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Monday, May 31, 2021


by Janice D. Soderling

Graphic: Odysseus With Achilles In The Underworld. Attica red-figure vase, ca 480 B.C. When Odysseus visits the Underworld in The Odyssey, Achilles tells him, “Glorious Odysseus: don’t try to reconcile me to my dying. I’d rather serve as another man’s labourer, as a poor peasant without land, and be alive on Earth, than be lord of all the lifeless dead.”

Eulogies are written by the living,
never by the dead,
who would probably have said
something quite different about life and giving.

Janice D. Soderling has often published at The New Verse News over the years.  Her most recent collections are War: Make that City Desolate and Rooms and Closets.

Sunday, May 30, 2021


by Sharon Lopez Mooney

"The Wall," a painting by Salam Khalili, the subject of today's poem.

History accosts him with the nothing
of childhood he could have done differently, 
caught by father in a web of conniving for money, 
clever methods for work, but he knew, 
got smarter as he aged, sold his knowledge, his charm
became a word and brushstroke warrior of defiant freedom
not for father but in spite, 
bold for his people, his children, 
against other fathers who would not.
Now afar, he craves Jerusalem, sensuous city seized and torn,
she bled through his veins, bound him to her, 
his home where he is not allowed to return,
punishment for refusing to be silent, 
A cost too great?
Skeleton bones rattle in with every step he takes
as he talks over business with his son, he feels
the ache of those years where war against war, its demand,
its seduction, took from him a grave toll, his son, a daughter, his family.
He burns with unanswerable questions
could he have done it differently? Did he do it again? Sell 
himself, this time to flight, to safety, to promised freedom,
Did I, father?
in ‘this land of the free, home of the brave’ where he still craves
freedom, the past sears his memory into ash, blows it 
across fecund black earth, cool, quiet, safe,
Am I doing it again, father? 
is the price once more, too great?
invisible under the fascinating mask he wears, the scars
throb faithfully reminding, history is what he made,
and history married him to the destiny of his people 
where each vow could have been a thousand others.
He lays in this lost midnight, awake, feeling the pulse
of the past pounding in his body
praying the price is not his soul.

Author’s Note: Salam Khalili was a Palestinian poet, painter, and journalist in Jerusalem before, during, and after the 1967 "Six Day War." He was never a soldier, but knew and interacted with many independent fighters against Israel. He and his wife felt there was great danger to their family and so sent their children away to be protected by nuns at a monastery. Editor-in-Chief of Jerusalem’s Al-Quds Daily, he published in 1970 an uncensored story claiming a secret deal to give up Jerusalem. As a result, Salam was imprisoned in Israel for seven years. After Amnesty International and a group of journalists worked to have him released, Salam was deported from Israel. We met in California where he settled, and we became intimates. Although he was never able to find his way into written English, he remained a master poet and story teller in oral English. He asked me to pass on his stories in my own original poetry. This poem is one of them. Salam died in 2015, never having been allowed to return to his beloved Jerusalem. 

Sharon Lopez Mooney is a retired Interfaith Minister who worked in the death and dying field. She now lives in Mexico and visits northern California where her family still thrives. Mooney received a California Arts Council Grant for a rural poetry series; co-published a regional arts journal; owned an alternative literature service; and, produced poetry readings and performances. Mooney’s poems are or will be published in The MacGuffin, Fallow Deer, The Muddy River Poetry Review, The Voices Project, The Avalon Literary Review, Adelaide International Magazine, Galway Review, Ginosko Literary Journal, California Quarterly, Hags on Fire, The Ricochet Review, Roundtable Literary Journal, and the anthologies Calyx: Women and Aging, Cold Lake Anthology, Words of Power, Songs to the Sun, Poetry is a Mountain, Smoke & Myrrors (UK).

Saturday, May 29, 2021


by David Chorlton

Photo credit: Phoenix Rescue Mission: “Last summer, record-breaking heat took the lives of 494 men and women in Arizona. As a community, we need to step up and reach out to those who may not know how deadly our summer can be.”

Wake up; check for rain; the daily high’s

a body count and rubbing the eyes

won’t move the images away

of yesterday’s encampment

winding around two downtown blocks

in plain sight of the sky.

It’s so hot all

I can do is to pour

this bottle of water over

my legs, and then

another, and

then another. It isn’t even news today


with nine semi-automatic victims

in California and

a gunman’s high-capacity rage

recalled by his ex-wife:

I'm going to beat him up, I'm going

to kill the son-of-a-gun;

Sometimes people say

things like that

when they're mad. The bedding is makeshift

on Eleventh Avenue, the clothing

T-shirt bright,

and blankets soften

the pavement in varying shades

of poverty. Sometimes a face

floats out from among

the collage of nylon and humanity:

remember it. Remember just

this one on behalf of them all. Remember

the song: And there but for fortune,

may go you

or go  I


David Chorlton is a transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. His poems often reflect his affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. A new book, Unmapped Worlds, featuring older poems that had suffered neglect, is out from FutureCycle Press. He recently took up watercoloring again, after twenty dry years.

Friday, May 28, 2021


by Jeannie E. Roberts

A spherical shape was noted in flight. 
The object was dark; it moved back and forth. 
Scanned above water, it dropped out of sight.

The strange craft was tracked with IR* at night. 
The vehicle plunged, then altered its course. 
A spherical shape was noted in flight.

The video’s rendered in raw black and white. 
It splashed. It splashed, the audio reports. 
Scanned above water, it dropped out of sight.

Mark bearing and range, strategic advice. 
The U.S. Defense confirmed the clip’s source. 
A spherical shape was noted in flight.
Insight has teamed to discern greater heights. 
The Pentagon’s deemed it a special task force. 
Scanned above water, it dropped out of sight.

Intrigue orbits the phenomena of life. 
An archive exists, the “UAP* Drawer.” 
A spherical shape was noted in flight. 
Scanned above water, it dropped out of sight.

*Author's Notes: IR: Infrared; UAP: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.

Jeannie E. Roberts has authored seven books, including her newest chapbook As If Labyrinth—Pandemic Inspired Poems (Kelsay Books, 2021). She's listed in the Poets & Writers Directory and is a poetry editor of the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs. When she’s not reading, writing, or editing, you can find her drawing and painting, or outdoors photographing her natural surroundings. Roberts is an animal lover, a nature enthusiast, an equal rights advocate, and an ally of marginalized people.

Thursday, May 27, 2021



Ed Shacklee is a public defender who lives on a boat in the Potomac River. His first collection, The Blind Loon: A Bestiary, was published by Able Muse Press in 2017.


by Matt Witt

Green-Tailed Towhee Taking Bath by Matt Witt

This green-tailed towhee
that weighs about an ounce
migrated more than 1,000 miles
from its wintering home in Mexico
to its annual nesting ground
in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument,
where I watched it taking a bath at a tiny spring.
It migrates every year,
eluding hawks and falcons,
braving snowstorms and lightning,
never losing its way.
This bird is a lot stronger
than I’ll ever be.

Matt Witt is a writer and photographer from Talent, Oregon. His website is

Wednesday, May 26, 2021


by Buff Whitman-Bradley

An encounter in 2020 between a Jewish couple in Ijzim, Israel (south of Haifa) and the displaced Palestinians in whose house that couple has lived since 1948 when the Palestinians were denied the right to return to their village and property. Photo from an Al Jazeera video report. At YouTube, you can click on “SHOW MORE” to read an English translation of the Arabic narration.

Did their mothers tell them
Take whatever you want?

Did their fathers say
By any means necessary?

Did the god they concocted assure them
That they mattered more than anyone else?

Did the historians of erasure argue
That until they arrived the land was uninhabited?

Did the cartographers of eradication draw beautiful maps
Haunted by ghost villages?

Do the politicians they vote for promise
A sanitized future cleansed of the Other?

When they faced those they had dispossessed
And claimed not to give them a second thought

Did justice not moan?
Did righteousness not weep?

Buff Whitman-Bradley’s poems have appeared in many print and online journals. His new book is At the Driveway Guitar Sale: Poems on Aging, Memory, Morality (Main Street Rag Publishing). He podcasts at and lives with his wife, Cynthia, in northern California.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021


by Monica Korde


Here with only hours to spare, air 

leaving the lungs, families rush 

from hospital to hospital 

begging for a breath, for a bed 

while opulent hotel rooms 

offer a hundred covid beds 

for members of justice.

Here votes matter, deaths don’t. 

Politicians ride chariots, strut 

through reckless rallies and 

use words liberally:

“Nothing to panic. It’s all imaginary.”

“No need for masks, why worry?”

“After all, everyone has to die eventually”.

Here the gravedigger works 24-hour shifts, 

his gloves left behind to 

avoid the spade from slipping. 

It is Ramzan but he must have water before 

he goes on- turning the earth, getting the body

removing it from the makeshift ambulance 

burying it faster than he can count. 

The priest works equally—

he prays for a hundred pyres, stokes the fires, and 

this pandemic pandit of sorts walks round-the-clock 

through this burning mess

roll calling names as the flames get warm enough. 

Here the departed lie outside 

community-built crematoriums. 

No marigold, no silk, no sandalwood 

to adorn the tired bodies. 

Carefully wrapped in outrage, in anguish

they find kinship and unity

these souls on stand-by

waiting for an undignified exit. 



Monica Korde, is a poet from India, currently living in Belmont, California. Along with writing poems, she reads at several virtual poetry readings hosted in the Bay area and regularly co-hosts an online poetry open mic. Her poetry has appeared online on the website of San Francisco Public Library, on YouTube published by local poetry open mics, and in anthologies. 


Monday, May 24, 2021


by Tricia Knoll

Explosions in Gaza City on Tuesday. Last week, New York Times journalist Iyad Abuheweila saw their destructive power up close at his home in Gaza. He quotes his brother Assad as saying, during the bombardment, "We have no option but to die." Photo credit: Mahmud Hams/Agence France-Presse—Getty Images via The New York Times, May 21, 2021

This headline arrived in a tweet,
restating the obvious fate 
we forget in warm sun, 
when the lilacs bloom, as my dog
chases a bouncing green ball
into a clump of trees. 
Then his story. The bombs. The blasts.
Newlyweds who lost everything they had.
His mother pleading her sons to stay 
in the same room so they could die together.
Their nights allow no hope for sleep,
dreams cancelled, the nervous
edge of dawn slicing open new visions
of destruction. Rockets and airstrikes.
Airstrikes and drones. Someone whistles.
Another chants God is great.
Buddhists tell us we are of the nature to die. 
Is it hubris for me to believe I will not die
today? What gratitude do I owe for the bloom
of the peony, the trust with which I put 
the tomato plant in soil? Do I know
how far I am from Gaza? 
How close? 

Tricia Knoll is a poet living on the unceded land of the Abenaki people in Vermont, land divided into rectangles of ownership. Her poetry appears widely in journals and anthologies. Her new book Checkered Mates is now available.

Sunday, May 23, 2021


by Janet Bowdan

Jac Zagoory Rocket Pen Holder

I forgot what I was going to ask,  
just a question that popped out of my head 
the moment I went into the kitchen, 
and Blair laughed saying I was entitled 
to a day off and maybe so 
but what if this is not the day 
what if this is the day I can write about Israel 
firing back on Gaza, the two women who died 
running for shelter, the military targeting Hamas 
tunnels but bringing down buildings, children 
dying, maybe this is the day I can make them stop 
killing each other if they can only stop— 
the poem that lands on Netanyahu’s breakfast 
so he has to read it, how his vow to make 
Hamas pay “a very heavy price” is a weight 
in his throat; he tries to swallow it down 
with coffee. It is not Hamas who’s paying, 
his orange juice says, his bagel with cream cheese. 
We’re all paying. Make it stop, the poem 
says before it backflips and speeds like a rocket 
to the Hamas leaders: make it stop. And it lights up 
the sky but harms no one. 

Janet Bowdan's poems have appeared in APR, Best American Poetry, The Rewilding Anthology, River Heron Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbook Making Progress came out in 2019 from Finishing Line Press. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with her husband and son (who recently had a zoom bar mitzvah), as well as a cat and a chinchilla. 

Saturday, May 22, 2021


by Gil Hoy

Bill Bramhall's editorial cartoon for Thursday, May 20, 2021, as Republican leaders turn against a bipartisan bill to create a January 6 commission for the U.S. Capitol insurrection. (Bill Bramhall/New York Daily News)

Nothing lasts forever.
No exception.
We’ve arrived at 
That critical hour. 
The moment 
We’ve all been
Like the moment
You realize 
Your parents 
Aren’t perfect. Will
America’s democracy 
When a Grand Old Party
Has lost its soul. 
Sold its soul for  
A personality cult. 
Sold its soul for 
A man without one.
So many abandoned 
So many Cowards 

So many lies.  
Is the party over?

Gil Hoy is a widely published Boston poet and writer who studied poetry and writing at Boston University through its Evergreen program. Hoy previously received a B.A in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. While at BU, Hoy was on the wrestling team and finished in second place in the New England University Wrestling Championships at 177 lbs. He served as an elected Brookline, Massachusetts Select Board Member for four terms. Hoy is a semi-retired trial lawyer. His work has recently appeared in Best Poetry Online, Muddy River Poetry Review,  Tipton Poetry Journal, Rusty Truck,  Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, The Penmen Review, Misfit Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, Chiron Review, The New Verse News, and elsewhere. Hoy was a Best of the Net nominee last year.

Friday, May 21, 2021


by Mary K O'Melveny

"Red Composition" by Jackson Pollock

Everyone who knows grief as it settles onto chests,
humid as a jungle, thick as fog on a heath,
understands that goodbyes can be a gift. A brief
cushion to ease the long emptiness ahead.
As I write this, my friend’s husband is dying
in hospice care in New York. He surrendered
after waging a fierce battle with leukemia that,
for a merciful time, he seemed to be winning.
Each arc of loss beams wider than celestial skies
on clear summer nights. His young grandchildren
gather at a grassy hospital garden to say goodbye.
Siblings fly from far-flung homes to do the same.
My sister and I stood at our mother’s bedside
watching lights on monitors fade and fizzle out.
Without evidence of audibility, we still sang to her,
believing emigration is aided by a sound track.

In Gaza, bereaved households are less blessed.
A fine whine of rockets the only warning before
a family’s cardamom tea and künefe splatters
like a Pollock canvas across living room walls.
In Delhi, breaths come to a close after failed searches
for oxygen – it seems there is no price that can be paid
for air though grieving loved ones would mortgage
their own lung capacities if currencies allowed.
In North Carolina, police kill a man as he tries
to drive away from death. His story forms a pattern
recurrent as an Escher etching. Each morning’s only
question – will this day mark memory’s final day.
COVID focused attention toward microscopic gestures –
the tensile strength of touch, the graceful creases
of a laugh line, the thrill of whispered thank yous.
Such gifts may allow us to survive our diminishments.

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.

Thursday, May 20, 2021


by Bonnie Naradzay

In Gaza City, Riad Ishkontana mourned the death of one of his children on Sunday. Mr. Ishkontana said that when rescuers pulled him and his 7-year-old daughter from the rubble of his home after an airstrike, he awoke to a new life—one without his wife and four other children. Credit:Hosam Salem for The New York Times, May 19, 2021

I am feeling numb, reading about stun guns
rubber tipped bullets and tear gas cannisters
that I pay for with my taxes, and the Boeing 
weapons sales, mainly kits transforming bombs 
into precision missiles dropped from planes 
on Gaza, as before. Armed forces wreck Minarets 
during Ramadan. The call to prayer, up in flames.
Worshippers at the mosque are felled with bullets.
Evictions are enforced by the Courts, the way 
it’s always done. Snipers target fleeing children;
they’ve done it all before.  When will we learn?
Here, orange blossoms are exploding in the sun.
I am feeling numb, reading about stun guns.

Bonnie Naradzay’s recent poems are in AGNI, the American Journal of Poetry, New Letters (Pushcart nomination), RHINO, Tar River Poetry, EPOCH, Tampa Review, Kenyon Review Online, Potomac Review, Xavier Review, and others. For many years she has led poetry workshops at a day shelter for the homeless and at a retirement center, both in Washington, DC. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021


by Douglas Richardson

Fight for $15.

Walking west on 6th Street
All the trees are green
The sun is warm upon my face
My hair is moussed and preened
I’m listening to Corporate Pop
on my way to Corporate Eatery
I fling my tie around my neck
a leaf among the scenery
My table’s cleared
My glass is beered
All the unions disappeared
The working world is free
Douglas Richardson is a poet and novelist who lives in Santa Ana, California, with his wife Jen and cat Wes. He is the founder of Weak Creature Press. He has written a fiction series, American Strays, which comprises the novellas The Corruption of Zachary R., Trust Fund Baby, and Kay Sutter Through the Ages. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Black Poppy Review, Cajun Mutt Press, Hobo Camp Review, Misfits’ Miscellany, The Nervous Breakdown, Straight Forward Poetry, Trouvaille Review, and Poetry Super Highway. In 2013, he won the Poetry Super Highway contest with his entry, “Notes from the Graveyard Shift.” 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021


by Katherine West

“Big Lie” by Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune via USA Today, May 15, 2021.

This is the disease 
That does not send us 

To the hospital 
To die alone 

On the other side 
of quarantine 

Are ineffective 


No lab can create 
Or uncreate it 

Herd immunity 


This is a disease 
With a seed 

Planted in the desert sand 
Of which mirrors are made 

Fun House 

In the mind 

Desperate to love 

It leaps 
From loathing 

The thing 
In the mirror 

To adoring 
The king 

And all the false 
Jewels in his crown 

To destroying 
Any shadow 

That falls 
Across his perfect 

Since perfection 

Is contagious 
Is the only cure (we believe)

For distortion 
For drought 

For the desiccated 

For thirst 
A thirst 

That can't be quenched (we believe)
Where rose and mind bloom 

Where pools reflect 
The real

Where songbirds 

For life 

To the same 

After year

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 FiestaThe 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.

Monday, May 17, 2021


by Karan Kapoor

Many patients across India have died when hospitals suddenly ran out of oxygen. Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times, May 16, 2021


An old friend's father whom I once called father
is now dying. We're hunters who cannot hunt
oxygen for him, or her or the many theys, 
nor god, and the men who bought the internet
know we've tried to find both. Anything below
hundred minus five is a potential threat. 
He is at 51 and going down with the sun.
We carry time on our shoulders as it bleeds.
Souls leave bodies; leaves in autumn, 
pus from an abscess. Everywhere birds 
appear; everywhere there's song.


Our premier is deaf without being mute.
Isn't he guilty of all the good he did not do?
Sometimes the body astonishes the mind.
He visits a gurdwara to pray, to pay homage 
to Guru Teg Bahadur, extends greetings 
to a nation dying. He bows to him: a guru
We're trying to balance on the fence 
between irony and contempt.


Some pray for their fathers to be relieved,
some want them to live no matter. The one
who now stands in the queue for oxygen will 
soon stand in the queue for crematoriums.
The sun scorches us like a lover we've
wronged, pissing fire on us. In turn, 
our shaved heads threaten the moon.
Everyone we love plunges deep into a sleep 
there's no waking from, men and women
reduce to rising numbers on television.
We were never taught to count so far.


India's spine crushes under the burden
of screams. The newspapers must be full 
of obituaries but they aren't. The trees laugh.
The dead are nameless. The government
is busy filing cases against the aggrieved.
The greatest indication of irresponsibility 
is blame. We get high on camphor, the sky 
falls. We exit the world through a wound.
Is there no god in the heart of a monster? 
He is tearing us apart, and making slow work 
of it. Dear destruction, we dread your old song.


When people suffer, they want to scream.
All we hear is an expression of suffering,
not the anguish itself. Time is a window
we cannot pass through. Have you ever
watched someone suffocate slowly?
We are drifted ashore, stripped of all but
our grief which too needs oxygen to survive.
There are no words, all we can do is look
silently at the dead. Sometimes the song
just sings itself apart. The birds disappear.
Future is nothing but a hole in the ground.

Author's Note: A friend's father died today, and another friend's grandfather. Many others have lost many others. India is suffering with an almost-apocalyptic second-wave, which comes directly as a result of failure of the Modi-government to prepare for it. This poem emerged from the angst which is a big, initial part of grief.

Karan Kapoor is the author of a novelette Maya and the co-author of a novel The Dreaming Reality, both independently published. Long-listed for Toto funds the Arts awards, his poems have appeared in The Indian Quarterly, G5A Imprint, Stride, and the Mountain Ink. He's currently working on his debut poetry collection. When not reading or writing, he is obsessing over classical music. Currently in his final semester of MA in Literary Art Creative Writing, he wants to continue to live a life devoted to music and literature.

Sunday, May 16, 2021


by Amy Shimshon-Santo

“i don’t understand why people keep choosing fascism.” —my mother. 

my words are knots, 
while I need parachutes. 

sleepless from threading imaginary-strategies 
potential sentences to disrupt the state. 

try lots of periods. . . . . .
put the [killers in brackets]

some writers spin enviable lines,
bumper sticker responses 

at the ready, 
then go out for cappuccino.

as if the correct terminology 
could bring back the dead 

my body is tangled,  
it can’t sleep for grieving

my head shakes, 
remembering do Nascimento’s lyric
eu sou america do sul,
eu sei você não vai saber.
same with everywhere,
imperial windows barely see in

much less out. do something, her body said
the world is on fire

you can only change what you touch 
how can a mom bring down a fascist state? 

massage therapists post information
on demonstrations, they sing

bring flowers, 
and are dragged on the ground by police

fascism comes in all flavors
styles and sizes

anyone can be a fascist
two for one, on sale now

maybe anyone
can be a freedom fighter too.

I want to stop the war
words were supposed to make the world

but mine roar within 
i misspell lines, small lions

the people who are doing the fighting 
are the ones who must stop.

i want to make them
let's see, i have hot water and a barrel of lemons

try! use your words
stop a war with your body

“we are not all that powerful, “ h says. “its ok,
we are not built for that.”

but my body, made of moon dust 
cells and pillage histories believes it is

it dreams of becoming 
big as a u.n., an i.c.c. — BIGGER!

a small body, dreams of being 
a body of power

she is more  
like a garden bird 

small and two-footed,
feathered with emotion
while history wears 
boots and helmets

carries rifles, barges in
drops bombs and burns

“we will get crushed 
if we try to carry the world,” h says. 

but that is what the body feels 
responsible for

how does a mother 
stop a war? 

"the people who are bombing must stop," 
the mother stirs, but we must find a way to stop them

Amy Shimshon-Santo is a poet and educator who believes that culture is a powerful tool for personal and social transformation. Her interdisciplinary work connects the arts, education, and urbanism. She is the author of Even the Milky Way Is Undocumented (Unsolicited Press, Pushcart Prize & Rainbow Reads Award nominee). 

Saturday, May 15, 2021


by Joseph Hope

“peace” by Shahid Atiq at toonpool.

The body would prefer perfume to real bullets.
Prefer water to tear gas.
Prefer flowers to rockets.
Prefer anything that will not kill it 
to what can.
Ask the dead!
Brokering peace is better than taking a side.
Whether it's 
Palestine vs Israel or
Allah vs Jesus or 
White vs Black or 
Jews vs non-Jews
peace will still remain the only cure to conflicts.

Joseph Hope is writing from Nigeria, a student of Usman Danfodio University. His works are either forthcoming or already published in Reckoning Press, Evening Street Press, Zoetic Press,  The New Verse News, Praxis Magazine, Gemini Spice Magazine, Spillwords, SprinNG, Writers Space Africa, Nthanda Magazine, 5th Chinua Achebe Anthology, Ariel Chart, Best "New" African Poets 2019 Anthology, and many more. He's a young man running away from his name. How absurd! He tweets @ItzJoe9

A Letter to Readers of The New Verse News

Dear Readers,



Within the past few hours, Blogger, which hosts this site, deleted nine posted poems from March 2021:

"The Year of the Great Pause"
"Brave Red"
"Free Range Bird"
"The Pursuit"
"Waiting Room"
"International Women's Day 2021"
"Calendar Girls"
"Cracking the Code"
"Mr. Potato Head Responds"

According to emails from Blogger, The New Verse News's "content has violated our malware and viruses policy."

There is no further explanation to help me understand how, if true, these violations could have been avoided... or, more worrying, how they can be avoided in the future since Blogger warns us: "We encourage you to review the full content of your blog posts to make sure that they are in line with our standards as additional violations could result in the termination of your blog."

After having had Facebook summarily take down our page there some months ago with even less explanation, I can't help thinking that someone is out to get us and our politics.

We shall see.

For now, I apologize to the poets of the deleted poems.

James Penha,
Editor, The New Verse News

Update: A Blogger community expert writes in reply to my call for help: "Your posts may have been removed in error. Blogger is aware of the issue and working on a fix."😖

Friday, May 14, 2021


by Lynn White

Cartoon by Matt Lubchansky at The Nib, May 12, 2021

There are always two sides to every story,
you said.
The protesters were armed.
The protesters were violent
when faced with soldiers in full combat gear.
Faced with snipers armed with live ammunition.
Armed but
only with stones,
and only some of them.

There are always two sides to every story,
you said.
I ask,
to every story?
Do you really believe that
for a demonstration of unarmed people
when the snipers and soldiers
are already waiting

There were terrorists amongst them 
intent on doing us harm,
You say
so, yes, to every story, every story.
Would the not harm be similar 
to the tens who were killed
and the hundreds that were injured?
We have a right to defend ourselves,
you said, 
so yes,
there are always two sides to every story.
Every story.

so, you will want to hear it for the Nazis then!
That’s not what you meant.
That story stands alone
one sided.
Perhaps the number of sides
depends on the differences in power.
Perhaps it’s not alone.


Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality and writes hoping to find an audience for her musings. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including Apogee, Firewords, Peach Velvet, Light Journal and So It Goes.

Thursday, May 13, 2021


by Julie Steiner

Look for the helpers, Mister Rogers said.
Whenever you feel sad or scared about
the news, look for the people helping out.
Keep those within your sight. Your heart. Your head.

It’s good advice. On days when all I’ve read
puts basic human decency in doubt,
and all I’ve heard’s what hurtful people shout,
I focus on the helpful folks instead.

Or try to. Sometimes all that’s in the frame
is evidence that helpers never came.

Two long, light-gray balloons, like downturned lips,
say several states withheld their rescue ships.

No helpers in the picture. Not this time.
But you can help bear witness to this crime.

A shipwreck off the Libyan coast has reportedly claimed the lives of 130 people, despite SOS calls for help, the UN migration agency IOM said on Friday [April 23]. The tragedy was confirmed late on Thursday by the volunteer rescue vessel Ocean Viking, which found dozens of bodies floating in the water northeast of Tripoli. It had been in distress since Wednesday morning, the NGO said in a statement. IOM spokesperson, Safa Msehli, told journalists in Geneva that the victims had been on board a rubber dinghy for two days before it sank in the central Mediterranean. “For two days, the NGO alarm phone, which is responsible for sending distress calls to the relevant maritime rescue centres in the region, has been calling on States to uphold their responsibilities towards these people and send rescue vessels. Unfortunately, that has not happened.” More than 500 people have drowned on the so-called Central Mediterranean sea route this year according to IOM—almost three times as many the same period last year. —UN News, April 23, 2021

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.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021


by Jo Ann Steger Hoffman

Only a few are brave enough, a few
only, who listen to the inner voice
that does not lie, speaks clearly what is true.
These few decide to make the harder choice
to stand apart, alone, claim truth out loud
despite the storms that blow the House apart
when one with strength of purpose stands unbowed
beneath the weight of censure, dares to chart
a course that steers its way by compass points
unshaken by fierce winds of ambition,
steadied by faithfulness to what anoints
a leader with the right to set direction.
What some will view as weakness in this hour
will soon reveal itself as peerless power.

Jo Ann Steger Hoffman’s publications include a children’s book, short fiction and numerous poems in literary journals, including The Merton Quarterly, Persimmon Tree, Pinesong, The New Verse News, Kakalak, Red Clay Review, Broad River Review and Flying South. Recognition from Palm Beach Poetry Festival contests and a Pushcart nomination are among her awards. Her narrative non-fiction book Angels Wear Black recounts the only technology executive kidnapping to occur in California’s Silicon Valley. A native of Toledo, Ohio, Jo Ann and her husband now live in Cary and Beaufort, North Carolina.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021


by Indran Amirthanayagam

Myanmar poet Khet Thi, whose works declare resistance to the ruling junta, has died in detention and his body was returned with the organs removed, his family said. A spokesperson for the junta did not answer calls to request comment on the death of Khet Thi, who had penned the line “They shoot in the head, but they don’t know the revolution is in the heart.” His Facebook page said he was 45. —The Guardian, May 10, 2021

We have a body for you Mrs. Thi
but some organs are missing.
You understand that we had
to keep the heart for further study,
to better understand the root cause
of your husband's delusion,
and our apologies if the eyes
too seem askew. We dug into
ball and cornea, to unsplice
the vision fiber.This revolt must
be attacked by all available means,
including forensics, tear gas,
live bullets, home visits at night,
torture sessions in the nearest
police station. and we will be
ready for blowback from abroad,
the bloody poets gathering,
shouting words in their hearts.
Come on you chattering birds. Sing.

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.