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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

WHAT THIS WHITE MOTHER TELLS HER BLACK CHILD

by Rachel Mallalieu


Whatever you do, check
your tail lights before you leave
the neighborhood. And while
we’re on the subject of driving,
I know your dad doesn’t always
use his blinkers, but it’s imperative
that you signal when changing lanes.
When you are inevitably

Pulled over, please keep
both hands on the wheel while
you quietly wait. Calmly announce
what you’re doing before you
move. I know you’ve seen me
reach for my license and registration,
but you should not do this without
warning. Make sure to look him
in the eye, and say sir.
At all costs, you must

Show respect. If you are in a car
with friends and officers approach,
I forbid you to run—even if you are afraid.
In general, it’s better
not to hold your cell phone.
Someone may mistake it
for a gun. And speaking of

Guns, I’m afraid the Second Amendment
might not apply to you. Yes, your grandfather
keeps them, but I think it’s safer for you
to stay away. Sometimes, I think

It would be easier if you never
left home. Inside, you can
wear a hoodie without causing
undue fear. But when you’re home, please
double check to make sure the door
is not ajar. Lock it so no one
enters by mistake. Even then,

If in the middle of the night
you hear someone whispering
outside your window, while a flashlight
flickers on the glass, do not go
near the window. Please, whatever
you do, stay away from the window.
Instead, drop to the floor,
crawl under the bed, call
me and tell me you’re okay.


Rachel Mallalieu is an Emergency Physician and mother of five. She writes poetry in her spare time. Her work has been featured in TheNewVerse.News, Blood and Thunder, and is upcoming in Haunted Waters Press.

Monday, November 18, 2019

SHE'S GOING TO GO THROUGH SOME THINGS

by Alan Walowitz


Marie Yovanovitch at the impeachment inquiry.


From the day she was born, we knew
this would happen—
and kind of figured
that might happen, too.
It even made us smile in anticipation,
as if life might truly be an adventure—
though it’s not always what we believe,
it’s what we want to teach her.
Sure, there’d be the teething, the testing,
the travail of long division,
apartments without heat,
cold floors of unkindness,
plenty of tears—friends moving away, break-ups,
dishonesty in those we’d trusted.
Maybe even losing a job unjustly—
so much might happen
that demands recourse
where the universe offers none.
What’s sort of true:
life’s as sad, as we make it,
and as happy too.
Humans will do evil things,
from indifference or intent—
and still we move on.
It’s in the moving—
and doing what we know is right,
might finally be enough.  


Alan Walowitz has been published various places on the web and off.  His work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2017 and 2018 and he is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry.  His chapbook Exactly Like Love is available from Osedax Press, and his full-length book The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems is available from Truth Serum Press. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

CAPO GHAZAL

by Esther Greenleaf Murer




Of course I’ll release the funds.  But first, do me a favor.
No, of course you’re not being coerced—just do me a favor.

Those shitholes out there are trying to undermine me!
They have to be slimed and aspersed, so do me a favor.

Help me out with this and I’ll invite you to the White House.
Just do your best (i.e. worst) and I’ll take it as a favor.

Rudy is coming with an offer you can’t refuse:
end up in the Dnieper feet first, or do me a favor.

This transcript is going to the secret computer system,
so forget that we ever conversed; just do me a favor.


Esther Greenleaf Murer is a longtime contributor to the TheNewVerse.News.  She lives in Philadelphia.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

QUID PRO . . . WHAT?

by George Salamon




We can't tell a quid when we hear it,
but we can spot a quo when we don't.

Quid and quo were conceived as twins,
now nobody can tell which is which.

A man asks for a quo by offering a quid,
unless it's a politician caught in the act.

If a quid can be without a quo,
a quo can exist without a quid.

For our leaders faith is the same as proof,
and Tweedledee one with Tweedledum.


George Salamon contributes to The Asses of Parnassus, Dissident Voice, One Sentence Poems and TheNewVerse.News from St. Louis, MO.

Friday, November 15, 2019

EVENING IN VENICE

by Allene Nichols




The water is rising.
The waiter with the red-checked shirt,
eyes darting, is ready to run.
But there is time for red wine,

baccala’ mantecata, and tiramisu.
There is time as the water
laps at our feet
and the sky scowls.

The boat shies nervously against the pier.
Our glasses clink too loudly.
Our laughter echoes
high and clear
like struck porcelain.

We’ve wept over the skeletons
of churches and museums.
St. Mark’s floor is covered
with mud. The Doge’s palace
is listing dangerously.

The statues, paintings, and friezes
are safe in Rome,
But we will never step here again.
No weeping now, though our cheeks are wet
and our eyes bright.

Clowns, wits, and bon vivants
do their best,
but their eyes drift back
to the sinking buildings
and a shadow passes
over their faces.

The air is thick with mosquitos.
Our clothing clings to us.
The smell of decay,
Held at bay for centuries,
creeps in from the alleyways.
The city, empty except for us,
echoes eerily.

All is lost and nothing is lost.
The world will go on.
The waiter cranks an old phonograph.
Vivaldi strains against the silence,
almost lost in it.

We dance as the fish swim at our ankles.
The sun glowers on the horizon.


Allene Nichols lives in Dallas, Texas, where she teaches at Richland College and at the University of Texas at Dallas. Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies including Veils, Halos, and Shackles, and Impossible Archetype. Her poem, “Queer Salt,” was a 2017 winner of OUTSpoken’s creative writing contest.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

TRAJECTORIES #7

by David Chorlton


Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photo and Video by Getty


It’s such a pleasant and deceitful
day, with the afternoon light
lying back on the green
side of the mountain
and quail in a covey scurrying
for cover as the hearings wind
down until tomorrow. The local Red-tail
prowls the atmosphere,
circling the golf course
pond while pigeons
flock for safety in numbers. Witnesses
appear one
at a time, exposed to words
that fly from a questioner’s mouth
and don’t know
where to land. Is good the bright
and bad the shadow, or
the other way around? It all depends
which side a person’s on,
and the small birds know their place.
Seventy-three degrees; not a cloud
in sight; the whistleblower’s name
is still a secret; there is
no wind to turn the turbine
vent that complains every time it blows,
aching as only
metal can.


David Chorlton  is a long time resident of Phoenix, who loves the desert and its wildlife but can't quite stay away from watching public issues unfold. He recently produced a long poem, Speech Scroll, which will surface in the not too distant future thanks to Cholla Needles Press.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

AND THEN THE SKY

by Katherine West 

The U.S. Air Force released a much-anticipated draft environmental impact statement for its proposal to modify the boundaries for military air space over southwest New Mexico, including areas that would be used for F-16 training missions out of Holloman Air Force Base over Grant County and the Gila National Forest. … One of the alternatives proposes that low-altitude training — meaning F-16s flying as low as 500 feet above ground level — be allowed over those areas. —Silver City Daily Press, November 1, 2019


Ground level, nothing
enters the wilderness, except feet—
horse feet, human feet. We start
at the river and work our way up
and through how many worlds?
From yellow willows through pink mini-canyons
through tawny and scarlet grasslands made by
fire and decorated with skeletons
to foot-tingling vertigo cliffs dropping
from white heights straight down to
vertical death straight out to horizontal
eye-flight—180 degrees of mountain waves
lapping at the sky.

And just like being lost at sea, I can feel
the lack of humanity. My human
radar finds nothing to ping against, no
roofs glinting in the sun, no
distant roar of traffic, or guns,
just the last of the falling leaves ticking
against each other like light rain on the roof,
catching the late sun like a flock of distant
birds at five o'clock.

Behind me, the pale half-moon rises silently
in the afternoon east—and I remember
how she rose with Venus on Halloween
when the first cold came and
made them very  bright—still brighter
than the new, too-fast moving, human
Stars that surround them—and I remember
that there is no wilderness in the sky
as the F16s detonate their weekly flight.


Katherine West lives near the Gila Wilderness, several hours from Silver City, New Mexico, where she and her musician husband perform music with poetry about the true meaning of wilderness.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

FIFTY YEARS ACROSS

by Robert E. Petras




A shooting star sparks gold
Across the Ohio.
This night vein dissolves
Fireflies spark.
In the northwest clouds dry-hump heat lightning.
A storm may or may not come.
I palm a firefly and its pumping light.

The first cricket of summer chirps.

For every six bottle rockets
One is a dud,
Our seventh-grade gym teacher
Told us boys, lined up,
As he checked us,
Tight-lipped,
For groin pulls,
His hands in a V.
His eyes smiling

“Dud” I can still hear his grotto voice.

That’s the night Joey Geiger drowned.
That’s the first time I saw a shooting star
Shoot dry.

I open my palm
The firefly flits into the sequined night.
A second cricket chirps.

“Dud.”


Robert E. Petras is a resident of Toronto, Ohio and a graduate of WestLiberty University.  His poems and fiction have appeared in more than 250 publications across the globe.

Monday, November 11, 2019

THE BALLAD OF LINDSEY GRAHAM'S PICKLE

by Janice D. Soderling




Dong, dong, it pealed from each bell tower
until full twelve was said.
Cold, coverless and quivering,
Graham flopped around in bed.

He sat up, did the Senator,
and stared into the night
for at the footboard of his bed
commenced a nebulous light.

A ghastly apparation grew
and softly did it moan.
With trembling hands, it held aloft
a moss-bedecked tombstone.

"Oh, Lindsey," wheezed the ghostly guest.
Oh, Lindsey Graham, behold."
There on the mildewed stone was writ,
Orange glitter is not gold.

"And quid pro quo is not BS.
Go read the damning transcript."
A tortured moan froze Lindsay's blood,
"Far better men than you've flipped.

"Beware the traitorous pumpkin man."
The moan rose to a shout.
"I come to save you from yourself."
The frightened man cried out,

"Who art thou, apparation grim?
Who gives my blood such chill?
The Ghost of Hearings-Yet-To-Come?
Or that socialist, Joe Hill?

The glowing ghost gave mirthless laugh.
"Joe Hill has never died.
Takes more than guns to kill a man,
No matter how they tried.

"John sent me here to wake you up.
You're backing the wrong horse.
The bus is nigh. His game is rigged.
Stay off his damned golf course."

Then Lindsey woke, relieved, and said,
"Joe Hill's a loser Commie.
But that's the last time that I eat
dill pickles with pastrami."


Janice D. Soderling is a previous contributor to TheNewVerse.News. Her work was recently at Light, Better Than Starbucks, and La Libélula Vaga.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

DON, JR.

by Mark Williams




“I don’t think they like me much anymore.”
           —Donald Trump, Jr., commenting on the co-hosts of The View


Just to let you know, Don, Jr.,
we have several things in common. 
Both of our fathers were in real estate,
and they took us with them on their showings.
Stepping from his car, a man once told my dad, 
“I like this house already.”

“You might like it on the outside,” young me said, 
“but wait until you see it on the inside.”
Like you, Don, Jr., the inside needed work.

And then there was the antique Steepleton slate-bed 
pool table my father was given as a bonus. 
(He’d sold a house within a week.) I spent 
many hours shooting pool on that table.
And I was good! But who wouldn’t be? Someone 
had rounded off the slate at every leather pocket.
If a ball was within two inches, it dropped in. 

Up until the day you talked to Joy, Whoopi, 
Abby, Meghan and Sunny,
it was as if you’d played your life 
on an antique Steepleton slate-bed
with generous, deep pockets. 
You were on a run. You could not miss. Please know
that when I shot pool on tables at Arc Lanes, the Y 
or the Brunswick at Brett Hart’s house, 
I embarrassed myself badly every time.


Mark Williams lives in Evansville, Indiana. His poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Rattle, Nimrod, New Ohio Review, and The American Journal of Poetry. His poems in response to the current administration have appeared in Poets Reading the News, Writers Resist, and Tuck Magazine. This is his third appearance in TheNewVerse.News.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

GODZILLA VS KONG

by George Salamon


Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday officially filed as a candidate for the Alabama Democratic presidential primary … Bloomberg could jolt the Democratic primary race with his late entry and a personal war chest estimated at more than $50 billion.” The Hill, November 8, 2019



If two money monsters will fight
For the nation's greatest might
Yankee Doodle Dandy  has put
A feather of another color in his cap,
The one flying for democracy will
Have given way to one celebrating
The piracy of buying and selling,
Making business the only business
Of our fading political institutions.


George Salamon lives and writes in St. Louis, MO and has most recently contributed to The Asses of Parnassus, One Sentence Poems, Dissident Voice and TheNewVerse.News.

Friday, November 08, 2019

ABECEDARIAN FOR T***P

by Barbara Lydecker Crane


T***p Playing Cards by Winston Tseng


After babbling collapses,
don’t explode. Forego
grandstanding hubris,
idiotic justifying. Know
less, Mr. Neverwrong,
of prevarication, quid pro quo,
revising spins, talking
ugly. Verbatims’ woe:
explicit. You’re zapped.


Barbara Lydecker Crane is a prize-winning poet published in Light, Think, First Things, Measure, Rattle, The Writer’s Almanac, and many others. She has published three chapbooks: Zero Gravitas, Alphabetricks and BackWords Logic, and is also an artist.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

EIGHT HAIKU FALSE-STARTS

by Jenna Lê


Photo: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar, November 5, 2019


my split ends crackle
in the dry November air

my goose-down coat’s nudged
my cheeks out of existence

my hairy calves scritch
inside my long underwear

the polling place lights
sweat yellow in the distance

the 5 PM sky’s
already blueberry-dark

voters in their booths
crouch walled apart like bento

I mouth my own name
through lips pale as pickled shark

the election judge
smiles sweetly nonjudgmental


Jenna Lê is the author of A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Indolent Books, 2018), which won 2nd Place in the Elgin Awards, and Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011). She was selected by Marilyn Nelson as winner of Poetry By The Sea’s inaugural sonnet competition. Her poems appear or are forthcoming from AGNI, Bellevue Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Poet Lore, Rattle, and West Branch.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

TONIGHT IN PORTLAND

by Penelope Scambly Schott






Winds gust.
Rain slashes.
Douglas firs bend.
Pine cones pound my metal roof.
Have I mentioned how much I love my roof?

Have I described cardboard under sleeping bags?
Shopping carts heaped with wet collections?
The meager windscreen of a dumpster?
A wet dog under the only blanket?
Did I say how cold this rain?

In our whole liberal city
there is not enough
hot soup.


Penelope Scambly Schott is a past recipient of the Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Recent books are House of the Cardamon Seed and November Quilt.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

FLORIDA MAN TO DOMICILE IN FLORIDA

by Mickey J. Corrigan


Cartoon by Dave Granlund


He's on the move
on paper
to the joke state
the harboring state
the hideout state
where he thinks
he blends in better

where the climate is better
for taxes
the climate is better
for asset protection
dodging creditors
hiding dodgy wealth
in protected real estate

—he knows more than anyone
about everything
real estate—

where the climate is better
for laundering
the climate is better
for white collar crime
for avoiding
your dues
—no cap
on deductions
no state tax
on income—
no one cares
what you've done

for a certificate
of domicile
when you live in DC
your business
in New York
you vote
for yourself

in Florida            
a thousand new residents
arrive daily
—immigrants across borders
families from cages
babies without parents—
plus Florida Man:

can we lock him up
so the climate is better
for the rest of us?


Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan writes Florida noir with a dark humor. Project XX, a satirical novel about a school shooting, was released in 2017 by Salt Publishing in the UK. Newest release is What I Did for Love, a spoof of Lolita (Bloodhound Books, October, 2019).

Monday, November 04, 2019

SEAN DOOLITTLE JUST CAN'T GO

a poem found in the words of Sean Doolittle


Sean Doolittle decided to decline an invitation to the Washington Nationals' World Series celebration at the White House on Monday. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)


I put thought into this:
I just can’t go.

It has to do with rhetoric
enabling conspiracy theories,
widening the divide.

I just can’t go.

People with those beliefs
feel empowered, feel like
they have a path. I don’t want
to hang with somebody
who talks like that.

I just can’t go.

My wife and I
stand for inclusion and acceptance,
and we work with refugees—
people from "shithole" countries.

I just can’t go.

I feel very strongly
about race relations,
the Fair Housing Act,
the Central Park Five,
Charlottesville.

I just can’t go.

My wife has two mothers
in the LGBTQ+ community
I want to show support for them.
That’s an important part of allyship.
I don’t want to turn my back on them.

I just can’t go.

My brother-in-law has autism,
How would I explain to him
I hung with somebody who mocked
a disabled reporter, the way he talked,
the way he moved his hands?

I just can’t go.

People say you should go because
it’s about respecting the office.
I think he’s done a lot of things
that don’t respect the office.

I just can’t go.


Note: This found poem, based on The Washington Post's interview with Sean Doolittle, was compiled  and organized by the Editor of TheNewVerse.News.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

HOME IS HERE

by Donna Katzin



We are the bright-faced dreamers,
pimples on our cheeks,                                            
victory in our voices.                                                  
We rally in the shadow of Lady Liberty                              
to walk her message, one step at a time,          
to the highest court in the nation.

Our siblings cheer us on.          
Juancito stretches hands above his head                          
to lift a banner that defies the wind.                                  
Kelli in cornrows sings from her father’s shoulders
as Korean dancers swirl to deep-throated drums
and brass tambourines.

We have come with parents
from Mexico, Nepal, Sierra Leone,
the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens
to keep our families together,
claim our right to live in the only land
we have ever known.

Other marchers’ chants take root
in our tongues, blossom on our lips:
I am somebody…
Keep the pressure on!
El pueblo unido -- jamás será vencido!
Sí se puede!                                    

We add our own:
Aquí estamos, y no nos vamos.
Y si nos hechan, nos regresamos!
New York One, Newsday, Radio Rebeldía
harvest footage, photos, sound-bites
and speeches for history.

We are not invisible.
We are not afraid.                                                        
We have no other country.
We are already home.


Author's Notes:  On Oct. 26, 2019, 150 marchers set out on an 18-day 230-mile march from NYC to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protection Status for immigrants seeking refuge from conditions that jeopardized their lives in their own countries. Both programs have been threatened by policies of the current administration—endangering more than 1,000,000 people in the US. The marchers headed for Washington, DC to bear witness at the November 12 Supreme Court hearings on the status of DACA.

Chants
Aquí  estamos               We are here
Y no nos vamos             And we are not leaving.
Y si nos hechan             And if you deport us
Nos regresamos            We will return.

I am somebody! A mantra led weekly by the Rev. Jesse Jackson at Operation PUSH meetings in Chicago, where more than 1,000 black youth gathered every week in the 1970s.
Keep the pressure on! A slogan from the anti-apartheid movement in the 1990’s after Mandela’s release from prison, but before the fall of apartheid.
El pueblo unido -- jamás será vencido! The people united—will never be defeated—a chant that rocked the streets of Salvador Allende’s Chile in the 1970s and after.
Sí se puede! Yes we can—a rallying cry of the United Farmworkers in the 1970s, picked up by many movements and leaders since, including Barack Obama.


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.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

EN EL DIA DE LOS MUERTOS: A VISIT FROM MY AUNT

by Richard Garcia


The author's Titi Rosa well before her passing.




Titi Rosa came to visit me last night. It was about time. How long? Sixty-five years? Phosh, she said, That's just yesterday. She brought me a fruitcake, the kind everyone in our mean family would make fun of. She always reminded me of one of those maiden aunts in A Child's Christmas in Wales, that sat on the edge of their chairs with their teacups in hand, alert, just in case someone would speak to them. Our old house was quite nice now, with loft-like rooms, and big windows that looked out on the river that used to be buried under concrete. We stood at the window and admired the houses of the wealthy across the river. But these wealthy people were nice wealthy people. One house was like a palace make of sea foam, and seaweed, and palm fronds and driftwood that resembled formations of pelicans. Another had a pile of boxes on its roof seemingly random, but not if you studied it. They looked like cardboard but were really a sculpture of presents yet to be opened. They spilled over the front of their house as if they were falling, but they were not. And there was a skyscraper made of toothpicks by a blind man in prison for shooting his wife. It was justifiable homicide was what he had always claimed, she was a mean wife, and would not stay still when they played William Tell in the backyard. Now you are being silly, Titi Rosa said, and pinched my cheek, which I used to hate. But it felt so nice, to see Titi Rosa, and have her pinch my cheek. Now you eat the fruitcake Richie, she said, all of it, except for one slice. Wrap it up tight in cellophane, and put it in your icebox. It will last you forever, or for the rest of your life, which, according to her, is the same thing.


Richard Garcia is the author of The Other Odyssey from Dream Horse Press, The Chair from BOA, and Porridge from Press 53. His poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies. He has won a Pushcart prize and has been in Best American Poetry. He lives in Charleston, S.C.

Friday, November 01, 2019

FROM THE GAETZ OF HELL

by Rémy Dambron




Assembled in the name
of congressional duty

three committees convened
to depose the unruly

in a secretive facility
known as a SCIF

chaired by the honorable
Adam B. Schiff

but disturbed and perturbed
formed a flock of strange men

flapping and snapping
from inside their pen

all of a feather
both orange and red

disrupting corrupting
due process instead

breeding bad eggs
with old beaks and brooding

regurgitating lies
immorality oozing

storming the doors
and mocking decorum

dive-bombing tricksters
a riotous quorum

circumventing evidence
to circle their circus

distractions by faction
so facts would't surface

crowing and showing
hypocrisy for truth

clutching their phones
such misconduct uncouth

led by none other than
Florida's finest

representative Gaetz
the indignant and spineless

breaking house rules
to demand they be obeyed

came a congress of crows
for their shameless charade.


Rémy Dambron is an activist, environmentalist, and author based out of Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in What Rough Beast, Writer's Resist, Poets Reading the News, and TheNewVerse.News, focusing largely on denouncing political corruption and advocating for social justice. Without the love and support of his wife Susan, he would not be the writer he is today.  

Thursday, October 31, 2019

HOURS OF LEAD

by Susan Gubernat




                                                            This is the Hour of Lead –
                                                            Remembered, if outlived… Emily Dickinson


Lead that grazes the mouth of a child, bloodies her.
Lead she drinks down from her little cup of water.

Lead spewed at one another instead of spit
(though the spit too finds its target).

Lead they load, reload, load, reload
Lead soaring like an earthbound bird emboldened

by flight. Lead sinking to the bottom of a pan
boiling away on a kitchen fire. But can

a mother ever make the bath safe again?
As lead rains hard, can she throw her body in 

the path of the boy being eyed by lead,
stalked by lead, prey to the beast of lead?

The lead in the man’s pockets weighs him 
down like coins he thinks he must spend

to grow lighter. He pans the river for lead,
curses crowds with his shower of lead.

Underground, the dark pipes groan with lead.
Above, the air clamps shut with a seam of lead.

O lead, where is thy sting? There
and there and there.            Here. 


Susan Gubernat’s latest book The Zoo at Night won the Prairie Schooner Book Award from the University of Nebraska Press. Her work has appeared in many publications. She lives and works in the SF Bay Area.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

HAIBUN IN ANOTHER FIRE SEASON

by Andrena Zawinski




The smell of ash wakes me in my bed, burning
my nostrils and throat, midnight, as I dream
of water webbed lashes and a cool, damp face.

Diablo winds sling fiery plumes all night across
grapevines, redwoods, schoolhouses, ranches,
livestock and wildlife left behind, everything
trying to catch its breath.

In the gloom of gray hours before down, I write
these words without paper or pen a half wake state,
while winds whistle and howl across the dock,
through trees, into my open window and this poem

                                    stumbling ahead
                                    as this dawn struggles for breath
                                    tears blurring the eyes.


Andrena Zawinski’s poetry has received accolades for lyricism, form, spirituality, and social concern. Her latest book is Landings; others are Something About (a PEN Oakland Award) and Traveling in Reflected Light (a Kenneth Patchen Prize). She founded and runs the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and is Features Editor at PoetryMagazine.com. Her poem, “Twilit Sonnet” appeared previously in TheNewVerse.News.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

DARK OF THE MOON, HEAT OF THE SUN

by Pepper Trail


“One hundred percent girls,” whispered the biologist, crawling next to the pregnant reptile. “This nest will be 100 percent girls.” As the earth gets hotter, turtle hatchlings worldwide are expected to skew dangerously female, scientists predict, making the animals an unwitting gauge for the warming climate. —The Washington Post, October 22, 2019. Photo: A marine biologist helps a newborn sea turtle reach the sea on Cape Verde’s Boa Vista island. Credit: Danielle Paquette via The Washington Post.


In the dark sea, a greater darkness
An absence of starlight, moving
Then on the wet sand, a stone

Stone into turtle, with gathering of breath
And the climb begins, pull and drag
Against all the weight of earth

Far up the beach, with pause for gasp
The turtle curves wings
Into mittened hands, and digs

For this warmth of nest, the ocean shed
This gush of eggs into the place prepared
Hidden among the grains of sand

Then the lurch, the thrash
The torn-up ground, last concealment
Before the run toward home

At the first break of wave
She lifts head, trailing earthly tears
Rests, breathes full, and flies free

So it has been, the mothers forever
Returning to their mothers’ beach
The fathers waiting in the fathers’ surf

But now, the warmth too warm
The nests send only girls into the sea
Until fathers can be found no more

For long barren years, turtles will swim
Far from the beckoning useless land
Bearing eggs for no generation, the last


Pepper Trail is a poet and naturalist based in Ashland, Oregon. His poetry has appeared in Rattle, Atlanta Review, Spillway, Kyoto Journal, Cascadia Review, and other publications, and has 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.

THIS IS HOW WE DO WHAT WE DO NOW

by Alan Catlin


A dead dolphin was found washed ashore in Westerly RI, Oct. 27, 2019. Photo: Zac Perrin, Channel 10 Providence.


Kill things
                 Dolphins
                 Seals
                 Birds
                 Endangered species
                 Separated from parents children
                 Allies

Then we send troops into the country
we betrayed to defend the oil fields


Author’s note: Written after finding a full grown dolphin washed ashore on an offshore island


Alan Catlin has published dozens of chapbooks and full-length books, most recently the chapbook Three Farmers on the Way to a Dance (Presa Press), a series of ekphrastic poems responding to the work of German photographer August Sander who did portraits of Germans before, during, and after both World Wars.

Monday, October 28, 2019

EXAM

by Mark Ward


This week Ugandan police arrested 16 LGBTQ activists on charges of gay sex—which is punishable by life imprisonment. Police arrested them at the sexual health organization where they worked and lived and cited condoms, lubricants and anti-HIV medicines found there as evidence of a crime. Police then subjected them to forced anal exams, which can amount to torture under international law, before releasing them on bail, according to a statement by activists. —The Washington Post, October 26, 2019. Photo: A Ugandan man with a sticker on his face takes part in gay pride in Entebbe, Uganda in 2014. (ISAAC KASAMANI/AFP/Getty Images via The Washington Post)


I feel his fingers pull me apart. 
I am on all fours on a steel trolley
somewhere underground in town. 
All I can see is feet passing. 
                       I clench. He smacks my arse
and for a moment, I am at home
with you—this easy intimacy 
before bed. 
                        Fingers always hurt. 
The nails. Even through gloves. 
That illusion of hygiene. 
                                               He opens me
to peer inside. 
                                He rummages, 
searching for sedition, 
or semen. Something to prove
I walk around with sinful innards.  
                I make no sound. 
                                                  And when he is done, 
despite telling me I can dress, I remain, 
                  trousers round my ankles, 
without shame, fully aware of my 
unprovable proficiencies
                                                  until he leaves in disgust.




Mark Ward is the author of the chapbooks Circumference (Finishing Line Press, 2018) and Carcass (Seven Kitchens Press, 2020), and the full-length collection Nightlight (Salmon Poetry, 2022). His work has been widely published at home and abroad. He is the founding editor of Impossible Archetype, an international journal of LGBTQ+ poetry. 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

NEWS HOUR IN DUFUR, OREGON

Original photo by Lynn Ketchum for Oregon State University: Flowering rabbit brush brightens Oregon’s rangelands and provides sustenance to a great golden digger wasp.



Penelope Scambly Schott is a past recipient of the Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Recent books are House of the Cardamon Seed and November Quilt. Dufur is a small (pop: 623) wheat-growing town in north-central Oregon.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

REQUIEM FOR ELIJAH

by Shelly Blankman




How do you say goodbye? Always a brew
of duty and love, a fusion of friendship and
family. Stir in politics and the recipe can
kill the comfort of mourners united in grief.

This country said goodbye to a statesman
and grieved in prayer and song, in speeches
and memories by colleagues, family, friends,
religious and political leaders. Those who knew

him and those who did not. Thousands filled
the church and lined the streets to honor a
man loved by the people he served, reviled
by a government he angered with his staunch

defense of human rights and lifetime lessons
of common sense. Absence of a president
unnoticed in the presence of a humble hero.
Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore native, would

certainly have sunk into the annals of history, if
not for raising the spirits of those mired in chaos
and despair. A sharecropper’s son who lived what
he’d learned and left the legacy of a legend.


Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Shelly Blankman now lives in Columbia, Maryland with her husband, three cat rescues and a foster dog. Her poetry has appeared in First Literary Review-East, The Ekphrastic Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, and other publications

Friday, October 25, 2019

SYCAMORE, SYCAMORE

by Sally Zakariya


“Today we published the results of this quantum supremacy experiment in the Nature article, ‘Quantum Supremacy Using a Programmable Superconducting Processor.’ We developed a new 54-qubit processor, named ‘Sycamore,’ that is comprised of fast, high-fidelity quantum logic gates, in order to perform the benchmark testing. Our machine performed the target computation in 200 seconds, and from measurements in our experiment we determined that it would take the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years to produce a similar output.” —Posted on October 23, 2019 to the Google AI Blog by John Martinis, Chief Scientist Quantum Hardware and Sergio Boixo, Chief Scientist Quantum Computing Theory, Google AI Quantum. Photograph of the Sycamore processor by Erik Lucero, Research Scientist and Lead Production Quantum Hardware.


Hello world, things are changing.
What I knew only as a shag-bark tree—
Sycamore—now names computing
power beyond imagining, now quantum,
supreme, superlative, incomparable.

A dance of particles, tangling, entangled.
To Einstein, “spooky action at a distance.”
To me, complex mystery of mysteries,
wonder of intelligent wonders.

How can I comprehend such power
and speed, such limitless possibilities?
Like us prone to error, but unlike us
capable of brilliance beyond measure.

A human attempt to emulate creation?
Perhaps. Or is it proof how far our
mortal minds can reach?


Sally Zakariya’s poetry has appeared in some 75 print and online journals and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her most recent publication is Muslim Wife (Blue Lyra Press, 2019). She is also the author of The Unknowable Mystery of Other People, Personal Astronomy, When You Escape, Insectomania, and Arithmetic and other verses, as well as the editor of a poetry anthology, Joys of the Table.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

IN LINE OF THE DECLARATION

by David Stone




Pelosi stands
eclipsing Washington’s bust.
Pelosi stands
across from the men’s folded hands.
Her arm in point to T***p is thrust.
Her calm above his scowl is just.
Pelosi stands.


David Stone teaches English in Loma Linda, CA.  His poetry has appeared in Identity Theory, Shuf, and Inlandia: A Literary Journey as well as in Orangelandia: The Literature of Inland Citrus.  He contributes literary columns for the Southern California News Group.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

BLEEDING HEARTS DON'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE

by George Salamon





"I have always been struck, in America, by an emotional poverty so bottomless, and a fear of human life, of human touch, so deep, that virtually no American appears able to achieve any viable organic connection between his public stance and his private life." 
—James Baldwin in I Am Not Your Negro (2017)


It is not a lesson
Easily learned.
After absorbing it,
One comes to
Rely on smaller
Emotions, just to
Be on the safe side.


George Salamon, retired from college teaching, journalism and public affairs, has contributed most recently to The Asses of Parnassus, Dissident Voice, One Sentence Poems and TheNewVerse.News from St. Louis, MO.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

VANDALISM AT A MILITARY CEMETERY

by Janice D. Soderling


Dozens of Commonwealth graves have been daubed with swastikas and other symbols at a cemetery dedicated to those fought in the first and second world wars. The headstones were vandalised with red spray paint overnight at the Haifa war cemetery in northern Israel, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). It comes just days after several other Commonwealth graves were knocked over at Belfast City Cemetery in Northern Ireland. —The London Economic, October 11, 2019


Indifferent to the clangor at their tent,
the dusty lads sleep on.
Allied in unilateral descent,
indifferent to the clangor at their tent,
and to the tiffs of kings or president.
Unmindful of thick darkness and bright dawn,
indifferent to the clangor at their tent
the dusty lads sleep on.


Janice D. Soderling, poet, writer and translator, is a previous contributor to TheNewVerse.News. Her work in Spanish translation was recent at La libélula vaga and her own translations from Swedish to English are forthcoming at Better than Starbucks.

LATE NIGHT IN A SMOKY BAR AN OLD SWASTIKA DRINKS WHISKEY WITH THE GODDESS ISIS

by Kit Loney




You say a terrorist stole your name? I hear you, sister. Back in the day I was easy in my skin, passed among the creatures of the earth like a fine breeze. I was whirling dervish. Pelican diving. Windmill. Showed travelers the way to Buddhist temples. Would appear on kimono sleeves in sky-blue silk brocade to gather good fortune. Faced left in Sanskrit to juggle dots and dance on pointed toes. Man, those were the days. The Navajo would invite me to kneel on woven carpets for sacred healing chants. I was earth, air, fire, and water. north, west, south, and east. Then one day I’m grabbed from behind, knocked out cold. In fog of fever dreams I’m something small and lethal, like a pistol, dread burning up red from the tail of my spine. Wake up decades later. Splitting headache. Hands covered in blood. These days the Japanese kids call me Mangi, some hashtag to hip as if that Hitler nightmare never happened. But sister, I‘m still covered in scars, still shaking. Oh God! What have I done? And this new tide of angry men with their hands clenching my every arm. No ocean on earth is deep enough. Sister, help me, please!


Kit Loney comes to poetry from a career in visual arts. Her poems have appeared in Prime Number Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, Fall Lines, Emrys Journal, Kakalak, Yemassee, Qarrtsiluni, Waccamaw, One, and Poetry East. In 2012 she received the Carrie McCray Nickens Poetry Fellowship from the SC Academy of Authors.

Monday, October 21, 2019

FALL IS BEAUTIFUL

by Katherine West




Holly turning red
all along the winding trail,
little flames of fall
amongst the wildflowers—
silver hair of the forest

She is dying, dry
before rain, dry after rain
her children all dead
before they are born, before
the holly can burn, it burns

Eighty years to die—
eighty years for the river
eighty years for me
amongst the wildflowers—
silver hair of the river

She is dying, dry
before rain, dry after rain
her children all dead
before they are born, before
the trout can spawn, they are gone

Fall is beautiful
leaves now turning red as blood
all my long, long life
I was a leaf on your tree
but now we fall together


Katherine West is the author of three poetry collections—The Bone Train, Scimitar Dreams, and Riddle–and has had poetry published in such journals as Bombay Gin, Lalitamba, TheNewVerse.News, La Petite Zine among others.  She lives and teaches poetry workshops about wilderness writing near Silver City, New Mexico.  

Sunday, October 20, 2019

EXHUMATION OF RELICS, 2008

by Julie Steiner


“I wish, with all my heart, to be buried in Father Ambrose St John's grave—and I give this as my last, my imperative will.” —Saint John Henry Newman, 1801-1890, canonized on 13 October 2019; the quotation is from “Written in Prospect of Death,”  Meditations and Devotions, Part 3, 1876). See also "“The Empty Tomb: Cardinal Newman's last laugh?” in Commonweal, October 8, 2008.  Photo: Ambrose St John (left) and Saint John Henry Newman.


A miracle, of sorts: an empty tomb—
a skeleton-less grave, though shared by two.
One hundred eighteen years should be too few
for bones and teeth to seep away like rheum.

The undertakers managed to exhume
two coffin handles; damp had rotted through
all else except a gold-thread tassel. Who
could tell which soggy humus went with whom?

Could Church officials separate the clay
of John from that of Ambrose? In a way,
the two became one flesh while six feet under.

Saint John’s been moved; St John stayed put, they say.
And yet the pair defiantly obey
“What God has joined, let no man put asunder.”


Julie Steiner is a pseudonym in San Diego. Besides the TheNewVerse.News, the venues in which her poetry has appeared include the Able Muse Review, Rattle, Light, and the Asses of Parnassus.