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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS, 2015

by George Salamon




"In America, where the electoral process is drowning in commercial techniques of fund-raising and image-making, we may have completed a circle back to a selection process as unconcerned with qualifications as that which made Darius King of Persia . . . he whose horse was the first to neigh at sunrise is the King."  —Barbara Tuchman, The March of Folly.

Faces sly more than virtuous.
Words slippery more than true.
Hucksters and hustlers, narcissistic
Peddlers of the self  selected from
Political machines modeled after
Families of the Cosa Nostra.
Champions of the elite's freedom
To follow every desire, but ready
To foreclose the advance of the human
Spirit to the rest of us.

Their debates shoot-outs,
Where zingers and gaffes determine
Who sprinted ahead and who fell behind
In this sleazy horse race.

We the people of The Greatest Nation on Earth
Do not say, as ee cummings once did:
"there is some shit I will not eat."
We stuff our faces,
Sated and sluggishly sensing that
Our hearts and minds will follow.


George Salamon taught German literature and culture at several East Coast colleges, served as staff reporter for the St. Louis Business Journal and senior editor on Defense Systems Review. He published a study of Arnold Zweig's novels of Word War One and a reader in German history. He contributes to the Gateway Journalism Review, Jewish Currents and The New Verse News from St. Louis, MO.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

SENKAKU SPEAKS

by Marilyn Peretti


China has said Japan is endangering peace in the region after it passed controversial laws expanding the role of its military abroad. Japan should learn "profound lessons from history", China's defence ministry said after Japan's parliamentary vote. The vote allows Japanese troops to fight overseas for the first time since the end of World War Two 70 years ago. Tensions between China and Japan have escalated in recent months over a group of islands to which both lay claim. The security laws were voted through Japan's upper house late on Friday, with 148 lawmakers voting in support and 90 against. It followed nearly 200 hours of political wrangling, with scuffles breaking out at various points between the bills' supporters and opposition members attempting to delay the vote. —BBC News, September 19, 2015


I am Senkaku,
tiny islands embattled
by China & Japan.

     Please remember
     the crack of air
     & shrieks of life

at the fulmination
of an A Bomb
burning Hiroshima.

     Please remember
     Mr. Abe, as you order
     more drones & destroyers,

fighters & amphibians,
in blind opposition to your
beloved model of pacifism.


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, Kyoto Journal and others. She has published several books on blurb.com. She takes interest in international politics, the conflict, the violence, losses, threats and sadness, still hoping leaders will make the right choices.

Monday, September 28, 2015

THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT A CANDIDATE

by Edmund Conti



Image source: DonkeyHotey



I

Among thirteen showy Mountebanks
The only intelligent thing
Was the hair of the Donald.

II

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three Muslims.

III

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
What would Ayn Rand say?

IV

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and  a blackbird
Are one for the books but not The Book.

V

I do not know which to prefer
The beauty of my  inflections
Or the beauty of my brother’s.
Or Dad whistling
Just after Reagan.

VI

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass
The shadow of the candidate
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
A Princeton man

VII
.
O thinking men of Ohio,
Why to do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how my resume
Puts to sleep
The women about you?

VIII

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the Bible is involved
In what I know.

IX

When the candidate flew off the radar
Only Senator McCain
Seemed to notice.

X

At the sight of motorists
Merging  after  a green light,
Even the bawds of gluttony
Would cry out sharply.

XI

She throws stones
From her glass house.
Once, a fear pierced her,
In that she mistook
The shadow of her imagination
For babies.

XII

The tide is turning.
The candidate  must be flying
But not back to Cuba.

XIII

It was evening all afternoon
It was snowing
Even in Louisiana
The candidate sat and waited
OHMMMMMM


Edmund Conti is a retired poet.  He is still looking for his golden parachute.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

CHARON

by A.E. Stallings



A Syrian refugee carries his child at a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing part of the Aegean Sea from the Turkish coast, September 19, 2015. A girl believed to be five years died on Saturday and 13 other migrants were feared lost overboard after their boat sank in choppy seas off the Greek island of Lesbos, the Greek coastguard said. A second, exhausted group of around 40 people reached the island in a small boat following a traumatic journey from Turkey, having paddled through the night with their hands across 10 kilometers (six miles) of ocean after their engine failed. Hundreds of thousands of mainly Syrian refugees have braved the short but precarious crossing from Turkey to Greece's eastern islands this year, mainly in flimsy and overcrowded inflatable boats. —REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis via Yahoo! News, September 15, 2015


When some, as promised, made it to dry land,
He profited, high and dry, but others, owing
To fickle winds, or a puncture, or freak waves,
Arrived at a farther shore, another beach
Lapped by a numb forgetting, still in the clothes
Someone had washed and pressed to face the day,
And lay in attitudes much like repose.
And Charon made a killing either way,
Per child alone, 600 euros each.


A.E. Stallings is an American poet who has lived in Greece since 1999. Her most recent collection is Olives, from TriQuarterly/Northwestern University Press.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

UKRAINIAN FARMING

by Philip C. Kolin



The UN humanitarian aid chief has expressed alarm after UN agencies were ordered out of rebel-held parts of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine. Stephen O'Brien said the agencies had been told to leave by Friday, and several international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) by Saturday. Pro-Russian rebels seized parts of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions last year. Almost 8,000 people have been killed since fighting erupted in eastern Ukraine in April 2014, a month after Russia annexed the southern Crimea peninsula. A ceasefire in eastern Ukraine has been holding in the past two weeks, although there have been reports of occasional shelling. —BBC News, September 25, 2015


In the Ukraine this year
it is hard to tell
crops from corpses
except for red cabbages
that bleed all over
the fields. The white heat
from exploding artillery shells
only rain compost heaps of
hearts, lungs, spleens, moans.
The Politburo keeps denying
that its soldiers have been
trying to impersonate farmers.


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: A Collection of Poems forthcoming in November from Third World Press.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

AHMED'S CLOCK

by Catherine Chandler






the main board
links

the seven-segment display
the transformer

the 9-volt interface
for power-outage battery backup  

in a circuit-stuffed
pencil box

clocks
don’t look

like
that

Ahmed makes
the connection


Catherine Chandler is an American poet and translator who currently lives in Canada.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

APOCALYPTIC LULLABY

by Richard O'Connell




After the Portuguese of Domingos Carvalho Da Silva


Because the moon is bright and the night
Is simply announcing the dawn
And because the sea is hardly the sea
And the hose doesn't weep on the lawn

And because we've fouled the water and air
In this best of all possible hells
And because the light is simply a vibration
That excites our nervous cells

And because rock music hurts our ears
And the wind plays an aeolian harp
And because the earth breeds plenty of snakes
And goldfish are only carp

And because the plane is about to depart
And the raven repeats nevermore
And because we have to sit here and smile
Before the final big encore

And because yesterday does not exist
And the future will never come
And because we are doing a ballet
On the pin of the Hydrogen Bomb

Let's not rush to the wall and weep
And tear our hair and bewail our fate
We did as well as anyone could
Given our love and hate

And because we are pathetic clowns
Confronting the Apocalypse
Caught in the ruins of a collapsing world
Between earthquake and eclipse

Let's dance high on the hurricane deck
Before the ship slopes under our feet
Let's soak up the wealth of the sun
Before it loses its light and heat

Let's laugh at the whole wide universe
In our eyes reflected
When we close our lids it will be
As if it never existed

Let our laughter crackle across the cosmos
Where galaxies scatter and dim
Since win or lose we only leave
A trace of ash on the wind


Richard O’Connell lives in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Collections of his poetry include RetroWorlds, Simulations, Voyages, and The Bright Tower, all published by the University of Salzburg Press (now Poetry Salzburg). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, National Review, The Texas Review, Acumen, The Paris Review, Trinacria, The Formalist, Light, etc. His most recent collections are Dawn Crossing and Waiting for the Terrorists.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

THE VOICE OF REASON

by Clara B. Jones



Image source: FrackFreeNC.org


I am twenty-nine years old, an environmentalist, and a tool of Big Business. In the eyes of my parents and my pastor, I am a success, a good girl who can do no wrong. Though I have an uncommon amount of support and encouragement, I feel like an imposter. Dad always told me to do the right thing, but that is easier said than done. I grew up in Haywood County without the means to be idealistic. Some of my friends in graduate school were from Chapel Hill and Davidson, never forced to eat chicken wings and dumplings at the end of every month. Doing the right thing was always a practical matter. I was cut out for a career in Science, taught to weigh costs and benefits from an early age. But, I didn't know it would turn out like this. Doing the right thing is a complex matter, something Dad never pointed out. I wrote my dissertation on long-leafed pine, taking a job with the Forestry Department, hoping to continue my studies on endangered trees. But, my boss had other plans, assigning me to survey all the conifers in a five-hectare plot in Lee County. At first I was told that Forestry was revising their species lists. But, when I spotted trucks from the Mining and Energy Commission, it was obvious that I was part of an environmental impact study. Who might have imagined that Raleigh would favor hydraulic fracturing in the Great Smoky Mountains? Any high school Physics student could tell you that shattering shale deposits causes toxic leaks. Raleigh wants to be part of the gas drilling boom. Frack Free NC says fracking is an environmental justice issue, but my boss says NC needs to be free of freaks. “You can't stop progress.” is his favorite mantra, and maybe he's right. I considered asking for a transfer to the Conservation Department but decided I would stay on the job to be the voice of reason. At least natural gas is cleaner than coal.


Clara B. Jones is a retired scientist, currently practicing poetry in Asheville, NC. As a woman of color, she writes about identity and power. Erbacce, CHEST, Ofi Literary Magazine, Transnational, Quail Bell, Bluestem, The Review Review, and 34th Parallel are among the venues her poems and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in. In the 1970s, Clara studied with Adrienne Rich and has studied recently with the poets Meghan Sterling and Eric Steineger.

Monday, September 21, 2015

COUNTING RHYME

by Darrell Petska


The Greek Coast Guard recovered the bodies of 34 migrants, including 15 children, on Sunday in the Aegean Sea after their wooden boat flipped over in strong winds as it attempted the short but often perilous crossing from nearby Turkey. --NY Times, September 13, 2015


Each little coffin
one two three
a boatload of dreams
lost at sea

Where to lay them
four five six
waiting on the oarsman
plying the Styx

From whence to where
seven eight nine
Hush now, you boxes,
no jostling in line

Ten eleven
twelve thirteen—
what rhyme or reason
worth losing a one

Fourteen fifteen
sweet moppets spent
weep fast: offshore
bob boatloads more


Darrell Petska is a retired university editor with poetry or fiction appearing recently in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Boston Literary Magazine, and Tule Review. He lives near Madison, Wisconsin.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

THE VIEW FROM SAMARIA

by Matt Quinn





On the top of the photo it says:
Would you help Jesus up?
and beneath the fallen Nazerene:
TYPE ‘YES’

and it looks like 107,000 people
have done just that,
and I think:
well, yes,

now that you know who he is,
but take away that cross
and the crown of thorns
and all you’ve got

is some middle-eastern looking guy
with a head wound 
except this one
looks rather like 


a white man
with a tan,
but let’s pretend.
He could very easily be

a terrorist
or a refugee,
or more likely
an economic migrant

faking it:
those wounds on his head
are only scratches after all

and probably self-inflicted.

And besides
he doesn't look at all
like a Christian.
Would you help him up?

Type 'yes'.


Matt Quinn lives in Brighton, England and hopes to one day have a sufficiently impressive list of poetry publications to justify a bio.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

KENTUCKY COUNTY CLERK'S MANIFESTO

by Chris OCarroll


OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky county clerk may have again defied a federal judge's order regarding gay-marriage licenses by altering license forms to remove her name, an attorney who represents one of the clerk's employees told the judge Friday. --AP, September 18, 2015

Taxpayers pay me 80 grand a year,
And I serve all of them – unless they’re queer.
Damn all the courts that trifle with my rights
When I say no to rights for sodomites.
Unfurl the Stars & Bars!  Secede again!
No weddings for two women or two men!
My God, pro-slavery back in the day,
Now says you’re less than equal if you’re gay.
I am a champion of liberty,
But not for sinful homos, just for me
And true believers like Mike Huckabee,
Who share my righteous animosity
Against Americans who don’t agree
This nation should be a theocracy
Where the elect dress up our bigotry
In vestments of divine authority.
I flout the law because my God is great,
So great that He hates everyone I hate.


Chris OCarroll is the featured poet in the current issue of Light.  He is anthologized in the recently published Poems for a Liminal Age and in The Great American Wise Ass Poetry Anthology, due out in early 2016.

Friday, September 18, 2015

THE COMEDIAN LIED

by Howard Winn



Steve Rannazzisi, during a panel for the “The League” in August, apologized on Tuesday for fabricating a story about escaping from the south tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.Credit NY Times, September 16, 2015


I was in the building when the first plane
crashed but escaped before the second
fireballed into offices and the hallways
down the many stairs fleeing from the
stock brokers’ cubicles as if escaping
the devils suddenly released upon
the Big Apple in a story told over and
over again even though I knew it was
all a lie of self-aggrandizement so
often I began to believe the falsehood
myself as if creating a forged memory
could make it into the truth although
now caught out in this counterfeit
story I will humbly acknowledge 
my dishonest story and beg forgiveness
so that I may continue my lucrative
career in endorsing well-paying products
and pointless services where truth
can be so inconvenient in the market place.


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.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

THE MODERN FUNDAMENTALIST'S SONG

by Marcus Bales





Fundamentalist:
I am the very model of a Christian fundamentalist 
And by a strange coincidence a solid occidentalist. 
I cherry-pick the Bible for the verses close or distantly 
Amenable to straight white males, however inconsistently, 
Unless those verses might apply a little inconveniently 
In which case I interpret them a good deal more than leniently. 
We want to do just what we please however strange or horrible 
And still regard ourselves as wholly moral and adorable.

Congregation:
We want to do just what we please however strange or horrible 
And still regard ourselves as wholly moral and adorable.
And still regard ourselves as wholly moral and adorable.

Fundamentalist:
I call myself a Christian but it's really Paulist cultery 
Since Christ himself has said that my divorces were adultery.
But I from man to man enjoy convexness and concavity 
And call whatever others do immoral and depravity.

Congregation:
But we from man to man enjoy convexness and concavity 
And call whatever others do immoral and depravity.

Fundamentalist:
I do not want to hear about the quantum or molecular 
Or how the Founding Fathers made our institutions secular 
I say the nation's Christian under Biblical authorities 
Rejecting what the Constitution says about majorities. 
The workings of the government may worry and perplex you all 
I say we're equal under God -- unless you're homosexual -- 
Or black or brown or female or some kind of evolutionist 
For all attempts at reasoning are really persecutionist.

Congregation:
Or black or brown or female or some kind of evolutionist 
For all attempts at reasoning are really persecutionist.

Fundamentalist:
My freedom of religion trumps your Constitutionality 
Because the Constitution says it does with firm legality.
I claim my rights from God or man, whichever's more commodious 
For what I want to do however evil, vile, or odious.

Congregation:
I claim my rights from God or man, whichever's more commodious 
For what I want to do however evil, vile, or odious.

Fundamentalist:
When I can issue licenses or not because I feel like it 
The public's just my piggy and the public can just squeal like it.
I'll happily apply whichever law is most agreeable 
To what I want to do since what I want is unforseeable: 
The conscience of the person must control the way they view their job 
And not demands that public servants ought to serve and do their job. 
The Constitution's man-made law and God is not endorsing it; 
The SCOTUS made their law, and now good luck to them enforcing it.

Congregation:
The Constitution's man-made law and God is not endorsing it; 
The SCOTUS made their law, and now good luck to them enforcing it.

Fundamentalist:
There's nothing in my creed that advocates for love officially 
Except some quotes that God and Jesus handed down judicially -- 
I don't see why I must obey the acts of which God sent a list 
And yet I am the model of a Christian fundamentalist. 

Congregation:
We don't see why we must obey the acts of which God sent a list 
And yet we are the models of a Christian fundamentalist. 

Not much is known about Marcus Bales, except that he lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and his poems have not been published in The New Yorker or Poetry.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

DEBATES

by Edmund Conti






A lineup of fools
By polling arranged.
There are no rules
And they’ve all changed.


Edmund Conti is a conservative poet.  He doesn't believe in free verse.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

FIRE AND ICE

by William Marr


         

for the homeless Syrian refugees


another proof
that the earth is round

after escaping from the burning sky
and parched ground
they found
on the other side
of the globe
the sky and earth
are also burning

with fire of icy flames


William Marr has published 23 volumes of poetry (two in English and the rest in his native Chinese language), 3 books of essays and several books of translations. His most recent book is Chicago Serenade, a trilingual (Chinese/English/French) anothology of poems published in Paris this year. His poetry has been translated into more than ten languages and included in over one hundred anthologies.  Some of his poems are used in high school and college textbooks in Taiwan, China, England, and Germany.   He is a former president of the Illinois State Poetry Society and has received numerous awards, including three from Taiwan for his poetry and translations.  A PhD recipient and a retired research scientist, he now resides in a Chicago suburb.

Monday, September 14, 2015

LOCAL TRADITION

by David Chorlton


Investigators kept pressing ahead with leads about a string of Phoenix freeway shootings as authorities announced that a man questioned in connection with them is not the prime suspect. "This is an open investigation, and we are going to go where it leads us," Graves said Saturday. The shootings have left the city on edge for two weeks. Many Phoenix drivers have avoided freeways since the 11 confirmed shootings began Aug. 29, mostly along I-10, a major route through the city. Eight of the cars were hit with bullets and three with projectiles that could have been BBs or pellets. One girl's ear was cut by glass as a bullet shattered her window. —ABC News, September 13, 2015


There’s an Old West spirit about
the interstate today
where someone’s inner outlaw
makes him shoot at random cars
for no reason anyone
can fathom. You’re on the way to work
early in the day
and Pop, another round is fired
too quickly for its origin
to be located. Calling 911
is futile. Traffic keeps moving:
big rigs, sports cars, pickups
and jeeps are all created equal
along one route,
indivisible, on which
the exit ramp appears too late.
But most make it through
without a scratch, and for those
continuing beyond the city limits
the desert waits like the backdrop
to a “B” movie with horses, guns
and sunsets from the time
the West existed as imagination,
before we discovered
the guns were always real.


David Chorlton is a transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. His poems have appeared in many publications on- and off-line, and reflect his affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. His most recent book, A Field Guide to Fire, is his contribution to the 2015 Fires of Change exhibition in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

WAIT

by Janet Leahy



President Obama called the Iran vote on Thursday “a victory for diplomacy, for American national security, and for the safety and security of the world.” Credit Andrew Harnik/Associated Press via NY Times, September 10, 2015



       after Galway Kinnell


Distrust everything

if you must, the politicians,
the news reports, the agreement.

Distrust Iran,
but trust the long hours of dialogue
the talk round the table of peace.

We have rehearsed the sorrows
of war
generation to generation.

Remember the desolation
the emptiness
of those who return

from the battle fields
—everything changed.
Do not talk of bombs

there are consequences.
Wait and listen.
Listen to Beethoven,

to his Ode to Joy, listen
to the Native American flute.
Wait,

do not go early into war.
Listen to the sitar
to the classical lute

to the children singing.


Janet Leahy lives in New Berlin, Wisconsin.  Her poems are published in journals and anthologies and appear at TheNewVerse.News and other on-line poetry sites. She has two collections of poetry and is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

NO AVAILABLE BEDS

by Alejandro Escudé



Young black man jailed since April for alleged $5 theft found dead in cell. Jamycheal Mitchell, 24, had been held in Virginia jail without bail for nearly four months, accused of stealing a Mountain Dew, Snickers bar and a Zebra Cake. —The Guardian, August 28, 2015



No bed for the sick young man
who stole a bottle of Mountain Dew,
a Snickers bar and a Zebra Cake worth
a total of $5 from a 7-Eleven,

the young man found dead in
his jail cell, his emaciated body melting
like an ice sculpture on the floor.

One official said it was hard to tell
who was in charge of the young man,
losing muscle mass, deteriorating
like a city after a colossal hurricane.

It’s always hard to tell who’s in charge.
Blame is a language with its own structure,
Saussure’s signifier and signified.

I too, who also serve the masses,
might’ve refused the bed, let him die,
peering at the numbers crawling
over my screen like undeterrable ants.

In the cell, he had a mattress, a toilet,
a sink, a shelf and a slit-like window
from where he wore out his mind
rotating realities like a reversible coat.


Alejandro Escudé published his first full-length collection of poems, My Earthbound Eye, in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches high school English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Friday, September 11, 2015

SEPTEMBER 11

by Peleg Held




On September 11, 1973—Chile's socialist president, Salvador Allende, was overthrown in a coup. He committed suicide under mysterious circumstances as troops surrounded his palace, ushering in more than 15 years of military dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet. Since that time, the CIA has acknowledged knowledge of—but not involvement in—the plot. The agency "was aware of coup-plotting by the military, had ongoing intelligence collection relationships with some plotters, and—because CIA did not discourage the takeover and had sought to instigate a coup in 1970—probably appeared to condone it," the CIA writes in a history of its operations in the South American country. (Declassified documents reveal how the Nixon administration instructed the agency to undermine Allende's government and "make the economy scream.") —Uri Friedman, The Atlantic, September 11, 2014


The infamous rarely die
in caves. Instead they nobly precede
grey-scaled acknowledgements
by a few years, passing quietly
in rich linen and laurel.

In an office filled with smoke,
escorted by explosion and a crackling
fire spreading like arsenic
in an old poet's blood,

his final words were sent ahead
onto the airwaves:


Superarán otros hombres este momento
gris y amargo en el que la traición 

pretende imponerse.

In Chile, they speak of the foreign
pilots, of the murder of thousands,
of September 11, 1973, in Spanish.


Peleg Held lives in Portland, Maine with his partner and his dog Emitt. There is also the semi-feral cat, Smudge. And a kid or two. He writes poetry, does woodworking and lately, dreams of the summer. pelegheld(at)gmail.com.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

SONG TO MYSELF

by Gil Hoy




Where is the iron
Brahmin, traitor
to his class,

Man of
The people---

You can’t cajole
You can’t frighten
You can’t buy?

With bones
stronger than
All of them
on the stage,

Please stop
the rain from
falling down.

It's time to rise up,
It's time to rise
up.  It's time
to rise up!

Grit those big
teeth, hold
assassins’ bullets
in your chest,

Until you are
drowned out by
the faithful sea.

Listen to
the bells ring,
Listen to
the robin sing,

Until the hail
washes your soul,
away.


Gil Hoy is a Boston trial lawyer and writer. He studied poetry at Boston University, while receiving a BA in Philosophy and Political Science. Gil received an MA in Government from Georgetown University and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law. He served as a Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman for four terms. His writing has appeared most recently in The Montucky Review, The Potomac, The New Verse News, The Boston Globe and The Dallas Morning News.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

by Judith Terzi






Not the Grand Canyon
California oak  
sycamore
Not the city park
the swings  
the dandelion
Not the baseball  
the G-O-A-L
Not the community garden
the harbor  
anchor of vessel
Not the daisy  
the buttercup
the Mojave
Not the poet
the potter
Not the artist
the artist
Not the walls
of books
allure of fireflies
walls of museums
Not the grasshopper
on a tea rose
a tea rose
Not Beethoven
under summer stars
And not the Venezuelan
who conducts him
Not the steel of Disney Hall
Not the wind of steel
the cut of space
Not the waterfall
the wildflower
the thickness of skin.


An educator and poet living in Southern California, Judith Terzi's poems have appeared in journals and anthologies including Caesura, Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems (Tupelo), Raintown Review, Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s (She Writes), Unsplendid, and Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque). Her most recent chapbook, If You Spot Your Brother Floating By, is a collection of memoir poems from Kattywompus Press.

Monday, September 07, 2015

LABOR'S LOST LOVE:
A LAMENT FOR LABOR DAY

by George Salamon





"We don't really care if the economy is in tatters'cause no one is doing badly; well, at least no one who matters."               —“Send a Billionaire to Camp," Union Song by Davis Gloff

Hey, folks, you old enough to remember
When Labor Day was for America's working stiff?
For the bricklayer, printer, the waitress in the diner.
Well, today our masses celebrate something finer:
The lifestyles of the rich and famous,
The antics of adolescent celebrities and pubescent starlets
Where once, in the decade after Rosie the Riveter
Chester Riley the riveter played the backbone of America.

Those were the days but they did end.
Now Labor Day means hunting for bargains at Walmart
Where working stiffs are stiffed every day
And "organized labor" is dirty talk.
Politicians mumble "working American"
The way TV anchors slur over "sex offender"
Before moving on to the latest thrill
Provided by the Kardashians and their kin.

The blue-collar life is for losers,
An occasional joke for sitcoms' white collar elite,
For the upwardly mobile professionals we
All want to be with fewer than ever making it.
Blue-collar misery, studies tell us, is a
Life-long journey and the American Dream reserved for a few,
For masters of the resume who become priests in the
Church at the intersection of Wall Street and Capitol Hill.

There's nothing to celebrate on Labor Day if
You're toiling on the assembly line or sweating on the loading platform,
If your collar is blue and the music of your life even bluer.
You got sourced out and sold out by business and government.
You are anachronisms fearfully waiting to be replaced by the robots of tomorrow.
So, indulge in a bit of nostalgia on Labor Day and listen to Pete Seeger doing
"Solidarity Forever" or Phil Ochs singing "The Ballad of Joe Hill."
A touch of sweetness for life's bitter pill.


George Salamon taught German literature and culture at several East Coast colleges, served as staff reporter for the St. Louis Business Journal and senior editor on Defense Systems Review. He published a study of Arnold Zweig's novels of Word War One and a reader in German history. He contributes to the Gateway Journalism Review, Jewish Currents and The New Verse News from St. Louis, MO.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

MOCK ORANGE

by Laura Rodley



Space weather events that have been building over the last week continued to affect Earth early this morning (Aug. 28), increasing the possibility of amped up auroras around the planet's polar regions. A string of space weather occurrences this week has led to some beautiful aurora displays, such as the one seen in the picture above. But showers of powerful particles from the sun can also cause problems for power grids, satellites and astronauts, so government agencies are keeping a close eye on the activity. —Space.com, August 28, 2015. Photo: An image of the Aurora Borealis, taken by night sky photographer Dora Miller (also known as Aurora Dora) on Aug. 22, 2015, in Talkeetna, Alaska. 


A friend warns of solar flares
and the end of electricity as we know it.
I repair to the window,
refuse to cut the leafless shringa
because here the hummingbird
likes to sit, huddled inside her wings
her only respite from flying
once out of the nest.
What have I to offer,
what bedtime story
to keep the world whole?
The hummingbird tarries,
though her heart beats rapidly,
she listens only to the stillness
attending to the wake-up
call of thirst.


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.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

DICTIONARY: EX-PRESIDENT.
SEE JAMES EARL CARTER

by Earl J. Wilcox






Builder of habitats for persons without a house.
Eradicator of diseases among world’s poorest people.
Peacemaker for nations that have had little peace.
Overseer of fair elections where corrupt politicians rule.
Role model for human species: sincere, happy, productive,
Inspiring, gracious mortal. Mankind’s finest: see Jimmy Carter.


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

Friday, September 04, 2015

UP CLOSE AND NUCLEAR

by Llyn Clague

Cagle Cartoons via The Tennessean


1

My heart leaps up and clangs
against a ceramic roof curved like the sky
and chunks fall down with loud bangs
when I read about the anti-’s willing to use any factoid or lie
as artillery, to shoot down
Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

I too was, and still am, at heart an anti-
a gunner aiming at high-flying authority
since early childhood, when images of ack-ack against the bombers
flaking in the night sky
burned on my memory.  I became
an outright oppo, sometimes even frantic
over power, ever suspicious of the Bargain
made over my head, by Them, with muscularity.

But one thing my anti- was, and is – is
implacably (if belligerently) anti-war – is
never against reaching across the divide
to try, however hard, to make peace with the Enemy –
Communist or Cong, Chinese or Cheney –
who was, and is, also, always, inside.

In my heart as well (if paradoxically) I yearned,
and still yearn, to find
that, in the Other, beyond No –
a possible basis
for a collaborative Yes.

2

Tricky Dick to Beijing, Sunny Ronnie with Moscow,
but it’s Nervous Neville to Prague
that gives the anti’s their analogue.
The Iranians just might lie and cheat
like Hitler.

With their history    
of subterfuge about centrifuges,
of hiding and deceit,
I must admit
the obvious: not all pacts work out.

Adamantly I am anti- those anti-’s
from the know-nothing yahoo
to mad Netanyahu
to the more reasoned (if political) oppo’s and sidewalk vigilantes –
who bluster, better no deal than this;
who insist, to compromise with Them is to appease;
who, if war we must – well, better sooner!

But there is, beyond rumor,
a chance they are right.

3

My heart leaps up and plinks
against a flat plaster ceiling
and flakes drift down, falling
silently as snow in sand bins.

The specter of my anti-
weakening … of losing certainty
haunts me.

Up close,
Obama’s nuclear maneuver
is not personal, like loss
of face, or fighting the self-crippling demons
you or I try to suppress, even (if dishonestly) deny.

But his, and Khamenei’s, willingness
to reach across ocean and mountain,
past each other’s “Great Satan,”
above their own intense, entrenched resistance,
to make a pact
over the defining radical of our epoch,
speaks to a personal belief, in each,
of, in the other, a humanity
that proclaims an affirming Yes.


Llyn Clague’s poems have been published widely, including in Ibbetson Street, Atlanta Review, Wisconsin Review, California Quarterly, Main Street Rag, New York Quarterly, and other magazines.  His seventh book, Hard-Edged and Childlike, was published by Main Street Rag in September, 2014.

WASHED

by Cally Conan-Davies



The full horror of the human tragedy unfolding on the shores of Europe was brought home on Wednesday as images of the lifeless body of a young boy – one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned attempting to reach the Greek island of Kos – encapsulated the extraordinary risks refugees are taking to reach the west. Turkish media identified the boy as three-year-old Aylan Kurdi and reported that his five-year-old brother had also met a similar death. Both had reportedly hailed from the northern Syrian town of Kobani, the site of fierce fighting between Islamic state insurgents and Kurdish forces earlier this year. —The Guardian, September 4, 2015

for Aylan

The bird, a murre, beaten by a wave,
its beak interred, its feathers caked with sand,
rolls in the foment of another wave.
No human word amounts to what has happened.
The bird is flowing back to the sky it gave.


Cally Conan-Davies is a writer who lives by the sea.

ARE YOU ABDULLAH?

by Marilyn Peretti



Image source: Fergal Keane ‏@fergalkeane47  16h16 hours ago: #AylanKurdi Father Abdullah tells me wants to bring his dead children home to Kobane.


Are you the father?
The father who carefully escaped
overland the dread, the torment,
threats, fire and bombs of Syria,
then gathered up your family again
with small bags of clothes
and biscuits, climbed aboard
a rickety boat heading
to the island of Kos, bound
in an armor of hope?

When high waves toppled
the boat and the captain deserted,
did you steer until impossible?
Are you the father who watched,
who saw your wife float away,
your little boys struggling
for air, then gone?

Are you the father who cries
as he picks up one beautiful son
washed up on the beach,
who wonders where the world is
as the ocean swallows his nation?


Marilyn Peretti, Glen Ellyn, Illinois, is published by The New Verse News and various journals; nominated for Pushcart Prize; and publishes poetry books on www.blurb.com/bookstore. She writes with fellow poets in Chicago's western suburbs. 

Thursday, September 03, 2015

NATURAL ORDER OF THE HOUSEHOLD

by Jennifer Clark





Graphic illustrating Bill Gothard’s 7 Basic Principles. Source: Raw Story. 


“As I became a teenage young man I was constantly tempted to have lots of wrong thoughts, 
and often battled to keep my heart right.” 
—Josh Duggar, August 21, 2015, at the Josh & Anna Duggar Family website.


It’s pouring porn. Filth floods the streets. Unborn babes tumble
from the sky and clog the gutters. Nobody here trusts roofs,
especially Christ, who is patrolling the attic holding one hell
of a big umbrella.

Christ’s canopy looms over the husband who is on the second
floor slipping into loafers while clasping an umbrella,
a poor imitation of Christ’s, a little less mighty, but still, bigger

than the parasol his wife who—may she always be scurrying
one floor beneath him—holds over their 14, 15, 16 kids
and counting. With her free hand she spoons oatmeal
into her children’s mouths, then mops the dirty, dirty floors.

All these umbrellas make it difficult to move.
Dangerous, even. Here and there a lamp shatters.

The firstborn, Josh, craves a glimpse of sky. As a teen, finds it
standing in the laundry room folding a blue dress, prowls into
the bedroom for more, steals some as she pretends to sleep.

Here and there a vase shatters.

When his sky-snatching ways are discovered, Josh is sent to
a training center where he learns all about umbrellas: how to
open them, wave them about, and never, ever close them.

He returns with a brand new umbrella. Everyone feels safe.

Some years later, Josh marries a girl named Anna and Ashley
Madison—who loves to feel the rain on her skin— tells him
Life is short. Have an affair. He listens.

His wife blames her umbrella. If only it was prettier. If only she
had held it higher. She buys blue eyeshadow and starts walking
through the house on tiptoes while her husband
stands just as he has been taught, under thin ribs
radiating refuge, the whole bloody sky wailing.


Jennifer Clark lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her first book of poetry, Necessary Clearings, was published by Shabda Press

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

TITUM ARUM

by Joan Colby



  The "corpse flower" at the Chicago Botanic Garden was manually opened Sunday morning after it failed to bloom, but the flower did not emit its trademark odor as expected. —NBC Chicago, August 31, 2015


At the Botanic Garden,
The corpse flower was getting ready
To bloom—a once in a lifetime affair.
Fifteen feet high, its vast hulk bulged
Ready to release the stench
That dung beetles adore,
That maggots desire.
But at the seminal moment
Spike decided it could not
Compete in a state rotten
With the stink of politicians:
Four of the last seven governors
Did time—fraud, bribery,
Racketeering, corruption.
The putrid fly leaves in the book
Of their chicaneries
Overwhelm any official flower.


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