Squat by Gale Acuff

I don’t want to die but I’m not crazy
about living, neither, I’m ten years old
and could live a lot longer, multiply
a decade’s worth of sin and sorrow by
ten and that’s a century of shit, not
that good things won’t happen among the bad
but I’m not so sure of that now, I got
kicked out of Sunday School today because
I asked if Adam had a navel, Eve
as well, and that’s all she wrote – my teacher
gave me the heave-ho so now I’m squatting
on somebody’s headstone in the back of
our church, it’s as quiet as death, ha ha,
except for some mockingbirds and robins
so fat they can hardly chirp and when
class is over I guess I’ll go to her
and apologize, my teacher that is,
I guess there are some questions you don’t ask,
I don’t mean that they’re bad – they’re just too good.

Gal Acuff’s poems can be found in such literary journals as AscentReed, Poet Lore, Chiron ReviewCardiff ReviewPoemAdirondack Review, Florida ReviewSlantNeboArkansas Review, South Dakota ReviewRoanoke Review, and many other journals in eleven countries. He has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel, The Weight of the World, and The Story of My Lives. Gale has also taught university English courses in the US, China, and Palestine.

 

 

 

 

How Do We Determine What Mars Is Made Of by Christina M. Rau

Sampling and photographs
over years until drying out.
A flight of ages. When they go
they go for good.
They say goodbye
and know the silting red
will be dug up for graves.
They know the shallow dips
and angled hills will be
playgrounds, outbacks, landscape
views for all. They know money
doesn’t matter. After setting down.
The rovers didn’t need to
disconnect in this
way. They did and then they
did not.
In millennia
it will be human bone in the loam.

Christina M. Rau is the author of the Elgin Award-winning poetry collection, Liberating The Astronauts (Aqueduct Press) and the chapbooks WakeBreatheMove and For The Girls, I. She is Editor-in-chief for The Nassau Review at Nassau Community College and founder of the Long Island poetry circuit Poets In Nassau. http://www.christinamrau.com

Hollow by Robert Beveridge

Sap drips
from the blades
of pine needles
that surround us
as we lie
on the Navajo blanket
grandmother brought
back from New Mexico

the pine
has been eaten by something
leaves a crevice
where we rest our heads

a dry sanctuary
from expected rain

I carve our initials
inside the shell
before we leave
surround them
with traditional heart
and arrow

a first moment
of love
solid as pine.

Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Blood and Thunder, Feral, and Grand Little Things, among others.

First Day at Sts. Philip and James by John C. Mannone

Diesel exhaust seeped through the open window.
Almost made me sick, but my stomach churned
already from nervousness. My first day in school.

My blue blazer, brushed free from lint, felt tight
when I sat on the bus’ green leather seat.
I didn’t think to unbutton it. But the ride was short.

The First Grade classroom seemed littered
with many papers pinned to the walls; an alphabet
was strung around the room like a party decoration.

It was scary because I didn’t know what the letters
meant. I didn’t even know what a letter was,
but I remember my momma trying to teach me.

The Sisters of St. Francis wore a thick chord
fashioned around their waist that dangled down.
It looked like a whip. I was scared about that, too.

When I went to the bathroom, I didn’t know
what to do—I never saw a vertical urinal before,
only sit-down toilets. When I let my pants fall

to the floor, the other boys laughed; they laughed
harder when they saw me pee. I thought
I did something wrong. I thought the nuns

were going to spank me with that chord.

John C. Mannone has work in North Dakota Quarterly, Le Menteur, 2020 Antarctic Poetry Exhibition, 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.

split pea soup by Jan Ball

Just after we were married, you tried to make
split pea soup at my parents trailer in Wisconsin
but the split peas wouldn’t soften; still, musty
smells mixed with the piney fragrance from outdoors
stimulated our appetites–probably the split peas
were on the pine wood shelf in the little country store
with the squeaky screen door for years, but you wanted
to make split pea soup on vacation in the Dells.

Tonight, the green peas I substitute for yellow ones
aren’t soft yet but I can smell the flavors blending:
like so many years ago, onions, ginger, apple and
sweet potato left over from Thanksgiving, with
coriander, cumin and turmeric. But there is no hurry.
You aren’t home yet and Lake Michigan outside
the window is conducive to navy blue reflection.
When you do return, finally, I’ll add the tart lime juice
and acidic tomatoes before serving to the simmering soup
for a contrast of flavors.

Jan Ball has had 325 poems published in various journals including: Atlanta Review,
Calyx, Chiron, Mid-America Review, Nimrod and Parnassus, in Australia, Canada,
Czech Republic, England, India and The U.S.. Jan’s three chapbooks and full
length poetry collection, I Wanted To Dance With My Father, are available from
Finishing Line Press and Amazon.

Nisi Warrior by MSG (Ret) Hubert C. Jackson

Dedicated to the second born generation of Japanese-Americans who, in spite of the treatment of incarceration dealt to, in many cases, themselves, their friends and families, still chose to support the war effort of a nation who had turned a deaf ear to the cries of its citizens.

Ancestral essence from the “Land of the Rising Sun,” and societal influences from the “Home of the Brave – Land of the Free” have combined to make me.  Driven by the soul of the Sumari, and a desire to be a contributing factor in the day-to-day functioning of this land, I ask nothing more than to be recognized as a citizen of this nation from sea to sea.

We are the Nisei, sons of the Issei, and fathers of the Sensei, and America is our homeland too, and during one of the most challenging times in our history, we stepped forward to defend our country in the European theater in some of the most vicious fighting during World War II.  We stood proudly, fought bravely, sacrificed, and many died for the cause of the “Red, White, and Blue.”  All of this in spite of Executive Order 9066, which incarcerated my family, friends, and relatives in substandard barbed-wire enclosures, signed into effect in February 1942.

We comprised the 100th Infantry Battalion )Separate), better known as the “Purple Heart Battalion,” and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and in fighting for our country, we also fought for the realization of our dream, that of regaining, for ourselves, and our families, the rights of free American citizens, and to reconstruct our shattered self-esteem.

Hubert C. Jackson is a graduate student at the Union Institute and University enrolled in their Interdisciplinary Studies Program with an emphasis on African American Military History. He spent twenty-four years of active military service in the United States Army, twenty of those twenty-four years were spent in the Army’s Special Forces (Green Berets) serving with some of the finest soldiers that one could wish to serve with.

Online Writing Workshops for September

 Yoga and Memoir Workshop: Write, Heal, Transform Join me and yoga instructor Jessica Merritt via Zoom from 6:30-8:30pm Thursdays in September for 4 weeks (September 3, 10, 17, & 24). Get all the benefits of a home practice with the support of professional instructors Jessica Merritt and Lisa Hase-Jackson and fellow yogi/writers. Participants will be led through a 30 minute yoga series followed by memoir writing exercises and instruction. Stay centered AND start or make progress on your memoir this September and feel good doing it. The cost for this class is $199. Email zingarapoet@gmail.com to register.

Advanced Poetry Workshop: a six-week advanced poetry workshop and study group from September 8 to October 13 which will meet on Tuesdays from 8:30pm – 10:30pm Eastern via Zoom with email and Google doc supplements. Each week we will discuss select chapters from “Why Poetry” by Matthew Zapruder, “Madness, Rack and Honey” by Mary Ruefle, and “The Flexible Lyric” by Ellen Bryant Voigt, particularly in terms of whether or not they affect our relationship with poetry, our sense of craft, or our revision process. Some weeks we will focus on generating new work and other weeks we will focus on works-in-progress and/or revision. Participants will be expected to have their own copies of the books. Some supplemental material may be provided. The cost for this class is $120. Email zingarapoet@gmail.com to register.

 

Years Go By by Haley Sui

 

19. 6 years, and sometimes I can’t see anything except the radiation machines that clank against each other, metal shrieks ringing in my ear. 6 years, and I still cry myself to sleep at night. 6 years, and there’s always someone, somewhere, saying PTSD isn’t real. Just get over it.

18. It’s been 5 years. They say I’m safe now. They say it’s over.

18. Legal age. I can vote now. Does the world want me to change it? Do I, even have that right?

17. Oh my god! They took me! Ivy-bound.

17. Applying for college. Will Harvard take me? But they’re so good. Should I even mention the cancer?

16. My friend Vanessa said the scar on my chest looked like I got heart surgery. I was so scared. What if she found out?

16. I can’t tell anybody, right? What if they treat me differently? I don’t want all my friends to be friends with me out of pity.

15. My hair’s so short; I wear a cap everyday to school. Mom talked to the teachers, so they let me wear it in class too. I’m so embarrassed.

15. New school. New faces. Will I be okay? Why did I leave Hunter?

14. Chemo ends in March. They make me ring a nice bell to show I finished treatment. It’s shiny. Does that mean it’s over? Can I go back to my life?

14. I can’t walk in a straight line. My flute lies on the ground, abandoned. My paintings drape over the basement table. Mom and Dad shove my baking tools in an empty drawer.

13. Everyone wants me to say something. But I don’t want to say anything. My throat hurts. Do I have a voice? I think Grandma is asking me something, but I can’t hear her.

13. The surgery is tomorrow. I’m scared of this hospital. This place is weird and looks too bright. My eyes are angry. There are purple butterflies on the walls.

13. I ask Mom why my head hurts so much. Because she’s my Mom. She has all the answers. She looks at me, sad. She doesn’t have an answer.

13. My head hurts. Ow. This really hurts.

13. Jack of all trades. That’s what Grandma calls me. She says she’s proud of me because I can play piano and flute and I can bake yummy stuff and my art is really pretty and I do really good in school.

12. It takes 3 hours to travel to school every day. There’s so much work. It’s ok, though. Mom says it’s the best middle school. Mom knows everything.

11. I got into Hunter! Finally, wow, this took so long.

10.

9.

8. Little brother doesn’t want to go to kindergarten. He’s crying by the window. I go and calm him down.

7. Grandma says I’m her favorite because I can do so many things.

6.

5.

4.

3. I can’t sleep without Mommy. I piddle paddle to her room. Mommy and Daddy are talking, loud but whispering, quiet but angry. I fall asleep outside with my blankie.

2.

1.

0.
 
---
Haley Sui is a sophomore at Harvard University, studying Creative Writing and Neuroscience. She is an active member in her college’s acapella group and dance club, as well as a fervent writer for the university’s science newsletter. When she’s not studying or working on club projects, Haley enjoys listening to lofi music and writing personal memoirs. 

 

Roots by Cole Westervelt

My roots have always seemed unclear.
I have always made myself out to be someone hard to love
and rocked it with style and a grin.

What kind of woman perceives herself as difficult
and hones it, makes it her own?

The same kind of girl who has been put down
one too many times in her fragile youth.
The girl who has been left fighting for her identity,
the option, the choice to be unlovable.

If all I have is a man who decides on my joy,
who would I be,
if not someone who was uprooted?

Dear Relationship Expert by Victoria Cybulski

We had a fight yesterday. It started with the normal flurry,
which snowballed into a blizzard; it’s January.

The cold began to set in.  A few valentines went out and the arrow pierced.
Red hearts danced around the bruises with the unbridled innocence of Cupid. It must be February.

I longed for spring with the usual “I’m sorry.” He countered with a bitter March.
It was in like a lion and out like a lamb, and that lasted for a little while.

April showers left us soppy, wet, gasping. Almost drowning.
Can I save it with another I’m sorry?

The sun came out and he brought flowers. It must be
May, June, or July.

August left us to swelter, grumpy and ravenous. Hatred sprung from the lack of central air and communication. I’ll turn a fan on and blow out the boiling rebuttal.

The leaves started to change and the breeze blew a little colder.
The sweater weather of September left me lingering for a warm embrace.

October, November, and December leave me not wanting to remember. No warm embrace ever came and the cold shoulder grew to be a cold body, just a vessel. How I long for the sunshine.


Victoria Cybulski and is currently an undergraduate student at Rocky Mountain College majoring in Communications Studies and minoring in Creative Writing. She is from the small town of Custer, Montana where she found her passion for poetry while in high school.

Michaelangelo by Austin Smith

I never thought it would be the last
time I saw him.

I never thought to pet his head.

     I never thought to set him on our bridge and set a cherry tomato in his line
of view, in case he needed a bite or two before his journey.

By the way, he’s named after the ninja.

The only thing I’ve learned about turtles is
they hold no loyalty.

*

Whenever at my grandfather’s cabin,
I take a wander on my own.

The small, light, walking type
down to our little pond to sit on the bridge.

The patch of sunlight over it is a dream.
     A dream of the years’ old, bright red paint glittering.

One day I saw a deep,
deep green, softball sized circle gliding
toward my dangling boy feet.

I bolted up cement stairs
to tell Grandpa of the circle.

He nabbed Mikey just for me.

*

We fell in love over a pile of aspen leaves
but I told him I wasn’t hungry.

He met aspen the same day he met me.

I didn’t realize he was planning an escape with each little
bite from the elevated bridge.

He’ll be a ninja when he grows up, I’d say,
after I teach him how to hyahh!

I trotted back down from snack time
to check on him with goldfish in hand

and found an empty bridge frowning.

 

Austin Smith is a freshman at Rocky Mountain College in his hometown, Billings, Montana.

Tug by Stephen Mead

back to back, it’s
a sort of duel, this,
only at High Noon,
refusing to pull apart.
The arms are laced.

The shoulders are red sands
of matador energy
against an equally bloody heat.

Here, striations
of the bull-ring scene are ivy
and upon that wrestling flesh,
Christmas lights dangle from the leaves.

Over rippling torsos
they gentle like lightning bugs
any straining muscle.

What lock keeps
this enjoined heart captive
by the pumping, bumping chambers
of hips, legs, buttocks?

It is all the hypersensitive
self-consciousness & suicide callings
of youth vs. the scrapbooks of the spirit
age makes albums of:
time capsules of photos
in the mind’s flickering eye.

Listen, if there is a war
to that passion then let it turn
sky blue as letter paper,
turquoise clear
as the gaze of a Siamese.


Stephen Mead is an Outsider multi-media artist and writer.  Since the 1990s he’s been grateful to many editors for publishing his work in print zines and eventually online.  He is also grateful to have managed to keep various day jobs for the Health Insurance. Currently he is resident artist/curator for The Chroma Museum, artistic renderings of LGBTQI historical figures, organizations and allies predominantly before Stonewall, https://thestephenmeadchromamuseum.weebly.com/

Signs by Anne Whitehouse

A brief April snow disrupted our spring.
Amid clumps of snow, daffodils
nodded in the icy breeze. A glaze 
of snowflakes sugared the hyacinths.

I worried for them and the tender lettuces,
red and green, I’d only just planted.
But the sun came out; by mid-morning,
the snow was gone as if it hadn’t come.

You’d have to be able to read the signs—
the water drops glistening gaily
on the new leaves, the green moss
wet and velvety, the bushes slick.

Perhaps patience is the key, I thought.
How hard it is to wait out a siege.
The enemy is the invisible virus,
and there is no way out but through.

Once it has passed, we will have to know 
where to look to spot the absences 
only glaring for those who miss 
what has ceased to exist.


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. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Poetry Prize. She lives in New York City. www.annewhitehouse.com

 

Start Where You Are Yoga and Memoir Workshop: Write, Heal, Transform

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Enjoy this weekly Zoom class meeting from 6:30-8:30pm Thursdays in September for 4 weeks (September 3, 10, 17, & 24). Get all the benefits of a home practice with the support of professional instructors Jessica Merritt and Lisa Hase-Jackson as well as fellow yogi/writers. Participants will be led through a 30 minute yoga series followed by a memoir writing exercise and instruction. Stay centered AND start or make progress on your memoir this September and feel good doing it. The cost for this class is $199. We recommend reserving a spot with a $50 non-refundable deposit. Fees can be paid through PayPal to zingarapoet. Include a note stating that your are registering for the Yoga and Memoir workshop.

Jessica Merritt, owner and founder of MindBody Health & Healing, LLC located in Charleston, SC., is a Certified Holistic Health and Wellness Coach, Registered Yoga Teacher, and Reiki level 1. She believes in supporting the body’s natural ability to heal through movement, breath, and energy work. Her goal is to bring awareness to natural health and she specializes in providing 1:1 sessions in a therapeutic setting. Jessica has studied health sciences, psychology, human performance, and the mind-body connection for 9 years. She was a college athlete where she played for Team USA in the World University Games in 2013. With a passion for health & well-being and personal growth & development, Jessica created her business with an aspiration for deep healing and self-growth.

Lisa M. Hase-Jackson is author of Flint and Fire, winner of the 2019 Hilary Tham Capital Collection Series prize. She holds an MFA in poetry from Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and a MA in English from Kansas State University. She has taught poetry and creative writing classes in colleges and community settings for over ten years. She believes good writing comes from self-knowledge and a consistent practice that grows from a sense of authenticity rather than from rigid, external pressures and expectations.

For questions, send email to LisaHaseJackson@gmail.com

Online Writing Workshops to Begin August 1

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Photo by Hannah Olinger

Whether you want to add a little structure to your writing practice or just want to spend time with other writers and gain perspective on your process during the pandemic, these workshops are for you!

Poetry Workshop: twice-monthly online poetry workshop via Zoom for the low cost of $15.00 per workshop (or pay for all 6 workshops in advance for $72.00). The next session will run from August 1 to October 17th  (August 1, August 15, September 5, September 9, October 3, and October 17) from 10:00am to noon Eastern on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month. Each workshop will include a writing exercise or prompt with time to discuss works-in-progress and the writing life. Workshop drafts will be due one week before workshop so others can read and consider. Our format will call for a discussion of the writer’s goals rather than a critique or line by line edit. We want to consider the work as a whole and as part of the poet’s larger collection or aesthetic and to generally deepen our relationship with poetry.

Advanced Poetry Workshop: a six-week advanced poetry workshop and study group from September 8 to October 13 which will meet on Tuesdays from 8:30pm – 10:30pm Eastern via Zoom with email and Google doc supplements. Each week we will discuss select chapters from “Why Poetry” by Matthew Zapruder, “Madness, Rack and Honey” by Mary Ruefle, and “The Flexible Lyric” by Ellen Bryant Voigt, particularly in terms of whether or not they affect our relationship with poetry, our sense of craft, or our revision process. Some weeks we will focus on generating new work and other weeks we will focus on works-in-progress and/or revision. Participants will be expected to have their own copies of the books. Some supplemental material may be provided. The cost for this class is $120.

Memoir: Start Where You Are Yoga and Memoir Workshop: Write, Heal, Transform Join me and yoga instructor Jessica Merritt via Zoom from 6:30-8:30pm Thursdays in September for 4 weeks (September 3, 10, 17, & 24). Get all the benefits of a home practice with the support of professional instructors Jessica Merritt and Lisa Hase-Jackson and fellow yogi/writers. Participants will be led through a 30 minute yoga series followed by memoir writing exercises and instruction. Stay centered AND start or make progress on your memoir this September and feel good doing it. The cost for this class is $199. We recommend reserving a spot with a $50 non-refundable deposit.

A full list of online workshops available here: Writing Workshops for Fall