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Thursday, January 31, 2019


by Alan Catlin

Pictured above is one of three watercolor paintings attributed to the former Nazi leader Adolf Hitler which were seized by shortly before they were due to go under the hammer on Thursday. “We received an online tip-off that the paintings are fakes,” Patricia Bremer, a police spokeswoman, told journalists. The watercolours had a reserve price of €4,000 (£3,450) each, and the Kloss auction house said interest was expected from collectors in the UK.“In my view they have no artistic value, it's simply adequate craftsmanship,” Hans-Joachim Maeder, a spokesman for the auction house said. “If you walk down the Seine and see 100 artists, 80 will be better than this. The value of these objects and the media interest is because of the name at the bottom.” —The Telegraph (UK), January 25, 2019

I thought I might have
dreamed a story I saw on
the eleven o’clock news
until I downloaded the
broadcast on line.

What I heard was,

An auction house in
Europe was selling
watercolors signed by

And while, the general thinking
was, these paintings had "no
artistic merit" whatsoever,
it was thought the signature
would be of major interest.

The auction house hoped
to make a lot of money for
the owners . . .

And I wondered:
Were they planning to advertise?

Possess your very own Hitler.

And if you owned a Hitler,
what would you do with it?

Hang it on a wall?

Store it under lock and key,
only showing it on special occasions . . .

And what would those occasions be?

Your own, personal Hitler.

Think about it.

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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


"Empire" star Jussie Smollett was hospitalized after “a possible racially charged” and homophobic assault and battery, Chief Anthony Guglielmi of the Chicago Police Department said in a statement Tuesday. —USA Today, January 29, 2019

James Penha edits TheNewVerse.News .

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


by Marsha Owens

The poet said she was born “to look, to listen.” I envy her self-awareness, her certainty. Still night lifted, and I languished under warm morning blankets, listened to my breath coming and going, remembered each day’s name, not marked by miracles, yet reliably present after the darkness. Warning-less, reality tromped the sunshine. I felt dragged like trash into the ugliness, the unholiness of the day. “Let them get loans,” the rich man said, “let them find food if they can and insulin. Let them struggle like I’ve never had to. Let them work for a living, like I’ve never had to. I will feed at the trough off of their backsides, a flagrant godfather with not a shred of good intent. Let them be content.”

I screamed into my soul asking what am I supposed to do? For what was I born, dear poet? I’m sure she answered in the silence folding down around the dawn.

Marsha Owens lives and writes in Richmond, VA.

Monday, January 28, 2019


by David Feela

Cartoon by Mike Marland

We talked, then complained.
Now the why about what happened

deserves a reasonable explanation.
Fifteen days seems ample time

for tunneling under his wall of
obfuscation, finally into sunlight.

See the paunchy groundhog,
still afraid of his own shadow.

Tell him no, we’ll have no more
weeks of political winter.

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. He's tired of winter.

Sunday, January 27, 2019


by Rick Kempa

"The New Normal" by Pat Bagley
A few AP headlines, January 27, 2019:
Search on for Louisiana man suspected in 5 deaths
1 dead, 1 wounded after shooting near Atlantic City
Police: 5 people shot overnight at Indianapolis bar
Teen arrested in shooting death of another Blue Springs MO teen
MSU police: Woman shoots herself at campus shooting range
Reno police: Man killed when shot multiple times in vehicle
New Haven Police investigate shooting of pizza delivery man

Fly it at half-mast always
because we are never done grieving,
because, one by one by one,
we are killing each other daily.

Fly it at half-mast
to declare our permanent sorrow,
the holes in our hearts, the horror
that we are no longer horrified.

Fly it to mark the fallen,
yesterday’s, today’s, tomorrow’s,
ten thousand exes on the streets,
a million feet of crime scene tape.

Because we are willing to sacrifice
our neighbors, our children
to defend our right to own,
to be killing machines,

because we fall so short of what we
could be and refuse to be, because
our numbness is complicity,
fly it at half-mast always.

Poet and essayist Rick Kempa lives in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where he has recently finished his thirtieth and final year of teaching at Western Wyoming College. Other work of his on the themes of social justice and the lack thereof has appeared in Haight-Ashbury Review, Los Angeles Review, Little Patuxent Review, The J Journal, and elsewhere. His latest poetry collection is Ten Thousand Voices (Oakland: Littoral Press). 

Saturday, January 26, 2019


by Donna Katzin

A contingent of Jewish women and supporters march to Freedom Plaza in Washington on Saturday. (Evelyn Hockstein for The Washington Post, January 19, 2019)

In the shadow of the Thurgood Marshall Court House,
above the African Burial Ground,
we come from our own Egypts
our Red Seas, deserts of despair,
wildernesses of silence.

Rivers from centuries and continents
some resplendent, some reluctant,
converge, water this wave.

As the rally wakes to Aretha’s reveille—
Respect—the youngest demonstrator,
on her mother’s shoulders,
thrusts her tiny fist
over the shivering crowd.        

A black bearded brother in a pink pussy hat
snaps bare fingers, bobs to refrains
of Sweet Honey in the Rock.

And from the Italian contingent –
Ravioli, ravioli,
Give me my birth controli!

In kente cloth, a grandmother from Nigeria
waves her sign: Human rights
don’t stop at the border.

Our parka-ed multi-colored bodies—
gay, straight, trans—sway
to the Resistance Revival Chorus,
do not feel the cold.

Millenials contemplate the question:
Ever wonder what you would have done during slavery,
the holocaust, civil rights?
You’re doing it right now!

Together we remember those who march with us:
Sandra Bland, Mother Jones, Dolores Huerta,
Ethel Rosenberg, Fanny Lou Hamer,
who taught us: Solidarity is
not a spectator sport.

Rise up, Sisters.
Democracy is a dance.
Our movement is a wave.
We are a revolution.

It’s our damn turn.

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.

Friday, January 25, 2019


by Steve Dieffenbacher

A group of 376 Central Americans was arrested in southwest Arizona, the vast majority of them families who dug short, shallow holes under a barrier to cross the border, authorities said Friday. The group dug under a steel barrier in seven spots about 10 miles east of a border crossing in San Luis and made no effort to elude immigration agents. They included 176 children. The unusually large group was almost entirely from Guatemala. They were taken to Yuma after entering the country Monday. —KTLA, January 18, 2019

For years in our childhood
              we came upon them
in barrancas and bajadas,
              curiosity in our hearts,
their huts huddled
              in foliage.
streams running below
              with rocks
to promises of water,
thatched on land
              they’d never own,
children staring,
wearing only a shirt.
              Behind them, always
a dirt floor under bare
crude mats and pots,
              an emptiness
no rapist or killer would touch.
              On buses
the women sat stone-faced
              with baskets,
black beans and plantains to sell,
              men outside
bent over bundles of sticks
              faces in shadow.
Now the people stretch north
              from fear to fear,
faith lost in the known places
              they never
wanted to leave behind
               just to live.

Steve Dieffenbacher lived in Latin American for more than a dozen years during his childhood, most of them in Central America. His full-length book of poems The Sky Is a Bird of Sorrow was published by Wordcraft of Oregon in 2012. The collection won a ForeWord Reviews Bronze Award for poetry, and a poem in the book, “Night Singer, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico,” was named a 2013 Spur Award poetry finalist by the Western Writers of America. He also has three chapbooks: At the Boundary (2001), Universe of the Unsaid (2010), and Intimations (2018). He lives in Medford, Oregon.

Thursday, January 24, 2019


by Tricia Knoll

She calls it. The government’s down for the count.
The structure is collapsing. That’s the State
of the Union, and she issues the invitations.
A move on the board, not unlike his moves, play
as you go. This knight rider woman
goes for the jump over. She’s has played
this game for decades. Knows all the moves.
Has played against the best. Calls the moves.
Three tilts make a match. We’re at two
and counting. Tit for tat

Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet who is delighting in seeing a woman call Trump out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


by George Salamon

"For roughly a decade, the land snail species Achatinella apexfulva, which used to be plentiful on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, was believed to be down to a single survivor. His name was George, and he lived his last days alone in a terrarium in Kailua. Hawaii . . . but on Jan. 1, George died. . . . His death was symbolic of a steep decline in the population of land snails." —The New York Times, January 10, 2019  Photo Credit: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources

I wish I had met you, on a
Stroll on a beach in Oahu,
One George and another.
Two anachronisms in
The age of speed.
Your species and mine
Face extinction, mine
By its own hand, yours
By predators that hunt you.
I read that you looked like a
"Swirled scoop of mocha fudge."
Ours would have been a sweet
Friendship, and I would have
Watched you as a buddy does,
And wondered if you knew we
Were both of a dying kind.

George Salamon lives and writes in St. Louis, MO.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


by Mariana Mcdonald

"Steven Spielberg Met With Puerto Ricans About 'West Side Story' Concerns. At a town hall with University of Puerto Rico students and faculty, the director, flanked by screenwriter Tony Kushner, said his remake of the musical will strive for authenticity. Critics say the problems go deeper than that." —Hollywood Reporter, January 15, 2019

Steven, do not bring it back.

Once was enough. Too much,
in fact. Those melodies
for Natalie and Rita—

their perfect brilliance stuck,
made slurs standard,
made us Aunt Jemima.

Staccato steps
our dignity and dreams.

Don’t bring it back. Instead,
make new sounds.
Tell new stories.

Let the dancers
razzle dazzle
to a voice

you don’t yet know.

Mariana Mcdonald is a bicultural poet, fiction writer, journalist, and editor. Her poetry has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Lunch Ticket, and Poesía en Vuelo, fiction in So to Speak and Cobalt, creative nonfiction in Longridge Review, and nonfiction in In Motion. She edited the 2017 International Latino Book Award-winning bilingual memoir Cartas a Karina by Oscar López Rivera. She is active in social justice movements and the writing community.

Monday, January 21, 2019


by Alejandro Escudé

Mason Lowe was one of the top bull riders in the country—a beloved, witty 25-year-old from rural Missouri at the peak of his powers. But inside the Denver Coliseum at the National Western Stock Show on Tuesday night, a bucking bull—the animal he built his entire life around—threw Lowe off and stomped on his chest. Lowe died later that night. —The Denver Post, January 17, 2019

The ride is dust and time, the bull above
the fray—Hard Times, the cowboy mounts
the hide a dozen times in three, each shove
the very last, the ticks like stolen counts
from bitter breaths, the man furloughed from earth,
a sarsaparilla moon, a jackknifed life,
the thunder-gong he heard, a fierce word,
followed-paradise, a shredded loaf
of human bread, Lowe winked at God and died,
his hat still on his shimmering ghost,
the monster’s hooves, a monster to us all,
made creation’s hole within his burning breast.
A man, a nation’s pride, the towering fall.
Let Mason fly, bull-twisted, hand in a rope
for eight: one half alive one half in hope.

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.

Sunday, January 20, 2019


by Devon Balwit

            for Mary Oliver 1935-2019

This morning, the world mirrors rather than mocks,
fog-shrouded, pines diffident in gauze.

Mary Oliver has died. Determined to save
the only life she could, even she yielded

in the end. Now, she awaits the mercy of time.
I read her and carry her memory one day further.

The spirit, she writes, needs the metaphor
of the body. Mine pains me and would do better

to seek another vessel. What sufferer can be
heroic? Look me in the eye, Mary. Tell me

all do not long to pass the dark baton.
Her cricket moves grains of sand, dedicated

to its humble effort, but what if, secretly,
it ached for more, the dead poet missing

the yearning shuttered behind its elytra?
I appreciate evangels, welling good news,

but old gods are not so easily shed. Jealous
of our attention, they are not above

turning our heads where they want our gaze
or of swallowing the prayers of well-wishers.

Devon Balwit's most recent collection is titled A Brief Way to Identify a Body (Ursus Americanus Press). Her individual poems can be found here as well as in The Cincinnati Review, Tampa Review, Fifth Wednesday (on-line), Apt, Grist, and Oxidant Engine among others.

Saturday, January 19, 2019


by Fran Davis

"Crossing Antarctica: How the Confusion Began
and Where Do We Go From Here"—ExplorersWeb, January 9, 2019

ice   ice   ice
     solo man
sastrugi  beat  your heart
                 the sled   your life
up  and  over
ridge  and  trough

sky  and  ice
meld  to  white
     muscles only
                  read   the miles
ridge  and  trough
ice  shelf  sings

arctic  sleep
frigid  fingers flex
      grip  the  dream
                twenty-five below
up  and  over
ridge  and  trough

why  why  why
     solo man
in  deep flow state
                    sastrugi  beat
the  losing  ice  
yield  to  frozen  heart

Fran Davis writes a column for Coastal View News in California. Her work has been published in TheNewVerse.News, travel books, periodicals and numerous print and online journals.

Friday, January 18, 2019


by Karen Shepherd

“People love you and you win, and when your son looks at you and says, ‘Mama, look, you won. Bullies don’t win.’ I said, ‘Baby, they don’t, because we’re going to go in there and we’re going to impeach the motherfucker.'”

They’re outside in their blue shirts with patches and neckerchiefs.  Oh mama!
The Cub Scouts are out in the rain recycling the disrobed trees again. Look—
the little ones are struggling to lift and load those noble corpses! You
know I’m not going out there to help. No way-too cold. I think they’ve won
the War on Christmas, by the way, those little deconstructionist bullies
hauling away holiday cheer for a donation sealed in a Ziplock bag. I don’t
really care, though. I’m teasing, eating too much chocolate. And I can win
at other things. Like raising a glass before lunch, refreshing newsfeeds and
licking the rim of the eggnog carton. With the ornaments packed, I
can pour more vodka in my coffee, light my bowl and kick it. Someone said
Be Best and you know I’m being and doing my best now, baby.
No one is paying or being paid, toilets overflow, the zoo is shut and they
say maybe it's really a strike. National emergency. Yeah, okay, chill. Don’t
you know smooth voiced 44 hit the Billboard charts? Yeah, that’s because
there is some karma left. And it dances, sings and swears. Now as we’re
forced into gingerbread cookie detox programs, I ain’t gonna
lie (like the king). This won’t be some “but-I-posted-about it” easy go.
Things get uglier before they get prettier. I had to put all the nutcrackers in
boxes that looked like coffins, pack up the merry-making, stack them there
in the garage 'til next Thanksgiving. The scouts are dragged out there, and
really, they just want to shoot arrows at camp. Go ahead, please, impeach
the Grinch, the happily-ever-privileged, the liars, the pussy grabbers, the—
never mind. I’m off to take a nap, hoping to sleep off this motherfucker.

Editor's Note: The Golden Shovel is a poetic form devised  by Terrance Hayes in homage to Gwendolyn Brooks. ("Golden Shovel" is a reference to "Seven at the Golden Shovel" in the Brooks poem "We Real Cool" from which Hayes built the first Golden Shovel poem.) The last words of each line in a Golden Shovel poem are, in order, words from a line or lines taken often, but not invariably, from a Brooks poem.

Karen Shepherd lives with her husband and two teenagers in the Pacific Northwest of the United States where she enjoys walking in forests and listening to the rain. Her poetry and short fiction have been published in various journals including Constellate Literary Journal, The Literary Nest, Halfway Down the Stairs, Riddled With Arrows and Wales Haiku Journal

Thursday, January 17, 2019


by Mark Tarren

"Far-right European governments launch plan to take over EU with anti-immigration ‘axis.’" —The Independent (UK), January 11, 2019


children are awakened by the scent
of orange peel, coffee,
melted butter on toast.

In the hazelnut light
a father carries his son
upon his shoulders.

A mother lifts her infant's
head to her breast.


She sings a lullaby for her history.


the Nazis invaded Poland —

A mother rests her hand on
her son’s cheek for the final time.

A father is executed just outside
his home of forty years.

A grandfather is thrown
from his balcony,
still seated
in his wheelchair.

A daughter’s innocence is forcibly taken.
A son becomes a shadow.


in a darkened cinema
there are hands searching for faces,
the secret language of lovers
retreating from the threat of the world.

An ear to a radio show in a sunroom.

A moist thumb to the page
of a comic book.

Chopin’s Marche funèbre
crackles into the night.


a mother and child undress to shower
for the last time.

The faint smell of bitter almonds.

They hear the Berceuse,
the gentle sounds of departure
and return

as a wrist is tattooed in Auschwitz—
the calligraphy of nationalism.


a finger swipes a touchscreen.

A small grave is dug
for a small body
after dying in
the arms of America.

A bullet enters a skull
to escape the walls around
our worlds.

These are the holes left by fascism.

So now we place our lives
in the communal

Book of Forgetting;
moving forward into the past.

For the stars died long ago,
all of us asleep;
under that dead light.

Mark Tarren is a poet and writer based in Queensland, Australia. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various literary journals including TheNewVerse.News, The Blue Nib, Poets Reading The News, Street Light Press, Spillwords Press and Tuck Magazine.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


by Gil Hoy

Things will be different.

No more children in cages
No more parents reunited

With their children
without success.

Some say the Presidency
defines the man,
others the man
defines the Presidency.

No more neo-Nazi
death cars
No more dictatorial
fears to worry


A dictator dies
A thousand deaths,
A true man grows
A thousand lives

No more living things
cut down to their roots.

No more
hardened hate-filled


A con-man can only con
even himself for so long.

In the next one

Sleeping babies will
sleep more soundly.

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’s poetry has appeared most recently in Chiron Review, TheNewVerse.News, Ariel Chart, Social Justice Poetry, Poetry24, Right Hand Pointing/One Sentence Poems, I am not a silent poet, The Potomac, Clark Street Review and the penmen review.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


by Dustin Michael

The devastating tsunamis that struck the coastlines of Chile, Haiti, Indonesia, and Japan in recent decades produced waves tens of meters high, unimaginable to most people accustomed to gentle seas. But millions of years ago, a truly inconceivable set of waves—the tallest roughly 1,500 meters high—rammed through the Gulf of Mexico and spread throughout the ancient ocean, producing wave heights of several meters in distant waters, new simulations show. (Photo credit: Science Photo Library/Alamy Stock Photo) —EOS, December 20, 2018

If there had been an Eiffel Tower,
an Empire State Building, a Great Pyramid,
One World Trade Center, a Statue of Liberty,
our house, our cars, and all the plates and dishes
from our wedding registry, our books, our children,
our children’s new dinosaur toys and my old dinosaur toys,
if there had been these things all stacked one on top of the other
like a mighty finger, they would point up to space, and to the terrible foam
of a still-much-taller wave.

If there had been human words to fail,
a rich tapestry of languages, a monomyth,
creation stories from every culture, all involving fire
and water, the name Enkidu in Sanskrit on a shard of pottery,
a diagram of the heroic cycle labeled fig. 2 in a student’s essay
about the earth-diver, the bones of Joseph Campbell
tumbling over and over in a tsunami that scrapes clean
all the bone beds, petroglyphs, an animated film on VHS about 
non-contemporaneous dinosaur friends on a dangerous journey,
drawer after drawer full of carefully labeled fossils all scattered,
all hit with the hose

If there had been a firebox containing the important papers,
passports, proof of citizenship, baptism certificates, bonds,
our homeowner’s insurance policy locating us in a flood zone,
topographical charts predicting sea level rise that the current administration
commissioned and then dismissed, the food and gas receipts from hurricane evacuations never submitted for a claim, fluttering away into a darkening sky like a thousand tiny lab coats

If there were a way to imagine a bullet from space
striking a planet of enormous birds, or to invent an instrument 
to measure emotions from plaster footprints made from casts of stone,
if there were a way to carbon date an animal’s scream and filter it
through a mile-high wave crossing the globe at close to the speed of sound,
or to photograph the world dying from our bedroom, I would reclaim these secrets from the quivering Earth for you and fall asleep with dirt from the backyard grave of our parakeet under my nails, tracing my finger along the crater
in your pillow where your face has pressed,
and discover a new layer of sediment there
composed entirely of thoughts
and prayers

Dustin Michael teaches writing and literature. He lives with his wife and children in Savannah, Georgia.

Monday, January 14, 2019


by Pepper Trail

Federal workers and contractors rally against the 8artial federal government shutdown in Washington DC last week. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images via The Guardian, January 13, 2019

Empty-handed, we are given furlough
My colleagues and I, turned away
The doors are locked against us
And all the work that we would do

My colleagues and I, turned away
Classified as mere Non-Essential
And all the work that we would do
Deemed to be—what’s the word?—worthless

Classified as mere Non-Essential
National parks, flight safety, food safety
Deemed to be—what’s the word?—worthless
Except as material to build a wall

National parks, flight safety, food safety
Ground into powder, melted into slag
All material to build a wall
Concrete or steel slats, shimmer of hot air

Ground into powder, melted into slag
The integrity of our government
Concrete or steel slats, shimmer of hot air
A mirage, distorted mirror of one man’s ego

The integrity of our government
Sacrificed to trumped-up fear, talk-radio rage
A mirage, distorted mirror of one man’s ego
Beyond, a weary mother, a crying child

Sacrificed to trumped-up fear, talk-radio rage
Empty-handed, we are given furlough
Beyond, a weary mother, a crying child
The doors are locked against us all

Author's Note: The government shutdown is many things. The national media has chosen to focus on how the shutdown is absurdist political theater in the service of one man's fragile ego, and is only now beginning to give attention to the shutdown's devastating financial impacts on many federal workers, its lasting damage to national parks and other public lands, and the huge waste of money that it represents.
     I am a furloughed federal worker. I work at a government science laboratory that carries out cutting-edge work in wildlife conservation. The government shutdown has prevented the lab's dedicated professionals from carrying out this important work for the past 22 days—with no end in sight. We are all classified as 'non-essential.' So are FAA plane safety inspectors, national park rangers, immigration judges, NASA scientists, USDA food inspectors—the list goes on and on.
     The pantoum form, with its repetitions and slow rhythms, seems particularly suited to express the seemingly unending frustration of the shutdown. The doors are locked against us all.

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.

Sunday, January 13, 2019


by Maureen Rubin

500 academics and counting have signed the JVP Academic Advisory Council letter in support of Angela Davis. Jewish Voice for Peace calls on the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to rescind their cancellation of the Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award intended for Professor Angela Davis. The cancelling of this award by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is unjust, insulting and ill-conceived, especially because it is likely premised on Professor Davis' long-standing support for Palestinian human rights. The decision seems to stem from a misinformed view that to advocate for Palestinian human rights is somehow offensive to the Jewish community. —Jewish Voice for Peace

“Hell no. We won’t go!” “Hey! Hey! LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”
Angry slogans soar while we march in our bell bottom jeans and tie-dyed tee shirts.

We can barely breathe. We cover our innocent collegiate mouths with wet washcloths to ward off the tear gas.  But washcloths couldn’t stop the bullets at Kent State.

College students are marching again. Dressed in yoga pants and ripped jeans they now yell “Fight the power. Turn the tide.  End Israeli apartheid” Same anger. New slogans.

They are BDS.  They demand Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions for Israel. They are Palestinians. They hate all things Israel.

They use tough tactics. They ban Israeli speakers from their campuses. They seek to forbid college funds from supporting the Jewish state. They pass resolutions.

They win at Barnard. George Washington.  University of Minnesota. Pitzger College. And now the US House of Representatives.  A new freshman Member of Congress admitted she backs BDS.

They demand freedom, justice and equality, just as we did.  But is it the same?

But my job is to teach aspiring journalists to cherish the First Amendment. “Democracy demands free speech,” I say. I quote Tallentyre. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

As I hammer the necessity of free speech into my student’s sponge-like brains, I always think of my causes.  The good ones.  The right ones. Viet Nam.  ERA.  #MeToo.

Free speech lives on college campuses.  They are safest of all places. Safe to debate. To argue.  To protest. To march.  To learn.

David Duke came to my campus.  I told my students to go see him. I quoted Justice Brandeis. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”  Let them spew their hate on my campus.  Openness exposes idiocy.

But now, there is a cause that is not mine. There is a cause that makes me sick. I am a Jew and I do not want angry Palestinians working for their change in my backyard.

But don’t these protesters have the same rights as we did?  How can I teach my students to cherish the First Amendment rights of hateful BDS?

I can’t.  I am a hypocrite.

Maureen Rubin is an Emeritus Professor of Journalism at California State University, Northridge. In her 30 years on campus, she served in a variety of administrative positions, published widely and received numerous teaching and public service awards.  Prior to joining the university, she was Director of Public Information for President Carter’s Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs in the White House, and held similar positions for a U.S. Congresswoman and several non-profits. She has a JD from Catholic University School of Law In Washington, D.C., an MA in Public Relations from University of Southern California and a BS in Journalism from Boston University.  

Saturday, January 12, 2019


by Ian Patrick Williams

We fought the British army to create a new democracy
But it turned out just to be a lesson in hypocrisy
Instead of having freedom in the new Home of the Brave
All the Founding Fathers got to hold on to their slaves.
So as our brand new nation was then starting to be shaped
African-Americans faced lynching or were raped
Abolitionists did what they could to raise a legal fight
But all the slavers said it was a matter of state’s rights.
Dred Scott escaped into the North and thought that he was free
His owner followed, claiming he was just some property
The Court agreed and sent him back, said he was not a man
And all the racists cheered: it was the Law of the Land.

The population grew and so the pioneers moved West
Looking for whatever land might suit their interests best
Killing all the Native tribes wherever they would go
They found themselves in what was then called Northern Mexico
From Texas, Arizona, all the way to California
They turned their guns on Mexicans and said, “We gotta warn ya
That it’s time for all you brown-skinned folk to cross the Rio Grande.
This is white people country, that’s the Law of the Land.”

The Civil War was fought and won and stopped the South’s secession
But they simply organized a new form of repression
The Jim Crow laws would still repress the black community
But that was not the only form of inequality
Only men would have a say in forming legislation
Women couldn’t vote, though they were half the population.
The Suffragettes went marching, but the men said they were wrong
“Go back into the kitchen; that’s where all of you belong.
To vote requires mental work, you couldn’t understand.
Only men can vote ‘cause that’s the Law of the Land.”

The fight went on for years and years till Civil Rights could pass
We thought we had equality for every single class
But greedy corporations came up with a new solution:
They’d simply buy up all new laws with campaign contributions.
Crush the unions, cut their taxes, only pay low wage
And sure enough they had themselves another Gilded Age
With ever-growing profits, keeping all that they could get
Dumping on us peons twenty trillion dollars debt
The one-percenters cheered themselves and said, “Oh, ain’t it grand
When all us billionaires can buy the Laws of the Land!”

This struggle for control goes on, we’ve seen it all before
Deregulation, planned recessions, Middle Eastern war
All designed to line the pockets of the profiteers
The money-grubbing warmongers who’ve ripped us off for years.
There’s only one way out of living under their command
We have to come together and united, take a stand
We cannot have democracy until we all demand
That only We the People make the Laws of the Land.

Ian Patrick Williams won the Chicago Emmy award for co-authoring the teleplay Bleacher Bums for PBS-TV; the script was later purchased and produced as a M.O.W. by Showtime. He has also written and directed seven One Act plays for young people that toured Los Angeles Unified School District schools through the not-for-profit firm Enrichment Works. His one-act play "Provenance" was produced last year at Ensemble Studio Theater.

Friday, January 11, 2019


by Matt Quinn

"Going Medieval" by Matt Bors at TheNib

Down in the valley’s toxic murk
wild gangs of rapey goblins lurk.
All shifty-eyed with evil smirks
and unbesmirched by honest work,

they lust for trinkets they don’t need,
like fifty-inch plasma TVs,
and get mashed up on meth-laced mead,
and spread diseases when they breed.

Not one can read or use a quill,
they have no useful trades or skills
and never ever pay their bills,
but peer with envy up the hill

to where the air is pure and clean
and sparkles with a silver sheen,
where no one does a thing that’s mean,
and all are blond and tall and lean

and bathe in crystal waterfalls
as lute-strings fill the shopping malls
with songs of liberty for all.
And so we built this great steel wall

(which also helps keep out the smell)
to shield our sacred citadel
from those who do not mean us well,
inscribed it with this ancient spell:

Don’t fuck with us, for we are elves.
We want to keep this for ourselves.

Matt Quinn lives in Brighton, England in a hobbit hole a short walk from the sea. His poems can be found online in Rattle, The Morning Star, The Deaf Poets Society, TheNewVerse.News and various other places.

Thursday, January 10, 2019


by Sean Murphy

An asylum seeker looks out from the trailer of a truck heading to the U.S. border with the so-called migrant caravan. Photograph by Alfredo ESTRELLA / AFP / Getty via The New Yorker illustrating "Searching for a Substantive Response to Trump’s Hateful Speech" by Masha Gessen, January 9, 2019.

This nightmare: the awful image of your scared daughter,
frantic inside a hastily assembled cage, crying for nobody.

Or to all those stone-faced and silent, heavily-armed officials,
standing around in uniformed circles: watching, and waiting

to do nothing; or rather, the one thing, the sanctioned thing:
just following their orders and etcetera, as usual, as always.

Never tempted or inclined to pause, reflect, and wonder how
He, the one whom everyone is obliged to obey, above all—

and whose sleepless armies wrathfully guard the gilded border
that serves to separate eternal darkness from light everlasting—

would fathom or abide disobedience and iniquity such as this,
an affront to what He offered as clear and sacred commission?

But then, who amongst us can claim to comprehend the evils
that might be lurking in the dark hearts of unfamiliar men or

their wives—shuttling the blessed burden all mothers carry—
in search of safety or shelter, however fleeting or uncertain?

And what follows next, when haven is granted, then imitated,
until this begets wave upon unbridled wave…finally drowning

our new world in its tired, poor, huddled, and massive wake . . .
never ceasing from the commotion it came here to accomplish?

And yet, aren’t human souls created in some unsullied image,
Bound to consecrated laws written not in books, but with fire—

According to He who judges all others in the midst of rulers:
Our Father, who enabled us to fall and, finally, be forgiven?

Who warned us to pray for lesser brethren—born to suffer—
and to remember, always: There but for the grace of God . . .

Go back to sleep, at ease with some absolution transferred
in sixty minutes every Sunday, the same day He rested and

beheld the work He’d made, finally dismayed by the shame
of us, declaring our earth too scarce for the meek to inherit.

Sean Murphy has appeared on NPR's All Things Considered and been quoted in USA Today, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and AdAge. His work has also appeared in Salon, The Village Voice, The New York Post, The Good Men Project, Memoir Magazine, and others. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and served as writer-in-residence of the Noepe Center at Martha's Vineyard. He’s Founding Director of Virginia Center for Literary Arts. Twitter: @bullmurph.


by Lauren Haynes

Masks for everyone!
The tycoon flatters with free gifts
and they applaud his charity, a champion
of the working class.
Silk blindfolds for sleep
to lull leaky minds
that would spill ideas
and bleed tears of a dream blinked free
to see
the man licking the doorbell
of someone else’s home
a distraction, the war of words
forged to subvert the fact that
over there, the water runs radioactive
and there will be no food on the table
no books for learning—no, call me fantastic/look at the snow,
battles waged with flags waved by hands that will never know
the meaning of their colors,
hands held up by bodies that tremble with hunger, with fear.
Tomorrow is here, but we look away from the mirror.
So much unexplored universe out there . . .
we starve. we starve. we starve.

Lauren Haynes is a candidate for an MFA in Creative Writing at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. She worked as an English school teacher for years and seeks to contribute to a better world.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019


by Janet Leahy

Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast

the line at the border
families with little children.
They do not look like terrorists,
do not look like thugs,
they do not look like really bad people.
They do look tired
and hungry
and worried.
They wrap the baby
in a blanket of hope,
rock the toddler
in a loving embrace.
After long days and dark nights
they are here on the bridge
of promise.
Can you see the young boy
on his father’s shoulders,
the child holding tight
to her mother’s hand?
Can you see . . .
Can you . . .

Janet Leahy is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. Her work has been published in the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, Midwest Prairie Review, and online at My Daily Poem, TheNewVerse.News, and Blue Heron. She has published two collections of poetry. She enjoys working with a host of poets in the Milwaukee-Waukesha area.


by Mary K O'Melveny

Ice is red here.  Blood red.
Lava red.  Forest fire red.
Cold sears like flame.  Or so
one might think from afar.

They say it all began
in this distant cluster
of frozen rocks.  Our sun
lies four billion miles out.

We could be wrong about
everything. Gravity’s pull
is different in new orbits.
Patience is required.

Warped by turmoil, we turn
outward, searching sky signs
for cosmic engagements,
for hints of original sins.

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 is available from Finishing Line Press.

Monday, January 07, 2019


by Martin Elster

A family of javelinas encounters the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border near the San Pedro River in southeastern Arizona. (Image credit: Matt Clark / Defenders of Wildlife via Stanford Earth)

On a planet in a cosmos far away
there’s a USA that’s not the USA,
edged by a wall so ugly, Cooper’s hawks
and vultures will not perch atop it. Flocks
of bats and buntings ram it, while the turtle
and turkey blink and boggle at that hurdle
whose stainless teeth impale the stratosphere,
whose reach makes creatures prisoners all year.
Poets and meditators often wake
with hearts and kidneys missing. A mistake?
or just a program glitch inside a dream
hammered into heads by the regime
which built that barrier? Not the fiercest gale
nor hurricane nor earthquake can upset it.
Even the butterflies, bees, and beetles dread it.
Jumbo jet or Zeppelin or kite—
none dare traverse it. With the appetite
of a thousand whales, it gulps them in a bite.
When master mountaineers attempt to scale
the wall, they fall, or languish in a jail
with all the rest who waste away inside
a country or a cooler and abide
by the common rules in a cosmos far away
where the USA is not the USA.

Martin Elster, a percussionist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, has poems in numerous journals and anthologies. Honors include co-winner of Rhymezone’s 2016 poetry contest, winner of the Thomas Gray Anniversary Poetry Competition 2014, third place in the SFPA’s 2015 poetry contest, and three Pushcart nominations.

Sunday, January 06, 2019


by Andrew Frisardi

In Greek mythology the Gray Sisters shared one eye and one tooth. Graphic via Pinterest.

The sisters had one tooth, one eye,
for all three: each had a day or week
to bite to eat, to see to seek.
But they got by fine, none said “mine.”

The Grays were weird, and no one’s seen them,
yet Congressmen have learned their trick.
You might say men are politic,
sharing a single testicle between them.

Originally from Boston, Andrew Frisardi is a writer, translator, editor, and independent scholar who lives in central Italy.

Saturday, January 05, 2019


by Mickey J. Corrigan

Three days after most of the federal workforce was furloughed on Dec. 21, a 14-year-old girl fell 700 feet to her death at the Horseshoe Bend Overlook, part of the Glen Canyon Recreation Area in Arizona. The following day, Christmas, a man died at Yosemite National Park in California after suffering a head injury from a fall. On Dec. 27, a woman was killed by a falling tree at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the borders of North Carolina and Tennessee. The deaths follow a decision by Trump administration officials to leave the scenic—but sometimes deadly—parks open even as the Interior Department has halted most of its operations. During previous extended shutdowns, the National Park Service barred access to many of its sites across the nation. National Park Service spokesman Jeremy Barnum said in an email that an average of six people die each week in the park system, a figure that includes “accidents like drownings, falls, and motor vehicle crashes and medical related incidents such as heart attacks.” Photo: Lights shine at a shuttered entrance station at Joshua Tree National Park in California on Jan. 3, 2019. The gate is normally staffed during the day but is now unstaffed 24 hours per day, allowing free entrance for all visitors. Campgrounds have been closed at the park and other services suspended during the partial government shutdown. (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images) —The Washington Post, January 4, 2019

Let him start by counting
the number of refugees
that can fit in a pup tent
or a large tiger cage.

Let him make a pie chart
for the styles of rakes
needed for preventing
forest fires
in the state of California.

He will weigh the odds
for laundering Russians
in Florida or New York.

He will compare the rainfall
in inches
in Paris
in November
with flood levels in Houston
in their last hurricane.

Puerto Rico
he ignores.

Let him indicate the size of
small hands
used to measure
the big wall.

He will evaluate the climate data
removed from public view
divided by the number of bodies
that can't fit
in a city morgue

then chart the data
for his fans:
give them
what they want

the results:

Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan lives in South Florida and writes noir with a dark humor. Books have been released by publishers in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Poetry chapbooks include The Art of Bars (Finishing Line Press, 2016) and Days' End (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2017). Project XX, a novel about a school shooting, was published in 2017 by Salt Publishing in the UK. 

Friday, January 04, 2019


by Mickey J. Corrigan

"Florida man gropes woman on flight, tells police Trump 'says it's OK': A Florida man is accused of groping a female passenger while on a flight Sunday from Houston to Albuquerque and later telling authorities that the president of the United States says it's OK to grab women by their private parts." —AP, October 22, 2018

Florida Man:
he's any race or creed
the redneck black man
Jewish anti-Semite
woman-hating womanizer
alt-right progressive
an everywhere monster
never apprehended
always on the loose
in a dark alley
in your bushes, waiting
in the parking garage
at your desk
at work, at school
to offend again.

You know Florida Man:
your quiet neighbor
the one in the media
the shy fellow
with the big mouth
with expensive shoes
riding a dented three-wheeler
living in an exclusive suite
at the pink sand country club.

Florida Man golfs hard
swims naked
eats flesh
passes laws
breaks laws
does drugs, injects
levity or ire
into any
about what's wrong
with the state
of the state
of everything
in America.

Florida Man:
and coming
to a nightmare
near you.

Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan lives in South Florida and writes noir with a dark humor. Books have been released by publishers in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Poetry chapbooks include The Art of Bars (Finishing Line Press, 2016) and Days' End (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2017). Project XX, a novel about a school shooting, was published in 2017 by Salt Publishing in the UK. 

Wednesday, January 02, 2019


by Gil Hoy

Last night I dreamed, 

workers painting my house

Brought all of their children

to work in the morning

With brushes and buckets 

of water, to wash and to clean

To scrub and to scour
the faces,

Like paintings on canvas,

That had appeared overnight
on the walls of my house.

Black faces, white faces,
yellow, red and brown

Faces of every hue and tone,
every size and shape,

And the children all the while
washing and scrubbing

But never hurting the faces.

And me, all the while watching
the children hard at work.

And then, in my dream,
the parents and their children

Began to tear down the Wall
surrounding my house.

By the end of the day,
they had torn down every boulder

And every stone, torn down
the ground-swell beneath,

Until nothing remained of my wall
but green grass and brown earth.

And me, all the while watching
the families hard at work

With a growing sense
of contentment

Coming from deep inside.

Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and trial lawyer who studied poetry at Boston University through its Evergreen program. Hoy 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’s poetry has appeared most recently in Chiron Review, Ariel Chart, Social Justice Poetry, Poetry24, Right Hand Pointing/One Sentence Poems, The Penmen Review, I am not a silent poet, TheNewVerse.News and Clark Street Review.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019


John Guzlowski's writing appears in Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, Rattle, Ontario Review, North American Review, and other journals.  His poems and personal essays about his Polish parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany and refugees in Chicago appear in his memoir Echoes of Tattered TonguesEchoes received the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Poetry Award and the Eric Hoffer Foundation's Montaigne Award for most thought-provoking book of the year.  He is also the author of two Hank Purcell mysteries and the war novel Road of Bones.