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Friday, April 30, 2021


by Julie L. Moore

Unmoored from its original empirical underpinnings, particularly with respect to African Americans...  ‘Blackness’ has become the symbolic assailant. 

—Jeannine Bell, Indiana University Maurer School of Law


Each Saturday at noon they practice the drill—

shrill shine in spring air like a child’s high-

pitch whine in a public sphere 

where everyone can hear—

so when the real storm

arrives, we’ll fly down 

basement steps or insulate

ourselves in inner rooms,

to save ourselves—

but what horn warned 

John Crawford III

                             that fiddling with a bb gun 

in the middle of a Walmart aisle 

while chatting on his cell

               would be his sirens’ song 

full of sound and fury signifying

assailant, that 9-1-1 wouldn’t 

bring aid but grave 

in a half-second flat? 

What bell rang 

for Breonna Taylor, 

who climbed into bed, reaching 

for her beloved, for a good night’s 

rest, not knowing it’d be eternal

& irredeemable?  

                                                          O, something wicked that way 

came, & keeps on coming: 

It knows no caution & hides 

in plain sight. Sly & slick,

it slithers through amber

waves of grain, through the rocks

of ages. Did you see it 

funneling all its strength 

as it chased 

Ahmaud Arbery 

on the road, 

nipping at his heels, 

mowing him down?

And after, 

did you see 

its twisted tail 

slide across his fallen 

flesh & hear

its overdue alarm 

roar like Chimera

used to snort, 

sense its 


tipped tongue


as it left?

Author's Note: The epigraph comes from Jeannine Bell’s article, “Dead Canaries in the Coal Mines: The Symbolic Assailant Revisited,” Georgia State University Law Review, vol. 34, no. 3, Spring 2018.

A Best of the Net and six-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Julie L. Moore is the author of four poetry collections, including, most recently, Full Worm Moon which won a 2018 Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Award and received honorable mention for the Conference on Christianity and Literature's 2018 Book of the Year Award. Her poetry has appeared in African American Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, New Ohio Review, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and Verse Daily. She is the Writing Center Director at Taylor University, where she is also the poetry editor for Relief Journal.

Thursday, April 29, 2021


a found poem
by Dick Westheimer

White folks in my feed: Thank God!
Black folks in my feed... 
White folks responding to white folks in my feed: Amen!
Black folks in my feed... 
White folks in my feed: Boom!
YES, YES, YES!!!!! Justice, sweet Justice!
A perfect trifecta...GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY.
Justice served. Black Lives Matter. Accountability today. 
A black death mattered. 

Black folks in my feed:
George Floyd is still gone.
God rest your soul, George Floyd.
Each day that I worry I will be next 
is another day 
without justice.
If there hadn’t been a video, 
there’d never have been a trial.
Time to organize our strength 
into power.
DO NOT forget 
the other three cops! They let it happen!

A white woman in my feed:
What a relief justice was served!

A Black woman in my feed posts a snapshot:
George Floyd holding his daughter Gianna. 

Black women in my feed: 
Thank God for Darnella Frazier. 
Keep ALL the witnesses in your prayers. 
All of them.
I exhaled...and as soon as I did, 
I started sobbing. This is what it’s like 
to be Black in America.
This! Darnella! A Black a Black Woman. 
I am thankful for you!

White folks in my feed: 
Justice. Guilty x 3!! We can all breathe!!!

Black men in my feed:  I  still  can’t  breathe.

For over 40 years, Dick Westheimer has—in the company of his wife Debbie—lived, gardened and raised five children, on their plot of land in the rural US in Clermont County, Ohio. He recently has taken up with poets and the writing of poetry to make sense of the world. His poems have appeared in Rattle, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, Riparian Anthology, and The New Verse News, among others.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021


by Joan Mazza

Stop arguing with crazy people,
the anti-vaxxers who don’t believe
viruses exist, but believe in the power
of prayer. Don’t try to inform

the stubborn, the disinterested,
and the know-it-alls. You’ll come
off as another arrogant know-it-all.
Never mind your science education.

Give up all hope that people will
take the time to learn the facts
or acknowledge them when they are
presented clearly. They don’t respect

experts and you aren’t an expert.
Don’t name the logical fallacy.
Don’t explain confirmation bias.
Don’t say sampling error,

anecdotal evidence, or placebo
effect. Stop arguing with the dead,
who had no interest in your welfare
when they were alive. Give it up.

Let it go. Any response reinforces
the crazies. Poor souls, they need
attention, even negative attention.
Don’t celebrate All Trolls Day.

Joan Mazza has worked as a microbiologist and psychotherapist, and taught workshops  on understanding dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self, and her poetry has appeared in Rattle, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, and The Nation. She lives in rural central Virginia. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021


by Chris Vola


The winds declined to rip
the helicopter to pieces,
its carbon-fiber blades
spinning furiously,
defiantly, churning
for a few seconds
in the flushed sky,
even though sooner or later,
like all expensive toys,
its sunken parts would be left
to fill with dust,
even though a storm
would eventually
take an antenna,
the circuitry would garble,
landing gear would be
plucked like scabs.
Still, NASA applauded.
Elon Musk re-tweeted.
Someone proclaimed
“a red-letter day on the Red Planet!”
From 178 million miles away,
another data burst confirmed
that the helicopter
had touched softly
back down on the rutted 
ground, where only rovers
dared to tread.
The waiting was finally over
for the engineers,
who, giddy from their screens,
began to believe the future
could be tolerable.
They immediately forgot 
the gorgeous sunlight that
filtered through the oaks
outside the command center,
or the clogged freeways 
where blood & plastic 
spilled like SpaceX
propulsion fluid across
our still-living desert.
The Earth's concerns
had become irrelevant  
to them, like a neighborhood
with unknown sirens & sickness,
or the bus-stop profile 
of a sleeping family.
The Earth itself, unmoved
by progress
on another sphere,
would only turn
& brace its stem
against its own putrid winds.
Most of us would continue
to stay in the homes
we’d been staying in 
& busy ourselves
with the swipe-&-click
routines that could never
really sustain us,
pretending not to hear
the whirring in our heads,
or see the ugly
bubble cockpit
of a much different chopper,
one fueled by muzzle-flash,
& boredom,
& lungs twisted
full of loss,
its impact heavier
than a verdict,
emptier than the spacesuits
we’d never wear 
while prancing
in the Martian gravity,
awaiting Elon’s rise
from cryogenic slumber
to save us
on the third day.
We'd long
given up wondering
why it came
for us this way or
if we might escape
it, its appetite whetted,
its wide blades
ready to grind us into
the only dust
we’d ever know. 

Chris Vola is the author of six books, most recently I is for Illuminati: An A-Z Guide to Our Paranoid Times (William Morrow, 2020). His recent poems appear or are forthcoming in New Pop Lit, The Collidescope, The Main Street Rag, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Horror Sleaze Trash. He lives in New York. 

Monday, April 26, 2021


by Bill Garvey

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, April 9, 2021.

What would I do without Little Sito,
Her kibbeah, lubbeah and tabbouleh
Or the marinara sauce from Sugo drizzled over a meatball
The size of a softball, or Gus’s beef burrito
Wrapped as tightly as a newborn,
Or the sweet Albanian couple who stuff my donair
With the soul of true communism
And a healthy dollop of Halifax?
I’m waiting it out in Toronto
For Yakitori Don from Coo who
Opens for Take-Out-Only at 5
Behind a plexiglass partition
And a frown from the chef who
Hates that I’m American, I think,
Or just despises the stink of fear that wafts from Bloor
Or maybe the sewer.
I’m waiting for my mask to dry on the windowsill,
For the door to open, the sun to shine,
For the table I reserved for family
Or friends. I’d even sit with the danger of strangers.
I’d kill for linen napkins. A waitress with a bottomless smile
And a bottle of sparkling water.
I’m waiting for the man
On the street to stop veering from me
As if I had leprosy or some ailment far worse
Like, well, you know.
I’m waiting on Justin Trudeau
To answer his phone, to knock on my door,
To come to my rescue
On a horse, maybe, like the RCMP, with a syringe
And champagne.

Published in The New Verse News many years ago, Bill Garvey’s poems have been also published in Margie, The Worcester Review, 5AM, Slant, Diner, Concho River Review, New York Quarterly, and, recently, Nixes Mate Review. Finishing Line Press published his chapbook The Burden of Angels in 2007.  He and his wife live in Toronto for six months and in a tiny fishing village in Nova Scotia the other, warmer six months. Bill is a dual citizen of Canada and the US and has lived in Canada since 2010.

Sunday, April 25, 2021


by Ilene Millman

Source: The New York Times, April 22, 2021

in a blue funk in    sunk in    a fly in amber   a pig in a poke
no walk in the park  this tempest in a teapot  this stitch in time
a brick in my hand    its foot in my door   like a fox in the henhouse
plugged in   unhugged in   in what, more than a year in?
a woman’s place in   in the homein    inthehome  a man’s place inthehome
inthehome the child   cuckoo in the nest   sitting in the catbird seat
couched in down in     drawn in and done in   carved in stone, no exit.
                   at this juncture/moment/ point in time
oh, to be out in left field    back in business     full swing in quest of
caught in the act of     caught up in        in cahoots with
to be in contact      in contact with     in good company
in touch     in touch with     walking out and about in
and in view of      knee deep in     teeth in    zhuzhed up laughing in the aisles
out in      all in   in awe of
In addition to writing poetry, Ilene Millman is a speech/language therapist currently volunteering as tutor, tutor trainer and assessor for her county Literacy Volunteers organization. Her poems have been published in a number of print journals including The Journal of New Jersey Poets, Nelle, Connecticut Review, Paterson Review, Passager,  The New Verse News, and anthologized in several volumes including the recently published Show Me Your Papers. She is an associate editor of The Sow’s Ear. Her first book of poetry, Adjust Speed to Weather, was published in 2018.  

Saturday, April 24, 2021


by Laurel Benjamin

The world's worst humanitarian crisis is on track for its worst year yet. Famine alarms are ringing again as over half of Yemen’s population is going hungry. A record 50% of all children under 5 are acutely malnourished and 400,000 are at risk of dying without treatment. —International Rescue Committee’s Amanda Catanzano at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Yemen, April 21, 2021

If "Hunger Ward" wins an Oscar Sunday night at the 93rd Academy Awards, it could help the short documentary save lives. [The] 39-minute doc was shot in two pediatric malnutrition hospitals in Yemen in 2020. Its main "characters" are health care workers and two children, Abeer, who was 6 and weighed 12 pounds during filming, and Omeima, who was 10 and weighed 24 pounds. —StarTribune, April 23, 2021

They call it under fives
as eyes sockets 
hold bulging red globes
girls and boys with greasy curls 
built on a raging war
as we pull the trigger
“others” bombing
like ribbons cut from the sky
and a pavilion for mourners
now an obscene shroud
no honor for the dead.
In a hospital, crippled
strips of barely flesh 
ladle on a handmade scale—
weigh the bones—
and as one by one 
names on the list
are crossed off, each mother
screams through the corridor.
The girl wears pink 
against hair and skin a light brown 
her eyes green eyes.
How will she become a woman.
The nurse says “smile”
and cradles the girl’s cheek 
with veined hands
as another girl bounces a balloon
over a stareless boy.
No one can get the goods in 
yet we shelve pictures 
in our memory bank 
of knees wider than thighs—
we’ve seen these all our lives
and our new leader says
he’ll pull back 
but more than Saudi support 
like any war
the words civilian, collateral,
starvation. Just separate 
the sinews
cover them with mother’s

Laurel Benjamin holds an MFA from Mills College. Her work has appeared in Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down: An Anthology of Women's Poetry, California Quarterly, The Midway Review, Mac Queens Quinterly, Wild Roof Journal, Tiny Seed Journal, Global Quarantine Museum Pendemics issue. She is affiliated with the Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and the Port Townsend Writers. 

Friday, April 23, 2021


by Mark Danowsky

“Laura” by Gregory Corso

“It is with deep sadness and affection that we announce the passing of our friend and Advisory Board member, poet Laura Boss—a truly generous friend to poetry and poets.” —CavanKerry Press, April 15, 2021

                       for Laura Boss (1938-2021)

First time at the library
festival in West Caldwell 
I was introduced as a fan
of your old boyfriend
I saw better   
that rainy day 
when you smiled wide 
big red lips 
telling how he removed his coat 
& carefully placed it 
over a puddle 
just so you could 
cross the street

Mark Danowsky is Editor-in-Chief of ONE ART: a journal of poetry and Senior Editor for Schuylkill Valley Journal. He is author of the poetry collection As Falls Trees (NightBallet Press). His work has appeared in Bird Watcher’s Digest, Cleaver Magazine, Gargoyle, The Healing Muse, and elsewhere.

Thursday, April 22, 2021


by Michael Calvert

“The NRA at FedEx.” Cartoon by Nick Anderson, April 20, 2021.

“Even as National Rifle Association leaders are called to testify in the second week of a bankruptcy trial, the gun rights organization is launching plans to lobby Congress against gun-control measures backed by President Biden and leading Democrats.” —The Washington Post, April 22, 2021

Our founders, in their wisdom, did decree
That, to protect their sacred liberty
And keep their wives and sweethearts from all harm,
All had the right to own a firearm.
To own a flintlock musket, that is, so
When called, those brave and stalwart men could go
To form up a militia, march off, and
Defend their precious homes and native land.
However, there's been one annoying glitch,
A technicality, and it's a bitch,
In the amount of time that they allowed
To load one shot, some nut can kill a crowd.
So now we bleed, and more die every day
To make our land safe for the NRA.

Michael Calvert has worked as a teacher, writer and editor in the corporate world. His poems have appeared in Light and Writer’s Digest.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021


by Ralph La Rosa

Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People. —NRA Bumper Sticker

To kids, the guns in TV’s shows
with cowboys killing Indians
say Play guns beat the red man’s bows.
First real shots from cool Red Ryders,
let children’s tiny BBs
kill small birds and sting bike riders.
Real guns, 12 gauge and 22,
teach white militias skills,
help killers know what they can do.
Guns urge cops on urban beats
to kill with high-tech specials
that threaten US states and streets.
Like wild-west six-guns of renown,
some guns make reasoned kills,
but impulse kills both black and brown.

Ralph La Rosa owned several of the guns mentioned until he became a teacher and writer.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021


by Julie L. Moore

November 2006, Buffalo—

Cariol channeled

Fannie Lou, meeting white rage

dressed in blue that throttled

Black breath with bear hug 



& yanked the uniform’s

manly collar, traded blow

for blow, throwing

her fists in rhyme

to the mantra keeping

time: by any means 



When IA cleared


not Officer Horne,

when he sued her

& won, when her

car became her home,

she sang I will 


  And 15 years,

180 months,

65,700 days,

1,576,800 hours


             after he

pled guilty in 2011

to civil rights

violations against

4 Black teens

whose heads

& torsos he shel-

lacked & shoved
into a cruiser, 

after he spent 4

months in jail—


after 12 year-olds

DeAunta Terrel

Farrow & Tamir

Rice bled out

with toys

    in hand,  

after Charleena

Chavon Lyles

& the baby

in her womb

were christened

with an ungodly

spray (she

thought police

devils & KKK),


after Terence Crutcher,

Philando Castile,

& Alton Sterling,

after matriarch

& Missionary Baptist

“Betty Boo” Jones


   an offering

of lead the day

after Christmas,

never to raise her voice

in the choir again—


after Sandra Bland,

after beloved Juniors,

Freddie Carlos Gray

& Michael Brown,

after John Crawford III,

after Eric Garner

could no longer savor

the flavor of American

air, after Miriam

Irish Carey’s wrong


drew 26 bullets

from Capitol Police
(who didn’t hesitate

then), after Alesia Thomas

got kicked in her legs,

her abdomen, her groin—

barbarian at her L.A.



after Aiyana Mo'Nay 


caught a slug

in her seven year-old

skull, after Tarika Wilson

embraced her son

while a cop rendered 

a grotesque

       of Madonna & child,


after Botham Jean
& Breonna Taylor

learned a house

can become a noose,

after George Floyd

cried for his mother

with his last, agonizing



Daunte Demetrius Wright—





this fierce

& beautiful Black

woman, with a law

now in her name,

heard the judge proclaim,

the time is always right

to do right.

A Best of the Net and six-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Julie L. Moore is the author of four poetry collections, including, most recently, Full Worm Moon which won a 2018 Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Award and received honorable mention for the Conference on Christianity and Literature's 2018 Book of the Year Award. Her poetry has appeared in African American Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, New Ohio Review, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and Verse Daily. She is the Writing Center Director at Taylor University, where she is also the poetry editor for Relief Journal.

Monday, April 19, 2021


by William McCarthy

"American Exceptionalism" by Nick Anderson.

“We never thought it would happen here,” my neighbor Sheila says.
Flags fly at half-staff; the governor holds me in his thoughts and prayers.
Another surge in the sale of assault weapons.
My senator reiterates that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
My senator holds me in his thoughts and prayers.
More dollars promised to help the mentally ill.
Flags fly at half-staff; my governor reiterates that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
Congress proposes another bill, weakens it, lets it die in committee.
Even more dollars promised to help the mentally ill.
On the six o’clock news, my children leave the church with my coffin.
Congress proposes another bill, weakens it, lets it die in committee.
The surgeons release my wife from the ICU.
On the six o’clock news, my children leave the church with my coffin.
Newspapers savor the irony: I survived a mass shooting a month ago, only to die in this one.
The surgeons release my wife from the ICU.
My thirteen-year-old daughter tells Anderson Cooper how much she will miss me.
Newspapers savor the irony: I survived a mass shooting a month ago, only to die in this one.
Another surge in the sale of assault weapons.
My governor’s wife holds my two-month-old son in her arms.
“We never thought it would happen here.”

Thirty years ago William McCarthy joined the Connecticut Writing Project and hasn’t recovered yet. “Since then," he writes, "I've tendered my drafts almost monthly in a writing group of other recovering CWP teachers. There’s a closeness among us we get nowhere else, as we share bits and pieces of our lives—our trials with truculent pianos, unpredictable children, and failing parents. Part is honing our craft, part is shaping our experiences, part is understanding who we are.”

Sunday, April 18, 2021


by Julie Steiner

Gallup’s annual survey of American attitudes about global warming, published last week, shows that Democrats are increasingly in agreement with the scientific consensus. A whopping 82 percent of Democrats said they believe that the effects of global warming have already begun. Meanwhile, only 29 percent of Republicans did, a record low. That’s a gap of 53 points; for comparison, in 2001, the gap was a mere 13 points. —Grist, April 13, 2021

The climate is extreme
these days: wet/dry, hot/cold.
But we are not to blame.

“An act of God,” we deem
each drought or flood. Behold,
the climate is extreme,

but man can’t cause, or tame,
such swings. They’re manifold,
but we are not to blame.

Fossil fuels may seem
at fault—to schoolgirls told
the climate is extreme

because of our regime
(and how we love black gold).
But we are not to blame:

before the Age of Steam,
catastrophes still rolled.
The climate is extreme.

Just is. Let experts scheme—
they’ve threatened, wept, cajoled—
but “We are not to blame”

remains our constant theme:
“Earth’s massive. Man can’t mold
the climate. Is extreme

misfortune—freeze or flame—
new-fangled? No, age-old,
bud! We are not to blame.”

As more disasters came,
we, too, came forth, to scold,
“The climate is extreme

in politics. For shame!
Poor sheeple, you’ve been trolled,
but we are not Tube-lame.”

The more we play this game,
the more R’s say (when polled)
the climate is extreme,
but we are not to blame.

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, April 17, 2021


by Susan Terris

Turn of the 21st century, and 17 year cicadas had surfaced again in New Haven as I visited my girlhood friend Callie, daughter of another Callie—she: heavy, sedentary, called Big Callie but long gone by 2000. There, with the spring crocus pushing up, we crunched along the sidewalks strewn with empty shells shining in morning sun like gems of silver and gold, unable to escape still-live cicadas that sounded like water in a mad cascade. Years ago, cicadas had come just before Big Callie died of breast cancer. Then my friend—who had married a widower with two children—made him one again not very long after my visit. Yes,  my Callie died of breast cancer, too.


Now I worry for Callie’s daughter, her daughter’s two daughters. And then remembering her and the fragility of cicadas reminds me how my own cells had multiplied to breast cancer and 17 years later my sister’s, until I began counting off years and wondering what lay waiting for my daughter and my sister’s daughters, our clutch of granddaughters. Thousand upon thousand of empty shells and countless dangeous cells and the cascade of fears waiting out their own cycles, buried and dormant, until live and invasive

Susan Terris’ recent books are Familiar Tense (Marsh Hawk) 2019; Take Two: Film Studies (Omnidawn) 2017, Memos (Omnidawn) 2015; and Ghost of Yesterday: New & Selected Poems (Marsh Hawk) 2012. She's the author of 7 books of poetry, 17 chapbooks, 3 artist's books, and one play.  Journals include The Southern Review, Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, and Ploughshares. A poem of hers appeared in Pushcart Prize XXXI. A poem from Memos was in Best American Poetry 2015. Her newest chapbook is Dream Fragments, which won the 2019 Swan Scythe Press Award. Ms. Terris is editor emerita of Spillway Magazine and a poetry editor at Pedestal.

Friday, April 16, 2021


by Mark Danowsky

                    for Adam Toledo 

I tell you the worse version 

So you'll tell me 

It wasn't as bad as I say 

He wears the same 

underwear I wear 


For reasons that 

Embarass me 

He wears a fake luxury belt

Like one I bought as a half joke 

Except I know better 

Or tell myself so 

The blood is in his mouth 

But that's not where we can look

So we look below the neck 

Above the waist 

Fearing every in-between

I see the branding in my dreams 

because like Charli says 

I want it all 

Even if it's fake 

This is not fake—

The child run down 

Shot bloody 

Shot through

Shot dead 

I have avoided watching

More than I feel I am allowed to admit 

Design tricks me down this rabbit hole 

& so I see & do not understand 

& have to see again & again 

& from other perspectives

& it is written  

None provide a verdict 

A child of thirteen dead 

& I know no more only more 

That this dream we claim is a mirror 

Shattered by lost souls 

Mark Danowsky is Editor-in-Chief of ONE ART: a journal of poetry and Senior Editor for Schuylkill Valley Journal. He is author of the poetry collection As Falls Trees (NightBallet Press). His work has appeared in Bird Watcher’s Digest, Cleaver Magazine, Gargoyle, The Healing Muse, and elsewhere.