Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, June 30, 2024


by Anna Evans

via The Washington Post

He states (quite earnestly, for what it’s worth)
that Dems want babies murdered after birth.

The question on the Capitol disorder
he answers, “On Jan 6 we’d a great border.”

Opioid crisis? Claims the demagogue,
“We solved it when we purchased the best dog”

then boasts, although the stakes are very high,
about how far he makes a golf ball fly

and adds another lie that’s as bizarre:
no European drives an American car.

Yet somehow, all we’re saying the next day
is that the other guy is not okay.

Anna M. Evans is the lone Democrat on her five person Township Council. Her poems are widely published and she teaches poetry at West Windsor Art Center and English at Rowan College at Burlington County. Her new collection States of Grace is forthcoming from Able Muse Press in the fall of 2024.


by Patricia Carragon

Cartoon by Phil Hands

old white men debate
commentaries escalate 
flags fly upside down

Patricia Carragon is the curator/editor-in-chief of Brownstone Poets, Brooklyn, NY and the author of Angel Fire (Alien Buddha Press), Meowku (Poets Wear Prada), The Cupcake Chronicles (Poets Wear Prada), and Innocence (Finishing Line Press). All available on Amazon.


by Cecil Morris

Cartoon by Nick Anderson

In the other room the Presidents debate
or speak in sound bites, trade accusations,
paint themselves in camouflage of words
and I can’t listen, sickened by them both,
these two awful ghosts of elections past,
one a self-aggrandizing victim stew,
one the merest shadow of glory gone.
I hear myself and my sister in single digits:
I know you are but what am I, I am rubber
you are glue, bounces off me sticks to you.
This format guaranteed failure. It makes
my heart shrivel, my stomach ache and cry.
Have we learned nothing? I think of my kid’s
guinea pig Harry on his squeaking wheel.
He learned the sound of the vegetable bin
being opened and knew it was time to scream
for cilantro, for parsley, for something
that fed him. I think of Peggy Lee’s voice,
weary, worn, singing “Is that all there is?”
and wonder if we can save ourselves
from self destruction, from bombast and hate,
if we can learn to recognize what’s best
for us, for our children, and work for that.
I want to request asylum without
having to wait for years in a crowded line
in a country foreign to my dreams.

Cecil Morris, a retired high school English teacher, has poems appearing or forthcoming in Ekphrastic Review, Hole in the Head Review, The New Verse News, Rust + Moth, Sugar House Review, Willawaw Journal, and elsewhere. He and his patient partner, the mother of their children, divide their year between the cool Oregon coast and California’s relatively dry Central Valley.

Saturday, June 29, 2024


A Modern Petrarchan Sonnet 
by Kimberly Russo

The Supreme Court on Friday reduced the authority of executive agencies, sweeping aside a longstanding legal precedent that required courts to defer to the expertise of federal administrators in carrying out laws passed by Congress. —The New York Times, June 28, 2024. Above is an excerpt from Justice Kagan’s dissent.

History names you as “Final Arbiter,”
To eagle-eye each branch, limit its power
and strike down laws in violation of our
country’s pact. You are humanity’s harbinger.
“EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW” leans starboard
erasing civil rights from their ivory tower
with six of nine lying disavowers
dumb to the public’s dreams dearly harbored.

All women, surrender your uterus,
lovers and race and Affirmative Action
flee in disgrace and die in the closet.
What ill minds embrace rulings ludicrous?
Judges, pious in self-satisfaction
perished in politics’ pockets, I posit.

Kimberly Russo is an English teacher in Aurora, Colorado where she resides with her husband, Tony.  She is the mother of four children, Nicholas (Stephanie,) Audrey, Grace, and Maritza, and grandmother to Doc Wilder and Willa Cassidy. Kimberly spends her free time gardening & bird-watching. Much of her writing is dedicated to marriage/family, social issues, including the perpetuating inequality among genders/races, and the stigma associated with mental illness. Her poetry has appeared in River Poets Journal, Open Minds Quarterly, PDXX Collective, Sixfold (Summer 2016,) Sixfold (Summer 2018,) Sixfold (Winter 2022,) Cricket Media: Spider Magazine, ACM, Another Chicago Magazine, and Backwards Trajectory.

Friday, June 28, 2024


by Francisco de Quevedo (Spain, 1580–1645)
translation by Julie Steiner

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito did not disclose luxury gifts from GOP mega-donors, including Alito's Alaskan fishing trip, or recuse themselves from cases the donors had before the court. [...] Last July, after Alito wrote the Dobbs decision, he was a keynote speaker at a gala in Rome with the trip paid for by Notre Dame University Religious Liberty Initiative. He hadn’t disclosed that either, or recused himself from any of the multiple cases RLI had filed ‘friends-of-the-court’ briefs with. Ruling in Alito’s favor has been his fellow Justice Clarence Thomas who has been feted with financial favors from billionaire and GOP mega-donor Harlan Crow. Those favors include Crow buying Thomas’ Mother’s home, which she still resides in, and also paying Thomas’ grandnephew’s tuition while he was in his care. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 23, 2023

A corrupted, partisan United States Supreme Court is how we will lose our democracy. —Mike Davey, The Miami Herald via Yahoo! News, June 25, 2024

The laws in which your court, Batino, deals
you’re less inclined to study than to vend.
They buy you things: that’s all you comprehend.
To you, the Fleece—not Jason*—is what appeals.
Your take on laws of man and God reveals
that either sort you rule on, you offend.
Your grasping hand, preparing to extend,
foretells which way your judgment fails. (Er, falls.)
You don’t know how to hear a low-cost case.
Who gives to you receives doubt’s benefit.
Your side-deal contracts take the law-tracts’ place.
Since bias and bribes are vices you won’t quit,
go wash your hands with Pilate, or unlace
your purse with Judas and hang yourself with it.

Author's Note on Line 4: An Italian jurist named Giasone del Maino (1435-1519)—Jasón de Maino in Spanish—wrote widely influential legal commentaries, and is referenced in several Spanish dramas of this period. His legendary namesake Jason led the Argonauts in search of the ram that bore the Golden Fleece.


por Francisco de Queveda (España, 1580–1645)

Las leyes con que juzgas, ¡oh Batino!,
menos bien las estudias que las vendes;
lo que te compran solamente entiendes;
más que Jasón te agrada el Vellocino.
El humano derecho y el divino,
cuando los interpretas, los ofendes,
y al compás que la encoges o la extiendes,
tu mano para el fallo se previno.
No sabes escuchar ruegos baratos,
y sólo quien te da te quita dudas;
no te gobiernan textos, sino tratos.
Pues que de intento y de interés no mudas,
o lávate las manos con Pilatos,
o, con la bolsa, ahórcate con Judas.

Francisco de Quevedo, one of the most famous poets of Spain's Golden Age (Siglo de Oro), wrote many savage caricatures of greedy lawyers and judges.

Julie Steiner is a pseudonym in San Diego, California. Besides The New Verse News, the venues in which Julie's poetry has appeared include The Able Muse Review, Rattle, Light, and The Asses of Parnassus.

Thursday, June 27, 2024


by Pilar Saavedra-Vela

The Greek coastguard has caused the deaths of dozens of migrants in the Mediterranean over a three-year period, witnesses say, including nine who were deliberately thrown into the water. The nine are among more than 40 people alleged to have died as a result of being forced out of Greek territorial waters, or taken back out to sea after reaching Greek islands, BBC analysis has found. The Greek coastguard told our investigation it strongly rejects all accusations of illegal activities. We showed footage of 12 people being loaded into a Greek coastguard boat, and then abandoned on a dinghy, to a former senior Greek coastguard officer. When he got up from his chair, and with his mic still on, he said it was "obviously illegal" and "an international crime.” —BBC, June 17, 2024

In myths of Greece
the ancients were supremely
cruel. Prometheus, chained
to a pillar, an eagle
will pick at  his liver forever.
King Acricius, on hearing
prophesy of his death,
set his own daughter
Danae and her child adrift
in the sea—the child  Perseus
survives and one day
will slay his grandfather king.
In modern Greek seas
ancient cruelties surge and seethe:
boats full of emigrants
from the war-torn Middle East
risk the Mediterranean
to seek refuge, a new European life.
From the shores, Coast Guards
have been filmed
forcing immigrant mothers
and children, and men,
onto rubber dinghies,
tugging them out to sea,
setting them adrift.
A new Perseus might be
from Iran or Syria, or
He might survive:
he might one day
kill the sailors who,
sent to save him,
instead set him
and his mother adrift.

Pilar Saavedra-Vela has lived in Costa Rica for 37 years. Born in Colombia, she grew up in the DC area, where she returns almost every year. A translator, editor and hotel owner, she has been writing poetry since 2006 (she composed poetry earlier, just didn't write it down). She has had poems published in The New Verse News and Passager.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024


by Arshi Mortuza

I replaced i’s with !’s
E’s with 3s
Countries with fruits and 
News of g3noc!d3 with 
Skull emojis. 

I [crying face] for ALL (yes, all)
!nnocent lives lost
Because what m0nster 
Would differentiate between 
Human bl00d?

I speak droid
To convey my beep-ing p@in towards 
Humans stripped off humanity 
All the while dreaming 
Of planting 
little w@termelon seeds.

Sh@me on you.

Sh@me on me.

Arshi Mortuza is a 20-something Bangladeshi poet living in Canada. She is the author of the poetry collection One Minute Past Midnight. Arshi’s poetry and prose have been featured in various literary outlets across the globe.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024


by Susan J. Wurtzburg


An orange mist; the towering rocks cried, wept 
liquid marmalade down their ancient faces.
Such desecration. For more than three-and-a-half thousand years, 
the henge has stood strong, an important place 
in the past, and for many, today. 
Grey pitted sarsen stones, silent above 
modern protestors, who spray orange dye
across this British site. Who are you,
puny people to destroy our heritage?

Susan J. Wurtzburg received 1st place in the Land of Enchantment Award, 2024, the Save Our Earth Award, 2024, and the Elizabeth M. Campbell Poetry Award, 2022, and was a semi-finalist in the Crab Creek Review Poetry Competition 2022, and in the Naugatuck River Review's 14th Narrative Poetry Contest, 2022. She was a Community Poet in the Spring 2023 Poetry Workshop, Westminster College, Salt Lake City. Wurtzburg is a Commissioned Artist in Sidewalk Poetry: Senses of Salt Lake City, 2024. Her poetry book, Ravenous Words, with Lisa Lucas will appear in spring, 2025.

Monday, June 24, 2024


by Daniel Romo

Drake & Kendrick Lamar’s Rocky Relationship Explained —Billboard, June 20, 2024

The origin of a hip-hop beef is seasoned 

with special sauce and 

Slauson’s finest hype men.


A feud rooted in accusations of

appropriation is a (rap) battle for the ages,

authenticity, and 

audience approval. 


Wop, wop, wop,

            wop, wop!


It becomes personal when a man’s 

motives, morals, and music 

are called into question

all in one.


Calling out and crip-walking all over

one’s (stage) name is no doubt

a slander to be handled 

because being hard 

protects a soft ego.


Hoodlife, my ass more like phony contrive /

Street cred, psh, boy you rep Rodeo Drive.


It’s a fickle world, this rap game—

where artists go from 

collaborators to haters,    


   from OG to enemy,


      from riding

           to dying.

Daniel Romo's latest book is Bum Knees and Grieving Sunsets (FlowerSong Press 2023). 

Sunday, June 23, 2024


by Jane Blanchard

Scientists discovered a 2000-year-old white wine inside an urn that also contained a man's ashes in a Roman tomb in Spain. Photo: Juan Manuel Roman/ Journal of Archaeological Science via Yahoo! News, June 20, 2024

Morticians in the USA
could monetize this news
by marketing more options for
their customers to choose.

Pre-planners might prefer to go
with booze instead of wine,
and any brand of vodka, gin,
or bourbon would be fine.

Survivors might remember how
Big Daddy liked Bud Light,
but Mama went for Diet Coke
while Auntie favored Sprite.

Whatever is the beverage poured
into a funeral urn,
the ashes must be treated with
due measure of concern.

Jane Blanchard of Augusta, Georgia, has recent work in LightMerion West, and Pulsebeat. Her latest collection with Kelsay Books is Metes and Bounds.

Saturday, June 22, 2024


by CaLokie

Every public school classroom in Louisiana has been ordered to display a poster of the Ten Commandments. This one? Weird.

I come from a Bible Belt State where 
a majority of the people said 
they loved a God who 
they had never seen 
but voted for governors 
and legislators who 
passed Jim Crow laws which 
segregated themselves from 
fellow humans who 
could be seen. 

Now the Bible Belt state of Louisiana 
has passed a law requiring 
the Ten Commandments to be 
displayed in school classrooms despite 
the fact that there is no archeological or 
historical evidence of an exodus of 
a nation of slaves from Egypt led by 
the great emancipator 
and lawgiver, Moses. 

But having said that I have no 
problem with a public display of 
the ten commandments since 
I’m not a sculptor 
and have never made 
any graven image, nor 
any likeness of any thing 
that is in heaven above, nor 
that is in the earth beneath, nor 
that is in the water under the earth.
Moreover I have never coveted 
my neighbor’s manservant, nor 
his maidservant, nor 
his ox, nor 
his ass. 

Carl Stilwell (aka CaLokie) is a retired teacher who taught for over 30 years in the Los Angeles Unified school District. He was born during the depression in Oklahoma and came to California in 1959 and has lived there ever since. His pen name was inspired by the Joads’ struggle for survival in The Grapes of Wrath and the songs and life of Woody Guthrie. His poems have been published in Altadena Poetry Review, Blue Collar Review, Four Feather’s Press, Lummox, Pearl, Prism, Revolutionary Poets Brigade—Los Angeles, Rise Up, Sequoyah Cherokee River Journal, and The Sparring Artists

Friday, June 21, 2024


by Lavinia Kumar

The early Universe was a strange place. Early in its history—in the first quintillionth of a second—the entire cosmos was nothing more than a stunningly hot plasma. And, according to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), this soup of quarks and gluons was accompanied by the formation of weird little primordial black holes (PHBs). It’s entirely possible that these long-vanished PHBs could have been the root of dark matter. MIT’s David Kaiser and graduate student Elba Alonso-Monsalve suggest that such early super-charged black holes were very likely a new state of matter that we don’t see in the modern cosmos. “Even though these short-lived, exotic creatures are not around today, they could have affected cosmic history in ways that could show up in subtle signals today,” Kaiser said. “Within the idea that all dark matter could be accounted for by black holes, this gives us new things to look for.” That means a new way to search for the origins of dark matter. (Graphic: Depiction of a primordial black hole forming amid a sea of hot, color-charged quarks and gluons, a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang.) —Universe Today, June 17, 2024

The British gentry are old hands at dark matter,
invisible behind those large gates,
lengthy curved lanes lined by trees
that lead to rumors of manors, 
over-trimmed gardens, and shootable 
deer, duck, and pheasant.
A lesser Brit, Stephen Hawking, created
a jigsaw of calculations, found 
what he thought must be the dark matter
in those hidden places—hiding thirty percent
of universe’s riches in those exotic 
out-of-the-way spaces.
But now, two scientists agree with him,
have found the hidden more interesting 
than plebian places, like village houses,
like quarks glued together by gluons.  
And, as is proper for dukes, princes, and lords,
each dark piece is far away from another,
with much space between.
But, alas, other nosy scientists, stars 
in our universe, are now spying on this matter, 
to find why, how, such riches were achieved.  
And who wouldn’t?   Will it lead to equality?

Lavinia Kumar’s latest book is a reprinting of her short book Beauty. Salon. Art. 


by Alejandro Escudé

What else could you collect with a sphere
Surrounding a star? In the era of artificiality
And commerce, would it be evidence
Of love? Would it leave a heat signature?
I picture an alien sphere—not metallic
As supposed, but translucent, amorphous,
Twinkling an arthritic light, a series of low-
Frequency whistles. Are there ripe stars
Where you are? Rhyming citadels, chariots
Like half-eaten strawberries? Scientists
Take the pulse of time, they inherit questions
And the questions give birth to universes.
But I wonder about such a powerful warmth
And the results of the search. Is energy
Stored in our marrow? The man himself
Said it would be more a collection of objects.
Like a home? Like most journeys, it might
Prove false evidence of wonder. A god
Unwanted. Light reflected off the bus stop
Bench of a galaxy. As of late, life’s become
A chain of human wrist bones, so we must
Look up and dream of a star-engine that’ll
Reveal the fluttering eyelids of another tribe
Mining the fumes of a celestial volcano.

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.

Thursday, June 20, 2024


by Joanne De Simone Reynolds

Reported birth of rare white buffalo calf in Yellowstone park fulfills Lakota prophecy: “The birth of this calf is both a blessing and warning. We must do more,” said Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the spiritual leader of the Lakota, Dakota and the Nakota Oyate in South Dakota, and the 19th keeper of the sacred White Buffalo Calf Woman Pipe and Bundle… Lakota legend says about 2,000 years ago—when nothing was good, food was running out and bison were disappearing—White Buffalo Calf Woman appeared, presented a bowl pipe and a bundle to a tribal member, taught them how to pray and said that the pipe could be used to bring buffalo to the area for food. As she left, she turned into a white buffalo calf. “And some day when the times are hard again,” Looking Horse said in relating the legend, “I shall return and stand upon the earth as a white buffalo calf, black nose, black eyes, black hooves.” A similar white buffalo calf was born in Wisconsin in 1994 and was named Miracle, he said. —AP, June 14, 2024. More photos by Erin Braaten here at YouTube.

When a bison calf appears white-furred
On a patch of yellow stone prairie 
The People know it is mine   Me:
When first I came to them   Yes:
Miracle   Yes:
Sacred-birth leucism   Rarest
Of rare   Lakota-blessed prayer   Grass-
Rolled   And a pipe I left   Change
Among the geysers/Great
Change meaning What most excites
Returns   Like hunger   Just totally totally
Floored a woman says in a baseball cap:
White   Holding a camera: a long-range lens
Joanne De Simone Reynolds would like to acknowledge Nadia Colburn, of Align Your Story, and Tom Daley, both of Cambridge, Massachusetts, for their indispensable writing workshops; Doug Holder, of Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene, for his ongoing support; and Susan Richmond, poet and children's book author, who coaxed Ms Reynolds into Plein Air Poetry at Old Frog Pond in Harvard, Massachusetts, a collaboration of poets that lasted ten years and produced as many, beautiful, chapbooks. She is grateful to all.


Robert Witmer lives in Tokyo, Japan, where he served as a Professor of English at Sophia University until his retirement in 2022. His poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies. He has also published two books of poetry: Finding a Way (2016) and Serendipity (2023). Besides these original works, he served as the lead editor for a series of translations of contemporary Japanese plays, Half a Century of Japanese Theater.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024


by Sheikha A.

Mohammed Hajjar/Associated Press

''The [US-sponsored proposal for a] ceasefire would evolve into a permanent end to hostilities and the release of all hostages in a second phase. A final stage would see the launch of a major reconstruction effort.'' —The Guardian, June 12, 2024

This planet will become a museum;
the future nodes of our past karma
will live in corridors without walls, 
where displayed in liquid sunsets 
will be an imagined version of blood 
because it will no longer exist: extinct 
artefact impossible to save for relic. 
Humans will be dissolved vapour 
from a combustion that was meant 
to enforce power; and, neutralists 
chose to write words to write-off
histories. Our veins will be draped
like decorative tinsel over our future. 
The dominant climate being eternal 
outrage, and no one to alter the code 
to turn back time to halt the rockets 
in the skies. Ahlan wa Sahlan, we 
greeted ourselves into their homes, 
and then eviscerated. Ma’afi mushkela
we will now help rebuild it from scratch.

Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Her work appears in a variety of literary venues, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. Her poetry has been translated into Spanish, Vietnamese, Greek, Arabic, Polish, Italian, Albanian and Persian.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024


by Michelle DeRose

Alan Gratz’s “Ban This Book” tells the tale of a fourth-grader’s quest to bring her favorite book back to the school library after officials had it removed. Late last month, a Florida school district banned “Ban This Book.” A parent involved in Moms for Liberty, a right-wing parents-rights group, submitted a complaint about the book in February, alleging that it depicted sexual conduct and was “teaching children to be social justice warriors.” Though a school district committee recommended that “Ban This Book” be kept on shelves, the Indian River County school board voted to ban it last month. —The Washington Post, June 13, 2024

So thin bands of women who love 
liberty (because their heads-of-households 
told them to) banned the book 
Ban This Book. If words don’t build it, 
it never happened. Scrub climate change
from state websites and Florida’s coast 
rises like Lazarus. Certain words, like loaves
and fishes, work double miracles. 
With no gender queers, some gun 
violence disappears in a pulse. 
Requiring proof of rape for abortions 
erases abortion and rape with a stranger’s
magic wand that, waved in a yard,
transforms twelve year-olds to the most noble
profession. They might wed NFL stars,
be the next to erase abuse in their world,
just a giant pink rubber in their clutch.

Michelle DeRose is Professor Emerita of English from Aquinas College. She lives and writes in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Monday, June 17, 2024


by Susan Vespoli

I want to thank you for the 126-page report 
you finally released after three years
of gathering evidence
about Phoenix cops who bully 
the homeless, teargas
protesters, taunt, “Let’s 
jack ‘em up dude, fuck it,” 
and “Hit ‘em, hit ‘em, fuck ‘em, 
hit ‘em” while firing 1,000s 
of Pepperballs into crowds like it’s a sport. 
A sergeant’s ecstatic, “Holy crap, 
we’ve got peeps.” Gagging. Choking.
Tasers. Attack dogs. “Nice job, boys.” 
Challenge coins imprinted with testicles
and the words: Make America Great 
Again One Nut at a Time.
False statements and bogus felony
charges, arresting the unhoused
for sleeping, slamming them to the ground
like I watched them do to my now dead
son on body cam after he said, “We didn’t
do anything wrong.” I want to scream 

YES, THEY DO to City of Phoenix 
council members who say the police 
don’t need oversight 

but I just had skin cancer
removed as the report was released,
a swath of squamous cells that ironically
spread across the flesh above my heart

and I am just so tired
      of meanness.
And I am trying to heal.

Susan Vespoli writes from Phoenix, AZ, where she has experienced firsthand the brutality of Phoenix cops and the denial of City of Phoenix. Oh, let the DOJ's report make a difference in how future humans are treated by the police.