Category Archives: Zingara Poetry Picks

“Chaninah” by Steve Pollack

On feather filled pillows
he reclines easy as evening
crowned by a Cantor’s tower
castle shadows on sable hair,
white robe billowing
as if a cumulus cloud.

In sundown sky he presides
over minyan of five sons and wives
who sip sweet wine four times
with stained glass blessings,
children on shins a threshold
away, ask why in four questions.

Each year on the same full moon
he appears with Elijah, cloaked
in melodies at mystery’s doorway,
a virtual choir of crystal vibration
stirring psalms and folksongs,
midnight verses accelerando.

Like ten plagues passing over
a violent sea split in two, forty years
wandering to a land promised,
this family around that table
on a night different from all others
nothing less, a quiet miracle.

Steve Pollack hit half-balls with broomsticks and rode the Frankford El to Drexel University. He advised governments, directed a community housing corporation, built hospitals and public schools.

Poetry found him later. He serves on the advisory board of the Montgomery County Poet Laureate program and sings bass with Nashirah.

“Safe Way to Go?” by Gerard Sarnat

i. Sally Swinggood’s

With 1335 stores in the US alone,
the grocery chain appears to have set an upward looking
policy of equality in gender-hiring
which maybe is reflected in my statistically insignificant
sample size of a passel of 5 tall
clerks seeming to identify as She who are able to reach
the previously unreachable top
shelf to grab me a handful of packets of transfat popcorn.

ii. TransIt 

Closet
pried
ajar

gender
dissidence
unbound

post-op
posit
appellations.

HAIKU

iii. High School 

She tries to boysex
gay away — but it don’t work
— so then avoids them.

iv. Not a Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms.?

Then Mx.-match fluid
trans, a or non-conforming
gender honorifics.

Gerard Sarnat is a physician who’s built and staffed homeless and prison clinics as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. He won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is published in numerous academic-related journals.

“Intravenous Nutrition” by Elise Barker

A tube runs through his nose, down his throat, and into his stomach,
Pulling out anything he puts in.
He’s hungry but he can’t eat.
He dreams of blueberries and cherries.

I see blueberries at the hospital cafeteria. I leave them there.

I go home, to Dad’s house.
Laundry. Life goes on. Dishes. Life goes on. Feed the cat. Life goes on.
He has blueberries in the refrigerator.
Should I smuggle them into the hospital?
I leave them there.

In Dad’s dream of cherries,
He takes down a colander, sets it in the sink, and pours them in.
They thud and bounce into an uneven pile.

He turns on the faucet. The cool water rushes over their shiny, red skin.
The morning sunlight streams through the kitchen window,
Gleaming on their purple veins.

He picks up one of the cherries that had fallen into the sink,
A straggler. He dangles it by the stem.
It’s softer and darker than the others, almost black.
“This one’ll go soon. Better eat it now,” he thinks, greedily.

He drops the cherry in the hollow under his tongue then
Pops off the stem with his front teeth.
He holds the cool fruit in his mouth,
Feeling the taut, cool skin on his warm tongue.
Finally he bites through the casing,
Landing his incisors solidly on the pit.
His teeth scrape the stone, separating the sweet, fibrous flesh from the bony pit.
He spits the pit into a bowl, splattering purple blood on the counter.
Flecks of meat hang from its bones.
His mouth waters as he grinds the flesh to a juicy pulp.
He swallows, and the fruit slides down his throat, solidly.
Such satisfaction, to swallow food. Such joy. Such ecstasy.

He wakes to the beeping of his IV machine.
His intravenous nutrition bag is empty again.

Elise Barker is an adjunct instructor of English at Idaho State University, where she earned her Ph.D. in English and the Teaching of English in 2014. Her academic work has been published in Critical Insights on Little Women and Global Jane Austen. She also has published narrative non-fiction in IDAHO Magazine.

“Three-Window Perspectives” by Ellen Chia

(The Blue Violinist by Marc Chagall)

I.

Your odes to love
Have galvanized the birds
From their slumber.
Even the moon blooms
With pleasure –
Finally, a worthy mate to
Breathe the blue air with.

II.

You drifted out of the window,
Took the chair with you.
Is it me you’re serenading to?
You’re way too high up,
Your fiddling’s lost on me.
Tonight, the moon glows with
A bouquet before her.
Wait a minute –
Isn’t that the same bouquet
You bought me this afternoon?
What’s with this love-flushed face?
How about quitting this frivolity
Before the window of opportunity
Closes on you. For good.

III.

Swing by, Fiddler,
Wash us grimy, dust-obscured
Fragile things with
A ditty of poetic bliss
Before the city awakes to
Taint us again, lulling us
With its numbing mantra humming
Money, productivity and more money.

Ellen Chia enjoys going on solitary walks in woodlands and along beaches where  Nature’s treasure trove impels her to  document her findings and impressions using the language of poetry. Her works  have recently been published in The Ekphrastic Review, NatureWriting and
forthcoming in The Honest Ulsterman, The Pangolin Review, and The Tiger Moth Review.

“Bonfire of the Virtues” by Jim Kotowski

What if Hope were to nose-dive from the highest sky,
Straight at a razor-sharp mountain ridge?
Would She give up on the way down—could She?

What if Faith entered that place
Where 9 out of 10 lay, sick.  dying.  rotting alive….?
The ruthless machinations behind?
Would She abandon her belief—could She?

What if Love faced
The hate of the helpless,
The hell of the heartless,
Ill will run riot?
Would She stop loving—could She?

What if Patience looked on as my greedy soul
Bullies one smaller and meeker to its will,
Piles food on food, and need on need?
Would She lose her patience with me—could She?

What if Peace stood witness
While gold-plated men
Butchered and spattered the red-hearted people?
Would She make war—make holy, righteous, gruesome war
On War—could she?

Should She?

Jim Kotowski has been writing poems and songs since his teenage years, and mostly squirreling them away in notebooks and computer files.  Sometimes, he ventures out to read/sing them in front of an audience, which is always wonderful.  His latest chap book is called Honing Sanity.

“Manumission: A Codependent Romance” by KJ Hannah Greenberg

I gladly waived the earring ritual.

In order to watch the dust puff up
As your footfall took you away.

In affranchisement of beloveds,
Releasing damaging ownership,
Is letting go confining outcomes.

Never did I mean to enslave. Rather,
You clung like bubblegum requiring
Scraping, ice cubes, other surgeries.

Stitching, yoking, enthralling’s
The stuff of mixed-up partnering.
I’m about liberation, unfettering.

All the same, only jagged words,
Chilled hugs, groupings of sorrow
Unshackled your elect possession.

These days, I think on past events,
Question ever talking again among
People, fear repeating our rapport.

In the end, I determined vending
Seized my dependence, realized
Proprietorship thieved my power.

KJ Hannah Greenberg captures the world in words and images. Her latest photography portfolio is 20/20: KJ Hannah Greenberg Eye on Israel. Her most recent poetry collection is Mothers Ought to Utter Only Niceties (Unbound CONTENT, 2017). Her most recent fiction collection is the omnibus, Concatenation (Bards & Sages Publishing, 2018).

Postcards from the Knife-Thrower’s Wife by Alex Stolis

August 2 – Woodstock, N.B. Canada

I’m a girl on a dragon-fly on the back of a horse heading
straight into the wind under an unbreakable sky. You are
not here. You are made-up words in an invented language
spoken in whispers. I remember every detail of the world
we created from scratch. I remember that day the moon
eclipsed the sun and for a moment the earth turned cold.
The sky turned deep green no stars in sight. You wrote me
of a dream you had; lost, afraid and miles away from home.
You heard the low beat of wings. You felt the steady pound
of hooves and I readied myself for flight.

Alex Stolis lives in Minneapolis; he has had poems published in numerous journals. Recent chapbooks include Justice for all, published by Conversation Paperpress (UK) based on the last words of Texas Death Row inmates. Also, Without Dorothy, There is No Going Home from ELJ Publications. Other releases include an e-chapbook, From an iPod found in Canal Park; Duluth, MN, from Right Hand Pointing and Left of the Dial from corrupt press. The full length collection, Postcards from the Knife Thrower was runner up for the Moon City Poetry Prize in 2017. His chapbook, Perspectives on a Crime Scene was recently released by Grey Border books and a full length collection Pop. 1280, is forthcoming from Grey Border books in 2019. 

http://greybordersbooks.jigsy.com/alex-stolhttp://greybordersbooks.jigsy.com/alex-stolisis