Guidelines



Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at]gmail.com. No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

WAYS TO AVOID BEN SHAPIRO'S TWITTER DISDAIN

by CL Bledsoe and Michael Gushue



Reinvent Mozart as a swastika.
Assert the superior caste of privilege-filled eyes,
while never mentioning your stigmatism.
Beige as the new black.
Be goddamned sure about something.
A hammer called reason to subvert any consideration,
Moral assumption as a knife to cut through the gray.
Go back in time and give Mohammed a hickey.
Dress all seed-vessels in the finest birthing habits.
Never look directly at those who rule us,
but use a mirror to avoid being turned
into stop motion playdough. Recite
The Pledge constantly under your breath:

There is a light that never burns out. I carry it 
under my tongue. When I stand on tiptoe, it will guide 
the unwashed through the wilderness.


CL Bledsoe is the author of seventeen books, most recently the poetry collection Trashcans in Love and the novel The Funny Thing About… . He lives in northern Virginia with his daughter and blogs, with Michael Gushue, at https://medium.com/@howtoeven 

Michael Gushue is co-founder of the nanopress Poetry Mutual Press, and he co-curates the reading series Poetry at the Watergate. His work can be found in journals such as Indiana Review, Third Coast, Redivider, Gargoyle, The Germ, and American Letters & Commentary and his books are Pachinko Mouth, Conrad, Gathering Down Women, and—in collaboration with CL Bledsoe—I Never Promised You A Sea Monkey. He lives in the Brookland neighborhood (“a shabby and decidedly unhip neighborhood” —New York Times) of Washington, D.C. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

SARAH'S LEAVING

by Jeremy Thelbert Bryant


“So long, Sarah Huckabee Sanders” by J.D. Crowe


In her heavy makeup and pearls,
she spouts cheap words no one
wants to hear—
sounds of nothingness,
mantras of division.

I think back to the restaurant in Virginia,
how they had heard all they wanted,
asked her to leave, sent her on her way.
People wept because she was an “honest” woman,
a god fearing being.
What god I ask, the one of greed,
of lust,
of war?

As I watch images of her now,
during the last days of her post,
I wonder if heavy rouge and white baubles are enough.
Can they lure voters to make her governor?
Will her southern church chirp call them
                to submission,
                convert them into believing the unbelievable?


Jeremy Thelbert Bryant is a poet and a writer of creative nonfiction. He is a graduate of the low residency MFA program at West Virginia Wesleyan College. His work may be found in TheNewVerse.News, Pikeville Review, EAOGH, Anima Magazine, and Prism. He finds inspiration in the red of cardinals, in the honesty of Frida Kahlo’s artwork, and in the frankness of Tori Amos’ lyrics.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

CUSTOMS AND CONCENTRATION

by Peleg Held


Child migrants sleeping on the ground at the McAllen, Texas Border Patrol station. —NowThis, May 19 2019


A scapegoat tkhine, the sound of the note
thinned into air, red string at the throat—
its knot sung to sleep in a clavicled swale—
marking her, keeping her, outside the Pale,
the deep-drumming pigment that lodged in the heart
the night that she drank down the well of their art,
the dregs of the umbra that darkened the mat
Tenemos preguntas, the click of the latch,
the last strand of horse-hair plucked from a bow
sung out through rosin, then cinder, then snow,
salt dropped like breadcrumbs while good people slept
in the town with a desk where papers are checked
and cages of souls who once dreamed across fire
covered on stone as the cold law requires.


Peleg Held lives in Portland, Maine with his partner and his dog Emitt. There is also the semi-feral cat, Smudge. And a kid or two. pelegheld(at)gmail.com.

NOT QUITE AMERICAN

by Myriam Arias


EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A legal team that recently interviewed over 60 children at a Border Patrol station in Texas says a traumatic and dangerous situation is unfolding for some 250 infants, children and teens locked up for up to 27 days without adequate food, water and sanitation. —NBC News, June 21, 2019


You always have been a lonely traveler,
haven’t you?

Lonely girl with no home;
your body is a house that you are not yet familiar with.

A country you were not born in
but you’re told it’s yours
you’re told it’s lovely
and if you could only see it.

But your body feels more like an almost
Like the distance between your mother’s hands and her home country
A space you don’t really belong in
but force yourself into.

An almost-
Mexicana
Americana
Que eres?
Niña de piel morena
con corazón de arcoiris.

You are the scars on your Mama’s back
and the gold coins in your Papa’s pocket.

Both a blessing and curse
you do not belong here.

What gave you the right
to sit in this American dream?

Dilute your adobe eyes
with the glimmer of white picket fences and nuclear families.

Let this sweet American air
fill the space in your lungs?

Inflate.
Deflate.

Your body will reject it.
Too sweet.

Lines of poems you will never write
will coat the inside of your mouth.

Choke on your words.
Swallow them.

     They do not quite belong here.


Myriam Arias is a third-year writing and literature major at University of California, Santa Barbara. She hopes her art moves forward her narrative and those of others like her so that their voices will be heard.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

NEW MATH

by Tricia Knoll




We have to assume other people do his math.
Fill out the multiple lines on multiple forms
with different answers depending on to whom
he is giving his tax returns. Maybe he is even
math challenged and would never check
those figures for exaggerations. How would
he know one from the other; his life is base-ten
on bloat. We know he thinks parts per million
of CO2 in the atmosphere are not proportionate
with disturbing one fraction of a second of his time.

The military did the recent math for him,
he hadn’t asked until late in the game
about the rules: how many people could die
to balance the loss of a drone. He says
one hundred and fifty is too many.
Not proportionate. (And ludicrously
low we suspect.) So are they sitting
around right now trying to decide
what is the right proportion? A figure
that works for a world teetering
on the brink of another war disaster?
Math you can explain to a child
who can hold up two fingers
to tell his age?

He might be able to handle the old daisy oracle.
It’s pretty simple. Pluck a petal. Pluck a petal.
He loves me. He loves me not.


Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet whose work appears widely in journals and anthologies. She is spending a lot of time pulling up invasive species in a woods, thinking about math and probabilities.

STRAIT OF HORMUZ,
AN OPERA IN ONE ACT

by Sharon Olson


Photo credit: (AP/Shutterstock/Salon)


Everyone assumed it was unmanned,
everyone it appears but the Drone family,
Papa Drone who had proclaimed
he could fly the damned thing blind,
Baby Drone, excited about his first flight
but not tall enough to see out the windows,
and Mrs. Drone, who suddenly lamented
her husband’s lack of hands-on experience,
doubting whether he could really turn
the craft around on a dime, such that
when the familia found themselves
engulfed, bobbing among flotsam,
she cried out even though no one
could hear, Won’t someone please 
bring me the head of Pompeo?


Sharon Olson is a retired librarian. Her book The Long Night of Flying was published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2006. Her second book Will There Be Music? was published by Cherry Grove Collections in 2019. She currently lives in Lawrenceville, New Jersey where she is a member of the U.S. 1 Poets’ Cooperative, and also of the Cool Women Poets critique and performance group.

Friday, June 21, 2019

ON THE APPOINTMENT OF JOY HARJO AS POET LAUREATE

by Peter Witt


Portrait by Sophie Herxheimer for Poetry Foundation.


I jumped for Joy
  with her appointment
  her anointment
as poet laureate
  her native background
  her tone, her sound
  her qualities
  beyond a baccalaureate
a musician and author
what does she offer?
  a box checked
  for ancestry
  recognition of her poetry
  her mastery
  ultimate flattery

As a nation
  we're diverse
  should display
  in our verse
different voices
  make different choices
honor perspectives
  varied objectives

Joins Joseph, Louise,
Robert, Rita, Juan
as firsts, but not lasts
there will be more
  in store
for melting cauldron
to remind our children
  not all are white
  not all are male
but if we fail
to honor our diversity
  our history
  our mystery
we lose
  our sanity
  our humanity

So, yes
I jumped for Joy
as we enjoy
the magic
of her
poetic
wisdom


Peter Witt lives in Texas and is a retired professor.  His poetry appears on allpoetry.com and has been included in several publications.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

INTERTWINED

by Marguerite Guzman Bouvard


The highly publicized federal case against humanitarian aid worker Scott Warren, who was accused of helping migrants at the US-Mexico border, ended in a mistrial on June 11. Warren, a volunteer with the humanitarian aid group No More Deaths, was charged with one count of conspiracy to transport and two counts of harboring undocumented immigrants following a 2018 arrest. He was facing up to 20 years in prison. —“The Trump Administration Is Trying to Use the Scott Warren Case to Scare Activists. It’s Not Working,” Mother Jones, June 15, 2019. Photo: Scott Warren (center) speaks after his high-profile court case ends in a mistrial. Astrid Galvan/AP via Mother Jones.

            for Scott Warren on World Refugee Day


Banks of snow in early June with overflowing
rivers is a story of destruction and
becoming; chunks of water borne earth
still sprouting grass and flower buds

in the middle of the fast moving
river, and then on the banks, roots
of dead trees braid the rocks
together, and higher up the glow

of blue gentians rising from
the cold earth, tiny sparks
of light that always appear,
like the desert in Arizona where

migrants trek, dehydrated,
famished and terrified, fleeing
criminal gangs, drought, and
then border guards, only to find

a hand reaching out to give them
food, water and shelter where
they can rest for a few days,
find hope in their inner selves,

and continue on their arduous journey,
guided through the darkness
of hate, and divisiveness
by sparks of light.


Marguerite Guzman Bouvard is the author of 11 poetry books, two of which have won awards and non-fiction books on social justice and human rights. She teaches online at Archipel U. in Haiti.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

WILLIE THE SHAKE'S BEEN SHOOK AWAKE!

by Alan Soffin




To be, or not to be?
That is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the House
To suffer the Tweets and Falsehoods of our great misfortune
Or to take votes against the See of troubles
And by opposing, end him? To cry, to weep,
No more, and by that weeping say we end
The heartache and the endless verbal schlock
That citizens are heir to. ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To cry, to weep;
To weep: perchance to scream; Oy, there’s the schlub;
For while we weep near death, what schemes may come
When we have shuffled off his rotten coil,
Must give us pause; there’s the respect
That makes calamity of public life;
For who would bear the whips of K street crime,
The T***pish wrongs, the constant contumely,
The pangs of threatened healthcare, the GOP’s delay,
The soullessness of Mitch and the spurns
That patient merit of the greedy takes,
When we ourselves might our withdrawal make
With a bare ballot. Who would injustice bear,
But that the dread of something after T***p,
The undiscovered source from whose bourn
The ruthless right returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those crooks we have,
Than fly to Pence and those we know not of ?
Thus conscience doth make outcasts on the Mall
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with stale cant that’s bought,
And legislation of great pith and moment
With this regard await a better day
Beyond the grasp of faction—Soft you now!
The Statue Liberty, in all thy orisons
Please be democracy remembered!


Alan Soffin, Ph.D., has taught at Michigan State and Temple. His Rethinking Religion: Beyond Scientism, Theism and Philosophic Doubt is published by Cascadia Press. His essays have appeared in Images of Youth (Peter Wang) and DreamSeeker magazine. His photography has been exhibited at the Tubac Center for the Arts. His avant-garde film Confessor (1968) was funded in part by the American Film Institute.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

THE BAKER'S SONG

by Tricia Knoll


The Supreme Court on Monday passed up the chance to decide whether a baker’s religious objections to same-sex marriage mean she can refuse to create a wedding cake for a gay couple when state law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Photo: Melissa Klein, co-owner of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, in Gresham, Ore., in 2013. (Everton Bailey Jr./AP) —The Washington Post, June 17, 2019


I got hooked on hood ornaments
(not naked figureheads, glaring skulls,
or flying chrome goddesses on stud mounts)
early on. Swooping red firefighter hats
gold eagles on flagpoles—
top-notch things on top.

A baker’s puffy hat lured me
to flour and frosting—
whisper your cake wish—
kitties, mermaids, pirate ships
Thomas the tank, horses charging
on a cinnamon sugar beach,
king cakes: you dream it, I bake it,
ice it, add a top knot.
I’ve got all kinds.

My favorites
are wedding cakes, love cakes,
banana cream to pineapple upside down
rocked in a sea of sugar cream,

two women, two men, people
in wheel chairs, dark men, light women,
dark women, light men, men in skirts,
women in tuxedos,
one guy married a tree.

That’s all right with me.


Tricia Knoll is proud to live in Vermont which was the first state to allow same-sex marriages. She lived in Oregon when this legal case first erupted. She is a poet who would consider marrying a tree if she weren't already married and has children who are trees.

Monday, June 17, 2019

A 30-DAY TRIP ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

by Martin Elster


One day soon, you won't need to be a member of the traditional astronaut corps to visit the International Space Station. But you – or your corporate sponsors – will need very deep pockets. "We are announcing the ability for private astronauts to visit the space station on U.S. vehicles and for companies to engage in commercial profit-making activities," said Jeff DeWit, NASA's chief financial advisor, at a launch event held Friday in at NASDAQ headquarters in New York. Up to two private astronauts – who must meet the same physical requirements as any other NASA astronaut – will be allowed to fly per year and work on behalf of companies. Each seat is expected to cost more than $50 million and the first could launch as soon as 2020. —USA Today, June 7, 2019


Far higher than the vultures, cranes and bats
that soar as in some reverie or dream,
for loads of dough, you ride inside the cream
of satellites, race round a world of rats
and angels locking horns like dogs and cats,
observe vast oceans glisten, cities beam,
and feel about to hurl. You start to deem
the whirling washers in the laundromats
of Earth remarkably serene. Somewhat
emboldened by the expedition crew,
you try to take deep breaths. Yet, truth be told,
what’s really making you a sickly sot
are all the greenbacks you’ve just spent, your hue
now paler than a wilting marigold.


Martin Elster serves as percussionist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. His poems have appeared 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, June 16, 2019

WE SIMPLY HAD ENOUGH
(STONEWALL 50)

by Devon Balwit




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.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

EXOTIC THRILLS

by Mark Zimmermann


April 13, 2019 photo taken at USA ガンクラブ Shooting Range, Tamuning, Guam.


Luxury shooting ranges
dot the tourist colony of Guam,
draw planeloads of Japanese.

They want an authentic
American experience
unavailable at home:

blasting away with firearms.
Pistol, shotgun, assault rifle,
submachine gun—open fire,
get a glossy souvenir photo.

Their moment of exotic thrills
over, the tourists return
to life in Japan.

Where in 2017
there were
three gun homicides.


Mark Zimmermann’s first poetry collection, Impersonations, was published by Pebblebrook Press in 2015. His work has previously appeared in TheNewVerse.News, Wisconsin People and Ideas, Stoneboat, and elsewhere. From 1990-2001 he lived in Japan and is currently working on a poetry ms. centered on his time there. Currently he lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Friday, June 14, 2019

HARDWARE

by Gil Hoy


I’ve no use for
a stainless steel
lightweight

Corrosive resistant
contraption

That encumbers
my wrist
and can’t

Tell me anything
useful anyway.

“There will be time,
there will be time

To prepare a face
to meet the faces
that you meet.”

No, this soul
has no time

For a chronometer

With a full
date display,

Blue dial, rhodium-
plated hands,

And an alligator
strap—

I already know
too much about

Coffee spoons
and sugar spoons

Bus stops,
Trolley stops

Business meetings
and phone calls.

Preparing
for that
special show

A meeting
with the CEO.

And I don’t
want one
in my pocket
either,

Like a mouse.

Tick tock
Tick tock

I grow old
I grow old

My pants
grow mold.

Tell me
something
good–

Surprise me,
It’s my Birthday.

What I really
want to know is:

When will
my kids
grow up;

When will
my heart
stop beating;

And when will
the last
polar bear

step off
the last piece

of melting
Arctic sea ice

and silently
disappear.




Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and semi-retired trial lawyer studying 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, The Potomac, The Penmen Review and elsewhere.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

SANCTIFIED

by George Held


Cartoon by Mark Taylor, The Commoner Call, May 27, 2019


“In Alabama—where lawmakers banned abortion for rape victims—rapists’ parental rights are protected: Alabama is one of two states with no statute terminating parental rights for a person found to have conceived the child by rape or incest . . .” The Washington Post, June 9, 2019


Thank God our holy sperm
has been sanctified
by Christian Alabama law.

That little wench of a niece
better see the light
and let me raise our boy,

with or without her.
So what if she conceived
after a little roll in the hay?

At first she had her way
in court—calling me “rapist”—
but now the law has stepped

in and declared me a proper
parent, confirmed my right
to father my boy,

to teach him to shoot and hunt
and how to treat the ladies
so he’ll know the law

is on his side. Thank God.
Our sperm has been sanctified
by Christian Alabama law.


George Held, a ten-time Pushcart nominee, is a frequent contributor to TheNewVerse.News. His new collection of poems is Second Sight (Poets Wear Prada, 2019).

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

LIFESAVER

by Mark Ward



“Former nurse Niels Högel—who has admitted to giving potentially lethal drugs to patients so he could try to resuscitate them—has been sentenced by a German court to life in prison for murdering 85 people.” —NPR, June 6, 2019. Photo: Högel in court, awaiting his verdict in Oldenburg, Germany. Credit: Hauke-Christian Dittrich/AFP/Getty Images via NPR.


Their bodies ailing,
they flail, fitting,

disrupting the night’s
boredom. I’m there,

knuckles cracked, ready.

They say to compress
to 120

BPM pop songs:
Staying Alive,

Another One Bites

The Dust. The syringe
makes them erupt,

their hearts needing me,
my steady hands.

Most of them come back.

Sometimes the nights push
the plunger down

and their bodies make
one last complaint.

I watch. Do nothing.


Mark Ward is the author of Circumference (Finishing Line Press, 2018). His work has appeared in The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, Cordite, Assaracus, Softblow, and many more. He is the founding editor of Impossible Archetype, an international journal of LGBTQ+ poetry. He is currently working on his first full-length collection, Nightlight.

Monday, June 10, 2019

HISTORY

by Howard Winn


A D-Day commemoration on the beach of Arromanches in France on June 6, 2019, marking the 75th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy in World War II. (Joel Saget/Getty-AFP via Chicago Tribune)


of D Day by genetic fate
there is no escape
is where I find myself
with only three percent left
it seems The Greatest Generation
labeled by that newsman who
needed a catchy concept to draw
his audience for the news of the day
when other networks stood ready 
to step in to alter the ratings so
he found the catchy concept for
the mostly children drafted some 
out of high school to be the new
war heroes even though the survivors
kept quiet about their sacrifices 
often with loss of limbs
they were as voiceless as the bodies
buried in those field of crosses in
France where the living might 
have found them selves if they
were as unlucky as those who
survived to become portrayed in
the films of the next life leaving
today only the three percent who
movies seem to give permission to
recount the history they had kept
secret about until the later wars
involving their children gave some
permission to reveal fears and cruelty
for those survivors once silent veterans 
of that conflict between the dead and 
the emotionally quiet and silent for
history to become reality not just story


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, June 09, 2019

A PRAYER FROM LOUISIANA

by Gail White





God bless the oysters
I can eat alive
because they have no heartbeat.

God bless the feral cats
who have no control
over their fertility,
and the women who had it once
but lost it.

God bless the migrant children
who die in US custody
whose lives don’t matter
because they are post-unborn.

God bless the deer
To the hunters,
The fish to the net,
The faithful to their homes,
The children to their mothers’ arms.


Gail White is a formalist poet with work in many journals, including Measure, Light, First Things, and Hudson Review. She is a two-time winner of the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. Her latest book Catechism was published in 2016 by White Violet Press.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

TWO QUATRAINS



I’ll Take a Shot at It
by Rick Mullin


“For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon — We did that 50 years ago,” Trump said on Twitter. “They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!” —The Washington Post, June 7, 2019


The president speaks of supply chain enhancements:
When Exxon connects all the parts,
We won’t know precisely just where the moon ends
And where the new Mars venture starts.


Rick Mullin's newest poetry collection is Lullaby and Wheel.


A Marriage Made In Hog Heaven
by George Salamon


"Once a book-selling giant, Barnes & Noble sold to hedge fund.” —Crain’s New York, June 7, 2019


You want my books,
I like your money,
This looks like a transaction
Breeding mutual satisfaction.


George Salamon used to buy lots of books at Barnes & Noble, but has never been inside a hedge fund.

Friday, June 07, 2019

IN PARADISE

by Elya Braden




Above the meadow
a sky so blank you could scrawl
the story of your heart
a wordless prayer
but where is God now
in a field bloody with poppies?
Their orange-red heads bob contentment
in the timid breeze
like the limpid heads of those addicts
slack-jawed in lawn chairs
perched on the corner
of oblivion and never.
Those orange-red poppies
so innocent
of the conflagration they’ve matched
to the multitudes of walking
wounded, mute-mouthed
limping, scrambling
at the empty rattle of one
last Vicodin in the bottle
the Doctor’s No
the friend who has a friend who has
a needle. Is God there—
that slant shadow passing
between the poppies
sunning themselves in paradise
their orange-red heads
nodding: Here is a door,
your way out.


Elya Braden took a long detour from her creative endeavors to pursue an eighteen-year career as a corporate lawyer and entrepreneur. She is now a writer and mixed-media artist living in Los Angeles. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Algebra of Owls, Calyx, Gyroscope, The Main Street Rag, Rattle, Willow Review and elsewhere.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

AMERICA FIRST

by Gil Hoy


The colorful Mosaic ceiling of the Chapel at the Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial symbolizes the United States which blesses its sons fighting for the freedom and a grateful France, which lays a laurel wreath among the fallen Americans who gave their lives for the liberation of the oppressed Europe. “On D-Day anniversary, ‘America First’ doesn’t sit well on the beaches of Normandy” —The Washington Post, June 6, 2019


Are we a family of nations
or are we not   How did                                                    
this nations thing happen
in the first place anyway
where just about every man
woman and child belongs
to one like a fraternity
or club   Was it a language
barrier or is that chicken
before egg banter   No slant
eyes here   No black eyes there

Americanized Lily White
Monet Europeans will inherit
the earth   Not the chosen people
Not the Nazis nor Jap equivalents

Build that wall   Rousseau wrote:
The man who enclosed the first
piece of ground was . . .
How many crimeswarsmurders
saved mankind by pulling up
stakes  Like the League
of Nations   Like Clinton
(the philanderer one)
at the second Obama DC:
“We’re all in this together
is better than you’re
on your own”

Not the selfish spoiled brat
hoarding all the kids’ toys
to be sent to his room
for a timeout   My adult
son was a little boy once
fighting sisters for front car
seats   And he was so sad when
his friend’s mother-made brownies
were eaten    Eaten by the class bully
who tried very hard to eat even
the last one   And many many many
more before that, before my starving
son had had even a teeny tiny bite

And our President wants
to bomb Iran (Liar!) and ban
transgenders and Muslims from living                                
in this world   His National Security Advisor
believes if you remove the top ten floors
of the UN building nothing happens
And his AG thinks Congress will
stay asleep at the switch   And London
protesters are disguised lovers who cannot
help but love our President and his terrific
economy, made in his own image
where tax breaks get richer and borders
get poorer

And when will the meek inherit
the earth   And where’s that last brownie
for my heavenly son and his starving
father to eat.


Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and semi-retired trial lawyer studying 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, The Potomac, The Penmen Review and elsewhere.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

LET US BE VERY CLEAR

by Kathryn Silver-Hajo


Image source: From Words to Deeds


If we’d had confidence that
a crime was not committed
we would have said so

If we’d had confidence that
a crime was committed
we would not have said so

because that would be unfair
because if a crime was committed
justice would not be brought
because the justice department
doesn’t do that kind of justice although

No one is above the law
and the law is above no one who
is above the law because
That is someone else’s job
and that someone else

would like the discussion to end because
Bringing the one who is above the law
below the law would be
a distraction
from the law-making agenda
And it’s just. not. worth it


Kathryn Silver-Hajo studied in the MFA program at Emerson College and at Grub Street Writers in Boston. While seeking representation for her recently completed novel Four Swirls of Ink she is working on a collection of poems and short stories and is headed to the Spannocchia Writers’ Workshop in Tuscany this summer. Her poem Beirut-Tripoli Highway at Rush Hour is forthcoming this fall in Rusted Radishes.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

THE VIGILANT

by Alejandro Escudé
From “The Parade,” 1957, from Si Lewen’s Parade: An Artist’s Odyssey (2016) via Literary Hub


Merkel warns of populists’ rise in Europe —AP, May 28, 2019


from the trenches.
they rise,
the easy translucent stride
of ghost-men

in gas masks
run the cobblestone
streets between
the ferrying buses,
old France, old Spain,

dust brown boots
weaponized fences
torched children
shot out of chimneys

"La Marseillaise" sung
backward, the gaze
of the European
upon the hard American

wearing bones
around his neck
a ring of fiery stones

Druid masters
wearing blood-drenched
capes calling for
crusade war
war upon war
gardens of dead

silent proletariat
families marched
by illiterate armies
who never spoke
or learn the proper sound

each word passing
like a market ticker
above them Merkel,
T***p, Putin, Macron

angel of Patton
and Robespierre,
dark angel of Bormann,
warned and warning

electronic horses
galloping over glass churches
shattered idols and guns
replacing each letter
on the keys

and the irreverent typist
culling new plots ending
in plots unmarked,
unedited, whole,
unpublished, divine.


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.

Monday, June 03, 2019

SAGARMATHA, GODDESS OF THE SKY

by Pepper Trail




The greatest pile of stone, you are known
by that name that rings in the Western ear—
Everest (after a Sir George, bureaucrat, surveyor)—
not as Nepali Sagarmāthā or Tibetan Chomolungma
and so you must be climbed

In our hundreds we come
we pay, we wait, we breathe from bottles
we ascend ice ladders, we cling to the fixed lines
we shuffle upward through the trash
we never doubt you must be climbed

Gasping in the starving air
eyes fixed on the boots of those in front
or, lifting our heads, on the queue
snaking toward the top of the world
we climb—you must be climbed

Perhaps tomorrow an error will be found
another mountain the highest, and so you
mere goddess of the sky, will be again alone
left to cradle the frozen bodies of those
who believed in nothing but this—

You must be climbed


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, June 02, 2019

A BULLET CONFESSES

by Sarah E. Colona



The 12 victims of the Virginia Beach mass shooting: LaQuita C. Brown, Ryan Keith Cox, Tara Welch Gallagher, Mary Louise Gayle, Alexander Mikhail Gusev, Joshua O. Hardy, Michelle "Missy" Langer, Richard H. Nettleton, Katherine A. Nixon, Christopher Kelly Rapp, Herbert "Bert" Snelling, Robert "Bobby" Williams


unwelcome as a thunderclap
no storm in the forecast
or that’s the printed headline

wherever humans gather
where hands stretch Velcro or loop shoelaces
classroom, church, amusement park

instill mastery of the tourniquet
combat American love
of gun metaphor and euphemism

do not soften my path to water: shower, spray
trauma shreds flesh
blood loss floods a morgue

my name began as small ball
now watch me reduce
one nation to thoughts and prayers


Sarah E. Colona is the author of three poetry collections: Hibernaculum (Gold Wake Press, 2013), Thimbles (dancing girl press, 2012) and That Sister (dancing girl press, 2016).

Saturday, June 01, 2019

STILL WORDS

by Martin H. Levinson




I put the 448-page report on my desk and
asked it if the president had colluded with
the Russians or had obstructed justice and
like a stone sphinx the tome stared back
at me not uttering a sound or attempting to

make contact with a person who believed
Robert Mueller when he said that he had
chosen the words in his account carefully
and that the words speak for themselves,
which they were clearly not doing despite

the fact that I was only being polite in
asking my questions and had even offered them
a cup of coffee and some cookies to help
break the ice between us that I didn’t think
should be there since I’ve always been a

big fan of words and have used them
often in my writing to express what is in
my head and heart but when I told that to
the words in front of me they just gave me
the cold shoulder, which was sad since I had

no room in my house for a chilled appendage
and what I really wanted was not a chunk
of their torso but a discussion with them
about what did the president know and
when did he know it.


Martin H. Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, PEN America, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He has published ten books and numerous articles and poems. He holds a PhD from NYU and lives in Forest Hills, New York.