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Saturday, February 28, 2015


by Geoffrey A. Landis

This image was taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft of dwarf planet Ceres on Feb. 19 from a distance of nearly 29,000 miles (46,000 kilometers). It shows that the brightest spot on Ceres has a dimmer companion, which apparently lies in the same basin. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

dimpled spinning ball
ice in bottoms of craters
glints bright in sunlight

Geoffrey A. Landis is a scientist, a science fiction writer, and a poet. As a scientist, he works at NASA John Glenn Research Center on developing new technology for space.  As a science fiction writer, he's written one novel and over fifty short stories, winning the Hugo and Nebula awards. As a poet, he has written numerous poems, including this one.

Friday, February 27, 2015


by William Cullen Jr.

On the day Spock died
some thought the world
became a better place
freed of one less voice of reason
the elemental powers rejoiced
but the Id of the universe
did not take part
knowing eternity’s too long a time
to wait for another
sparring partner.

William Cullen Jr. is a veteran and works at a non-profit in Brooklyn, NY. His poetry has appeared in Canary, Gulf Stream, Right Hand Pointing, Spillway, Word Riot and Written River: A Journal of Eco-Poetics.


by Chris O’Carroll

Rudy Giuliani Is Now Trump, Minus the Hair. 
--Frank Rich, New York Magazine, February 25, 2015

“Barack Obama doesn’t love me!” Giuliani cries.
“Rudy, chill.  Nobody does,” the whole wide world replies.

But then Hizzoner takes it up a notch: “He doesn’t love
America, which is the country he’s the POTUS of.

“I know he doesn’t love this nation.  If he did, he’d say
That Islam’s always evil, and so’s marriage if you’re gay.

“He’d say that workers shouldn’t have the right to unionize.
Protecting the environment is something he’d despise.

“Of birth control and women’s right to choose he would be scornful,
And when black guys get killed by cops, he wouldn’t be so mournful.

“He’d shut up about plans to keep the poor insured and healthy,
And dedicate himself to lower taxes for the wealthy.

“He’d say non-Christians aren’t protected by the Constitution,
And there’s no evidence for climate change or evolution.

“From Fox News he would take his cues about what’s patriotic.
As you can see, I’m not irrelevant or idiotic.”

Chris O’Carroll has published a number of poems in The New Verse News.  Some Americans love his work.  Others, not so much.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


by Tom Russell

I gave birth to myself.

I discovered fire so that I could eat
whatever I, alone, produced.

I didn’t read your books,
you read mine.

I coined all the phrases.

I invented the wheel
and built all the roads
that wheels carry my money on.

I did all this with no help from anyone.

I created the dial tones and cyberspace
and made all the deals.

I forged all my own tools,
and that includes you.

Now you want to abuse me
with your regulations and taxations.
Blathering about responsibility
and shared sacrifice.

Suck it up, weasels.
Next you’ll be wanting your own bootstraps.

I don’t care who among you
gets sick or dies.
It pleases me
to see the spite you have for each other.

You are blind and weak.
Even if you could see my curtain
you wouldn’t be able to move it
and know that I am there.

Tom Russell works for the Omaha Public Library in Omaha, Nebraska. His poems have appeared in The New Verse News, Shot Glass Journal, and Crab Fat Literary Magazine.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


by Rick Mullin


Of course you can relate.  After all,
you were a boy once too. And you might
marry and put one through the system yourself.
I hardly recommend it. But despite
having raised three girls and never having beaten
my wife, I can tell you that Linklater got it right.
He gave us life… to a point.

On technical concept, let’s call it a draw.
But as for my favorite of the two, allow me
to share my experience in movie-going:

Detesting all inside-theater baseball,
I checked out in the early scenes, allowing
confusion to hold sway over narrative.
I sought entertainment in light and color,
haircuts, tits and ass in wardrobe, repartee,
until I saw myself, POW!, who was once a boy
and survived all that. Who was loved but wonders now.
Who has exited the stage door, boarded planes,
attended conferences in underpants or worse,
a recurring dream of dashing to a suitcase
or a car in which my legs are iffy
and the voices in my head surmount facetious,
glib, forgotten or remembered joke.

You didn’t like the ending? Well, I would say
[no spoiler] that the bird was captured by the day.

I will honor your opinion, friend.

But when you are old, and your future is behind you,
watch these films again! Especially if your future
was comprised of bogus costume heroics and
one or two memorable spots on Letterman.

Rick Mullin's poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies. His most recent book, Sonnets from the Voyage of the Beagle was published in December by Dos Madres Press, Loveland, Ohio.


by Earl J Wilcox

What a night! I was hugged, fondled,
stroked, laughed at, cried upon, nestled
in the arms of a dude who encouraged
every weird person to stay weird,
molded into chocolate and stuck under
Oprah’s seat, then found myself staring
at this chick who had no panties on,
plus getting too close to a very mature
Doogie Howser who paraded his package
in tighty-whities. But the highlight
of the evening for this Oscar came
when old J. K. finally grasped me,
waved and yelled to everyone
about calling their parents. Dang
if that Oscar After-Party didn’t go
on all night while I sat on tables,
on leather limo seats, on toilet seats,
and on one cute little table during a one-
night stand between you’ll never guess
who, but I am not telling, though I will
say this: not everything is a theory anymore.

Earl J. Wilcox writes about aging, baseball, literary icons, politics, and southern culture. His work appears in more than two dozen journals; he is a regular contributor to The New Verse News. More of Earl's poetry appears at his blog, Writing by Earl.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


by David Chorlton

Image source: Mars One

            "To me, when someone asks, 'why would you want to go?'
            all I can think of is, why wouldn't you want to go?" she added.
                                    -Leila Zucker, one of the 100 Mars One finalists
                                    selected to train for a mission to Mars

A room is waiting
in a place where the wind
has nothing to hold on to,
where it’s colder than Fargo
at Christmas and the atmosphere
is so thin there’s never any rain,
just an occasional shower of snowflakes
that turn into illusions
before they can touch ground.
It has a bunk that rocks on thunder,
windows so small they reveal
only specks of the surroundings,
and furnishings in a gray
that chills the eye. This
                                      could be home
for anyone seeking answers
to questions a monk once asked
in his medieval cell. Voices
marinated in persuasion
offer invitations to be a part
of history . . . to inspire people
around the world and make
isolation as attractive
as embarking on a tour with all
meals provided, time to relax
and read, play games, write, paint
 work out in the gym, watch TV,
use the Internet, contact friends at home
as life becomes more and more
like fingering a tiny device with a screen
to busy your hands while sitting
on a bus you can never get off.
Who has what it takes
                                never to return?
Who will seek claustrophobia
in the midst of boundless
space? Who has what it takes . . .
Who believes our future
cannot be confined
we must explore and look up
court death by radiation
                                        or life
so deep in boredom
the only consolation
is that . . . . the future
belongs to those who believe
in the beauty of their dreams
if the dreams come quietly
and turn into a nightmare
at the moment
of the ultimate goodbye,
in realizing a particular tree is the last
you’ll ever see; the mailman
won’t stop at your house again;
you’ll never hold money, hear
sparrows, go out
to a restaurant meal. Rivers
will finally have flowed off the edge
of the Earth, we’ll be back
to the first of all questions: where
are we from? As if the answer
could be found by going
where nobody belongs.

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.

Monday, February 23, 2015


by Gil Hoy

Oh, mother earth,
Is this global warming
or climate change?

Atop this particular Goldilocks
planet, on this particular 22nd
day of February, in this city
this particular hour

: "Frankly, my dear, I don’t
give a damn." I’m freezing
My toes are cold. Where

the hell is the Congress
Did it think the Tennessee
senator's words an inconvenient
truth?  I’ve got ice dams in

my living room  Snow statues
surround my home. Oh, mother
earth,  To lie down on one
of your sizzling beaches.  With no

Headless Coptic Christians
in orange death masks,
Where the hot orange sun

never glistens on freshly

red-tainted steel. My gutters
are filled with frozen things
Sixteen minutes exposure to
life-giving air causes corporeal

damage  Eight feet of God’s
cold stuff already on the ground,
But    Boston

is a tough nut to

Oh, mother earth,
Americans have hardy souls.
Terrorists, beheadings, cruel wars
Snow cannot stop Us.  Frozen crystals

of atmospheric vapor have their
redeeming qualities, although to this
particular poet, in this particular state

of mind, on this particular Sunday,

they seem few and far between
in the New England tundra.

Gil Hoy is a regular contributor to The New Verse News.  He is a Boston trial lawyer and studied poetry at Boston University, majoring in philosophy. Gil started writing his own poetry and fiction a year ago.  Since then, his poems and fiction have been published in multiple journals, most recently in Third Wednesday, Stepping Stones Magazine, The Potomac and The Zodiac Review.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


by ayaz daryl nielsen

again, sleeping in a VW van
the back parking lot of
hospice's southern office
early morning, the
Trident Coffee House,
enough change for caffeine

at the discount table
reading Richard Currey's
'Crossing Over The Vietnam Stories'
memories of Jeff Beatty,
class clown '65, killed shortly
after enlisting, my reaction
long ago tempered by my
own draft notice. . . no extra
money for Currey's poetry,
even at this price, nor can I
find the stack it came from. . .
carefully balancing Currey's
poems across two other
stacks where a discount
book paramedic will find it

waiting quietly
   the empty coffee cup
      hangs from my finger

one drop, two, three
   a slow four, five
      finally, a sixth. . .

and where are
   the paramedics for
      discount warriors?

ayaz daryl nielsen, x-roughneck(as on oil rigs)/hospice nurse, editor of bear creek haiku (25+ years/125+ issues). Homes for poems include Lilliput Review, SCIFAIKUEST, Shemom, Shamrock, Kind of a Hurricane and online at bear creek haiku.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


by Gus Peterson

Stressed young bees that are forced to grow up too fast could largely account for disastrous declines in populations of the insects around the world, research suggests. Photograph: Qmul/PA --The Guardian, February 10, 2015

At first, it’s a funny thought:
worker bees leaning back from desks,

loosening neckties, rubbing that ache
between two disco ball eyes.

Drones discreetly opening
opaque bottles of pollen pills.

And everywhere the hexagonal:
the creaking swivel chair,

keys on the keyboard.
The ceiling tiles overhead.

Even love is a six leg scramble
with one winner.

No wonder the young fly out
into the geometry of the world

before rain is artillery,
the wind a map to home –

where death stings just once.

Gus Peterson lives in Maine alongside the Kennebec and works in sales.  Work has appeared various journals online and The Aurorean.  Recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize, his first chapbook, When The Poetry's Gone, is forthcoming this spring from Encircle Publications.

Friday, February 20, 2015


by Joseph Pacheco

A decision from the federal district court in Brownsville, Texas, has thrown the U.S. immigration system into chaos. As the Obama administration prepares an appeal in order to carry out its plan to grant a legal status to some four million undocumented immigrants, a close look at the opinion by Judge Andrew S. Hanen reveals some ... misleading or ill-informed passages. These might not have much bearing on the legal dispute in court, but they're worth addressing. If a federal judge has these misconceptions about immigration, plenty of ordinary Americans probably do too. --Max Ehrenfreund, “Wonkblog,” The Washington Post, February 19, 2015

to the tune of:

Deport yourself, it’s greater than you think,
Deport yourself, or you’ll end up in the clink.
The year’s gone by, economy’s on the blink
Deport yourself, deport yourself, it’s greater than you think.

You’ve worked at jobs no gringos want, you’re always on the go,
To make enough for your family here and the one in Mexico,
But every time you settle down and think you’ve got it made,
You lose your latest job again to another Migra* raid.

Deport yourself, it’s easier than you think,
Deport yourself, stop standing on the brink,
When you’re back home, your life will be in synch,
Deport yourself, deport yourself, have a tequila drink.

You’ll let our tomatoes go unpicked and rot upon the vine,
There won’t be places cheap enough where we can sit and dine,
Our lawns and grounds will go ungroomed, our beds will be unmade,
But you’ll be rich in your home town where no one’s ever paid.

Deport yourself, your green card’s long extinct,
Deport yourself, get back into the pink,
Your wife and kids will either swim or sink,
Deport yourself, deport yourself, it’s greater than you think.
*Immigration authorities

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

Thursday, February 19, 2015


by Michael Carosone

Exeter, NH, February 16, 2015. Photo by Emmaline Kim.

It takes a blizzard to stop time

to stop the hamsters from turning the wheels
            to stop the mice from running in the mazes
                        to stop the rat race

to make people slow down

and breathe
             and appreciate
                        and think

to make people realize

that they are not hamsters
            not mice
                        not rats

Michael Carosone is a writer, educator, activist, and native New Yorker from Kings Bay/Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. With his partner, Joseph LoGiudice, he wrote and edited the book, Our Naked Lives: Essays from Gay Italian American Men (Bordighera Press, May 2013), a collection of 15 personal essays on the lives of Gay Italian American men. His poems and essays have been published in a variety of books and journals. He writes on personal, political, and social topics and issues, including marginalized peoples and literatures, especially Italian Americans and people of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (GLBTQ) community. He is pursuing his Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in English Education at Teachers College of Columbia University, and his dissertation will focus on incorporating marginalized literatures and writers—Queer and Italian American—into the English classroom, in grades K-12 and at the college level. He lives in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, with his partner, Joseph LoGiudice.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


by Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote

I do believe in spooks
Invisible to bloodshot barenaked eyeball
Ignorance prejudiced bias accepted dogma
Gut inclination not proof enough

Dybbuk casting creepy-crawly demonic spell
Displaced castoffs drowned at sea
Hopeless strangers in strange land
Unwelcome foreign aliens begrudged handouts

Vulnerable orphans arriving without parents
Lost generation challenge staying alive
Every child matters deserving respectful
Dignity rehab to break out

Homeless adolescents deprived of childhood
Poverty-stricken hungry for kindness recognition
Maybe expectations improbably not self-taught
Learning iffy makeshift life lessons

Leaky drowning pool victims struggling
To stay afloat overburdened lifeguard
Ignoring desperate cries for Help
Choking on own regurgitated vomit

I do believe in ghosts
Making difference for haunted dispossessed
12.2 million Syrian refugees in
Urgent need of Ouija support

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

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


by Kathy Conway

Boston braced Sunday night for a life-threatening deep freeze after a blizzard bombarded parts of the region with nearly 2 feet of snow and gale-force winds. The sixth winter storm in three weeks made February Boston’s snowiest month on record, with 58.5 inches, besting by more than 15 inches the previous record set in January 2005. --Jennifer Smith and Jeremy C. Fox, Boston Globe, February 15, 2015. Photo by Sean Proctor, Boston Globe.

Plant feet shoulder-width apart on
non-slippery surface.
Bend knees slightly.
Grab mid-handle with non-dominant hand.
Place dominant hand at handle top.
Bend knees further to scrunch, suck in belly
while keeping back straight.
Lean in to thrust handle.
Dig. Lift. Twist. Heave.

Necessary gear includes boots, hat,
gloves and shovel.
Repeat heave, higher.
Repeat heave, higher.
Repeat heave, higher.

Kathy Conway has published the chapbook Bacon Street about growing up in a large Boston Irish Catholic family.  She has contributed to The New Country, Getting There and the upcoming So To Speak.  She lives and writes in Arlington, MA and Brunswick, ME.

Monday, February 16, 2015


by Philip Lee

(CNN February 15, 2015) 'Rescuers on Saturday refloated 66 pilot whales stranded on a remote beach in New Zealand as a race to save their lives continued. Nearly 200 whales were beached Friday in Farewell Spit on New Zealand's South Island. Scores got back in the water, only to return to land -- leaving more than 100 dead. When the incident started, 140 conservationists and experts rushed to water down the giant mammals, cover them and try to refloat them back into the water. "Refloating stranded whales is a difficult and potentially dangerous job," said Andrew Lamason, the department's services manager for Golden Bay.' Photo source: BBC, February 14, 2015

conservation nuts pilot whales
stranded in shallows harder
than the decks of wooden boats
though no less shark infested

fished by a moon
they drill in lines
like infant schools
reciting quadrilles
of revolting poetry

do as we say not as we don't

such human sounds not just
their spluttered song but

of death throes letting out

Philip Lee, originally from Liverpool in the UK,  has lived in Bursa, Turkey for over two decades. The broken sonnet is his most common medium.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


by Patricia Brooks

Image source: Family Equality Council

You died too soon, precious James.
We need your eloquent voice
right down here, now more than ever.
Some never heard it; others seem to have
forced their brains to forget.
Most are still dazzled by
those old lures of fortune-and-fame.
Some of us – sorry – have been so intent on
exercising our vocal cords in the vain hope
of singing like yours, that I guess we just missed
some of the subtler beats
on their ominous drums.

Into that vacuum,
the manufacturing skills of The Man
have grown craftier.  Could you even have
nightmared this parade of our frivolous lives,
this legion of beautified faces
by which he is masking his face.
While The Chosen can’t seem to get over
the sound of their magnified voices, crooning to us
everything we still want to hear, showing to us,
in their glossy white pages, everyone we ever wanted
in our beds.

You saw so clearly The Man,
working maniacally in his sealed laboratory,
the gleam of destruction in those eyes
we mistook for human, concocting
ever-more-enticing concoctions --
a dash of weakness here,
a taste of envy there,
a big dollop of greed on the top.
And I must report, it is working!
The cells of the basically decent are breaking down
into confusion.  The skins of the only-observing
are showing seared edges.  Next it will be
those who stand on the rung just below them,
promised a big bite of American Pie for their
loyalty, now just going up like the rest of us
in that smoke you so keenly detected
so long ago.

Then there are those – you would weep for them –
locked in locked closets,
once fooled into doing our dirty work for us,
Now -- 80 each day! every day!
are putting their guns into their mouths,
just hoping to be shot
into a better world.

That sure fire you proclaimed
from the top of your mountain
is growing ever-hotter, is faster and faster
turning our lives to vainglorious dust.
While those once well-meaning but weak
have been oh-so-cleverly enticed to shout out
Yes!  Yes!  Bomb those bastards for bombing us!
Torture those torturers!
as lustily as any Roman spurred on his gladiator
blinded by pride, to sink his sword into a lion
just being a lion.

Your eyes would never believe,
James the Ascetic, just how high is
this mountain of goodies The Man, posing as baker,
keeps turning out on our well-polished tables
for our runaway gluttony.
Just the shine of his toys
would blind you in minutes.
And our sons and our daughters,
believe they can talk to each other
in only one hundred and forty lowercap letters.
And Jimmy, they actually imagine
they are saying something so tiny
is profound.  Those of us older
pretend that our hearts are still beating,
while the lifeblood of our bodies is leaking,
almost unnoticed, away.  Until soon
we’ll be only so many dried leaves
under his feet.

So we need you, still need you,
kind Mr. Baldwin.  That teacher
who instructed us so softly,
so mightily.  Even the best of our voices
can’t rise to the height of your mountain.
So please, sir, if you cannot come back,
could you possibly find just some castoff connector
from the home of one of the fallen, to give us
just one more transfusion
of your healing fire?

So sing to us, sing to us,
just one more time.  We promise to
study your lyrics more clearly, your words with more
reverence if you’ll only come back to us
just one more time
before it’s too late.

Patricia Brooks is the author of two commercially published novels and is now working 24/7 to finish the epic historical novel Eagle and Child, eleven years in the birthing.  A key chapter of the novel will be published in the Spring issue of the Mandala Journal, the literary publication of the Afro-American Studies program at the University of Georgia.  She has published short fiction and poetry in a variety of journals, most recently Whirlwind, Blast Furnace, The Voices Project, Narrative Northeast, and The Great American Literary Magazine, now posted on-line.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


by David Oates

Every tree with no body hanging from it
every single one,

Georgian trees, thousands of them, an earthbound cloud layer
I see from above, flying in here where I've returned for reasons, reasons,
but then a walk down among them in Piedmont Park, ruminative
(I was here decades ago, with my secret wounds, my pretending
to be straight, to be smart),

all these trees here in the midst of  moneymaking Atlanta,
and likewise out at Stone Mountain where barbeque grilles
come in pickup trucks to be with Robert E. Lee,
and trees far up in the hiking woods where no one goes,
and beside the coming and going parking places on Peachtree
with the peopled sidewalk always near,
and trees in gazebo lawn jockey suburban yards without end,

and I can't stop thinking of it, what's happened here
and what's happened so many places, Jeff Davis, Strom Thurmond, Pol Pot,
the bodies hanging, that Wyoming boy barb-wired,
everywhere really, Indians hunted down for sport
Yana Modoc Paiute Cherokee Calapooya Chinook,
and death lasering down from American planes as I write this
and I wonder what's the use, what's the use,
but then I realize

every tree I see with no body hanging from it
is some kind of victory. Every single one.

* * *

Every single tree without a body hanging
means that we're winning.

Because every tree breathes your name, so quiet you might miss it:
sunlight soaking into the cells, each photon
delivering its stellar news of awakening
to its one mild microscopic green willingness;
and the friendly air circulating
leaf by leaf along serrated edge and over tiny hair and bump and vein                                                                  
in such precision of making as cannot be stopped,
each molecule greeting the exact membrane,
breath and breathing, every moment
a million million tender to enter and leave.

Thugs and armed men have no idea.
They make wars, they hang a few or send bullets through them.
Their subtractions are puny. Their idea is puny. They thrust
and steal elections and congratulate each other.
They cannot undo the rest of us. Our idea is big.
We are always winning.

Forests of this idea grow everywhere and they keep busy
remembering it day and night: yes they do: in
cities and suburbs and freeway medians
jungles scrubs heaths chaparrals woodlots copses spinneys
a memorial world unfolding life, life, life.

The killers can only kill. We are making, making, and we cannot be stopped.

We need to remember this.
We are winning.
Every breath is the victory
and every tree -- every single one -- the promise of it.

David Oates writes about nature and urban life from Portland, Oregon. His poetry has won awards (Badonnah Award from Bitterroot Poetry, finalist for Pablo Neruda Long Poem Award from Nimrod), and appeared in many places including Poetry/LA, Yellow Silk, ISLE, Fireweed, Windfall, and California Poetry Quarterly.  His book Peace in Exile: Poems was published by Oyster River Press. He is also author of four books of nonfiction, including Paradise Wild: Reimagining American Nature from Oregon State University Press. He was Kittredge Distinguished Visiting Writer at the University of Montana in 2012. Oates won first place for essay from Northern Colorado Writers in August of 2014, and a Pushcart nomination. Currently his poetry and prose are being featured in the German literary magazine Wortschau in English and German. He leads the Wild Writers Seminars in Portland, and teaches workshops and graduate classes in the United States and Europe. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015


by Dennis Mahagin

Brian Williams, suspended anchor of NBC Nightly News, with American troops at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq, in March 2007. Credit Photo by Jeff Riggins/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images accompanying “Was Brian Williams a Victim of False Memory?” by Tara Parker-Pope, NY Times, February 9, 2015

You got fourteen seconds
To make it
Right … INCOMING ! Heh he he he heh, just
Kidding, guy, I like a little
Lie, good
In the sky.
It’s like listening to a
Vacuum, the next
One and the next,
It’s like
Hezbollah, black flak
Cleaner in another room,
One down the hall
A whopper in the hopper
And knowing
Will come to an end
Soon. I want you to take five
No eight
Months, be chilling in Cancun,
Wait for my call, wait for it
This will all blow away
Like an Andover squall
One of those big bruise colored
Motherfuckers grin
Like Oz
@ the rim, ask God
Ask him
How it’s all done
With mirrors, a little white one
Now and then. You’re our
Man, you have always been
I played a little cornerback
Myself, have I told you?
NYU, then Cornell, no quarter
Back quarterback !  heh heh
How I learned my best
Dance steps, sweater vest,
Show you my
Gene Kelly
Someday, this is fading, fading
Away, already, the truth
Is a voice
In an air vent, it
Drips from the eaves, hits
… look fuckit, take
A year, will ya?
Search for
Your Soul, go where
it meant.

Dennis Mahagin’s poems have appeared in Evergreen Review, Absinthe Literary Review, Exquisite Corpse, Everyday Genius, elimae, The Nervous Breakdown, Corium, Stirring, Juked and Night Train. His latest poetry collection is called Longshot & Ghazal – available now from Mojave River Press.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


by Jay Sizemore

Ocean of Fire by Gate to Nowhere at DeviantArt

Kinship with ash,
he once wept smoking a cigarette.
Why do my tears smell like gasoline?

Nightmares in orange,
he’s sweat enough to saturate cities.
Sometimes, he dreams he is Joan of Arc.

Skin charred like paper,
blood still escapes
through the cracks, a dark syrup.

His armor gets heavy,
breath shallow in the smoke,
searching for survivors,

he loses his voice,
feels his ashen jaw come unhinged,
remembers the prayer he muttered

before first touching the flame:
Let me live again
as an ocean avenging an effigy.

Jay Sizemore brought the high-five out of retirement. He did not graduate from college, and is personal foot masseuse to his lovely wife. He knows the words to almost every Ryan Adams song. You can find his work in places online and in print. He lives in Nashville, TN, where music goes to die. His chapbook Father Figures is available on Amazon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


by Paul Smith

(Reuters, February 7, 2015) - Iran's foreign minister has warned the United States that failure to agree a nuclear deal would likely herald the political demise of pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani, Iranian officials said, raising the stakes as the decade-old stand-off nears its end-game. 

The card game here
Was rigged, they said
But all paid to get in
And ante up for the small blind
Or the big one
It was the Jakarta Kid
Who said
‘Watch out for whoever’s not here’
When the turbaned gentleman
Dealt the only hand
It was aces and eights
The gents in smocks guffawed
The Jakarta Kid haw-hawed
The Brussels Sprouts all shouted
But it was the turbaned gent
Who just stared
At the two pairs
In front of him
Dealt by someone behind
Who wasn’t there
There were no winners
They all went to play
Another game somewhere
Save the turbaned gentleman
Who vanished in thin air

Paul Smith lives near Chicago.  He writes fiction & poetry.  He likes Hemingway, really likes Bukowski, the Rolling Stones, Beatles, Kinks and Slim Harpo.  He can play James Jamerson's bass solo for 'Home Cookin' by Junior Walker & the Allstars.

Monday, February 09, 2015


by George Salamon

"With advice from  more than 200 policy experts, Hillary Rodham Clinton is trying to answer what has emerged as a central question of her early presidential campaign strategy: how to address the anger about income inequality without overly vilifying the wealthy."  The New York Times, February 8, 2015

In the twenty-first century we choose to be blind
To what Juvenal glimpsed in the first:
"Is it just simple madness to lose a hundred thousand,
And then refuse a shirt to a shivering slave?"
It was so in Rome then as it is in America today,
But the eyes of two-hundred policy experts are wide shut
To where the madness led then and is leading now:
"Most of mankind is now at sea! Wherever the hope
Of profit leads, a fleet will follow."
Madness, Juvenal understood, comes in different guises,
The ships following one sink as do those following another.
He knew what our leaders dismiss; but it takes no
Sherlock to know that in this case
two-hundred heads are not better than one.

George Salamon taught German at several colleges, served as staff reporter for the St. Louis Business Journal and Senior Editor of Defense Systems Review. He contributes regularly to the Gateway Journalism Review, Jewish Currents and The New Verse News from St. Louis, MO.

Sunday, February 08, 2015


by J. D. Mackenzie

Image by Scott Bateman

My imaginary, quasi-libertarian
real estate brokerage
has an island to sell you

It’s cheap, it’s expensive
and you’ll have it all to yourself
save for a few other
self-destructive chumps

Caveat: when the note comes due
it will cost you everything

You, and those you love

So go there now
and remain there together

Bask on the non-existent beaches
but stay out of our gene pool
for all of your dying days

J. D. Mackenzie writes poetry and short fiction when not writing budgets, grants, and faculty appraisals as a college administrator. A 2011 Pushcart nominee, his work has appeared infrequently since he often misplaces submission guidelines and forgets to check email. He lives with his family in the foothills of Oregon’s Coastal Range.

Saturday, February 07, 2015


by Catherine Wald

Image source: NY Daily News

So many are the barriers we cross –
mountains, rivers, doorways in
and doorways out – we can’t
pause at every junction
to ponder the alternatives,
consider every sharp stake
we might be impaled on; every
body of water eager to swallow
us up; every potential mechanical
malfunction in a world dominated
by machines.

What would life be like if,
every time you drove across a
train track, you had to wonder
what your kids would do without
you, how your gas tank might im-
plode on impact, who you are likely
to kill without meaning any harm?

What we presumed:  SUVs
are invulnerable, trains
are stoppable, each of us
has the right to traverse
any obstacle that blocks
our path.

Were we wrong?

Catherine Wald has frequently taken the Metro North train from New York City to Valhalla. Her books include poetry (Distant, burned-out stars, Finishing Line Press, 2011), nonfiction (The Resilient Writer: Stories of Rejection and Triumph From 23 Top Authors, Persea Books, 2005) and a translation from French of Valery Larbaud’s Childish Things (Sun & Moon Press). Her poems have been published in American Journal of Nursing, Buddhist Poetry Review, Chronogram, Exit 13, Friends Journal, Jewish Literary Journal, The New Poet, Society of Classical Poets, The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly andWestchester Review.