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Friday, January 31, 2020


by Nina Parmenter

Image source: Meijburg & Co

Back, back we go,
Britain and I,
back to those heady days
when we sat in our studies
gruff and moustachioed
and barked at the children.

Out, out we go,
Britain and I,
out to our verandas
in rakish hat-and-slacks combos
to take pot shots at Johnny Foreigner.

Off, off we go
Britain and I,
to shake hands with petty despots
and trade their spice and silks
for gold, favours
and averted eyes.

So goodbye, Gerhardt,
farewell, François,
and so long, bland, borderless tomorrow.
Hand me my hunting stick, Britain,
and let us stride on
to glory.

Nina Parmenter is a mother to two busy boys. In her spare time, she is a marketing manager. Her poetry has appeared in Light and Lighten up Online, and on her blog, She lives in Wiltshire, UK, and is currently working on her first children’s novel.

Thursday, January 30, 2020


by Charles Goodrich

Protesters hold signs near the Capitol during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Jan. 29, 2020. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP - Getty Images via NBC News, January 29, 2020

Toilet’s plugged
and the bathroom sink drain’s sluggish.
I was in the dumps already
over national politics.

Abuse of power.
Obstruction of justice.
I’m guessing the septic tank
is overdue for pumping. And meanwhile
we still haven’t seen his taxes.

But even glum and angry
I can still do some minor plumbing.
I run the drain-snake, work the plunger,
get the commode running.

Next, with an arm’s-length of wire,
a little hook bent into the end,
I fish a wet, gray gob of hair-gunk
from the sink’s P-trap
then pour baking soda,
salt, and vinegar down the drain
and wait for the chemical reaction to begin.

Even if the Senate trial
turns out to be a sham,
I love the sound when the blockage dissolves
and the sink drain hisses and foams.

Following a long career as a professional gardener and a decade working with the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, Charles Goodrich now grows poems and composes fruits and vegetables from his Knot House abode near Corvallis. He’s the author of three books of poetry, A Scripture of Crows; Going to Seed: Dispatches from the Garden; and Insects of South Corvallis, and a collection of essays, The Practice of Home, and has co-edited two anthologies, Forest Under Story: Creative Inquiry in an Old-Growth Forest and In the Blast Zone: Catastrophe and Renewal on Mount St. Helens. His poems and essays have appeared in Orion, High Country News, The Sun and many other journals and anthologies.


by Darrell Petska

A section of Donald Trump’s much-vaunted border wall between the United States and Mexico has blown over in high winds, US border patrol officers have been reported as saying. The steel panels, more than nine metres (30ft) high, began to lean at a sharp angle on the border between the Californian town of Calexico and Mexicali in Mexico amid gusts on Wednesday. Photograph: STR/AFP via Getty Images via The Guardian, January 30, 2020

In the desert
a shattered visage lies
and these words:
My name is T***p, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains
of that colossal Wreck.

Darrell Petska, a Middleton, Wisconsin poet, thanks Percy Bysshe Shelley for his prescient poem.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


by Sophie Mann

Out of Egypt we came.
Mitzrayim literally means
Narrow place.
We have come from narrow places forever
Jews have.
Minorities have.
We have come from wombs
We have come narrow passages
From doors of no return
From binaries that do not fit us.
Egypt we overcame.
Egypt literally means
We have come from dark places forever
Jews have
Minorities have.
We have come from wombs
We have come from middle passages
From the depths of the South
From misgendering and murder.
Out of Egypt we came.
And now
It is as if we were sent back.
G-d did not part the seas this time
He did not speak to Moses
We thought we heard Him through Upshot
And Nate Silver
And everyone who consoled their friends
Their loved ones
The Jews
The minorities
That the sea would part, once more.
But it hasn't.
And while the Jews spent over 500 years in bondage
We must endure four more.
We must overcome.
And they marched and said
We will overcome.
We must march and hold each other up
Because some of us have fallen when the weight of it all became too much.
And as I sat bleary-eyed, sleepless, in the warm presence of dejected journalists
I thought to myself
We will overcome.
And when I saw the sunrise on the new world
A world that was full of hope when I entered my safe haven of journalistics and liberals and love
I remembered that
If we came out of Egypt
We can do it again
Jews can
Minorities can
Because we have come out of narrow places forever.
Jews have.
Minorities have.
We have come from wombs
We have come narrow passages
From doors of no return
From binaries that do not fit us.
Egypt we overcame.
And Egypt we will overcome.
For it is narrow now
But we will break through the walls
The wombs
The narrow passages
The binaries that don't fit us
Arm in arm.
Because out of Egypt we came
And out of Egypt we will come

Sophie Mann grew up in Palo Alto, California surrounded by love and trees good for climbing. She has a Bachelor’s in English and psychology from Northwestern University and a Master’s in learning sciences from Harvard University. She currently lives by Lake Michigan.


a poem found in the words of Janina Iwanska

by Howie Good

Janina Iwanska, 89, is photographed in her Warsaw apartment. She was sent to Auschwitz after she was separated from her parents at the age of 14 during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 when the Nazis laid siege to the city. She arrived at the death camp at the height of its exterminations, when the SS guards killed 330,000 people in a span of eight weeks. —Rob Schmitz/NPR, January 27, 2020

We were put into open train cars
and huddled together to keep warm.

When it snowed, we collected it
to drink, because they didn't give us

water. We were in such complete
solidarity that when one of us fell

asleep standing (there was no room
to sit or lie down) none of the others

would steal the snow that accumulated
on her. That snow belonged to her.

Howie Good is the author most recently of Stick Figure Opera: 99 100-word Prose Poems from Cajun Mutt Press. He co-edits the online journals Unbroken and UnLost.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020


by Tricia Knoll

US updates travel warning to China to highest level as mayor of Wuhan admits authorities were too slow in releasing information about virus. Photo: medical teams in Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province, treat a patient as Beijing records its first death. (Chine Nouvelle/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock) —The Guardian, January 28, 2020

Fifty years ago I wrote science fiction,
one manuscript about a pandemic killing
nearly everyone except the elusive
sasquatch of the Pacific Northwest
and tribes of women wearing cedar
robes who lived in far-flung outposts.

I heard those 1918 stories. The missing
grandfather of an old man, the circus
performer. Ancestral trees where leaves
fell on apathetic soil. Decimations.
Like the scourges of genocide
that took the people who first
lived on this continent. Then
scientists dug up the old dead
to study the virus.

These viruses creep, cavalier
and potent through airports,
luxury liners, transports.
I wonder if anti-vaxxers
believe in masks? Or prefer

I no longer believe the sasquatch
have survived the fires. I no longer
have faith in women in robes
in remote camps who study the past.
Nowhere is remote any more.

Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet. Vermont is remote and is the second most-unpopulated state in the US. She carries a flame for social justice.

Sunday, January 26, 2020


by Mark Danowsky

Soon after Romeire Brown heard the news of Kobe Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash Sunday, he made a beeline for a spot he passes often: Lower Merion High School. Brown, 29, laid a bouquet of daisies in Lakers purple and gold in honor of the 41-year-old basketball superstar, a native son and 1996 Lower Merion High grad. The gym at his alma mater is named Bryant Gymnasium. Photo credit: ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER —The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 26, 2020

I get a scheduled pickup for Wanda
at 5:05pm, the end of her shift

I pull up to the long driveway that leads
to a Lower Merion mansion
& Wanda says, as she gets in the car,
“Thank God you're here, there's a fox”
& I turn & sure enough there's a fox
in the yard skulking about 50 feet away
I say, "Don't worry
foxes are afraid of people"
She says, "The young children play in the yard"
& I concede children are not safe from a fox

I cannot help but ask if Wanda has heard
the sad news—
She says, "I'm trying to forget"
& I pretend I understand

I ask Wanda if she plans to watch the Grammy's tonight
She says, "Maybe”
Maybe, because she's "up to date with her other shows"
I ask about these other shows
& Wanda tells me she watches
"The Haves and The Have Nots"

I reflect on this as I drive Wanda
to West Philadelphia where
I was not born & raised
& so I do not share where I was—
that Kobe & I went to the same high school
that that's my life
—even though this tragedy has made me
want to express my connection to place—
the bubble that is The Main Line
—a world apart

We sit in quiet awhile
again, I return to last night
watching King James unseat Kobe
& the good love shown in response

What crazy coincidence
this next day
& yet that is the awful reminder
this game has no rules
& cares not for sportsmanship

Driving down 52nd
we pass a homeless man standing
in the road holding a cup

Wanda says, "I mind my business"
"Keep my mouth zipped"
"People are too crazy now"

I say, "I know, I try to do the same"

So I try for gratitude after dropping off Wanda
at 52nd & Race
at nightfall, a tourist
I return to the felt safety of Lower Merion
where nothing is supposed to happen

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.


by Alan Catlin

Born in Wichita, Kansas, fine art photographer Tom Kiefer was raised primarily in the Seattle area and worked in Los Angeles as a graphic designer. Kiefer moved to Ajo, Arizona in December 2001 to fully develop and concentrate his efforts in studying and photographing the urban and rural landscape and the cultural infrastructure. In 2015 Kiefer was included in LensCulture's top 50 emerging photographers and Photolucida's top 50 Critical Mass. His ongoing work “El Sueño Americano” (the American Dream) has been featured in news publications nationally and internationally. 

“Don’t let no one take your hope or dreams away.”
            —Tom Kiefer, photographer, assembler

Dispossessed items
at the Border made into

Duct tape re-enforced water
bottles used as canteens

One worn Mickey Mouse sweater
child sized 2017

One baby shoe 2018

A montage of hair brushes
and combs fitted into a near-
perfect square pattern 2017

A tangle of shoelaces, blue
like a nest of vipers,
conqueror worms 2017

50 potentially lethal,
non-essential toothbrushes,
in patriotic colors: red, white and blue
assembled as USA USA USA 2019

Alan Catlin has published dozens of chapbooks and full-length books, most recently the chapbook Three Farmers on the Way to a Dance (Presa Press), a series of ekphrastic poems responding to the work of German photographer August Sander who did portraits of Germans before, during, and after both World Wars.


by Marsha Owens

Gun rights advocates and militia members gather in Virginia's capitol to protest potential gun control bills. Credit: JACK GRUBER, USA TODAY, January 21, 2020.

The inspiration for Rumors of War is war—
is an engagement with violence.
—Kehinde Wiley

marched around my town like Grant went through Richmond my daddy would’ve said if he were still alive, and he would’ve harrumphed at the overkill in the news again, then he would’ve lit another cigarette and gone to bed, and everybody else in town would do the same time because it was ten o’clock and it wasn’t 2020 yet, like yesterday, Martin Luther King day, when a band of 22,000 strangers from God knows where gathered at the Virginia State Capitol, once the proud capital of the confederacy (big C) all tightly strapped and wrapped in artillery and more goddam ammunition than I ever care to see, and I was a prisoner in my own house, waiting all day for the sound of gunshots in my own yard. Do not go near the Capitol! we were warned. Some people called in sick, some gathered with friends, some went to churches to pray, some, like me, tried not-so-successfully to stay calm, to not get anxious or drunk, to not curl into the fetal position, and today we’re told it was a fine protest, no shots fired, no injuries, no deaths.

But I am traumatized, so do not try to tell me that what happened last week in my city was non-violent and peaceful. Terror wore heavy boots, stomped loudly, and we were sore afraid.

As the day waned into a purple sky, I looked again at the statue—not Grant’s, but of a young black man atop a magnificent steed, just recently come to Richmond to remind us of our dark past, its terror glorified in our streets and I remember how art can sometimes teach us by drawing our eyes to the light, even when danger lingers in shadow.

The “Rumors of War” statue by artist Kehinde Wiley was unveiled in Richmond on [December 9, 2019]. The sculpture depicts an African American man with a crown of dreadlocks, wearing urban clothes and sneakers and sitting astride a horse (Steve Helber/AP via The Washington Post, December 11, 2019.

Marsha Owens lives and writes in Richmond, VA. Her writing has appeared in both print publications, including The Huffington Post, Wild Word Anthology, The Sun, and online at TheNewVerse.News, Poets Reading the News, Rat’s Ass Review, and Rise Up Review. She is a co-editor of the recently published poetry anthology Lingering in the Margins and a proud recipient of the Leslie Shiel Scholarship Award for Writers Who Read, awarded through the Visual Arts Center in Richmond.

Saturday, January 25, 2020


by David Chorlton

'Maybe the White House Meant “Take Her Out” and “Your Head Will Be on a Pike” in an Innocent Way?' —Slate, January 24, 2020

The usually sharp
contour of the mountain is swathed
in cloud today. When the telephone rings
it sounds as though a lonely voice
is trapped inside, but is still
best ignored
considering the robocalls from Florida
intent on coaxing
information from the innocent
among us. History, meanwhile,
is cobbled together
from statements and rebuttals
while a Costa’s hummingbird
rests on a stem
in slow falling rain and truth
slips back into the underworld with a nervous
twitch in its tail.

The chaplain’s blessing scatters
as each word spreads its wings to fly
to God and back. Such chastening
language doesn’t stand
a chance at noon beneath the western
sky when it’s strength
in numbers for the pigeon flock
startled into
the pieces of a broken prayer.

Before daylight: the streetlamps still on duty
and the trash bins lined obediently
waiting to be emptied. A first
muffled walker passes the house
with her opinions bound tight around her.
An unspoken fact hangs
in the air, and darkness parts
for the truck to pass through
that will carry away
all blind spots.

From the garden swing seat, everything
appears relaxed: there is no
rancor in the mountain,
no arguments pull to have the palm trees
lean unnaturally, and the evergreens
soak up the winter sun
whose warmth comes democratically
to Earth. But there’s a chill
between the sunbeams as the threads
that bind deception to
high office come untied, and the Red-tailed
hawk claims executive privilege
when he comes down to the rooftops.

After dawn, the sky becomes divided
along party lines. The early birds dissect
yesterday’s words on the grass. Peck, peck, they
take the vowels and leave
consonants in their shells among the remnants
of opening arguments. Here are echoes
from a vicious time: Let’s see
what he can do he’s not
a politician he’s a businessman he says what
he thinks and so on and
so on. Listen till it hurts.

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.


by Peter Witt

My rhetoric went a pettifogging
in the wee hours
talking ad nauseam
to tired eyes
drinking milk
to sooth their ulcers
I crafted pettifoggery
which proved inconsequential
some might say piddling
adding nothing to the dialogue
laying unabsorbed
by already made up minds

I baked a trifling roast
of picayune sour grapes
with no-account measures
of over-stuffed plums
oozing with petty wisdom

I poured an elixir
of concocted alternative truths
into two-bit beakers
considered by all
to be fine Italian whine

Until it was finally over
and I could sleep

more hairsplitting
pushed off
until tomorrow

Peter Witt lives in Bryan, Texas, a former university professor, writes poetry and research family history in his retirement.

Friday, January 24, 2020


by Pepper Trail

Twenty-one children brought a lawsuit arguing that the government needs to act on climate change. A federal court dismissed it. —The Atlantic, January 22, 2020. Photo: Kelsey Juliana, a lead plaintiff in the case arguing that the federal government must act on climate change, outside the Supreme Court. (KEVIN LAMARQUE / REUTERS)

Plaintiffs cannot identify any injury to a concrete and particularized legally protected interest because their grievance is universally shared and generalized.  —U.S. Department of Justice

Seeking to quash this suit, the government bluntly insists that it has the absolute and unreviewable power to destroy the Nation – U.S. District Court Judge Josephine L. Staton, in dissent

The problem, dear children, is—
            causing universal disaster is not against the law

The government, indeed, has made a strong case to the contrary—
            that it is our most characteristic activity

Every tree that grows, bird that flies, fish that swims
Every drop of rain, every acre of ground, every river flowing—
            come on, you know this–is for us

And so we cut and cleared, emptied the sky and sea
Harvested the rain, plowed and burned, dammed and drained –
            the technical term is Stewardship—everything
All the while thinking … well, there must be more        

Dear children, the court admits some sympathy for your situation—
            you chose a most unfortunate time to be born

But that does not change the facts of the case
Destroying the planet has always been a basic human right—
            a precedent this court must respect

Therefore, we hereby declare and affirm that we—
            in conjunction with all judicial and political authorities worldwide—
            deny your misguided attempt to save the world

Case dismissed

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.

Thursday, January 23, 2020


by Janet Leahy

And now it has come to pass—at a time when we most need him
Civility has died. We are not sure how we can go on without him.
He tried to quiet the storm of ridicule, the spitefulness of debate
that swirls around us. He could not abide the absence of truth
in the public square. The Civility family has known several recent losses,
a younger brother Justice, worked at the border, tried to stop the separation
of families. After two years Justice came home, exhausted by the inhumanity
he witnessed, the callous treatment of little children, who need a mother,
a father, to hold them close. Justice died one year ago. And his sister
Compassion, protested when the electric company turned off heat to
families in arrears of payment. Last January she fell into a winter
of discontent, illness took her vitality and her life. His only surviving
sibling is Charity, a poet. She chronicles lives lost at the border, lives lost
fleeing homelands not safe to return to. Lives lost seeking asylum
in the land of liberty, the land of plenty. We remember bodies washed
ashore on the banks of the Rio Grande—Oscar, his arms wrapped around
his 22-month-old daughter Valeria, he carried her under his shirt
as they were swept up by raging river currents. We cannot erase
that picture, of father and daughter, it is locked forever in our memory.
Charity will read this poem at the memorial for her brother . . . we are not
sure how we can go on without him.

Janet Leahy is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poetry and works with critique groups in the Milwaukee-Waukesha area.  Her poems have appeared in Bards Against Hunger, the 5th Anniversary Edition and the Wisconsin Edition,  in Soundings, Ariel Anthology, Bramble, The Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, and others. Online her work has can be found at TheNewVerse.News, Your Daily Poem, and Blue Heron.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020


by Karen Greenbaum-Maya

Yahrzeit of Inauguration Day
we don’t have a year any more
maybe not even six months
winter in SoCal         they say
rained for 41 days and nights
but it’s dry as dry rot
dry as dry gel
dry as dry cleaning striped button-downs
they say         He forgot
I say    we’ve run out of doves
and olives
a political snow job
not as important as a blow job
they say they didn’t             but they did
they say we did                    but no way we did
impartial? like my brother
cutting the cake and choosing
I am too fair
you always complain
you never stop complaining
what’s wrong with you
let’s compromise, they say
meet over the cliff
we’ll freeze halfway down
or        I’ll fire the gun 
so the bullet stops 
when the smoke comes out
What’s the problem?           they say
I said, that’s what happened

Karen Greenbaum-Maya’s third and weirdest chapbook Kafka's Cat is available at Kattywompus Press.


by Gary Glauber

More U.S. service members have been transported out of Iraq for medical treatment and evaluations following Iran’s missile attack on military facilities there, the Pentagon said Tuesday, nearly two weeks after President Trump and defense officials initially said no one was hurt. —The Washington Post, January 22, 2020. Photo: U.S. soldiers stand at a spot hit by Iranian missiles at Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq days after the Jan. 8 attack. (Qassim Abdul-Zahra/AP)

In those not-so-olden days,
they might kneecap you into submission
or try to shame you into changing your ways.

Today, the persuasion’s more subtle,
minds are changed without realizing
things encountered in media stream.

They float by like invisible balloons,
banners that point the way with
bold exclamations you’ll never remember.

Alone in the voting booth,
just you and your conscience
and inexplicable urges compelling you.

Foreign powers are acting poorly,
proving psycho-statistical truths,
gaining control from within.

Reading a mind isn’t necessary
when subtle control is relinquished
and a shocked world wonders

how nuclear winter has emerged
from within, not without,
fighting wars no one ever sees.

The new truth is contrived fiction.
Believers vehement with denial
conjure revisionist history,

spew touted party sound bites,
and daily break what others revered
on battlefields of public opinion.

This wall of boulders
grows larger over time
until no one quite remembers

or cares who it was
that cast the first stone
or the life we had before.

And we the unsure
in the chaos of uncertainty
fear the worst world war,

not knowing that bombs
of ultimate destruction
have already dropped.

Gary Glauber is a widely published poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. He champions the underdog, and strives to survive modern life’s absurdities. He has two collections, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) and Worth the Candle (Five Oaks Press), and a chapbook, Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press).  A new chapbook of surreal poetry, The Covalence of Equanimity, a winner of the 2019 James Tate International Poetry Prize, is now available from SurVision Books.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


by Scott C. Kaestner

Ukrainian truth squads unveil those are indeed the President’s testicles in Mitch McConnell’s mouth marbling his gobble talk as Jive Turkey Numero Uno in the US Senate.

A fair trial?

Since when does that have anything to with American justice?

“Gobble-gobble-gobble, squawk-squawk, gobble-gobble hoax!”

I’m hungry and like my turkey on rye, minus the President’s testicles.

Scott C. Kaestner is a Los Angeles poet, writer, dad, husband, and someone who seeks spiritual guidance from his dog. Google ‘scott kaestner poetry’ to peruse his musings and doings.

Monday, January 20, 2020


by Shalala Leny

Diana Ejaita’s “Portrait of History”

Black bodies dance under white, bright streetlights
The same way they do under white police
Black guns pierce black souls covered by white sheets
Black skin knows the sun taste better at night
We feed predator, we know this outright
We mourn Garner, the others, we cry, we grieve
We struggle, we bleed, and no, I can’t breathe
They kill us in many, different ways despite
Our protests for rights and liberty
While they rewrite our wide history
So we will ebonize strange, white, bright lies
We are not strange fruit, striped scarred stitchery
One day, revolution will come through benighted skies
One day, you’ll see that still like air, we’ll rise

Shalala Leny is a student and freelance writer in Miami, FL. Her poetry tends to explore the topics of race and identity, especially in a black person in America.

Sunday, January 19, 2020


by Nadia Farjami

black. healthcare. matters.

she died from
their silence, from

sealed lips and silicone gloves that

her aside—her
pulse would have kept pushing,

but they put her
on pause.

Nadia Farjami is a poet from California. Her work has been recognized by The New York Times, Cathexis Northwest Press, High Shelf Press, The Esthetic Apostle,  Prometheus Dreaming, Polyphony LIT, Youth Poet Laureate, Body Without Organs Literary Journal, Marmalade Magazine, Cagibi Literary Journal, The Athena Review, & more.

Saturday, January 18, 2020


by Gil Hoy

What breed of turmoil
and woe are we seeing, when

casual conversation
about favorite movies
can seem uncaring,

tacit silence
in the face of
so many lies.

Gil Hoy is a Boston poet, semi-retired trial lawyer, and progressive, political activist who is studying 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 most recently in Tipton Poetry Journal, Chiron Review, TheNewVerse.News, Ariel Chart, The Potomac, The Penmen Review and elsewhere.

Friday, January 17, 2020


by Jen Schneider

A man has been left seriously injured after the tent he was sleeping in was removed by an industrial vehicle in Dublin. The man, who is believed to be homeless, was taken to St Vincent's Hospital, where he is reportedly being treated for "life-changing" injuries and remains in a serious condition. The incident, which took place at Wilton Terrace near the city centre of the Irish capital, happened on Tuesday afternoon. —ITV News, January 15, 2020

The Toronto Homeless Memorial now includes the names of more than 1,000 people who died while homeless; a grim milestone that some advocates say underscores the extent of Toronto’s poverty crisis. —CP24, January 14, 2020

In my dreams, the Butterflies dance – 
Monarchs, Swallowtails, and Brush-Footed Beauties.  
Flittering specks of crimson, pale pinks, warm yellows – 
like the cotton patchwork quilt I use to warm myself
as Night falls.

In my dreams, the Radio sings – 
Ellington, Bach, Armstrong
Sweet, sometimes off-beat tunes of jazz, hip-hop, classical notes – 
like the lyrics of childhood verse I sing to calm myself
as Night falls.

Sleep is a Noun, much like any other
until it’s Not:
Regenerative blocks of eight hours, cycles
of REM, light, and deep slumber.
Wakefulness, too.

Sleep is a Verb, much like any other
Until it’s Not:
Engagement in a nightly ritual
of rejuvenation. Eyes close. Muscles relax.
Consciousness suspends, too.

Sleep is a Basic Necessity, much like any other
Until it’s Not:
The lowest, most fundamental tier
of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs turned Off.
Out of reach - a victim of city regulations, zoning boards,
and inked signs informing us of our camps’ demise.

What happens when the steps—Maslow’s, City Halls, 
Bus Terminals—turn off. The music stops playing. 
The dreams turn sour. Strips of yellow and black
ribbon turn bedtime into a nightly scavenger hunt. 
With no treasure or prize.

I’m told we’ve made the News.
Sometimes dreams do come true. Childhood fantasies 
of my name on Billboard Lights.
Arms sway as I belt out verse of the Masters, 
dance with the Monarchs, and look Up to the Heavens.

My focus, now – Down – to the Concrete - for a place to rest.
Down by the Rec Center. 
Down near the Church. 
Down under the Bridge.
A folksong gone wrong, with lyrics all my own.

Sleep is Talk Show Filler, much like any other
Until it’s Not.
Tips, Tricks, and Strategies in the form 
of downloads, software applications and endless talk
of background noise and strict schedules.

What happens when the background noise –
Roaring Interstates, Tree Lined Highways, Dark Tunnels 
is the Bedroom?

What happens when the schedules – 
City Collection Trucks, Patrolling Officers, Slow Moving Vans 
are the Nightmares?

Sleep is…
Shivers turned to blankets of fuzzy warmth.
Arms wrapped around tired bones.
Lights off on social experiments gone wrong.

Until it’s Not. When the lights stay on and the arms arrest.
Sleep simply Ceases to Exist.

Jen Schneider is an educator, attorney, and writer. She lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Philadelphia. Her work appears in The Popular Culture Studies Journal, unstamatic, Zingara Poetry Review, Streetlight Magazine, Chaleur Magazine, LSE Review of Books, and other literary and scholarly journals.

Thursday, January 16, 2020


by Janice D. Soderling

Eight children were among the 11 migrants who drowned when their boat sank off Turkey's western coast, state media report. Eight other people were rescued from the waters off Cesme, a tourist resort on the Aegean coast opposite the Greek island of Chios. —BBC, January 12, 2020.

It is the ghost ship Hope-No-More
that sails a bitter sea.
Stiff on her misty deck there stands
a doleful company.

Her sails are spun of baby breath.
Her masts are made of bones.
Her draft is deep, but deeper still,
the halls of Davy Jones.

Her keel is carved of hard goodbyes.
Her rigging wrought of grief.
Her rotting hull is empty as
the honor of a thief.

She sailed from war and hunger.
War and hunger are no more.
She sails like fog forever.
The good ship Hope-No-More.

Janice D. Soderling is a previous contributor to TheNewVerse.News. Her work was recently at Better Than Starbucks and Light. She has published one chapbook in Swedish and two in English, another soon forthcoming titled War: Make That City Desolate.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Robert West is the author of three chapbooks of poems, including Convalescent (Finishing Line Press, 2011); the co-editor of Succinct: The Broadstone Anthology of Short Poems (Broadstone Books, 2013); and the editor of both volumes of The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons (W. W. Norton, 2017).

Tuesday, January 14, 2020


by Gail Goepfert

Thick plumes of smoke rise from bush fires on the coast of East Gippsland in Victoria, Australia, on Saturday. (Australian Maritime Safety Authority/Reuters via The Washington Post, January 5, 2020)

Fog out the window. Low-
slung and grayed,
near the ground.
Veiling what will come of this day.

Waken, light summons.


I read snippets—
weigh want and need
to know
against my belly’s grit.

Bulletins. Updates.

Winter. Closed in.
No sound of the wire-buzz,
outside—safety and beauty de-
flowered by a string of high-
voltage lines, transmits
news that’s breaking.


Nothing gray about cancer.

I shouldn’t be recycling
store receipts—paper
with Bisphenol A, a cancer-
causing chemical that contaminates
what China recycles
of “foreign trash”—
yang laji.

How to recycle the unrecyclable.


Australian bushfires
beyond beyond.
A smoke cloud
discernible by satellite vaster
than our continent.

The ache of witness—
beneath plumes and plumes
of orange haze, droves
of charred carcasses, kangaroo
and koala, slumped
on the roadsides.

People wobble
on their heels in the sand,
imprint the beaches
of retreat and escape—
lungs’ bronchi robbed
of oxygen.

Who cannot succumb
to the fire-slaughter?
The news of it?

Some still blind-eyed
though they see.


At home, in the land
of the free, I skim word
of the playground bravado
vis-à-vis the erasure of Iran’s
Soleimani as if erasure
will cure anything.

Tarzan-­ian inflated chests
playing Red Rover
with weapons
forgetting others left to spin
on the merry-go-round.

He should have been killed years ago.

Promises of hard revenge,
the boasts of bullies.

You started it. We will end it.


Will anyone be left to weep
where the gravediggers bury?


Forecast: ashen.

Gail Goepfert, an associate editor at RHINO Poetry, is a Midwest poet and photographer. She has two published books—A Mind on Pain in 2015 and Tapping Roots 2018. Get Up Said the World will appear in 2020 from Červená Barva Press. Recent publications include Kudzu House, Stone Boat, Postcard Poems and Prose Magazine, Bluestem, Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, SWWIM, and Beloit Poetry Journal.

Monday, January 13, 2020


by Laura Rodley

This is for the kangas,
the koala bears,
the duck billed platypus,
the lizards in the soil,
this is for the tree trunks
left standing, for the people,
for the sky full of smoke
above them, I wish you
great clouds of rain,
nimbus clouds bottom heavy
to quench your thirst,
no more fire-induced thunderheads,
to avoid more lightning strikes.
I wish you moist cooling breezes
sent from far out in the ocean,
a place to rest.

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

Sunday, January 12, 2020


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, Bombay Gin, and TheNewVerse.News  which recently nominated her poem "And Then the Sky" for a Pushcart Prize.

Saturday, January 11, 2020


by Alejandro Escudé

We’re on a passenger plane
On its way to Ukraine.

All of us on board—the ones
Who economically strain

To carry our beloved,
Unaware of the warlord

Below, strafing shrapnel,
Sower of discord,

Or planning assassination
As though it were a tea.

Who cares? It’s only people
Who have ceased to be.

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, January 09, 2020


Background art: Two Devils ...:  a lithograph by B. Williams, c. 1833

Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco lives in California's Central Valley and co-edits One Sentence Poems. Her chapbooks, Various LiesLion Hunt, and Water Weight are available from Finishing Line Press, Plan B Press, and Right Hand Pointing, respectively.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020


by Janice D. Soderling

You won't find the old men going.
Death and rotting bodies are too much on their minds.
You won't find their scions going either.
Too much capital invested in those victorious sperm.

You won't find the old women going.
They are too canny.
They have dealt with blood
and shit and pain and broken promises
all their lives.

A few young women will go,
The gullible ones trying to prove their equality.
The rest, the smarter ones,
are too busy with their hair and high heels.

Uncle Samuel isn't going.
Uncle Samuel would like the glory, but he hedges;
he deals in futures and private equity.
And he figures, “Why do we have all these young men
if we aren't going to use them?”

So that leaves you, m'boy,
inner city dropout, son of immigrants.
Step up and make your country proud.
Yes, you from the backwoods, the back roads,
the back of the class, the back of the line,
the backbone of Exceptionalism.
And anyway there are no jobs,
and as everybody knows,
nobody (except in action movies),
nobody dies in war.

Janice D. Soderling is a previous contributor to TheNewVerse.News. Her fourth chapbook, forthcoming in February, is titled War: Make that City Desolate.


by Joan Mazza

Trump's reelection campaign is fundraising off Soleimani's killing. —Yahoo! News, January 8, 2020

He pats himself on the back for the drone
strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.
We got him! he brags at another rally,
smirks while his supporters cheer, eager
for the blood of brown-skinned people.
He calls them scum, terrorists, animals,
as he called Mexicans rapists and murderers.

The old playbook is wide open, rage
fueling rage, war and more war. Poor boys
fed into the machine return in body bags
with flags. He promises to bomb cultural
heritage sites like the Golestan Palace,
or Persepolis first looted by Alexander
the Great, or Pasargadae from 600 BCE—

meaningless places for an egomaniac sans
empathy, ethics, or education. The only
sites he cares about are those he owns,
those that make money, with his name
in giant gold letters across the façade.
Would the beauty of mosques with tile
mosaics or gardens move a man who lacks

feelings for the children he separated
from parents? Nothing will pierce the heart
of a man who always gets what he wants,
who suffers no consequences for fraud
and cheating. The laws of war and human
decency do not apply to him. He’ll take
a bit of purple rubble as a memento.

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.