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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.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024


by Rose Mary Boehm

This week, Key West, Fla., experienced record-high temperatures, with a heat index of 115 degrees. Even the late Jimmy Buffett would have had trouble finding enough margaritas for that. Parts of South Florida were also hit by smoke from wildfires burning hundreds of miles away in Mexico. This is also the week that Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation that removes the words climate change from many state laws. —NPR, May 17, 2024

So they had another party. 

Too high, too drunk, too wasted, they didn't notice

when half their guests and a major piece of their huge

garden disappeared, pulled into the ink-dark waters

by an enormous, merciless hand.

They laughed when the swimming pool followed.

But suddenly they woke and looked at each other's distorted faces

in horror, then drifted off

with the competing currents.

There was no-one to look for their bloated bodies,

because there was no-one left to care.

And the sharks inherited the waters.

Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru, and author of two novels as well as eight poetry collections. She was three times nominated for a Pushcart and once for Best of Net. Do Oceans Have Underwater Borders? (Kelsay Books 2022), Whistling in the Dark (Cyberwit 2022), and Saudade (2022) are available on Amazon. Also available on Amazon is a new collection Life Stuff published by Kelsay Books in 2023.

Monday, May 20, 2024


by Lisa Seidenberg

Woman found living in Family Fare sign in Midland, Michigan for almost a year.

It had a roof and a door

space for a laptop and clothes

electric kettle, plant and more

in her improvised home

above the big box store.

warmed on chill Michigan nights

wrapped in rays of a red neon sign 

while unseeing shoppers passed below 

What thoughts crossed her mind

as she lay perched behind the sign;

Is it a crime to be homeless in America?

settlers came to this land 

with only their hands

and some tools and their wits

making up the rules of wrong

and right as survival

is the primal law

not simply a need for shelter

led her to this penthouse nest. 

living for a year like a stealthy mountaineer

scaling the crest of Family Fare. 

a temporary home.

a summit of her own.

Lisa Seidenberg is a writer and filmmaker who makes documentaries and poetry films. She enjoys reading poems on the Rattlecast and other poetry performance venues. 

Sunday, May 19, 2024


by Elisabeth Frischauf

cartoon by Bill Bramhill

Pockets strife
Shoulders the blame
Picks up the stain
For anyone
Fanning the flame
Against husband’s fame

Deep in her bosom
Buries misdeeds
Twitter poison feed
Lucky this man
Justice of our land

Whose wife
With bravura and passion
Our stripes and stars
Upside down

Elisabeth Frischauf is a psychiatrist, grandmother, and visual artist in many media: ceramics, collage, mobiles. Poetry is intimately bound up with her art.  Being multilingual and anchored in two cultures—the family homeland in Austria and New York City— enriches all her work. Her epic narrative memoir poem, They Clasp My Hand, short-listed for the Austria Literary Prize, was published in April 2022 by the Theodor Kramer Verlag, Vienna, Austria. This book is in process for on demand, English only, by She Writes Press.  Two more memoir verse books are in the publication pipeline.  She publishes poems in various on-line magazines. She lives with her husband, playwright Richard France by a lake in Putnam County, New York.

Saturday, May 18, 2024


by Steven Shankman

The former guy and a detail of “Oedipus and the Sphinx” by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, part of the collection at the Louvre in Paris. (Trump photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images; “Oedipus” image by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images via The Los Angeles Times

King Oedipus was certain he alone
Could fix it. When he heard his Thebans groan,
Then die en masse, he offered his expert
Advice. Blame Creon, blame the seer! Hurt
By the grim news, he vowed to find the cause
Of the great plague, to act at once, not pause
To look within himself. It soon was clear
He was himself the cause, his pride, his fear
Of self-examination. Sophocles
Saw Oedipus as Athens, her disease
A plague of arrogance. Our former leader
(Unlike King Oedipus), a bottom-feeder,
Has none of the ancient king’s nobility
But like King Oedipus he fails to see
He is the plague. Devoid of empathy,
Obsessed with money and celebrity,
He feeds red hats to haters. USA!
USA first! We’re winners, led the way
In COVID-19 deaths! The plague will stay
Until the voters make it go away. 

Steven Shankman holds the UNESCO Chair in Transcultural Studies, Interreligious Dialogue, and Peace at the University of Oregon, where he is Distinguished Professor of English and Classics Emeritus. His poems have appeared in a number of journals including Sewanee Review, Literary Imagination, Tikkun, Literary Matters, and Poetica Magazine. He is one of the co-editors of The World of Literature (1999), an anthology of world literature from a global perspective that contains some of his own poetic translations from Chinese, Greek, and Latin. His Penguin edition of Alexander Pope’s translation of the Iliad appeared in 1996. His chapbook of poems Kindred Verses was published in 2000. His book of poems Talmudic Verses (Finishing Line Press) appeared in 2023. He is the author of many scholarly books, including Other Others: Levinas, Literature, Transcultural Studies (SUNY Press, 2010), which contains some of his own original poetry, and Turned Inside Out: Reading the Russian Novel in Prison (Northwestern UP, 2017).

Friday, May 17, 2024


by Jane Edna Mohler

A premature Palestinian baby, who was saved from her mother’s womb after she was killed in an Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip, has died after days in an incubator. Sabreen al-Rouh Jouda died in a Gaza hospital on Thursday after her health deteriorated and medical teams were unable to save her, said her uncle, Rami al-Sheikh Jouda. [Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters via Al Jazeera, April 26, 2024

You were red and blind as a just-hatched robin
when they cut you from your silent mother.
On the news, your curled form was cradled
by a doctor who needed you to live
even more than me. I hope
your nakedness didn’t shame you.
It made me love you.
They named you Sabreen al-Rouh, prescient,
as you had too much soul for the three pounds
your mother had time to give you.
Her name was Sabreen al-Sakani.
They call her a martyr.
You call her Mama.
At five days old you still knew the cadence
of her heartbeat. You flew to her
while your body rests under the mud of sorrow
that tears have made of Gaza’s dust.

Jane Edna Mohler is a Bucks County Poet Laureate Emeritus (Pennsylvania). Recent publications include Gargoyle, Gyroscope, and One Art. Her collection Broken Umbrellas was published by Kelsay Books. She is the Poetry Editor of the Schuylkill Valley Journal in Philadelphia.

Thursday, May 16, 2024


by Morrow Dowdle

When one, newly broken from its honeyed shell
tests flight’s imperative,
   whirs, strikes your skin,
will you turn to see who’s there?  Don’t look up.
Don’t think you deserve only what’s lofted.
This holy spirit lies on asphalt on its back.

Reconsider where it comes from, this fear
of what that can’t harm us. 
        Why do we hate it?
Turn it over if you are brave enough to touch it. 
Braver still if you will lift it.  Make your fingers
delicate as chopsticks on a robin’s egg.

Don’t pitch it in the grass.  Let it cling
to your wrist,
           its legs’ gentle sharpness.  You are just
another kind of tree, flesh-barked.  It crawls
your arm, and that’s when you see its eyes of red,
such a red we could never manifest—

not the richest lips, not the sex in its engorged
glory.  And its wings,
           its wings when they unstick,
intricate as any dragonfly, yet you’ll never find them
enshrined in silver, glass, or amethyst.
Are you brave enough, now, to allow it

to approach your head?  You have no xylem, no sap
for it to taste.  Nothing
                                     to dread.  But would you kiss it?
Could you name it the most modest of angels,
if much disgraced?  An angel must have wings,
but surely, it can wear any face.

Morrow Dowdle has poetry published in or forthcoming from New York Quarterly, Pedestal Magazine, Fatal Flaw, and Poetry South, among others. They have been nominated for the Pushcart and Best of the Net.  They edit poetry for Sunspot Literary Journal and host “Weave & Spin,” a performance series featuring marginalized voices. A former physician assistant, they now work as a creative writing instructor for current and former prison inmates. They live in Hillsborough, NC.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024


by Felicia Nimue Ackerman

In its own words, the founding principle of the Netanyahu coalition is that “the Jewish people has an exclusive and inalienable right to all parts of Eretz Yisrael” — Eretz Yisrael is a Hebrew term referring to the entire territory between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. The Netanyahu coalition envisions a single state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, which would grant full rights only to Jewish citizens, partial rights to a limited number of Palestinian citizens and neither citizenship nor any rights to millions of oppressed Palestinian subjects. The Washington Post, May 13, 2024

"From the river to the sea,"
Bibi says, "It's all for me.
If you've got opposing views, 
I'll just say you hate the Jews."

Felicia Nimue Ackerman is a professor of philosophy at Brown University and has had over 280 poems in places including American Atheist, The American Scholar, Better Than Starbucks, The Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Down in the Dirt, The Emily Dickinson International Society Bulletin, Free Inquiry, The Galway Review, Light Poetry Magazine, Lighten Up Online, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Daily News, The New York Times, Options (Rhode Island's LGBTQ+ magazine), The Providence Journal, Scientific American, Sparks of Calliope, Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Your Daily Poem. She has also had four previous poems in The New Verse News.


by Steven Kent

A billion cash, that oughta do it.

   Regulations? You'll be free.

The sky, the air, the water—screw it!

   What'd they ever do for me?

Steven Kent is the poetic alter ego of writer and musician Kent BurnsideHis work appears in 251, Asses of Parnassus, Light, Lighten Up Online, The New Verse News, Philosophy Now, Pulsebeat Poetry Journal, The Road Not Taken: A Journal of Formal Poetry, and SnakeskinHis collection I Tried (And Other Poems, Too) was published in 2023 by Kelsay Books.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024


by Catherine Gonick

So he called you a toilet, you called him a turd
you could flush. You talked so fast
the court reporter couldn’t keep up.
You were made out to be rough, a body
made for rough treatment. Then you proved
a slut is a spy in the world of men,
a refugee who threads the mountain pass
through snow, barefoot. She wears 
the veil turned inside out
to expose its scarlet lining, floats
her soul upon the ceiling. She is smart
as the whip he asks her to use
on his sorry ass, his little-boy mouth.
She is his punisher, he her power.
They are connected by a belt of gold
in a tug-of-war, an umbilical cord
of blood smeared to dry on paper. 
And you weren’t meant to be funny
but couldn’t be stopped 
when he and the law were served
official notice of your humor.

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. 

Monday, May 13, 2024


by Jerry Krajnak

David Shapiro, Who Gained Fame in Poetry and Protest, Dies at 77: A renowned member of the New York School of poets, he also found accidental notoriety when he was photographed during the 1968 uprising at Columbia University... Mr. Shapiro was just weeks from graduating when another student photographed him when the office of the university’s president, Grayson Kirk, in Low Library was occupied. Shown seated in a high-backed chair behind the administrator’s paper-strewn desk, Mr. Shapiro captured the spirit of a moment, casually smoking one of Mr. Kirk’s cigars while wearing sunglasses and a defiant smirk. —The New York Times, May 10, 2024

They locked us out of Schofield Hall,
police demanded we disperse,
warned us we disturbed the peace,
endangered safety, led us away;
meanwhile, eight thousand miles away,
bamboo huts were being torched,
buffaloes and chickens shot,
farmers’ daughters raped,
and military chiefs kept score
with their bloody body counts
repeated nightly on channel 13
before the local weather.
I slowly rock on a cabin porch,
a snoring dog at my feet,
listen as a mockingbird calls
from far across the pond.
Another responds, so near to us
that we both flinch, get up
and enter the cabin, turn on the news,
hear about Gaza, Ukraine.
We watch as New York tents get smashed,
see ziptied children led away.
I join them, rise with my gray hair
in solidarity.

Author’s Note: I was in college in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1968. The events were not as dramatic for us as they were for Columbia students either then or now, but they are all true. Also, I thank the spirit of Sylvia Plath for help with the penultimate line.

Jerry Krajnak is a Vietnam veteran who later survived forty years in public school classrooms. A Pushcart nominee, his recent work appears in The New Verse News, Autumn Sky Poetry, One Art, Star 82 Review, Rat's Ass Review, and other journals.