Guidelines



Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at]gmail.com.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

Thursday, November 30, 2017

WHY WE STAY SILENT

by Deborah Coy


"The woman said Mr. Lauer asked her to unbutton her blouse, which she did. She said the anchor then stepped out from behind his desk, pulled down her pants, bent her over a chair and had intercourse with her. At some point, she said, she passed out with her pants pulled halfway down. She woke up on the floor of his office, and Mr. Lauer had his assistant take her to a nurse. The woman told The Times that Mr. Lauer never made an advance toward her again and never mentioned what occurred in his office. She said she did not report the episode to NBC at the time because she believed she should have done more to stop Mr. Lauer. She left the network about a year later." —“NBC Receives at Least 2 New Complaints About Matt Lauer," The New York Times, November 29, 2017


I never told the school
how the boy groped me
in the art room.
They would have blamed it on
my sexy new sweater.

I never told the teacher
how the boy behind me
rubbed his foot on my ass
day after day.
I just scooted forward.

Who tells about the
innuendos on the street,
in the hallways?
“They all do it” and
you go on, a little smaller.

Who could you tell
when the voice
coming from the receiver
speaks the unmentionable?
You just block your phone.

Why tell on the
Octopus boy you are with
at the drive in who thinks the price
of your admission
is your body?

They wouldn’t believe
if I told of the veteran
who stood outside
my locked bathroom door
pounding his desire.

I never told my father
how the man we called Uncle
propositioned me because
I didn’t want to cause their ancient
friendship to end.

I never told because
I was wearing a miniskirt.
I never told because
of the skin I showed
with my low-cut blouse.

He never told how I
moved in too close for a hug
His body was so nice
and he knew
he was irresistible.

I never told
because I knew
it was my fault
I felt shamed.
After all, “boys will be boys.”


Deborah Coy is an editor with award-winning Beatlick Press (New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards). She has had multiple poems published in various small presses.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

LIFE NOIR

by David Feela






Old movies
permit a man
seducing a woman
to grab her,
even as the woman
fights back.
Her role
requires she be
handled by men,
aversion or
explicit refusal
written into
a script that ends
for the audience
like a fairytale.
The director
understands,
he too is a man
and he wants her
to resist, loves
seeing how
grandly she demurs,
every retake
just to prove
she wants
to get it
right.


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.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

ADAM NAMING THE AMERICAN BEASTS

by Eric Fisher Stone




Adam cupped a narrowmouth toad
in hands oiled by prairie loam and named him
Narrowmouth Toad, chickadees he called
Snuggle Pandas. The Kiowa told him
not to christen bison while their scraggly clouds
hooved the booming plains. They belong
to the Creator, as does their names.

The peccary he baptized Gruntsnout
and the Gila monster, Lavatooth
before the natives banished Adam
to South America where Cortez walked
gonging in steel and helped add
Spanish words to llamas, capybaras,
comet-long arapaima fish
in the Orinoco, poison frogs like blue fire,
tapirs dancing through green chapels of ferns.

With all local words replaced, they were free
to varnish crowns from Incan gold,
blush Naples’ gardens with tomatoes, claim
man’s dominion over gulls and bitterns
and erase the world with their tongues.


Eric Fisher Stone lives in Ames, Iowa where he is a graduate student in Iowa State University’s MFA in Writing and the Environment program. His poetry has recently appeared in Poets Reading the News, Strange Poetry, The Hopper, Dime Show Review and is forthcoming in Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry.

Monday, November 27, 2017

THE CARTOGRAPHER

by Mark Tarren

“Manus detention centre cleared of all refugees and asylum seekers. Up to 60 men left without a place to stay, sources say, because new accommodation is either not ready or overfull.” —The Guardian, November 24, 2017

Above: Video of Manus prison camp November 24, 2017 tweeted by @BehrouzBoochani


In his father's gentle hands
among his world of maps
lay his son's uncharted heart.

It was given to him in the desert
without borders
presented to him without fear
without shame.

These were

The Sands of his Father's Heart
that held the young boy's body
that marked a place of returning
to bathe in the safe waters.

These things were stolen from the boy.

The winds of another country
trapped the boys heart
in barbed wire
in speechless tongues
in blood
in beatings.

These were now collected in

The New Papyrus

where the uncharted heart
must be destroyed and broken.

Where the ancient learning is undone
in these new maps there must be
metal against bone
waterless caverns
the hunger of absence for young men.

As a man he remembers
The Sands of his Father's Heart
that once held his small body
that once bathed in the safe waters
that once marked a place of returning
in his father's gentle hands.

These things were stolen from the boy

lost in the sands of Sahul

the arms of Australia.


"Peaceful protest continues in the new prison camps. Here is West Haus, the place that is not ready on Manus Island." Tweeted by @BehrouzBoochani, November 26, 2017.

“Australia built a hell for refugees on Manus. The shame will outlive us all.” —Richard Flanagan, The Guardian, November 24, 2017.


Mark Tarren is a poet and writer based in Queensland, Australia. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various literary journals including TheNewVerse.News, The Blue Nib, Poets Reading The News, Street Light Press and Spillwords Press.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

TROPHY HUNT

by Pepper Trail


Image source: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust


Elephant, what man
Not driven by hunger
Not confronted by your bulk, your tusks
Not defending his house or farm

Knowing what we know
Of your vast and furrowed memory
Of your lines of mothers and aunts
Of the slaughter pursuing you across the continent

What man
Thinking of you, elephant
Your dignity, your utter majesty in this world
Thinks of killing

Travels thousands of miles
Spends a useless fortune
Is led to you, elephant, quiet in your life
Asks for the heavy gun, and shoots

What man
Cuts the tail from your great body
Poses for the pictures, fills out the forms
Flies satisfied away

Leaving an erasure in the map of Africa
Your circuit of waterholes, lost
The hiding-place of your family bones
The silent harmony of your song, sung through the earth

What man
Consults the record books
For spread of ego, weight of pride
Fills a trophy-room with ignorance
Elephant, what beast?


Pepper Trail is a conservation biologist, poet, and photographer living in Ashland, Oregon.  His poems have appeared in Rattle, Atlanta Review, Spillway, Kyoto Journal, Pedestal, and other publications, and have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net Awards.  He has long been involved in efforts to protect wildlife and wild places.  His collection Cascade-Siskiyou, a cycle of poems about Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (currently under threat by the T***p Administration), was a finalist for the 2016 Oregon Book Award in Poetry.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

NO LOVE IN THIS LABOR

by Amber Miller


Awards season wouldn’t be complete without the requisite number of controversies, and it got an early one last week when Universal announced it would submit the thriller “Get Out” for a Golden Globe in the comedy category. The film’s writer-director, Jordan Peele, immediately communicated his disappointment, tweeting, “‘Get Out’ is a documentary.” Although he later moderated his reaction, he maintained that to categorize his directorial debut as a comedy is to fatally misunderstand the seriousness of the movie, in which a young African American man is existentially threatened by a Stepford-like liberal white family in the suburbs. “The reason for the visceral response to this movie being called a comedy is that we are still living in a time in which African American cries for justice aren’t being taken seriously,” Peele explained in a statement. “It’s important to acknowledge that though there are funny moments, the systemic racism that the movie is about is very real. More than anything, it shows me that film can be a force for change. At the end of the day, call ‘Get Out’ horror, comedy, drama, action or documentary, I don’t care. Whatever you call it, just know it’s our truth.” —The Washington Post, November 23, 2017


You start to believe this is your fate
Harassment and abuse
Murder and beatings, lynching—we are skinned
To be worn like the fur of animals
Stripped of everything that makes us human
We reek of slave labor, blood, sweat
They kill us so they can be us
They want to absorb our resilience
They pave our roads to the grave with imprisonment
If these walls could talk
They wouldn’t because
They are traumatized by how much violence
Black bodies have seen
You start to believe this is your fate
When you are persecuted and used the day you are born
And God’s ear has gone deaf to our silent screaming


Amber Miller is  studying teacher education in the Midwest. Miller's work has been featured in Aois 21 publishing, and makingqueerhistory.com.

Friday, November 24, 2017

LET US NOW PRAISE SMALL THINGS

by George Salamon



Video illustrates the November 16, 2017 New York Times article ”Downing North Korean Missiles is Hard. So the US is Experimenting In-Depth."



On an idle afternoon
In my apartment
I see by the kitchen sink
A letter for me.
I haven't read it.

The radio tells me
Of rocket launches
And anti-rocket rockets
Of wars that never end,
Of a war not yet started.

All I see on this
Idle afternoon
Is my woven bread basket,
A few drops of olive oil spilt
On the bamboo cutting board.

It doesn't matter
About you and me.


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

Thursday, November 23, 2017

SOUND AND SILENCE

by Gil Hoy




He was unwantedly
   relentless

in his impetuous prolix
pronouncements

Could bend even
  the most patient

sturdy ear to
  the breaking point

with his crooked
                       rivers of words

Did he really
    tweet demanding

thanks from UCLA
         basketball players?

Did he really
   tweet an ungrateful

     father's son
should've been left

       in a Chinese jail?


I wish instead

that he'd strode
    confidently into a garden

                  of roses

Winked on top of a dry
         wry smile

Opened his mouth, and said

    nothing at all—like a stone—


While inquisitive listening flies gathered
      in his

suddenly silent mouth

   While fluttering flocking pigeons
flitted

   on suddenly scarecrow arms.

While squirrels around the man’s
      stone cold feet

squirreled away
  just enough acorns

for a suddenly warmer winter

   and the felicitous sun
         rose and set every day 

After day

After day

 After day.


And the man never spoke again.


Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and trial lawyer who is studying poetry at Boston University through its Evergreen program. Hoy's work has appeared most recently in Ariel Chart, The Penmen Review, Right Hand Pointing/One Sentence Poems, TheNewVerse.News and Clark Street Review

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

BITCOIN

by Heather Newman




Bitcoin just passed $8,000. —TechCrunch, November 20, 2017


I’m getting in on it like a circle
in a square, the mystery game
for the digital play, a dig out
of the mines, out of control.
Like Pet Rock. That was
something. Beanie
Babies. Killer. Xbox vs.
PlayStation. Who knew.
Coffee, tea and water.
But Bitcoin is better.
Now that’s fun to say!
Block my chain, this is
better than blowing bubbles.
I’m showing my age.


Heather Newman is an MFA candidate at The New School (NYC.) Her work has appeared in Voices from Here, Vol. II, TheNewVerse.News, The Potomac, Two Hawks Quarterly, Aji Magazine, Matter, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and eChook.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

EVEN CHARLIE ROSE

by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky




Go ahead—watch and weep,
for it’s too late to shut our eyes.
No more falling back asleep!
Just go ahead—watch and weep—
every channel crawls with creeps.
Unmask the truth! Unveil their lies
then go ahead—watch and weep.
It’s far too late to shut our eyes.


Felicia Sanzari Chernesky is the longtime managing and poetry editor of the quarterly Academic Questions and the newish author of picture books. Her latest is The Boy Who Said Nonsense (Albert Whitman Company & 2016). She runs a poetry writing seminar for seniors, which has been one of the most invigorating and illuminating experiences of her life.

Monday, November 20, 2017

AMERICAN HISTORY X REVISITED

by Alan Catlin





He was the self-proclaimed
president of the United States
of the Stupid.  Alt-Right Fight
Club pioneer made famous/
gone viral, for punching out
a 95 pound woman with a
Love Trumps Hate sign.
Directed the dragging of a black
man to a parking garage to be
beaten by cowards with face masks.
All the better not to see you.
Not to provide that all important
positive ID.
Has tattooed 88 on the backs of
both hands, numbers that represent
the letter H as in the phrase
Heil Hitler.
Exhorts others to Join or Die at
rallies in places like Charlottesville.
Buys a brace of tiki lights for hate
parades around statues of traitors
and riot shields for get-togethers
after rallies where things often are
wet and wild and totally out of
control.
Is Extreme everything: right wing,
radicalized, white hood wearing
and proud of it.
Brings guns to a peace rally in case
Grannies Against the War go rogue
and attack: “The only good gray panther
is a dead one.”
Thinks the Four Horsemen of
the Apocalypse are: Robert Lee, Jeff Davis,
Stonewall Jackson and Bedford Forrest.
Says the Civil War has just begun.
May even have been the guy who
fired the first shot.


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

Sunday, November 19, 2017

WHEN I SAW JESUS IN RICHMOND, VA

by Marsha Owens


Volunteers Mary Akemon (left) and Alexandra Marcus and, with Let America Vote, talked with Farrukh Kahn as they canvassed a neighborhood on Friday, October 27, 2017 in Woodbridge, Virginia. Let America Vote, formed by former Democratic Missouri Senate candidate Jason Kander debuted its electoral field operations in Virginia with a field office in Manassas that drew 114 interns from across the country to help knock on doors for 10 Democratic delegate candidates. (Pete Marovich/For The Washington Post)


Lo, in the year two thousand and seventeen,
I walked among Democrats and knocked
and the young woman, wearing a friendly
smile, opened the door to me and said,
yes, we will vote tomorrow
for the one who is good to all people,
to my black family and to my Muslim
neighbors, the one who does not hurt
women, does not steal from the poor,
and I said, that is good, and my gaze
fell on the old woman on the couch,
her hand patting the tiny baby,
and she asked me to name names
of the others who care about others
and I showed her the list, and she
rejoiced and was grateful
and I saw, too, the man seated on a stool,
the old woman’s foot on his knee,
and I watched this young man wash
the feet of his mother-in-law who was lame,
saw him file her splintered toenails,
and my eyes did not deceive,
and his child—an old soul—waved her
baby hands, and his young wife spoke
again—do you see what my husband is doing?
and I saw, then turned away, walked through
golden leaves and the sun reached down, and I
heard nearby loud voices praising Sunday
football and seemed to hear heavenly voices
sing blessings for this holy shit, and within
the loudness, a small voice, maybe my own,
whispered, This is good stuff, damn good stuff.


Marsha Owens lives and writes in Richmond, VA and celebrates her roots in the Chesapeake Bay area. She is pleased to say that she survived 18 years of teaching English to middle schoolers. Her poems and essays have been published at The Wild Word, Feminine Collective, Rat’s Ass Review, TheNewVerse.News,The Literary Nest, and the Dead Mule School of Literature.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

WE DID ALL WE COULD

by Carolyn Martin



"World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice" by William J. Ropple et al and 15,364 scientist signatories from 184 countries  in BioScience, 13 November 2017 via the Alliance of World Scientists.


We did all we could.
This came later—
after miscues, closed eyes,
full-throated ignorance
singing through church pews,
school rooms,
chamber halls,                                            
families at supper time.

We did all we could.
This came later—
after sold-out masks,
cracked water lines,
the silence of bees,
monkeys, elephants,
eucalyptus, maples,
and nature poetry.

We did all we could.
Someone would
have scoffed
at this arrogance
if there were, that is,
someone left to hear
and later hadn’t disappeared.


Carolyn Martin is blissfully retired in Clackamas, OR, where she gardens, writes, and plays. Her poems have appeared in publications throughout North America and the UK, and her third poetry collection Thin Places was released by Kelsay Books in 2017. She hopes the Earth won't go extinct before her next book is published.

Friday, November 17, 2017

INGLORIOUS BASTARDS

by Kathleen A. Lawrence





Acting badly,
boorish comics
coax deranged egos.
False good-guys
going Hollywood,
icons indecently
jones and jerk,
kindling lascivious
meager manhoods.
Nihilistic ogres, odd
paunchy producers,
quibble ruthlessly.
Ransacking solicitors,
sleazy thieves
undressing virtue,
these villains wither,
when exposed,
yanking zippers
ad nauseam.


Kathleen A. Lawrence continues to write poetry in upstate New York. Recently she received word that two of her poems have been nominated for 2017 Best of the Net awards, and another was nominated for the 2017 Rhysling Award of the international Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA). She has also  had poems published in Rattle (Poets Respond), Eye to the Telescope, haikuniverse, Silver Blade Magazine, The Wild Word magazine (Germany), Altered Reality Magazine, Undertow Tanka Review, and Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, among others.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A FLOCK OF WILD TURKEYS

by Tricia Knoll




You’d pull off the road for that,
wouldn’t you? Beside Pigeon River?
A flight of forty landing.

Thin and sleek, running.
Watch their heads bob
and thin legs pedal.

You’d forget news
of feathered nests
and overstuffed breasts.


Tweeted by Bill Kristol.


Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet who has only seen one wild turkey in Oregon but many, many more in Vermont.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

MEDITATION IN ROME

by Sharon Olson


School had not started and students at Rancho Tehama Elementary were still in the playground when staffers first heard gunshots in the neighborhood Tuesday morning, said Richard Fitzpatrick, superintendent of the Corning Union Elementary School District. “The bell had not rang, roll had not been taken, when the shots were heard,” he said. Staffers immediately began to lock down the campus, rushing students into classrooms and under desks when the gunman came around the corner toward the school, Fitzpatrick said at a press conference Tuesday. The gunman crashed through the front gates of the school in a white pickup truck traveling at high speed, he said. Authorities say this was part of a larger rampage through the rural community in Northern California that left five dead and 10 wounded. The man came out of the truck with a semiautomatic rifle and ran into the center of the school’s quad and began firing at windows and walls as staffers, including the school’s custodian, rushed students into classrooms under gunfire. One student was shot in a classroom while under a desk, Fitzpatrick said. That student was said to be stable. —LA Times, November 14, 2017


The gaze from Sant’Eustachio Il Caffe
reveals a stag atop the nearby church,
a crucifix sprouting between its antlers.
Stirring my cappuccino I think of Hubertus,
as Eustace is called in Belgium,
the hunter who saw his vision of the crucifix
in the forest of the Ardennes,
and asked his would-be victim
what he might do.

The stag counseled good hunting,
trimming the ranks of the herd.
I think of the X’s spray-painted
onto the carcasses of “fallen” deer
in my neighborhood,
marked for hauling away.

Fallen perhaps over-used as a euphemism
for dead soldiers, as if they had merely
stumbled, breaking rank in procession
towards the enemy at Waterloo,
Khe Sanh, Kanduz.

In my America gun cases beckon,
designer bags hold personal revolvers,
video games tally the number killed
for the game player with his joy stick,
the one who flunked anger management
and blamed the schoolmates who mocked
and bullied him, who now focuses his aim
on the heads of children in the crosshairs.

Inside the church lie the bones of Sant’Eustachio.
Painted onto the dome above, the wings
of the Holy Spirit, flung wide.


Sharon Olson is a retired librarian, a graduate of Stanford, with an MLS from U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Oregon. Her book The Long Night of Flying was published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2006. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Off the Coast, String Poet, Arroyo Literary Review, The Curator, Adanna, Organs of Vision and Speech Magazine, The Midwest Quarterly, Edison Literary Review, California Quarterly, The Sand Hill Review, and Cider Press Review. Two of her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She currently lives in Lawrenceville, New Jersey where she is a member of the U.S. 1 Poets’ Cooperative, and since 2015 has been part of the Cool Women Poets critique and performance group, which gives readings in venues throughout New Jersey.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

CAN IT HAPPEN HERE?

by  Jon Taylor


Image source: Newspaper Rock















Ask a Native American
declared a “merciless Indian savage”
in the country’s founding document
taught with reverence to schoolchildren.

Ask a descendant
of slaves from Africa
who isn’t behind bars with two million
others of his inheritance.

Ask a Mexican
who had the temerity
to resettle in the land Anglos stole
from his ancestors.

Ask an Arab immigrant
who was removed from an airplane
because his fellow passengers
felt uncomfortable in his presence.

Ask a six-year-old
taken from school in handcuffs
because he pulled the pigtails
of the girl in front of him.

Ask the parents
who lost custody of their children
because they let them walk home
from school by themselves.

Ask the old boy
shot dead in his armchair
when the law broke down his front door
looking for someone else.

Ask yourself
while being cavity searched
at the side of the road
for rolling through a stop sign.


Jon Taylor is the author of Berry Picker’s Blues, a book of Michigan/Northwoods/Upper Peninsula poems. He can be reached at taylor.jon440[at]gmail.com .

Monday, November 13, 2017

OVER

by Judith Terzi


The Trump administration announced tight new restrictions Wednesday on American travel and trade with Cuba, implementing policy changes President Trump announced five months ago to reverse Obama administration normalization with the communist-ruled island. Under the new rules, most individual visits to Cuba will no longer be allowed, and U.S. citizens will again have to travel as part of groups licensed by the Treasury Department for specific purposes, accompanied by a group representative. Americans also will be barred from staying at a long list of hotels and from patronizing restaurants, stores and other enterprises that the State Department has determined are owned by or benefit members of the Cuban government, specifically its security services. —The Washington Post, November 8, 2017. Havana photo by Judith Terzi.


To Barack Obama



Like the Roman deity Janus, you looked
to the past & the future. Janus––god of time.
God of gates & passages. God of trade.

Yes, trade. Shadowy jumble of words &
punishment emerges today from the WH.
No golf resorts, no ties, no towers, no art

of the deal. The future is opaque, grieves
the loss of your imagination, your
luminosity, your esperanza. No sunrise

today over restoration in Old Havana,
over skyscrapers along Avenida de los
Presidentes, over Hemingway's weary

Corona, over John Lennon's statue in
Lennon Park. No sunset watch from Fort
Morro, from Lucky Luciano's sunlit rooms

at the Hotel Nacional where John Kerry's
photo hangs over a bar, where Nat King Cole
hangs out in bronze, & a sculpture

of Isadora Duncan surprises in the lobby
of this hotel now blacklisted for Americans.
Can we still use their bathrooms? Can we

still drink their mojitos, smoke Cohibas
on the terrace after La Parisienne show?
Can we still speak to the two Parisian

couples fêting their marriages, or tourists
from Jamaica, Shanghai, Czech Republic,
Germany, Barcelona, Chile, & México?

These travelers on their own, alone. Can we
still walk through the bunker, stark reminder
of the verge of war––the Missile Crisis. Can

we still climb to the top of this blacklisted
hotel & view our Embassy & the cruise
ships beyond & wish you were here?


EDITOR’S NOTE: TRAVEL TO CUBA WITH THE AUTHORS GUILD FOUNDATION: "New Cuba Trip Added by Popular Demand February 10-17, 2018 (December and November trips are SOLD OUT) Please note that recent sanctions on travel to Cuba prohibit individual travel; however, it is legal to visit Cuba with a group led by a licensed educational organization. The Authors Guild Foundation trip qualifies under the new restrictions."


Judith Terzi's poems appear or are forthcoming in journals and anthologies including Caesura, Columbia Journal, Good Works Review (FutureCycle Press), Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems (Tupelo), 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, November 12, 2017

THE THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS OF TRADER JOE SHOPPERS

by Kristin Berger


Image source: Kim's Cravings


That tonight will be the quiet, easy Sunday when all cars obey
the lights and the moon escorts clouds to the other side
of the overpass, under which homeless families are thankful
for no rain and church tips—
That tonight you reduce the odds and leave the children home,
the one fuming that you won't let him get the Nerf gun
that handles & loads like a semi-automatic;
Because you are the mother, and tonight will be the random night
you return with a trunk full of groceries, nothing
but a split nail and no sirens in the distance.


Kristin Berger is the author of the poetry collection How Light Reaches Us (Aldrich Press, 2016), and a poetry chapbook For the Willing (Finishing Line Press, 2008), and co-edited VoiceCatcher 6: Portland/Vancouver Area Women Writers and Artists (2011). Her long prose-poem, Changing Woman & Changing Man: A High Desert Myth, was a finalist for the 2016 Newfound Prose Prize. Her most recent work has been published in Contrary Magazine, Half-Mystic Journal, The Inflectionist Review, Timberline Review and Wildness. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she hosts a summer poetry reading series at her neighborhood farmers market. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

IN THE FALLING DARK

by Devon Balwit 


Sheree Rumph of San Antonio prays over two of the 26 crosses erected in memory of the 26 people killed in a shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. The shooting took place during a Sunday service at the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP via The Times-Picayune, November 7, 2017)


Each day I take my little target and go out.
I cling to my petiole—call it life
I hope for no storm, no rending gust,
no one with a gun, a grudge, a common truck.

I cling to my petiole—call it life
I shield its flicker with my hand, invite in
no one with a gun, a grudge, a common truck.
I wring the last green from my short day.

I shield my flicker with my hand, inviting in
only beauty, only the heroism of the ordinary.
I wring the last green from my short day.
I close the door on threat. I turn inward.

Only beauty, only the heroism of the ordinary,
please, people—not invective, not hate—
Close the door on threat, turn inward.
Listen to the breath and find the vital.

Please, people—not invective, not hate—
the human world is so late. It’s dusk.
Listen to the breath and find the vital.
I try. Every day, I’m a beginner.

The human world is so late. It’s dusk.
Each day, I take my little target and go out,
I try. Every day, I’m a beginner.
I hope for no storm, no rending gust.


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

Friday, November 10, 2017

BIPARTISAN TO BIPENNATE

by John Beaton


Eagle with One Wing by Christopher Hall.
I saw a bird with just one wing.
The poor thing could not fly;
it fluttered in a clockwise ring.
Another squawked nearby,

similarly handicapped,
but anticlockwise in
the one-winged way it feebly flapped.
They filled me with chagrin

and then a bright idea brewed—
what if I was to tie
the two together? Then they could
Siamesely fly.

And so they did, the left wing and
the right, united, flew.
It happened in cloud cuckoo land—
one wing was red, one blue.



John Beaton, a retired actuary who was born in Scotland, is a widely published poet and spoken word performer from Vancouver Island, Canada.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

ON THE SAME DAY

by John Kotula


Detail of a mural in Santa Maria de los Angeles Church, Riguero, Managua, Nicaragua. Image source: Alliance for Global Justice.


Thousands of immigrants from Nicaragua who came to the United States illegally, many of them decades ago, will lose special permission allowing them to stay in the country, the Trump administration said on Monday. —The New York Times, November 6, 2017


T***p says
2,500 Nicaraguans
Must go,
I go to the mall
In Managua
For 2 X 2 color photos
No glasses,
Neutral expression,
Natural smile
To renew my passport.
Like Superman
Leaping buildings
I cross fronteras
In a single bound.
My passport
Sports an eagle and
Stars and stripes.
One look at the old,
Well fed, white guy
In the photo
And nobody claims
I’ll take their job,
Rob their house
Or rape their granny.
But back in the
US of A
No “bad hombres”
Are allowed,
Even if
They work,
Pay taxes,
Own a home,
Have kids,
Coach little league,
Dress up for Halloween,
Bake apple pies, and
Deck their lawns
With inflatable
Snow men.
On the same day
T***p says
2,500 Nicaraguans
Must go,
I feel welcomed in
Managua.


John Kotula is a writer and artist from Peace Dale, Rhode Island who is currently living in Managua, Nicaragua.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

SING A SONG OF CAYMAN

by S.O.Fasrus






Cayman as in Cayman (Islands)—often confused with the homophonous Caiman: A large aquatic reptile found in swamps and closely related to crocodiles and aligators.


To the Queen from her accountant:
'About Your Majesty's money?'
'The poor are always with one -
send it somewhere sunny!'
The Duke of York reminds her
the lion's share is hid,
'but we always have the Caymans Ma'am
to park ten million quid.'

The maid is in the garden
by the potting sheds
the Counting House is near
she hears everything he says.
'I'm on a bloody pittance -
the royals are in a bubble,
so I'm off to call the Daily Mail.
I'll cause a lot of trouble.'

The Monarchists are furious
they say 'Oh what's the point'
the latest royal palaver
puts their noses out of joint:
'Our taxes pay for parasites
like Charles and Parker Bowles
yet they're hiding all their private wealth
in tax exemption holes.'

The maid's in the Bahamas
enjoying a nice rest
the papers bought her story
'she's feathering her nest,'
the Monarchists go turncoat
agree The Crown's despotic
the headline on the front page:
OUR QUEEN'S UNPATRIOTIC.'


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

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

POLITICIAN

by Howard Winn




The doorbell rang once politely
and he was already smiling
when I opened the front door
while his hand reached out
in welcome as he said my name
and we agreed that I was
in fact that person enrolled
in his political party and ready
to vote when the time came
for we must throw the rascals
out not having voted to put them
in at the last election day when
we with the best intentions lost
out and in fact we were right
for fraud and personal gain has
been revealed although we
wonder if the voters read or
care as we stand in the doorway
agreeing how right we were
the last time even if the majority
did not know or pay attention
so having concurred we shook hands
once again and he turned into
the rain to try the next registered
door and I went back to lunch
wondering if our conversation
had mattered since the opposition
was not there to hear our wisdom
exchanged since they were our
beliefs and not their convictions
as it seems always the case
and once again we talk to ourselves


Howard Winn's work, both short fiction and poetry has been published in Dalhousie Review, The Long Story, Galway Review, Antigonish Review, Chaffin Review, Evansville Review, 3288 Review, Straylight Literary Magazine, and Blueline.  His B. A. is from Vassar College. His M.A. is from the Stanford University Writing Program. His doctoral work was done at N.Y.U. He is Professor of English at SUNY.

Monday, November 06, 2017

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VIOLENCE

by Diane Elayne Dees


Carrie Matula hugs a woman who lost her father in a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. Matula said she saw and heard everything as it happened from the gas station where she works just a block away. (Nick Wagner / American-Statesman via AP via Yahoo!)


Some were on the sidewalk,
some were at a concert,
some were in a needless war,
some were in a laboratory cage,
some were living in a house of rage and sadism,
some were in a church,
some were in a car when the police showed up,
some spent their lives in tiny, cramped pens,
some were at school,
some were in a house with monster parents,
some were raised only to be on your plate
at the prayer breakfast, where you begged for peace.
All longed for freedom.
None wanted pain.
All wanted to live.


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 throughout the world.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

THE FLOATING PEOPLE

by Mark Tarren


Kulsuma Begum, 40, a Rohingya refu­gee, cries while recounting her story at Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. She said that her daughter was missing and that her husband and son-in-law were killed by Burmese soldiers. Photo source: Hannah Mckay/Reuters via The Washington Post, October 29, 2017.


We are the sea
of people

that flows from Rohingya
to Bangladesh.

We are the sea
of colour

red veils
shirts of saffron
violet dresses
that flows through green
banked rivers.

We are water.
There is mud and hunger
in our footprints

they call us insects
they call us

The Floating People.

We live in our

shared Book of Stories
so that our children will know
where they came from

our shared drawings
our songs
our taranas.

Where we remember home.

We are life. We are sky.
We are air.

When they burnt our babies alive
we looked to the east
towards Arakan
to the mountains of Arakan Yoma
and remembered many things

the colour of rooftops
where we had dried food

the colour of fields
where we once loved

the colour of turmeric and chilis

it is the colour of fire.


Mark Tarren is a poet and writer based in Queensland, Australia. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various literary journals including The Blue Nib, Poets Reading The News, and Street Light Press.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

THE EYES OF CHECHEN AUTHORITIES WILL NEVER LET THEM FORGET WHAT THEY HAVE DONE

by David Hanlon


A leading Russian human rights group has expressed “serious fears” that a gay pop star may have been killed in Chechnya’s crackdown on gay people. Zelimkhan Bakayev, 26, went missing in August when he left his home in Moscow to visit the capital, Grozny, for his sister’s wedding. “When a person disappears and the police force refuse to investigate his disappearance, we have serious fears for the life of that person,” Oleg Orlov, from Memorial, Russia’s oldest civil rights group, told AFP on Friday. Russian NGOs and media outlets have raised concerns about the fate of Bakayev and speculated that Chechen police may have abducted him due to his sexual orientation. —The Guardian, October 27, 2017. Photo: Some time before his disappearance,  Zelimkhan Bakaev (right) posed with Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov. —Facebook


Even when they squeeze
them shut,

they’ll bulge
like fat camera reels

turning, projecting
the images on the backs

of their eyelids –
flesh screens

a silent,
black-and-white

horror movie
stuck

on repeat.


David Hanlon is from Cardiff, Wales. He is sickened by these atrocities that are still ongoing. With a leader who claims 'no gay men exist in Chechnya,' how can gay men ever feel safe within the republic again? Outside authorities need to intervene & put a stop to this inhumanity now!

Friday, November 03, 2017

LAIKA (1954 - NOVEMBER 3, 1957)

by Martin Elster


Laika statue outside a research facility in Moscow
(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky)
via Universe Today.
The more time passes, the more I’m sorry about it. We did not learn enough from the mission to justify the death of the dog. —Oleg Gazenko























We pulled you off the windy streets,
crammed you in a windless room,
stuck electrodes to your skin,
then hurled you to your doom.

Black ears alert, brown eyes alarmed,
you fought against the fearsome thrust,
heart overheating, wildly beating,
hanging on to trust.

What was this floating-feather-lightness?
Where was the man whose gentle hand
had stroked you after every test?
When will this bubble land?

Our plan was, after a week in orbit
you’d polish off the poisoned kibble.
(Your air was running out, dear friend,
but you weren’t one to quibble.)

Because of you, men gained the moon,
touched a comet, launched the Hubble.
Yet building a craft that could have brought
you back was too much trouble.

There stands a statue of a rocket,
you atop it, proud and regal.
Small Moscow stray, could you have dreamed
you’d die a wingless eagle?


Martin Elster is a composer and serves as percussionist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. His poetry has appeared in Astropoetica, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, The Chimaera, and The Road Not Taken, among others, and in anthologies such as Taking Turns: Sonnets from Eratosphere, The 2012 and 2015 Rhysling Anthologies, New Sun Rising: Stories for Japan, and Poems for a Liminal Age.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

ROLE MODELS

by Alan Walowitz


FBI to release all of its JFK assassination files. In this file photo, President John F. Kennedy's hand reaches toward his head within seconds of being fatally shot as first lady Jacqueline Kennedy holds his forearm as the motorcade proceeds along Elm Street past the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. | James W. "Ike" Altgens, File/AP Photo via Politico, October 30, 2017

I was in homeroom when JFK got shot
and we weren’t told much
about what’d happened—
or about much else—
this was high school, late shift,
and the afternoon wore
so damn slowly into night.
But that day I learned
from the very purposeful
and well-dressed Mr. Wulf
that life must go on
and a greater angle of a triangle
is opposite a greater side,
and though I never had the need
to read the Warren Report,
I hear those august guys
absolutely nailed Theorem #6
with their fine discussion and diagrams
of angles and distance from the Book Depository
to the limo riding by in Dealey Plaza
carrying a human god, the man we most admired,
though we later found out
he had feet of clay and was just a guy.
I also learned that
if a teacher remains in the back of the room
and tamps down weeping to a quiet, plaintive sob,
a tough old bird like Mrs. Hirsch in English
can wring a pink handkerchief dry
then drown it again with her tears
and no one will think less of her.
Though the president we’ve got now
makes me sick with his lies,
his ugliness, and everything else he hides,
there’s nothing left in the vault,
unrevealed from 1963 or ‘64
that could have taught me any better
what kind of grownup
I ought to hope I’d grow up to be.


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.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

FIRST MANAFORT . . .

by Jean L. Kreiling




Justice may not work the way
you wish.  They’d fall like dominoes
if truth prevailed, but sad to say,
justice may not work that way.
What gleeful hopes rise on this day:
first Manafort, and soon T***p goes?
Though justice may not work that way,
you wish they’d fall like dominoes.


Jean L. Kreiling’s first collection of poems The Truth in Dissonance (Kelsay Books) was published in 2014; her second collection will appear in spring 2018.