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Friday, June 30, 2017


by Eric Weil

TOP, FROM LEFT: Xavier Alec Martin, 24; Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25; Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19; Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23. BOTTOM, FROM LEFT: Ngoc Truong Huynh, 25; Noe Hernandez, 26; and Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37. (U.S. Navy via AP via The Washington Post, June 19, 2017.) Their snapshot stories from the AP can be read in The Star-Tribune.

The president disparages immigrants.
My great grandfather Bernat stepped off the boat
about 1880 with no papers, before Ellis Island.
Seven US sailors died when a container ship

T-boned their missile destroyer. Bernat fled
southwest Germany’s pogroms, local tornados
to the future’s hurricane named Holocaust.
Seven sailors bunked in friendly seas. Bernat

sold shoes. The seven ring the watch-bell
of America’s immigrant present and past:
Douglass, Hernandez, Huynh, Martin, Rehm,
Rigsby, Sabayan. Bernat raised a son

drafted for WWI, who raised a son drafted
for WWII, who raised a son whose number
just missed Vietnam. The seven volunteered.
Bernat’s citizenship paper, dated 1885, adorns

our guest room. Photos of the seven line
America’s front pages and will hang
as memorials in seven American homes
while the president disparages immigrants.

Eric Weil teaches at Elizabeth City State University, in North Carolina.  His poems have appeared in journals ranging from American Scholar to Poetry and from Dead Mule to Sow's Ear.

Thursday, June 29, 2017


by Rick Mullin

The president’s sheer crudeness shocks the nation.
Social media heats up. The conversation
clicks and double clicks and clicks again.
We’re sickened by the tenor of  his tweet,
but then
it’s not what you might call new information.

Rick Mullin's newest poetry collection is Transom.


by David Susswein

Grenfell Tower before the fire. Image source: Blueprint Printing.

I pasted aluminium and sparked diamonds
upon a crow of dirty concrete slabs
my followers know
I made their sight beautiful;

inside cockroaches leaped and prayed in their ways,
darkness, as they had their dirty sex, and bred

their roach mothers scrawl-scrubbed their children
clean of
black, darker skins
make them whiter white, right for our times

those scum dislike water
and won’t buy expensive organic food.

I hand pick cereal flowers for my kids
kiss them in milk hand-picked cows
glower them in precious Branded clothes
I drive a Bugatti, and always will.

Tenants in [Jared] Kushner’s East Village buildings . . . have often complained about lack of services. In April, residents of 118 East 4th Street, after five months spent with a garbage mountain in their backyard and with no cooking gas, won a court settlement in which [Kushner’s management company] Westminster agreed to make repairs, give rent-stabilized tenants 60 percent off their rent for the time without gas and market-rate tenants 30 percent off, and cover the tenants’ legal fees. —The Village Voice, January 12, 2017

Author’s note: As of today, 30 June 2017, one hundred and twenty-five tower blocks in the UK have failed fire-safety tests. Many thousands of the poor have been living in fire-hazards. Without knowing. The only thing keeping them safe is the lack of chip-pan fires, failed appliances. The state has left them vulnerable, hopeless and afraid. Anger is growing.

David Susswein writes from the bottom of England, close to the sea. He writes only to talk and communicate; to others he has never seen. Ramblings, such as above, can be found at Envoi, DreamCatcher, Picarroon Poetry,, TuckMagazine, and others.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


A Tanka Anticipating Summer in Honor of Matsuo Bashō
On the Occasion of Japan’s Three Mega-Banks Receiving All Fs on the 2017 Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card

by John Brooks 

"There's no question that funding climate change is a deadly investment strategy," stated Jenny Marienau,'s U.S. campaigns director. "Yet banks around the world are funneling billions of dollars into the fossil fuel projects leading us closer to catastrophic warming every day." —Common Dreams, June 21, 2017. Image source: Rainforest Action Network/Report Cover Detail

dream cicadas thrum
as banks bake-rape the planet
fossil fueling greed
annihilating Earth wa
Bashō would cry … then protest

Author’s Notes: The poem utilizes the traditional Japanese poetic form of the tanka—with its five-line pattern of 5, 7, 5, 7, 7 syllables—which was one of the forms employed by Japan’s most famous poet Matsuo Bashō many of whose works exude his deep love and respect for nature.
     “wa” is a term for a traditional Japanese cultural concept related to holistic harmony.
     As for “Anticipating Summer” in the poem’s subtitle (though this poem was completed on June 24th), “summer” in Japan isn’t considered to have actually begun until semi (Japanese for cicadas) start their yearly rhythmic buzzing following the end of Japan’s rainy season sometime in July.

John Brooks, a longtime resident of Japan, is a writer, child sexual abuse survivor-activist, climate change activist, and animal rights activist (among other things, of course) deeply concerned with anthropogenic global warming and its massively dystopian consequences if humanity’s thoroughly inadequate—though in some locations and respects noticeably improving—response continues. His self-published novella Preludes depicting the horror of child sexual abuse from a child’s perspective, has received favorable reviews by readers and is available for free download on various ebook sites.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


by George Salamon

“Young Americans are dying from despair. After the Great Recession, people aged between 25 and 44 started to overdose on opioids at an alarming pace. Overall, death rates for this age group rose an astounding 8% between 2010 and 2015.” —Jessika Bohon,  “Deaths of despair are rising in America. They are claiming lives all around me,” The Guardian, June 22, 2017. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images via The Guardian.

Flavius Josephus chronicled
The suicide of 960 Jews in 73 CE
Besieged by a Roman legion in Masada.
It may be history, it may be legend.
What young Americans are doing today
Is the real thing.
It is making America ugly and mean
And a mockery of the American Dream.

George Salamon has been watching the crumbling of the American Dream in and from St. Louis, MO.

Monday, June 26, 2017


by Jerome Betts

Theresa May Caricature by Masakonen

T. M. still PM? Why is this?
The leader Fortune gave a miss
A faded star that’s on the blink,
A stock which now can only sink,
A Premier who’s lost the plot,
Majority and trust, the lot,
But carries on, a headless hen,
Behind the door of Number Ten?

Not hard, perhaps, to read the runes.
The five-watt bulbs and weird buffoons
The Tories muster to compete
To win her hot and thorn-strewn seat
Prefer to leave the Brexit folly
To blow up on some other wally,
And so until that dismal day
We’re stuck with hopeless hapless May.

Jerome Betts lives in Devon, England, where he edits the quarterly Lighten Up On Line. His verse has appeared in a wide variety of British magazines and anthologies as well as UK, European, and North American web venues such as Amsterdam Quarterly, Angle, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Light,  Per Contra, TheNewVerse.News, The Rotary Dial and Snakeskin.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


by William Ruleman

Image source: National Geographic

You gaze from the face of the magazine at me,
And you are beautiful, I have to say,
Despite an impish male audacity
That lingers round your lips and eyes the way
A lad will do when forced into a fray.
O brave new world indeed, when we can change
Impediments in us that make us strange
To all the wonder that most suits the soul!
Some surgeries can show us who we are—
Can heal us, make us healthy, human, whole—
And whether love is near to us or far,
We know how we will meet it, play our role.
Not so when manmade tribal mutilations
Cheat the flesh of heavenly sensations!
The Lord God guard you from all hate and harm:
Self-righteous rants and priggish piety,
Lascivious longings and resentment’s storm.
May you find in saints’ society
A means to keep your heart and senses warm,
And may your offspring—if you have them—know
The gracefulness and courage you now show.

Editor's Note: Meanwhile . . . "A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals this week lifted a lower court injunction that had stopped the implementation of what many legal observers and LGBTQ activists view as the worst, most dangerous legislative attack on LGBTQ people yet. . . . The law allows for businesses and government employees to decline service to LGBT people, and that includes bakers, florists, county clerks and even someone working at the department of motor vehicles, based on religious beliefs. It allows for discrimination in housing and employment against same-sex couples or any individual within a same-sex couple. Businesses and government, under the law, can regulate where transgender people go to the bathroom. The law allows mental health professionals and doctors, nurses and clinics to turn away LGBT individuals. It also allows state-funded adoption agencies to turn away LGBT couples." —Michelangelo Signorile, "Queer Voices," HuffPost, June 23, 2017

William Ruleman resides in east Tennessee. His newest books include the poetry collections From Rage to Hope (White Violet Press, 2016) and Munich Poems (Cedar Springs Books, 2016), as well as his translations of Hermann Hesse’s early poems (Cedar Springs Books, 2017) and Stefan Zweig’s unfinished novel Clarissa (Ariadne Press, 2017).

Saturday, June 24, 2017


by Edmund Conti

 Jim Morin, The Miami Herald, June 13, 2017

When should we start blushing
As the praises, they swell?
When the Cabinet is gushing
Is it too oily to tell?

When should we be stressed
By these fellows in tow?
When Dear Leader is blessed
Is it time that they go?

When should we be wary
When should we all frown
When each Secretary
Gets  his nose (or hers) brown?

Should we throw brickbats at ‘em
Or just let it pass
When this group seriatim
Starts kissing his ass.

Cartoon by Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 13, 2017

Edmund Conti doesn't need your praises but he wants them.

Friday, June 23, 2017


by Scot Ehrhardt

She was warned. She was given an explanation. 
Nevertheless, she persisted. Senator Mitch McConnell
Image source: Sharrock’s Blog

Virginia Woolf may have
momentarily occupied
your mouth,
Senator McConnell:
succinct declaratives
abuting an ornate
curleque of
—even the word alone,
a wild breath,
a skip step in an otherwise
ordinary gait—but it was more
than a whimsical lilt,
Miss Woolf layered in you
tricolon and parataxis,
asyndeton and omission
of the auxiliary verb
on the third of the triple.
You are a cautionary tale
of the danger
in cadence,
and when the granular
whisper of persisted
dissipated in the
velvet and mahogany,
the women knew,
the tattoo artists and
journalists knew, and Miss Woolf
did something so extraordinarily
unlike her
that elbow-patched
professors everywhere
had to google
what she looked like
when she smiled.

Scot Ehrhardt is a teacher and writer in Baltimore, MD. He writes poetry at an alarmingly slow rate, so it rarely appears in TheNewVerse.News. His first book One of Us Is Real is available through Smashwords, Inc.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


by Alan Catlin

Capitol Police drag disabled protesters out of wheelchairs during Trumpcare protests. Forty-three people were arrested in connection with the protest. In some instances, police helped protesters back into their wheelchairs before forcibly removing them, but others weren't treated so generously Jacquelyn Martin/AP via The Independent (UK) June 22, 2017.

This is what
the Fascists did
in the 1930s and 40s:

cleansed the race
of the genetically impure

the mentally ill
sexual deviants

the cripples
and the infirm

Now here
in Washington DC
Today in June of 2017

republicans release
details of crafted-in-secret
No Health Care bill

arrest the protestors
in the halls of Congress:

the disabled in wheelchairs
on oxygen
disability disadvantaged all

and either forcibly carry them out
or escort them from in front
of the Majority Leader of the Senate’s
office door outside

to where the box cars are waiting.

Alan Catlin is poetry editor of online journal His latest book of poetry is American Odyssey from Future Cycle Press.


by Leslie Prosterman

On my way to drink a coffee in the park,
I ran into an old acquaintance
on the corner of 4th and Lafayette. She spoke
of reading stories to children at Bellevue,
teaching them to make meaning
out of abstract marks on the page.

All these days when I can only
read the news through
squinted eyes, as though
seeing print through blurred slits of light
would make the stories any less dire,

on these days I stop for any chance encounters
standing on concrete with people whose stories

I want to hear with open eyes.

Leslie Prosterman, author of Snapshots and Dances (Garden District Press, 2011) and other poems in various journals and collections, recently collaborated with composer Charley Gerard to set her poem "FluteBone Song" to music, now out on CD (Songs of Love and Passion).  A former academic, she is also a dancer and a sometime student of trapeze.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


by T R Poulson

UPS workers react at the scene where a gunman shot and killed multiple people including himself at a UPS facility in San Francisco, California on June 14, 2017. Several people were shot on Wednesday at a San Francisco warehouse and customer service facility operated by global parcel delivery service UPS, authorities and the company said. UPS spokeswoman Natalie Godwin told AFP the incident involved four workers at the sprawling facility, which employs 850 people. Photo credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

The Warriors were on fire
we said: those crisp plays and passes
around the curved black line, the ball and net’s
dance, again and again, those hands
lifted like a lover’s wave. The players
taunted and shoved and said they were joking.

Game four was a joke.
Overseas, nobody laughed as the fire
climbed higher, higher, disrupting play
in bedrooms and out. Things curved and passed
and fell through smoke and flames. Hands
dropped a blanket-wrapped baby through the net

of smoke, as below there were no nets
to catch him (this was not a joke).
The baby fell, and different hands,
sure as Steph Curry’s, took him from fire
to something unknown, a no-look pass,
from love to a chance to make plays

on dark courts like the one where we played
off Arlington Street, Friday nights, the net
of work behind us as the moon made its pass
above us, until dawn loomed, and our jokes
grew strange.  Here, my memory’s fire
smolders.  Years pass, and still underhanded

bosses rule us, who judge and hand
out warning letters, or play
with our numbers, even try to fire
us, though our union’s safety net
saves us.  It was only a joke,
the bantering words that slanted and passed

among us, about a coworker who could pass
for a molester in a movie.  We pictured his hands
with a gun.  It was only a joke.
My buddy used to pretend, to play
the creepy coworker, his friendship a net:
“When he brings in a Glock, he won’t open fire

on me, and I’ll hand him a list.”  Names passed
between us:  the spitfire loader, the sorter with the net
stockings at home, the player of wives.  A joke.  A joke!

T R Poulson is a UPS driver out of the Menlo Park, California, center.  She attends community classes at Stanford, and her work has appeared previously in TheNewVerse.News, as well as in Verdad, Main Channel Voices, Alehouse, Trajectory, Wildcat Review, The Meadow, The Raintown Review, J Journal, and Verdad.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


by Buff Whitman-Bradley

PHOENIX — The Border Patrol raided a humanitarian aid group’s base camp in the Southern Arizona desert on Thursday and arrested four men who had crossed into the United States illegally, officials with Customs and Border Protection said. Volunteers with the group, No More Deaths, which gives water and first-aid care to migrants, said the men were from Mexico and were receiving emergency medical care at the camp, which had been raided by agents in the past. But this was the first time border agents had used a search warrant to gain entry, the group said in a statement, suggesting a change in strategy by the Border Patrol leadership in the region at a time when temperatures are soaring. Despite a history of tense relations with No More Deaths, the agency had previously abided by an informal, Obama-era agreement allowing migrants to seek medical help at the camp without fear of arrest. In an interview on Friday, the group’s founder, John Fife, characterized the raid as “clearly a strategy by the border agents to cripple and even make moot the lifesaving mission of a medical facility they had agreed to respect.” His fear, he said, is that word would get out among migrants seeking help that the No More Deaths camp is no longer safe, because of border agents’ attention on it. Several volunteer groups leave jugs of water and canned food for migrants and provide them with medical aid, but No More Deaths is one of the largest and the only one in Arizona with a permanent base in the desert. —The New York Times, June 16, 2017. Photo by No Mas Muertes.

to the humanitarian volunteers of No Mas Muertes

When the large histories are written
Of this place and time
May it be recorded in a footnote
In some tome
That our government recently sent
Its not-so-secret police
To destroy an encampment
Of people of good will
Offering water and medical help
To parched migrants
Completing a brutal desert crossing
In order to enter our country
Seeking a better life.
May it be noted
That those migrants were escaping
Bitter poverty
Political violence
Repressive regimes
Destruction of their lands
Supported by
The political and economic policies
Of our own country
Its corporations
Its clandestine agents.
May it be noted
That 30 armed officers
Of the not-so-secret police
Protected the security of our nation
Using 15 trucks, two all-terrain vehicles
And a helicopter
To arrest four migrants receiving medical care.
And may it be noted
That the humanitarian workers present
To assist the migrants
Had been providing such aid for many years
That even as our country
Spiraled deeper and deeper into a vortex
Of racism and xenophobia
There were those among us
Who still believed in providing water
For whoever was thirsty.

Volunteers with the aid group “No More Deaths” distributed water along desert migrant paths in 2013. Credit Josh Haner/The New York Times.

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 Wednesdayand 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.

Monday, June 19, 2017


by S.O.Fasrus

The burnt-out ruin of Grenfell Tower. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA via The Guardian, June 18, 2017.

even the air sighs for us
this grief is one breathe
this grief is the hum of nine poets
this grief has peeled skin
it is not shielded

lies, evasions

this grief
is a procession
this grief is an army of tears
the sun will not scorch it
the rain cannot drown it

this empty room
this charred field
this quiet road in the kernel of night
this aching of many hearts
this gallery of loss

our grief weaves a ribbon for flowers
oh small flower
oh white petal
even the birds cry for us
even the moon keeps silent

S.O.Fasrus has verses at LUPO and is currently writing a YA novel.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


by Sean Lause

Self Portrait Along the Boarder Line Between Mexico and the United States, 1932, by Frida Kahlo

A Mexican girl sits knitting
as the night spreads out in dreams,
and old women dream of Autumn winds.

She knits time to space,
warmth to cold, love to
alone, strength to innocence.

She knits moons to their orbits,
needles clicking with the certainty of stars,
webbing the known and unknown.

She knits sweet shadows
that breathe a calm to longing,
and drink the emerald waning of the moon.

Her darkness rounds the world with sleep,
past crouching walls of fearful lands,
with the graceful wave of parting lovers.

Sean Lause is a professor of English at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio, United States.  His poems have appeared in The Minnesota Review, Another Chicago Magazine, The Alaska Quarterly, Atlanta Review, The Pedestal, The Beloit Poetry Journal, European Judaism, Illuminations, Sanskrit and Poetry International.  His first book of poems Bestiary of Souls was published in 2013 by FutureCycle Press.

Saturday, June 17, 2017


by  George Salamon

"Guns recovered from Congressional shooter appear
legally purchased, FBI says." 
NBC, June 15, 2017

They didn't see nothin' yet,
Those cowboys and cops
Behind the O.K. Corral in Tombstone
Back in the wild and woolly West in 1881
When the Earps and Doc Holliday
Exchanged 30 bullets in 30 seconds
With the Clantons and McLaurys
And three men lay dead in the alley
Behind the corral that defines our legends
Of guns, guts and glory.
Shucks, three dead doesn't even classify
As a mass shooting these days.
You've got to kill four for that, and that's peanuts
In the year 2017, when by June 16
We've recorded 6,592 dead and 13, 635 injured by gunshot,
With 302 children age 11 and under among them,
Some hit in the 156 mass shootings so far.
In Tombstone, back in 1881 you were supposed to
Check your gun at the sheriff's office or the Grand Hotel,
"To control the violence,"  True West Magazine tells me.
Now the sheriff is busy hunting the undocumented
And the Grand Hotel has moved to a suburban mall.

Author’s note: The figures are taken from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA).

George Salamon lives just outside the city of St. Louis, MO.

Friday, June 16, 2017


by Alejandro Escudé

“Boy, some days I sure wish I was an ensign on the bridge of that destroyer again.” —Admiral Mike Rogers

It makes sense the Admiral would rather
be where the brackish sea-wind
sweeps away the confusion, where
the gulls are questions rising up into the air,
always answered. The 5-inch gun points
in one direction, whatever direction
it’s trained to point, no traitor likely
to sidle up to the Admiral on that deck,
no wickedness, because the enemy
of a destroyer isn’t wicked after it’s dubbed
“enemy.” Evil isn’t within the purview
of soldiers. Ask the Romans who had
to watch Christ drag his own cross.
They believe the only commandment
is the order. But the Admiral speaks
into his microphone and knows how
to translate I won’t tell on the president,
I’ve said enough, and you should know that.
There will be a closed-door meeting
in a room that they call a SCIF as if
the senators were anglers out on the sea,
nothing to do but discuss sensitive issues.

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.

Thursday, June 15, 2017


by Sally Zakariya

The case hit home for me—
Virginia born and bred, Love
is my middle name, chosen Southern
style for the great-great-somebody
who rode to college in a boxcar
through Confederate lines bringing
her piano and her favorite slave

Virginia Is for Lovers the slogan says
but only certain lovers in those days
certainly not me and the black man
I lived with way back when

A hundred years plus four it took
for marriage to catch up
with Mr. Lincoln’s proclamation
for a suffering nation to bind
this one heart-deep wound—
at least to make a start

I love Virginia’s hills and valleys
its rich red earth where blood
of black and white is mingled
where black and white lie
equal under headstones
but there’s still healing to be done
one nation divided
      still wounded
            still bleeding

Sally Zakariya’s poems have appeared in 60-some print and online journals. She is the author, most recently, of When You Escape (Five Oaks Press, 2016), as well as Insectomania (2013) and Arithmetic and other verses (2011); and the editor of the poetry anthology Joys of the Table (2015).

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


by Terese Coe

The Vitae were not living.
The winds devolved to wild.
Their houses blown to powder,
the children were reviled.

The rancor unforgiving,
the slaughter undefined,
an end would come to giving,
then cursed was humankind.

Terese Coe’s poems and translations have appeared in 32 Poems, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Cincinnati Review, New American Writing, Ploughshares, Poetry, Threepenny Review, Agenda, The Moth, New Walk Magazine, New Writing Scotland, Poetry Review, the TLS, The Stinging Fly, and many other publications and anthologies. Her latest collection Shot Silk was nominated for The Poets Prize of 2017.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


by Edmund Conti

When meeting with Sergei Kislyak
Your memory falls through the crack.
There’s so much to discuss
With this welcoming Russ
That it’s awfully hard to keep track.

Edmund Conti is always happy to meet with the Russians to discuss the high price of vodka, have a few laughs, and trade military secrets.

Monday, June 12, 2017


by Alan Walowitz

Image source: Canadian Business

You call up the stairs to tell me what we’ll need
to make it through the long night ahead.
The water’s running and I can hardly hear,
though you’re known to assert
that to listen and to hear were never meant to be the same.
No matter, we know this part always ends in a caustic, Nevermind.
I do hear you slam the door
and imagine your short sigh before heading off into your day.
I’m alone now and can make mine any way I’d like--
though, Lordy, I hope there are tapes
for later when I get to the grocery
and this great forgetfulness is bound to come over me
surrounded by the bounty of America:
shelves stacked with goods, no one could ever use, given even a lifetime;
the produce shaped into so many pyramids
we’d once hoped to visit, but now know we never will;
the prepared foods, chilled, and ready to be reheated and consumed
but where should we put them if left uneaten when our day is done?
This is a great land with so many choices
of who to believe and why, and infinite possibilities of what to buy,
so please don’t berate me when I call
to ask what I need to bring.
I know we already have everything
and are likely still to feel we’ve been taken, and underserved,
and finally and fatally, misunderstood.
Though, Lordy, I hope there are tapes
of the long night so long ago when we first fell for each other.

Alan Walowitz has been published in various places on the web and off. He’s a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry, and teaches at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY and St. John’s University in his native borough of Queens, NY. Alan’s chapbook Exactly Like Love was published by Osedax Press in 2016 and is now in its second printing.

Sunday, June 11, 2017


by Scott Wiggerman

Images source: Cycle for the Cause

May we bike a wide expanse of untidy sands,
of outliers and isles of desert brush.

May we ride and ride, our eyes primed
to an iota of wild, a mite of wine

among the tumbleweeds and idle browns:
a bind of thriving cacti. Divine!

May we smile and find a vital prize,
a sign in the uncivilized silence,

a blooming lighthouse, a riot of pink fire,
our desired life, our private tribe.

May we ride inspired while our kind expires.
May we rise above the spineless of these times.

Scott Wiggerman is the author of three books of poetry, Leaf and Beak: Sonnets, Presence, and Vegetables and Other Relationships; and the editor of several volumes, including Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry, Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku & Haiga, and Bearing the Mask.  Recent poems have appeared in A Quiet Courage, Calamus Journal, Red Earth Review, Rat’s Ass Review, shuf, and Chelsea Station. He is an editor for Dos Gatos Press of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


by Alan Catlin

Each square represents
another life lost in

middle eastern war zone—
eight in the series
shown here in early June

Some panels are hand
sewn, artful, professional,
with pictures, testimonials

from loved ones

Others are hand written
scrolled with mistakes

but the feeling of loss
and emotion is clear

Next year more panels
will be sewn

another quilt

Maybe two

Alan Catlin is poetry editor of online journal His latest book of poetry is American Odyssey from Future Cycle Press.

Friday, June 09, 2017


by David Radavich

Photo by Ivan Vargas at Gizmodo.

Ashes gather
at the bottom
of the fire
we have made.

It is a weekday
night like any other,
an announcement
of denial,
a death of desire.

Somehow our soil
and vegetation
must survive
without us.

Somehow we
want to die alone
and small.

We fly toward
this conflagration
like widows,
like moths.

David Radavich's recent poetry collections are America Bound: An Epic for Our Time (2007), Canonicals: Love's Hours (2009), and Middle-East Mezze (2011).   His plays have been performed across the U.S., including six Off-Off-Broadway, and in Europe.  His latest books are The Countries We Live In (2014) and a co-edited volume called Magic Again: Selected Poems on Thomas Wolfe (2016).  He has served as president of The Thomas Wolfe Society, Charlotte Writers' Club, and North Carolina Poetry Society.

Thursday, June 08, 2017


by Martin H. Levinson

He was always a thug with a coarse mouth, peacock swagger,
   and a proclivity to break rules like his paterfamilias who
wouldn’t rent to African Americans but sent his misbehaving boy
   to military school to learn how to play football, stick it to losers,
and escape the draft so as to not serve in Vietnam or praise
   John McCain for being captured rather than killing the enemy
in real estate deals that were too big to fail or have T***p

put into jail for hiring undocumented workers to mount his name
   on glitzy Gotham towers and gaudy gambling casinos that
went bust in New Jersey where busts are bounteous and
   pussies can be grabbed for the asking if you are a celebrity
palling around with Russians, wrestlers, and rapscallions from
   Fox and Friends who want to make America great again
like it was in the eighteen fifties when blacks were chattel and

nativist numbskulls were not considered nattering nabobs of
   negativity by their supporters but impassioned Neanderthals
capable of challenging Obama’s citizenship and backing a
   Muslim ban and a Slavic first lady who under our nation’s new
immigration rules would have been a deportation priority during
   the nineteen nineties when her husband did not report hundreds of
millions of dollars in taxable income by using a tenuous tax maneuver

later outlawed by a Congress that is now led by a Cheesehead from
   Wisconsin and a prune face from Kentucky who loves coal more than
the proles who work the mines in a state which ranks forty-seventh in
   educational attainment, is solidly Republican, and has a constituency
the POTUS respects as much as Marla Maples who learned she was
   being divorced by reading about it in the New York Post rather than
seeing it on TV where Jim Comey found out he had been fired as

Director of the FBI and students from T***p University discovered
   they had been defrauded by a corpulent con man who thought
climate change was bogus, Mexicans were bad hombres, and
a nasty woman was making life difficult on the campaign trail
   by calling the star of the Apprentice Putin’s puppet, a teller of
untruths and a fellow unfit for the highest office in the land
   of the me, the home of the knave, and the dockets red glare,

lawsuits bursting in air, gave proof through the night that
   our hate was where it has forever been—gays, the elites,
liberals, immigrants, people of color and those perceived as
   getting a good deal in a global economy that features
home runs for the rich, strikeouts for the poor and
   lies hit down the foul line that T***p always calls fair.  

Martin H. Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, PEN, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He has published nine books and numerous articles and poems in various publications. He holds a PhD from NYU and lives in Forest Hills, New York.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017


by Laura Rodley

When President Donald Trump announced last week that he was pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord, Yale epidemiology researcher Katharine Walter felt gutted. “[Global warming] is already happening,” she said, “and the effects are already here.” Walter studies Lyme disease, the tick-borne illness that’s spreading frighteningly quickly in the Eastern and Midwestern US, due in part to climate change. Lyme cases have more than doubled since the 1990s, and the number of counties that are now deemed high-risk for Lyme has increased by more than 320 percent in the same period. 2017 is also shaping up to be a particularly bad year for Lyme. “These effects of climate change will be felt globally, but also here in the US,” Walter said, “and here in New York, in Trump’s backyard.” —Vox, June 6, 2017

So quick these late springtime ticks
brown ones, tiny black ones, ones
with orange bellies, crawling
on my pants, on the underbelly
of the horse, attaching themselves
even to the paws of my dog.
Relent I ask, but there’s no
connection to the mind of a tick,
no telepathy, they have only one
thing in mind and that’s appeasing
their hunger, fast, and they’ll
climb anywhere to get there;
they are not even afraid of your hand
reaching down for them:
they have no fear,
maybe they have no eyes.
Certainly I haven’t seen any eyes yet,
but boy, they know how to march
carrying lyme and anaplasmosis
in their bite. Relent, ticks, relent.

Laura Rodley's New Verse News poem “Resurrection” won a Pushcart Prlze and was published in the 2013 edition of the Pushcart anthology. 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.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017


by Alejandro Escudé

after Dante Alighieri

There is Jared Kushner encased in ice
Packed close to Trump gnawing

On Kushner’s head, the two shades
Wrapped in ice sheets reflecting

A mounting body of dishonesty,
A gold, Cyrillic script disappearing

As it appears, the demons awake
Long as the scroll takes, unwinding

Then winding again while the brute
Chews his son-in-law’s brain casing.

Silent, the pale skull, save for murmurs
Of a backchannel to Satan’s wing.

Beside these, Michael Flynn pecks
The bodies of wicked soldiers offering

Themselves to the stern-faced bird
Whose frozen beak prevents dining.

All this I see, with my poet guide,
Walt Whitman, beside me, the fattening

Of America, its undoing, still circles
Ahead of us, more furies unfurling.

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.

Monday, June 05, 2017


by Devon Balwit

Source: Twitter

I will not put my beer down.
Run me into the goddamn ground,
but I will finish the glass I earned
even as my old assumptions burn.
Over my tongue will slide the bitter
swallows, and I’ll return to pay the tab, better
than all destroying bastards. I’ll not
stay home tomorrow either, nor ought
you. Up and out to pubs and bridges,
resistance a sword, our presence its edges.

Devon Balwit teaches and writes in Portland, OR.

Sunday, June 04, 2017


by Diane Elayne Dees

“Court, 74, now a pastor in Perth, has reignited debate about her legacy and how the sport should celebrate her by making a series of inflammatory comments recently about gays and same-sex marriage. Her beliefs are not new — her public comments first stirred protests in 2012 — but her unflinching remarks have provoked some current players to say they would object to playing on a court named after her.” –The New York Times, May 31, 2017

I wonder if you know your Kinsey number,
or is it just too scary to report,
and might it go a long way to encumber
the zeal of someone like you, Margaret Court?

It's a rare thing to be a Kinsey zero,
whether you're in business, school, or sport,
and though you claim that Jesus is your hero,
I'm not sure he would like you, Margaret Court.

The last I checked, no lesbians were seducing
the players who you say were not their sort.
Besides, it doesn't take too much deducing
to conclude they wouldn't like you, Margaret Court.

Too bad for you, gay marriage is in fashion,
and your words of fear and hate do not comport
with your Bible's call to love and show compassion—
But isn't that just like you, Margaret Court?

Diane Elayne Dees's poems have been published in many journals and anthologies. Diane, who lives in Louisiana, also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that covers women's professional tennis worldwide. (In December, Women Who Serve featured a re-write of A Christmas Carol, in which Margaret Court appeared as Scrooge.)

Saturday, June 03, 2017


On T***p’s Withdrawal from the Climate Agreement

by Jon Wesick

Lincoln plants cotton on the White House lawn.
Rachel Carson sprays Agent Orange.
Martin Luther King hoists the confederate flag.
Gandhi stops at a steakhouse
on his way to the shooting range.

Crick and Watson blow their Nobel Prize money
on swizzle sticks and lotto tickets.
Jacques Cousteau moves to Arizona.
Einstein downs a six-pack of PBR
before getting behind the wheel of his GTO.
Jonas Salk shares dirty needles in Haitian crack houses.

Picasso enters his finger-painting period.
Mozart releases his 99 Bottles of Beer Symphony.
Julia Child dazzles guests with beef jerky à l’orange.
Dave Brubeck and McCoy Tyner embark
on their International Chopsticks Tour.

Stephen Hawking competes
in the Ultimate Fighting Challenge.
Bobby Fischer takes up checkers.
Elon Musk trades space flight and electric cars
for Pez dispensers. Warren Buffet
wires money to an exiled Nigerian prince.
Jean Paul Sartre guest stars
on Jackass.

Jon Wesick is a regional editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual. He’s published hundreds of poems and stories in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, Metal Scratches, Pearl, Slipstream, Space and Time, Tales of the Talisman, and Zahir. The editors of Knot Magazine nominated his story “The Visitor” for a Pushcart Prize. His poem “Meditation Instruction” won the Editor’s Choice Award in the 2016 Spirit First Contest. Another poem “Bread and Circuses” won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists Contest. Jon is the author of the poetry collection Words of Power, Dances of Freedom as well as several novels.

Friday, June 02, 2017


by David Feela

Let the Eiffel Tower
dim its lights,
not in tribute
to the victims
of terrorist bombs,
but let it go dark
as a reminder
for any who counts
on light that it will not
be found in America,
home of the coal-fired heart,
where a dull intellectual climate
muffles the air,
and where truth
has turned into
a stale commodity
only fit
to feed the poor.

David Feela writes a monthly column for The Four Corners Free Press and for The Durango Telegraph. A poetry chapbook, Thought Experiments, won the Southwest Poet Series. His first full length poetry book The Home Atlas appeared in 2009. His new book of essays How Delicate These Arches released through Raven's Eye Press, has been chosen as a finalist for the Colorado Book Award.


by George Salamon


“'The Germans are bad, really bad,' Donald Trump tells EU officials.”
          —The Telegraph, May 26, 2017
"What Germany can teach the US about democracy.”
          —Financial Times, February 8, 2017

Say it ain't so
About our old foe:
While in the home of the brave
We've gone from sweet liberty
To Donald T***p's entropy
In his limitless calamity.
But the Germans, baby,
Have come a long way
From the Kaiser's aristocracy
Via Hitler's atrocity
To celebrate democracy.

Ain't history grand?

For two decades George Salamon taught German language and literature at several East Coast colleges. This German lesson was not on the syllabus of his courses.

Thursday, June 01, 2017


by Jennifer Hernandez

Image source: REDBUBBLE

The constant covfefe
leaves me breathless,
when you voceffe
so close to me, makes
me want to run to our
special effecov and sip
a coffeev.  My evoceff—
so hip, so now—mingles
with ecoveff—so green &
environmentally friendly.
If I wasn’t suffering from
fecovef, didn’t have this
lingering evecoff, I wouldn’t
effvoce like I do. I’d be my old
voffcee self, singing voceffe
at the top of my fefevoc lungs.

Jennifer Hernandez lives in Minnesota where she works with immigrant youth and writes poetry, flash, and creative non-fiction. Much of her recent writing has been colored by her distress at the dangerous nonsense that appears in her daily news feed. She is marching with her pen. Recent work appears in Anti-Heroin Chic, Dying DahliaTheNewVerse.News, Yellow Chair Review, and Writers Resist.


by Jonel Abellanosa

Image source: Joey Mancuso

If you want to wag the dog, covfefe!
If you want people to take their eyes
            off your hands, covfefe!
If you want to distract the FBI, covfefe!
If you want to distract the media, covfefe!
If you want to calm yourself, covfefe!
If you want anger management, covfefe!
If you want to enrich yourself from
            the environment’s degradation
            without people noticing, covfefe!
If you are just simply dumb, covfefe!
If you are faker than the news you peddle,
If you are corrupt as hell, covfefe!

If you want to covfefe the planet, enjoy!
If you want to covfefe NATO, enjoy!
If you want to covfefe yourself,
            don’t bring the rest of us
                        with you!
Just covfefe yourself !

We don’t give a covfefe!

Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines.  His poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Marsh Hawk Review, Anglican Theological Review, Star*Line,  Poetry Kanto, Spirit Fire Review, Carbon Culture Review, The McNeese Review, GNU Journal and Dark Matter Literary Journal.  He has two chapbooks, Pictures of the Floating World (Kind of a Hurricane Press) and The Freeflowing All (Black Poppy Review).  He is a Pushcart Prize and Dwarf Stars Award nominee.