Guidelines



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Saturday, September 18, 2021

I SEE TONIGHT




Earl J. Wilcox has been seeing days and nights poetically for The New Verse News for years and years.

Friday, September 17, 2021

TWENTY YEARS IN & OUT

by Art Goodtimes




For the first ten years after 9/11
a band of us peaceniks marched our
San Miguel County Seat’s main street
in protest & remembrance
Once a month. Every eleventh
Doves preaching to the peacocks
 
No permits. Just commish & citizen kin
remembering those who held hands
falling from the Towers like shot duck
 
Remembering those eagles in uniforms
racing up stairwells intent on rescue
as the crushing hate of true believers
came crashing down on their heads
 
Remembering America’s lashing out
without true purpose. Invading Iraq
Afghanistan. Predator strikes. Collateral
damage. A nation bent on inflicting
endless terror on endless terrorists
 
After decades of foreign wars
we peace-marchers kind of lost heart
Chickadees with PTSD. Crows
becoming accustomed to carrion
So industrial Telluride’s unreal
estate bubbles on undisturbed
 
Now, explains
Capt. Barefoot
lives of peace
our only protest
 

Parade-master & poet-in-residence at the annual Telluride Mushroom Festival, Art Goodtimes served fives terms as Colorado’s only Green county commissioner. He is currently represented in Congress by U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Rifle).

Thursday, September 16, 2021

TWISTED OLIVER

by Geoffrey Aitken

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 

 

Give me some good news 


 

“Please sir, can I have some more?”



Cartoon by Alan Moir. Twitter: @moir_alan




Note: The Australian Tax Office has opted not to pursue $180m in jobkeeper paid to ineligible businesses due to “honest mistakes” by employers claiming the money. At a Senate inquiry hearing on Friday, independent senator Rex Patrick said the decision contrasts with the government’s approach to social security recipients, with thousands of individuals asked to pay back money they received during the Covid pandemic. —The Guardian, September 10, 2021



A minimalist industrial signature drives Geoffrey Aitken away from the scene of mental unwellness for the eyes and ears of those without voices. Widely published locally (AUS), and internationally (the UK, US, CAN, CN & FR), he chases ongoing congeniality.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

INITIAL PROMISES

by Stephen House




there were initial promises
from the Taliban
to form an inclusive government
 
there will be no women
in government
 
women playing sport
is not appropriate
 
women will be killed
if they commit adultery
 
LGBTQ people’s mere existence
means an automatic death sentence
 
LGBTQ Afghans are on the run
fearing they will be stoned to death
under Taliban law
 
Ahmadullah says
the Taliban beheaded his boyfriend
on the day they entered Kabul
Ahmadullah is in hiding
 
UN and US warn the Taliban
we are watching you
 
what will watching do?
 
there were initial promises
from the Taliban
to form an inclusive government


Stephen House has won many awards and nominations as a poet, playwright and actor. He’s received several international literature residencies from The Australia Council for the Arts and an Asia-link India residency. His chapbook real and unreal was published by ICOE Press. He’s published often and performs his acclaimed monologues widely.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

EMMA IN WONDERLAND



Jerome Betts lives in Devon, England, and edits the verse quarterly Lighten Up On Line. His work has appeared in a wide variety of British magazines and anthologies as well as UK, European, and North American web publications such as Amsterdam Quarterly, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, The Asses of Parnassus, Better Than Starbucks, The Hypertexts, Light, The New Verse News, and Snakeskin.

Monday, September 13, 2021

AFTER DROUGHT IN CENTRAL OREGON



Penelope Scambly Schott is a past recipient of the Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Her newest book is On Dufur Hill, poems about the cycle of the year in a small wheat-growing town.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

KĀKOLŪKĪYAM

by Nicholas Katsanis


An Afghan soldier pops up from his tank to signal a U.S. warplane bombing Al Qaeda fighters in the White Mountains of Tora Bora in Afghanistan on Dec. 10, 2001.(David Guttenfelder / Associated Press via the Los Angeles Times)


The owls and the crows are at war
Embroiled in bitter struggle for control of their dominion
Ill-defined by borders and perceived advantages

The owls are old and therefore wise
Or so they tell themselves to make-belief
Convince their childrens’ children of their superiority
Supremacy of poise and purpose, they persist
Until foibles morph into fact,
Poorly begotten truth whose tangled roots are lost—conveniently—in antiquity

The crows are young, confident, energetic
The skies’ embrace belong to them, they preach
For they are fast and nimble
Intimidating in their murder, or so they teach their children
Schooling them in the virtue of their virility, their singularity of purpose

The owls and crows are at war
Bickering over holes in trees
Despite the endless forest that surrounds them

Beak on beak and claw on claw
They decimate each other’s numbers
Each pointless victory and defeat
Treated by triumphalism and defiance in equal measure

The owls’ corpses are offered eternal absolution
The crows’ mangled bodies heavenly promise of peace and honey
Both declaring divine providence over the Final Rights
Both bereft of true wisdom

The owls and the crows were at war
Embroiled in bitter struggle for control of their dominion
Until the lightning in the forest burned
And the rain fell upon the smoldering stumps

And there was nothing left to war over


Author’s Note: Inspired by the Panchatantra collection of classic Indian fables, this adaptation examines the current/perpetual secular and religious tension in Afghanistan post-collapse.


Nicholas Katsanis is an author and poet of magical realism. You can find some of his micro fiction (50-word stories, stories in 100 words) as well upcoming pieces in Literary Stories and elsewhere (including magazines that do not have the word ‘Story’ in their titles). He lives and works in southern Florida. Follow him on Twitter @nicholaskatsan1

Saturday, September 11, 2021

CHROMOSOME

by Darcie Whelan-Kortan




We heard no sound
as they jumped
from a hundred and more
flights up
Just a simple
 
toss
 
of body into air
 
And from our vantage point
below the smoldering towers
through the lens
to somber houses
across thousands of miles
as they fell
they all looked the same—
 
no clothes
no faces
no fear
 
Just a black outline
two arms and two legs
joined in the center
like the wiggling X
of a chromosome
a single, unseen, unnamed
living piece in the code
of who we are
lost forever


Darcie Whelan-Kortan has published in Motherwell and wrote the column Beyond Broken for Literary Mama. She is a featured writer on Medium. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College.

Friday, September 10, 2021

I AM THE VERY MODEL OF A QANON CONSPIRACY

by Ellen Hawley McWhirter




I am the very model of a QAnon conspiracy
Born and bred to foster fear and rampant insecurity
And through the years, you must admit
I’ve gotten rather good at it:
I am the very model of a QAnon conspiracy.
 
I weaponize the people who feel left behind, and I compel 
their loud attacks on science and on medicine and truth itself.
The stranger that my theories get,
The more that they are shared and spread
‘cause QAnon conspiracies, like COVID, are quite hard to quell.
 
The Democrats are stealing children underneath your very nose
Selling them and eating them and hardly anybody knows.
You must refuse to vaccinate;
Just drink some bleach and you’ll be great,
And watch out for the Deep dark State our hero Trump tried to expose

The national election it was stolen, it was clearly fraud:
Put Democrats and disagreers all before a firing squad!
The Bible and the Constitution
Call for bloody resolution
Get your guns and bombs, and know that Jesus surely would applaud.
 
The wearing of a mask is an affront to true civility
The bearing of a weapon anywhere is basic liberty
Mass shootings are a lie perverse,
And climate change is even worse
You must defend these truths with Christian hatred and hostility.
 
The only threat that worries me is thinking that is critical,
That shows my puppeteering, and is clear and analytical,
Exposes my hypocrisy,
and questions what’s in it for me,
and highlights common ground across our differences political.
 
Now if you think I’m bragging, it’s just not that hard to play this game
When people are unhappy and are seeking someone else to blame
A rumor and some blatant lies,            
And 1-2-3 you’re polarized,
And Jewish lasers shot from space fan all the sparks right into flame.
 
I am the very model of a QAnon conspiracy
Fed by anger, ignorance, and hunger for identity
I’m anti-logic, anti-truth,
I’m anti-them and all for you:
I am the very model of a QAnon conspiracy.


Ellen Hawley McWhirter is a professor of counseling psychology and writes poetry to preserve her sanity.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

THAT MUCH IS NOT ENOUGH

by Ying Wu


The Taliban fired shots into the air to disperse crowds who had gathered for a rally in the capital, the latest protest since the Taliban swept to power last month. Photo: EPA via Aljazeera, September 8, 2021


Smoke burns our throats in Sacramento.
California is on fire.
Afghanistan has fallen to the Taliban.
I stare into the ashen sun,
and think about the ones who fled—
songs and stories ripped asunder,
flames howling at their doorsteps—
and the ones who couldn’t get out in time—
how beneath this very sun,
some tried to flee, but did not escape—
and the dreams of a generation
annihilated before our eyes—
and the dreamers in hiding,
and the women sent home.
 
I want to revel in the splendor of the Siskiyous,
but everywhere is haze, shrouding
the sugar pines and ponderosas—
Mt. Shasta erased completely—
and the sun the color of pink lemonade.
 
Near Ashland, we hike a quarter mile
across dusty, red lakebed
overgrown with cocklebur.
I want to camp beneath the shady oaks,
but the campground’s closed,
and the spigots, shut off.
I want to play guitar
in my folding paisley camp chair,
but a suicide bomb in Kabul has ripped
through the crowds at the airport gates.
I want to swim and shiver and splash
even here in this shrunken reservoir,
but the mud is too thick,
and the water, stagnant—
and the airlifts are ending,
and the bathrooms are locked,
and the treasury is bankrupt,
and the paddleboats, beached—
and thousands have fled,
but millions can’t leave.
A hot, dry wind rustles
the golden grass of August.
What awaits the women and girls
Of Afghanistan?
 
Women have their own rights,
the Andar district governor tries to reassure,
but his words burn in my ears
like the smoke in my lungs from
the massive infernos
engulfing our mountains.
It has rained at the summit of Greenland’s ice sheet
for the first time in recorded history.
Wells have run dry in central Texas.
 
The UN “highlights the urgency of climate change,”
a Louisiana senator tries to reassure. 
“But we must avoid policies that rely on…increased regulation.”
How much Islam has given rights to women,
the Taliban tries to reassure,
we will give them that much.
 
That much.
They’ll give women that much.
While our leaders avoid policies
that rely on increased regulation.
They will give us that much.
While the fires are raging.
 

Ying Wu is a cognitive scientist at UC San Diego and executive editor of the Kids! San Diego Poetry Annual.  More examples of her work can be found online at Poetry & Art SanDiego, Serving House Journal, Writers Resist, and Poetry Pacific.  Her work is also featured in a permanent installation at the  San Diego Airport.  She leads research on insight, problem solving, and aesthetic experience and lives with her husband and daughter on a sailboat in the San Diego Bay.  

BROODING STILL

by Indran Amirthanayagam


Eva Millwood holds Brood X cicadas on her property in South Knoxville in this photo at Hellbender Press.


Who recalls Brood X cicadas today, after Hurricane Ida,
earthquake in Southern Haiti, flight of refugees and US military
from Afghanistan? What about the deranged Sri Lankan who
knifed six people in an Auckland supermarket? They have not
expired I read, thank God. Meanwhile, Uncle Gratien went off
to the shade with thousands of others this week in the pandemic.
So how to take stock, to sift through losses: eleven drowned
in New York City basements as Ida roared past, twenty odd
their lungs filled in cars and basements, crushed by trees
in New Jersey, and then in Louisiana, millions without power,
hundreds without homes, various bodies but miracle of miracles,
the reinforced levees of New Orleans held. But then the next
question, for how much longer? And where are sump pumps
today in Home Depot? Can we make sense, God, of these
disparate violations, punishments by wind, fire and tectonic
plates? Yes, I forgot there are thousands of acres and some houses
burning in California. So back towards the future. Where are Brood X
cicadas now, and have they turned into Brood X1? Are they ready
to fly 17 years early just in case the globe cannot cope and needs
another miracle to keep its head above water, above the fire line.


Indran Amirthanayagam produced a “world" record in 2020 by publishing three new poetry books written in three languages: The Migrant States (Hanging Loose Press, New York), Sur l'île nostalgique (L’Harmattan, Paris) and Lírica a tiempo (Mesa Redonda, Lima). He has just published Blue Window (Ventana Azul), translated by Jennifer Rathbun.(Dialogos Books). He writes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Haitian Creole and has twenty poetry books as well as a music album Rankont Dout. He edits The Beltway Poetry Quarterly and helps curate Ablucionistas. He won the Paterson Prize and received fellowships from The Foundation for the Contemporary Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, US/Mexico Fund For Culture, and the MacDowell Colony. He hosts the Poetry Channel on YouTube.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

GERONIMO THE ALPACA

by Martin Elster


GERONIMO the tragic alpaca was dragged from his paddock [on August 31, 0221] and executed by a team of [UK] government officials. The eight-year-old animal, whose plight touched the nation, was shoved in a horsebox and killed with a bolt gun after 25 cops and four Defra [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] agents descended on his farm. Geronimo, who Defra claimed had TB, kicked out and appeared distressed as he was pulled away with a rope round his neck at Wickwar, Gloucestershire [UK}. His furious owner said the tragic alpaca’s “barbaric” execution was murder. The eight-year-old animal was dragged to his death by a team of “bully-boy” Defra ­officials after he tried to make a last dash for freedom. The Government claims he had TB but Helen Macdonald, 50, said he was perfectly healthy. She previously vowed to “take a bullet” for her beloved alpaca. —The Sun, August 31, 2021


I felt healthy and hardy.
TB? None, for sure!
Why the gun to my head?
Does that make you secure?

Sniffing hay-scented air,
I was glad when I saw
my owner each day;
but condemned by your law,

a scapegoat alpaca,
I paid a big price.
As for your cold heart,
try melting its ice.


Martin Elster, who never misses a beat, was for many years a percussionist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. His career in music has influenced his fondness for writing metrical verse, which has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies in the US and abroad. A full-length collection Celestial Euphony was published by Plum White Press in 2019.

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

IDA

by Terri Kirby Erickson


Floodwater surrounds a house on Sept. 01, 2021 in Jean Lafitte, Louisiana. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images via NPR)


In South Louisiana, every single thing we do is jazz or zydeco.
 

An old woman sits on her front porch in Jefferson
Parish, smoking a Kool and watching a copperhead
swim past her house. She is wearing her favorite pink
housecoat with the torn pocket, and hasn’t so much
as combed her hair in two days. Three feet above the
water line, she is safe from drowning and unwilling
to be rescued by a neighbor boy who keeps motoring
by in his daddy’s fishing boat and won’t take no for
an answer. She was making a roux when the power
went out, and left the mess right where it sat since it
was clear Ida had no intention of leaving Louisiana
without making a big fuss. BeauSoleil was playing
Zydeco Gris-Gris on the radio before the room went
silent, and that song keeps rattling around her head
while a red, high-heeled shoe lodges against a limb
rising from the torrent, its branches like the fingers
of an arthritic hand. Laughing out loud, she blows
a few puffs of smoke into the muggy air, recalling
a time when most men would have paid cash to see
Rosaline Mayeaux in red stilettos and nothing else.
She squints in the bright sunshine as that stubborn
boy steers the same old fishing boat up to her porch
for what she hopes will be his final run, and hollers
like she is deaf, “You about ready to hit the road,
Miz Mayeaux?” which says it all when it comes to
how much brain power he has going for him, since
no roads are visible after Hurricane Ida turned their
hometown of Jean Lafitte into a bowl of hot soup.


Terri Kirby Erickson is the author of six full-length collections of poetry, including A Sun Inside My Chest (Press 53), winner of the 2021 International Book Award for Poetry. Her work has appeared in “American Life in Poetry,” How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope, The Sixty-Four: Best Poets of 2019, The Sun, The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and numerous others. A former resident of Rapides Parish, she has lived most of her life in her home state of North Carolina.

Monday, September 06, 2021

I DO BLAME YOU

by David Radavich




 You brought us the gift
 of potential death.
 
 Not wearing a mask,
 not distancing,
 
 not deigning
 to get a vaccine.
 
 And now the whole
 family is sick—
 generations—
 
 and the threat
 has taken up residence
 in our very house.
 
 Thank you 
 for reminding us
 
 the end is not far off—
 maybe soon—
 
 disease is
 a form of politics,
 
 and we are all one
 in our shared suffering.
 
 If we didn’t believe
 in community, we do now.
 
 Let us hope healing 
 comes fast and the goat
 scapes into the woods.


David Radavich's latest narrative collection is America Abroad: An Epic of Discovery (2019), companion volume to his earlier America Bound: An Epic for Our Time (2007). Recent lyric collections are Middle-East Mezze (2011) and The Countries We Live In (2014). His forthcoming book is Unter der Sonne / Under the Sun: German Poems from Deutscher Lyrik Verlag.