Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

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.