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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

THE RIBCAGE CLINGS TO A LOVER TIGHTER AFTER YET ANOTHER TRAGEDY

by J. Bradley


A man and woman hug on the streets of Manchester. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA via The Guardian, May 23, 2017


The talking head reads the names of people
who are no longer people. The expert
offers the hypothesis that the network paid for.

You ask this lover whether he knew
anyone in the building. He wipes his tears,
shakes his head. You try soothing him,
your tips coaxing his grief.

Once, you invented a shoulder
for a lover who knew someone
who died by bullet, explosion.
He heard the whir of helicopters
for weeks after it happened.

When he asked you to move in,
you left behind your shoulder,
a note: this is all I can offer you.


J. Bradley won Five [Quarterly]'s 2015 e-chapbook contest for his collection of flash fiction Neil. He is the author as well of the graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014) and the prose poem chapbook It Is A Wild Swing Of A Knife (Choose the Sword, 2015).

Monday, May 22, 2017

DEATH TRIUMPHANT

by Howard Winn


Roger Ailes


But do not speak ill of the dead
was my mother’s advice when
I was young for as a believer
she felt that the lord’s judgment
would be fair and not need
disparaging human reminders
but those of us not so certain
there is any judgement except
the human one of a fair and honest
analysis is required in a civilized
world where true belief in being
“fair and balanced”  is merely a
hypocritical marketing slogan
rather than an honest statement of
principle and when the purveyor of
alternate facts and the misuser of
women passes from the scene as proper
victim of the bad blood of ruthless
kings honest reporting is a requirement
of an enlightened society not to fool
itself into laudatory obituaries unearned
when the evil one passes out of life
and truths of character must be disclosed.


Howard Winn's work, both short fiction and poetry has been published in Dalhousie Review, The Long Story, Galway Review, Antigonish Review, Chaffin Review, Evansville Review, 3288 Review, Straylight Literary Magazine, and Blueline.  His B. A. is from Vassar College. His M.A. is from the Stanford University Writing Program. His doctoral work was done at N.Y.U. He is Professor of English at SUNY.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

MR. T***P GOES ABROAD

advice for his aides
by Mare Leonard





Prepare as if dealing with a child
Surround him with people who smile
Do not leave him alone, ever
Fear what he might say or surrender
Keep his name in all your briefs
Give him all the help he needs
Make sure he pockets his candy
Doesn't give away Yosemite
Be careful, tiptoe, offer treats
Flatter him, coddle him, praise him
Remind him what country he's in
And above all, promise he can tweet


Mare Leonard's work has appeared in A Rat's Ass,  Perfume River, The Courtship of Wind,  Bindweed,  Forage, TheNewVerse.News, The Chronogram.  She lives in an old school house overlooking the Rondout Creek. Away from her own personal blackboard, she teaches writing workshops for all ages through the Institute for Writing and Thinking and the MAT program at Bard College.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

FRIDAY NIGHT ON EAST VAN BUREN

by Roxanne Lynn Doty


"Weeping Woman" by Pablo Picasso


It was the end of the line on Van Buren, a Friday night in April, a section of this gritty street where it leaves the city behind, disappears into east valley sprawl, and forgets the history that rumbles beneath its concrete and asphalt, the ghosts of old Phoenix that breathe the night air. The woman stood under the 202 overpass, moving from fence post to fence post, lightly touching each as if in a child’s game or dance, her long hair flying in wind that rushed through the valley that night, blew dead palm fronds across the 4 lanes, debris into the air to flutter gracefully in the haze of dull streetlights and she walked into the oncoming traffic, stood with arms spread—a welcome or a plea or an effort simply to breathe and the cars stopped and watched and some blew their horns and waited as she got onto her knees and folded her hands in prayer in the glare of terrified headlights. And I wanted to say, leave her alone, give her space, don’t call anyone, she has probably been fucked over time and again and beauty has a strangeness and sadness a glow and I looked around for red lights, for an official vehicle that might have been summoned.  But the night remained still and free from authority and we waited and the woman finally rose, and walked to the other side of the street and climbed the incline toward the highway and the traffic began to move again.


Roxanne Lynn Doty lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She has poetry in I70 Review and short stories in Four Chambers, Forge, Soundings Review, Lunaris Review, Journal of Microliterature and Lascaux Review. Two of her  stories were nominated for the New Letters Alexander Patterson Capon Prize for Fiction.

Friday, May 19, 2017

PROJECTIONS

by Cally Conan-Davies


Large blue letters projected over the entrance to the Trump International Hotel in Washington on Monday night read “Pay Trump Bribes Here,” an allusion to questions about President Trump’s business affairs with foreign governments. Photo by Liz Gorman. —The New York Times, May 16, 2017


I passed the old post office a week ago—
saw its new name and sighed. A cab slowed
for a red light right in front, its rooftop ad
read Rise of the Underground. I took a photo
from the opposite side of the road. No light stabbed
the dark entrance. But the hotel name and the ad
lined up for a bit an embryonic, eerie sentence.
The signs are multiplying. That night I saw a rat
at the border of Georgetown. It had died
but bright blood was still leaking from its head.


Cally Conan-Davies is a writer who wanders and wonders.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

BREAKING:

FIRST DRAFT OF T***P INAUGURAL ADDRESS "FOUNDED"

by James Penha



Inspired by "Claims about President Trump lifting lines from various films for his inaugural address are unfounded." —Snopes

America, first you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punks? Today, I consider Americans the luckiest people on the face of the earth. Cause they call me Mister President! Yippie-ki-yay, motherfuckers!

Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the greatest one of all? America? First, I’m ready for my close-up. Hello, Gorgeous. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! I have never depended on the kindness of strangers. Being me means never having to say you’re sorry.

I'm the king of the world! Round up the usual suspects. I love the smell of fear in the world.  I keep my friends close, but my enemies disappear. A Muslim once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. Mexico? Go ahead, make my day, Mexico. Hasta la vista, baby. I'll wall you pretty, and your little chihuahua, too! If I build a wall, no one will come. Refugees, you're gonna need a bigger boat. One morning I shot a refugee in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know.

Who can't handle the truth? The first rule of the Truth is: You do not tell the Truth.

The White House? What a dump. I am big! It's the house that got small. Life is a banquet, and most of you poor suckers are starving to death!

Tax returns? We ain't got no tax returns! We don't need no tax returns! I don't have to show you any stinking tax returns! I rob banks. I’m as mad as hell, and I'm not going to file them anymore! Show me the money! As God is my witness, I'll never be bankrupt again.

Why so serious? I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way. You ain't heard nothin' yet! After all, tomorrow is another of the first 100 days! Carpe diem. I feel the need—the need for speed! Fasten your seatbelts, America. It's going to be a bumpy night. To infinity and beyond!

My daughter thanks me. My son-in-law thanks me. My sons thank me. And you had better thank me. You know how to whistle, don't you? You just put your lips together and blow me. La-dee-da, la-dee-da.


James Penha edits TheNewVerse.News .

CLOAKED IN CLOUDS

by Meryl Baer


Washington Post, May 17, 2017

The Man seduced the people,
Spilling warped words of wisdom.
The crowd kowtowed to their savior.
They yelled, they screamed
They jumped for joy.
The Man came forth to save them
Roaring Admire me! Adore me!
Love me evermore.
Crushing competence and candor,
The Man proclaims his Word.
The people say:
The Man understands our woes.
He speaks what's really in our hearts
Of hatred, fear and foes.

Meanwhile:
Snakes slither,
Squinting in the light,
Spreading venom.
They grab they stifle
The other, the unfamiliar, the foreign,
The ones abhorring The Man.

I wait, hope, anticipate one morning when
Clouds scatter and
Seeds sprout
Strangling those gnarly, nasty rascals
Unfurling hate and fear.


Meryl Baer is a recovering financial geek now freelance writer and blogger.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

400 BIRDS

by Preston Martin


Photos of birds that died Wednesday, May 3, after crashing into a high-rise building in Galveston. Animal Control Officer Josh Henderson said a total of 398 birds crashed into the building, and three —Houston Chronicle, May 5, 2017


In Auden’s low dishonest decade
History displayed a taste for tyrants.
Recent voters share that taste.
Some pray this retreat a wrinkle,
global sense will, with a start, awake.

New reality weighs our days,
our troubled nights; we grow stooped.
We appeal to our turning minds
see the long view, humanity is wise,
yearns for truth, fraternity. As if
wishing could make true.

Yesterday four hundred birds
lost their birdy instincts, reason—
blinded in reflection of a Galveston high rise—
flew full and headlong to greet their deaths.

Speculation by bird authorities:
glare mistaken for the sun, or moon light,
something, that seemed right at the time—
led them, without reason, to their demise.

Warblers, redstarts, ovenbirds,
bluebirds, cuckoos, sparrows, kestrels,
blackbirds, redwings, robins, cardinals,
orioles.


Preston Martin has published poems in literary journals including New Ohio Review, Iodine, Chaffin Journal, Kakalak, won awards or recognition by the North and South Carolina Poetry Societies and the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Festival. He has also published in anthologies including Every River on Earth: Writings from Appalachian Ohio (Ohio University Press), and  Heron Clan III. He reads, writes, and teaches in Chapel Hill and Durham, NC, and chairs the Brockman-Campbell book competition for the North Carolina Poetry Society.

Monday, May 15, 2017

VANILLANELLE

by Susan McLean



Consistency is our delight.
Don’t make us try exotic flavors.
We want it plain; we want it white.

We think that blend-ins are a blight.
Your nuts or fudge do us no favors.
Consistency is our delight.

Our preferences are watertight.
Our love of sameness never wavers.
We want it plain; we want it white.

We shun sensations that excite
odd leanings or untoward behaviors.
Consistency is our delight.

We’re not repentant or contrite.
Change isn’t what the public savors.
We want it plain; we want it white.

Enough!  We have no appetite
for new ideas or dusky saviors.
Consistency is our delight.
We want it plain; we want it white.


Susan McLean is an English professor at Southwest Minnesota State University.  Her satirical poems have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Light, Lighten Up Online, and The Spectator (UK).

Sunday, May 14, 2017

MY MOTHER’S OCEAN        

by Bill Meissner



vis Giphy


I can never take just one photograph of
the ocean. The cerulean waves are too
lovely, too graceful, tumbling gently over themselves,
then turning to foam that kisses
the sandy lip of the world.
There are no other words for it—this
huge and endless ocean’s rise and fall, this
rocking back and forth, back
and forth, the way my mother used to

hold me when I was a small child, afraid
of the oncoming storm.
The brittle window glass rattled, but
she rocked me, and replaced the thunder
with a humming, a lullaby
that rose and fell.
It’s a melody I would,
as the years passed, remember,
then forget, then
remember again. There are no words

for this song my mother sang, her liquid voice
small, but still filling the room,
overpowering the fists of wind and stabs of lightning
with a language I couldn’t understand

at the time.
One single photograph
is never enough. I know now
that there is beauty in the things that are
closest to us, and beauty in the things
that we lose. She

is gone now.
But as a wave lifts itself and rolls
toward me, then bows down and becomes
a wing of bright diamonds,
I stand again on this shore, without words,
my bare feet sinking into
the hourglass sand,
and wait for that song to wash over me.


Bill Meissner is the author of eight books, including a novel and four books of poetry.  His most recent poetry book is American Compass from the University of Notre Dame Press.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

WATER'S MEMO TO THE T***P ADMINISTRATION

by Meredith Stewart Kirkwood




We will have
what we want which is
to merge, to circle,
to never stay.
We will knock down
your wall
if we have to. We will
overtake your cities
if you don’t release us
to the sea.
We will pass over your farms,
we will seep through cracks
and expand them.

We do not mind your rhetoric.

We are not listening at all.


Meredith Stewart Kirkwood received an MFA in poetry from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2007. Her poetry has appeared in The Atlanta Review, The Santa Clara Review, Windfall, and others. Meredith co-hosts a poetry reading series at the Lents International Farmers’ Market in Portland, Oregon.

Friday, May 12, 2017

IN FAIRY TALES

by Wendy Taylor Carlisle


Piñata by Dalton Ávalos Ramírez.


There could be a stranger with a poison apple.
There could be a girl who flies to an island.
There could be a maiden in love with a monster.
There could be a bluebird, a blue belt, a blue light.
There could be a chicken that predicts the end of the world.
There could be an enchanted pig.
There could be seven henchmen men scattered across three decades.
There could be a puppet with a nose that grows when he lies, and he lies anyway.
There could be a celebrity who runs for office.
That big name could know nothing of geopolitics or governing.
That man could make a mess of our habitats.
That man . . . but no, the tale is too far-fetched.
And how could we tell it to the children?


Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives in the  Ozarks where she Resists Arkansas politics and politicians. She is the author of two books and five chapbooks.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

T***P BUMPS HIS HEAD, A BIGGER

by  David Spicer  

                                         
Cartoon by Darcy, Cleveland.com, May 10, 2017

idiot than ever. No, not impossible:
decades ago he grabbed a Voodoo
princess by her pussy in his penthouse.
Curses galore at the height of your infamy,
Goldie Small Hands! T***p didn’t laugh
but drools today. Today, swastikas curve fetally.
Today, the sheets of KKKers bleed.
Beavis and Butthead chew Tic-Tacs.
T***p’s blonde miracle weeps tangerine tears.
Whitey Pence shocks himself into a coma,
handmaids arcing around him, praying to Buddha.
Chris Christie scarfs twenty cheeseburgers.
Kellyanne Conway talks circles around herself
like a carousel pony. Congress is revolting.
Eddie Munster for Prez! moderates roar.
David Duke for King! fascists yell.
I want Ted Nugent! the Alaskan nincompoop drawls.
On second thought, I want me! Anarchists, nihilists,
and poets celebrate with a three-day bacchanal.
T***p disappears, descends into the earth via ICBM,
lands in China, deported to North Korea.
SUPREME LEADER STUPID HAIRCUT
BEHEADS ORANGE FACE!!! shouts
New York Post. Putin mourns, then farts.
Throngs cheer and party in the world’s megacities.
Back home, T***p’s cronies and their carpet bags
red-eye to the North. Little Jeff Sessions preens
in the mirror of the Justice Department toilet,
tokes his Alabama Bound weed, and dances helter-skelter
like Lorde, collapsing. Eddie Munster! Eddie Munster
for Prez! Gut Medicare, Eddie! Gut Social Security!
his toadies leer and chant. We love Hillary! progressives
scream. Bill Maher, we demand Bill Maher! millennials
moan. GO FUCK YOURSELVES! Bill Maher megahorns.
You’re dreaming again, honey. Wake up,
my wife says, shaking my shoulders.
What’s he done now? I ask.


David Spicer is a retired proofreader for a medical journal and has had poems accepted by or published in Reed Magazine, Alcatraz, The Mocking Heart Review, North Dakota Quarterly, TheNewVerse.News, Chiron Review, Midnight Lane Boutique, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Nude Bruce Review and in the anthologies Silent Voices: Recent American Poems on Nature (Ally Press, 1978), Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing From Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003), and A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Best of the Net twice and a Pushcart, and is the author of one full-length collection of poems Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke's Press, 1987), and four chapbooks. He is also the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

THERE'S SOMETHING DYING IN MY BRAIN

by Gil Hoy


Why, in wealthy America

must the beggared sick
lay ill in their beds

While a well-to-do
privileged white man

Dines on fine rich foods,
swings at a little white ball

at his country club
in warm sunny Florida.

While a smiling young girl
skips along the beach in her
wildly carefree exuberance

While an inquisitive circling
seagull soars overhead,

Searching for something
fresh to eat in the sea’s puddles.


Gil Hoy is a personal injury lawyer in Boston, Massachusetts, a former Town Selectman, and a regular contributor to TheNewVerse.News. His poetry has appeared in numerous print and online journals.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

NOT ABOUT PROVIDENCE

by David Feela




Every night before sleep
deeds of maleficence
get counted like black sheep
in Paul Ryan’s head.

Hour after hour
tallying the flock,
pounds of mutton
lifted over his tiny fence.

Enough to populate
an elysian field
where the grass stays green,
locked in a banker’s vault.


David Feela writes a monthly column for The Four Corners Free Press and for The Durango Telegraph. A poetry chapbook, Thought Experiments, won the Southwest Poet Series. His first full length poetry book The Home Atlas appeared in 2009. His new book of essays How Delicate These Arches released through Raven's Eye Press, has been chosen as a finalist for the Colorado Book Award.

Monday, May 08, 2017

SNOT

by Katherine Smith


President Donald Trump stood alongside House Republicans in the Rose Garden Thursday to applaud the narrow passage of legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. The bill, also known as the American Health Care Act, aims to effectively gut health care coverage for millions, cut Medicaid funding by 25 percent, and allow states to deny coverage for a slew of pre-existing conditions. —Mother Jones, May 4, 2017


Suspended in the blue horizon like a pale blue sea creature
we sing.  We sing of crown vetch rising from ditches like a minor god
that will still be here in a billion years, a music
we make each day. We believe in our solidity
like sea creatures under the ocean
in their geometric palaces made entirely of mucus,
whirling shells, transparent rooms that filter water
to feed pinkie sized larva. We build our cathedrals,
in love with monuments, marble columns,
the Nautilus of our constitution. In the Rose Garden
Americans have dragged a palace from under the water—
two children sleeping under a blanket on a beach
tended by a woman with a brain tumor who will die in a week—
heaved it onto the thorns, drip under collapsed walls.


Katherine Smith’s publications include appearances in Poetry, Cincinnati Review, Missouri Review, Ploughshares, Southern Review and many other journals.  Her short fiction has appeared in Fiction International and Gargoyle. Her first book Argument by Design (Washington Writers’ Publishing House) appeared in 2003. Her second book of poems Woman Alone on the Mountain (Iris Press), appeared in 2014. She teaches at Montgomery College in Maryland.

THEIR OWN SPIRIT

by Jan D. Hodge


T***p, GOP Leaders Take Victory Lap After House Passes ‘Trumpcare’ —NBC News, May 4, 2017

Thus sayeth the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophetswho follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing.                        ―Ezekiel 13.2


When things get bad in the bog,
toads squat on the shoulders of pygmies.

Jubilant if they can see
clear to the next rotten log,
they trumpet farts of glee.

Two things about toads:
    they celebrate the smallest victories
    and always gloat with so little class.


Jan D. Hodge's poems have appeared in many print and online venues. His Taking Shape (a collection of carmina figurata) and The Bard & Scheherazade Keep Company (tales from Shakespeare and the Arabian Nights recast in double dactyl stanzas) have both been published by Able Muse Press.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

SECOND COMING

by James Bettendorf


Detail of poster for The Young Messiah film.


Imagine Jesus is alive again.
He has to go to school,
it’s the law.
The kids tease him
his hair so long,
Are you a boy or are you a girl? 
He hears the judgments
echo in his head
as he walks home
to build furniture
with his immigrant father
while his mother
takes in wash
so they can eat.

He is smart, hides away
in his teen years, builds
a robot of wood and spare parts
from the appliance junk yard.
He covers it with silk and denim
so it looks like a real person
When his real father says

          IT IS TIME

he substitutes the robot
so he can avoid the pain
and won’t have to roll
the stone again.

He goes on to star
in Hollywood comedies
as a transgender female.


James Bettendorf is a retired math teacher who recently completed a two-year poetry internship at the Loft in Minneapolis  after having taken many classes over the years.  He is a member of the Forward writing group at the Loft.  James has been published in Rockhurst Review, Common Ground Review, Verse Wisconsin and Light Quarterly as well as the last eight volumes of Talking Stick.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

NOW THAT MACKY'S BACK IN TOWN

by George Salamon



"Paul Ryan wins near-party-line showdown on Health Care.”


Mack the Knife
Has found new life
As cuttin' Paul Ryan.
Obamacare must burn in hell
So insurance companies do well.
The people? Who cares if they survive
As long as the wealthy continue to thrive.
Democracy has been sold for its market price
As the necessary national sacrifice.


George Salamon is in reasonably good health for a curmudgeonly senior citizen.

Friday, May 05, 2017

THE BODY POLITIC

by Edmund Conti




We both liked Istanbul.
She, having been there, and I
probably because I am,
as our President would say,
an international. I like
the idea of its being on two
continents. Intercontinental
our President might say.
I like the idea  that Istanbul
was Constantinople, that
Constantinople was Byzantium.
Wishy-washy our President
could say. Our President
talks turkey. But, then,
he’s a President and I?
I’m a Poet. And she?
She laughs at us both.


Edmund Conti's poetry is all over the place.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

THE DEVIL OF A DILEMMA

by Regina Vitolo
Image by Matt Chase, The New York Times, February 17, 2016.


the mistress of the universe has deigned to immerse us
in the devil of a dilemma
as complex as puppet strings intertwined dancing
on a papier-mâché platform
the planets collide, missiles leave silos, gravity reverses,
earth trembles
nonsense makes the best sense, nonetheless, so say
the pundits of the day
the wrecking ball swings, misses the gringo living yuge
in the capitol—
claims Andrew Jackson could have resolved the Civil War
but for a few facts
be damned, like the Constitution (no longer relevant) and
the NINTH CIRCUIT
to be mission accomplished with a tweet or two or more.


Words fascinate Regina Vitolo and ignorance in a leader shivers her liver. She has been published, but is willing to absorb more.

Monday, May 01, 2017

QUEEN

by Scot Siegel


Image source: Pinterest


for Melania


One hundred days the Queen hibernates,
burrowed deep in a cavern of bark.

Every day, a star blinks on, or off,
birth of another scientist, or murderer,

and someone loses his or her job.
Every day is someone's first

at something, waking up married, burying
the dog, eating dinner alone as a widow.

Every spring, the earth gets back to work.
Queen searches for a dry place, a loft or shed,

a wedge of light between truss and stud,
someplace warm and undisclosed,

close to the source: Wood she'll strip from lap
or fence, chew and mix with saliva.

She works fast, connects petiole to rafter.
Spins the nest about the center stalk, weaves

combs for drones whose eggs take five to eight
days to incubate. Then they get to work.

Everything they do is for the Queen.
She never returns to the same nest.


Scot Siegel, Oregon poet and city planner, is the author of five books of poetry, most recently The Constellation of Extinct Stars and Other Poems (2016) and Thousands Flee California Wildflowers (2012), both from Salmon Poetry of Ireland. His poetry is part of the permanent art installation along the Portland, Oregon Light Rail Transit ‘Orange Line.’

Sunday, April 30, 2017

FIRST 100 DAYS TRIOLET

by Marjorie Maddox


Cartoon by STEPeHEN


Ridiculous standards to hold me
to standards. Huuuge mistake
to mistake me for me.
Ridiculous. Standards can’t hold me;
I’ll flip-flop alternate news. Bigly
mistake by media to mistake
standards for ridiculous me. Hold me
to standards? Huuuge mistake!


Marjorie Maddox has published eleven collections of poetry—including True, False, None of the Above (Poiema Poetry Series and Illumination Book Award medalist), Local News from Someplace Elseand Wives' Tales as well as the short story collection What She Was Saying (Fomite Press) and over 500 stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

CARBON THOUGHTS

by Buff Whitman-Bradley




Above the broad green expanse of the marsh
Dozens of swifts
Dart and veer and cavort with anarchic abandon
Like a corps de ballet gone slightly unhinged.
Red-shouldered piccolo birds
Ornament the air
With the bright clear notes of their piping
And a lone egret lopes past a pond
Just above the water.
Here on land
Countless pill bugs
Full of purpose and gravitas
Hump back and forth across the trail
Like law clerks bearing weighty briefs to court
While box elder bugs keep backing into each other
For anonymous sex.
The rumor making its way
Among the long bright green grasses
The clovers and the tiny pimpernels
Is that the massive winter storms
Inundating us this year
With triple the normal precipitation
Likely a result of human-caused climate change
Are at last headed out of town
And the spring weather that's on its way
Is certain to stick around for a while.
So we join with the birds and the bugs
In welcoming the new season
And calling for the carbon grubbing
Glassy-eyed lucre-addicted climate manglers
To rejoin life's great extended family
And keep the oil in the ground.


Buff Whitman-Bradley's poetry has appeared in many print and online journals, including Atlanta Review, Bryant Literary Review, Concho River Review, Crannog, december, Hawai'i Review, Pinyon, Rockhurst Review, Solstice, Third Wednesdayand others. He has published several collections of poems, most recently, To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World. His interviews with soldiers who refused to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan became the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. He lives in northern California with his wife Cynthia.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

THE GREAT DENIERS

by Richard Meyer


Thirty prominent climate scientists sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Monday, refuting his recent false statement that carbon dioxide is not a primary driver of climate change. —Inside Climate News, March 13, 2017. Image source: DonkeyHotey.


Their mental houses have a leaky roof
and cracked foundations built on shaky ground.
They squat inside, benighted and aloof,
imagining the Earth is safe and sound.                                

For them a fact is nothing but a spoof
devised by eggheads in a lab somewhere.
They blindly scoff at scientific proof
that points to threatened water, land, and air.

They sit in darkness, make-believe what’s true,
and bar the door so reason can’t get through.


Richard Meyer, a former English and humanities teacher, lives in the home his father built in Mankato, a city at the bend of the Minnesota River. His poems have appeared in various publications, including Able Muse, The Raintown Review, Think, Measure, Alabama Literary Review, Light, and The Evansville Review. He was awarded the 2012 Robert Frost Farm Prize for his poem “Fieldstone” and was the recipient of the 2014 String Poet Prize for his poem “The Autumn Way.” A book of his collected poems Orbital Paths was a silver medalist winner in the 2016 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

BERG

by Devon Balwit


An iceberg ran aground over Easter weekend just off the small Newfoundland town of Ferryland, population 465, drawing knots of tourists eager to catch a glimpse. Photo credit: Jody Martin/Reuters via The New York Times, April 20, 2017.


No more clinging. I calve from the motherland,
current captured, channeled to beach and the relentless

gaze of the curious, their selfies blind to my fissures.
Invisible salt fingers widen hidden cracks. Inertia

weighs heavily, bodes further fracture. When I go,
it will seem a bomb blast. As in life, I will fire my own

salute. You will flinch, and I will be glad of it, the
sound of me opening spillways in your secret places.


Devon Balwit is a teacher/poet from Portland, OR. Her work can be found in many places, most recently: Alyss, All the Sins, Poets Reading the News, Jenny, Dis-Articulations, and Lemon Quarterly.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

COALS

by Elizabeth Johnston


Image source: DonkeyHotey

“[He] is being raked over the coals in the press right now. People are trying to destroy him”


“We will not be staked this time.” 












Myth smokes with the corpses we’ve inherited,
simpering seventy-times-seven girls:
Gretel, escaping the oven to wrap arms around her dead-beat Dad.
Persephone in a singed bikini boarding the bus for Spring Break.
Corn-woman begging for the stake so bellies might be fed.

We are the granddaughters of the witches you burned
and our tongues won’t, anymore,
wrap around the lie:
            Once, Long Ago, Far Away

Like fugitives of Pompeii
we’ve borne the blistering surge,
been arrested mid-joy, fixed
to the earth for centuries, lain airless,
buried under soot, cocooned
our voices like fingers
cast in their clawing.

But go ahead, storytellers.  Rewrite.

Return to the scene shouldering your excuses like shovels,
dismissive as a pickaxe.
Fill the void with your plaster white,
your sight-seer-safe.
Stake your claim. Charge your fees.

There’s profit in bigotry, big money in violence.

Stand over the volcano’s mouth piece,
sermonize, ejaculate,
make your pithy sacrifice.

Never mind the ghosts
who sneak up from behind,
palms facing forward.


Elizabeth Johnston teaches writing, literature, and gender studies in Rochester, NY. A past contributor at TheNewVerse.News, her most recent work appears in The Atlantic, Feminist Formations, and The Boiler.

Monday, April 24, 2017

JASON AND THE ARC OF KNOTS

by Richard Hacken


Image source: DonkeyHotey via Daily Kos


I, the Grand Chair of the House Committee on Oversight,
Enduring my own governmental and dental overbite,
I, Representative Jason Chaffetz,
Never go into raving fits
About being partisan.
No, I am just the leading artisan
Of ignoring with quiet ease
All conflicts of interest and improprieties
That might impinge on any fringe of my own party.
Using gymnastics of justification, quite smartly
I look the other way.

But ask about Hillary’s Benghazi: I’ve got plenty to say.

Still, I’ve decided not to take it anymore.
“Soon" I’m going to pack my beret,
My toothbrush, my blinders and cot,
And make good my getaway.
Why? Well, with T***p and his lot—
All of whom I secretly deplore,
But whose follies I feel I must simply ignore
(As a blandly mocked, land-locked ichthyosaur)—
This task of looking the other way
(Oh-Massive-Distressing-Flames-of-Heck)
Causes a passive-aggressive pain in my neck.


Richard Hacken regrets to inform you that Brazen Jason is technically “his” representative while somehow not representing him.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

LEDELL LEE, R.I.P.

by George Held


Image source: The Innocence Project


The state machinery for murder
executed its steps coolly and efficiently
in the killing of Ledell Lee.

So what if the blood on his shoes
and the hairs found at the scene
received no test for DNA?

So what if the Innocence Project
and Sister Helen Prejean protest
Ledell Lee might be not guilty?

So what if Camus warned against
executions as mere state-approved
murder? How many have heard

of Camus, Prejean, even DNA? How
many have thought hard about
the idea of state-approved murder

or resisted the confection that
medazolam’s nearing expiration date
justified eight executions in eleven days?

So the executioners poured three drugs
Into Lee: medazolam, a sedative, then
a paralyzer called vecuronium bromide—

hear the falling meter?—and a heart-
stopper, potassium chloride.
Each flawlessly performed its part.

Thus did the wheels of Arkansas justice
turn exceedingly well on 4/20/17
in the killing of Ledell Lee.


George Held, a frequent contributor to TheNewVerse.Newshas received ten Pushcart nominations, including ones for both poetry and fiction in 2016. His new poetry chapbook is Phased II (Poets Wear Prada, 2016).

Saturday, April 22, 2017

EARTH MOTHER

by Cynthia Neely


The New York Times, July 22, 1962


To Rachel Carson, mother of the environmental movement, who died April 14, 1964


Was it a good day to die
when we were young,
when the earth was younger
than it is now?

Silent Spring had sprung
and we were bell-bottomed and braless,
flowers in our hair.

Today would have killed you
now that we’re old
and the world is older

but no wiser.
Our kids are tweeting,
the birds too for now.

Yes, I’d say it was good to die
before you could witness
the work you’d done undone,
Mother Earth again made “useful”
to us in useless ways.

And you aren't able to see
the undoing continue
as sea stars lose their limbs,
polar ice cools the sea,
oceans rise, our winters shorten
and our springs become silent.


Poet and painter, Cynthia Neely is the 2016 winner of the Bright Hill Press chapbook contest for Passing Through Blue Earth and the 2011 winner of the “Hazel Lipa Prize for Poetry” chapbook contest for Broken Water published by Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment. Her essay work has appeared in The Writers’ Chronicle, and her poems have been included in numerous print and online journals, including Bellevue Literary Review, Crab Creek Review, Floating Bridge’s Pontoon, and Terrain.org. She has been nominated for “Best of the Net” as well as had work included in several anthologies. Her full-length volume of poetry Flight Path was published in 2014 as a finalist in the Aldrich Press book contest.