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Monday, December 31, 2007

EVE

poeArtry by Charles Frederickson


Air
     Is
          Essence
     Echo
          Is
               Self
          Water
               Is
                         Reflection
                    Optimism
                         Is
                              Hope
                         Wind
                    Is
                                   Flexibility
                              Fire
                         Is
                    Passion
                         Magic
                              Is
                    Faith
                         Earth
                              Is
                         Desire
Always
     Is
               Forever


The gliberated, rarely humble Bang-cocksure No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson proudly presents the Dr. Chazz funThaistic PoeArtry jazzy razz-ama-pizzazz e-gadfly website. More than 500 original colorful images and impressions are featured, sketched and scribbled during travels to 206 countries on his fave planet.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

THE WORLD IN OUR HANDS

by Scot Siegel


Remember when the weatherman used chalk,
and those satellite shots came every twelve hours?
We used to warm our hands over television sets.
The world was full of potential -

Yes, we worried about a Cold War; the possibility
of nuclear winter! Now we worry about winter,
in general, and whether the icecaps are going the way
of the dinosaurs --and whether we will too--

My mother wanted me to be a doctor, or a lawyer
I wanted to draw isobars and isotherms, high & low
pressure cells, and occluded fronts --I wanted
to be The Weatherman like nobody's business.

Then I forgot about the weather and did what all good
son's must do; I blew off law school and became
an urban planner. I'll always remember that frosted
glass globe my parents gave me. It was electric,

internally lit, and calibrated to the earth's rotation--
It even tracked the sun's path twenty-four-seven
until the bulb blew--

Now I have the standard issue: a cardboard orb
I bought for my daughters when they were in
grade school; it's shellacked with countries whose
names have changed. It doesn't get much use--

Some days, when our country's under siege
and our leaders are doing their best to negotiate
the end of the world, I take the world out of the closet
and dust it off; then I give it

a good hard spin!


Scot Siegel is a land use planner and poet from Lake Oswego, Oregon. His poems have appeared on The New Verse News, The Sunday Oregonian, Open Spaces Magazine, Acorn, and Red River Review, among others.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

WINDS OF CHANGE

by F.I. Goldhaber


Nestled in the once safe valley
we listen to dire predictions
warning us of hurricane-force
winds never experienced here

before. Now the gale tears at the house
trying to rip away flimsy
shingles and brittle siding. The
current White House resident would

have us believe that climate change
does not concern us. But I see
drought become commonplace in the
lush valley and fires develop

into a ritual every
summer extending into fall.
I read of melting glaciers, of
starving polar bears, of islands

that disappear into the sea.
But, I only need listen to
the wind to know the truth of what
we`ve done to this world where we live.


F.I. Goldhaber has written professionally for more than a quarter-century and has won eight awards for her fiction and poetry. She has had short stories, novelettes, poems, news stories, feature articles, editorial columns, and reviews published in magazines, e-zines, newspapers, and anthologies. A resident of Salem, Oregon, she reads to elementary-school children as a SMART volunteer, and is active in Lions Clubs International. www.goldhaber.net.

LOCAL GLOBAL WARMING

by Earl J. Wilcox


Before daybreak today,
warm, mild winds,
clouds tossing
like restless children.

A poignant mockingbird
swooped near my head
as I stooped
to pick up the paper.

Our seasons out of kilter,
she was nesting
in a nearby tree.

This December
mild as May
confused a mother,
disturbed my morning reverie.


Earl J. Wilcox founded The Robert Frost Review, which he edited for more than a decade. His poetry was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Friday, December 28, 2007

STEROID DREAMS

by Rochelle Ratner


1.

Roger Clemens. Barry Bonds. Sid Fernandez. Andy Pettitte. David Justice. Players at the top of their game who can go the distance and don't mind the extra work.

2.

This is what he planned, he says: to be a power player. Not in sports but business.


3.

Weakened thighs. Bloated face. High glucose. Inability to focus. This is not what she expected.


Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Leads (Otoliths Press, 2007), Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

THE ELIMINATED GIRL

by Mary Saracino


“In our country ultrasound is becoming a weapon of mass destruction. Instead of saving lives, what we are finding is that millions of girls are being eliminated before birth.” –Sabu George, activist & academic, as quoted in “Girls Pay Price for India ’s Preference for Boys,” Steve Herman, VOANews.com, March 5, 2007.


A black & white image emerges, suspended in the amniotic haze
of her womb. From the small screen in the examination room
a tiny face looms, one eye peering back, a foot, a spine,
miniature fingernails, hands too small to plea for clemency.
A son, god-willing she says when asked, although it is
illegal to use the ultrasound to determine her baby’s gender.
The candles have already been lit, supplications already sent skyward,
a boy to carry on the family name, to perform the last rites
when his father dies at some unforeseen future date,
a son to care for his widowed mother. She knows a girl brings
hardships; weddings and dowries are such a financial drain on a family.
Se prefers a boy, she tells the technician who moves the divining tool
over the swollen arc of her stomach, a child to love and cherish;
her husband too, wishes for a son. But of course they’d accept a daughter
should misfortune mar their fate. She peers at the screen,
hoping the shadow that hovers between the tiny legs is a small penis.
Questions linger in her untrained eyes; she looks away,
unable to say for sure. She can’t abide the alternative,
though she knows she must. Her husband scans the image, too,
an unspoken need settles into his tense brow. A momentary frown
claims the technician’s lips. From one pocket of her lab coat
she retrieves a piece of pink candy, “To sweeten your life,” she says,
placing the clandestine clue into the husband’s waiting palm.
He wraps his fist around the traitorous bonbon, stares at the floor.
“Perhaps next time,” he tells his wife, who chokes back tears,
already grieving the daughter who will soon be severed from her.


Mary Saracino is a novelist, poet and memoir-writer who lives in Denver , CO . Her short story, "Vicky's Secret" recently won the 2007 Glass Woman Prize. Mary's most recent novel, The Singing of Swans (Pearlsong Press 2006) was a finalist in the 2007 Lambda Literary Awards.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

MORNING RAGE

by David Plumb


For Sgt. John Mele, 25, from Bunnell, Florida, killed in Iraq 14 September 2007, leaving a wife and a six-year-old son.


This is not a poem about romancing war
nor a lament for the death of soldiers.
I can’t speak for men and woman who die
for absolutely nothing.
For fake sheiks and oil-slicked dreams
and secret mercenary hutches
and goofy governors who swear
allegiance to gods that kill.
This is not for smirking presidents
or Cheney-Blossoms who don’t give one hoot
beyond checkbooks and pumped up hearts.
Nor Greenspan slippery rhetoric to sell a book
about how he rolled over and died.
This is not about children with empty rooms
and wives with no one to hold
or credit card debt or killing because we can
or Egyptian women who want to drive cars
or China’s McFuckits on every corner
or Christ blow up dolls, or an Indian trinket on your car mirror
or crying in your beer because you can’t afford
diapers for your parakeet or your mate.
This is not for poets who swoon possums in the night
and collect MacArthur Grants, with the line, “Me myself said.”
This poem is not about Legislators wearing Exxon tampons
tacked to retirement packages.
This poem is not even trying to clean the windshield that is you.
This is not a poem about driving cars you can’t afford.
This is not about the cell phone
you can’t put down for fear of death or loneliness.
This is not about last year’s grief, or me or
lack of confusion, or kings, or queens
or cross–eyed monkeys that hold hands
with your life these days, or is it?


David Plumb’s latest fiction book is A Slight Change in the Weather. He has worked as a paramedic, a cab driver, a, cook and tour guide. A long time San Francisco writer, he now lives in South Florida . Will Rogers said, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” Plumb says, “It depends on the parrot.”

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

BIRTH OF THE SUN

by Katherine West


You are an orange in winter snow
You are an orange in a white bowl
a still life still frozen

by brush and oil and canvas and art
by frost and crystals and drifts of art
a still orange in winter art

a still life on a winter horizon
a still life golden-orange
on the white plate of winter dawn

on the white plates of my winter hands
in the blue bowls of my winter eyes
in the still bowl of my belly life

When I laugh you jump into the bowl of blue
When I laugh you leap in the bowls of blue
When I laugh you leap in the bowls of blue


Katherine West is a poet presently living in northern Colorado and teaching Creative Writing at the local community college, museum, and Naropa University, which is in nearby Boulder, Colorado.

JOURNEY OF THE CANDIDATES

Christmas 2007


by Earl J. Wilcox


There they are, the whole lot of them
trudging from diner to diner, barn
to barn, house to house, in Iowa
and New Hampshire, even in staid
and stately old South Carolina,
like a bunch of vagabond vagrants
looking for a handout. And I guess
you could say that’s sort of what they are.
They smile, bow so humbly, just to get
a handshake, to see if you’re paying
attention to their very needy selves.
Today, I hear they may go underground,
just for a couple of days, you see,
so as not to upstage the kid who was
being hailed as the genuine article.
Really, it’s hard to know the real
thing in this season of so many
of them trudging around from diner
to diner, barn to barn, house to house.


Earl J. Wilcox founded The Robert Frost Review, which he edited for more than a decade. His poetry was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.


Monday, December 24, 2007

HEART TO HEARTH

by Verandah Porche


Old-fangled snow is the stuff of yarns:
The saga of our sagging barns;
The sled run down to kingdom come;
The ox roast when the twins got home;
Those purple finches on the branch
whose wings could launch an avalanche.
Myths are throws crocheted near stoves
as the Town truck garlands icy roads.


Based in rural Vermont since 1968, Verandah Porche has published The Body’s Symmetry (Harper and Row) and Glancing Off (See Through Books) and has pursued an alternative literary career. She has written poems and songs to accompany her community through a generation of moments and milestones. As a teacher and facilitator, she has created collaborative writing projects in schools and nontraditional settings: literacy and crisis centers, hospitals, factories, nursing homes, senior centers, a 200 year-old Vermont tavern and an urban working class neighborhood. Her work has been featured on NPR’s “Artbeat,” on public radio stations around New England and in the Vermont State House. The Vermont Arts Council awarded her a Citation of Merit, honoring her contribution to the state’s cultural life in 1998, and a recent grant to support the preparation of poetry for publication and performance.

CEDAR CHIPS

by Dale Goodson


we’re going to protect our blankets

sprinkle with shavings
from that great smelling tree
then dump in a trunk

I think we’ll crawl in too

if the flimsy moth
can do damage
our president doesn’t have to be right about much

(a suspected this, a suspected that--anyone other than us)

we’ll toss in great grandmother’s hand-stitched nightgown as well
(there’s a survivor)

down in the basement
folded and contorted
with musty concern

like the moth
it’s in the air


Dale Goodson is a writer from Seattle currently living in New York City and working as a homeless outreach worker in Times Square. He recently created his own website: dalegoodson.com.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

QUIDDITAS

poeArtry by Charles Frederickson


WHO keeps sidestepping moral values
     Life is like double-faced tape
          Masking flexible sticky side transparency
               Adhesive strength binding the universe
                    Holding our global village together

WHAT is the right-minded side
     Every street has two sides
          The sunny and the shady
               Dark side gloomy pessimistic murkiness
                    Bright side hopeful optimistic liberation

WHEN will all sides converge
     Getting people to like you
          Show & tell you like them
               Rank insiders are neither better
                    Nor worse than rank outsiders

WHERE has sunny-side brightness gone
     Humor and pathos act side-by-side
          Life begins on the other
               Side of despair tranquilizing laughter
                    Cure-all panacea without side effects

WHY are we taking sides
     The flipside of fear is
          Freedom tails hate heads love
               Coined indifference landing on edge
                    Boredom and fascination reversible dichotomies

HOW come they’ve sideswiped Peace
     Remember that the reverse side
          Also has a reverse side
               Lined with justified good/bad intentions
                    Holey pockets turned outside in


The gliberated, rarely humble Bang-cocksure No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson proudly presents the Dr. Chazz funThaistic PoeArtry jazzy razz-ama-pizzazz e-gadfly website. More than 500 original colorful images and impressions are featured, sketched and scribbled during travels to 206 countries on his fave planet.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

SUNSET ON BALI, DECEMBER 2007

by Frank Joussen


The setting sun drinks his first
mouthful of wine-colored water
from the hot sea of Bali.
The moon also rises,
her cheeks tainted by too much rouge,
in search of some cheap romance.

O 'Isle of the gods' what sweet sarcasm decreed
to have the fate of global climate
decided upon in this
paradise lost so deliberately,
in such decadent, pecuniary cruelty?

Now the tourists start drinking
while the diplomats go on gambling
and gamblers cannot help but cheat
--even though the whole world was watching.*


*The island of Bali is still famous for its great natural beauty, but much of it has been deliberately destroyed in the name of progress and for the pecuniary needs of a tourist-hungry country; many inhabitants have been displaced to "clear the path" for new hotels, shopping malls etc.


Frank Joussen is a German school teacher. One of his poems has previously appeared in The New Verse News. Others have been published in numerous print magazines, ezines and anthologies,most recently in: Triveni, Poetry Today, Canopy (India), The Boyne Berries (Rep. of Ireland), Big Pond Rumours, Raven Poetry Zine (Canada), Pulsar, The Measure (G.B.) and Poets Against the War (U.S.A.).

Friday, December 21, 2007

WATERBOARDING: A NATIONAL ANTHEM

by Autumn Newman


My country ’tis of thee
Preferably the suspect will be naked
Sweet land of Liberty of thee I sing
Feet, hands and neck are tied to a board or table
Land where my fathers died
A thin cloth
Land of the pilgrims’ pride
Is placed over the face.
From every mountainside let freedom ring!
A steady stream of water
My native country thee
Is poured over the cloth,
Land of the noble free, thy name I love
Producing a drowning sensation
I love thy rocks and rills
Followed by unconsciousness.
Thy woods and templed hills
When suspect loses consciousness
My heart with rapture thrills like that above.
Sit on, or hit, the stomach.
Let music swell the breeze
Move away, as suspect is likely to vomit
And ring from all the trees sweet freedom’s song
At this point in the interrogation.
Let mortal tongues awake
Demand information
Let all that breathe partake
And repeat process
Let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong
Until the desired information is obtained.
Our fathers’ God to thee
This is an ideal method
Author of liberty to thee we sing
Of information retrieval in that,
Long may our land be bright
“It causes great mental and physical suffering
With freedom’s holy light
Yet leaves no marks on the body.”*
Protect us by thy might, great God, our King!


*Historian Ed Peters as quoted in NPR’s online article "Waterboarding: A Tortured History" by Eric Weiner on 11/3/2007. The description of Waterboarding is taken from this same NPR article.


Autumn Newman attends the Stonecoast MFA creative writing program. She lives in Fresno and works as a teacher at Fresno City College. Her poetry has been published in Louis Liard Magazine, The Suisun Valley Review, AngelFace, and Calaveras Station.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

TWO ARRESTED FOR STABBING INFLATABLE FROSTY

by Rochelle Ratner


Every night he backs the SUV out of the driveway and sees the inflatable Frosty in his rearview mirror. This one has a whole manger scene in his belly. All lit up. As he drives his brother back to the Hilton he sees other houses with their Christmas lights. But it's not what it used to be. The children on his block are grown now, parents too old to climb ladders and hang from roofs. He centers a wreath on his door, but doesn't even bother with candles. The subdivisions no longer bond with their elaborate themes. First it was all the traffic blocking their streets. Then it was the energy crisis. People buying the homes these days don't want to be told how to decorate, he says. They're young, he says. They have their own ideas, he says. They carry screwdrivers in their pockets, just for fun. And his brother's family no longer stays with him.


Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Leads (Otoliths Press, 2007), Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

ALMOST CHRISTMAS

by Howie Good


I check my e-mail before going to bed
and find a new message

the Migrant Education Center asking
for a woman’s winter coat small or medium

also gloves and a scarf

It’s almost Christmas it’s getting colder
and she walks her children to school every morning

as people sit at their computers hitting delete


Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of three poetry chapbooks, Death of the Frog Prince (2004) and Heartland (2007), both from FootHills Publishing, and Strangers & Angels (2007) from Scintillating Publications. He was recently nominated for the second time for a Pushcart Prize.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

FILTER

by Kristin LaTour


Outside, the yellow-orange fire of leaves waves
like small hands on black, thin boughs of maple.

Inside, the TV news shows a cement truck rip into flames.
The five second shot is aired silently, over and over:
dirty window, cement truck, flames, smoke.

I cannot hear the wind outside my window
               yellow leaves
                                       black boughs
                         three more US soldiers killed
                                                                        sky
                                                                                clouds


Kristin LaTour is a poet and professor living in Aurora, IL, with work published in After Hours, Rambunctious Review and Pearl and in a chapbook from Pudding House.

Monday, December 17, 2007

BOMBS INTO BREAD

by Mary Saracino
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children...it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower April 16, 1953

Transform bombs into bread
bullets into healing balm
Humvees into the milk of human kindness
missile silos into safe havens
countries into contiguous oceans of compassion;
cradle the babies
feed the mothers
employ the fathers
import hope where insurrection reigns
morph guns into goodwill
drench conflict in the nectar of diplomacy
exile famine, banish war, disassemble warships
bring suffering to its knees
abolish profiteering, rape, torture
dismantle the iron cross of cruelty
nurse our bruised & battered limbs
replenish our emaciated spirits
sweeten the sweat of laborers
restore the souls of politicians, their backbones, too
voice outrage, demand justice
educate the young, cultivate kindness
honor every color, every creed
abandon all plans of global annihilation
make hatred & bigotry obsolete
begin each day with silent prayer
sow peace with every breath.


This poem has been posted in response to the Bloggers Unite challenge to bloggers everywhere to report on Acts of Kindness on December 17.

Mary Saracino is a novelist, poet and memoir-writer who lives in Denver, CO. Her short story, "Vicky's Secret" recently won the 2007 Glass Woman Prize. Mary's most recent novel, The Singing of Swans (Pearlsong Press 2006) was a finalist in the 2007 Lambda Literary Awards.

A HAND

by James Penha
Not so solitary
says

suddenly to some
a ring
on the right

hand
(some
who worship symbols,
not norms)

so
quietly too

(some who
take time
for what it is--
matters and waves;

once my hand held spit,
slapped,
and rubbed mates
eagerly to make a world.

We won
and lost
and won and lost
and now blue

undulations
on the rise
have crested,

but even so
slowly and shaking,
crooked and aching,
I need
to give a hand.


This poem has been posted in response to the Bloggers Unite challenge to bloggers everywhere to report on Acts of Kindness on December 17.

James Penha edits The New Verse News. His new book of poems, No Bones to Carry, is available from New Sins Press.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

WORLD SORROW

by Katherine West


Ice breaks the trees shoots
children in the face with twenty-two's
hunters bring down the moose

Blizzard blinds the blind preacher
on the way to church rage leaks
into the pews shoots two teenage

girls--they die on their knees praying
for teenage brothers in Iraq who pray
only to come back to pines praying

in the quiet snow three days
before Christmas their prayer a deep meditation
on the silence of sap rooted in waiting

we pray for the return of sun, life
as it once was and will be again, life
green with the silence of peace, life


Katherine West is a poet presently living in northern Colorado and teaching Creative Writing at the local community college, museum, and Naropa University, which is in nearby Boulder, Colorado.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

BLOOD STORMS

by Judy Katz-Levine


they say a storm will come. e-mail the whitehouse on Darfur, imagine what a
young girl suffers in a camp in Darfur as the snow starts to fall. to be
raped as a child. that innocent and wounded. to be that hungry to starve.
the whitehouse e-mails me back immediately with a form letter. every night
we hear about the limbs of soldiers maimed. iraqis killed.

the news is a horror show. there's blood on the table. there's blood on
the dishrags. our ears are covered in blood, blood in the snow.
politicians plead for votes, as the ice storms rage. it is the ice of a
country numbed by war. the face of a child in Darfur a sign of the prophet.
no more. no more blood storms.



Judy Katz-Levine's most recent book is Ocarina. Her poems have appeared in The Delinquent, The Sun, Salamander, 96 Inc., and many other magazines and anthologies.

Friday, December 14, 2007

THE NEWS

by David Plumb


A wealth of beach brims toward whitewashed afternoon.
Hither, a bevy, an enclave, a circle, a twist, a gate that keeps
wars on one side, swimming pool and glib on the other.
Ask about Pelosi? It’s a sandwich? A new kind of pizza?
Buy one at Lulu’s next to Circuit City . Want to run up a bill?
You’re in the right place. Credit accepted. Twenty-three percent and running.
The story about the man stealing the mannikin in the white dress?
He hid behind the sale on dress shirts and soon-to-be out of styles.
Waited until the lights went out. Snapped the dear girl right out
of the front window and slipped off. Laid her across the backseat?
Folded her in the trunk? Don’t know. Don’t care
to raise my hand to question one cent tax for transportation.
With promises of double decker busses and less waiting time.
A thicket of contractors hoots to the right of the podium.
Sweating citizens flag the air with hope and despair.
First dibs. Guess who? One cent? I’ll pass. Ha!



David Plumb’s latest fiction book is A Slight Change in the Weather. He has worked as a paramedic, a cab driver, a, cook and tour guide. A long time San Francisco writer, he now lives in South Florida . Will Rogers said, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” Plumb says, “It depends on the parrot.”

Thursday, December 13, 2007

IRAQI CAMERA

by devin wayne davis


was there, in this
dreadful climate,
a tyrant trained
to rule you?
did the bomb
have everyone
up last night?
did you give it any
thought that your neighbor would
shoot you in the hood?
have armored transports,
and well-equipped gangs
pounded down
the door to a store
you used
to own
—your home?
do you distrust
water;
goods
& services:
electricity,
gas, the law;
succession
—civilization?
could you sleep,
rocked in the cradle;
but open a lid to awake,
and wonder …
whether
you’re iraqi, or american


devin wayne davis, once called "ink (or inc.)" in a seaside vision, has written well-over 2, 000 poems. His work is printed in the Sacramento Anthology, 100 Poems, Sanskrit, Dwan, Poetry Depth Quarterly, and 17 chapbooks. Selections can be found on-line at Del Sol Review, Perihelion, Pierian Springs, Locust Magazine, Kota Press, Octavo, Jones Av., Pig Iron Malt, Great Works, La Petite Zine, Stirring, Offcourse, Rio Arts, Wandering Dog, Whimperbang, Kookamonga Square, and Split Shot. Both Barnes & Noble and Tower Books featured readings by davis; he has addressed citizens and lawmakers on the northern steps of the California State Capitol.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION

by Scot Siegel


Maybe some overhead wires cross,
and a new satellite turns toward us
in that slow-space-way that orbiting things
move; and maybe, a message

descends, and it’s from a parallel
universe, where others like us, but
different, have a new kind of language
and it’s called listening –

(In a child’s voice…)

Your world is in danger;
how much longer it will last
we cannot tell you;
we are only the listeners –

This measure, sponsored
by no one in particular,
but the world, your
world, in general:

Resolution 08-001

(The satellite turns as she
calls the question…)

Resolution 08-001: A Call to
End All War

It has been moved
and seconded –

Is there any discussion –?

Hearing none,
all those in favor

Signify by saying,
                              “Aye”

Those opposed?


Scot Siegel is a poet and land use planner from Lake Oswego, Oregon. His poems have previously appeared in New Verse News, The Sunday Oregonian, Open Spaces Magazine, and Acorn, among others.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

REKINDLE HOPE

PoeArtry by Charles Frederickson


Help rescue our besieged universe
    Relentlessly ravaged by bullyragging war
        Without compassionate understanding mutual trust
            There can be no peace

Save our disillusioned lonesome planet
    Hungry souls suffering emotional famine
        Spreading malice cancerous hateful fear
            Soothing cure-all Tender Loving Care

Look within anima awakening spirituality
    Flexible open attitudes never shut
        Without passionate longing steadfast nudging
            Hostile mountains cannot be moved

Deliver justice to homeless refugees
    Given equal opportunity fair-minded options
        Unless oyster shells are shucked
            Latent priceless pearls remain undiscovered

Protect our endangered natural eco-environment
    Forecasting common cause future unity
        Without bolting thunder lightning zigzags
            There can be no rainbows


The gliberated, rarely humble Bang-cocksure No Holds Bard e-gadfly, Dr. Charles Frederickson proudly presents his uniquest oddyssey, funThaistic PoeArtry avec pizzazz website – http://www.poetryartcombo.com. More than 500 original colorful images and impressions are featured, sketched and scribbled during travels to 206 countries on his fave planet.

Monday, December 10, 2007

HOLIDAY SHOPPERS KEEP BUYING DURING FIRE

by Rochelle Ratner


Of course she smells the smoke. But it's taken over an hour for what should have been a twenty minute drive, another ten minutes to park the car, and she's just found some cashmere sweaters that would be nice for her two nieces and her sister. Her eyes start to tear. She wanted to find this beige one in medium. If she takes from the bottom of the stack they have no ashes on them yet. And she can always get them cleaned, but she has to hurry. She grabs a tissue from her purse and wipes her eyes with it, then turns and offers a tissue to a woman next to her. People have started to pushing toward the exits. They've turned the lights off. Between that and the smoke, she can barely see. The cash registers probably won't work either, not to mention the credit card terminals. All the clerks have left by now. She grabs as many sweaters as she can carry, not bothering to look at size or color. Maybe she'll give one to the woman who cleans for her. Probably she'll keep a few for herself.


Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Leads (Otoliths Press, 2007), Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

THE AUDITION

by Howie Good

for Darla

An old man is telling a story at a nearby table, something about the price of scrap metal after the war, when suddenly his voice drops and he mutters, the Jews. My wife and I look at each other, feel the swaying of cattle cars

speeding along receding rails. Our daughter notices. What? she asks. It’s the night before she auditions for college, and her eyes are circles within

anxious circles, whirlpools of Prussian Blue. I shake my head. Nothing, I say, and we finish eating, then go up to our room at the Quality Inn and lie on the beds and watch TV, an America of smiling neighbors and kind doctors and

charmingly deranged seniors, and the next morning we check out early and drive through darkness and fog, and all that she might sing.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of three poetry chapbooks, Death of the Frog Prince (2004) and Heartland (2007), both from FootHills Publishing, and Strangers & Angels (2007) from Scintillating Publications. He was recently nominated for the second time for a Pushcart Prize.

COOL TO BE A CHRISTIAN

by George Held


A revival among both evangelical and traditional churches on campus has made it safe -- and even cool -- to be a college Christian.
—Reuters, 26 Nov. ’07

How cool to be a Christian,
How better than a Deke
To be of the communion
That’s on a winning streak.

How safe to be a Christian,
How better than a Jew,
A Buddhist or Mormon—
Let’s keep them to a few,

Not to say Mohammedans,
Whose scripture’s in error
And makes them prey to Satan
And wed to holy terror.

How nice to be a Christian,
Promised an afterlife,
Unlike benighted heathens,
Who face eternal strife.

Thank God I am a Christian,
With numbers on my side
In this true Christian nation
Where coolness does abide.


George Held has previously contributed to The New Verse News. His latest poetry collection is The Art of Writing and Others (www.finishinglinepress.com, 2007).

Saturday, December 08, 2007

TRANSLATIONS

by Ray Templeton


At one time, we made do with slum,
a single syllable we used to think
could say it all. Trust another culture
to enrich our language – so we got ghetto
with its special connotations: systematic
separation, malice gone municipal.

Then there’s favela – carnival and colour,
fireworks drowning out the thump of bullets.
From the barrios, such vicarious excitement,
such picaresque sensation, that we lift
the rhythms, tunes, street fashions,
leave all the other stuff behind us.

The piquant flavours of each word:
quilombo, colonia, bidonville;
not mentioned in the travelogues
as much as in the headlines on the news –
today the banlieus, tomorrow the palenque ,
next day some far-flung shantytown.

Expanding lexicons, exploding populations –
new terms kick in to spell out shifting facts
of demographics, changing geography.
We can add another one, year on year:
ishish, jhugi, kibera – the different names
to call the places we don’t live in.

Ray Templeton was born in Scotland , and has lived many years in the south of England . His writing, including poetry and short fiction, has appeared both in print and on the web, most recently in Eclectica, Loch Raven Review, qarrtsiluni and Antithesis Common. He is a regular contributor to Musical Traditions and a member of the editorial board of Blues & Rhythm.

Friday, December 07, 2007

CALLING THE WRONG NUMBER

H.L.

"120 War Vets Commit Suicide Each Week"
--Penny Coleman, AlterNet. Posted November 26, 2007.

It is only a number
17
one less than legal
safe to be ignored
one day at a time
17+17+17+17+17+17+17

about 120 in round figures
deaths
per week
those poor vets
who didn't
die
heroes

Don't count for much
until reality
comes calling
for the coalition
the VA
has
willingly forgotten

those poor boys
whose SUVs
(S for suicide
U for undertakers
V for vehicle)
drive slowly
down the dark alley of war

for what?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

MISAPPROPRIATION

by Linda O’Connell


Twisted
Hacking on a bed of deceit
She tries to stretch
her meager check
thinner than the skin on her sunken face.

She needs the elixir to
quell her cough.
Heads to the store 3rd of every month
Clutching her chest and government subsidy.

“Getting a cost of living raise when the new year shoots the moon, honey.”
She’s excited with this distortion of truth.
The pharmacist looks her directly in the eye.
Medication not covered under this plan.

She spews what’s in her chest and on her mind.
Long-armed Uncle Sam doles it out
with one hand,
snatches it back with the other.

January 3rd, she’ll accept the
philanthropic gesture
As she does the peculiar molded cheese
Offered as nutritious and delicious.

Absurd to bind the aged bowels, hands and health of those
who built this country.
Uncle Sam funds a war;
Seniors battle poverty.


Linda O’Connell is a widely published multi-genre writer, full time teacher, writing instructor.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE (NIE) UPDATE

PRESS CONFERENCE 12/04/07


by Scot Siegel


When asked to describe the specifics
of his phone conversation this morning
with President Putin, President Bush said
he would not discuss the specifics of any

conversation with a world leader, any more
than he would want other leaders sharing
the details of his conversations with them; lest
their words get misinterpreted and misused…

Then Bush said he could share some general
themes of his conversation with Mr. Putin. He said,
“we discussed the issue of Iranium…”
and left it at that –


Scot Siegel is a land use planner and poet from Land Oswego, Oregon. His poems have appeared in New Verse News, The Sunday Oregonian, Open Spaces Magazine, and Red River Review, among others.

PICNIC TIME FOR TEDDY BEARS

by Barbara A. Taylor


if you
go down
to the
woods
today
Mohammed
will not
be there
but for
every bear
that ever
there was
today's
the day
the teddy
bears have
their
picnic


Barbara A. Taylor is a regular reader at poetry nights. Her poems appear on literary zines including Triplopia, The Salt River Review, Cezanne’s Carrot, Flashquake, Tattoo Highway, Lynx, Ribbons, Wisteria, Stylus, Kaleidowhirl, Simply Haiku, Kokako, Eucalypt, The Yellow Bat Review, Poemeleon, The Blue Fifth Review, NewVerseNews, Contemporary Haibun On Line, Harrington Lesbian Literary Quarterly, Sinister Wisdom, and others. Poetry with audio is at http://batsword.tripod.com.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

HANDS?

by Steve Hellyard Swartz


They're studying Mesopotamia at my daughter's middle school
After a week of learning about the place, my daughter informed me that the teacher today told them that the new name for it is Iraq
Asking the class:
“Who knows who is fighting in Iraq”?
A boy named Joe said:
“World War II”?
I wondered how many kids thought Joe just might be right
After all, it is one hell of a question
Who knows who is fighting in Iraq ?
Indeed

Is Joe’s answer – World War II – any less off the mark than my “Indeed”
You know, when I wrote “Indeed” I thought – this is probably the end
It’s bone-chillingly damp on the porch where I’ve been sitting and I think the “Indeed” pretty much did it, pretty much made my point, my point, I think, being that the question
is the answer
Who knows who is fighting in Iraq ?
But I stared at “Indeed” for a few minutes
In which time my cigarette killed itself and leaped into a pile of wet pine needles
In which time the guys from the town came by and vacuumed all my leaves from the road in front of my house
In which time the dog stood at the front window and showed off his impressive pearly whites
In which time the guy next door, one of my sworn enemies, crossed the street to see if he had any mail in his mail box, before slouching home empty-handed
In which time I returned to the beginning of the poem and re-read it up to the place where I wrote
Indeed
Who knows who is fighting in Iraq ?
Oh yeah,
I asked my daughter
Did anyone know?
She said “I did, Daddy.
It’s us”.
I asked her if she raised her hand
She said no
Someone else did, though
And what did they say, I wanted to know
My daughter told me –
They got it right.


Steve Hellyard Swartz is an award-winning playwright, filmmaker, and poet. In 1990, his film Never Leave Nevada opened in Dramatic Competition in the U.S. Sundance Film Festival. He has won a "Green Eyeshades Award" from the Society of Professional Journalists for radio arts criticism broadcast on WFSU-FM, NPR for Tallahassee and Panama City, Florida. His poems have been published in newversenews, levelpoetry, switched-on guttenberg, The Kennesaw Review, and Haggard and Halloo. He has won Honorable Mention for his poetry in the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Competition, as well as The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards.

IN A CHEAP HOTEL

by Bill Costley


In a cheap hotel on lower Powell St.,
I boldly told my gerontologist-son:
Army-brat Tom Brokaw honored his
dad's generation as 'The Greatest', but
numerically, The Baby Boomers are;
as human life extends they’ll live longer
& everything will change systemically
thruout the linked systems of human life.
Reincarnation will be accepted as normal,
as checkers ceded to Chinese checkers,
chess from 2-D to 3-D, 4-D, 5-D, 6-D, etc.
Brokaw's semi-Greatest are currently dying
at the rate of 10K/day & in WW2 did w/out
choice. We will choose Living over Dying.


Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco chapter of the National Writers Union.

Monday, December 03, 2007

OUR GOOD NIGHT

by Dale Goodson


good because
I’m next to her
good because she’s next to me
good because
this side of the earth is in darkness
good because
our heads are down
feet touching
fingers clasped

the thin curtains
rise and fall
as if someone giant sized
was breathing on the other side

(but it’s not someone
it’s some thing, something immense out there)

wouldn’t guess
that in other buildings
in other cities
sleep other men
and other women with dynamite in their thoughts
with matches on their night stands
and come morning
they’ll light the stuff
and another good night will be blown into graveyard dust

our night
(this strong hugging)
won’t stand up to the blast

(won’t stand up to nature’s whip either)

but in lying close
in breathing in
in our soft grabs and grasps
we find some defense
bed to bed to bed
with
others like us in ferocious slumber

easily knocked to pieces
but full of good power

I rub my thumb against her palm
she rubs back
the dark bright trees wait for something else


Dale Goodson is a writer from Seattle currently living in New York City and working as a homeless outreach worker in Times Square. He recently created his own website: dalegoodson.com.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

STOMPING ON GARLIC

by Rochelle Ratner


as he stomped on grapes in his father's vineyard, as a child, back in Italy, with everyone else in his father's family. His bare toes already dizzy from the wine. Not in these heavy boots. Not in slum America, where the best job he can get is in a Chinese restaurant. Buffet, no less. No tips. Off some stinking alley. He lifts his foot. He stomps on his mother's grave, then his father's huge hand, then his brother's ass. The same brother who refused to come here with him. He grins for what seems the first time in months. The garlic smell wafts up. It burns his eyes and nostrils.


Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Leads (Otoliths Press, 2007), Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.

AFTERSHOCKS

by Laurie Kuntz


It starts slowly, a rumble
a faint tremble, the light bulb shakes,
the windows wrench -- crushing glass sounds--
    And the reign of distant chimes.
In the end all things not
secured tumble:
My friend writes from Jerusalem , she
rarely goes out, and it is not without
a scrutinizing eye:
The safest corner…
A table away from windows…
She avoids buses, walks everywhere,
but not in that carefree swagger,
barely afforded to the children who walk beside her.
    My Cambodian neighbor wakes most nights,
the same dream jolts her--
mistaking the wind for thunder,
thunder for bombs,
the picture of her eldest
falls off the night table.
    A woman drives over the Brooklyn Bridge,
she thinks she smells the charred papers
that fell from the sky for days.
Excavations have begun.
foundations are set; blueprints blow
against an approaching wind--
Not a bone was returned to her.
    In the end, all things not secured,
Tumble into a reign,
of distant chimes.


Laurie Kuntz’s bio is as elusive as her estrogen levels. Sometimes she remembers she is a poet and sometimes not. During her five minutes in the sun Laurie has done the following: She is the winner of the 1999 Texas Review Chapbook Contest and her chapbook, Simple Gestures, is published by Texas review Press (2000). Blue Light Press published her chapbook, Women at the Onsen, in 2003. Edwin Mellen Press published her poetry collection, Somewhere in the Telling in 1999. She is the author of two English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) books, The New Arrival, BKS. 1 &2(Prentice-Hall, 1982, 1992). She was the editor of the University of Maryland's Asian Division's literary magazine, Blue Muse, and was a contributing editor to Hunger Mountain Magazine. Currently, she is a contributing editor for RockSaltPlum online literary magazine. In 2003, three of her poems were nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize. More on her life and poetry can be seen on lauriekuntzpoetry.homestead.com. Pining for the tropics, she works and writes in Northern Japan.

BEHEADINGS

by Janée Baugher


The machete's long metal flat extending from a fist,
an exclamation mark against each clean throat.
The forty-something middle-America truck driver,
his quiet face on screens and on pages of newspapers.
A blindfold of gauze and duct tape.
Hands bound behind back.
The proud row of masked men.
The final hour before the moon, a giant eye, opens to night,
before the copies of the video hit newsrooms.
Later, the body found stuffed with dynamite.
A corpse with no right to a head.
. . .

The twenty-something Korean translator,
liaison between working tongues and incapable ears.
Before he was pinioned, before the video of a hungry machete,
a clip of him pacing in a red T-shirt and jeans.
Hands pleading, and the mouth:
I do not want to die
In perfect, clear English.
          I
          do
          not
          want
          to die.
A man man-enough to beg for his life.
Such certainty, to want to stay in a world of men against men.

While one man stares into eyes so brown they're black,
the machete penetrates skin, blood as lubricant
so the blade slides easily to the esophagus,
through muscle, to vertebrae and out.
The body drops.
The head held up by a hand.


Janée Baugher's first collection, Coördinates of Yes, was a semifinalist for the 2005 Tupelo First Book Prize, and is available through interlibrary loan. Her second collections, The Body's Physics, was a semifinalist for the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize and a finalist for the Ontario Prize. Baugher teaches Creative Writing at the University of Washington Experimental College during the academic year and at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan each summer.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

EVEL, ARCH KNIEVEL-IST

a beer-kegger's b@ll@d

by Bill Costley

               “He taught by example.”
               --Kelly Knievel, Evel’s oldest son


Dubya ponders the death of 1
who mostly influenced him: Evel,
the Knievelest man in America,
a modern super-stunt legend:

“Dang , ah-cain’t ac-cept his Dayth,.”
maunders Dubya, “Ah-jus’ cain’t.”
Dubya clutches his heart in pain,
then his crotch, then his hard-ass

& falls to the floor, rolling across
to the TV, clicking the zapper
& Evel’s image appears on it,
in his prime, sitting on a H@rley.

“A magniflicent Man on his bahk!”
shouts Dubya from the cold floor,
“Whooda evur a-thot he’d dah? Ah
sawr him cheat Dayth many tahms.”

Dubya thinks of himself on his bike
on the dusty roads of TX, beer-can
in hand, a-laffin’ his hard-ass off,
a-burnin-up the Tayks-ass road.

“Ah shur hope ah kin go lahk he did,”
maunders Dubya, imagining Evel
jumping a ph-phalanx of beer-kegs,
landing on a hard-rock big as Hell.


Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco chapter of the National Writers Union.

EVEL KNIEVEL

after e e cummings

by Earl J. Wilcox


wrecked
who used to
ride a hardracing bike
fasterthanaspeeding                       bullet

and jump over carsand buses        justlikethat!

what I want to know is
how do we expect to
findanotheronejustlikehim?

Cripes!

He was one of a kind!


Earl J. Wilcox founded The Robert Frost Review, which he edited for more than a decade. His poetry was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Friday, November 30, 2007

VAJAYJAY

by Donna Hilbert


Everyone calls it vajayjay
now, you know, down there.
I read this in the New York Times.
Oprah says it.
Steinem has weighed in
hoping it contains the nervy bits
the real V-word ignores.
Me, I love the childhood name
taught by Mom and Mimi:
Whatsa-doodle-dandy!
Big happy word
that rhymes with candy.


Donna Hilbert’s latest poetry collection is Traveler in Paradise: New and Selected Poems, Pearl Editions 2004. Ms. Hilbert appears in and her poetry is the text of the short film, “Grief Becomes Me,” the first in a trilogy of her poems to be included in a documentary on her work and life by award-winning filmmaker Christine Fugate. She lives in Long Beach , California, where she is working on a play and conducting a master class in poetry.

GRIM FAIRY TALES FOR MODERN TIMES

by Nancy Caronia


If, at the beginning of the 21st century, Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger on the spinning wheel—a cursed act that anesthetized an entire kingdom—there would be no prince to climb the thorny walls and plant a kiss. Contemporary male royalty gets too horny planning the next invasion, entering (or exiting) rehab or trolling bars (or executive offices) searching for the perfect mouth to kiss their cocks goodnight. No one, it seems, wants a relationship anymore. A fetishistic furor might be whipped up if the kingdom’s itinerant administration—set up at the time of the prick in faraway New York City’s Gramercy Park—put the Beauty’s slumbering figure on the Internet, but her body would need to be stripped—creamy flesh exposed to the masses of insensitive gawkers who only hoped to catch a glimpse of the numbed out princess awakening to an autoerotic act. There would be no conversation of her award-winning spinning skill. Her kindness to orphaned children in land-mined countries would be lost amidst the stream of anesthetized techno-bloggers who only noticed how one breast was spread out like margarine melting in the hot summer sun. Their blogs would espouse theories as to the scar near her pubis: was it from a secret botched abortion or her father’s tight fist—the rumor being that the former WWF wrestling champion was never able to keep his hands to himself? Mainly though, enthusiasm would wane once Snow White’s dilemma was broadcast—that Wicked Queen breaking down on Oprah’s couch, The mirror made me do it, the mirror made me do it! Or the stepsisters’ revealing to Larry King how Cinderella cheated and stole their rightful place to the crown: She didn’t go into rehab for nothing, they’d sniff. Once the child abuse charges against the Old Woman in the Shoe appeared on every major news channel including the Fox News Network all eyes would turn towards the kids’ anguished faces. The youngest, fathered by the Old Woman’s fifth or perhaps sixth paramour, would blubber, Of course she’s got no husband, who would want to live with her? Then there would be the harrowing tale of Hansel and Gretel—cannibalism in modern times. Oh my! Anderson Cooper would get the scoop on that pair escaping with their lives, minus a few fingers and toes. Perhaps if the fairy witch who cursed Sleeping Beauty shot a video, her hair sheathed in a white turban and dressed in a navy suit, white button-down shirt, and red power tie, where she threatened to do it again, people might fathom the predicament of an anesthetized town lost to a familial curse, but then again, they’d probably rather view the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where the deposed Emperor would hawk his memoir, Finding Fabric. C’mon, Jon would say to the Emperor, You’re telling me you took so many pills you had no idea you were walking around so that your boys were hanging for anyone to see? It’s a little hard to believe, if you know what I mean. The Emperor would smile sheepishly, Yes, Jon, exactly. It was harrowing once I grasped that everyone was witness to my pound of flesh.


Nancy Caronia’s work has previously appeared in Coloring Book (2003 Rattlecat Press), Don't Tell Mama! The Penguin Book of Italian American Writing, and Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture (Feminist Press). She writes the monthly Lesson Plans column for Government Video magazine.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

SEATS OF POWER

Visual by Jeff Crouch
Text by Christopher Woods


Christopher Woods is the author of a prose collection, Under a Riverbed Sky, and a collection of stage monologues for actors, Heart Speak. His play, Moonbirds, about doomed census-takers at work in an uninhabited desert country, received its New York City premiere at Personal Space Theatrics. He lives in Houston and in Chappell Hill , Texas .

Jeff Crouch is an internet artist; he lives in Grand Prairie, Texas . Google “Jeff Crouch” to see what he currently has on the internet or go to: http://www.blueprintreview.de/6jeff_crouch.htm.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

TO DIE IN JERUSALEM

A Documentary
by Sondra Zeidenstein

Make the smallest distinction…
And heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
--The Faith Mind Sutra

Two mothers in Jerusalem: one Jewish, Israeli, one Muslim, Palestinian.

The daughter of one, a suicide bomber.

The daughter of the other, victim of her bomb.

Rachel and Ayat. Both seventeen. Same dark long hair, large dark eyes,
same color skin, same height.

They didn’t know whose body parts belonged to whose body.

For four years since the bombing, Rachel’s mother seeks to meet the
mother of Ayat,

to convince her to condemn the act of her daughter, to urge “her people”
to turn against violence.

She needs her daughter to have died for something.

For four years the mothers are kept apart: impassable checkpoints, fear
of the camp’s dark streets.

Finally they meet, each in front of a camera crew.

They speak to each other’s faces on a tv screen, the covered mother and
the uncovered, each one with a speech

put together over a lifetime:

Say it, that your daughter did wrong. Say you want peace.

When I have a home, when I have my land back, when the occupation
is over.

back and forth:

When you stop, I’ll stop.

No, you stop first.

Terrorist.

Occupier.

My land.

No, my land.

The grooves of language.

Rachel was always at my side. She helped me, always.

Ayat was distinguished. She loved her studies. I would not have let her,
I would have held her back if I knew. But this is what she chose.

Each side given full voice. Even handed. No tanks, no bombs, no stones.

This is not Israel. This is my country.

This is not your country. Just say your daughter is wrong.

Just say you’ve taken my country. Just live in a camp as I do.

Just say peace comes first.

This is bedrock, ground--two pairs of dark eyes grief worn.

I listen until there is no right or wrong.


Sondra Zeidenstein's poems have been published in magazines, journals and anthologies, and in a chapbook collection entitled Late Afternoon Woman. A Detail in that Story is her first book; Resistance is her second. She is editor of several anthologies including A Wider Giving: Women Writing after a Long Silence and Family Reunion: Poems about Parenting Grown Children, and publisher of Chicory Blue Press, a small literary press, now twenty years old, that focuses on strong writing by older women.

UNTIL THE PHOTO WAS DEVELOPED

by B.E. Kahn

In the Judean wilderness, Israeli farmers—
growers of grapes, dates—invite Arab shepherds
there to graze their sheep.
--Item, unreported by any press

In the Judean Desert
there are leopards.

One, in fact, attended
a wedding. He sat in a tree

during the whole affair.
No one knew he was there.


B.E. Kahn, native Philadelphian, now lives in Wynnewood, Pa. Her poems have appeared in Harrisburg Review, CQ, California Quarterly, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Mad Poets Review, Earth’s Daughters, Bridges, A Jewish Feminist Journal and in the June/July 2007 online Tupelo Press Poetry Project as well as other publications. Her awards include First Prize for Poetry at the Philadelphia Writers Conference, a Pennsylvania Council of the Arts Grant and a Pew Grant for Studies in the Humanities.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

IN DARFUR

by Yolanda Coulaz


little girls don't wear lace
or play with dolls.
They are taken,
taken by the janjaweed,
taken with the women
with the camels
with the cows.
Some return;
some are never seen again.

In Darfur
in a lawless land
the mango tree falls
crops burn
carcasses float in the wells
wadis are bare, broken by bombs.

In Darfur
across a scorched earth
Satan rides a stallion, and the
white bird does not come in peace.


Yolanda Coulaz is a poet, photographer, editor and founder of Purple Sage Press. Her poetry has won a number of awards and has been widely published. Her signature poem "Cool, Cotton Comfort" won first place in the Mattia Family 8th International Poetry Competition. Coulaz has published an anthology of animal poems For Loving Precious Beast to help benefit Loving Touch Animal Rescue. Her first book of poetry Spirits and Oxygen was released in 2003 and is currently being use in an advanced course in poetry at SUNY Stony Brook.

Monday, November 26, 2007

THE NEWS AT 11

by Howie Good


The world is a rifle butt
smashed in your face,

a panting hand reaching
for your only child.

And now the weather.

What if our hearts weren’t
such paper-thin bags

of blood and vomit,
what if they were shiny,

like the water-bright coats
of prancing red horses.


Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of three poetry chapbooks, Death of the Frog Prince (2004) and Heartland (2007), both from FootHills Publishing, and Strangers & Angels, forthcoming from Scintillating Publications. He was recently nominated for the second time for a Pushcart Prize.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA

for Upton Sinclair


by David LaBounty


there were anarchists
and socialists just as

there was blood
in the hearts and
in the streets and

the poor got richer even though

the rich stayed rich.

later.

now.

the rich are getting richer
and I'm getting poorer

and the network news has kept
all the anarchists and socialists

far,

far away.


David LaBounty's recent poetry has appeared in Dogmatika, Word Riot, Pemmican, Unlikely 2.0, Outsider Writers and other journals.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

POSTMODERNISM'S RITUALS

by Marcus Bales
(after W.S. Gilbert)


Postmodernist:
I am the very model of postmodernism’s rituals
My world is made of language reinforced by strong habituals --
There’s nothing really out there, and there’s no one who exists for me –
And any people hearing this are other solipsists for me.
The world is in my head, I don’t believe in physicality;
I brilliantly create it all with magical reality,
Rejecting all experience with mystical depravity –
Ignoring Alan Sokal’s twenty-storey test of gravity.

Chic Chorus:
Ignoring Alan Sokal’s twenty-storey test of gravity.
Ignoring Alan Sokal’s twenty-storey test of gravity.
Ignoring Alan Sokal’s twenty-storey test of gravity.

Postmodernist:
It used to be that science was the tool for every liberal
To use to show that kings and priests were selling mystic gibberal,
But now we want our new-age crystal-gazing fuddy-duddying
Not lectures, labs, experiments, or -- goddess save us! -- studying.

Chic Chorus:
But now we want our new-age crystal-gazing fuddy-duddying
Not lectures, labs, experiments, or -- goddess save us! -- studying.

Postmodernist:
Postmodern art is anything an artist may assert it is;
It isn’t hard to see what kind of formless blowhard blurt it is.
Where nothing’s good or bad there’s only infinite variety:
Your deepest held belief is someone else’s impropriety.
And even that’s not really real, your brain is just achieving it
Through language, fear, and habit, and believing in believing it --
Which means respect the rules of which each local god has sent a list:
You cannot be postmodern if you’re not a fundamentalist.

Chic Chorus:
You cannot be postmodern if you’re not a fundamentalist.
You cannot be postmodern if you’re not a fundamentalist.
You cannot be postmodern if you’re not a fundamentalist.

Postmodernist:
We don’t distinguish good from bad – we can’t be preferentialist --
And sneer at beauty, justice, truth, and balance as essentialist.
Reality is all made up, and truth’s a triviality,
And science isn’t anything but jumped-up mysticality.

Chic Chorus:
Reality is all made up, and truth’s a triviality,
And science isn’t anything but jumped-up mysticality.

Postmodernist:
When I can claim there’s no there there, it isn’t verifiable –
Which means that any claim that I put forward’s undeniable;
When I can claim that making claims is meaningless is meaningless --
As if to try to sanitize a hospital by cleaning less;
When all I need to do is spout some double talk for victory
By claiming contradiction is itself a contradictory,
When all that science claims is that it’s merely hypothetical
Then heresy is always truth and every truth heretical!

Chic Chorus:
Then heresy is always truth and every truth heretical!
Then heresy is always truth and every truth heretical!
Then heresy is always truth and every truth heretical!

Postmodernist:
And so therefore we’ve cleared away the sciences’ dementedness,
And we are left to celebrate our contentless contentedness:
Our world is made of language reinforced by strong habituals --
We are the very models of postmodernism’s rituals.

Chic Chorus:
Our world is made of language reinforced by strong habituals --
We are the very models of postmodernism’s rituals.

Friday, November 23, 2007

IN DEFENSE OF SENATOR CLINTON

by Anne G. Davies


When candidates look for a victim to pillory
Donkey or elephant—they all point at Hillary
Giuliani says she’s slippery and pushy
Edwards says she’s a closet Bushie
Romney says she’s keen on abortion
Obama says her ego’s out of proportion
They all say her positions are inconsistent
And complain that she seems attack-resistant
They resent the white-haired guy who’s coaching her
And find endless reasons for reproaching her.
They all hotly deny it’s a matter of gender
So no gentleman need rise to defend her
Though she may not deserve to be the winner
In the mix she’s hardly the greatest sinner.
Like all the others she has flagrant faults
But she alone is subject to such assaults.
What drives them berserk is the thought of a female
With POTUS.gov the address on her email.


Anne G. Davies is a fund-raising writer by profession and a writer and versifier by avocation. Her work has been published in local and regional papers. She lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

22 AND 44

by George Held


Our age is numerical—lists of numbers,
Numbers crunchers, statistics, numerical
Compilations and projections—
And this is the 44th anniversary of JFK’s
Assassination on November 22, 1963 .

Thanksgiving would be late that year
And gloomy, like your mother’s
First birthday a week after she died.
This year Thanksgiving is the earliest
A fourth Thursday in November can fall.

In a classroom in Kapalama Heights ,
Where an unexploded Japanese bomb
Fell on December 7, 1941 , I was teaching
My first period English class to cadets
At The Kamehameha School for Boys.

On the ancient intercom the voice
Of Principal Allen A. Bailey crackled
As he calmly reported the shooting.
He asked us to stay in our classrooms
Until further notice while he piped in

Walter Cronkite’s radio coverage
Of the unfolding events. I turned
To look at the glamorous color picture
Of the President and the First Lady
That I’d tacked on the bulletin board.

My students’ eyes, some tearing,
Gazed at me as intently as if I were
Reading “To be or not to be, that
Is the question.” The company commander,
The boys who would be shot up in ’ Nam ,

The future head of the school’s trustees,
The airline pilot, the suicide—all looked
To me for assurance that the President
Would recover, the government would not fall,
The world would not end that day.

Kennedy would be the last president
Whose portrait I’d put up, the last president
Whose spirit inspired us to welcome
Our better angels, the last president
Whose virtues seemed to exceed his flaws.

His voice ringing in our ears, his wit,
His vigor in the face of chronic pain,
The sense that this sailor was truly
At the helm still inform our memories.
Dare we compare Number Forty-three?

Today we are thankful for those memories,
Much as they haunt us. Today we mourn
The death that made the bell toll for us,
For the dream America is Number One,
For the people we once believed we could be.


George Held has previously contributed to The New Verse News. His latest poetry collection is The Art of Writing and Others (www.finishinglinepress.com, 2007).