Category Archives: Zingara Poetry Picks

I Would by Hugh Cook

My nails are shining Lavender,
I’m afraid you don’t see me.

I wish someone would rub
Sunburnt arms with aloe,
So I could tell them I wasn’t sore.

I felt the love’s weight
As I tried to breathe
With no woman pressing into me,
Once I stopped the chattering TV.
I can feel the weight, lost,
Like I starve myself, so far
Inside does love carve.

I would sit outdoors,
At a warming bench all light time,
To hear “Hi,” receive “Hello.”

Hugh Cook attends University of California, Santa Barbara, studying Writing and Literature. He has authored a collection titled The Day it Became a Circle (Afterworld Books). His poetry has been published in Tipton Poetry Journal, Ariel Chart, Muddy River Poetry Review, and Blue Unicorn.

green by Molly Flanagan

Daddy lost his job last year
and the year before
and momma hers the years before that
but momma got herself a job back
we bought a car to get from here to there
to job and back
for daddy to teach me to drive when i’m
already ripe and smoking
the joint between momma’s forefinger and
thumb passing around like paper wrapped
golden leaf worth more than daddy and momma
and the siding around us sleeping at night in
the beds we pay for in dying
breaths from momma’s hospice patients and the meat
daddy ripped cut slapped the months years decades leading up to
the fire
which burns in our fingers from drivers seat to passenger to
the back i sit in leather seats
wearing three necklaces thrown from a town truck
returned from retirement
no more rusty bumpers and highway calls.

I’m covered in green
shamrocks like me with shiny beads
Emerald gold purple
If wrapped further around me, my neck,
heritage wrapped around my neck in the fake carnation in the lapel of the corduroy 1970s jacket i found in the basements in the years when the girls had friends down and the smoke got all in the fabrics and daddy had
green to pay
for the cleaners to trudge up the smoke in the couch into black corduroy
now covered freckled flesh
green like momma says
daddy on the sidewalk with the little ones
catching candy and necklaces for me to drape over dirty hair
which ripples blonde down pale cheeks
running away from the motherland
her mossy face moist at midnight or three in the afternoon whatever time momma and daddy want to get high
And forget about the Troubles.

Molly Flanagan is currently a senior at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) in New Haven, Connecticut, where she works as Associate Editor of Folio, the undergraduate literary and art journal at SCSU. Her visual art and short stories have also been published in Folio and ANGLES. This past spring, Molly was awarded the 2019 Creative Writing Award by SCSU English Department.

On Packing the Only Painting You Left by Daniel Crasnow

            A Golden Shovel

I never asked myself about you. I did hope, though, that May-
Be you would remember this empty room. Believe me, I never
Wondered if you would return. I knew. (T)Here
The sun rose at 8. Once upon a time, the
Sun bloomed at 8 too. Now that plaster
Painting isn’t worth the trouble. Dirty brushes and stir-
Red colors aren’t worth the wash. As soon as
You left you said goodbye and if
I had just stood up to say “no”… You le(f)t me in
A wardrobe of wilting aloe, plastic flower crowns and pain.
I broke with the door hinges; laughed about it, that May-
Be If I wasn’t so frightened or if I had never
Given a fuck I wouldn’t be the only one to hear
My heart-beat. May-be the
Cold clouds of a Florida summer wouldn’t click like roaches
In an empty moving box. I wouldn’t let this falling
Slush remind me of all the paintings you did take with you. Like
The crow who eats too many berries, and falls fat,
Drunk and remembering— may-be then I’d learn to enjoy the rain.

[1] Last words in The Ballad of Rudolph Reed by Gwendolyn Brooks

Daniel Crasnow is a multi-genre writer and scholar at Stetson University where he holds a Sullivan Scholarship in creative writing. He has been awarded a scholarship to attend the DISQUIET International Literary Program (2018) and was a resident at the DISQUIET Azores Residency (2018).

remnants by Bara Elhag

near an alpine singer
sewing machine
Earl Grey tea rests
near pattern parchment
mama picked one of these

burdas to unburden her mind
which regularly cliff dwells
what she makes is
not as relevant as

sweet ’n’ sour chicken
featuring my cup spilling
for dinner, table clean now

downstairs, antique lace lives to the
morning along with
gauze and cotton
in an embroidered “organized” blue basket

I think that basket was lost in a move.

Bara Elhag was born in Alexandria, Egypt in January 1996 and has spent most of 9 years living half in Minnesota and half in Egypt. He received his high school diploma from America  and graduated from Rutgers University in 2018. Bara is currently pursuing a M.S. in biomedical sciences and has a good family, wonderful friends, loves soccer, hummus, and jalapenos. He also treasure traveling and spontaneous journeys to NYC, when his bank account allows for it.


Plans by Jen Schneider

One question. That’s all I have.  How long did you plan?
I’m a planner. Are you?
Earlier that day I took a test after years of prep.
And a lifetime of crap.
At 12 PM, the testing timer buzzed.
High pitched and loud. Others jumped. Not me.
I planned my time well.
Dropped my #2 pencil. Wiped
my sticky palm across my leg.
Twisted my ring counter-clockwise, twice.
Heck, I’ll take good vibes any day.
The computer processed scores.
I passed. Like I had always planned.
At 2 PM, I was a newly minted EMT.
Planning to save others my entire life.
First, I’d celebrate at a favorite club.
Like I had always planned.
With my study pals. Friends for life.
Wearing matching leather jackets and our favorite denim.
Before scrubs would become our preferred attire.
At 8 PM, we waited at the crowded entrance.
Joking about the trick question,
the one about cardiac arrest, that we each got right.
At 8:09, I felt it.
At 8:10, I felt nothing.
I never planned to be the victim of a random act of violence.
One of many. Last year, our city lost 100s to drive-bys.
The year to date rate climbs higher.
I planned to be an EMT my entire life.
Studying manuals. Saving pennies.
A day off from my minimum wage
dead-end job at the warehouse,
near the corner of Broad and 10th,
to sit for the test that would change my life.
Then, it was over. Because of you.
How long did you plan?

Jen Schneider is an educator, attorney, and writer. Her work appears in The Coil, The Write Launch, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Popular Culture Studies Journal, One Sentence Stories, and other literary and scholarly journals.

When I Got My Ears Pierced by Sophie Cohen

Well, I was walking trying to mind my business
and guess who came by on his bike!
Yes, it was him and his hair was short,
if you can believe he’d let someone cut his hair.
He stopped to call my name and come beside me,
walking his bike and the chain came off.
Do you mind waiting just a minute?
And I waited, because there is something about his voice
I’ve always liked, and I wanted him to walk
beside me, asking questions people don’t ask.
Do you go to New York a lot?
I said I did, sometimes, but I don’t like it there.
We should go. In the summer.
He even went so far as to ask where I was walking,
so I said to get my ears pierced, and he asked
if I had any other piercings on my body,
as if he’d never seen me naked.
But no, I said, I only have them on my ears.
Then he was away on his bike,
and for a sudden moment it was the fall again,
when at the crossroads as he walked me to the doctor
I said I knew the rest of the way, and it was raining,
and I saw his eyes afraid before he turned and ran
down the street, catching the arrow green.

Sophie Cohen is a rising junior at MIT, where she studies mathematics and creative writing. She is a writer for MIT Chroma Magazine, and a teaching assistant for calculus. An active member of her sorority, Alpha Phi, Sophie leads the fundraising effort for the Boston Walk to End Lupus Now. Her favorite poet is Brigit Pegeen Kelly.

a modern sonnet by Cleopatra Lim

i know that it is okay because i said yes but it should mean
that i don’t have to feel like a suckling pig before slaughter
and i did this, i think, to feel like an adult now that i’m eighteen
but i went too far– i go too far– ten bucks that he has a daughter

somehow i can see myself in an hour, picking the curly aged hairs he shed
off polka-dotted sheets that laid witness to my first lunar blood
and soon he’ll unlock my beloved chest, spill jewels of cherry-red–
hindsight says once a flower blooms, it’ll never again be a bud

but reason and rationale are always late and the party don’t start
til they walk in and see me: emptied and filled with cheap wine
and tears… they said when it happened, i would feel in my heart
completed, perfected, and his gaze would be sugary sunshine….

instead the bed shakes and i am seasick until the north star, i can mark.
he tries to see me but he can’t. i am with the stars that glow in the dark.

Cleopatra Lim is a student currently attending Columbia University. She most enjoys writing prose poetry and personal essays, and has been published in some smaller literary journals. She currently works in NYC as a marketing assistant and a junior agent at a talent agency. In the future, she hopes to be able to work with both film and writing, working to incorporate poetry on to the big screen.