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Sunday, October 31, 2021


by Katherine West

Via The Daily Caller

And so there came upon me a time of great thirst.  Dust and hatred rose from desert roads, and monsoon puddles turned white, the evergreens unchanged as totems made of stone.  Oh!  How I thirsted for the softness of peace, of leaves and seasons, for yellow, the true color of death. 

For death there must be water, so we drove along the Mimbres River to Lake Robert, my neck soon sore from looking up at the tones of lemon, tangerine, rust, gold--all moving as if paint could not stop once it reached the canvas, but continued to mix and blend and breathe unbiased beauty.

In between were ragged signs bleached by the sun:  Don't Blame Me I Voted for Trump  or simply: Fuck Biden, right next to: We Love Cyclists, with seats in the shade for the tired traveler. 

The lake was a sequin-beaded dress from the 1920's that the wind exploded into diamond bits that blinded us where we sat beneath the willows that could not cease their orange song for every ear. 

There we died.  We drank color and light until we too exploded--then coalesced on the walk back, talking with Lalo the fisherman about the 90 year old woman with terminal cancer who caught the biggest catfish he'd ever seen, right there where he was fishing today, and he'd shown her the place, his secret spot that he showed to no one, and she'd whooped so loud people could hear her all the way across the lake, and she died that winter, where no one could swim due to all the hooks left in the sand, left in the mind, and we forgot to bring food so we ate the peace of apolitical ospreys fishing with Lalo in the morning as if the RVers with their Don't Tread on Me flags didn't exist, only their grandchildren, lying on their bellies in the sand, hanging over the bank, scooping up the craw fish the grebes eat, while we swallowed gallons of yellow death, and yet were empty, empty, empty, and light as leaves. 

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 came out in 2020, and a selection of poetry entitled Raising the Sparks will come out in 2021, both published by Breaking Rules Publishing for whom she also teaches Creative Writing workshops.  The sequel to When Night Comes will also be released by BRP in 2021. It is called Slave, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Revisited. She is also an artist. 

Saturday, October 30, 2021


by Danielle Lemay

Studies in roundworms by biologists at the University of Iowa suggest that a mother’s response to stress can influence her children and her grandchildren, through heritable epigenetic changes. Their research, reported in Molecular Cell, demonstrated that roundworm mothers subjected to heat stress passed—under certain conditions—the legacy of that stress exposure not only to their offspring but, if the period of stress to which the mother was exposed was long enough, even to their offspring’s children. —Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, October 14, 2021

Study Suggests Maternal Stress Inherited
like passing down green eyes or curly hair.
          It’s not like passing down green eyes or hair;
          the scientists conducted studies with worms.
Scientists studied heat stress in worms,
so what does it matter to human mothers?
          Does it matter to human mothers
          that they will now be blamed for stress?
We know the moms will now be blamed for stress;
Of course. News stories manipulate us.
          Of course, news stories manipulate us.
          We learn from the world, starting with mom.
Perhaps we should calm the world, starting with mom.
Studies suggest maternal stress is inherited.

Author’s Note: I came across this story about heritable stress at the end of the work day, while I was quite stressed, and it made me think how I’ve probably passed stress to my children and how my mom was stressed and her mother before her, a whole lineage of stressed mothers, probably for as long as there have been Homo sapiens, or even worms. With each generation sharing stress with the next, like lines from one couplet to another in a duplex, I obviously had to write a duplex.

Danielle Lemay is a scientist and poet. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net in 2021 and has appeared or is forthcoming in California Quarterly, The Blue Mountain Review, ONE ART, Limp Wrist Magazine, Lavender Review, and elsewhere.

Friday, October 29, 2021


by Sister Lou Ella Hickman, I.W.B.S.

Eddie Canales, director of South Texas Human Rights Center. Photograph: Gabriela Campos via The Guardian.

for john meza and eduardo canales

how many graves received them 
that is 
what was left of their bodies… 
for two days 
you will sift the soil 
with your hands and small trowels  
letting the earth 
fall away 
from the whiteness of bone 
i cannot fathom how you . . . 
(my heart aches with this almost thought) 
how will you touch the small remnants of lives 
and still breathe… 
only by kneeling 

Author’s Note: John Meza is one of the volunteers working with Eddie Conales, director of the South Texas Human Rights Center. With members of the Texas State University Forensic Pathology Department, they exhume bodies in graves in San Ygnacio, Texas to help identify missing migrants.

Sister Lou Ella has a master’s in theology from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and is a former teacher and librarian. She is a certified spiritual director as well as a poet and writer.  Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines such as America, First Things, Emmanuel, Third Wednesday, and The New Verse News as well as in four anthologies: The Night’s Magician: Poems about the Moon, edited by Philip Kolin and Sue Brannan Walker, Down to the Dark River edited by Philip Kolin, Secrets edited by Sue Brannan Walker and After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery for Life-Shattering Events edited by Tom Lombardo.  She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2017 and in 2020. Her first book of poetry entitled she: robed and wordless was published in 2015 (Press 53.) On May 11, 2021, five poems from her book which had been set to music by James Lee III were performed by the opera star Susanna Phillips, star clarinetist Anthony McGill, pianist Mayra Huang at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. The group of songs is entitled “Chavah’s Daughters Speak.” 

Thursday, October 28, 2021


by Mary K O’Melveny

Col. Wang Yaping is a pilot in the People’s Liberation Army’s Air Force. She is a space veteran, now making her second trip into orbit. She is set in the coming weeks to be the first Chinese woman to walk in space as China’s space station glides around Earth at 17,100 miles per hour. And yet, as she began a six-month mission last week at the core of China’s ambitious space program, official and news media attention fixated as much on the comparative physiology of men and women, menstruation cycles, and the 5-year-old daughter she has left behind, as they did on her accomplishments. (No one asked about the children of her two male colleagues.) Shortly before the launch, Pang Zhihao, an official with the China National Space Administration, let it be known that a cargo capsule had supplied the orbiting space station with sanitary napkins and cosmetics. “Female astronauts may be in better condition after putting on makeup,” he said in remarks shown on CCTV, the state television network. Photo: Col. Wang Yaping, center, with Col. Ye Guangfu, left, and Maj. Gen. Zhai Zhigang at a pre-launch ceremony on Oct. 15 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China. Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images —The New York Times, October 23, 2021

If one puts lipstick on an astronaut,
can she still blaze through arid
atmospheres, dangle wildly from a line 
that tethers her to the mothership 
even as she kicks up her heels 
and pirouettes out into star space?
It seems makeup is a juggernaut 
that enhances our reality. Some added
emphasis, a glowing image to re-define
a star-struck traveler, to make her trip
seem normal, like any mom who feels
a need to exit might arguably face.
There is nothing to be feared. We ought
to be glad some girl wearing a padded
suit has figured out she can still shine, 
even if she must give her family the slip.
Perhaps pancake isn’t so perfidious, but conceals
a dream or two that she might still embrace.

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. Her latest poetry collection Dispatches From The Memory Care Museum has just been published by Kelsay Books.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2021


by Steven Croft

Illustration from The Guardian, October 23, 2021

As the beehive of news stories grew,
scientists reporting back from Greenland's
shrinking ice sheet, coral reefs in Australia, the Florida Keys,
the feedback loops of forests lost and wildfire,
a beehive building like the global sauna our
drowsy governments offer an impossible treaty to slake,
suddenly a question rose before me:
why are we losing our grip on our world's biggest problem?
Because it is too far gone to hold?
Because floodwater and crabgrass want our cities?
Miners complain about the earth's heat
as they dig lower for coal to send to the surface.
Metaphor become metamorphosis.

Today, I can't look at a dome of beautiful October sky
without my mind's eye seeing a blue-lit jail
for a fevered planet, without my mind's ear hearing
buffalo herds of wind speaking in tongues
of shrieks across this doomed green land.

Steven Croft lives on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. He is the author of New World Poems (Alien Buddha Press, 2020).  His poems have appeared in Willawaw Journal, San Pedro River Review, The New Verse News, North of Oxford, Anti-Heroin Chic, and other places, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021


by Katie Kemple

Illustration by Chelsea Charles for The Washington Post

Product of flesh, moldable 

robot, we blank out

your name, hide your limbs 

in a cross, until your head 

can’t hold itself up anymore. 

You fucked-up. That’s why 

we come for you at 3am, 

tell you to get dressed, 

handcuff your spoiled wrists, 

escort you to our car. 

Your parents watch. 

They hired us. In America, 

our tax dollars fund it.

Through the rear-view

mirror, I see you trying 

to memorize the route. 

Don’t bother. The place 

we’re going, you won’t 

get out. We strip you naked, 

yell: “cough!” You do it. 

We probe the secrets 

of your body. No drugs 

in your cavities. Prepare to rot, 

bitch. Now get going, 

I say: “git!” Your walls 

are concrete. The women 

have pressed the white sheets 

of the last girl. The one 

who turned herself into 

a scarecrow. Yours now, 

sleep. Rest your eyelid 

on the stain of her 

slutty-blue mascara. 

Author's Note: This poem is in response to Rachel Aviv’s New Yorker article “The Shadow Penal System For Struggling Kids” (October 18) and Paris Hilton’s Washington Post op-ed “America’s ‘troubled teen industry’ needs reform so kids can avoid the abuse I endured” (October 18). Both articles detail toxic, cult-like organizations that trap unsuspecting youth into a shadow penal system. Once surrendered by their parents, it’s nearly impossible for victims to escape. These companies come for children at night, subject them to strip searches, and inflict psychologically damaging treatments under the guise of "tough love". There are no laws to protect minors in the custody of these groups. In fact, they receive state and federal funds for their services. 

Katie Kemple (she/her) is a poet, parent, and consultant  in San Diego, CA. Her poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Atlanta Review, Longleaf Review, Matter, Lunch Ticket (Amuse-Bouche), and Anti-Heroin Chic.

Monday, October 25, 2021


by Judy Juanita

I am 100% behind you baby girl
Behind your superb black ass
Behind your exponential black ass
Behind all the big black women
We who are BeyBey
We who are BeyBey's kids
We who raised BeyBey
Who raised BeyBey's babies and babydaddies
We behind you Lizzo

Show that ass
Put that ass on the Lakers scoreboard
For the world to see
Your big fat cocoa ass
As important for the world to see as 
Emmett Till's bludgeoned face
"Let them see what they did to my boy
Let the world see what they did to my boy"

Let us worship Lizzo
That's right—Bow down
Before her big black ass 
Before her big black booty
Not injected into her backside by a Dominican doctor
Not leaking formaldehyde into her veins clotting her heart
Killing one more big fat implacable life
Fuck Brazilian butt lifts
Fuck the strip clubs that hire the women
Who pay with their very life for butts
That sit high on their hips
21st century Venus Hottentots
Fuck the only way these women will earn $2,000 a night $3,000 a night $4,000 a night
Instead of working at  Walmart
(Yeah yeah yeah do the math $15@ hr. times 30 hrs a week so they don't have to give them health benefits. That's $450 a week, $1800 a month, the living wage that Biden is fighting for? Get real. You'd hop on a plane to the Dominican Republic, leak silicone all over the seats armrests tray tables too for a big black ass a big black ass)

Lizzo's black ass is worth gold
Diamonds and Gucci
In the belly of the beast 
Same place where
Lizzo's Army yeah
A black only army for the descendants of Buffalo Soldiers and Tuskegee Airmen 
A big black beautiful army whose big black unbleached asshole emits the noxious gases called life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Same place where corner stores have filled those asses for decades with hostess twinkies butterfingers koolaid fruit loops sodas hogmaw and chitlins hot links potato salad macaroni and cheese sweet potato pie (BeyBey's son the athlete/personal trainer says with disgust, Ma, this is carbo overload, but eats at the christmas table because he too worships Lizzo once a year)

We love you Lizzo
Our anti-Lady Godiva
Our anti-Kardashian
Our anti-American

Miss America?
You're the missing America
The antidote to self-loathing
You had to be huge
In our face
All over the place
You are the dream deferred no more
You cannot be invisible
You will not live underground
Not one more day

Lizzo our Lizzo
Lizzo Lizzo Lizzo Lizzo Lizzo
You is You is You is
America the beautiful.

Judy Juanita's book of poetry Manhattan my ass, you're in Oakland won the 2021 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. Her short story collection The High Price of Freeways won the Tartt Fiction Award and will be published by the University of West Alabama's Livingston Press in 2022. Het debut novel Virgin Soul was published by Viking in 2014. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021


by Bradley McIlwain

Outdoorsy. Beautiful. Outspoken for justice. Full of humor. “Being outdoors and enjoying nature gave her that feeling of empowerment of being free,” a line from her obituary read. The 23-year-old woman was reported missing by her family after she failed to return home. Weeks later, her remains were discovered in a field in Wyoming. This wasn’t Gabrielle Petito, who disappeared a month ago and has over 20 million search results associated with her name on Google. The 23 year old was Jade Wagon, a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe who went missing from her home on the Wind River Reservation in January 2020. Her death was ruled accidental due to hypothermia and drug intoxication, but her mother, Nicole Wagon, believes that her daughter was a victim of violence. Jade Wagon has 3,610 search results mentioning her name on Google. While developments on Petito’s case have made national news and retained engagement for weeks running, her story is one of tens of thousands of Americans that experience interpersonal violence every year. For many like the Wagons, the tide of activism in Petito’s case reaffirmed what was missing for women of color in similar circumstances. The vast majority do not receive widespread media coverage, let alone sizable social media investigation. Feminist journalist Gwen Ifill originally coined the term “missing white woman syndrome” in 2004, highlighting media’s tendency to favor sensationalized coverage toward white female victims of violence whilst neglecting stories of women of color, who face violence at a disproportionately higher rate, according to the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. —Kyran Berlin, Golden Gate Express, October 15, 2021

Cloudy skies.
The world shadows
Itself from prying eyes.

A shudder 
cracks the night
like a hammer
Shattering ice.

We fall through.
Our souls know
No use.

Water safeguards 
Our secrets, washes 
old bones.
We don’t see
The murder of crows
Until Valhalla is near.

After the battle
Valkyries peck 
At the armour 
we don’t need.

What’s dead
We leave behind:
Our blood on the blade.

The earth takes
Our stories, scattered
And scavenged 
under the trees.

Who will see?
Is there anyone left
Who will speak for me?

Bradley McIlwain is a Canadian writer and poet, whose works have appeared in The New Verse News, The Origami Poems Project, Platform Magazine, and others. He is the author of Elementals: Poems (IOWI, 2015).

Saturday, October 23, 2021


by Chad Parenteau

“DONALD TRUMP, UNPROMPTED, TELLS GOP DONORS HE DOESN’T LIKE HAVING WOMEN PEE ON HIM: ‘I’m not into golden showers,’ the former president blurted out to the crowd.” —Vanity Fair, October 15, 2021

First lady of her kind
stares down her man’s
new list of never woulds,
knows that he thinks
someone’s been lady
too long, far enough.
Opportunity fades.
No children are left
to shield his storm.
For now, she waits
by bully’s pulpit
for highest calling.
Standing on bed,
uncaring hands braced
on shatterproof ceiling,
she’ll stand over him,
open gates to nearest
heaven he can claim.

Chad Parenteau hosts Boston's long-running Stone Soup Poetry series. His work has appeared in journals such as Résonancee, Molecule, Cape Cod Poetry Review, Tell-Tale Inklings, Off The Coast, Ibbetson Street, and Wilderness House Literary Review. He is a contributor to Headline Poetry & Press and serves as Associate Editor of the online journal Oddball Magazine. His latest collection The Collapsed Bookshelf was nominated for a Massachusetts Book Award.

Friday, October 22, 2021


by Phyllis Wax

Despite mass starvation occurring in Ethiopia's northern region of Tigray, senior international aid officials are tiptoeing around declaring a famine nearly a year after the civil war erupted. Photo: This is one of the malnourished children being treated at Ayder Hospital this week —BBC, October 16, 2021

We’ve seen them before,                             
living skeletons,
bones like knobby sticks,
carrying children too weak
to brush flies
from their faces,
so hungry
they’ve been eating
A hooded figure
strides among them,
his sharp scythe ready.
Trucks with life-
saving food and medicine
have been blocked.
Our feet seem stuck            
in concrete. 

Social issues are a major focus of Milwaukee poet Phyllis Wax. Her work has appeared on The New Verse News in the past, as well as in numerous other journals and anthologies, both online and in print.

Thursday, October 21, 2021


by Joseph Hope

Gunmen have killed at least 30 people in northwest Nigeria in the latest round of violence in which hundreds have been killed so far this year and thousands more displaced. —The Washington Post, October 18, 2021. Photo: Some members of the Nigerian Armed Forces Sniper Unit. Stefan Heunis/AFP via Getty Images via The Conversation, October 18, 2021

What it takes to live here.
                 Numb. Wait for the news:
unknown gun men killed an 
             unknown number of people, 
go to bed and hope there is 
             tomorrow, of course there is 
always tomorrow 
                       and aways bad news, 
a man named Naira 
                       fell from it high horse 
and broke more than a neck. 
                         The president said shoot 
the protesters, No, 
                      the Army chief did, No, 
an unknown fraternity bigger 
than the government gave the command, 
we don't know who fired 
                                 but we know who died. 

Pretend. Pretend you're happy 
and unhurt, riddled with holes and alive. 

Try to live on unpaid  
                               salaries for months 
and save enough to buy a house 
                          from unpaid pensions. 
Understand to plan your future  
                           on nothing but prayer, a lot of it 
that the church overflows and spill
into the street                         like chemical waste. 
                  Understand ghost walking, 
understand the rhythm of bullets, 
                          understand the many ways you could 
die gradually until blood              looks like red paint, 
                  until bodies piled like groundnut 
pyramid appear 
              as a necessity.
                       It would take more than 
the blood of children drooling from the altar 
                       of terrorism to 
inflate your already               deflated emotion. 
The superpower           of being a Nigerian 
is that you can              make comic of death, 
dance in anger,             and swallow grief 
like your daily                  vitamin supplement.

Joseph Hope is a student of Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto, Nigeria. He is currently studying applied chemistry. His works are forthcoming or already published in Reckoning Press, Evening Street Press, Zoetic Press, The New Verse News, Praxis Magazine, AfroPoetry, Gemini Spice Magazine, Spillwords, SprinNG, Writers Space Africa, Nthanda Magazine, 5th Chinua Achebe Anthology, Ariel Chart, Best "New" African Poets 2019 Anthology, and more. He's a reader for Reckoning Press. He was a fellow in the 2021 SprinNG Writing Fellowship. He tweets @ItzJoe9 & IG: _hope_joseph

Wednesday, October 20, 2021


by Rémy Dambron

Ahmaud Arbery's aunt, Theawanza Brooks, says, "Nobody has the decision to make as far as being the judge, jury and executioner." Her nephew was shot and killed in 2020. The trial is set to begin Monday in Brunswick, Ga. —NPR, October 18, 2021. Photo: NICOLE BUCHANAN FOR NPR

Once again, it falls 
on Georgians to guide the way

to be our nation’s conscience,
filtering out the noise, the hyperbole,

the lies.

Once again, it falls
on Georgians to decipher the truth

to act not on our prejudices or partisanships, but on our collective


Once again, it falls
on Georgians to rise,

to stand as one and affirm 
that this man was not a thief,

was not burglar, was not a prowler, was not a criminal, was not a threat,

just a jogger.

Once again, it falls 
on Georgians to convince the courts

not to fear him for his skin,
not to judge him for their rage,

but to picture them standing over his bloodied body, shotgun still smoking

with the gall to call him that horrible word.

Once again it falls,
on Georgians to uphold the law,

to make right the wrongs 
of centuries of recklessness,

of supremacy.

To make good on the little remaining scraps of a social contract we used to


Once again it falls,
on Georgians and a jury of their peers 

to demand that justice be done 
but never done,

screaming one more time
into the void of voids

enough is enough.

Rémy is a teacher and Portland-based activist whose work focuses on denouncing political corruption and advocating for social and environmental justice. With the help of his loving wife and chief editor, his poetry has appeared in What Rough Beast, Poets Reading the News, Writers Resist, Society of Classical Poets, and The New Verse News

Tuesday, October 19, 2021


by Gus Peterson

Gary Paulsen, a prolific writer whose young-adult novels like “Hatchet” and Dogsong” inspired generations of would-be adventurers with tales of survival, exploration and nature red in tooth and claw, died on Wednesday [October 13] at his home in Tularosa, N.M. He was 82. Photo by Brian Adams. —The New York Times, October 14, 2021

for Gary Paulsen
Today you slipped like a plane
beneath that nameless lake.
And who could blame you
for disembarking now?  
My newsfeed this morning:
moose in Vermont drunk dry
by 90,000 ticks, another friend
diagnosed with Lyme. There is
nowhere we can’t kill us anymore.
In Nunavut the water asphyxiates
with gas and there are still days I am
crashing, where I google a map of this
world and try to land on any thumbprint
of blue. Tell me, was it like discovering
fire, the moment you realized just how
fucked we are? I want to pull your book
down off the shelf and be that type of free
again. I return home, walk woods I walked
with it in hand. Here a splash of wintergreen
harvested for tea, the ring of blackened stone
driving back darkness. One last shelter resisting
its ruin, and in that small space two had lain
down their love on a blanket twined through
leaves and needles. Imagine their wildness,
the heavy plumes of breath ghosting up,
a floor pressed dry and soft to quivering skin
though the roof hadn’t been patched
since middle school.

Gus Peterson lives in Maine. 

Monday, October 18, 2021


by Bonnie Naradzay

                           Galileo:  “Eppur si muove,” and yet it moves.

An NBA player who shall be unnamed
and says this is bigger than the game; 
this was after he'd said the world was flat
but some years later blithely explained
he was big into conspiracy theories then
and said we’ve all been there, right?
Meanwhile an island that's part of Taiwan,
just six miles from mainland China,
has been surrounded by Chinese boats 
fishing for squid; the boats flood the sky 
with lurid green lights to stun the squid
deplete all fish, send the islanders into despair.
It’s complicated, it’s covert aggression, 
nothing can be done, it will only get worse, 
like the illegal settlers (during the olive harvest 
with the few trees left) on the West Bank
hung him from a tree, burned his feet,
released him to the Israeli police.
My friend says he doesn’t read the news
to protect himself from being sad
but I think why am I alive, otherwise,
if not to know what’s wrong and right, 
for I believe in Paradise, 
in the separation of church and state,
in the perfidy of pulpits and gerrymandering.
It’s bigger than the game. 
Bonnie Naradzay leads regular poetry workshops for homeless people and also at a retirement community, both in Washington DC. 

Sunday, October 17, 2021


by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

Like many people, Mr Goxx is dabbling in cryptocurrency, hoping to strike it rich. He's notable for two reasons: first, he is making money, with his lifetime career performance up about 20% –beating many professional traders and funds. Second, Mr Goxx is a hamster. The business-minded rodent has a trading office attached to his regular cage. Every day, when he enters the office, a livestream starts on Twitch, and his Twitter account lets followers know: Mr Goxx has started a trading session. By running in his "intention wheel", he selects which cryptocurrency he'd like to trade, as the wheel spins through the different options. His office floor has two tunnels nearby: one for buy, one for sell. Every time he runs through a tunnel, the electronics wired to his office complete a trade according to Mr Goxx's desires. —BBC News, September 27, 2021

Pronounce F T S E the Footsie way,
Lest others think you're too naive to trade—
Although, as Fur Topped Stock Exchange, you may
Yet stupefy them with the gains you've made!
In Germany, a hamster, Mr. Goxx,
Negotiates his treadmill like a chess
Grand master, moving pieces of his stocks
From here to there to rival the success
Of Footsie and the Dow. By racing through 
Opposing tunnels, he can buy or sell
The cryptocurrency whose trade is due
So expertly, he makes his holdings swell ...
It makes you ask why Wall Street bank elites
Earn such high pay—for trades a hamster beats!

Mike Mesterton-Gibbons is a Professor Emeritus at Florida State University. His acrostic sonnets have appeared in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Better Than Starbucks, the Creativity Webzine, Current Conservation, the Daily Mail, the Ekphrastic Review, Grand Little Things, Light, Lighten Up Online, The New Verse News, Oddball Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, The Satirist, The Washington Post, and WestWard Quarterly.

Saturday, October 16, 2021


by Michel Steven Krug


Exiting the house select
Committee revolving doors
The Sergeant at Arms has eyes
For each witness under subpoena
Not ready to defy the privileges of
A defeated Executive whose policies foreign
And domestic are personal, useful,
Promoted to deceive,
American idolatry
Useful sabotage propagated
By the nouveau KGB
Useful USA, for re-re-election
US Useful idiots
To serve a majesty.
Servile to posted democracy,
Offering truths of the click bait asserted.
Espionage at law when
In defiance of domestic channels
And congressional oversight
His majesty’s attorney general
Exacted deals to debase his rival
By erasure with stabbed glass
That avenges
Opaque defeat.
We are informed by heavy flag poles.
We are all under subpoena,
Freedom of disinformation
Overwhelms veracity,
Its volume too temperate
Its tone too coherent
Its fidelity too rigid, too conventional
For an era that discounts reason.
Democracy has not been so degraded
That its franchise is mere debris.
The corrosion has been a cruel aberration
An arc necessary to sober
Cynicism and incredulity.
Exquisitely appalling, helium packaged,
Like ice melts in the spring,
Exposing all of its menacing emptiness.

Michel Steven Krug is a Minneapolis poet, fiction writer, former print journalist from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. He’s Managing Editor for Poets Reading the News (PRTN) literary magazine and he litigates. His poems have appeared in JMWW, Cagibi, Silver Blade, Crack the Spine, Dash, Mikrokosmos, The New Verse News, North Dakota Quarterly, Eclectica, Writers Resist, Sheepshead, Mizmor Anthology, 2019, PRTN, Ginosko, Door Is A Jar, Raven's Perch, Main Street Rag, the Brooklyn Review with poems forthcoming in other journals. 

Friday, October 15, 2021


by Jen Schneider

Judge Donna Scott Davenport during a 2017 deposition. Credit: Obtained by ProPublica and Nashville Public Radio.

Black Children Were Jailed for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist. Almost Nothing Happened to the Adults in Charge: Judge Donna Scott Davenport oversees a juvenile justice system in Rutherford County, Tennessee, with a staggering history of jailing children. She said kids must face consequences, which rarely seem to apply to her or the other adults in charge. —Meribah Knight, Nashville Public Radio, and Ken Armstrong, ProPublica, October 8, 2021

tiny babies on metal swings,
toss rubber balls on concrete
tiny babies clothed in fabric
of NBA stars & NBC scenes
chalk words on concrete
tiny babies entrusted
to institutions of unknown pores
& unsuspecting wills
serve time on concrete
           1. __ 2. __ 3. __
cold benches
cold eyes
filters everywhere
tiny babies on metal cots
fight demons of demonstrative
power & fail to sleep
           1. __ 2. __ 3. __
cold lots (& bots)
cold plots
filters everywhere
dark curtains blanket lives
& squash truths
dark curtains conceal filters
& give breadth to those who
struggle to breathe
journals fail not to reveal
false truths. journalists
fight to reveal hidden truths
           1. __ 2. __ 3. __
cold data
cold calls
filters everywhere
as locks turn right
& shifts (shifty eyes) turn left
truths & threats tangle
in knots (& playground lots) of no name

time ticks. clocks run.colds (& charges) linger.
tiny babies of metal
fences take charge. document false charges.
tally lives on indefinite pause
& subject to indeterminate pain
judicial oaths & pledges
of allegiance
stream syllables of familiar
1. Liberty 2. Justice 3. All
& strings of familiar
1. Truth 2. Transparency 3. All
& cracks of familiar
1. Peace 2. Fairness 3. All

frayed fibers, tangled twine
false/falsified/fabricated (truths, charges, crimes)  
true fear (& dark curtains) everywhere

Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. She is a Best of the Net nominee, with stories, poems, and essays published in a wide variety of literary and scholarly journals. She is the author of Invisible Ink (Toho Pub), On Daily Puzzles: (Un)locking Invisibility (forthcoming, Moonstone Press), and Blindfolds, Bruises, and Breakups (forthcoming Atmosphere Press).

Thursday, October 14, 2021


by Laurie Rosen

Cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz/AMS via The Washington Post.

I am 35, 
I am 19, 
I am 12. 

Put a bounty on my head,
on my confidants and advisers
my doctor, too. 
Sue the office administrators,
the taxi driver that brought me.

Come for me with handcuffs.
Restrain my arms behind my back,
haul me off to jail.
Lock me up behind bars, 
Throw away the key.

Call me a murderer, baby killer. 
Selfish, hateful. 
I plead guilty. I don’t deny it. 
But, look me in the eyes 
and tell me I am not speaking 
your story or your lover’s,
your sister’s, your best friend’s,
maybe even your daughter’s. 

I am 35, mark my body   state controlled,  
I am 19, proclaim my uterus   conscripted,
I am 12, classify my heartbeat   irrelevant.

Laurie Rosen is a lifelong New Englander. Her poems have appeared in Sisyphus, The Muddy River Poetry Review, Oddball Magazine, Soul-Lit, The New Verse News, and elsewhere. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021


by Julie Steiner

Cartoon by Necessary 2021

“At least seven radio hosts and high-profile anti-mask and anti-vaccine advocates have died from COVID-19 in recent weeks. The men are radio hosts Dick Farrel, Phil Valentine, Bob Enyart, and Marc Bernier, as well as former CIA officer Robert David Steele, anti-masker Caleb Wallace, and conservative leader Pressley Stutts. Misinformation around the virus and vaccines remains widespread as cases continue to rise.” —Business Insider, September 19, 2021

“You shall not—surely!—die. Fake news!”
he scolds. “Don’t do as you are told!
(Except right now, of course.) Refuse
to be so easily controlled!”

“You shall not—surely!—die,” he sneers.
“The risk of death’s been overstated.
Powers That Be keep fanning fears
so Man can be manipulated.”

“You shall not—surely!—die,” he hisses,
half disdainful, half disgusted.
“Keeping you from knowledge? This is
why Authority can’t be trusted.”

“You shall not—surely!—die,” he scoffs,
then bites the dust. But that’s not closure:
Eve’s now fevered. Adam coughs,
aware at last of their exposure.

Author's NoteGenesis 3:4-7

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.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021


by Joe Crocker

u/Rhodesy97 at Reddit

Prince Andrew, interviewed by Maitlis
called to mind no arm-round-waist. His
fault, he shrugged, if fault it be,
was honour in too high degree
And being honour bound could he
ignore a friend in need or flee
the duty that behoves a Royal
or, God forbid, appear disloyal?
Appearances. That is the key
to understanding how men see
yet fail to notice girls beneath
the clothes, the curves, the smiles, the teeth.
But girls don’t count for much apart
from being pretty: they’re just tarts
for knaves to steal. Boys will be boys.
who rubberneck like angle-poise
lamps in search of something sweet.
And, finding honey at their feet,
take their pleasure as they please.
Lips are licked and chances seized.                   

Well, times have changed. They’re better now.
Or would be if we could learn how
to be excited by success
that marries want with tenderness.
Let lawyers push the paper round 
—their casuistry may rebound
to shame them as they batten down
(including he who wears a crown).

Author's Notes: Previously, in interview with BBC’s Emily Maitlis , Prince Andrew, said he had no recollection of being photographed with his arm around the waist of 17 year old Virginia Roberts Giuffre. He defended going to stay in the house of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, saying “at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgement was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable.” Now Prince Andrew accepts he has been served US court papers over sexual assault claims. The issue of whether the royal had been notified about the case had previously been contested (Guardian). Prince Andrew’s lawyer Andrew B. Brettler had argued at a previous hearing that Ms. Giuffre had entered into a "settlement agreement" with Epstein that would end her current legal action. He believes that the agreement "releases the duke and others from any and all potential liability."



Joe Crocker gets suspicious when lawyers look for loopholes. He has had poems published in The New Verse News, Snakeskin, Allegro, The Orchards, Philosophy Now, and Light.

Monday, October 11, 2021


Photo: A seagull rests as workers clean the contaminated beach Wednesday after an oil spill in Newport Beach, Calif. Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press, October 10, 2021.

Deborah P Kolodji is the California Regional Coordinator for the Haiku Society of America and has published over 1100 haiku worldwide.  Her first full-length book highway of sleeping towns won a Touchstone Distinguished Book Award from the Haiku Foundation.


by Scott C. Kaestner

Birds are seen as workers in protective suits clean the contaminated beach after an oil spill in Newport Beach, Calif., on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. A major oil spill off the coast of Southern California fouled popular beaches and killed wildlife while crews scrambled Sunday, to contain the crude before it spread further into protected wetlands. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu via The Columbian, October 8, 2021)

The pelican covered in oil dying on the contaminated beach
doesn’t give a shit about how much you love your new car
or how cheap the gas is at Costco 
it’s too busy taking one last breath.

Scott C. Kaestner is a Los Angeles poet, writer, dad, husband, and a man trying to get more fiber in his diet. Google ‘scott kaestner poetry’ to peruse his musings and doings.

Sunday, October 10, 2021


by Gil Fagiani

Richmond Center for Rehabilitation, Staten Island
my son says, as his new roommate: black teeth,
angry eyes, mumbles to himself, as he storms
out the door when I ask him to lower the TV.
Chubby, gentle, slow-talking Fluffy went every-
where with his pink teddy bear: the bedroom,
the dining room, the dentist’s office, he even
took showers with him—“that’s how he got
the nickname Fluffy,” my son reminds me.
He loved to sing Sammy Davis Jr. songs with Jill:
“Everything Is Beautiful, ” “The Candy Man.”
Last week he reportedly touched her backside,
“inappropriate contact,” the head nurse declared.
“He was sent to another unit,” my son says.
“Everyone on the ward misses Fluffy, even Jill.”

Gil Fagiani (1945-2018) was a translator, essayist, short-story writer, and poet. He  published nine books of poetry: Connecticut Trilogy: Stone Walls, Chianti in Connecticut, Missing Madonnas; as well as his collections Logos, A Blanquito in El Barrio, and Rooks; plus three chapbooks, Crossing 116th Street, Grandpa’s Wine, and Serfs of Psychiatry.


by Maria Lisella

The call came
A three-story roof,
not a big building
serious enough
to break bones.
A day later,
another call comes.
A room
at Jacobi.
I plan.
He drives.
I’m the passenger.
She’ll be there, you know.
I know, I hear myself say,
the mother is always there.
I hate
the stereotype, but it fits.
The mother takes him back.
He doesn’t get better.
He never leaves except
this way.
The cycle—failure,
salvation, failure,
a passive remote control.
Patched up.
Lateral moves
ward to ward.
Suicide watch.
From the parameter,
I watch.
not blood
not natural.
Despair respects no borders
legal, illegal.
You love what you touch,
love more what touches you.

Maria Lisella is the recipient of a Poet Laureate Fellowship from the American Academy of Poets and the author of Thieves in the Family (NYQ Books), Amore on Hope Street (Finishing Line Press) and Two Naked Feet (Poets Wear Prada). She co-curates the Italian American Writers Association readings and is a travel writer by trade.

Saturday, October 09, 2021


by Stan Pisle



Reported in Florida…

Forget how many times. 

An involuntary pulse throbbing 

in the dark, in the light,

Our schools, our arenas, our malls, courts, playgrounds, homes. 


A shooter took the life four cops in Oakland, 

five in Dallas, 

two in New York, 

26 people at a Sutherland Springs Church 

Nine in Charleston

58 in Las Vegas

—with 851 shot. 

Eight hundred and fifty-one people shot by one man. 

The numbers grow too much for a poem.


Telling us life stories of the dead.

Window dressing over crackles of bullets.

Building fences between shooters and the shot.

NPRing, obits of people murdered for mercantile. 

Attempting animal warmth on cold dead bodies piled up.

Dividing and parsing the pile, determining which shot member counts. 



Bullet riddled heads.

Emmette Till open coffin the funerals.

Zoom in where the casing entered under the nose, ejecting the soul.

Fuck that, assault rifle hollow points facture on contact.

Nothing’s left, only pulverized.

Narrate the blood cone spurting across theaters, schools, country music festivals.

Interview the bump stocked woman baren from five shells raping her womb. 

Collect the pools of bone and hamburger from the 100,000 shot each year.

Let gravity channel it to the twits and fat bros of Fox.

To the manufacturer of the hollow points 

Let them wipe up the fragments flowing in a bath the rest of us are forced to take.  

Stan Pisle is a Berkeley California poet. His work as appeared in the Arroyo Magazine, on KQED San Francisco, The Ravens Perch, and The New Verse News