Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, December 07, 2015


by Joan Colby

KOHLER, WIS. — Talks have been resumed between the Kohler Co. and the union that's been on strike for nearly three weeks in Wisconsin. Tim Tayloe, president of Local 833 of the United Auto Workers, said in a text message Friday that the union and the company met this week, and will meet again next week. A Kohler representative confirmed to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that negotiations have resumed. Local 833 represents about 2,000 workers at Kohler's kitchen and bath-ware plant in the Village of Kohler and at a generator factory north of Sheboygan. The union went on strike Nov. 15. The union wants to do away with a two-tiered pay scale that it says unfairly limits new employees to roughly $13 an hour. Kohler has said its contract offer was fair. —The News & Observer, Dec. 5, 2015

The inflated rat sits outside the fence
Where strikers protest unfair wages
Or conditions no human would endure.
The rat has a pink snout, sharp fangs
And a large round eye, orange as a
Setting sun, lacking a pupil, soulless.
Its jaw is ajar, its claws
Like those of the wicked bosses
Who rip up contracts that say
Workmen deserve to make a living.

I wave, thumbs up, as I drive by.
My grandpa was a Wobbly,
Back in the copper mines, back in the day
When men were hung for protests
Like this one. I’d like to have a rat
To blow up every time I feel abused
By a misguided friend who thinks a fascist
Is what we need to restore law and order.
How satisfying it would be to park
That big ugly rodent in her driveway.
Better than just unfriending her on Facebook.

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers and How the Sky Begins to Fall (Spoon River Press), The Atrocity Book (Lynx House Press) and Dead Horses and Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press. Selected Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize.  Properties of Matter was published in spring of 2014 by Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books). Two chapbooks are forthcoming in 2014: Bittersweet (Main Street Rag Press) and Ah Clio (Kattywompus Press). Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press