Category Archives: Zingara Poetry Picks

“Let it go on and on and on now baby” by Kenneth Pobo                

supremesHolland-Dozier-Holland

At fourteen I loved a boy who
kept talking about The Supremes.
He loved other singing groups too,
but said that even in his dreams
they’d sing “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”
or “Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone.”
Back then, we disagreed.  I’d pass
out (almost) hearing Mama Cass.

Our phone calls grew shorter.  We met
other friends to play with.  I still
miss him—“I Hear A Symphony”
blasts from my car.  I can’t forget
our secret touches, the first thrill
of lying body to body.


Kenneth Pobo (he/him) is the author of twenty-one chapbooks and nine full-length collections.  Recent books include Bend of Quiet (Blue Light Press), Loplop in a Red City (Circling Rivers), Lilac And Sawdust (Meadowlark Press), and Lavender Fire, Lavender Rose (BrickHouse Books). Opening is forthcoming from Rectos Y Versos Editions.

Seringo by Charles Weld

For my dad an opal wasn’t a stone, but an Osprey
Packing A Lunch. “Opal, 2 o’clock,” is something
he might have announced, binoculars raised. TV,
in the everyday slang of his birding culture,
wasn’t television, but short for turkey vulture.
Mo do was a mourning dove—ro do, a pigeon.
On today’s date, in the year he was my age,
he saw a Robin, Crow, Snow Bunting, Starling,
Canvasback, Goldeneye. I turn page after page
of lists in notebooks he penciled sightings in.
Sometimes I read Thoreau the same way. His day
on today’s date. Chronology’s scaffold falls away.
A Savannah Sparrow sings, and I hear seringo—
his word for the bird’s song, still carrying its cargo.


D71F781F-6442-451A-9E3F-8E882F81851BCharles Weld’s poetry has been collected in two chapbooks (Country I Would Settle In, Pudding House, 2004; and Who Cooks For You? Kattywompus Press, 2012) and has been published in many small magazines. A mental health counselor, he lives in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

Nineteen Blooms by Nancy K. Jentsch

For Alexandria, Amerie, Tess, Jose, Miranda, Maite, Makenna, Xavier, Eliana, Layla, Elihana, Alithia, Jackie, Annabelle, Jailah, Jayce, Uziyah, Nevaeh, and Rojelio 

Next to the pasture stands
a handful of blue-eyed grass
my son mowed around.
I counted nineteen blooms
and stopped.

Stars of fragile azure twirl
carefree in the wind
like we wish the children
were doing now—hair
catching the birds’ trills, toes
hugged by loving soil, clothes
trimmed with fourth-grade giggles.

The petal cups close
at dusk—far too soon.


Nancy K. Jentsch’s poetry has appeared recently in The Pine Cone Review, Scissortail Quarterly, and Verse-Virtual. Her chapbook, Authorized Visitors, was published in 2017 (Cherry Grove Collections) and Between the Rows, her first poetry collection, is forthcoming from Shanti Arts. More information is available on her website: https://jentsch8.wixsite.com/my-site.

Blue by Anne Whitehouse

Dusty, worn blue,
sun-faded house.
The ghost of the sea
breathes over it at night,
leaving a taste of salt.

When I hung up the clothes
I had brought with me,
I saw they all
were shades of blue.

This is the color
I come back to,
the very hue
of my soul.


Anne Whitehouse’s first appearance in Zingara Poet was in 2014. “Blue” is her seventh poem to be published in its pages. Her poetry collections include Blessings and Curses (Poetic Matrix Press)and The RefrainMeteor Showerand Outside from the Insideall published by Dos Madres Press. Ethel Zine and Micro Press have published two chapbooks, Surrealist Muse (about Leonora Carrington) and Escaping Lee Miller. Frida is forthcoming. www.annewhitehouse.com

Wind Chimes by Michael Brockley

wind chimesFrom your seat in a leather desk chair, you gaze out the window in your writing room. The wind chimes you bought when you moved into this house have lost the clapper during the past winter, and the black enamel has eroded, leaving the silver tubes exposed to the havoc of blizzards and storms. You have not heard the instrument’s  melodies since your last German shepherd passed. In mid afternoon a finch alights on the aging deck to perch on a post beside the chimes in order to survey the sky for red-tailed hawks and the terrain for cats before flying into a viburnum. After this year’s finch flutters away, you continue to read from Moby Dick and an anthology of movie poems. Films you would call them, if you were a cineast. For weeks, you’ve wondered if the white whale has been retired from the literary canon as you drew near to the end of the book without any of the ambushes you would expect from Jaws or the squid attacks in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. On your porch the finch skips back into the sunlight, and you notice its feathers shedding February browns in favor of the radiance from an April sunbeam. The bird chirps a song you can hear through closed storm windows. Just such a finch has visited your springs throughout the lives of all the German shepherds you have companioned. Perhaps the absence of the Leviathan in your adventures turns you toward an enigma that might be kindness. Toward a silent conundrum that might even be joy.


Michael Brockley is a retired school psychologist who lives in Muncie, Indiana. His poems have appeared in Fatal Flaw, Woolgathering Review, and Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan. Poems are forthcoming in Flying Island, Last Stanza Poetry Journal, and the Indianapolis Anthology.

Ambidextrous by Denise Low

Ambidextrous
 

Let me kiss you with my left lip and my right
            open my right labium and the left.
 
Let my left eye solve quadratic equations
            and my right eye parse Picasso.
 
Let me sign the check upside down with my right hand
            rightside up with my left.
 
Let me read traffic signs blindfolded.
            No, just kidding. Let me brake left-footed or right.
 
Let me track two rabbits to the compost pile
            Let me aim left-eyed and shoot right-handed.
 
Let me watch sunrise and offer tobacco smoke.
            Let me offer tobacco smoke at moonrise.

9780990804758Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, won a Red Mountain Press Award for Shadow Light. Other books include Jackalope and a memoir, The Turtle’s Beating Heart (Univ. of Nebraska). At Haskell Indian Nations Univ. she founded the creative writing program. She teaches for Baker Univ. and lives on Tsuno Mountain. www.deniselow.net

After the Broken Hip is Repaired by Michael H. Brownstein

AFTER THE BROKEN HIP IS REPAIRED


In the great lakes of injured bone,
a spinal tap     temperature     a reading of the pulse.
When he arrives from the water’s bottom to the light
Recovery     no pain     a stomach of animosity.
Laying in his bed, they welcome him back
warm water     salad     something soft to chew on.
He sighs. Pain tears away from its cocoon 
blood work     pulse rate     temperature     blood pressure.
He refuses pain pills, calms himself, lets the wind outside in, 
and when he falls asleep     a current of coolness, 
grass carp darting to the side     pain sinking into mud.

31hT728aoUL._SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_FMwebp_Michael H. Brownstein’s latest volumes of poetry, A Slipknot to Somewhere Else (2018) and How Do We Create Love? (2019), were recently released (Cholla Needles Press). He has a Sunday poetry column in Moristotle.

 

Bird, tired bird by Sue Blaustein

         Here’s a gull
missing a chunk of itself.
Not just downy feathers, no…
Long feathers are gone,
        and maybe flesh.
 
Bird, tired bird…
Limping in the street alone,
        using energy
        you can’t spare –
        you bend
and open your beak
to a twig
that has to be food
         but isn’t.
 
I’m sure you can’t fly…you can barely
         walk. Juvenile
plumage, but you won’t grow up.
         Something
         happened.
 
         Juvenile – you’re
limping like an ancient –
         past two cases
of spent bottle rockets.
In deep summer, sweet summer.
The 5th of July.
 

Sue Blaustein is the author of In the Field, Autobiography of an Inspector. Her publication credits and bio can be found at http://www.sueblaustein.com. Sue retired from the Milwaukee Health Department in 2016, and is an active volunteer. She blogs for Ex Fabula (“Connecting Milwaukee Through Real Stories”), serves as an interviewer/writer for the “My Life My Story” program at the Zablocki VA Medical Center, and chases insects at the Milwaukee Urban Ecology Center.

Here Is The Summer by Ian Powell-Palm

Here Is The Summer 
 
 
with everyone you love inside it. 
No more bodies buried beneath the floorboards. 
 
The ghosts in this place are still able to stand the sight of you. 
Here, people die for good reason. Nothing is ever random. 
 
Your eye is enough. I beg it to swallow all of me.  

 A crashing wave of pink flame, 
my only view, my whole world for a moment 
As the car speeds past the exit. My brother, screaming, 
            Something about freedom as he takes us 80 mph over the hill. 
 
If I told the sky that I had lost my body,
Could I ask for it back?
 
If I gave it to the River, could I become downstream? 
Am I an extension of everything I’ve ever touched? 
 
My love, I want us to live. 
So, I hang up the phone and lock 
my hands inside the basement. 
May they never reach you again. 
 
My love, I you to love anything other than me, 
so I step out of your life, 
and onto the cliff, 
 Back and forth through the car door,
For a decade,
 all of my leaving barely contained,  
measured only by the seasons my body no longer passes through. 
 
I am fully alive 
until I step into a summer 
that is snowed in on all sides.
 
When we make love inside this place 
I am everywhere but here.  

 Never beside you in this bed of thorns.  
 
Never alone with myself.  
 

Monkey in a Cup by Javy Awan

I used to mail-order the little monkeys in a cup,
advertised on two-bit comic book back covers,
but the compact box with air holes at the top
didn’t come—I know it was dumb, but I sent cash:
laureled one cents, buffalo nickels, burning-torch dimes,
and Liberty quarters scotch-taped to a card and sealed
in a stamped envelope addressed with best penmanship.

Years and many moves later—they must have tracked
me down like schools their alumni—the delivery arrived:
the miniature hermit monkey snug in his sturdy
live-in cup of Horn & Hardart cafeteria china—
he was a born commuter, a philosopher in a tub.

He’d climb out and walk around wherever set down,
and despite the ad’s fine-print disclaimer about luck,
he had the knack of picking out winners at the track—
dogs, thoroughbreds, and trotters—offsetting expenses.

He’d tell fortunes as a parlor trick, with a deck
of mishmash cards almost as tall, laying out the draw
and discerning the gist with tiny finger to tiny lip
and detective tics of his head. He’d mime the result
with movements precise and unmistakable:
going to the bank, falling in love, fighting a battle,
earning a degree, sailing a ship, and marrying.

Somehow, the single monkey in a cup multiplied—
each Saturday breakfast, the row of mugs had grown,
with furred pates and bright eyes peeking over each brim.

I figure that back in the day a shipment of monkeys
must have escaped and hid out in a post office store room;
they intercepted crates of mugs, and in a few generations,
resumed fulfilling the long-delayed orders,
boyhood to manhood. That would explain it.

Javy Awan’s poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Solstice, Ghost City Review, Potomac Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, and The Ekphrastic Review; two of his poems were selected for reading at locations on the Improbable Places Poetry Tour in 2019. He lives in Salem, Massachusetts.

 

Bisymmetry by Denise Low

I open a map scaled one to one

read it as fast as I can

but cannot catch up with Borges

who writes:

 

“Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire

whose size was that of the Empire,

and which coincided point for point with it.” 

 

Press my torso into garden mud

for a full print. Voilà.

 

Scatter Pompeii ashes over a volcano

and wait two thousand years.

 

Paint the Mona Lisa but it’s only

my inept fake (damn, the smile’s crooked).

 

Shoes, put the left one on the left foot, the right one

            correctly aligned with the right big toe. Walk.

 

Mittens, don’t forget the opposing-thumbed mittens.

            Thumbs and toes, toes and thumbs.

 

Quote from “On Exactitude in Science,” Jorge Luis Borges, https://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/users/08/bblonder/phys120/docs/borges.pdf

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, won a Red Mountain Press Award for Shadow Light. Other books include Jackalope and a memoir, The Turtle’s Beating Heart (Univ. of Nebraska). At Haskell Indian Nations Univ. she founded the creative writing program. She teaches for Baker Univ. and lives on Tsuno Mountain. www.deniselow.net

 

Tethering by Carolyn Martin

Be tethered to native pastures even if it reduces you
to a backyard in New York.
– Henry James

This morning’s rain kept me inside
and I swear I heard weeds in my flower beds cheer
and aggravated birds crackle in the neighbor’s cherry tree.

More natives to add to the cats, squirrels, moles,
and slugs rough-shodding the yard;
not to mention maples, moss, firs, and perennials seasoning.

But my landscape is running out.
I may have to track down the Polish pasture
where my grandmother plowed courage and tears

or search out my Russian father’s New York flat
which, if memory serves, lacked a bathroom
and stove, not to mention a hint of yard.

This morning’s news might reduce me
to nabbing images from a Mars volcano flow
or the Deep Solar Minimum of our quieting sun

or the 17-year-locusts resurrecting again.
So much life happening beyond my kitchen table
and the tethered views I bank my poems on.

And yet … yesterday I watched errant robins ignore
earthworms to dine on suet cake while my lone iris bulb –
its first time out – exploded into purple-black magnificence.

And it’s true I’ve yet to find words for how
summer breezes train lily leaves to wave at me
or why the brightest star in the western sky comforts my nights.

Always more, Nature whispers, from the corners of my yard.
Of course! I cheer, startling the song sparrow performing
her signature piece from a dripping dogwood tree.

From associate professor of English to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin is a lover of gardening and snorkeling, writing and photography. Her poems have been published in journals throughout North America, Australia, and the UK. She is currently the poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly: journal for global transformation.

Traveling Along the Corpse-roads by Diana Rosen

The writer submits to a walking meditation, ignoring
the beauty under her feet, unaware how they crumple
sun-golden Lion’s Tooth and dandelions, the clover.

The writer stomps on, blind to the circinated fiddlehead
budding into a passion of forest green, signaling her
to connect, tell those tales, those found only in dreams.

No sweet roses scent the air. Instead, geraniums, marigolds
release their bitter scent, awakening her to the Lion’s Tooth,
dandelion, the sweet clover patch that invites honeybees.

Under the dimming twilight, white daisies fold back petals
white, warming blankets for a dream-filled black-dark night.
Blades of grass thick and tight in a unison of lawn lushness

whisper to the hedges, the hydrangeas, “She is back.”
The writer sharpens her pencil, reclaims her notebook,
the eraser. Refreshed, in spite of herself, she begins.

Diana Rosen has published poetry in RATTLE, Existere Journal of Arts & Literature, Poetry Super Highway, and 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

All That Remains: Inspired by Van Gogh’s Bedroom by Kim Baker 

One wonders who, alongside Vincent himself,
stares down upon the empty bed.
Two framed guardian angels?
Or the visages of brothers, of lovers?
They are all that remain to witness
this hauntingly serene scene.

Moon-glow window partly ajar.
Towel resigned on a nail near one door.
Patiently anticipating painting smocks
signature straw hat at the hooked dowel.
Hairbrush, pitcher, carafe
atop an apprehensive table, waiting.

Chair pulled close to the head of the bed
as if someone had just been reading 
a soothing children’s story to Vincent
or pleading in a blanket of red woolen urgency
robin’s egg blue reasons for Vincent 
to skip the long walk to the wheat field 
accompanied only by the cold steel of peace.

When she isn’t writing poetry about big hair and Elvis, Kim 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.      

What Is Lost Is Not Lost by Pete Mladinic

I like looking at bicycles in old films
such as this one of Dawson, a mining town,
now a ghost town.  I like at the opening
the long line of coke ovens, the miners, two
men, walking home from the mine.  I like
the bicycles, the dogs, the women’s dresses,
their hairstyles, looking into their faces
wondering what happened
after Dawson, where they went, what they
did or did not do, what they did or did not say.
The lady narrator, her
last name Loy, said she and her
husband went to graduate school the following year. 
They had two young sons, Merrill, the elder
and Bill, who lives now in Eugene,
Oregon, and introduces his mother
in the film, which was shot by Mr.
Loy in 1938.  There are numerous shots
of the boys, several of Bill in his playpen
and then one where he seems
happy, having just
learned to walk.  There are shots
of the mines, the houses that sprang from
mountainsides, the church, the school.
Now, nothing left in Dawson
but the cemetery.  I like the moments of Bill
walking on his own,
but I have no idea what he does in Eugene.
He must almost be seventy.
His mother, a young wife
in the film, sticks her tongue out in
one shot.  She was born in 1917.


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.