Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Friday, May 15, 2015


by James Penha

Jim Love’s homage to Texas, “Area Code” (1962) steel, cast iron and lead,
presently on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX.

“The Texas takeover is like Obamacare death panels, or Sharia law coming to a court near you, or fluoride in the water supply. It doesn’t matter if the particular charge is proven to be completely false. Just getting the larger idea (don’t trust Obama’s feds, they want to un-cling you from your guns and religion) into the mainstream media is a victory. It validates the paranoia.” —Leslie Savan, The Nation, May 8, 2015
"Nearly every Republican in the Texas House is sponsoring a bill that would prohibit state and local officials from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples." —AP, May 13, 2015 

The every-which-wayness of tomahawking
oil drills, like Fred Astaire twerking against gravity
on walls and ceiling, does not surprise: Pan pipes after all
and the broad ten-gallon of a new Hermes
wings just above a bookend pedestal. Nor does a
chain-saw tumbleweed, nest of baby crankcases, wild
pig, arrowhead, milk bottle, longhorns and loblolly.
And at center stage a lone Rainmaker curries favor from his Lizzie;
it’s 110 in the shade on a stage a Broadway baby understands.

But that dour visage next to the lug wrench monstrance?
(Paul Frank’s simian Julius would worship a monkey wrench,
and snow monkeys swayed only briefly on Texas branches;
Iron Eyes Cody cried crocodiles for this land much later.)

No, within that overseeing mien
a Vitruvian wannabe struggles to set
his face and place the star on which
the whole of this sorry state depends.

James Penha edits The New Verse News.