
smug from foreign places,
he spoke of wild parties in San Francisco
and looked the part
long before our little mountain town
woke up to the world and The Castro.

I’ve looked everywhere.
We’ve lost him.
He’d be about 83 now.
Probably dead.
Back then they just disappeared
from little towns all across the country.

Robert Farmer is a retired forester who lives in Cleveland, Ohio and occasionally publishes poems in small journals.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


by Stefanie Bennett

Image source: CBC

The situation is not customary -    Still, allow just one
Soulful note into
The spectrum
Of an abbreviated
Insurgency where
And the atypical

Rides shotgun.

Stefanie Bennett has published several books of poetry, tutored in The Institute of Modern Languages at James Cook University and worked with Arts Action for Peace. Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee] she was born in Townsville, Queensland, Australia in 1945. Her latest poetry title The Vanishing is due at year's end fromWalleah Press.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


by Tendai Mwanaka

I will sleep with you if you can neglect your ailing wife for me. I will sleep with you because your wife would soon die. I will sleep with you if you show me where the money is. I will sleep with you if you show me where the power is. I will sleep with you if you allow me to sleep with other men, who will bear you kids. I will sleep with you as you rape the country, raze and plunder it. I will sleep with you as we gallivant in western capitals, in oriental cities. I will sleep with you for the clothes and jewellery. I will sleep with you and you and you... I will sleep with you for my kids’ future. I will sleep with you for my education. I will sleep with every professor of my studies. I would have slept with them had they improved my grading at that Western university, but they refused. So I slept with that Eastern University’s professors to get my honours. I will sleep with you for the doctorate degree. I will sleep with you for the chairmanship of the League. I will sleep with you for the publicity. I will sleep with you as you support my candidature for the presidency. I will sleep with you as you vote for me. I will sleep with the whole country to vote for me. I will sleep with the orphans. I will sleep with the women. I will sleep with the youths. I will sleep with every rival politician to garner their support. I will sleep with you for the future of my kids. And then, my kids will sleep with you to positions and power. Their wives and husbands will sleep with you to positions and power. My grandsons and daughters will sleep with you for positions and power. Their wives and husbands will sleep with you for positions and power. And yes, …

Tendai Mwanaka’s  work has appeared in over 300 magazines in over 27 counties, making him the most published Zimbabwean poet of his generation. Tendai's collection of poetry titled Voices from Exile was published by Lapwing Publications, Northern Ireland in 2010. His novel Keys in the River: Notes from a Modern Chimurenga is a series of interlinked stories that deals with life in modern day Zimbabwe. It was published by Savant, USA in 2012. Zimbabwe: The Blame Game, a collection of non-fiction pieces, was published by Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon, 2013.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


by Steve LaVigne

“Poetry can be dangerous,” Rumi said, and U.S. Homeland Security isn’t taking any chances. The Jordanian-British poet Amjad Nasser had been invited to speak at New York University this fall, but on Sept. 27, he was questioned for two hours at London’s Heathrow airport and then prevented from flying to the United States. . . . “There are many literary activities that I am invited to and I can not go to because of this is problem, which is incomprehensible to me,” Nasser said. “I do not belong to any political party now, and I am against the use of religion in politics anywhere in the world. I am of those who say that without dialogue between intellectuals and thinkers in the world we can not bridge the gaps, whether real or artificial. This world is small and we have no other and we have to make it a viable place to live.”--Ron Charles, Washington Post, October 10, 2014. Image source: The Poetry Trust

“These are Orwellian times,
and the surveillance state is protecting us
from harmful poetry.” 
--Prof. Sinan Antoon,
who had invited Nasser to NYU.

I am a cowboy
nothing between me and my mustache
but miles and miles of federal BLM land

In the immortal words of my father “when you
don’t even have a pot to piss in” - he always
forgetting to mention who then becomes the pot

I too want to be denied entry into the United States
for my political beliefs
but I have already denied them myself
for all these years finally losing the hope
in hopelessness
the nothing in everyone else’s something
When is a poem not a one man or woman show?
I so want to own rip away velour sweat pants
just waiting for the coach to put me in

Let me start again

I want to be a poet like Amjad Nasser
dearly beloved of translators
invited as keynote speaker at NYU’s Gallatin
Global Writers Series
but denied entry by the Home Land
I want to be The Poet so dangerous
that even the reason I am not allowed to enter
the conversation
is classified
after all these years of dull schooling I
have finally unlearned this thing
taxonomy is the study of the commons
that which we all share in common
divided into hierarchies
it branches up and up but it’s not a tree
like your were taught or even
a burning bush
but a great wooden cross
(see, oh my mother swooning in ecstasy)
someone must be sacrificed
and you thought it would be someone else cowboy?
It is the great ascendancy of statistics
they lied when they said statistics lie - damn lies
an image lies, your emotion lies
your lover lies beneath
your words - when your words create
85 people control as much wealth as the poorest
3, zero zero zero, zero zero zero, zero zero zero billion
the first thing
with just zero point five percent of the richest 1%’s wealth
I want you to know
poverty could be eliminated
I am not
¼ of the jobs in America in some way relate
to making sure the richest
don’t have to share with the rest of us
How do I know god does not exist
If god did exist she would be a catholic nun
kindergarten teacher - her ruler of justice
coming down on the knuckles of those too greedy
few saying “share god damn you, you filthy little cretins”
every       rubric’s    solvable     every
cube is    solvable    rubric’s      cube is
as long as you know there is no such thing
it’s a rubik’s cube - I am such an idiot
for not understanding words or even a few letters
make or unmake worlds
hope in hopelessness
I never thought I would be the one wearing a habit
a god in my own uncomfortable classroom
my grandparents went through the great depression
and I remember thinking what is wrong with them
that haunted look in their eyes - some kind of
PTSD - I remember thinking can’t they just get over it
but now I see that same look in other
people’s eyes - young eyes
my grandparents having died years ago
and the only thing I can really remember
no matter how old or frail they seemed
when they looked at you
when they gave you that look
you did not want to fuck with them

Steve Lavigne runs a local poetry group in Champaign Illinois. It meets weekly to discuss, create and share poetry in order to build community through the power and practice of poetry.

Monday, October 20, 2014


by Judith Terzi

Above: David Greenglass, with his sister, Ethel Rosenberg. (Image source: NY Times.) Known as "the spy that turned his family in," Greenglass died in July 2014. His death was only recently announced.

For he was ninety-two and she dead 
at thirty-seven     five
shocks before sundown to put her 
out at Sing Sing
No remorse from this man who 
stole his sister's breath 
to save his wife's     his kids'     Did he 
ever imagine that currents 
would flow through his own flesh 
and blood     smoke 
rushing from his sister's head
like a geyser?     Five jolts 
before the Jewish sabbath began     

For he was free before his fifteen years 
were up     For he was free 
to change his name     like Ethel's children 
had to     And all the while     
Ike     lounging in August fragrance     
on a balcony of air     under 
the dome of a red umbrella   its spokes 
taut as the narrowing of mind

Judith Terzi is the author of Sharing Tabouli and Ghazal for a Chambermaid (Finishing Line). Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in BorderSenses, The Raintown Review, Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s (She Writes), TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism, Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque), and elsewhere. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and Web.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


by Tom Russell

Shallow men with deep pockets and dark goals
say that up is down and down is up.
Their corrupted family values put the Koch brothers ahead
of working mothers and fathers and leave
far too many to the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Their ballot-mining canaries sing boastfully
of ransacking the middle class and liquidating
those with less.
All who are the coal for their diamonds.

Good common sense and
a sense of the common good
are Black Lung to these dregs and dredgers.
Good common sense and
a sense of the common good
will silence the dirges of their dirty yellow birds.

Tom Russell works at the Omaha Public Library in Omaha, Nebraska.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


by Janice Lynch Schuster

Photo source: lorena pajares

for Ai-jen Poo and Maria Shriver

When the poor woman leans in

it is to hold the steering wheel tight

and grip hard, sliding into the turn

to avoid a skid on wet pavement

and tires worn to a sheen.

She sits closer to a small flame

on a gas stove, and rubs her hands

with her children’s, because electricity

is money burning, and she doesn’t have it.

She leans in with someone else’s child

on her hip, over a sink,

scrubbing hard at the dirt

others leave behind, polishing

her body to exhaustion.

When the poor woman leans in

to the cashier at the food store

it is to whisper about bringing the five

dollars short tomorrow,

and has Oreos because apples and oranges

are something more entirely.

Janice Lynch Schuster is the author of a collection, Saturday at the Gym, and has been published in various print and online venues, including Poet Lore, Your Daily Poem, and The Broadkill Review. She writes about health care and public policy, lives in Annapolis, MD, and works in Washington, DC.

Friday, October 17, 2014


by John Z. Guzlowski

"The arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas marked the meeting of previously separate biological worlds." --"The Columbian Exchange" by J.R. McNeil, Learn NC (Painting: "Landing of Columbus" by John Vanderlyn, commissioned 1836/1837; placed 1847. Capitol Rotunda, Washington, D.C.)

trees paused
their slow growth
upward and outward
and leaves stopped
unfolding into
the waiting air

In the tallest branches
birds leaned
their crooked beaks
into the wind
and hushed

somewhere a boy stayed
his axe above the log
he was splitting

and waited
for the smallpox
to settle on his face

like a shaman’s
soft and loving

John Guzlowski’s writing has appeared in The Ontario Review, Atlanta Review, and Exquisite Corpse.  His poems about his parents’ experiences in Nazi concentration camps appear in his book Lightning and Ashes.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


by George Held

What’s His Name, the Liberian
In Dallas, has died of ebola.

“When will it get me?” That’s what
Our self-absorption wants to know.

We are now in the medieval
Days of the plague updated.

Which will get us first, ebola
Or Islamic State warriors?

That’s what we want to know.
Is it better to die instantly

From a slash across the throat
Or wretchedly after days

Of dehydration from vomiting
And diarrhea?

What happened to Sanctuary
America, the great safe place

With a dependable government
And public-health system?

Where is FDR assuaging
Our fears, TR assailing

The enemy, or swoony Ronnie
Grinning our troubles away?

When have we ever felt so feckless,
So vulnerable, so hopeless

As we witness this waiting game?

George Held, a regular contributor to The New Verse News, has a new book out from Poets Wear Prada, Culling: New & Selected Nature Poems.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


by Melisa "Misha" Cahnmann-Taylor

You Receive A Present From Someone You Haven’t Seen In A Long Time. 
Who’s It From? What’s Inside?
---Writing prompt at Jubilee Partners ESOL Program
for Refugees, Comer, Ga.

This Congolese boy describes hide and seek with a twist.  The Finder must shoot the Found with a “to-PI-co.”   I draw the sling’s “Y” shot, and we review adjectives: playful, violent.  They use seeds, not rocks. He swears it’s not a violent game he’s missing with his friends.  Maybe just the culture of boys playing.  Already a man at 17, mothered by his sister while the split family grieves over a sibling’s typhoid, a missing father.  A mother in Texas grieves.  She let her boy play with neighbors whose chambers held loaded handguns.  The yellow tape.  The no return.  She preaches we ask before sending children on playdates to unsafe houses.  Foam swords.  Squirt guns.  Games that allow the player to spell bomb so one appears and blows holes through a virtual wall.  A boy-almost-a-man, 21, rented our house while we lived in Mexico.  I didn’t know he hunted.  He demanded his full deposit though he’d punched a hole through my son’s door.  I patched it, he argued.  It better be good enough.  Slight threat as he insisted I search for his lost fishing hooks. It’s better to withdraw where there are bullets.  But what do you do when your village is burned? Do you get the deposit back? Do you offer a limb? A daughter or son? While one remembers a war-toy, another girl conjures a pair of green shoes.  Imagination’s tucked into every child like a hidden coin or buried like a sandbox in concrete.  This boy has 2 months before he’s to pay rent, find a job, buy his own shoes in this confusing and green country. The Christian volunteers were to bury a Death Row inmate and the Salvadorans insisted they’d shovel better. Unable to bury their own, they moved earth for our discarded men. Éste por mi mama.  Éste por mi papa. They slung red clay in the rhythms of a clapping game.

Melisa "Misha" Cahnmann-Taylor is Professor of Language and Literacy Education and Program Chair of TESOL & World Language Education at the University of Georgia. She is the winner of Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prizes and a Leeway Poetry Grant, and has co-authored two books, Teachers Act Up: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities Through Theatre and Arts-Based Research in Education.  She has published numerous articles, and poetry about language learning and teacher education.  Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Women’s Quarterly Review, Cream City Review, Barrow Street, Puerto Del Sol, Mom Egg, and many other literary homes.  She judges the annual Anthropology & Humanism poetry contest.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


by David Feela

Protesters in Hong Kong continued to demand a fully free vote in elections due in 2017 for the post of chief executive - Hong Kong's leader. Numbers were, however, far lower than the previous week. China has said that, under Hong Kong law, voters will be able to vote freely but from an approved list. --Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP via BBC Week in Pictures

As shelter from Beijing weather,
the hand that holds the umbrella knows
repression shreds all hope

but in Hong Kong each umbrella blossoms
like a flower, shields the blindsided from mace, 
transforms the protester into a shadow 

under Xi Jinping’s glare.  How the years 
of bad luck for opening an umbrella 
must be weighed against the threat 

of living where truth never shines.
Remember this season of umbrellas,

this garden of good intentions.

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.

Monday, October 13, 2014


by Jude Cowan Montague

MURSITPINAR, TURKEY — Kurdish fighters have been able to halt the advance of the Islamic State extremist group in the Syrian border town of Kobani, where the U.S.-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes for more than two weeks, activists said Sunday. In this Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014 file photo, a Turkish Kurd, standing in Mursitpinar, Turkey, on the Turkey-Syria border, watches smoke from fires caused by strikes during fighting between militants of the Islamic State group and Kurdish forces in Kobani, Syria. The predominantly Kurdish town of Kobani has been transformed from a dusty backwater into a symbol of resistance for Kurds around the world. The battle is now playing out in Kobani’s streets and alleyways - a fight being watched by scores of Syrian and Turkish Kurds, as well as dozens of journalists, through binoculars from hilltops and farms just across the border in Turkey. The international media spotlight, has helped turn the defense of Kobani into a very public test for the American-led international effort to roll back and ultimately destroy the Islamic State group. --Lefteris Pitarakis, AP, October 12, 2014

The tanks have left marks
where they crawled up the hill
to sit on the Kobani border.
No shadow.
Tank one wishes he was in the shade.
Tank two is trying to remember his name.
Tank three's mother is worried about him.
Tank four has lost his will to move.
They sit, smoke rising from the city in the valley.
Trees between the boxes are so tall and thin,
squeezing through, they point to the clouds.
White smoke like white hair
wafts up the concrete hillside.
What is happening in that house?
No one wants to go and see
this mysterious city.

Jude Cowan Montague is a writer, artist and composer who lives in London. She works as an archivist for Reuters Television. Her first collection of poetry, For the Messengers, was published by Donut Press in 2011. Her second, The Groodoyals of Terre Rouge, was published by Dark Windows Press in 2012. She makes musical improvisations on Reuters stories and these are available on the Parisian-based netlabel Three Legs Duck and other experimental works are available on the London-based netlabel Linear Obsessional.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


by Charles Frederickson

Pakistani teenager and Indian activist
Awarded 2014 Nobel Peace Prize
Chosen for horrendous struggle against
Oppression of vulnerable young people

A Hindu and a Muslim
An Indian and a Pakistani
Join in common cause denied
Educational rights imposed by extremists

In 2014 Malala Yousafzai was
Shot in the head by
Taliban right to schooling
Denied to strong-hearted weaker sex

Kailash Satyarthi follower of Gandhi’s
Tender mercy non-confrontational approach
Kashmir caught between nuclear powerhouses
Borderline youth deprived of childhood

Child bonded labor exploitation for
Financial gain bribery slavery trafficking
Cheapest employer option parental poverty
Illiteracy ignorance lame cop-out excuses

In conflict-ridden areas refugees raped
Violated leading to hapless continuation
Generation-to-generation suppression for daring protest
Censored Expression definitely not free

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

Saturday, October 11, 2014


by Kit Zak

For You, Malala
          fighting for the right of girls to read
          defying threats of death     and death itself
          your body warring against assassins’ bullets
                    I inhale the breath of your purity, dream your blood-red dreams
For you, Malala
          I pray to see my veiled misdeed
          I will fast for tolerance in my life
          and call out the cancers of hungry prejudice
          blinding young and old
For you, Malala
          oak-brave and oak strong
          I will embrace the firmness of trees
          their rootedness in earth
          stretching arms into the heavens
For you, Malala
         I will shed skins of selfishness
         roll up my sleeves for the unfinished work
         join battles for the rights of every human
For you, Malala, have restored our hope

Kit Zak is an environmentalist in Lewes, DE. She has published poems in The New Verse News, California Quarterly, The Broadkill Review, Jellyfish Whispers, The Blue Collar Review, and
several anthologies.

Friday, October 10, 2014


by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

Emma Sulkowicz. Image source: “The Cut” New York Magazine

Haul it, drag the cum stains
with you, drag it ugly, unmade,
the imprint, sheets soiled
and stiff, this borrowed bed
of midnight and spotlight —
voice — some say symbol,
but it is not a symbol,
it is the place you sleep
you dream, it is yours.

Carry it under your arm,
above your head. How thin,
and common it becomes,
muscles accustomed
to the weight, stronger
than hands bruising
your wrists, across your
mouth, shhhh, shhhh,
no one can hear,  no one
will hear, still, no one’s
heard. Still, he is in
the dark room with you,
allowed, unexpelled,
developing negatives,
as you clip prints,
evidence, some darker
than others, some shadows.
He dips his hand in
chemicals, washes,
cleans himself beside you.
According to the rules,
you can’t ask for help (can’t
ask for help) though, you can
accept it if someone offers.

Hoisting your bed over
our heads, we go bearing
bodies (if they tell you
no one died, they are lying).
The dead are conveniently
tucked inside the living,
worn fabric weight, cheap
discount springs. We walk
to history, the library, the laundry
room, we will not put it down.
We sleep on it between classes
dream of the his exile/
extermination/expulsion —
the weight of his body
so damn heavy.
This bed. It used to be
yours. It still is.

We shift beneath the mass
of it — collective carry — share it,
as if we could. Me? I see eyes
behind mine, in mine, as I walk —
a trick of sunlight and cadence —
the give of the mattress,
each step, each edge ragged
with sweat and stain. If I
close my eyes, I will trip
and it will all come
tumbling down — the bed,
the only soft thing between
skin and asphalt — a catastrophe
for all to see, as if it wasn’t already,
as if we hadn’t woken to the body’s
fury, its shame, its bedded rage.

Leslie Anne Mcilroy won the 2001 Word Press Poetry Prize for her full-length collection Rare Space and the 1997 Slipstream Poetry Chapbook Prize for her chapbook Gravel. She also took first place in the 1997 Chicago Literary Awards Competition judged by Gerald Stern. Her second full-length book, Liquid Like This, was published by Word Press in 2008. Her current poetry manuscript, SLAG, is forthcoming from Main St. Rag in 2015. Leslie’s work appears or is forthcoming in numerous publications including Connotation Press, Dogwood, Grist, Jubilat, The Mississippi Review, New Ohio Review, Nimrod International Journal of Prose & Poetry, PANK and Pearl. Leslie is Managing and Poetry Editor of HEArt — Human Equity through Art — and works as a copywriter in Pittsburgh, PA, where she lives with her daughter Silas.

Thursday, October 09, 2014


by James Penha

Cave paintings on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi were found more than 50 years ago, but until now the dates of origin were not known. The art shown here has not been dated, but is stylistically similar to other art in the area now found to be around 40,000 years old. Photograph by Maxime Aubert, Griffith University, Australia via National Geographic, October 8, 2014

The hands of these islands
touch me
forty thousand times,
embrace me at lips of steaming calderas,
hold me aloft their seas,
guide me through deepest caves
with open palms ever daring
to paint
our place here.

James Penha edits The New Verse News. He has lived in Indonesia since 1992.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014


by Charles Frederickson

All four of my grandparents
Were born in Sweden great-grandfather
Member of Svenska parliament Midnight
Sun legislators making heritage proud

Declared intention to recognize Palestinian
Statehood long overdue illegal settlements
Extending far beyond green line
Contrary to genuine peaceful desire

Netanyahu slams Sweden’s unilateral steps
Contrarian going against universalistic values
Ambrose Bierce defined un-American as
Wicked intolerable Heathen Garrison Keillor

Opined I think the most
Un-American thing you can say
Is You can’t say that
Burt Lancaster dared to ask

Can anything be more un-American
Than the House un-American Committee
Fred Swedish for peaceful harmony
Shalom Salaam pax on you

Islam isn’t the major problem
Combating hateful violence is
Shared principles justice compassion tolerance
Require respectful dignity without exception

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

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


by Howard Winn

Cartoon by kader altunova

He trusts in absolutes
because without them
he feels as if he were
walking on ice,
and could slip to his knees
with broken bones,
or break through into
unknown depths and
drown in the uncertain
deepness of skepticism
where ancient sea monsters
may swim, or not.

Howard Winn's poetry and fiction has been published recently in Dalhousie Review, Galway Review, Taj Mahal Review, Descant (Canada), Antigonish Review, Southern Humanities Review, Chaffin Review, Evansville Review, and Blueline. He has a B. A. from Vassar College and an M. A. from the Stanford University Writing Program.

Monday, October 06, 2014


by F.I. Goldhaber

Image source: Donkey Hotey at Flickr

Five old white men in their black robes sit
in Washington eviscerating
the bill of rights: an Uncle Tom and
oreo, a corporate stooge and
his clone, a lech, and racist members
of the forced pregnancy proponents.
Religious pretenders ignorant
of science, adrift in a world of
technology they still can't seem to
comprehend. Wined and dined by special
interests, embracing infectious
scourges of partisan politics
that erode the little prestige left
to the court and American faith
in the law. They surround themselves with
like-minded law clerks, consume only
media reports that reinforce
their opinions, speak exclusively
to audiences predisposed to
be sympathetic to their viewpoints.
From October through July they hand
down decisions gutting laws that once
protected rights of women, voters,
workers, and minorities. For a
monetary gain, they handed the
country to a man who did not have
the votes, sending U.S. spiraling
into recession. They made Orwell's
vision come to life by allowing
the NSA free reign, turning our
government into Big Brother. Time
after time, these millionaires decide
business privilege trump people's
freedoms allowing corporations
to buy elections, deprive us of
health care, deny us the right to sue.
Now police invent more egregious
pretexts to arrest you because those
men give them carte blanche to search
every inch of  your body inside and out.

After more than three decades, poet and storyteller  F.I. Goldhaber continues writing professionally. Her poems, short stories, novelettes, news stories, feature articles, essays, editorial columns, and reviews appear in magazines, ezines, newspapers, calendars, and anthologies. Read more of her political poetry in her forthcoming volume Subversive Verse.

Sunday, October 05, 2014


by Anton Yakovlev

The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

She looked like Robin Wright in The Princess Bride.
She was your nurse, but you called her “my muse”
ever since your first check-up.

Your colonel threatened to lead you into harm’s way,
assuming you imagined her in wet dreams,
failing to grasp the meaning of the word “muse.”

This game of alphas was all well and good
until, just halfway into your deployment,
he did let your vehicle get blown up.

You awoke, and many thought you might still return
to active duty, until a routine injection
prompted you to knock your nurse muse unconscious.

For months you shied away from traffic lights.
Thankfully, your aim had gotten so bad
you missed your own temple at point blank range.

Today you spend most evenings in Middle Earth,
imagining you’re at a campfire with hobbit brothers.
The night falls.

For two months of the year
you’re the star of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire,
jousting and wooing.

You’ve acquired a handful of Twitter followers.
You balladeer tasteful maxims
about the well-tuned diplomacy of pole dancers.

Your voicemail greeting is a legend.
The chickens in your front yard drive
every local farmer to jealous rage.

When children come trick-or-treating,
you throw a Dracula cape over your chain mail
and shower them with Belgium’s finest chocolate.

But their parents impose strict curfews.
And even the hobbits have their bedtime restrictions;
Thorin the dwarf has to take care of his beard.

You slip back into that night in the hospital.
Your muse in scrubs lies on the floor next to your bed.
If only you could help her up.

An anchor stares at you from the TV screen.
A blast down the street
sends tremors through the hospital windows

and all those people running into your room.

Anton Yakovlev grew up in Moscow, Russia, but moved to the United States in 1996. He studied filmmaking and poetry at Harvard University. Anton lives in Ridgewood, NJ and works as a college textbook editor. His poetry has appeared in The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow, CityLitRag, The Poet in New York and Instigatorzine, and is forthcoming in The New Yorker, The Raintown Review, and 823 on High. He has also directed several short films.

Saturday, October 04, 2014


by Anne Graue

A woman found an unusual reptile near her home in Hudson, Maine this week - a two-headed baby snapping turtle. Kathleen Talbot said she went to watch turtle hatchlings cross the road to make sure they each arrived at the other side safely. She noticed one of the turtles had been left behind. "I thought he had two feet in the front. I thought he was deformed. I didn't realize it was two heads until I got him home and washed him. Then he came to life-- and was just starving," she said. She has named the turtle Frank and Stein. Talbot said she doesn't plan to have the dynamic duo as a pet, but does want to make sure Frank and Stein survives. --Kacie Yearout, WLBZ September 25, 2014 Image source: NEWS CENTER

Born as if he knew
there would be difficulty
in deciding the path to take
and needed help
in choosing the way to go
and thus was created

a new perspective a new
argument, modern,
attached to one turtle body
inside a shell protecting

all but his two brains working
against and adjacent
to the matter of his choice.

Or perhaps he didn't know
and this fluke of snapping
turtle DNA would haunt him
throughout his days

of living in a push
and pull world weaker
from having to decide

on the simplest things
which leaf is tastier
which path is greener
which road is safer

which mind to sacrifice.

Anne Graue lives, writes, and teaches writing in New York's Hudson Valley. Her poems have appeared in Compass Rose, Ginosko Literary Journal, The New Verse News, and The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly