Category Archives: Zingara Poetry Picks

Chocolate by Michael T. Smith

“I just
Brought you
So we can start from

The word
Was intoxicating –
Hung on my lips before I
Said it.

Tasting it,
And letting the idea
       Seep into my mind
In some eternal moment.

But the idea
Should not be dormant,
       Alone –
And so it will be joined
To a thing not untoward –
To what I bring to you.

Michael T. Smith is an Assistant Professor of English who teaches both writing and film courses. He has published over 150 pieces (poetry and prose) in over 50 different journals. He loves to travel.

*July 7 is World Chocolate Day

Even When by Shannen Angell

Thank you to this damned body
a middle ground
no man’s land
mediation between the warring sides
the daggers in its skin
its joints
its bones
and the self that extends past

instead embracing compassion
creativity consistency
even when its body is
incapable of walking
even when its body is
locked to the bed
even when its body
cannot contain an ounce more
of pain

Thank you to this damned mind
a middle ground
pie in the sky
idealist who insists that
inviting cousin chronic illness
to the wake will not
reignite the generations-long battle
between the self that extends past

and the physicality itself
the space it demands to fill
even when its mind is
struggling to swim
even when its mind is
convinced of its dusk
even when its mind
still cannot give up
and continues to raise
its hand

Shannen Angell attends Utah Valley University and is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in writing studies. When she isn’t writing poetry, she can be found cross stitching or playing Animal Crossing. She has previously been published in UVU’s Touchstones and Snow College’s Weeds.

the fruit archive by Derek Berry

inheritance is the incorrect word for the righteous
pulse that stutters when i learn of this history,
how the story spills teeth on asphalt.
each document in the fruit archive
is a red-soaked landscape, 
a forget-compass leaving bruises on the map.

under every map, a new map— secret
as joy & ancient as erosion. marble faces
with age-busted visage, like stolen
territory etched with opulent monuments
to a forgotten resistance. i find too brilliant
pebbles speckled with blood, evidence
that someone once was alive carving desires into stone.

stone shelves worn, chipped
like a brick thrown back. in the fruit archive,
the water rises. brief flood 
swelling tomes into indecipherable violence,
river-urgent end of a heterosexual reign.

rain seeps through the ceiling of the fruit archive,
riot of seeds splitting open easy as a skull. 
the dirt is bloodwet & blooming rage, 
and here, even drowning 
in what is never said aloud,
i find a worthy inheritance.

Derek Berry is the author of the novel Heathens & Liars of Lickskillet County (PRA, 2016), and poetry chapbooks GLITTER HUSK and BUGGERY, recipient of the 2020 BOOM Chapbook Prize from Bateau Press. They live in South Carolina.

Behind the Bruised Peach by Kitty Jospé

I hold something resembling a fruit whose form
perhaps could pass as peach. We know the story:
starts as blossom, with the expectation of turning
into the honest-to-goodness jubilance of juicy
sun-ripe peach.

How to understand the truth of the matter?
It reminds me of my father’s lesson about the indelible
mark of a lie: he folded a piece of paper,
handed it back to us, saying, no matter
what you say, there is nothing you can do to get
rid of that telltale pleat. It is a hurt that will always
wear its scar—

like this rock of a fruit
bearing the marks of multiple beatings,
in a mass of fellow picked-too-soon fruits
under the sign “Fresh Peaches.”

Kitty Jospé, MA French Literature, New York University; MFA Poetry, Pacific University embraces the joy of working with language and helping others to become good readers of poems, people, life. Docent at the local art museum, moderator of two weekly poetry discussion groups, singer and pianist, she enjoys applying these skills in workshops on ekphrastic poetry. Her work is in 5 books, published since 2009 and numerous journals and anthologies.

Cotton and Coconut  by Michelle Grue

Phone turned off, but I can still hear the elegiac
wails of mothers unmade by bullets shot by
my money turned into taxes,
turned into uniforms with golden shields
more afraid of unarmed melanin than white

Generations of hatred that disregard the sanctity of Black lives
Black queer lives, young lives, old lives, ratchet lives, politics of respectability made flesh – none safe
Tragedy unpunished because of policies and laws and the comfortable
ignorance of everyday people unwilling to remove
rose-colored glasses that hide the reality of a
nation we love that we wish loved us back

I can’t un-see the latest viral video of generations of hope turned into a corpse,
but I can feel the black cotton in the field of my son’s head rub against my face.
I can smell the coconut as his hair tickles my nose.
I hear the hallelujah in every rustle his warm child body makes against mine.
I marvel at how he takes every scarred lump and fleshy cranny of my body and
remixes them into safety,
a sense of security I know is an illusion.

Hands that dump flour into a mixing bowl, that
tug mine as we count pinecones, that
hold mine as we dance to the Motown songs of my Dad’s
youth, my youth, now his youth
anchor me while I try not to hear the
haunting of

Michelle Grue is a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She studies higher education pedagogy and Writing Studies through the lenses of intersectionality and critical digital literacies. She has previously published in Zingara Poetry Review, the fantasy journal Astral Waters Review, the Expressionists Magazine of the Arts, and DASH Literary Journal. Feeding her creative energies and making space during motherhood and graduate school life has been a challenging pleasure.


American Shop Windows by Rikki Santer

after “The Munich Mannequins” by Sylvia Plath

Mannequins lean tonight
sober-faced giraffes,

eyebrow apparitions, torsos
imagining animal pleasures.

Surrogate armies defend
molded nipples & navels,

postural idiosyncrasies
always captured ready

to wear. Tweens with their 
own rod & base, trail through 

the mall, libidos with fables 
glittering from cellphones.

Smoothies sustain them.
Credit cards explain them.

Suburban world trips the axis.
Selfies, like flatlined cameos, 

frame vapor tongues numb
under fluorescence.

Rikki Santer’s work has appeared in various publications including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, Margie, Hotel Amerika, The American Journal of Poetry, Slab, Crab Orchard Review, RHINO, Grimm, Slipstream, Midwest Review and The Main Street Rag. Her seventh poetry collection, In Pearl Broth, was published this past spring by Stubborn Mule Press.

Finally Going to Tell You about the Staircase Ghost by Luanne Castle

When my baby said peaches, peaches,
I put the can into the opener.
Its lid rose on the machine’s arm.
The peaches smelled peachy-spice
and curled into little moons.
My son gummed his peaches, sloshing
juice from his mouth’s ends.
I washed out the can and then saw
what I had missed in my loving him
like water into wine. The cool blond
of pear slices on the Del Monte label.
The membrane between here
and there can separate as an unexpected
wind swishes silk draperies apart.

Here’s another one.
You might not have noticed.
You could have been standing
at the base of the stairs,
seen a woman in a long shift hesitate.
What was happening was this.
My foot reached for the next step,
and in that instant a ghost
passed through my chest
on its way downstairs.  It didn’t
move out of the way for me,
didn’t care that I knew it existed.
We both went our separate ways,
my path leading me to this moment
where I tell my tiny limitless tales.

Luanne Castle’s Kin Types (Finishing Line), a chapbook of poetry and flash nonfiction, was a finalist for the 2018 Eric Hoffer Award.  Her first poetry collection, Doll God (Aldrich), was winner of the 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, she studied at University of California, Riverside (PhD); Western Michigan University (MFA); and Stanford University.  Her writing has appeared in Copper Nickel, TAB, Glass, Verse Daily, and other journals.

The Lark Ascended by Wayne Lee

–for Mica and Annie

First Mother’s Day without her
and you are pulled in two, toward the open arms
of your thirsty girls and that blue expanse of sky.

Flute song on the radio, evanescent as breath.

Once there was a lark, and speckled eggs,
and fledglings testing their wings. Now they fly
in time to that most ephemeral of melodies.

Wayne Lee ( lives in Santa Fe, NM. Lee’s poems have appeared in Pontoon, Tupelo Press, Slipstream and other journals and anthologies. He was awarded the 2012 Fischer Prize and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and three Best of the Net Awards.


2019 Best of the Net Nominations

The annual Best of the Net Anthology from Sundress Publications promotes the diverse and ever-growing collection of voices who are publishing their work online and serves to bring greater respect to an innovative and continually expanding medium.

The judges for poetry this year is  Eloisa Amezcua.

Nominations must have originally appeared online and must have been first published or appeared on the web between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019. Nominations were due on September 30, 2019 and must have come from the editor of the publication.

Congratulations to this year’s nominations from Zingara Poetry Review. I hope every poem is included in this year’s anthology!!

African Rice by John Short

First night it’s all hugs and kisses
presents and rich food, then
as the days wear on I’m an errand boy:
sent out for a ton of frozen fish
or olive oil in demijohns,
sacks of African rice
dragged back from the store
then heaved up narrow stairs and:
could you pop across the road for wine,
you know the one I mean?
It’s as well we don’t live together
or this would never have lasted six years.
A romance in small doses –
we sip it like brandy, cautiously
and sometimes I wonder
if this is what I signed up for
until we take the train to Barcelona,
hit the bars and she’s dynamite
and I’m floating down Avignon street.

John Short lives in Liverpool (UK) and has been published in magazines such as Yellow Mama, Rat’s Ass Review, The Blue Nib, Poetry Salzburg, Barcelona Ink, French Literary Review, Envoi, Sarasvati and South Bank Poetry. His collection Those Ghosts (Beaten Track) will appear hopefully later this year.

Because I Like to Make My Mind Pretty the Way We’re Told to Make our Bodies Pretty, I Work at Thinking Beautiful Things by Rebecca Macijeski

My imagination kitchen
fills with a hundred giraffes
crouching to help with dishes.
My bathrobe is made of cloud.
The houseplants debate each other
over dinner, wrinkling their leaves
in thought. My nail trimmings
are little moons. I watch the backyard birds
become helicopters hauling their bird knowledge
in and out of trees. When my fingers make food,
they’re searching through time for fire and caves
and simple families. I remember my childhood
as a series of collections—blackberries in my hand,
snowmen, river stones, the sound of deep sky
over a rural emptiness.

Like you, too, I suspect,
I clothe my worry
in these decorations.
It’s harder to hate a beautiful thing.
It’s harder to hate what I’ve made
when it shines or quacks or spreads
bright juice all over my skin.
I protect myself. So my armor is
these imaginations.
Wild animals crowding out the pain.

Rebecca Macijeski holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poems have appeared in The Missouri ReviewPoet Lore, Barrow Street, Nimrod, The Journal, Sycamore Review, Fairy Tale Review, Puerto del Sol, and many others. Rebecca is Creative Writing Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor at Northwestern State University.

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. 


Balm by Anne Whitehouse

A parade of goats clambered down the path,
bells clanging. Between two cliffs
jutting out to sea was a green valley
with a gray road like a fallen ribbon
surrounded by palm groves
and little houses like white sugar cubes
sprinkled down the slope.

The ocean crashed against the cliffs,
frothing white on dark blue, and puffy
white clouds massed on the horizon
beyond the shadowy shapes of distant islands.
The air smelled of sweet juniper, as I bit
into the soft flesh of a ripe fig
and basked in the warm sun.

Anne Whitehouse is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Meteor Shower (Dos Madres Press, 2016). She has also written a novel, Fall Love, which is now available in Spanish translation as Amigos y amantes by Compton Press. Recent honors include 2017 Adelaide Literary Award in Fiction, 2016 Songs of Eretz Poetry Prize, 2016 Common Good Books’ Poems of Gratitude Contest, 2016 RhymeOn! Poetry Prize, 2016 F. . She lives in New York City.

Other poems on ZPR by this poet: A Dog’s Life, Dance in a Drugstore, Shadows


Blackbird by Yvette R. Murray

(on Nina Simone’s “Blackbird”)

A dot sprouted in the universe
She wanted, she wanted, wanted flight
Doubt filled her hollow bones with sand
and night kept her black wings from rising.

How could there ever be enough tears
for an orphaned bird still at the nest?
How could fear ever make her sun rise
or drip moonlight rest into her soul?

No place wanted a black bird like this.
Nowhere a hometown she can call near.
A little sorrow can hold a soul back
and force the brightest of lights to roam.

Nina Simone: February 21, 1933 to April 21, 2003

Yvette R. Murray received her B.A. in English from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  She has been published in Fall Lines, The Petigru Review, Catfish Stew, Genesis Science Fiction magazines and online.  Presently, she is working on her first collection of poetry and a children’s book series.

Landing in Snow-Covered Landscape by Anneliese Schneider

I take the comfort from
the seasons’ soft edges

That this is not time.

The ice that holds your
footprint slides upwards
into my bones

We must step—
Carefully. Slower, now.

I have been thinking
that all snow is
       some form
            of falling

Soon it will be time
to forget the old fear,

slipping off
the wrong side
of that darkened line.

Anneliese Schneider is currently an undergraduate student, living in Virginia and pursuing a personal interest in poetry and literature.