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Monday, June 30, 2014

REFUGEES

by Marietta Calvanico




I always called them yard cats,
Their numbers increased
after the fire at Randy’s—
Refugees,
The self-imagined puma
who lives in my house
never goes outside
but outside belongs to her,
and she wants them off
Her Territory,
tail switching back and forth
with great agitation until
she turns her back to erase
their existence.

The calico one, the black one,
the tabbies, orange and gray,
the one with half a tail,
Refugees,
I watch them move through
my garden,
sometimes pausing,
looking up, maybe to see me
at my window
and my knee-jerk reaction is
to give them the food
my own won’t eat
But I’ve been sagely warned—
Don’t do it.

Don’t feed them,
If you feed them,
they will never leave.


Marietta Calvanico lives in Staten Island, NY.  After spending a bit more than two decades in advertising/marketing, she now works with her architect husband and has been able to devote more time to writing and music.  Her poetry has appeared in The Bare Root Review, the damselfly press, Poem2day, Word Salad Poetry Magazine, River Poets, The Driftwood Review, and OccuPoetry; her short fiction in Joyful; and her non-fiction in Still Crazy and Avalon Literary Review.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

AMERICAN KGB

by Phyllis Wax




We who are under surveillance
in more ways than we know
tonight notice the stealthy moon      
as it slips behind the trees.

Hiding is useless.  That moon
could be an eye.  In these woods our whispers
might be seized by murmurous leaves.
Only handwritten notes are safe
if burned or swallowed after they are read.

One is not paranoid
if one is really being followed.


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.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

CUPCAKE ATTACK

by Johanna Evenson


"After hacking into the Islamic Jihadist Magazine 'Inspire' British intelligence agents changed the direction for making a home made bomb to a recipe for making cupcakes" --Huff Post Food, June 3, 2014


Cup-cakes raining over the infidels.
Four star chefs planning counter attacks
involving whole pies with whipped cream
and cherries.
High fat bombs clogging arteries
victims covered in pink and blue icing.
Sniffing dogs hunting down the muffin makers
flower and egg prices rising
like yeast in underground bakeries.
Candy-land on high alert
men carrying gum-ball machines
in this sweetest of wars.


Johanna Evenson is a professional musician as well as a professional cognitive therapist living and working in Charleston, SC where she is a member of the Long Table Poets.  Her work has appeared in Cactus Heart and The Milo Review.

Friday, June 27, 2014

CALL IT DENIAL

by Gil Hoy



“The rainfall numbers are staggering. But the bigger picture scope and human perspective on the summer flood of 2014 is even more gripping.” --Minnesota Public Radio, June 25, 2014. Image source: CBS


The exhaust from a car can kill you.

I saw a giddy fly knocked for
a loop the other day when it
got too close to a tail pipe,

Just dropped to the ground
like a stone and didn't
move anymore.

And I thought flies were
supposed to be tough

don't they like to eat
rotting garbage?

can’t they lift
a hundred times their weight?

Those carbon emissions
must really be toxic

good thing that most of it
just floats up into the air.

But I did see some
of the world’s glaciers
and a lot of our sea ice

melting as temps rise,

and the weather seems
really strange as of late---

with all those tornados, grapefruit
hail, 100-year floods and all.

Heard that the penguins in
Antarctica aren't breeding as much,

that more snow and rain
are getting other animals
to move from their homes,

and that more insects on
the earth are getting those
spruce trees all chewed up.

And look what’s coming:

sea levels rising---watch out
beach homes---stronger hurricanes
and storms, more floods and

drought, some diseases will
spread, ecosystems will disappear---

But what really caught my eye
yesterday was the dejected look

on the sun's frowning face

when someone mentioned global warming.

It reminded me of the proud
American Indian on his horse

in that commercial from a while back---

he was weeping and looking
at our trash blowing around,

remembering his world as it used to be.


Gil Hoy received a B.A in Philosophy from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a law degree from the University of Virginia. Gil also is an elected member of the Brookline, MA Democratic Town Committee, and served as a Brookline Selectman for 12 years. Gil studied poetry at Boston University, and started writing his own poetry in February of this year. His poems have since been published in Soul Fountain, The New Verse News, The Story Teller Magazine, and Eye On Life Magazine. Gil is married, with three children, and lives in Brookline, MA.

GAME OF DRONES

by George Salamon (with a bow to Tom Lehrer)


GNAT


The USA has the most,
And that is good
Because we're for freedom and motherhood.

Our allies have them too,
And that's all right
Because they'll join us in a fight.

They're called UAVs, unmanned
Aerial vehicles, and you
Must get to know them:

Hunter and Reaper,
Predator and Gnat,
For our security they'll go to bat.

Eleven countries have them today,
But that's not the way
It's going to stay.

"Every country will have armed drones
Within ten years," oh my.
But that's no cause to worry.

They'll only be used for "targeted
Killings, terrorism and government
Suppression of civil unrest."

So good night, baby,
Sleep tight and don't fret,
Drones will be watching over you.


George Salamon lives and writes in St. Louis, MO and contributes to Gateway Journalism Review, Jewish Currents and The New Verse News.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

SMALL WAR

by Richard O'Connell


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s embrace of targeted killings using armed drones risks putting the United States on a “slippery slope” into perpetual war and sets a dangerous precedent for lethal operations that other countries might adopt in the future, according to a report by a bipartisan panel that includes several former senior intelligence and military officials. --NY Times, June 26, 2014


Evil is statistical: a long-range game of mind:
Programming the data: it's merely a matter
Of parallel logistics: a mythic country
Ground in the joint jaws of an identical cancer.

Look at the map: it's a lesson in dissolution.
It could go on forever if we're careful,
Diverting blood and the precise amount of terror:
The only treason: reason: quelling the confusion.

It's a matter of girding them: a bright meat grinder:
Of obfuscating all the nasty boring facts:
Those muddy faces fleeing towards you from vague fire,
Carrying their homes and the maimed on their backs.


Richard O'Connell lives in Deerfield Beach, Florida.  His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure. National Review, The Texas Review, Acumen, The Paris Review, The Formalist,. His most recent collections are Dawn Crossing and Waiting for the Terrorists.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

DARK DAYS

by Brian Beatty





A barking stray

trying to bite the whirling wind

 

gusts that blow loose 

front pages 

 

out of those locked

newspaper machines they rattle open 

across the street  

 

then paste up

against the locked windows and doors

of our locked house

 

like so many rain-soaked shutters

made from the world’s

cruel jokes

 

the latest black-and-white bad news

we would rather ignore

right there

 

in our faces 

demanding we must pay  

for what we’ve seen 

 

— that dog 

with its hot breath


likewise tells us 

more about ourselves 

than any of us knew before.



Brian Beatty's jokes, poems and stories have appeared in numerous print and digital publications.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A REDSKIN FAN TAKES OFFENSE

by Chris O’Carroll


RICHMOND, Va. – Three Virginia lawmakers have formed the “Redskins Pride Caucus” in an effort to help Washington Redskins keep the nickname some people deem offensive. --CBS6, June 23, 2014


They gave my team a trademark on its name,
But now they say they’re snatching it away.
Political correctness is their game,
And Injun giving is the way they play.

I want my team to sound badass and scary,
Like warpath savages with tomahawks.
I want every opponent trembling, wary,
Fearful of brutal tackles, sacks, and blocks.

Since “Redskin” is a byword for ferocity
(I’ve seen the Westerns, so I know the score),
To change the team name would be an atrocity.
In fact, I am convinced there should be more

Franchises getting ethnic in your face --
Spearchuckers, Wetbacks, Spades, Bogtrotters, Chinks.
There’s big-time juju in names based on race.
Who cares what some Cochise or Tonto thinks?


Chris O’Carroll is a writer and an actor.  His poems have appeared in Literary Review, Per Contra, Shot Glass, the Spectator, and the Washington Post, among other print and online journals, and in the anthologies The Best of the Barefoot Muse and 20 Years at the Cantab Lounge.

MEMO: IN MEXICO'S DEFENSE

by Margaret Rozga



Mexico Finds Itself Knee-Deep in Victory -- NY Times, June 23, 2014


The ball touches his fingertips
ricochets left of the goal.

The ball against his body
for another save, and in the 69th minute
he saves again with the upper part
of his left thigh.

“There are nights” he says
“when the ball seems to hit you even
If you close your eyes.”

Mexico’s Coach Miguel Herrera
chose at the last minute to go with the calm
of goalie Guillermo Ochoa.

The ball is in his hands,
his calm and saving hands.


Margaret Rozga has published two books: Two Hundred Nights and One Day and Though I Haven’t Been to Baghdad.  Her new book  Justice   Freedom   Herbs   is scheduled for January 2015 publication.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

FOG FORCES CANCELLATION OF MILWAUKEE AIR SHOW

by Ed Werstein


Fog leads to cancellation of Milwaukee lakefront air show Saturday  --Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, June 21, 2014


If only it were that easy
to stop a real bombing raid
mothers all over the world
would pray for bad weather
everyday
to spare their homes
their homelands
their children.

But here on Milwaukee’s lakefront
the spectacle is rescheduled for tomorrow.

This roaring assault on eardrums
and sensibilities is nothing
compared to the price paid by others
for the live ammo show
rain or shine.

Here, parents bring the kids
wave flags
eat ice cream.


Ed Werstein, Milwaukee, Wisconsin spent 22 years in manufacturing and union activity before his muse awoke and dragged herself out of bed. He advocates for peace and against corporate power. A member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, his poetry has appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Blue Collar Review, Mobius: Journal of Social Change, Stoneboat. His first chapbook Who Are We Then? was published in 2013 by Partisan Press.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

MY FATHER WAS A WAR HERO IN HIS OWN WAY

by M.F. Nagel


Image source: http://www.angelfire.com/va2/worldwar2family/eddie2.html


My Father was a War Hero
In his own way;

He came home.
Never spoke of War;
But, I could see it in his face
In the way he smoked a cigarette
And stared across the Pacific;
On stormy days.

I heard they dragged him drafted from the docks
Where he welded blasted battleships
In antiquated scuba gear because he never feared the sea.

My Father was a War Hero
In his own way.

He returned
Dropped on Main Street.
Ordered to guard
Mr. and Mrs. Hiroshima; spies
Shopkeepers.
The old Nippon couple
My father knew as a child.
Starving
All the bad fishing seasons
Giving credit
To broken fisherman.
Never took a penny
He stood
At attention next to the door of Mr. and Mrs. Hiroshima
Until
They were gone.
Then he turned and knocked
Shoved his rifle thru the door
--Here,
Guard yourselves--
He said and walked away;
My Uncle Eddy told me
He saw
His brother
Rip the jacket from his chest and throw it in the bay.

My father was a War Hero
In his own way.


M.F. Nagel was born in anchorage Alaska. Her Athabaskan and Eyak heritage gave her a love of poetry. M.F. now lives and writes near the banks of the Matanuska river in the Palmer Butte, Alaska, where the moose, wild dog-roses and salmonberries provide unending joy and inspiration. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

WAR

by David M. Myles







It      is        

stored in the soul
of a people
and hungers
to be relevant
to more than the
sycophants of
golden calves


there      was

a time when we
thought it good
to strike out
in anger and fear
and the hubris
of the tears
of tragic death

It       has

scarred us as
a nation and the
wound has turned
in on itself on
ourselves and we pick
at the scab of the
the children laying dead

There       will

come a reckoning
our histories scream
our mutual doom
History is not a script
it is a cautionary tale
which doesn't end well
for the protagonists


David M. Myles is a Freelance Technophile and writer currently living in the Ohio Valley. Originally from New York City, Myles has lived all over the United States and the UK gathering experiences and fixing errant computers and networks His new e-book Folly is available on Kindle or Amazon.com.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

POTASSIUM CHLORIDE

by David Chorlton



(CNN) -- A double murderer was executed in Florida Wednesday night, becoming the third man put to death in an American prison during a 24-hour period. All three died by lethal injection.


A gurney stands still on its wheels
beneath a square of light intense enough
to reveal a human soul.
The floor is polished so clean
it floats from wall
to unblemished wall.
There’s a pillow,
freshly cleaned, and straps
no grief could ever break
to contain the spasms
when the clock shows time
coming to an end.
A neatly-typed protocol
describes every step
from cooking the final meal
to escorting witnesses away,
but has nothing to say for an instance
of the cocktail’s failure,
as if it had been written for a firing squad
and could not describe a dead man
spitting bullets out.


David Chorlton came to Arizona in 1978 after living in England and Austria. He has spent more than three decades stretched between cultures and writing poetry, the pick of which has just appeared as his Selected Poems, from FutureCycle Press.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

MESSI'S DANCE

by Lori Desrosiers




Lionel Messi runs, legs leading,
dances the ball down the field
hops over other players’ feet,
perfect kick makes a goooooal!

Lanky bodies in yellow sneakers
leap into air almost in flight
trying to head the ball, the Spanish
announcer shouts y la cabeza!

These lovely young men with
their lovely bodies remind me
of the young woman I was

my body lithe and strong
I leapt after my children
climbed hills with them
and rolled down together

barely thinking of the future
only hoping to get them there
to help them discover their dreams
dance like Messi towards their goals.


Lori Desrosiers’ first book of poems, The Philosopher’s Daughter is from Salmon Poetry. A second book is due out in 2016. Her poems have appeared in New Millenium Review, Contemporary American Voices, BigCityLit, Concise Delights, Blue Fifth Review, Pirene's Fountain, The New Verse News, The Mom Egg and many more. She publishes Naugatuck River Review, a journal of narrative poetry.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

THE 100 DAYS

by Anne Graue




mark the number
of days of falling
into loss
no handholds
only slippery ones
hanging loosely
from tongues
from threads
beckoning, urging,
cajoling—Hang on
to me! Gotcha!
underwater blips,
radar, red herrings
falling still past
the 100
looking further
down
hundreds more
beckon
want to be spent—
hold onto that longing—
taunt with ropes,
scaffolding,
promise news
further down
much further down.


Anne Graue writes poetry and teaches online from her home in New York's Hudson Valley. Her poems have appeared in Compass Rose, Sixfold Journal, VerseWrights, and The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly. She is a reviewer for NewPages.com

Monday, June 16, 2014

WHAT'S BEING HATCHED

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.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

THE FALL OF MOSUL

by George Held



Refugees flee the city of Mosul. The delicately balanced relations among the many communities were permanently shattered in 2003. Photograph: Str/AP. The Guardian, June 13, 2014.


Take it back, we left it,
We will not summon the troops
To fight again for it,
We will not countenance

Another long drawn out
Battle on your homeland,
The corpses, gutted and bloodied,
Strewn, like trash, on the ground.

Mosul is Assyrian, Kurd, Iraqi,
Turkmen, Shabak, Shi’ite, Sunni,
And the oil refinery earns more
Per hour than the marketplaces

For fruits of paradise, leather toolers,
Carpet merchants’ stalls
And sheep-herders’ pens
Combined do per year.

Mosul, you fell in 2003
And now ISIS (not
The Egyptian goddess
of magic and life),

initiates in the sacred order
of hatred and arch violence,
Have achieved the latest fall
Of Cheney and Bush,

Who on 3 May 2003
Declared from ship’s deck
“The Battle of Iraq is over,”
But that mission will never

Be accomplished despite
4,447 American dead,
32,000 wounded plus
Thousands with PTSD

And other extreme debilitations;
Plus one trillion dollars
(Think what this sum could mean
For schools, bridges, healthcare).

Now 68% of Americans
Polled feel no obligation
(<F obliger) to help Iraqis
After we destroyed their country:

No noblesse, no oblige;
No ligature (the “lig”
In “obligation”) tying us
To this desolated land.

Mosul, Baiji, Samarra—
All fall on the road to Baghdad.
(Where are Crosby and Hope
When we really need them?)

Where can we find any hope
In stopping the ISIS advance?
Will the fall of Mosul end
In the union of Syria and Iraq,

A wide swath from the Med
To Iran, the destabilization
Of the Middle East, a threat
To Turkey and Israel?

Where are the leaders
Who can reverse America’s
Knee-jerk reliance on military
Solutions to geopolitical problems?

Is the fall of Mosul a milestone
On the road to the fall
Of (God bless) the
United States of America?


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

Saturday, June 14, 2014

THE SMOKING OF ANOTHER SHARPSHOOTER

by Tricia Knoll


Joshua Mitchell wore the soccer jersey of younger brother Emilio Hoffman during graduation who was shot and killed by fellow student Jared Michael Padgett, 15, just two days ago in the school locker room in Troutdale. Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian, June 12, 2014


There was smoke, a girl crouching in a locker room
saw smoke, smelled it, heard the rattle of shells
and ammo in a flack jacket filled with fumbling fingers
looking to reload.

There was smoke in the mind of the boy
who carried the guns from home.

The deadly smoke of anger,
a soul burning
with wrongs

all wrongs
done to him
he’d do unto others.

He died in his poison smoke,
our confusion of fog
hanging in the trees
the morning of graduation
like a death sentence.


Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet -- who taught high school English for eight years not far from Reynolds High School. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

A HOPE IN PERILOUS TIMES

      by Buff Whitman-Bradley


    "Woman With Child & Calla Lilies" (oil) 24" by 30" by Renee Thompson.


      On my way to the grocery store
      Brooding about famine and endless war
      Environmental catastrophe and economic collapse
      I notice a young pregnant woman
      Her head held high
      Striding up the block like the whole brass band
      Following her big beautiful drum majorette of a belly
      Toward a future that I hope will be there
      To embrace her child


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.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

HOLY MACARENA MAJOR WORLD RELIGION

by Saknarin Chinayote & Charles Frederickson





Only sport played in every
Country around rotating spherical globe
Defeatist loser mentality thinking squad
Shoulda coulda woulda might’ve didn’t

Team sport sense of togetherness
Combining experience balanced with youth
Requiring gritty perseverance sacrifice dedication
Practice practice more committed practice

It’s not the will to
Win but willful positive mindset
Being ever-prepared to win finding
Different insights to achieve goals

Best teams often are eliminated
Not believing they can hard
Enough regretfully upsetting compromised expectations
Deflating swelled ego nationalistic pride

Anything can happen probably will
Nothing simulated playing for real
Uniting uneven odds enthusiastic motivation
Catching fever pass it on

Passion evolves in 4-year cycles
2018 Olympics World Cup bids
The future isn’t something we
Enter it’s something we create


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

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

UNLOCKING THE LOVE LOCKS

by Tricia Knoll





When is it time to unlock the love locks?

When the love of the gleam of chrome was for glory
rather than health, longevity, strength and beauty?

When wild animals under lock and key
find the sanctuary of space and fresh air?

When the unfair imprisoned reach for the bar
and ask for a hand hold?

When the bridge of love falls under its weight
of promises?

When the artist says I’ll find a way for you to show
the world what you love, how you love, and when,
how to keep love locks from becoming dread locks.


Tricia Knoll's chapbook Urban Wild is now available from Finishing Line Press.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

CLEANING UP DETROIT

by Iris Litt


A hedge fund manager’s plan to help clean up Detroit by letting baby goats graze on public land has come to an abrupt end — or so it seems. Mark Spitznagel, the founder of the $6 billion hedge fund Universa Investments, brought 18 goats to the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit last Thursday to graze on public lots as part of a campaign to promote urban farming. The goats were not well received by some city officials, who said local laws prohibited having animals graze on city property. So after a whirlwind 48 hours, Mr. Spitznagel’s baby goats were back on a truck on Saturday heading out of the neighborhood, destined to be sold to butchers. --Alexandra Stevenson, NY Times, June 9, 2014 (Image source: Housers at Idyll Farm)


Don’t depend on Man
To clean up Detroit.
But goats can.

Will they get any thanks?
No, all they’re going to get
is Eaten.
Yes, when their work is done
they’ll be sent to the final farm.

In reward for their gesture
they should be given a pasture
strewn with cigarette butts
and other yummy stuff.

The goat
should get our vote.


Iris Litt’s most recent book of poetry is What I Wanted to Say from Shivastan Publishing. An earlier book of poetry, Word Love,  was published by Cosmic Trend Publications.  She has had poems in many literary magazines including Onthebus, Confrontation, Hiram Poetry Review, The  New Renaissance, Asphodel, Poetry Now, Central Park, Icarus, The Rambunctious Review, Pearl, The Ledge, Earth's Daughters, Poet Lore, Scholastic, and Atlantic Monthly (special college edition).  She has had short stories in Travellers Tales, Prima Materia, Out Of The Catskills,  and The Second Word Thursdays Anthology; and articles in Pacific Coast Journal, Writer's Digest, and The Writer.  She teaches writing workshops in Woodstock, NY, and has taught creative writing at Bard College,  SUNY/Ulster, Arts Society of Kingston, Writers in the Mountains, Educational Alliance, New York Public Library, and Marble Collegiate Church. She lives in Woodstock and in New York City’s Greenwich Village.

Monday, June 09, 2014

LIKE CUTTING OFF ONE EAR

by Lynnie Gobeille



The Harvest


On Winning 3rd Place in the National Exphrasis Contest


I open the email – not quite sure what to expect –
to find that I have won 3rd place in the National Exphrasis Contest.
They have found my piece – written to Van Gogh’s “The Harvest” to their liking -

So much so –  it will be include in the art exhibit
and placed in their three year anniversary anthology.
No prize money – of course – that is understood – but OH! the Joy I feel.

Until I read a little further – to the part where they mention
We would like you to consider removing the first stanza.
Our judge, who is an esteemed professor from a local University,
feels it would be a stronger piece if you would just let that haystack reference go.

While pondering this suggestion I wonder if they would have asked Van Gogh
to paint out the haystack on the left.
Weighing in the cost of removing just two lines . . .
I wonder if they will still consider me ‘a winner’ if I decline.


Lynnie Gobeille is one of the editors of The Origami Poems Project, a world wide “free poetry event” based in Rhode Island. Her poetry has been published on line and in numerous journals. Her work has also been read on NPR and, in England, on ELFIN radio. Her chapbook Life not quite Understood is now available through Finishing Line Press.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

ELEGY FOR THE FRENCHMAN

by M.F. Nagel   






The Butte. Good Friday.


The Frenchman is dead.
Bow your head.
Say a prayer.

The Frenchman is dead.

Hopped a train -- age eight.
Joined the carney,
Challenged
The wall of death.

The Frenchman is dead, bow your heads, say a prayer.

                               Went to sea
Became a sailor
Seller of moonshine
Turned creator of gold-plated contraptions
Lost on the moon.

The Frenchman is dead.
                                        Bow your head. Say a prayer.

Married.
Moved his wife to a gravedigger shack
Near the Butte
Next to the Queen of the Angels
Cemetery,
Eying
Rivers and mountains and glaciered filled skies.

The Frenchman is dead.
-- Self-proclaimed:
Proprietor of
Boot Hill Auto Salvation.
(Antique and classic)
                                        His life’s ambition
Read and written
In the Holy Grail of
Abandoned car parts
                     -- A creaking
Harrisville Ferris wheel reaching to heaven,
And
Trunks and hoods -- and
Tires
And horns, and headlights.
Twisted skeletons of wasted steel.
Junkyard dreams.
Waiting . . .
All waiting in the weeds
For the salvage of judgment day.

The Frenchman is dead.
Bow your head. Say a prayer.

“Brother of The Third Wheel,”
He was
Iron crossed.
Road a pan head
223-pieces of gold.

The Frenchman is dead.
Today.
Took his last custom-made ride
On the wild Matanuska winds --

The Frenchman is dead.
Bow your head. Say a prayer.


M.F. Nagel was born in anchorage Alaska. Her Athabaskan and Eyak heritage gave her a love of poetry. M.F. now lives and writes near the banks of the Matanuska river in the Palmer Butte, Alaska, where the moose, wild dog-roses and salmonberries provide unending joy and inspiration. 

Saturday, June 07, 2014

WHAT MATTERS MOST

by Gil Hoy



'The OJ Simpson murder trial became a symbol of all that was wrong with America: a legal system that could be manipulated and bought; allegations of police racism and planted evidence, dividing the nation by colour. Simpson become an unlikely folk hero to many and the "Trial of the Century" became a media circus. When the jury returned a verdict of not guilty, Kim [Goldman, victim Ron Goldman's sister] recalls: "I couldn't breathe. I couldn't hold myself up.”'  --The Express (UK) June 7, 2014


Ideology aside, in
the real world of
touch and feel---
being OJ matters,

while innocence and
guilt mean something,
OJ ish ness closes
the deal--- whether                    
he did it or not.

As a neuron-wired
knee jerk fancy
ad sells you a
crappy product,

a sweet-talking
harmonica mouthpiece
more than suffices.

May take eleven months
of attorney bills, but
better that than the two
short weeks it takes the
Court to send those

other poor jokers off for
death by injection of sour
drugs---no choking or
squirming for 25 minutes.

So when the glove don't
fit, you must acquit

I'm so sick and tired of
seeing that disgusting
smile on re-runs after
the jury came back

I could spit my guts out.

But every poor slob
should have one of those
silver-tongued bought
lying serpents---we'd save
a lot in prison costs.

Hell, the almighty dollar
even sells you a pet
rock---a pet what?
imagine that, a pet rock.

you don't have to
feed, clothe or
bathe it,

but you can't even
take the silly furless
little thing to work
with you for any
meaningful company,

not exactly prototypical
Aristotelian natural wealth.

Pet rocks even
make that glittering
fools' gold look good
by comparison---

the emperor's new
clothes on stilts,

just the best wool
wig pulled over
the peepers that's
out there.


Gil Hoy received a B.A in Philosophy from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a law degree from the University of Virginia. Gil also is an elected member of the Brookline, MA Democratic Town Committee, and served as a Brookline, MA Selectman for 12 years. Gil studied poetry at Boston University, and started writing his own poetry in February of this year. His first poem “When Doctor Death Calls” was published in Volume #47 of Soul Fountain. “An Unjust Law” and “When Gandhi Lay Dying” were published in April and May, respectively, in The New Verse News. Gil is married, with three children, and lives in Brookline, MA.

Friday, June 06, 2014

MANIFEST DESTINY

by George Salamon


'President Obama’s plan to remove all U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 “is not a zero option . . . not a withdrawal plan,” the commander of U.S. and international forces there said Wednesday. Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. said the plan he expects to implement, following Obama’s announcement last week, is a “transition” that bears no resemblance to the 2011 U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Under the plan, nearly 14,000 U.S., NATO and other international troops will remain in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of combat forces at the end of this year.' --Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, June 4, 2014     Image source: Paul Shinkman, US News & World Report


When American forces
leave the rubble of a country
we shake off the experience
and say:
Never Again.

Just not straightaway.


George Salamon lives and writes in St. Louis, MO and contributes to the Gateway Journalism Review, Jewish Currents and The New Verse News.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

OUTSIDE THE CAMPUS COMFORT ZONE

by Chris O’Carroll





Colleges across the country this spring have been wrestling with student requests for what are known as “trigger warnings,” explicit alerts that the material they are about to read or see in a classroom might upset them or, as some students assert, cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of rape or in war veterans. -- New York Times, 5/17/14

It should be noted that none of the schools cited in the Times article have actually implemented a policy that would mandate trigger warnings, and that college classrooms have often served as testing grounds for vital policies that might at first have seemed apocalyptic or Pollyannaish. Trigger warnings could eventually become part of academic environments, as unobtrusive and beneficial as wheelchair ramps and kosher toaster ovens. --Jay Caspian Kang, “Trigger Warnings and the Novelist’s Mind,” The New Yorker, May 22, 2014


Our syllabi have warning labels now.
We fear that certain stuff in history
And literature classrooms could somehow
Become a “trigger” for PTSD.

Slaveowners, Nazis, and the KKK --
These are a few rogues from the gallery
Of sadists calculated to dismay
Students with special sensitivity.

The cross, the rack, the bullwhip, and the stake;
Rape, warfare, genocidal tyranny --
There’s only so much college kids can take
Of painful truth about humanity.

We warn them and invite them to avert
Their eyes from education that might hurt.


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 First Things, Folly, Measure, The Oldie, and Snakeskin, among other print and online journals, and in the anthologies The Best of the Barefoot Muse and 20 Years at the Cantab Lounge.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

WATCH VS. WARNING

by Marjorie Maddox





                                                                                        “Female-named hurricanes kill more
                                                                                          than male hurricanes because people
                                                                                          don’t respect them, study finds.”
                                                                                                            —Jason Samenow, 
                                                                                                   Washington Post,  June 2, 2014


Surely the whirling of this world
into some wind-gone-wild transport to Oz-
    opposite names the same tree-thrashing terror
or should, a double-edged Saffir-Simpson scale
of nurture/nature of respect in respect to
whose wrath shakes our quaking spirit
more, which also is just breath gone haywire,
this life built in the lungs and expired
into air as turbulent as any cascading
into climate-crashing crescendo
off the coast of somewhere.
Dorothy/Don, this isn’t
Kansas anymore.
      Each day
               the breeze
                 and we
                       pick up
                       more
                         vio-
                        lent-
                  ly
                brok-
          en.


Director of Creative Writing and professor of English at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox’s book,  Local News from Someplace Else (Wipf & Stock 2013), focuses on living in an unsafe world. In addition, she has a new ebook, Perpendicular As I ( Kindle version, Nook version, Kobo version).

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

METASTASIS

by Tracey Gratch



As oncology has become the hottest space within pharmaceuticals and biotech, the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is pretty much now the Super Bowl for companies in this space. Meetings like ASCO [May 30 - June 3, 2014] certainly do lead to companies releasing important data on pipeline candidates, as well as often hosting meetings/presentation to explain their pipelines and development strategies in more details. It's worth remembering, though, that a lot of what is presented is early stage, includes limited number of patients, and often focuses on metrics like response rate that are ultimately less significant than metrics like overall survival. -- Stephen D., Simpson, The Motley Fool, May 16, 2014. Image source: ASCO.

I attend the morning session
hopeful, there might be
a trial, maybe something;
she'll fit the thing they need.

Poker-faced, the lead guy says
the endpoints went unmet in this phase three,
but in some subset, it looks promising.

Back home, things would deteriorate;
she'll go back in this week,

as I'll wander the exhibit hall, endless
and commercialized, in ways nearly obscene.
The start-ups and the biotechs, lure attendees
in with chocolate crepes and fresh coffee.

At 2 PM, another friend will text:
she's made it through,
and on her brain, some pressure's been relieved.

There, staring dazed and vacantly, (after all,
it is day three) through the haze of late-stage entities,
through the fleeting, spit-shined pipeline dreams --

the posters offer palpably: the best
the best can offer here can offer only
two to three, and maybe improve quality;
and none of it comes free.


Tracey Gratch lives in Quincy, MA with her husband and their four children. Her poems have appeared in journals and  publications including Mezzo Cammin, The Literary Bohemian, The Flea, Annals of Internal Medicine, Boston Literary Magazine,  The New Verse News and The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine. Her poem, "Strong Woman" is included in the American College of Physicians, On Being A Doctor, Volume 4, published in April, 2014.

Monday, June 02, 2014

THE PRESS SECRETARY FORGETS HIS LINES

by Judith Terzi




President Obama said Friday that White House press secretary Jay Carney will be stepping down from his job and be replaced by deputy Josh Earnest. ‘It's been an amazing experience,’ Carney said after Obama's announcement. ‘Just so fulfilling’.”  --USA Today, May 30, 2014


Yes, Michelle and B went out for pizza. Yes,
macaroni. They're in Baltimore. That's

where my mother was born. Well, really,
she was born in Annapolis; her father

worried sick she'd marry a sailor. We're
fundamentally all from Baltimore,

aren't we? We are all on the same page. Even
Vlad. He flew in last night. Staying

in the spare closet. I mean closest bedroom
to the rest of the O's. Yes, he can.

He can recite couplets from the Rubaiyat. He's
a real gadabout from Siberia to the gulf

stream waters, from D.C. to Donetsk. Yes,
I believe he believes that this land

is his land, folks. Yes, two-thirds of Americans
fundamentally believe in didactic melting.

Yes, I believe that at the end of the day, we're all
on the same page at the end of the day.

No, man, I don't believe we've ever met
a Talisman close up in Baltimore. No,

no, I don't believe in direct talk with anyone.
I've lost my water bottle. Does anyone

happen to have a jug of bread, a loaf of wine?
A bow-wow? My water bottle walked off

with Joe. Slipped down the neck of a crane.
My keychain has disappeared, too. If you

see one with rhinestones and an owl and a million
keys, bend down and pick it up. No, no,

no, no pussy cat. Yes, I believe there's a recent
recall on carbon emissions. Yes, over

a million first-time visitors to the website over
the weekend. Now that's a real rhinestone.


Judith Terzi is a poet living in Pasadena, California. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Centrifugal EyeMyrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems (Tupelo), Pacific Coast Poetry Series' Los Angeles Poetry Anthology (Beyond Baroque), TheRaintown Review, and elsewhere. Her latest chapbook from Finishing Line is Ghazal for a Chambermaid. A former high school French teacher, she also taught English at California State University, Los Angeles, as well as in Algiers, Algeria.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

PASSION SKY

by Martha Landman



This is the incredible moment when a huge volcano erupted in Indonesia sending ash spewing an estimated 12 miles into the sky. The powerful explosion took place at Mount Sangeang Api in the Lesser Sunda Islands - an area that plays host to 129 active volcanoes - and sent a distinctive spaceship-shaped ring of pyroclastic smoke high into the air.  The photographs were taken by professional photographer Sofyan Efendi during a commercial flight from Bali to the fishing town of Labuan Bajo in West Nusa Tenggara province. Scores of farmers who work but do not live on the island were ordered to leave and not return until the volcano has finished erupting, said Muhammad Hendrasto, head of Indonesia's National Volcanology Agency. There are not believed to have been any deaths or injuries as a result of the eruption. Authorities have had Mount Sangiang Api - which means 'Mountain of Spirits' in Balinese - on high alert for almost a year, he told China's Xinhua news agency.  The volcano sits in Indonesia's notorious 'Ring of Fire' - an area where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. It has 452 volcanoes - 75 per cent of the world's total. --Daily Mail (UK), May 30, 2014


The sky is a passion tower
A vertical breath from the bosom of a fire God
Voluptuous love-plumes bellow like a death sentence
An inferno of justice

Where are the birds, the planes?
Entranced by elemental fury, farmers hover in the shade and
offer incense and a thousand goats to the gods
who enrich their soil

The sky is a love sculpture
Tangled clouds of fairy floss assault the atmosphere
Rivers flow in lava, arisen from the mountain floor —
Tomorrow’s saucers fly —
The sky is passion.


Martha Landman writes in North Queensland, Australia. Her most recent work has appeared in Jellyfish Whispers.