after—well after—Luis Buñuel’s 1929 film
I finger the stropped razor ready
to slice an eyeball
to turn my head in the clouds
cutting the moon and so who is blind?
she? he? me? eyes curbed after the bike collapses
and we are undressed for bed with ants in hand. Give her
a hand! I want to hold your hand;
the accidental dead want to hold breast and butt hold
on she tosses
she will serve no fault—
the undead eschew tennis
for a strongest man competition lugging
grand steinways, church, dead
dog. Dead? The undress awakens aroused by a dick
demanding he make a man or two of himself
to read to write to duel like Burr and Hamilton
in a New Jersey meadow from which a moth
on the New Jersey shore on which a melted watch
tells who lives who dies who tells your story
A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past quarter-century in Indonesia. Nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and poetry, his verse appears this year in Headcase: LGBTQ Writers & Artists on Mental Health and Wellness published by Oxford UP and Lovejets: queer male poets on 200 years of Walt Whitman from Squares and Rebels. His essay “It’s Been a Long Time Coming” was featured in The New York Times “Modern Love” column in April 2016. Penha edits The New Verse News, an online journal of current-events poetry. Twitter: @JamesPenha
Zingara Poetry Review is happy to announce 2019’s “Best of the Net” Nominees:
Poems must meet the following minimum qualifications for nomination:
- Submissions must come from the editor of the publication (journal, chapbook, online press, etc), or, if the work is self-published, it must be sent by the author.
- Submissions must have originally appeared online, though later print versions are acceptable.
- The poem, story, or essay must have been first published or appeared on the web between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.
- Submissions must be sent between July 1st and September 30th, 2019.
Best of luck to this year’s nominees!!
Oh Cris Columbus
How I wish you hadn’t come here.
Five hundred years of your celebrations
Have scraped the birds thin
Drained the fish dry
Made the rock cry.
The Vikings sailed back
When their Vinland grew cold
But you wrapped your future
In buffalo robes
And now I don’t know where to turn
When I want to go home.
Jenny McBride’s writing has appeared in SLAB, Common Ground Review, Rappahannock Review, The California Quarterly, Conclave, and other publications. She makes her home in the rainforest of southeast Alaska.
My nails are shining Lavender,
I’m afraid you don’t see me.
I wish someone would rub
Sunburnt arms with aloe,
So I could tell them I wasn’t sore.
I felt the love’s weight
As I tried to breathe
With no woman pressing into me,
Once I stopped the chattering TV.
I can feel the weight, lost,
Like I starve myself, so far
Inside does love carve.
I would sit outdoors,
At a warming bench all light time,
To hear “Hi,” receive “Hello.”
Hugh Cook attends University of California, Santa Barbara, studying Writing and Literature. He has authored a collection titled The Day it Became a Circle (Afterworld Books). His poetry has been published in Tipton Poetry Journal, Ariel Chart, Muddy River Poetry Review, and Blue Unicorn.
Daddy lost his job last year
and the year before
and momma hers the years before that
but momma got herself a job back
we bought a car to get from here to there
to job and back
for daddy to teach me to drive when i’m
already ripe and smoking
the joint between momma’s forefinger and
thumb passing around like paper wrapped
golden leaf worth more than daddy and momma
and the siding around us sleeping at night in
the beds we pay for in dying
breaths from momma’s hospice patients and the meat
daddy ripped cut slapped the months years decades leading up to
which burns in our fingers from drivers seat to passenger to
the back i sit in leather seats
wearing three necklaces thrown from a town truck
returned from retirement
no more rusty bumpers and highway calls.
I’m covered in green
shamrocks like me with shiny beads
Emerald gold purple
If wrapped further around me, my neck,
heritage wrapped around my neck in the fake carnation in the lapel of the corduroy 1970s jacket i found in the basements in the years when the girls had friends down and the smoke got all in the fabrics and daddy had
green to pay
for the cleaners to trudge up the smoke in the couch into black corduroy
now covered freckled flesh
green like momma says
daddy on the sidewalk with the little ones
catching candy and necklaces for me to drape over dirty hair
which ripples blonde down pale cheeks
running away from the motherland
her mossy face moist at midnight or three in the afternoon whatever time momma and daddy want to get high
And forget about the Troubles.
Molly Flanagan is currently a senior at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) in New Haven, Connecticut, where she works as Associate Editor of Folio, the undergraduate literary and art journal at SCSU. Her visual art and short stories have also been published in Folio and ANGLES. This past spring, Molly was awarded the 2019 Creative Writing Award by SCSU English Department.
A Golden Shovel
I never asked myself about you. I did hope, though, that May-
Be you would remember this empty room. Believe me, I never
Wondered if you would return. I knew. (T)Here
The sun rose at 8. Once upon a time, the
Sun bloomed at 8 too. Now that plaster
Painting isn’t worth the trouble. Dirty brushes and stir-
Red colors aren’t worth the wash. As soon as
You left you said goodbye and if
I had just stood up to say “no”… You le(f)t me in
A wardrobe of wilting aloe, plastic flower crowns and pain.
I broke with the door hinges; laughed about it, that May-
Be If I wasn’t so frightened or if I had never
Given a fuck I wouldn’t be the only one to hear
My heart-beat. May-be the
Cold clouds of a Florida summer wouldn’t click like roaches
In an empty moving box. I wouldn’t let this falling
Slush remind me of all the paintings you did take with you. Like
The crow who eats too many berries, and falls fat,
Drunk and remembering— may-be then I’d learn to enjoy the rain.
Last words in The Ballad of Rudolph Reed by Gwendolyn Brooks
Daniel Crasnow is a multi-genre writer and scholar at Stetson University where he holds a Sullivan Scholarship in creative writing. He has been awarded a scholarship to attend the DISQUIET International Literary Program (2018) and was a resident at the DISQUIET Azores Residency (2018).
Both foreign and familiar
you patrol the hidden
You don’t care about
selling the most
You know how
to tell a joke but you don’t
You’ve learned to be
learned to be always
on the lookout.
You’ve heard the stories
from the battlefields—
academic, financial, political
and yet you refuse
to run away and join
the circus even though
so you walk
in perpetual Lent
concentrating ashy guilt and
polishing it to a
for you need things
to be raw &
to the eye.
Tom D’Angelo works in the Writing Center at Nassau Community College in Garden City, NY, and teaches courses in Mythology, Film and Literature, and Creative Writing. In addition to poetry, his current projects include a series of creative non-fiction essays on his formative years in Queens, NY. His poems have most recently appeared in The Flatbush Review.