Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, September 23, 2021


by David Chorlton

Unrest #1, a painting by Alyssa Liles-Amponsah

                nobody rich or famous…
                                Richard Shelton

The car in the driveway
has barely a pulse
and the windows don’t let in the light.
The palm trees no longer
aspire to the sky
and the garden hose hangs
on a hook.
Something’s eating the house from inside
say the neighbors,
no one answers the door when
they knock. The ceiling gave way
and a bucket of grief
stands under a hole where
time drips day
after day. The telephone’s hoarse
from repeating
I’m sorry I can’t speak now…,
the doorbell plays a dirge
and every minute makes
a tiny splash as it falls
into the unwashed dishes
in the kitchen sink.
He brought the border home with him,
unrolled it on the floor,
ran it through the kitchen to
the living room and cut
it into strips to hang instead of curtains
at the windows where a light
shone upon every nationality and exposed
the fault line between the rich
and poor. His trash bin
was filled with tailings from a mine
and every day he emptied it and
every next day it was full
again but he kept emptying. When the nails
fell out from where they held
the world together, he picked them up
to hammer back. Meetings.
Petitions. Meetings. Letters.
Meetings. Always somewhere to be,
to drive across town
on the sweating summer asphalt
with the windows down
to save money for gas.
Nobody knows for sure. It was
a mystery. The neighbors didn’t care much
for the man. He kept
largely to himself. Didn’t have a lot
to say. Kept going out, revving up
his car and coming back
then leaving again six
or eight times a day. The lady who lives across
from his house knows; she kept count.
Never really spoke
to him. And he spoke only
when spoken to. He was alone the last
few weeks. Come and go. Feed
the cats. People watched but didn’t know
what they were seeing. Didn’t
ask. Left him alone. And the weeds grew
like secrets in his yard
until one night the moon tipped
on its side, spilling
silver dust onto the moths around it
asking ancient questions
of the passionate light.

David Chorlton is a longtime resident of Phoenix, who continues writing, painting, and keeping track of the local bird life. His newest book is Unmapped Worlds, a collection of rehabilitated poems from his files of the past.