Category Archives: Zingara Poetry Picks

“Things to Be Grateful for During the American Winter” by Michael Brockley

~For K.D.

The portrait of Harriet Tubman burbling in the ink of a twenty-dollar bill. The way hands can be cupped to form eagles and bison when the shadows on bedroom walls slip through the jet stream of your imagination. The way women’s boots never go out of style. The way wallets are cluttered with unclaimed lottery tickets and Chinese fortune scripts. Take pleasure knowing chaos theory honors the wisdom of Japanese butterflies. Cherish this year of lunar wonders. October’s Hunter’s Moon. The November moon so close a heroine could step off of her hometown street into zero gravity. Hold your memory of a president racing his puppy through the White House halls at Christmas. Celebrate the happy accident of the newest blue and the oldest cherished songs. Sing Hallelujah! Thank the fog. Thank the way persimmons ripen during hard frosts. The taste of haiku lingering on your tongue. Take comfort in the assurance that scarves will always fit. Be grateful for the circle of light dancing above your head. It guardians the secrets in your eyes. Be grateful for the photographs of your most embarrassing moments. Be grateful for the impossible challenges before you. Be grateful knowing that, for this hour, gratitude is enough.

Michael Brockley is a 68-year old semi-retired school psychologist who still works in rural northeast Indiana. His poems have appeared in Atticus Review, Gargoyle, Tattoo Highway and Tipton Poetry Journal. Poems are forthcoming in 3Elements Review, Clementine Unbound, Riddled with Arrows and Flying Island. 

 

“Wanting” by Diana Raab

Wanting
I
Rainbow

The rain trickles
down my paned window
as I stand up to hunt the sky
for the stripes of my childhood.
The more I want to touch
that rainbow, the more it drifts away.

II

Persuasion

When you wonder about
what you want anew
try persuading yourself
and the answer will come to you.

III

Wishing Well

Yesterday I released a penny
in that deepest tunnel
of darkness, crossing my fingers
and begging for wellness.

Diana Raab, Ph.D. is an award-winning poet, memoirist, blogger, essayist and speaker.  Her book, “Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life” was published in 2017.  Raab is a regular blogger for Psychology Today, Huff50 (The Huffington Post), and PsychAlive. More at dianaraab.com.

 

“Geode” by Beth Politsch

The news of your cancer
began a fracture – a small crack
we thought could be patched.

But then it crept outward into the multicolored expanse of time
and spread gray
outward from its edges
like the matte surface of a stone.

I’ve tried drinking
to stop my mind
from trudging
along that deepening fissure
that spans from month one of your illness
to month twenty when you died.

But I never manage to dull the sharp edges
of your truths:

You were too young and too kind
and so imperfect
and complicated
on your surface
that you were everyone’s favorite
sister and friend.

The pain is unstoppable now,
and in this strange middle phase
of my life, I have accepted it
as necessary.

Now I am walking with purpose
to break the gray veil
of your sickness.
I conjure spikes
from my heels
and push them down into the darkness.

I fall to my knees
and my hands become pick-axes.
I claw into the fear until it smashes open,
exposing its crystal center.

And this is where I find you:

In this precious cache
of mineralized memories
you sparkle with facets
both jagged and smooth,
your light and color

reflecting
into all dimensions.

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.

 

“At Nineteen” by John Sierpinski

On a Monday, July morning, Julian Whittaker
(at nineteen) works high up on a ladder, cleaning
fluorescent light fixtures in the English lecture
hall. He can use the money for the start of the fall
semester. He wipes dust, and then black soot off
the white covers. Mike Kessler cleans, too. He

tells Julian, “I’ve just been released from the county
psych ward, but I’m okay now. I’m studying
Mandarin.” To Julian, Mike appears unbalanced,
the shaky ladder, his exophthalmic eyes, the tick
of his right cheek. Another student, Richard
Longwell, has come to dust. He carries a boom

box the size of a small suitcase. At the sound
of the manic beat, Julian notices that Mike and Richard
dust faster. Then Richard declares, “It’s break time!”
and turns the lights off and the volume up. Distorted
guitars splay, plugged in to simple chords. To Julian,
it is too much. He thinks about how he has lost his

beloved Renee—she has walked away. He feels,
in the words of Pink Floyd, “comfortably numb.”
He drowns another soaped rag, wrings it out by touch
in the dark, and lets the water drip down his pant leg.
He listens to Mike tell Richard, “Turn that damn box
down.” Then Mike says, “You know, I had sex with

one of the other patients.” Richard says, “When I
dropped acid, last night, my entire body glowed. Just
think about it, my veins pumped light.” “Look man,
I don’t want to think about your drug-fueled shit,”
Mike says. And Julian, he doesn’t say anything at all.

John Sierpinski studies poetry at the Vest Conservatory for Writers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has recently published in California Quarterly, Curbside Splendor, North Coast Review, and Indiana Voice Journal. He has been nominated for a 2013 Pushcart Prize. He has currently completed a collection.

 

 

“Nook” by Hannah Rousselot

The closet is small enough
that when I go in with my book
my body is compressed on all sides.

I lean the pillow I brought
against the thin wood.
The flashlight makes the shadows
stronger, but now I can read about

a girl who escapes and saves the world.

I have nothing to escape from
except the toxic cloud
that my parents created downstairs.

I have nothing to save except
my own bloody fingernails, from myself.

Hannah Rousselot is a queer DC based poet. She has been writing poetry since she could hold a pencil and has always used poems as a way to get in touch with her emotions. She writes poetry about the wounds that are still open, but healing, since her childhood and the death of her first love. Her work has appeared in Voices and Visions magazine, PanoplyZine, and Parentheses Magazine. In addition to writing poetry, Hannah Rousselot is also an elementary school teacher. She teaches a poetry unit every January, and nothing brings her more joy than seeing the amazing poems that children can create.

“Mermaid Suicide” by Danielle Wong

My skin ripens—
a nutty hazel canopy of flesh.
Cocoa dust and tawny
muscle roasting, hot
fire beneath the relentless

Sun. My private vessel,
suffused with color and
plagued by a vain
saturation, but draped
in Vogue and saintly couture.

The corrosion has
already begun—
hot blood coursing
through precious skin and
brackish waves claiming me
as their own.

To drown like this,
I think, would be quite
convenient.
To wither away,
via sun and
decay. Ugly moths and

fireflies are the only
inhabitants of the corroded
corpse where I once dwelled.

Has there ever been
such a simple decline—
an ending more languid than this?

Danielle Wong is an emerging author living in San Francisco. Her debut novel, Swearing Off Stars, was published in October. Her work has also appeared on several websites, including Harper’s Bazaar, The Huffington Post, and USA Today. Beyond writing and reading, Danielle loves traveling, running, and watching old movies.

“Pachyderm” by Toti O’Brien

What makes baby irresistible
is candid decrepitude
held so gracefully.

Wrinkled and sagged
a zillion-year-old skin
stacked on its tiny skeleton

yet clear of all attitude
only wisdom
that of pretending none.

Little beast, born a centenarian
but without a lament
totters by with unsteady majesty.

Such conspicuous fragility
grizzled innocence
in its meek stare.

Eyes black corals
buried by timeless oceans
submerged by rippling sand.

Toti O’Brien is the Italian Accordionist with the Irish Last Name. She was born in Rome then moved to Los Angeles, where she makes a living as a self-employed artist, performing musician and professional dancer. Her work has most recently appeared in DIN Magazine, Panoplyzine, Courtship of Wind, and Colorado Boulevard.