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Friday, October 15, 2021


by Jen Schneider

Judge Donna Scott Davenport during a 2017 deposition. Credit: Obtained by ProPublica and Nashville Public Radio.

Black Children Were Jailed for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist. Almost Nothing Happened to the Adults in Charge: Judge Donna Scott Davenport oversees a juvenile justice system in Rutherford County, Tennessee, with a staggering history of jailing children. She said kids must face consequences, which rarely seem to apply to her or the other adults in charge. —Meribah Knight, Nashville Public Radio, and Ken Armstrong, ProPublica, October 8, 2021

tiny babies on metal swings,
toss rubber balls on concrete
tiny babies clothed in fabric
of NBA stars & NBC scenes
chalk words on concrete
tiny babies entrusted
to institutions of unknown pores
& unsuspecting wills
serve time on concrete
           1. __ 2. __ 3. __
cold benches
cold eyes
filters everywhere
tiny babies on metal cots
fight demons of demonstrative
power & fail to sleep
           1. __ 2. __ 3. __
cold lots (& bots)
cold plots
filters everywhere
dark curtains blanket lives
& squash truths
dark curtains conceal filters
& give breadth to those who
struggle to breathe
journals fail not to reveal
false truths. journalists
fight to reveal hidden truths
           1. __ 2. __ 3. __
cold data
cold calls
filters everywhere
as locks turn right
& shifts (shifty eyes) turn left
truths & threats tangle
in knots (& playground lots) of no name

time ticks. clocks run.colds (& charges) linger.
tiny babies of metal
fences take charge. document false charges.
tally lives on indefinite pause
& subject to indeterminate pain
judicial oaths & pledges
of allegiance
stream syllables of familiar
1. Liberty 2. Justice 3. All
& strings of familiar
1. Truth 2. Transparency 3. All
& cracks of familiar
1. Peace 2. Fairness 3. All

frayed fibers, tangled twine
false/falsified/fabricated (truths, charges, crimes)  
true fear (& dark curtains) everywhere

Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. She is a Best of the Net nominee, with stories, poems, and essays published in a wide variety of literary and scholarly journals. She is the author of Invisible Ink (Toho Pub), On Daily Puzzles: (Un)locking Invisibility (forthcoming, Moonstone Press), and Blindfolds, Bruises, and Breakups (forthcoming Atmosphere Press).

Thursday, October 14, 2021


by Laurie Rosen

Cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz/AMS via The Washington Post.

I am 35, 
I am 19, 
I am 12. 

Put a bounty on my head,
on my confidants and advisers
my doctor, too. 
Sue the office administrators,
the taxi driver that brought me.

Come for me with handcuffs.
Restrain my arms behind my back,
haul me off to jail.
Lock me up behind bars, 
Throw away the key.

Call me a murderer, baby killer. 
Selfish, hateful. 
I plead guilty. I don’t deny it. 
But, look me in the eyes 
and tell me I am not speaking 
your story or your lover’s,
your sister’s, your best friend’s,
maybe even your daughter’s. 

I am 35, mark my body   state controlled,  
I am 19, proclaim my uterus   conscripted,
I am 12, classify my heartbeat   irrelevant.

Laurie Rosen is a lifelong New Englander. Her poems have appeared in Sisyphus, The Muddy River Poetry Review, Oddball Magazine, Soul-Lit, The New Verse News, and elsewhere. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021


by Julie Steiner

Cartoon by Necessary 2021

“At least seven radio hosts and high-profile anti-mask and anti-vaccine advocates have died from COVID-19 in recent weeks. The men are radio hosts Dick Farrel, Phil Valentine, Bob Enyart, and Marc Bernier, as well as former CIA officer Robert David Steele, anti-masker Caleb Wallace, and conservative leader Pressley Stutts. Misinformation around the virus and vaccines remains widespread as cases continue to rise.” —Business Insider, September 19, 2021

“You shall not—surely!—die. Fake news!”
he scolds. “Don’t do as you are told!
(Except right now, of course.) Refuse
to be so easily controlled!”

“You shall not—surely!—die,” he sneers.
“The risk of death’s been overstated.
Powers That Be keep fanning fears
so Man can be manipulated.”

“You shall not—surely!—die,” he hisses,
half disdainful, half disgusted.
“Keeping you from knowledge? This is
why Authority can’t be trusted.”

“You shall not—surely!—die,” he scoffs,
then bites the dust. But that’s not closure:
Eve’s now fevered. Adam coughs,
aware at last of their exposure.

Author's NoteGenesis 3:4-7

Julie Steiner is a pseudonym in San Diego. Besides The New Verse News, the venues in which her poetry has appeared include the Able Muse Review, Rattle, Light, and the Asses of Parnassus.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021


by Joe Crocker

u/Rhodesy97 at Reddit

Prince Andrew, interviewed by Maitlis
called to mind no arm-round-waist. His
fault, he shrugged, if fault it be,
was honour in too high degree
And being honour bound could he
ignore a friend in need or flee
the duty that behoves a Royal
or, God forbid, appear disloyal?
Appearances. That is the key
to understanding how men see
yet fail to notice girls beneath
the clothes, the curves, the smiles, the teeth.
But girls don’t count for much apart
from being pretty: they’re just tarts
for knaves to steal. Boys will be boys.
who rubberneck like angle-poise
lamps in search of something sweet.
And, finding honey at their feet,
take their pleasure as they please.
Lips are licked and chances seized.                   

Well, times have changed. They’re better now.
Or would be if we could learn how
to be excited by success
that marries want with tenderness.
Let lawyers push the paper round 
—their casuistry may rebound
to shame them as they batten down
(including he who wears a crown).

Author's Notes: Previously, in interview with BBC’s Emily Maitlis , Prince Andrew, said he had no recollection of being photographed with his arm around the waist of 17 year old Virginia Roberts Giuffre. He defended going to stay in the house of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, saying “at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgement was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable.” Now Prince Andrew accepts he has been served US court papers over sexual assault claims. The issue of whether the royal had been notified about the case had previously been contested (Guardian). Prince Andrew’s lawyer Andrew B. Brettler had argued at a previous hearing that Ms. Giuffre had entered into a "settlement agreement" with Epstein that would end her current legal action. He believes that the agreement "releases the duke and others from any and all potential liability."



Joe Crocker gets suspicious when lawyers look for loopholes. He has had poems published in The New Verse News, Snakeskin, Allegro, The Orchards, Philosophy Now, and Light.

Monday, October 11, 2021


Photo: A seagull rests as workers clean the contaminated beach Wednesday after an oil spill in Newport Beach, Calif. Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press, October 10, 2021.

Deborah P Kolodji is the California Regional Coordinator for the Haiku Society of America and has published over 1100 haiku worldwide.  Her first full-length book highway of sleeping towns won a Touchstone Distinguished Book Award from the Haiku Foundation.


by Scott C. Kaestner

Birds are seen as workers in protective suits clean the contaminated beach after an oil spill in Newport Beach, Calif., on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. A major oil spill off the coast of Southern California fouled popular beaches and killed wildlife while crews scrambled Sunday, to contain the crude before it spread further into protected wetlands. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu via The Columbian, October 8, 2021)

The pelican covered in oil dying on the contaminated beach
doesn’t give a shit about how much you love your new car
or how cheap the gas is at Costco 
it’s too busy taking one last breath.

Scott C. Kaestner is a Los Angeles poet, writer, dad, husband, and a man trying to get more fiber in his diet. Google ‘scott kaestner poetry’ to peruse his musings and doings.

Sunday, October 10, 2021


by Gil Fagiani

Richmond Center for Rehabilitation, Staten Island
my son says, as his new roommate: black teeth,
angry eyes, mumbles to himself, as he storms
out the door when I ask him to lower the TV.
Chubby, gentle, slow-talking Fluffy went every-
where with his pink teddy bear: the bedroom,
the dining room, the dentist’s office, he even
took showers with him—“that’s how he got
the nickname Fluffy,” my son reminds me.
He loved to sing Sammy Davis Jr. songs with Jill:
“Everything Is Beautiful, ” “The Candy Man.”
Last week he reportedly touched her backside,
“inappropriate contact,” the head nurse declared.
“He was sent to another unit,” my son says.
“Everyone on the ward misses Fluffy, even Jill.”

Gil Fagiani (1945-2018) was a translator, essayist, short-story writer, and poet. He  published nine books of poetry: Connecticut Trilogy: Stone Walls, Chianti in Connecticut, Missing Madonnas; as well as his collections Logos, A Blanquito in El Barrio, and Rooks; plus three chapbooks, Crossing 116th Street, Grandpa’s Wine, and Serfs of Psychiatry.


by Maria Lisella

The call came
A three-story roof,
not a big building
serious enough
to break bones.
A day later,
another call comes.
A room
at Jacobi.
I plan.
He drives.
I’m the passenger.
She’ll be there, you know.
I know, I hear myself say,
the mother is always there.
I hate
the stereotype, but it fits.
The mother takes him back.
He doesn’t get better.
He never leaves except
this way.
The cycle—failure,
salvation, failure,
a passive remote control.
Patched up.
Lateral moves
ward to ward.
Suicide watch.
From the parameter,
I watch.
not blood
not natural.
Despair respects no borders
legal, illegal.
You love what you touch,
love more what touches you.

Maria Lisella is the recipient of a Poet Laureate Fellowship from the American Academy of Poets and the author of Thieves in the Family (NYQ Books), Amore on Hope Street (Finishing Line Press) and Two Naked Feet (Poets Wear Prada). She co-curates the Italian American Writers Association readings and is a travel writer by trade.

Saturday, October 09, 2021


by Stan Pisle



Reported in Florida…

Forget how many times. 

An involuntary pulse throbbing 

in the dark, in the light,

Our schools, our arenas, our malls, courts, playgrounds, homes. 


A shooter took the life four cops in Oakland, 

five in Dallas, 

two in New York, 

26 people at a Sutherland Springs Church 

Nine in Charleston

58 in Las Vegas

—with 851 shot. 

Eight hundred and fifty-one people shot by one man. 

The numbers grow too much for a poem.


Telling us life stories of the dead.

Window dressing over crackles of bullets.

Building fences between shooters and the shot.

NPRing, obits of people murdered for mercantile. 

Attempting animal warmth on cold dead bodies piled up.

Dividing and parsing the pile, determining which shot member counts. 



Bullet riddled heads.

Emmette Till open coffin the funerals.

Zoom in where the casing entered under the nose, ejecting the soul.

Fuck that, assault rifle hollow points facture on contact.

Nothing’s left, only pulverized.

Narrate the blood cone spurting across theaters, schools, country music festivals.

Interview the bump stocked woman baren from five shells raping her womb. 

Collect the pools of bone and hamburger from the 100,000 shot each year.

Let gravity channel it to the twits and fat bros of Fox.

To the manufacturer of the hollow points 

Let them wipe up the fragments flowing in a bath the rest of us are forced to take.  

Stan Pisle is a Berkeley California poet. His work as appeared in the Arroyo Magazine, on KQED San Francisco, The Ravens Perch, and The New Verse News

Friday, October 08, 2021


by Shoshauna Shy

Another daughter gone missing
and this time the prime suspect
her fiancé.
In the 'newsroom,' Jerry brightens:
This'll loop in the masses since
the Jan 6 redux and Pfizer boosters
fizzed flat, the public worn thin
by Ivermectin, Gresham memoirs,
voting laws rewritten, so here's
a scoop to revive our
sagging revenues.

I locate her photo off Instagram,
prep to launch the story when Jerry
muscles me aside.
Think Natalee Aruba, Mormon Smart Girl,
JonBenét—and he photoshops bluer eyes,
streaks the chick's hair more blonde.
Nobody will click if she's beige
or black or brown.

Author of The Splash of Easy Laughter and four other poetry collections, two of which won an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association, Shoshauna Shy's poems have appeared in a variety of anthologies, journals and magazines, inspired videos and even decorated the hind quarters of city buses. One of her poems was nominated for the Best of the Net 2021, and flash fiction pieces were selected for the Best Microfiction 2021 anthology, and another was among the seven finalists for the Fish Flash Fiction Prize out of County Cork, Ireland. She is the founder of the Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf program, and the Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Awards.

Thursday, October 07, 2021


by Tricia L. Somers
“All the People—Oppressed by Black Cloud,” 1982, by Evelyn Williams

Under the rubble
Our loved ones, homes, and any kind of hope
We’ve been robbed
by a criminal we cannot see
Our loved ones killed and already buried
We are victims of this Climate Crime Catastrophe

Under a bridge
Huddled with our scared children
Our faith has been shaken
and our babies are still...shaking
Invite the world to witness your humanity
Anxious and jittery awaiting a fleeting glimpse
Like an endangered species or already extinct

Under hooves and cracking whip
We find ourselves in seeking but a mere chance
Have us to walk over your bridges
Only in shame do you chase us away
You don’t necessarily need an earthquake
for your country to crumble away

Tricia L. Somers can be found at Outlaw Poetry, Milk Carton Blog, and the upcoming Rat’s Ass Review for Winter 2021. Also the semi-annual print journal The American Dissident includes poetry, essays and debates with the editor, who is known to be somewhat testy. Issues 41 and upcoming 42.

Tuesday, October 05, 2021


by Imogen Arate

Met Police officer Wayne Couzens has been sentenced to a whole-life term for the murder of Sarah Everard (above), in a case that sparked national outrage and calls for more action to tackle violence against women. Couzens admitted the kidnap, rape, and murder of the 33-year-old marketing executive when he appeared in court several months ago. But it was only during his sentencing that the full details of his crimes emerged. —BBC News, October 1, 2021

Don’t ask me to write a poem about her death
because there’ll be another before I can find
the perfect synonym that excites murders to titillate

Though I think we’ll be just fine with our hot
breath fogging up whichever screen that
protects our voyeurism as a news craze

Don’t look for nuance as there won’t be
hues apart from those that sell well
Misogyny has a target market like any

I mean do we really care about the loss
of peoples whose value we’ve decided 
to debase long ago except during

their assigned celebratory terms
How else can we virtual signal without
Ah sorry #Timesup For your month

I mean Not your demise Amphitheaters
must be filled Come come we’ve broken
through the boundaries of brick-and-mortar 

decades ago but bloodlust is evergreen 
And since we’ve dispensed with shame
only thumbs ups are allowed 

though we’ll deliver all the same 😉

Imogen Arate is an award-winning Asian-American poet and writer and the Executive Producer and Host of Poets and Muses (, a weekly poetry podcast that won second place at National Federation of Press Women's 2020 Communications Contest. She has written in four languages and published in two. Her works were most recently published in Rigorous and The Opiate and on the Global Vaccine Poem project. You can find her @PoetsandMuses on Twitter and Instagram.

Monday, October 04, 2021


by Robert Knox

via Demcast

Walt Whitman heard ‘America Singing’
I’m hearing things as well,
some of them sadly off-key.
In Texas those who run the place
like the last rodeo of the unforgiven
want to make voting hard to do
for those who have already run the obstacle course
     of history,
returning the privilege of suffrage to a comfortable,
white-sheeted nightmare 
from back somewhere before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
We once stayed (in our day; not Walt’s, not King’s)
in Florida, next to the motel where they poisoned the pool
to keep those they did not wish to see at the polls
out of their purely chlorinated water as well.
Everybody out of the pool! 
and nobody at the polls.
‘Some better day,’ as we so often say, we will look back
shaking our heads in horror
at what our fellow Americans got up to.
Sorry, sun-sick Florida, hypocritical Texas,
I am voting you out of the club.
Fly the battle flags of your disgrace all you want,
but you are no longer part of my America.

Robert Knox is a poet, fiction writer, and Boston Globe correspondent. As a contributing editor for the online poetry journal Verse-Virtual, his poems appear regularly on that site. They have also appeared in journals such as The American Journal of Poetry, Eunoia Review, and Unlikely Stories. His poetry chapbook Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty was nominated for a Massachusetts Best Book award. He is the winner of the 2019 Anita McAndrews Poetry Award.

Sunday, October 03, 2021


a villanelle by Jeannie E. Roberts

“Giant sequoias are hardy souls. They have stood their ground in California for as long as thousands of years, surviving drought, earthquakes and wildfire. With their thick bark and seemingly sky-high crowns, they have generally defied any fire that would turn them into kindling—and even thrived after a burn. The heat causes the trees’ pine cones to burst open and release seeds to the ground. But as hotter blazes like the KNP Complex fire—ignited by lightning on Sept. 9 and still uncontained—headed into the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in the Sierra Nevada, the trees needed some extra help. And they got it in the form of aluminum foil. Now, the largest tree, by volume, in the world is cradled in shiny, silvery wrap.” Carla Hall, Los Angeles Times, September 26, 2021. Photo: The historic General Sherman tree is wrapped in protective aluminum foil at Sequoia National Park in California. (Gary Kazanjian / AFP via Getty Images via Los Angeles Times)

The world is on fire, flames fill our home. 
The Earth’s rising heat ignites global burn. 
The ushers of aid fall to humans alone.

The forest floors smolder as embers roam. 
Infernos scorch fauna, flora, and fern. 
The world is on fire, flames fill our home.

Some trees are stalwart, persist as if stone—
most render ash, where Earth serves as urn. 
The ushers of aid fall to humans alone.

Encircled in tin, from large base to loam, 
General Sherman stood strong, ever firm.
The world is on fire, flames fill our home.

The famous sequoia thrived, held its own—
it beat the fierce grind, conquered the quern. 
The ushers of aid fall to humans alone.

Envision our planet polished like chrome, 
where vigor exists with each gleaming turn. 
The world is on fire, flames fill our home. 
The ushers of aid fall to humans alone.

Jeannie E. Roberts has authored five poetry collections and two illustrated children's books. Her work appears in Sky Island Journal, The New Verse News, Verse-Virtual, and elsewhere. Her newest collection, As If Labyrinth—Pandemic Inspired Poems, was released by Kelsay Books in April of 2021. She is a Best of the Net award nominee.

Saturday, October 02, 2021


by Sally Zakariya

The ivory-billed woodpecker is one of nearly two dozen species of animals and plants that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has officially declared extinct. (Auscape/Universal Images Group/Getty Images via The Washington Post, September 29, 2021)

Few were privileged to see it
(if in fact they saw it)
but many clung to hope
that the Lord God Bird
would show himself
in all his feathered glory
a refugee from the primeval garden 
rising with majestic shudder of wings
opening his massive beak
wailing a proud “I Am!”

Was it overactive imagination
or just silly optimism
to think that God might save 
his wondrous creature 
as a sign for us of immortality?

Or must we, as the scientists 
now say, vainly watch 
for one who never comes again?

Sally Zakariya’s poetry has appeared in some 80 print and online journals and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her most recent publication is Something Like a Life (Gyroscope Press). She is also the author of Muslim Wife, The Unknowable Mystery of Other People, Personal Astronomy, When You Escape, Insectomania, and Arithmetic and other verses, as well as the editor of a poetry anthology, Joys of the Table.

Friday, October 01, 2021


by Farah Art Griffin

“Into the Void” by DINA D’ARGO, 56, SPRINGFIELD, TENN. Acrylic on canvas via The Washington Post. “‘Into the Void’ symbolizes stepping into the unknown — the idea of life ‘after the pandemic’ and the insecurity of not knowing what lies ahead.” 

still burrowing —
drowning in yesterday's time
past grips us in its palm
            still wet
            still dripping
            still clear
            still swimming
cave of unforgotten sorrow —
echoes in the dark

Farah Art Griffin is a literary and visual artist. She holds an EdM in Arts in Education from Harvard University. Her work is forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry.

Thursday, September 30, 2021


by Virginia Aronson

Autumn sky unfurls a white cloud balm
between the splash of forget-me-not blues;
the sea's hand welcomes us to calm,
her salt tang warming as it soothes.

Fish chew our feet, nibbling dead skin,
crabs' little pincers that make us laugh;
we wade out, sink, rise up deeper in
the lap of our mother, her womb a bath.

Wide-winged osprey dive down to warn us
over and over their sharp, bitter cry:
destruction from that which will soon engulf us—
ill nature, yes; and we too shall die.

What is so small we know not its weight
building up, amassing—until it's too late?

Virginia Aronson is the Director of Food and Nutrition Resources Foundation. Her novel about food and climate change, A Garden on Top of the World, was published by activist press Dixi Books in 2019. Dixi also published Mottainai: A Journey in Search of the Zero Waste Life.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021


by Alejandro Escudé

‘We must demand that national leaders create a fair and humane immigration system, including a path to citizenship for immigrants, and a safe and fair asylum process for Haitians and all others seeking refuge in the US.’ —Xochitl Oseguera, The Guardian, September 28, 2021. Photograph: Félix Márquez/AP

There are horses galloping 
Within the word, horrible.
Lashing at migrants, 

Centaur on the Rio Grande.

The water parts at first 
To let in the fifteen thousand,
Refugees from Atlantis 

Who bore a hurricane, a quake. 

Children held aloft by mothers 
With earth-bare arms.
I paint the scene for you 

In poetic bronze, a cowboy

Breaking a colt in chaps 
On a corner store in Sedona.
Only this bronze is flesh, 

A border patrol agent in chaps,

Lassoing a sun containing 
The origin of language. 
Syllables like hooves, 

Ten gallon hats, and boots along

The river the color of bronze, 
Dividing a land formed 
Of bodies from the land itself. 

Congo moon, Texas slug. 

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.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021


by Earl J. Wilcox


So sorry to relegate your obit
to a short poem which might,
but does not, describe your many
roles with other aged stars long gone
along with their contemporaries—
and yours. 
So sorry we don’t even know a single
movie you made, nor do we recognize
most of the stars with which you danced
or lay in bed with or any song you sang
with a catchy tune back in the day. 
The news of the day, alas, is too crowded
with stories about starving kids, murdered
brides, corrupt lawyers, not to mention
floods and droughts and hurricanes
and wild fires and earthquakes...
for us to know how much we’ll miss you.
Earl Wilcox notes with sadness the passing of Jane Powell, Ed Asner, and way too many others to list here, though he will miss them.

Monday, September 27, 2021


by Ken Gosse

Cartoon by Pat Byrnes at Cagle.

They laudit, applaudit,
and so many boughtit—
the Big Lie the former guy nurtured—
they taughtit.
Eschewing all facts,
praising mutinous acts,
so many fools caughtit
and none of them foughtit,
the great pumpkin’s pie in the sky—
AZ Fraudit.

Ken Gosse generally writes light, rhyming verse. First published in First Literary Review-East in 2016, since then by Pure Slush, Spillwords, The Ekphrastic Review, and others. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years with rescue dogs and cats underfoot.

Sunday, September 26, 2021


James Schwartz is a poet, writer, slam performer and author of 5 poetry collections including The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America. Twitter: @queeraspoetry

Saturday, September 25, 2021


by Mark Danowsky

Fighting a Losing Battle 8, a print by Alexis Lekat at Saatchi Art

It was so nice to read Butler revisiting Butler—
their change to they for our times

We let some people off so easy
& others we will forever push to the limit

Waiting on the next check
for survival

We are losing our birds
& much more than I know how to notice

I want to save our homeless
more than I want to save children abroad 

The people I know are not pleased
with my ethical quandaries

My city’s beverage tax is abysmal
when we’re debating if 200K or 400K means rich

A credit card notification informs me 
my address falls in a natural disaster location

All signs point to no one coming for aid  

I know it’s tempting to pretend
the worst might be over in 6 to 8 months

Try 10 years of losing
only to lose the nexus of all your efforts

Let the record show I tried

Mark Danowsky is Editor-in-Chief of ONE ART: a journal of poetry, Senior Editor for Schuylkill Valley JournalPoetry Craft Essays Editor for Cleaver Magazine, and a Regular Contributor for VersificationHe is author of the poetry collection As Falls Trees (NightBallet Press) and JAWN forthcoming from Moonstone Press.

Friday, September 24, 2021


by Barbara Loots

Three family members whose bodies were found in the living room of a Glenaire house over the summer all died of natural causes possibly related to the untimely  death of the home caretaker… The family dog was also found dead next to a toilet in the bathroom. Kansas City STAR, September 21, 2021

No one knew it when the old man died.
The uncollected mail, unanswered phone,
untended grass.  Nobody notified
authorities.  He’d always coped alone
with caring for his sister and his mother,
dependent as the dog for food and drink
on one who didn’t want to be a bother
to friends or neighbors.  What are we to think
of this small tragedy?  Whom shall we curse?        
Who counts inconsequential lives like these,
as millions vanish from the universe
from hunger, guns, disaster, and disease?
Humanity has nothing new to learn.
When time has ended, still the stars will burn.

Barbara Loots wonders why we worry when we are all so small in the overall scheme of things.

Thursday, September 23, 2021


by David Chorlton

Unrest #1, a painting by Alyssa Liles-Amponsah

                nobody rich or famous…
                                Richard Shelton

The car in the driveway
has barely a pulse
and the windows don’t let in the light.
The palm trees no longer
aspire to the sky
and the garden hose hangs
on a hook.
Something’s eating the house from inside
say the neighbors,
no one answers the door when
they knock. The ceiling gave way
and a bucket of grief
stands under a hole where
time drips day
after day. The telephone’s hoarse
from repeating
I’m sorry I can’t speak now…,
the doorbell plays a dirge
and every minute makes
a tiny splash as it falls
into the unwashed dishes
in the kitchen sink.
He brought the border home with him,
unrolled it on the floor,
ran it through the kitchen to
the living room and cut
it into strips to hang instead of curtains
at the windows where a light
shone upon every nationality and exposed
the fault line between the rich
and poor. His trash bin
was filled with tailings from a mine
and every day he emptied it and
every next day it was full
again but he kept emptying. When the nails
fell out from where they held
the world together, he picked them up
to hammer back. Meetings.
Petitions. Meetings. Letters.
Meetings. Always somewhere to be,
to drive across town
on the sweating summer asphalt
with the windows down
to save money for gas.
Nobody knows for sure. It was
a mystery. The neighbors didn’t care much
for the man. He kept
largely to himself. Didn’t have a lot
to say. Kept going out, revving up
his car and coming back
then leaving again six
or eight times a day. The lady who lives across
from his house knows; she kept count.
Never really spoke
to him. And he spoke only
when spoken to. He was alone the last
few weeks. Come and go. Feed
the cats. People watched but didn’t know
what they were seeing. Didn’t
ask. Left him alone. And the weeds grew
like secrets in his yard
until one night the moon tipped
on its side, spilling
silver dust onto the moths around it
asking ancient questions
of the passionate light.

David Chorlton is a longtime resident of Phoenix, who continues writing, painting, and keeping track of the local bird life. His newest book is Unmapped Worlds, a collection of rehabilitated poems from his files of the past.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021


by Buff Whitman-Bradley

It is good to know

That in these troubled and confusing times

When old values are under attack,

When what we hold dear 

Is mocked and undermined

By those who have no respect

For the venerable ideals, 

The policies and practices,

Of American democracy

That have stood this nation in good stead

Through trial and tribulation,

Through unrest and upheaval,

Through multiple wars

And challenges to our hegemony,

It is good to know 

That those finely-crafted

Highly developed techniques

Of civil and social discipline

As American as, oh, 

Genocide, slavery, lynching,

Suppression of dissent,

That those undeniably effective,


And invaluable means

Of exercising our rightful authority

Are still in use at our southern border

Where inconsiderate people 

Eager to avail themselves of the advantages

Of this God-favored land

Are being whipped and beaten

To teach them a lesson

About the distribution of privilege

In our world,

About who are the deserving 

And who the undeserving,

About how we deal with those

Seeking to take advantage

Of our famous kindness

And get a free pass to enter

Our sweet land of liberty.

Buff Whitman-Bradley’s poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals.  His most recent book is At the Driveway Guitar Sale: Poems on Aging, Memory, Mortality, from Main Street Rag Publishers.  He podcasts poems on aging at and lives with his wife, Cynthia, in northern California.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


by Rémy Dambron

A new study in the journal Current Biology has published some stark news: one third of the world’s Chondrichthyan fishes – sharks, rays, and chimaeras – are threatened with extinction according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List criteria. —Forbes, September 15, 2021

They arrive in massive ships
industrialized killing machines perfected 

for the hunt.
Nets stretching far and wide

enough to ensnare an island, 
sprawling from the wakes of the stern like

giant mechanical tentacles 
baited with the flesh of bonita, king mackerel, ladyfish 

eager to grab hold 
of any life form that touches it.

Sea turtles, dolphins
blue fin tuna, birds, even whales

an endless list 
all by the day falling prey 

to the savage entanglement
collateral damage, what they call bycatch.

As if this were somehow normal, 
fisherman reeling in their lines 

knives at the ready
taking seconds to sever the sharks’ limbs,

stacking them up into piles 
like gambling chips on a casino floor 

waiting for the highest bidder, 
who will market them to purveyors 

who will sell them to chefs
who will prepare them for servers

who will present them to fancy diners
high-profile entrepreneurs,

hedge funders and yacht goers,
the power hungry and privileged

plotting the expansion of their empires, 
anxious to boost their status

by flaunting one hundred dollars 
for a bowl of distasteful soup.

While somewhere, off the coast
not far from their lavish banquet

bleeding bodies slide down a ramp
back into the sea from which they were poached 

unable to maneuver.

Hearts still pumping. 
Eyes still watching.

Electroreceptors still firing, 
fully processing the repugnance 

of their own slaughter
as their living remains plummet, 

down into the deep. 

Author's note: It may be hard to find compassion for ocean life when the lives of humans, every day, are being attacked by disease, violence, and unconstitutional legislation. But to dismiss the perils of our environment is to turn a blind eye to a global crisis that, on its own, poses the greatest threat to our collective existence.

Rémy Dambron is an author and activist whose work focuses primarily on denouncing political corruption and advocating for social and environmental justice. His poetry has appeared on What Rough Beast, The New Verse News, Poets Reading the News, and Writers Resist.