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Monday, September 30, 2019


by Damian Balassone

Photo of Greta Thunberg from i-D Vice.

for Greta

This is the season
where the chief commits treason
and the riddler hides behind his rhyme.
This is the year
where the king instills fear
and the atheist prays behind drawn blinds.

This is the show
where nobody knows
if the story is fake or is real.
We’re told this is war
but no one’s quite sure
if they’re meant to crush snakes or bite heels.

This is the night
where the girl of the light
summons the stars and the spheres.
She looks to the skies
with furious eyes
and glimpses the moon through her tears.

Damian Balassone is an Australian poet whose work has appeared in over 100 publications, most notably in The New York Times.  He is the author of three volumes of poetry, including the forthcoming Strange Game in a Strange Land.

Sunday, September 29, 2019


by Lenny Lianne

Again the man said he’d just lost his job.
Again he said he lost his girlfriend.
            He’d just lost his way.
Again the man was lost yet
            said it was a free country.
            The man was lost in a free country and
again he said in this free country
            he’d lost everything,
                           everything that gave him any power,
                                                               any purpose,
                        — except his guns.
            He said in this free country the man with guns
                        had the power, was in power.
            The gun was all-powerful in this country and
again the man said he’d be damned
            if he’d give up this country
to low-life peons,
            said he’d go out of his way to shoot
all good-for-nothing outsiders
with their brown, black or yellow skin,
            illegals who didn’t look like him.
Again he said it was a free country
            and he was free to shoot riffraff
                        whether he looked in their faces first
                        or just aimed straight ahead or
                        to the left or the right.
Again the man said guns gave men power.
            In this free country the man with guns
                        was in charge.
Again he said he was in charge.
                                    In charge of the main event,      
                        the grand slam, the squeeze play,
            the final solution in his free country and
            he and his guns were center stage
                        and in charge.
       In charge of life and death
but mostly death.
Again the man with guns shouted “Charge”
            and shot straight ahead and
            to the right and the left.
And again death,
                   death again,
                        someplace, someday,
anywhere, at any moment,
                        in our country,
                        in this free country,
                   guns and death again
            and again and

Editor's Note: President Trump met in the Oval Office on Friday with Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the National Rifle Association, and discussed prospective gun legislation and whether the N.R.A. could provide support for the president as he faces impeachment and a more difficult re-election campaign, according to two people familiar with the meeting. —The New York Times, September 27, 2019

Lenny Lianne is the author of four full-length books of poetry. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, Poet Lore, Third Wednesday, Southern Poetry Review and other journals and anthologies. She holds a MFA from George Mason University. She's taught poetry workshops on both coasts. Lenny and her husband live in Peoria, Arizona.

Saturday, September 28, 2019


by Marsha Owens

This thing called impeachment is a strictly political process I learned when I was 17, this thing is like a hurricane you hope doesn’t happen like you hope every elected official remembers Gov’t 101 too, and remembers that this thing exists like posts supporting the pier buffeted by waves and winds, worn with footsteps from end to end, decade after decade, a sanctuary where you go to feel sunshine, to hear birdsong, to throw out a fishing line, to sit, to dream, to contemplate Ethics 101,
to pray the posts never fail. 

Marsha Owens is a retired educator who lives and writes in Richmond VA. Her poems and essays have appeared at TheNewVerse.News, Huffington Post, TheWildWord, Rat’s Ass Review, and Streetlight Magazine. She is a co-editor of the recently released poetry anthology Lingering in the Margins.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Thursday, September 26, 2019


by Tricia Knoll

Donald Trump with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the UN on Wednesday. Democrats said the transcript of the pair’s call represented a ‘devastating’ betrayal of America. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images via The Guardian, Sept. 25, 2019

for the times they portend,
the times we were called to hold in memory.

My old-maid French teacher weeping silently
when the high school intercom announced
     President Kennedy is dead. The horse
     without a rider and the little boy’s salute.

During a beer strike in British Columbia, the radio
     told us Nixon resigned.

A hush in the Yale Law School dining room
    when TV announced we were bombing Cambodia.

Assassinations of Reverend Martin Luther King,
Robert Kennedy, the slaughter of so many innocents
   in so many places with weapons meant for war

The piece of the Berlin wall in my desk drawer.

Oh, our parents told stories of Pearl Harbor,
D-Day. Yes, a man landed on the moon.
Yes, we elected a President with a darker
skin color than mine.

Others do not come to mind right now.
Add your own.

Whatever happens next, skullduggery and lies
or the light of truth pushing aside the shadows,

the day impeachment opens into T***p’s world
of bigotry, aggrandizement, and hate

I’ll know this as the day I worked out back
yanking invasive buckthorn and honeysuckle

how hard I had to scrub to remove
the dirt from under my fingernails.

Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet who fears the coming disasters of climate crisis as much as she deplores the political nightmare of the Trump era. Her work appears widely in journals and anthologies. Her most recent collection How I Learned To Be White received the 2018 Indie Book Award for motivational poetry.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019


by Ralph La Rosa

This evolution of revolution
is a student-led crusade,
its first and foremost resolution:
saving earth can’t be delayed.

Ralph La Rosa remembers the good old bad days and hopes for better. His next book in the works is My Miscellaneous Muse: Poem Pastiches & Whimsical Words.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019


by Orel Protopopescu

Credit: necn

Let the jellyfish come,
bloated, like warming seas,
tying their tentacles
around the rudders of ships,
until even the willfully blind
will see smoke rising
from the scorched lungs
of the Earth.

Let the jellyfish come,
waving thin, pale arms,
peeling off the blinders
of indifference and despair,
awakening hosts of children,
stirring the birds
we shed like old moons
as we burn away skies.

Let the jellyfish come
with a sting for every sin,  
marking crime scenes
with their toxic,
bloody flowers,
flashing red alarms
through the acid oceans
we set on simmer.

Orel Protopopescu won the Oberon poetry prize in 2010 and a commendation in the Second Light Live competition, 2016. Her poems have appeared in TheNewVerse.News, Light Poetry Magazine, Lighten Up Online, and paper-based reviews and anthologies. Her book of translations (with Siyu Liu), A Thousand Peaks, Poems from China, was honored by the NYPL. Other publications: a book for teachers of poetry, prize-winning picture books, a bilingual poetry app for children and a chapbook, What Remains. She is currently completing work on a biography of the legendary ballerina, Tanaquil Le Clercq. 

Monday, September 23, 2019


by Earl J. Wilcox

“Trump has ordered aides to figure out a sweeping plan to address staggering increases in homelessness in Los Angeles and other cities, particularly in California. One option being considered is relocating homeless people from “skid row” to the unused FAA facility in Hawthorne, government officials have told The Washington Post. One government official involved in the planning questioned the feasibility and legality of the relocation plan. ‘It is the stupidest idea I have ever heard,’ said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid professional repercussions.” —The Washington Post, September 17, 2019. Photo: The "skid row" area of Los Angeles in January 2018. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images via The Washington Post). See also “Donald Trump Knows How to End Homelessness” by David A. Graham in The Atlantic, September 19, 2019.

He who gurgled in a gilded womb,
was born in a Manhattan mansion,
grew up and lived in splendor,
was schooled in every grace
of wealth a millionaire’s family
could provide.

He who has spent seven decades
in a lavish lifestyle—towers and
trinkets and  trivial pursuit of money
and fame.

Supposes, proposes, disposes himself
to pronounce a funky solution for us
who sleep on heating grates,
who use supermarket carts for valets,
who cook and copulate under bridges,
who hunger in pain 24/7 in doorways
beneath rag-tag quilts.

Earl Wilcox’s poetry first appeared in TheNewVerse.News in December, 2006. Since that time, his poems have regularly found a home here and in various other print and online journals. In his 87th year, he continues to observe the world from South Carolina.

Saturday, September 21, 2019


by Guillermo Filice Castro

I have crossed you, taken your job. I am
a non-divine force, succubus to wholesome
American households. Here to clean you out,
me, a spick-and-span spic. May your ears
fester with my yips and squeals after you latch
the cage. Ay ay ay ay ay ay ay ay. But ah,
what an angel Earth once was to all creatures,
prey and non-prey. And your prayer is open carry
and semiautomatic. Build a wall, build a fire.
In your man cave we can safely un-selfie
one another. Mira, mister, I’m hungry,
a rude corpse. The zombie Uber you never called.
I will rise from wherever you toxic-dump me.
Darling, I’ve come to oxycontin you.

Guillermo Filice Castro is a queer immigrant from Argentina. His most recent chapbook is Mixtape for a War from Seven Kitchens Press. He lives in New Jersey.


by Jessica Ginting

Photo: Noah Dillon/courtesy NRDC via Fast Company

There is something terrifying about reaching the end of a season
in this age of climate change.

Perhaps this will be the last time it will be like this
and every coming year will be the first time again.

How do we recall moments, or periods, in time without patterns?
Our tapestry needs to be redone, reworked
into a garment fit for wear; our seasonal clothes, replaced
with a wardrobe organized by survival needs.

A coat for the snowstorm, scarves for the haze, hard hats for the quakes,
sturdy boots for the floods & fashionable oxygen masks
for when we’re really at the end of all available seasons.

There is something terrifying about reaching the end of this season,
and not knowing what to wear for the next one.

Jessica Ginting, a writer from Jakarta currently residing in London, has completed a Master's degree in Publishing. Her poetry has been published in Anak Sastra, a South East Asian literary magazine, as well as other publications such as The Bristol Poetry Anthology 2018 and That's What She Said Magazine. Her debut poetry collection Moon Petals was launched at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali in 2017. She is also the writer and creator of the Indonesian superhero comic,  ROSANA!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Thursday, September 19, 2019


by Carl Mayfield 

A man is a child
at both ends of life

and much of the time
between dawn and dusk,

touching his toes
to illustrate how the head

can drop out of sight
and still send thoughts

scurrying in every direction
to bounce off other heads

not all there but alive
in a juice neither visible

nor mute, allowing the new arrival
to pick up a language

to discover how far away
words can be from what matters

while noticing how few travelers
sense there is but one tribe

gathered under a toxic sky
which kills everyone, though

not all look up in time to see
their assassin—themselves—

winking back. A pail should be issued
at birth, to play in the sand at first,

then later to bail water out of the desert
as the second childhood shows up,

a little too late to be enjoyed
but with no less power to stun

as it performs the dead man's float.

Carl Mayfield lives and writes at the extreme northern edge of the Chihuahua Desert. His two most recent chapbooks are High Desert Cameos and Gather Round All Ye Wild Children of the Defrocked Atom.


by Paul Smith

The Trump administration last Thursday announced the repeal of a major Obama-era clean water regulation that had placed limits on polluting chemicals that could be used near streams, wetlands and other bodies of water. The rollback of the 2015 measure, known as the Waters of the United States rule, adds to a lengthy list of environmental rules that the administration has worked to weaken or undo over the past two and a half years. … An immediate effect of the clean water repeal is that polluters will no longer need a permit to discharge potentially harmful substances into many streams and wetlands. Photo: An oil rig docked in Sabine Pass, Tex. The repeal means industrial pollution will be able to flow more freely into waterways. Credit: Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times, September 12, 2019

Overturning the US Waters rule of 2015
Betrays our country’s best instincts to preserve our
Assets – streams, creeks, rivers, waterways, but
Many of us believe this is a smokescreen, a hidden
Agenda to repeal everything that came before 2016

Paul Smith is a civil engineer who has worked in the construction racket for many years. He has traveled all over the place and met lots of people. Some have enriched his life. Others made him wish he or they were all dead. He likes writing poetry and fiction. He also likes Newcastle Brown Ale. If you see him, buy him one. His poetry and fiction have been published in Convergence, Packingtown Review, Literary Orphans, TheNewVerse.News, and other lit mags.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


by Howie Good

The Saudis fly American Apache and Black Hawk helicopters into Yemen from military bases in Saudi Arabia … Though the U.S. has denied engaging directly in hostilities against the Houthis, American MQ-9 Reaper drones – a reconnaissance drone with hunt-and-kill capabilities—have flown over Houthi occupied territory. After the Houthis shot down one of the drones in October 2017, it led to speculation that the U.S. could be using them to collect intelligence for the Saudis. Targeting being effectuated by American drones could mean that U.S. drones play a more active role in coalition targeting, like laser-sighting precision-guided munitions drops, for example. U.S. Central Command strongly denied that U.S. drones have any operational role in coalition targeting. ‘The U.S. military does not provide that type of support to the Saudi-led coalition,’ a CENTCOM spokesperson told The Intercept by email. ‘Our role with the Saudi-led coalition is advisory only. We provide intelligence and advise the coalition on best practices, air-to-ground space awareness, and the law of armed conflict.’ —The Intercept, April 15, 2019. Photo: A Saudi Apache at war in Yemen in 2017. —The Baghdad Post.

Government helicopters
hovering over a burning village

Moths around the porch light

Bees in among the marigolds
hijacking precious pollen

Mercenaries who never got paid

It was you who left the door open
let this fly into the house

The buzz of military drones

Howie Good is the author most recently of Spooky Action at a Distance from Analog Submission Press.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


by Joanne Godley

The United Nations refugee convention of 1951 provides the basis for American asylum laws. Unlike the Trump plan, it does not prevent refugees from traveling through several countries before landing in the United States and seeking asylum. But it does ban signatories to the convention, like the United States, from deporting asylum seekers to countries where their safety is at risk, a process formally known as “refoulement.” —The New York Times, September 14, 2019. Photo: Members of a migrant caravan made up mostly of Hondurans and Cubans resting in the town plaza of Escuintla, Chiapas, Mexico, in April.Credit: Brett Gundlock for The New York Times.

put the word out  on the street    we’re out of asylum         finished      weʻre not stocking asylum this season    there’ll be no safe harbor here    if you were looking for justice / equality / a listening hand / freedom from persecution     we used to carry all those things but no more
asylum was way too popular!     everybody wanted it!   we couldn’t keep it on the shelves    it got out of hand     anyway we won’t be offering asylum under this current management
you ask—is there anywhere  you can go to  get some asylum these days? under the table? you’d pay above market price?  you say  you just want a whiff?  well   you might try our neighbor to the  north—they may have a small amount of vintage asylum  left         i wouldn’t advise trying our southern neighbor    they’re liable to tell you “si, como no    asylum”  then try and  interest you in  some AR-15s smuggled from here to there

Joanne Godley is a practicing physician and poet whose work has appeared in the anthology 50/50: Poems and Translations by Women over Fifty and the Kenyon Review blog. She lives in Maine.

Monday, September 16, 2019


by Freya Jackson

Three years on & Brexit
is still hypothetical, defined only
as itself, by itself. Brexit is Brexit.
It has been measured, weighed.

It is no heavier than
the glue on the back of a postage
stamp (and tastes like God save
us all) and it is no lighter than

the shield of Saint George,
built from jingoism & thin plastic
painted to look like bronze;
it is ungraspable: too like itself to hold.

This land inherits division
from itself. Brexit, Brexit, Brexit,
something is chanting in the street,
I am not sure who is speaking

or what they want from me.
Every day thousands of calls
gush into the home office, each
orison: all these years, I’ve been here,

lived here, pay taxes, have loved,
even the rain, isn’t that what home is:
the sound of your keys dropped in
the bowl by the door, I need to know,

how much more, please, hold,
please, hold, please, please,
listen—isn’t the definition of citizen
those who live inside the city?

Even the smog outside us is swollen
with conjecture. Doubt distorts
thought. Every time we attempt
to perceive the word

it loses some part of itself:
look at a thing often enough,
it loses definition, becomes
sharp toothed & meaningless.

Strip the bones off of a ghost
& you are left only with hot air.
Bodiless, it winds around us all—
certain only in its uncertainty.

Freya Jackson is a writer from Leeds. Her poetry has previously been published in places including Magma, Arc Magazine, The Cadaverine and The Interpreters House. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her graphic short story “Joy” in 2016. She is a winner of one of New Writing North’s New North Poets Awards for 2019.

Sunday, September 15, 2019


by Barbara Simmons  

after Muhammed Ali

Not sure where that is, sometimes, my room, my home,
but this west coast city has too many zip codes,
and too many faces that turn away
don’t look at you, sometimes beyond, afraid connecting might mean
you want something and here there are too many
whose wants aren’t being met
whose needs go unwatched whose backs we don’t have.
Sounds on this hot Sunday rise like hot air sending gospel notes
beyond the outdoors stage, lifting words that catch up with my feet
so I am walking keeping time
walking and watching and walking and listening and walking and hearing
“Give me your arms for the broken hearted    and San Jose cried with Dayton and El Paso and Gilroy.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten   and San Jose cries for all who don’t have refuge.
Give me your eyes so I can see”   and I cry until my tears clear my eyes, and I hear
the words on your t-shirt sing to me of  Ali, you walking towards me, me looking at you with you.
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth
My room here on earth—so many rooms where I’ve slept and risen
loved, been lost, saved, often still looking for redemption, my many lives
spent trying to understand  words we wear, words we feel, words I say.
I stop to mouth the words to you, to all of you, that yes I’ll have your back
I’ll read and listen and watch and hear and see and see and see.

Barbara Simmons grew up in Boston and lives in California; her dual environment—shapes, skylines, even color wheels—informs her poetry, as do her families of origin and extended. She graduated from Wellesley College, received an MA in The Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University, and an MA in Educational Administration from Santa Clara University. As a secondary school English teacher, she was able to revisit texts she loved with students who inspired her to think more about how we communicate with each other on pages/screens as well as face-to-face. Retired, Simmins savors the smaller parts of life and language, exploring the communion of words as ways to remember and to envision and to heal. Publications have included Santa Clara Review, Hartskill Review, Boston Accent, Soul Lit, Hamline Review, Oasis Anthology, Writing it Real and Common Ground, among others, as well as short Perspectives on NPR affiliate. 

Saturday, September 14, 2019


by Wendy Hoffman

Justice is a pebble under the rug you trip over,
a slipped stitch on embroidery,
mail that fails to be delivered.

I want to give my kids life
so the gangs won’t rape
or kill them,
so we can buy food, not steal.

Does that make me a criminal?
It makes me unwanted.
I didn’t think we’d make it to the border
but we did, thirsty, filthy.

I thought the children would faint,
I carried the youngest.
Asylum: that was for the old days.

The stiff legged officers pace like dictators.
Some enjoy, some hate, their job.
All my children severed from my spine,

its sound like a building demolished.
Our pleading cries carry no weight,
our filled lungs don’t matter.

Will I hug empty air for the rest of my life?
I don’t know where they took my children,
I may never feel or smell them again.
The space between us is deeper than a grave.

How can people in uniforms rip out my soul?
This theft will be engraved in my children’s minds forever.
First starvation, then murder of our bond.
They send me home alone.

What will they do with my children,
who cares about them?
Asylum: a dream from the past,
democracy doesn’t exist.

The gangs are restless,
they know I am here,
they prowl.

Wendy Hoffman is a retired social worker. Karnac Books, London, published her memoirs in 2014 and 2015, and a co-authored book of essays, in 2017. Her books are now with Aeon Publishers in England and Routlege in New York. Her first book of poetry was published in 2016. A new memoir is forthcoming. She has a MFA in creative writing and lives on the Olympic Peninsula with her dog.

Friday, September 13, 2019


by Stewart Shaw

“It’s been two years since a 26-year-old Black gay male died in the West Hollywood home of a 63-year-old white man and 243 days since the second one died. That’s not a typo. Yes, I said the second one. Despite the many young Black men who stepped forward in the wake of the deaths of Gemmel Moore, and later Timothy Dean, with text messages, plane tickets, voicemails, screenshots and videos recounting similar stories about Ed Buck, a Democratic activist and major donor who they say has a Tuskegee Experiment-like fetish which includes shooting meth into young Black men that he picks up off the street or via dating hookup websites, no charges have been filed against Buck in either death.” —Jasmyne Cannick, The Advocate, September 11, 2019. “The first pre-trial court hearing will take place on Monday [September 16, 2019] in the wrongful death civil rights lawsuit filed against Ed Buck, L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Assistant Head Deputy D.A. Craig Hum in the 2017 meth overdose death of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore in Buck’s West Hollywood apartment.” —WEHOville, September 10, 2019. WEHOville photo above: Jerome Kitchen, a friend of Gemmel Moore’s, speaking at the rally on Laurel Avenue in West Hollywood in July with Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, at left, and organizer Jasmyne Cannick at right.

for Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean


No one can hear the crying. The white man who plays daddy or god, who wants my awe, my bended knee tribute, his ears that do not pick up the frequencies of such lonely cries, are on backwards, are not attune to blk boy misery.

I can hear the echoes of past supplicants; they walk over my grave. I ask him if he feels the heavy, vibrating air circulating through the room.  His soft-spaced body pitted with an excess of hubris, self-loathing, only detects its own insatiable appetites for worship and dick and ass; a blk body more synecdoche than spirit. He

Does not believe in blk pain, just white pleasures. So, I give this god his want, give him my blk body to fill with poison, give him my neediness, my hopes in exchange for his lust and pieces of silver. I will indulge his fantasy, bow down at the altar of his self-righteousness; swing from his lustful ego. When I die

Bury me in the blue of divinity, let no white sheet adorn my skin. Drop me into the ocean, let the salt cleanse my veins, carry my body away from the hunt.

Stewart Shaw is a poetry and fiction writer and the author of the chapbook The House of Men from Glass Lyre Press. His poems have been published in African American Review, Temenos Literary Journal, Serendipity and others, as well as short stories in Mighty Real: An Anthology of African American Same Gender Loving Writing and African Voices. He is a Cave Canem Poetry Fellow.

Thursday, September 12, 2019


by Cathleen Calbert

Chaos presidency, sighed MSNBC.
I thought of bombs blasting, black holes, and tornadoes,
how no kid wants a home that’s unsafe and crazy
with a mom screaming and a dad who ups and goes.
My husband and I don’t have children, just trauma
from fucked up childhoods, I suppose, along with doubt
about those who thrive on narcissistic drama
as does the USA’s own proud tangerine lout,
so we rail along with our small screens, piss and moan
our way to a messy sleep, and don’t even kiss
on the lips as often as lovers ought but drone
on and on about this political abyss.
It’s hard to believe we’re the adults in the room.
But we are, dear. Time’s up, timed out, time for a broom.

Cathleen Calbert’s writing has appeared The Nation, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. She is the author of four books of poems: Lessons in Space, Bad Judgment, Sleeping with a Famous Poet, and The Afflicted Girls. Her awards include the 92nd Street Y Discovery Poetry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and the Sheila Motton Book Prize.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


by David Feela

Summer camp, scrapped
for the Taliban at Camp David,
the outing such a secret
not even the Taliban knew

if there’d be time for swimming
before their bombs blew.
The commander and chief
counselor promised

hot dogs and marshmallows,
airplane rides, and maybe
if they were good a story
around the campfire

about thousands of ghosts
who still haunt the woods.

David Feela writes a monthly column for The Four Corners Free Press and for The Durango Telegraph. A poetry chapbook Thought Experiments won the Southwest Poet Series. The Home Atlas appeared in 2009. A collection of his essays How Delicate These Arches was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. Unsolicited Press released his newest chapbook Little Acres in April 2019.


by Jacqueline Jules

Photo of the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial by Mike Myers

Across the river in D.C., tourists
come from all over the country
to touch walls honoring
soldiers who died
in Vietnam, Korea,
Europe, and other places
far from American soil.

But here in this sacred place
built beside a structure
still standing in spite of attack,
I read the name of a three-year-old
seated on a plane with her parents
and older sister.

Here, water flows in shallow pools
as I walk with silent steps
between 184 benches
made of stainless steel and granite,
each one positioned to preserve
the last moments of someone
who died in a ball of fire
on a clear September morning.

Here, I stand beside
young trees planted in the hope
visitors will value their shade
as they come from all over
to remember the lives lost here,
not somewhere else, far away.

Jacqueline Jules is the author of the poetry chapbooks Field Trip to the Museum, Stronger Than Cleopatra, and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her work has appeared in over 100 publications including TheNewVerse.News, The Rising Phoenix Review, What Rough Beast, Public Pool, Rise Up Review and Gargoyle.  She lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019


by Edmund Conti

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting chief scientist said in an email to colleagues Sunday that he is investigating whether the agency’s response to President Trump’s Hurricane Dorian tweets constituted a violation of NOAA policies and ethics. Also on Monday, the director of the National Weather Service broke with NOAA leadership over its handling of Trump’s Dorian tweets and statements. —The Washington Post, September 9, 2019

to the tune of "Matchmaker" from Fiddler on the Roof

Mapmaker, Mapmaker
Make me some maps
And put in some storms there
A Cat 5 perhaps.
Then you will have to
Send me relief.
Just a few billions
Will allay my grief.
Mapmaker, Mapmaker
Take out your Sharpie
Use all your witchcraft
Be your best Harpy.
Matchmaker, Matchmaker
Add a small line
And soon we’ll see FEMA
And life here in Alabama (or Georgia or Mississippi) will be fine.

Edmund Conti will alter your poem for a small fee and make it his.

Monday, September 09, 2019


by Michael Brockley

Bibles with cherrypicked scriptures highlighted in red lay scattered along the culvert on my way to Casa del Sol. Border songs play on my radio. In a decade all the rock-and-rollers will turn out the lights after their final encores. No more rockin’ in the free world. No more trouble in the heartland. No more Ruthie in her Memphis honky-tonk lagoon. The waitress who serves a whiskey sour with my aroz con camarones is beautiful with her black widow tattoo inked down to her wrist and in the way she outsmiles Halle Berry. She wears a diamond stud in her pierced nose. Rides King’s Island’s Invertigo and Banshee without a safety net. When music award shows play on the television behind the bar, she roots for Drake or Cardi B. Says her mother bought records by Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding. Remembers wearing out a 45 of I Heard It Through the Grapevine one summer. I listen to sharecropper songs on the drive home. To songs by a singer named for a woman who rings like a bell in the night. A woman of constant sorrow who walks the freedom highway. I toss my dashboard Jesus out the window. The white Messiah. No one sings we won’t get fooled again. No one is running on empty tonight.

Michael Brockley is a retired school psychologist who lives in Muncie, Indiana. His poems have appeared in Third Wednesday, Jokes Review and TheNewVerse.News.

Sunday, September 08, 2019


by Alejandro Escudé

“The public needs to prepare for unimaginable information about the death toll and the human suffering.” —Bahamas Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands.

You shall prepare for the unimaginable.
The unimaginable tree that you will use
To construct a boat. The lighting that will strike
You as you’re falling into the pit. What pit?
You imagine that too, though it’s unimaginable.
Food can’t be imagined, unless one is a child.
And neither can healthcare, again,
Unless one remembers playing doctor.
You can’t imagine another planet, can you?
Another President with larger, more capable hands?
A car is a figment of the imagination, a flying car
To rescue you from your home, as it floats
Upon the sea. Wreckage is medieval marginalia—
You can use wreckage to make a poster,
As you might use macaroni to make art.
Can you imagine a stronger heart
To support the death you can’t imagine?
The death that begins on the unimaginable horizon,
Where dark clouds meet the rising sea,
Whispering, then shouting, then screaming
For help from the unimaginable authorities
Flying in on their helicopters, which are nothing
More than dragonflies, hovering above
A shallow pond, and the inundated world below.

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, September 07, 2019


by Scott Bade

via Good

          Well, I won't back down
          No, I won't back down
          You can stand me up at the gates of hell
          But I won't back down
                 —Tom Petty

I’m dead because I’m not giving in
not backing down like the song says
so plainly we almost wonder if he’s
being ironic behind his laid-back
persona which hides a driven artist
whose Americanism hangs directly
upon the red white, blue and green
ethics of a capitalist republic blown
up beyond anything a dream could
dream up if it had the time to wonder
what might happen if we let wealth
unbuckle its belt and hang loose
on humanity’s sofa, a phone in
hand to scan the endlessness
of desire: video after video after
video of nubile young bodies
performing their roles for those
who have put them there and who
hope to keep them there, tied
inside a loop of patriarchy and
testosterone, a world man made
for man to man world to hold
himself above everyone even
himself, who knows his past,
knows the wrongs he’s lived
and knows the wrongs he covered
          and so I’m hanging here above
all of us, even me, so that no
one can touch me, except
myself, which is, after all
really all I’ve ever needed.

Scott Bade earned his Ph.D. in creative writing at Western Michigan University (WMU). In addition to teaching at Kalamazoo College and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Scott is also the coordinator of the WMU Center for the Humanities. He is a former poetry editor for Third Coast Magazine and editorial assistant at New Issues Press. His chapbook My Favorite Thing About Desire was a co-winner of the 2018 Celery City Chapboook contest. His poems have appeared in Fugue, Shadowgraph, H_NGM_N, Foothill and elsewhere.

Friday, September 06, 2019


by Carolyn Wells

Researchers with the Danish Meteorological Institute making their way over meltwater topping sea ice in northwest Greenland STEFFEN OLSEN via Forbes, August 16, 2019

If Greenland is melting,
I'm going to drink expensive Sancerre.
The reefs are bleached, the white rhinos extinct , the pangolins over hunted,
the forests of Siberia burning, the 2 degree Celsius rising.
I'm going to read the entire works of Dickens. I'm going to quit my job and make soap, sleep with young men, plant carrots and onions and store them all winter, sell my apartment and finally go live in France, where I will stand in silence in front of each WW1 monument, and reflect.
You who died for no reason.

Carolyn Wells is a member of Brevitas poetry group in NYC and a contributor to Alimentum. Her book Your Kiss is a River was published by Nirala Press.

Thursday, September 05, 2019


by Lois Marie Harrod

Image source: Getty Images via Vice.

In high school, the usual which pleased the boys, and in college
the predictable, goldfish and frogs with beer,
and, on a whim or a dare and after a little practice,
swords. Before graduating she became the star of her sorority
when she ate 69 hot dogs in ten minutes. Later,
she swallowed the diamond ring her fiancé put in a Softee—
seems he thought it would be an unusual way to ask for her hand and her throat,
and once she had that kid in diapers, safety pins open and shut.
The day she turned forty-five, she downed the restaurant spoons and forks,
and most recently she feasted on the more than ten thousand lies
told by the President which wasn’t as bad as it sounds
because by then lots of other people were swallowing oddities too—
concrete walls and steel barriers, the Golan Heights, Bears Ears,
Greenland with all its ICE and those nice White Supremacists—

which brought on a national epidemic of distressed intestines
and shut down nearly every hospital and nursing home in the country—
there no longer being medical insurance to cover belly aches,
or for that matter, any poorly paid immigrants to fill the health-care jobs—
unless, of course, you were very rich and had had practice in swallowing it all whole.

Lois Marie Harrod’s 17th collection Woman is forthcoming from Blue Lyra in December 2019. Her Nightmares of the Minor Poet appeared in June 2016 from Five Oaks; her chapbook And She Took the Heart appeared in January 2016; Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. A Dodge poet, she is published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches at the Evergreen Forum in Princeton and at The College of New Jersey.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019


by Alejandro Escudé

The face of the oldest species that unambiguously sits on the human evolutionary tree has been revealed for the first time by the discovery of a 3.8 million-year-old skull in Ethiopia. Above: A partial facial reconstruction using the fossil. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images via The Guardian, August 28, 2019.

“President Donald Trump said Wednesday he was looking ‘very seriously’ at ending the right to citizenship for babies born to non-U.S. citizens on American soil. Trump spoke to reporters as he departed the White House for a speech in Louisville, Kentucky. He said birthright citizenship was ‘frankly ridiculous.’ —Time, August 21, 2019

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” —The 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

He died beside a river
and now, four million years later,
his cranium—his face, eyes looking through us
as if we were the moon in fog
four million years ago, a Wednesday,
though there were no Wednesdays and no
citizenship, only toddlers climbing trees,
only the chewing of grist,
the rock, the rock, the rock, the tree, the tree, the tree.
For what is birthright? Who belongs to what nation?
Can a nation really exit? Exit what?
Ask Australopithecus anamensis. He will tell you,
that loopy grin, earthy beard. Skin of our skin.
Heart of our heart. What do we feel
for him? Love? Ignorance is intolerance.
Historical, the complete skull.
No Lucy counterpart, a separate being.
What of the son born in a common territory
across the sea? Will he climb trees
with his brothers and sisters? Will he murder
other species of human? Or mate?
We may never know the ancient map-way
of genes that led here— the trail
of skulls shattered by time,
but we have that face, his face,
and we have the love that dissolves time,
and understanding, yes,
our birthright going back to Ethiopia,
our citizenship papers rolled
within the hollow bones of the birds.

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.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019


by Mary K O'Melveny

“Can’t breathe” by Hong Kong artist Benson Koo at society6.


said Eric Garner, his loosies scattered
like toothpicks on the street, his chest
and neck compressed, his body battered,
then prone, as Daniel Pantaleo pressed
down harder until nothing mattered,
leaving questions for some later inquest.


said Hong Kong protesters whose lungs
filled with tear gas as police fired
more cannisters and aimed their guns
toward their hearts, hoping they would grow tired
of trying to imagine worlds of other suns
where democracy was still admired.


said medics in hospital rooms, as patients
arrived in great numbers, gasping for air
while tobacco CEOs made deals in spacious
office suites for vaping products, aware
that regulations are slim and use contagious,
betting as usual that not enough would care.


said the driver who found a woman walking
alone on the roadway as Paradise fires raged,
her car abandoned long before, tires melting.
From his pickup, too hot to touch, he gauged
the odds of rescue and the dangers of stalking
cinders, then leapt out—one catastrophe assuaged.


said migrants still floating on choppy seas
about fellow travelers catapulted overboard
flailing, then sinking, while they watched with unease.
They had prayed to gods when they climbed aboard
these flimsy rafts and trembling skiffs. Those pleas
have thinned to terror as they continue seaward.


said the mother whose wheezing child
struggled for each breath in and out,
while methane gas levels went wild
and fossil fuel fumes expanded throughout
their Appalachian hills. Even with their air defiled.
some still said there’s nothing to worry about.


said Southeast Asian villagers choking in heat
and smog. Their farmlands cleared for palm oil,
nothing remains to be burned except the peat
which smolders like angry words beneath soil
while carbon fills the air with coppery sleet
and once lush jungles are forever spoiled.


said Mother Earth as Amazonian flames
joined those in Africa and Alaska to devour
her greenest places. As thick forests turned to arid plains
and savannahs, what once were leafy bowers
degraded to dieback deserts. Scientists maintain
some hope but she’s fast losing respiratory powers

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.

Monday, September 02, 2019


by Phyllis Wax

Frenzied spectators
shoulder to shoulder
in the stadium, the coliseum,                                            
Hit ‘em again,
harder, harder.
                        Blood sport—
gleaming helmets, shields,
spears, fists, muscled strong-men,
beasts—and the roar
harder, harder.

Pass flasks,
stomp, stomp
in togas
or in team jerseys.
Hit ‘em again.

Week after week
spectators demand            
extreme combat,
harder, harder,
aggression no armor
protects against.                              

Combatants exit arenas    
to cheers    or jeers,
sometimes bloodied, limping
to reap the whirlwind years ahead
                        through     a        fog

Monday nights, in front of the
flickering lights, I think about it.

Phyllis Wax writes in Milwaukee on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.  Among the anthologies and journals in which her poetry has appeared are Rhino, The Widows’ Handbook,Birdsong, Spillway, Peacock Journal, Surreal Poetics, Naugatuck River Review, TheNewVerse.News, Portside, and Star 82 Review. She does not watch football or boxing. Reach her at poetwax38(at)

Sunday, September 01, 2019


by Richard Garcia


For you will be lifted up. For you will be thrown down.                                                                   Frank X. Gaspar, 'September Tropical'

The eye of the storm is turning towards us, the wheel of Biblical wind approaches, and my wife is watching a YouTube video, instructions on how to use the come-along, and she says, Come along with me, watch this, and don't place your forehead down on the table and roll your head back-and-forth, as if you were saying, What has she done now. And the tall man in the plaid shirt says, don't get your fingers caught in the gears of the come-along. And I get it: what if you have to drag the water-logged sofa across the floor of your living room and it's too heavy? You have the come-along. What if your generator, filled with gas and potentially explosive, is too heavy to lift over the flooded lawn and plug into the mysterious socket? You have the come-along. So this is how the Egyptians built the pyramids. They had Hebrew slaves and many come-alongs. This is how the Aztecs built those temples. They did not have wheels, they did not have gears, but they had tortillas and they were round, and the bite marks along a crusted edge of tortilla would suggest to them the gears of the come-along. The come-along—this is how we will ride out the storm, my love and I. This is how we will drag ourselves, drag our house, drag our dog Max—one chain attached to a tree, one chain attached to our house, both chains attached to the come-along—click by ratchety click, across the swirling, god-driven hurricane, to higher ground. 

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