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Friday, May 31, 2019

MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

by Jerome Betts


Theresa May has announced that she will resign on June 7, 2019.


The Brexit poisoned chalice
Releases bile and malice
While people, pub to Palace,
   Ask what on earth it means.

But now, to add confusion,
With her plan proved mere illusion
May's reign has reached conclusion
   So they plot behind the scenes.

Her power in transition
Sees the country facing fission
And has triggered mad ambition
   In buffoons and drama queens.

Referendum or election
To stop Britain's vivisection
And its chronic misdirection
   As it plays out on our screens?


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

Thursday, May 30, 2019

NIGHTMARE IN UTAH

by Dawn Corrigan


A sign at an abortion-rights rally in Miami on Thursday. (Lynne Sladky/AP via The Washington Post, May 26, 2019


A particular kind of dystopia has arrived, and we’re beginning to see its fuzzy outlines. It would involve a whisper network on social media. It would entail announcing “Off to go see Navy Pier!” and then going instead to an abortion clinic. Thousands of women would have to learn—or remember—how this all worked before 1973, when desperate women also had occasion to visit their cousins, old friends, and aunties. —Monica Hesse, The Washington Post, May 26, 2019


Last week they closed the border
and ever since we've been on the run,
wearing black clothes, travelling at night,
food and water in packs on our backs.
We've arrived at the state line and stare
longingly into Nevada. The sentries
are scattered but they have a clear shot
at us here. We're not far from the railway.
I've heard they're stopping the passenger trains
but maybe we could hide in a freighter.
Given time and a lot of luck we might wake up
somewhere new, someplace with more rights
and bodily autonomy than we're used to.


Dawn Corrigan works in the affordable housing industry in Pensacola, FL and serves as assistant editor at Otis Nebula.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

COFFEE HOUSE

by Mary K O'Melveny


“This is the only place where I can relax and feel free, even if it’s only for a few hours,” Hadis Lessani Delijam said recently as she sat at a coffee shop, her hair uncovered, and chatted with two young men in Kabul, Afghanistan. Credit: Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times, May 25, 2019


who knew escape
could be simple
like this   my cup
steaming  hints of
cardamom spice
drops of honey
our round table
thin metal chairs
tremble as we
laugh  full throated

here in Kabul
laughter often
eludes   cloistered
behind headscarves
after all who smiles
freely when she
is camouflaged
I ask my friends
this question  as
we settle in

conversations
easier now
than in our youth
we talk of peace
how we prefer
noisy songs of
blackbirds   warblers
drongos  bluethroats
to drone whines
or sidewalk bombs

how we worry
Taliban elders
sitting at tables
in Doha with
Americans
will force us from
these safe spaces
whirling back to
patriarchy

here   coffee in
one hand    my nails
red as poppies
I look through love
notes posted on
the café wallboard
I belong to
no one   this fact
will fuel my
path to freedom


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.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE

by Mark Williams 




With each of three lies
Pinocchio’s nose
doubled in length from his face
to a distance
(assuming it started at one)
of eight unflattering inches.

Ten thousand untruths,
our Commander-in-Chief
has told since taking office. Imagine
how far his proboscis would reach.
Andromeda? Centaurus?
Sagittarius?


Most recently Mark Williams’s writing has appeared in Jokes Review, New Ohio Review, The American Journal of Poetry, The Southern Review, Drunk Monkeys, Poets Reading the News, Tuck Magazine, and Writers Resist. After more than eight thousand calculations, he gave up and postulated the galaxies in his poem. He lives in Evansville, Indiana. But when he faces south, he is inching toward Kentucky.

Monday, May 27, 2019

DEATH IS NOT THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE

by j.lewis




although it puts what seems to be
a ragged stamp of finality
on unstarted and unfinished dreams

we mourn and we remember those
who took one for the team
for a vaguely defined cause
that slips our grasp like crude

"they died for our freedom"
is the standard line, and holds
true for very few of the conflicts
america has so willfully embraced

no one dares recite a line like this:
"they died to make a corporation richer"
or "we honor them with every tank of gas"
because to proclaim the emperor's nakedness
can get you a lot of hassle these days

and certainly, no one wants to ponder
the sacrifice of those left alive
the daily waking up dying
from loneliness, poverty, insecurity
children to carry on shoulders
already rounded with the weight
of grief, of love's candle snuffed

no, the ultimate sacrifice is not death
but living, pushing through the darkness
finding strength beyond self, and still
in spite of it all, believing
that this imperfect country
is the greatest place on earth


j.lewis has an irritating habit of asking about the collateral damage of war: the families of slain soldiers, and how they manage to keep on keeping on. His first collection of poetry, paired with his own photography, is available from Amazon.

MEMORIAL DAY COMES

by Howard Winn


Memorial Day is an American federal holiday. It honors those who have died while serving, but it also kicks starts the summer season and has become a weekend-long shopping extravaganza in the US. The holiday itself is the last Monday in May. So, this year, it is May 27, but most of the sales start the Friday before or even sooner. Nearly every retailer is holding a Memorial Day Weekend sale, where you can find great bargains on everything from grills and washers to TVs and laptops. Here are some of the best US deals and promotions we've spotted so far. —Pocket-lint, May 24, 2019

and our heroic leader having escaped
to Japan for a democratic or rather a
Republican weekend also thanks some
deity for his bone spurs that turned
him into the fake battle equivalent hero
while this weekend holiday sends the bargain
hunters to the holiday sales  and the thankful
condition of not needing to work on Monday
while lessor politicians hold events to honor
the "boys and the girls" who sacrificed so much
often including their lives in these old men's wars
which the children fight and die in so that
military cemeteries fill with accidental heroes
where the survivors some in their doddering age
can be remembered for a moment between the
shopping forays  which is what holidays are really for
in this current culture of money and power


Howard Winn publishes widely in literary journals such as the Hiram Poetry Review  and Valley Voices Journal. His novel has been published by Propertius Press.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

FAT BLACK BEES

by Buff Whitman-Bradley


A common bumble bee found in the Appalachians. Photo: Kelly Graninger/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab via Popular Science.


A May morning
More like January.
I sit on the bench in front of the house
Brooding about the unseasonable weather
And looming climate catastrophe,
Wondering what it will mean
For our children and grandchildren,
For the children and grandchildren
Of all humanity.
Wondering if we will be able
To overcome the depredations
Of the mad, greedy bastards
Pumping ppms into the atmosphere
Day and night without pause,
With lethal, sociopathic glee,
Setting loose the wild dogs
Of hurricane and tornado, flood and fire
In order to stuff their greasy pockets
With mere money,
Not much good when everyone’s gone.
Too late is almost here.
Will we beat the carbon clock
Or will we all be Ishis,
The last of our tribes?
And what about these fat black bees
I’m watching right now as they traffic
In the rosemary and jasmine
By the front porch steps?
Will they be able to adapt
To some fierce, inhospitable new normal?
Or will they follow countless other species
Out the door?
I dream of a fine May morning
A hundred or a thousand years from now
When our descendants
Will be lazing
In hammocks and lawn chairs
Appreciating the thrum and buzz
Of apian activity
As the heirs of these earnest little toilers
Arrive at the job site—
Blossoming rosemary bushes and jasmine vines—
Wide awake, scrubbed and shiny,
Ready for work.


Buff Whitman-Bradley's poems have appeared in many print and online journals. His most recent books are To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World and Cancer Cantata. With his wife Cynthia, he produced the award-winning documentary film Outside In and, with the MIRC film collective, made the film Por Que Venimos. His interviews with soldiers refusing to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan were made into the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. He lives in northern California.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

REAPED

by Alfred Fournier




a harvest of unwanted
children
rustle in corn leaves
dry with Alabama dust

songless & ravaged
forced
into being     weakly lean
in blackbird wind

somewhere a bloated fish
of a man grins               his
unwelcomed
white seed swims


Alfred Fournier resides in Phoenix, Arizona. He is an entomologist and a graduate of Purdue and George Washington Universities. His work is forthcoming in Cathexis Northwest Press.

Friday, May 24, 2019

A GIRL STORY, CIRCA 1960

by Marsha Owens




We rode the same school bus,
but Trudy had boobies.
Like a scrub bush by the road
she sat alone, her face pressed
to the window. Some boy
always dropped in beside her
like he was doing her a favor.

One day, she didn’t ride the bus,
her absence an exhale never missed.
Mom said she went to the home
out on the highway where girls
go who get themselves pregnant.

Christina in English class got all As,
went to church, went all the way
& got herself pregnant, shameful
they said & she watched her boyfriend
march in graduation, then in Vietnam.

I saw a movie, smokey, sharp needles & dark
alleys, men jumping in & out of cars,
off & on girls with hollowed-out eye sockets,
pain screamed like life caught in a trap.

Back in my dorm I hung up my blouse,
coat hangers jangled impatience like little
girls who just want to go outside and play.


Marsha Owens lives and writes in Richmond, VA. Her work has been published in The Wild World Anthology, Streetlight Magazine, Huffington Post, and others. She co-edited the anthology Lingering in the Margins.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

FACING YOUR OFFICIAL END

by Mickey J. Corrigan


Tweeted by Connecticut Congressman Jim Himes.


Some men aren't content with breakage, they have to burn you to the ground.
—Kim Addonizio, "The Matter"


The moon hangs there
like everything is white
in your world.

The sun bobs and rises
from the orange sherbet horizon
as if today
will be another
beautiful day.

The headlines blinker
across sky blue screens
in hectic offices
on crowded planes, trains
in cars with distracted drivers.

All that light reveals
more darkness
in the marrow,
more dirt unearthed
from the bottomless pit
the grave, the bone cancer
of past and present
crime, amorality, lies.

By the time the moon eases
from behind the black trees
the world has darkened again.
Only the night glow
casts light
on your tomorrow.


Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan writes Florida noir with a dark humor. Poetry has appeared in Fourth & Sycamore, Flatbush Review, And So Yeah, Penny Ante Feud, ink sweat and tears, r.kv.r.y quarterly literary journal, Scrittura, Fauna Quarterly, borrowed solace, TheNewVerse.News, and elsewhere. Chapbooks include The Art of Bars (Finishing Line Press, 2016), Days' End (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2017), and Final Arrangements (Prolific Press, 2019). Project XX, a novel about a school shooting, was published in 2017 by Salt Publishing in the UK.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

ANOTHER GUATEMALAN CHILD

by Jan Steckel


A 16-year-old boy died Monday at a Border Patrol station in Texas, becoming the fifth child from Guatemala to die since December after being apprehended by US border patrol agents. —Yahoo! News, May 21, 2019. Photo: People hold a vigil for migrants who have died, have been detained and deported by US authorities, near the US-Mexico border fence in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, on May 3, 2019 (AFP Photo/Guillermo Arias via Yahoo! News).


With the name, they release
a face, a family, a story,
but not a living child.

Five dead kids in five months.
Only half the migrants
are from Guatemala,

but all the dead children are.
What are the odds?
(1/2)5 or 1 out of 32.

Are they sicker?
Poorer? More fragile?
Indigenous? Dark?

Did they beg
in Mayan tongues,
so pleas were ignored?

In the hospital.
In the ICU.
Alone in his cell.

Pneumonia. Influenza.
She died of a fever,
and no one could save her.

By Stephen Miller’s bed,
small ghosts cry
for their mothers.


Jan Steckel is a former pediatrician who stopped practicing medicine because of chronic pain. Her latest poetry book Like Flesh Covers Bone (Zeitgeist Press, December 2018) is a finalist for poetry in the Bi Book Awards. Her poetry book The Horizontal Poet (Zeitgeist Press, 2011) won a 2012 Lambda Literary Award. Her fiction chapbook Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009) and poetry chapbook The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006) also won awards. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Scholastic Magazine, Bellevue Literary Review, TheNewVerse.News, November 3 Club, Assaracus and elsewhere.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

LSD AT T***P RALLY

by Nate Alaska




A bronze extraterrestrial preaches to an ocean
of oscillating flesh and bright red mesh

He is deep sea indigo, scab scarlet, moss green
Phoenician purple, and labia pink

Weeping faces shift expression beneath
ripples of power and contort themselves in concert

The orchestra of discarnate beings that shouldn’t be
issues forth gentle hymns of revolution

A secret of forbidden lust dribbles from
every observable orifice with peculiar viscosity

Chanting declarations of rage summons forth
a parade of creatures from their nightmares

Millions worship together in silence at an
altar of pain beyond language or feeling


Nate Alaska is an amateur poet, author, and a student of philosophy from Chicago's Southwest suburbs. When he isn't counting syllables toward sonnets, he enjoys coffee and wine, hiking, cooking vegetarian cuisine, and practices meditation.

Monday, May 20, 2019

BIRTH OR DEATH

by Lynn White


After signing the country’s strictest abortion ban into law Wednesday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) explained her reasoning in a statement, citing “Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.” But that belief is not reflected in the state’s abysmal statistics when it comes to child mortality, child poverty, food insecurity, education, child care, or paid family leave. Indeed, Ivey’s stated commitment to giving “every person the best chance for a quality life and promising future” doesn’t seem to extend beyond the womb. PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES —ThinkProgress, May 17, 2019


Death begins at birth
for pro-lifers.
The birth day
is
when
interest
is lost
lost
in those post foetal
post natal
moments
which move us
crying
into hours
smiling
into days
crawling
into months
running
into years
walking
into decades
slowing
toward
our death day.
They’ve long
lost interest
these pro-lifers.
They say that life
must be lived
according to
the law of God
as it is written
and dispatched
to them
in nightmares
and dreams.
Only break it
and
they’re back
with interest
and concern
those pro-deathers.


Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality and writes hoping to find an audience for her musings. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Peach Velvet, Light Journal and So It Goes.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

THERE IS GRANDEUR IN THIS VIEW OF LIFE

by Pepper Trail


A tangled bank, near Sandwalk, Charles Darwin’s walking path near his home at Downe House. —Image by GrrlScientist via Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub.


“Around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history.” —The Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, May 6, 2019


It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank,
clothed with many plants of many kinds,
with birds singing in the bushes,
with various insects flitting about,
and with worms crawling through the damp earth,                                                      
and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms
have all been produced by laws acting around us,
and that from so simple a beginning endless forms,
most beautiful and most wonderful,
have been, and are being evolved.
          —Charles Darwin, the final paragraph of The Origin of Species, 1859
                                                                 

It is interesting to contempl te  t ngled b nk,                              
clothed with m ny pl nts of m ny kinds,                                      
w th b rds s ng ng  n the bushes,                                                  
w th v r us  nscts fl tt ng bout,                                                                              
nd w th w rms cr wl ng thr ugh the d mp e rth,                        
nd t  reflect th t these elb rtely c nstructed fr ms,                                
h ve  ll been pr d ced by l ws  cting  r nd  s,                                            
nd th t fr m s  s mplbeg nn ng endless f rms                          
m st  b   t fl  nd m st w nd rf l                                                      
h v   b   n,nd   r   bng   v lv d.          


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.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

MAXIMUM SECURITY, DENIED

by T R Poulson



Gary West is offering a $20 million reward to the owners of Country House, War of Will, Long Range Toddy, and Bodexpress if any of those horses finish ahead of Maximum Security the next time any of them race against the colt through Dec. 31, 2019. West will give the owners of Country House (the elevated winner of the Kentucky Derby), War of Will (placed seventh after finishing eighth), Bodexpress (placed 13th after finishing 14th), and Long Range Toddy (placed 16th after finishing 17th) $5 million each if they finish ahead of Maximum Security the next time they meet in a race. Kentucky stewards determined each of the latter three horses were fouled by Maximum Security in the Derby. West announced the reward May 17, one day before the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course. His horse crossed the wire first in the May 4 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) but was disqualified to 17th for interference. Maximum Security is not running in the second jewel of the Triple Crown. —BloodHorse, May 17, 2019


The Derby runs, complete with roses,
and the list of things all banned.  Poles,
selfie sticks, confetti, balloons, frisbees,
banners, and umbrellas.  It rains again,
and those in the grandstands roar, wet
as horses on the track, unfrightened.

A bay horse with a question mark
blaze breaks clean, runs fast, leads, kicks
mud on the rest, until the final turn.

One hundred fifty thousand fans, drenched
with drink and rain, scare the bay with the blaze
(He’s a baby, his jockey will say after). He drifts
from his lane, unraveled, and then hooves,
shod with steel and nails, tangle, the next horse
somersaults, mane into the mud, legs bent
the wrong way, and more horses hurdle, tumble,
jockeys’ bodies flop into the slop.  Rain drops
drizzle silks and broken goggles.  Backs,
withers, and empty saddles leave impressions
turned to puddles, bright as mirrors. Would this
be better than a rose blanket, stolen?


T R Poulson is a University of Nevada alum and life-long racing fan.  Her work has appeared previously in TheNewVerse.Newsas well as Rattle: Poets Respond, Verdad, Trajectory, Raintown Review, The Meadow, Alehouse, and J Journal.

Friday, May 17, 2019

REPRIEVE

by Emily Jo Scalzo




months will bleed by
when gunshots don’t echo
down school hallways
in classrooms or lecture halls
a reprieve from hero-teenagers
called to sacrifice themselves
jump on the grenade
clot the flow of bullets
to buy seconds
for their classmates

red rivulets dammed
not due to prevention
or common sense
but because summer
darkens these venues
empty of fear for now
the halls lie waiting
for fall and more
blood shed


Emily Jo Scalzo holds an MFA in fiction from California State University-Fresno and is currently an assistant teaching professor teaching research and creative writing at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Her work has appeared in various magazines including Midwestern Gothic, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Blue Collar Review, and others. Her first chapbook, The Politics of Division, was published in 2017 and awarded honorable mention in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards in 2018.

SACRED

by George Held



The governor’s statement places
the key word, “God,” in the place

of emphasis, at the end, where
it makes the most of her pious case

but most offends those who question
when a fetus has become a “life”

or even doubt there is a god,
at least one who can give sacred gifts,

and those who believe that a woman’s life
is her own to join in sex with whomever

she wants and once pregnant whether
or not to delete that tiny comma without

the intervention of the almighty state.
What sort of Handmaid’s Tale

is ‘Bama spinning here now that its Senate
and the Court are packed with Medieval

men of the Right who consign women
to the stove and the marital bed,

where all conception is authorized
by a Fundamentalist Godhead.

What country is this where theocracy
struts its stuff in public and democracy

hides under the bed to avoid
a vengeful thrashing? My count-

try, ’tis of me, I sing, sweet place
of Liberty, of thee I sing . . .


George Held, a frequent contributor to TheNewVerse.News and other periodicals, has received ten Pushcart Prize nominations and published or edited twenty-two poetry books.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

THE POWER OF WHITE MEN

by Ashley Green


Hours after the Alabama Senate voted late Tuesday to ban abortions in almost all circumstances — including in cases of rape and incest — women’s rights activists and abortion advocates said the decision to approve the nation’s strictest abortion measure has energized them. Knowing that the bill was designed to challenge Roe v. Wade, they are gearing up for the fight. The Senate’s approval of the legislation in a party-line 25-to-6 vote Tuesday sent it to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk. . . . Ivey signed the law Wednesday.” —The Washington Post, May 15, 2019. Photo by Chris Aluka Berry/Reuters via Aljazeera, May 15, 2019.


Twenty-five fingers slide between
Alabama’s legs as the white, male
gaze of the white, male monster
searches Her face for panic.
Women can’t be trusted
drips from its twenty-five mouths
and its fifty corners upturn as its
red tape tongues wraps themselves
around Her body.
They pull Her toward the stench
of the past that blossoms
at the back of its throats.
Her sisters' cries
echo from the darkness
of the monster’s shared gut.
She can hear the dying
of Georgia, Kentucky and Ohio,
of Mississippi and Arkansas,
as each plummets backward
in time behind the teeth of
the white, male mouths
sitting on the white, male faces
of the white, male monsters
destroying the country.


Ashley Green is a Southern California writer, poet, and feminist.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

I WOKE UP IN TECHNICOLOR

by Laura Lee Washburn




Couches, aquamarine, gold, avocado,
raspberry bubble gum, blue
stacked to the ceiling.

Behind my blonde, so blonde head
and coiffed, curled bob,
the air was marigold.

I had a standard poodle
with a rhinestone, no, diamond
collar.  My gay best friend

wore tight pants, and, I’m sure,
was in love with me
all day and night long.  We talked

with ivory phone cords circling
our wrists.  We were bound
to the colors of saturated pink sky

and the crushed red velvet lounge.
Come what may, let it.
Be what it is, be

until we rest in peace,
gingham polka dot plaid
and the green green grass under
our white patent leather feet.


Laura Lee Washburn is a University Professor at Pittstate.  She’s the author of This Good Warm Place and Watching the Contortionists and has a couple of manuscripts up for grabs.  The Co-President of the Southeast Kansas fund, Women Helping Women, she is often involved in raising money to combat poverty, but this month has turned her efforts to supporting a small press through the Tupelo 30/30 project.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

LAST FAIR DEAL GONE DOWN

by Paul Smith


In the latest chapter in the on-going saga following Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, the US president has asked the Islamic Republic to call him in order to “make a fair deal”. Speaking at a news conference at the White House yesterday, Donald Trump told reporters that he “would like to see them [Iran] call me”. What they should be doing is calling me up, sitting down. We can make a deal, a fair deal, we just don’t want them to have nuclear weapons – not too much to ask. And we would help put them back to great shape,” Trump said. Trump’s conciliatory tone comes three days his administration dispatched American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to the region in a move that was widely seen as an attempt to escalate tensions with Iran. —MEMO, May 10, 2019. Photo: Trump speaks at Washington rally against the Iran deal back in September 2015. Credit: Olivier Douliery/Sipa USA/Newscom via The American Conservative, May 9, 2019


Wait a minute
so we supported the Shah
so we overthrew Libya and
got Khadafi killed
so we ousted Saddam
and he wound up getting done in
but not by us directly
and so we pulled out of the phony
nuclear weapons pact instigated
by a former stooge president of ours
we asked you to call us
‘for a fair deal’
our phone hasn’t rung
WTF!
Don’t you trust us?


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.

Monday, May 13, 2019

A GHAZAL FOR VENEZUELA: PRESIDENT MADURO DENIES HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

by Elane Gutterman


CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Red Cross volunteers distributed the first shipment of badly needed emergency supplies in Venezuela on Tuesday after months of feuding between the government, which has denied the existence of a humanitarian crisis, and opponents who have been seeking to use the delivery of aid to force President Nicolás Maduro from power. —AP, April 16, 2019


A father hugs his child good night, his nightmare, her dwindling insulin doses.
For love of his country, Maduro turns down aid, insists “We aren’t beggars.”

A mother sells her thick, braided hair to buy rice, beans and chicken for her children.
With chants of venceremos, Maduro raises his fist “We aren’t beggars.”

A mother grieves for her older child stabbed when they grabbed his cell phone.
With hatred toward his enemies, Maduro resists “We aren’t beggars.”

A pregnant teen reveals there were no contraceptives or money to buy them.
In his embrace of the dead Chavez, Maduro can’t desist “We aren’t beggars.”

Now a father lines up by a Red Cross van for water purification tablets.
As a maid pours his fine wine, Maduro shifts yet persists “We aren’t beggars.”


In the latest issue of Journal of Global Oncology, Elane Gutterman, a health researcher, read how cancer care in Venezuela has been transformed from an advanced level of diagnosis and treatment to rudimentary services through government policies and indifference. In addition, she credits her friend and former Spanish teacher, Ana M., with making the needless suffering of the population personal through sharing stories of her Venezuelan family. Elane has published poems in Patterson Literary Review, U.S. 1 Summer Fiction Issue, Kelsey Review and TheNewVerse.News.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

ABORTION SONNET

by Allison Blevins


In 1973, Ms. magazine published a haunting photo of a woman named Gerri Santoro, who'd died of a back-alley abortion. At the time, no one could have predicted what an impact it would have on the pro-choice movement. —Vice, October 26, 2016

After “Police Photo, Norwich Connecticut, 1964”


I want us all to imagine her dead body rising, jerking
and mechanical, the lurch and halt and sputter of a carnival ride,
how The Whip and Wipeout and Scrambler
move, attempt to start over—put themselves back together
only to be taken, pulled to pieces once again.  I want us to feel
her suffering.  Not how it felt in her
body.  That is unimaginable.  That should remain unspoken.  Let us live
in the suffering of the body clambering back
to feet, body heaving up—empty now.  Let the body be ready to fight.
I want that body like Judith—searching for heads
of men who’d bring all of us
naked to our knees, who’d photograph us
prone and paling from the slow drain.  Let us imagine
all the bodies wandering forward—swords in hand.


Allison Blevins received her MFA at Queens University of Charlotte and is a Lecturer for the Women's Studies Program at Pittsburg State University and the Department of English and Philosophy at Missouri Southern State University. Her work has appeared in such journals as Mid-American Review, the minnesota review, Nimrod International Journal, Sinister Wisdom, and Josephine Quarterly. She is the author of the chapbooks Letters to Joan (Lithic Press, 2019) and A Season for Speaking (Seven Kitchens Press, 2019), part of the Robin Becker Series. Her chapbook Susurration (Blue Lyra Press) is forthcoming.  She lives in Missouri with her wife and three children where she co-organizes the Downtown Poetry reading series and is Editor-in-Chief of Harbor Review.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

A MOTHER READS OF YET ANOTHER HERO

by Devon Balwit


Kendrick Castillo was killed while trying to stop one of the assailants during a shooting at his school in Highlands Ranch, Colo., on Tuesday. Photo credit: Rachel Short, via Associated Press via The New York Times, May 9, 2019


To run towards the man with the gun is not
what we mothers want our sons to want,

dead hero sons harder to bear than living ones,
and there being so many shooters, so many guns,

and though it makes us cry to read of the goodness
embodied in such sacrifice, we imagine the badness

of every day thereafter—the silent, strangely clean
house, and all the milestones unseen—

graduation, grandbabies, holidays—the eulogy
in the Times a poor substitute for the ordinary prodigy

of our boys. Our hearts burst at these still children
laying down their lives—we’d rather all stood up again.


Devon Balwit's most recent collection is titled A Brief Way to Identify a Body (Ursus Americanus Press). Her individual poems can be found in here as well as in Jet Fuel, The Worcester Review, The Cincinnati Review, Tampa Review, Apt (long-form issue), Tule Review, Grist, and Rattle among others.

Friday, May 10, 2019

CAPITAL SPRING HAIKU



Sari Grandstaff is a high school librarian and writer in the Mid-Hudson Valley/Catskill Mountains of New York State. Her work has appeared in many print and online journals including TheNewVerse.News and Eastern Structures.  She and her husband are the proud parents of three adult children.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

SO YOU WANT TO BE A POLITICIAN?

The Attention-Deficit Version   
by George Salamon
“Where Rudy Giuliani’s Money Comes From” by Stephanie Baker, Bloomberg Businessweek, April 5, 2019. "Really Rich Rudy" image by Drew Friedman, New York Observer (2005) via https://id.pinterest.com/pin/242912973635536160/?lp=true.


You'll arrive ignorant of the national scene.
Leave it in greater amorality than it's been,
Set up a golden retirement in between.


Okay, George Salamon recalls, Truman, Ike and Carter didn't do it, but who in between, and who after? George is struggling to see the funny side ofour politics in some of the verse he publishes in Dissident Verse, Poetry24 and TheNewVerse.News. He lives in St. Louis, MO.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

BOTH CAROLINAS WEEP: HOMAGE TO UNC CHARLOTTE

by Earl J Wilcox


Riley Howell, 21, took three bullets while tackling a gunman last week at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He was one of two killed. In interviews with relatives and friends of Mr. Howell, not one person was surprised that he had acted decisively and with little regard for himself. —The New York Times, May 6, 2019. Above: Photographs of Riley Howell at his viewing ceremony on Saturday in Waynesville, N.C. Credit Swikar Patel for The New York Times.


Up the interstate about forty minutes
from our campus, Charlotte 49ers
weep as do their Eagle friends—
both schools connected by Carolina
geography, by our students taking
classes there, friends come for classes
here, some adjunct faculty teach at both
schools. Carolina cousins, uncles, aunts,
friends, sports competitors, youthful
world citizens making their way.
Today we grieve our mutual losses—
a semester ending too soon for some.


Earl J Wilcox is a retired Emeritus English Professor at Winthrop University (whose mascot is the Eagle), located about 25 miles south of Charlotte, NC.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

POEM BURIED UNDER THE SHED

by Kelsey Bryan-Zwick 



Photo by Richard Baker, Concord Monitor, May 2, 2019


Buried under the rhododendron, left cold in a back
alley dumpster for the garbage person to deliver
to indiscriminate piles of city landfill, torn to
nothing by screaming seagulls, or tossed like so
many refugees seeking asylum, to the bottom of an
ocean more likely to be remembered as graveyard
did you think our stories would be pretty as we are?

Covered in lipstick, hair braided, words worn like
a dress, did you think our fight would be somehow
less violent than the all wars described to you in your
history books?  Well they don’t gag and bind you
with a patriarchy of rules meant to diminish your power
and your voice because they think you’ll have
nice things to say. As we shed the millions of slights
and insults meant to define us, we don’t even know
our own skin.

And when you hear us at first maybe it will just
sound like a siren, almost indiscernible from all
the white noise, but then unmistakable, an ill pitch
in the stomach, a long sickening wail, some
visceral animal, a tearing crawling shriek, clawing
our way through the silence.  After so many years in
exile, the truth is hideously real: the monster we made
our monster to love.


Kelsey Bryan-Zwick is a Spanish/English speaking SoCal poet and artist with a B.A. from UC Santa Cruz in Literature/Creative Writing.  She is the author of three chapbooks, the most recent being Watermarked (Sadie Girl Press) a hand-bound edition which intermixes both her poetry and art.  Disabled with scoliosis from a young age her poems often focus on trauma, giving heart to the antiseptic language of hospital intake forms.  A Pushcart Prize nominee, Kelsey’s poetry appears, or is forthcoming in Rise Up Review, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Incandescent Mind, petrichor, Like a Girl, Lummox, A Poet is a Poet No Matter How Tall, Eunoia Review, and Redshift.

Monday, May 06, 2019

THE MEETING OF LITTLE VALLEYS

(the meaning of Poway)

by Alejandro Escudé



Kumeyaay-Diegueño-Salinan-Chumash-Kashaya-Esselen-Kiliwa-Paipai. Tipai-Ipai (`T p -`E¯ p ) is the common name since the 1950s of two linguistically related groups formerly known as Kamia (Kumeyaay) and Diegueño. Both terms mean “People”. “Diegueño” comes from the Spanish mission San Diego. Photo via Pinterest.


Where the Diegueño people
roamed, before the state was state, stream
of stars, black-billed magpie,

Blue Sky

sycamore, willow, cottonwood, oh scent of sage scrub forever!

woodland roadrunners, coyotes, and bats
we take our welcomed people in our hands
for Passover
those Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, all indigenous
living between the fallen limbs

among the wild roses, quail, and amphibians,

we walk with you arm in arm, through paths of chaparral and poison oak
as the bobcats look up at the moon,

glassy-eyed, weighed down by worldly cares,

there we sing, Dayenu—to the eternal family running along the red highway,
brothers and sisters

we will not let you fall to the captors who shall perish in their ancient pursuit,
as we

hold firm to the aromatic shrub of our blessèd word

to our common little meeting of valleys,

our people,
our Poway,

our truth.


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, May 05, 2019

BIDEN MY TIME

by John Kaprielian 




The old white man enters into the fray
appeals to those scared of women
minorities, socialists and gays.
Apologizes for actions in bygone days:
legislation, hugs, touches, and words,
Anita Hill not getting respect she deserved.
You say you are woke now, claim to understand 
the lives of everyday women and men but
I can't forgive you and vote in another
baggage-laden man unless there's no 
other choice to be made come election day 
to make damn sure Donald T***p goes away.




After graduating Cornell with an esoteric and useless degree in Slavic Linguistics, John Kaprielian found work as a natural history photo editor, which he has been for over 30 years. He has been writing poetry for 35 years and in 2012 he challenged himself to write a poem a day for a year and published the poems in a book, 366 Poems: My Year in Verse (available on Amazon). He has had poems published in TheNewVerse.News, The Five-Two Poetry Blog, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Naturewriting.com, and Minute Magazine. His poetry ranges in subject matter from the natural world to current events and politics to introspective and philosophical themes. He lives in Mahopac with his wife, teenage son, and assorted pets.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

A NOTE TO MS. WARREN, MS. HARRIS, AND MS. KLOBUCHAR

by Gil Hoy




When you see
a little girl

Particularly if she
does not smile
very much,

Or has a tiny tear
on her tender cheek,

You be sure
to tell her—

Please be sure
to tell—

Drawing deep from
within your own pain

That you, too,
can be a Senator,

Or perhaps
even President.


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, the penmen review, and elsewhere

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

A CORPORATE ANTHEM

by George Salamon





60 Profitable Fortune 500 Companies
Avoided All Federal Income Taxes in 2018


To our fellow Americans who are the
Backbone of the country, its working
Families, the average Joe and Jane.
We say: our aim is to share the
Wealth of this great nation.
Here's how we do it:
Please close your eyes.
They're closed, Good.
Now, what you see;
That's what is yours.


George Salamon contributes verse to Dissident Voice, Poetry24, TheNewVerse.News, Proletaria (upcoming) from St. Louis, MO. He once worked for eight years for a corporation.