Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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.

Thursday, July 08, 2021


by Randy Brown

Digital rodents and abandoned Pokemon presided over the streets of Bagram Airfield on the day news broke that U.S. troops had left the base. All U.S. forces have left Bagram, which for much of the past 20 years was the largest military base in Afghanistan, U.S. defense officials announced Friday. But the animated critters and some of what’s left on base are visible in digitally animated form through the game app Pokemon Go. The game allows players to walk to real-life locations and catch or battle digital monsters, who can be found using the app’s barebones version of Google Maps. Some of the Pokemon left by U.S. soldiers remain at their posts.  —Stars and Stripes, July 2, 2021

at the Pink Palace
our old brigade headquarters
Jigglypuff awaits
in a clamshell gym
sweating in treadmill safety
I was Wartortle
old Russian minefield
where I caught my Charizard
best day of my war
after deployment
I can speak more Pikachu
than I can Pashtu
farewell, Poké-stan
we leave you a ghost army
stardust and candies

Randy Brown embedded with his former Iowa Army National Guard unit as a civilian journalist in Afghanistan, May-June 2011. A 20-year veteran with one overseas deployment, he subsequently authored the 2015 poetry collection Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire. He also co-edited the 2019 anthology Why We Write: Craft Essays on Writing War. He is a three-time poetry finalist in the Col. Darron L. Wright Memorial Writing Awards administered by the literary journal Line of Advance. His poetry and non-fiction have appeared widely in print and on-line, including most recently in the graphic anthology True War Stories published by Z2 Comics. As “Charlie Sherpa,” he blogs about modern war poetry at, and about military-themed writing at