Tag Archives: #ZingaraPoetryReview

“Where Water Runs” by Beth Politsch

In the place
where water runs,
magic shivers and hums
and shakes the trees
with its incantations.

The stream is a cauldron
of leaves, moss and bark.
It blooms with dark clouds
of mud when rust-
colored stones are lifted
away from the creek bed
by the toe of your boot.

But it is your bare feet
the water longs to touch.
It asks
for your fingers
to try to interfere
with its persistent flow.

If you stay long enough,
this place becomes a voice
in your head.
It whispers
words you’ve heard
in dreams. It tells birds
to swoop down
the brooky path beside you,
because you are
and always have been
the same.

And maybe
if you’re very lucky,
a toad will pause and look
you in the eye from a bumpy rock.
Maybe a crane will sweep down
into your shade
and almost anoint you
with her wings.

It will wait until you’re ready,
this oracle,
chanting spells softly,
listening for your breath,
offering vines and roots
for a staircase,
as you climb down
from the usual path.

Beth Politsch is a storyteller, poet and copywriter based in Lawrence, Kansas. She currently creates content for Hyland Software and writes children’s books and poetry in her free time. 

 

“Stillness” by Martin Willits

How do we still the stillness,
making it less than a soft whisper of sleep?
One more day no one can take problems anymore,
and look at how badly it turned out
as the sun sighed, going out
behind the black-purple night sky background.

How can we make it any more quiet
than when the sun is a red flood
disappearing under the weight of the setting
and the pushing down of night?

The large orange harvest moon
sits on the horizon
like it was a hard wooden park bench.
It is so close we can see the pockmarks
from eons of smashing asteroids,
and we do not know what to say —

how do we get more silence, less
talking, less accidental noises
than that? Less than an oar
not moving in water, not dripping
when lifted, not tipping into the row boat
as it is tied onto a pier, and not
the soundlessness of the wooden dock —
how do we get less noise than that?

Even the moth flaming after touching fire
makes a subtle noise. Or the cat, padding
on a thick rug, clawing and sharpening its nails,
arching before circling into sleep,
makes a curious noise, one that troubles
the quiet. No matter how softly we proceed,
noise follows us, makes sure we know it’s there.

Martin Willitts Jr has 20 chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Flowstone Press, 2017) plus 11 full-length collections including forthcoming full-lengths includes “The Uncertain Lover” (Dos Madres Press, 2018), and “Home Coming Celebration” (FutureCycle Press, 2018).

 

 

 

 

“Between Us, the Moon” by KB Ballentine

The moon aches, belly full
as dawn frays the edge of night.
In the shallows, a blue heron peers
into the lake, patient as Saint Francis.
But a quick slash of beak, and nature
reveals her unconcern.
Barely awake, the town unshutters,
signs turn in shop windows, blinds open.

And here we lie, in this bed so wide
we don’t have to touch. I can’t remember
the last time I knew you,
when you let me look in your eyes,
lean on you. What happened to us?
The heron unfolds its wings and lifts,
casts a shadow over the shore.
The moon pales, day empty and raw.

~“Between Us, the Moon” first appeared in The Mill, Issue 2.


KB Ballentine has a M.A. in Writing and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Poetry. Her fifth collection of poems, Almost Everything, Almost Nothing, is forthcoming by Middle Creek Publishing.

“Notes in the Night” by Judith Bader Jones

A summer breeze, sheer
as bedroom curtains, floats
through a screened window
and joins us in our double bed.

Evening slows the rhythm
of your beating heart when I rest
against your chest and nighttime music
becomes a cover for body pain and sorrow.

Livin’ in this murky world – the blues
dilutes our hurts while brush-stroke lyrics,
sung by survivors, saves souls as we fall
asleep holding onto each other.

Judith Bader Jones, a poet in Fairway, Kansas, has recent publications in  CHEST- The American College of Chest Physicians, Nostalgia and i-70 Review. She is an avid organic gardener and bird photographer.

 

“Sleeping in Bed Together” by John Grey

You’re from a world where seasons never varied their routine
and construction workers waved from beams on high
and a revelation could be as simple
as a bucking trout pulled from a stream.

And now you’re with a woman, in a bed
her body barely a shiver away from yours,
suddenly aware of how little touch is needed to identify the other
while always imagining the worst that lies in store for you.

You got from hatching to imago
with the usual helpings of slime and ooze,
to where you’re heel to heel with the desired one,
and yet still can be startled by such close companionship.

You’re from a place where so little flesh went into the making of you.
And here being fully grown is not something you find comforting,
Yet from lack of light, a strange cadence emerges.
low-breathing, low-flying beings navigating their way through sleep.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.  

 

 

 

 

“as dandelions popped” by Nanette Rayman

Tonight, from a distance, I saw my real life
smiling and walking across the avenue with bells
on, a sound sweet—for her—like the birds chirping
at the last moment of Layla. And without a sound
the blue-green brush strokes of sad altostratus
clouds crosshatched the whole sky. A cassowary
lost its quillish feathers in New Guinea, feet left
to kick anyone in its path and a fortune-teller
heavy with turquoise in a long flowing skirt looked
at me for a long moment. On the other side
of the Atlantic,  the Isle of Hebrides took
on sun and people cried, weathered houses
tilting in the wind, and eyes hooded by hands
ready to caress wives and husbands as I sat
down floppily on an old bench as dandelions
popped, as pink pansies blossomed fuchsia,
resigned and overwhelmed as the human soul.

Nanette Rayman, author of Shana Linda, Pretty Pretty and Project: Butterflies—Foothills Publishing. Winner of the Glass Woman Prize, included in Best of the Net 2007, DZANC Best of the Web 2010 is published in Stirring’s Steamiest Six, featured in Up the Staircase Quarterly. Other publications include: Sugar House Review, Worcester Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, Little Rose Magazine, Rain, Poetry & Disaster Society, Pedestal, DMQ, carte blanche, Oranges & Sardines, Sundog, and Melusine. 

“Porch” by Martina Reisz Newberry

We cast curses at the moon,
watch its face travel over     then behind     clouds,
then come to the fore
as if beckoned
when it most certainly was not.
Booze and blackberries on the front porch
and the cries of dead beasts and warriors out there.

Imagine it                     Hold it in your head
as you do song lyrics and prayers.
The strange scents of late nights
call us to remember our weaknesses
and the ill will we’ve encountered in others.
We talk of these things     bring them closer.

And oh the madness of this porch        how it dares to receive
our complaints and our compliances             how it
rests under our flip-flops and naked toes     how it
shifts under spilled sweet tea     and dripped foam
off cans of Bud Light

Does it make you grin that I’ve said this?

So, the moon hovers and we here below
pull it over us, imagine it soft when            in truth
it’s dense as a mango dum dum.

Inside, we look for rest knowing our mendacity
could pull down the stars                  knowing our joys
are simple masks for grudges
the way they jibe

My God                     The way we consume bitterness
fill our plates, pour on gravies
and sauces of fear and then
dare to sleep on that repletion.

Martina Reisz Newberry’s recent books: NEVER COMPLETELY AWAKE (Deerbrook Editions), and TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME (Unsolicited Press).Widely published, she was awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts.

Martina lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Brian.