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Thursday, August 31, 2017


by Bonnie Naradzay

On the outskirts of Bethlehem
Israeli military jeeps
late at night arrive at a school,
newly built, as locals prepare
for next morning’s grand opening.
Shooting tear gas, and rubberized
steel bullets used for crowd control,
soldiers clear villagers from there.
Then bulldozers and flatbed trucks
show up and take the school away,
including tables and teaching
aids, leaving only tiny chairs.

Bonnie Naradzay's poems have appeared in JAMA, Poet Lore, Split This Rock, Delmarva Review, Passager, Pinch (Pushcart Prize nomination), The Guardian,, The Seminary Ridge Review, Innisfree, Atlanta Review, Salt River Review, Energeia, TheNewVerse.News, and others.  In 2010 she won the Poetry Prize, New Orleans MFA Program.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


by Judith Terzi

Lies and lies are everywhere,
and racist slogans fill the air
and hatred oozing everywhere.
We didn't know this way.

And now these folks they block the sun,
they ruin love for everyone.
So many things he could have done.
His base got in the way.

He looks at hate from both sides now.
The KKK's okay somehow.
His father marched, you will recall.
He really doesn't care about us at all.

His id rides on a Ferris wheel,
spins dizzy, hurtful tweets he feels
as all delusional goes real.
We didn't know this way.

So every day another show.
We cringe wherever he doth go.
And what will happen, we don't know
until the lies give way.

He looks at hate from both sides now
and white supremacists somehow
are good, he said, you will recall.
And Sheriff Joe isn't really bad at all.

Our tears and fears, not feeling proud
to say our country right out loud
is led by hacks and circus crowds.
We didn't vote this way.

Our senators are acting strange.
They shake their heads, but what will change?
Transgender troops may lose what's gained
in fighting every day.

He looks at hate from both sides now.
His nemesis is love somehow.
Dark clouds will reign, you will recall,
when Fascists really aren't that bad at all.

Judith Terzi's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals and anthologies such as BorderSenses, Caesura, Columbia Journal, Good Works Review (FutureCycle Press), Raintown Review, Unsplendid, You Are Here: The Journal of Creative Geography, and Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond. Casbah and If You Spot Your Brother Floating By are her most recent chapbooks from Kattywompus Press.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


by Lenore Weiss

Left: Tom and his dog Winter take a moment as they hang out at his friend's camp site near 5th and Market streets on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. Tom's camp is across the street. Photo: Santiago Mejia, The Chronicle. Right: OMCA Dorothea Lange Photo Exhibit: The Politics of Seeing.

for Dorothea Lange

A living room in the street
beneath the freeway
where a dog barks 24/7
tied to a clothes line
a sawhorse corralled
near a barbecue pit
pallets and bedspreads
rescued from last year’s
construction site
a chair missing one arm
but still good enough
to relax
on a summer’s evening
and listen to the sound
of commuter traffic.

He said he used to be
a Shakespearean actor
tall with broad shoulders
salt and pepper hair
people in the audience
used to call him
now he's missing
most of his front teeth
couldn’t understand
everything he said
about a stage
how he wanted to build it
beneath the overpass.

Dorothea Lange showing
at the Oakland Museum
Dust Bowl photos
how engineers dammed
Lake Berryessa.
If she were alive today
I bet she’d open her wallet
show him pictures of her kids,
explain where she grew up,
went to school,
what she did for a living
then quietly ask
if she could take pictures
of him in his living room
Just sit in that chair, 
she’d say, it’ll do fine . . .
she might even ask him to recite
a scene from Hamlet, or better yet,
get the actor to introduce her
to his friends
let us see
what it is we won't.

Lenore Weiss is an MFA candidate at San Francisco State University where she is also a teaching assistant. Winner of the Clark-Gross Award and the Robert Browning Dramatic Monologue contest, her poetry has been published in many journals. Books include Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island (West End Press, 2012) Two Places (Kelsay Books, 2014), and The Golem (Hadassa Word Press, 2017). 

Monday, August 28, 2017


by Diane Elayne Dees

Eat birthday cake in the Arizona desert.
If, however, you’re not invited to the party
like the other guy was, don’t despair:
Arizona still needs you, though it’s as dry
as a page torn from the Constitution.
There is work to be done in the West,
though relentless rain assaults Houston,
and parts of Texas look like a war zone.

You could briefly fly over and have an aide
explain to you what’s going on; it took only
moments to fly clueless over Louisiana.
After that, you’re free to leave what looks
like the end of the world in the hands
of the callous and incompetent.
Heck of a job.

But you like to do things your own way,
to break the rules because you can.

You could ride out the storm at Mar-a-Lago
while Texans sleep on the floors of shelters,
avoid the bunker while they wade through
flooded highways. Or you could gather
the press to remind them that Texas
gave you its electoral votes, and the streets
were mobbed for your inauguration.
And you could assure Texans, as they search
for gas, water, food, their furniture, their pets,
their sanity—that everything will be fine
because there soon will be a wall.

Diane Elayne Dees's poems have been published in many journals and anthologies, including Hurricane Blues: Poems about Katrina and Rita. Diane, who lives in Louisiana, also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that covers women's professional tennis throughout the world.

Sunday, August 27, 2017


by Devon Balwit

Kristin Collins with the letter her son Abraham Davis sent to the Masjid Al Salam Mosque (Fort Smith, Arkansas) in apology for his actions. Davis had driven his friend to the mosque on which the friend drew swastikas and curses while Davis stood watch in the driveway.—The New York Times Magazine, August 26, 2017

“I wake up and look in the mirror and I just think, ‘Who are you?’”
 —Abraham Davis quoted in "The Two Americans,” 
The New York Times Magazine, August 26, 2017

I don’t know why I did it, why I did most things.
I wanted to be bigger, harder to squash. I didn’t even

do the drawing, just drove my friends to where they
scrawled the broken-winged Swastikas. When the police

came, later, no one was surprised. In fact, we all exhaled,
the cell a hole my life had been funneled towards. When

I wrote the mosque to forgive me, I startled myself. I never
expected they would, instead, just wanted to answer

the ghosts crowding my nights. I wanted to show
who I wasn’t. They forgave me. Now comes learning

how to forgive myself. Every day, I look in the mirror,
and I think: Who are you? I look myself in the eyes.

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

Friday, August 25, 2017


by Marsha Owens

Art from Naomi Kane. Image source: TheNib

Words travel dark back roads of my brain, seep into aching fingers
that strike the keyboard then ricochet off the page like a human pummeled
and tossed.

            —a slight body can dent the grill, a car the weapon of choice,
            and headlights grab strands of blonde hair later smoothed around her
            young face by her mother’s trembling hands—

and we, shocked, shocked I tell you
step lightly across the abyss from then into now,
collective arms drop in surrender, heads hang resigned,
eyes look away then glance back to watch America turn
rancid, its remains ooze behind clanking gates, huddle with ignorance,
kick the dirt in search of morality and decency once treasured.

            And we still don’t believe the signs and symptoms—
            even though the heart has stopped beating.

Marsha Owens spent her career in public education and is now happily retired. Born and raised in Richmond, VA, the recent events in Charlottesville hit too close to home. She is pleased that her work has appeared at Rat’s Ass Review, The Wild Word, TheNewVerse.News and is forthcoming in Streetlight Magazine.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


by Tricia Knoll

Horse Statue by jellobuster at DeviantArt

One million dead in the Civil War,
if you count the mules.
Which I do.

I say, blowtorch the rebel statue
men off their mounts and keep
the horses striding on their pedestals.

They were not traitors
to their country, showed no sign
of caring who they carried,

black or white, male or
female. Their integrity
is without question.

They did the work
they were asked to do
without a nod at glory.

Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet with a deep fondness for horses. I can see these statues with newly installed saddles replacing the old white men, perhaps ladders for children to climb up on. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


by Jennifer Clark

Photo by Nathan Atkinson on Unsplash

I do as Greg says, for five minutes, three times a day.
I feel silly, sifting my fingers through a medley of dried
lentils, black-eyed peas, and rice, trying to grab and release.
Instead, my right hand wants to pull the skyscraper of weeds
rising through the weigela. My thumb and forefinger itch to pinch
the dead heads of zinnias and marigolds. I should be thinning
the obedient plants, trimming the crazy-haired boxwood.
There is so much work to do in this world.

Attempting to grab and release, my hand wants to seize and shake
the trumpet vine that my well-intentioned neighbors planted.
The orange thug invades the garden with fire and fury.
It loves to feast on fences, has been known to break windows
and pry the siding off homes. Round Up and yelling don’t work.

As the trumpet vine threatens to take over the neighborhood,
I recall one weary gardener’s opinion: it is not a plant, but a form
of domestic terrorism. Here is the best way to handle this noxious
vine that thrives in poor soil yet can attract the sweetest hummingbirds:
Do not ignore it.

Left locked and loaded to its own devices, it will only
displace desirable vegetation. Call it by its true names:
Campis radicans and cow-itch. Don’t fight it. Give it
excessive care. Water it. Nourish the soil. Love it to death.

We can not give up on this good world, even as it slips
through our fingers, we must keep trying. So, go ahead,
roll up your sleeves, plunge into this seeded and weedy
life, and grab and release. Grab and release.

Jennifer Clark, whose left hand wrote this poem, is the author of Necessary Clearings (Shabda Press). Her second poetry collection Johnny Appleseed: The Slice and Times of John Chapman is forthcoming from Shabda Press. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


by Kathleen McClung

A Michigan woman accused of stealing flowers from local cemeteries that authorities say she used to decorate her home has been sentenced to jail. [She] was arrested after someone saw a car full of flowers leaving a cemetery. —The Detroit News, July 24, 2017

Such lavish praise on nearly every stone.
Nobody ever cheated here, I guess,
or bounced a check, defaulted on a loan,
or lit evictions with a black Zippo. Success
blooms here in jelly jars of peonies,
hibiscus, orchids, mums. They go to waste
each Tuesday though, when short-timers turn keys
on mowers, ride around, bring home bouquets
to wives. (My ex did once, ten years ago.
Then he left town with Viv.) On Monday nights
I make my rounds at dusk. I drive real slow
and pay respect, then load the car—blues, whites,
and fuchsias, sweet ceramic bowls the shape
of shamrocks, doves. They match my couch, my drapes.

Kathleen McClung lives, teaches, and writes in San Francisco. She judges sonnets for the Soul-Making Keats literary competition and hears the poetry in people trying to make ends meet.

Monday, August 21, 2017


by William Marr

from The New York Times, August 14, 1932

Young at heart
the old sun
once in a while
likes to put on
his mischievous black mask
just to scare
the superstitious jittery

He doesn’t know
we now keep shadows
safely in a world of virtual reality
where we eat and drink
make love
all without benefit
of a single ray
of sunlight

William Marr has published 23 volumes of poetry (Autumn Window and Between Heaven and Earth are in English and the rest in his native Chinese language), 3 books of essays, and several books of translations.  His most recent published work Chicago Serenade is a trilingual (Chinese/English/French) anthology of poems published in Paris in 2015. 


by David Radavich

What is the sound
of an eclipse
or a moon’s shadow?

That is the life
we want.

Not without dissonance
but chords echoing
silk, weaving
the overhead sky
night or day.

A small tune maybe
but momentous.

Big as galaxies.

A flower that
foresees its death.

Tomorrow will be
a different clef:
quavers and justice
that ring light.

David Radavich's recent poetry collections are America Bound: An Epic for Our Time, Middle-East Mezze, and The Countries We Live In.  His plays have been performed across the U.S., including six Off-Off-Broadway, and in Europe.


by J. D. Mackenzie

Image source: Blue Sky Vineyards
via Belleville (IL) News-Democrat
It burns within us, a need to look skyward
toward this thing, so dangerous and rare.

The heavens chose a route
meant to pierce our needful heartland
and gather together long-lost friends.

With all the hoopla and hype Gomorrah
there’s also a cautionary note,
that some things
like Gomorrah and Eurydice
should never be seen
for fear of losing it all.

But what if we knew it was our time
and every thing we did
was the last thing?

That last saved magnum of Margaux
a final, torrid roll around the blankets
and one last, urgent look
at the shrouded summer sun.

J. D. Mackenzie writes poetry, prose, and an occasional political rant. He toils in near anonymity as a dean at a small community college in western Oregon, and lives in the foothills of the Coast Range.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.

Saint Putin by aegragru at DeviantArt

in praise of Putin the Red Dragon

My heart does magnify your wind
And my head rejoices in you my savior.
For you have annotated the low esteem
of your apostle; for, it is great,
from henceforth all hysteria
will call me blasted.
For you who are haughty
have done to me naughty things;
and ghostly is your name.
And your mendacity resides in them
who hear you from her story to history.
You have sown despair
with your hands; you have
scattered hubris
in the imagery of my soul.
You have desecrated the mighty
in their seats and rescued me from prevarication.
You have brained the rich
with good things; and the hungry,
you have sent to the garbage pails.
You have exalted me, your most obedient
serf, in remembrance of your mercy;
as you preached to my father,
Judas in the chariot, and to my spawn forever.

Jerry W. Ward, Jr. is the author of The Katrina Papers (2008), The China Lectures (2014), and Fractal Song: Poems (2016) and co-editor of The Cambridge History of African American Literature (2011). He lives in New Orleans, LA.


by Sister Lou Ella Hickman

solidarity’s question: who will embrace such present sorrow    
               I am only one, but still I am one . . . but I can do something.
                         —Edward Everett Hale, "Lend a Hand"

                                i sit here
                                alone in the chapel
                                a dark desert night
                                                Jesus, have mercy on me a great sinner
                                i breathe in   then out
                                                Jesus, have mercy on us
                                i breathe  slower
                                                Jesus, have mercy on me a great sinner
                                slower    into   the   dark
                                                Jesus, have mercy on us
                                the clock chimes the quarter hour
                                                Jesus, have mercy on me a great sinner
                                i sit before All Hunger, Thirst and Longing
                                   to plead   in the silence    for grace among the violences
                                                Jesus, have mercy

Sister Lou Ella Hickman, a member of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament, has been a teacher on all levels including college, and she has worked in two libraries.  Presently, she is a freelance writer as well as a certified spiritual director. Her poems and articles have been published in numerous magazines as well as in After Shocks: Poetry of Recovery for Life-Shattering Events edited by Tom Lombardo and in Down to the Dark River and The Southern Quarterly both edited by Philp Kolin. She and Pam Edwards co-authored Catechizing with Liturgical Symbols. Her first book of poetry, she: robed and wordless, published by Press 53, was released in the fall of 2015.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


by Gil Hoy

Hallway, University of Virginia Law School. Image source: "A New Materialism"

Studying the law.

Where the vestiges
of racism

Had been hidden
under a rug,

Its stain absorbed
by the wise, aging wood

or swept away by
a black, hopeful janitor.

He diligently cleaned
Jefferson’s hallways
and bathrooms

So that one or more
of the gentrified students

could one day
stamp out the racism

still permeating America’s
noble, hallowed halls.

Gil Hoy is a Boston trial lawyer and a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law.

Friday, August 18, 2017


by Patty Mosco Holloway

Locate them in Baltimore.
Give no advance notice, little fanfare.
Do it quickly; do it quietly
under cover of darkness
in the wee hours of the morning.
Allow flashing red lights and backup beeps
on heavy equipment.
Hire crews in T-shirts and hardhats.
Use crowbars, cranes, and cargo straps.
Hoist statues whole, bronze tons,
onto flatbed trucks.
Procure police cars to escort statues
out of town at sunrise.
Let the new day's rays
illuminate empty pedestals.


Find cranes strong enough
to hoist hatred from hearts.

Patty Mosco Holloway is a writing teacher.  She lives in Denver, Colorado. She often "hears" the starts of poems in conversations.  Advice:  Don't talk to her.


by Katherine Smith

Harry W. Porter Pumpkin Ash, The Lawn,
Pavilion IX, University of Virginia
On this grass in 1984
I met my true love
in front of the bookstore

where men in camouflage
brandish torches and a few women too
in fluttering skirts, march

not far from the Rotunda.
They chant of the past
but these men aren’t the past.

The past was 1984 when
we lay under the ginkgo
the man who loved

the Ivory Coast and I,
and music from Mali
played on the lawn now lit

by confused torches.
In the future
where the black-shirted men

leave their shadows
behind them in the grass,
lovers will hesitate

to lie under the ash tree.

Katherine Smith’s publications include appearances in Poetry, Cincinnati Review, Missouri Review, Ploughshares, Southern Review and many other journals.  Her short fiction has appeared in Fiction International and Gargoyle. Her first book Argument by Design (Washington Writers’ Publishing House) appeared in 2003. Her second book of poems Woman Alone on the Mountain (Iris Press), appeared in 2014. She teaches at Montgomery College in Maryland.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


by David Spicer

I shouldn’t be but I’m scared to near-death
at 4:32 in the morning after reading Huff
Puff on my computer—expecting this country’s
demons to jump from it and give me a heart
attack but I’m not that lucky, and for all it’s
worth, Stephen Stills sings into my ears so my wife
won’t wake up and then Ozzy hoarse-screams,
making me more paranoid than I already am,
while more impotent boys in Challengers kill
more women, and I haven’t slept in days—
I’m worried about the world, I’m a world-class
worrier, who am I to worry, though?,
just an old man with hair that won’t gray
and a heart that strives to stay pale, but the mad king
with the orange face—he scares me to near-death,
and I should be scared—I haven’t escaped
from my bungalow in weeks--the mad king
with the orange face haunts me: he is me,
he is you, he is himself, he is the worst thoughts
in every one of us, the worst that have invaded
every one of our hearts at one time or another
until they grow darker than evil and then the
worst thoughts escape when he beckons them
but does he have real power since he’ll self-destruct?
because we can’t give him that kind of power—
America is now the Jerusalem of the West
over something as stupid as the color
of one’s skin when it’s really one color—
the color we’ve never seen, the color
of a nation’s soul, the color that scares me
to near-death—I shouldn’t be,
and I still cower in my bungalow waiting
for the answer that may never arrive:
the hero that’ll challenge the mad king
with the orange face and the golden children—
yes, let’s have a pay-per-view of Wrestle-Kill—
we deserve this, I say—starring
The Mad King with the Orange Face
and His Golden Children against Fake News
wearing bloody zebra-skin coats, headlines,
nuns’ habits, and potpourri—we deserve this,
I say, but I’m scared to near-death
and I should be at 7:06 in the morning when
light is eons away because we’ve embraced
the night in all its Wrestle-Kill hype
and that scares me and I should be scared
and you should be, too.

David Spicer has had poems in Chiron Review, Alcatraz, Gargoyle, Third Wednesday, Reed Magazine, Santa Clara Review, 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 and is scheduled to have From the Limbs of a Pear Tree (Flutter Press) released in the  early Fall of 2017.


by George Salamon

"The president of the United States is now a neo-Nazi sympathiser.” 
—Richard Wolffe, The Guardian, August 15, 2017

"Haha, neo Nazi, neo Schmazi,"
Says President T***p.
"All I care about is cleaning up
Washington's putrid swamp."
T***p is a man of business,
Not given to humanist prissiness.
Don't wait for a rite of sacrament
To wipe away Fascist contaminents
He made White House inhabitants.
If you seek to rejoice in his defeat
Your resistance will have to march
To a truly heretical American beat.

George Salamon escaped the Nazis in 1938 and watches their neo rebirth from St. Louis, MO.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


by S.O.Fasrus

Detail from the Cable Street Mural, a large mural painting in the East End of London apinted by Dave Binnington Savage, Paul Butler, Ray Walker and Desmond Rochfort between 1979 and 1983 to commemorate the street battle in October 1936 against Oswald Moseley and his fascist Black Shirts’ march down Cable Street.

Why the Nazis came to Charlottesville.
And why I was wrong not to confront them.
—Siva Viadhyanathan, The New York Times, August 14, 2017

She will not watch from side walks
she will not shrug
and shop.

Speak my language
dare to care
this crusade will not be rained upon.

Scribble through the night
we wear our placards
our fashion will never weary—
and dear
we know who we are
you know who we stand for.

We are our own headlines
our own music—
we are the song you think you heard before
we are the old song with new words
we are the tune from your cradle

This is OUR parade.
OUR parade.

Our parade
is American

It's American.

SHE did not watch from side walks
SHE did not shrug

and shop.

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


by Judy Katz-Levine

There are barbed wire fences in my dreamless nights.
And hands caught in nets, children growing who cannot whirl.
There are torches tonight, and chants to drown saints.
And simple good people who want a steak at lunch, or hummus with a carrot.
I have had friends in great numbers, who watch with prescient eyes
of brown and green and black and gold and hazel  and azure-
The marches of hatred, the chants of those with bludgeons for
Writers, and I am one, journalists, and the films in black and white
Reeling through the avenues where magnolias should bloom,
Where souls are not crushed , because we will not permit it.
Where freedom fighters/writers are ploughed down like deer on the highway
In the nights of barbed wire fences in my dreamless dreams.
Because we will stop it, my friends.
I could tell you, my friends, who will come into my garden of ripening tomatoes, roses.
Who will give me echinacea with pink flowers, who will swim with me in sweet lake water,
And who will read my poetry for 40 years, keeping it a secret until the most crucial moment
That determines a hidden mountain behind the mist of decades.
I have had friends in great numbers, who take me to the ocean, and we have shared
The small rises and falls of our children in laughing texts.  We will not tolerate
We will not accept, these marches from a haunted hunted slaughtering, a genocide past, a genocide that echoes other genocides, and other genocides, and others
To be revived?  Forget it.  We’re here.  We know the score.
The lurid lips of nazi clowns shouting hatred slogans, the mowing down
Of friends?  We will speak/act now, we will stop this insanity.

Judy Katz-Levine is the author of these books: When The Arms Of Our Dreams Embrace, Ocarina,  and When Performers Swim, The Dice are Cast.  Her new collection The Everything Saint will be published by WordTEch  in August 2018.  Poems have appeared recently in Kritya (India), Stanzaic Stylings, Ibbetson Street, Salamander, Blue Unicorn, Springhouse Journal, Peacock Journal, Muddy River Poetry Review, and many others. Also a jazz flutist, she just played a 3 hour gig at the Farmer's Market in Needham MA.

Monday, August 14, 2017


by Harold Oberman 

“The poet Emma Lazarus, moved by this unique symbol of the love of liberty, wrote a very special dedication 100 years ago.” —Ronald Reagan, in his Remarks on the Lighting of the Torch of the Statue of Liberty in New York, New York, July 3, 1986

We coated your flame in 24 carat gold
Pointed our spotlights at it and moved on,
A gilded reflection, not a beacon.

Mother of Exiles, we never enlightened you:

Now in our dark night
A man denied light makes fire
And that light concentrated on a point no longer illuminates.
It ignites.

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. The poems he wrote as an undergraduate that were deemed too political are now, in retrospect, not political enough.


by Lyndi Bell O’Laughlin

The Robert E. Lee statue for which the "Unite the Right" rally was organized to protest its removal in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 13, 2017.  (Tasos Katopodis / EPA via The Chicago Tribune)

It makes me want to hurl myself
off a cliff.
They are still here.
With permission to be unashamed
and a hall pass from the president,
who hand feeds them Ensure
and protein bars on weekends.
They slither the streets
as if they have something new
to add to the national discourse.
Confederate flags.
Once I pretended they were rats.
Annoying, but you didn’t really
see them that often.
They have been breeding in the dark,
spreading disease across sidewalks
and playgrounds.
No antibacterial soap in the world is strong
enough to cover that kind of stench.
My eyes, lately a little stunned,
cast themselves on photos
of Charlottesville. They stutter when
reporting back to the brain,
who rubs its ears, slaps its cheeks,
reaches for dilapidated walking shoes.
Dips a finger into an ink pot and
traces NO across her forehead.

Lyndi Bell O’Laughlin’s poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse (Lost Horse Press, Fall, 2017), Troubadour: An Anthology of Music-inspired Poetry (Picaroon Poetry Press, 2017), Blood, Water, Wind, and Stone: An Anthology of Wyoming Writers (Sastrugi Press, 2016), Gyroscope Review, TheNewVerse.News, Picaroon Poetry, Unbroken Journal and elsewhere. 


by Tricia Knoll

The call came out to come with candles.
To stand up. Be counted. A vigil, a word
I learned came from awoke, Latin.
Bring your candles. Hold your fingers
around the flame if the wind blows.
We cannot let hate extinguish us.
Calling us to this city corner at this
time for what happened in that city
some moments ago. What runs
through my head, but those white men
carried torches! Torches designed
to discourage bugs. Though my tears
threaten to douse my candle,
I will keep my light shining,
to call forth our angels of good will.

Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet who saw her city and the nation in bereavement when men trying to stop racial bigotry on a train were killed and hurt. And now Charlotteville. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017


by Thomas R. Smith

I'm in bed with America.
America is writhing and moaning in her sleep,
twisting the bed sheets around her
as if coiled in the grip of a giant boa constrictor.
America whimpers in her sleep
and turns her head to the left and to the right.
America is having a nightmare.

America is dreaming that the Inquisition
   is back with its old, unimproved tortures.
America is dreaming that the British won
   the Revolutionary War and that Franklin,
   Washington and Jefferson were hanged at Valley Forge.
America is dreaming that she must increase
   her nuclear arsenal because being able
   to destroy the world 5,000 times over isn¹t enough
   if Russia can destroy the world 6,000 times over.
America is dreaming that the southern plantations
   have risen from the dust, and the whips and manacles
   the torch and the hood and the noose.
America is dreaming that water is rising
   around her house and she can't get out
   because the EPA has boarded up the doors and windows.
America is dreaming that drinking melted polar ice
   has changed her children into Syrian refugees.
America is dreaming that her babysitter
   is a registered sex offender.
America is dreaming that her real parents
   are dead and impostor parents are forcing
   her into the family business of carnival geeking.
America is dreaming that Lincoln has just
   shot everyone in Ford's Theater.
America is dreaming that she¹s feeling faint
   after drinking the cup handed to her by Putin.
America is dreaming that she has nothing left
   to eat but the money dragged from the vaults
   after the last billionaire committed suicide.
America is dreaming that Whitman and Emerson
   have pulled up their grave plots and
   relocated them to Ontario.
America is dreaming that all the blood shed by patriots
   in her wars has congealed into a malignant tumor
   kept in a secret room in the White House.
America is dreaming that Henry Ford has
   returned from the dead to help the President
   rewrite the Constitution in 144 characters.
America is dreaming that when the Pilgrims
   go out to the woods for the first Thanksgiving
   all they can find to shoot are skeletons.
America is dreaming that the Italians and Irish
   and Poles have been sent back where they came from
   across the Atlantic in individual wooden washtubs.
America is dreaming that beneath the site of the World Trade Center
   are anti-towers deep underground where
   the real masterminds of September 11th
   are plotting a new attack.
America is dreaming that the President has hacked
   Jesus's twitter account
   and is repealing the Sermon on the Mount.
America is dreaming that a tiny severed hand
   is creeping along the floor like a pale spider
   toward the Button.
America is dreaming that a vast stone head
   from an exploded planet's Mount Rushmore
   is hurtling toward Indiana.
America is dreaming—STOP!

America, can you hear me?
(I'm shaking you by the shoulders.)
I wouldn't be in bed with you if I didn't love you.
Spare yourself this nightmare.
It doesn't have to be this way.
There is still time.

America, dear America, please wake up!

Thomas R. Smith is a poet and teacher living in River Falls, Wisconsin. He teaches at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. His most recent poetry collection is The Glory (Red Dragonfly Press).


by Kenneth E. Harrison, Jr.

           Watchin' their heads in the toilet bowl
           Don't see supremacist hate

           Right wing dicks in their boiler suits

           Picking out who to annihilate
               —David Bowie, “Under the God,” Tin Machine (1989)

 Forgive us our Confederate bedsheets & the flag above the headboard.
 Forgive us the need to be right.
 Forgive us the Civil War was never really about slavery.
 Forgive us Emmett Till we love our heritage.
 Forgive us a matter of pride carrying torches through your campus.
 Forgive us blood & soil.
 Forgive us fashionable alt-right haircuts & Duck Dynasty beards.
 Forgive us whatever will get us laid.
 Forgive us fuck the immigrants & Muslims what’s wrong with America.
 Forgive us Alex Jones says.
 Forgive us it’s Black Lives Matter who’s racist.
 Forgive us T***p’s sending a message.
 Forgive us whatever pisses off the liberal snowflakes.
 Forgive us George Lincoln Rockwell didn’t buy evolution either.
 Forgive us Michael Brown & Trayvon Martin were thugs.
 Forgive us it’s in our economic interest.
 Forgive us our First Amendment rights.
 Forgive us & leave the statue.
 Forgive us our white fathers never did anything wrong.

Kenneth E. Harrison, Jr.'s poems have appeared most recently in Beloit Poetry Journal, Cutbank, Numero Cinq, and Verse Daily.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


by Alejandro Escudé

One can organize well.
Hate in sharp angles:
Triangles, crosses, swastikas.

Checked boxes.
If you believe this,
You can't believe that.

Then there's the vitriol
That anticipates understanding.
Firewalls of reaction.

Dull, bright colors.
In the midst of this,
A bullet the size of a car.

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.


by Jan Steckel

Several hundred white nationalists and white supremacists were met by a small group of counterprotesters at the base of a statue of Thomas Jefferson on Friday night at the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville. 
The Washington Post, August 12, 2017

O my America!
What are these phosphors
borne in the hands of men
wearing polo shirts and swastikas?

The pastor flees her church.
She hasn’t seen Klan with torches
since she was five years old.
Here they stride with baseball bats,
dressed like college students
or fresh from the boardroom.
She fears for the black man walking
alone the streets of her town,
where bands of predators roam.

“Blood and soil,” they chant.
”White lives matter.”
”You will not replace us.”
”Jews will not replace us.”

Where are the streets of gold
my great-grandparents came looking for?
Now it’s blond men who brandish flambeaux
surrounding a circle of antifascist students,
hands joined around a monument,
facing outward against the slavering pack.
The Nazis throw their torches,
mace the kids. Afterward a girl
tweets that she’s safe,
but she’s not okay.
Where is the God in whom she trusted?
Out of the many, where is the one?

Charlottesville, tonight the dream
of a shining city on a hill
shatters into points of light
marching along your occupied streets.

Jan Steckel is a former pediatrician who left the practice of medicine because of chronic pain. Her poetry book The Horizontal Poet (Zeitgeist Press, 2011) won a 2012 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Nonfiction. Her fiction chapbook Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009) and poetry chapbook The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006) also won awards for LGBT writing. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Scholastic Magazine, Yale Medicine, Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere. 

Friday, August 11, 2017


by Edmund Conti

When you argue with the GOP
Be sure to bring your best artillery.
Their argument you won’t foresee.
It goes like this:  “But Hillary.”

Your facts can sting like a bumblebee,
Dance and flit like a fritillary.
They’ll just respond with calm and glee,
“But Hillary.”

You can argue till your face is blue,
Till you get inane and sillary.
Your logic will be turned on you—
“But Hillary.”

Edmund Conti has not been published in The New Yorker nor has he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry but …

Thursday, August 10, 2017


by Joan Colby

“CNN dismisses Jeffrey Lord after Nazi tweet,
instantly upgrades panel discussions.”
—Erik Wemble, The Washington Post, August 10, 2017

Grid of heads.
Former congressman. Aide to a
President twice removed.
Retired General. Snarky blonde.
Outspoken Latina. Ex-chairman
Of a political party. Sports
Figure. Billionaire. Secretary of
Defense in a former administration.
Familiars of talk show hosts who moderate
Or instigate. Night time birds
Pecking and screeching. Disembodied
Heads stuffed with opinions.
The once-was or might-have-been.
Solemn or verbose.
Each day’s outrage invokes
The squawking panel.
A zoo of exes. A new career
For reincarnated experts.
Patchwork quilt of somebodys
Revived to quote or quibble.
Opening their addictive
Testimonies. Sphinx.
Cassandra. Sage. Ghost.

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers and How the Sky Begins to Fall (Spoon River Press), The Atrocity Book (Lynx House Press), Dead Horses and Selected Poems (FutureCycle Press), and Properties of Matter (Aldrich Press). Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press.


by Michael Brockley
Image source: OKdoodle

After VICE reports that White House staffers deliver a folder filled with complimentary news twice a day to Donald T***p.

You’ve got that Ron Jeremy thing going, what with your necktie bulging from your crotch. The alpha dog always lets the runway walkers know what he’s packing. You're numero uno in Chico, CA and Beattyville, KY. You're not yet tired of winning. The picture of you in this morning’s paper grasped the essence of your majesty. That angle where your shoulders could almost be a wall. Your Rushmore jaw. Your golden mane. No wonder some kid from West Virginia rated you the all-time greatest president for infinity. Better than that guy with a big stick. You've only been the Leader of the Free World seven months, but those blondes on FOX keep saying you're a lock for 2020. The graph-drawing dweebs and pollsters had to invent higher numbers just for you. Like the newest figures on the bottom line of your bank accounts. In Muscle Shoals Ted Nugent and Kid Rock have recorded an album of Trump anthems, naming the first single “Make America Great Again.” A release date set in time to fight the war on Christmas. By the way, “Covfefe Snow” would make a stirring Christmas carol for 3 Doors Down. Along the border, folks are volunteering to carry bricks for your wall. The Army Corps of Engineers herds jaguars and roadrunners across the Rio Grande while handing out free MAGA hats. Like you, everyone in Brownsville wears an extra-large. Tomorrow Jeopardy debuts a category they're calling America’s Greatest Hits. The answer to every question will be “Who is Donald Trump?” All the world’s First Ladies wish they could ride Air Force One with you.

Michael Brockley is a 67-year old Hoosier who retired from a 31-year career as a school psychologist in northeast Indiana. A few of his poems have appeared in past editions of TheNewVerse.News, and recent poems were published in Atticus Review, Gargoyle and Jokes Review. Poems are forthcoming in the Tipton Poetry Journal.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017


by George Salamon

“But the resistance doesn’t do vacation.” 
in “The Resistance Now: Trump's on vacay, so now's the time to act” 
The Guardian, August 4, 2017

"Not my president," they shouted.
Resist! their signs urged.
Petitions flooded the corridors of Congress.
Pundits wetted their . . . lips.
Our country will never submit
To that authoritarian blowhard and bigot.
He twittered as he tumbled in office, and
We salivated at the prospect of his fall.
Seven months later, he's still in the saddle
While the resistance saunters on its high horse.
Woe, above all else we're consumers.
We commodified our resistance
As we do everything else.
For everything that happens in the land
There's a space on a shelf in the market.
Call it American exceptionalism.

George Salamon lives and writes in St. Louis, MO.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017


by  Orel Protopopescu

   With Apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan

He is the very model of a modern four-star general,
thinks politicians should shut up or change the laws, ephemeral.
He’s sure the border’s leaking drugs that make us all delirious,
suggested splitting moms from kids might show them that he’s serious.

We’d “never leave the house” he said, if we all knew what threatened us,
and that’s why we need manly ex-Marines who take command and cuss.
But cussing out your predecessor doesn’t suit this paragon,
so Scaramucci’s days were numbered soon as “f-ing P.” was gone.

Some think that Kelly will control the president and moderate
a tendency to shoot himself that raised the shades of Watergate.
But will he dare confront his boss or click his heels to Yes, sir?  
When POTUS waved a sword, John muttered, “Use that on the press, sir.”

In short, commanding criminals, maniacally inimical,
he is the very model of a modern four-star general.

Orel Protopopescu won the Oberon poetry prize in 2010 and a commendation in the Second Light Live Competition, 2016.  Thelonious Mouse, her fourth picture book, was awarded a Crystal Kite, 2012, from SCBWI, and she’s written other prize-winning books for young people. Her poetry has appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, Oberon, Poetry Bay, Light, Lighten Up Online, TheNewVerse.News, Socialism and Democracy and other reviews, anthologies, and in her chapbook, What Remains (2011, Finishing Line Press). She teaches at the Walt Whitman Birthplace, Huntington Station, NY. 

Monday, August 07, 2017


by David Southward

President Putin
must be hootin’—
tricked the Yanks to vote a brute in!
Tried some far-out
home computin’
to keep the stateside rowdies rootin’.

The guy’s too sly:
all smiles, refutin’
prissy liberals’ highfalutin
complaints their voting wasn’t free.
Electoral integrity?
Just pretty words those Yanks look cute in.

How to keep
the troops salutin’—
that’s a man’s concern, darn tootin’!
Roll up the shirtsleeves,
start recruitin’
loyal subjects; start transmutin’

this carved up world
to one more suitin’.
Invite your enemy
out shootin’. Tell him,
“I’ll drive from here. Now scoot in.”
Lead him on

like old Rasputin—
propaganda’s Isaac Newton—
with money pits
to stash his loot in.
Seal the bargain.
Plant your boot in.

David Southward teaches in the Honors College at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His poems have appeared most recently in Bramble, POEM, Measure, Verse-Virtual, and Unsplendid.

Sunday, August 06, 2017


by Ralph La Rosa

A post-Obama meditation

After Euphoria, formal feelings come –
Once Tuning Forks, the Nerves won’t hum
And numbed Hearts wonder, “Where is the Sage who bore
Such sane Good News – out of the White House door?”

Eyes widen, dim, dart around –
Ears ache so
From toxic Lies – all Oughts –
In offal sown,
The requiems for loss – alone –

This is the Hour of Dread
For those who were misled –
But Sickened watchers of the Trumped-up show –
Rest – Regroup – Resist – their Hearts say he must Go

Ralph La Rosa’s work has been published online, including at TheNewVerse.News, and in the books Sonnet Stanzas and Ghost Trees.

Saturday, August 05, 2017


by Jayne Marek

Image source: CTV News Vancouver

morning sky furred by a pale layer so the sun is deep orange
sailor take warning          firefighter take warning

a layer so thin it passes over the Strait like hands giving blessing
but five miles distant          there is no more island

heat even in the northlands begins to rise to spread
to reach inside          where breath scrapes one’s throat

there is so much dried to a crust so anguished and tight
it resists water that could save it          it will shed

the chemicals of desperation in the gray understory
of neglected woods          it will begin to die

all by itself even without the fire stringing its way underneath
the bones of grass          the shattered nests

of starved quail and under the lost tooth of a coyote
that could no longer run          death of the hunter

death of the stands of cedar and fir of alder and salal
death to us all          take up the shovel

and begin to dig a fire line not yet needed on this acre
but what fell from human grasp          will soon blow here

Jayne Marek’s first full-length poetry book is In and Out of Rough Water. Her poetry and art photos appear in About Place Journal, 3Elements, Sin Fronteras, Notre Dame Review, Sliver of Stone, Spillway, Tipton Poetry Journal, Central American Literary Review, and elsewhere.

Friday, August 04, 2017


by Robert Lee Whitmire

In [California] where house prices are twice the US average, artists and developers are feeling the ire of a growing movement to ‘defend our homes and our culture’ . . . A housing crisis is making homes unaffordable for the poor and middle class, uprooting communities and condemning families to sleep in vehicles, shelters and under tarpaulin. Photo: Protesters in Venice, California, have picketed the palm-fringed home of Snapchat. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AP —The Guardian, July 28, 2017

We tore down the road signs,
kept ripping them down so tourists, meddlers,
gawkers, piss-pot bureaucrats and enforcers
of common decency could not find our little
Not-Mayberry slip of pretty-close-to-Paradise.

That was before good maps and GPS.
With satellite navigation any of the above
could find us, but because we grew old and let
secret roadside attractions decay, and because we stopped
pissing at the moon no one wanted to find us anymore.

Well, that’s not quite true. Lots of people still wanted to find us,
but not to join the poetry. They wanted to subsume
our feisty little plot of way-far-out under turgid
gentrification brimming with souls crafted by money
instead of inspiration, exultation or revelation.

So the not-quite-work-if-you-can-call-it-that began.
Only because of the craven instincts of the many
could the work of the few—okay, be honest—the one,
get done. (See Tom Robbins for operating instructions.
Ducking unseen into parallel universes isn’t for the fainthearted.)

Now I no longer see them sat navving their way into real estate
platinum and orgasmic vegan co-ops as I stretch out alone,
midnight above ground, at the crossroads of Astral Boulevard
and Celesteville Highway, creating dust angels on used up
roads that long ago forgot where they were going.

Robert Lee Whitmire is a Vietnam veteran, a retired newspaperman, fine-art photographer, and social services worker. He spends his time reading, talking about stuff with his wife of 44 years, riding his Triumph Bonneville along Maine's back roads, and doting on his two grandchildren. He has published previously in TheNewVerse.News and One Sentence Poems.