Morgan Elaina Fenick
Sitting amongst the tombs of centuries past
Sweat pours down my body, baking in the languidness of the present
The minimal southern breeze
Rustles my thin skirt, the dust of the decay sticks
To my bare legs, it glitters in the light, what could be a strippers delight
Back in the comfort of the shadows, against the
Stone, spirits embrace my body
Cool and comforting
Amongst pill bottles and garbage
Others have taken sanctuary here
Everything is broken, the old,
Sometimes rebuilt, more than often not
I can hear the sirens of the city,
Walkie-talkies, children playing,
Unattended in the street, dogs, hungry and mean
Silk flowers once presented with grace
Are faded, and covered in mold
Through it all, all the concrete and plastic,
The tendrils of life, fern fingers, aspirations of youth,
Reach for the sun
The grass grows green with triumph
Then fades with the constant struggle of survival and urban decay
Under steamy skies.
Life goes on.
Morgan Elaina Fenick, is an artist, flower designer, writer, and connoisseur of fine wine. She moved to New Orleans in the summer of 2016 after years of desiring to do so. The magic, the spirits, and the colorful co-habitants are her muses. “Peace and Love to all.” Morgan
“Is this what I think it is?”
“I’m hoping it ain’t.”
The tottering old cemetery
On small, soggy bluffs
To either side of America Street
Helter-skelter cement company’s dream
With scratched-on names
Mother and Daughter, broken slab
Jagged Take Thy Rest
Ragged Gone But Not Forgotten
Inlaid bathroom tile porcelain mosaic
Gapping open or boarded up
Rusted tin covering
Like the rows of shotgun cabins
In the neighborhood adjoining
A weigh station, only more symmetrical
Uncovered glass treasures
In the side drainage ditch
Familiar short soft drink bottles
Liquor corked and unscrewed
Broken and scattered
An old black man
Working out of an old black car
Fighting and losing against grass and weeds
Snake holes, faded flowers, rotting trees
Red spray paint I Love (heart) You
Dripping on top side of cover
Faded, white-washed angel
Carrying, is it a child? On High
Photo: Peter Vahlersvik
Jay Casey is a writer and teacher who lives on the Gulf Coast. He is inspired by the history that is around each of us and the ways that history offers connections between the people of the past and the present.
Mark the spot, where our house once stood
High on this hill, so tall and proud. These charred remains
of what was our Nirvana, now scorched
wasteland of naked trees, waving fire-bleached
branches at the fiery sky.
The empty butterfly jar, prepared before Piposa’s Fete
Stands in a dusty corner; the brilliant creatures already
soaring above the shelter’s star to the heavens above;
like them, my thoughts are free to rise or tumble
Yet bind me to the burning shackles of this war.
Wild fireballs blast across the blackened fence,
Their garish leaps as circus flamethrower’s sleight of hand,
Yet deadly accurate; images around my head,
creating patterns like Aunt Mo’s paisley carpet of the 50’s.
Why skin so sore? Movements faltering, smoke so dense.
I press my face into the crude black earth; charcoal
debris swirling in the windborne flames, scar my feet.
My present, past and future, all exposed in an acrid
mass of scorched dark hell. I lift my head and meet
the blast head-on and know that all is done.
“‘Burnt Offering’ is an ever developing metaphysical kaleidoscope of reality and thoughts, of events and of dreams; it is a multitude of personalities, developed throughout my life; it has no beginning and no end as yet!” — Janet Ghio
.the girl in the yellow dress
Emily Amin is a creative writing junior at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, who is known for her obsession with all things astrology. She has two silver keys and an honorable mention from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards as well as a certificate of merit from the Alabama Writers Forum. Emily’s poem “train-wreck” is from ZO’s recent Teen Media Expo and was among the judges’ top choices.
I have never known a person who has died & I’ve been trying
to do better. Egypt’s finest hiccoughs
made me a swooning dilettante
of the museum’s darling coffins,
sobbing over dropped haw flakes.
Forgive me, I’ve been busy.
I’ve been dreaming in chemistry class
& somehow an umbrella has found its way
against this blasted landscape & the rain is trickling
down the flaps of this flying squirrel & my long dark
hair begins to dry — Buckyball. . .molecule
. . . write it down . . . fullerene. Full? I am not
full, lunchtime is next period. My head droops
and jerks, eyes widening tiredly. I am as poised as death.
I hear my sentences filling up with fear.
The loveknot at the orphanage wasn’t half bad.
The only tongue I had was a stub, and that made me glad.
The pond drowned me when I stepped on a lily pad.
The eyes glitter like stage spotlights & traffic at night
The tiles undress flesh from bone, feather from dove
………………………………… (sugar stuck to my heel)
Now I said I’ve been busy lately
clicking ahead in Youtube videos
skipping flash-frames for the ignition of human voices
& bawl-worthy lyric
yesterday a friend told me her great-grandmother
watched her grandma die
& I didn’t understand but tried.
Darling, I planted your voice for you.
I spread all your dead things into the compost
& stepped back & buckyball is the most common
naturally occurring fullerene & you are so so quiet
I have never known a person who has died & I’ve been trying
to do better.
I’m sketching clear deserts in the dark.
Michelle Chen is a sixteen-year old poet, writer, and artist who takes inspiration for her writing from the events that occur in and around her home, New York City, though she was born in Singapore and hopes to return and visit someday. In addition to being the first-prize winner of ZO’s Teen Media Expo, she is first-prize winner of the 2015 Knopf Poetry prize and the Norm Strung Youth Writing Competition, the recipient of The Critical Junior Poet’s Award, was commended as a Foyle Young Poet of the Year, and has performed at Lincoln Center. Her work has been honored both regionally and nationally in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and has appeared or will appear in Prairie Schooner, the Sharkpack Poetry Review, The Critical Pass Review, Across the Margin, Transcendence, Alexandria Quarterly, Ember, On Spec, Polyphony HS, Pif Magazine, and elsewhere.
By Bobbi Rudin
Bobbi Rudin is a graduate of the MA program in Mythology and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Her poetic writings are published in The Muse: An International Journal of Poetry (Vol. 3. Issue 2), Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology of Present Day Best Poems, a chaos of angels, Kali’s Kites Essays from the Mythological Imagination, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly (Issue 65 Winter 2015), and between: Pacifica Graduate Institute Literary Review Journal. Her poetry book Testament: A Poetic Journey Thru the Cycles of Life is available at Amazon.
By Vanessa PiccirilliHe is a thousand noble beasts
he developed a face
to look like mine
He developed a machine
to herd his wild thoughts into
a single line, but it only
clashed and clanged – a thousand cymbals
delirious and disjointed
I know there is a rhythm,
a pattern in the silence
But he lives in a house
full of matted fur
and strange blood,
he has faced
the brink of extinction –
and he is afraid
he won’t have time to know what lived in him
before it passes away
Vanessa Piccirilli is a graduate of Roger Williams University with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and a lifelong passion for poetry. “I am particularly inspired by the works of Matt Rasmussen and Richard Brautigan, but also love curling up and sipping tea with Emily Dickenson.” — Vanessa
By Collin Sullivan
…..Go on and find colors in the figures
stoned and dreaming away from home.
…..Keep on giving- someone will return;
…..summer is promised, winter is teased.
Frost might return, be careful to plant the seed.
…..Grass smells like watermelon rind,
shoes filling with cool dark mud;
…..walking home away from them
just the select spreading self free.
…..Hailstones and wind shaking the fresh budding tree:
their beauty it amazes, but it’s theirs to keep.
…..Something so familiar never seen this way,
naked, freshly showered, battered by the passing stones
…..every rock more gorgeous under ripe rain.
“I think poetry as description of life’s intricacies will always fall short, no abstract fragment can accentuate the many details; though poetry can be a terrific reminder for us to keep an out eye out for these very details. And because i think this is a good thing, i write poetry.” — Colin
By Colton Adrian
By Colton Adrian
By Timothy Davis
By Timothy Davis
Timothy Davis is a poet now living in Brooklyn, NY.
“I enjoy writing because it’s the only way I can explain what I see.” — Timothy
M. Terry BowmanOf all the things you could collect.
M. Terry Bowman is an occupational therapist with a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her first book of poetry, “Thanks for the Mammary,” was published by Quaci Press in 2014. She can always be found at mterrybowman.com.
. . . . . . . . . . .When, at eighty-eight, a woman forgets that her bébé lives far away, that her husband has
. . . . . . . . . . .passed, that she once kept a cottage neat as a shop and before that, her sisters teased her, la
. . . . . . . . . . .plus petite et belle, for being deaf and dull, making her ride behind Papa so his chewing tabac
. . . . . . . . . . .flew in her face –when all she retains is her sense of self, still so sweet and lovely when she’s
. . . . . . . . . . .wheeled into the atrium wearing a white blouse as crisp as she would have starched it herself –
. . . . . . . . . . .does she really want to be cured, to souvenir when she’s forgotten even her French, her first
. . . . . . . . . . .tongue?
J.C. Elkin is founder of the Broadneck Writers’ Workshop in Annapolis, Maryland (www.broadneckwritersworkshop.com). She is also a singer, theater critic, and the author of World Class: Poems Inspired by the ESL Classroom. Her prose and poetry appear domestically and abroad in such journals as Kansas City Voices, Kestrel, Angle and The Delmarva Review.
By Alexander Smith
Alexander Smith is a poet and writer living in Providence, RI.
To create this poetry piece, he collected dozens of direct mail letters from financial institutions and cut out words and phrases. “I then carefully composed these words into lines of poetry on a ‘fake check’ included in one of the letters.” — Alex
Please feel free to follow Alex on twitter @NYAlexSmith
We especially liked the line:
“With no need to — love us — consolidate your debt”
Wise in Body
By Winston Mayo
Artwork: “Hybrid” by Antonio Mora
Humble the head
……..or it will grow wise in its pride
Occupy the mind
……..or it will be captivated by nonsense
Teach the neck
……..or it will yield to untested philosophies
Fortify the chest
……..or it will lumber in cowardice
Guide the arm
……..or it will lend itself to unfit causes
Steady the hand
……..or it will shake with dishonest company
Tame the tongue
……..or it will strike the soul
Curve the ear
……..or it will heed itself to lies
Shield the eye
……..or it will be blinded in envy
Strengthen the knee
……..or it will bow to fraudulent leaders
Balance the foot
……..or it stumble between fine lines
And most of all, soften the heart,
……..for it will close, growing hard and cold;
……………unable to provide for the body
……………what it longs for—love.
Winston Mayo is a freelance writer and poet with featured work in the 2015 Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook and poem “The Golden Sun Rises and Melts the Snow” in the 2011 America Library of Poetry collection. Winston received his BA in Writing with a Minor in Art from Ithaca College and is currently working on his first fiction novel.
All Is One
By Eva Mozette Novar
Truth shrouded in Beauty.
dancing particles split the slit
through the mirror of Our Mind’s Eye.
Observer made visible, We Are All Conscious Stardust.
spectrums of Dark and Light, the essence
of Us this Life unfurled, spiraling world of breath and dust,
expressing the breathing in of Our Nothingness
of Silence then, exhaling the Healing Stillness
of Our most Intrepid Creation; Love’s Convergence.
Eva Novar grew up living and exploring many varied outdoor environments. A Naturalist in spirit and in heart, she gleans from these moments and desires to share them with others through her writings of poetry and song.
A publication of Eva’s book of poetry, (through Neutrino Music, Art, and Book Publishing, LLC) entitled, I Walk, can be found on Amazon.com.
LADY IN RED
By Tammi Williams
Artwork: Natalie Shau
She was sitting on a bench
One walking by could smell
The sweet scent of her perfume
What piqued my interest?
Was her mask and hat
So unique, so different,
A wonderful sight to look at
I could barely see her eyes
Through the narrow slits
Ignoring the stares and
What a sight she made
Sitting on that bench
Hands around a necklace
Her red dress
That hung to her knees
In the cool light breeze
Her long black hair flowed around her face
Acting as a shield
Belying her stature and grace
She looks around
As if searching for someone
No one comes, eyes now cast down
The only answers she can tell
Voices carrying through the wind
Wishing her farewell
Thinking about what might have been
Thoughts and feelings
Now held within
Mellifluous Lyrical Calliope
by Matthew Harris
By David Gustavsen
Feel the concrete dust enter
your lungs as you pass
the jackhammer: the coughing
and subtle gain in weight
as you become just a little more
architectural. The ratio in you
shifts slightly from carbon to
silicon (with the smallest hint
of lime). What a relief to be
a freeway- solid, dependable, taken
for granted (until the earthquake hits,
as it someday must). Try your best
to achieve the stillness beneath
acceleration, to be certain of direction and
motion, to hold the mirage above
your head and not be deceived.
David Gustavsen is a university Fellow in Syracuse University’s MFA creative writing program. “I’m originally from Los Alamos, New Mexico. Perhaps because of this, I glow in the dark.” — David
The House Fell Apart in Our Hands
by Rachel Miskei
There’s a stink-beetle in the garage,
in a cave, in the valley — in her mind —
dragging a coat of week-old beer on his left leg.
She paints him like a jewel beetle.
Buzzing around and broken,
circling a home that won’t stand still.
And the smell of earth after a rain
mingles with a frigid bed pulsating
with empty rejection.
And the huge bed, in the house with the rotting —
in the valley, in her mind —
is smashed beneath a silence 25 years heavy.
In the midst of their ruin,
we sat on the porch as a spider devoured a moth.
We watched as the house fell apart in our hands.
Rachel Miskei is a recent college graduate, with a Bachelor’s degree in English, Creative Writing from Loyola Marymount University. “When nature and dreams merge with my writing, I have found my refuge, my calm amidst this chaotic heart.” Rachel —
……………. — Jane Varley —
…………….I was born in a great flash,
…………….a violent wind tunnel of dust,
…………….and I emerged whole, conscious.
…………….There were plans for water
…………….and flora, other life forms
…………….too numerous to tell you about
…………….and what I mean to say
…………….has nothing to do with lost
…………….opportunity and the unexpected
…………….death that reduced me.
…………….It is not so bad, with the hills
…………….and intersecting valleys, the daily
…………….ash devils whipping through,
…………….their lyrical animation. It is lonely,
…………….but sometimes I see you tiny
…………….over there, focusing your prodigious
…………….lens, and watching my face
…………….fixed for your wonder.
Jane Varley is the Chair of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. She teaches writing and literature, and writes and publishes poetry and nonfiction. ZO was extremely honored to have her as a judge for our 2015 Poetry & Art Expo.
The Face on Mars is a mile-long mesa, which viewed from above has the appearance of a human face. It was first spotted by space missions in the 1970s in the Cydonia region of Mars.
When you accept the role that you were born to perform because it is the highest, most honorable option there is to choose.
When you become one with the will of creation by opting to adhere.
When you relinquish all fear and doubt to notice the path, as it becomes ever so clear.
We Love Tshombe’s description on his Facebook profile page: “Manage stiff flow at Concrete Lucidity and Spiritual Advisor at Growing Self Daily. — Studied Portal Creation, Teleportation and Transmutation at Torn Veil Univ — Past: School of Reconsideration and Benjamin Elijah Mays High School. — Lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. From Atlanta, Georgia.” — “School of Reconsideration” — been there, lol
Thsombe is a cinematographer and blessed us last year by filming ZO’s Cloud Launch … he also joined the spoken word artists we had on the set with some more impromptu “wisdom.” The words above were a post on his FB page and we asked if we could feature it on our poetry page . . .
after all, we can relate to every single word in ChoZen . . . we had to — to get here.
ZO has planned to put up an online “Poetry Lounge” for sometime. It will include a kind of philosophical roundtable — the video from our Cloud Launch — and many new Thangs! We hope to have it up sometime after our Music Expo starts . . .
We find a lot of the incredible poetry that we feature through our annual Poetry Exposés. These Expos allow us to connect with poets and writers who complement our format and we are developing relationships with a number of them. Details regarding the Poetry Exposé will remain up along with any developing details for 2016.
We publish featured material on three other poetry pages — Precipitation — What Cloud Are You On? — and What Grass. Featured poets are listed here: Schedule. Poems from the previous Expo will all be archived once the new features are scheduled. Here are links to the Poetry Archives:
The Poetry & Art Exposé is an annual event. Generally, once Poets and Writers have published five (5) separate creative works, we will list them on our various Creative Link pages (if they would like). Everyone who is not on these contact pages is still eligible to submit creative work to the Expos.
As we continue development of our unique Art Convergence, we are adding poets to a 12 Hour Event we plan for worldwide online participation and live broadcast. We are connecting with artists, poets, musicians and other creative disciplines to blend creations into a unique global presentation. We hope to add work by many of the poets that submit to our exposés. Information regarding this event is updating regularly and published on our Global Map and Spoken World pages.
By Grant Durando – Creator | Curator of Pathological Poetry
Poetry has a unique quality of unifying diverse perspectives and experiences through representational symbols, or language. The power behind these symbols creates internal sensations (affects) that, unbeknownst to the reader, create a universalizing phenomenon with anyone reading those same symbols, lines, or poems. It is our belief that this realization of our unity through affect, as poets and poetry readers, can distill the tribulations caused by our realities and re-energize us to produce and reorganize, rather than remaining in an inactive and closed entropic state.
For ZO Magazine and myself, this aim of production through a universalizing aesthetic affect holds the possibility to offset an often-disconcerting reality that sometimes seems to solely emphasize replication, representation, and mimetic reproduction. If poetry can make us all feel the same ineffable way, and this sensation can be accurately and conclusively exposed through a medium such as ZO, perhaps we can move away from the aims and pitfalls of aesthetic representation and recirculate to the abstract, essential, and dynamic beginnings of our reality.
ZO Magazine and its poetry sections will aim to elucidate this circularity, combining disparate artistic and poetic methods and materials to make sense of our broader world – ultimately with hope to improve it.
Our poetry sections include this main page
and the three pages below.
Photo: Sasza Baristow
In an effort to explore, attract, and exposit new and exciting works of poetic art, this space is dedicated to publication of a curated collection of traditional, avant-garde, and revolutionary poetic works from those who submit to us.
Our goal is to eventually update this page weekly with our editors’ selections from ZO’s increasing artistic network. The aim in publishing thoughtful poetic contributions, is to spur us all to consistently ask ourselves to reevaluate our position in this world in relation to art — in a sense asking: “What Cloud Are You On?”
Photo: Ralf Poppcke-Fotografie
Rarely do clouds accumulate and cover without contributing their holdings to the ground below.
Thus, while endeavoring to exposit our curated gallery of work, we invite criticism and commentary to deepen our understanding, appreciation, and knowledge of (to follow through with the metaphor) our culture’s clouds. They give shape to our day and define what is to come.
We intend that this page will be one of continuing poetic distillation; and in the future feature articles on individual works, collections, poets, as well as a diverse array of general and enlightened aesthetic discussion.
Photo: Sława Kładoczna-Gryta
Walt Whitman has no answer, and then too many answers to this essential question in regard to poetic and literary endeavors.
We further continue our poetic journey with postulations of life because all of us are in a continual transcendence of our own revelations. That is the nature of growth.
Eventually, we hope to pick up where Whitman left off in our discussion on the nature of reading, writing, and appreciating literary arts. Is the reason we write to clear our conscience? Or perhaps it is to escape it?
While many poets have written on the subject, we would like to postulate with a contemporary consciousness, the essential question of why we write literature, why we read literature, and ultimately, what literature can achieve for our fellows and ourselves.
By Katch Campbell
As an artist I struggle to maintain the edges of things. Tables leave bruises on my thighs.
Eyeliner extends to Nefertiti lengths. And I always tap out a reply text when I wanted to
just stay silent. My relationships both relish and fear this edgelessness—my absolute
obsession with peeking over and beyond the tail of Hale-Bopp–the need to know
differently and be known as different.
I argue that great art comes from a place without edges, and that the unwillingness to
accept a given answer as definition is the work of dream chasers. As such, I must explore
all dimensions: color and taste, time and ego. I must follow all of my whims until they
are reclassified into something new and extraordinary and never consider the edge until
I’ve plunged in and can glance back.
Poetry is edgelessness and provides a horizon, a connecting line, between art forms.
Poetry turns text into sound, and creates new images to describe what is already formed.
From prion to Peshawar, poets codify aural, visual, and linguistic qualities, and our
edgelessness creates a series of stepped experimentations for those who prefer the gap
Katch Campbell is a poet and triathlete who lives in the woods outside of Philadelphia. She is currently an MFA candidate at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in poetry.
We have presented ZO in this present online format since July 1, 2015. Thank you again for helping to make publishing a real exciting adventure! We are continually searching for new writers and contributors and still formulating guidelines for submitting other creative material for publication.