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Monday, October 31, 2022


by Gil Hoy

I watched Liz Cheney  
on Meet the Press.
I think 
I’m warming up 
to her.
You heard me right. 
The same Liz Cheney 
Who opposes abortion rights.
You heard me right.
The same Liz Cheney 
Who loves guns, 
Hates immigrants 
and too much voting. 
      Who opposes police reform 
      and Obamacare
Who wants to ignore 
the warming earth.
Who likes ‘scription drugs 
that cost too much, 
and wealthy corporations 
that pay no taxes.   
You heard me right.
The same Liz Cheney
      Whose father 
      a war crim’nal.
“No one of any party should support 
election deniers.”
“No one should be out 
advocating for any candidate
who will not honor 
the sanctity of our election process.”
“We are talking about multiple instances 
of criminal misconduct by 
the former President of the United States.”
“I will do whatever it takes to make sure Donald Trump 
is never President again. He will not be the President 
of the United States again.”

In today’s Republican Party,
even a Cheney 
can taste and smell 
sort of good.
In today’s Republican Party,
even a Cheney 
can taste pretty good
and smell somewhat sweet.
Gil Hoy is a Best of the Net nominated Tucson, Arizona poet and writer who studied fiction and poetry at Boston University through its Evergreen program. Hoy previously received a BA in Philosophy from BU, an MA in Government from Georgetown University and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law. Hoy wrestled on BU’s wrestling team and finished in second place in the New England University Wrestling Championships his senior year. He served as a Brookline, MA Selectman for four terms. Hoy’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Tipton Poetry Journal, Chiron Review, Ariel Chart, The Galway Review, Right Hand Pointing, Indian Periodical, Rusty Truck, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, The New Verse News, The Penmen Review, Misfit Magazine, and elsewhere.

Sunday, October 30, 2022


by Indran Amirthanayagam

We have a chance


to reduce the burning and looting of the Amazon.


We have a chance


to support green technologies in one of the world's ten largest economies.


We have a chance


that the poor, the left out and the abused will have a champion again in the Alvorada Palace.


We have a chance


that a reasonable, negotiating left-of-center government will join hands with its neighbors and work towards climate justice and advancing human rights worldwide.


We have a chance

Indran Amirthanayagam is the translator of Origami: Selected Poems of Manuel Ulacia (Dialogos Books)Ten Thousand Steps Against the Tyrant (BroadstoneBooks) is the newest collection of Indran's own poems. Recently published is Blue Window (Ventana Azul), translated by Jennifer Rathbun.(Dialogos Books). In 2020, Indran produced a “world" record by publishing three new poetry books written in three languages: The Migrant States (Hanging Loose Press, New York), Sur l'île nostalgique (L’Harmattan, Paris) and Lírica a tiempo (Mesa Redonda, Lima). He writes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Haitian Creole and has twenty poetry books as well as a music album Rankont Dout. He edits The Beltway Poetry Quarterly and helps curate Ablucionistas. He won the Paterson Prize and received fellowships from The Foundation for the Contemporary Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, US/Mexico Fund For Culture, and the MacDowell Colony. He hosts the Poetry Channel on YouTube and publishes poetry books with Sara Cahill Marron at Beltway Editions.



by Marianne Peel

Illustration by Roshi Rouzbehani for The New Yorker, October 9, 2022

“…it is the conscious articulation of time.” —Hans Richter

I.                    Rahumpour, who lived in Iran from age six to sixteen,
remembers the panic she felt as a child.  Gusts of wind
pulled her headscarf down, exposing her hair.  A frenzied rush
to adjust the fabric.  To hide her hair beneath the hijab. 
II.                 Hadis, a child of twelve, is taken into custody.  A few wisps of hair
had escaped from her headscarf.  Three women covered in heavy chadors
spit a lecture in a dark room downtown:  you have sinned, you have
not learned the lessons of the Quran, you will go to hell.  She is instructed,
educated, to pull out a string of hair.  If that hurts, imagine getting hanged
by your hair for all eternity.  School dismissed.
III.              Mahsa Amini, twenty-two, is arrested by the Morality Police
for improperly wearing her hijab.  In custody, they beat and bruise her
into a coma.  Corpulent blows to the head. Skull fractures embroider
her x-ray.  Official government cause of death:  heart attack.
Photos of Mahsa weigh down the internet. Lying in a hospital bed.
Tubes and wires all over her body.  Blood pooling from one ear. 
Rivulets of blood tattoo the starched, white pillowcase.
Her mother cries:  I am her mother.  I am dying from grief.
Her father cries: Everything is a lie.  No matter how much I begged,
they wouldn’t let me see my daughter.
IV.              In the public square of Kuma, a young masked woman balances
atop an electrical box.  She lowers her head to one side.  Slices off
her long locks with sheers.  A ritual sacrifice, this self-shearing. A denial
of ancient poetry where hair guarantees immemorial beauty, chains of binding
love, shrouds of truth.  Now women walk around uncovered, brandishing
shorn heads in the lethal sun.  A beautiful, proud wound.
V.                Schoolgirls with backpacks and black Converse sneakers march
down Tehran streets waving school uniform veils in the air. They wave
headscarves in circles, block traffic in every roundabout.  They shred
images of the Ayatollah, hurl his jigsawed face fragments into the street,
shouting Death to the Dictator.  Shouting Bisharahl, the Persian word
for lacking any honor.
VI.              Women without hijabs set crates and trash bins on fire, create a barrier
between themselves and the Morality Police.  The police lob teargas grenades.
Hijab-less women are pinned to the pavement, suffocating in the obesity of fog.
They belly crawl into alleyways, crouch in doorways, make themselves small.
VII.           Sixty women are detained in a torrid police station.  They cannot sit. 
They cannot move.  They cannot use the toilet.  They are told
if they are hungry, they can eat their own feces.  They are told
If you don’t keep quiet, we will rape you.
VIII.              Women of shorn heads are detained in psychological institutions.  Diagnosis:
anti-social behavior.  Women of shorn heads will receive treatment.  Will be
re-educated.  Security officers sexually assault the women of shorn heads. 
They can return to classes after they are reformed.
IX.                An officer forces a woman toward a bike.  Another approaches her
from behind.  He puts his authority hands on her buttocks.  She crouches
on the ground.  A dozen officers swarm her body.  They pull and pull
at her hair.
X.              A woman climbs onto the roof of a car, sets fire to her hijab.  All of the women
feed their hijabs to the bonfire flames.  A mass burning.  And they dance
in celebration, in ecstasy, like Whirling Dervishes, as they watch hijabs smolder
into dust, into ash.
XI.           Nika, a sixteen year old protester, sends a message to a friend.  I am being chased
by security forces.  She goes missing for ten days.  Her family finds her
in a morgue drawer at a Detention Center.  They are forbidden to view
her body.  Only her face.  Only for a few seconds.  Her body is stolen
to Khorramabed, on her 17th birthday. Given improper burial
in a town far from home.
XII.        Women of all ages, without headscarves, hold their hands out for Mango Lassi
at the local juice stand.  Women without headscarves ride on the backs
of motorcycles, hair liberated in the marketplace wind.  A woman speaks
to a man selling shawls and headscarves: Pack up and go, sir.  Don’t you know
this is all over?  Her arm sweeps past his wares, encompassing centuries. 
Why don’t you buy them and then burn them? the man responds, holding centuries
in his flaccid smile. 

XIII.        Students at Sharif University conjure silent sit-ins.  Boycott classes.
Make street music with chants of Zan, Zendgi, Azadi:  Women, Life, Freedom.
Special forces converge, encircle the students, shoot those who try to leave.
Those remaining are shrouded in plastic trash bags.  Those remaining
are beaten.  Those remaining are stacked in white vans, shuttled
to locations undisclosed. One woman whispers to another through the plastic:
Don’t be afraid.  We’re all together.

A middle/high school English teacher for 32 years, Marianne Peel now nurtures her own creativity.  She spent three summers teaching in China; received Fulbright Awards to Nepal and Turkey. Marianne’s poetry appears in Muddy River Review, Jelly Bucket, Comstock Review, and Naugatuck River Review, among others.  Her debut collection No Distance Between Us was published by Shadelandhouse Modern Press in 2021. Marianne has a new book of poetry forthcoming from Shadelandhouse Modern Press in Fall of 2023. 

Saturday, October 29, 2022


by Jan Steckel

for Garrett Murphy


Late October is the New November,

the nova ember, when all slates

are made new. Ladybug, ladybug,

fly away home, your statehouse is on fire.

If you can’t vote the bastards out, 

drag along your electoral hammers,

spousal skull-crushers. Surveil those 

ballot boxes through the sights 

of your AR13s, only wear masks 

when you’re Ku Klux Klanning.

Proud Boys will be bashers.

It’s the ballot-harvesting festival,

so let’s go smashing pumpkins.

MAGA MAGA make it rain, it’s

lefty-hunting season again.

Kristallnacht’s in fashie-fashion.

Jack-o-Lannister, slide down

the Capitol bannister.

Olly olly oxen free!

Open season/no more reason:

civil discourse is passé,

democracy’s so yesterday.

Grab your billyclubs, shillaleghs, 

flagpoles, sheriff’s star,

little red baseball cap.

It’s mass grave o’clock, wake up, 

smell the decomposing bodies.

Get up off your brass knuckles—

Let the midterms begin!

Jan Steckel’s book Like Flesh Covers Bone (Zeitgeist Press, 2018) won Rainbow Awards for LGBT Poetry and Best Bisexual Book. Her poetry book The Horizontal Poet (Zeitgeist Press, 2011) won a Lambda Literary Award. Her fiction chapbook Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009) and poetry chapbook The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006) also won awards. She lives in Oakland, California. 

Friday, October 28, 2022


by Dick Altman

Pump jacks at sunset near Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Climate-warming methane emissions rising faster than ever, study says. —The Washington Post headline, October 26, 2022

NASA said a methane plume about two miles (3.3 kilometers) long was detected southeast of Carlsbad, New Mexico, in the Permian Basin, one of the largest oilfields in the world. —Barron’s, October 25, 2022

Northern New Mexico
Pump jacks looked to me—as a child
on the West Coast—like animated
Tinker Toys—Half a century later—
here on the high desert prairie—
they terrify me—Cows wander
and forage next to them—Hay
grows in the same field—Backyards
brim with them—Schools look out
on them—Indian reservations dance
with them—Oil and sister gas ops
balloon the air with toxic methane
wherever I look—Except I can’t see it—
unless—over the next hill—a flame
three-stories high—shatters the view—
Drive through “jack country”
and you’re afraid to breathe—
afraid—in mid-summer—to run AC—
afraid to hike ruins—because you
never know when you’re going
to run into “jack”—and all his bad
friends—Sometimes—at a distance—
they remind me of grazing buffalo—
their humped backs—connected
to bobbing heads—glaring down
from bluffs—I know they’re
machines—but unlike most—
they exhale—and what they
breathe out—you don’t want
to be caught breathing in—unless
of course—you want—over time—
to be caught dead—New Mexico’s
called “The Land of Enchantment”—
I call it “The Land of Bad Breath”

Dick Altman writes in the high, thin, magical air of Santa Fe, NM, where, at 7,000 feet, reality and imagination often blur. He is published in Santa Fe Literary Review, American Journal of Poetry, riverSedge, Fredericksburg Literary Review, Foliate Oak, Blue Line, THE Magazine, Humana obscura, The Offbeat, Haunted Waters Press, Split Rock Review, The RavensPerch, Beyond Words, The New Verse News, Sky Island Journal, and others here and abroad. A poetry winner of Santa Fe New Mexican’s annual literary competition, he has in progress two collections of some 100 published poems. His work has been selected for the forthcoming first volume of The New Mexico Anthology of Poetry to be published by the New Mexico Museum Press.

Thursday, October 27, 2022


by Douglas Richardson 

Plague doctor image: detail from Paul Fürst engraving, c. 1721. —Public Domain via Wikipedia

Anticipating a pleasant evening
filling eclairs in the bakery
I set off on the freeway
satisfied in my own company
but a sudden swerve with violent whiplash
compels me into the pipes and flares
of the oil refinery
where I swear I see
mingling with its anatomy
a plague doctor from the 17th century
black beak
Black Death
black piano key
black thorn in humanity
I chase but he evades me
I reason but he goads me
I dare not tell a soul

Douglas Richardson is a poet and novelist who lives in Santa Ana, California, with his wife Jen and cat Wes. His poetry has been published in The American Journal of PoetryAnti-Heroin ChicBlack Poppy ReviewCajun Mutt PressHobo Camp ReviewThe Nervous BreakdownThe New Verse NewsStraight Forward PoetryTrouvaille Review, and Poetry Super Highway. In 2013, he won the Poetry Super Highway contest with his entry, “Notes from the Graveyard Shift.” 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022


by Steven Kent

Governor Ron DeSantis has made voting easier in certain Florida counties battered by Hurricane Ian—but only Republican-leaning ones. —The Guardian, October 14, 2022

Election time? Let's break out brand-new rules
For my supporters, yes, but not for fools.
Indeed, I know exactly what to do:
I'll let you vote, and you, and you (not you).

Steven Kent is the poetic alter ego of writer, musician, and Oxford comma enthusiast Kent Burnside. His work appears in Light, Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, and OEDILF, among others.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022


by Hannah L Brooks

Elnaz Rekabi on Instagram

A female Iranian rock climber, who did not wear a hijab at an international competition in South Korea, has returned to Iran as Iranian groups based abroad raised alarms over her fate back home. Elnaz Rekabi, 33, competed without a hijab during the International Federation of Sport Climbing’s Asian Championships in Seoul on Sunday. Videos of her wearing a headband with her hair in a ponytail while competing spread on social media. —CNN, October 19, 2022

I slide into a seat.

I slide through videos tagged @mahsaamini.

Women wave black hijabs as they march.

A cluster of men beat another

curled on the ground.


NPR posts: A rock climber forgets,

or forgoes, her hijab; becomes ‘accidental hero.’

Comments exhort the reader 

to pray. 

They say: She was called back. 

They say: She will be arrested.

They say: She will die!


I imagine the climber speaking:










I climb.               I go home.

Either way, I move 

closer to heaven.


Outside my train window, I see the river 

and a perfect blue October sky.

I watch the waves rise

as the wind whips the water. 

I think: in some places, we cannot move without a hijab.

Here, we are free to wear what we want.

I wear black.

Most of the passengers wear black. 

Black has become de rigueur;

as if we are in mourning,

forced to bear the unwanted.

Hannah L Brooks is a retired surgeon and now writes. Her essays, fiction, and poetry have appeared in Chronogram, Hudson Valley Magazine, and the podcast Anamnesis.  She founded the Newburgh Literary Festival because she lives in the Hudson Valley, and it was necessary. 

Monday, October 24, 2022


by Indran Amirthanayagam

“[Salman Rushdie’s wounds] were profound, but he’s [also] lost the sight of one eye... He had three serious wounds in his neck. One hand is incapacitated because the nerves in his arm were cut. And he has about 15 more wounds in his chest and torso. So, it was a brutal attack….The world is going through a very troubled period. I think nationalism is on the rise, a sort of fundamentalist right is on the rise… From Italy to… throughout Europe, Latin America and the US, where… half the country seems to think that Joe Biden stole the election from Donald Trump. And they admire this man who is not only completely incompetent and a liar and a crook, but just a farce. It’s ridiculous.” —Andrew Wylie (Rushdie’s agent) in an interview with El País, October 22, 2022

Salman has lost
an eye, an arm
paralyzed, but
nobody has
stolen his mind;
he thinks freely,
sees, and turns
to see the rest of
what a man can,
gazing on the
horizon into
future time
on the cusp of
another election
where intolerance
rages at the gates
and in Congress,
and he directs
his other hand
to write.

Indran Amirthanayagam is the translator of Origami: Selected Poems of Manuel Ulacia (Dialogos Books)Ten Thousand Steps Against the Tyrant (BroadstoneBooks) is the newest collection of Indran's own poems. Recently published is Blue Window (Ventana Azul), translated by Jennifer Rathbun.(Dialogos Books). In 2020, Indran produced a “world" record by publishing three new poetry books written in three languages: The Migrant States (Hanging Loose Press, New York), Sur l'île nostalgique (L’Harmattan, Paris) and Lírica a tiempo (Mesa Redonda, Lima). He writes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Haitian Creole and has twenty poetry books as well as a music album Rankont Dout. He edits The Beltway Poetry Quarterly and helps curate Ablucionistas. He won the Paterson Prize and received fellowships from The Foundation for the Contemporary Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, US/Mexico Fund For Culture, and the MacDowell Colony. He hosts the Poetry Channel on YouTube and publishes poetry books with Sara Cahill Marron at Beltway Editions.

Sunday, October 23, 2022


by Catherine Gonick

Cold Spring, NY, October 15, 2022
The trees were at their red and orange height
as we drove toward our town and had to stop
for a parade. A police car parked sideways 
on the road blocked our way. At first
we thought the line of cars was a funeral
procession, until we noticed the drivers
and passengers were all boys, some standing 
to wave American flags from top-down convertibles,
open moon-roofs, the backs of 4 x 4s. They smiled
as they passed, and a few saluted like Nazis.
The next week, the editor of the local paper said it sounded
like the high school parade held the previous Friday.
But we’d seen this procession the next day. The police
said they knew nothing about it. As far as we knew,
only my husband and I had seen it. I saw just one
Hitler salute, but he saw three. Afterward
we kept driving to a birthday party for a friend,
a Holocaust survivor still going strong at 95.
He told the guests about the night the doorbell rang
and his father was taken to Dachau. We reported
the parade we’d just seen, which already felt like a dream.

Catherine Gonick has published poetry in journals including Notre Dame Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Forge, Live Encounters, Soul-Lit, and Amethyst Review, and in anthologies including Grabbed, Support Ukraine, and, forthcoming, Rumors, Secrets, Lies: Poems about Pregnancy, Abortion and Choice. She lives in Cold Spring, NY and works in a company that slows the rate of global warming through projects that repair and restore the climate.

Saturday, October 22, 2022


by David Radavich

                On the murder of Yuriy Kerpatenko

Ours is the age of barbarians.
When life is valued little
as a song.
A conductor refuses
to lead the music     
of his oppressors
and is shot dead
without his baton.
Soldiers who shoot him
fear no lingering guilt, 
no final judgment, 
no cosmic shame.
The man who dies
is an ant to be squished,
a former echo only.
Let us hope the silence
will accuse forever,
that angels will sing
the conductor
to his final place
enhemmed in flowers.

David Radavich's poetry collections include two epics, America Bound and America Abroad, as well as Middle-East Mezze and The Countries We Live In. His latest book is Unter der Sonne / Under the Sun: German and English Poems (2022).  


by Bonnie Naradzay

Russian soldiers have shot dead a Ukrainian musician in his home after he refused to take part in a concert in occupied Kherson, according to the culture ministry in Kyiv. Conductor Yuriy Kerpatenko declined to take part in a concert “intended by the occupiers to demonstrate the so-called ‘improvement of peaceful life’ in Kherson”, the ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page. The concert on 1 October was intended to feature the Gileya chamber orchestra, of which Kerpatenko was the principal conductor, but he “categorically refused to cooperate with the occupants”, the statement said. —The Guardian, October 16, 2022

How normal life is in Kherson, 
ruled by Russian invaders since April!
A life of repression, kidnapping,
and mass detainment of its citizens.
How normal life is in Kherson!
with Russian invaders planning
a concert for the first of October
to show how normal life is in Kherson 
while deporting everyone to unknown 
locations from Kherson because
this is how normal life is in Kherson.  
The conductor for the concert, 
that the Russian invaders insisted on,
to show how normal and calm it was,
Yurii Kerpatenko, declined to take part .
So in true Soviet tradition the invaders
went to his home and murdered him, 
to prove how normal life is in Kherson.

Bonnie Naradzay’s poems are scheduled for publication in Crab Creek Review, Dappled Things, and The Birmingham Poetry Review, and appear in AGNI, New Letters (Pushcart Nomination), RHINO, Kenyon Review online, Tampa Review, Florida Review online, EPOCH, Pinch (Pushcart Nomination), American Journal of Poetry, Potomac Review, The Poetry Miscellany, and other places, and her essay on friendship was published recently in the anthology Deep Beauty. She leads weekly poetry sessions in day shelters for the homeless and at a retirement center.

Friday, October 21, 2022


a found poem by Diane Kendig

derived from the article “Half the World Has a Clitoris: Why Don’t Doctors Study It?” by Rachel E. Gross, The New York Times, October 17, 2022

Anatomy of the Clitoris and Penis—3D Model available from 

Compare the vulva
to a small town in the Midwest.
Doctors tend to pass through it
barely looking up
on their way to their destination,
the cervix and uterus.

If the vulva…is
an underappreciated city
the clitoris is
a local roadside bar
…a deep structure,
made up largely
of erectile tissue
reaching into the pelvis
encircling the vagina.

Documented injuries to the clitoris
could be prevented…
if doctors just spent more time
getting to know the clitoris,
…intimately bound up
in female pleasure and orgasm,
not high on medicine’s priority list.

[One urologist] recalled that
in medical training
the clitoris barely made
a cameo.
The medical textbook
Last’s Anatomy omitted
the clitoris entirely.
Descriptions of the penis went on for pages.

Diane Kendig is the author of five poetry collections. Her latest is Woman with a Fan. Her writing has appeared in J Journal, Wordgathering, The New Verse News, Valparaiso Review, and other journals. She ran a prison writing workshop in Ohio for 18 years, and now curates the Cuyahoga County Public Library weblog, Read + Write

Thursday, October 20, 2022


by Katie Tian

Two 13-year-old boys are under arrest for allegedly setting an 89-year-old woman on fire in Brooklyn. The victim said the pair never spoke a word to her before slapping her in the face and setting her clothes ablaze on the night of July 14 in Bensonhurst. —WABC, September 9, 2022

new york city / this city / your city / our city / home city / city of flightless ghosts & dreams turned fossil /  of dynamite rain / of mothers / who have swallowed debris / patchwork syllables / tissue-stuffed tongues / of the english language / so they may sit alone on the subway / earbuds of radio static / red-faced strangers shouting / go back to / hollowed embers of red lantern skies / where you / arms gathering fortune-cookie prayers / came from / contusions of memory like overripe plums / heard over the din of steel traintracks & shuttering constellations

chili oil & raw scallions / one empty placemat at dinner / red-glazed pork belly / diffusing into smoke & rain-perfumed city / peanut oil fumes beaten into asphalt / beaten into muted sleep / sunday morning channel 5 / bleached blue light of the tv screen saying / 89-year-old / jade cracked like limbs on concrete / chinese woman / soot dusted off supermarket receipts / set on fire / iron melting pot america / suspects at large / teal skies of manhattan ashing themselves

I had dreams too, when I was young. Before my grandmother cried trying to piece together a clumsy accent, before the sound of bodies hitting the pavement, before—I had dreams staring out at a sea so beautiful I could cry.

All the while, the carousel of death spins giddy like a top, our names scrubbed clean from its cratered streets. The sky scabs and bleeds over this land of the free. Take your time: peel this elegy ripe off the tarmac and cram it down your throat—

elegy for lost city / gone city / city whose name we’ve unlearned / city thirsting / for love

Katie Tian is a sixteen-year-old Chinese-American writer from New York. Her work is published in Frontier Poetry, Polyphony Lit, Rising Phoenix Review, and Kissing Dynamite, among others. She has been recognized for her writing by Hollins University, Smith College, the Adelphi Quill Awards, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Apart from writing, she enjoys collecting stuffed animals and consuming obscene amounts of peanut butter straight from the jar.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022


by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

Liz Truss is Brits' prime minister du jour.
Inquiry's overrated in her book.
Zetetic minds were offered Liz's cure—
The Trussonomic leap before you look.
How Kwasi's top-rate tax cut tanked the pound
Escaped her, since she didn't do the sums
That would have shown her growth plan was unsound—
Except for Liz The Terrible's rich chums.
Research on trickle-down had long debunked
R. Reagan's fantasy. Though not for Liz.
In Economics One-Oh-One, she flunked,
Believing if you just say growth, growth is...
Liz did not last: her hare-brained stratagem
Exemplified how not to be PM!

Mike Mesterton-Gibbons is a Professor Emeritus at Florida State University who has returned to live in his native England. 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.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022


by Tom Cartelli

Volunteer cemetery workers loaded a large truck with 65 bodies found in April in Bucha. Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times photo accompanying “Three Women of Bucha: Their Deaths and Lives,” by Carlotta Gall and Oleksandr Chubko, October 15, 2022.

“I buried her a bit in the night.
There was so much shelling I did not
know what else to do,” says the elderly
mother of Tetiana Pomazanko, who
lies slumped, head out of frame, torso
covered in plastic, knees bent, thin legs raised
in the photograph.  Child-like at 56, her
“woolen socks and galoshes poked out
beneath the boards,” beside the path where
she had stood thinking the tanks rolling
up her street were “ours” not theirs.
 “On Sunday afternoon, on a road leading west
out of Bucha, a man lay dead on his back,
his green bicycle toppled beside him.
Shot through the face, he bore a large hole
in the back of his skull,” the report states.
These dead are awkwardly posed, unready
for the defining shot, all that connects
to familiar sights and sounds asymmetric
to the cruel force that pounds them.
A man torn from life by shots from a tank,
twisted on the ground in a worn winter coat.
A woman serially raped and left for dead,
Naked on a basement floor, wrapped in fur.
Bodies of old women and men left to starve
in a nursing home, others lying face down,
hands bound, in courtyards and backyards,
scorched to death in burnt-out cars,
left to rot on pock-marked roads, or tumbled
into a ditch. “In one corner, two pairs of shoes
and an arm protruded from a thin layer of dirt,
in another, a hand stuck out,” the report says.

Notes: Drawn from reporting of Carlotta Gall, Andrew E. Kramer & Ivor Prickett in The New York Times, April 3, 2022, and additional reporting by Carlotta Gall & photographer Daniel Berehulak in “Bucha’s Month of Terror,” The New York Times, April 11, 2022, this poem was edited, reassembled, and elaborated on by Tom Cartelli. On October 15, 2022, an article in The New York Times identified Oksana Sulyma as the woman imprisoned in a potato cellar, raped, shot in the head, and found wearing only a fur coat.

Tom Cartelli is a theater scholar and emeritus professor of literature and global film studies. He is the author most recently of an essay on three recorded performances of New York's Wooster Group and of two politically driven poems in Politics/Letters. He lives in retirement in Western New Jersey (USA), where he spends his time reading, writing, walking, and altogether too immersed in the news of the day.

Monday, October 17, 2022


by Susan Terris

Cabanne Spring, Forest Park: vintage undated image with unidentified children from the archives of Louis (1907-1999) & Georgia (1918-2009) Buckowitz via Urban Review: St. Louis.

—The Waste Land poem is 100 years old this month.

Twit twit twit... turn of the century, it's 1900, and Tom
born in St. Louis, not yet known as T. S., found his first
waste land: Forest Park, 1,371 acres of countryside.

In the middle of the city, wild but with street cars:
an amusement park and a steam-driven carousel
(yes, that 1944 Meet Me in St. Louie whirlabout).
Both Tom and my Nanna Edna, almost the same age,
lived nearby on one side of the park. Did they meet? 
Jug jug jug... Maybe not, and yet I begin to see
them one day on the carousel when he and Edna
were both eleven: Tom, in a tan jacket and hat, 
riding the lead horse with roses around its neck,
smiling down at her—a girl in white organza, in
the white swan chariot. Perhaps. But what came next?
Oh   jug jug jug  Tom left St. Louis, went to Harvard.
Edna stayed, went to Fontbonne, a teachers college,
studied math, grammar, poetry, was the first woman
(or man) in our big family with a college degree.
Shantih   shantih   shantih   A hundred years passed:
Nanna Edna gone. T. S. Eliot gone and yet still there. 
The Waste Land, a mystery, kismet, a search for selves

Susan Terris is a freelance editor and the author of 7 books of poetry, 17 chapbooks, 3 artist's books, and 2 plays. Journals include The Southern ReviewGeorgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, Denver Quarterly, The New Verse News, and Ploughshares. Poems of hers have appeared in Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry. Her newest book is Dream Fragments, which won the Swan Scythe Press Award. Ms. Terris is editor emerita of Spillway Magazine and a poetry editor at Pedestal.