Friday, November 21, 2014


by Paul Smith

“Those who have been watching the clashes in Kobani and the coalition’s airstrikes minute by minute insist that the military balance has decidedly turned against IS. Particularly after IS withdrew from the Mishtanur hill that dominates Kobani from the east, and the People's Protection Units (YPG) advanced to control the road that IS used as its main supply line coming from Raqqa, it became apparent that the military balance was in favor of the defenders of Kobani.” --Cengiz Çandar, “Watching Kobani,” Al-Monitor, November 18, 2014. Image: A Kurdish man uses binoculars to watch fighting in Kobani, from the village of Mursitpinar, on October 6, 2014. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

Death is retreating
You can hear his footsteps
In the market
The rubble at Asayesh
In the hospital
Flying out of a corpse
In the souk
Tents and rugs torn
Into shreds of fuzz
Death is on the run
His footprints craters
Fleeing across Tel Shair Hill

Paul Smith writes fiction and poetry.  He belongs to the Rockford Writers' Guild.  He likes to read about news from all over the world.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


by James Penha

“A bull branded gay, has been saved from the slaughterhouse by charity donations, including £5,000 from Sam Simon, co-creator of the Simpsons. . . . Benjy, from County Mayo, Ireland, was destined for the abattoir after showing more interest in breeding with other bulls than cows." --BBC News, November 18, 2014. Photo by Joanna McNicholas accompanying the BBC story.

The great white bull is no Moby Dick:
no taste for violence, no hunger
for limbs, no desire to judge black
from his own white, no passion
for bovine of the opposite sex; just
a yen for grass and peace
and an eye for the other studs.
The farmer called it queer, raised
his arms to slaughter this beast
that knows nothing of appetites.

James Penha edits The New Verse News.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


by Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote

Vulnerable youth conceived in poverty
Prime target uncivil war combatants
Desperate underage struggle too easily
Manipulated brainwashed drugged forced submission

Hungry for attention affection acceptance
Needing sense of belonging diversion
Exploited as sex slaves spies
Human shields cooks pregnant wives

Unwanted offspring rescued from abortion
        To be sacrificial misbegotten martyrs
Both innocent victims guilty perpetrators
Carrying out barbaric violent acts

Indoctrinated to commit atrocities without
Flinching first kill your family
Relatives neighbors never to return
Crybabies humiliated emotional outburst taboo

Conditioned response demonstrating fearless bravado
Nevertheless dying as helpless kids
Uneducated unable undone unanswered prayers
Resurrected displaced lives forever stigmatized

Our global eradication goal to
Eliminate poverty provide educational options
From evolution to unforgettable revolution
Restoring former child’s damaged psyche

No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson and Mr. Saknarin Chinayote proudly present YouTube mini-movies @ YouTube – CharlesThai1 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


A poem, 
found among comments on YouTube responding to the Ray Rice video,
by Melissa Fite Johnson

Dumb bitch started it.  Cunt
ruined his career.  Too bad
he didn’t break her fucking jaw off.
Act like a man, try and hit one,
get treated like a man.  This is what
equality looks like.  Girls
are as much of a threat
as guys.  She slapped him first.
She’s the aggressor.  What the fuck
do you see?  A man beating
his woman?  He defended himself
against a human being with
the potential to hurt him.
All those white feminists need to
shut the fuck up.  Period.  This is
what equality looks like.  It probably
wasn't his intention to knock her out,
but shit happens.  She should've
thought of that before assaulting
an NFL player.  A woman
deserves equal rights.
She has to take responsibility
for her actions.  She had it coming.
This is what equality looks like.

Melissa Fite Johnson teaches English at Pittsburg High School in Kansas.  She’s had poetry published in Cave Region Review, The Little Balkans Review, and Inscape Magazine, as well as in the Kansas Notable Book poetry collection To the Stars Through Difficulties. The Little Balkans Press will publish her first book of poetry While the Kettle’s On this year. Melissa and her husband, Marc, live in Pittsburg with their dog and several chickens.

Monday, November 17, 2014


by Patrick Cole

Anith Jones of Merrillville. Image source: NBC Chicago / Twitter

Afrikka Hardy in Hammond Indiana.
Strangled in a Motel 6.
A woman whose body was found.

Anith Jones of Merrillville.
Missing since October 8.
A person later discovered.

Names enforce anonymity. And the
other words about the murdered
have their rhythm, an odd tick-tocking
bone-xylophone: logic plays drums,
not strings, brass or woodwinds.

A second victim had been identified,
the keyboard scats in rigid clacks.
The coroner’s office on Sunday said
the woman was 19.  A man, 43,
admitted to the killing. Police arrived
and searched the empty home.
Her wounds were left unspecified,
and the death was ruled a homicide. They
discovered Hardy's body 9:30 p.m. on Friday.

It shuts you up, living thing. No comment.
So much impossible to know. Care rots like
old rubber, hardens, cannot bounce. Our glory
was just being here – but we are tainted by
the inevitable, the possible, the likely and the
unlikely, all equally.

It’s too bad the newspapers collapsed –
they could be folded, and maybe smacked
on a table, or if called for, burned in a rusty barrel.
But even when left alone, on bended shelves or
concrete floors, they always faded, they had

that decency, to molder, silent, away.

A story by Patrick Cole appears in the Writing That Risks anthology, and others were in recent issues of The Conium Review, Conclave, and Rivet. His work has also been published in Parcel (Pushcart Prize nominee), High Plains Literary Review (also a Pushcart Prize nominee), Agni online, Nimrod International, 34th Parallel, and turnrow. Cole’s one-act play was a finalist in the Knock International Play Competition and was produced in Seattle.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


by JeanMarie VanDine

Ron Chapple/Getty Images

Another Saturday night
someone dies
in this welt of a town.
Black, brown.
Someone goes down.
Someone’s prized son
never reaches twenty-one.
Like the crow of the rooster,
the call comes before the sun rises.
Beacons glare in black puddles
on a balmy summer night.
Rage plays like an oldie,
under a skipping needle.
Brothers, like broken glass,
can’t mend themselves.
Mothers can’t restrain
their young,
pit bulls yanking
on choke chains.
Tears fall, fade
like chalk marks
on asphalt.

JeanMarie VanDine lives in Southern California, and has taught English in urban high schools—where she has witnessed the loss of many young men—due to violence.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


by Donal Mahoney

Image source: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz via International Business Times

Homeless man
in a Trayvon hoodie
under an old raincoat,
a gift today from

the Salvation Army,
sits like a capital L
against the wall
of a downtown bank

while a homeless cat
strolls around him,
hoping for bits of ham
from the gnawed remains

of yesterday's sandwich
as happens many nights
when the cat visits him
despite no bell or kettle.

Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in various publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Friday, November 14, 2014


by Joan Colby

Meme source: Twitter

Reading how the hens suffer
Crammed by the thousands in metal cages,
Stacked stories high,
The air thick with dust and feathers,
Beaks clipped, thin necks bloody,
The dying decaying beneath calloused claws,
Adhering like bathmats to the wire floors.
Forced to lay seven times the norm,
Until spent, to be seized
By the handsful, gassed and ground
For pet food. Never seeing sunlight
Or spreading wings or nesting in trees
Or taking dustbaths or establishing
The pecking order. Reading that to guarantee
A normal chicken life would mean
Paying triple or more for this
Scrambled plate, I tell you
I’d pay whatever it costs to let them be
Chickens scratching in the dirt, how maybe we
Should set up the nesting boxes
In our old coop and get some
Leghorns, though I know we won’t
Bother really, and much as I abhor
What I am reading, there’s the long distance
Between slick paper and the
Long, long barns and my fork.

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.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


by Ellen Devlin

The life-size marble statue of Adam, carved by Tullio Lombardo (Italian, ca. 1455–1532), is among the most important works of art from Renaissance Venice to be found outside that city today. In 2002, Adam was gravely damaged in an accident. Committed to returning it to public view, the Museum undertook a conservation treatment that has restored the sculpture to its original appearance to the fullest extent possible. --The Metropolitan Museum of Art

No one knows
if Adam Accidental
fell this time
or was pushed.
His head broke

off, perfect torso
skittered across
the Metropolitan
patio, Adam fragments
found, but not Eve.

In the first fall,
Adam Deliberate yanked
that apple off
with purpose, kept
his footing. Unharmed

in the filming,
First Father still,
Eve, whole as
he, five minutes
before, glistening

under the new sun,
in the god's-eye
camera, ( restoration
experts say) became
Eve Egregious.

Ellen Devlin has studied poetry at the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, Hudson Valley Writers Center and Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Poet's Lore, New Ohio Review, Women's Studies Quarterly, Redactions, Helix, Passager, The Lost River Review, as well as online in The New Verse News.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


by Howard Pflanzer

Ayotzinapa, Mexico -- Students, parents, friends and residents of this town in southern Mexico are demanding justice in the case of a slain student they say was the victim of horrific torture. The slaying of Julio Cesar Mondragon, the shooting deaths of three of his fellow students and the disappearance of 43 others in Iguala, Mexico, are sending shock waves across the nation. What happened to Mondragon is difficult to describe. Those who knew the victim are outraged and fearful. The body of the 22-year-old college student was found lying on a street in Iguala in the early hours of September 27. The skin of his face had been peeled off and his eyes gouged out, according to witnesses and relatives who spoke to CNN. --Rafael Romo, CNN, November 6, 2014. Image source: Twitter.

I am Julio Cesar Mondragon
A student
Murdered by a hitman in Guerrero Mexico
My face gouged and bloody
Eye sockets staring at the sky
I came here to study
My family was poor
I had no other choice
An opportunity to change my life
Struck down with one blow
I was in the wrong place
At the wrong time
On a bus traveling to my death
My empty eyes stare at you
Give me back my life.

Howard Pflanzer is a poet and playwright.  He has performed his edgy short poetic plays and poetry Dead Birds or Avian Blues (published by Fly By Night Press in 2011) at  KGB, The Living Theatre, Theaterlab, A Gathering of the Tribes, LaMaMa and the Cornelia Street Café in New York. His hybrid performance piece Walt Whitman Opera adapted from Whitman’s poetry with music by Constance Cooper, was presented at the undergroundzero festival in New York this past July. He was featured poet in November 2013 of The Poetry Company.  His award winning plays and musicals have been performed at LaMaMa (The House of Nancy Dunn with Steve Weisberg/Andy Craft), Playwrights Horizons, Symphony Space, Medicine Show, Kraine Theater (Cocaine Dreams), The Living Theatre and broadcast over WBAI and WNYC FM. His multi-media theatre piece Alien created in collaboration with Teatr Palmera Eldritcha in Poland was presented at the 2011 Malta International Theatre Festival.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


by Gil Hoy

"Custer's Last Stand" by Harold von Schmidt. Image source: Smithsonian.

Veterans Day Weekend 2014

On November 11, honor the brave dead

from Afghanistan and Iraq, heroes against
German and Japanese imperialism

and the sacrificed souls in “the war to end
all wars.”

But also thank Custer’s soldiers
for not completing the genocide.

I went to bed and dreamt that Sitting Bull
saw Hiroshima and Nagasaki
in a vision quest

and then dropped an A-Bomb on Washington, D.C.

to stop invading Custer
from killing his women and children
like so many insects.

Upon awakening, I discovered that America
attacked Iraq for weapons of mass destruction

after murderous
pecuniary munitions manufacturers
crumbled twin towers
with their boomerang missiles

because recipients of evil often do evil in return.

Russian troops rhythmically
marched in the Ukraine,
a cruel video
beheaded a journalist,

ruinous bombs reined down
on rubbled villages of the weak,
and a bullet to a private’s leg became gangrene
as sepsis spread to amputation and death.

An obscure philosophy book said
that Custer should have refused
to attack renegades

because the Black Hills were the Lakota’s by treaty

and that God had ordered Custer’s men to lay down
their weapons or be shot for insubordination.

By river rapids, a sweating grimacing squaw
watched the blue cavalry approach as
she gave birth to a red son,

who drew his first breath,
wailed loudly and coveted white milk.

Gil Hoy received a B.A in Philosophy from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a law degree from the University of Virginia. Gil also is an elected member of the Brookline, MA Democratic Town Committee, and served as a Brookline Selectman for 12 years. Gil 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, November 10, 2014


by Richard O'Connell

Veterans Day Weekend 2014

Now the tunnel at the end of the light
Perceived: no one won, no one was right;
No one lost, but the dead and maimed
Suffered all for the armistice gained.

Richard O'Connell lives in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Collections of his poetry include RetroWorlds, Simulations, Voyages, and The Bright Tower, all published by the University of Salzburg Press (now Poetry Salzburg). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, National Review, The Paris Review, Measure, Acumen

Sunday, November 09, 2014


by Peg Quinn

Image source: 1stdibs

Veterans Day Weekend 2014

easing back
as morphine
soothes his system
he remembers
the Great Depression

walking to school
through snow
without a coat
in shoes
that didn’t match
he drifts

to Guadalcanal
his tank under fire
the slow motion of
body parts in the water
the gunner’s beheading
crimes never mentioned
until his wife’s death
sixty years later

his box of medals

now his mind turns bedside
his infant son
an iron lung
the good man
he would become

wife’s smile
swirls the room

he smiles back
fields and farms from
their Piper Cub
tandem seating
their carnival of friends
ferris wheels
of laughter

his good fortune

the landscape of his
life a clean horizon

this night,
straining through pain
between tabs of morphine
he finds the faded
Navajo rug bought
from the back of a truck
their honeymoon stop
near Santa Fe
the light in the eyes
of his spunky bride
that night
under stars

he tosses the rug
to the garage floor

drops down hard

steadies the gun
metal to mouth

as he remembers

paying full price
without bargaining

Peg Quinn is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, mural and theatrical set painter, award winning quilter and art specialists at a private school in Santa Barbara, California.

Saturday, November 08, 2014


by George Snedeker

Veterans Day Weekend 2014

Many came.
The preacher spoke.
Hearts were broken.
Mourners had nowhere to turn.

With money earned
and with bodies burned.
Someday they will learn
what there is to learn.

Families and friends came to the funeral.
The body was shipped home
with a flag draped over the box.

Tuition paid
for a college education.
He hoped to find a job.
That was his hope,
so many hopes,
all gone now.

Fallen on the battle field:
a post office was named for him,
as if that meant anything.

George Snedeker has published scholarly articles in the areas of social theory and Literary Criticism as well as short stories and poems. His poems have appeared in both literary magazines and sociology journals. His book The Politics of Critical Theory, published in 2004, received several positive reviews in scholarly journals. His satirical novel about college life The Cutting Edge was published under the pen name of David Lansky in 2013. He is the book review editor of the journal Socialism and Democracy and  has served on its editorial board since 1985.

Friday, November 07, 2014


by Charles Frederickson & Saknarin Chinayote

Amnesty International published a report early Wednesday accusing Israel of war crimes in its 50-day war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip this summer, saying its military showed “callous indifference” to civilians in airstrikes on homes that felled entire families. NY Times, November 4, 2014

Global sympathies aroused supporting disheartened
Palestinians constantly suffering imposed indignities
Humiliated confused cheated cursed outraged
Only recourse uncivil wronged rights

Born into unfortunate misbegotten circumstance
In-denial bias prejudice intolerance narrow-mindedness
Everything old is new again
Long deserving own sovereign homeland

There are more than fifty
Israel laws that discriminate against
Palestinian citizens of Israel including
Land access education criminal procedures

Nakba Catastrophe Palestine’s native inhabitants
Were turned into stateless refugees
Second class non-citizens driven out
Apartheid however you label it

Profound inequality enforcing conspiracy laws
Series of walls military checkpoints
Separating displaced refugees West Bank
Gaza Strip Golan Heights families

Twisted armlock crying Uncle Sam
Ungrateful one time too many
Lobbyists playing politricks mistreated threats
Unsettled grievances claiming tsouris heartburn

No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson and Mr. Saknarin Chinayote proudly present YouTube mini-movies @ YouTube – CharlesThai1 

Thursday, November 06, 2014


by Michael Cantor

I wonder how it feels to be inned;                              
named as a closet straight, extinct, passé,
who never played the games you seemed to play.
What if some sleaze-bag-tabloid-bag-of-wind
rescinds all notions that you’ve ever sinned,
and hints and winks and rumors all convey
the message from Manhattan to L.A.
that you’re sober, steady, disciplined.
And if the vicious rumors multiply –
no drugs, no drinks, no series of affairs –
if out is in, and in is forced to lie,
and nothing quite makes sense, and no cares  
about you, just about how you appear,
what impact would this have on your career?

What impact could this have on your career?
You’ve worked so hard to make yourself seem twisted –
the haggard pouts and all night flings, two-fisted
slugs of drugs and booze, a constant sneer –
your photos and your tweets helped engineer
a life whose self-indulgences were listed
as evidence that you, indeed, existed,
if only on the tube, out there, somewhere.
But now it seems exposed as parody:
or so the critics claim – and they should know –
your singer-dancer-fashionista show
is dead as dead can be on Junk TV,
for in a world that dines on out and in,
being inned means you can never win.

Michael Cantor’s full-length collection, Life in the Second Circle (Able Muse Press, 2012), was a finalist for the 2013 Massachusetts Book Award for Poetry.  A chapbook, The Performer, was published in 2007; his work has appeared in The Dark Horse, Measure, Raintown Review, SCR, ChimaeraThe Flea, and he has won the New England Poetry Club Gretchen Warren and Erika Mumford prizes.  A native New Yorker, he has lived and worked in Japan, Latin America and Europe, and presently divides his time between hurricane-threatened Plum IslandMA, and drought-threatened Santa FeNM

Wednesday, November 05, 2014


by Paul Dickey

They say you may get Ebola

if in public you sip a Coca Cola,

or just being in Maine,

or in Dallas deplane.

They don’t know s#!t from Shinola.

She just went for a ride on her bike,
but was followed by folks with a mike.
They wanted to know
she’d stay home with her beau,
but her answer the Guv did not like.

The reporters were terribly scared,
but it was for our safety they cared.
They got near her so close
with their questions so gross
to warn it’s our air she has shared.

But soon, 21 days will pass
though the Guv won’t admit he’s an ass:
“I just did what’s right
though it caused quite a fright,
but next time, I won’t mess with this lass.”

Paul Dickey’s most recent volume of poetry is Wires Over the Homeplace from Pinyon Publishing.  He published They Say This is How Death Came Into the World with Mayapple Press in 2011. Dickey’s poetry has appeared in Verse Daily, Rattle, Potomac Review, Prairie Schooner, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, Mid-American Review, Midwest Quarterly, Pleaides, Bellevue Literary Review and many other journals, both print and online.  Additionally, Dickey daily posts humorous political limericks such as these at his Facebook site, The Liberal Limerick and has published an e-book of his witty verse Liberal Limericks of 2012 (available free at Amazon.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2014


by Erica Goss

A family’s shoes arranged by size, smallest first. The bones of a child’s foot. I write a poem for a man named Mark. He sits on the street and weeps. He’s seen the shoes, seen them filling up with blood. This summer grinds on. We congratulate ourselves, as if we didn’t know one piece of land is worth more than another, one child’s life is worth more than another’s. Death is telegenic and dead children most of all. Explosions branch through the ear and jaw but quiet, please, this game requires the world’s silence. Mark rakes the little bones together, collects the shoes in heaps all over the city. At night when they burn the fires smoke and sputter and then go out, smallest first.

Erica Goss is the Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA. She is the author of Wild Place (Finishing Line Press 2012) and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets (PushPen Press 2014). She won the 2011 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Contest and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2010 and 2013. Recent work appears in Atticus Review, Lake Effect, The Red Wheelbarrow, Passager, Main Street Rag, Pearl, Rattle, Wild Violet, and Comstock Review.  

Monday, November 03, 2014


by Ed Bennett 

Photograph: Getty Images
How does one deal with this,
the stubborn, stolid expressions
on sleek faces well acquainted
with the banquet table?
The words of Christ rejected
as I bless the poor, call for
their protection, elevate them.

If I am a Communist
than what was Christ?
He reviled power, condemned
the exploitation of his own.
Now the money has turned some,
twisted the divine words to elevate
their “donors”, castigate the rest.

Lord we cannot wait
for an afterlife when bread
is unaffordable and our toil
is a yoke borne by the many.
Forgive us but give us this day
the ability to hear your words above
the clink of gold in diocesan coffers.

Ed Bennett is a poet and reviewer living in Las Vegas, NV. His works have appeared in Touch: The Journal of Healing, The Lavender Review, Quill and Parchment, and Lilipo. He is a staff editor for Quill and Parchment Magazine and the author of A Transit of Venus.

Sunday, November 02, 2014


by Michael Mark

Image source: Reddit

The tombstones and zombie decorations
look more scared than scary among those
living in translucent skin, rolling their
wheelchairs with skeleton hands,
gasping in their oxygen masks.

The Grim Reaper creeps along the corridors,
behind a walker, to the costume contest,
scythe taped to his back with bloody bandages.

The bedridden plead for him not to pass them by.

No one pulls back in fright or shrieks
from anything other than pain or dementia
or to let themselves and anyone else out
there know they are, for good and bad,
still alive.

Only when the grandchildren come to trick-
or-treat in their jack-o-lantern and fairy
princess costumes do their sunken eyes
rise from their sockets and their colorless
lips tremble with fear.

Michael Mark is a hospice volunteer. His poetry has appeared in Angle Journal, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Empty Mirror, Everyday Poets, Forge Journal, Lost Coast Review, New Verse News, Petrichor Review, Scapegoat, Silver Birch Press, Red Booth Review, The thing itself, The New York Times, The Wayfarer, Work. His poetry has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize.