Guidelines



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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

VANDALISM AT A MILITARY CEMETERY

by Janice D. Soderling


Dozens of Commonwealth graves have been daubed with swastikas and other symbols at a cemetery dedicated to those fought in the first and second world wars. The headstones were vandalised with red spray paint overnight at the Haifa war cemetery in northern Israel, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). It comes just days after several other Commonwealth graves were knocked over at Belfast City Cemetery in Northern Ireland. —The London Economic, October 11, 2019


Indifferent to the clangor at their tent,
the dusty lads sleep on.
Allied in unilateral descent,
indifferent to the clangor at their tent,
and to the tiffs of kings or president.
Unmindful of thick darkness and bright dawn,
indifferent to the clangor at their tent
the dusty lads sleep on.


Janice D. Soderling, poet, writer and translator, is a previous contributor to TheNewVerse.News. Her work in Spanish translation was recent at La libélula vaga and her own translations from Swedish to English are forthcoming at Better than Starbucks.

LATE NIGHT IN A SMOKY BAR AN OLD SWASTIKA DRINKS WHISKEY WITH THE GODDESS ISIS

by Kit Loney




You say a terrorist stole your name? I hear you, sister. Back in the day I was easy in my skin, passed among the creatures of the earth like a fine breeze. I was whirling dervish. Pelican diving. Windmill. Showed travelers the way to Buddhist temples. Would appear on kimono sleeves in sky-blue silk brocade to gather good fortune. Faced left in Sanskrit to juggle dots and dance on pointed toes. Man, those were the days. The Navajo would invite me to kneel on woven carpets for sacred healing chants. I was earth, air, fire, and water. north, west, south, and east. Then one day I’m grabbed from behind, knocked out cold. In fog of fever dreams I’m something small and lethal, like a pistol, dread burning up red from the tail of my spine. Wake up decades later. Splitting headache. Hands covered in blood. These days the Japanese kids call me Mangi, some hashtag to hip as if that Hitler nightmare never happened. But sister, I‘m still covered in scars, still shaking. Oh God! What have I done? And this new tide of angry men with their hands clenching my every arm. No ocean on earth is deep enough. Sister, help me, please!


Kit Loney comes to poetry from a career in visual arts. Her poems have appeared in Prime Number Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, Fall Lines, Emrys Journal, Kakalak, Yemassee, Qarrtsiluni, Waccamaw, One, and Poetry East. In 2012 she received the Carrie McCray Nickens Poetry Fellowship from the SC Academy of Authors.

Monday, October 21, 2019

FALL IS BEAUTIFUL

by Katherine West




Holly turning red
all along the winding trail,
little flames of fall
amongst the wildflowers—
silver hair of the forest

She is dying, dry
before rain, dry after rain
her children all dead
before they are born, before
the holly can burn, it burns

Eighty years to die—
eighty years for the river
eighty years for me
amongst the wildflowers—
silver hair of the river

She is dying, dry
before rain, dry after rain
her children all dead
before they are born, before
the trout can spawn, they are gone

Fall is beautiful
leaves now turning red as blood
all my long, long life
I was a leaf on your tree
but now we fall together


Katherine West is the author of three poetry collections—The Bone Train, Scimitar Dreams, and Riddle–and has had poetry published in such journals as Bombay Gin, Lalitamba, TheNewVerse.News, La Petite Zine among others.  She lives and teaches poetry workshops about wilderness writing near Silver City, New Mexico.  

Sunday, October 20, 2019

EXHUMATION OF RELICS, 2008

by Julie Steiner


“I wish, with all my heart, to be buried in Father Ambrose St John's grave—and I give this as my last, my imperative will.” —Saint John Henry Newman, 1801-1890, canonized on 13 October 2019; the quotation is from “Written in Prospect of Death,”  Meditations and Devotions, Part 3, 1876). See also "“The Empty Tomb: Cardinal Newman's last laugh?” in Commonweal, October 8, 2008.  Photo: Ambrose St John (left) and Saint John Henry Newman.


A miracle, of sorts: an empty tomb—
a skeleton-less grave, though shared by two.
One hundred eighteen years should be too few
for bones and teeth to seep away like rheum.

The undertakers managed to exhume
two coffin handles; damp had rotted through
all else except a gold-thread tassel. Who
could tell which soggy humus went with whom?

Could Church officials separate the clay
of John from that of Ambrose? In a way,
the two became one flesh while six feet under.

Saint John’s been moved; St John stayed put, they say.
And yet the pair defiantly obey
“What God has joined, let no man put asunder.”


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.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

DEATH OF A CRITIC

by Mark Danowsky


Harold Bloom 1930-2019


No one is left now
who will swing his arms wide-----
claim knowledge of the entirety
of The Western Canon

The man who wrote the book
on who the wise among us
ought to remember
has left the stage

Who now can swoop in
to tell us how it is?

Gone are the Great Claim-Makers

More than ever now
we need help knowing
where to look
for what is true & valuable

None of us can claim
to have read everything

Some of us can raise a hand
& solemnly swear
we are up to no good

Many of us can remember
a time when we used to feel
we knew more

Knowledge begets holes
in our theories about this world

The Critic has left us
his anxiety of influence

The Critic has left us
a list of what once signified
our greatest gifts


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, October 18, 2019

WHO KNOWS WHAT STOPS THE HEART OF A SONG

by Ariana D. Den Bleyker


“But the American people are begging us for more than thoughts and prayers, they want an answer, and guess what? They want it now, because they know that this is a critical moment in our history.” — Elijah Cummings


The world is vacant for a moment,
grief a womb of air—
but how it lives through love,
the hunger for an abundant & eternal life—

even when it seems impossible to hope.

Today the fallen leaves sleep on a lake
from a wind waking the trees.
A voice shivers under the calm water & firm ground
to shake the faltering stars.

He offered his heart to our hands.

His words stay awake in the remaining raindrops
of an endless night; forbidden morning.
There’ll be no harvest here to reap.
There’s no one left to till the land.

Beneath the soil a farmer sleeps.

Close your eyes to the color
of the world & live your life
in black & gray. Love transcends
the empty room wishing you were here.

Real heroes are men of peace.


Ariana D. Den Bleyker is a Pittsburgh native currently residing in New York’s Hudson Valley where she is a wife and mother of two. She is the author of three collections, including Wayward Lines (RawArt Press, 2015) and many chapbooks including, most recently, Scars are Memories Bleeding Through (Yavanika Press, 2018), A Bridge of You (Origami Poems Project, 2019), Even the Statue Weeps (Dancing Girl Press, forthcoming 2019), and Confessions of a Mother Hovering in the Space Between Where Birds Collide with Windows (Ghost City Press, forthcoming 2019). She is also the author of three crime novellas, a novelette, and an experimental memoir.

MOUTHPIECE IN CHIEF

by Mickey J. Corrigan






To be the scribe and whitewasher
changing slurs into diamonds
To edit out the coal dust, replace
with gold nuggets for all who believe
in the fraudulent intents
retro-disrupted and revised
so the world sees only the glitter
To lead the ruby-throated herd
to the edge of the flatland
let them jump, fall, moo
from burnt fields we insist
are green, lush, ready for bloom
To punch first, punch hard
blacken eyes that see the clarity
through the oil slicks
the choking smog
the hurricane winds
the historic floods that sweep away
rolls of paper towels, single serve
plastic soup in a hot bath
bubbling up
to engulf the debtors
the disenfranchised
the multitaskers
and hungry fat kids
listless on empty playgrounds
in the unyielding sun
To not speak of this
we use the magic cups
bait and switch-hunt
To lead with foaming mouths
red-faced faux outrage
at the shadows that must lurk
under the surface of greatness
To promise to those crushed
by the enormity of lies
if they continue to believe
if they continue to not see
the sleek black limo
nudging them
off the very edge

of the democratic abyss


Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan writes Florida noir with a dark humor. Project XX, a satirical novel about a school shooting, was released in 2017 by Salt Publishing in the UK. Newest release is What I Did for Love, a twisted psychological thriller (Bloodhound Books, October, 2019).

Thursday, October 17, 2019

THE BALL'S IN CHINA'S COURT

Original cartoon by  Steve Breen, The San Diego Union-Tribune, October 15, 2019


James Hamby is the Associate Director of the Writing Center at Middle Tennessee State University. He has been a finalist for the XJ Kennedy Parody Award and a nominee for the Pushcart Prize.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

SHAME

by George Held

Trump Provides Cover For the Kurds by Pia Guerra at The Nib
Full story by Jennifer Griffin and Melissa Leon at Fox News.


The last vestige of shame
our Special Forces feel
for abandoning the Kurds,
our ablest warrior allies,

is pure attar in the rose
of battle grown in the garden
of the temporary victory
over ISIS and their allies.

That rose has faded and died
on orders from our supreme leader
to betray and abandon
our loyal Kurdish brothers.

In future where can shame
bloom? Who now will share
the arid earth where Kurd
and Special Forces bled

Out their lives in hard-earned
mutual trust? The old words
—trust and shame and loyalty—
have wilted and died.


George Held, a longtime contributor to TheNewVerse.News, has a new poetry chapbook out, Second Sight (Poets Wear Prada, 2019).

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

POEM FOR THE REST OF US

by Judy Juanita


“Last Saturday, a neighbor in Fort Worth called the city’s non-emergency line because he was concerned about his neighbors, 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson and her 8-year-old nephew. It was the middle of the night, but her front door was open. The dispatcher sent police officers, who appear to have treated the call as a reported burglary. While searching the perimeter of the house, Officer Aaron Dean saw a figure in the window. Without announcing himself, he yelled ‘Put your hands up! Show me your hands!’ Two seconds later, he fired his gun, killing Jefferson in her own home.” —Radley Balko, The Washington Post, October 15, 2019. Photo: A makeshift memorial outside the home of Atatiana Jefferson on Monday. Jefferson was fatally shot by a Fort Worth police officer early Saturday morning. (Jake Bleiberg/AP via The Washington Post, October 15, 2019


We wear a masque called freedom
But Atatiana was shot like a fugitive slave.
We masquerade as upright citizens
Brave this deadly force every goddam day
Masquerade as independent thinkers
While our thoughts get shot down in the streets.

We believe, like true believers, in the rule of law
The gangs in blue shoot through that too.
Our red, white and blue masques say VOTER
But our ballots keep disappearing.
When the ancestors greet Atatiana
They shake her alive. The masquerade is over.

Faith leaders wear the masque of concern
But their brand-new bibles are warped and cracking.
Atatiana’s neighbor, in masque, cries out
They had no reason to come with guns drawn.
The ancestors ask: Are all the players numb?
Some, not all, though in costume, torn and dirtied, know.

The great pantomime and our long drawn out performance
Cracks and peels with every gun drawn and each bullet fired.


Judy Juanita's poetry has appeared in Obsidian II, 13th Moon, Painted Bride Quarterly, Croton Review, The Passaic Review, Lips, TheNewVerse.News, Poetry Monthly and Drumrevue 2000.  Her short stories and essays appear widely. Juanita's semi-autobiographical novel Virgin Soul chronicled a black female coming of age in the 60s who joins the Black Panther Party. Her collection of essays, DeFacto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland was a distinguished finalist in OSU's 2016 Non/Fiction Collection Prize.

WITH A FACE LIKE MINE

by Rachel Mallalieu

I don’t want this to be 
about me, but of course it’s
always about me

With a face like mine,
a thousand ships were launched,
so needful were men of my rescue

With a face like mine,
a few words were said and
a fourteen-year-old boy was
beaten, shot and tossed
into the Tallahatchie River

With a face like mine, feel free
to burst into a black man’s home
while he’s eating ice cream
and demand that he shows you
his hands, and when he does not,
you can shoot him
when his blood stains the floor and
you realize your mistake,
stand in the hallway
and text instead of performing CPR

With a face like mine, the jury will
cry because you clearly didn’t mean
to do it, and (despite the racist texts)
you seem guileless, even
penitent (especially when you say
you wish you had died instead)
yes they find you guilty, but the bailiff
will smooth your hair and the
judge will give you her Bible
you will receive a light sentence
and still be young enough to bear children
once you’ve served your time

With a face like mine,
when the anguished brother
of the man you murdered embraces you
and offers forgiveness,
many will see your blonde hair next to
his black skin and consider
the sordid case closed

With a face like mine,
tears are weapons
so really, you should be careful
with a face like mine


Rachel Mallalieu is an Emergency Physician and mother of five. She writes poetry in her spare time. Her work has been featured in Blood and Thunder and is upcoming in Haunted Waters Press.

Monday, October 14, 2019

THE PHOTOS DON'T DO JUSTICE

by Tricia Knoll


QAMISHLI, Syria – "Eight-year-old Sara Yousif has become a symbol of the Turkish war on northeast Syria, which has caused the death of around 40 civilians, according to a war monitor." —The Independent (UK), October 13, 2019. "Sara lost her leg when Turkish shells rained down on her neighborhood of Qudurbag, eastern Qamishli on Thursday, killing her brother 11-year-old Mohammed and wounding her mother and brother Ahmad." —Rudaw (Kurdish media network), October 13, 2019.  Below, Sara's father Yousif Gharib speaks to reporters at the funeral for his son. Credit Rudaw for photos.


to the glory light on sober gold
of Vermont’s falling leaves

or for the places we’ve seen
Ansel Adam’s Yosemite

now smothered in wildfire smoke.
Those people we remember –

the Afghani girl’s blue eyes
the minister on the hotel balcony

the monk in flames or the man
with a flower facing a rolling tank

the father’s arm holding daughter
Valeria on the banks of the Rio Grande

and now Sara, age eight,  a Kurd, who lost
her leg to a fast-moving Turkish bomb

and her father sobbing over the body
of his dead son, not yet pointing his finger

to the betrayal of a man in Washington
whose soldiers she may have once trusted.

The photos do not do justice, let them
remind us justice could be done.


Tricia Knoll’s most recent poetry collection How I Learned To Be White (Antrim House) received the Gold Prize in the Poetry Book Category for Motivational Poetry in the Human Relations Indie Book Prize for 2018.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

DEGENERES AND BUSH

by Alejandro Escudé


by Brian McFadden at The Nib


If we dance
Into
The haven of our riches

We dance right
Into
The arms of contradictions


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, October 12, 2019

HIS FOREIGN POLICY

by Jan D. Hodge





He's rather hard pressed to explain,
however stupendous his brain,
      giving Kurds to the Turks
      and to Putin (with smirks)
Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.


Jan D. Hodge's poems have appeared in many print and online journals, several being awarded prizes in open national competitions. Two of his books, Taking Shape (a collection of carmina figurata) and The Bard & Scheherazade Keep Company (double-dactyl renderings of Shakespeare, tales from the Arabian Nights, and Reynard the Fox) have been published by Able Muse Press.

Friday, October 11, 2019

PLACEBO PANACEA

by Emily Jo Scalzo


"The Swamp" by John Cuneo.


the scar tissue of America’s soul
at its core the betrayal and genocide
upon which we were founded
surrounded by others through history
a throbbing fibrous mess
pockets of infection
waiting to surface

kids in cages
parents packed in cells
seeking to escape the scars
America’s created elsewhere
children returning from school
to homes raided and empty
ghosts of innocence

alternative facts and distrust
journalists labelled enemies of the people
scientists defunded and censored
the second a man enamored of theocracy

neo-Nazis galvanized in the streets
attack protesters with impunity
veterans’ efforts in Europe negated

children strike for climate awareness
specters of their futures dimmed
churches celebrate Armageddon
expecting rapture for failed stewardship

one party mired in racist xenophobia
the other craven in identity crisis

same shit
different president
and we still swirl the drain


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

Thursday, October 10, 2019

OCTOBER LIGHT

by Buff Whitman-Bradley





It is quiet now
In the corners
Where dust collects itself
And afternoon light
Relaxes its shoulders
As it prepares
For its daily departure.
All day it has been
Early October
Hot as August or July
And drier than dry—
But we are not fooled.
Look at the leaves
Teasing us
With the faintest hints
Of the russets and golds
And wild vermillions
That soon enough
Will inhabit the snug dwellings
Where their green sister chlorophyll
Has resided
Since the February arrival
Of spring.
Look at the long shadows
Falling across houses and streets
Lounging in parks and playgrounds,
Look at the honeyed light
Sprawling on manicured lawns
And fading gardens.
Feel the air,
Apologetically hot
And promising that this heat,
This spit-thickening dryness,
Will not last much longer,
That the familiar, reassuring chill
Of autumn
Will soon return to our evenings
To herald the arrival
Of the season of heavy rains.
But of course these days
With the climate being systematically mauled
By billionaire carbon-suckers
We can’t be sure
What the coming months
Will have in store for us.
And for that matter
We cannot even count on October
Remaining the October
We have always loved,
That paragon of months,
The crown jewel
In the year’s annular passage,
The golden door
Between summer and winter.
We must struggle and hope,
Defy and resist and disrupt
To defeat those who are ravaging
Our weather and our earth
And replace them
With our kind of folks,
The ones who believe in communities
Of mutual support and nourishment,
The ones who reject profit
As a way to measure human worth,
The ones whose furious spirits take flight
In October light.


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

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

IN THE NEW CLIMATE

by Elizabeth Kerlikowske


This is what it looks like when national parks are sacrificed for a #borderwall. Footage at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument via Kevin Dahl, NPCA Arizona Senior Program Manager pic.twitter.com/VE9UKziPzl
— National Parks Conservation Association (@NPCA) October 4, 2019


no need to migrate, so geese fly laps around the county
lake to lake at dawn, louder than garbage trucks.

A friend makes a demon cozy, so she doesn’t always have to face it.
She can know where it is even if she doesn’t know what it is

unlike mosquitos with valises full of Eastern equine encephalitis
come to visit. Swatting lunchmates, even on the face, becomes socially acceptable.

A friend draws stories with her own language of shapes not everyone can read.
That’s okay. Lilacs do not bloom this year; there is a mid-April blizzard.

Fawns come to the door wanting the cat to play.  Children holding hands
walk across a lake of grass. Yard lights never let the trees sleep, not deeply.

A friend grieves deeply and with laughter, at once. She raises monarchs
and tonight the government will poison them as well as mosquitos.

On her balcony flickers and doves fight squirrels and raccoons for seeds
and a little honey.  Tomorrow the butterfly rain.


Elizabeth Kerlikowske most recent book is Art Speaks with painter Mary Hatch. She tries to live outside as much as possible while owning a house.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

WHITE HOUSE MENU, OCTOBER 8, 2019

by Pepper Trail




Amuse bouche: honey-soaked Smyrna fig with bitter Kurds

Soup:  bisque of watered-down regulations, topped with nutmeg and shredded tax
            returns

Appetizer: bruschetta of tariff-marinated soybeans and pork belly, dusted with
                     artisanal Kentucky coal

Salad:  wilted checks and balances, arugula, and raw ego, with a drizzle of raspberry—
            infused Saudi sweet light crude

Entrée:  tenderloin Republican reputation, flash-seared and bloody in the center,
                served with blanched asparagus wrapped in subpoena parchment

Sorbet:   whipped frozen tears of Guatemalan children, with savor of Miller lemon

Dessert:  half-baked crumble of sour grapes, drowned in a simple syrup of self-pity


Wine List:  Diet Coke


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, October 07, 2019

PERSPECTIVE

by Janice D. Soderling





We are each but a minuscule dust mote
adrift for better or worse.
This earth is our bobbing lifeboat
in an alien universe.

So if T***p builds a Southern Wall
is of no consequence at all,
except for those on history's pages
who have their babies locked in cages.


Janice D. Soderling is widely published in print and online journals. Her work is included in the anthologies Nasty Women Poets and The Great American Wise Ass Poetry.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

NOTES ON HUMAN PRIVILEGE

by Diane Elayne Dees


After being taken from their mother, calves’ cries can be so intense that their throats become irritated. —farmsanctuary


You beat me and made me work
until I collapsed, dead or near-dead,
and they called you a criminal.
You did this to someone with hooves,
and they called you an entertainer.

You set a trap to disable my leg,
forced a prod through my body,
destroyed me with deadly volts of electricity,
and they called you a monster.
You did this to someone with fur,
and they called you the fashion industry.

You poured acid in my eyes
and poison down my throat;
you shackled me and shot me in the head,
and they called you a psychopath.
You did this to someone with a tail,
and they called you a scientist.

You confined me so that I could not
lie down or turn around, force-fed
me until my legs almost broke,
cut off parts of my body, beat me,
and stole my new-born children,
and they called you the very definition of evil.
You did this to someone with four legs,
and they called you a farmer.

We are all animals.
I speak for the billions who have no voice,
except for the constant moaning,
the final blood-curdling screams.


Diane Elayne Dees’s chapbook I Can’t Recall Exactly When I Died is forthcoming from Clare Songbirds Publishing House; also forthcoming from Kelsay Books is her chapbook Coronary Truth. Diane also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that delivers news and commentary on women’s professional tennis throughout the world.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

BIDEN OUR TIME

by Edmund Conti


Cartoon by Rob Rogers


When you want to die in state
And you need a pyramid,
Don’t offer up a camel, mate.
That’s not the proper quid.

Let me help you with your Latin, kid.                                                                                                                                  
It’s not that all profound.
You need the quo to get the quid
And not the other way around.

Say, you do not like your ego
And  prefer another id.
As they’ll tell you in Oswego.
You must let them see your quid.

Or say you’d like a Javelin.
Just respect the White House bid.
Stop your country from unravelin’
For a small (wink, wink) (hint, hint) quid.


Edmund Conti will accept any offer for his poetry. Lucky for you, it's free verse.

Friday, October 04, 2019

ATLAS OF AVIAN FLIGHT

by Mary Lux


The skies are emptying out. The number of birds in the United States and Canada has fallen by 29 percent since 1970, scientists reported on Thursday. There are 2.9 billion fewer birds taking wing now than there were 50 years ago. –The New York Times, September 22, 2019. Video of sanderlings by Washington State, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.


Gone from the River of Foul Run-off
flowing with trash-plastic and sick fish–

Gone from the Prairie of Emptiness,
of bee and grasshopper, gopher and butterfly–

Gone from the Killing Fields of crops coated
with chemicals, deserted
by cricket, tatydid, firefly–

Gone from the Feral Cat Jungle of woods,
back alleys, fenced yards, waterfronts–

Gone from the City of Lethal Towers
of implacable, break-neck glass–

Gone from the Choking Skies of Smoke
covering the dearth of insects–

So has departed the Passenger pigeon:
now falls the Swift, the Oriole, the Jay,
Bobolink, Meadow lark, Wood thrush,
Barn swallow and Bluebird,
even the commonest, the House Sparrow.

Fled, all, into another
Country,
that of No Return:
the last eye frozen in death's ice,
the last wings lying still, bent off-angle,
on earth's sterile ground—

Gone into the Cosmos of Absence
of all but memory and imagination.


Mary Lux is a Milwaukee poet, longtime practicing member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.  Has appeared in four anthologies including Masquerades and Misdemeanors, edited by Marilyn Taylor; in print and online publications.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

BLUE-PLATE SPECIAL

by Melissa Balmain

Image source: White Center Blog


It sounds so delicious—mmm, peach-mint
a dish of fruit, sugar and flour
that arrives piping hot, topped with cognac (a lot),
and takes minutes to make and devour.

But instead the thing's bitter and tricky
(the recipe's centuries old),
an impossible meal—a soufflé stuffed with eel—
that of course we'll be serving ice cold.

Will the one that it's for duly eat it?
Will he vomit it up on our shirts?
Who among us can say? All that's left is to pray
that in time there will be just desserts.


Melissa Balmain edits Light, a journal of comic verse. The author of Walking In on People (winner of the Able Muse Book Award), she has new and upcoming work in The American Bystander, The Hopkins Review, and Literary Matters.

FREAK

by Terese Coe




In each pathological deal
Freak is petulant, false, and unreal.
His extortion and murk
are what passes for work
while he tweets about copping a feel.

The bigot’s a twist and a troll
whose psychosis has taken a toll
on folks who can’t cope
with a chief misanthrope
traitor who's deep in a hole.

It's past time he gave up the ghost.
Every tweet still drives home that he’s toast:
a demon enraged,
it's time he was caged
and dropped 90 miles off the coast.


Terese Coe’s poems and translations have appeared in 32 Poems, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Cincinnati Review, New American Writing, Ploughshares, Poetry, Threepenny Review, Agenda, The Moth, New Walk Magazine, New Writing Scotland, Poetry Review, the TLS, The Stinging Fly, and many other publications and anthologies. Her collection Shot Silk was nominated for The Poets Prize of 2017.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

WET PROPHECY

by Gil Hoy


Image source: Politics PA


The sea is calling for you, like the Devil.
Like the father you could never best.
Like the Heavenly Father, you could
never see. Davy Jones’s locker is not
just a kid’s game. You deservith its depths.


Author’s note: My friend Devon made me do it.


Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and semi-retired trial lawyer who has studied poetry at Boston University through its Evergreen program. Hoy previously received a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He served as a Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman for four terms. Hoy’s poetry has appeared (or will be appearing) most recently in Tipton Poetry Journal, Chiron Review, Ariel Chart, Social Justice Poetry, TheNewVerse.News, Poetry24, Right Hand Pointing/One Sentence Poems, I am not a silent poet, and The Potomac

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

OUR AHAB

by Devon Balwit


Photo from William Thomas Online.


God help thee, old man, thy thoughts have created a creature in thee … a vulture feeds upon that heart for ever; that vulture the very creature he creates.


Daily, my stump percusses loss.
I punish the deck-timbers to-ing and fro-ing.
I hammer divots into pine. My underlings suspect
me mad but are too weak to topple me.
Somewhere a blanched and crenellated fin
froths the waters and flags my nemesis.
Bubble the very stench of hell
from my machinations, I will have him.
Not even my young wife slakes
this thirst. My gold doubloon
gaudies the mast. Whoever sings my foe
can pry it loose. I cannot sleep
for visions of ropes playing out
like spider silk, lance-men dangling
from his bulk. O to drain him and render him,
to spring a rib from his vaulted chest
and craft myself a new limb, an ivory needle
to tattoo the Earth with my passing over.
I count not the cost, so sweet my stupor.


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.