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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Sunday, December 29, 2019


by Judith Terzi

A fleeing suspect was arrested
with blood spilling over his clothing
smelling of bleach. Candle wax
dripping down my silver-plated
menorah. Multi-colored wax
clinging to its round base, clogging
its candle holders that we clean
each festival night. My family
closed blinds when we lit the candles
just after the war in Philly. This
same menorah with a star of David
in the middle guarded by the claws
of a lion on either side. The suspect
could have stabbed my grandfather
and my great-grandfather––Hasids
like the five he stabbed on the seventh
night of Chanukah. My grandfather
could have given me a check for $5,
written Chanukah gelt in the lower
left-hand corner with a hand unused
to writing English letters. My parents
could have given me another pair
of pajamas on the seventh night,
or a jigsaw puzzle, or a Toni doll,
or a dress my mother would have
sewn on her Singer. We closed
blinds when we lit the menorah.
The suspect wielded a large knife.
The children stopped singing, and
the dreidel stopped spinning, and
the rabbi prayed for his congregants
and for his son who were stabbed.
And for the victims of the twelve
other acts of violence against
Hasids in the past three weeks.
And the people are terrified.
And the country stays divided.

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 Radio 3 of 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.


by Mark Williams

So there I am in the jury box. Voir dire,
the judge calls it, which means speak the truth,
as in don’t and you’re in big trouble. “Have you had
any past acquaintance with either the prosecutor,
the defense attorney, or the defendant?” His Honor asks me.
I no sooner say, “No,” than the prosecutor says,
“May I approach the bench, your Honor?”
and His Honor wiggles his finger as in yes, and make it snappy,
so the prosecutor stands and approaches His Honor.
With their eyes on me, they exchange a few words
before the prosecutor steps to the box and asks,
“Do you have a beagle named Keeper?” Since I do
have a beagle named Keeper, and I speak the truth,
I say, “Yes.” Then he says, “Do you remember
the time you were walking on the levee,
and Keeper and another beagle picked up a deer scent,
and you and the beagle’s owner spent three hours
searching the woods for your dogs?” And now I realize
the other beagle’s owner is asking me these questions,
and my chances of being squeezed from the box are high.
Sure enough, “You’re excused,” says His Honor.

But in the upcoming case of

                       The Truth
       The President of the United States

the majority of Senatorial jurors have demonstrated
they are no more capable of speaking the truth
than Keeper is capable of ignoring a deer scent. Not only that,
the majority of jurors are acquainted with the defendant
in the sense that Barnacle Boy, The Dirty Bubble,
and Man Ray were acquainted with each other
as members of EVIL (Every Villain is Lemons)
in Season 3 of SpongeBob SquarePants.
But with no provisions in place
to squeeze our Lemons from the box,
it is we who are lost within a dark wood,
with no hope, until November,
to get out.

Mark Williams lives Evansville, Indiana. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Rattle, and The American Journal of Poetry. His fiction has appeared in Drunk Monkeys and the anthologies American Fiction and The Boom Project. In response to the current administration, his poems have appeared in TheNewVerse.News, Poets Reading the News, Tuck Magazine, and Writers Resist.

Saturday, December 28, 2019


by Janice D. Soderling

President Donald Trump has taken historically unprecedented action to roll back a slew of environmental regulations that protect air, water, land and public health from climate change and fossil fuel pollution. The administration has targeted about 85 environmental rules, according to Harvard Law School’s rollback tracker. … However, the consequences of eliminating these regulations include more premature deaths from pollutants and higher levels of climate change-inducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to research from the NYU Law School. —CNBC, December 24, 2019. Illustration by Victor Juhasz for Rolling Stone.

Higgledy piggledy,
Donald J. T***p
raped Mother Nature
in meadows and parks

till she lay dead with dead
bees and dead sheeple, dead
dead oligarchs.

Janice D. Soderling is a poet, writer and translator with three poetry chapbooks and another forthcoming in February. All of them include poems that first were published at TheNewVerse.News.

Friday, December 27, 2019


by Mickey J. Corrigan

Source: iStock; Composite: Angelo Jesus Canta via America Magazine.

One man's hero:
another man's tyrant.

China wanted a wrestler
to unite the barbarians
build global power:
Qin Shi Huang
killed scholars
burned books
while slaves
built his wall,
the immigrants

The self-declared living god:
loved his sisters
shared them
with his men
his horse
he made a priest.

Attila the Hun:
the scourge of God
raped and pillaged.
Genghis Khan:
killed the rich
using the poor
as human shields.

Tamerlane's tower:
built from living men
cemented and bricked,
their heads
made into minarets.

Ivan the Terrible
Grand Prince of Moscow;
Robespierre beheaded,
Lenin desecrated,
Stalin had gulags.

Il Duce and the Blackshirts
Hitler and the Nazis
slave labor and torture
concentration camps for all
not in the master race.

Chairman Mao and State control:
40 million dead.
Pol Pot: professionals
sent away
to reeducation farms,
special centers for people
who wore glasses, read books.

Idi Amin. Pinochet.
Assad. Kim Jong-un.
Mugabe of Zimbabwe,
Gaddafi, al-Bashir.
Vladmir Putin and
The list goes on
the reigns of corruption
gripped tight
to this day


just weak men
destroying to destroy
the enemy within
creating false worlds
building bone walls
burning the truth
in public bonfires
wrenching our history
away from us
in a soul crushing
illegal, amoral

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.

Thursday, December 26, 2019


by Susan Vespoli

"Uber's Approach to Safety"

Uber said on Thursday that it had reports of 3,045 sexual assaults during its rides in the United States in 2018, with nine people murdered and 58 killed in crashes, in its first study detailing unsafe incidents on the ride-hailing platform. —The New York Times, December 5, 2019

Atop Uber’s report
about 3,045 sexual assaults
by its drivers is a photo of two
                        beautiful women
customers, one
                        clad in a sleeveless
dress, bare legs, the other in tight
                        denim jeans, bare midriff. Of course, Uber-
employed drivers would be
                        enticed to rape
female riders, to
                        fuck or fondle them if they
get into cars wearing revealing
                        get-ups like that. Spoiler alert:
hip-app swipe of Uber equals the
                        hazards of hitchhiking. But,
it’s just a fraction of 1.3 billion rides
                        in 2018, company spokesmen
jaw their jargon of
Kind of ironic,
                        keen of Uber’s
legal team to
                        let this disclosure drop
                        media mayhem when
news watchers would be focused on
                        notorious nuggets
other than the apparently now common
                        occurrence of
passengers assaulted by
                        predators who supposedly passed
quasi-background checks, drivers who
                        quietly waited behind wheels
ready for
ride-hailers who
trusted a company
                        to take them
                        safely. 3,045 in one year
unwittingly became
victims of lack of
“What it says is that Uber is a reflection of the society it serves,” is Tony
                        West’s (Uber’s chief legal officer) way to
                        explain away, exonerate, shrug
your concerns off,
                        “yes, but” your fears, your outrage at their
zest for profit, their lack of
zealous background checks in the first place

Susan Vespoli is a poet/writer who splits her time between Arizona and Washington state and who will no longer use Uber as part of her transport equation. Her work has been published in spots such as Rattle, Mom Egg Review, Nasty Women Poets, TheNewVerse.News, and Nailed Magazine.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019


by Diana Poulos-Lutz

A seven-year-old boy has been collecting essentials to distribute to homeless people this Christmas. —BBC, December 21, 2019

This is how we
celebrate holi-days
I found.
Baking sugar cookies
in festive shapes,
food that comforts,
spirits and laughs.
But the sun rises and cries
for a different kind of sweetness
and fullness on these days.
To forgo righteous and
judgement and right-way thinking.
To look for the light of the fire
of those without homes,
to stand in a house of wor-ship
and declare that love is love,
to walk along a border-line
and to feel what should be—
health, safety and promise for all.
The stars shine on the evenings of holi-days,
the moon still hangs, sadly,
but brightly for the lonely,
and in the dark spaces in the
sky where there is nothingness,
there is room to imagine what
these days can be for.
A present wrapped in hope,
for the most vulnerable among
us, the dreamers, the defeated,
songs for those lost and found in stigma,
merriment for the heart.
Before those sugar cookies burn,
I open the oven, take them out,
and see what they really mean to-day.

Diana Poulos-Lutz has a B.A., M.A. in Political Science from Long Island University as well as an MPhil, Master of Philosophy in Politics, from the New School for Social Research.  Diana's poems have recently been featured on media sites such as TheNewVerse.News, the Rye Whiskey Review and Pantsuit Nation. She is the 1st place winner of the 2019 Nassau County Poet Laureate Society poetry contest as well as the 1st place winner of the 2019 international Spirit First poetry contest. Diana's poetry is inspired by her deep connection to the natural world, along with her desire to promote equality, mindfulness, and empowerment.


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


by Joan Mazza

I’m listening to non-stop holiday
songs between commercials for diamonds,
pet pajamas, end-of-year car closeouts.
While I chop vegetables or fold socks,
I sing along, unable to be quiet, even

for “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” Alvin!
I shout and laugh as if I were still ten
in the year of its release. Indelible,
unforgettable lyrics of Bing Crosby,
Karen Carpenter, Sinatra, Andy Williams.

My mother is frying meatballs and sausages
in that tiny Brooklyn kitchen. I hear her
swearing while making arancini
that resist holding together. At my desk,
I memorize geometry theorems

until mother comes to me with one
golden fried ball, triumphant. Cut it in half,
she says. Taste it! Inside, peas and meat
in tomato sauce. Perfect! I say, before
I return to my present in Virginia.

Past seventy, older than either of my parents
ever got to be, I wish my mom could see
me as I braid challah dough into wreaths
and sing, “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas”
with Burl Ives—the music of our lives.

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, seminar leader, and she is the author of six self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam). Her poetry has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Rattle, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The MacGuffin, Prairie Schooner (forthcoming), and The Nation. She lives in rural central Virginia, where she writes a poem every day and is working on a memoir.


by Jen Schneider

Prison lights shine as armed guards speaking in a foreign tongue
watch our every move. Five steps right. Two left. Eat, bathe, sleep.
Idle minds wander, thinking of sacred worlds outside and now out
of reach. Snatched quickly. Dreams of warm chicken broth, sizzling
beef, and crisp air evaporate. Quickly. Songs of pregnant red robins,
schoolyard children, and bustling roadways fade. Quickly.
Idle souls longing for coverage on local news in now foreign lands
that were once home. Thoughts wander then quickly snap to attention.
A single tear drops. Wiped away, quickly. No time for weakness.
Too much work to be done. Dry, chapped
hands work under camera focused eyes.
Tired hands fold parchment, count envelopes,
and seal plastic box lids. Twenty four cards
to a pack. Count - quickly. No more, no less.
Hurry. Faster. Quickly. Now.  24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In concrete cells with no wires to the world outside
and where commissaries sell no stamps.

Prison labor pleas
inked on holiday greetings.
Addressee unknown.

Questions of free will
inked on holiday greetings.
Seeking Christmas cheer.

Holiday surprise.
Do Not return to sender.
Forward message Please.


Jen Schneider is an educator, attorney, and writer. She lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Philadelphia. Her work appears in The Coil, The Popular Culture Studies Journal, unstamatic, Zingara Poetry Review, 42 Stories Anthology (forthcoming), Voices on the Move (forthcoming), Chaleur Magazine, LSE Review of Books, and other literary and scholarly journals.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019


by Probal Basak

Just when fatigue of standing in queues
for life, for livelihood, for identity,
and for law-enforced kinship of all three
made me feel drowsy;
scary desks banging of democracy
spoiled the rest, waked me up.
Drenched in sweat in cold December
tired legs carried me in front of the mirror
to see how I look, what I wear;
frightened heart made me check my names,
what I eat, how I pray.
As if something precious, very precious
was being taken away.
No, it was not something.
It was the soul, my homeland’s soul
that was thrown away.

Author’s Note: As thousands of people have been arrested, and at least twenty-three people have been killed in the last ten days, as police tried to quash widespread protests over a new citizenship law in India that grants citizenship to religious minorities—except Muslims—from neighboring countries, I write to register my protest.

Probal Basak, 31, from India, started his career as a journalist working with the Press Trust of India and Business Standard covering mostly socio-political issues. He now writes poetry and his recent works have been published in journals such as Dissident Voice, TheNewsVerse.News, and Setu.

Monday, December 23, 2019


by David Chorlton

The lady’s hair protests
too much; it shines against her age
with glitter in the green
dye cresting on her head. She holds
a cigarette between her first
and middle fingers, exhaling into
the morning just now
clearing from the early clouds
as she walks with her breast on display
by way of the five bold
letters silvered on her black shirt that proclaim
her FAITH.
                     In what
remains unstated. And all the upper case sparkle
gives nothing away
as to what or why she believes,
but inspires a guess regarding which sea
her soul is sailing on
in these impeachable, divisive
and uncertain days within sight
of Christmas. The pigeons
circling overhead have faith
that someone’s crumbs will fall for them,
the traffic lights
that cars will stop when they turn
red, the president that every lie
will one day be a jewel
in his legend’s crown. But faith
is a blind man’s mirror,
                                          a step in the dark,
the makeup on a woman’s face
when she is past her prime
and needs it to steady
her walk. She’s sitting now, on a stool
looking across the parking lot, while
the country teeters
on a tightrope and the great
questions just hang in the air like
the scarf of smoke around her face.
Whether there’s a god
                                           and who
he’d vote for; how old
is the mountain draped beneath the northern
sky; what kind of pen
was used to write the Constitution?
These careless moments
spent gazing
at life’s passage end
with a tobacco stub trodden into the ground.
something finished, over
and done with. What comes next?
                                                                Maybe read
a few pages of the King James version, or
the National Enquirer. A cough
to clear the throat, a storm to clear
the air. Walk a little
up and down, practice how it feels to doubt
which direction is the best. Look
into the clear light for rain,
check for bargains
at the Safeway, light another
and inhale the belief that nicotine
can heal. A little bell
                                     keeps ringing
charity, charity.  At her place in the arcade
here’s a warrior fighting time alone
while the starlings on the power line
chatter strength in numbers
and when she strikes another match
on the year’s shortest day
the flame reflects
upon the word by which she lives,
taking comfort in uncertainty.

David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in Manchester, England, and lived in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in 1978. The Bitter Oleander Press published Shatter the Bell in my Ear, translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant. Reading T. S. Eliot to a Bird is from Hoot ‘n Waddle, in Phoenix, and a long poem Speech Scroll comes from Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library.

Sunday, December 22, 2019


by David Feela

Trump Dingell published December 20, 2019 by Rick McKee

Feigning sincerity from the podium
in Michigan, staring straight into
the camera, our White House storyteller
fabricated a Faustian fairytale

about his role as benefactor to
the late John Dingell, a dedicated
man who occupied the U.S. House
of Representatives for sixty years.

Whether the soul arrives at birth
or tempers over time is impossible
to say, but one of these men
certainly possessed a soul,

while the other more than likely
sold his to a foreign government.

David Feela writes columns for The Four Corners Free Press and The Durango Telegraph. Unsolicited Press released his newest chapbook Little Acres.

Saturday, December 21, 2019


by Jen Schneider

The holes left by 14 bullets that tore through their house during the nearly 8-hour police standoff in North Philly on August 15, 2019—which saw six officers shot but no one killed—were being patched up for free. Finally, their home would no longer serve as an unwanted reminder of the terror and trauma he felt after being trapped inside while more than 100 rounds were fired from directly across the street. Photo: Mayor Jim Kenney talks to Cynthia Muse, block captain on the 3700 block of N. 15th Street, and other neighbors LAYLA A. JONES / BILLY PENN November 7, 2019.
Police remained on the scene after a gunman was apprehended following the standoff on August 15, 2019, in Philadelphia. —WHYY

Late afternoon, right before naptime, the troubled marksman paced in a first-floor apartment. On the second floor, baby’s dog-eared picture book dropped, then bounced, on the hardwood floor. Fan whirrs stifled ground floor hollers. Gunshots sliced heavy air.  Bang. Crack. Thud. Momentary silence. More fire. Help. First-floor situation. Second-floor fear. Voices drifting through vents roused all. Four pairs of eyes, arms, legs, and sweat-drenched ears hid under freshly laundered-cotton sheets. Specks of yellow daffodils sprinkled among confetti bursts of green, red, and turquoise streamers shielded bodies that retreated into each other. Silence, then creaks in the back window.  Tap. Crink. Clank. Glass pane rose. “Police. This way. It’s okay. Baby first.”  Drops of tears, questions, and relief pooled on the hardwood floor. Four pairs of eyes, arms, legs, and sweat-drenched ears slid to safety, down freshly laundered cotton sheets. Bare soles—and souls—touched searing concrete. Block on lockdown.

Prayers for police. Salvation. No more guns. Questions. Unanswered. Sirens continued to roar.

Hours later, right before bedtime, we returned home. The television flickered. New nightmares. Naptime. On primetime. Our prayers. Our faces. Recorded. Replayed. All in 10-second clips.

Jen Schneider is an educator, attorney, and writer. She lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Philadelphia. Her work appears in The Coil, The Popular Culture Studies Journal, unstamatic, Zingara Poetry Review, 42 Stories Anthology (forthcoming), Voices on the Move (forthcoming), Chaleur Magazine, LSE Review of Books, and other literary and scholarly journals.

Friday, December 20, 2019


by Alejandro Escudé

A Motherboard report found Ring lacking basic security measures for preventing hackers from hijacking the devices. —threatpost, December 18, 2019

In the family of moments, there are unique
and strong passwords—living, bobbing like
ripe apples on the Tree of Knowledge, no snakes
coiled, ready to speak to you, to impersonate
God. The voice that comes at us from the ether
demanding we “Wake up!” like Mayakovsky’s sun.
We know better than to repeat our usernames,
passwords strung around our lives like
the rings around Saturn—a tall pot boiling,
a crackle from the device, and it is someone
talking to our daughter from the beyond.
The Ghost of Christmas Past? A horrible clown?
But why urge the child to destroy her room?
What a pinch one feels from this new reality.
Isn’t funny the things people will bring into
their house? A discarded needle, a live mine,
a tiger, a splintered chair, a vial of cyanide.
Once someone speaks to you from a device,
you cannot wash that out of your hair. It’smore
than an experience, it’s a like an experience
turned object; one you buy for the holidays
for instance, a device on which to order
a pizza or a Nintendo Switch box filled with
condoms and soda caps. All of human life
reduced to a child’s bedroom, liquified
on a small screen, the pinks pinker than pink
and the dark voice darker than darkness.

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.

Thursday, December 19, 2019


by Anna M. Evans

After W.H. Auden

About the Republic, they were never wrong,
the Founding Fathers: how well they understood
Its vulnerability: how it could be taken down
While the people are ordering off Amazon or streaming Netflix dully along;
How, when the activists are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous vote, there always must be
Young people who did not specially want it to happen, eating
Avocado toast in a trendy new brunch place:
They never forgot
That probably the dreadful presidency must run its course
Anyhow on Fox News, the unlikely spot
Where the talk show hosts deny all facts (which is torture)
And then cut to a story about a horse.

In this Impeachment, for instance: how everyone turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the Republicans may
Have read the "transcript," considered forsaken Ukraine,
But for them it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the House Articles disappearing into the biased
Senate, and the expensive, delicate congressmen that must have seen
Something amazing, a president abusing his powers,
Had an election to get to and sailed calmly on.

Anna M. Evans’ poems have appeared in the Harvard Review, Atlanta Review, Rattle, American Arts Quarterly, and 32 Poems. She gained her MFA from Bennington College and is the Editor of the Raintown Review. Recipient of Fellowships from the MacDowell Artists' Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and winner of the 2012 Rattle Poetry Prize Readers' Choice Award, she currently teaches at West Windsor Art Center and Rowan College at Burlington County. Her new collection Under Dark Waters: Surviving the Titanic is out now from Able Muse Press, and her sonnet collection Sisters & Courtesans is available from White Violet Press.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


by Orel Protopopescu

To the tune of "I'm Your Man" with apologies to Leonard Cohen

If he needs a liar
They’ll say anything he wants them to
And when his pants catch fire as they do
They’ll push his point of view
When he tries to sell his corporate brand and
When he needs to keep an aide or witness
Off the stand
He’s their man

If they ask for players
He won’t run onto the field for them
But when he needs naysayers
There is nobody they won’t condemn
If he’s got remittances to hide
Or when he wants to take us for a ride
He knows he can
He’s their man

Ah, the truth’s too bright
And the noose too tight
The world can’t go to sleep
While he’s making good on his vows to the hood
In Moscow where his debts run deep.

Ah, but no one ever got a country back
By abandoning the race
While he smirks for the cameras with a blade in his sheath
Or howls at his rallies like a dog in heat
Or he claws through our laws while we’re gnashing our teeth
And tells his base (so base!)
I’m your man

And if we lose our way along this road
They’ll let him steer for us
And as he adds more carbon to our load
They’ll let him crash the bus

If you want a future for your child
Or only want to walk in peace a while across this land . . .
He’s not your man

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.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


by Jacqueline Jules

400 Rounds of Ammunition Found at Pawnshop Connected to N.J. Killings: The police arrested the owner of the store in Keyport, N.J., on criminal weapons charges. [Their search] on Friday night … yielded six rifles, three handguns and one shotgun, in addition to the ammunition rounds, including hollow point bullets, which expand when they hit a target, according to officials. Three of the weapons were AR-15 style assault rifles, the same type of firearm used in the Sandy Hook, Las Vegas and Parkland mass shootings. —The New York Times, December 15, 2019

When the news buzzed on my phone:
6 Dead in Jersey City. Jewish Kosher Deli,
I was googling, searching for a prayer
to read Friday night at our yearly service
to remember the dead at Sandy Hook
with an invited speaker
who would tell our congregation
how little progress has been made
since those babies were gunned down
with the same kind of rifles
carried inside a kosher market
at the very moment I was searching
for a prayer, not too political
to read from the pulpit
at a service organized to keep
the memory of innocents alive.

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. 

Monday, December 16, 2019


by Devon Balwit

The Trump administration is considering tariffs as high as 100 percent on Scotch and Irish whiskey, Belgian waffles and wines from across Europe, as part of its retaliation against the European Union for illegal airline subsidies. —The New York Times, December 13, 2019

Just as I learn to love Laphroaig, the tariffs
come, T***p ever the buzz-kill.
Bled for an extra 100%, I’ll shift
from the peat-smoke of Islay to a local distillery.
For two hundred years, the Scots have bunged
casks. I hope they can hold out. Maybe
bootleggers will sneak crates ashore in dinghies.
I’ll learn the codewords and hiss, Hey
Pal, down by the docks, then hurry home
to shots. The hit-list includes many
favorites: Gouda, Olive Oil, Cashmere,
Wine—all now harvested for dusty
warehouses. O Airbus, what have you done?
You’ve greyed the grey world for everyone.

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.

Sunday, December 15, 2019


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:
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


by Lynn White


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


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


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


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
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
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


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.


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


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


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
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


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


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



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


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.


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


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


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.