Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


by Ed Shacklee

Photoshopped image by Freelancer at

Times were hard -- the fearful crowd, unruly,
felt they'd become a television serial
whose laughter track embarrassed them unduly;
they longed for prose both purple and imperial.

The promises the idol strung together
were catchy nonsense jingles if they'd listened.
Its hide, so thin, was stitched from shopworn leather.
A fool could tell it wasn't gold, but glistened;

but they were sold, for God was dead or missing -- 
the brazen moos would answer every prayer.
What did it matter what the snake was hissing?
The Trojan Horse was none of their affair.

Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia. He is working on a bestiary.