Villanelle for the CDC (Julie Linden)

The words we need have been erased,
Vulnerable to the government
And deniers of the evidence-based.

Our language, choices, science-based,
Scorned by the fetus president—
The words we need have been erased.

Diversity ordered into caste.
Erasures are no accident
By deniers of the evidence-based.

Transgender briefly undisgraced
Saying, knowing, meaning, meant—
The words we need won’t be erased.

As if our selves could be displaced
By godly smug entitlement
Of deniers of the evidence-based.

Remember: the experiment
Depends on steady dissidents.
The words we need won’t be erased
By deniers of the evidence-based.


As a former government documents librarian, Julie Linden has seen her fair share of CDC reports.

Inspiration: The original submission guidelines’ encouragement of “repetition” inspired the villanelle form.





The Evidence Bass (Mary Moore)

The evidence bass plays the forbidden-
word blues, the proof-you-can-deny-
but-can’t-shut-up blues,
the notes the science bass

with the sun singing the fire
rippling through it;
the trees root-riffing
to other trees here’s bugs;
the vulnerable inside-in fetus
who can hear mother music
and father song;
the transgendered carnival
of being both/and;

the plant world,
the animal world, the all-we-are
world entitled to the diver-cities
of difference where everything thrives
in as many lives as
souls are innumerable as the blades
of old-poet-man Whitman’s grave
grass, as the notes
in the music of the spheres
harmonium of the cosmos
harmony of diversity
bass, soprano, alto


Mary Moore has won awards in 2016 and ’17:  her 2016 books are Flicker and Eating the Light, which won Dogfish Head and Sable Books awards respectively, and Amanda and the Man Soul won EMRYS’s 2017 award.  New work appears in Nimrod (Pablo Neruda Prize, 2nd place), Georgia ReviewPoem/Memoir/Story, Drunken Boat, Birmingham Poetry Review, among others.

Inspiration: I was inspired to write “The Evidence Bass” by the absurdity of the Trump administration banning words that involve language’s ability to speak truth to power. My conversion of “base” to “bass,” reflecting recent play with double meanings in my work, led me to the music of recent and ancient science, creating what I hope is a music of subversion.



Love Science (Leslie F. Miller)

In vulnerable moments, when I blush,
my heart may skip a beat, but I’ve embraced
the flash, the flood, the flow, the foolish flush.

Behold the curling fetus of my crush
(my love for you’s not purely science-based).
In vulnerable moments when I blush,

my mouth is cotton, words inside it mush.
You come to me, transgendered and trans-placed,
with flash, and flood, and flow, and foolish flush,

transcendent—first a shout and then a hush,
entitlement engendered and misplaced
in vulnerable moments when I blush.

The truth is love’s an all-consuming rush,
emotions are a fact, it’s evidence-based:
as flash, as flood, as flow, as foolish flush.

Diversity or mood swings? I’m a lush!
Drunk on passion, high on aftertaste.
In vulnerable moments when I blush
and flash and flood and flow—a foolish flush.


Leslie F. Miller is the author of Let Me Eat Cake: A Celebration of Flour, Sugar, Butter, Eggs, Vanilla, Baking Powder, and a Pinch of Salt (Simon & Schuster, non-fiction, 2007) and BOYGIRLBOYGIRL (Finishing Line Press, poetry, 2012).

Inspiration: One of my surefire cures for writer’s block is the Facebook poem. I solicit random words from FB friends, one submission per person, and create a poem that uses one of their words in every line until I’ve used them all. My only inspiration for this villanelle was those seven banned words.


Suggested Synonyms and their Uses. A Style Guide (David R. Forman)

Suggested synonyms for entitlement:

1. My brother’s keeper [consider including a footnote guiding the reader to the original story for context].
2. The minimum one expects in a functional society.
3. The right to life [note: Here, meaning not the right to become alive some day, but the right to stay alive once you already are].
4. Clean water.
5. Uncontaminated food.

Example sentence: “A kholerye oyf dir!”


Suggested synonyms for transgender:

1-17. Laverne, Janet, Christine, Reneé, Leslie, Kye, Sylvia, Diego, Gigi, Carmen, Ali, Amanda, Venus, Brandon, Chaz, Freedom.

Example sentence: “A nar vakst on regn.”


Suggested synonyms for fetus:

1. Maggot
2. Tiny Jesus
3. Predictive Toxicology Group’s product stewardship resource.
4. Laverne, Janet, Christine, etc.

Here context is crucial to determine which synonym fits best, and preview by a skilled editor is encouraged.

Use in a sentence: “Gey kakn afn yam.”


Suggested synonyms for evidence-based:

  1. Programs that help people, rather than lighting a pile of cash to watch the pretty colors.

Evidence Picture-blue 1.jpg

  1. Liberal

Example sentence: “At the Nuremburg Trials in 1946, Avrom was denied the right to testify publicly in Yiddish.”


Suggested synonyms for science-based:

1. Diphtheria still kills children.
2. My kid has white spots on his teeth from too much fluoride.
3. While the number of people killed as witches is still a hotly debated historical issue, it is generally agreed that the high period of witch killing in Europe was between 1550 and 1650.
4. Isaac Newton was born in 1643.
5. Intelligent.

Example sentence: “Hindert hayzer zol er hobn, in yeder hoyz a hindert tsimern, in yeder tsimer tsvonsik betn un kadukhes zol im varfn fin eyn bet in der tsveyter.”


Suggested synonyms for diversity:

1. Inclusion
2. Reality check
3. Let us pray that, when the tables inevitably turn, ‘they’ may not treat ‘us’ as ‘we’ have treated ‘them’.
4. Who are ‘they’, exactly? Or as my lover said once, as she gazed into my eyes, “You are a different person than me.”
5. Should we pretend that group membership has no impact, against all

Evidence Picture-blue 1  ?

Example sentence: “A makeh in yenems orem iz nit shver tsu trogen.”


Synonyms for vulnerable:

1. Capitalism’s rejected ones.
2. Girls.
3. Laverne, Janet, Christine, etc.
4. See: diversity.

Example sentence:

“Vu nemt men aza khokhem,
Er zol kenen di shtern tseyln?
Vu nemt men aza dokter,
Er zol kenen mayn harts heyln?”


David R. Forman is a poet and student of the Yiddish language, living in Ithaca, New York.

Inspiration: My inspiration for the poem was twofold: First, the horror of totalitarianism. The totalitarian impulse inevitably leads to proscribing people’s use of language, with the CDC list being a perfect example of that. Second, the status of Yiddish, once a language with over 10 million speakers, and a ubiquitous global presence, now marginalized, diminishing, often regarded only as a source of humor, of homey aphorisms and curses. People can be silenced not only by totalitarianism, but also by scorn, internalized as shame. Yiddish has suffered both.

America Ain’t Easy (Adrian Blevins)

when the saw mills are gone cause the Internet is plastic
& the granny quilts are heating pads from China
& somebody’s once-fetus needs surgery & would get it
if people had hearts in the form of health insurance
but don’t because they despise the poor & women
& immigrants & African Americans & the transgender
& gay & things that are science-based & evidence-based
& all I’m saying is, America ain’t at all easy

when you must think non-stop about stupid Trump
& other grotesqueries such as what a dead goose
in the form of a country looks like & what a dead goose
in the form of a country feels like lolling here inside you
like a long-necked stone in the pit of something
like your stomach but worse such as your throbbing
heart of diversity I guess where once you’d hoped
to learn to darn socks at least metaphorically

& arrange winterberries on farmhouse mantels
to soothe the grandkids who were to soothe you back
during the more vulnerable senior years. But now
grandkids are an entitlement for the rich you guess
& thus you don’t want them anymore because
what if they needed surgery—what if they had
just one eye—what if they wanted the story of America
& all you had was a little porridge & venom & spit?


Adrian Blevins is the author of Appalachians Run Amok, winner of Two Sylvia Press’s Wilder Prize, forthcoming spring 2018; Live from the Homesick Jamboree; The Brass Girl Brouhaha; and a co-edited collection of essays, Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia. She teaches at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

Inspiration: The Trump Administration’s very scary authoritarian bent inspired me to write this poem, and really has me in perpetual freak-out mode.


REDACTED (Bri Hermanson)


Born 100 years to the day after the birth of illustrator Rockwell Kent, Bri Hermanson grew up in Ponca City, Oklahoma, where her scratchboard craft began. She received her MFA in Illustration from FIT in New York City. Her clients include Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Tor Books, and SKYY Vodka. She is currently serving as the Communications Chair for ICON, the national illustration conference. Her website:
Inspiration: The atom itself is a living poem of vibration and interconnected orbits. The atom was a natural starting point to explore this administration’s attempt to censor science. The breaking and spare stacking of letters in the subatomic particles, echoing the unadorned typography of the Periodic Table, suggest how these seven banned words are elemental to our humanity. Trump’s goal of erasure will disrupt a fundamental balance. There is too much at stake.

The Smart of Losing (Margot Douaihy)

After Elizabeth Bishop

Losing stings when your thief is a chump.
Lost rights, lost words, an election hacked.
Where’s the pen to redact Trump?

Our robber baron is an orange leather lump.
Science-based stat REDACTED.
Losing stings when your thief is a chump.

45’s IQ rivals the old sump pump.
Evidence-based stat REDACTED.
“Ban transgender folks,” demands Prez Dump.

“A fetus trumps a gay any day,” laughs Prez Rump.
Vulnerability shellacked. Amendments hijacked.
Losing stings when your thief is a chump.

Our tree of diversity sawed to a stump.
I’d tap his moral compass but it’s cracked.
Where’s the pen to redact Trump?

Tiki torch sales giving Walmart the bump.
Hue of entitlement is a red hat in the act.
Losing stings when your thief is a chump.
Let’s forge the damn pen to redact Trump.


Margot Douaihy is the author of the forthcoming collection Scranton Lace (Clemson University Press), the Lambda Literary Finalist Girls Like You (Clemson University Press) and I Would Ruby If I Could (Factory Hollow Press). She a content director with NewBay Media and the editor of Northern New England Review. Find her online at

Inspiration: When I read about the seven banned words for the CDC, my mind wandered into Elizabeth Bishop’s divine “One Art.” I was thinking about how I’m not mastering the art of losing either. We are losing so much with the Trump Administration; they are trying to steal our healthcare, queer dignity, net neutrality, ability to use words in government proposals, voting rights, and much more. With those rhythms in mind, I drafted this loose villanelle inspired by “One Art.”