Guidelines



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Monday, July 31, 2017

FOR SOUHAYLA

by Vera Ignatowitsch 


Souhayla, one of the many Yazidi woman who were kidnapped by the Islamic State, outside the home of an uncle who wants her story to be told. Credit Alex Potter for The New York Times. You can listen to her story on “The Daily” podcast of The New York Times: After Mosul, Iraq, was liberated, two New York Times reporters encountered a group of women who had been enslaved by the Islamic State for years. Days after the city’s fall, they still believed that the militant group had taken over the world. Guests: Rukmini Callimachi, who covers terrorism and the Islamic State for The Times, and Andy Mills, a producer for “The Daily” who is in Iraq with her.


Hush child, it’s not time to tell
of the horrors you endured,
of the seven shades of hell
drowned in while your bones matured.
Do not ask. It took too long,
endless years to bring you back.
Flesh survived repeated wrong.
Lurking in the cul-de-sac
of your thighs a childhood waits
to be mourned with healing dirge.
Searing sorrow contemplates
crucial years lived on a verge,
stifling screams as each one mounts,
riding you in crude abuse.
Sleep now. One day we may count
wounds that do not bear excuse.

          You do not know. You were not there.
          It never stopped. They didn’t care.



Vera Ignatowitsch is addicted to poetry, raspberries, and occasionally good scotch. Her poems have appeared in 2 anthologies and a number of publications including The Lyric. She is editor of Formal & Rhyming poetry for Better Than Starbucks Poetry Magazine.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

DOG-WALKING IN THE SHADOW OF PYONGYANG

by Devon Balwit




We flip a coin over who walks
the dog, not tired, but edgy,
for the loser glances covertly
upward, listening for whistles,
siren-ready, side-eyeing each lot
for shelter. Somewhere in Pyongyang,
a finger hovers over a button, a head
cocks to catch the command
that will release the unmaker of worlds,
mine. The button-pusher is loyal,
me, reduced to caricature, and soon
to ash, all of us, web-stuck
in history. As with solar flares,
the big quake I’m told is coming,
or closer still, the millions arriving
next month to eclipse-gawk, my way
to cope is to deny, acting as if
and going about my business.
Kim Jong Un may render all
my insomniac panic moot—
aging, health-care, the planet,
my kids, my craft—a flame out sear
to trace elements in an open crater.


Devon Balwit is a writer/teacher from Portland, OR. Her poems have appeared in TheNewVerse.News, Poets Reading the News, Redbird Weekly Reads, Rise-Up Review, Rat's Ass Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Mobius, What Rough Beast, and more.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

CHECKPOINT

by Alejandro Escudé


San Diego County middle school teacher Shane Parmely was detained for more than an hour by Border Patrol agents at a checkpoint in New Mexico because she refused to say whether she was a U.S. citizen. Parmely’s family helped her film the incident, which she posted Friday evening on her Facebook account in several segments that were widely shared. Parmely told Border Patrol agents that she believed she did not have to answer their questions. One agent showed her a card listing immigration law and a Supreme Court case decision that give Border Patrol agents authority to operate checkpoints within 100 miles of the border and to ask questions about citizenship without warrants. —Los Angeles Times, July 25, 2017


You can read the officer's question
On the road: "Citizens?"

It is written in moon-white
And it is perfect in its dimensions

Like a geoglyph or an alien crop circle.
It will not wear away.

The teacher's answer is also on the road,
Afloat like a raven's feather

That refuses to succumb
To the asphalt, a ragged wind-bone,

A time traveller without an end.
The tumbleweed heart of New Mexico.


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, July 28, 2017

BREAKING

by Melissa Balmain



Giphy.com


Watching our children at the beach,
we ought to smile and schmooze,
but—phones regrettably in reach—
we're swamped by waves of news:

A crook goes free. A mouthpiece quits.
More leaders mix with commies.
Each hour or so, the Prez emits
A couple tweet tsunamis.

Battered and weary on the shore,
we fight for breath and wonder
how many more can hit before
they finally drag us under.


Melissa Balmain is Editor of Light, a journal of comic verse. Her poems have appeared in such places as American Life in Poetry, Lighten Up Online, Poetry Daily and The Washington Post's Style Invitational; her prose in The New Yorker, The New York Times, McSweeney’s, and Success. Her poetry collection Walking In on People (winner of the Able Muse Book Award), is often assumed by online shoppers to be some kind of porn.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

EVEN AS WE SLEEP

by Zara Raab



Disaster: the charred shell of Grenfell Tower a month after a fire in the building claimed 80 lives Getty Images via The Standard, July 27, 2017

To keep tenants warm
or impress rich neighbors,
builders wrap a London tower
in sheets of shiny tin,
and post notices that warn:
“Stay inside in case of fire,
and close your doors.”

Whisked up twenty floors
fire came this hour from outside in,
for the London tower is higher
(twenty stories to the roof)
than the fire man’s tallest ladder,
and the cladding, no proof
against Armageddon.


*

Pakistani residents carry an injured man after twin blasts at a market in Parachinar. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images —The Guardian, June 23, 2017

Every river, its sault.
Where you gather on market
days, or pray in temple pew,
you couldn’t be the target
of doom, but come, still, to bombs
like all unwelcome fate, hidden,
one of many, lit back-to-back

in towns like Parachinar; a photo
of ruined streets will show
just what can happen,
you’ll see, just watch the news.
So too in Baluchistan--
the crucible of guns--in Orlando,
Cincinnati or Syracuse.

*


The damaged USS Fitzgerald sits in dry dock in Yokosuka Photograph: Spc. 1st Class Leonard Adams/AP via The Guardian, July 22, 2017

Once an old oak held a platform
in its gnarly arms
where we children played.
With gumption, we added a wall
or two with our kit of tools,
but spiders soon swarmed by the dozen
to spin, and drove us away.

What comes even as we sleep?
On auto pilot, one big ship
rams another, midnight. As men
sleep in their bunks, the sea pours in,
flooding the sealed rooms where,
un-waking, un-watchful, they’ll be, later,
when we count the drowned.


Zara Raab's books are Fracas & Asylum, Swimming the Eel, Rumpelstiltskin, or What’s in a Name? and The Book of Gretel, narrative poems of Northern California. Her work, including reviews and essays, as well as poems, has appeared in Mezzo Cammin, Verse Daily, River Styx, Arts & Letters, Crab Orchard Review, Raven Chronicles, and The Dark Horse. She lives in western Massachusetts.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

HELLO, DAD? . . .

by Rick Mullin


Image source: Dylan Vermeul Art



with no apologies to Warren Zevon the sad loser


I sat down with the Russians,
despite the repercussions,
so could you now, perchance,
send lawyers, guns and money,
Manafort, Covfefe,
Wikileaks and Pepe,
Spice the Easter Bunny,  
Fox News sycophants
and . . . HOW WAS I TO KNOW?! . . . oh,
a change of underpants.


Rick Mullin's newest poetry collection is Transom.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

MICE

by Samantha Pious


TheNewVerse.News construction from images found at Zimbio and Meridian Magazine.




Among the mice (I’ve heard it told)
a special Congress was convened
against the Cat, their hated foe,
to seek some implement or means
whereby they might at last live free
in safety and security
without resorting to extremes.
—Why not achieve a coup-d’état?
Together we can bell the cat!

The caucus met, the bill was law,
the congress-mice adjourned their session.
One country-mouse, from out of town,
she shoulders in to ask a question —
what’s been done? We have a weapon,
they reply, to smash that wicked feline flat.
This bell, which shall be hung from round
his neck, will sound whenever he attacks.
Together we can bell the cat!

There’s strength in numbers. One gray rat
requests to know to whom the Bell
shall be entrusted. As to that,
none of the congress-mice can tell!
The Speaker squeaks for personnel.
Not one brave mouse will go to bat
(not even for a subcontract)
though catchy slogans always sell:
Together we can bell the cat!

These words ring hollow now. Alack.
But there’s still time for one last act.
Can we protect our habitat,
Republicans and Democrats
together? We can bell the cat!


Samantha Pious is the author of A Crown of Violets (Headmistress Press, 2015), a selection of translations from the poetry of Renée Vivien. More of her translations and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Doublespeak, Lavender Review, Mezzo Cammin, and other publications.

Monday, July 24, 2017

RODRIGO TREATS DONALD

by Jonel Abellanosa


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, previously praised and invited by President Trump to come to the White House, said he will not visit the United States during or after his term because the country is “lousy.” Duterte's remarks about one of the Philippines' oldest allies was in response to Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), who said he would protest if the Filipino leader utilized Trump's invitation. “There will never be a time that I will go to America during my term, or even thereafter. So what makes that guy think I'll go to America? I've seen America, and it's lousy,” Duterte told reporters Friday about McGovern. —Washington Post, July 22, 2017

eye
scream
eye scream
eye scream eye
scream eye scream
eye scream eye scream
scream eye scream
eye scream
*********
********
*cone cone*
cone cone
**cone**
*cone*
cone
co
ne
co
ne


Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines.  His poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Marsh Hawk Review, Rattle, 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 three chapbooks, Pictures of the Floating World (Kind of a Hurricane Press), The Freeflowing All (Black Poppy Review) and Meditations (Alien Buddha Press).  He is a Pushcart Prize and a Dwarf Stars Award nominee. Several of his poems have been published on TheNewVerse.News.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

WHITE MEN WRITING RACE

by Robert Carr


A liberal is someone who thinks he knows more about your experience than you do. —James Baldwin

There is a wise white woman
in my life, counting dead black people.
They break her pulse, her heart.
That's real. She etches names

into a journal, copper markers
in her garden. She says, "Feel
like maybe it's someone else's
story, and I should stick to dandelions."

Blow ball fruits blown into air,
an untenable lawn. High flying
single seeds. Everything about this
poem tells me, Get out of the way.


Robert Carr is the author of Amaranth, a chapbook published in 2016 by Indolent Books. His poetry has appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review, Kettle Blue Review, TheNewVerse.News, Radius Literary Magazine, Pretty Owl Poetry, The Good Men Project and other publications. He lives with his husband Stephen in Malden, Massachusetts, and serves as  an associate poetry editor for Indolent Books.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

ON THE CHEETO WITH TINY HANDS

by Sue Brannan Walker





Hades, Hell’s Bells, the smoke’s getting to me, Hephaestus sending Olympian signals ‘bout all the hubbub happening on earth, worse than Hermes hiding Apollo’s herd of cows, no matter that Hera and Helios and hordes of many-headed beasts thought it was a horrible thing to do and getting all heated up about the theft, and I say that even worse than Hades hitting on Persephone and hauling her off to the Underworld is old Howhard’s grabbing girls by their honey-pots and his acts of deportation and well, you could hear all the howling from Hell to Houston, from Hamburg to Hanoi to Hermopolis in Greece, and damned if that orange windbag, that short-fingered Vulgarian with baby hands, that wallaroo hailing huge crowds and all those alternative facts erupting like Klyuchevskoy in eastern Russia: cough, choke, hawk, hem and—Deîmos kaì Phóbos, yuge horror and fear. Smell rotten orange, hear it, the nasalizing pain of it, the oink, grunt, squeal of that canker-headed scobblelotcher that needs to be hog-tied?  It is hard to get a handle on all the hullabaloo, but trust that trumpdignation and limiting the reach of mini-hands might set us free. 


Sue Brannan Walker is Professor Emerita from the University of South Alabama. She was Poet Laureate of Alabama from 2003-2012. She is the publisher of Negative Capability Press, the author of The Ecopoetics of James Dickey, ten books of poetry, and has published critical articles on Marge Piercy, Richard Eberhart, Flannery O’Connor, Carson McCullers, as well as edited numerous anthologies.

Friday, July 21, 2017

MIRROR, MIRROR

by Jennifer Hernandez 



The single lines in the following poem are from Justine’s lecture “The Mirror Effect.”


for Justine Damond


Mirror her moves, sun salutation, cat and cow, warrior one, child's pose.
Mirror her breathing, peaceful expression, bright smile, calm voice.

The universe reflects back the energy you send out.

Mirror her concern, screams in the alley, a possible assault.
Mirror her fingers tap 9-1-1, watch out the window waiting.

We are all connected through a benevolent force.

Mirror her light footsteps, open the back door, step outside.
Mirror her strides to the police car, her shock at shots fired.

The quantum world is a world of unknowns and unpredictability.


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 that which appears in her daily news feed. She is marching with her pen. Recent work appears in Anti-Heroin Chic, Dying Dahlia, TheNewVerse.News, Rise Up Review and Writers Resist.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

MATRYOSHKA DOLL

by Harold Oberman


Lawyers peel off the layers
Of suited smiling dolls,
The next one smaller,
Until they find
An orange
Infant
Tsar.






Harold Oberman is a lawyer working and writing in Charleston, SC.  He went to the University of Virginia where he took full advantage of the poets teaching in the English Department. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

LET OBAMACARE FAIL

by Jeremy Thelbert Bryant




“Let Obamacare fail,” he says
like “Let them eat cake”
like privilege is universal
like old folks don’t get older, sicker
like men don’t have prostates
like women don’t have breasts
like cancer is fake news
like kids don’t break
like everyone stays in a tower
like all inherit their daddies’ money
like no lives matter
like the leader of a country doesn’t care


Jeremy Thelbert Bryant is a poet and a writer of creative nonfiction. He is a graduate of the low residency MFA program at West Virginia Wesleyan College. When he is not teaching English, he is burning incense, listening to music, drinking coffee, and writing. His work may be found in Pikeville Review and Prism. He finds inspiration in the red of cardinals, in the honesty of Frida Kahlo’s artwork, and in the frankness of Tori Amos’ lyrics.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

THE CHILDREN OF SYRIA

by Philip C. Kolin


CREDIT: Laurence Geai‏ @laurencegeai, July 14, 2017.  “#Mossul some of my pictures of our report with @OliveFlore for @ParisMatch . Some civilians are still locked inside, and fighting is not over."


There's no place for angels to sing anymore.
The children of Syria have gone away.
Some died of gas that looked like tulips exploding.
There's no place for angels to sing anymore.
Others received bullets for their birthdays
And so many burned in the fires of their enemies' eyes.
There's no place for angels to sing anymore.
The children of Syria have gone away.


Philip C. Kolin is the University Distinguished Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi where he also edits the Southern Quarterly. He has published more than 40 books on Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, African American playwrights as well as  seven collections of poems. His most recent book  is Emmett Till in Different States: Poems from Third World Press.

Monday, July 17, 2017

DAY NINE OF THE WHITTIER FIRE

by Peg Quinn





Our differences burn away
now petty as air-borne ash
we stare, united by the dark
smoke-swallowed sky
The sun, reduced
by this raging fire
to a simple burning
red disk of anger

as we wonder what
happens next—
sundowner winds
breathing
with indifference
toward us, a lesson
in how lucky
we have been


Whittier fire photo by the poet.

Peg Quinn is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, mural and theatrical set painter and award-winning quilter.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

ALEX'S TEETH

Spiraling Abecedarian
by Susan Vespoli


 “Trumpcare Will Be a Disaster for Opioid Epidemic” –Rolling Stone, June 28, 2017


Alex’s                                      baby
bottom                                     choppers
crept up like                            darts.
Duo of                                     early pearls
emerging                                 front row
finial twins,                             grinners,
grinders,                                  happy sprouts
held                                         in mouth like
innocence                                jiggled loose, lost,
jammed  beneath pillow.         Kid notes 
kissed up to tooth fairy          “Leave cash, please.
Lots.”  The                              mom
(me)                                        never said
“No”                                       or maybe
only rarely.                             Put five bucks under his
pillow, smiled                        quietly smoothed
quilt.    No sign of                  rotting then. Cavity free.
Really                                     straight
sans orthodontia.                    Teeth
to die for, eventually               under siege. Addiction is
ugly. I can’t watch them         vanquished,
vanishing into                         white powder,
wasting gray.                           Xed out by OxyContin
Rx. Then junk.                        Ya. I can’t watch 
you dissolve,                           zero each enamel bead into
zilch. Zot.


Susan Vespoli lives in Phoenix, AZ where the opioid epidemic is alive and well. Her work has been published in a variety of spots including Mom Egg Review, TheNewVerse.News, Write Bloody, and dancing girl press.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

AFTER THE MARE FINISHES JUMPING

by Tricia Knoll 




a hand holds out a cookie of molasses and oats.
Square in the center of that little cake,
red licorice, or black, a peppermint.
Job well done. Time for rest

and health care, cool water,
baths, consideration
of overtime, a refuge
with a solid roof,
greens, a kind hand,
good neighbors,
legal papers,
retirement benefits
and a living wage.


Tricia Knoll has loved to be around horses all her life. One of those kind of poet-girls. This poem came to her after watching a spectacular jumping competition in Wilsonville, Oregon. Tricia’s new book of poetry Broadfork Farm compiles love songs to a small organic farm in Trout Lake, Washington—and includes one other poem about horses in the midst of those about dogs, chickens, pigs, goats, farmers, and orchards. @triciaknollwind

Friday, July 14, 2017

AMERICA 2017: TWO WORLDS, WORLDS APART

by George Salamon


"The study shows that stagnating wages and inequality are deeply entrenched...and that inequality in lifetime incomes will persist and even worsen," in "Work and Reward: The Great Disconnect," The New York Times, July 6, 2017


Image source: Robin Ayres Pinterest: Art – Globes


Few things are more difficult
Than to move the powerful
And prosperous to pity.
Their heads are spreadsheets
For the accumulation of wealth,
Their hearts vessels for
Blood turned ice cold.
The poor may not obey the law
Because of utter need,
The rich do not obey the law
Because of extreme greed.
They live in worlds
So far apart
The center could not hold.

And there is no second coming.








George Salamon lives in St. Louis (MO) County, just outside the city of St. Louis. The two are worlds apart.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

MOTHER TONGUE

by Mark Ward


Image source: The New Yorker, July 3, 2017: “The Gay Men Who Fled Chechnya’s Purge.” See also “How a Russian Journalist Exposed the Anti-Gay Crackdown in Chechnya,” The New Yorker, June 10, 2017.

Chechnya 2017

I say nothing. The police interrogate me,
start to break me with electricity. I scream but
say nothing. I will only live if I say nothing.
Each shock dissolves the words they speak,
the taunts they throw, they've always known,
my whole community responds with voltage.


I no longer understand their language.
I am a tourist mixed up in all of this
waiting for my embassy to free me
and be a near miss story I'll tell to the man
who loves me, who will never leave me
like this: eighteen, severed, unkissed. 


I'm put in with thirty others; battery hens,
nowhere to move but for our sins, held
together by tears, the persistence of skin
and a confirmation, unintended by them,
that there are more of us. We cannot sleep so
we speak our secrets since it can't get worse. 


I jolt awake to see the boy beside me staring.
He’s from a few villages over, yet we've never
met. The hand that woke me keeps contact, his lips
open slightly. I can't breathe looking at that. My first kiss
approaches. We're being watched. All I want is this
but I shake my head no; saying nothing, but living. 


I lose track of days, of beatings. The wounds
no longer heal, keep bleeding. I am so thirsty,
I am starving. I cannot concentrate. I hear them
laughing. Or is that me when they ask me
questions. I will not speak. I will not lessen.
I'm dehydrated and delirious. I imagine a life


where I grow up somewhere else and this
would be a conversation, a status update,
an aspect of me. The village boy is dead.
I no longer sleep. I am a corollary. I dream.
There are millions like me, sleeping tonight.
I say nothing but still lose the fight.


Mark Ward is a poet from Dublin, Ireland. With his own poems  featured in many journals and anthologies, Ward founded and edits Impossible Archetype: A Journal of LGBTQ+ Poetry. He has completed two books, a chap called Circumference and a full-length collection called How to Live When Life Subtracts. He has watched every episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race many, many times.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

GHOSTS IN THE MACHINE

by Devon Balwit




There are so many ghosts in our machines—their locations so hidden, their methods so ingenious, their motives so inscrutable—that not to feel haunted is not to be awake.  —Walter Kirn, The Atlantic, November 2015
                                                                                                         
We dish dirt over drinks—husbands, work,
yearnings—the room so crowded I yell

to be heard, but still wish our phones
elsewhere, mics disabled, wish everyone’s

locked away, apps always asking
for locations, each talking to the other

in a digital chorus, strands in an unseen web,
vibrating. When the photos in my feed

echo, the upflung arms of child mirrored
in an abstract painting, or when memes

ripple outwards, themes kaleidoscoped
myriad, this is no accident,

the fancy of my poetic nature. Like a
kook in a backwoods cabin, I mutter

about the eye in the sky, but know
my needle port already inserted,

perhaps now running saline, but
at any time opiates or annihilation.

Each keystroke resonates elsewhere,
saved in cold storage by the NSA

in Utah or somewhere in Russia, fodder
for the clever, data points in the on-going

experiment. We’ve been turned inside out,
pockets filched of coin. A single finger

can undo us, and, like any with a knife
pressed so intimately, we obey.


Devon Balwit is a writer/teacher from Portland, OR. Her poems have appeared in TheNewVerse.News, Poets Reading the News, Redbird Weekly Reads, Rise-Up Review, Rat's Ass Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Mobius, What Rough Beast, and more.

THE TWO DONS

by David Spicer




Two vultures lurk on top of the tree,
both always wanting more, more,
slaves to their animal-egos’ greed,
each desiring money like a whore.
Don and Don, Jr. scowl, dark knights,
as if they despise the world they ravage,
father and son living to pick fights,
doing their best to act the savage.
Women? Just prized possessions
they might grab, fondle, and keep,
depending on their current obsessions
and whether they pounce after they leap.
Will Daddy devour Jr. under the bus?
More than likely, before he eats us.


David Spicer has had poems in Chiron Review, Alcatraz, Gargoyle, Zombie Logic Review, Poppy Road Review, The Reed Magazine, Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. The author of Everybody Has a Story and four chapbooks, he’s the former editor of raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books.

THE SKY IS THE LIMIT

by Alejandro Escudé


“Russian Dirt on Clinton? ‘I Love It,’ Donald Trump Jr. Said,” —The New York Times, July 11, 2017


There is no way to confirm what we know.
A parade of Windsor knots. The meetings.
The taking and taking of meetings. In the East,
they say the West is “out here” when they’re
here. I travel the freeway under fiery skies
listening to the bare news sans the clothing
of images—unnecessary—as the haves take
more, history theirs, the colleges are theirs,
the homes, the beaches, the pearly oceans.
How do we unearth the hoard under the blip
on the metal detector? And how many cast
members! The lawyer, the singer, the orphans.
In the age of T***p, aren’t we all orphans?
Our ageless souls stripped from our organs.


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.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

FEARFUL FOR MY GOVERNMENT JOB

DREAMING OF RETIREMENT
I THINK OF DU FU

by Maryann Corbett



NPR Headline, June 27, 2017: “President Trump Looks to Slash Nearly 4000 Interior Department Jobs”

Tell me, venerable poet, how did you cope
with changes of regime?

Did you hear, in the gardens of Chang’an,
when men in new silk robes
spoke your name and snickered?

Did they practice, in their graceful calligraphy,
the characters for cutting the fat?
For starving the beast?

Did you watch as others suffered,
like you, demotion and disgrace?

You, too, longed for peace,
for a farm, a thatched cottage, the sound of a stream.

Teach me how you mastered yourself
so as to leave us poems of a thousand years
of rivers, moonlight, compassion.

Teach me how you knew it was time at last
to flee before the barbarians.


Video by the Bureau of Land Management published on Nov 10, 2016. In June 2017, T***p's Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told lawmakers . . .  "that he plans to shrink his department’s sprawling workforce by 4,000 employees—about 8 percent of the full-time staff—as part of budget cuts to downsize the government’s largest public lands agency. . . . 1,000 jobs would be lost at the Bureau of Land Management—which manages hundreds of wilderness areas, two dozen national monuments and other protected lands in addition to issuing leases for livestock grazing and oil and gas extraction —according to an email its acting director sent to employees last Friday." —The Washington Post, June 21, 2017



Maryann Corbett is grateful that in fact she's already retired from almost 35 years of work with the Minnesota Legislature. Her newest book Street View: Poems is available from Able Muse Press.

Monday, July 10, 2017

SoCal ILLEGALS

by Peg Quinn



 
Rain washed out the gardeners morning.
They’ve gathered just beyond my back door,
leaning on trucks, getting soaked, their
laughter muffled except for one high-
pitched trill, like a girl. I smile,
embarrassed.

They’re dressed in layers of faded clothes,
teeth framed in gold, defiant knuckles raw
and determined as their letters home.

When the sun returns they’ll protect their necks
with bandannas draped from baseball caps,
scrunch in rusted, dented trucks and
clank away to guaranteed uncertainty.


Peg Quinn is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, mural and theatrical set painter, award-winning quilter and art specialist at a private school in Santa Barbara, California.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

FOURTH OF JULY 2017

by Susan P. Blevins
Sad Food Face Canvas Print  by Smetek


I could not celebrate this year
the lonely clamor to feed the hole in our
hearts with hot dogs and hamburgers,
hoping for alchemical miracle, from
simple-minded barbecue to
manna from heaven to feed our wounded
hearts, but instead all we ate turned to
bitterness and regret, leaving a
mouthful of ashes and dust,
uneasy and hungry still, listening to
the bands, watching the fireworks
in all their frenzied attempt to heal the
mockery of 2017’s Independence Day.


Susan P. Blevins’s blood pressure is up since last November. She is sure the country will have serious health problems in the next four years unless an antidote is found.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

THE SHORES OF BROOKLYN

Saturday July 1, 2017, 3 p.m.

by Tsaurah Litzky


Pier 5 Brooklyn Bridge Park, photo by Etienne Frossard


Seen from my kitchen window, the line in front of Luke’s Lobster
across Water Street (lobster rolls $20 each) is longer than the B25 Bus
weaving its way through the crowd.
Families with strollers, dogs walking their owners, young lovers, old lovers,
people alone eating ice cream cones, legs, legs everywhere legs,
women of all sizes, shapes, ages showing off their knees, at least.
Shorts are in this year. T***p beware! Screw your tweets, your T***p care!
You won’t stop us from strutting our stuff on the shores of Brooklyn,
a big woman in pink short shorts, her thighs jiggling like Jell-O is
escorted by a guy who looks like a young Brando,
I want to cut in, steal her shorts, steal her date,
while behind them four young dudes joke and pass a basketball,
followed by three sweet teen angels in hijabs.
The waterfront is still a free country! Such happiness!
Suddenly! Claps of thunder! Lightening cracks across the river
the heavens open, rain comes pouring down, the crowd scatters,
to huddle under the trees in the park or push into the ShakeShack,
the happiness so quickly shattered!
I already know there are no guarantees of permanence anywhere,
especially in a country that could elect T***p for President,
yet something pulls me to the window, I open it, stick my head out,
in less time than you can say “the land of the free,”
my head is soaking wet but when I breathe in, I smell the sea.


Tsaurah Litzky is a widely published poet who also writes fiction, memoir and commentary. Her poetry collections are Baby On The Water (Long Shot Press) and Cleaning The Duck (Bowery Books). Her most recent poetry chapbooks, Full Lotus: Poems about Yoga and Jerry in the Bardo, were published by NightBallet Press.

Friday, July 07, 2017

MEALS ON WHEELS

by Peggy Turnbull 


A Meals on Wheels cook moves trays down the line to be packaged. (Josh Galemore/Associated Press) —“Mr. President, come take a ride with Meals on Wheels,” The Washington Post, April 7, 2017.


A cruciferous scent wafts
from the institutional kitchen
where a helper drops cheese
on a main dish we can’t identify.
We cover foam trays tightly
in plastic wrap, pile them high
in an insulated carrier, grab
cold lunches from steel carts.

Eat your bread in happiness.

At subsidized senior apartments
we roam dim corridors, step
on well-worn carpets, pound
on thin doors. We enter a den
of cigar smoke. Across the hall
Yorkshire terriers bark. Ladies
in the lobby are excited
about the Brussels sprouts.
We ring the light for the deaf woman,
who gestures for us to tie
her high-topped leather shoes.
A paper towel is her placemat.
Her plate and fork are ready.

Eat your bread in happiness.

A corridor reeks of bowel movement.
The elevator smells of kitty litter. A man
isn’t dressed, asks us to pass his meals
through the gap in the chained door.
We deconstruct the cold lunch, hand
him a milk carton, squeeze a sandwich
through.  We leave the building, hold
our noses at the urine soaked entrance.      

Eat your bread in happiness.


Peggy Turnbull lives in Wisconsin near Lake Michigan.  Her poems have recently been published in Verse-Virtual, The Young Ravens Literary Review, and Snapdragon.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

THE WEEKLY NUISANCE

by Edmund Conti


"Trump Time" by John Mavroudis, The New Yorker


You want to be a cover boy
And that is good and well.
But let me tell you, Lover Boy,
Time will tell.


Edmund Conti has never been on the cover of any magazine, real or fake. Sad.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

ROADSIDE CALVARY, FLAGPOLE PRESIDING

                          due west of Washington, DC

by Gilbert Allen




Supersized, it seemed a little strange
at first, Old Glory. Then I realized
trussed up here hung America. Our two
states of the spirit, left and right—thieves crossed,
clutching the splinters of our government.

One penitent, the other not so much—
wraiths framing a high ideal inclined to die
above our heads. It stimulates our faith,
clear as an HOV lane to a shining
city on a hill—concrete, and never there.


Gilbert Allen's newest books are Catma (a collection of poems) and The Final Days of Great American Shopping (a collection of linked stories). He lives in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, and recently drove to our nation's capital.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

NAMING OF PARTS

by Tricia Knoll


Image source: White Mountain Puzzles


After Henry Reed


Spring eased the almond blossoms open
and promises of cherries while we named parts
left over from winter. Collusion. Taking
away, reducing, throwing in the trash
legal widgets that keep the water pure,
air open to the cherry’s pollen flight.

We named parts with words round
to our tongues, like emoluments, to see
how that piece fit in the grooves
of palaces and greens like golf courses.
Lies are new lower swing swivels
alternatives, the stock aiming.
We call the liar  a number, not a name.

We watched tired armies of people
whose papers dictate that they bolt
backwards, locked. Riled bees assault
the fumbling flowers and some too
called that easing the spring.

Assembled from parts, the barrel
is loaded and pointed at every one
of us. The sick. Disabled. Those
who stumbled. Women mourning
in too many dry cities to count.
Children born to know only this.

Whatever bitter cold silence ensues,
whatever violence, these parts came
forged as cocking-pieces, and the many
words to name them buzzed over us
diseasing the spring.


Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet who in the last week has read Henry Reed's famous 1942 poem "The Naming of Parts" about fifteen times, sharing the dismay of progressives at how rapidly important protections of people and the environment can be dismantled. Her new book, Broadfork Farm, is a series of love poems to a small organic farm in Trout Lake, Washington.

Monday, July 03, 2017

GENEALOGY AND THE BAN

by Judith Terzi


Demonstrators waited outside the Supreme Court on Monday, when it was announced that a limited travel ban would be allowed until the justices could hear arguments this fall. Credit Al Drago for The New York Times, June 28, 2017


And just for the record,
close family does not
include half sisters but
stepbrothers, not step-
fathers but second cousins
once or twice or thrice
removed on the father's
side if they can sing and
third cousins on the mother's
side if they can tango nuevo
with a son-in-law on no
one's side but not first
cousins unless they're chefs,
and not step-grandmothers
if their hair is short and
white and if they write.


Judith Terzi's poems appear in a wide array of journals and anthologies including Caesura, Columbia Journal, Raintown Review, Unsplendid, and Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Web and Net and included in Keynotes, a study guide for the artist-in-residence program for State Theater New Jersey. Casbah and If You Spot Your Brother Floating By are recent chapbooks from Kattywompus Press.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

IMPERATIVE ON FACEBOOK FROM NEIGHBOR WHOM I THOUGHT ONLY DISCUSSED THE WEATHER

Found Poem by Donna Hilbert

Really, Donna
Stick to art and poetry
Enough politics!
He’s the President
Get used to it!


Donna Hilbert is observing the collapse of free speech from Long Beach California.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

A SORE WINNER

by William Marr




he won
yet he is not satisfied
all the cheering and hailing came from the living
but few, if any, from the dead

so he vows to investigate
how many dead people are really dead
and how many living people pretend to be living


William Marr has published 23 volumes of poetry (two in English and the rest in his native Chinese language), 3 books of essays, and several books of translations.  His poetry has been translated into more than ten languages and included in over one hundred anthologies.  Some of his poems are used in high school and college textbooks in Taiwan, China, England, and Germany.