Wednesday, October 01, 2014

IN THE DESERT OF IRAQ

by Donal Mahoney





It took awhile to find Osama.
It will take awhile to find
the Briton with his knife
in the desert of Iraq.
They may bring him back
unless a verdict’s rendered
in the desert
enabling the Briton
to discover in a second
all the virgins
awaiting his arrival
unless he finds
he’s sitting with Osama
holding marshmallows
blackened on a stick.


Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, he has had poetry and fiction published in various publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

THE BASEBALL SEASON'S

by Earl J. Wilcox


The San Francisco Giants celebrate wild-card clinch in their clubhouse following their 9-8 win against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)


after e e cummings


defunct
which used to be far fewer games
   but now we play almost
intoNovemberwearingovercoatsandmittensingames
   during April and October
the Jeter circus has left town
   along with Zimmerman’s no hitter
Trout’s tantrums Puig&Pujhols' slambamthankyouma’am
   and what I want to know is
how do you like your wild card now
   Mr Selig


Earl J. Wilcox writes about aging, baseball, literary icons, politics, and southern culture. His work appears in more than two dozen journals; he is a regular contributor to The New Verse News. More of Earl's poetry appears at his blog, Writing by Earl.

Monday, September 29, 2014

ERASING HISTORY

by Janet Leahy



Image source: 7NewsDenver



"A newly conservative board for the Jefferson County School District, which is Colorado’s second-largest, raised the possibility of pruning the curriculum of books and material that could be seen to exalt civil disobedience and promote unpatriotic thoughts. Where does that leave the civil rights movement? Vietnam?" --Frank Bruni, “The Wilds of Education, NY Times, September 27, 2014

"The organization that oversees the Advanced Placement curriculum, whose history course is being defended by massive, ongoing student protests in a Denver suburb, has now said that it backs those protests. The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program supports the actions taken by students in Jefferson County, Colorado to protest a school board member’s request to censor aspects of the AP U.S. History course," said a statement from the College Board released on Friday. --HuffPost, September 27, 2014


In Colorado
students march with teachers protesting
the school board’s agenda to change
the AP history curriculum.
Why teach evolution, climate change,
the civil rights struggle, the exploitation
of Indigenous People?
Why teach critical thinking?
Just erase the chapters of the past that might
cast a negative light—
the bombing of Hiroshima, slavery.
Rip whole chapters from history books.
Red-flag for omission accurate facts
that show Americans
treating others as less than human.
The scholarship of history in question.
Yet these students
keep their eyes on the prize,
demanding an education aligned with truth,
knowing
ignorance is not bliss.


Janet Leahy writes poetry in New Berlin, Wisconsin.  A member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, she has two collections of poetry, The Storm, Poems of War, Iraq and Not My Mother’s Classroom.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

THE ARTHUR MURRAY STUDIO IN MOSUL

by Christopher Woods




Has gone dark and quiet and sad,
But still the dancers come,
All ages, both sexes, sit in chairs,
In circles, or in lines facing each other,
No longer allowed the art of movement.
But imagination still breathes deeply
As they imagine dancing a polka,
Foxtrot, recall the smiles of partners
Taking each other’s hands, or holding
A lover close as a song ends.
No music here now, but who can forget
A glorious Strauss waltz, a sensual samba.
Still, they cannot, will not, surrender.
So in the ballroom gloom,
They silently, defiantly,
Hum Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”
Over the din of madness
In the street outside.


Christopher Woods is a writer, teacher and photographer who lives in Texas.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE

by Martin Elster



This is an illustration of water in our Solar System through time from before the Sun's birth through the creation of the planets. (Image source: Bill Saxton, NSF/AUI/NRAO via Science Daily) “Water was crucial to the rise of life on Earth and is also important to evaluating the possibility of life on other planets. Identifying the original source of Earth's water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments come into being and how likely they are to be found elsewhere. New work from a team including Carnegie's Conel Alexander found that much of our Solar System's water likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space. Their work is published in Science.” --Science Daily, September 25, 2014


The molecules commingling in your glass
once swirled in clouds of interstellar gas,
surrendered to a leisurely collapse
and drenched a world whose pair of crystal caps
interns them under sleds and fleecy shoes,
while warmer zones allow them to infuse
the stems and stalks of your Kukicha tea
or trickle up your favorite apple tree.
A cornice softens on the Matterhorn,
hastens toward Green Lake to be reborn
a mirror amid the heights, evaporates,
condenses in a stretch of blue, then waits
for drops to fuse and fatten, fall and land
on forest, field or the parading band —
a rill of resonances drifting down
the central boulevard of some small town,
each drumming hand, each fifing lung, each brain
brimming with primeval, living rain.


Martin Elster, author of There’s a Dog in the Heavens!, is also a composer and serves as percussionist for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. His poems have appeared in such journals as Astropoetica, The Flea, The Martian Wave, The Rotary Dial, and in the anthologies Taking Turns: Sonnets from Eratosphere, The 2012 Rhysling Anthology, and New Sun Rising: Stories for Japan. Martin’s poem, “Walking With the Birds and the Bones Through Fairview Cemetery” received first prize in the Thomas Gray Anniversary Poetry Competition 2014.

Friday, September 26, 2014

AUTUMN EQUINOX

by Howie Good


Image source: Country Wives


A swirling cloud of rocks & gravel
sweeps along the ground,
& before I have time to develop
a plausible theory about it,

the woman staggers up to me,
an eye missing, a hand gone,
a brittle blue flower tucked saucily
behind her remaining ear,
& I suddenly know of what the future consists:

a certain unrest in all there has been,

the desire to rescue scrap
& then serve celebratory champagne
to saints & alcoholics,

an unpremeditated encounter
at the breakfast table with an apple, pears,
a heart cut with a cake knife.


Howie Good's latest book of poetry is The Complete Absence of Twilight (2014) from MadHat Press.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

MOVING FURTHER UP THE COAST

by Laura Rodley



Image source: Professor Potts


Clear balloon like creature, submarine shaped
with small yellow orange and pink dots draped
along its body, tiny beads for eyes
and tendrils on its bottom, a surprise
swishing through the salt sea water, small as
my hand disappearing into morass
of bright green sea lettuce waving on rocks
but tide is leaving and this creature balks
from swimming with current into the sea
squishes against rocks covered with wavy
green troll hair, but he’ll dry up in the sun
and die if he doesn’t hurry up and run
into tidal sluice, so I herd him out,
guide him with my hand towards ocean, turned about,
this squid moving up the coast, weather’s burst,
hotter, never seen one before, my first.


Laura Rodley’s New Verse News poem “Resurrection” appears in The Pushcart Prlze XXXVII: Best of the Small Presses (2013 edition). She was nominated twice before for the Prize as well as for Best of the Net. Her chapbook Rappelling Blue Light, a Mass Book Award nominee,  won honorable mention for the New England Poetry Society Jean Pedrick Award. Her second chapbook Your Left Front Wheel is Coming Loose was also nominated for a Mass Book Award and a L.L.Winship/Penn New England Award. Both were published by Finishing Line Press.  Co-curator of the Collected Poets Series, she teaches creative writing and works as contributing writer and photographer for the Daily Hampshire Gazette.  She edited As You Write It, A Franklin County Anthology, Volume I and Volume II.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

AND SPLINTER

by Mark Danowsky



Image source: CNN, September 22, 2014

Obama Says Airstrikes Go Beyond ISIS --NY Times, September 23, 2014

I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed! -- Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ode to the West Wind"


History is a lesson in repetition.
I know I’ve heard that said before.
Just like I’ve heard about us arming
and training rebel groups before.

Later, it almost goes without saying,
we will be forced to send more troops,
our troops, guns to combat guns
we sent the rebels we trained
since now they’re in charge
and causing us problems
because they will not give up
guns or beliefs
for our idea of democracy.

Look, we do what we have to
for others, in a well-known exchange
of autonomy, independence, hell
even free temptation
to be insular, given the dynamic
nature of our global community.

It’s an exponential market out there.
No one wants to be picked on
today, check out foreign policy
in Switzerland and France.
Most of us want greater good
in spite of mistakes made
and made again
in pursuit of good.

Evil cares little for mistakes
finding factious home
among the fractures
becoming legion
as we must in desperation
to eradicate this menace
by division.


Mark Danowsky’s poetry has appeared in Apiary, Alba: A Journal of Short Poetry, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Red River Review, Right Hand Pointing, Snow Monkey and The New Verse News.  His poem "5am Summer Storm"won Imitation Fruit’s “Animals and Their Human’s” Contest, in 2013. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Mark currently lives in a van down by the Susquehanna River. He works for a private detective agency and is assistant copy editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

SINNED AGAINST

by Kit Zak




For fifteen seconds they streaked across the TV
three gals sporting signs for Ray
boobs pressed against t’s in baiting provocation
pom-pomming their support
for Ravens’ player Rice (only the latest)

maybe it happens in infancy
ingrained in DNA
the girl-child, Adam’s cast-off rib
second best/ split tail
cheerleading their hearts out

maybe the father preferred sons
or he submerges the mother’s weak ego--
witness the daughters, their voiceless smiling
how some touchstone for female being
repeats/repeats

ritualized violation
in one hundred and twenty countries
girls as young as five
held down by fellow females
their womanhood razored or knifed
and if they survive
proclaimed pure.                                                                                                        

uncounted nuns minioned to priests
unequal for centuries
tonguing their shame
as ‘the good father’ dispenses the wafers                                                                                                  
and we, who have been tattooed to serve
smile and offer tea.


Kit Zak retired from teaching and threw herself into some environmental projects in sea-threatened Delaware. She has published poems in The New Verse News, California Quarterly, A Time of Singing, The Blue Collar Review, and The Broadkill Review as well as several anthologies. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

HIMALAYA RHAPSODY

by Stefanie Bennett


Tsering Tsomo, speaking on behalf of the Society for Threatened Peoples, highlighted the recent shooting in Kardze, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Sichuan Province) as a recent example of the People’s Republic of China being caught in a downward spiral of violence in Tibet. . . . Exercising its right to reply, the PRC accused NGOs of turning a “blind eye” and trying to politicize human rights. --Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, September 18, 2014


Your tears have a way of working.
The miracles they perform
Are dispatched to the authorities.

You say you mean peace. I say war
Is of more value. You do not intend
To harm me... it's said over and again.

Convince me!

String up those genocides for
All to see. Spit out
The eyes... take mine...

I don't need your need.


Stefanie Bennett has published eighteen books of poetry and 1 novel. Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee], she was born in Townsville, North Queensland, Australia, in 1945. Stefanie's latest poetry title 'The Vanishing' is due at year's end from Walleah Press.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

POLLUTED LEGACY

by Charles Frederickson




Dysfunctional planet implosive uncivil warmongers
Warped minds bent on self-destruction
Obsessive-compulsive hateful fears carefully taught
Lessons learned today tomorrow’s legacies

Wild nature everything we’re struggling
To tame greedy excess abuses
Gaining reverence for natural world
Existence all forms of life

Eco-systems being destroyed used up
Lacerating soiled Earth begging mercy
Gouging riches stripping life-preserver dermis
Poisoning pure air water foodstuff

Outliving your life making difference
Create own legacy caring for
Others indelibly etched into brainwaves
Carved onto hearts not tombstones

Joyous cherished moments shared memories
Doing something positively original inspiring
Next generation’s unique extraordinary perspectives
Unimaginable next interconnected digital level

Cultivating tolerant multiversity conservation no
Longer luxury option survival imperative
Running out of natural resources
Now running out of time


No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson  proudly presents YouTube mini-movies @ YouTube – CharlesThai1 .

Saturday, September 20, 2014

IMPRESSION

by W.F. Lantry




Our marbled cherry trees have lost their leaves.
It’s not yet solstice. Birds are gathering
in hidden trees along the riverside.
I listen to them from the forest’s edge
and mark the dew on willows, heavy pods
of wisteria, weighing down each separate vine,
disordered grass stems tangling Mary’s feet.

We’ve each spent lifetimes learning all these signs:
our Fall is coming, even though the days
seem long enough to finish everything.
I take on so little. I take on far too much:
the red clay pond, half dug and filled with rain
beckons. It’s pleasant work, but other tasks
with other frames conspire. Is there time?

And yesterday, at dusk, we crossed a field.
I offered her my shirt against the cold
and noticed how the hawks have disappeared
replaced by owls and foxes, how the deer
made bold by wind, invade, how sedum change
from white to rose. Some moving into red
presage feathered designs of ice-framed ponds.



W.F. Lantry’s poetry collections are The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012), winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, The Language of Birds(Finishing Line 2011), and a forthcoming collection The Book of Maps. Honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize, Crucible Editors' Poetry Prize, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (Israel), and the Potomac Review and LaNelle Daniel Prizes. His work has appeared in Atlanta Review, Asian Cha and Aesthetica. He works in Washington, DC and is an associate fiction editor at JMWW.

Friday, September 19, 2014

RELEASING THE BURKA

by Catherine Cimillo Cavallone


. . . Nor is there any evidence in the Koran to support the wearing of the burka. Indeed, the Holy Book stipulates that men ‘should lower their gaze’ when meeting women to avoid lecherous staring (verse 24, chapter 30). So logically, if women were fully covered up there would be no need for such an instruction. Some Muslim clergy claim that the burka is religiously necessary. They assert this because the Prophet Muhammad’s wives allegedly hid their faces in public. These puritanical clerics do not base their theological misrepresentations on the Koran but on the subsidiary and suspect hadith (a collection of books containing the reputed sayings of Muhammad, written 250 years after his death).  In any case, this is a wilful misreading of scripture. In fact, verse 32 of chapter 33 in the Koran explicitly states that ‘the Prophet’s wives are not like other women’. So  there is no reason to emulate them. Just as revealingly, it is forbidden for Muslim women going on pilgrimages to Mecca to cover their faces. So if such a pre-Islamic practice is banned in Islam’s holiest site, why on earth would it be required on the streets of Britain? The truth is that there is no theological foundation for these separatist face masks, as most non-fundamentalists recognise. Only recently, Al-Azhar, the leading institution of Muslim theology in the Islamic world, declared that the burka has no spiritual authenticity. --Dr Taj Hargey, Imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation and the Director of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford


First,
she will feel the caked earth

under
mud huts seeping through

her
blistered toes.

Then,
the winds will wrap about her ankles

and
coil up her splintered calves.

Next,
her knees, like desert rocks,

will
buckle and shake as she exposes

her
heaving midriff to the flagrant sunlight.

Then,
her breasts, like two ashen husks,

will
quiver in the stagnant air.

And
finally, her eyes,

like
landmines about to detonate onto the world,

will
gaze upon the adumbration of where

a
woman once stood.


Catherine Cimillo Cavallone is a teacher of middle school students. Her work has appeared in Four Walls, Sensations Magazine, The Rift Arts Forum Publication, Beyond the Rift-Poets of the Palisades, Red River Review, Phantom Kangaroo, Red Wheel Barrow, Turk’s Head Review and is forthcoming in Oddville Press and Nerve Lantern.  She lives in New Jersey with her husband George and son Michael.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

by Lawrence J. Krips






Your article from February ninth
said nothing of how our terrorist search
protects no one but brings internecine fear
and what is it we teach?
So your author says of all the foiled plots
homeland has been saved many a day
not mentioning we’ve lost our country;
the freedom to be free, the world in dismay.

                        ~

I read your editorial on peace
and wonder when our nation will love,
love some space, just one small piece,
love even ones we hate.
My suggestion for your readers
is to start with loving us,
then we will stop killing our leaders
and then cease killing every one else.

                        ~

All I can say
is bless the N.R.A.
Who else to defend our rights
against unconstitutional insights?
The best protection is to arm.
More automatics keeps us from harm.
The radicals steal our guns
by stealing our rights one by one.

                        ~

The drones,
the killings,
the Americans.
Robot dragons
spit their fire.
the haste of death.
Blood spattered dreams –
            whose?
have died.

                        ~

We need to keep drilling.
Capitalism runs upon it.
We need to keep on killing.
This control is our ace in the hole.
We need to have more money
to serve the people who deserve.
We need to have soldiers in the army
to protect our preserve.

                        ~

Your anorexic take on modern psychotherapy
left me less than informed or cheered.
The lucid truth is therapy
is as good as the therapist.
And despite your insecurities about process
those that remain in the land of effects
remain in a territory tending toward death
instead of here in the thick of the juice.

                                                                                                                                             
Lawrence J. Krips is a writer and an empowerment coach.  His poems have appeared in Rhode Island Writers Circle Anthology, Origami Poems Project and Tifferet.  In 2012 he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

SPLIT IMAGE

by Susan Roney-O'Brien



Photo by Phil Plait, Bad Astronomy


Birds rise, sun in their throats,
and each note sung
closes day.

The mother sobs.
Her son is dead, murdered by police.

Catalpa flowers’
whitest cupped petals
float silent onto grass.

A woman raped,
hanged, her eyes opened. A priest nods.

On the pond beyond green bank
oaks reflect; fish
pass through shade.

Isis annihilates homes,
beheads an American journalist.

Before baling, the hayfield’s
crumpled waves break
against light.

Forgiveness bleeds out.
Dawn clenches clouds like fists.


Susan Roney-O'Brien lives in Princeton, MA, has won the William and Kingman Page Poetry Book Award, been nominated for 5 Pushcart Prizes, been selected NEATE's Poet-of-the-Year, works with young writers to publish their books, and has published widely in literary magazines. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A HARD SHARP BLADE CUTS

by Gil Hoy


Photo by Mike Batterham, Gold Coast Bulletin


through pulsating flesh, as
the hot orange sun glistens
on freshly red-tainted steel.

No moans, no cries, no gasps,
as the core of a rational caring
man drops to the ground
with a sickening thud.

A Prime Minister recoils in
disgust at an uncivilized war
and the provocative evil
natives who dared to show

the world what a savage
brutal killing entails.
The monstrous revenge of
bombs continues to rein on

villages of the weak, who have
no say over anything, and have
been moved into the firing zone,
their killing ordered by faceless

masters they will never know,
unconcerned with the day’s
politics, just wanting another
day’s food and shelter.

A smiling child skips along
the beach in her wildly carefree
exuberance, dexterously
dodging the remaining sea tide

of welcoming puddles, not knowing
about the boys coming home in
body bags from ruinous
wars that she never would have

wanted, awed by the rhythmic
tidal sounds and smell of sea
salt, as a bagpipe player
in full regalia thinks about

the way the world still conducts
war and plays haunting songs
in the sand. A disgraced

soldier receives God’s
commendation for abandoning the
flag and disobeying a command,

while an inquisitive circling seagull flies
overhead looking for something
fresh to eat in the sea’s puddles.


Gil Hoy studied poetry at Boston University, and started writing his own poetry in February of this year. Since then, Gil’s poems have been published in Soul Fountain, The New Verse News, The Story Teller Magazine, the Clark Street Review, Eye On Life Magazine, and Stepping Stones Magazine.

Monday, September 15, 2014

CORPORATE CRUSADER

by Richard O’Connell


Darkness over NYSE by Fernando de Otto


Prodigal of blood and treasure not his own,
He beats the drum for war and martyrdom.


Richard O'Connell lives in Deerfield Beach, Florida.  His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure. National Review, The Texas Review, Acumen, The Paris Review, The Formalist,. His most recent collections are Dawn Crossing and Waiting for the Terrorists.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

RAIN NIGHT

by David Chorlton





The streets flowed easily,
one into another, and the full moon rolled
behind the clouds. Thunder
beat against the door
to wake a sleeper who had been dreaming
disconcerting dreams
and who rose to ghost to the kitchen
through the living room, whose darkness
was tempered by reflections
coming from the raindrops as they filled
with light from the streetlamps
coming down.
                     The house was floating
on insomnia. A television
flashed on, and the evangelist who never sleeps
strode up and down a stage
wearing a suit cut from sharkskin and stars
while he turned a Bible’s pages
as if counting money. The next
channel showed a drama
in which throats were slashed
convincingly, and the story turned back
on itself until the guilty party
took her own life with a gesture
worthy of an opera. It was a fine
entertainment for the hour
                                         preceding
the early local news
that revealed the city under water
with nightlights and headlamps and searching
while saguaros took in more water
than their roots could hold
and tumbled with a splash
onto the ground. By dawn’s early light
on the freeway,
                        car roofs broke a surface
so calm it was more
beautiful than the usual
rush to be somewhere
other than here. The bickering
over climate change stalled
with the traffic;
                        replaced by this new
experience leaving everyone
impressed by nature’s power.


David Chorlton came to Arizona in 1978 after living in England and Austria. He has spent more than three decades stretched between cultures and writing poetry, the pick of which has just appeared as his Selected Poems, from FutureCycle Press.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

SCOTLAND FOREVER

by Mary McLean






As we drove home from Edinburgh

following the Fringe,

romantic jingoism sparked

a Scottish music binge.



Our CD player blasted out

the Corries' famous song

putting Proud Edward in his place,

and we both sang along. 



We chose Proclaimers' Greatest Hits

to carry on the mood,

neglecting to eject the Corries

first. Now both are screwed.



The Corries, on the bottom, we

can listen to; but then,

no more CDs will ever ever

ever play again.



Think about it, Scotland, in

the coming referendum.

A Yes vote might feel satisfying

now, with the momentum



of national pride; you'll still have oil;

you'll win some golds at curling;

but do you want to live your lives

stuck On the Brig o' Stirling?


Mary McLean grew up outside Washington DC and now works as a scientist at the University of Cambridge. Her poems have appeared in Mezzo Cammin, Light and Lighten Up Online.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A SQUARE IN RAQQA, SYRIA

by John Guzlowski



ISIL beheads civilians in the city of Al-Raqqa. --Syria Newsdesk


The corpse in the street
Is headless

Flies do their business
Sow their seeds

Nearby a man sells
Tea and cigarettes

There is no place
For irony


John Guzlowski’s writing has appeared in The Ontario Review, Atlanta Review, and Exquisite Corpse.  His poems about his parents’ experiences in Nazi concentration camps appear in his book Lightning and Ashes.