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Wednesday, January 31, 2018


found poetry by Diane Elayne Dees

I have the right temperament,
I try to learn from the past.
I thought being president
would be easier than my old life.
I'm an honest person, I thought
it would be easier. Bing bing,
bong bong, bing bing bing.

I have embraced crying mothers
who have lost their children
because our politicians put their personal
agendas before the national good.
I have a great relationship with the blacks;
I wouldn't mind a little bow.

Despite the constant negative press
covfefe, they don't know how to write good.
I know more about ISIS than the generals do;
why can't we use nuclear weapons?
I'm their worst nightmare, my fingers are long
and beautiful. Even if the world is going to hell
in a hand-basket, I won't lose a penny.
Who’s doing the raping?
Who's doing the raping?

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.


by Karen Greenbaum-Maya

Graphic by Kevin Kreneck
via The Progressive Populist

While T***p looks presidential
reading words slowly on the networks,
on the classic movie channel
King Kong the giant ape runs amok,
first on Skull Island,
then in Manhattan.

Karen Greenbaum-Maya can't. She just can't. The Book of Knots and Their Untying is published by Kelsay Press.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


by Paul Smith

Cartoon by Taylor Jones

There is a paradox
that goes like this:
a real good liar is so good
he is never caught
so he gets known as
an honest man
an honest man, though, may
become desperate and lie
once or twice
a greenhorn at deception
he gets labelled a liar
but there are limits, sir
the threshold is
five lies a day
two thousand lies in one year
once you cross that line
you are out of the vestibule
of deceit
and into the parlor, the banquet hall
then all of us are on to you
you stick out like a sore thumb
we have your number
the second sex
the fifth estate
the one they call
the seventh son
we all
know your sum

and it is zero

Paul Smith lives near Chicago. He writes fiction & poetry. He likes Hemingway, really likes Bukowski, the Rolling Stones, Beatles, Kinks and Slim Harpo. He can play James Jamerson's bass solo for 'Home Cookin' by Junior Walker & the Allstars.

Monday, January 29, 2018


a haibun by Roberta Beary

For the past decade, Mu-Ming Poo, the director of the Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai, has been on a quest to make monkeys that can be used to study human disease. Today, researchers in his institute announced a major milestone: the births of Zhongzhong and Huahua, the first two monkey clones created using the same technique behind Dolly the sheep. —The Atlantic, January 24, 2018. Photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency.

when I hear that scientists in China cloned identical monkeys, when I see twin monkey smiles spread across digital newsprint, I do not think of ethical issues or moral dilemmas, instead I recall my twin, how tightly his hand pulled mine into the asphalt jungle, swearing he would never let me go

midnight storm
a distant voice
calls my name

Roberta Beary is the haibun editor of Modern Haiku. She grew up in Jamaica Estates. As a child she often biked past the T***p family home and thought nothing of it. She lives in County Mayo, Ireland.

Sunday, January 28, 2018


by Dana Yost

The way I’d shudder at it,
the way anger and grief
mingled and wrapped around
until they’d become a growl

of exasperation, anger manifest
in the ferocity, the flagellation of your primal strum,
the way a person would pound
a hard-clenched fist on a table

and say sorry, all, I've had enough.
As if you were tired of it, the bombs
and guns, little boys dead. How it goes ’round,
and you tire of it. How I tire of it.

The sorrow interlaced with your anger might
explain my weeps. Or is it the tender brogue,
lingered notes that cry your wounds,
what a critic called your “fierce vulnerability?”

I saw it, I heard it, even before I knew
of the deeper dark within you: my deeper
dark, too. It’s the dark we claw to escape, its hounding,
but never shall we, because to do so we’d have

to escape ourselves.
The earth took your body this week.
As long as I live, it will not take your voice.

The bombs, the guns will not take this world.

Dana Yost is a poet, author and former award-winning daily newspaper editor and writer. His most recent book is a history book 1940: Journal of a Midwestern Town, Story of an Era.

Saturday, January 27, 2018


by Rick Mullin

Cartoon by Patrick Chappatte, The New York Times, January 22, 2018

Bloated, he descended with the rest,
the social X-Ray plutocrats, the best
and brightest on the snowy global stage.
His speech was warmly welcomed by a few
and tolerated by their retinue.
His teleprompter did not turn a page.
And he got through, despite low expectations.
He sang in praise (eschewing other nations)
of the USA, the market surge,
and all the aliens he hopes to purge.
He finished without serious faux pas,
he left the audience in less than awe
and waddled through the press contingent, dumb
and tough. He was the ultimate sore thumb.

Rick Mullin's newest poetry collection is Transom.

Friday, January 26, 2018


by Alan Walowitz

Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina addresses Larry Nassar, (R) a former team USA Gymnastics doctor, who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, during his sentencing hearing. (Reuters via Yahoo! Sports)

Me, I’m just one of the run-of-the-mill, everyday sinners of this world,
but how could I not shake, with some small tremor of recognition,
leavened with that familiar there-but-for-fortune feeling,
as Judge Rosemarie Aquilina dragged Larry Nassar
over the white-hot coals of his own making?
At the same time, the thrill of punishment deserved
tingled down my spine,
and I could just hear my mother saying,
I hope he’s not Jewish.
No, Mom, I'd surely reply. Nassar—gotta be Egyptian with a name like that.
True or not, she’d be quite relieved,
at the same time a hundred different kinds of moms
Italian, and Irish, and even those who've snuck in from Guadalajara
maybe with calves the size of cantaloupes
are saying and thinking exactly the same.
Meanwhile, the Rev. Franklin Graham,
Billy's son—by some accounts a good man—
has forgiven our president all his trespasses
with busty Stormy Daniels,
who's probably a very nice woman,
though my mother would hope, also, she isn’t one of us.
The younger Rev. Graham offers with great compassion,
Who am I to pass judgment on the Pres?
I've got sins of my own. 
I only wish Judge Rosemarie Aquilina would get a hold of
the good Rev. Graham and shake him for an hour or two—
and while she’s at it, anyone he’s peddled such cheap forgiveness to.

Alan Walowitz is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry. He teaches at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY and St. John’s University in Queens. Alan’s poetry chapbook Exactly Like Love is in its second printing available from Osedax Press.

Thursday, January 25, 2018


by Tricia Knoll

Waves of bluster rain roll down the blacktop hill.
People at the coast fled a tsunami but here
it’s rain and chances for more rain: 100%,

as if the sky knows that Ursula Le Guin
is gone and we’ll be left with her worlds
apart, a few cats, and first-edition books

we bought because they took us away,
saved not to start a pricey collection;
some things we never let go.

We took medical care into our own hands
and voted big-time to tax hospitals and insurers
to keep Medicare for people who need the most,

have the least, and from whom much was taken.
In the women’s locker room, talk took today to
old ladies’ pot parties with lessons

on what works best, the reason being
that if the old Oregon ladies are willing to stand up
to the feds, by god, someone better listen.

Ursula was one of us.

Tricia Knoll has been an Oregonian since 1971 though real Oregonians make a distinction on whether you were born here or not. Sometimes it's a wild ride living on the left coast. The forests burn in the summer. The land slides in the winter. Earthquake faults are just a few miles away. Our Senators are Democrats, and the wine just keeps getting better.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


by Harold Oberman

Kentucky School Shooting Is 11th of Year. It’s Jan. 23. Clockwise from top left: Wake Forest University campus on the morning of Jan. 21, after a fatal shooting the night before; emergency crews responded to Marshall County High School after a fatal shooting on Jan. 23 in Benton, Ky.; law enforcement personnel gathered outside a high school in Italy, Tex., after a shooting on Jan. 22; police officers at the Net Charter School in New Orleans on Jan. 22 after a shooting. Credit Clockwise from top left: Ben Powell; Ryan Hermens/The Paducah Sun, via Associated Press; KDFW Fox4, via Associated Press; Emily Kask. —The New York Times, January 23, 2018

Two students dead, 12 other people wounded
in Kentucky high school shooting. 
—Headline in The Washington Post, January 23, 2018

Who even writes the story now?
Headline: “School Shooting . . .”
Is there a designee at a desk in the obit department
That fills in the blanks?
Blank dead.
Blank wounded.
Blank rounds from
Blank automatic weapons.
Insert rampage or chaos.
Insert tragedy and heartbreak and close-knit and unbelievable and backpack and student and child.
How do you describe the indescribable?
Form 2018.
Blank this shit.
Headline: “School Shooting . . .”
The ellipsis trail off like bodies.

Harold Oberman is a lawyer and poet living and writing in Charleston, S.C. His work has recently appeared in TheNewVerse.News.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


by George Salamon

Congressional Republicans: They more or less held their ground when the government shut down after Friday's midnight deadline passed, and in the end, Democrats compromised way more than Republicans to open the government back up. —Amber Phillips, The Washington Post, January 22, 2018. Photo: Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) clink glasses in a toast Monday on Capitol Hill after senators reached an agreement to advance a bill ending government shutdown. (Andrew Harnik/AP via The Washington Post, January 22, 2018)

Since the Reagan revolution
Bulls have been running our lives.
Swearing to uphold the Constitution,
They dance to a Wall Street beat.
Other political animals are squealing,
They march right up to the bulls
Grunting discreetly under their breath:
Let's make a little compromise,
Just a tiny little compromise,
This time on immigration,
So that just a tiny bit of decency dies.
Whenever you seek to banish the
Better aspirations of this nation,
We'll stand up and fight you
Until we make just a tiny little compromise,
So that we can be sure
Just a tiny bit of freedom vanishes,
A tiny bit of equality is thwarted,
A tiny bit of hope is dashed
Until you kill the people's dream.
For which there may be no compromise.

George Salamon remembers helping voters to the polls in Massachusetts to cast their ballots for Adlai Stevenson in 1956. Were those the days?

Monday, January 22, 2018


by Elane Gutterman

“As a woman, I feel it’s my responsibility to be here. Practice the privilege you have. I came from a land where people had to die to vote. Americans can change their history by protesting.”  Awalin Sopan, 33, from Virginia, dressed as a character from The Handmaid’s Tale. Ms. Sopan, originally from Bangladesh, became a United States citizen in 2017. —Photograph by Andrea Bruce for The New York Times

 “Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.” —Martin Luther King, Memphis, TN, April 3, 1968

Why not let others
Demonstrate, agitate, escalate?

Stretched in yoga, weekend routines we
Equivocate, abdicate, meditate.

We rely on the media and courts to
Investigate, adjudicate, mitigate.

We’re overwhelmed by the acts of the 45th to
Disintegrate, contaminate, perpetrate.

The way his core of supporters
Adulate, gravitate, accommodate.

We’ve grown accustomed to a mind set to
Dominate, fabricate, fulminate.

On MLK day, I heard his speech evoke dogs and firehoses to
Activate, necessitate, consolidate.

At the Women’s March, last Saturday,
I stood my cold ground to demonstrate.

Elane Gutterman is a health researcher and poet, whose poems have appeared in the Kelsey Review, Patterson Literary Review and the US1 Summer Fiction Issue. Living in West Windsor, NJ, she attended the Women's March on New Jersey in Morristown. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018


by Mark Tarren

Image Source: Africa Geographic Magazine

"Shithole' remark by Trump makes global headlines—but it doesn't quite translate” The Guardian, January 13, 2018

The old man sits before
the night sky,
a canopy of tiny crystals.

His grandson seated beside him
this small boy,
a jewel in his ancient shadow.

His wisdom speaks before him
like dust to the stars,
the boy was born
in the land before language
before the tongues of men
where a dune or a palm
was called after a lover
or a neighbour’s house
something loved from the past,
where there was no word for dawn
no words for the moon or the stars
or tears on skin
or eyes on maps

or country,
nothing to lose in translation.

The old man answered the boy’s silence:

I have seen many kings from the west fall,
their thrones crumble
and drift out to sea
the ripples from their empty voices
never reach our shores.

My son, we live in the land without words
this dull ache, this darkness
they call fear
sank into the ground like rain
an age ago
a forgotten song that only sometimes
wails in the winds.

Hate is a roar that was silenced
in the smile lined eyes
of our fathers.

Hunger is a song thief;
we dance in the bounty
of our one shared heart.

The word for our people
was birthed inside your mother
like birdsong,
before you were born,
before there was a word for
the colour of our skin,
before the word for memory,

before she left for The New World.

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.

Saturday, January 20, 2018


by Matthew Ford

It must have been a Tuesday when
the grey-haired white farmer emerged from his large, expensive home
far north of Herndon
but after a quick glance at the damage
he turned around
and went back
straight to the laundry room
where his Guatemalan maid leaves the dirty laundry
he grabbed an old towel and went back out
to his big white Ford F-250
to wipe the ash off the windshield
that had accumulated from the nearby fire then
he jumped in, switched on Rush Limbaugh
and drove to the gas station coffee shop
where he and his friends gather to
talk politics, condemn “illegal aliens,” and the liberal swine
in Sacramento that shut off their water supply.
they all agree
the drought is fake news
and the border wall was necessary . . . yesterday
high taxes in California are correlated to the
mass of illegals that eat up the social services
but do not pay taxes
they all sing in unison until
the one in the white F-250 stands up to take a call
from his labor contractor—“pay-droh”
who tells him the van is arriving out to the melons in Mendota
so he salutes his gang
and heads to the westside to deliver paychecks
to the workers with fake social security numbers
who worked 70 hours last week without overtime pay
and in Spanish, discussed the tax deductions
at the bottom of their pay stubs
on his way out
he stopped at the next field over
to switch on the valve—flooding it.

Matthew Ford is a PhD student studying Latin American History at Stony Brook University in Long Island, New York. He is originally from California's central valley.

Friday, January 19, 2018


by Edmund Conti

Jim Morin, Morin Toons Syndicate via The Denver Post

According to the latest poll,
It’s all there on the table—
Right beside his taco bowl—
His genius? It is stable.

We all can see how smart he is
As far as we are able.
Just watch him do his daily biz.
His genius. It is stable.

He likes to watch TV all day
Especially on cable.
To see what Fox and Friends all say.
His genius. It is stable.

He is the hottest president.
Reminds us of Clark Gable.
Smart and handsome is this gent.
His genius. It is stable.

The news you hear of course is Fake.
Some Democratic fable.
Don’t listen to them bellyache.
His genius. It is stable.

Edmund Conti is not your normal genius.

Thursday, January 18, 2018


by Sister Lou Ella Hickman

Storm-damaged Rockport, Texas homes are seen in this Sunday, Aug. 25, 2017 aerial photo. Mortgage delinquency rates soared in September and October in many of the coastal and other cities flooded by Harvey, including Houston, Beaumont and Corpus Christi, according to new data from real estate analytics company CoreLogic. —San Antonio Express-News, January 15, 2018

of course, there will be long, massive work
for big names like
houston and miami    however rubble
is also rubble in the dots of towns
with their downed trees and power lines
roofs sheared off   walls that caved
these are the invisible ones living between and around bigness
dots of towns in a litany of counties
               that lost schools, citrus groves, hole in the wall cafes
               that didn’t make the news
               the question now
               will the police officers, librarians, butchers, teachers and bakers  go elsewhere
               or will they like some of the volunteer firemen decide to stay
               after all, this is where we grew up
               our children were born
               and where we go to church
               the dots of town must dig deep
               among the rubble for their just reason for staying

Sister Lou Ella Hickman is a poet, writer, and spiritual director. Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines such as First Things, Emmanuel, Third Wednesday, and TheNewVerse.News. Her first book of poetry was entitled she: robed and wordless. Sister Lou Ella lives 45 minutes from Rockport, Texas, one of the small towns devastated by Hurricane Harvey that may never recover.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


by Wilda Morris

Eleven Guantánamo inmates are challenging their indefinite detention in the US military camp in Cuba on grounds that Donald Trump’s defiant pledge to keep all remaining detainees permanently locked up is fuelled by hostility towards Muslims. . . . Some of the petitioners in the new filing have themselves been held on the Cuban base almost since the beginning; others have been detained for 10 years. None of them has ever been charged, and all know that unless the courts intervene they could remain in their cells until they die. In a memorable phrase, they say that ‘the aura of forever hangs heavier than ever.’” Pictured: The entrance of the US prison at Guantánamo Bay. Photograph by John Moore/Getty Images —The Guardian, January 11, 2018

           “ . . . And good-bye to you, old Rights-of-Man.”
                  ~ Billy in Billy Budd by Herman Melville

Hello to paying men of questionable truth to bring in suspects.
Hello to assuming men guilty without evidence
Good-bye, old Rights of Man

Hello to ice water baths, sleep deprivation, threat dogs
Hello to solitary confinement and mocking of religion
Good-by, old Geneva Conventions

Hello to hours in stress positions, temperature extremes
Hello to sexual abuse, rectal rehydration, waterboarding
Good-by to you, old Rights of Man

Hello to the US using medieval torture techniques
Hello to the US adapting techniques from the Nazi camps
Good-by, old Geneva conventions

Hello to holding prisoners indefinitely without trial
Hello to holding prisoners decades after deeming them innocent
Good-bye to you, old Rights-of-Man

Wilda Morris is a widely published, award-winning poet. She is a past-president of the Illinois State Poetry Society, Workshop Chairperson of Poets & Patrons of Chicago, and Chair of the Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Wilda Morris's Poetry Challenge provides an online contest for other poets each month.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


by Tricia Knoll

Iraqis in the area where a double suicide bombing killed more than 20 people in central Baghdad on January 15, 2018, the second such attack in the Iraqi capital in three days. —Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images via The Washington Post, January 15, 2018

Eighteen women in black
at Friday lunch hour.
A silent witness circle,
like spokes at the edges
of a gristing wheel,
a protest of the 2003 bombing
of Baghdad.

My black umbrella shed
March’s bluster rains.
Chill fists plunged into pockets
of a black trench coat.
Black tights wrapped my legs
against sideways winds
buffeting the women’s side
of Portland’s Lownsdale Square.

When asked, we handed out
slips of paper.
Do not let this war
go on and on and on.


Antigone wore night’s
cloak to bury her brother.
Israeli women in black
called out their army’s evil.
Black evening gowns
sweep the red carpet,
black power-suits
throw open the doors
of Congress.
The women speak.

We hear because
we already knew.
This must not
go on and on and on.

Never retire
your witness clothes.
Need never vanishes.

Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet who participated in many Women in Black silent witnesses in Portland in 2013. Her book How I Learned to Be White is coming out from Antrim House in 2018.

Monday, January 15, 2018


by Gilbert Allen

Slavery in America began when the first African slaves were brought to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619, to aid in the production of such lucrative crops as tobacco.

Four hundred years ago, we needed you.
Turn Air Force One into a time machine.
Bless colonists with your enlightened views.
Four hundred years ago, we needed you
to end this chain migration’s witches’ brew
before it started. Be our go-between!
Four hundred years ago, we needed you.
Turn Air Force One into a time machine.

Gilbert Allen lives in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. His most recent books are Catma and The Final Days of Great American Shopping.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


by Gail White

Cartoon by Peter Kuper for The New Yorker.

Why don’t we get more immigrants from Norway?
All winter long they never see the sun.
But their health care’s taken care of
And they’re not, that I’m aware of,
Very likely to be murdered with a gun.

What is it with these ignorant Norwegians?
Don’t they want what all Americans receive?
But they love the smorgasbords
And the mountains and the fjords,
And on top of that, they get parental leave.

Why do I sometimes wish I were Norwegian?
Am I really quite as socialist as that?
Yes, the dream that I aspire to
Is to sit beside the fire to
Caress my own Norwegian forest cat.

Gail White is a formalist poet with work in many journals, including Measure, Light, First Things, and Hudson Review. She is a two-time winner of the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. Her latest book Catechism was published in 2016 by White Violet Press.

Saturday, January 13, 2018


by Maurine Meleck

Nobody wants to read a poem about shitholes.
I will be called a fake poet, a charlatan,
an impostor trying to imitate real life.
Nevertheless, when nature calls we must
answer its whistle, its plea, its song.
Years ago, backpacking through Europe,
I was able to use the real shitholes
at the youth hostels I frequented,
holes in the ground where one actually
dumps one's shit.  Perhaps that conjures
up foul odors or visions of shit and miss
on your white sneakers.  It looks nothing
like a gold-plated toilet at the Ritz
with a self flushing mechanism or smell
like a stroll through a flowered nature trail.
Never underestimate a true shithole
as it can be hidden beneath a garden of roses,
but all you have to do is kick away the dirt.

Maurine Meleck has published poetry in numerous journals and anthologies including Luna Negra, Calliope, and Oasis.  Her poems appeared in The Southern Poetry Anthology: Volume 1, South Carolina.  She authored a chapter of poetry titled "Song of Sweetwater" in the book Revolutionary Grandparents.  She lives in Florida with her autistic grandson, whom she has raised.

Friday, January 12, 2018


by Terese Coe 

Image from boingboing

After Emily Dickinson

I’m nobody and, as for you,
I frankly cannot construe
how you manage to think mere contempt
could possibly make you exempt
from being a nobody too.

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

Thursday, January 11, 2018


by George Salamon

President Trump speaks at the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual convention in Nashville, Tenn. on Monday. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images via NPR

"Farmers are the president's people," Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in an interview with Morning Edition on Monday. "These are the people that elected the president. The president knows that. These are the people the president cares about. And he wants them to enjoy the American Dream just like all the people in the cities." Farm income has suffered in recent years from sagging commodity prices. Net farm income in 2017 was up modestly from the previous year, but still only about half what it was in 2013. —NPR, January 8, 2018

It's too soon to bury the old American Dream,
Riding wobbly in the saddle of our minds.
Put there by the founding fathers,
It grew into the million-dollar salesman
Of Wall Street's enormous con,
The nation's permanent floating crap game
Of wealth and power and fame.
The dream infected our people's soul,
Crushed their spirit, played with their hearts.
It immersed us in flush darkness,
Acquiring new horizons every might,
Yet gaining new followers every day.
It gave us under-educated leaders
Emerging from ivy-covered breeding grounds.
It left no space for nobler visions,
For women who know, for children who care.
It governs our minds through men with no vision at all,
Men with the temperament of their attire,
The stern-browed suits of the old American Dream.

George Salamon watches the pursuit of the American Dream from the heartland in St. Louis, MO.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


by Cindy Hochman

It’s a pit of vipers, I tell you.
Too much excrement, even for my species.
If only I had human language I could maybe write a book.
Flies and Fury.
Lordy Lordy Lordy of the Flies.
Someone open a window—I’ve gotta get the heck out of here.

Cindy Hochman is the president of "100 Proof" Copyediting Services and the editor-in-chief of the online poetry journal First Literary Review-East. She reviews books for Pedestal magazine, Clockwise Cat, Home Planet News, and others. Her latest chapbook is Habeas Corpus from Glass Lyre Press.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018


by Howard Winn

the land birthed in the 21st Century
where the apparent leaders from
the top on down are actually owned
by the secret sacred holy brothers
who possess the private country
of their name and where multiple
businesses destroy the air one breathes
and the food one consumes
inside the borders of this private
domain which only appears to
be the land of the free for
ordinary folk do not have access
to anything but phony facts
while honest science is ridiculed
and simulated scientists are easily
purchased and mock billionaires
are ready to make believe to run
the country and hold their positions
enriching themselves by the day
as long as they follow
orders and take the money

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, January 08, 2018


by Pepper Trail

When the police surrounded a house in Wichita, Kan., late Thursday, they expected to find a gunman who told a 911 dispatcher that he was holding his mother and brother at gunpoint after shooting his father in the head. But no crime had been committed at that house, and the man who would be fatally shot by an officer moments later was not the person who had called. The suspected caller, who was arrested on Friday and has a history of making false police reports, was actually about 1,300 miles away, in Los Angeles. Both the Wichita police and the man in the house were pawns in a hoax called “swatting,” in which people report made-up crimes in hopes of creating a spectacle and getting a SWAT team deployed. —The New York Times, December 31, 2017. Photo: An image from body-camera footage showing the fatal shooting of Andrew Finch, 28, by a Wichita police officer in the swatting hoax. —Wichita Police Department

I do not want
            do not want to live

in a country where it is possible
for the digitally demented to phone in
            an order
            for a police murder

and where the SWAT
the Special Weapons And Tactics team

            drives to the arbitrary house
surrounds it
            orders the confused and peaceable
man to come out
            of his quiet home
            with his hands up
and when he does not
                        or does not
quickly and obediently enough
            they shoot him


For this to be a thing that happens
            that happens again

how many layers of disconnection,
            of inhumanity
            of reflexive violence

must be laid down, deposited like ash
must settle upon us
take on our forms as we ourselves
            trapped inside, suffocate, die
            decompose, and leave behind nothing

but the shells of the human beings we were
            our arms outflung
            our eyes wide with terror
            our mouths twisted open
crying out, struck dumb

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. His collection, Cascade-Siskiyou, was a finalist for the 2016 Oregon Book Award in Poetry.

Sunday, January 07, 2018


by Deirdre Fagan

When you are 13 and poor,
even Taco Bell has an allure.

The Monte Carlo that held us

had a sheepskin bench seat.

Its soft cover like a fitted sheet
curving its corners like a cloud.

Seatbelts weren’t worn in 1983;

no need for slits to let safety peer in.

“Come closer and you can steer,” you said.

Nearly half my current size, no breasts,
thighs the width of my current calves—

I leaned full-bodied into the drive

eyes on the road, mouth watering,

drive-thru beckoning.

(What is there to taking a young girl?)

Deirdre Fagan is a widow, wife, and mother of two who has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in Amaryllis, Eunoia Review, and Poetry Breakfast, among others.  She is also the author of Critical Companion to Robert Frost and has published a number of critical essays. Fagan teaches literature and writing at Ferris State University where she is also the Coordinator of Creative Writing.  

Saturday, January 06, 2018


by Gil Fagiani

Juanito stands with his back to the counter,
customers shouting out their orders,
his apron spotted with ketchup, mayonnaise,
mustard, arms and hands a blur of motion.
On his left, he layers a turkey and Swiss hero,
in front, he plasters tuna salad on a roll
with lettuce and tomato, on his right, he flips
a Spanish omelet, spinning to tear off sheets
of wax paper, tin foil, snapping open a brown bag.

Gil Fagiani is a translator, essayist, short story writer, and poet. His latest book is Logos (Guernica Editions, 2015). Fagiani co-hosts the Italian American Writers’ Association’s monthly readings in Manhattan and is a founding member of the Vito Marcantonio Forum. In 2014, he was the subject of a New York Times article by David Gonzalez, “A Poet Mines Memories of Drug Addiction.”

Friday, January 05, 2018


by Skaidrite Stelzer

most of us do what we can
if we believe we can do it
if someone has not whispered in our ears
that the world is too cruel
a world that will kill us (it’s true)
yet we must move against the snow banks
dig deeper than we believe
a moose in a snowbank
that in summer would throw us
trampled in grass
now knows we are animal
surviving all of us
as best we can

Skaidrite Stelzer lives and writes in Toledo, Ohio. Growing up as a post-war refugee and displaced person, she feels connected to the world and other stray planets. Her poetry has been published in Fourth River, Eclipse, Glass, Baltimore Review, and many other literary journals as well as TheNewVerse.News.

Thursday, January 04, 2018


by j.lewis

Image from Breaking Burgh

again, the ball drops, but does not break
its descent carefully engineered to delight

again, the ball is fumbled, or intercepted
despite the carefully engineered play

again. the ball passes its mark in space
the carefully engineered orbit a quiet assurance

again, we wait, not for ball, but for hammer to drop
for the carefully engineered investigations to resolve

but the dropping ball,
wobbling pass,
eternal orbit,
special investigation
seem to have no end

again, an angry tweet that
"my button, my nuclear football
is bigger than yours"
pushes us closer to the dropping
of the other shoe
and no amount of careful engineering
will save us when it strikes the floor

j.lewis is an internationally published poet, musician, and nurse practitioner. His poetry and music reflect the complexity of human interactions, sometimes drawing inspiration from his experience in healthcare. When he is not otherwise occupied, he is often on a kayak, exploring and photographing the waterways near his home in California. A Clear Day in October, j.lewis’s first collection of poetry paired with his own photography, is available directly from E&GJ Press.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018


by Tricia Knoll

The young boy on the deck
of a cave fingers his ring.
Seeking to join the flock

that scoots through space,
the resistance that old women
like me have known as marches,

petitions, sit-ins, showings up,
letter writing, paying forward,
and which he may learn as war

to tilt love forward, to feed
the hungry, house them,
welcome them from the far

corners of the universe.
This forever war, I want to say
to him standing in hope,

the forever work of keeping
shine in our hands. Guard
the glow for work.

Tricia Knoll’s collection Broadfork Farm, now available from The Poetry Box, contains poetry about pigs, dogs, starry nights, predators and farmers on this small organic farm in Trout Lake, Washington. Knoll is a regular farmsitter on the property.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018


by Bruce Dale Wise

 Sue Grafton
April 24, 1940 - December 28, 2017

So softly, Sue Grafton, among these blue days,
so softly I sing a brief song for your praise.
I'm sitting beside passing video streams;
so softly, Sue Grafton, you're gone with old dreams.

Your Kinsey Milhone is now left among words,
beneath scudding jet planes, occasional birds,
like the cac-kl-ing black grac-kles sitting on stores;
I'm thinking of mysteries, Hitchcock's and yours.

From A is for Alibi, Y's Yesterday,
from movies and ghost writers you kept at bay.
Now you have vanished and gone from the light;
Z is for Zero books you have to write.

Bruce Dale Wise is a poet, essayist, and the creator of new poetic forms. His publication credits include magazines and ezines under his own name and various pseudonyms.

Monday, January 01, 2018


by Rick Mullin

on the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein*

for Roald Hoffmann

My fame is your reflection. I am known
as Frankenstein. Well known. Prometheus Bound
shall not have half the legs that creak and groan
beneath this body I have lately found.
This bleeding mouth, these rheumy eyes impearled
in mists of the eternal night . . . how odd.
The murderer you’d hoped for is at large,
your manufactured destiny. My God,
look squarely on the bloodlust of your charge.
Do you not own the spirochete that curled
in my electrocuted heart? Am I
not yours, my friend? Or did your aim draw higher?
I’ll not apologize. I, too, aim high.
In your good name I haul this fatal fire
to the northernmost extremity of the world.

*Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus debuted on January 1, 1818, published in London by Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones.

Rick Mullin's newest poetry collection is Transom.