Artwork: Rhyssa Scott-Smith — “From Another’s Hand”
Poem by: ANNALISE MABE
My parents were ex-pats in 1993,
took my sister
and me on a plane to Prague, where
dust came from the bodies
of men old as meshed chain,
armor and silver swords.
Maybe it was the War of the Roses
where they died in white;
a sea of leaves underneath me.
The bone church was
the mouth of a cave
that dripped cold breath
the smell of
piles and piles of people,
like you and me,
stacked ashes in the holy tray.
Lida our neighbor, a city native
had daughters with dark marble eyes
old enough to watch
us babes, to sit and draw
gowns and make braids
in our virgin hair,
while our parents
drank the city and remembered
what they liked about each others’ eyes.
We pulled dirt grown carrots out of the earth
by leafy heads and Arlen
opened the barn door to the darkest smell
of pigs, big like the turned
over fat man,
pissed in the Paris street.
In the blind night I woke
my warm bodied mother.
We went to the outhouse
under the thick pile sky,
and I wanted to see
the stars until I fell asleep.
Like little eyes of friends,
I swear to God they whispered: “wait.”
This poem was a favorite of our 2014 Expo judges. We all thought it was brilliant and it may have been the winner if it were within the line parameters in the guidelines; but some pieces write themselves and you cannot stop before it is finished nor should you stay within the lines just to win.
Annalise Mabe is pursuing an MFA at the University of South Florida where she writes poetry and nonfiction. Her work has been published in The Offing, Proximity Magazine, and elsewhere. She reads poetry for Sweet: A Literary Confection, and is a poetry editor at Saw Palm: Florida Literature and Art.
Poem by: ALLIE MARINI BATTS
When A Girl Tells You She Loves Tom Petty
she is telling you her best thing in the truest way she knows how:
she trusts you to fill up the spaces between. You will know she understands
about the waiting being the hardest part, that she knows what it is to be a loser,
& despite that, she still hopes she’ll get lucky sometime. She’s teaching you the anatomy
of the American Girl, how it feels to grow up strong & grow up proud,
running down a dream, into the great wide open. She’s giving you her memories
of learning to fly & how small she felt, discovering she didn’t have wings.
She’s telling you that in nearly-summer, she wants to sit on the roof with you,
even if she also knows you’ll wreck her & leave her on a balcony,
lost in one desperate moment with your memory.
She won’t back down.
When I tell you I love Tom Petty, I’m speaking in Southern Accents,
describing to you the way waves sound, crashing on the beach
next to 441, & I’m asking you to walk straight into darkness with me.
I’m saying that sometimes I wear
faded jeans & soft black leather & I’m whispering to you,
It’ll all work out, eventually—even if I know in my heart I’m
the Wild One, Forever.
Allie Marini Batts holds degrees from both Antioch University of Los Angeles and New College of Florida, meaning she can explain deconstructionism, but cannot perform simple math. Her work has been a finalist for Best of the Net and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is managing editor for the NonBinary Review and Zoetic Press, and has previously served on the masthead for Lunch Ticket, Spry Literary Journal, The Weekenders Magazine, Mojave River Review & Press, and The Bookshelf Bombshells. Allie is the author of the poetry chapbooks, “You Might Curse Before You Bless” (ELJ Publications, 2013) “Unmade & Other Poems,” (Beautysleep Press, 2013) and “This Is How We End” (forthcoming 2014, Bitterzoet.) Find her on the web: https://www.facebook.com/AllieMariniBatts or @kiddeternity
Art: Rossina Bossio — “Climb”
Poem by: HEIDI REBECCA CELESTE KRAAY
pale olive milk
fingers to jaw
long nose,….judgment smile
luxury grabbing a bracelet
can’t make me shrug off your shine, lady
me, patient under bridge always asking
PLEASE help…..every day back
keep staring your fingertips away from my sign
Please give anything
…….a yes to the hungry one
Please one…..yes to the velvet
Playwright Heidi Kraay makes theater and writes anything she can—including poems. She loves bridging gaps between genres through collaboration. Selected poems are published or scheduled for publishing by The Cabin, Black Heart Magazine, Limn Literary & Arts Journal, Anastamoo, The 5-2 and more. Other poems have been used like music for interdisciplinary performances through Ghosts & Projectors (Boise, ID) Boise Creative & Improvised Music Festival (B-CIMF), Off Center Dance (Boise) and Sandbox Theatre (Twin Cities, MN). Plays, including New Eden, Dirt, Me and My Shadow, Kilgore and others have been presented by Seven Devils Playwrights Conference (McCall, ID), id Theater (NYC), B-CIMF, HomeGrown Theatre (Boise), The Cabin (Boise) and others. Heidi holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Boise State University and is a new MFA candidate at California Institute of Integral Studies. A teaching writer, she loves working with young artists and learning from them.
“True words seem contradictory,” Lao Tzu
Life is no contradiction
it is a paradox within an enigma
within a contradiction
when you can say that you do not understand
then you have begun to understand
Larry Blazek was born in Northern Indiana, and moved to the southern part because the climate is more suited to cycling and the land is cheap. He has been publishing the magazine-format collage “OPOSSUM HOLLER TAROT” since 1983 — and has published work in the “THE BAT SHAT”, “VOX POETICA”, “LEVELER POETRY”, “FIVE FISHES”, “FRONT”, “MOUNTAIN FOCUS ART” and many others.
Birds sparring — winner of the Wildlife Behavior category
Poem by: LIZZY MONTGOMERY
worse than murder
words unheard of
teeth marks round the young ones’ necks
meant to protect
military grade gun powder
blue suits in a military grade gun powder high
meant to protect
two black birds circle nigh
gathered here today for peace for peace for peace
military grade white powder
white powder, white powder
Lizzy Montgomery, age 25, lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend and dog. While not finding solace in nature, she enjoys reading the news and writing poetry. ‘For Peace’ pays homage to the youth lost 2012-2014 under the sieges of police violence and gun crime.
Artwork: Dale Collins — “Too Much to Dream”
Poem by: JIM DULIN
Every time, same brush strokes,
same expression, same stare, same raised index finger
stroking her covered earlobe.
I’ve been painting this girl for 12 years
and I can’t say for sure what her ears look like.
She just wants it all to be the same.
How could she not have grown out of that dress by now?
Says that it was so beautiful the first time,
every year the same response and lost look in her eye.
Begs me to paint her back there
before her face elastics into that 12-years ago stare.
I try to convince her this is not a time machine,
this brush is simple horse hair.
I will draw it across the canvas the way she likes
and I’ll be back next year.
By then she might finally fill out her mother’s old bracelet.
It is tarnished and luckluster since it became hers,
but I paint it like it was.
I think it all helps her remember.
It’s never a smile, but it’s close.
Jim Dulin currently lives in Baton Rouge, LA where he is a member of the Baton Rouge Poetry Alliance and helps host its weekly Eclectic Truth Poetry Slam. Prior to living in Louisiana, he was a graduate student at the University of Michigan and had the fortune of joining the university’s team to compete at CUPSI in 2012. Jim has authored two chapbooks.
“My goal as a writer is to be honest and complicate our perspectives on our own truths. ‘The Same Brush Strokes’ is a perspective switch and attempts to give the painter a fictional background story. It was a very fun exercise . . . “
Photo: CHRIS RIDINGS
Poem by: JULIE OESPER
It’s what happens when you’re driving on the Continental
Divide. Terror, the earth
splits. Your broken pieces double
and triple to compensate
for the sudden rift in assurance.
Look, it says. Now you
can see yourself.
I was driving there, on the divide. A tightrope zags
through the layers of the earth.
It’s that stretched-out feeling
of looking too deeply at the sky.
You fall apart. You’re even more
wily than all those people said. There’s no grip.
They thought you were wise.
Sometimes you sing songs that are not yours,
and they become you.
Julie Oesper received her BA in Creative Writing from Knox College and currently live in far West Texas.
“I now have for fodder the joys and miseries of food service, field studies of Sandhill Cranes, and secretarial work. After years of trying out new things, I am thrilled to get back into writing, where I am happiest.” Julie
Poem by REBECCA TANG
they say that the world’s a stage to expand
yourself to encapsulate hedonistic perfection.
but I see it as a wall-to-wall incarceration
behind night bars and clubs and my
shoulders beg for a way out of this scripted
rehearsal that I refuse to perform for you
it’s easier to dance with others
than it is for me to dance alone at these
socials where there is no space—no place—to
diverge from getting down and dirty
on the dance floor.
my mind sweats hot palpitation
as I look for an exit out of this confinement of
sensuous vibes a-thumping sweet coos to stay
a-while with inebriated Hysteria
washing tongues and throats and dry, crushing ice
between teeth grinding and grinding
between these closed ribbed walls of our deadly fantasy.
Rebecca Tang is currently a university student. “Not only do I enjoy writing poetry and prose in my free time, but I also find pleasure in editing works for others in three magazine organizations on campus. I aspire to take my skills in creative writing and copy-editing to prospective career opportunities in the future.” Rebecca
Poem by KATHLEEN DALE
There’s no marinera without huayno / nor huayno without marinera / little Indian girl in the green skirt / the third part of this song is for you.— refrain from a Peruvian Marinera Serrana
At dusk, her variations unfold
around a mysterious theme;
they swirl in La Marinera
of possibility, waves
of come-hither chance.
At dusk, only a particle
of the day’s invasive
truth remains, balanced
on her slim fingers.
At the tipping point of night,
her gaze wavers, hands fall,
and swells of release
pour in: a Sikuri
dance of halves, alternating
notes; a Huoayno
replicating in countless mirrored
iterations of her nightly
sway; a Festejo of joyful,
teasing couples, chaste sensual
dreaming selves who will never touch.
Kathleen Dale is a multiple Pushcart nominee and recipient of several prizes and best-in-issue awards, which have appeared in over thirty journals, including the Beloit Poetry Journal, Switched-on Gutenberg, Rattle, Main Street Rag, and Future Cycle Poetry. In 2013 she was featured poet in The Centrifugal Eye’s “Sinkhole: Drowning or Surviving—Themes on Coping in Poetic Form, “ in which four of her longer poems appear. Her most recent chapbook, Avatars of Baubo, was published by Green Fuse Press in late 2013. Rescue Mission, 2011, was published by Antrim House Press, Ties that Bind by Finishing Line Press in 2006 and a new collection of poems, The Beautiful Unnamed, from Zarigueya Press, is now available from amazon.com.
Artwork: Rossino Bossio
Poem by: JOANNA MIGDAL
..in fluid oils
..so I may slip away
..in light pastels
..so I may fade away
..in limpid watercolors
..so I may be washed away
..in shady charcoal
..so I may be rubbed away
..as a digital image
..that may not be recognized in any way
..behind a red rope,
..next to a sign that may only say:
..Please do not touch
Joanna Migdal has done a series of eksphrastic poetry and mentioned that the Luis José Estremadoyro’s painting (from our exposé) seemed to have an ‘attitude’ that she was then “experiencing while posing for an artist!” (We at ZO are constantly experiencing this kind of synchronicity.) Joanna’s eksphrastic series was self-published with the title, “My Quicksilver Lover” (the artist she worked with used the medium of mercury). She also has a book out with a highlighted blurb in it from poet Molly Peacock.
Poem by: EMILY WITHNALL
She sleeps in an ocean and wakes drowning
to the sound of the sun rising in a chorus
of robins, returned. The horizon fits in the curve
of her thumbnail. A light slice flashes merry-go-round
memories, colors, spinning, spinning, far away
whistling flowing like water on a page, the notes
visible, first a half, then a quarter, two sixteenths,
a half, piercing, clear, resonant – oak leaves stir,
echoing the rhythm. Too much salt burns her
lips, and a kitten’s sand paper tongue licks
her saline fingers, her wrists where she
has just spread rose to cover the smell
of sex still coming through, pungent, forgettable.
Sleep is her bugbear, because of the waking,
construction partitions perforating unformed
sentences in her mind, rose-sex sentences
like “if you love fervently, you will be loved
back,” and “la vita es bella.” Fragrant tears
rise and fall like waves. When the moon
is full, as it was last night, she is not persuaded
by images of the goddess, imagines only
that full moon men fill truck flats with six packs,
thump each other’s chests. She will rise to rinse
the ocean from her hair, imagining she can hide
between people’s eyes, imagining that the sea
will embrace her with salty maternal instinct.
The tide has come in this morning.
Emily Withnall hails from the high mountain desert of northern New Mexico. Currently, she lives in Missoula and is a second year graduate student in the Environmental Studies program at the University of Montana, where she serves as co-editor of the environmental literary magazine, “Camas.”
Photo: Guillaume Luisetti — “Portrait of Intensity
Poem by: BRYAN VERDI
The ineluctable fog rolled in,
slowly engrossing the cobble-stoned streets;
She remained sang-froid,
uncompromising in her position,
staring into the depths of the void:
brown eyes fixed,
despondent and fastidious,
soft lips sealed,
stolid and clandestine;
She reached out her hand,
fair and feminine,
bidding farewell to her lost adolescence.
The fog continued on its tireless track,
taking its prize,
the lady in black.
Bryan Verdi is an adventurer and wordsmith. “Literature is an invaluable piece to my personal growth, my daily inspirations, and I hope to one day contribute to the library of literary greats.”
Art: © John W. Davis IV
Poem by: CATHERINE MOORE
In her trinity of poses—
silken, foolish, flattened under hand.
How meticulously these mien pieces are wretched free each evening.
A mortification of the flesh—
soil, stitch, twisted around finger.
As touch attempts to enfold the boundless lines of a half-formed woman.
The canvas of moveable stills—
……..thought, thread, painted above metaphor.
What a mask reveals in its mock emotions of the part-time female
Catherine Moore is a freelance writer and poet —
Her recent publications, including short stories and poems, appear in Grey Sparrow journal, Stymie magazine, Provo Canyon Review and the Tahoma Literary Review. Her poems have garnered first place prizes with both the Mississippi and Alabama State Poetry Society Contests. She is the winner of the Southeast Review’s 2014 Gearhart poetry prize and has a chapbook titled Story forthcoming with Finishing Line Press. Catherine earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Tampa.
Pictured: AKKO — (ZO’s 1st Petite Model Cover)
Poem by: NATALIE WILLIAMS
Complacent . . .
yet who can say?
Who can say if she feels the pain?
Who can say if it shines or rains?
Who can tell if words cut her heart
or pierce like the tip of a poisoned dart?
Pride is a handy kind of veil
that covers the truth,
So who can tell?
Only the One
who knows her well.
Natalie Williams describes herself as a “home grown poet who enjoys playing with words and pictures.” She has recently reinvented herself as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, takes care of her folks, house, an acre of gardens, her best friend (who is ill), three cats, one wolf and a few fowl here and there.
Poem by: DON SEGAL
Fragrant as a rosy petal
Pungent as the thrashing sea
Softly smooth as moon’s white light
Falls upon you as you sleep.
Constant as the earth is ground
Or Changeling as if chrysalis sheathed
Leaving soon or leaving later
Takes away my slumber’s peace.
Noticing your mind has wandered
Your heart, a lure, drifts through the deep
While losing mine amidst the waters
Clouded in your shrouds of ink.
Fragrant as a rosy petal
Pungent as the thrashing sea
I lie on shore by thorny wild rose
And watch the ocean
Stay, then leave.
Don Segal lives in Guilford, CT with his wife Martha and children. He has poems published in the Deep Waters and Music in the Air anthologies (Tall Grass Writers Guild, 2012 and 2013), Inner Landscapes-writers respond to the art of Virginia Dehn anthology (Grayson Books, 2013) and as semifinalist was included in the Emily Dickinson Award Anthology (Universities West Press, 2005). His work has also appeared in www.miriamswell.wordpress.com, Bottle Rockets, The Small Pond Magazine, Hummingbird and Blueline.
Artwork: KD Matheson — “Obsession”
Poem by: INGRID CALDERON
sliced open decadent
blind to all the sinking wreckage
crooked amp drawl
open window ghost screams
slathered in sweat & blood
senseless trying to pretend
that you won’t be the death of me
for four hours
eating words and bitten cheeks
saturated velvet kiss
with savory intentions
swimming in defeat
include the bleached chalk hand
that strikes fine lines
rotting mirror screens
brow dark and crinkled with thoughts
of unborn children salvaged from design
Ingrid Calderon was born in El Salvador during the “silent” war. Ending up in Los Angeles in 1986, Ingrid managed to tackle the English language and learn some French along the way. Currently residing in Echo Park she spends most of her time on the 9th floor of her office job, boxing or fantasizing about her lover.
Because this poem mentions suicide, we are attaching links below for anyone you know that may ever need help.
Art: DR GREUG — “Untitled” Illustration
Poem by: HALEY ZORGER
Rip off the mask-
It wasn’t me.
Peel off the smile I hid behind-
Wash off the glassy eyes that you once loved.
Think about us,
The misled hope you gave me.
The false sense of security-
Another side of myself I despised.
Our lies fed each other.
My blind lover,
You mistook me for someone else,
When I captured you with love,
Made you crave what you could not grasp
Then I ripped off the mask,
Like a used Band-Aid-
Threw you aside as if you were nothing,
Finally revealed my true side.
Haley Zorger is currently a full time freshman in college.
“I have had a passion for writing poetry since fifth grade and with each poem I write, I fall in love with writing even more. I’m currently a neuroscience and English double major and hope to pursue writing in the future.” — Haley