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Welcome, all, to our 69th Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub. Hedgewitch here, your distracted barkeep, as I try to keep my eye on the poetry needs of our patrons, the after-effects on so many of a devastating hurricane, and the big screen where some might say the ultimate sporting event in America, the election of our next president, is taking place as we speak.

The pub really appreciates your business tonight, when so many are in disarray, frustration and suffering on our eastern seaboard, and all our thoughts are still with those who are and will be for some time to come, working their way through the disaster of Sandy. As I write this, there is news of possibly another storm headed up the east coast towards the affected areas, so the crisis is far from over, and many are still struggling with power, water and transportation difficulties.Those interested in helping the people of New York, New Jersey and other states devastated by the storm can still donate monetarily to relief efforts of the American Red Cross here, at RedCross.org, or to find out how to  donate blood: Visit this Red Cross Web page.. The Salvation Army is also providing help, and can be accessed Online at Salvation Army; here’s the organization’s New Jersey site, and its Greater New York site.. For those concerned with the welfare of the many displaced or stranded pets in the area, the Humane Society of the United States is organizing efforts to assist on that front.

The other important event going on tonight I’ve already referenced, the presidential election. Though I have laughingly, or maybe cynically, called it a sporting event of Super Bowl dimensions, of course it’s nothing of the kind. It’s a serious matter which will impact all of us in ways we will feel and see every day. dVerse is not an appropriate place to air my own political views, but I do want to stress the importance to all of us of exercising the franchise. In some places, I realize that can be trying and frustrating, with long lines, and a process that is not as easy as it should be.

I know I am to some extent echoing what Brian had to say yesterday in his Pretzels and Bullfights article about the importance of the individual voice, but I believe it is worth repeating: voting is not just a peripheral aspect of democracy; it embodies our right to have a say in our government, which in turn affects bread and butter issues of our daily lives. I strongly encourage everyone who is able, to make it to the polls, no matter how disaffected, frustrated or apathetic, no matter whether you are voting for my own chosen candidate or not: please go and vote if you haven’t already. Without grass roots participation, this country will become completely dominated by powerful interest groups who are already writing the laws to their own benefit in too many cases. There is more at stake in this than a few hours of your time–it is our future on the line.

Okay, enough on that topic. I am not posting a poem tonight myself, but if you visit my blog, you will find more of my views on this topic, and are welcome to express your own. I plan to be watching election results tonight, so I ask our patrons to bear with me if I am slow in making the rounds, and thanks for the patience of those outside the US, who have generously read through my USA-centric words..

This week brings a lot to say on a lot of subjects, and I know our community is here to say it. If you’re new to the pub, follow the directions below to have your voice heard.

  • Link in the poem you’d like to share–old or new, on any topic,  (1 per blog, please)– by clicking on the Mr.Linky button just below.
  • This opens a new screen where you’ll enter your information, and where you also choose links to read. Once you have pasted your poem’s blog url and entered your name, simply click submit.
  • Don’t forget to let your readers know where you’re linking up and encourage them to participate by including a link to dVerse in your blog post.
  • Visit as many other poems as you like, commenting  as you see fit. Remember that this is how we connect with those who can support and encourage us, and for whom we provide the same vital benefits.
  • Spread the word. Feel free to tweet and share on the social media of your choice.
  • Finally, remember, we are here for each other, especially in times of crisis and change, and together we make it better for all of us. Thanks to all of you who share here every week, and enjoy tonight’s Open Link poetry-thon.