“Where Water Runs” by Beth Politsch

In the place
where water runs,
magic shivers and hums
and shakes the trees
with its incantations.

The stream is a cauldron
of leaves, moss and bark.
It blooms with dark clouds
of mud when rust-
colored stones are lifted
away from the creek bed
by the toe of your boot.

But it is your bare feet
the water longs to touch.
It asks
for your fingers
to try to interfere
with its persistent flow.

If you stay long enough,
this place becomes a voice
in your head.
It whispers
words you’ve heard
in dreams. It tells birds
to swoop down
the brooky path beside you,
because you are
and always have been
the same.

And maybe
if you’re very lucky,
a toad will pause and look
you in the eye from a bumpy rock.
Maybe a crane will sweep down
into your shade
and almost anoint you
with her wings.

It will wait until you’re ready,
this oracle,
chanting spells softly,
listening for your breath,
offering vines and roots
for a staircase,
as you climb down
from the usual path.

Beth Politsch is a storyteller, poet and copywriter based in Lawrence, Kansas. She currently creates content for Hyland Software and writes children’s books and poetry in her free time. 

 

“Stillness” by Martin Willits

How do we still the stillness,
making it less than a soft whisper of sleep?
One more day no one can take problems anymore,
and look at how badly it turned out
as the sun sighed, going out
behind the black-purple night sky background.

How can we make it any more quiet
than when the sun is a red flood
disappearing under the weight of the setting
and the pushing down of night?

The large orange harvest moon
sits on the horizon
like it was a hard wooden park bench.
It is so close we can see the pockmarks
from eons of smashing asteroids,
and we do not know what to say —

how do we get more silence, less
talking, less accidental noises
than that? Less than an oar
not moving in water, not dripping
when lifted, not tipping into the row boat
as it is tied onto a pier, and not
the soundlessness of the wooden dock —
how do we get less noise than that?

Even the moth flaming after touching fire
makes a subtle noise. Or the cat, padding
on a thick rug, clawing and sharpening its nails,
arching before circling into sleep,
makes a curious noise, one that troubles
the quiet. No matter how softly we proceed,
noise follows us, makes sure we know it’s there.

Martin Willitts Jr has 20 chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Flowstone Press, 2017) plus 11 full-length collections including forthcoming full-lengths includes “The Uncertain Lover” (Dos Madres Press, 2018), and “Home Coming Celebration” (FutureCycle Press, 2018).

 

 

 

 

“The Road” by Carla Schwartz

The road of asphalt, still covered in winter’s detritus,
the road of lined up houses that part for a parade,
the road of school, of church, of aqueduct.

I travel the road by bicycle, by the side of the road, the shoulder,
my shoulders, a little hunched,
my thumbs resting on break hoods.

The road of large brass sewer covers,
of small round or square plates for gas, for water,
where the road dips and rises like a pillow.

The road of potholes, of layers of asphalt,
eaten away by salt,
successive thaws and freezes.

The road of roadkill — headless rabbits, flattened turtles, snakes,
sparrows, and turkey plumes spread like a headdress
in the middle of the road.

On the road, I listen, keep a watch for glass, for dips.
On this road, the shoulder narrows, then widens,
my pace slows down as I ride uphill.

At an intersection, on the road,
metal eyeglass frames, squashed and skewed,
one lens missing, the other shattered.

Carla Schwartz is a poet, filmmaker, photographer, and blogger. Her poems have appeared in many journals. Her second collection of poetry, Intimacy with the Wind, is available from Finishing Line Press or Amazon.com. Find her debut collection, Mother, One More Thing (Turning Point, 2014) on Amazon.com.  Her CB99videos youtube channel has 1,700,000+ views. Learn more at carlapoet.com, or wakewiththesun.blogspot.com or find her @cb99videos.

 

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“Between Us, the Moon” by KB Ballentine

The moon aches, belly full
as dawn frays the edge of night.
In the shallows, a blue heron peers
into the lake, patient as Saint Francis.
But a quick slash of beak, and nature
reveals her unconcern.
Barely awake, the town unshutters,
signs turn in shop windows, blinds open.

And here we lie, in this bed so wide
we don’t have to touch. I can’t remember
the last time I knew you,
when you let me look in your eyes,
lean on you. What happened to us?
The heron unfolds its wings and lifts,
casts a shadow over the shore.
The moon pales, day empty and raw.

~“Between Us, the Moon” first appeared in The Mill, Issue 2.


KB Ballentine has a M.A. in Writing and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Poetry. Her fifth collection of poems, Almost Everything, Almost Nothing, is forthcoming by Middle Creek Publishing.

Looking for a Summer Writing Residency Experience?

Did you know that Converse College offers two non-degree seeking options for creative writers wishing to hone their skills?

If you are looking for an immersive experience and want a taste of what a writing residency is all about, Converse now offers the Brief Immersion Residency.

Immersion students join MFA students and MFA core faculty in the residency workshop as a non-degree, non-credit student. Work is discussed meaningfully and at length with all participants providing critique and feedback. Participants also attend craft lecture offerings and other classroom activities as well as faculty and visiting faculty readings.

Converse also offers a Lecture Pass allowing the holder to attend some or all craft lectures held during the residency session and is available to any writer holding a bachelor’s degree, or to any college student entering or currently enrolled as a senior. Lecture passes are also available to Converse alumni. Both full and half passes are available for a small fee. Lecture pass attendees receive no academic credit and they do not attend any writing workshop, only craft lectures with the half pass, or craft lectures and readings with a full pass.

Converse’s current and past core faculty include such notable and award winning writers as Denise Duhamel, Richard Tilinghast, Yona Harvey, Marlin Barton, Tommy Hays, C. Michael Curtis, Rick Mulkey, Robert Olmstead, Leslie Pietrzyk, Susan Teculve, Suzanne Cleary, Gary Jackson, Randall Kenan, Juan Morales, Tessa Fontain, Megan Hansen Shepherd, and Allan Wolf, just to name a handful (this list is FAR from exhaustive).

Converse is accepting applications NOW for this year’s Summer Residency scheduled for May 31 to June 8th at their Spartanburg, South Carolina campus. Apply here.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS MAY 10TH FOR READERS OF ZINGARA POETRY REVIEW. Just say you learned about the opportunity here.

So what are you waiting for – apply today!

“Internal Exile” by Diane G. Martin,

          “…we have no hope and yet
          we live in longing.”

                     Inferno, Dante

I’ve been pressed between the pages
of a heavy book, a keepsake
to be rediscovered one fine
day, yellow, brittle, print-stained—
a sentimental talisman.

I’m so close to every line;
indeed, they are on me engraved.
Exquisite shapes keep me awake,
though once lofty, once plain thoughts have
blurred, have rubbed their meanings away.

The lack of air is thick with them—
clouds of locusts on a rampage—
these words elbowing each other
These worlds of words, all alien.
I distrust them–black, banal worn.

Yet it’s not for nothing I’m named
Diana.  For now, I bide my
hours quietly, lie warily
between famed leaves and string my bow.
Somehow, I’ll fly to the dark wood.

Diane G. Martin, Russian literature specialist, Willamette University graduate, has published work in numerous literary journals including New London Writers, Vine Leaves Literary Review, Poetry Circle, Open: JAL, Pentimento, Twisted Vine Leaves, The Examined Life, Wordgathering, Dodging the Rain, Antiphon, Dark Ink, Gyroscope, Poor Yorick, Rhino, Conclave, Slipstream, and Stonecoast Review.

 

 

“Notes in the Night” by Judith Bader Jones

A summer breeze, sheer
as bedroom curtains, floats
through a screened window
and joins us in our double bed.

Evening slows the rhythm
of your beating heart when I rest
against your chest and nighttime music
becomes a cover for body pain and sorrow.

Livin’ in this murky world – the blues
dilutes our hurts while brush-stroke lyrics,
sung by survivors, saves souls as we fall
asleep holding onto each other.

Judith Bader Jones, a poet in Fairway, Kansas, has recent publications in  CHEST- The American College of Chest Physicians, Nostalgia and i-70 Review. She is an avid organic gardener and bird photographer.