Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

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.