Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Tuesday, November 02, 2021


by Alejandro Escudé

Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Sept 29, 2021–Feb 13, 2022. Above: Jasper Johns, Three Flags, 1958. Encaustic on canvas (three panels), 30 7/8 × 45 3/4 in. (78.4 × 116.2 cm) overall. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Gilman Foundation, Inc., The Lauder Foundation, A. Alfred Taubman, Laura-Lee Whittier Woods, Howard Lipman, and Ed Downe in honor of the Museum’s 50th Anniversary 80.32. © 2021 Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

In the flag painting the flag
goes and is going into the flag
and it takes us with it
the flag that is into the flag 
beyond what we do when
we surf the net, as a nation
we’re a flag entering another flag
and a flag after that one. 
Jasper Johns knows this, 
or does he? You mustn’t ask
him you know. The interpretation
lags behind the artwork always
like a little girl struggling to keep up
with her father who is walking
too fast for her keep up 
but is she really unable to keep up?
The truth is leaving us, and you,
and taking a train to a new epoch
where a train will travel into
another train and another train
after that toward a sunset
that sets within a sunset and 
(you guessed it) another sunset
after that—because it was
Warhol who engineered the first
internet, an ad box for Brillo
that became box after box
after box. So Johns does too
with his flag and other things,
which is what a country is

Alejandro Escudé published his first full-length collection of poems My Earthbound Eye in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches high school English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.