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Friday, June 09, 2023


by Mark Danowsky

Smoke from wildfires in provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada made Philadelphia’s iconic Belmont Plateau skyline nearly invisible on June 7, 2023. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

The classic way to 
explain asthma

breathing through a straw 

Now, picture flipping burgers
on a charcoal grill

Today, that charcoal grill
is the sky

Endless red coals burning 
up in Canada 

No, Canada is the grill
400+ fires burning

Half of them
Out of control

The smoke has traveled
down to The States

Today, Pennsylvania sky
is an unnatural gray 

A gray that embodies
burnt rubber 

Now, imagine
that straw in your mouth

Imagine trying to breathe  
this burnt rubber air

All this gray 
filling your lungs

Cigarette after cigarette 
with no reward 

Mark Danowsky is Editor-in-Chief of ONE ART: a journal of poetry. He is the author of Meatless (Plan B Press) and other short poetry collections. His poems have been curated in many journals including Alba, The New Verse News, anti-heroin chic, Right Hand Pointing, The Broadkill Review, Otoliths, and Gargoyle


Photo: Smoke billows upwards from a planned ignition by firefighters who were tackling the Donnie Creek Complex wildfire south of Fort Nelson, British Columbia, on Saturday, June 3. B.C. Wildfire Service 

Brian Dolan is a poet and fiction writer. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the Beatnik Cowboy, Plum Tree Tavern, the Bangalore Review, and the Bosphorus Review of Books.

Thursday, June 08, 2023


 by Bonnie Naradzay

A three-year-old Palestinian boy has died in hospital, four days after he was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers while riding in a car with his father in the occupied West Bank. Mohammed al-Tamimi (above) was airlifted to the Sheba hospital near Tel Aviv after the incident on Thursday night and remained in a critical condition until medical officials announced his death on Monday. His father, Haitham al-Tamimi, 40, is still being treated at a Palestinian hospital. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. —The Guardian, June 5, 2023

After blocking entrances to a village 

in the Occupied West Bank,

Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) shot 

a father and his three year old boy

because they lived there.  


Bullets went through the boy’s head;

he was airlifted to a Jewish hospital

near Tel Aviv.  They shoot the boy

then act as if they want to save him.  

A few days later he’s dead.


His father’s in a Palestinian hospital bed.  

What is life to him now?

The story was, the IDF said,

that the bullets were shot by Palestinians.

This is how the narrative always starts.


Then the word “crossfire” is used.

But eyewitnesses said there was no other gunfire.

Then the IDF admits they shot the father and his son

and “regrets harm to noncombatants. Doing everything 

in its power to prevent…” The case is closed.

Bonnie Naradzay’s poems have appeared in AGNI, New Letters (Pushcart nomination), RHINO, Kenyon Review online, Tampa Review, Florida Review online, EPOCH, Dappled Things, The Birmingham Poetry Review, American Journal of Poetry, Poetry Miscellany, and other places. In 2010 she was awarded the New Orleans MFA program’s poetry prize: a month’s stay in the castle of Ezra Pound’s daughter, Mary. For many years, she has led regular poetry sessions at day shelters for the homeless and also at a retirement center, all in Washington, DC. 

Wednesday, June 07, 2023


by Samantha Pious

ChatGPT, I’m running out of time—

at 5 PM submissions will be due.

I need an adverb to fill out the line

and so, reluctantly, I turn to you.


ChatGPT, this stanza doesn’t rhyme.

I need your help! What ends in -angeroo?

Hmm. Nothing else? I’m really in a bind—

maybe you could write this next one too?


ChatGPT, there’s so much on my mind

and writing’s hard. So give me just a few

new poems for this manuscript of mine.

If somebody—lol, who?—decides to sue,


I’ll say it’s a conceptual design.

Brilliant, eh? Five books, and twenty-two

thousand copies sold on Nook and Prime!

Life is good. There’s so much left to do.


ChatGPT, I’m running out of time.

Samantha Pious is a poet, translator, editor, and medievalist with a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. Her translations of Renée Vivien are available as A Crown of Violets (Headmistress Press, 2017); her translation of Christine de Pizan's One Hundred Ballades of a Lover and His Lady is forthcoming. 

Tuesday, June 06, 2023


by Jan Zlotnik Schmidt

After viewing photographs of destroyed towns in the Ukraine

The wind swept away 

father’s humming 

mother’s crooning 

her cleared throat  soft lullabies 

her rosaries and prayers. 


The wind swept away 

babies’ babbling 

children’s puzzled cries 

scalded and scarred hopes 

wheat fields turned to blackened earth.    


The wind swept away 

unfinished stories 

hushed words   secrets 

that once wormed their way 

into corners of rooms. 


The wind swept away 

mud planked floors  foundations 

cracked plaster walls  

shattered window panes 

bombs exploding like falling comets 


In a fierce whirl of fire and ash   

the wind swept away    

histories, memories, time 

present or to be known     unfettered dreams      

Only voices of survivors remain  

asking in garbled tongues:    


What is the difference between 

dying and living?  Where do our shadows take us? 

Editor’s Note: This poem arrived at The New Verse News just as we heard news of the dangerous breaching of the dam near Kherson. Although the poem’s central image is wind, it might just as well, we fear, be water.

Jan Zlotnik Schmidt  is SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Emerita at SUNY New Paltz where she taught creative writing, memoir, creative nonfiction courses as well as American Literature, Women’s Literature, the Literature of Witnessing, and Holocaust Literature. Her poetry has been published in over one hundred journals including The Cream City Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Alaska Quarterly Review,  Phoebe, The Chiron Review, Memoir(and), The Vassar Review, The Westchester Review, and Wind. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She had two volumes of poetry published by the Edwin Mellen Press (We Speak in Tongues, 1991; She had this memory, 2000). Her chapbook The Earth Was Still was published by Finishing Line Press and another, Hieroglyphs of Father-Daughter Time,  by Word Temple Press. Her volume of poetry, Foraging for Light,  was published by Finishing Line Press in 2019.

Monday, June 05, 2023


by Susan Cossette

CLAIM: Target’s Pride collection features a bathing suit for kids that is labeled “tuck-friendly.”
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The “tuck-friendly” swimsuits are only offered in adult sizes, according to a spokesperson for the company and Target’s website. Kids’ swimsuits in the collection do not feature this label.

He was young, rich, handsome.
Exiled from court,
robbed of his coronet
and robes of the garter,
he left the rancid nodding mass 
of stiff lace and ceremony—
the Lady Purity, 
the Lady Modesty, 
the Lady Chastity,
terrifying diadems of lightning and ice.
There was no truth in their dreadful den.
Avant. Begone.
While Orlando slept
the scarlet trumpeters circled and blared 
and she awoke naked, unashamed
in the dressing room of the Nicollet Mall Target
among scattered plastic hangers 
and clothing of every color cast
on common grey carpet.
With the money left from
the sale of her pearls
she procured vivid dresses, paper fans,
butterfly socks, even a tuck suit.
Ecstasy, ecstasy, 
wild plumed goose loading rainbows
into a red plastic cart,
on her way to the self-serve checkout.

Susan Cossette lives and writes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Author of Peggy Sue Messed Up, she is a recipient of the University of Connecticut’s Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust and MothThe New Verse News, ONE ARTAs it Ought to Be, Anti-Heroin ChicThe Amethyst Review, Crow & Cross Keys, Loch Raven Review, and in the anthologies Fast Fallen Women (Woodhall Press), Tuesdays at Curley’s (Yuganta Press), and After the Equinox.  

Sunday, June 04, 2023


by Alejandro Escudé

Why all the gray skies [in Southern California]? It's a reasonable question with a fairly complex answer that we find ourselves asking yearly when they show up and stick around for a few months. Known as May Gray and June Gloom, the period’s a sign of transition from cool winter weather to scorching summer temperatures. —LAist, May 19, 2023. Photo: Ushering in June Gloom near Santa Ynez, California on June 01, 2020. | George Rose/Getty Images via KCET.

The grayness of May isn’t subtle.
It weighs on the birds too, erasing the landmarks.
I notice that my sight changes, eyes have a stalkier bond
To the naked mind—what is that about?
I exit my apartment, crossing the threshold of my door,
And the hallway is blue, chilly, despite the seventy degrees.
I need my poetry heroes to Lazarus from their graves
And deliver me back to my old selves, the dozens of poets
That came before this one who writes only gray verse.
But its always been the black hummingbird that flitted 
Through the glass of my window at the Catholic retreat 
I attended two years after my son was born.
I obeyed the order of silence. At twilight, I made my way
Past the Victorian lamp posts along the garden paths
To the dining hall. And we prayed before and after dinner.
When I returned home, the hummingbird followed.
I ask a coworker: does the gray sky affect your mood?
It is kind of dark, he says, missing the mark.
The grayness lasts so that even the darkness of night is gray.
I shift in my rocky bed, the hours graying into more hours.
You can live this way, you know, many years,
Reading between the testament folds of the colorless clouds,
Seeking something beyond the stormy horizon 
You have come to expect—that gray, prodigious god.

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.

Saturday, June 03, 2023


by Phyllis Frakt

The distant death throes of a star—

entire worlds gassed, doomed, 

consumed in its stellar belly.


They say our sun will do the same

and swallow the Earth in the “deep future”

five billion years from now.


While we wait, let’s celebrate spring,

a season in love with the sun,

carefree and heedless of remote catastrophe.


But humans bring peril five billion years early

Our planet gobbled up, not from afar,

but from us, under our benevolent star.

Phyllis Frakt began writing poems in 2021. Her previous poems in The New Verse News are "Teach to the Test" and "Caught in Between." She lives in New Jersey.

Friday, June 02, 2023


by Michel Steven Krug

Jeff Koterba / Cagle Cartoons

In the House

there’s treachery afoot.


A leader sandwiched by volleys

of red sensation


what formerly was known

as consensus.


And the price to be paid:





I move that the Country

Avert economic infanticide

By installing cold showers

That spray the margins where

Passion plays like theatre 

To astound the outer rings.

Michel Steven Krug is a Minneapolis poet, fiction writer, former print journalist from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars and he litigates. His poems have appeared in Sierra Nevada Review, Jerry Jazz, Whistling Shade, St. Paul Almanac, Liquid Imagination, Blue Mountain Review, Portside, New Verse News, JMWW, Cagibi, Silver Blade, Crack the Spine, Dash, Mikrokosmos, North Dakota Quarterly, Eclectica, Writers Resist, Sheepshead, Mizmor Anthology, Poets Reading the News, Ginosko, Door Is A Jar, Raven's Perch, Main Street Rag and Brooklyn Review. His collection Jazz at the International Festival of Despair is scheduled for publication by Broadstone Books, in the spring, 2024.

Thursday, June 01, 2023


by Elaine Sorrentino

Sprinting across the I-30
in the dead of night 

the leggy legend 
with infectious charm 


turned trauma into triumph, 

swapped bloodied and beaten
for surviving and thriving
in an act of self-preservation. 

She dared to be the needle 
that pricked the heady
Love Team balloon,
indestructible Tina  

in leather and denim
scrubbed toilets
scaled the Eiffel Tower in heels
unearthed her pain 

instead of maintaining
her 16-year limelight lie,
transforming thirty-six cents
and inconceivable drive 

into the Queen of Rock,
self-love, that second-hand emotion
had everything to do with it, 
Buddha offered nirvana.  

When the shine was off the penny
she was at peace slowing down,
asking her devoted public 
not to disturb her before noon. 

Elaine Sorrentino has been published in Minerva RisingWillawaw Journal, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Ekphrastic Review, Writing in a Women’s VoiceGlobal PoemicONE ART: a journal of poetryAgape ReviewHaiku Universe, Sparks of CalliopeMuddy River Poetry ReviewYour Daily Poem,  PanoplyzineEtched Onyx Magazine, and at  wildamorris.blogspot.comShe was featured on a poetry podcast at Onyx Publications. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2023


by David Chorlton

A scream circumnavigates the world.

Is anybody listening


when the police arrive to sweep away

those for whom the last resort

is blocking traffic


to impress upon their fellow citizens

the planet is on life support

and the drivers only have a mile to go


before the ground opens up

and swallows them.


Does anybody care?


Call it Freedom; say Democracy

until it hurts; write to the highest authority

and the mail comes back 

as undeliverable.  

The future’s not the future


anymore. And yet it is still beautiful

when a day begins with a mountain

spreading its wings


and the sun breaking into song.

David Chorlton lives in Phoenix where he writes and occasionally paints watercolors. While his writing is usually poetry, his newest book is a true life account of a murder story from 1960s Vienna (where he lived for several years) in which one of his cousins was wrongly convicted: The Long White Glove published by New Meridian Arts.

Editor’s Note: Listen to David talk about his new book on the Word podcast (about 10 minutes in) from WJZZ.