Escape by John Short

Pigeons in the chimney:
dark symphony of trapped souls
or distant death lament

as weather mutters all around
then through its gaps
a spectral chorus on the wind
forces me to move things never moved

the brass-scream across old slate
frees an avalanche of bones,
dust, feathers and a chaos of wings
exploding into daylight –

they circle the room, collide with walls
then settle on the highest shelf.

I ponder the world’s misfortunes,
how we suffer mostly
but how sometimes we escape.

John Short lives in Liverpool and studied Creative Writing at Liverpool university. A previous contributor to Zingara Poetry Review, he’s appeared recently in Kissing Dynamite, One Hand Clapping and The Lake. His pamphlet Unknown Territory (Black Light Engine Room) was published in June. He blogs occasionally at Tsarkoverse.

Purple Vest by Peter Mladinic

I had a job interview with a man with a purple vest
in a city of lakes
a city where in winter
the temperature drops to twenty below
a man who could afford a down jacket
a garage
a man with a moustache
and whose surname of three syllables
is similar to mine
he wore a purple vest
and a tie that at the time
impressed me
I described it in a sentence
in a notebook I lost
while moving from one part of the country
to another, a smaller city
on whose outskirts kudzu
had engulfed tall trees
I left my down jacket
in the city
where I’d sat across from Mr. M
in his purple vest
who asked about my employment record
giving me papers with blank spaces
and a pen to fill those spaces
with details about what I’d done
and might do

Peter Mladinic has published three books of poetry: Lost in Lea, Dressed for Winter, and Falling Awake in Lovington, all with the Lea County Museum Press.  He lives in Hobbs, New Mexico.

 

Drop-in Write-in Thursday, October 28

Drop-in Poetry Writing Workshop: Drop in via Zoom for a poetry writing workshop from 12:00pm to 1:00pm Eastern every Thursday. Come when you can, stay as long as you’re able.

Each week will feature a writing prompt and time to share for those who wish.

Suggested donation is $10.00 per class via Venmo (@Lisa-Hase-Jackson) or PayPal (zingarapoet)

This week’s meeting ID is: 512 194 9100

Study of an Orange by Diana Rosen

The basket of fresh-picked oranges
a nest of hardened pockmarked yolks
buffed to an acceptable smoothness
sits docile, waiting, fragrant with
that sweet acid burst that draws you
to pull off one stubborn leaf-dotted stem.
Its spicy spray tickles your nose, rains.
on your beard, smarts your eyes, still
you keep tearing away the thick skin,
scraping off the soft bitter pith
to expose each plump section
ready for your lips
small expectant lips
hidden under a snowy mustache
wonderful lips
that open slightly,
give me citrus kisses
my happy tongue
licks into a smile.

Diana Rosen has published poetry in RATTLE, Existere Journal of Arts & Literature, Poetry Super Highway, As It Ought to be Magazine, among others. Redbird Chapbooks will publish her forthcoming hybrid of poetry and flash, Love & Irony. To read more of her fiction and nonfiction, please visit www.authory.com/dianarosen

Autumn Elegy by Ginger Dehlinger

Sól rises late
on fields scorched sallow,
weeds furred in frost.

October’s metamorphosis
ignites a red-orange wildfire
in the treetops.
It spreads to the undergrowth,
curls the tongues of ferns,
emblazons the carpet.

The season’s gathering rust
sends wild things for cover.
Maples bleed
before winter’s breath
stiffens their bones.

All too soon the leaf piles vanish
in wisps of smoke
from gasping funeral pyres.
A cold shudder of wind
stirs dust in the creek bed
and the sun sets too soon.

Ginger Dehlinger writes in multiple genres. Although better known for her novels Brute Heart and Never Done, her poetry and short stories have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including the 2019 Zingara Poetry Review Mother’s Day issue. You can find her in Bend, Oregon or at www.gdehlinger.blogspot.com

Painting Itself Red by Kim Baker

The job of the poet is to render the world – to see it and report it without loss, without perversion. No poet ever talks about feelings. Only sentimental people do. 

~Mark Van Doren 

Everything here is red,
adorning scores of farmhouses, barns, and doors.
The Wandering Moose Café and train station.
The post office and Stage Coach Tavern.

I wonder about a town that paints itself red.
Insinuates a crimson theology in an indomitable land
of evergreen groves, gray stone walls, and
the righteous white of every Congregational Church.
Perhaps the inhabitants strayed away 
from shades of specters and blending in 
when Dr. Dean built Red Mill in 1750.
Maybe they needed cerise to rival the Gold family
or hollyhock to stand out up on Cream Hill.
In some towns, maybe red is a fetish,
the iconic covered bridge representing everything.

I compose on one of the many red benches
spread here along the Housatonic River,
perfect places for poets and other lovers,
searching for an unsentimental shade.
The cardinal gone from the maple tree.
The wheelbarrow waiting for spring.
The brick of my heart.

When she isn’t writing poetry about big hair and Elvis, Kim Baker works to end hunger and violence against women. A poet, playwright, photographer, and NPR essayist, Kim publishes and edits Word Soup, an online poetry journal (currently on hiatus) that donates 100% of submission fees to food banks. Kim’s chapbook of poetry, Under the Influence:  Musings about Poems and Paintings, is available from Finishing Line Press.      

Eyes Fastened with Poems by Lois Marie Harrod

Made thing, mad thing
mud and muddied thing—
how hard the poem works

shaping its ship of clay,
what is there to discover?
Sails aghast

but still trying
to suck life
into the little vessel,

shale becomes slate.
Well, take up your chalk
and walk.

Lois Marie Harrod’s 17th collection Woman was published by Blue Lyra in February 2020. Her Nightmares of the Minor Poet appeared in June 2016 from Five Oaks; her chapbook And She Took the Heart appeared in January 2016; Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. A Dodge poet, she is published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches at the Evergreen Forum in Princeton. Links to her online work www.loismarieharrod.org

 

In Step with Desire by Margaret Randall

I always asked questions of the poem,
sometimes even glimpsed an answer
flying off to nurse its broken wing.

Certainty lived between folds of skin:
bright light, or shadow deep
as a black hole in a distant universe.

I measured distance in layers of color
applied with a heavy brush,
held escape in a tight fist.

But in this, my ninth decade, I choke
on those questions: warm milk
promising what it cannot deliver.

Place is change, cold monuments
stand where love once promised
to conquer all.

Entitlement begs to borrow a harness
made of melting ice
tethered to this broken dawn.

My map dissolves beneath storm clouds
as I run between canyon walls
pressing against my wanting.

Each image struggles to find its way
across a quartered landscape
of memory unbound.

Today’s questions boomerang,
mock my practiced attempts
to pin them to conviction.

Uncertainty moves through my arteries
calling my name in the minor key
of ancestral catch and release.

But not that uncertainty. Not that one.
Some truths never die:
in step, as they are, with desire.

Margaret Randall is a poet, essayist, translator and performer living in New Mexico. Her most recent poetry collection is Starfish on a Beach: Pandemic Poems, and her memoir, I Never Left Home: Poet, Feminist, Revolutionary was released by Duke University Press in March 2020. “In Step with Desire” will be featured in Randall’s forthcoming collection, Out of Violence Into Poetry, to be published by Wings Press in 2021.

 

Just a Snap by Kitty Jospé

unmarked country road near Piffard (Avon) NY on Summer Day

of rising blue hills beyond the fingered bones
of a dead tree
               and off to the right an old red truck perched
by a fence in the tall grasses, with its hood up, as a dirt road
climbs by to pass it.

It’s just a framed moment of a chance look—
a possible diagonal conversation between an abandoned truck
and shattered tree branches to the bottom left

               or perhaps that splintered rubble
of branches would prefer reassuring the shadow of a small unseen tree
it won’t meet the fate that felled its parent trunk.

In just a chance snap,
               opportunities to imagine what could have been,

the mind wondering if it’s fair to ascribe abandoned
to that truck, and how many heartbeats are left,
if any, to the one who drove it there.

A snap of a moment, a shot
caught in time, waiting for some
stranger kicking down the road.

 

 

Kitty Jospé: MA French Literature, New York University; MFA Poetry, Pacific University, OR. She embraces the joy of working with language and helping others to become good readers of poems, people and life.Her work is in 5 books, published since 2009 and numerous journals and anthologies.

Squat by Gale Acuff

I don’t want to die but I’m not crazy
about living, neither, I’m ten years old
and could live a lot longer, multiply
a decade’s worth of sin and sorrow by
ten and that’s a century of shit, not
that good things won’t happen among the bad
but I’m not so sure of that now, I got
kicked out of Sunday School today because
I asked if Adam had a navel, Eve
as well, and that’s all she wrote – my teacher
gave me the heave-ho so now I’m squatting
on somebody’s headstone in the back of
our church, it’s as quiet as death, ha ha,
except for some mockingbirds and robins
so fat they can hardly chirp and when
class is over I guess I’ll go to her
and apologize, my teacher that is,
I guess there are some questions you don’t ask,
I don’t mean that they’re bad – they’re just too good.

Gal Acuff’s poems can be found in such literary journals as AscentReed, Poet Lore, Chiron ReviewCardiff ReviewPoemAdirondack Review, Florida ReviewSlantNeboArkansas Review, South Dakota ReviewRoanoke Review, and many other journals in eleven countries. He has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel, The Weight of the World, and The Story of My Lives. Gale has also taught university English courses in the US, China, and Palestine.

 

 

 

 

How Do We Determine What Mars Is Made Of by Christina M. Rau

Sampling and photographs
over years until drying out.
A flight of ages. When they go
they go for good.
They say goodbye
and know the silting red
will be dug up for graves.
They know the shallow dips
and angled hills will be
playgrounds, outbacks, landscape
views for all. They know money
doesn’t matter. After setting down.
The rovers didn’t need to
disconnect in this
way. They did and then they
did not.
In millennia
it will be human bone in the loam.

Christina M. Rau is the author of the Elgin Award-winning poetry collection, Liberating The Astronauts (Aqueduct Press) and the chapbooks WakeBreatheMove and For The Girls, I. She is Editor-in-chief for The Nassau Review at Nassau Community College and founder of the Long Island poetry circuit Poets In Nassau. http://www.christinamrau.com

Hollow by Robert Beveridge

Sap drips
from the blades
of pine needles
that surround us
as we lie
on the Navajo blanket
grandmother brought
back from New Mexico

the pine
has been eaten by something
leaves a crevice
where we rest our heads

a dry sanctuary
from expected rain

I carve our initials
inside the shell
before we leave
surround them
with traditional heart
and arrow

a first moment
of love
solid as pine.

Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Blood and Thunder, Feral, and Grand Little Things, among others.

First Day at Sts. Philip and James by John C. Mannone

Diesel exhaust seeped through the open window.
Almost made me sick, but my stomach churned
already from nervousness. My first day in school.

My blue blazer, brushed free from lint, felt tight
when I sat on the bus’ green leather seat.
I didn’t think to unbutton it. But the ride was short.

The First Grade classroom seemed littered
with many papers pinned to the walls; an alphabet
was strung around the room like a party decoration.

It was scary because I didn’t know what the letters
meant. I didn’t even know what a letter was,
but I remember my momma trying to teach me.

The Sisters of St. Francis wore a thick chord
fashioned around their waist that dangled down.
It looked like a whip. I was scared about that, too.

When I went to the bathroom, I didn’t know
what to do—I never saw a vertical urinal before,
only sit-down toilets. When I let my pants fall

to the floor, the other boys laughed; they laughed
harder when they saw me pee. I thought
I did something wrong. I thought the nuns

were going to spank me with that chord.

John C. Mannone has work in North Dakota Quarterly, Le Menteur, 2020 Antarctic Poetry Exhibition, and others. He won the Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and others.

split pea soup by Jan Ball

Just after we were married, you tried to make
split pea soup at my parents trailer in Wisconsin
but the split peas wouldn’t soften; still, musty
smells mixed with the piney fragrance from outdoors
stimulated our appetites–probably the split peas
were on the pine wood shelf in the little country store
with the squeaky screen door for years, but you wanted
to make split pea soup on vacation in the Dells.

Tonight, the green peas I substitute for yellow ones
aren’t soft yet but I can smell the flavors blending:
like so many years ago, onions, ginger, apple and
sweet potato left over from Thanksgiving, with
coriander, cumin and turmeric. But there is no hurry.
You aren’t home yet and Lake Michigan outside
the window is conducive to navy blue reflection.
When you do return, finally, I’ll add the tart lime juice
and acidic tomatoes before serving to the simmering soup
for a contrast of flavors.

Jan Ball has had 325 poems published in various journals including: Atlanta Review,
Calyx, Chiron, Mid-America Review, Nimrod and Parnassus, in Australia, Canada,
Czech Republic, England, India and The U.S.. Jan’s three chapbooks and full
length poetry collection, I Wanted To Dance With My Father, are available from
Finishing Line Press and Amazon.

Nisi Warrior by MSG (Ret) Hubert C. Jackson

Dedicated to the second born generation of Japanese-Americans who, in spite of the treatment of incarceration dealt to, in many cases, themselves, their friends and families, still chose to support the war effort of a nation who had turned a deaf ear to the cries of its citizens.

Ancestral essence from the “Land of the Rising Sun,” and societal influences from the “Home of the Brave – Land of the Free” have combined to make me.  Driven by the soul of the Sumari, and a desire to be a contributing factor in the day-to-day functioning of this land, I ask nothing more than to be recognized as a citizen of this nation from sea to sea.

We are the Nisei, sons of the Issei, and fathers of the Sensei, and America is our homeland too, and during one of the most challenging times in our history, we stepped forward to defend our country in the European theater in some of the most vicious fighting during World War II.  We stood proudly, fought bravely, sacrificed, and many died for the cause of the “Red, White, and Blue.”  All of this in spite of Executive Order 9066, which incarcerated my family, friends, and relatives in substandard barbed-wire enclosures, signed into effect in February 1942.

We comprised the 100th Infantry Battalion )Separate), better known as the “Purple Heart Battalion,” and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and in fighting for our country, we also fought for the realization of our dream, that of regaining, for ourselves, and our families, the rights of free American citizens, and to reconstruct our shattered self-esteem.

Hubert C. Jackson is a graduate student at the Union Institute and University enrolled in their Interdisciplinary Studies Program with an emphasis on African American Military History. He spent twenty-four years of active military service in the United States Army, twenty of those twenty-four years were spent in the Army’s Special Forces (Green Berets) serving with some of the finest soldiers that one could wish to serve with.