Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


by Melissa Balmain

"Millions of kids haven’t lived through a school shooting but fear that they will" —The Washington Post, March 1, 2018 Photo: Students decry gun violence outside the White House on Feb. 21, 2018. (Alex Wong/Getty Images via The Washington Post)

"Absolutely no costumes with weapons, including plastic ones. Masks and fake blood are not allowed. Carefully consider the appropriateness of your costume in a school setting."
—2018 email to Brighton, NY parents about middle-school Halloween parties.

We were vampires, ghosts, and devils,
squeaking Nikes on the floor,
vying with the Hulks and Batmans
over who could drip more gore.
Masks and weapons? How we loved them—
cowboys, Jimmy Carters, clowns,
dancing as we downed Doritos,
relishing the night our town’s
ever-mortifying fishbowl
dimmed for once—our parents’ laws
powerless to keep grape soda
from our orthodontic jaws,
powerless to stop our noisy
bouts of gleeful mimicry
while we battled like Darth Vader
or the ChiPs from NBC. . . .
Home in bed, our darkest nightmares
never hinted at the ways
Halloween would free our children
from their ordinary days.

Melissa Balmain is the Editor of Light, a journal of comic verse. Her poetry collection Walking In on People (winner of the Able Muse Book Award) is often assumed by online shoppers to be some kind of porn.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


by Sister Lou Ella Hickman

in memory of maurice stallard and vickie jones   
                               who were shot and killed in a kroger store

what was her favorite color
was she at the meat counter
deciding sunday dinner
or vegetables for cock pot soup
did he watch monday night football
and his coffee strong with a small baptism of milk
did they both like to laugh
play cards with friends . . .
lest their names and faces fall into time’s file 13
 for a moment   today
this poem
may their memory, too, be a blessing

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 the 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 by Press 53 in 2015.


by Tricia Knoll 

I have too many funerals to plan.
That’s what the rabbi said when asked

how he handles the mourning
and mornings that come after

the worst has happened. I need a break
the physician begs, no more stinking news.

I have to practice healing all over again.
The poet chews up the words she knows

for hate and they rub raw like hand-me-down
rags, unbought, stamped like prison garb.

The child asks after the star. What night
holds the star on that building?

The parents try to say all nights, all stars,
we are all one under all of them.

Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet who grew up in a community similar to Squirrel Hill. She regularly attends a church in a denomination whose buildings have come under violent attack for its religious liberalism and strong social justice stands.

Monday, October 29, 2018


by Judy Kronenfeld

        Anti-Semitism was something that happened in history,
        that happened in other places.
        —Sophia Levin, 15, Tree of Life congregant              

My immigrant father, born in Germany,
was “a little roughed up” after Hitler,
after the first anti-Jewish decrees,
was scared “once or twice” by a knock
on the door before he left for America
with his younger brother in 1934,
following his parents the year before.
Only his settled older sister and her
family made the mistake of staying
until they couldn’t escape.

Maybe in order to live
in this new country, to have
 a wife and child of his own,
my father chose to keep his sister’s story
mostly close within, his private
memorial flame. Maybe his heart
was so heavy it broke, but he wouldn’t let
it scar and harden against love, or let
a furrowed brow cloud every hour,
unlike a few whom evil terrorized
beyond hope.

All I know:  as a young child growing up,
here, in this country, I wasn’t compelled
or even invited to dwell, to imagine
the last years of those relatives
I could never meet:  the broken glass
on the streets, the stars shining
on their coats, the black engines
steaming in the station, the swallowing
fear in their stomachs, then the soup
of potato skins, the lice,
then their starved flesh and protruding bones
becoming smoke just about when I was born
on a golden, free street.

But eleven people exterminated in a synagogue,
on Shabbas morning, here, in this country,
in Pittsburgh—native ground
of Gerald Stern, Michael Chabon,
Gertrude Stein—by someone who says
All these Jews need to die, and as I rage and mourn,
a sliver of imagination lacerates
my heart with fear and makes my stomach quail,
and I can hear the heavy boots on the stairs,
the rap of knuckles on the door at 2 A.M.,
and I can see my aunt, my uncle,
my cousins whom I’ve never seen,
who were wrapped away from me
by my father’s love, who were herded
at gun point to their deaths—
arising out of the safely past and gone.

Judy Kronenfeld’s last three books of poetry are Bird Flying through the Banquet(FutureCycle, 2017), Shimmer (WordTech, 2012), and Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths, 2nd edition (Antrim House, 2012)—winner of the 2007 Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Journal, Cimarron Review, DMQ Review, Ghost Town,  Rattle, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, among other journals, and in two dozen anthologies. She also writes creative nonfiction, which has appeared frequently in Under the Sun, in Hippocampus, and in other places. She is Lecturer Emerita, Creative Writing, UC Riverside, and an Associate Editor of Poemeleon


by Devon Balwit
after Plath’s “Poppies in October”

Palely and flamily,
we ignite beneath the skins 
we were bagged in at birth.

Waxen and bathetic
we are St. Sebastians
of pointing fingers.

We wring our hands,
with the posture of martyrs.

No god watches 
at a distance
as we load magazines

into chambers.
What an endless rat-tat-tat.
What a shrill keening.

The funeral corteges
snake for blocks.
Candles gutter in clusters.

The comfort 
we hunger for
sizzles like tiny wings.

Devon Balwit is a writer/teacher from Portland, OR. Her poems have appeared in TheNewVerse.NewsRattle, Rise-Up Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Rat's Ass Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Mobius, What Rough Beast, and more.

Sunday, October 28, 2018


by Diane Elayne Dees

If my mother were alive, what would she say?
She might just laugh and make fun of his hair,
or turn her eyes and quickly walk away.

She might recall a loud and smoky day
when she huddled underground, alone and scared.
If my mother were alive, what would she say

about the way the mobs are stirred today?
She might act as though she doesn’t really care,
yet turn her eyes and quickly walk away.

When he talks about the ones who shouldn’t stay
among us, would she find that hard to bear,
if my mother were alive? What would she say

about the vulgar signs, the cruel display
of bigotry, the children in despair?
Might she turn her eyes and quickly walk away?

His grinning minions flatter, and obey
his orders—cruel, toxic and unfair.
If my mother were alive, what would she say?
Would she turn her eyes and quickly walk away?

Diane Elayne Dees' poems have been published in many journals and anthologies. Diane, a semi-retired psychotherapist in Covington, Louisiana, also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that covers women's professional tennis throughout the world.


by William Aarnes

Standing behind him,
you’re in heaven.

Not even praying
feels as righteous

as adoring him.   
The rapture of knowing     

the cameras will show you
nodding and smiling

thrills you and your wife
(in her Women for Trump tee)

more than making love.
There’s no explaining

the joy of cheering on
his cheerless babble   

but it sure beats thinking.
And, oh, yes, you’re exercising

your lethal right to loathe
the losers he derides.       

William Aarnes lives in South Carolina.


by George Held

Oct. 27, 2018 Squirrel Hill is home to a large Jewish population. Above, Tree of Life synagogue. Pam Panchak/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/AP via The Washington Post

Jews are being slaughtered again, ho hum –
In serene leafy Squirrel Hill this time

After days of pipe-bomb deliveries
To Dem bigwigs, enemies of the T***p state,

As reported by those enemies of the state,
The media; now the Jews again, those

Enemies out of central casting always
On call for the demented demons

Of domination as they once again
Focus their hatred and execute scapegoats

In the name of some Judenfrei utopia
That can never exist, because once

Judenrein, those left will turn on the weak
And most despised among them

And the executions will begin again…
So don’t look for barbarians at the gate

They already are right here inside –
Inside our borders, inside our hearts

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, came was released last month.

Saturday, October 27, 2018


by Wayne Scheer

So a billion and a half bucks
went to someone else,
someone who bought a lottery ticket
after pumping gas
or buying a container of milk at the supermarket,
someone who threw down a couple of dollars
on a whim.

This means I won't be cruising around the world anytime soon,
or wearing tailor made suits,
or donating to my favorite causes,
or financing friends and family.
No new cars in my future,
no new mansions, no summer homes in The Hamptons
with servants to cook and clean for me.

This means I'll be spending time at home
sleeping in my own bed, my head on my own pillow,
wearing comfortable jeans, driving my 1995 Mazda,
donating twenty bucks now and then to a good cause,
helping family and friends by being there for them, sans checkbook,
and my wife will continue cooking comfortable meals
and I will continue cleaning up afterward.

I'll have free time to write and read,
follow baseball news and politics,
watch cop shows on television with my sweetheart at my side.

There will be no need
to speak with lawyers, estate planners, tax consultants, financial advisors,
real estate agents, interior designers, travel consultants
and distant cousins
with a once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity.

I didn't buy a lottery ticket
like that guy who won a billion and a half bucks
because I already have what I need,
and as Stephen Wright says,
“You can't have everything. Where would you put it?”

Wayne Scheer has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Nets. He's published numerous stories, poems, and essays in print and online including Revealing Moments, a collection of flash stories. His short story “Zen and the Art of House Painting” has been made into a short film.

Friday, October 26, 2018


by Sister Lou Ella Hickman

On October 26, 2018 at 10:00 am Washington National Cathedral hosts a Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance for Matthew Shepard, whose brutal death in 1998 shocked the world, grieved the Church and mobilized the LGBTQ movement. The Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Episcopal bishop of Washington, and the Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay man elected a bishop in The Episcopal Church, will preside. The service is free and open to the public, and passes are not required. Following the public service, the Shepard family will attend private interment service in the Cathedral crypt. Watch live online:

                                     you will rest
                after the weight of some twenty years
                                     as God’s light scatters color
                through hallowed glass
                  within the cycle of other calendared events
                future festivals will frame your ashes
                liturgy will celebrate each change of season
                morning prayer and even song will hinge the hours . . .
                from now on
                                     how many visitors will walk among the silences
                          and finding your name     will pause to remember your life,
                                    your costly pain
                and death
                with its unanswerable why
                                     yet    under its ashen skin
                                     there still pulses that fragile thing we call hope . . .
                                     today this sacred space welcomes you home

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 the 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 by Press 53 in 2015.

Thursday, October 25, 2018


by Lucille Gang Shulklapper

This is how the demagogues rose
with orange hair and Pinocchio nose
with wobbly chin and a plow that froze
one white woman and ten white men
who bent and bowed and said amen
to the free press, and the FBI,
to ethics and our flag flown high
to only abort
the supreme court.

Let the history books name
those leeches who brought shame
to facts in fake news voice
with dictators of their choice
who buried hopes with shoveled fears
who lost allies with unfit smears

who sent pipe bombs bombs from rhetoric born
from twisted minds to those they scorn
who leached democracy to death
who sucked its blood, its guts, its breath.

Lucille Gang Shulklapper's poetry and fiction  has appeared in numerous journals  including Slant, TheNewVerse.News, Lummox, and Poetic Voices without Borders.  Recent publications also include Gloss,  a fifth chapbook of poetry, and a picture book Stuck in Bed Fred. Presently, she is a volunteer with Caregiver Youth of America, and The Pap Corps. She has started a poetry column in her community newspaper and worries about deadlines or is it dead lines?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


by David Feela
     (with apologies to Archibald MacLeish)

A voter should be imperceptible and mute
as a foot in a boot.

as the chamber of an unholstered gun,

inaudible as a candidate caught lying
at a rally for the deaf and the dying—

A voter should be aware
Truth’s not there.


A voter should be firm and free
As the swell of a sea,

Pushing, as if changing a shoreline
Grain by shiny grain against time,

Pushing, as an eraser over errors,
Until the paper stands corrected or it tears—

A voter should be firm and free
As the swell of a sea.


A voter should be equal to the task,
Not rash.

For all the history of losing faith
An empty ballot and a polling place.

For hope
A persistent vine crawling toward the light—

A voter’s not just me
But we.

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. The Home Atlas appeared in 2009. A Collection of his essays, How Delicate These Archeswas a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. Unsolicited Press will release his new chapbook, Little Acres, in April 2019.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


by Katherine Smith

“‘How do I feel about Trump? I’ll tell you’ he said. He punched up an app and held his phone to display the digits 26, 447.” —"As Suburban Women Turn to Democrats, Many Suburban Men Stand With Trump," The New York Times October 13, 2018

He notes a murder in another zone,
unwraps his turkey sandwich, smiles
at the Dow rising on his phone.

He eats his lunch in his car alone,
this ancestor of SUVs and wiles.
His thumbs flick: murder, bone

saws, Kavenaugh, He grins.
He won that round. Meanwhile
the Dow is rising on his phone

like pride’s origin. Damn right he’s done
well by his kids and wife. The dead guy’s
only some hack for the Washington Post.

The words that Moses wrote on stone,
are numbers he no longer dials,
replaced by the Dow Jones.

Before the apple, there was testosterone
and oil. The price of crude is undefiled
by fingers severed at the knuckle bone,
and the Dow is rising on his phone.

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

Monday, October 22, 2018


by Elizabeth Stansberry

When I ask my friend in California about Portland,
She says that it is a
Liberal Bubble,
A land where you can sleep until noon,
And still have a career,
A place where the shooting star tattoo on your face,
Will not
Get you fired.
I breathe in church music,
And I never tell her.
I curve my body into a crooked question mark,
Never wanting
To tell her.
She should know
I think.
Haven't you watched the news ?
There is possibly a new planet,
And a new Portland,
On the rise.
While gliding down Broadway street,
My liberal blinders tightly fastened,
My liberal blinders highly fashioned,
I anticipated the glamour of an art show.
Roche chocolates, white wine,
white walls,
A tingling white noise in the night.
Portraits of suburbanite ghosts and
Snippets of Halloween intentions.
I would sip the white wine, tasting of olives
Dipped in sugar.
This is Art?
I would whisper to my friend.
I look up to see,
I have walked through a red light,
Admist my dreaming.
I am suddenly sharply aware
Of everything.
Like a bat looking for
I see the Patriot Prayer March.
They are not
They are not
They are waving American flags,
They are waving Signs that say ,
"Proud to be White."
Proud boys.
Proud to be racist.
Proud to be angry.
Proud about beating a liberal with
the American flag on Saturday night,
And going to church in white dress shirts,
Sunday morning.
I am standing in my fake diamond necklace,
And the dress that looks expensive,
And I am suddenly angry
I am waving my middle finger at the patriots,
Like it is the last thing I will ever do.
I am waving my cane at rabid bystanders,
Unhinging the armor of
White Privilege.
I want to tell my friend in California,
That there is a new Portland
On the rise.
I know she wouldn't believe

Elizabeth Stansberry has been writing poetry since she was 8 years old. She has been published in Oregon Art's Watch, Eclectic Muse, Soul Fountain, Skyline Review, Eskimo Pie Journal, Mused Magazine, Red Fez Journal, and others. She is a secretary and security guard at Prosper Portland. She has many other day jobs. Her most recent poem is published in the book Not My President from Thoughtcrime Press. Stansberry currently resides in Portland, Oregon.

Sunday, October 21, 2018


by Anne Myles

Last week, a long-awaited report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change showed that the worst consequences of global warming would occur even sooner than previously thought. Listen to the story of the findings at The Daily podcast.

Cellar cracks seep after long days of rain
in summer-like October. The ground is full,
water pressing out like tears that can’t be held,
staking its claim to prairie’s ancient ocean.
I hear the crows call now! and now! again
as gold leaves fall and grass glows emerald,
and far away, a hurricane archangel
rearranges edges of the continent.
Oh angel, I’ve heard myself plead half-aloud
sometimes in longing, with no one to address;
oh crow, fierce eye, what lies beyond the clouds?
We see the years roll towards an emptiness
of heat-scorched fields, drowned earth, and barren reef.
Let your black wing fold itself around our grief.

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.

Saturday, October 20, 2018


by Mary K O'Melveny

Borders are on everyone’s mind these days.
Not just the ones where two-year olds
are stolen from their parents and sent
to courtrooms to plead their cases.

I’m thinking back to how the way one prays
could turn quite deadly if one strolled
down the wrong street, or someone’s accent
might cause them to vanish without traces

of guilt on men wearing soldier’s berets.
I used to live in Derry’s bogside, patrolled
night and day by those who aimed to prevent
our claims to history’s rightful places.

More than most, I know there are multiple ways
for lines to be drawn. Then, as truth unfolds,
we seem surprised at first, before we lament
our decisions. Occasionally, we wonder if grace is

a solid thing we can retrieve. I am amazed
still at our will to oppose treaties to control
our destinies. At first, peace arguments
made us skeptics. We stared at those sad places

where rigid boundaries left us dismayed
and divided, household from household,
and our viewpoints stiffened in dissent.
We fervently believed that no place is

safe except the one that meets our gaze
with like-minded visions. As tales were told,
we often found it necessary to augment
details that would emphasize the basis

for the walls we built. Soon, malaise
transformed us. As barbed wire unrolled
to top our fences and gates, we vented
and raged while men with briefcases

drew up documents filled with clichés
that some judge would use to uphold
our divisions. Eventually, if we went
on this way, we would be locked in stasis,

staring out from colored passageways
of green or orange, martydom tales retold
until it was time for us to invent
new heroes to take up their places.

The Good Friday accord was praised
for pushing back against the grief we hold.
We hoped it would allow us to reinvent
ourselves after the Troubles had disgraced us.

I am not eager to return to those days.
I drive tourists around now. I’ve been long paroled.
Yet, my days on the blanket can still disorient.
My tribal thoughts will fill in bordered spaces.

Mary K O'Melveny is a recently retired labor rights attorney who lives in Washington DC and Woodstock NY.  Her work has appeared in various print and on-line journals. Her first poetry chapbook A Woman of a Certain Age will be published by Finishing Line Press in September, 2018.

Friday, October 19, 2018


by Paul Smith

The Guardian has published information about the members of the 15-member team alleged to be responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The photos above shos Dr Salah al-Tubaigy, identified by Turkish authorities as one of 15 men present in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, when Khashoggi is suspected to have been assassinated. On the left Salah al-Tubaigy is pictured in the annual report of Australia’s Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine where he trained after being sponsored by the Saudi Government. At right is an image published by Turkey’s Daily Sabah (via ABC) that purports to show the Saudi doctor arriving at Istanbul Airport.

How many Saudi hit men
does it take to do a journalist in?
ten to cut off his fingers
one to take off his head
one to buy several valises
to haul him off in pieces
when he’s dead
another to play some music
to soothe their jangled nerves
one to make up a tale
how this lowlife disappeared
and the last one to
talk to Washington
to make sure the arms deal
goes through

Paul Smith lives near Chicago. He writes fiction and 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.

Thursday, October 18, 2018


by Alejandro Escudé

The victim strolls into the scene
wearing dress shoes and a sport coat.
His icy gait is that of a strong, idealistic man,

a man whose life has been propped up
by words written in looping Arabic.
The man independent, unsympathetic.

To the journalist’s right, a Mercedes van,
black, parked like a stand-in for death.
It is the quietus of the journalist.

Mourn his words, wheeled like scimitars,
like mosaic pieces of a shattered mosaic.
The Mercedes ornament on the van’s grille

reflects the dead man in the sport coat
with the fallen words, walking assuredly past
—who is that? A conspirator? A guard?

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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


by Phyllis Wax

'WORST FAMINE IN 100 YEARS' COULD SEE 13 MILLION PEOPLE STARVE IF SAUDI-LED COALITION KEEPS BOMBING YEMEN: U.N.” —Newsweek, October 15, 2018. The United States supplies bombs and other support for the war that’s killed civilians and is creating famine. Children in Yemen are acutely malnourished. Those who survive will often be stunted for the rest of their lives, physically and mentally. Photo Credit: Hammadi Issa/Associated Press via The New York Times, September 26, 2018.

Some of us remember the photos
when the camps were liberated

lethargic from lack of food
legs and arms just fleshless bones
ribs perceptible without x-rays                       
In Yemen
it’s the children—
visibly starving                           
pinned in place
by warheads
made in the USA
targeting markets
funerals    schools

Social issues are a major focus of Milwaukee poet Phyllis Wax. Among the anthologies and journals her work has appeared in are Portside, Obama-Mentum, TheNewVerse.News, Surreal Poetics, Ars Medica, Naugatuck River Review, The Five-Two, Star 82 Review and Mobius.  When she’s not writing you might find her escorting at a local abortion clinic. She can be reached at poetwax38 (at)


by Marissa Glover

When he calls her horseface
I hear dumb bitch and remember
when you texted to tell me
Wife #2 is 5x the woman I am.
It doesn’t matter if I’m 1/2 Italian
or 1/4 Irish or 1/1024 Cherokee—
you’ve always got my number.
If only one drop of Eve’s blood
lurks inside these arteries, the heart
pumps sin to the body.
You point your finger > I take the fall.
Cow + Crazy + Lowlife + Loser + Cunt
Never equals,
we’re reduced to a name
that is not our own.
Not even the one our fathers gave us
because zero plus zero is always zero.
5,246,670 women could march on Washington
and, still, the sum of every woman in America
is nothing.

Marissa Glover is a teacher and writer who shares her thoughts more than necessary, which she considers a form of charitable giving. If it counted as a tax deduction, she’d be rich. Her poetry has been published at Easy Street, The Opiate, Lipstick Party Magazine, Unbroken Journal, Helen: A Literary Magazine, and Muddy River Poetry Review, among others—and is forthcoming from Riggwelter. Twitter:  @_MarissaGlover_.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


by Tricia Knoll

Photo by the poet.

On any given fine fall day and this one was given
as gold on the hills, gold in sunshine after rain,
two young parents push a stroller for a baby
wearing a knit hat down a fine gravel road.

The sun might have known it would dip soon
to a sunset but in that moment’s radiance, I asked
what brought them to this Vermont farm
this afternoon. They had many choices

on a day as fine as this. Snow has already topped
a nearby mountain. My purple petunias took on frost
last night. These October days are numbered
more reluctantly than most days, double digiting.

They said they came to u-pick a pumpkin
for Halloween to carve the baby’s first ghost face.
Light a candle. A fine Sunday to get out. Then
they heard “the old man shouting in the barn.”

I nod to the baby, ask “Another first?”
They smile. Another first for sure.
Too bad the baby won’t remember this.
That old man is Bernie Sanders,

a rally three weeks before mid-terms.
The baby inherits our crisis of climate change
and on this fine day, the old man whipped us
up to cheering his amplified words in a barn.

The mother, father and little boy—who will soon
see his first ghost—go rolling up the road to a field
where they might find a perfect pumpkin,
harvest gold despite this fine summer’s drought.

Tricia Knoll attended the rally in a barn in rural Vermont for Democratic candidates in Vermont on Sunday, October 14. This is a true story that means whatever you think it does.

Monday, October 15, 2018


an erasure poem by James Penha derived from 
"You Thought Modern Life Was Bad. This Neanderthal Child Was Eaten By a Giant Bird" at 

“About 115,000 years ago in what is now present-day Poland, a large bird ate a child. As Laura Geggel at LiveScience reports, it’s not known whether the bird killed the Neanderthal child or happened upon its body and scavenged its remains, but two tiny finger bones found by paleontologists tell a gruesome tale, all the same.” —, October 11, 2018. Image by PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk.

“Trump says he is considering a new family separation policy at U.S.-Mexico border.”
The Washington Post, October 13, 2018

The lingering question is what kind
of bird could attack and eat a human child?

Researchers don’t address the topic,
but the record shows
other instances of hominin children becoming
bird food. . . .

When you dig into it,
there’s actually somewhat of a rich history of hunters
gobbling up children.

Even today, there are occasional reports.

James Penha edits TheNewVerse.News .

Sunday, October 14, 2018


by Scott Keeney

Judge, it’s hard to remain calm and measured
and I’m not even alone in a room with you,
not even a teenage girl, not even a woman
of today looking out at a landscape of tattered gowns
and heels in the trees and slips on the wires,
listening to the clamor of countless voices
that might as well be the silence
of the countless others, hum and burn.
It’s hard to remain calm and measured
even without a hand over my mouth
and another groping the smooth hellacious
curves of my salacious details
until I want to throw up, and maybe do a little
in my mouth under your hand
and under the snickering in my ear
under the echoing snicker of your friend,
until I want to vomit the musculature
of an entire culture of pretty domination.
Judge, you have made a mockery of us
who stood all night in a drunk girl’s room,
who got in maybe half a kiss
before realizing she was about to pass out
and so eased her down on her bed
without so much as copping a feel
and watched out her window
and stood by her door other men had entered before,
and wondered if we were a chump, a loser,
an impossible man, missing our chance
for what, the anonymous no-glory
of doing the right thing? And it’s not
that we should be judged by what we did
in high school, I liked beer
so much I drove my mother’s car
into the broad side of the Public Works garage,
but we shouldn’t misrepresent ourselves
before congress, before the people, and that
shouldn’t be a thing that needs pointing out,
and we shouldn’t forget that to be Supreme Court Justice
is not a right but a privilege and any
who would hold that position should be above
causing consternation and palpitations,
agita and outrage to a huge swath
of our population. It’s October 8th,
the Monday after your unholy confirmation
and a mosquito lands on my hand
as I type this. Judge, should I squash it like a bitch
who’s confused about the past?
Karie at work emailed me today to say
she was leaving the office early, too much talk
about how could this happen, how could women
vote that way? She couldn’t concentrate,
was shaking inside. I don’t know when
she’ll return. It’s enough to almost make you
forget there are still kids in cages, separated
from parents sent who knows where, for
the crime of impatiently wanting
nothing more than a better life, wanting just
to survive. Unconquerable violence.
Do you know what it’s like just to want to
survive? My teenage daughter rages every day
that we have a sexual assault artist
in the oval office, and now that artless force
of capitalist nature, with his congenital
shell games and compound interest, has his
justice. The Liar in Chief and his Liar in the Court
blaming the blameless, shaming the shamed
who should not have been shamed, but who always
are. Liar in the court. Liar in the court.
Bang, gavel, bang! Liar in the court!
Go sit well in your seat in your death-colored robe.
Go ahead and adjudicate the defiling of Democracy
with your green hand over her mouth.
Go, you Strawman, go and judge.
Go bury your past, you Executioner of Justice,
you sword in the hand of the Galahad of doublespeak
in this land of liberty and whatnot for all.

Scott Keeney has published four collections of poetry, most recently Pickpocket Poetica. His works have appeared previously at TheNewVerse.News (here and here) as well as in Columbia Poetry Review, Failbetter, Mudlark, New York Quarterly, Poetry East, and other journals.

Saturday, October 13, 2018


by Nancy Gauquier     

Once upon a time, before sustainability,
in a land far away and ruled by greed,
there was a man who wanted more

he was born to riches and power,
a lot more than most, but to him
it was just a ghost of what could be
in his imaginary reality,
though he was treated like a prince
of the most elite and revered,

clearly, he needed more,
he didn’t want to be loved,
he wanted to be adored
why couldn’t the people see
that he was the emperor of all
that best that could possibly be
from sea to shining sea

the people thought
he must be right
what he says must be true
he has more than I have
he has more than you.

He surrounded himself with sycophants,
men who worshiped him on their knees,
and women who exercised their spleen,
until they were so skinny and mean,
they looked like beauty queens on meth,
addicted to important men who shot up death
and preached hate, but they didn’t come
cheap, they came with silver bullets, bombs,
and armored jeeps.

The poorer people were in so much pain,
that they started to complain.

FAKE NEWS! The big man sputtered,
FAKE NEWS! He cried,
It’s all lies, and I should know
I’m the bigliest liar and that’s how it goes,
I’ve talked at every business meeting,
I’ve danced at every entitled ball,
I know how it works, I know it all.

And the bullets and the bombs began to fall,
again and again and again,
the war makers became so rich,
on the blood of the poor,
they thought it was only their due,
their egos overcame their brains,
they were better than me,
they were better than you,
no one could beat them,
nothing could stop them now,
they chanted More, more, more, more,
and they didn’t care how.

They would rape their own mother Earth for oil,
regiment their own children to feed on the fear,
rob your piggy bank because their money is dear,
they would do it all and cheer,
More, more, more, more,
Year after year after year.

Until finally the people got so sick
of being so poor,
they just couldn’t take it anymore,
and they started going door to door.
We need to take back the power
they said, we need to give it back
to ourselves instead.
Let the rich sleep in their soft little beds,
we’ve got work to do,
you for me, me for you,
all together, for now and for all
take out your cell phones
and call all your friends!

They rushed through the cities,
they rushed through the towns,
the nurses, the teachers, the actors,
the clowns, they rose up all together
and they put their feet down.

The statesmen all shook in their shoes,
they tried to stifle the news,
but the people all twittered and tubed,
they called and they shouted out loud,
You cannot hide the truth anymore,

it’s time to open the doors and let us in,
to let us breathe, to live without poverty
or fear, and they all began to cheer
for themselves, hand in hand,
black and white and red and tan,
every color, every size, every sex
and otherwise, they marched together
and strong, in a line that was so long,
you couldn’t see the end of it –

the plutocrats all ran for their lives,
they ran to their islands where their money
was stored, and stockpiled so high,
it formed a wall for them to hide behind,
but the surrounding seas began to rise,
they swallowed the islands whole,
along with all the pollution and coal,
the ones who cowered there disappeared
without a sign, they did not even have time,
the wall they built to keep them above
the sea of humanity, gave way, so the people
and all the other creatures could finally be
of all the lies and hypocrisy.

Nancy Gauquier lives in central CA, and has been published in many off-beat obscure lit mags, online and off, including Defenestration, Hermaneutic Chaos, Melancholy Hyperbole, and Lummox. She is a single parent and has worked in child-care, and as a nanny, and has been influenced by one of her favorite authors, Dr. Seuss.

Friday, October 12, 2018


by George Salamon

Let us read the Kavanaugh debacle not as
Map of the future but as a map of our history
In which most men aspired to power,
To command an empire, a city, a family,
Employing their talent to be obeyed,
Fulfilling their need to excel, and
Succeed in dividing humans into
Executioners and victims, exempting
Only madmen and wise men,
Saints and beggars from engaging
In this jostling game, played in every
Nation and tribe and their institutions.
This political instinct that dominated
The hearings for Justice Kavanaugh
Disguised the cannibalism that rules
Where humanity is taught and raised to see
Itself as leaders and their followers,
Tyrants and slaves, where human beings
Enter a pact, sacrificing their dreams
For either committing or enduring crimes,
And pretending that the tune of this
Dance is the music to the march of progress.

George Salamon watched the Kavanaugh hearings but, so far, has noticed no side effects, He lives and writes in St. Louis, MO.

Thursday, October 11, 2018


by Devon Balwit

not that it was from a bot; it was not,
but from me after I unfriended you. (It’s true.)
Working the warp and weft of us left
me stressed. I thought it best to regress
to solitary, me alone already more than I
can handle. You (and other yous) weighed
in on myriad matters—I wanted my view
unskewed. So, rather rude than band-wagoned,
I un-cliqued. Now, riddled with regrets,
I suspect there might have been another way
to maintain center. But thus it ever is—
the act, the doubt, the retraction, the plow
of one’s furrowed brow into whether.

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, October 10, 2018


by Kathleen A. Lawrence

She put her cold hand over my mouth,
she whispered hotly in my ear
a wet warning, “don’t talk about it.”
She ordered me to keep his secret,
their secrets become our secrets,
their sins we own, if we share what should
be buried, for country, and for tradition.
Silence is your patriotic virtue,
your civic duty to keep it to yourself.
Swallow the pain, spare us your burden.
“Shhh!” she blew with heavy, minty breath
in my face like a school librarian
who didn’t like her job, she glared
at me with the eyes of a water moccasin,
never blinking, she repeated her threat
to everything good I had ever known,
every future I had ever dreamed,
she swatted away my annoying truths,
she laughed uproariously at my viridity,
innocence, naivety, and guilelessness,
and pelted me with any other Ivy League
language she could spit and spatter
my way. To intimidate me, she put all
her boozy weight on top of me,
covering me like a wool blanket
at a rainy homecoming game,
she left me raw, itchy, confused
and unsure I’d ever get rid of the need
to scratch, to tell, to scream out
spilling her secrets, their secrets,
that kept them standing on marble,
speaking under alabaster columns,
holding conferences to tell their stories.
She held me down, like a pile-up
on the playground when you couldn’t see,
or breathe, or scream, but you knew
you knew them just the same. You
knew his face, like you knew
your own sweat, and stomach ache,
and migraine, and fear of the dark.
Leaning on me she excused herself,
her own participation, she spoke kindly
of her own parents, old like mine,
but obviously not as important.
She stood without empathy while keeping
me locked in another room upstairs,
over and over, blaming me and my sisters,
aunts, friends, little girls not yet able to speak,
and anyone who spoke, tried to speak.
But I was muffled, suffocating with her thick
deference to men. She gulped water
for fuel and fury and shouted of her anger.
She looked down with a whiff of pity
and smarminess, high with condescension,
drunk with power, unhinged with desire
to overpower me and feeling superior
from the artificial height of her leather pumps.
She wished I was still, quiet, subdued,
still asleep in my tower. But I am awake.
Locked in a bathroom, at a party,
dragged into a bush, cornered in a bar,
shoved into the backseat, and I scream
without sound. She covered her ears
to my words, her eyes to my struggling,
and uses her mouth instead to tell his lies
and to keep me the liar. She was not rumpled,
her manicured hands washed with rose hips.
She proudly marked the date with Sharpee
on her calendar with a gold star for her ability
to twist, conquer, silence, strip, and grope
the truth all without a wrinkle, smudge or tear
to her well-pressed suit. Like the cunning asp
slithering down the flag pole she has silenced me,
before the stars and stripes and Alexander
and Anita. She has humiliated me, and hissed
a reminder of what will happen to anyone else
who tries to get away with the truth.

Author’s Note: This piece was written as a reaction to the extensive news coverage of Senator Susan Collins delivering her lengthy, self-indulgent, speech to provide explication and some might say excuses for her decision to vote in support of Kavanaugh's acceptance to the Supreme Court. Her desperate rhetoric tried to explain the irony of her assertion that she, like many of her Republican colleagues thought Dr. Blasey Ford's testimony was wholly believable and 'compelling' however, she still didn't believe her testimony or find it reason enough to stall her approval. Many of the senators said they thought something must have happened to the 'nice lady' they just don't think it involved Kavanaugh and that she must be 'mixed up.' They were quick to add that while they were impressed with what seemed to be her 'truthful' testimony they think the whole situation is a case of mistaken identity. Some questioned her ability to recall all the details, and T**mp even mocked her about this. The way she's been treated is despicable and more classic, blaming the victim, or assaulting the assaulted. This poem tries to get at the idea that Collins was telling another woman to keep her mouth shut. In my opinion, she has joined the enablers. She tells Blasey Ford and millions of other women and girls and yes, some men and boys to keep quiet. Like the mother who calls her daughter a liar, for accusing her step-dad of assault and warns her that they could lose everything if she tells anyone, the message is clear. That no one will believe her. I tried to use the details of Dr. Ford's description of the assault she endured as well as some of the other details of other women giving testimony across the country this week interwoven with the assault on the truth.

Kathleen A. Lawrence was born in Rochester—home of the Garbage Plate, Kodachrome, and Cab Calloway. She has been an educator for over 35 years, teaching Communication, Popular Culture, and Gender Studies at SUNY Cortland. She started writing poetry two years ago and her favorite challenge is the spiraling abecedarian. She has had poems appear in Rattle online for Poets Respond®, Scryptic, Eye to the Telescope, Parody Magazine, and Inigo Online Magazine. She's had poems nominated for the Rhysling Award and twice for the "Best of the Net" award. Her poem "Just Rosie" was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018


by Donna Katzin

Inside an immigration detention center in the desert outside Los Angeles, guards threw detainees into solitary confinement without hearings, routinely forced them into shackles, and cut off visits with family. Doctors signed off on medical assessments that never happened. Detainees were allowed to hang knotted sheets inside their cells, despite the facility’s extensive history of suicide attempts. And an extraction-happy dentist refused to fill cavities while suggesting detainees floss with threads pulled from their socks. These were just some of the conditions inside the Adelanto Detention Facility when federal inspectors from the Department of Homeland Security arrived for a surprise visit in May, according to a searing report released today by the DHS Office of the Inspector General. Investigators concluded that conditions at the privately run facility amounted to “serious” violations of Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s own detention standards, representing “significant threats to the safety, rights, and health of detainees.” —Mother Jones, October 2, 2018

In the high desert,
caged creatures languish, six to a cell,
for arriving without papers, seeking
refuge from drug lords and gangs,
or jobs as tomato-pickers,
baby-sitters, meat-packers.

Wrong words to faceless uniforms
bring handcuffs, shackles,
days, weeks of isolation . . .
walls closing in . . . No one knows
what will happen to the newcomers
or their children taken at the border.

When guards pretend not to see,
the enterprising hang
sheets twisted into nooses—
Ariadne’s threads that offer
the only way out.

Donna Katzin is the founding executive director of Shared Interest, a fund that mobilizes the human and financial resources of low-income communities of color in South and Southern Africa.  A board member of Community Change in the U.S., and co-coordinator of Tipitapa Partners working in Nicaragua, she has written extensively about South Africa, community development and impact investing.  Published in journals and sites including TheNewVerse.News and The Mom Egg, she is the author of With the Hands, a book of poems and photographs about post-apartheid South Africa’s process of giving birth to itself. 


by Gil Hoy

He proudly said
“my name is Francisco”

As he served me
my 3rd glass
of crystal clear water

At my 5 star restaurant
below the border.

And he proudly
proclaimed, and I

That his country
would never pay

For America’s
border wall.

But he stumbled
against the back
of a chair

As he walked away
in cheap shoes.

I sat long and still
in my chair

Thinking about
how he became he
and I became I.

The holiest way I knew.
And I felt ashamed.

Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and semi-retired trial lawyer who studied poetry at Boston University through its Evergreen program. Hoy previously received a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He served as a Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman for four terms. Hoy is a regular contributor to TheNewVerse.News. His poetry also has appeared (or will be appearing) most recently in Chiron Review, The Penmen Review, Ariel Chart, Social Justice Poetry, Poetry24, Right Hand Pointing/One Sentence Poems, I am not a silent poet, The Potomac, and Clark Street Review.

Monday, October 08, 2018


by Carol Alexander

A tsunami as high as 20 feet was triggered September 29 by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and hit two cities and nearby settlements about 800 miles northeast of Jakarta, Indonesia. Here, a ship is wedged between buildings on a street in Wani, Sulewesi. Mast Irham/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock via The Washington Post, October 2, 2018

Dusk that is woven of sighs and a bomb of sparrows
shooting over the grass: a mild explosion before the thunder breaks.
For us the sighs, the birds, the thunder spin a little drama out of air,
while in the interval of eastern waves, a wall of ocean wipes out
even the shadow of the fisher hawks.  We glimpse the water,
hear cries tamped beneath thick mud in someone's cellphone video.

A group of women scream and disappear,  breath mingled with the wind.
So close to the edge, has this documentarian survived?

On the beaches they say lies anything, everything touching the human sphere.
Imagine tangled skeins of clothes, smashed up festival lights,
a wooden pipe sluiced of ash. Still bodies of the swimmers, beach strays,
amid the bamboo and pottery tiles. Bodies carried from the wreckage
either by the sea or living hands.  And as the rain comes down 9,000 miles away

we think of those frozen figures of Pompeii going about the quotidian
in their easy ignorance, and relic ourselves with open mouths upon this frieze.

Editor's Note: Global Giving, which funnels donations to local organizations, has raised $248,000 of its $1 million goal to help people in Sulawesi. The effort centers on emergency supplies such as "food, water, and medicine, in addition to longer-term recovery assistance to help residents." Global Giving has a 96 rating on Charity Navigator.

Carol Alexander is the author of the poetry collections Environments (Dos Madres Press, 2018) and Habitat Lost (Cave Moon Press). Her chapbook Bridal Veil Falls is published by Flutter Press. Alexander's poems appear in a variety of anthologies and journals, most recently Aurora Poetry, Belletrist, Bluestem, Cumberland River Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, One and Third Wednesday. She is a past contributor to TheNewVerse.News.