Category Archives: Zingara Poetry Picks

Strange But True by Bruce McRae

If you put your ear to a stone
you can hear the earth being born.
If you eat a tree
your breath smells like houses.
(weep, willow, weep)
When winking at a clock
you travel in time;
but you have to really want it,
like sitting on an egg.

Please, bear with me . . .
An astronomer is someone
snooping through the stars’ curtains.
Snow is like an unread newspaper.
(blow, wind, blow)
Sunshine is an eyeful of planets.
Dancing bears destroyed life’s tapestry.
No two people drink water alike.
And I’ve an umbrella made of fishes.

Yes, this very spot, under that nickel,
is where we’ll establish
an irrefutable calm.
This is where the ouroborous
of malcontents
becomes a green, keen
thinking machine.
Here’s where we turn
flowers into men,
gasps into groans,
pillows into pillboxes.

There’s a spike in a punchbowl.
A hurricane with a black eye.
An old tomcat hissing at a bitch.
(I couldn’t write this fast enough)
You need to turn three times
and rub spit in your hair.
When a galaxy implodes
an angel dies in its sleep.
When a telephone rings
certain creatures in the Caspian Sea
weep unsalted butter.
The town of Dum Dum is in India.
And I have my very own
personal thunderhead.

It’s true, if you drink lightning
you’ll piss sparks.
A hog is our governor!
A letter arrived,
addressed simply to ‘You’.
The infamous thinking-cap
is listed as for sale:
still in its original packaging.

And leastwise, but not lately:
A witch weighs less than a bible.

Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island BC, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with well over a thousand poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are ‘The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press), ‘An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy’ (Cawing Crow Press) and ‘Like As If” (Pskis Porch), Hearsay (The Poet’s Haven).

 

“Annual Self-Preservation Scrutinization” by M. Kaat Toy

Checking our revered account balances, we see if last year’s resolutions have been cost effective or has their security been breached by the contorted cycles of our junkie brains that love to rob while renouncing free offerings as too repressive? Though it’s hard to climb the ladder of satisfaction with the tractor treads of military tanks, our logic brains persistently denounce actions unacceptable to their wills such as polishing the auras of all the mystical animals, raising their knavish energy and opening doorways to the higher realms. Because the practical alone is dangerous and the spiritual alone is ineffective, the twin clowns of war and thunder mock our arrogance and our wrath, tossing watermelons down on us from their rainy mountain where the fastidious knights we dispatch to guard the holy grail of the rigid little goals we set for ourselves corrode in the clouds.

M. Kaat Toy (Katherine Toy Miller) of Taos, New Mexico, has published a prose poem chapbook, In a Cosmic Egg (2012), at Finishing Line Press, a flash fiction book, Disturbed Sleep (2013), at FutureCycle Press, novel selections, short stories, flash fiction, prose poetry, creative nonfiction, journalism, and scholarly work.

Last Summer by Diane Unterweger

Your journal of daily intention was veiled like wisteria
in a thin warm rain. It seems forever sometimes—

the Trail of Seven Bridges, pink tulle.
We posed en pointe on the stairs.
I wish I could have known how ordinary grace
–the patio garden, our peeled willow swing—
is circumstantial and measured as a saline drip.

Dance the sky with me, sister—did we forget?
Not behind me now, not alone.
You wrote the body teaches
that form is fate, that luck keeps count,
our dreams between us past.

Only now is ours, this gauze and shadow June,
how a lesion blooms an answer—
Lemon honey. A blue ceramic sun.

Diane Unterweger lives on the east shore of a small lake in Wisconsin. Her poems have appeared most recently in Gingerbread House, Not One of Us, and Naugatuck River Review.

On the Occasion of 50 Years of Poems by Alan Perry

In this season of remembering
what came before us,
I think of snow.

Kaleidoscopes of flakes
that blanket bare spots,
gently fill footsteps

of trails to follow,
and groove the streets
to guide me home.

As each crystal melts,
it leaves a vanishing mark–
a point of clarity condensed

on skin–its final essence
blessing me with a tap,
comforting me with a presence.

But this poem doesn’t adore snow.
It loves the people who stepped
in and out of stanzas,

forming verses and images
of lives between the lines.
Each one’s unique countenance,

like a snowflake found
nowhere else, coming down
to touch the earth

and become it.

Alan Perry is a Minnesota native whose poems have appeared in Heron Tree, Right Hand Pointing, Sleet Magazine, Gyroscope Review, Riddled with Arrows, and elsewhere, and in a forthcoming anthology. He is an Associate Poetry Editor for Typehouse Literary Magazine, and was nominated for a 2018 Best of the Net.

“Houston Snow” by Deborah Phelps

Before dawn, snow tips the loden
Magnolias, the pin oaks, the dying palms.
Frost lies pristine in the ribs
Of the pines.

At daybreak the whiteness recedes
With children out of school
Scraping it off the car hoods
Into dirty snowmen.

This half-inch is the first ever
Seen by these children, and even
Some of their parents, who try
To take as many photos as possible

For future, warmer generations.
Afternoon, the coastal Gulf Stream
Bumps the temperature
Until snow is only barely
Visible on hedge-tops

A lace tablecloth kept for best.


Deborah Phelps teaches at Sam Houston State University. She has published a chapbook, Deep East, and in journals such as Gulf Coast, Comstock Review, and Red Coyote. She lives in Huntsville, Texas.

“Resistance” by Marian Shapiro

Ice whirling in our face. Snow angling side-
wise. We pull our stocking caps deep
over reddened ears.      Tilting forward.
Pressing on.  Everyone agrees:
this wind chill is a killer. Never-
theless, the trees, bare of all but squirrels, remain
still.

Wait until Spring, they murmur.
Then we will dance the dance of leaves. Re-
sistance will be so lovely.

Marian Kaplun Shapiro, five-times Senior Poet Laureate of Massachusetts, is the author of a professional book, many journal articles, approximately 400  published poems, and three books of poetry. She practices as a psychologist in Lexington, Massachusetts.

 

“Coldsurge” by John C. Mannone

            After ‘Heatwave’ by Ted Hughes

Between Huntingburg and frozen Indianapolis
The Midwest plains had entered the fly’s belly.

Like black-eyed rabbits half-buried in snow
My plane shudders in the icy wind.

The illusion of a runway is so real
Trees sprout on it, and human carcasses.

Only droning of the engine
And no beacons for the hapless.

I cannot penetrate the silence till sunset
Releases its raptor

Over the clouds, and birds are suddenly
Everywhere, and my pilot’s flesh

freezes in the breathing-in of great eagles.


John C. Mannone has work in Blue Fifth Review, Poetry South, Peacock Journal, Baltimore Review, and others. He won the Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and others. http://jcmannone.wordpress.com