Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Monday, November 30, 2015


by Howard Pflanzer

I saw hell from my watery grave
In Minas Gerais the first dam broke
Then the second
Workers under a wall of water
The Rio Doce, the sweet river, was bitter
A bloody cocktail spilling all the way down to the sea
Flooding the land
Drowning the people
Floating corpses
Poisoning my fish friends
Now it’s a watery desert
Water undrinkable
No fishing possible
Moribund turtles at the mouth of the river
No crops will grow
The soil filled with deadly poison
Now I am dying in the cloudy water
My flesh will not feed the hungry
I will rot with the stench of decay filling the air
Scales covering my eyes in darkness
Blinding my sight forever.                                                                                            

Howard Pflanzer is a poet, playwright, and lyricist. Dead Birds or Avian Blues was published by Fly By Night Press (2011). Recent publications include FIVE Poetry and Downtown Brooklyn. He was the prizewinning November 2013 Poet of the Month of The Poetry Company. His hybrid performance piece, Walt Whitman Opera, adapted from Whitman’s poetry with music by Constance Cooper, was presented at the undergroundzero festival in New York. July 2014. He has read/performed his work at KGB, LaMaMa, Theaterlab, The Living Theatre, The Cornelia Street Cafe, Medicine Show A Gathering of the Tribes, The Bowery Poetry Club, Brownstone Poets, and San Diego Writers Ink.