Category Archives: Zingara Poetry Picks

“Inches” by Jamie Lynn Heller

Some inches slide
smoothly along a surface,
easy to measure.
Others are deceptive,
deep enough
to drown in calm seas.

She told me,
looking up from where
she intently inched
one finger along the chair fabric,
that meth makes her beautiful.

I walk in the mornings
on a crowded sidewalk
where bumped shoulders
cross canyons between
strangers who are farther
apart than a touch.

While in my own space,
we sleep inches apart,
the sheet between us
grows cold during the night.

Some inches slide
along a surface.
Others are deep enough
to drown.

Jamie Lynn Heller is a Pushcart Prize nominee (Little Balkans Review 2014) and Best of the Net nominee (805 Lit + Art 2016). Domesticated, was published in 2015 (Finishing Line Press). She received honorable mention awards in Whispering Prairie Press Writing Contest 2012and Kansas Voices Contest 2017, 2011. jamielynnheller.blogspot.com

“A Glass of Wine Near Birds” by Judith Bader Jones

At twilight, Grackles and Goldfinches drink water,
but I prefer transparent Riesling, a wine to capture
in-between-light when all gets said and undone.

Glass in hand I drink and watch birds clutch
the rim of the feeder. My hand grasps a glassful
of stemmed memories populated with music.

After one sip of time people gather and hang around
for a last drink served up near birds perched next to
my life’s collection of ghosts. No one flies solo.

Judith Bader Jones’ poems appear in The Language of Small Rooms and Moon Flowers on the Fence,chapbooks published by Finishing Line Press. Her book of short fiction, DeltaPearls, published by Sweetgum Press, Warrensburg, MO  received the William Rockhill Nelson Award for Fiction. She has upcoming poems in I-70 Review, Heart, and CHEST, The Journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

“Susan Restringing Wind Chimes” by Alan Proctor

The stitching I could never do. She threads
fishing line – stronger than last season’s
snapped string – through the chimes’ pinhole
throats: the petite, sprung belfry fixed.

Or not. She’s winging it, retracts
the line, reams nits from a clogged
winter hole, plucks a gnat from her wine
glass with a tool better suited

for spackle, strangles the racket
of clanging, takes a sip, shakes the throats
of sound itself until the bells
dangle. Harmonious.

Fishing line, wine, choked cacophony,
chime-stitched wind of her surgery.

Proctor’s poetry and prose have appeared in numerous journals including New Letters and Laurel Review. His hybrid memoir, The Sweden File: Memoir of an American Expatriate (Westphalia Press 2015), received a featured Kirkus Review and was named by the KC Star as one of the 12 best memoirs of 2015.

“Conversations” by Maril Crabtree

After “Caught in the Days Unraveling” by Chelsea Welsh

Among my undiscovered loves and passions
lie patterns unwinding

tokens from another age
finding wilderness that matches

the beauty in my head
reducing self to its essence

learning how to carve something
as intricate as Chinese calligraphy

as intimate as skywriting

if I live long enough I will discover
patterns both intricate and simple

a hairbrush swimming in a sea of hair
its blue fish-eye sending

one more message to decipher
from an urgent universe

Enjoy Maril’s other poems, “Driving to Dripping Springs” and “New Mexico Sky,” on 200 New Mexico Poems  


Maril Crabtree grew up in Memphis and New Orleans but calls the Midwest home. Her most recent book is Fireflies in the Gathering Dark. Formerly a poetry editor for Kansas City Voices and contributing editor to Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance and Solidarity, her work has appeared in Literary Mama, KalliopeI-70 ReviewDMQ Review, Main Street Rag and others.

“A Date with Doubt” by James Croal Jackson

You look around the room
and rate singles from one to ten
in terms of melancholy
but don’t know
how to rate yourself–
Pacific waves flow through
you almost drown
in the sea of your thoughts–
the scisms between pen and mirror,
heart and mind, these are thieves
who will lie to you ‘til the Greyhound
leaves for Cincinnati at 11:30.
Until then we watch superheroes do bad
stand-up comedy in the conference room
at the new Mikey’s, eating mushroom pizza
with too-hot sauce. Bass pounds from the stage
so loudly we walk to 16-Bit next door
to drink water and pretend we are drunk,
our mouths rocketships exploring the universe
of each other– the rotation of stars
confused with physics. In the end all you want
is chocolate cake. Your blue eyes curve away
in that soaring flyball-to-left way. The way
you sway me back to simpler times
when buying CDs was a holy act
of personal preference
and I stayed sealed on a shelf in plastic,
waiting to give the world my music.

James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in FLAPPERHOUSE, Rust + Moth, The Bitter Oleander, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle and is a former winner of the William Redding Memorial Poetry Contest. Find him in Columbus, Ohio or at jimjakk.com.

“If Yellow Sang To Me” by Linda Imbler

If yellow sang to me of bright sun’s day,
the consonance of corn on the cob served at picnics
sweet cream butter at the side

If yellow sang to me as I watch the march
of lemony taxicabs
transporting frazzled strangers
from airports to who knows where

The rhythm of bouncing saffron school buses conveying our future

A vase of sunflowers painted on canvas, the romantic interpretation
through beautiful hands belonging to Van Gogh,
harvest gold portrayed

Stunning yellow tang, the maestro, swimming amid corals in clear water

A cadence of newly sharpened pencils united with
cobalt legal pads

The aria of a canary’s song

A polyphony-
Bananas to be peeled and sliced
placed atop cereal

If yellow sang to me.

Linda Imbler is the author of the published poetry collection “Big Questions, Little Sleep.” Twenty-one of her poems have been published by various magazines and journals. Another poem is forthcoming in Leaves of Ink. Online, she can be found at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com. She lives in Wichita, Kansas.

Read last week’s poem: “Somewhere Near Odessa, 1900” by Joanne Townsend

“Somewhere Near Odessa, 1900” by Joanne Townsend

In the low light by the river
my grandparents, so young,
stand in shabby coats and worn shoes.
The bridge casts violet shadows on their fear,
on the pine trees and frigid cold,
the black rage of Russia
an underlying hiss.
He knows he will leave,
the spoken goodbyes harder than hunger,
the thirst deep in him.
He will work and save,
send for her and the children.
He sees her tears and turns away,
his restless mind already in flight,
his feet tapping, tracks
that will fade to memory.

On the way to America,
those cold damp nights on the Rotterdam,
he hears the fading colors of their voices,
diminishing wave lengths, the tossing ship
and the shock of the lonely dark.

Joanne Townsend lived in Anchorage, Alaska from 1970 to 1995, and it was her honor to serve as Alaska State Poet Laureate officially from 1988-1992 and unofficially at the request of the Alaska State Council for two more years until the appointment of Tom Sexton. In December 2005 she moved to Las Cruces, NM which is now home. Her 24 poem collection Following the Trails appeared as an internal chapbook in Minotaur 55

(Minotaur Press 2009) She is currently working with 2 co-editors in judging poetry for Sin Fronteras: Writers without Borders 2018.

Also enjoy  Joanne’s poem, “Summer Solstice”