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Friday, May 31, 2024


by David Dumouriez
in response to the announcement of the UK general election.

Election sickness
is on us once more,
with a worse set of symptoms
than ever before.

There’s the hoard of campaigners
who will burst through the gate
intending to give us
the bullshit we hate;

there are more of them still
who will tramp till they bleed
to deliver those leaflets
we don’t want to read.

There’s our constituency member
whose job-losing fears
make him visit these parts
for the first time in years.

There are those who oppose him,
who want what he’s had;
they claim to be better
but they’ll be just as bad.

There are three party leaders
who each boast they’ll win
(though two of them know
that they’ll never get in).

There’s the phony sincerity,
the well-rehearsed lies;
there’s the promise of everything
under the skies.

There’s debating and speeches,
many words are received;
but it’s air and not action,
so there’s nothing achieved.

There are infantile adverts
meant to mask what’s unsound
about the party elites
and the guff they propound.

There’s the media coverage
where, with serious breath,
overpaid people
try to talk us to death.

There’s the collection of ‘experts’
from colleges wide,
who make duff predictions
then run off and hide.

There’s the feeling in voters,
drawn from years in the past,
that the parties betray them
when the votes have been cast.

So discuss all the options—
that won’t tax your jaws—
half think about stirring,
and then stay indoors.

David Dumouriez wouldn't be tempted to blow his own trumpet even if a) he had a trumpet or b) he knew how to play one.

Thursday, May 30, 2024



by Howie Good

We are all neighbors 
and what is poetry 
but a few simple words 
that somehow express
complicated things 
the towering piles of corpses 
in the Ukraine and Gaza 
and the movies

Howie Good's latest book Frowny Face (Redhawk Publishing, 2023) is a mix of his prose poems and handmade collages. He co-edits the online journal UnLost, dedicated to found poetry.


by Jim Murdoch

This artwork was created with the help of Artificial Intelligence using NightCafe Creator.

My Facebook feed is
full of AI’d jpegs of
Scarlett Johansson.
There are worse things to
wake up to in the morning.
So. Many. Worse. Things.

Jim Murdoch lives down the road from where they filmed Gregory’s Girl which, for some odd reason, pleases him no end. He’s been writing poetry for fifty years for which he blames Larkin. Who probably blamed Hardy. Jim has published two books of poetry, a short story collection and four novels.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024


by Rob Okun

A new Jewish tradition is growing in those places where solidarity flourishes. Amid the ugliness and death, and as our institutions cleave to the mistaken idea that our safety comes from ever more brutal applications of state power, the future of our people is being written on campuses and in the streets. Thousands of Jews of all ages are creating something better than what we inherited. Our new Jewish tradition prioritizes truth-telling and justice, and in this way it is actually the old Jewish tradition, which has given us all the tools we’re using. —William Alden, The Nation, May 10, 2024. Photo: Jews calling for a cease-fire in Gaza demonstrate at Grand Central Station in New York City on October 27, 2023. (Kena Betancur / AFP via Getty Images)

now comes a multigenerational exodus:
next gen jews leading us out of the
desert of fear where
too many in our ancient tribe
—hearts paralyzed by trauma—still 
cannot see 
the nakba as a catastrophe for
our semitic cousins

stifling next gen voices only strengthens resolve
shutting down encampments is a 
losing proposition:
love flourishes in these life camps and
 “justice, justice, thou shalt pursue” 
remains our north star
of david

with an outstretched hand 
fingers tightly wrap around 
the braided fringes hanging at
the ends of our meditation shawls
we hear the cries of our far flung 
family in diaspora

turning inward—to the work of tikkun olam
there is a jewish renewal unfolding
a new jewish agenda being birthed 
at street seders and shabbats 
in the rain 

no one, not netennotajew nor any jew—no 
matter how hard they squeeze their eyes 
wide shut—
can unsee the future 
blowing in the wind on campuses 
in the streets and in the hearts of all 
those following next gen jews out of egypt

Rob Okun is editor emeritus of Voice Male, a magazine which has been chronicling the profeminist men's movement since the mid-1980s. His commentaries and op-eds are syndicated by the Portland, Oregon-based Peace Voice. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2024


by Betsy Mars


“we live and move and have our being / here, in this curving and soaring world / that is not our own” Julie Cadwallader Staub, "Blackbirds"

Each body with its own gravity, each a potential
projectile, catapulting beyond our limits.
We pin on wings, ignore warnings, leave
our belts uncinched, bang on overhead bins.
Oxygen masks dangle like buttercups, lines tangled 
rice noodles, seatbacks cracked, someone’s hair floats
feathering above. In galleys: scattered wine bottles, 
kiwi slices, coffee urns, snacks, the aftermath.
If we could see the air ahead would we swerve, 
fly below, rise above? How many words 
for this invisible curve are there in
blackbird tongue, imperceptible to us?
We weather the storm. Again, ask for 
mercy, oscillate, tally the toll. 

Betsy Mars is a prize-winning poet, a photographer, and assistant editor at Gyroscope Review. whose poems can be found in numerous online journals and print anthologies. She has two books, Alinea, and In the Muddle of the Night, co-written with Alan Walowitz. Betsy is currently and sporadically working on a full-length manuscript titled Rue Obscure.

Monday, May 27, 2024


by Devon Balwit

A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty. —Philippe Arriès

I get out of bed and put on a costume 
of being a person, says his mom,
the number of days of his captivity taped to her bosom.
She speaks to anyone who’ll welcome 
her—President, talk show host, reporter. Numb
is not an option, not while her son might live. Come
home to us, she prays, her thumb
pressing her prayer book. She prays for Umm
Mohamed, Umm Sarah, Umm Ahmed as well. I can’t fathom
her loss, imagining my own son, who looks so like him,
stolen into captivity. Harm
has already come to Hersh, arm
blown off, 220 days and counting. The number
of dead in this war also multiplies, like the rubble. I watch gruesome
videos taken by an American-Palestinian doctor—hard to stomach—
ordinary people being overcome
by history. What can be done? שום דבר —shum
davar—it seems—nothing. But Rachel must keep her momentum.
This Memorial Day, let us insist, alongside her, upon Shalom.

Devon Balwit walks in all weather and has recently returned to life-drawing and cartooning. She edits for Asimov Press.


by Peter F. Crowley

Waiting for rations from an outdoor kitchen in Khan Younis this month. Hunger is now most acute in the southern Gaza Strip.
Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images via The New York Times, May 24, 2024Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images via The NewYork Times, May 24, 2024

     The language you speak has soured, become melancholy, chokes eyelids. Its tendrils lay flaying in dusty streets near occupation crossings in the gated night. Your eyes have grown sallow, as your children's stomachs distended, swollen, as you swat flies from their brow. The streets are your anguish, running, forever running from apartment home to tent back to bombed out abode. Hope was sapped with the last morsel of cat food, finished for yesterday’s only meal, while the powerful stick their blindfolded, deaf eyes deep into the sand, purchasing bulldozers to roll over you.
     You now avoid aid trucks, should they ever appear out of shackled nothingness, to avoid getting gunned down by those fighting terror. 

As a prolific author from the Boston area, Peter F. Crowley writes in various forms, including short fiction, op-eds, poetry and academic essays. His writing can be found in 34th Parallel, Pif MagazineGalway ReviewDigging the FatAdelaide’s Short Story and Poetry Award anthologies (finalist in both) and The Opiate. He is the author of the poetry books Those Who Hold Up the Earth and Empire’s End, and the short fiction collection That Night and Other Stories.

Sunday, May 26, 2024


by Lavinia Kumar

New Caledonia has been under French control since 1853. The indigenous Kanak population, who make up approximately 40% of the territory’s 270,000 residents, has long sought independence from France. The 1998 Nouméa Accord provided a framework for gradual autonomy and promised three referendums on independence. The first two referendums in 2018 and 2020 saw close results against independence, while the third in 2021, heavily boycotted by pro-independence groups due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in an overwhelming vote to remain part of France. The recent violence erupted after the French National Assembly approved a constitutional amendment allowing French citizens who have lived in New Caledonia for at least 10 years to vote in provincial elections. This change is viewed by pro-independence leaders and most Kanaks as a threat to Kanak representation, as it could significantly increase the number of pro-France and non-indigenous voters. —Mirage, May 23, 2024. Photo: Police forces pushed back rioters near a shopping center in Dumbéa Sur Mer, New Caledonia, on Wednesday. Credit: Bruno Favre/EPA, via Shutterstock and The New York Times, May 22, 2024.

3000 BC is when Kanaks made home
in the west Pacific, in Oceana,
          south of Papua New Guinea, 
          north of New Zealand.
10,000-miles-away-France, took over
the islands in1853, parked its prisoners,
          destroyed crops of the Kanaks,
          forced labor, and brought disease.
1854 marked the discovery of nickel,
began years of foreign mine expansion –
            nearly ten mining sites –
            one selling nickel to car-maker Tesla.
A 1998 Accord enscribed island voting rights. 
Then 40,000 more French arrived, and
          today rights undone by Paris law—
          expanded migrant voting, diluting Kanaks.*
Today Caledonia’s nickel is third in world.
Today Kanaks have no control over the mines.
Today Paris has sent President, ministers, 3000 troops, police.
Today Kanaks block roads, fight for freedom.

* President Emmanuel Macron says he will not force through a controversial voting reform in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia following deadly rioting. Speaking on a visit to the main island, Mr Macron said local leaders should engage in dialogue to find an alternative agreement for the archipelago's future. —BBC, May 23, 2024

Lavinia Kumar writes in New Jersey.  Her latest poem is here.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

THIS MAN, 2024

a cento by Jacquelyn Shah

Source: Stablecog

How will the future reckon with this man?

  ––Edwin Markham, “The Man with the Hoe”


There is no shape more terrible than this––

. . . dangerous man . . .

ignorant demagogue . . .    

inscrutably smiling

thick with power oozed over branches,

the capitalistic offices

   . . . makes us all turn green with fright

and through the green his crimson furrow grooves.

He must have come up from a drain.

Knowing this man . . .

(mean, underhanded, lacking all attributes . . .)   

is a man who makes avenging armies.

He makes of laws

a broken staff,

disturbs polite conversation . . .

The knotted fabric of our lives,

our words, our lives, our pains––nothing!

We talk despairingly and drink our tea,

everyone a life alone.

All day, all night, we hear, we feel,

men, women in cities, multitudes, millions.

The dead and the dead

of spirit now joined . . .     

All––only putty that tyranny rolls

between its fingers . . .     

Poor people make poor land.

Author’s Note: Cento—lines & partial lines (occasional slight alterations), in order of appearance, from: Edwin Markham; Sarah N. Cleghorn, Cleghorn; Lola Ridge; Archibald Fleming; E. B. White; William Rose Benét; Roy Campbell; Alfred Hayes; Edwin Rolfe; Selden Rodman; S. Funaroff, Funaroff; Oscar Williams; Josephine W. Johnson; Baratolomeo Vanzetti; James Palmer Wade; James Agee; William Stephens; Eunice Clark; Frederic Prokosch, Prokosch; Hugh MacDiarmid, MacDiarmid; Pare Lorentz. All poets included in A New Anthology of Modern Poetry, 1939 Ed. Selden Rodman.

Jacquelyn Shah. A.B., M.A., M.F.A. & Ph.D.––English/creative writing. Publications: poetry chapbook, small fry; full-length poetry book, What to Do with Red; poems in journals. In 2023 her memoir Limited Engagement: A Way of Living was published, and she was a Pushcart Prize nominee for Gleam: Journal of the Cadralor.

Friday, May 24, 2024


by Catherine Gonick

Tonglen, or “taking and giving” is a meditation where you imagine taking in others’ suffering as dark smoke and giving all that they need as bright light. —A Skeptic’s Path to Enlightenment

Asked to inhale
your pain

and to exhale
my compassion

I instead
inhale your righteous

feel fear

exhale my own
just rage in return

and too fast to notice
a fiery fence

springs up
the burning barricade

of exhaled words
that separates

my dangerous pain
and yours

and makes us equal
in unsafety

Catherine Gonick has published poetry in journals including Live Encounters, Notre Dame Review, Forgeand Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and in anthologies including Support Ukraine, Grabbed, and  Rumors, Secrets & Lies: Poems About Pregnancy, Abortion and Choice. She works in a company that slows the rate of global warming through projects that repair and restore the climate. 

Thursday, May 23, 2024


by Royal Rhodes

AI-generated image from Shutterstock

“The Crypto Comeback” —The Daily, May 21, 2024

The bell tolled for cryptocurrencies,
doomed in its sheer insufficiencies.
But halving came
to goose its game
so bitcoin seduces new licensees.

A trial judge had jailed poor Bankman-Fried,
a name that Dickens, I think, would have tried
for a modern-day Scrooge
as a free-market stooge,
giving Wall Street a bullish new pride.

Investors had cried when their gains bid adieu,
so turned to the courts to argue and sue
with tort after tort.
But now a report
says their payback includes all interest accrued.

Royal Rhodes is retired and is grateful for the Social Security safety-net and government regulations.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024


 a golden shovel by Bonnie Proudfoot

No meaning but what we find here.

No purpose but what we make.


That, and the beloved’s clear instructions:

Turn me into song; sing me awake.

                               —Gregory Orr



Say you are at the supermarket, no

say you are at the farmer's market, meaning

you don't go in for plastic wrapped food, but

you bring your stringy hemp bag. How nice, but what

did you think, that one tomato at a time we

can stop climate change, find

a way to keep butterflies and songbirds here?


Say you'll install solar panels on your roof, no

say you've already installed them, your purpose

feels urgent, you are off the power grid, but

the sun feels stronger every day, what

you never expected was tornados, floods, we

can barely hold on to any progress we make. 


Today each weather warning lasts longer, that

way the window of safety shrinks, and

we huddle closer, protect ourselves, our beloved,

while lightning sparks, we wait for all to clear

though we need more time to prepare, instructions


to face this new future. The earth will turn

against us, beyond the ladders of light leaning into

the clouds, beyond the hymns and songs

to creation, show me a new song to sing,

not king coal, not drill baby oil, give me

more songbirds to hallelujah my grandchildren awake.

Bonnie Proudfoot is a poet, fiction writer, essayist, and reviewer whose work has appeared in online journals and anthologies. Her novel Goshen Road  (OU / Swallow Press) was longlisted for the PEN/ Hemingway and received the WCONA Book of the Year Award. Her recent book of poems Household Gods can be found on Sheila-Na-Gig Editions.


by Lynn White

Medical workers in Israel have told the BBC that Palestinian detainees from Gaza are routinely kept shackled to hospital beds, blindfolded, sometimes naked, and forced to wear nappies – a practice one medic said amounted to “torture”. —BBC, May 21, 2024

Everyone knew it was happening
the unheard story
the tens of thousands dead,
the millions displaced,
the decades of rubble,
the destroyed schools.
hospitals, universities
everyone knew.

Everyone knew it was happening
the unheard story
even though the journalists were dead
or expelled and banned
everyone knew.

Everyone knew it was happening
the unheard story
of the hundreds
or thousands,
or tens of thousands
who had disappeared
uncharged with any crime
or misdemeanour
everyone knew.

Then three Israeli workers
blew their whistles loud
and everyone heard
what everyone knew.

Now the trick is to listen.

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.