Monthly Archives: January 2016

Love, Maybe: A Poetry Prompt

IMG_0769Love is hard.

Well, maybe not at first.

At first it’s all excitement and intense desire.

Fantasies and bliss.

Surrendering to pheromones and hormones.

Buying into the cultural ideal of soul mates,

and quieting insecurities.

But the day always arrives in which we view our lover, and they us, through lenses of a less rosy hue.

A time when we must discern between commitment and attraction, choice and devotion, judgment and acceptance, cute Habits and OCD, jokes and insults, and many, many moments of doubt amid general feelings of certainty.

For today’s prompt, spend 10 minutes freewriting about the early stages of love. Capture all the nuances of bliss that characterize those early feelings that so often are compared to a kind of temporary insanity. Include vivid descriptions of romantic interludes, devotional thoughts, and lusty dreams. No one will see this, so really and truly write freely. Don’t reread your freewrite until you have completed the next step.

Next, spend 10 minutes freewriting about the realities of living in a committed relationship. Your focus might include such details as kissing your partner despite garlic breath, or maybe how they tolerate your morning breath. It should also include the more difficult aspects of co-habitation, like basic cultural differences, fundamental disagreements about the way the world works, plans forgone for the sake of the relationship, or resentments that arise as a result of choosing love over your dreams.

Finally, read through your freewriting and highlight lines or images that can support a compelling  poem then get to composing that compelling poem.

Remember, the difference between a journal entry (however compelling) and a poem is REVISION.IMG_0770

For an example of how one poet approaches this subject, take a look at “The Kama Sutra of Kindness, Position 3″ by Mary Mackey over at The Writers Almanac. 




Word Jumble in a Blue Highway Diner by Michael Brockley

You drive with the sun in your eyes until blindness becomes another way of seeing. A corona of blue highways emerging from behind an eclipsed sun. You stop for any rumor of a restaurant serving berry pies that taste like the last woman you loved. If the waitress offers a coloring book menu and Summer 2013 204a set of crayons, you thank her for the gift. And order pie. Then weave through the curves and dead-ends of the mazes with wild orange strokes. When business slows and the booths empty, you move so the sunlight sets on your shoulder. Your vision filled with the rebus clues of your lover’s goodbye. The jukebox plays backroad songs only you can hear. Cracked rearview mirrors. A woman wearing a maroon dress. While the cook and the waitress laze over a game of backgammon, you connect the dots to reveal a cartoon turtle holding a fork and knife. Stay for the evening rush, for the aroma of home-made pie. The waitress pauses to dab sandalwood perfume on her wrists. You used to breathe Taboo behind her ears. At your booth you wear a crayon to its nub but find new colors at the cash register. Rhubarb and peach. After the Blue Plate Special, you finish another slice of pie and labor over the words on the menu’s jumble. SISK. RESEID. VELO.

Michael Brockley has had recent poems published in Facing Poverty, The Tipton Poetry Journal and Panoplyzine. Forthcoming poems will appear in Flying Island and Atticus Review. Brockley is winding down his career as a school psychologist and trying to learn how to navigate the world of e-submissions.

Haiku Contest Winners

Crazyhorse Issue 88, Fall 2015

Crazyhorse Issue 88, Fall 2015

Thanks everyone for participating in the first ever ZingarPoet haiku contest. There were several wonderful entries and making a final decision was tough. Here is a list of the top three haiku  (third place is actually a tie) and one honorable mention. Please send your mailing addresses to me at and I will send you a copy of the latest issue of Crazyhorse Literary Journal, featuring the work of the 2015 Contest winners, via USPS sometime this week.


Fist Place:

Purple mountain fog
reminds me forgetfulness
is a cool shower
~Kelsey Satalino

Second Place:

Loving or lethal?
Slaughtered remains suggest both,
but that’s neither, right?
~Eve Ott

Tied for Third:

fifteen panes of glass
divide the passing street scene
into small chapters
~Roy Beckemeyer

writing a haiku
is like stuffing the whole world
into a small box
~Dennis Etzel

Honorable Mention:

These days, when it rains, tiny fish swim the streets, the lawn our lilypad
~Lynne Barrett



Write a Haiku, Win a Prize

Welcome to Zingara Poet’s first ever poetry contest.

Crazyhorse Issue 88, Fall 2015

Crazyhorse Issue 88, Fall 2015

Here’s how it works.

Write a haiku, senryu, or a Ginsberg sentence in the comments section below between 8:00 AM Friday, January 22nd and 8:00 AM Sunday, January 24 and I will select one (or maybe two) winner(s) from those submitted sometime Sunday afternoon and announce it here. The winner(s) with receive, via USPS, a free copy of the latest issue of Crazyhorse Literary Journal featuring works from their 2015 contest. (This will require disclosure of a mailing address, which can be sent to me via email at

As a reminder, haiku is a short poem that contains three phrases with a 5-7-5 metrical count. Traditionally, haiku capture images of the natural world and is the result of careful observation. A really good haiku conveys emotion through juxtaposition of ideas and a “cutting word.” Here’s an example from Basho:

On a withered branch
A crow has alighted:
Nightfall in autumn.

A Senryu utilizes the same structure as haiku, but focuses on human nature and psychology. Sometimes written as satire, senryu may use humor, but this is not a requirement.

The Ginsberg sentence is one that contains seventeen syllables. No line breaks, no particular subject or focus. Just seventeen syllables. That’s it.

Please share widely, and LET’S HAVE SOME FUN!!

*One comment/poem per person, please.

Poems only, please. Links and promotional comments will not be approved. 



Solitude by Vinita Agrawal

In slumber I am not alone.
Awake, I am.

In a crowd, I am stranded
In solitude, found.

People meet and mix
They have reasons.

My reasons are dead.
I stretch empty from sky to earth.

I am a sliver of light
trapped between closed doors.

Air that cannot be breached
and moulded into a hug.

In myself, I am all that is lost
I am everything that needs to be said.

Author of two poetry books – Words Not Spoken and The Longest Pleasure, Vinita is a Mumbai, India based, award winning poet and writer. Her second manuscript was selected for publication by Finishing Line Press, Kentucky, USA. Her poems have appeared in Asiancha, Constellations, The Fox Chase Review, Pea River Journal, Open Road Review, Stockholm Literary Review, Poetry Pacific and over a 100 other national and international journals.  She was nominated for the Best of the Net Awards 2011, awarded first prize in the Wordweavers Contest 2014, commendation prize in the All India Poetry Competition 2014 and won the 2014 Hour of Writes Contest thrice.

I Get to Race by Frederick Foote

I get to race
I get to run

Three times
Around the
Oval cross

Five of us
On a
Hard packed
Dirt track

Coursing hounds
Chasing time

First lap
Speed to burn
Records to set

Second lap
Stretch it out
Take the lead

Third lap
Legs dead
Lungs afire

Nothing left
On empty
Falling across
The finish line

Snot and spit
Covered face
Lips peeled back

Eyes rolled up
Gasping to death

The most beautiful
I have ever been

Frederick K. Foote, Jr. was born in Sacramento, California and educated in Vienna, Virginia and northern California. He started writing short stories and poetry in 2013.

He has published numerous stories and poems and will have a collection of his short stories published this year by Blue Nile Press.


New Picks for the New Year

Misc iPhone 2015 025Welcome to 2016, y’all.

It feels great to have Zingara Poet back in rotation of this juggling act called the poet’s life. The last two and a half years have witnessed my move from the High Desert to the Low Country and finally, after years of agonizing over the decision, the completion of an MFA program; two major events that have taken a bit of a toll on the consistency of the publication of poetry picks.

Now I’m looking forward to a poetry-filled 2016 that will see the publication of a number of wonderful poems to Zingara’s Poetry Picks. Readers should look forward to a cadre of new poetry prompts designed to generate inspired writing, several new poet interviews, and, time permitting (in my schedule, I mean), a number few book reviews.

This year’s picks are seriously good and I’m forever amazed at the quality of poems submitted — I can’t even begin to express how much enjoyment I get out of reading them. If you haven’t heard, the deadline for 2016 has been extended until the last day of January, so if you didn’t get around to submitting your poems yet, there’s still time.

Remember to subscribe to the blog or follow me on twitter to keep up with poetry picks, prompts, and other related poetry news.

Thanks for your support and HAPPY WRITING!

Belongings by Richard King Perkins II

It’s too late to gather your clothes
about you;

the morning light has already found you naked
just before his eyes of acid rain—

working the last half day in reverse
without the sun’s spirant assistance.

An intimate world collapsing

swans in a cesspool
branches of brine
hands barricading your clouded face

if there was a chance out
it wasn’t beneath the lost demure of these sheets—

flailing gestures only bind you tighter
to a bed that was never yours.

Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.