Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Friday, November 25, 2022


by David James

“Writing My Heart Out,” a painting by Gladiola Sotomayor.

I want to write a poem that will lick
your heart clean,
that will make you forget every nightmare,
every cut and scrape, every syllable of bad news you’ve ever heard,
a poem that will close your eyes and let you dream
of another life, perfect in its arc, where
all things, dead or alive, bow to your smile,
all clouds move to your breath, birds and desires and wishes
land on your forearm when you call them.
I want to write a poem to send all sadness into exile,
to fit all pain and despair onto one gaudy blue dish
that you can toss outside and ignore,
a poem so quiet you never hear it
come into your life, sit on your couch, sleep in your bed,
never hear its small footsteps on the floor.

This poem, which must be written under a moonlit
sky with eleven stars and one dog barking in town,
will end the world as we know it. No more death
or hunger or war. No more aging or sickness or weeping.
No more walking with your feet on the ground.

David James’ most recent book is Alive in Your Skin While You Still Own It.