Category Archives: Zingara Poetry Picks

“First Mother’s Day without Mom” by Ginger Dehlinger

It’s a sunny day in May
and I’m pushing a wheeled cart
through the aisles of the supermarket.

Other Saturday shoppers are doing the same,
and though I’m not usually interested
I look in every basket I pass.
Blind to the bread, lettuce and eggs,
my eyes rest on balloons, cards,
flowers and small beribboned packages.

How paltry is my pantry;
how blue and bereft my basket
compared to theirs.

I watch a store employee
dip strawberries in melted chocolate
then roll them in candy sprinkles.

Mom loved those decadent treats,
so I nestle a colorful dozen
in my basket of gray merchandise.

Ahead of me in the long checkout line
a pink teddy bear sits atop a loaded cart.
Avoiding his shiny stare I look away.

To my right is a display of potted plants
(orchids, mini roses, African violets)
some large, others small and green.

A shopper is picking up plants,
looking at price labels, sniffing blossoms,
debating which one to buy.

“Take the roses,” I want to tell her.
“Take the roses.”

Ginger Dehlinger writes in multiple genres. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in several e-zines and anthologies. Most of her work is set in the West including two novels, Brute Heart (Oregon) and Never Done (Colorado). Ginger lives in Bend, OR with her husband and a cat, both spoiled.

Somebody Else’s Poetry by Ella Baum

We’re always sorry,

Our body’s architecture
Is Syntactically off.
We end poems on commas,
And find sleeping with masks on
Hard work.

Because sh(hh) is half the syllable of she,
The characters we play
Are somebody else’s poetry.

But text doesn’t have to be the driving force.
Our bodies are as important as our voices –
That’s what my ear told me.

Identity stripped
Of performance,
Mythology,
We are remodeled –
The shadow that completes the window.

Fences don’t protect from everything
And trauma hides behind the beautiful

It’s such a good line. I wish
It lingered more,

Ella Baum is currently a junior studying at Vassar college in Poughkeepsie, New York. She is an English major and photographer interested in the expressive potential of sister arts. Ella is a bilingual, dual citizen of America and Sweden and feels indebted to the New York City public school system which spurred her interest in poetry and the potential of language. 

“Protection” by F.I. Goldhaber

True Pacific
Northwesterners love
our rain. We
only dig
out umbrellas to shelter
us from summer’s sun.

F.I. Goldhaber’s words capture people, places, and events with a photographer’s eye and a poet’s soul. Paper, electronic, and audio magazines, books, newspapers, calendars, and street signs display their poetry, fiction, and essays. More than 100 of their poems appear in fifty plus publications including four volumes of poetry. http://www.goldhaber.net/

 

“Above Asphalt “by Carol Hamilton

Filigrees of rosy purple reach out
on slender arms of redbud
below the lettuce-and-grass-green heads
of newly-leafed trees.
Now my drive on pocked pavement,
huddled in with too many cars
and too much exhaust, is graced
with a quickly-passing revelation
of startling new life.
I never quite remember
to look and look, take heart
and watch the fleet hours
of jonquils, violets, lilies,
purple iris and daffodil.
It is the only time we can
breathe swift spring.

Carol Hamilton has published 17 books: children’s novels, legends and poetry, most recently, SUCH DEATHS from Virtual Arts Cooperative Press Purple Flag Series. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and has been nominated seven times for a Pushcart Prize.

“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.