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Friday, March 31, 2023


by Lynn White

Source: Religion Dispatches

They hang like towels.
Towels hung out
to dry in the wind
line upon line of them
blowing in the wind,
prayer flags
sending thoughts
sending blessings
wind dried leftovers 
from days gone by
when laundry was line-dried
and peace and goodwill were sent
as thoughts and prayers 
on the wind
not in the ether.

But in the end
it was never enough.

In the end
it made no difference 

In the end

they’re still hung out to dry.

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality and writes hoping to find an audience for her musings. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Peach Velvet, Light Journal, and So It Goes. Find Lynn at

Thursday, March 30, 2023


by Steven Croft

Why climate ‘doomers’ are replacing climate ‘deniers’: How U.N. reports and confusing headlines created a generation of people who believe climate change can’t be stopped. —The Washington Post, March 24, 2023

"If I am mad, it is mercy!" —H.P. Lovecraft, The Temple

Boundary between our world and the speculatively doomed
one finally dissolved, we all just sing with AC/DC now
as the world burns, as we inherit the hurricane winds

A man in Kentucky carries a mattress on his head, wades
from his flooded house to dry ground, collapses on it
in despair, lights a cigarette and laughs at all his/our ruin

A few years ago, just the faraway Seychelles were disappearing
Now, shunning sedate natural laws, future ghosts enter our minds—
"Oh, our prophetic souls!"—telling us all is irreversibly rotten

It's not like we were never warned—but, now, the world
of Soylent Green—2022—a year ago, if all that's left is to fail,
we've got catchin' up to do!

Now, loud muffler-rumble pride of our gloriously gas-powered,
world-castrating civilization as it races us all to the fiery oblivion
of Satan's eternally beckoning ancient mouth—sons of perdition!

Now, Paris Accords ripped into victory lap confetti for those
who can make it first to this perverse ever after—What of
those who still cling to hope in the sweat-throes of our mania:

Soon, as Seychelles-erasure goes nuclear, our heads spinning
faster than the earth some already orbit—the lucky few—even
the hopeful will cling to their rockets like Afghans fleeing Taliban

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 OxfordAnti-Heroin Chic, Soul-Lit, and other places, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

MARCH 27, 2023

by Alice Campbell Romano


The rain is scant at this very moment, 
sky almost blue, but it comes and goes
in pelting drops. Here, just now, balls bounce 

against air: red, yellow, green, until I see
they decorate a transparent, plastic umbrella,
a dome of delight where safe from random drops

a child dances down the sidewalk. A skinny stick 
of a kid, maybe nine, in a long, silly raincoat 
mom must have insisted upon. But who cares.

School’s out now, the umbrella is fun and
soon I’ll be home to snacks and hugs. Oh,
such strong hugs.


One image stays. A face behind a school bus window.
A child, a little girl, the caption says. Yes, that’s right,
but when I first see the picture, she has no age. Her lips 

are bent, stretched open so wide side-to-side they eat 
into her cheeks. Her chin is a crinkled dimple squashed 
against the glass, her frown pulls a hard vee down 

between her eyes to her hot red nose. Her hand presses 
the glass, pushes away what she left outside. I don’t 
hear her scream. Of course not, I’m looking at a picture

taken from outside the bus. The child is frozen behind 
the window glass in the red heat of wordless pain. She 
may scream, may break down and cry, but not yet. 

The photographer—what astonishing luck—releases
this moment of unbearable distortion—her little face, 
the rest of her life. And now I notice, stenciled above 

the bus window, a descriptor—Emergency Exit. There 
are no emergency exits. Voice the scream for her. Take 
to the streets. Make it so children dance as they go home.

Editor's note: The photograph described in the second section of this poem accompanies Marsha Owens' March 27 prose poem in The New Verse News.

Alice Campbell Romano lived a dozen years in Italy where she adapted Italian movie scripts into English, married a dashing Italian movie-maker, made children, and moved with the family to the U.S., where they built, she wrote, and the children grew. Her poems have appeared in—among other venues—Prometheus Dreaming, Persimmon Tree, Pink Panther Magazine, Orchards Poetry, New Croton Review; Beyond Words, Writing in a Woman's Voice, Quartet Journal, Instant Noodles Devil's Press, Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press. In January, she was awarded HONORABLE MENTION in The Comstock Review's 2022 Chapbook contest, "...not an award that we give every year, but an honor set aside for a few manuscripts." Alice swooned. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023


by Jen Schneider

Additives have been debated for years with
bills proposed, then denied. Just this week
California (Assembly Bill 418) has tried. Again. To 
drum up support all while the 
Dollar General can no longer afford to sell 
eggs—a source of dense nutrients. Aisles instead 
full of fruit chews, colorful candies, cookies, cakes. 
     Oh my—Gigantic swaths of shelf space, all prime. 
     Products under fire for
“generally safe to consume” promises with limited review.
Hot Tamales and Skittles. Cupcakes and ice cream, too.
I’d like to know, I say as I chew my microwaved stew,
Is it too much to assume the 

            we consume are safe to drink?

Jokes on you, my colleague explains,
     craftiness on all corners
Kraft mac and cheese, too? I ask.
Love you, but yes, she says – 

      plastics involved in processing, plus 
      fat content

loopholes in laws persist
more foods make the danger list
Nerds? Double Bubble Twist gum? Not good news
Open the cabinets but be warned – there’s
propylparaben in caramel chocolate and high sugar in Nestle
Quik. Red Dye No 3. lurks in 

     protein shakes
     instant rice and potato products, and 
     cake mixes.

Rare is the boxed life form that doesn’t make the graph or
score in the game of
Skittles, Screams, Sell More

      Who. What. Where. 
      When. Why.      

The economist and poet in me wants to know.
      With 3,000 Red Dye No. 3 data points and 

that’s just the beginning—is relief in store?

Trolli Gummies and Trail mix, too. 
Titanium Dioxide can be found in cupcakes and ice cream. 
Underreported and overconsumed. 

     My graphs are in toil. 
     My plotting doomed.

Values collide. 
Voracious marketing blooms

ways of fudging ingredient lists
with words I can’t spell or repeat 

titanium dioxide
potassium bromate
brominated vegetable oil 

phthalates and 

Xtra-large Slurpees, too? 

Yogurts with bright red candy mix-ins.

Zero room for error. We wait. We philosophize. We think. 

Is the safety of our food supply too big a drink?

Author's Note: When ABCs Collide with Plot Points
As an econ major, I’ve long been interested in prisoner dilemmas, graphs that map (seek to match) supply and demand, and hikes of varying natures. On levels both macro and micro, I’ve wrestled with data and wondered, what is too much to ask. Of consumers. Of suppliers. Of truth tellers. Of faulty logic deniers. It’s a delicate dance. Public health and behavior as much commodities as any other letter that becomes targeted then charted as a supply meets demand number. Analytics morph in ways analogous to philosophy and experimental poetry. Personal choice a waltz subject to underutilized form and (sometimes) overindulged scorn. Ethics aside. No matter. Whether graphed in pencil and ink or AI-generated ChatGPT-think, I still believe that assuming one’s food supply is safe shouldn’t present an oxymoron (enjambments and plot points undenied). Instead, I accept realities, however baffling, I cannot change and bid farewell to a handful of foods (and ABCs) I used to love. 

Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. Recent works include A Collection of RecollectionsInvisible InkOn Habits & Habitats, and Blindfolds, Bruises, and Breakups.

Monday, March 27, 2023


by Marsha Owens

A child weeps while on the bus leaving the Covenant School. (Nicole Hester/The Tennessean/AP via The WashingtonPost

but we did not… because having finished elementary, middle, and high school, also college, you, thank God, are still alive, and then you majored in education, once a noble profession, spent years as  an elementary school teacher and, with experience, qualified to be an assistant principal, but awhile back, you left the teaching profession for good because you decided it was   not a hill to die on (my words, not yours), and I retired from teaching years ago carrying my life with me, so I say now ‘thank you, Jesus,’  though I doubt Jesus has anything to do with this carnage that tramples America and children and schools today, that declares guns rank higher on the scale of necessities than education,  teachers, and  children’s lives.

Marsha Owens is a retired teacher who lives and writes in Richmond, VA, and at times, along the banks of the beautiful Chesapeake Bay. Her essays and poetry have appeared in both print and online publications including The Sun, The Dead Mule, Huffington Post, Wild Word Anthology, Rat’s Ass Review, Rise Up Review, PoetsReadingtheNews, and The New Verse News. She is a co-editor of the poetry anthology Lingering in the Margins, and her chapbook She Watered Her Flowers in the Morning is available by Finishing Line Press.


by Cecil Morris

A Florida charter school principal said she was forced to resign this week after some parents complained about their sixth-grade students being shown images of Michelangelo’s “David” statue in class, with one parent believing the art lesson on the Renaissance masterpiece amounted to pornographic material. —The Washington Post, March 24, 2023

A mob of sixth grade students complained
that David defied the school dress code
and came completely naked to school
where he stood, hugely white and naked,
aloof and silent and all judge-y,
with his extra-large, not-even-erect thing
and his hanging sack on display. 

The boys said: he made us feel uncomfortable
and maybe even a little guilty
because, because, and we don’t want to say this,
but we will because we have to stand up
to bullies like him. We have to speak up,
that’s what our parents and teachers tell us,
so here goes, David made us feel bad
because we are white
but not nearly as white as him
and our things are not as big.
It’s like he’s judging our heritage
and putting us down. And those sculpted abs
and pecs and biceps and muscled thighs
and his tremendous height, it's just not right.

And some girls added their complaints
about double standards and sexist favoritism.
They said: you know David was naked
and we can’t even wear spaghetti straps
or off-the-shoulder tops or crop tops
that show a strip of skin and belly buttons.
How is that right or fair?

The boys and girls together said: we want him
removed and the teacher who invited him
and the principal and maybe you, too.
State law says you can’t teach stuff
that makes us feel bad. We saw that on the news
so we want David gone, and no more Cs
or Ds or Fs cause they make us feel bad, too.

Cecil Morris retired after 37 years of teaching high school English and now has turned to writing what he used to teach students to understand and (he hopes) enjoy. He has had a handful of poems published in The Cimarron ReviewThe Ekphrastic ReviewEnglish JournalHole in the Head ReviewThe Midwest QuarterlyThe New Verse NewsTalking River Review, and other literary magazines.

Sunday, March 26, 2023


by Catherine Arra

Florida gun owners may soon be able to carry concealed weapons without a license as the permitless carry bill moves one step closer to the governor's desk after passing in the House on Friday. —NBCMiami, March 25, 2023

Beneath the vest,
jacket pocketed, back strapped,
thigh gartered, tucked into a purse.
Loaded with:
She cleaned out the bank account and left.
Took me for a ride.
The diagnosis in November,
the death certificate in May. Not fair. None of it.
This whole damn world is corrupt.
If you don’t go to Jesus,
you’re going to hell. 
When they come for me, I’ll be ready.
I was there to help.
Invisible so long
no one sees me, knows my name.
It was the whiskey.
Triggered by the slightest provocation, 
aiming to defend the sanctity of bias,
scar tissue—collective and personal.
Gunsmoke forfeits forgiveness,
hijacks healing.
Hidden grief shoots to kill.

Catherine Arra is the author of four full-length collections and four chapbooks. Her newest work is Solitude, Tarot & the Corona Blues (Kelsay Books, 2022) A Pushcart nominee, Arra is a resident of the Hudson Valley in upstate New York, where she teaches part-time and facilitates local writing groups.

Saturday, March 25, 2023


a factual account

by Shira Dentz

Brazilian geologists have found rocks comprised of plastic on an uninhabited island in the mid-Atlantic. —Plastic Soup Foundation, March 22, 2023

microplastics melt and cohabit 
stones on remote islands, 
melding new geology,
fashionably hybrid.
in short time the moon
will have its own time zone,
a part on our watch, as
seaweed blooms mid-ocean
wider than a continent
and lists towards shores,

Shira Dentz is the author of five books including Sisyphusina (PANK Books); winner of the Eugene Paul Nassar Prize 2021), and two chapbooks including Flounders (Essay Press). Her writing appears in many venues including Poetry, American Poetry Review, Cincinnati Review, Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, jubilat, Pleiades, New American Writing, Brooklyn, Poetry Daily, Verse, and NPR, and she’s a recipient of awards including an Academy of American Poets Prize and Poetry Society of America’s Lyric Poem and Cecil Hemley Awards. 

Friday, March 24, 2023


by Katherine West

Graphic by Katherine West.

The silenced majority
that some day
will decide
which small piece of the sky
belongs to them
—Rigoberta Menchú quoted in Poetry Like Bread.

70% of Americans don’t trust politicians to make abortion policy. —19thNews

Today it is cloudy
I can’t see the sky at all
I have to imagine it

the way it was
when I was young
when life was a blue door

on an even bluer
even bigger sky

Some days
the sky was so blue
it was almost purple

and I could see
all the way
to Mexico

The birds seemed to fly higher
taking me with them

to new lands
where all the women
grew wings

wrote books
started businesses
ran for office

got married, or not
bore children, or not 
became stronger as they aged 

It was a blueberry sky
with something infinite about it, 
an exuberant potential

I gobbled this up
when I was young—
it became my marrow

and a good thing too
since the clouds
seem to be here to stay

I carry infinity
inside me
a multitude of blue doors

that I open
one by one
day by day

And there are others
doing the same
all over the world

The sky is falling
and we
we are patching it

putting it back up
wiping it clean
of clouds

We are passing out binoculars
to those
with faulty vision

We are leaving
blue footprints behind
everywhere we go

We know
there are those who erase
our footprints

who tell everyone
they meet
that we were never here

But we are here
We aren’t going anywhere—
and there are a lot of us

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, Writers Resist, Feminine Collective, and Southwest Word Fiesta. The 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, the Windsor Museum in Windsor, Colorado, and the Tombaugh Gallery in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She is also an artist.

Thursday, March 23, 2023


by Joanne Kennedy Frazer

Tapachula, Mexico, Mar 21 (EFE).- Thousands of migrants showed up here Tuesday at the offices of Mexico’s National Institute of Migration (INM) to apply for permits to travel by air to cities near the border with the United States. The travelers are using CBP One, a mobile app created by US Customs and Border Protection, to apply for asylum in the United States. CBP launched the app after Washington announced that it was ready to accept 30,000 migrants a month from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Cuba. —La Prensa Latina, March 21, 2023

we do it to survive
leave all we have known
a ripple in the river of humanity
we walk away from dried water  
carry music       stories of the ancients
that tell us who we are
we carry our beloved
bewildered children
on our backs      in our arms
we trek through jungles
cross over mountains
find         climb over bodies
we land in holding pens
of unknown places          disconnected
as the world runs in all directions
we ache for a welcome where one day
we will attain dignity        serenity
drink from renewed wells

Joanne Kennedy Frazer, a retired peace and justice director and educator for faith-based organizations, is a third-act-of-life poet. She enjoys writing on issues of justice, the natural world and spirituality. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, journals and e-zines. Her second chapbook Seasonings (Kelsay Press) will be published in early 2023. She lives in Durham, NC.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


by Ralph Culver

Author’s note: Be at peace and travel well, Norman Dubie, singularly gifted American poet and teacher, who died 20 February, 2023 at 77.

Ralph Culver is a past New Verse News contributor. His most recent poetry collection is A Passable Man (MadHat Press, 2021), available in bookstores and through all the usual internet sources. He divides his time between Vermont and central Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


by Bonnie Naradzay

Remember when Muntadhar al-Zaidi, 
an Iraqi journalist, hurled his shoes 
at Mission Accomplished Bush, 
the man incapable of introspection? 
Bush ducked.  Mission Accomplished.
Bush painted himself relaxed
in the bathtub, pink toes showing.
“This is a gift from the Iraqis; 
this is the farewell kiss, you dog!” 
Zaidi shouted in Arabic.  
“You feel bitterness as you see people's pain 
24 hours a day,” Zaidi said.
Bush ducked.  Mission Accomplished.
Corporations made a lot of money off the unprovoked war.
Bush painted himself relaxed
in the bathtub, pink toes showing.
You could hear cries of pain, 
muffled from behind a door, 
during the news conference. 
During the Q&A’s, 
blood spatters on the carpet.
 “You feel bitterness as you see people's pain 
24 hours a day,” Zaidi said.  
Bush ducked.  Mission Accomplished.
Corporations made a lot of money off the unprovoked war.
Bush painted himself relaxed
in the bathtub, pink toes showing.

Left: self-portrait by George W. Bush; Right: take-off by Laura Finck.

Bonnie Naradzay's poems have appeared in AGNI, New Letters (Pushcart Nomination), RHINO, Kenyon Review online, Tampa Review, Florida Review online, EPOCH, Crab Creek Review, Cider Press Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Poetry Miscellany, and other places. She leads poetry salons at day shelters for the homeless and also at a retirement center, all in Washington, DC. 

Monday, March 20, 2023


by Samantha Pious

In times of old (but not so old

as Greece or Rome, nor yet, I’m told,

so recent as the Renaissance)

disaster struck the realm of France:

war with England, war with Flanders,

the king’s own family prone to scandals,

mounting deficits, inflation,

civil strife, unjust taxation,

the summary burning at the stake

of enemies of church and state,

the persecution of the Jews... 

in short, the usual abuse.

But, worst of all, the royal court

was currying favor with—a horse!

This horse’s coat, it’s strange to say,

was neither chestnut, brown, nor bay,

sorrel, black, white, brindled, gray,

nor any color known today

in France or the U. S. of A.

From head to hoof, this horse was orange.

Most people viewed it with abhorrence

but some decided (whether they

grew foolish or were born that way)

to fatten it on oats and hay,

to pander to its every neigh, 

to stroke its coat with brush and comb,

to let it make itself at home 

behind the lofty palace walls,

to clean its hooves, muck out its stall... 

all in the hopes that it would give

its friends a handout. Which it did!

Sporadically, it would provide

good luck in spades. It also lied.
It lied about the coming plague.

It promised it would never raise

our taxes. It would drain the swamp.

With utmost circumstance and pomp,

it would transform mice into men.

The nation would be great again.

Ah, what a gallant, noble steed!

And it was lying through its teeth.

This orange horse (of yellow mane)—

tell us, Muse, what was its name?

Was it Fauvel, the word for “fable”?

Was there a placard for the stable

genius? Come Judgment Day,

when every horse is called to pay

its debts, say, when they sound the trump,

who will be driven by the rump

down to the fiery pits of Hell?

Say, who but Tr——I mean, Fauvel?

Samantha Pious is a poet, translator, editor, and medievalist with a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. "The Tale of the Horse's Ass" is inspired by a  14th-century French and Latin satire, the Roman de Fauvel, which really does feature an orange horse as its anti-hero.

Sunday, March 19, 2023


by Maria Lisella

Yoko Ono’s WishTree at the Museum of Modern Art, 1996.
UK’s Daily Mail broke the story last month of Yoko’s leaving New York City.

… to raise cows on a 600-acre farm
she & Beatles legend John Lennon
purchased 45 years ago, outfitting it
with a herd of 122 cows and 10 bulls …
a dream to live on land as his father did
with no plans of returning
their attempt to create new lives,
away from crowds, smog, love-ins
and the ceaseless need to be THEM
on West 72 St.—until 1980–
shot in the Dakota archway, Lennon fell
on the feast of the Immaculate Conception
with no plans of returning
Outdistancing his dad, 47-year old Sean
pushes wheel-chair bound Yoko
from stage to stage, celebrity galas;
she perches alone on the Marcellus Shale
plateau, protests “fracking” for the rest of us,
no longer hibernates in the sprawling Dakota
with no plans of returning
Controversial, she lived, starved
through World War II,
like a modern-day Eve, gossipy fans
blamed her for breaking up Camelot… 
she offered them her “wish tree” series.
Now widowed 50 years, at 90,
it is as if she has lived 400 years
with no plans of returning

Maria Lisella is the sixth Queens Poet Laureate and an Academy of American Poets Fellow. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her collections include: Thieves in the Family (NYQ Books), Amore on Hope Street (Finishing Line Press) and Two Naked Feet (Poets Wear Prada). Forthcoming is The Man with a Plan.

Saturday, March 18, 2023


by Jerrice J. Baptiste

Gone, morsels of light from the island 
       flickering in silent eyes.


He waved goodbye last Tuesday
      to the turquoise sea, mid-day sun 


choking on tears. His welcome meal


sliced papaya, crescent plantains, 

      conch in creole sauce. Smiles. 

My cousin’s soft lashes
       brush American stars. Glow reflects


on forehead, cheek bones, bridge of nose.

       Lips speak freedom, a new language.


My uncle hears his son’s voice 

       migrated among birds of the white season. 

Night churns slow. How can he keep still?

      One has left his cocoon.


Even from gunfire.  

Author’s noteHumanitarian Parole offers an opportunity for people arriving in the U.S to feel like humans. Approved non-residents landing for the first time are welcomed appropriately and can adapt under the right conditions of housing, employment, education, etc. They can be happy even if their family members left behind—in Haiti, in the case of the speaker’s uncle in this poem—miss them terribly. 

Jerrice J. Baptiste is an author of eight books and a poet in residence at the Prattsville Art Center & Residency in NY.  She is extensively published in journals and magazines. She has been nominated as  Best of The Net by Blue Stem for  2022.