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Sunday, December 15, 2019

OLD STORY

by James Penha


Mythical Beings May Be Earliest Imaginative Cave Art by Humans: The paintings on an Indonesian island are at least 43,900 years old and depict humanoid figures with animal-like features in a hunting scene. —The New York Times, December 11, 2019. Photo: A humanoid with a bird-like head was among the eight therianthrope figures depicted in a cave painting on the island of Sulawesi. Credit: Ratno Sardi via The New York Times.


I know an anoa
when I see one
even in the oldest
story ever told
on cave walls
in Indonesia. But
the humanoids who
herd or hunt or
beseech the buffalo—
an anoa is a buffalo—
I do not recognize:
therianthropes,
they have beaks
and wiry tails;
they are lithe
for their age, for
forty-four thousand,
only now becoming
chips off the old
blocks of limestone,
a condition I share.


James Penha edits TheNewVerse.News from his home in Indonesia.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

RED ALERT

by Lynn White


TheBrexitComic


It’s not enough to take to the streets
one million
two million
it still needs more.

It’s not enough to sign your name
three million
four million
it still needs more.

It’s not enough to cast your vote
five million
six million
it still needs more.

It’s not enough
the clowns still have more.


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

Friday, December 13, 2019

WISH-WASH

by Charlotte Innes


The city’s all a-wash with rain,
wish-wash the water goes,
down gutters, litter-clogged, down drains
and pipes—and, there they blow,
the coffee lids, a sock, a cane,
some cartons, butts, a picture frame
bobbing atop the flow.

Post-drought, the rain’s a candy store
(including crap), the drub
of drops on my umbrella or
green shoots of grass that mob
an arid patch or crack. But water’s
driven baby seals ashore
(the warming-ocean “blob”),

and heat and rain together rob
our coastal townships more
and more, as seaside cliff-tops drop
away. Some call it “war,”
as if some ancient pagan god
like Zeus, enraged by hubris, were lobbing
bolts of shock and awe,

to lift the ocean up nine feet,
(the forecast), flood our Basin,
disappear our beaches, shear
the edges off our nation.
Predictive climate maps delete
whole countries, tracking Earth’s defeat,
shutting down salvation.

But gentle rain tonight prolongs
my day, and keeps at bay
the Marshall Islands, Venice, their long
drowning—despair at how to stay
alert to horror, play and song,
to rain and grass, to wrongs and wrong,
to more than I can say.


Charlotte Innes is the author of Descanso Drive (Kelsay Books, 2017), a first book of poems, and two chapbooks, Licking the Serpent (2011) and Reading Ruskin in Los Angeles (2009), both with Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, The Sewanee Review, Tampa Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Rattle. She has written on literary topics for the Los Angeles Times, The Nation and other publications.  

Thursday, December 12, 2019

C'ÊST COLLATERAL DOMMAGE

by Myron Pulier


“So ‘the book of collateral damage’ is this project that the bookseller in Baghdad is working on, but it's almost an impossible project because he wants to document, minute-by-minute, everything that gets destroyed [in the 2003 bombing of Iraq by the United States]. And the objects themselves tell their story, but he never gets beyond the first minute. ... The narrator tells him this requires an institution, and the bookseller tells him there are no institutions anymore, and I'm alone ... it might sound like an insane project, but someone has to do it.” —Sinan Antoon, author of The Book of Collateral Damage, a novel due out in paperback in April 2020, speaking on NPR, July 9, 2019.


No rhyme will tell all
names of those who fell fore telling
the fortune that befell
upon their just
deserts below the Belt
Way’s subdominant inner
circle of force
majeur subject due
with all retrospect to
unforeseen circumstances


Myron Pulier is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

NOTHING

by Mickey J. Corrigan





“Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment,” Trump said in a 2007 deposition. “We will be in Moscow at some point,” he promised. 
The Washington Post, June 17, 2016


The sky reddens, bleeding
on neon frosted sidewalks
my tuxedo shirt front
splattered. In the hole
I dig for myself
I lie
deep in the dirt.
So much good Russian dirt.

We don't rely on American banks. 
We have all the funding we need 
out of Russia.

I am emblazoned
in brass, glass, steel
towers that shower light
like diamonds in the darkness
above it all, I am
reflected
in the filthy snow.

Russians make up a pretty 
disproportionate cross-section 
of a lot of our assets.

Under long black shadows
of monuments erected
not by me but for men
like me, men
like fake gold, gilted
we lie
entombed
in castoff fame, no longer
arms for sale
to the highest despot
arms too short
to hang on to it all.
So much good Russian dirt.

We see a lot of money 
pouring in 
from Russia.

The nights ice over
awaiting the yellow dawn
to melt what's left, redden
flowers that burst above
the frozen mud
and my name, glittering
like a dirty coin in the sun.


Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan writes Florida noir with a dark humor. Her books have been released by publishers in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.  Project XX, a satirical crime novel, was released in 2017 by Salt Publishing in the UK. What I Did for Love was released by Bloodhound Books in October.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

SURVIVOR

by Pepper Trail



Nearly 30 years after its last documented sighting, a silver-backed chevrotain was spotted by a camera set up in the forest of southern Vietnam. (Southern Institute of Ecology/Global Wildlife Conservation/Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research/NCNP) —NPR, November 11, 2019


Delicately, it steps into the frame,
an animal living its life, seen only
by the camera, no larger (we are told)
than a rabbit, called (we are told)
the Vietnamese mouse-deer, and
also the silver-backed chevrotain,
the world’s smallest hoofed mammal,
suddenly returned from the dead.

In the image, it makes its ordinary way,
slender limbs rising from the dry leaves,
clean white belly and throat, flanks buff
and silver, alert pink ears, large dark eyes
seeming to look inward, slight smile
on the narrow muzzle, as if remembering
an amusing incident from the night before,
unaware that it is, to us, a miracle.

Discovered (shot) by scientists in 1907,
then no trace for 83 years, then one more
seen (shot) by scientists in 1990, then not
again, and so declared a species “lost,”
perhaps (probably) extinct, another fatality
of human appetite, but now, in 2019, seen
(seen) by hidden cameras, walking quietly,
thinking private thoughts, this survivor.

Yesterday it was an entry in a ledger,
nothing but a name in spidery black script,
Tragulus versicolor, written off,
the dusty book closed, not to be re-opened.
Today I gaze and gaze at its photograph,
seem to hear its quickly-beating heart,
smell its warm scent, and I see the world
it makes (still is making) with its life, alive.


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.

TO MY GRANDSONS IN THE FUTURE

by Cathryn Shea



You benefit today from your innocent
enthusiasm for worms, grasshoppers,
and anthills. You study foxtails
and poppies, wade in the Yuba River.

When you read this in high school,
my hope is that you are in a public one.
Well-funded, or at least with an adequate budget
for the arts. I hope your summer is still
not breaking heat records
and in winter the Yuba does not flood
causing mudslides.

I hope you do not suffer premature neck strain
from bending over your cell phones.
If you have cell phones or know of cell phones.
Perhaps you wear a device attached to your eyes.
Perhaps you wear an embedded chip.

Does anyone mention climate change anywhere?
(That was a euphemism anyway.)
Is capitalism still running rampant?
Does your vocabulary even include such words?
Have robots taken over the classroom?

I ask you too many questions
and I apologize. By the way,
did you know apologia is the root
of apologize? Such a beautiful word

of remorse. I can’t imagine your vernacular.
I digress. (Oh, I can just hear you chiding.
Grandma uses too many strange words.)

I do hope there is still a Nature you can escape to.
Where the din of machinery can’t be heard.
Where artificial radiance
does not vie with the night sky.


Cathryn Shea is the author of four chapbooks including Backpack Full of Leaves (Cyberwit, 2019) and Secrets Hidden in a Pear Tree (dancing girl press, 2019). Her first full-length poetry collection Genealogy Lesson for the Laity is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press in September 2020. Cathryn’s poetry appears in New Orleans Review, Tar River Poetry, Typehouse, and elsewhere. See @cathy_shea on Twitter.

Monday, December 09, 2019

ADVENT

by Rachel Mallalieu




In the end, it won’t be the red
Starbucks cups or people who

Say happy holidays instead of
Merry Christmas, not

Ubiquitous Santa and his elves,
with no manger in sight

It’s video of a caged child who
writhes on a bench

Falls facedown and vomits
blood onto the floor

Staggers towards a toilet,
slumps to the ground

And convulses
then stills

That wages the war on Christmas


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

Sunday, December 08, 2019

STOLEN CHILDHOOD

by George Salamon


“114,000 Students in N.Y.C. Are Homeless. These Two Let Us Into Their Lives.” —Written by Eliza Shapiro; Photographs by Brittainy Newman, The New York Times, November 19, 2019


There'll be no marches or protests.
The homeless are a dreary cause
With no identity to extol or protect.
The lives of two reveal dark spots
On America's soul, for they live like
The rest. in squalid, unsafe spaces.
Sandival shares a bed with her mother,
Studies on subway rides of an hour-
And-a half, her lunch a bag of cheese
Puffs, collapsing into bed for a few
Hours of sleep in the room where
Her brothers sleep on a mattress on
The floor, all for $700 a month.
Darnell and his mom live in a
Shelter, attends a school where
Half the students are homeless,
With one social worker to help
Them cope with their quest to
Get a decent education in the
Big Apple.
For both, school stands out as
The one stable oasis in their
Lives of running, moving, scraping
By with bodies malnourished and
Minds exhausted from the daily
Marathon to escape from a dark,
Life-long tunnel of poverty.
There's no time, there are no
Means available to engage the
Mind, to stir the imagination, to
Shape vision and place in life
In the light, on America's sunny
Side of the street and shake off
The grim yoke of poverty's cruel
Rule.
Few escape and claw their way
Out and up, and we are lucky if
Few of those left behind will not
Do what we pretend not to
Understand: "Those to whom evil
Is Done/Do evil in return."


George Salamon lives and writes in St. Louis, MO.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

ALL CLEAR

by Dawn Corrigan




A sleepy morning in Pensacola
I'm almost an hour late
putting on the coffee
and bringing my husband his pills

he takes the dogs out
and I sit with my laptop
to look at social media
#naspensacola trending

the Naval Air Station
second largest of our area’s
many military bases
six miles south of us

I go out to tell him
four dead, one the shooter
eight others injured
including two sheriffs

we sit on the stoop
drinking our coffee
cloudy and 64 degrees
in Myrtle Grove today

the neighbors’ sycamore
is almost bare
and our walkways are
covered with oak leaves

though just as many
remain in the trees
one of the mysteries
of the heritage oaks

a disembodied male voice
fills the air
it bounces from the trees
reverberates and echoes

we know it’s from NAS
but can’t understand
what it says
then another voice speaks

the friendly female voice
that makes announcements
over the intercom
at Myrtle Grove Elementary

half a block away
we’re been listening to her
for three years
normally she’s calm

and soothing
an intercom champion
but there’s a new edge
in her voice today

“I wanted to let you know
we’re all clear
and you can take your students
out to play.

We’re all clear
and everything’s okay.
We’re all clear!
Everyone have a nice day.”


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

Friday, December 06, 2019

DEAR SENATOR. BOLIVIA.

by Jeremy Nathan Marks


“Evo Morales’s Chaotic Departure Won’t Define His Legacy: History won’t remember him for the ongoing unrest, but for the enfranchisement of Bolivia’s indigenous population.” –Foreign Policy, November 22, 2019. Photo: A supporter of former Bolivian President Evo Morales stands in front of graffiti that reads "Long live Evo" during a protest in La Paz, Bolivia, on Nov. 14. GASTON BRITO MISEROCCH/GETTY IMAGES via Foreign Policy.

Dear Senator,

Did you ever hear of the valley where they found Che Guevara—
you were either in college or unborn when they corralled his band
in the valleys of tin in a country most boardroom men

Called Potosi

Bolivia

1967/2019

A land of riches governed by highland royalty who might have found
common cause with a Coca farmer from Cochabamba named Morales.

You have heard of him haven’t you, Senator? He’s in Mexico now.
Isn’t it a shame. What say you? Cocalero.
She and he and they see their compañeros y compañeras under the gun
of Uncle Sam’s war against an indigenous plant and the way of life its people
led because in the halls of Washington lucre flows in subsidy form to Big Pharma
and Law and Order.

What say you, Senator? Latin America. Has open veins and the president
at home is a tyrant but where are you when the indigenous working class see
their comrade presidente flee because the Americas are open for a certain kind
of business that will not obey the rights of Mother Nature who is a storyteller.

She’s a slam poet, Senator.

The rights of the forest. The breast of Mother Earth. The golden goose.
I’m sure there’s a hashtag for it. John Wayne fleeing the Indians riding
switchback across all of our constituencies.


Jeremy Nathan Marks is an American based in London, Ontario. Recent poetry, prose, and photography can and will be found in Literary Orphans, Writers Resist, Poets Reading The News, Unlikely Stories, Ottawa Arts Review, Bewildering Stories, 365 Tomorrows, The Courtship of Winds, Poetry Pacific, Eunoia Review, The Blue Nib, Stories of the Nature of Cities, and Lethe Magazine among others.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

THE BRING OF DISASTER

by Mark Williams




O Heavenly Father,

It’s me again Austin Baggerly. I cant talk long tonight.
Mom says to say my prayers and get to sleep pronto
cause Dad got me home late. Home to my house
where he used to live but now is just Mom and me
and my box turtle Bradley. But you know that.
Pastor Crandall says you know everything there is.
He says You are Omniportant. Everyother Sunday Dad
takes me to praise You at Sudden Glory Fellowship.
Pastor Crandall says You made our President President.
Pastor Crandall says our President is The Chosen One.
Mom says that The Chosen One destroyed her marriage
and that if you chose him then you must want
to take everyone to the bring of disaster.
Why do You want to bring us there? For instants why
did You choose someone who does not care
if the world gets too hot for us to live? Where will we go?
And why did You pick someone who lets fires
burn up all the trees and forest animals
that You made in the Beginning? Plus why
is it OK to let people buy guns to shoot me in school?
Mom says the President wants to build a wall
to keep out poor people so they can stay poor
in there poor countrys? Why would You God
want to keep people poor in poor countrys
when You cared for the birds in the air
before the President let them burn up in the forests?
Maybe You chose someone to bring us to disaster
so that next time when it is our turn to choose
we will choose someone who stops us
before going all the way in to it. But in my pinion
You are cutting it awful close. Dear God,
when I turn ten will all this make sense? I hope so.
Sometimes I wish I could pull in my head like Bradley.

                                                            Amen


Mark Williams lives in Evansville, Indiana. His poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Rattle, Nimrod, New Ohio Review, and The American Journal of Poetry. His poems in response to the current administration have appeared in Poets Reading the News, Writers Resist, and Tuck Magazine. This is his fourth appearance in TheNewVerse.News.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

CIRCE'S BLESSING

by Ralph Culver


#Werepig Doodle by Ariane Hofmaniyar.


—for Marie Yovanovitch and Fiona Hill


Cruelty, greed, indifference to others—
these were men, abject one minute
in their pursuit of power, and
obsequious the next
in their fawning adoration
for those who achieved it, often at
their own expense, and worse if
their lives had been spared in the quest.
These were men; this is what men do.
And when she turned to them

and changed them, into swine, jackals,
any form that crept or flew
or crawled but could not speak
with a man’s corrupted tongue,
they had settled into the new shapes
she had given them and,
more often than not, they were thankful.
In fact, for the most part, they
did not want to go back to being men.
It was safe to say they had seen enough.

Here’s the deal: it’s not an intervention
if it’s what you’ve been begging for.
Like most women, whether the woman
knows it or not, whether or not
she wants to know, she understood them
better than they understood themselves.
She was doing them a favor. Such relief
to be the condor, the vulture, that covets
carrion and seeks it out, but calling
to his own, and sharing the spoils.


Ralph Culver's most recent collection of poems is So Be It (WolfGang Press, 2018). His work has appeared in many journals and anthologies. He is a past grantee in poetry of the Vermont Arts Council and multiple nominee for the Pushcart Prize. His book A Passible Man is forthcoming from MadHat Press in 2020.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

RIFF SESTINA

by Judith Terzi




Reps take their seats; Zelensky's praying for a shift.
The gavel resounds. Marie Yovanovitch is the witness.
Volodymyr knows how she got kicked out of Ukraine,
how Rudy, Igor & Lev tried to make T greater again,
how he's gotta win in 2020 by whichever M.O.
"Get over it, folks! Of course we did a quid pro quo,"

he heard Mulvaney say. "Everyone quid pro quos."
He admires the chair: the calm, collected Schiff.
He thinks he's a mensch, that he has a rabbi-esque M.O.
Respectful, reflective, meticulous as he bears witness.
His voice like a limpid stream one can listen to again.
His cheeks like a boy's on a snowy day in Ukraine.

Zelensky watches Nunes mock the frenzy over Ukraine––
a country at war. Devin calls the hearings a quid pro quo
of hearsay, a Watergate fantasy, a hoax, ad nauseam again.
The Dems got caught, they got caught, got caught. Schiff
is stoic during Devin's anaphora routine; he bears witness.
Z hears about nude photos of T. Who wants them? Oh!

The wrestler has the mic, no one fights his ringside M.O.
Jordan talks as fast as the speed of light, indicts Ukraine:
a shirtsleeves rant that leaves no time for the witness,
no time for Z to unpack every word, every quid pro quo.
Jim doesn't care what T said on 7/25. Motivations shift––
aid's unfrozen, T & Z rendezvoued. Ibid. ad nauseam again.

Jordan grins, pouts, gesticulates, rustles notes again.
Zelensky's watching him, studying this histrionic M.O.
(Z was an actor & a writer before becoming Pres.) Schiff
could replace T, muses Z. Cooler vibes for Ukraine.
Adam could be his bro: no Burisma, no quid pro quo,
no server, no Putin behind his back, no Joe. No witnesses

like Yovanovitch who got dumped, who bore witness
to Z's anti-corruption stump. She could vouch for him again.
He hears Volker et al., & Sondland saying ni ni quid pro quo,
then tak, tak quid pro quo. Z gets Gordon's schtick, his M.O.––
a zillion bucks to get on a plane to the E.U. then Ukraine.
Volodymyr's watching, praying for change, praying for Schiff.

He hears Schiff's finale––he's eloquent again. Witness
Hill cements the quid pro quo. Ukraine can't wait for Z's
new series: "Magnum, M.O.: Do Us A Favor, Though.”


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

Monday, December 02, 2019

HOLIDAYS

by Katherine West 


Paleo Art by John Gurche


Today the wilderness is too big.
Even my own body
was made for an ancient
race created on a larger scale.
My hands are winter gloves,
gorilla hands, capable and waterproof.
My feet leave huge, deep prints
in the snow. My heavy head
is too big for my ski cap,
my thick arms too long for my coat.
I am a Neanderthal. I know what to do.
I have survived a lot. Wilderness and I
are the same size. Language
does not interest us. Nor love.

And yet, deep inside, resting under
my primitive heart like a baby,
is my modern self. And like a fetus
I curl in the warmth of the prehistoric
womb and suck my thumb.
I have bad dreams. I cry, but my tears
are absorbed by amniotic fluid
and my moans are muffled by blood.

I want to talk. I want to dance.
I want to read a book. Write a poem.
But everyone else is interested in survival—
their own, not mine. Like my splendid
cave woman, they eat meat. Not words.
Not views. Their dogs run off
with sheep innards hanging from their mouths.

They are right. I am wrong.
These holidays are about having enough
to eat. Not having enough to love.
We have come full circle—
grown thin and sensitive then
muscular and numb all over again.
My neighbor may freeze, but as long
as I don't, life is good.


Katherine West lives in Southwest New Mexico, near the Gila Wilderness, where she writes poetry about the soul-importance of wilderness, performs it with her musician husband, Yaakov, and teaches seasonal poetry workshops that revolve around "wilderness writing." She has written three collections of poetry: The Bone Train, Scimitar Dreams, and Riddle, as well as one novel, Lion Tamer. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Lalitamba and Bombay Gin. Her poem "And Then the Sky" was recently nominated by TheNewVerse.News for a Pushcart Prize.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

ANY FUNCTIONING ADULT 2020

by Marc Swan




On a lawn down a side street off a main drag
in Portland Maine, it catches my eye—
simple phrase in red, white and blue
with a big bang center stage
to that intact region our current leader
can’t claim—a brain that thinks, acts,
feels with compassion, caring, humanity.
A sign in a yard can’t change the world
but it can open thinking beyond
media thrum and whimper—
insult, injury, uncertainty, and help us feel
we can make a difference
as clichéd as that may be. Grab your pen,
paper, keyboard, text, phone, load up
the information highway with a message
echoing these immortal words—
Yes We Can.


Marc Swan has poems forthcoming in Stonecoast Review, The Nashwaak Review, Channel Magazine, Floyd County Moonshine, among others. His latest collection today can take your breath away was published by Sheila-na-gig Editions in 2018. He lives in coastal Maine with his wife Dd, an artist, clothing designer and maker.