Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Thursday, December 24, 2015


by Philip C. Kolin

The Coalition for a New Chicago is planning a Christmas Eve protest on Michigan Avenue. The group announced their plans as the U.S. Department of Justice was to meet with Chicago Police Department officials. "We're going to pray for our city, pray for our leaders here. But we're also going to march down the street. We're going to be singing, chanting and everything else. But we are going to be a peaceful, disruptive force down on Michigan Avenue from about noon to 5 o'clock that evening," said Pastor Gregory Livingston, founder of a Coalition for a New Chicago. The group will march on the Magnificent Mile on Christmas Eve in an attempt to engage with the public, Livingston said, under the social tag #BlackChristmas. The Coalition for a New Chicago, which said they have appealed to President Barack Obama, wants Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign in the wake of the Laquan McDonald case. They hope the march on Christmas Eve will garner as many participants as the Black Friday march where demonstrators shut down a stretch of Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River to Oak Street. —abc7Chicago, December 16, 2015. Photo source: WRBL, Chicago

Michigan Ave. is dark.
The lights have gone out--
the boutiques  closed down early
by a tidal wave of voices
caroling  a new hymn:
"O, Come Let Us Mourn for Them,"
for all those black souls whose lives
ended on a tape secreted  away
at the Chicago Police Headquarters
where Herod and all those around him
fled  into turmoil and bureaucracy.
The  Gold Coast has been occupied.
Doorways, walkways, sidewalks, sidebar talks
 cry for justice more than for Louis Vuitton purses
and David Yurman's silver- lined snow rings.
A new generation of angels  on foot   proclaim
 peace and kindness from  the South Side.
They have seen a shining star
not in an Oak Street  jewelry store window or atop
a Christmas tree decorated with white  gold
but inside the hearts of those watching
for the birth of every  heavenly black child
come into this cold and starry night.
The Magi have given their gifts to food banks.
Shepherds are making winter coats for the homeless.
Dollar General is doing a brisk business
this year in the hood.

Philip Kolin is the  University Distinguished Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi where he also edits  the  Southern Quarterly. He has published more than 40 books on Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, African American playwrights as well as  seven collections of poems. His most recent book  is Emmett Till in Different States: Poems from Third World Press.