Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, March 01, 2018


by Akua Lezli Hope

Thank you for taking up the cause
for taking on bright lights and not freezing,
for seizing the issue and not flinching
and not folding, for moving through our tears
and your fears which must be there
which are there, ever present behind closed eyelids
and dreams and even waking moments
you carry them through words you must say,
you swim through that treacle that could
embalm, could preserve could choke even as it feeds
you could stay stuck and yet you gather
and you plan and yet you clear your throats and
call us to listen how even choked and choking
heartsore and stumbling you move forward
you coalesce you make arguments that cleanse
that sear that burn obfuscating debris, clear dross
of entrenched rationales of life-taking, of warped
permissions of deranged access,
don’t listen to the naysayers, don’t,
ignore their percussive braying about
what’s become reasonable, their platforms
boom loud, are hollow bleating, you inherited a world
that has made the unthinkable usual
don’t listen to them betting against you
they always bet against you when you say no
to what prevails, when your fresh eyes refuse
to see the unseeable, foreseen, predictably
tragic, decrying the inevitability of senselessness
don’t let their demeaning misnomers distract you
whose lives are on all the lines and ransomed for
profit, whose lives underwrite the very notions
that steal them. we grieve for you we grieve for you
we’ve forgotten we’ve forgotten we’ve forgotten
to think twice about it, about the shortest distance
about straight lines, so thank you for giving
us back to ourselves who called for peace
years ago, who cried for parity, who marched and
moved and were not stuck, or tired, or worn or weary
or silent, who fought for our lives, who sometimes won

Akua Lezli Hope is a creator who uses sound, words, fiber, glass, handmade paper and wire to create poems, patterns, stories, music, adornments, sculpture and peace whenever possible. She has published 117 crochet designs. Her poetry collection Them Gone will be published by The Word Works Publishing in 2018.