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Monday, July 31, 2023


by Chad Parenteau

Glenn set a car on fire.
Surprisingly stuck around 
until the police arrived. 
Jesse got his girl pregnant.
Denied it. His family told hers
never contact him again. 
Tim’s Dad shot my aunt’s cat
from his window, kept guns
Tim grabbed from drawers.
Brian and James tried college.
Drank their first night. Thought 
licorice would conceal breath.
Some trolled on Facebook when 
Trump lost, angry that our world 
was bigger than where they lived.

Chad Parenteau hosts Boston's long-running Stone Soup Poetry series. His latest collection is The Collapsed Bookshelf. His poetry has appeared in journals such as Résonancee, Molecule, Ibbetson Street, Cape Cod Poetry Review, Tell-Tale Inklings, Off The Coast, The Skinny Poetry JournalNixes Mate Review, and the anthology Reimagine America from Vagabond Books. He serves as Associate Editor of the online journal Oddball Magazine.


by Laurie Rosen

In my little town there were

moms at home doing laundry,

schools we could walk to,

one car in every driveway, sometimes two. 

Our neighborhoods teemed with children —

kick ball or wiffle ball in the middle of the street.

There was a bowling alley, ice cream parlor

and golf driving range, 

In my little town there were teachers 

who required us to memorize poems, 

write haikus, read Icarus, Hiroshima,

Shakespeare and the Bible. 

And in my little town, a football coach taught 

health class. A young teacher who spoke

openly on the VietNam war, civil rights 

and the slaughter of indigenous people

was disappeared, replaced

by an elderly retired teacher who bored us 

with dates and white washed facts,

screamed at us to pay attention. 

Our only lake, once a summer retreat, 

was declared a Superfund waste site. 

There was rampant drug and alcohol abuse, 

breast cancer, brain tumors, overdoses and suicides. 

In my little town, mostly white and Christian,

we sang China Town is Burning down, 

during recess, to the tune of ring-around-the-rosy 

at the one Chinese American boy 

in our third grade class, who stood

off to the side, while we held hands 

and skipped round and round.

Laurie Rosen is a lifelong New Englander. Her poetry has appeared in The Muddy River Poetry Review, Peregrine, Oddball Magazine, Gyroscope Review, The New Verse News, The Inquisitive Eater: a journal of  The New School, One Art, and elsewhere.

Sunday, July 30, 2023


gigan by Martha Deed

The dense, green woodlands of Germany that gave rise to the "Grimms' Fairy Tales" are turning gray and dying. Forest still covers a third of the country, but 80% of all trees are sick. Weakened by years of drought, they now face another onslaught—bark beetles. As Esme Nicholson reports, some blame commercial forestry, but others say it's climate change. —NPR, July 26, 2023

The trees have gone gray.
I can see the sky.

Bark Beetles take advantage
of the drought that has weakened the trees.
I remember the young professor’s wife in 1960

weeping that we are ruining the planet
when others were distracted by nuclear threats

when my father in 1950 had already said
Cardinals and other Southern birds

are moving North. They are building nests.
The trees have gone gray

weeping that we are ruining the planet
while the doomed children focus
on learning how to tie their shoes

learning to focus on what we can control
and to ignore the rest.

Author’s Note: Ruth Ellen Kocher invented the gigan form.

Martha Deed’s third poetry collection Haunted By Martha was released by FootHills Publishing, July 2023. She has published ten books (poetry, mixed media, non-fiction) and ten chapbooks along with inclusion in more than 20 poetry anthologies. Individual poems have appeared in The New Verse News, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Earth’s Daughters, First Literary Review—East, Shampoo, Gypsy, and many others.


 by James Penha

The last of nearly 100 whales that beached on the southwestern Australian coast were euthanized Wednesday after a second day of frantic, but unsuccessful efforts to rescue them, authorities said. The pod of long-finned pilot whales stranded themselves Tuesday on Cheynes Beach east of the former whaling station of Albany in Western Australia state, south of the capital Perth. Despite the efforts of 100 wildlife officers and 250 volunteers wearing wetsuits to protect against the Southern Hemisphere winter cold, 52 stranded whales died on the beach. The remaining 45 were euthanized Wednesday after efforts to lead them to deeper water failed…  Pilot whales are highly social animals and maintain complex familial relationships with their pods from birth. Drone footage released by the state government showed the whales clustering and forming into a heart shape before stranding themselves on the beach. —AP, July 27, 2023

James Penha edits The New Verse News.

Saturday, July 29, 2023


by Laura Lindeman

I know the victim!
Time in suspension 
For his extravagant antics:
Bouncing down the halls,
Bouncing words at teachers,
Bouncing a few punches 
off the faces of his peers.
But his smile races through a room 
Like lightning!
Dreads dancing on his head with the energy of a
Superbowl halftime show…
He was mischief and enthusiasm and zest!

But living in danger
His speed and agility 
Weaving through the violence
Not enough to protect him from the turbulence
Of generations of white oppression’s
Black destruction.

Armed by his family
False security in his sagging waistband.
At sixteen—just smart enough 
To make irrational risk 
Look adventurous.

Maybe this is why there used to be curfews?
Reasoning of the prefrontal cortex not fully formed 
For another half dozen years;
Which he won’t experience.

His unique weapon—fancy firearm
Not a secret.
Proudly waved 
Like a flag…
Or a dare.

During the next news cycle
I realize
I also know the shooter.
He took the dare;
Captured the flag.
Wanted the weapon of his friend.

Like two-year-olds in a sandbox
Tussling over a Tonka Truck.
What did they say?
“Give it!”


I know the shooter.
Smart, articulate
First year in middle school
Studying with headphones—Beats he called them.
Asking deep questions
Seeking complex answers
Quoting Tupac and Jay-Z

But survival on his block
Translates school as
“White people shit”.
Only slick, stark self-preservation
Was rewarded there.
The Seventh Sense
Of street survival.
Cutting classes,
Cursing teachers,
Curtailing disrespect from peers
At all costs.

Take what you want!
Command the room
      the block
      the bitches
      the boys.

So when he wants his bro’s gun,
He takes the weapon;
Takes the shot;
Takes the life.
Takes the arrest,
The parole violation.
Takes his OG’s soul
Her head in her hands in the court room.
Takes residence in a cell
No bail.
Taking traded for youth, freedom and “potential”

Barely a teenager
Playing adult games 
And losing.
Losing high school,
And chess club.
Losing a driver’s license and 
The right to vote.
Losing his siblings and 
His chance to age.
If tried and convicted as an adult
He’ll be incarcerated 45 to life.
Either way, life will be the sentence.
For the rest of his years, days, hours and moments
He will be dogged by the memory and 
Haunted by the choices 
He didn’t make:
To walk away,
To let go of the gun,
To put friendship over face-saving
And laugh at his own pretension

Stuck at fourteen forever.
Trauma imprints
Even if denied by bluster
He can’t out-run
or fake out
His own fledgling soul.

I knew the victim;
I know the shooter.

Laura Lindeman is a new poet who has just decided to submit some poetry for publication with the help of a friend. This poem is a political poem focusing on gun violence, and as you will read, is based on her knowing, as a teacher, two teenagers before they became shooter and victim in a real-life tragedy. The poem speculates based on material revealed in news reports, but the poet has no first-hand knowledge of the crime itself.

Friday, July 28, 2023


by Frederick Wilbur

Birds rest on concertina wire along the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass , Texas, Thursday, July 6, 2023, that has been recently bulldozed. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s escalating measures to stop migrants along the U.S. border with Mexico came under a burst of new criticism Tuesday after a state trooper said migrants were left bloodied from razor-wire barriers and that orders were given to deny people water in sweltering heat. —AP, July 19, 2023

Along the helix

of razor wire 

meant to keep

refugees stranded,

there are delicate spiders

spinning webs

that rainbow

in the early sun,

their snares

of a different will.


Frederick Wilbur’s collections of poetry are As Pus Floats the Splinter Out and Conjugation of Perhaps.  His work has appeared in The Comstock Review, Dalhousie Review, Green Mountains Review, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, The New Verse News, and Shenandoah among others. He is poetry editor for Streetlight Magazine.

Thursday, July 27, 2023


In Memory of Sinéad O’Connor

by Diane Elayne Dees

She searched for God,
she searched for self,
she searched for a safe place
to build a nest and nurture
the fragments of her soul. 
The Magdalene Laundries
tried to wash her clean;
she suffered alone,
slept with the dying,
and—though forced into silence—
her voice escaped the prison.
Her voice—the voice that sang 
like an angel, the voice that told 
the truth that no one wanted to hear—
could not be silenced.
Her nerves on fire, her joints
inflamed, her past injecting pain
into her flesh and bone every moment— 
she shaved her head, cast off husbands,
cast off criticism, searched harder for God,
lost her child, lost her hope.
She was the pain felt by thousands,
the truth ignored by millions,
the voice of the screaming unheard,
the voice that will never be silenced.

Diane Elayne Dees is the author of the chapbooks, Coronary Truth (Kelsay Books), The Last Time I Saw You (Finishing Line Press), and The Wild Parrots of Marigny (Querencia Press). Diane, who lives in Covington, Louisiana, also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that delivers news and commentary on women’s professional tennis throughout the world.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023


by MEH

how to run [from slave catchers, the klan, crooked cops,
especially when finding the distinction difficult]. how to
keep our own counsel. to code-switch. to sing songs
in mother-tongues they will emulate and sharecrop
in blackface or while ignoring their origin—jazz, blues,
rock and roll, R&B, rap. how to hide our babies from
[see original list], christening them with names proper
to replace stolen drums, lands, gods. how not to list
the skills we already possessed, were compelled to
employ—navigation, cultivation, curing smallpox—
knowing they will fall on ungrateful ears. how to turn
our every cheek. to be more Christ-like than those who
disgraced the religion they forced upon us. to embody
the fruits of the spirit—especially patience and self-
control—in arms, legs, backs chiseled in cottonfields,
defined by bearing the lash of injustice. how to refrain
from calling down a legion of angels, or easily poisoning
their food, or slitting an oppressor’s throat in their sleep,
at least for now.

Matthew E. Henry (MEH) is the author of six poetry collections including Teaching While Black (Main Street Rag, 2020) and the Colored page (Sundress Publications, 2022). He is editor-in-chief of The Weight Journal and an associate poetry editor at Pidgeonholes. MEH’s poetry appears or is forthcoming in The New Verse News, Cola Literary Review, The Florida Review, Massachusetts Review, Ninth Letter, Pangyrus, Ploughshares, Poetry East, Shenandoah, and The Worcester Review among others. MEH’s an educator who received his MFA yet continued to spend money he didn’t have completing an MA in theology and a PhD in education. You can find him at writing about education, race, religion, and burning oppressive systems to the ground.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023


by Buff Whitman-Bradley

We are living in deadly heat

We are living in a climate inferno

Growing in intensity season by season

We are living in fire

We are living in weather conditions

Created by avarice and greed

Created by the princes of petroleum

The captains of capital

We are witnessing temperatures soar

We are witnessing our fellow humans

Particularly the most vulnerable

Expire of the extreme heat –

People living on the streets

With nowhere to escape the sun

Elders with weakened immune systems

Infants whose little bodies cannot cope

The weather today:

110 degrees in Phoenix, 107 in Grand Junction

105 in Tulsa, 101 in Casper,

No relief in sight

When I was a young boy

We lived near a greenhouse

Where the neighborhood kids sometimes gathered

On sub-zero winter days

The embracing warmth

The rich, organic stink of humus

And manure and decomposing straw,

The summer-in-winter just next door

We knew why the heat couldn’t escape

Up through those hundreds of glass panes

We learned it in sixth-grade science:

The greenhouse effect

An exquisitely balanced system

That lets just the right amount of heat out

That keeps just the right amount of heat in

That makes life on earth possible

Now carbon emissions have thickened the glass

To trap more heat

To skew the ancient equilibrium

To weaponize the weather

We have protested outside office buildings

We have blockaded refinery entrances

We have ranted and chanted and invoked the future

To change the hearts and minds of the oiligarchs 

To remind them of sixth-grade science 

To remind them of the delicate balance

To demand that they cease and desist

But they won’t stop, won’t stop, won’t… stop…

Buff Whitman-Bradley’s latest book is And What Will We Sing? (Kelsay Books). He podcasts at and lives with his wife Cynthia in northern California.