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Saturday, February 29, 2020


by Mary K O’Melveny

When dispersed, dandelion seed heads, also known as “blowballs,” can travel vast distances due to a unique morphology of the pappus, a fine hair-like material which holds the spherical seed heads and enables their wind-aided dispersal.  The pappus adapts, based on wind or air moisture, closing its plume of seeds until optimal conditions for maximum dispersal and germination occur.  

the metaphor seems right
too obvious of course
as arenas fill up with 
chanting shrieking clapping
sounds of sickness  backbeats
to our long agony

everyone in MAGA
hats or face masks   Look
to your right or your left
infection will arrive
like a dandelion’s
pappus as it sails off

carried by wind to new
meadows,  gliding down like
wartime propaganda 
hoping for fallow fields
and willing minds   there is 
no ripcord    just free fall

furtive looks  yield nothing
no obvious symptoms
everyone could carry
these germs    no one will tell
truths   everyone will shift
blame   new tears will be shed 

you cannot lock us all
up   cannot invent a
failsafe test   find a cure
hiding inside some lab 
mouse   even if we steal
back money from builders

of walls a plague still looms
dress up in your white coats
smile at your neighbors who
are about to lock their 
doors so you can’t enter
wash your hands one more time

then beg them for mercy
show them how your face mask
can repel each viral 
blast better than theirs  
tell them you have never 
seen a hot zone or helped 

a victim    promise you will
never argue about
anything important
won’t blow any whistles
tell them you are grateful 
you will not doubt again

Mary K O'Melveny is a recently retired labor rights attorney who lives in Washington DC and Woodstock NY.  Her work has appeared in various print and on-line journals. Her first poetry chapbook A Woman of a Certain Age is available from Finishing Line Press. Mary’s poetry collection Merging Star Hypotheses was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2020.


by Alejandro Escudé

When the so-called Black Death swept through northern Lincolnshire during the middle of the 14th century, sick and desperate people turned to the nearby Thornton Abbey's hospital for care. So many people died there that the members of the abbey's clergy were unable to prepare individual burials and instead had to bury the bodies in a so-called plague pit … But even though dozens of people were consigned together to a shallow mass grave over a period of just a few days, the remains were nonetheless treated with respect and received individual attention, according to a new study. Photo: A close-up shows part of the mass grave at Thornton, where the deceased were carefully positioned and placed in an organized manner without any overlapping. (Image: © University of Sheffield/Antiquity Publications Ltd.) —Live Science, February 18, 2019

Forty eight humanoid figures
on the archaeological diagram
of the Black Death burial site;
Thornton Abbey monks, patient,
pious, wrapped each individual,
performed last rites, conscious
of the space between negligence
and love, light separating all us
pilgrims making the trek out
to the country to die with hope
of afterlife. Why does the cross
resemble a key? Why is the answer
always more patience, a power
more like prayer than habit?
I won’t forgive some around me
despite our woes widespread.
Rat-psyche world, words heady
as a virus, our bodies buried
side by side so they don’t overlap
even in life. What is love but hope?
When one looses hope does
one loose the ability to love?
These monks didn’t. Wouldn’t.
I see their bony, medieval hands
sorting it all out in the dirt,
disease, blood, vomit, their
screams suppressed by prayer
and see the same monks in
the people wearing hazmat suits
today, leading those sick with
a new disease down the stairs
of an airplane, the disease itself
the shape of the airplane,
a cruise liner, an old couple
quarantined in their cabin,
taking it all in stride, they say,
unabated fear in their hands,
their jittery faces, those carried
away in China, yelling like
hostages, stowed away in clear,
plastic houses. Abbeys whose
hymns we’d rather not hear.

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.

Friday, February 28, 2020


by Charlotte L. Rea

Cartoon by David Horsey, originally published in The Seattle Times in 2019. 

The day I stopped watching the news,                                              
a wannabe king danced on democracy’s tomb.
I looked to the moon, my long-trusted muse

and trembling asked, what more can we lose?
My life feels hopeless and filled with doom.
To stop-watch progress through the news

is folly, said the moon. Don’t let the ruse
of the haughty turn your heart’s hope to gloom.
Look to me, the moon, your long-trusted muse.

See how the stars and galaxies persevere—whose

presence across the ages is there to illume,
if you stop and watch with care. The news

is like a nova, dazzling but fleet. Wisely choose
what occupies your gaze and what you consume.
I welcome your wisdom, my long-trusted muse.

I’m always here to comfort not to confuse,
be faithful in my company—but never presume
that because you stop watching the news
I, the moon, can be more than a muse

Editor's note: The previous posting of this poem formatted it incorrectly. Its nature as a villanelle is properly presented here in the reposting.

Charlotte L. Rea is a native Virginian who spent twenty-six years on active duty in the United States Air Force. She explains, “I am more appalled every day about what is happening to the democracy I spent a large portion of my life defending. This poem was a way for me to keep current tumultuous times in perspective.” Rea currently lives with her dog, Maggie, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Thursday, February 27, 2020


“President Donald T***p wants America to know that his plans to remove government officials deemed insufficiently loyal to him is actually for the country’s own good.” 
Talking Points Memo, February 25, 2020

Photograph by Oleg Ver.

George Salamon entered the USA as a 13-year-old immigrant in 1948, after a decade as a refugee from Austria in Switzerland during World War Two. The first play he saw, in early 1949, was Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


by Gail White

Coronavirus Pandemic by Bill Day, Tallahassee, FL

Coronavirus crisis?
I don’t know what you mean.
We’ll stop it at the border.
We’ll find a new vaccine.

They loved me in New Delhi.
I didn’t wear a mask.
You’re safe with me to guide you.
Your health care? Please don’t ask.

Gail White is a formalist poet and a contributing editor to Light. Her most recent collections are Asperity Street and Catechism. She lives in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, with her husband and cats. 


by Jill Crainshaw

Photograph by Mark Fuller: "dust thou art, and unto dust thou shall return."

what prayer dare we utter when
unspeakable horrors silence
songs of children paralyze
tongues of poets we stumble over
all that remains—unspoken—

perhaps some ancient tree will
whisper wisdom into this unending
night—wilderness people do not
recognize its edenic lyric we
are dust to dust we will return we

are all dust and we are all creating
this mad mad world imposing
premature imprints of mortality on
unblemished foreheads of children
turned to ash in our clenching hands

someone save us from this fickle
foolishness why do we sacrifice innocent
blood to the thirsty ungroundedness of
our being we flinch gritty truth marks
us we are exiles in our own homes

holding our breath as tongues of fire
consume what really matters—save us
open our mouths to exhale the ashy
smell of repentance make our bones
remember we are dust to dust we will return—

Jill Crainshaw is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and a liturgical theology professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


by Jennifer Martelli

                        The Catholic Church is [not] monolithic in its teachings on abortion. 
 Geraldine Ferraro, 1984

Is a man a monolith?
Can you decorate a monolith with sprigs of nutmeg, rue,
            pennyroyal, a garden of abortifacients?
Can you grow savin, squills, ergot of rye around the monolith?
Can you dig down far enough so the roots will embed?

Can I rule as a monolith?
Can I rule as a woman who’s had not one but two,
two abortions? And still is not sad?
Can I rule as a woman who is not sad at all?

Can we drape the monolith with pearls, chunky fake gems?
Can we polish its flat dark marble surface until it shines
like the tombstones in the Italian cemetery? Will you circle the monolith?
Will you join hands with me and dance and dance and dance?

Jennifer Martelli is the author of My Tarantella (Bordighera Press), awarded an Honorable Mention from the Italian-American Studies Association, selected as a 2019 “Must Read” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, and named as a finalist for the Housatonic Book Award. Her chapbook After Bird was the winner of the Grey Book Press open reading, 2016. Her work has appeared or will appear in Verse Daily, Iron Horse Review (winner, Photo Finish contest), The Sycamore Review, and POETRY. Jennifer Martelli has twice received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant for her poetry. She is co-poetry editor for Mom Egg Review and co-curates the Italian-American Writers Series.

Monday, February 24, 2020


by Howie Good

There are days when I look up from some small task,
answering a text or fixing coffee or leashing the dog,
and see miles more of the skyline burning and crowds
chanting encouragement to the flames, and on those days,
I feel broken and hollow and lost, too old and slow to be
able to make any sort of difference, but then I remember
I don’t have to be one of the ones who climb a rescue ladder;

I can stand on the ground and help hold the ladder steady.

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.

Sunday, February 23, 2020


by Michael L. Ruffin

1969 or so.
Wednesday night prayer meeting.
Small rural Baptist church.
Guest preacher.
My deacon father
on the front row,
as always.

Guest preacher.
Not very good.
Losing us.
Tries to get us back
with attempt at humor.
Points at my father:
“Somebody wake up
that sleeping deacon.”

After the service,
my father lets
the preacher have it:
“Don’t you ever embarrass me
in front of these people again!”

In the car on the way
home, my mother says,
“Champ, what got into you?”

He replies,
“I was asleep.”

Michael L. Ruffin is a writer, editor, preacher, and teacher living and working in Georgia. He posts poems on Instagram (@michaell.ruffin) and prose opinions at On the Jericho Road. He is author of Fifty-Seven: A Memoir of Death and Life and of the forthcoming Praying with Matthew. He has poems forthcoming in 3 Moon Magazine and Rat's Ass Review.

Saturday, February 22, 2020


by Harold Oberman

Graphic via Nikki McWatters

At this exact moment
It is time to put your sonnets
      On hold.
No lyric musings
Until the Republic is secure,
Until the Senate gains sanity,
Until Justice does justice,
Until November.

“There is a criminal in the White House
Who bullies foreign powers to frame his political rivals”
Does not fucking rhyme with anything
So don’t even try,
At least for now.
“There is a criminal in the White House
Who pardons his cronies who fixed the last election”
Is not a simile, not even a metaphor,
So don’t get clever with it
At least for now.
“There is a criminal in the White House
Who foments hate for political gain”
Is not in iambic, nor even trochaic, so just say it,
At least for now.

Pick up your pen
And jab it in the back of someone’s hand
If they say, “I’m not going to vote on that day,
November Third.”
Pick up your pen
And jab it in the back of someone’s hand
If they say “It just doesn’t matter.”

Scream before you write the lyric.
Howl before you write the sonnet.
And whisper truth to your neighbor.

Harold Oberman is a lawyer and writer living in the midst of the South Carolina Primary. His work has appeared in the TheNewVerse.News  and in the Free State Review.


by Gil Hoy

When the poet's
arrow hits the mark,

a wishful paragraph
can become

a single word:


Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and served four terms as a Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman. He is a member of the Brookline Democratic Town Committee. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020


by Jennifer Franklin

Our long coats are all that separate us from the cold. Half-way around the world, the sky opens to put out wildfires over the carcasses of burned marsupials. We wait for the subway, for the train. My daughter waits for her short yellow bus that arrives each morning with one sobbing boy. He would be a perfect metaphor of Orwell’s belief that we’re all alone if he didn’t look so sad, his shirt buttoned askew. Politicians preen and posture; the air is damp with acquittal. We bend our heads but not in prayer. Our palms hold small backlit tablets that promise information and escape. Miles north, a student paints a swastika in my old dorm. Another student covers it with a star. Only the dog is calm, sleeping in a circle in her clean fleece bed. Orwell wrote, “There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.” I try to put my daughter to sleep on time in her new room. As I read the familiar incantations, flowers climb up the lamp to the ceiling. All the animals have escaped the zoo. I want the story to end there. All of them tucked into the corners of the zookeeper’s room—breathing their heavy eucalyptus breath across the night. Their fur shining in the moonlight through the blinds.

Jennifer Franklin (AB Brown University, MFA Columbia University School of the Arts) is the author of two full collections, most recently No Small Gift (Four Way Books, 2018). Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Blackbird, Boston Review, New England Review, Gettysburg Review, Guernica, JAMA, Love’s Executive Order, The Nation, Paris Review, Plume, “poem-a-day” on, and Prairie Schooner. She is currently teaching poetry in Manhattanville’s MFA program. She also teaches manuscript revision at the Hudson Valley Writers Center, where she runs the reading series and serves as Program Director. She lives in New York City. The poem appearing here is from Jennifer’s forthcoming collection Momento Mori: Antigone.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


by Gil Hoy

Find out what they lost.
Maybe it's lost wages. Maybe
the monetary equivalent of
a permanent scar. Get
the medical bills paid. Past,
present and future. Robert
was just 18 years-old when
he stepped on a land mine
in Vietnam. Fresh
out of high school. Had always
dated the same girl.
You'll need to establish who
caused your client's misfortune.
And how they're responsible.
Maybe they ran a red light. Maybe
they forgot to turn off the stove
when heating up olive oil. What
you're looking for is money. The more
the better. How much is the loss
of a loved one worth? And an
amputated arm? Robert's
girlfriend is now married. His parents
have had to move on. They keep
his gold star pin beside their bed.

These images provided by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command show (left) Sgt. 1st Class Antonio R. Rodriguez, 28, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Sgt. 1st Class Javier J. Gutierrez, 28, of San Antonio, Texas, who died Feb. 8, 2020 from wounds sustained during combat operations in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. (US Army Special Operations Command via AP)

Gil Hoy is a semi-retired trial lawyer. Most of his cases were in the field of personal injury law.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020


by Diane Elayne Dees

Tweeted by NASA astronaut Jessica Meir from the International Space Station.

From space, the aqua, cream, azure, and cerulean
appear as if blended by a master painter
with an eye for serenity and expansion. I imagine
a second painting, this one bright, yet soft,
with puffs of spoonbill pink and splashes
of sea turtle green streaked across a peaceful
background of bunting indigo. From space,
the Louisiana delta is an impressionist’s dream
of water and feathers and the reflections
of a stippled sky. Up close, the picture tears
at the edges as the coastline rapidly recedes.
The Rusty Blackbird, black bear and Great Blue
fade behind a foreground of erosion and loss.
From space, the watercolors spill a dream-like
beauty onto a canvas teeming with life,
while the landscape shifts precariously,
altering the perspective forever.

Diane Elayne Dees has two chapbooks forthcoming. Her microchap Beach Days is available for download and folding from Origami Poems Project. Diane also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that delivers news and commentary on women’s professional tennis throughout the world.


by Christopher Woods

Temperature in Antarctica soars to near 70 degrees, appearing to topple continental record set days earlier. —Headline in The Washington Post, February 14, 2020

Has fewer contestants this year.
Girls from every continent once competed
Before the heat became too intense.
No more bikini strut, wet tee shirt parade.
Now just a few stagger about in a white furnace
Where the fevered winds that killed the penguins
Blow incessantly across the bones of elephant seals.

Christopher Woods is a writer and photographer who lives in Chappell Hill, Texas. He has published the novel The Dream Patch, the prose collection Under A Riverbed Sky, and a book of stage monologues for actors, Heart Speak. His photographs can be seen in his gallery. His photography prompt book for writers From Vision To Text is forthcoming from Propertius Press.

Monday, February 17, 2020


by Jen Schneider

Kevin Euceda, now 19 years old, an asylum-seeker from Honduras, has an emotional moment in December 2019, after some 900 days in detention at three detention centers. After hearing statements he made to counselors—that he thought were confidential—read back to him at hearings, the traumatized teenager chooses his words more carefully now. (Michael S. Williamson photo for "Trust and Consequences" by Hannah Dreier, The Washington Post, February 15, 2020)

In the darkness of the night and the safety of artificial lights, I shared my story. 
The hundreds of miles walked and waters crossed. Go ahead. Swim
I spoke of piles of memories, papers, lost lives, broken bodies, missing books, 
and torn clothing—including the cloth worn by my deceased cousin and sewn 
by the handiwork of my deceased mother’s pale, scarred hands—left behind. 
My calloused foot kissed the stone, and I fell. Hard.

Go ahead. Rise. Trusting the hands that caught, then bolstered, me, I complied. 
My words poured, pooled, and puddled around my person. Your head bobbed, 
a decoy, and encouraged me to swim to safety. Go ahead. Jump. A life vest, 
withs arm outstretched and encouraging, like the V that marks my forehead and maps 
my past - my own flesh and blood—I failed to realize I was in the deep end. 
Always have been. You, too. My lifelong fear of water consumed me, but I swam 
at your urging. Go ahead. Speak. Your superiors soaked my blood—yours, too—
and my language in a tissue of legal loopholes. Strangers twisted the rag, heavy 
with tales of my younger self, a person I neither know nor remember—Go ahead. Try.
—and dropped it in my lap. It stank. Still does.

The weight of my words lives on like bait and lure in deceptively choppy waters 
with a strong undercurrent. Go ahead. Float. Seeking a home base, safe land, in a sea 
that never calms. My words now a weapon, sharper than any before used, 
with finely seared edges and teeth that bite. Piranhas tear my younger flesh and chew 
my words at every meal, meeting, and moment. Go ahead. Pierce.
I lie before you. Empty. Broken. Alone.

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.

Sunday, February 16, 2020


by Linda Stryker

Santa Anita Park in Arcadia said a horse died “suddenly” over the weekend on its training track, making it the sixth fatality this year. The 6-year-old named Double Touch died on Saturday, according to the racetrack. The exact cause of the horse’s death was unknown and results from a necropsy were pending, officials said. —KTLA, February 11, 2020. File photo, above, of Double Touch provided by Zoe Metz Photography to Horse Racing Nation.

Amazing     euphoria
all over my face

I am fifteen
driving a car

My Dad teaches me
the brake     the gears

how to stop     how to turn
how to make hand signals

at the Track parking lot
now empty of cars

My Mom had taken me there
to watch the whirlwind races

charging horses     jockeys
whipping       hounding

Weeks later       near home
I drove toward a paper bag

Don’t run over it     Dad said
it might have kittens inside

Advice     admonishment
image forever implanted

Of course     all that was
an ancient moon’s age ago

I did not know back then
about the numerous deaths

at the Santa Anita track
where      on average

fifty horses die     shot
each year of my life

Should I mention     so many
other world racetracks

I used to recall      driving
at the Santa Anita Racetrack

But now     all I can think about
are              dead horses

Linda Stryker writes from Phoenix, AZ. She volunteered for many years as a radio reader for disabled people. She taught for twenty-four years at Arizona State University. She founded the poetry groups Poetry Exchange and COW: Community of Writers. Stryker has been published in numerous journals and her chapbook Starcrossed was published in 2018. She is currently working on a collection.

Saturday, February 15, 2020


by Charles Harvey

Police escort the last of about 150 masked members of the Patriot Front from a parking garage, after they peacefully ended a march near Capitol Hill, in Washington, U.S., February 8, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

I don’t give a fuck
About Donald Duck
Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!
He a chicken shit
He a mouth too small to
Blow smoke up my ass
But he sure blowing jazz
Up some white folk’s corn holes.
He blowing smoke, and they
Inhaling the shit he shit.
He gonna paint the White House red
From the blood of busted skulls,
‘Cause the cops are coming
The Neo-Nazis are coming
The skinheads are coming
The KKKs are coming
The Jew-haters are coming
The nigger-haters are coming
The stars and bars are coming
The Uncle Toms are bowing,
“Yas suh! !Yas suh!” thirty pieces of silver
to seal they thick lips.
They raising Bull Connor from the dead
The fools have been fooled
The turkeys are coming home to defecate,
But the wise will rise
From the ashes of democracy.

Charles Harvey lives in Houston Texas. He is a novelist and poet. He is currently working on a volume of poetry, Rough Cut Until I Bleed, due to be out on March 24. He has numerous volumes of poetry and short stories all over the web. He is in the middle of revising several novels to be re-released soon.

Friday, February 14, 2020


by Howie Good

I like distortion and dirt, I like reverb and delay,
I like spirals and turning objects and how forms look
when they move in three dimensions.

What interests me isn’t success,
but love, with its nimble and sinister tricks.

Drag it outside the window.
The next person adds onto it without knowing,
something that happens all the time,
a white pinnacle pricking just above the horizon.

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.

Thursday, February 13, 2020


as He Languishes with Dementia 
at Age 83 in the Year 2030

by Albert Haley

Disgusting. Corrupt. Liars!
Who is Melania?
Really, Junior, again?
Tower, tower, tower.
Haters. Where’s Vlad?

Make America grate?
Gold plated and Colonel KFC.
How to spell anything.
Perfect. Ivanka. If she weren’t
my daughter.

Was a time I could have shot someone.
Right in the middle of Fifth!

Wall, we were going to have.
What happened Tim Apple?
Gold plated wall. Good!

Have I said “pussy” yet?
Where’s my phone? Sad.

Me, me, me, my country tis of me. 
Do you like this hair?
In the middle of Fifth.
Put a tariff on it.
Put a businessman in 
the White House and acquit him.
They rip babies out of mothers
and smother them. Bullshit!
Sharpies predict the weather

But who is this Mitch? Why do I miss
him. Lyin’ Ted sure knew how to lie
down with the lion. Good crew,
kept their heads off the pikes.
Greatest hits. Rallies                                                  
and media is enemy of the state.
Some people say. Snow falling. 
Told you it was a hoax. 
The earth’s cooling—me too?

If they’d only respected
the Second. Right in the middle of Fifth. 
Might have spared me 
(A-l-z… how you spell?) this.

The focused hot blowtorch
of hatred so carefully cultivated. 
Main act in the middle of their circus.
Cancel the failing show
with a ratings bang.

Obama? Birth certificate?
Never saw it. Get him out of here!

Highest form of love
a man like me can ever know.

Albert Haley's poems have appeared previously in New Verse News, Poets Reading the News, and Rattle. He lives and teaches in dry, dusty Abilene, Texas, which at present seems far away from any refreshing blue waves. Haley's poems have appeared previously in TheNewVerse.News, Poets Reading the News, and Rattle. He lives and teaches in dry, dusty Abilene, Texas, which at present seems far away from any refreshing blue waves.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020


by Richard Garcia
Hand carved & hand painted rooster by Avelino Perez from Oaxaca, Mexico

Ricardo the rooster
only crows at dawn
or at 3 a.m. or noon.
So you never know.
Tonight he might crow
especially loud at the full moon.
Really loud.

              the rooster  lives on the border.
so his papers, passports, birth certificate
                         like his crowing skills
are quite in order.
 For first he climbs
                         the fence of Colossal
& from thence
                         greets El Sol in Spanish,
Then he bows & greets
                         the sun in English:
 Ola, Señor Sol,
                                    How are you?

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

Tuesday, February 11, 2020


by Yuan Changming

The death of a Chinese doctor who was silenced by the police for being one of the first to warn about the coronavirus set off an outpouring of grief and anger on social media. The New York Times interviewed him last week. Photo: Mourners at a vigil for Dr. Li Wenliang on Friday. Credit: Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times, February 7, 2020

Your humanistic lungs have no more air to pump out
But your whistle-blowing is echoing afar
Like a whale’s call, far beyond a whole continent
Louder than all the songs ever sung in modern China

Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, eight chapbooks & publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among 1639 others worldwide.


by Aaron Hicks

A protester at a rally in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in support of ethnic Uighur Muslims in China. Uighurs in China are being forced into “re-education” camps for indoctrination. Credit: European Pressphoto Agency via Shutterstock via The New York Times, January 2, 2019

Even the tiniest pebble has
Many brothers in the valleys of liberation
Despite the distance between them but,
An egg in great numbers whether far or near
is still fragile, still spineless
Still an

Do not fight against the good
Whose patience is that of
Stone and passions are ignited
By a garish will comparable to
The sun

What is hidden today, will be
Uncovered tomorrow
and the fragile flesh of censorship
will be gashed in coming time as
the truth bleeds out
bountifully gifting death to
the brawny body of injustice

Your tanks have made you shielded
And your clubs have extended your arms,
And your weapons have armed you
but oh eggs
You will always be just that

As the virus contaminates the news
Let us look closer under the scope
As we keep our eyes on the oppressed and
Give a voice to the silent

Keep your eyes on the mighty
Rocks as they wage war against
The many villainous eggs

Aaron Hicks is a writer from Wilmington, North Carolina. He enjoys well crafted movies, creamy coffee, and standing on the side of those who are oppressed. #FreeChina

Monday, February 10, 2020


by Jeremy Nathan Marks

When you wake up tomorrow morning,
the Senate will still be dead.

It will not attend your daughter’s graduation.
It will not say “Next year in Jerusalem!”
at your Seder.

It will not offer advice on which lawn service to use
or what types of shingles last longest.

The Senate will not tell you bedtime stories
or remember the year the Washington Redskins last
won a Super Bowl (or even won at all).

When you wake tomorrow
next month
next year
the Senate of the United States
will still be dead.

So, it is best for you to come to terms
and do whatever you must to mourn
before going on with your life
living your loss

Because it is a loss and let no one say otherwise.

But bear in mind,
the Senate has been dying for a long time
and you were aware that you could not count on it
to come over for Thanksgiving
or Christmas
or not get you into debt
or send your daughter off to war
after all, how many times did the Senate
forget who you were

You kept showing it photographs
reminders of better days
of people it knew who have also passed
you tried to remind it of its forgotten ideas
and values
and how it looked when it was in fighting trim.

So, remember the Senate
maybe even say Kaddish for it
but don’t expect it to fast with you
during Ramadan
or hunt Easter eggs with your son
or bring roasted corn to your tailgate
at the next football game

Because the Senate is dead.

Maybe there is still time to appreciate the last days
of that other ailing giant
the Republic.

Jeremy Nathan Marks lives in London, Ontario. Recent poetry, prose, and photography appear in Apricity, On the Seawall, Red Fez, Barren Magazine, Unlikely Stories, Bewildering Stories, 365 Tomorrows, and Literary Orphans.


by Wendy Hoffman

When I speak to women who rejoice

in their husbands not
battering them this month,

I say, "You’re doing a Susan Collins."

Wendy Hoffman had amnesia for most of her life. When she regained memory late in life, she wrote books about what she had forgotten. Karnac Books, London, published two of her memoirs in 2014 and 2015, as well as her first book of poetry in 2016. She co-authored a book of essays in 2018 for Routledge. Her third memoir is forthcoming from Aeon Books. Hoffman has a MFA and lives on the Olympic Peninsula with her little dog.


by Gil Hoy

The sun rises, just as splendidly
and majestically as she did
the day before. And the day
before that. He'll be fine,
he thinks, for telling the truth.
The Lieutenant Colonel, with a
Purple Heart, is honest and steadfast.
He loves his Country. She's oblivious
to the impending tempest--ignorant
and innocent. He's not worried, unaware
of his coming marching orders.
For this is America--not the Soviet Union.

Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and progressive political activist. He served four terms as a Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman.

Sunday, February 09, 2020


by Jill Crainshaw



In us.

God’s love
made skin and bones
muscle and marrow
hands and hearts
God’s words.
In us.

No more speeches or spin doctors,
debates or diatribes—no--
God’s nouns and adjectives and verbs
made alive
incarnating belonging
in us.

Words made matter,
planted in salvaged soil
savored and saving
in us.

So be it.

Author’s note: So many words. Too many. This is what came to mind for me as I listened to all the talk at and about the National Prayer Breakfast. As a Christian clergy person, I longed at the end of a week of chaotic and contentious words in Washington for prayerful moments of reflection, even for expressions of concern for all that divides us as a nation. John’s Gospel speaks of Jesus as God’s Word made flesh. This week, I longed for fewer spoken words and more words made flesh in embodied actions of communal care that cross boundaries and borders that separate us from each other. I realize that such longings are idealistic. They dwell in sacred geographies of hope. For now, these longings are, for me, the prayer that was not spoken at this week’s prayer breakfast. 

Jill Crainshaw is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and a liturgical theology professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.