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.”



December 17, 2017 (Lisa Fay Coutley)

In line at the post office, no one’s less vulnerable
than the next to the heart’s heft, to the diversity
of ways we express missing. Still we feel entitled,
waiting to be helped: the elderly, the transgender,
the woman clutching a poster Xing the word fetus
on the corner outside the glass. I’d say, science-based

data shows, though I suppose she’d hear séance-based
when I really mean, we are all subject to, vulnerable
together yet alone in that, as well. She’ll deny a fetus
doesn’t have a soul, use the word murder to divert,
claiming that a baby’s parts are present, its gender
determined. & who am I to say she is not entitled

to her belief when my own sense of entitlement
makes me shake, my body having a science-based
response to a woman who’d see her transgender
child as an abomination rather than a vulnerable
human like each of us—with their own diverse
& real needs. She’d have me believe this fetus

is a baby, not a choice, & a baby (never say Fetus)
is born into a body chosen by god & not Entitled
to experience the human range, its Great Diversity
of emotions & constraints inside its Science-Based
brain made to bear suffering, though Vulnerable
is wrong. Binary is right. Never shall Transgender

be accepted, he said, even when genders cross
inside us, which is surely solid logic POTUS
endorses from his crooked office—venerable
man that he claims to be in his divine entitlement
which the literate world with its evidence-based
thinking cannot comprehend, despite such diverse

efforts. I digress. I mean, yes, despite our differences
we are here, waiting to mail love across vast bodies
of rock & water, at this USPS office established
by a governing body that continues to feed us
the divisive rhetoric that exacerbates our privilege
to such an extent that we can’t tolerate being exposed

to a diverse line of people who make us vulnerable
yet entitled because they’re “other”—not my gender,
not my color, not my fetus awaiting its science.


Lisa Fay Coutley is the author of Errata (Southern Illinois University Press, 2015) and In the Carnival of Breathing (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), and is an Assistant Professor of Poetry in the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Inspiration: A few days ago I was standing in line waiting to mail a package to a friend, and the woman behind me (in a rather long line) grew audibly impatient, and I smiled at her and said, just think how much we must love one another to wait in line this way to mail packages to someone else as a way to alleviate the loneliness on both ends. She smiled, and told me that was a very nice way to think of it, and we discussed what we were mailing to whom, etc, and later in the day I saw the forbidden words circulating and married the experience at the post office with my refusal to be shut up by an administration that cannot be allowed to silence us.


Hibernaculum (Lesley Wheeler)

Paper snowflakes, punchbowl, lecherous colleagues. A science-based
sun leaves the party early. Pissed off. Her allegations, evidence-based.

Lest she mount a solstitial harassment case, Mr. Entitlement
deducts words from her mouth. His trepidations, evidence-based.

Meanwhile, a chill propagates. Meanwhile, impeachment’s a fetus
refusing birth and other deportations. Evidence-based

bacteria could violate its airtight NDAs. A virulent diversity
infect it. For that bad baby, no due date’s in evidence. Based

on current models, however, he’s doomed. All syllables will be transgender.
All punctuation will be fluid. Contamination will proceed with haste.

Talk dirty to us, change. Wheel like a season. Winter’s always vulnerable
to sunlight’s disclosure. Words do return. Their germination’s evidence-based.


Lesley Wheeler’s books include Radioland and the chapbook Propagation.
Inspiration: When I wrote this broken ghazal I was sick as a dog, virally and existentially. Robert Macfarlane’s word of the day (12/18/17, “hibernaculum”) helped the fragments come together.

The Lacanian Imaginary Tic (maybe) (Patricia Spears Jones)

There is a diversity of outrages in the daily briefings
On evidence, you can see the cookies crumble, the towers
Tumble, you call your transgender friends and they just
Want to punch the next guy who says something stupid

You know like a fetus is a person or a fetus is not a person
Or a fetus is not a fetus, but an imaginary tic in Lacanian scholarship

You could say stuff like that and you’d be vulnerable to many assaults
To the body, to the spirit, to your use of empirical research, how
Dare you find science  the basis for your conclusions about climate
Or geology genealogy biology- –flow charts abandoned in computer files
or destroyed—the hard copies stuffed in garages possibly in
Virginia or maybe Maryland.  Are we not entitled to know where

Our ideas are stored.  The ones that speak to invention or justice
Or measure the desertification of the Great Southwest?  The head
Bureaucrat claims no knowledge of censorship—polices change

And really when you think about it, there are so many ways in which
Nouns do so little harm, make little mischief, mask the very bad
Tastes in somebody’s mouth when culling a list of words whose
Meanings double, triple because they are no longer to be used
The transgender patient is vulnerable to evidence-based procedures
Resulting in a fixed fetal position as a diversity of science-based
Articles list her dis ease with the status quo.  Blah Blah Blah

Oh no, you cannot
Ask for mercy in this land or justice or love really,
you cannot ask for that.

But your outrages can be many, diverse, various, pointing towards
The heartless cock pecking at his twitter feed every other dawn.


Patricia Spears Jones is the author of A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems and seven other collections. She is the winner of the 2017 Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets and Writers.

Inspiration: The arrogance of the current administration, but more troubling the current culture’s contempt for science, ironically married with contempt for the “other,” i. e. transgender persons, really enraged me. Those seven words combined that arrogance and contempt, plus reminded me of why Whitman asked American poets to make bold work that calls out the awful actors in our midst.