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Wednesday, March 31, 2021


by Sarah Mackey Kirby

Britain's Channel 4 recently aired a devastating report on these atrocities. One survivor recounted a harrowing 10-day ordeal to the network during which she said she and five other women were gang-raped by Eritrean soldiers. She said the troops joked and took photos as they injected her with a drug, tied her to a rock, stripped, stabbed and raped repeatedly her. Doctors who've treated Tigrayan women have said one woman's vagina was stuffed with nails, stones and plastic. —CBS

is filled with stones,
nails. By her captors.
If she is not human,
if she must be bloodline-cleansed
from existence,
then why does crying matter.
The sun rises all over the world
as if it doesn’t know.
And sets apricot embers
each evening.
In darkness, a woman in Tigray
is filled with stones.
Filled with soldiers.
Alone below Orion’s belt,
sharp in the night sky,
glowing fire
three stars in a row.

Sarah Mackey Kirby's first poetry collection The Taste of Your Music (Impspired) will be published in May 2021. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Chiron Review, Connecticut River Review, Impspired Magazine, and elsewhere. She and her husband live in Louisville, Kentucky.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021


[Scotland's] First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said there are "significant questions" about Alex Salmond's political comeback. Her comments came after Mr Salmond revealed he would be among the new Alba Party's regional list candidates. The former first minister said his aim was to build "a supermajority for independence" after the May election. —BBC, March 27, 2021

Jerome Betts lives in Devon, England, and edits the verse quarterly Lighten Up On Line. His work has appeared in a wide variety of British magazines and anthologies as well as UK, European, and North American web publications such as Amsterdam Quarterly, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, The Asses of Parnassus, Better Than Starbucks, The Hypertexts, Light, The New Verse News, and Snakeskin.

Monday, March 29, 2021


by Sandra Sidman Larson

A fist sculpture is situated at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, also known as George Floyd Square, on March 25 in Minneapolis. (Joshua Lott/The Washington Post)

As a spring storm begins to rumble outside, I wrap
my dog in his thunder shirt, yet I must remain calm
and unprotected from what bears down
on us, whether it is thunder, city coyotes howling,
the probable headlines of the Star Tribune—the paper flung
outside my door this morning, as every day, by a poor man,
his young children waiting in his idling car.
The fate of George Floyd’s murderer is soon to be
determined by twelve citizens in a courtroom barricaded
with barbed wire as have been the halls of Congress,
precautions against returning mobs, recently sicced
on the representatives of our frail democracy
by a crazed president who we supposedly ushered out
the door. But what to do about the cop who puts his knee
for nine minutes upon the neck of a Black man,
smothers him to death, stopping all our lives, turning us
to marching in the streets, while troublemakers—homegrown,
or blown into Minneapolis—set the city streets and stores afire,
inciting chaos among thousands of protesters, many of us
now realizing we need other gods or old gods to appear,
to stop us from killing each other, we who are filled with love,
hate, hope, and despair, stirred up by the fates—
so little to protect us?  All I can do is close the window
against the thunder, the smells of rain-damped debris;
note the snow almost gone from the ground, now newly bare.

Sandra Sidman Larson, twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, has three chapbooks to her credit: Whistling Girls and Cackling Hens, Over a Threshold of Roots (both Pudding House Press Publications), and Weekend Weather: Calendar Poems. Her chapbook Ode to Beautiful was published by Finishing Line Press in 2016 and her first full manuscript by Main Street Rag Publications in 2017. Her poetry has been published in many venues such as the Atlanta Review, Grey Sparrow, Earth’s Daughters and on-line in The New Verse News and others. Her work has also appeared in numerous anthologies, one being what have you lost? edited by Naomi Shihab Nye.  (Who nominated her for one Pushcart Prize). With a Masters Degree in social work and community planning, Sandra’s primary career was in social service and social justice work. Her poetry career began at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. As a poet with grandchildren and great nieces and nephews she longs for a world where all children are cherished and cared for and justice reigns for all.

Sunday, March 28, 2021


by Earl J. Wilcox

Larry Parks lip-synching to Al Jolson singing "April Showers' in The Jolson Story (1946).

Already primed by fading February
snows, brash, thrashing March
winds, come softly sweet showers.
Make us mindful of your spring spirit
here where pandemic surviving souls
surely long to go on pilgrimages
to the beach or baseball game. O,
sweet showers fall gently today on
dogwoods and azaleas in our back yard,
where sparrows and chickadees still
sleep with open eyes, as in Chaucer’s
day & cardinals and Carolina wrens
build beautiful nests. O blithe spirit
of mockingbirds, we seek only blissful
martyrs of courageous care givers,
vaccines’ power and glory, blessed
assurance that this April thy showers
nourish and sustain this good earth.
Earl Wilcox dedicates this poem to the spirits of all who did not live through the pandemic to see this spring’s colorful flowers nor hear the mockingbirds sing or feel the comfort of a warm April shower. 


by Catherine Gonick

Source: Image from via Adapted from Dinah Winnick.

In a just and regenerative world
cooperation and honor
a given
no one would be made a slave
but we are all traffickers
and violence would be only
the absence of good
but we’re all mass shooters
                  In excelsis
our souls
are returned to us pure
aach morning
and we repollute them
imaginations can’t be trusted
with much freedom
children must be taught to share
although adults
can’t do it
in the nineteen hundreds
sperm whales learned
to swim upwind
of sailing ships’ harpoons
but now can’t escape our noise
alone on rising
stolen seas
our Jonah spat out
floats on plastic
in our hopeful house
chametz is hunted
a beast sacrificed
another Passover feast prepared
we pray       tikkun olam
for whomever shall inherit     our Earth
Catherine Gonick’s poetry has appeared in literary magazines including Notre Dame Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Halfway Down the Stairs, and Silver Birch Press, and in anthologies including in plein air, Grabbed, and Dead of Winter. She works in a company that seeks to slow the rate of global warming through projects that repair and restore the climate.

Saturday, March 27, 2021


by Jenny Middleton

because we have to buzz—home safe—home safe—
yes—me too—home safe
peppering What’s App with the obvious
because we walk gripping keys
between middle fingers
harrying skin
with shelled expletives
hoping the only use of their jagged
steel edge will be to unlock
the front door
we think—can’t stop
thinking of
your last walk home
caught on keyhole camera
casual, then
over Clapham Common
we light candles, Sarah,
watch them blink
in the shadows of ringed shadows
at the base of trees
and lay flowers in a crackle
of cellophane
against the fear
of dark emptied spaces
and words that spit
from a policeman’s mouth
sticking this in you
kidnapping, murdering, mutilating
leaving you in a builder’s sack
only identifiable by your dental records
in Kentish woodland
crimes unlovely as the sick
absence of spring leaves
un-grown on laurel trees.

Jenny Middleton is a working mum and writes whenever she can amid the chaos of family life. She lives in London with her husband, two children and two very lovely, crazy cats.

Friday, March 26, 2021


by Angelica Whitehorne

I heard there was a time when the news was dropped off at your front door, tightly wrapped like a present of sorts and printed with dark black importance on the backs of dead trees, your unrolling of the world’s enrichment, the first sacrifice of your morning, right after sleeping, the last sacrifice of night and right before your first ritualistic kitchen devour. And I imagine how these readers of past would go to find a place, probably the same place as last week, and flap open the butterfly wings of the newspaper, nonchalantly hungry for the best worked happenings, so they could go into the talks of their day feeling primed, well read, and ready, aficionado on stock prices, lost dogs, drug scandals. And how sweet it must have been to read the typing of the world, curated and succinct. And even more how sublime it must have been to have it all end, to put the paper down and be done with it, close your shades to society and its grimy violence, back deals, syrupy success stories, headlines of hazard. To go about your day untethered to it—now the news envelops us always. I open the app to see my friend’s faces and there it is, news of a baby falling from a 12-story building. I scroll to my home screen and Apple positions all the world’s affairs in front of my eyes, and it is like lightning across the window of my phone, who could manage to look away? Our world is like a car crash, no like a highway pile up, and all these news sites are like watching the fenders collide into each other over and over again. The notifications announce themselves to me this midday and I see that another story of nature’s revenge, hurricane or tsunami or landslide has come, I slide the message away, but I do not turn them off. Turning them off would be like turning away from the awful. I grow guilty whenever I do not hold the tragedy of these stories second hand, continual consumption seems the least I can do. Me and my entire generation have lost our ability to put the paper down, and so we read from morning to night and roll it all over a second time in our dreams, almost as penance for the bad news not having our name in it. 

Angelica Whitehorne is a New York artist who writes poems, pieces of fiction, and stanza-formatted rants about the world we’re living in. She’s not creative enough to write about some other world, so this one is all she’s got. She has published or forthcoming work in The Laurel Review, The Cardiff Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Mantis, Ruminate, and Hooligan Magazine among others.

Thursday, March 25, 2021


by Claudia Gary

On April 18, 1955, 8-year-old Ann Hill of Tallahassee, Fla. received one of the first Salk polio vaccine shots. Credit AP via NPR.

Seeing a needle, I slid off the chair,
ran down a hallway to the waiting room,
then circled it until the harried nurse
and my mother corralled me. No amount
of coaxing to be good, no bribes of candy,
no warnings about polio could stop
my tears that day. The rest I don’t remember. 
Autonomy, “freedom,” was everything
to a three-year-old. Last weekend I saw
a needle and shed tears of gratitude.

Claudia Gary teaches workshops on Villanelle, Sonnet, Natural Meter, Poetry vs. Trauma, and more through (currently via teleconference). Author of Humor Me (2006) and of chapbooks including Genetic Revisionism (2019) and Bikini Buyer’s Remorse (2015), she is also a health science writer, visual artist, and composer of art songs and chamber music. Follow @claudiagary.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021


by David Chorlton

Swallows at the windswept pond
this morning, quick as good fortune, make the light
sway back and forth above
the water while it keeps
its secrets dark.
                         It’s a quiet time;
Say’s Phoebes barely clear the grass before
returning to the fence from which they came,
and a Loggerhead Shrike moves down
from the desert
with a prayer in his beak.
                                         The Red-tailed Hawk
has made the streets his hunting ground
where the pigeon flock
scatters left, right and skyward
as his shadow scythes between them.
One more day;
                       another step toward
the unknown, with a moodswing peak
to peak along the mountain
as it leans back against the sky. A different
message blows
                         from each direction: another
ten killed in Colorado; the doves
returning early from the tropics; music
on the radio so old
it wouldn’t recognize the world today;
and the voice within, too long
in solitude to know
what its next word should be.

Throughout the pandemic David Chorlton has lived quietly and communicated with the local wildlife. His new book Unmapped Worlds from FutureCycle Press features poems that hid in his files for too many years and which now enjoy new exposure. 


by Chad Parenteau

The Boston Herald says
when Joe Biden falls
it is spring
but press
begged for pageantry
for interviews
hot breathing mouths
the edge of six feet
obsessed with
waiting in the sun
the children
in the camps
in Georgia
there were
the dead Asian women
but look
Joe Biden falling

Chad Parenteau hosts Boston's long-running Stone Soup Poetry series. His work has appeared in journals such as Résonancee, Molecule, Cape Cod Poetry Review, Tell-Tale Inklings, Off The Coast, Ibbetson Street, and Wilderness House Literary Review. He is a contributor to Headline Poetry & Press and serves as Associate Editor of the online journal Oddball Magazine. His latest collection The Collapsed Bookshelf was nominated for a Massachusetts Book Award.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021


by Howie Good

If a total of eight people
are shot to death
at three massage parlors
in Atlanta, Georgia,
and the following week
10 people are shot
to death at a supermarket
in Boulder, Colorado,
how long before
the next mass shooting
in the U.S. occurs?
Show all work.

Howie Good's most recent poetry collection is Gunmetal Sky, available from Thirty West Publishing.

Monday, March 22, 2021


by Tracey Gratch

Crocuses through morning frost feign hope
that even in this time of gloom, as Cambridge
bars are shuttered tight and on Mass Ave.
foot traffic’s light, and yet, and yet it’s barely
spring, despite the losses reigning in—
The moment for a second shot; resilience
grit, on second thought.

Tracey Gratch lives south of Boston with her husband and their four children. Her poems have appeared in publications including Post Road, Mezzo Cammin, The Literary Bohemian, Annals of Internal Medicine, Boston Literary Magazine, TheNewVerse.News, and The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine. Her poem "Strong Woman" is included in On Being A Doctor, Volume 4, from the American College of Physicians.

Sunday, March 21, 2021


by Katherine West

March 2021

The birds are singing 
and it isn't snowing 

We have our vaccines 
and schools are open 

It is warm enough to sit outside 
but too cool for forest fires 

In sunny spots brown grasses are turning green
from the inside out 

The cat hasn't shed her winter down
still sits on my lap for warmth

She is my most intimate companion 
on this March afternoon in 2021

I have survived the shipwreck 
that tossed me up on this desert island 

on this alien planet 
this solitary confinement 

for a crime 
I didn't commit 

And although Spring is coming 
I'm cold

I could be old and all 
my relationships memories 

I could be dead 
and all my lovers ghosts 

sitting on the side of my bed 
that empty symbol of sleep

and love 
that flag 

that empty symbol of unity 
at half mast 

Half the time 
the ghosts hold my cold 

hands in their cold hands 
whispering platitudes 

like therapists 
over the phone 

like friends 
on a screen 

They cannot hold me 
They cannot hold me down 

as I drift like old smoke 
old scarves 

as I fray

silk skeins 


as threads 
of red sunset 

resting like raptors 
on the updraft 

like strands
of blood 

and unloved 

Katherine West lives in Southwest New Mexico, near Silver City. 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 Writing in a Woman's Voice, Lalitamba, Bombay Gin, The New Verse News, Tanka Journal, Splash!, Eucalypt, and Southwest Word Fiesta. The New Verse News nominated her poem "And Then the Sky" for a Pushcart Prize in 2019. In addition she has had poetry appear as part of art exhibitions at the Light Art Space gallery in Silver City, New Mexico and at the Windsor Museum in Windsor, Colorado. Using the name Kit West, Katherine's new novel, When Night Comes, A Christmas Carol Revisited has just been released, and a selection of poetry entitled Raising the Sparks will come out in March of 2021, both published by Breaking Rules Publishing. She is presently at work on the sequel to When Night Comes. It is called Slave, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Revisited. She is also an artist.  

Saturday, March 20, 2021


by Mickey J. Corrigan

Spring Break ramps up on Fort Lauderdale beach and bars nearby. (Mike Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

They amass like mosquitoes
seasonal, thirsty
buzzing full throated
drinking from the trough
dancing bikini bar to bar
singing across hot sand
under bright sun freedom
in the Ponzi State

Where cities are whitewashed
spiritually unclaimed, soulless
coyotes nosing full garbage cans
their woods stripped bare for 
asphalt streets, pink plastic
body parts and towers 
on Styrofoam foundations
eroding narrowed beaches
while out in the rurals
abandoned washers, rusty 
cars, no jobs, lots of guns
red banners to the past

This is the place 
to party-hardy
for frontier values
fierce individualism
reduced taxes, no rules
endless cycles of consumption
just build, build and burn 

When the invaders conquered
the Natives warned them
of the inevitable loss:
the nose of the deer
will fall off... 
and that's Florida
the Underwater State

Where everyone is welcome
to the final season 
the grand finale
the greatest sunset

in American history.

Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan writes tropical noir with a dark humor. Novels include Project XX about a school shooting (Salt Publishing, UK, 2017) and What I Did for Love, a spoof of Lolita (Bloodhound Books, UK, 2019). In 2020, Grandma Moses Press released the poetry micro-chapbook Florida Man. The Physics of Grief puts the fun back in funerals while taking a serious look at the process of mourning (QuoScript, UK, April 2021). 

Friday, March 19, 2021


by Barbara Simmons


We do it without thinking, sighting those red block letters, 
reassuring our leaving places we have found ourselves,
or, more precisely, where we’ve found ourselves lost, 
in theaters, malls, relationships, 
those gathering spaces where, 
not sure sometimes why we're there, 
we fold away small notes to self, including routes by which we’ll leave.  
It's been a year since we took leave
from what? Routines, connections, worn out paths of
customary comings, anticipated goings,
a year of changing patterns, forswearing the habitual,
creating novel ways to meet, to share, to love, to spend
time trying not to think where we should have been, 
envisioning new plans to leave the here and now
without abandoning ourselves. What's left
when signs are not available? The word itself lies next to
others in the dictionary, including existential, 
become new guides for taking leave, and flight, and hold
of who we are
as we discover what
it is to paint our own way out of boxes, out of corners,
over all walls that restrict our freedoms
finding what we've missed seeing, how we've missed living.
Barbara Simmons grew up in Boston, now resides in California—the coasts inform her poetry. A graduate of Wellesley College, she received an MA in The Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins. Retired educator, she savors smaller parts of life and language, exploring words as ways to remember, envision, celebrate, mourn, and try to understand more. Publications have included Santa Clara Review, Hartskill Review, Boston Accent,  The New Verse News, Soul-Lit, 300 Days of Sun, Capsule Stories, and Journal of Expressive Writing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021


by Imogen Arate

Shootings at Atlanta-area massage parlors have left eight people dead, most of them Asian women. In this photo, former Washington Governor and former US Ambassador to China Gary Locke holds a sign reading "Hate is a Virus" as he speaks during the "We Are Not Silent" rally against anti-Asian hate in response to recent anti-Asian crime in the Chinatown-International District of Seattle, Washington on March 13, 2021. Photo: JASON REDMOND / AFP/GETTY via Newsweek

Yes, something is horribly wrong with a person who kills to “eliminate” temptation. … But, that does not mean we can dismiss places where this illness festered. … Women are not the source of temptation in need of elimination. Women are made in the image of God and worthy of dignity and respect. Asian women are not objects of fetishized desire for the racialized gaze of men. So, let’s pray for the victims' families that the Lord may grant them peace in the midst of such tragedy. Let’s stand up and alongside our Asian brothers and sisters. Let’s work against twisted and unhealthy theology that maligns and distorts the image of God in women (and men). —Ed Setzer, Christianity Today: The Exchange, March 17, 2021

I tell my mom not to visit the accountant’s office
Rona’s run amuck suffocating freedom of movement

The walls of my apartment wrap me like a protective cloak
whose porousness admits the chilling draft of side-eye glares

I scrub myself clean of my heritage but my eyes my cheeks
my nose tell another story that doesn’t allow a really bad day

to end in a murder spree that’s for a paler lot than us
Someone told me I’m the wrong shade to opine

then flashed the peace sign because V fingers
can scissor away the pangs of exclusionary acts

when I’m standing at the back of the BIPOC line
I tell my mom there’s only so much I can do to protect her

Imogen Arate is an award-winning Asian-American poet and writer, the Executive Producer and Host of the weekly poetry podcast Poets and Muses and co-founder of the Pan Poetry Project. She has written in four languages and published in two. Her work was most recently featured in The New Verse News, the Love Letters to 2020 anthology, the Global Poemic, and Rigorous.


by Frances Davis

What does it matter?

When lighted days 

are shingled with dread

and hullabaloos have shifted

to groans and smirks?


We could capture it in a teacup

time’s familiar wastage, not of the essence.

Our measurements, dots on a dial

foolish in the planetary run.

Who will count the hours

When the sea rises to cover all?

Frances Davis is a journalist living in California where sea level rise is eating away at cliffs and buttresses hauled in to stop its encroachment. Harsh realities in hard times and we're wasting time with our clocks? Her essays, poetry and short stories have been published in The New Verse News and numerous journals and anthologies. See her latest short story in the enviro journal The Hopper.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021


by Pepper Trail

In this photo provided by Adam Messer is a gray wolf, a member of the Nez Perce pack, seen north of Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo., on March 31, 2002. Wolf hunting policies in some U.S. states are taking an aggressive turn as Republican lawmakers and conservative hunting groups push to curb their numbers. Antipathy toward wolves for killing livestock and big game dates to when early European immigrants settled the American West in the 1800s. (Adam Messer via AP)

Wolf takes one step, one step wrong. The jaws of the trap snap.
Oh great Aldo, Dr. Leopold, what would you say
to the "Hunter Nation," these men of your beloved state 
who went to court to secure those days of death?
Your words are there to read in "Thinking Like a Mountain"—  
how you mourned the wolf killing that you did, 
mourned the fierce green fire dying in her eyes.
Young then, and full of trigger-itch, you came at last
to hear the hidden meaning in the howl of the wolf,
to see that wildness is the salvation of the world.
You grew up, but not all men do.
You lived to see, too clear, the wilderness gone,
the waiting swarms of deer, the disease of appetite.
You taught the good that wolves do, that hunters can share,
but too few learned.  Two hundred wolves dead is not hunt,
but slaughter, the most savage and ignorant delight.

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.

Monday, March 15, 2021


by Sandra Anfang

George Floyd as a boy with his mother Larcenia, known as Miss Cissy, who died on May 30, 2018

My son George is dead. We lie 
under the earth in a quiet Houston
cemetery where we grieve together. 
All of Minneapolis is grieving.
Twenty-seven months from now
we will still be grieving.
I heard him call out for me
as he struggled for eight minutes
under the knee of the white cop
My name is tattooed on his belly.
We are connected at the core.
In twenty-seven years we will still be grieving.
I used to love the number twenty-seven:
three times three times three.
The number of black men police kill
each year has not changed since I died.
Twelve hundred sixty-five of my babies have
been felled, and they are all my babies.
Here they said. Take this money in exchange
for George’s life, but that won’t bring him back.
I cannot balance this equation. 
Three point three: the number
of millions our family was paid
for every minute that white cop 
pressed his hate into George’s neck.
Just forty-six, he was a dad and grandad.
The city has wiped the crime scene clean
but our pain is an indelible stain.
Money is a powerful mop. We will use it
to help the cause of black folks everywhere.
That white cop must be locked away
if that’s what it takes to end 
this circle of slaughter.

Sandra Anfang is an award-winning poet, poetry teacher, and editor. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including San Francisco Peace and Hope, Spillway, The New Verse News, and Rattle. Her two chapbooks Looking Glass Heart and Road Worrier were published by Finishing Line Press in 2016 and 2018, respectively. Xylem Highway, a full-length collection, was published by Main Street Rag in 2019. Sandra teaches with California Poets in the Schools and hosts Rivertown Poets, a monthly reading series, in Petaluma, California. This poem was born of the twenty-seven-million-dollar settlement for George’s life by the city of Minneapolis this week.

Sunday, March 14, 2021


by Angelica Whitehorne

The sad leaked like ripe fruit from the core of our world

The men in blue pepper sprayed a nine year old girl 

I don’t think the politicians, protected in suits, will save us

I don’t think these issues are something they’d care to discuss


We woke up to close the blinds against a wildfire world

The men in blue pepper sprayed a nine year old girl 

I don’t believe life ends at Black or starts at conception

I don’t believe in law enforcement’s redemption 


We live in the same country but different worlds

The men in blue pepper sprayed a nine year old girl

cops / defenders / bastards they’ll come for you too,

hit you hard in the streets if you step on their shoes


I sent a letter to the P.O. box of our homeless world

The men in blue pepper sprayed a nine year old girl 

We’ve been taught rights are something we can negotiate  

We’ve seen first hand our systems were contrived in hate


We stand outside and wave goodbye to a disappearing world

The men in blue pepper sprayed a nine year old girl

I wonder if there is a point where we’re past being saved 

If this marks a civilization too utterly depraved


I want so bad to rescue this reckless, refuge world

I want so bad to cover the eyes of the nine year old girl 

Open your own eyes and see where the real danger compiles

in our actions, in our violence, not in the fearful, backtalk of a child. 


What if we gather and release this knotted up, wounded world

and teach the next generation to protect all nine year old girls?

Am I too hopeful or can we confront it, our long past of disparity?

Am I too hopeful or can we grow them, our seeds of peaceful solidarity?

Angelica Whitehorne is a New York artist who writes poems, pieces of fiction, and stanza-formatted rants about the world we’re living in. She’s not creative enough to write about some other world, so this one is all she’s got. She has published or forthcoming work in The Laurel Review, The Cardiff Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Mantis, Ruminate, and Hooligan Magazine among others.

Saturday, March 13, 2021


by Ed Ahern

Aesop got it wrong.
Or at least incomplete.
This life-long ant realizes
some of my money will outlive me.
And here comes a Covid check.
More for the kids? Not likely.
But how to best squander it?
I’m too old for expensive vices,
and already giving things away.
Spas and salons are wasted
on a wrinkled, bald man.
What’s left is geriatric dissipation.
Grasshopper trips and meals,
shows and concerts,
gorged on at sedate pace,
with lessened senses and focus
and an age restricted diet.

Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had over three hundred stories and poems published so far, and six books. Ed works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of six review editors.

Friday, March 12, 2021


by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

Sophie Pender started The 93% Club when she was at Bristol University for students who felt discriminated against for not being rich and from private schools. Photograph: Graeme Robertson / The Guardian, March 6, 2021.

My name is Sophie. Don't look down on me!
So what, if you talk posh, and scorn low-cost?
Since I met you, at university,
Our paths have never frictionlessly crossed!
Posh accents and the privilege they buy
Have short-changed us poor chavs for far too long.
It's time the ninety-three percent decry
Entitlement for private schools as wrong! ...
Pooh-poohing state-school kids as unrefined,
Excluding us from chances to succeed,
No longer will be suffered by my kind——
Determined, as we are, that you will heed
Elitist education taught by me:
Remember to respect the Ninety-Three!

Mike Mesterton-Gibbons is a Professor Emeritus at Florida State University. His acrostic sonnets have appeared in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, the Creativity Webzine, Current Conservation, The Ekphrastic Review, Grand Little Things, Light, Lighten Up Online, Oddball Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, the Satirist, and The Tallahassee Democrat. His limericks have appeared in Britain’s Daily Mail.

Thursday, March 11, 2021


by Katie Chicquette

I steal moments
scribble on scraps
pretend I am writing
a reminder, recording
the test start-time,
but really it’s this
poem, stolen line by line
from the time we’ve stolen
from them as they fill
in bubbles with something
we pretend is truth

every bubble a stolen moment
to sleep     to heal         to skate
to work     to laugh       or cry
or eat        or breathe    to reboot
retreat       recreate    

every line of this poem 
a string or scrap
a robin steals 
to build a nest

Katie Chicquette is an alternative education teacher in Appleton, Wisconsin. Her work has appeared in various journals and local publications, including Poets Reading the News, Riggwelter, Bramble, Wallopzine, and Mothers Always Write. She’s fortunate to be surrounded by so many active poets in Wisconsin. Contact her at k.chicquette.adams<at> 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021


by Anton Yakovlev

Photo via Pinterest

There used to be a rocking chair upstairs.
I’d listen to the news. The news was stark:
wildlife repopulating city squares,
containment efforts always off the mark.
Vending machines have long run out of prayers.
Torn passports waft through the uprooted park.
There used to be a rocking chair upstairs.
Last week even the poltergeists went dark.

Anton Yakovlev’s latest chapbook Chronos Dines Alone (SurVision Books, 2018) won the James Tate Poetry Prize. The Last Poet of the Village, a book of translations of poetry by Sergei Yesenin, was published by Sensitive Skin Books in 2019.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021


by Ellen White Rook

Posted on May 25, 2017 by Maggie at The Magical, Magnificent, Miraculous Amaryllis Journey.

on the one-year anniversary of the last time I got dressed up

In this country,
there is no minister for loneliness.
We make do with general anxiety.
The wind, loose, plucks
the last pinecones and builds
horizontal crowns across the snow.
After this year of quizzical
breath and fingers pressed 
against glass walls, houseplants 
are overgrown from too much care: 
Ivies overthrow terracotta 
and aloe spikes weave 
through jades.
An amaryllis 
that hasn’t bloomed in years,
this week leapt a green arc from its nest 
of tiny stones. The thumb-bud aims 
precisely where the sun comes up
even though I turn the pot
each morning and some days, 
the sky stays winter pale. 
The red sepals unfold
precisely the shade
of that last lipstick smile.

Ellen White Rook is a poet and teacher of contemplative arts residing in upstate New York and southern Maine. In the pre-COVID-19 world, she offered workshops on Japanese flower arranging and led day-long Sit, Walk, Write retreats that merge meditation, movement, and writing. In 2021, you can find her on Zoom. Although a senior citizen, Ellen is a recent graduate from the Master of Fine Arts program at Lindenwood University. Her work has been published in Montana Mouthful and Trolley Literary Journal.

Monday, March 08, 2021


by Mary K O’Melveny

I.  Jalalabad, Afghanistan
Mursal Waheedi
Saadia Sadat
Shahnaz Raufi
Buried in fresh graves
along with their hopes
Journalists without portfolio
Peace flags at half staff tonight
II.  Mandalay, Myanmar
Ma Kyal Sin
a/k/a “Angel”
Age 18
At the protest front lines
Garbed in bright red lipstick
her black t-shirt emblazoned
“Everything will be all right.”
III.  Bangalore, India
Disha Ravi
Climate advocate
Age 22
Helping farmers on Fridays
turns seditious
toolkits tied to treason
Democracy’s promise reviled
IV.  Rochester NY
Unnamed girl
“Person in crisis”
Age 9
Pepper spray
even in handcuffs
antidote for “family troubles”
Cops say “You’re acting like a child”
V.  Rochester NY
Unnamed woman
with unnamed toddler
Age 3
Allegations of shoplifting
More pepper spray
New policy questions
‘I didn’t steal nothing” she said tearfully
VI. Pentagon, Arlington VA
Unnamed women
Service members
Ages varied
Sexual assaults
reported – more than 7,800
unreported – 20,000
“You’re more likely to be raped by
someone in your uniform as shot by the enemy”
VII.  Washington DC
Unnamed women
formerly working
Ages varied
2.3 million departed
from the workplace in just one year
140,000 in December alone
70 cents per male dollar --“Motherhood penalty”
VIII.  Yambio, South Sudan
Margaret Raman
Single mother of five
Age 38
Beans and ground nuts
for sale at Masiya Market
now rotting in noonday sun
business stifled by COVID’s legacy
IX.  Maiduguri, Nigeria
Hundreds of schoolgirls
kidnapped by gunmen
Ages 12-18
Bandits in uniforms
barefoot children
education turns life-threatening
“Abduction is a growth industry”
X.  Indiana, Montana, South Carolina, Kansas, Wyoming, Tennessee
Anxious women
seeking autonomy
Ages unknown
Bills passed or pending
legislators emboldened by extreme
agendas and judicial appointments
Choices determined by geography

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.

Sunday, March 07, 2021


by Julie Steiner

St. Agnes, stained-glass window in the parish church of St. George in Fritzdorf, Germany.

The head of an independent enquiry investigating church child abuse in France said Tuesday that there might have been up to 10,000 victims since 1950. Jean-Marc Sauve, head of a commission set up by the Catholic church, said that a previous estimate in June last year of 3,000 victims "is certainly an underestimate. It's possible that the figure is at least 10,000," he added at a press conference where he delivered an update on the commission's work. A hotline set up in June 2019 for victims and witnesses to report abuse received 6,500 calls in the first 17 months of operation. "The big question for us is 'how many victims came forward'? Is it 25 percent? 10 percent, 5 percent or less?," Sauve told reporters. —France24, March 2, 2021

January: Agnes—her name means “Chaste One”—
holds a lamb (a pun on the Latin agnus).
Note the flowing streams of her hair, which hid her
     twelve-year-old body,

naked, on parade to a Roman brothel.
Note the sword employed when her would-be rapists—
like the flames lit later—refused to touch her.
     Notice the palm branch,

signifying martyrdom. Note her crimson
robe, another emblem of Christian martyrs.
Patron saint of victims of rape, Saint Agnes,
     ora pro nobis.


February: Agatha—Greek for “Good Girl”—
bears her severed breasts on a plate, serenely.
Tortured for her chastity. Never raped, though.
     Virgin and martyr.

Spared the degradation of rape’s defilement,
though she died a sexual sadist’s plaything.
Lesson: God won’t tolerate rape’s pollution
     tainting a Good Girl.


Skip ahead. Miss May is Antonia Mesina.
Head and face smashed in in the nineteen-thirties.
Age sixteen when brained by a thwarted rapist.
     I was a teen, too,

when the Pope beatified her. Another
virgin-martyr patron of rape survivors.
Verified as virgo intacta—something

something that her modesty wanted shielded;
something she had given her life defending;
something that her coroners broadcast widely.
     Waved in our faces,

alleluia. See how the Lord protects His
favored ones from genital violation?
Doctors’ probings proved that she’d kept her hymen.
     Proved she was holy.


Moving on: Maria Goretti, farmgirl.
Miss July. In 1902, a neighbor
stabbed her fourteen times when he failed to rape her.
     She was eleven.

How had I offended the Lord at less than
half her age—allowed to be raped, not murdered?
Even in my innocence, I was guilty.
     I was unworthy.

God withheld divine intervention, proving
I was not an Agatha, nor an Agnes.
I’d deserved what happened to me, like other
     rape-punished children.


Pray for us. And pray for a Church whose members
help abusers stigmatize rape’s survivors,
though Augustine’s City of God said virgins
     raped are still virgins.

Pray for us. And pray for a Church more heartless
now than when Aquinas affirmed that raped nuns—
even those impregnated—still are virgins:
     mind over matter.

Pray for us. And pray that our Church recalls that
Miss December—virgin and martyr Lucy—
claimed a second heavenly crown would honor
     those who’d been ravished.

How it would have helped me, to hear that virtue
wasn’t something stored in a telltale membrane
someone else’s lust could destroy, forever
     leaving you lesser.

How it would have helped, to have heard this message:
Virtuemale or female—cannot be graded
 based on criminals’ choice to harm you.
     (Gruesome injustice!)

How it would have helped, to have heard Survival
isn’t proof of sinfulness
. Share your burden.
Minus that, the upshot was Hold your tongue, or
     all will condemn you.

Rapists want the world to despise their victims.
Shame buys silence. Shout! Let the Church proclaim this:
Rape indeed does happen to blameless people.
     Calendar, update.

Author's references:
Stanza 13: Augustine, City of God, Book I (Chapters 16 and 18).
Stanzas 14 and 15: Thomas Aquinas (with Fra Rainaldo da Piperno), Summa Theologicae, Supplement, Question 96, Article 5, Reply to Objection 4.

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

Saturday, March 06, 2021


by Indran Amirthanayagam

               for J

Stumbling is generalized from
the top down the line, the pass
to the prince but not his acolytes,
and I in turn taking my name off

the poem that calls for accounting,
consistency, respect for all
the people all the time. Living
in fear of bureaucratic sanction is

the natural state of the apparatchik,
hiding behind internal assessments,
frank reviews protected from
the public eye. But the poet

feigns innocence and writes
as if free speech were the only
principle, not playing scales
the conductor directs. Into these

coordinates, orchestra pit
the editor arrives, notices
the bureacrat's vibrating,
even squirming violin,

the post-midnight fear
of exposure, his attempt
to hold the presses—the editor
the only hero left standing,

taking a firm stance,
dropping the poem from
tweet and website,
and moving on

to the next submission,
the next poem written
without shackles,
that challenges

the moderate, real
politik, that gets
the leader to draw
a clear line in the sand

before the desert wind
picks up and wipes it away
like the usual human construct,
built in a mess, two steps

forward, one back, chicken
clucking still in the coop
smelling free wind in the yard,
the fence beyond out of sight.

Indran Amirthanayagam writes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Haitian Creole. He has 19 poetry books, including The Migrant States (Hanging Loose Press, 2020) and Sur l'île nostalgique (L'Harmattan, 2020). In music, he recorded Rankont Dout. He edits The Beltway Poetry Quarterly, is a columnist for Haiti en Marchewon the Paterson Prize, and is a 2020 Foundation for the Contemporary Arts fellow.