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Sunday, September 30, 2018


by David Chorlton

The hearings started early western time.
The quail had hardly stirred
from the bougainvillea next door
and the rabbits made
their nervous way through the fence.
Watching seemed an obligation
despite the steamy details
and having no advertisements to interrupt
the way that questioning unfolded
aided concentration
although the cats demanded their usual share
of attention. The Costa’s hummingbird
came and went, came
and went, and the House finches
clung to the feeders
as the sun rose to its zenith
around the time the official lunch break
ended. We still had enchiladas
to eat, and a Bartlett’s pear
each. It was difficult to reconcile
the calm mood here
with the anger onscreen, but there was
laundry to fold away
and dishes to wash, so a lot of it didn’t
register. For once
a commentary was superfluous. The picture
showed a very public private moment
while outside the window
a Say’s phoebe appeared. He flew
to the water shining with sky.
The proceedings took an operatic turn: cry
a little, rage a little, talk
about God. There was chili
for dinner, and a vinyl disc with Monteverdi.
Such music was a fitting end
to the day: passion
rolling its eyes and clutching at the heart
without inhibition, secure
in the knowledge that music would restore
the dignity that evil took away.

David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in Manchester, England, and lived in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in 1978. The Bitter Oleander Press published Shatter the Bell in my Ear, translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant. Reading T. S. Eliot to a Bird is from Hoot ‘n Waddle in Phoenix.

Saturday, September 29, 2018


by David Mason

Aeon-Uranus, Gaea, Carpi, Horae and Prometheus, Greco-Roman mosaic, Damascus Museum via Theoi Greek Mythology

So much descends from the sky
and rises to it, Ouranos to the Greeks
in a mistaken myth. So much descends
and rises, rain and prayers, errors
and Eros with his wings and arrows.
Man-god, mistake, the sky
is woman, womb of all weathers,
and what descends from that first mistake
is the line of all-white men in ties
of righteousness, stupidity and lack
of any understanding of the world.
They fall in line, sit in judgment.
They reject. They cut and dig
for dollars made of dead things
pressed for a billion years.
They who believe the myth
of Ouranos can’t see the clouds
as bellies giving birth to rain,
can’t feel the tears
of anyone but themselves.

David Mason is an American poet living in Tasmania.

Friday, September 28, 2018


by George Salamon

At the top of our society, abuse
Sports the faces of distinction,
Oozing professional achievement.
Practicing the habits of the highly successful,
Trained in academies for the
Acculturation to country and golf club.
Learned in the language of denial and deceit
By masters in think tanks and public relations.
They have what it takes to stay in
And rise to the top by the  laws of the jungle.
Women were assembly-line bodies,
Some disagreeable challenges to be
Overcome by booze or by force,
Until each great man chose his
Love goddess to keep his home.

George Salamon is following the Brett Kavanaugh saga from the heartland in St. Louis, MO.

Thursday, September 27, 2018


by Joan Mazza 

“Justice Blindsided: Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser comes forward” by Pia Guerra, TheNib, September 17th, 2018

A wife wants to believe her husband
when he swears, after he’s arrested,
he has never picked up a hooker before.
That the affair on a business trip was

nothing, didn’t have anything to do
with his love for his wife, his daughters.
The altar boy feels chosen by the priest,
special child, loved and petted, blessed

by God to be special. The only one.
He won’t tell the other children because
they might covet his blessings, but never
will be chosen. One assault, the one time

he groped a co-worker, demanded sex.
Just once. A moment of recklessness,
like the therapist who hugs a patient,
lies down for comfort on his leather couch.

Once, he tells the professional licensing
board, his wife, his adult children.
It happened once. The judge says,
It will never happen again.

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, seminar leader, and has twice been a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), and her poetry has appeared in Rattle, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Potomac Review, Slipstream, American Journal of Nursing, The MacGuffin, Mezzo Cammin, and The Nation.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


a scrambled abecedarian (b-a)
by Kathleen A. Lawrence

Treating the Witness As Hostile by Nomi Kane at The Nib

Bow-tied braggarts, bastions
of booze-blaming bullies cry
bull, boys and badgers, confused
or calculating drunken details
dump, erode egos, discredit,
evoke faulty faith to devalue,
dirtying facts gag and gouge
as guy-gangs hustle indulgence,
high school hijinks inflict insults,
insinuate, juggle judiciary kings,
keystones knocking lasciviousness
liberties mauled lady must be
mixed-up, Mrs. mistaken, nameless,
mucking up, needling to negate
nuance, taking oath obfuscates,
old preppies paddling Potomac,
peddling principles, poach questions,
quizzing professor by quoting
quibbling red republic run scorched
scarlet supreme, titillated teens
torch truth, touch, unravel, unnerve,
undermining her vixen vows,
vilified woman wrecked, vestige
of wisdom waning with wicked
exploding exploits of extended youth
exposed yielding to yens, yellowing,
yapping zealots assume, zookeepers
attack, zombies assault, aggressors
assign her letter A, the Accuser.

Kathleen A. Lawrence spent most of her youth in a plaid navy and spruce green plaid jumper and knee socks. Since then she has not worn knee socks but still spends her days at school. She teaches Communication, Pop Culture, and Gender and likes to write poetry. She has published in several magazines with poems about such things as the blue-shelled beetles, the sophisticated lily, mean 'tweens tweeting, Tr**p's tips for getting women, the lovely Puerto Rico, and growing up schooled by nuns wielding the ruler in the black and white days of pre-Vatican II. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


by Marsha Owens

Fear of Drowning by Chelsea Emerson

                                    dedicated to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

water so big

tucked half in
half out nothing
to stand on in-
hale if you dare

bare shoulders
taut lips blue
legs spread
into scissors
stiff and strong
turn limp

they say

Marsha Owens writes to understand. Her poems and essays have appeared at TheNewVerse.News, thewildword, Rat’s Ass Review, Streetlight Magazine, the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and in the anthology Life in 10 among others. She lives in Richmond,VA, not far from the peaceful Chesapeake Bay. 

Monday, September 24, 2018


by Angie Minkin

The first time I was six years old,
walking home from school
with my best friend.
Big boys pulled us into the bushes.
They pulled our panties down
and laughed.
We ran home ashamed,
too afraid to tell.

When Ann and I were nine,
an older kid in the neighborhood
convinced us to join him
on his porch swing.
I remember every touch -
creepy, scary, so wrong.
That time we told.
Buzz was sent away.
His mother screamed at us.
We moved soon after.

Fast forward a hundred slights,
a thousand catcalls,
a million looks behind me
when I dared to walk alone at night.

Stop at 25:  our safe Iowa town, so friendly -
no one ever locked the door.
indescribable chill of a stranger in my bedroom,
pulling the sheet off my naked body,
my boyfriend right next to me.
I was nightmare frozen, voice strangled
Dan lost his voice screaming as he chased the intruder.

I knew it was Ben, our landlord’s strange nephew.
it was dark—I couldn’t prove it.
The cops didn’t believe me.
Why was I on trial?
I check all doors carefully now.

Stop at 27:  eager to start my new career
teaching disturbed kids in East Palo Alto
The day before school started,
the assistant principal showed me the supply closet.
Yes, he got me in a clinch.
What a stupid cliché.
I forced my arms up
as he forced his tongue in my mouth.
I didn’t know his name then.
I’ll never forget it now.

Stop at 32:  working in a Mission District office
a vagrant licked the large window
masturbated while staring right at me.
I pressed charges.
The jury found reasonable doubt
after I was grilled on my past.

Now a woman past my prime,
the cloak of invisibility is comforting
But the bile in my throat
will never completely vanish.

Angie Minkin’s poems have been published in The Pangolin Review and Vistas & Byways. After years of working her left brain, she is happily rehabilitating my right brain with poetry, yoga, and dance.  Minkin lives in San Francisco’s blue bubble where she takes poetry workshops with mentors Diane Frank and Kathleen McClung.

Sunday, September 23, 2018


by Sean Kelbley

BOLIVAR, Ohio (AP) — Authorities in eastern Ohio say a grocery store employee has been charged with felony theft for helping herself to deli ham for years. Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Hale tells The Columbus Dispatch that an eight-year employee of regional grocery chain Giant Eagle was charged Friday with stealing food estimated by the store to be worth $9,200. The store’s loss prevention manager received a tip that an employee had been eating three to five slices of ham nearly every day over eight years. Authorities say she also sometimes ate salami. —AP via TV10, September 10, 2018

Bolivar (Ohio) rhymes with Oliver!
As in “Please Sir, I want some more.”
Not that she asked. None of us does.
It’s always worked: a pound of ham for you,
a slice for me. $9000 worth of meat

seems like a lot, but calculate the cost
of all the paperclips and pens and Post-It
pads you’ve carried home. Or think of
Government. It’s never just about the
ham. She kept parking in somebody’s
special spot, or got too many weekends
off, or got the ten-cent hourly raise, or stole
a man. Somebody told. Was it the one

who helps herself to bulk nut overweighs?
The one who picks off “spoiled” shrimp?
I’m sorry, we’re like you. How we pretend
to look the other way. How we keep score.
How we watch little things add up until
they’re big enough to use.

Sean Kelbley lives in southeastern Ohio, where he works as an elementary school counselor. His work appears in Crab Creek Review,  and online at Poets Reading the News, Rise Up Review (2017 Best of the Net nomination), and Tuck Magazine. He does not endorse employee theft. He dislikes hypocrisy.

Saturday, September 22, 2018


by Roseann Lloyd

He took umbrage, took offense,
he was quite offended, vexed even—
puckish  peevish  pissed—
frosted yes frosted
in a cold rage
in a snit, a fit, in-
in short, he’d got a good mad on
made a mountain out of a molehill
made a federal case out of it—
he was on a roll all right
he flew off the handle
popped his cork
flipped his lid—
hopping mad
mad as a wet hen
a mad Hatter
mad as a hornet
boiling mad, ranting and raving
all worked up   all het up
RAGE page 2
puffed up
steamed up
ticked off
hot under the collar
he got his dander up
his nose out of joint
bent out of shape, sore, really sore
out of sorts
contorted with rage
he was blind with rage  snow blind  sand blind
he couldn’t see the woods for the trees
couldn’t see the nose in front of his face
couldn’t tell why they were waving at him

couldn’t tell if they were beckoning him closer
to signal an attack

couldn’t tell if they wave waving the flag of truce
to put an end to hateful rage

Roseann Lloyd has published four collections of her poetry as well as nonfiction.

Friday, September 21, 2018


by Robert West

Image source: —“The Frightening Lesson Hurricane Maria Taught the World About the Politics of Climate Change,” TIME, September 19, 2018.

More than 130 members of the House and Senate sent President Trump a letter demanding he apologize to the people of Puerto Rico for refusing to accept the official death toll for Hurricane Maria. Trump brazenly asserted 3,000 people didn’t die and said Democrats were inflating the official death count to make him look bad. “These comments were grossly inaccurate, callous, embarrassing and beneath the dignity of the Office of the President of the United States,” the lawmakers said in the letter. “We call on you to immediately apologize and set the record straight by publicly acknowledging the official death toll.” —The New York Post, September 19, 2018

They died because you didn’t really care,
    and now a lot of blood is on your hands.
Three thousand souls! . . . But you of course declare
the count a hoax designed to hurt you, car-
ing only for yourself—a billionaire
    who heard their desperate pleas as rude demands.
They died because you really didn’t care,
    however much you try to wash your hands.

Robert West's poems have recently appeared in TheNewVerse.News, Asheville Poetry Review, The Paddock Review, Still: The Journal, and Red Dirt Forum. He lives in Starkville, Mississippi.

Thursday, September 20, 2018


by Gail White

Image: an inherited photograph at the UF blog of Marsha Bryant.

Matriarchs of my Southern childhood
warned me of predatory men
in theaters, woods, wherever I
might dare to venture out alone.
Mostly I shrugged it off, but now,
thinking of predatory men,
I say to their matriarchal ghosts
Oh, were you right, were you right again?

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.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


by Devon Balwit

Even for the home stretch of Kipchoge’s marathon
I wouldn’t be able to keep pace. All high-altitude sinew,
he would pull away toward the Brandenburg Gate
while I panted soft behind, years of chips and booze
dragging like a sea anchor. His pacers tired early,
just fifteen minutes in, leaving him alone
with his thoughts. What were they for that 2:01:39?
The years of training at dawn, outpacing Hicham El Guerrouj,
his next marathon? Breaking the tape, Kipchoge
hugged his trainer, held up by giddiness before falling.
He rested but a moment on his knees then rose
for the cameras, the adulation of the crowd.

Devon Balwit has six chapbooks and three collections out in the world. Her individual poems can be found here or are forthcoming in journals such as The Cincinnati Review, apt, Posit, Cultural Weekly, Triggerfish, Fifth Wednesday, The Free State Review, Rattle, Poets Reading the News, etc.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


by George Held

Florence left a trail of flooded roads, broken trees and downed power lines across Leland, N.C. (Ken Blevins/The Star-News via AP via The Washington Post)

              As I walked down to Rotten Lake I remembered
              the wrecked season, haunted by plans of salvage…
                             —Muriel Rukeyser, “First Elegy. Rotten Lake”

Snow & cold in the Northeast
Show your breath on May Day;
This spring will be short –
A wrecked season.

Every rare warm day overwelcomed
As halcyon, a resurrection,
Citizens worshiping the sun
Bare legs & shoulders to welcome warmth.

No one mentions the global warming
Behind each wrecked season,
& few foresee the advent
Of a wrecked planet,

Its seawalls overtopped, lowlands swamped,
Sea wrack & sea foam decorating
Flooded floors & warped siding,
A civilization sliding by on mud.

Cry, the beloved Earth
& cry, the drenched citizens;
Leave your belongings behind:
Flee upland or drown.

George Held, a longtime contributor to TheNewVerse.News, writes from New York. His twentieth collection is Dog Hill Poems (Seattle, 2017). Under the Escalator, his dark fantasy for children, will be released later this month.

Monday, September 17, 2018


by Earl J. Wilcox

Parts of a neighborhood are flooded in Latta, S.C. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

And I will watch the spindly pine
trees shrug and quiver when the thrust
of wild wind one hundred miles per hour
slash across our back orchard and beyond.

And I will speak softly, calmly to you, hold
my heart, your hand if necessary when
the thunder rolls, the bolts of blue skies slice
across our soggy zoysia grass, greening.

And I will never let you go again until
the next hurricane, whether this year
or a century from now, when you and
I and all that’s ours takes us safely home.

Earl Wilcox lives in South Carolina, where Hurricane Florence arrived with gusto and ballyhoo.

Sunday, September 16, 2018


by George Salamon

". . . time lost even at the U.. studying poetry and French and subjects that never brought anybody a cent." —Babbitt in Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt (1922).

What links poetry to politics?

Once political poems eulogized
Rulers and heroes.
We can no longer celebrate our rulers.
For they are hucksters and hustlers.
We write poetry about them
On accepted topics
Of outrage and  opposition,
Banning nuance and grace.
Poetry deals with eternal values,
While wearing its social badge.
Americans expect poetry to deliver
Inspiration or consolation.
When poetry stripped authority
Of its mythical cloak, it danced
To an anarchist muse,
More criticism than inspiration,
Seeing the world as does a child
In a Grimm fairy tale.
We were told, not long ago,
"After Auschwitz, no more poetry."
This bad advice was ignored, as poets
Listened instead to poets before them.
Poets are good disciples, still today,
But what happened to their antennas
For sensing the future?

George Salamon lives and writes in St. Louis, MO, where the American Dream met the New Global Economy and lost Round One.

Saturday, September 15, 2018


Jerome Betts lives in Devon, England, and edits the verse quarterly Lighten Up Online. His work has appeared in a wide variety of British magazines and anthologies as well as UK, European, and North American web venues such as Amsterdam Quarterly, Angle, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily,  Light, The Asses of Parnassus, Better Than Starbucks, TheNewVerse.News,  Parody, Per Contra, The Rotary Dial, and Snakeskin.

Friday, September 14, 2018


by Julie Steiner

She’s hard to recognize within the crowd,
a mob that’s mostly masculinely loud.
She’s there, though. She inhabits every proud,
full-throated fool the autocrat has wowed.

She’s there at every rally, multituded,
repeating all the slogans he’s exuded:
“Us FIRST!” “We’re NUMBER ONE!” But she’s deluded
to think his royal “we” means she’s included.

He loves himself, and no one else. That’s clear
to all but her. He only keeps her near
because he craves the power that her fear—
Without him, I’d be voicelesslets him steer.

She stands behind him loyally (a stance
that guarantees she’ll never have a chance
to look at him directly—or askance)
and scans their shared reflection, in a trance.

“That image isn’t real,” his critics say,
while lobbing rocks to put this on display.
But overlapping rings of disarray
just help him help her see the world his way.

“We’re BEAUTIFUL,” he gushes. “Look at US!”
The water’s not a limpid looking-glass,
but dazzlingly distorted. So it’s less
the details Echo glimpses on its face—

more those she can’t—that make her a believer.
Her mind supplies what’s missing, to deceive her.
he cries. That vision sets them both a-quiver.

When she repeats his self-congratulation,
he calls it independent confirmation.
Addicted to each other’s validation,
they both keep swallowing exaggeration.

He’ll drown. She’ll waste away to just a song
of glory—We were SPECIAL! We were STRONG!

and grievance—Oh, those VILLAINS did us WRONG!—
until the next Narcissus comes along.

Author's caveat: Stanza 4 above is wrong. This week, 17-year-old Tyler Linfesty (a.k.a. Plaid Shirt Guy) demonstrated that it is, indeed, possible to look askance at someone while standing behind them. I believe that the rest of the poem is still accurate, though.

Julie Steiner lives and writes in San Diego. Besides the TheNewVerse.News, the venues in which her poetry has appeared include the Able Muse Review, American Arts Quarterly, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, First Things, Rattle, and the Rat's Ass Review.

Thursday, September 13, 2018


by Carol Parris Krauss

The kitchen is disorderly.
The small camping stove, cooler,
And bottles of water whisper
Pine trees, honeysuckle, and rustic cabins
Nestled near the George Washington National Forest.
But this is no weekend excursion,
but instead
Hurricane readiness at its best.

We thought we left the lengthy gas station lines,
Empty grocery shelves, and
Sandbags sentries behind
When we moved from
Florida to Virginia.
Hurricane Flo. She said no. The old folks
Say a hurricane is a do-over, a chance at a second chance.
A clean slate.

I need to see Florence to explain that
my move after
28 years
In Florida was my do-over. Scream in the wind,
Shake my fist. Look her in the eye.
She needs
To take her squat, spin, and spit,
Her erasure.

Carol Parris Krauss is a teacher, mother, and poet who is fond of college football and cats. She lives in the Tidewater Region of Virginia. Her work can be found in Blue Collar Review, TheNewVerse.News, The Amsterdam Quarterly, Fall Lines, The South Carolina Review, Storysouth, and other online and print magazines.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


by Judith Terzi

Cartoon by Rob Rogers.

I didn't leave the fridge door open all night.
I didn't leave the front door ajar all day.
I didn't leave the water boiling. Fire fright.

I didn't leave the bathroom light on. Energy blight.
I didn't leave the water running in the sink, btw.
I didn't leave the fridge door open all night.

Pas moi, pas moi. Must have been Mike.
I didn't leave the toothpaste top off in the mêlée.
I didn't leave the water boiling. Fire fright.

I didn't take the papers off the desk. No sleight
of hand in dawn's early light. No fingerprints, eh?
I didn't leave the fridge door open all night.

Yes you, you ate the apple pie. We have to indict.
I didn't, I didn't steal the cap, the coke, the hearsay.
I didn't leave the water boiling. Fire fright.

I didn't eat the last Twinkie. Pas moi, alright?
Then who stole the cookies from the cookie tray?
I didn't leave the fridge door open all night.
I didn't leave the water boiling. Fire fright.

Author of Museum of Rearranged Objects (Kelsay Books, 2018) and five chapbooks, Judith Terzi's poems appear widely in literary journals and anthologies. Her poetry has been read on the BBC, nominated for Best of the Net and Web, and included in a study guide for the artist-in-residence program for State Theater New Jersey. She holds an M.A. in French Literature.


by Alejandro Escudé

North Star Time Lapse from Indiana Public Media

Could there be a kind of moral astigmatism?
The misshapen soul, perhaps? An oval moon,
a flat Earth, lightning horizontal like a miser’s
chicken scratch? The identity of this person,
a missing profile on a dating search. Pundits,
linguists, pouring out to decipher the op-ed’s
content, the newly discovered wall in the tomb
of a pharaoh. How much can be spilled forth?
What secrets can be unearthed? A facile ghost,
the remnants of a Southern rebel. One sheet
to hide a thousand sheets, cataracts, so that
one is a bed of trees on which an infant lies.
We shall prepare to say our tender goodbyes
to the land that was. Red, green, white, blue.

Alejandro Escudé published his first full-length collection of poems My Earthbound Eye in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches high school English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


by Rick Mullin

Trinity Church steeple in silhouette on 9-11-2001.

Trinity Church Cemetery, Manhattan

At lunch, they ask me where to find the grave
of Alexander Hamilton. “The other
side,” I tell them, pointing to the nave
and tower-shadowed trees. “I hate to bother
you...." Don’t tell me... Hamilton. The same.
Tomorrow I should think to bring a sign:
The Other Side of Trinity [an arrow
pointing right], and sit back from the line
of tourists searching wide-eyed on the narrow
paths between the headstones for a name
that Broadway brought to light outside the oldest
steeple on a precipice and port
of no return, September at its coldest
in a New York City of another sort,
more human-scale and redolent of flame.

Rick Mullin's newest poetry collection is Transom.

Monday, September 10, 2018


by Sister Lou Ella Hickman

Image source: Makom Shalom

you    dark improbable Mystery
would have us trust impossibility
called miracles by some
and the incredible to be sure
is that  life goes on and there is grace among the violences
for it does
among the bloodied, looted, burning streets that scream       
is also the scream of a child’s first breath
then, if we had eyes to see
out of rubble and the fire called hate
passion burns in giving itself way
for no other reason than to give
now as during a thousand always
impossibility is being born
is being lived in the never answered why
we have not despaired in our trying

Sister Lou Ella Hickman is a former teacher and librarian. She is a certified spiritual director as well as a poet and writer.  Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines such as America, First Things, Emmanuel, Third Wednesday, and TheNewVerse.News as well as in several anthologies: The Night’s Magician: Poems about the Moon, edited by Philip Kolin and Sue Brannnan Walker, Down to the Dark River edited by Philip Kolin, Secrets edited by Sue Brannan Walker and After Shocks: The Poetry of Recover for Life-Shattering Events edited by Tom Lombardo. Last year she was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her first book of poetry entitled she: robed and wordless was published in 2015. (Press 53.)

Sunday, September 09, 2018


by J. D. Smith

Yemeni children vent anger against Riyadh and Washington as they take part in a mass funeral for the 40 children killed in an air strike by the Saudi-led coalition last week. Photograph: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images via The Guardian

“US supplied bomb that killed 40 children on Yemen school bus” 
The Guardian, August 19, 2018

At this late date I have accepted
how the rain falls on the just and the unjust,
as does the air-dropped ordnance.

The downpours’ frequency still eludes me.

Another front, another deluge
far from page one, that is,
far from its readers, and we
might ask “What in the actual hell?”
except that it is already on display
by way of a blasted bus and limbs distanced
from their shattered frames.

What’s left of the means is marked
as coming from my country,
yet I don’t remember being asked
if I wanted to contribute, as if many would
outside of an alternate universe
where a collection might be taken up
as for flowers to send a co-worker
in the hospital, such as can no longer aid
those counted in the story.
Instead of “Best wishes” or “Get well soon”
the card might read “Thinking of you”.

J. D. Smith's fourth collection, The Killing Tree, was published in 2016, and he has received a Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. His other books include the essay collection Dowsing and Science and the children's picture book The Best Mariachi in the World. Smith lives and works in Washington, DC.

Saturday, September 08, 2018


by Anne Graue

Werner Jaisli constructed the 'ovniport' after claiming to have received a 'telepathic message' from aliens. Consisting of a circle of white and brown rocks shaped like a star, the unusual 'landing pad' measures approximately 48 meters in diameter and is situated in the small town of Cachi in the province of Salta. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 nraliessi / Flickr via Unexplained Mysteries, August 28, 2017

Lights in the forest spun, burned the grass. The buzzing sound has never left my ears.
I wake up every morning exhausted, smell sulfurous fog, and know that a ship is in the distance,

maybe on another continent; could be here any minute, take me away, bring me
back. No one would be the wiser.

My mother listened to a radio
program that shared  earth's mysteries

I have always known that the Loch Ness Monster was real; I yearned to witness the head
and neck rising out of the water, a scaly throwback to ancient times. Now I watch Nessie

CAM,  find documentaries about aliens, giant sea monsters swimming in the waters
off  many coasts, and I believe those who claim to have seen these things so obscure and yet

so prevalent, even with a beer and bad camera in hand.

How can so many claim to see what does not exist?
Where are the giant squid?

Scientists create documentaries, separate fact from fiction, the wheat from the chaff, searching
for the monster under the bed, the Yeti in the Himalayas; Sasquatch, and the Zone

of Silence; the Chupacabra, in Mexico and parts of Texas, kills livestock, drinks blood, leaves
nothing but empty shells, carcasses. We seem to have faith in existence without evidence.

She said that someone in Russia found Hell, could hear the screams and suffering
with a device lowered to the depths of, well, Hell, under the earth's crust,
where it ought to be, where they said it was. 

So we believe that Sasquatch roams the Oregon forests, the Mothman climbed a bridge
in West Virginia, people have been abducted by extraterrestrials, returned naked to their homes.

Another day she told me Bigfoot traveled through dimensions so would never
be found; that is why he is elusive to capture. When he reappears he may be
a Yeti or he may be the man who claims that he was in the famous Sasquatch film
shown in every documentary. So there it is.

UFOs hover over Phoenix, housewives on Bravo are real, and women are always
the ones who snap.


I know what I know.

The ovniport in Argentina lays in wait for the ship to return, and a Nebraska farmer
drives at dusk from fields of hay neatly bailed, sees lights streak across the sky

as if they foretold a story, his story and how he came from a sky of meteors
and constellations, where Pluto was always a planet, and the Big Bang was mute. 

Anne Graue is the author of a chapbook, Fig Tree in Winter (Dancing Girl Press), and has published poems in literary journals and anthologies, includingThe Book of Donuts (Terrapin Books), Blood and Roses: A Devotional for Aphrodite and Venus (Bibliotheca Alexandrina), Gluttony (Pure Slush Books),The Plath Poetry Project, One Sentence Poems, Random Sample Review, Into the Void Magazine, Allegro Poetry Magazine, The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly, New Verse News, and Rivet Journal. Originally from Kansas, she lives in New York where she reviews poetry for the Saturday Poetry Series and literary magazines and chapbooks for

Friday, September 07, 2018


by Anne Myles

On the boulevard, strange markings have appeared:
white dots in the corner of some sidewalk segments.
The mystery intrudes on us, unsettling.
A neighbor stands looking but she doesn’t know either.
Later, a letter from the city informs us
they show each section that’s heaved up, sunken,
cracked, uneven; we must replace them or the city will.

The segments lie in earthen beds
that breathe and toss across the seasons.
Why can’t they just remain, I wonder,
bearing their own flawed histories?
The dying ashes were cut down in December;
now in July we hear the roar of stump-grinders.
Beside the bare dirt circles left behind,
saplings of different species stand between their guys
like shy children in an unfamiliar class.

On TV I watch the skycam pan
over the mountains and lavish fields of France,
roads winding, dazed with so much past,
while the peloton grinds upwards. A rider falls back,
grimacing; the announcer cries out, oh, he’s cracked!

Outside, my neighbor Roger walks by slowly with his dog;
I’ve been watching them for years.
Now both will die soon, only one of them from age.
He relates his sentence calmly.
Whenever he appears, I can’t stop wondering
what he sees in the evening sky now, in the trees.
An artist, he has painted the fields of Iowa
and over them a plot of faint ruled lines,
as if seeing left a trace on what is seen.

This is a time of seeing, isn’t it.
This is a season of waiting for what comes.
The plot laid bare at last, and then what happens?
As the child asks her mother reading a story.
And this is not simply a thing that happened once.
This is a thing that is still happening
and will continue to happen.
This is an incredible, unprecedented moment—
that’s what I read in the news today.

The crickets have begun to sing at dusk,
reminding me of every summer I have lived—
that smell in the breeze as the leaves lift—
and everything that won’t happen any more.
I want it back if only to look at and remember.
I want my country back. I want to step
on every sidewalk crack and tilt as if
there were no question, as if it all were just what is.

Author's Note: The italicized lines in the penultimate stanza are from the opinion piece "Trump, Treasonous Traitor" by Charles M. Blow, New York Times, July 15, 2018.

Originally from New York, Anne Myles is associate professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa. A specialist in early American literature, she has recently rediscovered her poetic voice, one effect of the present troubles she is thankful for. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ghost City Review, Ink and Nebula, Friends Journal, Lavender Review, and Thimble.

Thursday, September 06, 2018


by Devon Balwit

Believe in something even if it means sacrificing
everything. We read the words, and that part of us
suckled on tales of heroes rallies as behind a pennant
on the battlefield or before splintering city gates
                                                            —and yet
we are reading ad copy, a sly way to light a match
beneath our purchasing power. Fight the machine,
we’re prompted by the machine itself, so vast
as to be almost invisible.
                                                            —a galaxy
of nodes. This time, proceeds go to charity,
yet still we wouldn’t trade places with a worker
in this corporation’s factories, live off their wage,
raise children by their dumps. How deep does good go?
                                                            —How deep
is deep enough? Better than nothing,
some insist. With eyes keen enough to see
such a fraction, we must trace the whole web,
alert to its snag, the hypnotic vibration as the spider

Devon Balwit has six chapbooks and three collections out in the world. Her individual poems can be found here or are forthcoming in journals such as The Cincinnati Review, apt, Posit, Cultural Weekly, Triggerfish, Fifth Wednesday, The Free State Review, Rattle, Poets Reading the News, etc.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018


by David Rosier

“But perhaps what’s most scary about this scorching summer is how little concerned Americans seem to be. So far, climate change has barely registered as an issue in the midterm elections, and, where it has, the optics couldn’t be worse: 'Trump Digs Coal' was a slogan that appeared on placards at a West Virginia rally with the President, staged on the day that the new power-plant rules were published. As a country, we remain committed to denial and delay, even as the world, in an ever more literal sense, goes up in flames.” —Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, September 10, 2018 issue

There was a time when summer wasn't hell.
The way to know is simply to remember
before our avarice had grown so well,

before the weather changed, when snowflakes fell
just as they should and did in deep December.
There was a time when summer wasn't hell.

Recall the April rain when you could tell
that day was spring.  Recall a cool September
before our avarice had grown so well,

before self-serving progress spread pell-mell,
exchanging peace for strife for all Earth's members.
There was a time when summer wasn't hell.

The season did not pass as sentinel
on watch for flames and smoke and end in embers
before our avarice had grown so well.

For wealth and ease appeal to us, but sell
out Earth, which sends us August in November.
There was a time when summer wasn't hell
before our avarice had grown so well.

David Rosier lives in a small town in the American West, which has suffered through the worst drought and worst fire season on record. This poem hopes to put blame where it belongs.