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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

BY ANY STANDARD

by Kenneth Salzmann



The Confederate flag represents Southern culture, Anna Robb said. In an interview with the News-Leader on Monday, she said the flag represents faith, family and freedom — not slavery, racism or white supremacy. On Thursday, the News-Leader was alerted by readers that Robb’s husband Nathan, co-owner of the store, once tried to adopt a highway in Arkansas on behalf of the Ku Klux Klan, and that Nathan Robb’s father is Thomas Robb, the national director of the KKK. (Photo: Valerie Mosley/News-Leader) —Springfield News-Leader, June 26, 2015



Far be it from me to rag on
the beloved flag that yet waves
not (as some say) to celebrate
the keeping of slaves but (as you
assure me) to pay all due tribute
to your valorous ancestors
who waged brave war against
the relentless arc of history even as
they carved your glorious home
land out of stubborn red
clay and soft lacerated flesh.

All praise be to those
who came before you bearing
whips and shackles ax handles
at the doors of shabby
roadside restaurants christly
crosses fierce fires
of redemption and the proud
blood that even now
flows freely in your veins.


Kenneth Salzmann is a writer and poet whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, literary journals and anthologies, including The New Verse News, Rattle, Comstock Review, Child of My Child: Poems and Stories for Grandparents (Gelles-Cole Literary Enterprises), Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude (Holy Cow! Press), Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers (Codhill Press), The Heart of All That Is: Reflections on Home (Holy Cow! Press).

DEAR GOD:

by Gil Hoy






Take down
the stars and bars,

the Confederate
battle flag that flies,

over the Capitol
in Charleston.

And take down
the Confederate

veterans' monument
and the statue of the white

supremacist who was once
governor and senator

that stand nearby.
Then take down all

the vestiges of slavery,
every fiber and every stone,

every hair-thin remnant
of that terrible time

until not a rootlet remains
in any city or town.

But when the symbols of racism
are all cleared away, taken down

carried off and finally
gone:  How to remove

the lingering hatred
from a grown man’s heart?


Gil Hoy is a Boston trial lawyer. He studied poetry at Boston University, while receiving a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science, magna cum laude, and won a silver medal in the New England University Wrestling Championship at 177 lbs. Gil received an MA in Government from Georgetown University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He served as an elected Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman for four terms. Gil’s poems have been published recently in The New Verse News, Clark Street Review, The Penman Review, The Antarctica Journal, Third Wednesday, The Potomac, The Zodiac Review and To Hold A Moment Still, Harbinger Asylum’s 2014 Holidays Anthology.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A CLASP

by George Held





So as I left the hygienist’s chair, white-clad Reesha
Said she’d taken a cruise to Turks and Bermuda
And, despite sunscreen, her tawny skin had turned
Black as the Nigerian queen Amina’s,

And I said, “Look at my sad white skin,”
Reddened and pebbled by actinic keratoses
(and smeared with cream to spare it from cancer)
And then I said what was on my mind about

Charleston, the city of Charles (whose name isn’t even
In the Bible), where white-racist hatred had burst
From a gun barrel and killed Pastor Pinckney
And his prayer-meeting sisters and brethren,

And I thought of all the black forbearance, the black
Sympathy, the black nobility that has steadied
A course that might have burst into whirlwind, war
And more deaths of worthy men and women,

And we two, Reesha and I, standing face to face
In the cramped space between high-tech dentistry
And the human race, the only race, clasped hands
And said to each other that in our own history

We at least are friends as I hoped that I was not
Just a superannuated white man
Deluded that he was without the taint
Of racial prejudice.


George Held, a regular contributor to The New Verse News, has a new book out from Poets Wear Prada, Culling: New & Selected Nature Poems.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

THE GREAT GOD

by Howard Winn



Image source: The Holy Prepuce



The Great God
gun speaks in its own language
and that is considered scripture
by the lovers of shotguns and pistols
even assault rifles which also
talk in the tongues of the
holy disciples congregated
in the church of the Association
that puts the fear of that god
into the souls of anxious politicians
who care more for re-election
than for economic justice or
saving the life of church goers
or innocent school children
as they continually bow their
heads in meek obeisance
to the power of that great
God gun the all powerful
ultimate Deity and icon of
their single minded faith


Howard Winn’s fiction and poetry, has been published recently by such journals as Dalhousie Review, Taj Mahal Review (India), The Long Story,  Cold Mountain Review, Antigonish Review, New Verse News, Chaffin Review, Thin Air Literary Journal, and Whirlwind. His B. A. is from Vassar College. He has an M.A. in Creative Writing from Stanford University. His doctoral work was done at N. Y. U. He has been a social worker in California and currently is a faculty member of SUNY as Professor of English.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

IMAGINING ETHEL LANCE

by Carl Boon 



Najee Washington holds a photo of her grandmother Ethel Lance, one of the nine people killed in Wednesday's shooting at Emanuel AME Church, as she stands outside her home Friday, June 19, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. "She cared for everyone. She took care of people. She would give her last to anyone," said Washington. "That's what she was and that's what she'll always be." David Goldman / AP via NBC News



Tonight and removed from bullets,
she'd be swinging her great-grandson
in Wannamaker Park
in North Charleston,
happy for the chance
to see him smile--this kid
of unruly teeth and Jurassic World
pyjamas. Because Saturday nights
while her daughter waited tables
at the Olde Harbor Restaurant,
she had him. They ate
her famous lasagna, did puzzles,
imagined steamships. It made her
alive--past the dusty pews
of the church and the gracious oaks
of West Ashley. I don't care tonight
that bullets brought her down;
I care that this boy,
who knew Mahalia Jackson's name,
and Jesse Owens's stance,
and Dr. King's speeches,
brought her up
on so many Saturday nights.


Carl Boon lives in Istanbul, where he directs the English prep school and teaches courses in literature at Yeni Yuzyil University. Recent ot forthcoming poems appear in The Tulane Review, The Blue Bonnet Review, Posit, and other magazines.

PRISM DAY

by David James Olsen







written about and on 6-26-2015


I do declare this Prism Day,
for, finally, Americans as one
look up and round together,
seeing through a single prism
equally, resulting rainbows
viewed with reverence unified
by simple love, needing
nothing other than a national
acknowledgement to set the
global table, turning tides to
placid calm where all can
swim in matrimonial sanctity.


David James Olsen is a 32-year-old published poet/actor/singer/researcher living and thriving in New York City. Recently, he has volunteered with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and PFLAG NYC, as well as filling the role of House Manager for The York Theatre Company. He aims to start his own specialized NY theatre company soon, wanting to learn from the best while laying the groundwork. Previously, his poetry has been published in The South Townsville micro poetry journal, Instigatorzine, and here in The New Verse News. Continuing to compose daily, he hopes to have much more of his work out there very soon.

Friday, June 26, 2015

ON FATHER'S DAY

by Joan Mazza






I’m not posting photos on social media
of my father with his arm around me,
both of us grinning, oozing affection.
No photos like that exist, not even
from my childhood.

On Father’s Day, I’m perusing again
of my boozy father’s last act, self-
inflicted gun shot that whisked him out
of this world and our lives. How did he
excuse it?

I’m remembering how my short-fused
husband insisted my father have a gun,
took him to buy that Walther PPK
and showed him how to use it.
Self-defense,

he said. That was the gun he used when
he could not defend himself against misery
and hopeless blues, my mother’s cancer.
I’m thinking how glad I am that my Ex
never was a father.

In an old photo, my not-yet-Ex husband stands
unsmiling, pistol on hip, rifle and Confederate flag
crossed across his chest, wearing a string tie
and cowboy hat. I took that photo, and only
was bemused.


Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, seminar leader, and has been a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. Author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), her poetry has appeared in Rattle, Whitefish Review, Off the Coast, Kestrel, Slipstream, American Journal of Nursing, The MacGuffin, Mezzo Cammin, Buddhist Poetry Review, and The Nation. She ran away from the hurricanes of South Florida to be surprised by the earthquakes and tornadoes of rural central Virginia, where she writes poetry and does fabric and paper art.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

THEIR FLEEING

by Robert Farmer



“Nearly 60 million people have been driven from their homes by war and persecution, an unprecedented global exodus that has burdened fragile countries with waves of newcomers and littered deserts and seas with the bodies of those who died trying to reach safety.” —New York Times, June 18, 2015


Their fleeing

is from these times
mired in apocalyptic struggle
spread through and by power
coated with ancient enmities and beliefs
brought up to slaughter and stagnation.

Safely sequestered, we trace the ways to today,
tracking back through old empires
and all manner of community
to rest in those imaginary ages
ruled by honored sages who left us

with stories of Tang poet-governors gathered
round wine and evening composition,
calm in the certainty of their world
and accepted sureness
of suffering and death.

Yet even they flaunted rants
on injustice of their times,
satire buried in language
which led them to exile
in far provinces.


Robert Farmer is a retired forester who lives in Cleveland and occasionally publishes poems in small journals.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

CHARLESTON CHURCH MASSACRE

by Roger Aplon






"We forgive you."


Swept-up
on  a blast of heated air – one flash & another

& nowhere  to run,
to hide, to breathe free  . . . & he keeps
coming on
this pilfered heart, this shameless ragging,
like a lion on fire,
provoked, pissed-off,  punishing, a collapsed invention where
fear marries power,
with guns blazing the angel of death smacks his lips
slurping up a treacheries soup . . .
Speak not of justice, sanity & bigotry in one breath. Speak not
of mercy without
passion. Do unto others as you do unto me. 
The words ring wrong.
If harmony reigns what will come to fill the vacuum?
Guilt-of-the-fathers
passed to the sons.  Inbred fear of retribution. The Other, no longer dark
but from the light
comes to resurrect that supreme fabric. Owner. Master. Overseer.
That sublime indifference
born of  guilt – suspicion – nurturing – fomenting.
Is there no one to speak
against the blind warrior?
We forgive you.
It’s said with conviction – tearful & full of grace. Who’s earned
such a holy gift?
Tattooed across his brow a crown of thorns, swastika etched
between his shoulder blades.
This is the time of mutilation, of dementia, of disgrace.
Where are the voices of revolution?
Those willing to stand & be counted, unafraid of hard choices?
The one who bears malice bears
a cataclysm too long dismissed as fated, too long
      tolerated, too long unchallenged.
“Born in blood, so blood must be spilled.”
It’s the way of the smuggler,
the rapist, the strangler of kids, the demon lover of hatred & dread.
To this we say, with all our strength – No more!


Roger Aplon has had eleven books published: Ten of poetry (most recently It’s Only TV) & one of prose: Intimacies. He’s been awarded prizes & honors including an arts fellowship from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. After eight years in Barcelona, Spain, he now lives in Beacon, New York where he publishes the poetry magazine Waymark & is working on a new collection: Poetic Improvisations after musical ‘experiments’ by composers such as John Adams, Elliot Carter, Miles Davis & John Zorn.

THE TYGER AND THE LAMB . . . AGAIN

by Earl J Wilcox






She said: we forgive you.
He was mute.

She said: hate will not win.
He looked straight ahead.

She said: repent and find your savior.
He said” Yes, sir, to the judge.

They said: Every fiber of our being hurts.
He turned and walked out.

Today there is no balm in Gilead.


Earl J Wilcox lives in South Carolina, cooks, writes, watches baseball, contributes regularly to The New Verse News.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

IT'S CONSTITUTIONAL (WE'RE NOT WELL REGULATED)

by William Aarnes



Cartoon by Steve Stegelin, Charleston City Paper,  July 25, 2012


“For more than a hundred years, the answer was clear, even if the words of the amendment itself were not. The text of the amendment is divided into two clauses and is, as a whole, ungrammatical: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The courts had found that the first part, the “militia clause,” trumped the second part, the “bear arms” clause. In other words, according to the Supreme Court, and the lower courts as well, the amendment conferred on state militias a right to bear arms—but did not give individuals a right to own or carry a weapon. Enter the modern National Rifle Association. . . . ” —Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker, December 17, 2012 (i.e. after Newtown)
“The most recent national poll of NRA members that we could find, done in January 2013 by Johns Hopkins University, found that 73.7 percent of the members supported requiring background checks for all gun sales.” —PolitiFact Wisconsin, March 18, 2015


An accidental death here and there,
an impulsive murder-suicide,

a massacre of moviegoers,
a gunning-down of worshippers,

a slaughter of children in classrooms,
a lucrative trade in weapons

all being in keeping with the preservation
of our crazed State,

the need of our People
to shoot each other

shall not be infringed.


 William Aarnes lives in South Carolina.  His work has appeared recently in Field, Heron Tree, and South 85.

TAUTOLOGY

by Judith Terzi



Mike de Adder



--with a nod to Bob Dylan



Ecstasy of the shot
Barbie doll for some  
Interchangeable parts
Three hundred million guns
Butter pecan      on your mark
Buy a shoe      a fishing hook  
A cap      a book of puns
How many deaths will it take?  
Will the wind be fresh?  
Buy a bike      Take a hike
Watch a lightning bug
Until the white dove
Has a good night's sleep
Most wanted arm
Stick of Juicy Fruit      sweet
Explosion on the tongue  
Remember when Trigger
Was a horse?      Gravedigger
Occupied     Lethal recourse
Not denied     Air-cooled fire  
Lock-bolt desire      Most wanted
Colt      Tautology assault


Judith Terzi is a Southern California poet and educator whose recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals and anthologies such as Off the Coast, Raintown Review, Unsplendid, and Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque). If You Spot Your Brother Floating By is her latest chapbook from Kattywompus Press.

Monday, June 22, 2015

THE SNAKES

by Carolyn Gregory



The Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, a day after Dylann Roof allegedly murdered nine congregants following a Bible study. PHOTOGRAPH BY JOE RAEDLE/GETTY via The New Yorker.



The snakes are slithering
from under the rocks
where worms and old bodies
lie buried.

The bones are not stopping them
from venomous thoughts
of squeezing innocents to death
or sinking their fangs in.

For they have been hungry
in their hiding holes,
thinking of the red meat
of their prey running quickly
across the prairie

to their own small caves
between mountains and cactus,
fearful for their families
and children.

Nothing will paralyze the snakes
save the hatchets good men wield
in the dead of night
to save our people's freedom.


Carolyn Gregory has published poems and music reviews in American Poetry Review, Seattle Review, Cutthroat, Borderlands: Texas, Main Street Rag and Wilderness House Literary Review. She previously won a Massachusetts Cultural Council Award and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has published two full length volumes of poetry through Windmill Editions in Florida: Open Letters (2009) and Facing the Music (2015).

Sunday, June 21, 2015

ICE AND FIRE

by James Penha





after Frost . . . after Francis . . . after Charleston

Some see America destroyed by hate;
others forecast a torrid flood as its fate.

I feel its glacial faults cracking 'long lines
      blue and red and black and white,
thence to implode and dissolve, O Columbia!
      into the ocean, a gem out of sight.


James Penha edits The New Verse News.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

THE THIRTEENTH STATION — CHARLESTON 2015

by Janice Lynch Schuster




Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America



If only the women had carried
Guns in their Bibles and prayed
With rage, not love

If only the children had carried
Guns in their backpacks
Their teachers might
Have been spared

If only the boy playing
In the yard had something
Real to fire

If only the suffocating
Man had had gunpowder,,
Not tobacco

If only we armed us all
Who worship at the glamorous
Fortresses of our fears

Brought to us
By the NRA and Congress afraid
Itself to say no

If only we let the bloodbath
Baptize us daily in horror
While our blue hearts
Beat on and we tweet

Hashtags of despair
As if to absolve ourselves
Of the killings we did not stop
And the ballots  we failed
To cast


Janice Lynch Schuster is the author of a collection, Saturday at the Gym, and has been published in various print and online venues, including Poet Lore, Your Daily Poem, and The Broadkill Review. She writes about health care and public policy, lives in Annapolis, MD, and works in Washington, DC.

Friday, June 19, 2015

JUNE 18TH, 2015

by David Chorlton



Lisa Doctor joins a prayer circle down the street from the Emanuel AME Church early Thursday, June 18, 2015 following a shooting Wednesday night in Charleston, S.C. | David Goldman / AP via Chicago Sun-Times



Being offensive
wasn’t the intention
in mentioning how simple
it was to visit
the USSR, compared
to entering the USA
today. So, where else
would you rather live?
to which the response
begins with Anywhere
elections aren’t for sale
or the campaigns
a drawn-out circus
because this isn’t
the first time someone
has suggested this
is the greatest of all
nations, defined
now by a wall
and the constant claim
of freedom, which
extends today
to the young man’s
right to go out with
his birthday gun
because nobody
could assume
he’d take it to church
and actually use it there.


David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in Manchester, England, and lived for several years in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in 1978. In September, 2015, he will participate as a poet in the Fires of Change exhibition at the Coconino Center for the Arts in Flagstaff (Sponsored by the Southwest Fire Science Consortium, the Landscape Conservation Initiative, and the National Endowment for the Arts.)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

CURRY SEASONING

by Earl J Wilcox






A flick of the wrist,
Add a glance at the scoreboard:
Savory three points.


Earl J Wilcox lives in South Carolina, cooks, writes, watches baseball, contributes regularly to The New Verse News.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

NO BOOTS

by Marilyn Peretti


Source: Danziger Cartoons


No boots on the ground—
peacetime nomenclature.
Now 450 more troops
will take their vacation
in Iraq—
just training the natives.

You Sunnis and Shias,
hundreds of years
is a long time to hate,
to hide behind your battling
perceptions of the Caliphate.

Now the ISIS crisis
threatens you all!
Well armed and clever
this monster will decide
if you let it, the reigning
Cyber Caliphate to beat
all Caliphates.

But who needs
more friendly fire,
collateral damage, drones
playing in the sky,
spying to target the enemy,
the single leader of a group
in the headquarters,
the family home, where
children dreamily count
their fingers and toes,
and sing.


Marilyn Peretti lives in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She has been published on The New Verse News, Christian Science Monitor, Journal of Modern Poetry, Talking River, and others. She has published several books on blurb.com . She takes interest in international politics, the conflict, the violence, losses and sadness.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

LILY PAD LOVER

by C.L. Quigley



Image source: Pauses&Clicks


I fall in love with photographs,
mustachioed Union soldiers,
baby faced and hopeful hippies,
or late-Romantic composers.
I wake to find my lovers dead,
better off dead or immortalized.
Everywhere I look — graves,
if I see a mound, a ditch
or a pile of dirt, a cairn.
I breathe radiation,
my cilia singed, the sun
a merciless master.
All I see are graves,
another casualty, a number,
an obituary (or not)
blowing in the wind
or waiting for a Google search.
I’m advised to wait —
for my Marine with one leg,
control issues, or
a weekly therapy appointment.
He’ll be fighting evil
from a Lily Pad.
Who would disagree with that?


An artist and naturalist, C.L. Quigley grew up in the capital of Nevada, where she began writing in the sagebrush from a young age. She now rides her bicycle through tiny Northern California towns, abides near Lassen Volcanic National Park, and she's working towards her educational goals.

Monday, June 15, 2015

MANHUNT

by George Held



A note with a caption "Have a nice day" left on an opening in a pipe by two inmates who escaped Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York. (Source: New York Governor's Office)



Why do you always secretly root for the hunted?
Is it American love for the underdog,
your persecution complex, paranoia?

You feel sorry for the hunters, embedded
in uniforms and armed to the teeth
but terrified of ambush or sniper.

Why do you hope that the canniness
of the fox will outwit the nose of bloodhounds
and elude the mechanics and strategy          

of the men encased in uniforms
as they march strung out across a cornfield
in PA or file along a dry creek bed in CA?

You hear the experts on TV call the hunted
“psychopaths” and smugly speculate on whether
they’ll be brought to earth by the hunters

or by their twisted selves. It’s best if they
die in a televised shootout, to save the state
money for a trial and stem viewer sympathy.

And as the camera pans in on the front yard
you feel the sense of doom when the hunted
strolls through the gate in that picket fence

and lives are about to change forever …


George Held, a regular contributor to The New Verse News, has a new book out from Poets Wear Prada, Culling: New & Selected Nature Poems.

Friday, June 12, 2015

BATTERS UP

by Laura Rodley






Even the translucent luna’s clock is
off, her June flight transcribed to May, the fizz
of Summer already cloning the air;
she came early to our door, here to share
the beckoning porch light with other moths
who wear green, beige and gold as altar cloths
laying their linen on wooden doorways
blessing our entrance, the very short phase
of their life a prayer for afterlife
how their subtle greens, their thin wings’ hard strife
will live on in our warm adoration
wanting to touch them at this way station,
but you can’t touch a luna’s light green wings
the dust of their being rubs off, clings.


Laura Rodley’s New Verse News poem “Resurrection” appears in The Pushcart Prlze XXXVII: Best of the Small Presses (2013 edition). She was nominated twice before for the Prize as well as for Best of the Net. Her chapbook Rappelling Blue Light, a Mass Book Award nominee,  won honorable mention for the New England Poetry Society Jean Pedrick Award. Her second chapbook Your Left Front Wheel is Coming Loose was also nominated for a Mass Book Award and a L.L.Winship/Penn New England Award. Both were published by Finishing Line Press.  Co-curator of the Collected Poets Series, she teaches creative writing and works as contributing writer and photographer for the Daily Hampshire Gazette.  She edited As You Write It, A Franklin County Anthology, Volume I and Volume II.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

DARK SECRET

by Paul Smith



Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was arraigned in Chicago, Illinois on Tuesday afternoon, June 9, 2015. Hastert pleaded not guilty to all charges related to lying to the FBI about $3.5 million he agreed to pay to an undisclosed subject to "cover up past misconduct." —WQAD, June 9, 2015



There is a poker game called
Dark Secret
Played Down South
They tell you it is played
Nowhere else
You don’t get to see your
Hole card
Till the end
So you’re guessing all the time
Staring at the faces
Staring back at you
Dark faces
Secret faces
Faces smeared with shame
With deed
With dread
Other players know their
Dark Secret
And your face is worse
It is scarlet with fever
Unlike your hole card
Your face is up
So the others can read it
Bluffing your way
Through another game
That is played everywhere


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.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A QUESTION FOR THE NEW VERSE COMMUNITY

by George Salamon



Image source: DonkeyHotey


"'Tis the season once again. You should know it well by now: a 'progressive' Democrat running in the primaries for president of the United States. We've seen it all before, from Jessie Jackson to Dennis Kucinich, left-leaning voters have time-and-again been asked to support candidates that are working to transform the corrupt and war-happy Democratic Party from within. And each and every time the strategy has failed..."  Joshua Frank," Why Bernie Sanders is a Dead End," Counterpunch, June 3, 2015


Our poems burst with love for humanity,
We care for all its members, only not their oppressors.
We sign petitions, shout for peace and march for justice.
It's all so good, but we risk little and gain even less.

Is it time to put our bodies
Where our pens played and our words sprouted?
We shall confront once more what Tadeusz Borowski
Discovered after his liberation from Auschwitz:
 "The world is ruled neither by justice nor by morality,
The world is ruled by power and power is obtained by money."

Been there, done that you say, but what did we do?
We blinked and vowed to go on writing and volunteering and organizing.
We played by the rules in the land of the lemming
And the home of the harmless.

"We tried," we'd say as the words curdle
Into cold comfort on our tongues while
Power grins and grants us our gestures.

Our words struggle to trade as conscience's currency.

What is to be done?


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

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

WALKER MANIA

by David Southward



Image source: DonkeyHotey



Amazing, what a guy like me
can do for voters who can’t see
what’s good for them. I’ve hatched a plan
to make their state a wonderland!

I broke the unions, stripped their rights—
and though it sparked some ugly fights,      
the squawking’s dwindled to a peep
and labor now comes oh-so-cheap.

I turned the federal money down
that would’ve linked up town to town
with light rail. Jobs were lost, but hey,
it kept the socialists away.

Natural gas? Now that I’d tap.
It’s ours if we just frack the crap
out of Wisconsin’s woods (though first
her residents must be coerced).

The jobs report still sucks, the budget
can’t be balanced. Hell, let’s fudge it:
keep the taxes low by raping
schools, the poor, and park landscaping.

I passed a law that welfare queens
must view their fetuses on screens
before aborting. God will care
for those unwanted babes, I swear.

With cuts in funding, it’s a breeze
to gut state universities.
They nurture liberals, stir up minds
and threaten us with picket lines.

I’m loved by all the billionaires,
which may explain why no one dares
to question me.  If someone tries,
I’ll stare him down with my dead eyes.

If I could gain complete control,
I’d sell the public sector whole
to the highest-bidding financier—
and run it like an overseer.

It seems to me we’ve turned a page:
I’ve ushered in a bold new age
in which a scoundrel goes scot free.
An age of proud cupidity.


David Southward teaches literature in the Honors College at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His poems have appeared in The New Verse News, The Lyric, and Voices on the Wind.

Monday, June 08, 2015

BEING AM-ISH IN AN OLYMPIAD WORLD

by Krista Genevieve Farris


Image source: LGBTAmish.com


I got a call sometime last summer. He was shunned.
I wasn't allowed to cry, the conversation was never about me
but of his death and her muncha muncha on his segmented life,
the unfurling of her wings and a fighting not to be cliché butterfly fragile flight.

I consumed our youth, chewed on Polaroid bits,
tried to digest as I kicked the covers. Didn't say-
it hurt to swallow jigsawed shots  
it slashed each time I couldn't utter his name.

I gurgled I love you with a bloody throat
bi-sected, di-ssected- am-ish- the shunning- her-of-him
the sister who wears make-up, whose hair curls just so,
the one who tells me what it is to be a woman.

She is not Caitlyn Jenner. I am not a cool Kardashian.
We don't have implants, an airbrush, good lighting or awards.
I didn't hear her called beautiful 10 times today
or a hero when she kept her factory job.

He was. They were. She is.
We are.
I am.


Krista Genevieve Farris lives in Winchester, Virginia with her husband and three sons. Her recent poems, essays and stories can be found in The Literary Bohemian, Right Hand Pointing, Cactus Heart, Shot Glass Journal, The Screech Owl, Brain, Child Magazine, Mamalode, Literary Mama, The Rain, Party and Disaster Society, Indiana Voice, Tribeca Poetry Review and elsewhere.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

SUNFLOWERS

by Ed Madden






for Dónal, Dublin, May 2015

At dinner in Dublin only days before
the vote, a friend told a story about
being on the 13 crosstown bus,

carrying a bunch of sunflowers for Gary.
He was wearing his Tá Comhionannas pin.
A drunk began to harass him, snatched

at the flowers, pulled off the head of one.
He said the Dublin grannies on the bus
got the driver to throw the fellow off

at the next stop. One picked up
the broken flower, returned it to him, saying
something about his girlfriend.  When he replied

that the flowers were for his boyfriend, he said,
the whole bus seemed to be filled
with grannies talking about the referendum—

all the rest of the way all the Irish
grannies telling me they’re voting yes.
Oh, to be on that bus.


Ed Madden is an associate professor of English and director of the Women's and Gender Studies program at the University of South Carolina.  He is the author of 4 books of poetry -- Signals, Prodigal: Variations, Nest, and Ark (to be published spring 2016).

Saturday, June 06, 2015

SIDES?

by Gil Hoy





So it’s bound to be
    Hillary (thank god)
Obama can’t and
      Warren gave her word 
and if donkey's second best’s lust
       full hubby     can please
keep his      self-destructive philandering
                  habits to himself         
   and both of you please stop         
                       taking big money for
            giving speeches because
      it’s all about public service and       
remember  to              get all money
             out of politics anyway             and it better 
be Bush                      on the elephant side 
just in case because 
                         for one reason
     who could begrudge a man for 
defending his own brother  against wmd
        and another is anyone but    those fruit cakes 
from Texas Florida or            Wisconsin  and also 
he’s better than the other wacky tea party folks and


Editor's note: Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush images from DonkeyHotey.


Gil Hoy studied poetry at Boston University, majoring in Philosophy and Political Science, and received an MA in Government from Georgetown University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Gil started writing his own poetry in February last year. His poems have been published most recently in The New Verse News, The Antarctica Journal, Third Wednesday, The Potomac, and The Zodiac Review.

Friday, June 05, 2015

MEN OF COLOR

by Phyllis Wax



Image source: The Sentencing Project



Prison has replaced the plantation                

Pick him up for loitering                              
Handcuff him for a driving offense              
Jail him when he can’t pay his fine              
Harass, kick ass so he knows his place        

Young men rant in solitary
Molder for penny-ante crimes        
Or felonies they didn’t commit
In private prisons
Profitable enterprises
The public chooses not to see
                                                     
The bullet has replaced the rope      

New York, Saginaw                        
North Charleston, Cleveland
Sanford, Milwaukee

Amidou Diallo, Trayvon Martin
Walter Scott, Dontre Hamilton
Tamir Rice, Milton Hall

Black bodies in their own foyers
Chalked on sidewalks
Slumped in stairwells            
Bodies sprawled in city streets

Cheap lives, death at a discount


Phyllis Wax writes on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, WI.  Her work has appeared in many anthologies and literary journals, both online and print, among them Out of Line, New Verse News, Verse Wisconsin, Ars Medica, Naugatuck River Review, Your Daily Poem. When she’s not writing you might find her escorting at a local abortion clinic.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

PICK ME, PICK ME

by Earl J Wilcox



Image Source: DonkeyHotey



In my small South Carolina town, kids line up to be
chosen for the summer sandlot baseball team.
Nine or ten players (or more) arrive already, chatting
and showing off their stuff before a tiny crowd. First,
there’s Linsdsey, home town favorite, such a hawk
sure to be chosen for the outfield, where he can roam
freely. Over here looking eager is hunky Rand, pepper pot
for short stop--gutsy, full of chatter, though his coiffed hair
will be hidden beneath that ball cap. Hey, look! It’s good old
Huck chatting up the coaches, winking and shaking hands
vowing he will gladly say a prayer before every game.
And standing nearby in freshly pressed uniform it’s Rick.
Oh, such a sweet demeanor, he’ll be an outstanding catcher,
one who can control the game while showing his sparkling teeth.
Then, any solid team needs a bulky New Jersey first baseman.
Chris is so stout he can block Hillary or Patrick or Bernie—
anyone who might try to hustle down the line. Oh, let’s not
forget: any team wants a doctor:  let’s choose Carson, who, by
the way, also helps with our minority numbers, as does Carly;
she will add a splash of beauty to our bench. Everyone knows
a Cuban is essential for today’s baseball team, so Marco’s our man
for the hot corner at third base. But we save till last choosing
our pitchers and outfielders from among whose ranks are such
audacious governors and one wily Texan (Cruz): Jeb and Scott
and Jindal and Pataki and Kasich because they have an array
of fading fast balls, screw balls, even more curve balls and knuckle-
balls, to say nothing of already honing their skills for arguing
with umpires about every pitch and close call. Play Ball! Batter Up!


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.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

PONT DES ARTS, 2015

by Scot Ehrhardt



Photograph: Remy de la Mauviniere/AP via The Guardian



The city had warned us
about the weight of promises:
the civil engineers, our parents,
one parapet of the Pont des Arts
predicted this would happen.
Five ounces for two lives
padlocked to padlocks
an exponential mass
on an iron grill,

and when forever
proved temporary, no one
returned for the divorce.
No one dredged the Seine,
a bed of discarded keys,
for the one they jettisoned
the summer their lives
brimmed with youth.

Let us dismantle this
monument of hope,
scatter and melt the
seven hundred thousand
moments we dismissed
the weight of a symbol,
when we thought
that steel could represent        

the fickle carbon of our hearts.


Scot Ehrhardt is a teacher and writer from Baltimore, MD. He has appeared in Little Patuxent Review, Lines + Stars, Tidal Basin Review, and Infinity's Kitchen. His first book of poetry One Of Us Is Real is currently looking for a home.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

IT IS DRIZZLING HEAT

by Martin Willitts Jr



NEW DELHI—The death toll from the blistering heat wave in India exceeded 2,000 on Sunday as weather officials said the sweltering conditions would persist for another four or five days. —WSJ, May 31, 2015



It was ninety degrees with humidity topping a hundred,
and the heat felt atrocious
until reading it was one hundred and twenty-two in India
where the roads had melted.

Here the haze was merely white blossoms of agony,
and the residue of moisture disappears before forming.
In India, their minds must have been cooking
and their eyes must feel like frying while sleeping.

Some politician denies climate change
and car tires in India explode overheating.
Somewhere night promises more heat for tomorrow.
Politicians must have air conditioners hearts.

The angry god of furnaces depletes water to bone.
Somewhere a rich person wonders about the fuss.
Comparatively speaking, I have it good to India.
Politicians have assured me heat is my imagination.


Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian. His poems have appeared in Blue Fifth Review, Stone Canoe, Centrifugal Eye, The New Verse News, and others. He has 8 full length collections of poetry and over 20 chapbooks including his social issue chapbook City Of Tents (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2014). His forthcoming full length collection, God Is Not Amused What You Are Doing In Her Name (Aldrich Press) should cause a ruckus or two.

Monday, June 01, 2015

WHEN I READ ABOUT DEATH IN THE NEWS

by Tasha Graff


Social justice activist DeRay Mckesson praised Twitter on Monday after the social network suspended a conservative blogger who threatened his life —Raw Story, May 25, 2015

Since Aug. 9, 2014, when Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department shot and killed Michael Brown, Mckesson and a core group of other activists have built the most formidable American protest movement of the 21st century to date. Their innovation has been to marry the strengths of social media — the swift, morally blunt consensus that can be created by hashtags; the personal connection that a charismatic online persona can make with followers; the broad networks that allow for the easy distribution of documentary photos and videos — with an effort to quickly mobilize protests in each new city where a police shooting occurs. —Jay Caspian King, The NY Times Magazine, May 4, 2015


I think about my students. I’ve taught nearly 900 of them,
but when I read about death in the news I think of those lost:

to hands not old enough to vote, to hands old enough to know better,
to the lack of arms around their shoulders and the right to bear arms

automatic that did not exist when quill scratched parchment to create
a nation built on hope and blood and tears. This morning,

a tweeting troll threatened a friend’s life. This is not some ogre
from a fairy tale gone awry, stomping his foot in a cave

or under a bridge, but an open terrorist with safe, white skin.
This is not folklore, this is not a myth. This is the sad song

of America’s heart seeping the blood of black children.
Where is the pulse of justice? Where is our rallying cry?

The truths are self-evident. There is hatred in America.
But there is love, too. Oh, let there be love, too.


Tasha Graff's poetry appears in such publications as Word Riot, English Journal and From the Fishouse. She lives, writes and teaches high school English on the coast of Maine.