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Saturday, October 31, 2015

PURSE POWER

by Gil Hoy



Image source: Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence



                1.

“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.”

                2.

2015,  as if
in a Dream.   No one’s
      talking guns for a militia.  The army's ready,
Already armed, to protect America from any invading
        Power.    Smoke and fire,      Feel the wool
Wig pulled over the
                         Peepers to camouflage thundering
                         Profits  for piece manufacturers and
      The political power such
                        proceeds will buy.      Go ahead, pull open Oz’s curtain,
Not a constitutional leg to stand on.


Gil Hoy is a Boston trial lawyer, writer and poet. 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 poetry has appeared most recently in The Eclectic Muse, Third Wednesday, Montucky Review, The Potomac and TheNewVerse.News.

Friday, October 30, 2015

THERE IS THIS GUY

by Howard Winn



Image source: DonkeyHotey



who believes the Earth we live on
is six thousand years old and
says the geological evidence
is all malarkey as is the physical
data that verifies much of
Mr. Darwin’s theory about the
creation of homo sapiens which
this particular gentlemen says
he can refute in a few slick minutes
if questioned about the source
of what he believes without question
while at the same time insisting
his god made the world of Adam
and Eve in six days ending with
the Sabbath which our current
calendar created by the Greeks
and Romans a few years back
places as Saturday while our
Sunday is the first day of the
week and all those days in-between
named from classic mythology
are when this God parceled out
his chores of creation since he
apparently did not want to be
overwhelmed by trying to do too
much in the twenty-four hours
someone controlling the sun had
placed in each day so named
which leads one to ask just who
was the original engineer in charge
who put limits on this God The Papa?


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, October 29, 2015

A PARLIAMENT OF OWLS

by Edmund Conti




A school of fishytalkers.
A pride of manes.
A host of tax-cutting angles.
A passel of brats.
A pod of spiels.
A Parnassus of asses.
A crash of egos.
A peep of politicians.
A drift of attention.
A tidings of mudpies.
An unkindness of ravers.
A knot of yes-men.
A sounder of whiners.
A clowder of candidates.
A mustering of stories.
A barren of mules.
A murmuration of startling proposals.
A pencil of one-liners.
A set of bushes.
A squat of daubers.
A poverty of ideas.
A neverthriving of number jugglers.
A cluster of gripes.
A blare of trumpets.
A piddle of puppies.
A wince of viewers.


Edmund Conti gets venereal with a pittance of poets.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

OHIO BILL WOULD BAN ABORTION IF DOWN SYNDROME IS REASON

by Mary Leonard


CLEVELAND — Opening a new front in the abortion wars, abortion opponents are pushing Ohio to make it illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion if a woman is terminating her pregnancy to avoid having a baby with Down syndrome. The legislature is expected to approve the measure this fall because lawmakers endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee, which supports the bill, make up more than two-thirds of both houses. Photo: Protesters outside Preterm, an abortion clinic in Cleveland. Credit Michael F. McElroy for The New York Times —NY Times, August 22, 2015


Yesterday in yoga class, a handsome man arrived
            with his child. He placed her mat in front of mine.
 She was small, 13, 18?  with brown hair pulled back

 in a pony tail.  It wasn't until she turned
            and I saw her eyes, I knew
 she was a Down Syndrome child. As we stretched

 to the right, to the left, she was 30 seconds
            behind but kept up, didn't seem distressed,
 soldiered on, even when she couldn't do what the teacher said.

 When we did pranayama, followed by sighs
            hers were late and loud. The teacher said,
"That was very good sigh," smiled.

 The rest of us did not pay attention to the girl
             but to our own struggles with the asanas.
I looked up to see the child bend in half,

 fold over from her hips all the way down
            to her toes while the rest of us  stretched
 forward a few inches, our hands clutching our mats.

I thought about the handsome man, the father, I assumed,
              saw his athletic moves and his face
lined with worry. Where was the mother?

 Did the parents have a choice when they heard
            the fetus was Down's syndrome?

When the girl touched her toes,
             when she tried to follow,
I thought this child is a gift.

 But what did I know
            about this life: hers, his, theirs.
  I could only hope  that no law demanded,

"This fetus is a person and must be born."

Maybe difficult to think abortion with a child in front of me
            but not  difficult when a law could deny choice, making parents
 feel ashamed and dictate what life is and could be for all.


Mary Leonard has published chapbooks at 2River, Pudding House, Antrim House Press and RedOchreLit. Her poetry has appeared in The Naugatuck Review, Hubbub, Cloudbank. She lives in an old school house over looking the Rondout Creek.  Away from her own personal blackboard, she teaches workshops for all ages through Bard College.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

SORRY

by Janice D. Soderling


On Aug. 26 in Idomeni, Greece, a cousin of Ahmad's, Nisrine Majid, looked out of the train that would carry the refugees through Macedonia, to its border with Serbia. SERGEY PONOMAREV FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES


When war comes to your country,
it will not just come to other towns than your town.
It will not just come to people you don't like anyway.
Sorry.

When war comes to your country,
the milk you buy at your corner grocery store
will not be there for the buying.
It will never be on your breakfast table again.
Sorry. No breakfast table.

When war comes to your country,
your children will be crying on live television.
Sorry. Life isn't always fair.

When war comes to your country,
it will bring you new knowledge.
Words which you never fully understood
will gain a deeper significance. Chlorine gas.
Barbed wire. Tear gas. Batons. Bread.
Sorry.

When war comes to your country,
when you flee with your family,
what should you take, what leave behind?
Family photos? Your new espresso machine?
No, be smart. Take bottled water,
a pan to cook in, soap, a towel,
band-aids for minor cuts and scratches.

When war comes to your country,
take sturdy walking shoes, woolen blankets.
Be prepared for a long wait. The borders are defended.

Sorry about any inconvenience.



Janice D. Soderling has previously contributed to TheNewVerse.News. She is featured poet at the October Quill and Parchment  and has forthcoming fiction at Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine and Wasafiri.

Monday, October 26, 2015

LEAVING SYRIA

by Marilyn Peretti



“On the Way,” by Lorenzo Mattotti.



She folds a light blanket, knowing
her child likes softness by her cheek,
stuffs it into plastic, leaving
the half bombed-out apartment,
the long dreaded task.

Father carries two-year-old Amira
and the bag of belongings.
Mother carries a bag of dry clothes,
walking beside their son, Mahdi, five.

After eleven miles
shoes feel tight, blisters swell.
Garbage bag ponchos keep out
only part of the rain.

Under a plastic sheet at night
baby touches the soft blanket.
Her eyes flutter shut as mother
hums. Just 80 km to go.

What to find ahead?
How to be received?
The hell they left forces them on.
They only need water, bread

soap and socks. Train doors
slam shut before them;
now to walk to the next point
where it’s colder. Amira
is swaddled in the damp blanket.


Marilyn Peretti still lives near Chicago, and still loves it that concise words of poetry can express the egregious events in nations' interactions. She has been published in various journals, Pushcart nominated, and published several poetry books at blurb.com/bookstore.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

POUND OF FLESH, PINT OF BLOOD

by Catherine McGuire



“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,” began Judge [Marvin] Wiggins, a circuit judge here in rural Alabama since 1999. “For your consideration, there’s a blood drive outside,” he continued, according to a recording of the hearing. “If you don’t have any money, go out there and give blood and bring in a receipt indicating you gave blood.” —NY Times, October 19, 2015. Photo of Judge Marvin Wiggins from Diverse Issue in Higher Education. It accompanied a August 5, 2014 story on Wiggins’ ouster by Gov. Robert Bentley from the Board of Trustees of Alabama State University.


So you’re broke, and cannot pay –
we’re gonna get you anyway.

The Bloodmobile awaits outside
so bare your arm and stuff your pride.

The other option’s prison for
indigence: three months or more,

where debts increase, as jail’s remittance
is layered on that once small pittance,

which balloons into a lifetime’s debt.
So pay your pound of flesh – no, wait!

I mean pint of blood, a “free will donation”
I’m not Shylock – no relation.


Catherine McGuire is a writer/artist with a deep interest in philosophy. Using nature as a mirror, she explores the way humans perceive themselves and their world. She has poems published in the US and abroad and has four chapbooks: Palimpsests, (Uttered Chaos, 2011) Glimpses of a GardenPoetry and Chickens, and Joy Holding Stillness.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

DISCOVERED TINTYPE OF BILLY THE KID AND THE REGULATORS

by Alejandro Escudé





The photograph is startling because of the humans
who pose in it; they are not from a time with cell phones
because the tall bare tree in the background
isn’t frightened of them, the hills do not appear
scorched by a radioactive sun, and even though
these are gunslingers, in the picture no one has a gun.
Sepia, holy sepia, on horseback the supposed newlyweds
unsmiling, the dirt road running along the wooden house
and the croquet mallet at his side, William, the Kid,
worshipped by some as if he were a god, an American god
striking the croquet ball under a hoop, from good to bad.
The auctioneers need Billy to stay the Billy of the darker tintype,
the pose defiant, shotgun at the ready, the wry expression
of a wise and wistful youth: you can take my picture,
but you will never take my soul. We may never know the truth,
yet we marvel at the photo, sense the unfettered breezes
that blew over the rolling hills, stroll in the orchard
above the safe house, Lincoln County, New Mexico, on that day,
the Kid wearing a red sweater, his face half-melding
with the stock of cowboy lore—so evenly spaced each ancestor,
the women, the kids, the photographer distanced enough
to halt the jittery horse of time for twelve seconds.


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, October 23, 2015

BEN CARSON CHATS WITH VOLTAIRE

by Judith Terzi






V:   In Candide, I write that optimism is the madness
to claim that everything is good when it isn't.
What's your view of optimism, monsieur Docteur?

BC: Well, right now, as I see it, the hope we can repeal
Obamacare would seem the best of all possible
worlds. Mon Dieu, François, it's the worst thing
since brain cancer.

V. Oh, I heard you say since slavery on the Charlie
Rousseau show last week.

BC: Boy, I'm learning fast how to be a politician.
Yeah, I said slavery. Merde, I should have said
it in French so no one would understand. That's
esclavage, oui? Pardon my accent!

V: BTW, have you read Candide? So you think
healthcare for the people is more pernicious than
forced prostitution, child labor, mutilation, torture,
war. The Inquisition?

BC: Well, I can't say I've read it. Any form of socialism
is a no-fly zone for moi; it's right up there with
other horrors, including the Third Reich. Any
organized system helping the peeps is contrary
to the security of a free State, the right...to keep
and bear Arms.

V: Oh oui, oui, your sacred 2nd! A propos of arms,
monsieur Docteur, didn't you say that the Jews
would have had a better chance with Hitler if
they had had guns? Now just where would these
six plus million guns have come from?

BC: Well, I'm not familiar with Germany's gun laws.
Then or now. Maybe Schindler's List? Ha ha ha ha.

V: You mean la liste de Craig? So you think if
you're elected, the country could become the
healthiest of worlds?

BC: Only God knows, really. What I know is that evil
shows its ugly visage from time to time. We've
seen the cancer in these past eight years like we
saw it during WWII. Vigilance, vigilance, we
need vigilance. It's terríbul.

V. Terrible!! So what's your fix, monsieur Docteur?

BC: Well, for those mass shootings at colleges & theaters,
we have to arm each & every being who crosses
the threshold. That way, each member of a group's
well-equipped to attack an attacker. And that's my
remedy as Curer-in-Chief of this diseased nation.
And that includes arming pre-schoolers as well as
chiropractors & acupuncturers.

V: Well, my good Docteur, I guess this is no time to be
making enemies, then, is it?

BC: I used to tell my patients an apple a day keeps the doc
away. Now I tell the American people: A gun a day
keeps the killing at bay. Vive la France!


Judith Terzi's most recent chapbook, If You Spot Your Brother Floating By, is a collection of memoir poems from Kattywompus Press. Her poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies including Atlanta Review (International Publication Award, 2015), Caesura, Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems (Tupelo), Raintown Review, Unsplendid, and Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque). She lives and writes in Southern California.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

ON RED

by David Chorlton



Relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq have claimed a partial victory after Sir John Chilcot announced he would finally set a timetable for his report on the six-year inquiry into the war. The retired civil servant’s announcement came just days before the expiry of a deadline set by grieving families of some of the 179 British soldiers killed in action, after which they had threatened to take legal action if he refused to set a release date. It is more than a month after Chilcot finally confirmed the end of a lengthy right-of-reply process for those criticised in the report, known as Maxwellisation, which had been seen as the final obstacle to its publication. —The Guardian, October 15, 2015



A misty arc of rainlight spans the sky
between the darkest
and the brighter clouds
whose shifting moods drift over
a city whose lost dogs run
in circles and whose doves flock back
together when a shower ends.
There’s a man by every traffic light

with a sign that says he’s had bad luck, please help,
and a world of music
inside every car that stops beside him
to drown the misery out
interrupted by a bulletin
of news announcing a delay
in peace negotiations, suspended
talks on reducing pollution,
and the latest postponement

of the report’s release
that tells who lied about invading
Iraq, while there isn’t enough
patience to go around, not even
here, where a pedestrian pushes a button
four times to ask to cross the road

and the mechanical voice repeats
wait, wait, wait, wait . . .
so he pushes again
wait, wait . . .


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 shown in Flagstaff and Tucson in Arizona.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

LES MISERABLES

by Edmund Conti


Image source: DonkeyHotey


Speaker of the House
Keeper of the zoo
Hoping I can please ‘em
The forty-one or two.
Obamacare, goodbye
Planned Parenthood, so long
Doing nothing here at all
How can we go wrong?
Everybody loves the Right Wing
Your good old buddy friend
We’ll do what pleases just us few
You’ll get it in the end.


Edmund Conti is an impartial observer of the idiots in Congress.

Monday, October 19, 2015

I HEAR AMERICA'S MEDIA SINGING

by George Salamon






"Hillary Clinton Wins Big in Vegas," The New Yorker 
. . . and more than 10,800 other articles on Google


Queen Victoria was crowned in Westminster Abby,
Queen Hillary at the Wynn Casino in Vegas.
Victoria held the Scepter with Cross in her right hand
And the one with Dove in her left.
Hillary stepped from behind her lectern on the podium.
Her hands were empty but her smile dazzling.

No Archbishop knelt before her.
Yet the words of Homage came quickly
From the Peers and Peeresses of Punditry,
Singing "This is the Day which Hillary hath made."
They pronounced our democracy's benediction:
Hillary had won the debate!


George Salamon, who writes from St. Louis MO, has noticed that the Republican and Democratic debates are starting to affect his nervous system. This, however, is not a cry for help.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

#COCKSNOTGLOCKS

by Matt Quinn



Texas students are planning to hang sex toys from their bags in protest at a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons on university campuses.  —BBC News, October 12, 2015



Yes, I always carry one
concealed, though inevitably

there’s a bulge. What can I say?
I’m packing.

I can fire 250 million bullets
in a single shot,

and none of them are blanks,
if you know what I mean.

Sure, there are risks,
but listen,

one day some nutjob
will get his out in class

and start waving it around,
and if good guys like me

aren’t around to unholster
theirs, things are liable to get

awful messy,
don’t you think?


Author’s Note: I wrote this after reading about the #cocksnotglocks campaign, and then reading a response piece at the The Federalist website. Starting next year, students in Texas will be allowed to carry concealed guns on campus, and the #cocksnotglocks protest revolves around openly carrying dildos and vibrators which, unlike carrying a concealed gun, is a violation of campus rules. The Federalist piece argued that cocks were in fact more deadly than guns, citing STDs and abortion figures in evidence, and that therefore there is a greater need to regulate penises than guns. 


Matt Quinn lives in Brighton, England and has recently developed an allergy to talking about himself.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

3/5 OF ALL OTHER BEATS AND RHYTHMS: 2006 TO 2015

by Elbert Tavon Briggs



Black Line-Carved Djembe Drum


The beats make me think
The drums keep beating

That same Ole beat again
moved Mrs. Mamie Till-Mobley’s
14-year-old son to the Tallahatchie River

Rhythms moved the strange fruit
Rhythms bruised the strange fruit

We have to find some space on dry land
from sea to not so shiny

Those beats moved
Derrion Albert from Fenger High School
in blood all over cyberspace

Medgar was removed from earth forever
Malcolm X was killed teaching
Dr. King met the same fate preaching
Fred Hampton was shot in a room while sleeping

The beats make me think
The drums keep beating

Those beats moved Addie Mae, Denise, Carole, and Cynthia from
Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church
into heavenly spaces, and I had to face this
they were children just like me

Rhythms moved the strange fruit.
Rhythms bruised the strange fruit.

The drums were beating on March 1, 2012,
same ole view
the rhythms were not new
that moved 17-year-old Chris Wormely out of high school
into thin air
while talking to the principled

The drums were beating
Spring and Summer of 2006
The drums were beating for
Siretha “Nugget: White – 10-years old
Tsarina Powel – 12-years old
Starkesia Reed – 14-years old
Latasha Harlins – 15 – years old
Ryann Brown – 18-years old

The beats make me think
The drums keep beating

2007, 16-year-old Blair Holt
became the teacher of us all
made his friend fall
his young body was the lifesaving shield

Rhythms moved the strange fruit
Rhythms bruised the strange fruit

drums were beating on Sunday August 7, 2011
when 6 year-old Arianna Gibson
missed church and went straight to heaven

One year later
Spring gets leaped by Chicago’s coldest winter ever
March 17, 2012
around 3:40 p.m.
6 year-old Aliyah Shell was gun down
in Little Village not Wounded Knee
Little Aliyah was killed in urban combat
in a war she did not enlist to fight

Oh say can you see the last weekend of Winter
Yaw don’t know the Seasons
that’s the reason at least 10 died
at least 40 were wounded
yes there were some knees

The beats make me think
The drums keep beating

Sunday February 26, 2012
a mother and father’s lives became twisted hells
when their son, Trayvon Martin’s heart stopped beating

The beats make me think
The drums keep beating

Winter 2013
fifteen year-old   marched
D.C Presidential Inauguration Celebration
Then Hadiya and college prep high school classmates
sought sanctuary from rain, test-ings
and career future prepping
unaware that they were stepping
into the undeclared war
rattled and ran
but Hadiya fell from shots fired
her hopes and future expired

Rhythms moved the strange fruit
Rhythms bruised the strange fruit

February 9, 2013
I heard Mothers cry
drowned in tears
as my eyes saw her young years
like Mrs. Mamie Till-Mobley’s son Emmett
her presence in that casket
represented too many lost young lives and dreams

The beats make me think
the drums keep beating

Winter of 2013
got even colder
as the streets became bolder
and took six Sons from two Mothers

The beats make me think
the drums keep beating

Rhythms moved the strange fruit
Rhythms bruised the strange fruit

Winter 2014
the drums were beating in Omaha, Nebraska
for 5 year –old Peyton Benson
snatched from the planet while eating cereal
No this is not a movie serial
and this it not a  dream sequel
5 year-old Peyton was my childhood friend’s Granddaughter

The beats make me think
the drums keep beating

Chicago September 2015
can't  escape
this un-dream
almost my birthday
shots fired
shots fired
shots fired
Grandmother
Daughter
Child in Mother’s womb
erased and human lives expired
11 months young baby
escaped with a gunshot wound

We have to find some space on dry land
from sea to not so shiny

The beats make me think
the drums keep beating
The beats make me think
the drums keep beating

That same Ole beat again
moved Mrs. Mamie Till-Mobley’s
14-year-old son to the Tallahatchie River

Rhythms moved the strange fruit
Rhythms bruised the strange fruit

BEAT THE DRUMS FOR ALL OF THEM!!!


Elbert Tavon Briggs was born 1952 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, raised in Omaha, Nebraska. Elbert studied at Northeastern Illinois University and currently resides in Chicago, Illinois.. Currently creating with the Randolph Street Poets @ the Chicago Cultural Center and workshopping with Poets & Patrons. This poem reflects his lifelong commitment to incorporate poetry, music, art, dance, and drama, to give voice to the voiceless. Elbert graduated from Arizona State University and served two years in AmeriCorps fighting the war on poverty in the Lower Delta.

Friday, October 16, 2015

YOU SAY YOU WANT ME TO LOVE YOU, AMERICA

by Buff Whitman-Bradley






You say you want me to love you, America
To plight thee my troth till death do us part
To suit up proudly in your flag
And proclaim your grandeur and goodness
To the Angels and the Ages

And I did, I did love you
When I was a boy, America
Although I had never been anywhere
Except the National Geographic
I knew there was no place like you
My blue-eyed country 'tis of thee
No freedoms like America's freedoms
No Fords and Chevys
And toasters and TVs
Like good old made-in-America's
No righteous history
Of ordinary guys
Standing up for the underdog
To knock chips off the shoulders of bullies
Like fair-play-and-peace-loving America's history
No valor like America's
No Gary Coopers and John Waynes like
Hollywood, USA's
No amberwavesnationunderGodindivisible, except America
Oh I did, I did love you, America
When I was a boy

But when I became a man, America
I began to notice that your behavior
And the story you were telling me about yourself
Did not match
All the way back to the beginning
When you defended yourself against the peoples first here
By wholesale slaughter, introduced epidemics
And theft of their lands
Then went on to steal millions of humans from Africa
Enslave them
And build vast wealth upon their bleeding backs
And broken hearts
I noticed your habitual military interventions, America
And the unprovoked wars you engaged in
For the sake of grabbing more land, more wealth, more power

I noticed, oh royalty-free and classless America
That from the outset you arranged yourself vertically
With meager lives for the many at the bottom
And obscene opulence for the few at the top
I noticed, oh Great Melting Pot
That racism had burrowed its way like a canker
Deep into your psyche
Your public policies and institutions
So that those you once enslaved
And others who fit the profile
You managed to maintain in the bondage
Of ghettos, unemployment, terrorist violence, denial of rights
And in the good old American hoosegow
Where the slavery you claim to have abolished
Is still legal

I noticed the massacres at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee and Bear River, America
The bone yards of Hiroshima and Dresden, America
The killing fields of the Philippines and Viet Nam, America
The vicious little invasion of Panama
The senseless bombing of Yugoslavia
And I notice now the ceaseless and convulsive nightmare of Iraq
I notice how you wage wars constantly these days, oh Hegemon
How you have built military bases all over the planet
How you bomb civilians with abandon
In hospitals and schools, at wedding parties and community gatherings
How you torture because you can
And assassinate those who do not do your bidding
And subvert and undermine elected governments
That are insufficiently malleable to your purposes, America

I notice, America, that you have no compunction
About letting millions of your children go hungry
About blaming the poor for their poverty
The homeless for their lack of housing
The unemployed for not having jobs
I notice how you turn all life into commodities-for-profit, America
How you gobble up vast amounts of resources
And vomit the wastes into our water and our air

I realize now that you are an addict, America
You are addicted to yourself
You are stoned on empire
On military might and economic excess
And like all addicts you are deluded about who you are, America
So blinded to your own character by your trillion-dollar-a-day habit
That you cannot see you are not
As you imagine yourself to be, America
A beacon unto the world
A shining city upon a hill
You have become a quantum vortex, America
A black hole no light can escape

So you say you want me to love you, America
But how can I trust a junkie with my heart, America?
First you need some serious work on yourself
You need primal therapy
You need a 12-step-program to recover
From your implacable greed your habitual mendacity
Your homicidal hubris
Followed by a few millennia in a half-way house
Where you will clean the toilets and scrub the floors
And listen to the ghosts of those you have crushed
And when you've done all that
When you've cleaned up your act, America
When you've made yourself decent and presentable, America
Then maybe we'll talk


Buff Whitman-Bradley's poetry has appeared in many print and online journals, including Atlanta Review, Bryant Literary Review, Concho River Review, Crannog, december, Hawai'i Review, Pinyon, Rockhurst Review, Solstice, Third Wednesday and others. He has published several collections of poems, most recently, To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World. His interviews with soldiers who refused to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan became the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. He lives in northern California with his wife Cynthia.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

ANYONE CAN BE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE

by Edmund Conti 





Greetings, friends, each single seeker
Of that position known as Speaker.
If you can read this, then you’re able.
Just leave your street cred on the table.
Said credentials being this—
You’re a person, hit or miss.
Male, female, or a tran
(frankly we’d prefer a man).
A technocrat, a horse’s rump,
We’ll even take you, Donald Trump.
We’d much prefer your lovely spouse
Or Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse.
You can be the Prez, no lie.
Succeed yourself if you should die.
A man of quality and fashion
Or, failing that, just any Kardashian.
The spot is open, come and get it
Even though you will regret it.
Enjoy your moment in the sun
Working on stuff that won’t get done.


When Edmund Conti speaks no one listens. That's why he writes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

ONE MAN, ONE VOTE

by Gil Hoy


Image source: NY Times, October 10, 2015


One hundred and fifty eight families, out of
One hundred and twenty million families, finance
One-half of Presidential campaigns, after
One Supreme Court ruling.  They're the

Ones who make billions in finance and energy, the
Ones who contribute from business addresses and post office boxes, the
Ones who want wide wealth inequality, the
Ones who favor fat tax cuts for the rich, the
Ones who would reduce regulations, the
Ones who are business partners, in-laws, and poker buddies.

One hundred and fifty eight families, out of
One hundred and twenty million families, finance
One-half of Presidential campaigns, after
One Supreme Court ruling.

One Man, One Vote


Gil Hoy is a Boston trial lawyer, writer and poet. 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 poetry has appeared most recently in The Eclectic Muse, Third Wednesday, Montucky Review, The Potomac and TheNewVerse.News.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

TO BELIEVE IS SIMPLE

by Mara Adamitz Scrupe






A man            is asked. He replies. One day my children's.          Children
will be a minority. In their own.              Country. Thus             taken. This country.
Taken away. There is history.           To consider.   Black haired. Black eyed.Souls.
Like any. Others.         Spoke to     animals. Shoulders to wheels.  Took them.  
In.        On.       Their shoulders. Took    their.   Names.       White man’s.
Names.    The man.        Worries. About      whiteness.      Purity.          

The outside.               Not the inside.

Schedules. Tables. Graphs. Comparisons.   Color. Material.          Or immaterial.
Or mostly. Having to do with           shape. Head.          Or nose. How deep set.
Slanted. The eyes.        Purity. At stake. Negroes. Slavs.    At the bottom. Was. Is. At
stake. Little. Brown. Bottom people.   Bottom. Of the heap. Or behind   walls. Or
thereabouts. Presumed        intelligence. Or. Lack.  Our grandchildren’s.
Inheritance. Systems. Selections. Cranial          measurements. Adjudications.

Phrenologically          speaking.

Tests administered.            Which people. Took.    Anything. Would. Do. Anything. Only.
Let. Me. In. Others had.   Reasons. Reason. On             their. Side. They said. They
say. Ratios are off. The names. Impossible. Everything. Everything.    Things end.
Ending. With a vowel.   Strike it.             The ships.  Coffins. Teem. Not satin-
lined. Rafts. Not immutable. Not sad. Beyond. Beyond          sadness. Beyond tears.            
A thing of the world. This.    World.             To be              endured.       Anything else. Is.

Wreckage. No room for.        No                   room.

Beginnings. Begin. A woman            starts              toward. Concrete block. Shower
head. Bath. Bathe. A woman wants. Starts        toward. Walk. Bathe. Believe. In this
simple. A thing. Thing.         To enfold. Behold. It’s. Simple.      Take these clothes. Yes.
Mine. But I. I give.   Them. If I       can. Have. Search my            pubis.
Filth. Disease. I will.    For simple. For example. For begin. Beyond. For. My.
Daughter. Sister. Try  to hold. Back. But to believe. Is. Simple.  A bath. Clean.   Bathe.


Mara Adamitz Scrupe is a poet and visual artist. In 2014 the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS) named her the winner of the Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition Prize for her first volume of poetry BEAST which was published by the NSFPS Press in 2015. She is also the author of a chapbook entitled Sky Pilot published by Finishing Line Press. In 2015, Scrupe’s poems have been shortlisted or named finalist for several national and international literary awards including the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize, Australia; the Canterbury Poetry Festival University of Kent Prize and Poet of the Year (UK); the Wenlock Prize in Poetry (UK); the Auburn Witness Prize in Poetry (Auburn University); the Janet B. McCabe Prize for Poetry (Ruminate Magazine); the Oberon Poetry Prize (Oberon Poetry Foundation, New York); and the Tomaž Šalamun Chapbook Prize (VERSE Literary Journal University of Richmond, Virginia).

Monday, October 12, 2015

THE PRESIDENT ARRIVES IN OREGON

by Alejandro Escudé



Gary Shamblin of Winston, Ore., prepares to leave a parking lot in Roseburg in his truck displaying a sign he made reflecting his views on President Obama's planned visit to the area. (Michael Sullivan / The News-Review) via LA Times, October 9, 2015

To express the grief of a nation,
A ghost in imperial high heels.

I will not be taxed. Join or Die.
Franklin’s snake, let it fly.

Distrust trickles like water
Over the pebbles of legislation.

My musket fires hundreds
Of deadly rounds per minute.

One hears the sobbing of men
Who let the reptiles in.

Many of us believe the cross is
The cross in the crosshairs.

Here’s the split between free will
And determinism, still.

Take this box full of heads.
It is gift, from us to all of you.

The sun, in the yellow hue
Of light, over the earth treads.


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.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

LAST LUNCH MENU

by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer



An original menu from the last first-class lunch served aboard the ill-fated Titanic has sold for $88,000 to a private collector at an online auction. —CNN, October 2, 2015


For the last lunch on the Titanic,
the kitchen served corned beef and dumplings.
We know because one of the men
who was saved in a lifeboat
kept his menu with him,
and over a hundred years later
someone bought the old scrap of paper
for eighty-eight thousand bucks.

My friends, just in case I die tonight,
and just in case it’s a dramatic,
exciting death, I want you to know
that for lunch I had Lay’s potato chips
and a Caribbean Spice smoothie
with protein powder. I didn’t
save the menu, I know, what a bummer.
But it’s written in chalk on the wall
at Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli, and if you take
a picture, well, somewhere down the centuries
it might just make a fortune for your kids.

Unlike that lucky survivor, I don’t happen to have
a Turkish bath ticket I can send you.
Too bad. I would have loved one today.
But perhaps at auction
you can make a few extra bucks
if you throw in the knowledge
that the sunflowers were in full bloom,
and the cottonwood trees were golden,
though it was already October 3.

The whole sale would be more profitable
if only I were more famous. Sorry.
Oh yes. Two pickles. I nearly forgot to mention.
They throw them in free with the kids’ sandwiches,
but those pickles might be worth a lot to you.
I hope not many others will die in this disaster,
but know that I am aware as I write this
that there is a sweet danger brewing,
and there are no life boats.


Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer lives in Southwest Colorado. Her poems have appeared in O Magazine, on A Prairie Home Companion, in back alleys and on river rocks. One-word mantra: Adjust. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

THE POPE'S PAGEANTRY

by Janet Leahy



SANTIAGO, Chile — Many watched in disbelief: There he was, Pope Francis, calling people in Osorno, a city in southern Chile, “dumb” for protesting against a bishop accused of being complicit in clerical sexual abuse. “The Osorno community is suffering because it’s dumb,” Pope Francis told a group of tourists on St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, because it “has let its head be filled with what politicians say, judging a bishop without any proof. . . . Don’t be led by the nose by the leftists who orchestrated all of this,” the pope said. —NY Times, October 7, 2015


As if he could watch the men
in church vestments and not remember
the first commandment of childhood
“Do Not Tell.”

As if seeing the men in long robes
would not open the dark pit of memory
the threat “Do Not Tell”
nightmares of abuse still haunt him.

As if he would not try to erase the memories
with a final forgetting
the haunting abuse never recedes
the therapist’s bridge difficult to travel.

A final forgetting looms
an escape from the commandment of childhood
the therapist’s footbridge difficult to travel
the watchman walks.


Janet Leahy lives in New Berlin, Wisconsin.  She works with several critique groups in the area and attends a poetry class facilitated by Dr. Margaret Rozga at UW Waukesha. Her poems are published in anthologies, journals, 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.

Friday, October 09, 2015

THE LIMITS OF POWER

by Michael Shorb



“Sen. McCain Expects A Permanent U.S. Presence In Afghanistan” —NPR headline, October 7, 2015. Photo: U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan walk away from a helicopter at Forward Operating Base Connelly in the eastern province of Nangarhar on Aug. 13. The U.S. formally ended combat operations in Afghanistan at the end of last year. But nearly 10,000 American troops remain in the country and the U.S. frequently carries out air sorties. Fourteen American military personnel have died in Afghanistan this year. Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images via NPR.



A king declared the stars
illegal, not to be seen,
each night thousands were
executed for seeing them,
the king ran out of people
before the sky ran out of stars.

21st century Samson’s
swinging a nuclear jawbone
over his head,
21st century Ahab
kills Moby Dick and lights
ten thousand lamps
ten thousand days.
21st century America’s
gonna control the middle east
with drone missile launchers
and federal air support.

I’m the news no-one listens to.
The TV droning on in a corner,
the politician proudly announcing:

“We’re in Afghanistan
for the long haul.”


Michael Shorb was a poet, fiction writer, editor, and children's book author. As an international poet, his poetry has been published in more than 100 magazines and anthologies, including TheNewVerse.News, Michigan Quarterly, The Nation, The Sun, Salzburg Poetry Review, and Kyoto Journal. He was the recipient of a PEN AWARD, won a Merit Award for the Franklin-Christoph Poetry Contest, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He lived in and loved San Francisco. Michael succumbed to GIST, a rare form of cancer in 2012.


Editor’s Note: Michael’s widow Judith Grogan-Shorb sent TheNewVerse.News this eerily timely poem which Michael wrote soon after the United States first invaded Afghanistan.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

A COMPLEX (AMERICAN) STORY PROBLEM

by Lylanne Musselman






America has 2 many guns + 2 many assault rifles - respect for education + underpaid educators ÷ by students without discipline + a too “selfie” centered populace 2 pay attention - respect for President Obama [or anyone in authority] × a biased news media + more guns × Trump + (another) Bush + Huckabee ÷ by organized religion + climate change doubters × a polar-
ized climate + deep corporate greed - creativity in schools - critical thinking skills + more stress - genuine laughter × Reaganomics ÷ by class wars + financial stress - the middle class × mounting student debt × the working poor + prescription drugged zombies + unaffordable health care (for some) + even more guns (for more) × pro-life + votes against women’s issues ÷ by Planned Parenthood (pro-choice) - compassion - common sense - empathy for others + more and more guns × gay marriage ÷ by God + Kim Davis ÷ by Pope Francis’ U.S. visit × divisive social media threads × more social unrest + a targeted Hillary’s Bengasi + a torrid Tea Party × an un-
touchable NRA × multiple school shootings + daily drive-by shootings + theater shootings (not on the movie screen) + an anchor shot (dead) live on camera + children killing children (over a puppy) × 365 days of violence: giving even more Americans ammunition. How long will a divided (violent) country last when we keep multiplying these problems expecting an equal (safe) outcome for all?

                                                                                         
Lylanne Musselman is an award winning poet, playwright, and artist. Her work has appeared in The New Verse News, Flying Island, The Rusty Nail, So it Goes, Issue 3, among others, and many anthologies.  One of her poems was selected for the Best of Flying Island, 2014.  In addition, Musselman has also been a Pushcart Nominee. Musselman is the author of three chapbooks and she co-authored Company of Women: New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013).

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

BLESSING OF THE NEWS CYCLE

by Rick Mullin






The liberals were shocked and grieved
about the tête-à-tête.
The pope and that Kentucky clerk?
...Well, some were less upset.

Conservatives rejoiced as did
the silent Christian Right.
A sit-down with il Papa lent
true credence to their plight.

But then the news about a hoax,
a photo from Peru.
That prayer-meet was a football match!?
Well, everybody knew

an explanation would arrive
to wipe the tablets clear.
A memo from the Vatican.
And, sure enough, it’s here:

It seems the pope was Shanghaied by
some bishops on the ground
gone gravely rogue in Washington
or somewheres there-around

who propped Kim Davis up amidst
a group at some event
contrived for papal blessings in
a big white floppy tent.

A PR stunt by Huckabee
and flunkies of the Huck.
No big surprise, we know these guys
and recognize their shuck.

So everything is back on track.
Godspeed the Holy See.
The Family Synod starts this week.
God save the family!


Rick Mullin's most recent volume of poetry is Sonnets from the Voyage of the Beagle, published by Dos Madres Press last year.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

OF ALL TIMES, OUR HERO'S AWAY DANCING

by Lois Rosen


Alek Skarlatos, the Army National Guard Specialist who helped stop a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train in August, has rushed back to his hometown in Oregon after the mass shooting there on Thursday. Skarlotos, who is currently starring on ABC's Dancing With The Stars, was enrolled last year at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. He had been registered for classes on this week on campus, but postponed his education to appear on TV. —People.com, October 2, 2015


Believe it when you see it--the National Guard 
hero from Oregon with no dance experience, or 
so they say, waltzes like a young, but broader,
crew cut Fred Astaire. That lithe. 

And why not prance, score 8 and 9 from judges
praising his maturity the week Obama decorates 
him and his two companions for tackling
and disarming the Paris train terrorist. 

He comes from Roseburg, studied at Umpqua 
Community College. How will he manage 
to learn a complicated rhumba or memorize 
a foxtrot, any dance 

when no one in that classroom tackled 
the gunman, and how does all this rah-
rah-you’re-a-hero attention after his quick 
reaction affect him? 

Lindsay, his pro partner, encouraged 
him not to be afraid to talk on camera
to a dancer, ask for a date. She won’t 
refuse you now.


Lois Rosen taught English as a Second Language at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon. Tebot Bach published her second poetry book, Nice and Loud (2015).

Monday, October 05, 2015

DOROTHY PARKER OBSERVES THE PLANNED PARENTHOOD DEBACLE

by Edmund Conti 



Image source: XX Factor



“You make too much for a woman, Miss.”
What stale male hell is this?


Edmund Conti is a male poet, when it suits his needs.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

BLOOD MOON OVER OREGON

by Stephen Siperstein






For Professor Lawrence Levine and the students
killed in the forty-fifth school shooting of 2015 in the U.S.


Our shadow slides across its face
like an invisible hand sealing an eye
then placing an old penny

over the blankness, copper
seeping out like an aura: since 1900
only the sixth time this has happened.

On Tuesday and Thursday
mornings, in a room that looks out
to a pastoral scene: green        

paths, geese thrumming for acorns
beneath moss-maned oaks
I, too, have taught a writing class.

Have stood up to open a door.
Have stood up to say, this is a thesis:
We are human because we hope.

And this its warrant:
If something hopes, then that
            something is human.

Have asked of students:
be vulnerable, take risks, share.
And told them: This may not

be comfortable        
            (I do not coddle them)
but together here we are safe.

Yet we know we’re not.
The unspoken assumption.
The hole in the logic, hole

             in the heart: vulnerable.

But still they stood up, they shared
their light and will again and again
when we consider together:

how could this shadow not
arrive for eighteen more years
not turn to redness such light

             that pools across our sky?


Stephen Siperstein is a poet, literary scholar, and environmental educator living in Eugene, Oregon. He is co-editor of the forthcoming volume, Teaching Climate Change in the Humanities (Routledge, 2016), and his poems have appeared most recently in ISLE, The Clearing, and Poecology. He is currently completing his PhD at the University of Oregon.

SONG FOR THE SHOOTERS

by Maryann Corbett





     
“Somehow this has become routine....”
                —Barack Obama


How this becomes routine, we cannot tell.
The bashful toddler’s ringlet-haloed head,
how early does it hear the songs of hell?

The nattering of talking heads, so shrill
it crawled inside the childish mind and bred?
How is this now routine? We cannot tell.

The silent, brooding boys who tripped and fell
down through the blacklight labyrinth of dread
whose only soundtrack is the song of hell?

We guess they held a hurt, its heft, its chill,
and gripped a fury till their fingers bled—
Routine, routine. This little we can tell:

Post office, movie theater, shopping mall,
and classrooms whence all understanding fled
ring with the screaming antiphons of hell.

What love, ringing its changes on the knell
of cell phones from the pockets of the dead,
must hear routine, routine? We cannot tell
how human ears unhear the songs of hell.


Maryann Corbett's third book, Mid Evil, won the 2014 Richard Wilbur Award. She lives in Saint Paul and works for the Minnesota Legislature.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

BITTER HARVEST

by Richard Schnap






I have seen
The candles of grief
Flickering in
The night

And I have heard
The mournful cries
Echoing in
The wind

And I have known
How it feels to learn
Life doesn’t come
For free

It carries a price
That the faceless one
Will someday collect
From you


Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.

ROUTINE

by Maura Candela






Aerial view of the campus, the theater, the parking lot of the grammar school, the church grounds, the mall, the police, the EMTs, the stretchers, the ambulances

MSNBC, FOX coverage, press conferences, the killer’s shiftless or middle class or privileged background revealed, three-named moniker trotted out, his social media rants dissected, neighbors saying he’s a nice guy even if he dressed in camouflage, legally bought arsenal discovered in his mother's house

High school graduation photos of the victims, montage of Facebook pics, lives not lived imagined
Interviews with those who hid under bubblegum-pasted desks, velvet theater seats, folding chairs in the church meeting room, carrels in the library, those who found an exit door to grass, to rain, to lungs filling with air, with air

Later, the mothers, the fathers, the students, the churchgoers, those who forgive, those who don’t, reports of the lone hero who attacked the shooter though unarmed, the candlelight vigil, the tears, the prayers, the community pulling through, whatever that means to you, my fellow citizens, demanding the right to bear arms, not your fault, never your fault


Maura Candela's poetry has most recently been published in First Literary Review East. A short story published in The Common got a Special Mention in the Pushcart Prize XXXVII.

Friday, October 02, 2015

WHEN THE DEATH DRUGS FLOW

by Gil Hoy



Kelly Gissendaner, 47, the only woman on Georgia's death row was executed early Wednesday morning by lethal injection at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison. She was sentenced to death after being found guilty of conspiring to murder her husband in 1997. The man who carried out the kidnapping and murder, Gissendaner's then-boyfriend, Gregory Owen, received a life sentence. Dozens of supporters and death penalty opponents kept a vigil outside the state prison as Gissendaner awaited her fate. Pope Francis, an outspoken opponent of the death penalty, had urged officials to commute her death sentence. Gissendaner's execution marks the first death sentence carried out against a woman in Georgia in 70 years. She was the 16th woman executed in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. —Yahoo! News



Through human veins,
   Through what yellow flesh
Remains on the bones of
  Consistency and justice,

In frozen groves of orange
  Peaches, with worms---
Pious robes and study
  Have no paradisial power

Against the iron hammer,
The wheels
   The powerful pistons,
Pulsating levers of leveraged

Machines that    will not,
cannot, work. Callous
Callousness collides. Thrice
came the ice, no

Small dice of the role
To entice and
  Fatten the leech---
Till the red of his blood

Turns black and cold,
 Old---till she sings her
Song sorry, to be
 Told and retold.


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.