Category Archives: Zingara Poetry Picks

A City Like a Dead Man by Jake Sheff

I dreamed our city’s slender attitude,
of ruined moonlight
in the bombs. The dreamer’s femur is

the squeaky wheel. If love could only speak
and never hear, she said
between the bombs. I loved her

safe route to mercy. Lyme disease
and bombs had similar inaccuracies. On foot
she wandered through

pretentious fire. You wouldn’t think to
look at death, she said
at night, the doctor who delivered it

was darkness. As fever struck the garbage
dump, I dreamt I was her Carthage.

Jake Sheff is a major and pediatrician in the US Air Force. Poems of Jake’s are in Radius, The Ekphrastic Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Cossack Review and elsewhere. He won 1st place in the 2017 SFPA speculative poetry contest and was a finalist in the Rondeau Roundup’s 2017 triolet contest. His chapbook is “Looting Versailles” (Alabaster Leaves Publishing).

 

The Kiss by George Cassidy Payne

(Inspired by Gustav Klimt)

The kiss is nectar-filled
skin wrapped over a corpse.

It stands still in the mouth like
a crouching tiger at a motionless
midday stream.

The kiss knows that figures are
keeping watch. As tarantulas scuttle
underfoot, it cracks apart like stepped on
craw fish shells.

Petite. Pink. Long and patient. Stingless
and vaporizing. The difference between
waiting and enduring.

The kiss was never meant to be a hand
shake or a goodbye. Like a moose, 5,343 feet
below a canopy of charred balsam, scarfing wild
shrooms, with instant knowing, The kiss bustles.

Plunged into the minerals like an ice ax. Breaking them
open upon a bed of prismatic sands. Submerged in
asteroids. The kiss. Colliding intentions. Like the wind nudging
two chimes. Existing together as they must.

George Cassidy Payne is originally from the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. He now lives and works in the City of Rochester, New York. George is a poet, photographer, essayist, professor of philosophy, and social worker. George’s poetry has been included in a variety of  journals and magazines, including Chronogram Magazine, Allegro Poetry Journal, Mojave Heart, the Red Porch Review, Albany Up the River Poets Journal, Teahouse, The Adirondack Almanac, The Mindful Word, Talker of the Town, Pulsar, Moria Poetry Journal, Ampersand Literary Review, and many others. 

Zingara Poetry Review – Call for Submissions

Submissions are open for Zingara Poetry Review. 

ZPR will feature particular groups of individuals in the upcoming months, so please take a look at the following preferences. If none of the categories below feel like a good fit for you, please submit your work for National Poetry Month when ZPR will be publishing a poem every day of the month.

August: Work by undergraduate students who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate program (any discipline) or who have graduated within two years. CLOSED

September: Work by graduate students currently in a writing-related graduate program, including MFA, MA in English, etc.

October: Work by indigenous people, particularly Native Americans.

November: International Writers (anyone who isn’t living, or wasn’t born, in the United States).

December: Poets over 50

January: New and unpublished poets (0-3 single publications, no books or chapbooks)

February: African American/Black American Poets

March: Women only please!

April: Poetry Month – a poem will be published every day this month so send your best work early!

May: Poets who live WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI

June: LGBTQ

July: Editor Favorites

Guidelines:

  • Send 1-3 previously unpublished poems of 40 lines of fewer in the body of an email, any style, any subject, to ZingaraPoet@gmail.com with the submission category (e.g. Undergraduate Student) as the subject of your email.
  • Include a cover letter and brief professional biography of 50 words or fewer, also in the body of your email.
  • Submissions are accepted year round.
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please let me know immediately if submitted work is accepted elsewhere.
  • Published poets receive bragging rights and the chance to share their work with a diverse and ever-growing audience.
  • Submissions which do not follow these guidelines will be disregarded.
  • If accepted work is later published elsewhere, please acknowledge that the piece first appeared in Zingara Poetry Review.
  • There are no fees to submit, though you will be subscribed to the Zingara Poetry Review newsletter.
  • Check Zingara Poetry Review every week to read new poems, which are normally published by 9:00am Eastern Time.
  •  Zingara Poetry Review retains first digital rights, though rights revert back to the poet upon publication.

What I look for in a poem:

Like all editors, I like to see interesting poems that do what they do well. Whether traditional, conceptual, lyrical, or formal, they should exhibit the poet’s clear understanding of craft and, just as importantly, revision. Very elemental poems that have not undergone effective revision will probably not make the cut. Likewise, poems which are contrived, sacrifice meaning for the sake of rhyme, feel incomplete, do not risk sentimentality (or are too sentimental), or lack tension when tension is needed, will also be dismissed. I am a fan of rich, vivid imagery, cohesive discursiveness, and surprising metaphors. Finally, poems which perpetuate harmful stereotypes of gender, race, or class will most certainly not be considered.

For a very good discussion on the elements of effective poetry, take a look at Slushpile Musings by James Swingle, publisher and editor of Noneucildean Cafe’

Response time is 2 days to 6 months

“Of the Palm” by Toti O’Brien

I admire the naivety
How she stands among fellow trees
sporting nothing
but a scanty cluster of leaves
in guise of a canopy
as if going to a Victorian ball
in flapper attire
also wearing of course
a feathered hat
Of the palm
I admire the frail nakedness
delicately osé
like a dancer’s shaved leg
sheathed by nylon hoses
If she dares
intruding the arboreal crowd
without blinking
while so shamefully alien
uncaring of uniforms
she reveals
among sister specimens
exceptional
skills of discipline
How they march in orderly rows
tracing parallels
with their trunks
fastening earth and sky
with thin stitches
How concertedly
at the first puff of wind
they tickle the horizon
as if playing a keyboard
with soft, even touch
whole steps half steps
hand in hand
up and down the scale
facilement

 

Toti O’Brien is the Italian Accordionist with the Irish Last Name. She was born in Rome then moved to Los Angeles, where she makes a living as a self-employed artist, performing musician and professional dancer. Her work has most recently appeared in Gyroscope, Pebble Poetry, Independent Noise, and Lotus-eaters.

 

Elegy with Ice Cream by Kathy Nelson

            ―Travis Leon Hawk

A man fits a contraption
onto a wooden pail, fills it with ice.
The child turns the handle as easily

as her Jack-in-the-box but soon
grows bored and runs to play
in the dappled shade of July.

This the man who, as a boy, teased
white fluff from the knife-edges
of cotton bolls under summer sun

till his fingers bled. Once, he spied
a rattler coiled between his feet.
He wants her to understand how

hardship built this good life, how
readily dust could blow again, how
quickly flak jackets could come back.

He calls her to him, teaches―add salt
to the ice, keep the drain clear, turn
the crank without haste, without desire.

Her small shoulder stiffens. He grips,
labors with his own broad forearm,
churns the peach-strewn cream.

Kathy Nelson (Fairview, North Carolina) is the author of two chapbooks―Cattails (Main Street Rag, 2013) and Whose Names Have Slipped Away (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Asheville Poetry Review, The Cortland Review, Tar River Poetry, Broad River Review, and Southern Poetry Review.

Homage to the Horny Toad by Chuck Taylor

Friend Montrose says Why don’t you play the lead
in my next horror film? I’m filming in
Junction where the motel rents are low. The
Monster’s going to be the horny toad.

I’ll film him close and blow the image up
So on screen the horny toad looks large and
Scary what with all that horny skin.

That ought to work I say. We had them in
The backyard down in Deadwood. They can squish
Down flat or blow up big to scare away
The wolves, the foxes, and the coyotes.

You think you know these toads? Why they can squirt
Bright red blood out of their eyes. That’s why I
Am shooting the film in Technicolor.

They’re tiny guys, but not scared of people.
They’ll sit quiet on the palm of your hand.

Carolyn’s said she’ll play the heroine. She’ll
Be chased by what seems to be a giant
Evil monster. Its sticky tongue will flick
Out as if it’s going to swallow her
Whole. A developer’s out to buy her
Land and has trained the beast to chase her.
Good thing you’re using the horn toad. No one

Will recognize little guy made big on
The screen. When I was a kid growing up
I’d see them everywhere, but haven’t seen
The horny toad in more than twenty years.

Chuck Taylor’s first book of poems was published by Daisy Aldan’s Folder Press in 1975. He worked as a poet-in-the-schools and as Ceta Poet in Residence for Salt Lake City.

In the Era of Collective Thought by Gary Fincke

From a hospital in Texas,
one hundred brains have vanished
and, as always, there are flurries
of posts suggesting suspects
from genius to sociopath.
Still unaccounted for, the brains
of the frequently concussed, those
in early dementia, those
whose last demand was suicide.
Tonight, after we lock our doors,
we speculate the thief lives
surrounded by so many brains
he cannot admit a guest.
That he must master home repair
or live among leaks and drafts
and dangerous wiring. All day,
we have seen nobody outside.
As if our isolation has been
perfected by the relentless work
of the brain-eating zombies
we are fond of discussing.
Cerebrum, cerebellum–
we recite our parts like beginners
in anatomy, counting down to
the constancy of medulla
while the underworld’s weather
loots the grid we rely upon.
Drought has master-minded
the overthrow of farming.
Rain is a hostage whose ransom
has been raised so high the sky
is unable to pay. Shut-ins,
we carry the memory of comfort
like a congenital hump.
Decisions made elsewhere are
hurtling toward us in rented trucks,
all of them explaining themselves
in a gibberish of slogans.

Gary Fincke’s latest collection, The Infinity Room, won the Wheelbarrow Books Prize for Established Poets (Michigan State, 2019). A collection of essays, The Darkness Call, won the Robert C. Jones Prize for Short Prose and was published by Pleiades Press in 2018.