Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Sunday, May 07, 2023


a duet-poem
by James Schwartz & Joshua Merchant 

Dedicated to LGBTQ Africa 

Uganda / Iraq / Iran / Tennessee ban
Man / Man / Referendum / Under ban
The streets are red / Throats red
Men of God mock our dead.

bury me under your usages 
of my cousins you told to be 
real enough to see seventeen 
under an underpass pass the school.

Priests / Preachers / Pastors / Political
Queers / Debacle / Death / Ridicule
The streets are silent / Mob violent
The Church is barred / Shamans silent.

loudly calling us everything under
the book bins by burning the cooked 
pens held by our teachers your forefathers 
sent by a ship disguised as emails and hit send.

Scott Lively / Greg Locke / Exporting hate
In AK-America / Always great
In rainbow love we trust /

a bloodlust called me by your name. spoke of God. 
my father taught me the difference between 
little and big G’s. I know your wallet knows us well. 
which pocket swells when you hear a bullet shelled? 

Uganda / Iraq / Iran / Florida ban
Man / Man / Under ban
Republicans going rogue
Preachers / Same thing / pogue

James Schwartz is a poet & author of various poetry collections including The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America (Kindle, 2011), Punatic (Writing Knights Press, 2019) & most recently Motor City Mix, Sunset in Rome (Alien Buddha Press, 2022). He resides in Detroit, Michigan. Twitter @queeraspoetry  

Joshua Merchant is a Black Queer native of East Oakland, CA exploring what it means to be human as an intersectional being. What they’ve been exploring as of late has been in the realm of loving and what it means while processing trauma. They feel as though as a people, especially those of us more marginalized than others, it has become too common to deny access to our true source of power as a means of feeling powerful. However, they’ve come to recognize with harsh lessons and divine grace that without showing up for ourselves and each other, everything else is null and void. Innately, everything Merchant writes is a love letter to their people. Because of this they’ve had the honor to witness their work being held, understood, published or forthcoming in literary journals such as 580Split, The Root Work Journal, Anvil Tongue Books, Spiritus Mundi Review, and elsewhere. Twitter: @ibursailor_dune