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Saturday, August 31, 2019


by Tricia Knoll

So you’re doing something about an annoyance,
is that what you’re trying to tell us?

What I’m really sick of is Presidents who lie,
vilify, condemn anyone who doesn’t agree

with his bigoted view of the world. The guy
who says another tax break will fix

the deficit we stagger under. This is the best
you can come up with? When caged children

cry for their mothers and fathers? The red flag
we need to raise is a ban on assault rifles

that have anyone stepping into a public square
looking over their shoulders, afraid.

I am so tired of the daily grind of your party
taking away the rights and liberties of people

you’ve marginalized. I am sick, sick, sick
of the chipping away, stone by stone,

of environmental protections. If I could
call you a million times, ring your line,

and repeat this over and over, I would.
Annoy the hell out of you.

Tricia Knoll hates robocalls as much as anyone else, but there is so much more making us sick at heart and tired of this administration. Knoll's work appears widely in journals and anthologies.

Friday, August 30, 2019


by Frank De Canio

This video by Taylor Swift won the Video for Good and Video of the Year awards at Monday’s MTV Video Music Awards. In her acceptance speech, Swift commended VMA voters for supporting the video’s message of LGBTQ equality and once again brought attention to her petition for the Equality Act, noting that it now has over 500,000 signatures “which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House,” she said, checking her imaginary watch to indicate she’s still waiting.

Just as a quarry’s brash response
brings to the fore, one laid to waste,
a stance conveying nonchalance
implies its source has been outfaced.
They’re adversaries Taylor Swift
can handle with good-naturedly
aplomb. She doesn’t let them rift
her measured sensibility.
Nor does she blithely shake them off
with just a sisterly rebuke.
For less Patrón than Molotov
cocktail she just as well would duke
it out when trolls step on her gown,
were she not bent on calming down.

Frank De Canio was born & bred in New Jersey, works in New York. He love theater and music of all kinds, from Bach to Amy Winehouse. He hosts a Cafe Philo discussing philosophical issues in lower Manhattan.

Thursday, August 29, 2019


by Marilyn Peretti

Click here for more information on how to save the Earth.
          Click here to purchase or stream this video.

How do I not love thee earth?
Let me count the ways:
Monarchs leaving
Bees leaving
Polar bears leaving
Fires in the Arctic
Fires in Amazon forests
Microfiber in ocean fish
Microfiber in Arctic snow
Fossil fuels spitting from cars
Fossil fuels pouring from planes
   that depart every minute from
Lead in the water
Polluted water in Flint
Polluted water in Newark
Asbestos hiding everywhere
No water in Cape Town
Low water in Cairo
Low water in Bangalore
Glaciers melting - drip  drip
Funeral for glacier in Iceland
So, sea level rising along South Carolina
Sea level rising in Miami
Sea level rising in Brazosport
Sea level rising in Little Ferry

Shall I love thee better after death?

Marilyn Peretti from near Chicago, is Pushcart nominated, her poems published in Kyoto Journal, Journal of Modern Poetry, TheNewVerse.News, Rockford Review, Fox Cry Review, Talking River, Li Poetry (Chinese), Grey Sparrow, and others. Her books Let Wings Take You, Lichen-Poems of Nature, Angel's Wings, and To Remember-To Hope, are sold at the Blurb Bookstore.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019


by Judith Terzi

Emmett Till (July 25, 1941 - August 28, 1955)
Heather Heyer (May 29, 1985 - August 12, 2017)

Simeon Wright died 2 years ago. A faithful cousin of Emmett Till.
Heather Heyer's also gone. A victim of hatred like Emmett Till.

Two men shot Emmett, 14, sank him with a fan from a cotton gin.
One man killed Heather with another machine. Like Emmett Till.

Simeon, 12, saw the men point the gun, grab the teen from his bed.
His life spent haunted by the abduction of his cousin, Emmett Till.

Heather followed her conscience. She marched to oppose the rage.
A street for her in Charlottesville. In Chicago, one named Emmett Till.

Heather was murdered while crossing her street not too long ago.
Sixty-four years have passed since the murder of Emmett Till.

Judith Terzi is the author of Museum of Rearranged Objects (Kelsay Books, 2018) as well as of five chapbooks including If You Spot Your Brother Floating By and Casbah (Kattywompus Press). Her poetry appears widely in literary journals and anthologies, has received nominations for Best of the Net and Web, and has been read on the BBC. She holds an M.A. in French Literature and is a former educator who taught high school French for many years as well as English at California State University, Los Angeles, and in Algiers, Algeria.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019


by George Salamon

We're breaking earth
Like a loaf of bread,
Chasing oceans from
Their bottoms, and
Huffing the frenzy of
Fire into a ball so strong
It will tumble boulders
Into our soft flesh.

Maybe, George Salamon who lives in St. Louis,  MO suggests, there will be some good news at 11.


by Kristin Yates

We’re consumed by the beef
we’re broiling
Earth’s lungs
to farm more cattle
we are burning every
minute the size of a football
field to breed, slit

over 40 million

Lungs, logged

$Indigenous persons, the Mura tribe Jaguar Cashapona tree, the Barrigona tree
Pataxó tribe Giant Armadillo, the Parintintin tribe Harpy Eagle Strangler Fig tree

are the change
ranchers gain
but do not count

as if they own the forest

charred, already spent

Kristin Yates hopes more than space can see the price of our consumption. #ActForAmazonia

Monday, August 26, 2019


by Susannah Greenberg

Graphic by @PresVillain who takes real Trump quotes and Photoshops them into existing comics.

“In today’s all too real world, Captain America’s most nefarious villain, the Red Skull, is alive on screen and an Orange Skull haunts America.” 
—Art Spiegelman, The Guardian, August 17, 2019

They co-opt us and adopt us,
steal the words that we say.

They corrupt us, interrupt us,
default and delay.

Mr. Marvel, Mr. Lieber, rolls in his grave,
as Americans all are the Orange Skull's slave.

Lying and trying to borrow our song,
with tongues forked and twisted, it comes out all wrong.

With the Dictators Playbook on his nightstand,
he dreams of a people he can command.

One day we'll awake and when we are woke,
then once again we can call him a joke.

Oh Captain, my Captain, I fear you are dead,
they're taking away our roses and bread.

Captain America, won't you come home,
your people are calling, wherever you roam.

Susannah Greenberg is an independent book publicist at Susannah Greenberg Public Relations.  Since that terrible day in November 2016, she's turned to writing rhymed verse, which is better than drinking she supposes.

Sunday, August 25, 2019


by Peg Quinn

I’ll let your adrenaline rest,
not itemize facts on
how we’ve destroyed Earth's
environmental balance—
though I’m confident
it will survive
without us

I only want to let you know,
in spite of this,
I waited in line at Trader Joe’s
while the clerk recited
a Mary Oliver poem
to a customer

Peg Quinn is a mural painter and poet who keeps afloat in Santa Barbara, California.


by Sister Lou Ella Hickman

As the Amazon burned and the world faced an ecological disaster, President Emmanuel Macron of France bluntly criticized Brazil’s leader this week and threatened to kill a major trade deal between Europe and Brazil. President Trump, on the other hand, posted a tweet only Friday evening, saying that the United States was ready to help contain the fires, but adding that “future trade prospects” between the United States and Brazil “are very exciting.” Photo: Under increasing international pressure to contain fires sweeping parts of the Amazon, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil on Friday authorized use of the military to battle the massive blazes. Credit:Leo Correa/Associated Press via The New York Times, August 24, 2019


                        my arms  scorched
                        with solidarity’s fire
                        ask   is this the world’s misplaced rage  
                                                        is there some unknown  unseen  monster
                                             that feeds on our anger, fear, and hate
                                             that spews back flames
                                             to consume the earth's primal green breathing


                                            the media question blares
                                            what can you do to help
                                            let your skin also burn
                                            with solidarity’s fire

Author’s note: I had a severe psoriasis flareup that began approximately the same time the Amazon fires began.

Sister Lou Ella Hickman, I.W.B.S. is a former teacher and librarian. She is a certified spiritual director as well as a poet and writer.  Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines such as America, First Things, Emmanuel, Third Wednesday, and TheNewVerse.News as well as in the anthologies The Night’s Magician: Poems about the Moon edited by Philip Kolin and Sue Brannnan Walker, Down to the Dark River edited by Philip Kolin, Secrets edited by Sue Brannan Walker, and After Shocks: The Poetry of Recover for Life-Shattering Events edited by Tom Lombardo. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2017. Her first book of poetry entitled she: robed and wordless was published by Press 53 in 2015.

Saturday, August 24, 2019


by Mark Danowsky

Illustration by Tony Calabro

The world is on fire
so fire back

Fire before fire can be declared

Fire before anyone can shout fire

whether the building is crowded
or otherwise

Shout fire, fire, fire
in the hole

Man down
Woman down
Child down

down child down

Who else is left down?

You know who
is cowering in the bathtub
fearful of a stray
bullet in the brain
Wayne saw John
Wayne or The Baptist

Showed him The Way

Fear, Love

the world becomes
a scary place

Wayne at night

his family in harm’s way

he prays for them

prays for us

pray we understand why

why guns save
not shatter
lives of a feather

collapse us with shards

a million little pieces of shrapnel

 Wayne, god
can’t you see

the rest of us shot thru

bleeding out

Mark Danowsky is a poet / writer from Philadelphia and author of the poetry collection As Falls Trees (NightBallet Press, 2018). He’s Managing Editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.

Friday, August 23, 2019


by Laura Rodley

The roll call of deceased unit members, which included 10 men killed in action, was an emotional time for Vietnam veterans who reunited in Berea, Ohio on August 9, 2019. "Even though we have had some sleepless nights, some dreams we want to forget, the remembrance of PTSD, and Agent Orange that just won't let go, we continue to be grateful and to stand for our flag," said the Chaplain. Photo credit: Beth Mlady/Special to, August 17, 2019

You don’t know him, he doesn’t
ask to be known, he won
a bronze star for valor
in Vietnam, he shops
on senior discount Tuesdays
at Big Y, at least he used to.
He doesn’t go out anymore,
even outside. You wouldn’t
recognize him, he’s just an
average Joe in a linen shirt,
rhythm of helicopters whirring
in his head. The Fourth of July,
Friday night fireworks in Ocean Park?
He’s seen enough fireworks, mortar
shell explosions, lights exploding,
himself exploding, he doesn’t want
any reminders. But ask for recognition,
no, valor of Vietnam vets unspoken,
stationed in Da Nang, ground zero for Agent Orange,
his early heart attack just a fluke
the doctor said, hearing loss due to age.
He slept next to a mortar shell field.
They blew up all the time.
He’s not asking anything
from his country that he served,
just to be left alone.

He only has to be as tall
as the ceiling of his livingroom,
where he chomps Fritos, swallows Cokes,
he doesn’t have to see behind him,
beside him, below him as the chopper
brings him base to base to allocate
and release funds, he doesn’t
have to see through forests, they
were denuded by Agent Orange,
someone could drop down on him
from above, but not while
he’s in front of the T.V. The front
door is locked, a cheap remedy
against machine gun fire.
He only has to manage the space
of the couch, the clicker, even
the screened-in porch reveals
too much green, someone could
be hiding in those maples, oaks,
kudzu, and that’s not paranoia,
it was real for him for two tours,
someone hiding to do him harm,
annihilate him and nothing but
his dog tags to know his name.
He would not call this being afraid,
nor is he: he is aware, hyper-aware
of leave rustle, door closing, pop-top
of the can breaking open, the fizzle
of foam. Everything he does saves
his life and those of the men he
served with- not one of them taught
to act alone but as a unit, always
aware of his buddy, aware of combat
boots squishing in the mud of rice paddies
beside him. Hyper-aware of
everything outside of him to save
them all, but nothing but his finessed reaction
for shooting or readiness to bail out of the chopper
of his own internal life. He
lived outside himself, his body, and
having survived when so many
he knew did not, he brought
it all home with him, where
it breathes in the livingroom
with him, he can’t close his eyes,
it’s inside him now, it won’t get out,
won’t let him go.

Laura Rodley, Pushcart Prize winner is a quintuple Pushcart Prize nominee, and quintuple Best of Net nominee. Publisher Finishing Line Press nominated her Your Left Front Wheel Is Coming Loose for a PEN L.L.Winship Award and Mass Book Award. FLP also nominated her Rappelling Blue Light for a Mass Book Award. Former co-curator of the Collected Poets Series, Rodley teaches the As You Write It memoir class and has edited and published As You Write It, A Franklin County Anthology volumes I-VI, also nominated for a Mass Book Award. She was accepted at Martha’s Vineyard’s NOEPC and has been a participant in the 30 poems in November fundraiser for the Literacy Project of the Center for New Americans. Latest books: Turn Left at Normal by Big Table Publishing and Counter Point by Prolific Press.

Thursday, August 22, 2019


by Julie Steiner

Video published on Aug 19, 2019

Since "jökull" means "ice sheet," not "rock,"
we're re-christening Okjökull "Ok."
By the time we re-brand
balmy Iceland as "Land,"
will we stop calling climate change "schlock"?

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

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


by Alan Walowitz

The New York City police officer whose chokehold led to Eric Garner’s death in 2014 was fired from the Police Department and stripped of his pension benefits on Monday, ending a bitter battle that had cast a shadow over the nation’s largest police force. Commissioner James P. O’Neill’s decision to dismiss the officer, Daniel Pantaleo (pictured above in May), came five years after Mr. Garner’s dying words—“I can’t breathe”—helped to galvanize the Black Lives Matter protests that led to changes in policing practices in New York and around the country. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Associated Press via The New York Times, August 19, 2019.

Some more fake news from the great American fable:
a baseball shatters the neighbor’s window
into a bullseye of splinters
as the old guy emerges, face on fire,
newspaper rolled into a cudgel clutched in his paw.
But a pussy cat at heart,
he’ll remember when he was young and will smile.
Or a doughy lady gets launched like a pinball
after too much slow-baking,
and more than a little tippling,
her apron aflutter and rolling pin awag,
but she’ll offer cookies to the kids.

In our tale, the window always heals itself
or gets forgotten in the false fever
of our Mayberry dreams—
We’ll make America great again.
Turns out it never was about the window,
only a way to get our next episode rolling.

If you attend to a broken window
the whole neighborhood’ll get fixed
and America made great again.
Tompkinsville on Staten Island’ll
become Short Hills, Grosse Point, Scarsdale,
or even Lake Success, right near me,
where the cop who pulls you over
doesn’t know from loosies
what a lustrous word for a dark occupation,
a guy trying to make a buck on the street.

But just the same the cop might be thinking,
I’d like to strangle this guy,
as he writes you up for driving distracted
by that cracked windshield
you haven’t found the time or money to repair.
But he’s friendly enough
for all his formality
about rights and recourse.
See you in court, he says,
sneering in your rearview mirror
as he waves you on.
We’ll make America great again, alright,
Just be sure you’re white and bring plenty of cash.
We don’t take credit cards or checks.

Editor’s Note from Frontline: The 1980s-era theory known as “Broken Windows” . . . argues that maintaining order by policing low-level offenses can prevent more serious crimes. But in cities where Broken Windows has taken root, there’s little evidence that it’s worked as intended. The theory has instead resulted in what critics say is aggressive over-policing of minority communities, which often creates more problems than it solves. Such practices can strain criminal justice systems, burden impoverished people with fines for minor offenses, and fracture the relationship between police and minorities. It can also lead to tragedy: In New York in 2014, Eric Garner died from a police chokehold after officers approached him for selling loose cigarettes on a street corner.

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

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


by Sally Zakariya

Above is the logo of The 1619 Project, a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. The Project aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

Not 1492 when Columbus landed
not 1607 when settlers founded Jamestown
but 1619 when twenty-some Africans
arrived in chains

Port Comfort their landing place
proved no comfort for them

That’s when America began
land of freedom but not for them
land of plenty but not for them
land of everlasting shame
for us but not for them

Twelve million stolen from their homes
two million died on the Middle Passage
half a million sold into slavery here

They cleared the land and built
the plantation houses
they cleaned and cooked and toiled
to make white people rich

They picked cotton for my grandfather
a white-starched-collar lawyer
in Memphis who didn’t have to bend
his back or dirty his hands

They fought for this country
their country and ours
and now … and now …

Four hundred years is time
to admit our history
time to make things right

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

Monday, August 19, 2019


by Kelley White

We settle into worship. Is it better to pray—
or to listen for the voice of God?

Is it better to wait on God
with eyes closed, cast down, or open to light?

I seek light in the meetinghouse’s tall
windows, the faces of gathered friends—

when Jondhi breaks Quaker silence to speak
of the Nicetown shootings we all know

it is too real—his, our, Healing and Transformation
Center, the Center for Returning Citizens

is a block from the crime scene.
He heard the sirens, he saw the masses

of police, the stunned neighbors, children
evacuated from day care centers.

He asks about community. About
the roots of drug crime. Fear. Economics.

Unemployment. I close my eyes. The ghost
light of the windows a negative beneath my lids. Then

D., who like Jondhi has done serious time, lifts his
walking stick to his lips: I see it

decorated with feathers and red paint, a line of holes
punched along its shaft—

and it is actually a flute, with a voice so pure and deep
it returns me to silence, to my lit darkness, truce.

Author’s Note: J. Jondhi Harrell is the Founder and Executive Director of The Center for Returning Citizens (TCRC) in Philadelphia. Twitter: @JondhiTCRC . “D.” is a pseudonym.

Kelley White, a member of Germantown Friends Meeting is a pediatrician working about 2 miles from the ‘active shooter incident’ this past Wednesday, August 14, in Philadelphia’s Nicetown neighborhood.

Sunday, August 18, 2019


by Alejandro Escudé 

During a faculty meeting icebreaker, when I raise my hand to volunteer the song I’ve had stuck in my head, one man yells out: “Ahh. Sing it!” in front of my colleagues. I hear his voice as brassy, sarcastic-toned. Simultaneously, I think of the photograph on the news site today
of the three people (a family?) witnessing the nuclear explosion in Russia—the fire cloud off in the distance, like a huge, rotten orange. 

There are moments when 
you realize you’re job is like that too, a rotten orange. Only you’re stuck inside of it, pushing up against the rind. Or, maybe your job is like Russia and its oligarchs. And sometimes, you and your colleagues are like that family watching the explosion of a missile pregnant with a nuclear reactor. A whale carcass. A room with bones for support beams. Hanging flesh. 

We were asked, at the faculty meeting, to recall a song we had stuck in our heads this summer. And I said I had the Tarzan camp song repeating in my head; that call and response song I had to lead my second graders with— when I was a twenty-year-old camp counselor. 

“Tar … zan,” it began, and they repeated. “Swinging on a rubber band … Tar … zan … fell into a frying pan.” 
I sang it again with my daughter, seven years old, now that she’s in summer camp. The words have changed, slightly. But I think once more of that colleague who sarcastically yelled out that I, sing the song, 
as if I were telling some untruth, or trying too hard impress the room. 

Maybe, later on, someone informed that man that I had kids. That I’d just gotten divorced after seventeen years of marriage. That my kids visit me on weekends and it feels as though half my soul were missing from my body and I only become whole again when I am with them. 

But I don’t think 
anyone told him. He probably thought I was just trying to be cute. I guess, I’ve always tried to be cute. I guess the Russians are trying to be cute as well, installing nuclear reactors inside of missiles that have the ability to reach Alaska, and beyond. 

“Fell into a frying pan,” my daughter repeats. 
“Now Tarzan has a tan. Now Tarzan has a tan.”

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.

Saturday, August 17, 2019


by Martin Elster

From “The Untold Benefits of Climate Change” by Kendra Wells at TheNib.

Renowned Harvard entomologist E.O. Wilson has said that without insects the rest of life, including humanity, “would mostly disappear from the land. And within a few months.” 
National Geographic, August 6, 2019

We own the earth. We buzz or hug
you in your bed, at times will bug
you when you taste like toothsome prey.
We flit around your cold buffet.
We’re sweat bee, darner, skeeter, slug,

the flea that’s pestering your pug.
We’re everywhere. You might go, “Ugh!”
when centipedes cruise by. Yet, say
we left the earth.

Perhaps you’d shout with glee, or shrug.
But think: no cherry, apple, mug
of honeyed tea, nor silver tray
of leafy greens would come your way.
You see, Big Brain? Don’t be so smug!
We own the earth.

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.

Friday, August 16, 2019


by Judith Steele

“The Murray-Darling river system managed by NSW [New South Wales, Australia] . . . is ‘an ecosystem in crisis’ which is on a path to collapse and urgent reforms are needed to save it, a review has warned.” —The Guardian, July 23, 2019. Photo: Exposed water height markers on the Darling River reveal the depth of the crisis at Wilcannia. Credit: John Janson-Moore in The Conversation.

In my small flat
I hear daily rhythms
of neighbours’ water
as they hear mine.
Our toilets flush torrents,
our showers are waterfalls.
Washing machines gurgle
while kettles whistle.

Water washes things away
in the morning cleansings.
In swimming pools and seas
gives health and relaxation.

In floods and tsunamis
brings death and desolation.
Luckier countries
send neighbourly help.

But if there is no water?
If you live near a river that’s dried
because someone upstream
has diverted it to profit?
Even in a lucky country, it seems
nothing neighbourly remains
between up and down stream.

All over this nation
the pattern repeated
the up and the down,
their distance increasing.

Where are the neighbours?
What can be done
to wash this away?

Judith Steele lives in South Australia Her poetry or prose has most recently been published in the print journal Gobshite Quarterly (Portland OR); and on the website Nine Muses

Thursday, August 15, 2019


by George Salamon

Xavier Usanga was about 15 hours away from a new school year as a second grader at Clay Elementary when he was fatally shot Monday, August 12, 2019, while standing near an 18-year-old who was also shot but survived. The 7-year-old’s death makes him the 11th area child killed in a shooting since June. About half of them attended St. Louis Public Schools, said Kelvin Adams, superintendent of the St. Louis Public School District. In the above photo,  provided by Alderman Brandon Bosley to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Xavier Usanga is pictured during a LINKS St. Louis Neighborhood event in Hyde Park in July 2019.

A child smiling,
A child so new.
He came out to play,
Not ready for death.
Not "in the confines
Of his home, or "on
A street not known
For violence." How
Is it we don't choke
Speaking these words?
How is it a part of us
No longer dies at
The death of a child?
We dare not ask.

George Salamon lives in St. Louis and has most recently published in Dissident Voice, Proletaria, The Asses of Parnassus, and TheNewVerse.News.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


by Prince Bush

Oxidized, and stronger with patina, Libertas
Repeats herself, white supremacy is a storied

Pomp, dull-headedness, not welcome
In my country, but where I’m from—

The sea: Let prejudice sink beside that skin
Purported as porcelain, yet in any light, soft-paste—

A white clay and ground glass heart. I hope I am clear;
I hope this will end the fallacy, unnative white

Persons who trespassed & raped & carried cannons &
Smirkers & pigs & criminals & drugs & odious slavery.

Admittedly, older now and more of a sophist,
I want the door of gold to lead to anywhere:

I want to consolidate my lamp with the sun, console
Every soul, except those who publicly charge hate.

Prince Bush is a poet in Nashville TN with poetry in *82 Review, Cotton Xenomorph, Ghost City Press, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Pleides: Literature in Context, SOFTBLOW, and elsewhere. He was a 2019 Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets Fellow.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


by Pepper Trail

Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast

"The new [Endangered Species Act] rules also give the government significant discretion in deciding what is meant by the term “foreseeable future." 
The New York Times, August 12, 2019

The Administration has announced that the following are no longer to be considered part of the “foreseeable future:”

Ice for polar bears to stand on
Safe and legal abortions
The concept of objective facts
Efforts to reduce the burning of fossil fuels
An act of political independence by any Republican member of Congress
Revulsion against separating immigrant children from their mothers and imprisoning them
Glaciers in Glacier National Park
Condemnation of white nationalism by the President of the United States
Any evidence of compassion or empathy from the President of the United States
Nuclear arms control
The languid flight of monarch butterflies over a summer meadow
The survival of human civilization

However, the White House assures anxious Americans that the following can still be relied upon:

Inaction on gun control
Unrestricted influence of money on politics
Uncontrolled corporate power

Be sure to visit this site for regular updates

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.

Monday, August 12, 2019


by Ed Gold

In the fifties, in first grade,
I learned that crouching under my desk
would protect me from the blast
of an atomic bomb,
dropped on the playground.

In the sixties, in seventh grade,
I learned that when a knife is pulled
anywhere near me to run
and not look back.
But I never saw a gun.

Today, in twelfth grade,
my niece has learned the protocol
for when the shooter enters,
texting her parents every five minutes
so they know she is still alive.

She wears a bullet-blocking backpack
her mother ordered on the internet
pricier than the bullet-resistant model.
It won't protect her from an assault rifle,
but every little bit helps.

Ed Gold is originally from Baltimore, got an M.A. from the writing seminars at Hopkins, taught poetry at U of Md for years, and is now down in Charleston, SC, writing happily and madly. He has one chapbook, Owl, and about 80 poems published in TheNewVerse.News, Kakalak, Ekphrastic Review, Window Cat Press, Rat’s Ass Review, Cyclamens and Swords, and elsewhere. Active in the Poetry Society of South Carolina, he runs the Skylark Contest for high-school poets and co-chairs its two-week poetry series at the Dock Street Theater for Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston

Sunday, August 11, 2019


by Joan Colby

     “But I’m also torn between my pleasure at seeing part of American culture take significant strides toward equality and my sorrow due to the diminishment of interest in my work.” —Bob Hicok (above left), "The Promise of American Poetry,” Utne Reader, Summer 2019.

     “Why did a white poet see the success of writers of color as a signal of his own demise?” —Timothy Yu, “The Case of the ‘Disappearing’ Poet,” The New Republic, August 7, 2019

Dedicated to Bob Hicok

So now you know how those sonneteers
Must have felt, quietly posting along the
Bridle path with their rhyming dictionaries
And penchant for inversions, when you came along
Riding your free verse helter-skelter, breaking
Lines without regard like a mounted militia
In full rebellion. With your red wheelbarrow
And petals in the metro. White men of privilege,
You’re passe as the people of color race by on motorbikes
Down the crowded lanes where you used to
Summon a rickshaw. Plus ça change. And women
Shouting hands-off! Poems by non-binary
People who use the pronoun they
And where are you now with your forlorn
Confessions that cannot be absolved. This
Is penance contributor: the immigrants
Crossing the river on innertubes
Taking the risk you took once
Writing the word fuck flat out as a racehorse
Hitting the wire and snorting blood.

Joan Colby’s Selected  Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and Ribcage was awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. Her recent books include Carnival  from FutureCycle Press, The Seven Heavenly Virtues from Kelsay Books and Her Heartsongs from Presa Press. Her latest book is Joyriding to Nightfall from FutureCycle Press.

Saturday, August 10, 2019


by Karen Neuberg

Demonstrators assemble outside the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in Louisville. (Luke Sharrett/Getty Images via The Washington Post, August 7, 2019)

A breakdown, as in

mind-feed, firearm soul.
We can’t get

the automatic

out of our hands.
The ability

to think
taken over

and with it
ourselves. What’s

it called
when democracy dies.

It’s called
my country.

Karen Neuberg is a Brooklyn-based poet. Her full length collection Pursuit is forthcoming from Kelsay Books. Her latest chapbook is the elephants are asking (Glass Lyre Press, 2018). Her poems have previously appeared in TheNewVerse.News. She is associate editor of the online poetry journal First Literary Review-East.


by Mary K O'Melveny

                        …El Paso (this time)

This is a video game gone quite wrong.
This is a prayer turned to a theme song.
This is a mental health problem.  A strong
response will allow us to move along.

This is a city where migrants have long
been welcome, in serape or sarong,
where border crossers shop for daylong
Walmart bargains—our US torch song.

They sell weapons there too that stoke real fears—
bumpstocks and bullets and bandoliers.
But apparently all is not as it appears,
even as these are checked out by cashiers.

The enabler-in-chief and all his peers
report that we must cover up our ears.
The silencing of rifles would set back years
of cold cash from NRA financiers.

Republicans, whose loyalty is owed
to makers of shiny things that explode,
hide from the press as the mark is towed
while innocents reap what their greed has sowed.

Where bones have shattered and blood has flowed,
these folks blather past each grim episode.
Their words are camouflaged in secret code
while still more angry white men lock and load.

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. Mary’s poetry collection Merging Star Hypotheses will be published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2020.

Friday, August 09, 2019


by Tricia Knoll

You stepped in the doorway.
Come, you said, to comfort me.

A long way to come without
having gone anywhere new,

I thought, the nurse watched
over me to help me contain

my anger, but I could not.
The background: strangers

arrived to check out a victim.
Such a long way to come

without moving an inch.
My fingers searched

for a red flag to hold up
when I spit out

ban assault rifles,
don’t let white men

use them as banners
for hate.

The hate you wave
at every turn.

Tricia Knoll asks how she might feel if she were in a hospital bed after a shooting and the President arrived.


by Tina Barry

Image by Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Invade with your            hot mouth   lie
uncovered among the fragrance      of the world!  
Look at what comes    Look at them    An invasion 
what marches toward us    marches with night-
eyes   An invasion   To be invaded       To be  
“simply defending my country” To deafen
To defend “from cultural and ethnic replace
ment”   The rest are in the light that bursts
into secret        Where what are?  
Things that begin  when fire-
blue waves open fire on 
                    the poor
                parched heart

Author’s Note: The poem’s lines are borrowed from Pablo Neruda’s Love Sonnet “I” in his 100 Love Sonnets and from “El Paso Shooting Suspect’s Manifesto Echoes Trump’s Language,” by Peter Baker and Michael D. Shear, The New York Times, August 4, 2019.

Tina Barry is a freelance writer, poet, short fiction writer and curator. She is the author of Mall Flower (Big Table Publishing, 2016). Tina’s writing has been included in The Best Short Fictions 2016, Drunken Boat, Inch Magazine, Yes, Poetry, Connotation Press, and several anthologies including Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, Feckless Cunt and A Constellation of Kisses. In 2018-2019, Tina conceived and curated “The Virginia Project,” a collaborative written word and visual art exhibition that celebrated Virginia Haggard, the partner of the artist Marc Chagall, and Haggard’s daughter Jean McNeil. Beautiful Raft, the writing that launched the exhibit, will be published this fall. Tina is a teaching artist at The Poetry Barn and Gemini Ink. 

Thursday, August 08, 2019


by David Spicer

“*trigger warning* Rabid Trump supporter” by alex674 at Deviant Art.

I never learned to love
a butterfly’s wings, the ripple of wavy hair.
My old man numbed me with buckles of belts,
along with barbed-wire insults and blame
he loved to wrap around my sensitive head.
He watched with glee when I winced and cried,

a weak kid. As an adolescent I didn’t cry
but with those lack of tears I couldn’t love
myself anymore than a turtle that swallows its head.
I began my journey of odium by growing long hair:
I felt kinship with hippies who blamed
society for their alienated rage and dodged belts

from fathers, who thought nothing of belts
of Jimmy Beam and Johnny Black before they cried
and always found their sons to blame
for being losers in life and love.
Ten years later, I buzz cut my hair,
joined a gang of skinheads

who grunged guitars and cracked heads.
This didn’t happen in Frisco, but the Cotton Belt,
where haters despised long hair and short hair,
but I loathed rednecks— they never cried,
didn’t know the meaning of love
since they never accepted self-blame.

As children, their mothers told them, You’re to blame—
I ought to bash your stupid head
in. Fifteen years later, I still didn’t know love,
so I joined right-wing crackpots who swung belts
at smaller victims, young men we kicked until they cried,
slashing their faces with swastikas, hacking their hair.

Twenty years later, I wonder what happened to my hair.
If I could, I’d find some cretin to cut with blame.
I’d feel better if the whiner whimpered and cried.
Then I’d notch it up and grind his head,
tie up his arms with rusty chains, poison-laced belts,
and after I finished him, I’d call his death my act of love.

I’m not prejudiced. I hate everybody: long hair, bald head.
Who cares, as long as I can blame and whip with a belt?
I can’t cry. I hate myself. I think I’ll buy a gun to love. 

David Spicer has published poems in Alcatraz, Gargoyle, Third Wednesday, Reed Magazine, Oddball Magazine, The Literary Nest,The Tipton Poetry Journal, Synaeresis, Chiron Review, PloughsharesThe American Poetry Review, and elsewhereand in the anthologies Silent Voices: Recent American Poems on Nature (Ally Press), Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing From Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois University Press), Homeworks: A Book of Tennessee Writers (The University of Tennessee Press), and A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press). He has been nominated for a Best of the Net three times and a Pushcart once, and is the author of one full-length collection of poems, Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke's Press), and six chapbooks, the latest of which is Tribe of Two (Seven CirclePress). He is also the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books.


by Gail Thomas

Crosses for each of the victims of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, sit before being taken to a memorial site. CALLAGHAN O’HARE / REUTERS via The Atlantic, August 5, 2019

Innocence dies in every season, bullets spray in America.
Red blossoms swirl and drip, night and day in America.

Prayers don’t erase the names waiting to be spoken.
How many voices stilled? Money betrays in America.

School, church, temple, mosque, theater, mall, club.
False gods, assault weapons stay in America.

Oh, he was a hater, loner, misfit, bully?
Rage hides in plain sight, decay in America.

Abraham, faith-blind father, God saved your son.
We know the enemy within, but we pray in America.

Gail Thomas has published four books: Odd Mercy, Waving Back, No Simple Wilderness, and Finding the Bear. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, and awards include the Charlotte Mew Prize from Headmistress Press for Odd Mercy, the Massachusetts Center for the Book’s Must Read for Waving Back, and Naugatuck River Review’s Narrative Poetry Prize.


Samuel Klug, left, and John Neff visit a memorial at the scene of a mass shooting in the city's historic Oregon District in Dayton, Ohio. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)


Tres personas fueron asesinadas en Gilroy, California
Trevor Irby—Stephen Romero—Keyla Salazar


Veintidós personas fueron asesinadas en El Paso, Texas
Jordan Anchondo—Andre Anchondo—Arturo Benavidez—Javier Rodriguez—Sara Esther Regalado Moriel—Adolfo Cerros Hernández—Gloria Irma Marquez—María Eugenia Legarreta Rothe—Ivan Manzano—Juan de Dios Velázquez Chairez—David Johnson—Leonardo Campos Jr.—Maribel Campos—Angelina Silva Englisbee—Maria Flores—Raul Flores—Jorge Calvillo Garcia—Alexander Gerhard Hoffman—Luis Alfonzo Juarez-Elsa Mendoza de la Mora—Margie Reckard—Teresa Sanchez


Nine people were killed in Dayton Ohio
Megan Betts—Monica Brickhouse—Nicholas Cumer—Derrick Fudge—Thomas J. McNichols—Lois Oglesby—Saeed Saleh—Logan Turner—Beatrice Warren-Curtis

Wednesday, August 07, 2019


by Martin H. Levinson

Map of the 2,162 mass shootings since Sandy Hook. —Vox

twenty-two in El Paso, twenty-one
in San Ysidro, forty-nine in Orlando,
fourteen in San Bernardino,
fifty-eight by a Las Vegas casino,
a crowd of concertgoers,
bodies lying bleeding, a
nation that is reeling, the
core of who we are, posting
hate, loading up, firing fast
and down they go in Walmarts,
at festivals, inside of schools,
inside of bars, one hundred
rounds a minute, death is a
democracy, knows no color,
knows no sex, equality for
all, bullets pierce pliant flesh,
splinter bones, don’t tread on
me the gun nuts say, Columbine
and Parkland, Sandy Hook,
Aurora, thoughts and prayers,
fictitious care, death and
dying everywhere.

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.