Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020


by Jen Schneider

President Donald T***p closed out his first presidential debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday night by repeating on national television his false claim that poll watchers had been blocked from observing the first day of in-person early voting in Philadelphia. “Today there was a big problem,” T***p said in the closing moments of the debate. “In Philadelphia they went in to watch. They’re called poll watchers. A very safe, very nice thing. They were thrown out. They weren’t allowed to watch. You know why? Because bad things happen in Philadelphia, bad things.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 29, 2020

Opinions simmer. Warm, savory, inviting. Nonna’s pork and cheese meatballs, fresh of tomatoes, garlic, and onions. Tossed in Italian market spices. Sidewalk chalk and porch stoop chatter inspire debates on Pat’s versus Geno’s and rails that carry hundreds of years and thousands of stories. Cobblestone streets where 200-year old trinities and 100-year old row homes rub shoulders with brothers, sisters, Quakers, and strangers turned family. Generations nestle among soaring metal, as Betsy Ross, Ben Franklin and Independence Mall beckon. Welcome, America. Stair wells heat, bagels boil, and scallion flavored cream cheese fuels. Reading Terminal bakers, Convention Center makers, and Didone type LOVE serve pride of place, Always. Cannoli’s, cheesesteaks – extra onions, thank you – and scrapple, a double. Plenty to share, as Philadelphia’s city limits - and pride - extend for Rocky miles. In a quickly evolving world, farewell Franklin Press, each neighborhood block is Distinct. Unique. Proud. Gritty.

Our City. Our PlaceAlways Good. 

as voice pebbles rise and fall.
Feet crunch on asphalt
Good will overcome

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.