Tuesday, October 21, 2014

THE GREAT METAMODERN RUBRIC'S CUBE OF DENYING AMJAD NASSER ENTRY INTO THE HOME LAND OF CORPORATOCRACY'S OVERLORDS


by Steve LaVigne


“Poetry can be dangerous,” Rumi said, and U.S. Homeland Security isn’t taking any chances. The Jordanian-British poet Amjad Nasser had been invited to speak at New York University this fall, but on Sept. 27, he was questioned for two hours at London’s Heathrow airport and then prevented from flying to the United States. . . . “There are many literary activities that I am invited to and I can not go to because of this is problem, which is incomprehensible to me,” Nasser said. “I do not belong to any political party now, and I am against the use of religion in politics anywhere in the world. I am of those who say that without dialogue between intellectuals and thinkers in the world we can not bridge the gaps, whether real or artificial. This world is small and we have no other and we have to make it a viable place to live.”--Ron Charles, Washington Post, October 10, 2014. Image source: The Poetry Trust

“These are Orwellian times,
and the surveillance state is protecting us
from harmful poetry.” 
--Prof. Sinan Antoon,
who had invited Nasser to NYU.

I am a cowboy
nothing between me and my mustache
but miles and miles of federal BLM land

In the immortal words of my father “when you
don’t even have a pot to piss in” - he always
forgetting to mention who then becomes the pot

I too want to be denied entry into the United States
for my political beliefs
but I have already denied them myself
for all these years finally losing the hope
in hopelessness
the nothing in everyone else’s something
When is a poem not a one man or woman show?
I so want to own rip away velour sweat pants
just waiting for the coach to put me in

Let me start again

I want to be a poet like Amjad Nasser
dearly beloved of translators
invited as keynote speaker at NYU’s Gallatin
Global Writers Series
but denied entry by the Home Land
security
I want to be The Poet so dangerous
that even the reason I am not allowed to enter
the conversation
is classified
after all these years of dull schooling I
have finally unlearned this thing
taxonomy is the study of the commons
that which we all share in common
divided into hierarchies
it branches up and up but it’s not a tree
like your were taught or even
a burning bush
but a great wooden cross
(see, oh my mother swooning in ecstasy)
someone must be sacrificed
and you thought it would be someone else cowboy?
It is the great ascendancy of statistics
they lied when they said statistics lie - damn lies
an image lies, your emotion lies
your lover lies beneath
your words - when your words create
reality
85 people control as much wealth as the poorest
3, zero zero zero, zero zero zero, zero zero zero billion
people
the first thing
with just zero point five percent of the richest 1%’s wealth
I want you to know
poverty could be eliminated
I am not
¼ of the jobs in America in some way relate
to making sure the richest
bullshitting
don’t have to share with the rest of us
you
How do I know god does not exist
If god did exist she would be a catholic nun
kindergarten teacher - her ruler of justice
coming down on the knuckles of those too greedy
few saying “share god damn you, you filthy little cretins”
every       rubric’s    solvable     every
cube is    solvable    rubric’s      cube is
as long as you know there is no such thing
it’s a rubik’s cube - I am such an idiot
for not understanding words or even a few letters
make or unmake worlds
hope in hopelessness
I never thought I would be the one wearing a habit
a god in my own uncomfortable classroom
my grandparents went through the great depression
and I remember thinking what is wrong with them
that haunted look in their eyes - some kind of
PTSD - I remember thinking can’t they just get over it
but now I see that same look in other
people’s eyes - young eyes
my grandparents having died years ago
and the only thing I can really remember
no matter how old or frail they seemed
when they looked at you
when they gave you that look
you did not want to fuck with them



Steve Lavigne runs a local poetry group in Champaign Illinois. It meets weekly to discuss, create and share poetry in order to build community through the power and practice of poetry.

Monday, October 20, 2014

NO EYE FOR AN EYE

by Judith Terzi


Above: David Greenglass, with his sister, Ethel Rosenberg. (Image source: NY Times.) Known as "the spy that turned his family in," Greenglass died in July 2014. His death was only recently announced.


For he was ninety-two and she dead 
at thirty-seven     five
shocks before sundown to put her 
out at Sing Sing
No remorse from this man who 
stole his sister's breath 
to save his wife's     his kids'     Did he 
ever imagine that currents 
would flow through his own flesh 
and blood     smoke 
rushing from his sister's head
like a geyser?     Five jolts 
before the Jewish sabbath began     

For he was free before his fifteen years 
were up     For he was free 
to change his name     like Ethel's children 
had to     And all the while     
Ike     lounging in August fragrance     
on a balcony of air     under 
the dome of a red umbrella   its spokes 
taut as the narrowing of mind


Judith Terzi is the author of Sharing Tabouli and Ghazal for a Chambermaid (Finishing Line). Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in BorderSenses, The Raintown Review, Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s (She Writes), TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism, Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque), and elsewhere. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and Web.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

IF DIAMONDS WERE MADE OF COAL

by Tom Russell




Shallow men with deep pockets and dark goals
say that up is down and down is up.
Their corrupted family values put the Koch brothers ahead
of working mothers and fathers and leave
far too many to the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Their ballot-mining canaries sing boastfully
of ransacking the middle class and liquidating
those with less.
All who are the coal for their diamonds.

Good common sense and
a sense of the common good
are Black Lung to these dregs and dredgers.
Good common sense and
a sense of the common good
will silence the dirges of their dirty yellow birds.


Tom Russell works at the Omaha Public Library in Omaha, Nebraska.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

WHAT THE POOR DO

by Janice Lynch Schuster


Photo source: lorena pajares


for Ai-jen Poo and Maria Shriver


When the poor woman leans in

it is to hold the steering wheel tight

and grip hard, sliding into the turn

to avoid a skid on wet pavement

and tires worn to a sheen.

She sits closer to a small flame

on a gas stove, and rubs her hands

with her children’s, because electricity

is money burning, and she doesn’t have it.

She leans in with someone else’s child

on her hip, over a sink,

scrubbing hard at the dirt

others leave behind, polishing

her body to exhaustion.

When the poor woman leans in

to the cashier at the food store

it is to whisper about bringing the five

dollars short tomorrow,

and has Oreos because apples and oranges

are something more entirely.


Janice Lynch Schuster is the author of a collection, Saturday at the Gym, and has been published in various print and online venues, including Poet Lore, Your Daily Poem, and The Broadkill Review. She writes about health care and public policy, lives in Annapolis, MD, and works in Washington, DC.

Friday, October 17, 2014

THE COMING OF COLUMBUS

by John Z. Guzlowski


"The arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas marked the meeting of previously separate biological worlds." --"The Columbian Exchange" by J.R. McNeil, Learn NC (Painting: "Landing of Columbus" by John Vanderlyn, commissioned 1836/1837; placed 1847. Capitol Rotunda, Washington, D.C.)



Everywhere
trees paused
their slow growth
upward and outward
and leaves stopped
unfolding into
the waiting air

In the tallest branches
birds leaned
their crooked beaks
into the wind
and hushed

somewhere a boy stayed
his axe above the log
he was splitting

and waited
for the smallpox
to settle on his face

like a shaman’s
soft and loving
whisper


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.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

WAITING GAME

by George Held





What’s His Name, the Liberian
In Dallas, has died of ebola.

“When will it get me?” That’s what
Our self-absorption wants to know.

We are now in the medieval
Days of the plague updated.

Which will get us first, ebola
Or Islamic State warriors?

That’s what we want to know.
Is it better to die instantly

From a slash across the throat
Or wretchedly after days

Of dehydration from vomiting
And diarrhea?

What happened to Sanctuary
America, the great safe place

With a dependable government
And public-health system?

Where is FDR assuaging
Our fears, TR assailing

The enemy, or swoony Ronnie
Grinning our troubles away?

When have we ever felt so feckless,
So vulnerable, so hopeless

As we witness this waiting game?


George Held, a regular contributor to The New Verse News, has a new book out from Poets Wear Prada, Culling: New & Selected Nature Poems.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WHO'S IT FROM? WHAT'S INSIDE?

by Melisa "Misha" Cahnmann-Taylor





You Receive A Present From Someone You Haven’t Seen In A Long Time. 
Who’s It From? What’s Inside?
---Writing prompt at Jubilee Partners ESOL Program
for Refugees, Comer, Ga.



This Congolese boy describes hide and seek with a twist.  The Finder must shoot the Found with a “to-PI-co.”   I draw the sling’s “Y” shot, and we review adjectives: playful, violent.  They use seeds, not rocks. He swears it’s not a violent game he’s missing with his friends.  Maybe just the culture of boys playing.  Already a man at 17, mothered by his sister while the split family grieves over a sibling’s typhoid, a missing father.  A mother in Texas grieves.  She let her boy play with neighbors whose chambers held loaded handguns.  The yellow tape.  The no return.  She preaches we ask before sending children on playdates to unsafe houses.  Foam swords.  Squirt guns.  Games that allow the player to spell bomb so one appears and blows holes through a virtual wall.  A boy-almost-a-man, 21, rented our house while we lived in Mexico.  I didn’t know he hunted.  He demanded his full deposit though he’d punched a hole through my son’s door.  I patched it, he argued.  It better be good enough.  Slight threat as he insisted I search for his lost fishing hooks. It’s better to withdraw where there are bullets.  But what do you do when your village is burned? Do you get the deposit back? Do you offer a limb? A daughter or son? While one remembers a war-toy, another girl conjures a pair of green shoes.  Imagination’s tucked into every child like a hidden coin or buried like a sandbox in concrete.  This boy has 2 months before he’s to pay rent, find a job, buy his own shoes in this confusing and green country. The Christian volunteers were to bury a Death Row inmate and the Salvadorans insisted they’d shovel better. Unable to bury their own, they moved earth for our discarded men. Éste por mi mama.  Éste por mi papa. They slung red clay in the rhythms of a clapping game.


Melisa "Misha" Cahnmann-Taylor is Professor of Language and Literacy Education and Program Chair of TESOL & World Language Education at the University of Georgia. She is the winner of Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prizes and a Leeway Poetry Grant, and has co-authored two books, Teachers Act Up: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities Through Theatre and Arts-Based Research in Education.  She has published numerous articles, and poetry about language learning and teacher education.  Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Women’s Quarterly Review, Cream City Review, Barrow Street, Puerto Del Sol, Mom Egg, and many other literary homes.  She judges the annual Anthropology & Humanism poetry contest.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

CHINA REIGN

by David Feela


Protesters in Hong Kong continued to demand a fully free vote in elections due in 2017 for the post of chief executive - Hong Kong's leader. Numbers were, however, far lower than the previous week. China has said that, under Hong Kong law, voters will be able to vote freely but from an approved list. --Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP via BBC Week in Pictures


As shelter from Beijing weather,
the hand that holds the umbrella knows
repression shreds all hope

but in Hong Kong each umbrella blossoms
like a flower, shields the blindsided from mace, 
transforms the protester into a shadow 

under Xi Jinping’s glare.  How the years 
of bad luck for opening an umbrella 
must be weighed against the threat 

of living where truth never shines.
Remember this season of umbrellas,

this garden of good intentions.


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, October 13, 2014

MURSITPINAR, NEAR SURUC, TURKEY

by Jude Cowan Montague



MURSITPINAR, TURKEY — Kurdish fighters have been able to halt the advance of the Islamic State extremist group in the Syrian border town of Kobani, where the U.S.-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes for more than two weeks, activists said Sunday. In this Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014 file photo, a Turkish Kurd, standing in Mursitpinar, Turkey, on the Turkey-Syria border, watches smoke from fires caused by strikes during fighting between militants of the Islamic State group and Kurdish forces in Kobani, Syria. The predominantly Kurdish town of Kobani has been transformed from a dusty backwater into a symbol of resistance for Kurds around the world. The battle is now playing out in Kobani’s streets and alleyways - a fight being watched by scores of Syrian and Turkish Kurds, as well as dozens of journalists, through binoculars from hilltops and farms just across the border in Turkey. The international media spotlight, has helped turn the defense of Kobani into a very public test for the American-led international effort to roll back and ultimately destroy the Islamic State group. --Lefteris Pitarakis, AP, October 12, 2014



The tanks have left marks
where they crawled up the hill
to sit on the Kobani border.
No shadow.
Tank one wishes he was in the shade.
Tank two is trying to remember his name.
Tank three's mother is worried about him.
Tank four has lost his will to move.
They sit, smoke rising from the city in the valley.
Trees between the boxes are so tall and thin,
squeezing through, they point to the clouds.
White smoke like white hair
wafts up the concrete hillside.
What is happening in that house?
No one wants to go and see
this mysterious city.


Jude Cowan Montague is a writer, artist and composer who lives in London. She works as an archivist for Reuters Television. Her first collection of poetry, For the Messengers, was published by Donut Press in 2011. Her second, The Groodoyals of Terre Rouge, was published by Dark Windows Press in 2012. She makes musical improvisations on Reuters stories and these are available on the Parisian-based netlabel Three Legs Duck and other experimental works are available on the London-based netlabel Linear Obsessional.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

WRONGED RIGHTS

by Charles Frederickson






Pakistani teenager and Indian activist
Awarded 2014 Nobel Peace Prize
Chosen for horrendous struggle against
Oppression of vulnerable young people

A Hindu and a Muslim
An Indian and a Pakistani
Join in common cause denied
Educational rights imposed by extremists

In 2014 Malala Yousafzai was
Shot in the head by
Taliban right to schooling
Denied to strong-hearted weaker sex

Kailash Satyarthi follower of Gandhi’s
Tender mercy non-confrontational approach
Kashmir caught between nuclear powerhouses
Borderline youth deprived of childhood

Child bonded labor exploitation for
Financial gain bribery slavery trafficking
Cheapest employer option parental poverty
Illiteracy ignorance lame cop-out excuses

In conflict-ridden areas refugees raped
Violated leading to hapless continuation
Generation-to-generation suppression for daring protest
Censored Expression definitely not free


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

Saturday, October 11, 2014

FOR YOU, MALALA

by Kit Zak





For You, Malala
          fighting for the right of girls to read
          defying threats of death     and death itself
          your body warring against assassins’ bullets
                    I inhale the breath of your purity, dream your blood-red dreams
For you, Malala
          I pray to see my veiled misdeed
          I will fast for tolerance in my life
          and call out the cancers of hungry prejudice
          blinding young and old
For you, Malala
          oak-brave and oak strong
          I will embrace the firmness of trees
          their rootedness in earth
          stretching arms into the heavens
For you, Malala
         I will shed skins of selfishness
         roll up my sleeves for the unfinished work
         join battles for the rights of every human
For you, Malala, have restored our hope


Kit Zak is an environmentalist in Lewes, DE. She has published poems in The New Verse News, California Quarterly, The Broadkill Review, Jellyfish Whispers, The Blue Collar Review, and
several anthologies.

Friday, October 10, 2014

SLEEPLESS

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy


Emma Sulkowicz. Image source: “The Cut” New York Magazine


Haul it, drag the cum stains
with you, drag it ugly, unmade,
the imprint, sheets soiled
and stiff, this borrowed bed
of midnight and spotlight —
voice — some say symbol,
but it is not a symbol,
it is the place you sleep
you dream, it is yours.

Carry it under your arm,
above your head. How thin,
and common it becomes,
muscles accustomed
to the weight, stronger
than hands bruising
your wrists, across your
mouth, shhhh, shhhh,
no one can hear,  no one
will hear, still, no one’s
heard. Still, he is in
the dark room with you,
allowed, unexpelled,
developing negatives,
as you clip prints,
evidence, some darker
than others, some shadows.
He dips his hand in
chemicals, washes,
cleans himself beside you.
According to the rules,
you can’t ask for help (can’t
ask for help) though, you can
accept it if someone offers.

Hoisting your bed over
our heads, we go bearing
bodies (if they tell you
no one died, they are lying).
The dead are conveniently
tucked inside the living,
worn fabric weight, cheap
discount springs. We walk
to history, the library, the laundry
room, we will not put it down.
We sleep on it between classes
dream of the his exile/
extermination/expulsion —
the weight of his body
so damn heavy.
This bed. It used to be
yours. It still is.

We shift beneath the mass
of it — collective carry — share it,
as if we could. Me? I see eyes
behind mine, in mine, as I walk —
a trick of sunlight and cadence —
the give of the mattress,
each step, each edge ragged
with sweat and stain. If I
close my eyes, I will trip
and it will all come
tumbling down — the bed,
the only soft thing between
skin and asphalt — a catastrophe
for all to see, as if it wasn’t already,
as if we hadn’t woken to the body’s
fury, its shame, its bedded rage.


Leslie Anne Mcilroy won the 2001 Word Press Poetry Prize for her full-length collection Rare Space and the 1997 Slipstream Poetry Chapbook Prize for her chapbook Gravel. She also took first place in the 1997 Chicago Literary Awards Competition judged by Gerald Stern. Her second full-length book, Liquid Like This, was published by Word Press in 2008. Her current poetry manuscript, SLAG, is forthcoming from Main St. Rag in 2015. Leslie’s work appears or is forthcoming in numerous publications including Connotation Press, Dogwood, Grist, Jubilat, The Mississippi Review, New Ohio Review, Nimrod International Journal of Prose & Poetry, PANK and Pearl. Leslie is Managing and Poetry Editor of HEArt — Human Equity through Art — and works as a copywriter in Pittsburgh, PA, where she lives with her daughter Silas.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

THE ANCIENT ART OF HANDS

by James Penha



Cave paintings on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi were found more than 50 years ago, but until now the dates of origin were not known. The art shown here has not been dated, but is stylistically similar to other art in the area now found to be around 40,000 years old. Photograph by Maxime Aubert, Griffith University, Australia via National Geographic, October 8, 2014


The hands of these islands
touch me
forty thousand times,
embrace me at lips of steaming calderas,
hold me aloft their seas,
guide me through deepest caves
with open palms ever daring
to paint
our place here.


James Penha edits The New Verse News. He has lived in Indonesia since 1992.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

UNAMERICAN CON

by Charles Frederickson




All four of my grandparents
Were born in Sweden great-grandfather
Member of Svenska parliament Midnight
Sun legislators making heritage proud

Declared intention to recognize Palestinian
Statehood long overdue illegal settlements
Extending far beyond green line
Contrary to genuine peaceful desire

Netanyahu slams Sweden’s unilateral steps
Contrarian going against universalistic values
Ambrose Bierce defined un-American as
Wicked intolerable Heathen Garrison Keillor

Opined I think the most
Un-American thing you can say
Is You can’t say that
Burt Lancaster dared to ask

Can anything be more un-American
Than the House un-American Committee
Fred Swedish for peaceful harmony
Shalom Salaam pax on you

Islam isn’t the major problem
Combating hateful violence is
Shared principles justice compassion tolerance
Require respectful dignity without exception


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

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

BELIEVER

by Howard Winn


Cartoon by kader altunova


He trusts in absolutes
because without them
he feels as if he were
walking on ice,
and could slip to his knees
with broken bones,
or break through into
unknown depths and
drown in the uncertain
deepness of skepticism
where ancient sea monsters
may swim, or not.


Howard Winn's poetry and fiction has been published recently in Dalhousie Review, Galway Review, Taj Mahal Review, Descant (Canada), Antigonish Review, Southern Humanities Review, Chaffin Review, Evansville Review, and Blueline. He has a B. A. from Vassar College and an M. A. from the Stanford University Writing Program.

Monday, October 06, 2014

FIVE OLD WHITE MEN

by F.I. Goldhaber


Image source: Donkey Hotey at Flickr


Five old white men in their black robes sit
in Washington eviscerating
the bill of rights: an Uncle Tom and
oreo, a corporate stooge and
his clone, a lech, and racist members
of the forced pregnancy proponents.
Religious pretenders ignorant
of science, adrift in a world of
technology they still can't seem to
comprehend. Wined and dined by special
interests, embracing infectious
scourges of partisan politics
that erode the little prestige left
to the court and American faith
in the law. They surround themselves with
like-minded law clerks, consume only
media reports that reinforce
their opinions, speak exclusively
to audiences predisposed to
be sympathetic to their viewpoints.
From October through July they hand
down decisions gutting laws that once
protected rights of women, voters,
workers, and minorities. For a
monetary gain, they handed the
country to a man who did not have
the votes, sending U.S. spiraling
into recession. They made Orwell's
vision come to life by allowing
the NSA free reign, turning our
government into Big Brother. Time
after time, these millionaires decide
business privilege trump people's
freedoms allowing corporations
to buy elections, deprive us of
health care, deny us the right to sue.
Now police invent more egregious
pretexts to arrest you because those
men give them carte blanche to search
every inch of  your body inside and out.


After more than three decades, poet and storyteller  F.I. Goldhaber continues writing professionally. Her poems, short stories, novelettes, news stories, feature articles, essays, editorial columns, and reviews appear in magazines, ezines, newspapers, calendars, and anthologies. Read more of her political poetry in her forthcoming volume Subversive Verse.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

NIGHTFALL

by Anton Yakovlev


The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire


 
She looked like Robin Wright in The Princess Bride.
She was your nurse, but you called her “my muse”
ever since your first check-up.

Your colonel threatened to lead you into harm’s way,
assuming you imagined her in wet dreams,
failing to grasp the meaning of the word “muse.”

This game of alphas was all well and good
until, just halfway into your deployment,
he did let your vehicle get blown up.

You awoke, and many thought you might still return
to active duty, until a routine injection
prompted you to knock your nurse muse unconscious.

For months you shied away from traffic lights.
Thankfully, your aim had gotten so bad
you missed your own temple at point blank range.

Today you spend most evenings in Middle Earth,
imagining you’re at a campfire with hobbit brothers.
The night falls.

For two months of the year
you’re the star of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire,
jousting and wooing.

You’ve acquired a handful of Twitter followers.
You balladeer tasteful maxims
about the well-tuned diplomacy of pole dancers.

Your voicemail greeting is a legend.
The chickens in your front yard drive
every local farmer to jealous rage.

When children come trick-or-treating,
you throw a Dracula cape over your chain mail
and shower them with Belgium’s finest chocolate.

But their parents impose strict curfews.
And even the hobbits have their bedtime restrictions;
Thorin the dwarf has to take care of his beard.

You slip back into that night in the hospital.
Your muse in scrubs lies on the floor next to your bed.
If only you could help her up.

An anchor stares at you from the TV screen.
A blast down the street
sends tremors through the hospital windows

and all those people running into your room.


Anton Yakovlev grew up in Moscow, Russia, but moved to the United States in 1996. He studied filmmaking and poetry at Harvard University. Anton lives in Ridgewood, NJ and works as a college textbook editor. His poetry has appeared in The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow, CityLitRag, The Poet in New York and Instigatorzine, and is forthcoming in The New Yorker, The Raintown Review, and 823 on High. He has also directed several short films.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

PROMETHEUS' OFFERING

by Anne Graue


A woman found an unusual reptile near her home in Hudson, Maine this week - a two-headed baby snapping turtle. Kathleen Talbot said she went to watch turtle hatchlings cross the road to make sure they each arrived at the other side safely. She noticed one of the turtles had been left behind. "I thought he had two feet in the front. I thought he was deformed. I didn't realize it was two heads until I got him home and washed him. Then he came to life-- and was just starving," she said. She has named the turtle Frank and Stein. Talbot said she doesn't plan to have the dynamic duo as a pet, but does want to make sure Frank and Stein survives. --Kacie Yearout, WLBZ September 25, 2014 Image source: NEWS CENTER


Born as if he knew
there would be difficulty
in deciding the path to take
and needed help
in choosing the way to go
and thus was created

a new perspective a new
argument, modern,
attached to one turtle body
inside a shell protecting

all but his two brains working
against and adjacent
to the matter of his choice.

Or perhaps he didn't know
and this fluke of snapping
turtle DNA would haunt him
throughout his days

of living in a push
and pull world weaker
from having to decide

on the simplest things
which leaf is tastier
which path is greener
which road is safer

which mind to sacrifice.


Anne Graue lives, writes, and teaches writing in New York's Hudson Valley. Her poems have appeared in Compass Rose, Ginosko Literary Journal, The New Verse News, and The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly

Friday, October 03, 2014

BEST FACE FORWARD

by George Held

Image: Selfie by Kresten Forsman


Reinvention, America’s
Most alluring cosmetic, now
Flourishes on social media.

Depressed or bored with how
You look, just change the foto
On Facebook and take a bow

With the newly enhanced you to
Wow your followers and friends;
Just watch the “likes” pile up, the “So

Cutes!” and “Awesomes!” making amends
For your blues and boosting self-esteem
Until some new rejection sends

You to take an iPhone selfie that you deem
A darling reflection of your best self-image,
Just the photograph that will redeem

You in the eyes of others, make you the rage
Of the moment on Instagram, whatever.
Yes, the chance to reinvent our visage

Proves again the genius of the founders
Of “Face”book – long may its format last
While we forever change our pictures

To meet the faces that we delete so fast
Online, blowing off each other’s horns,
That we have lost our sense of the past.

Try as we might, we cannot be reborn
Like our faces, however cosmeticized,
And inevitably age turns its scorn
 
On all of us. When you’ve compromised
Your pilgrim face and bookmarked your still life,
Your soul cannot try on another size.


George Held, a regular contributor to The New Verse News, has a new book out soon from Poets Wear Prada, Culling: New & Selected Nature Poems.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

WALLENDA

by Joan Colby


Discovery has set November 2 for Nik Wallenda’s Chicago skyscraper tightrope walk. Using dozens of cameras positioned across the city and on helicopters, Discovery will follow Wallenda’s attempted two-part walk, without net or harness, at night, in one of the windiest sections of Chicago. For the first part of the crossing, Wallenda will walk about two city blocks – uphill rising to a 15-degree angle – from the iconic Marina City’s west tower to the Leo Burnett Building at more than 50 stories above the Chicago River. It will be the highest skyscraper walk in the history of the “Flying Wallenda” family and the first time Nik has attempted a tightrope walk at such a steep angle. The second part of the walk will span from the Marina City’s west tower to the east tower. --Deadline Hollywood, September 16, 2014






The windy city in blustery November
Is what he’s chosen, desiring like Houdini,
The drama of the unattainable.

Cables strung between Marina Towers,
Two wedding cakes of glass and steel.
Difficult placement for right angled

Dwellers, but he’s struck with the motif:
Midwestern schmaltz inviting round beds
Reminiscent of the center ring

Where his forefathers erected human pyramids
In vaulted air and learned the sentence
Of failure could be irrevocable.

A triple feat is what he’s devised,
Another wire stretched across the river
To a skyscraper square as the equation

He plans to solve. Famous as a wind-tunnel,
This route will test the nerve
Of trembling watchers

Whose challenge
Like his, is what
In the world they long for.


Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers and How the Sky Begins to Fall (Spoon River Press), The Atrocity Book (Lynx House Press) and Dead Horses and Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press. Selected Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize.  Properties of Matter was published in spring of 2014 by Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books). Two chapbooks are forthcoming in 2014: Bittersweet (Main Street Rag Press) and Ah Clio (Kattywompus Press). Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press.