It was cold
someone was teaching me how to place a tag
on the body
the first big toe
Your father is at the Doctor’s office
They said he will be back tomorrow
Daddy, where are you?
I am scared to call
There is a man asleep perpetually on our floor
They programmed me a lot of bad things
I could write a book, I just
But not like Derrida
Being a male is harder
Separating the girl in the room
from the man who is pointing the gun to her head
The girl in the room
With the gun pointed at her head is screaming
I am having trouble seeing
The victim and the assassin because
It’s all part of the same shot
Alla Vilnyansky was born in the Ukraine and came to the US with her family as a refugee in 1989. She completed an MA from Miami University and is now working on an MFA from Columbia University.
I’m tired of being a foreigner
I’m tired of being a foreigner
of having to fill out those forms at the airport
that ask me reasons to visit
as if the Queen and the pints weren’t enough
I’m tired of having to spell my name
…….yes, “t” as in “tango”
I’m tired of being Gastón
because I’m not like that Disney song
and everyone fights like Gastón
I’m tired of being the guy
you’d swipe right on Tinder
because it’d be exotic to tell your granny
that you’re dating a Latino
I’m tired that I can be president
of only a single country
I’d love to rule Thailand
and write to my people of how much I love them
in those letters that look like scribbles
Gastón Tourn (born 1990) is an Argentine writer who published Through a camera, a collection of poems by Calamar Ediciones, and I am not sure if it’s Buenos Aires or New York, a series of short stories by Editorial Vox. He is pursuing a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford and works in Creative Communications at Google London.
I found you in the hills of the city.
This small moment of respite will get me through another day.
Maybe another life.
I’ve noticed I see you less as time goes by.
I don’t know if you’re almost lost to me, or if I’ve found you in other facets of my life.
I have to force myself to go to the city’s hills.
Sometimes I want to forget, but I know that’s not fair.
So I come to you, and you permeate my mind for only a moment.
When I’m there I think about myself, about my anxiety, about the chill in the air.
You’re the sand between my toes that irritates my skin.
Let me dump the rubble out of my shoes to leave at this place.
Let me clear my conscious and I’ll let you be.
Jacob Harris is an Elementary Education major at the University of Montana. “On October 1, 2016 I set out to write a poem a day, never having wrote a poem before. I always liked writing but could never find my footing. This self-imposed poem a day challenge has made me respect and love poetry, and is making me think about music, art, and my everyday life in new ways. I’m excited for what’s to come.”
I untie my mind and wander free
through lying windows, afar i see
a flying world of colours untouched
as many miles away as my time to clutch . . .
Lian Chen was born in Hong Kong and is 16 years old. Lian’s poem “Far Away” was among the top judges choices in our recent Teen Media Expo.
LyLena D. Estabine
Racing down the old dirt road
Hundred miles at my back
I’ve got thousands of miles to go though
So, for me, no turning back
Travel under stars at night
And under sun at day
On and on and on I drive
Know I’ve got to get away
Away from all the fighting
Less exciting once its done
Away from wars and slamming doors
Men who don’t know once they’ve won
Away from all the sadness
All the madness we endure
Overdosing on emotions
Trying to find the miracle cure
Away from cement walls
Empty halls where ghosts can thrive
Where they tell you how to live
But never how to be alive
Away from cloudy skylines
Crooked guidelines people follow
People stumbling on legs crumbling
Hoping, groping for tomorrow
Away from this insanity
The calamity and strife
I’m getting away to find out
If there’s anything else to life
So racing down this old dirt road
Hundred miles at my back
I’ve got a long, long way to go
But for me, no turning back
LyLena D. Estabine was among the top 10 finalists in ZO’s recent “Teen Media Expo.” She lives in Olathe, Kansas and attends Chisholm Trail Middle School. LyLena enjoys writing in a multitude of styles and forms, plays music, and is the proud caretaker for her three beautiful parakeets.
By JANET GHIOSquare box with sharp corners,
You may lift the lid a smidgen
or pierce it with a pin.
Turn my box upside down
and maybe climb in.
We see more clearly in the darkness,
The light shines through your eyes.
There may be things I cannot fathom
but that’s part of the surprise.
Nestle in my darkness, and cover
me, but do not grieve,
or lift the lid gently, and
replace it as you leave.
“My poem seeks to convey the hidden inner turmoil the subject is experiencing by exposing its deep rooted passion in an elusive manner, thus avoiding direct rejection and creating convergence through camouflage.” — Janet
This entry was in answer to our Poetry Expo’s muse of “Convergence.” We enjoyed the psychological high concept Janet offered . . . “Convergence through camouflage” is indeed tasty food for thought.
By Mark Flint
Mark Flint is a poet now living in Ohio and says, “Hi” . . .
By Megan Tucker
I love him
The way the sun
Loves the moon
In a perfect
That knows no time
In a constant
I love him
The way the sun
Loves the moon
From a distance
And drawn together
By a force much stronger
Than them both
Megan Tucker is at two-time invitee of the Oregon Writing Festival and has written for various journalistic publications in the past. Most recently, her short story Memoirs Hereafter was published by Lit Llama. She lives and writes in Portland, Oregon, and is working on her debut young adult novel.
By Katherine Norland
Where does it begin
And where does it end?
Is an extension
Where you don’t know
Where you end
And the other begins
Where there is
No them and no me
No them over there
And me over here
There is no difference
Between them and me
We are all connected
All part of one
And the same
When true love is present
It collapses the space between us
Consumes and connects
A natural extension
Of who you are
So much so
That you no longer see
So that when you look at another
You are looking at a mirror image
Reflection of yourself
Katherine Norland was born in Minnesota. She Is a poet and actress now living in Los Angeles with her husband and special needs son.
Old Frost Loiters
By P.L. Summers
One of the most beautiful things
I have ever seen
is a cardinal
taking its last breath;
Its color leaking into the snow
Nothing lasts forever.
But I remember your name
from time to time.
There was a letter
in your handwriting
lying in pieces in the yard.
I tried to gather fragments
but I could make no sense of it.
from you; from me,
next to the fireplace and on the back steps.
I think I get it now. I think I know
P.L. Summers holds a BA in English, Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas. His work has previously been published in The Axe Factory Press.
“Old Frost Loiters” (like much of the work on our pages) was originally written using another artwork for its muse along with the word “convergence.” P.L. remarked that the poem was written to harmonize with the sharp, parallel lines in the art by John Vega and show the convergence that takes place after two people have been separated long enough to understand each other. We at ZO have been really thrilled with the depth of thoughts and transference of imagery as we add other art to these very strong “stand alone” ideas.
By Dawn Lisa Cuccinello
What ambition my good little boy!
To soar in the sky as only birds can do
Is surely a dream to come true.
If humans have supermarkets
Then birds must too.
It’s so logical
At age a few years past two.
Your imagination my little child
For if you were a bird you could fly.
And how, my dear, will you reach the sky?
“Mama,” you said to me in your sweet soft voice.
“I have to buy wings
“AT THE BIRD SUPERMARKET.”
Dawn Lisa Cuccinello now lives in Hawaii. She wrote this poem while living in China and her three year old son, at the time, wanted to buy wings for himself at the bird supermarket, because he wanted his own wings so that he could fly.
By Stephanie Gartner
I am a woman scorned,
exasperated by dolor.
No longer will I allocate
my energy to undeserving
space or beings.
I dare any man to attempt
taming my tongue.
I walk with purpose,
I speak with conviction,
and I love with fire.
To be seen as anyone
or anything less than Hera herself,
would be wholly unwise.
Flectere si nequeo superos,
Stephanie Gartner was born and raised in North Dakota. She graduated with my B.A. in English with a double minor in German and Women and Gender Studies from the University of North Dakota in May of 2015. “I’ve been writing and figuring out where my strong holds lie though I will always love writing poetry.” — Stephanie
xtal — Selected Ambient Works ’85-’92
– for Vid Warren
By Oliver Newman
what track. is that?. I would. know that. hi-hat:.
open,. ero.ded, gran.ular. and vast;.
a cryst.alline. ticking. keeping. time flat –.
a des.ert sift.ed through. the sea’s. high past.
…..filter. . . . future.-length and. now, a.nywhere.
wait, oh. wait – glitch.es: pot.holes for. the brain,.
sometimes. fill for. grooves; var.ia.tion – air.
raising. it back. on track. to new. terrain.
remind. me where. we are. again. – what world.
is this. that writes. or waives. time’s sig.nature.
with our. hands? – on.ly to. unfix. the pat.
tern we. had known:. self – sync.opa.ted more.
like a. kick drum;. a root.ed pulse. too late.
lichen. on a. stone in. focus. . . . revealed
Oliver Newman is a poet from Bristol, UK and an alumnus of Oxford University’s Creative Writing MSt.
All of us at ZO are always fantasizing about how we could do things (if we had more resources, etc.) and we thought this poem would be wonderful “performed with a DJ” . . . since the meter, etc. somewhat mimics a record player, the way it might skip, tick, or have a grainy sound to it.
Spare Equinoctial Nights
By Will Schmitz
Art by Aof Smith
It’s not the associative scurvy that you want.
Oh, no! It’s the high road to Pizarro’s thighs.
The rest of the teleological mass
Has its toucans and Pro Nobises
Placed in contraposition.
The subject is always something or someone
Not at home
In a skin of clay or glass. Out of the mist
Where the people at their posts
Are all dead and firing their cannon
Down Chinese African throats.
“Holy, wholly, holey. We have Locke
And the grinning Leviathan
Has a new harpoon!”
Oh radiant axis
Of the trysting atom
On the inverted horizon
Located on the plain
And on with the Sheik!
I ate some of this new science you wrote me about
And my breath was very shallow and dry afterwards.
Theories started to lodge themselves on my tongue
And wouldn’t get off. What rolled out of my ears
Began to make fun of me. How disgusting it is
To have to keep on guessing whether you love me.
Anyway, I am in a more profitable position nowadays
And feel a better situation can be arranged.
The stands by the shore sold
Pails and cotton candy and steamed clams
(As the tide ripped off the land
It stranded six sharks and five
Fire-orange colored starfish
Whose purple-suckered avenues
Met at domed, voracious beaks)
But it was sneaking under
The dressing rooms,
You must admit,
And peeping up at the ladies’ crotches
That most whet our appetite
For the grotesque.
Rip open a man’s guts
Like he was an envelope
And inside you read
of twistings and turnings
As crazy as the sygyzy of the moon
Or as nuts as your eyes being able to see
“Because nothing is normal &
Everything is insane.”
Rip a dog apart
And inside you get
Plato or Aristotle
Or a wonderful Spartanness
In a completely mathematical design.
Rip it all open
And watch the maker’s brain
(A little smash as they plop
Into the cistern
Or sloppy dissolution if they hit the floor)
And be mad as hell
That there could be anything
Drink. The sights and smells
Of a world that manufactures misgivings,
Summer camps, cock rings, debates
About interest and starvation,
Cranes and poisonous snakes.
Ghosts run the show
And the present human hands
Are props for Popes,
Marvels, and masticating missals.
Dear Cherry and Harry:
Cassiterite, skutterudite, and fibrous millerite,
Goddamn it. Not jet rhodonite diopside.
The workers are beginning to give me trouble.
Osiris was here last week asking for a loan.
I told him to go back to the plantation and sell the cobras.
He’s been without his head for too long. A three-piece suit
And six dress shirts were missing after he left.
Look at the streetglass
And the reflections in the windows
And tell me if you’re not confused
By the way things go
In front of you
Back of you
All at once
Will Schmitz is a graduate of The University of Hawaii . . . and, obviously, a very deep thinker 🙂 — we’ve all read this poem several dozen times — I think one has to . . .
By Gabriel Maybank
I feel like they rocked my bed
whilst I was roaming far away places:
conjuring up creations from stones
along an ever-flowing river,
mixing exquisite concoctions
erupting like lava from the depths,
spewing violently onto forbidden trees
lined with timeless onyx,
meditating on the convergence of light
capable of turning humble tongues
into unburied treasures.
Gabriel Maybank is a Jamaican and African-American author, poet, multimedia guru, and the father of four of the most wonderful children heaven had to offer. He was born in Alexandria, VA and now resides in Atlanta, GA.
Curled under the lemon trees, hands
linen napkins on my knees, I watch
butterflies the colour of milk dip
tongues in the mouths of
Not quite concealed by
white rhododendrons: a
congealment of poppies; eyeful of
transfusions, spilling, contaminating
They are too harsh, too
alive to be here. I need
I lunge to tear the trespassers, roots and
veins from soil, dash them
………………..Left them lying,
a tangled wreck.
Vince Ruston (21) is a poet and editor based in Melbourne, Austrailia. “They only wear black, and once tried to like black coffee, but discovered they didn’t hate life that much. They edit for Voiceworks magazine, intern at The Lifted Brow. They Tweet @VinceRuston.” — Vince
By Ariana Harley
A felt tipped marker
bleeds through the front page
my fathers inscription
that would later shape my life.
A sign painters penmanship
refined the structure of letters
the shape of words leaned into one another
“To Jacquline with love, Jere 1975”
The month my sister was born.
The month my grandfather was born
due on the fourteenth.
He would have been named Valentine,
born a day to soon
they called him Jack.
Perhaps the hardest month…so much winter.
So many dark days
stacked back to back.
Bleeding the reserves of hope.
My mom started sweet peas
from seed, the anticipation of spring.
The tender fragrance
that would fill the air,
of new beginnings.
My dad built a fire in the wood stove.
Burning wood found
from trees cut and stacked by the side of the road.
There is nothing but this moment.
Convergence. The reason of my becoming.
My mother’s sigh
forgiving the winter
cradled in my fathers arms.
We are the storytellers.
We are the hope bringers.
A prayer or a lullaby,
made itself known
and she drifted into sleep.
Dreaming of the sweet peas
in the moist soil,
dark, musty, deep
in their way
towards the light.
The bees would come home soon.
Ariana Harley, was born and bred in a rich landscape of art, music, and storytelling. Birthed by parents who lived and created amongst a community of visual artists, writers, and musicians, creativity was not only encouraged but a way of life.
Poems were written in her DNA by her to her grandfather, an Okie from Scottish roots, who read Poe to her mother on their porch stoop in the early 50’s. With a love of the word, she lived inside a tent lit by flashlight late into the night, reading books. Her formal education consists of a BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art, but has had many teachers including; enlightened masters, hobos, gutter punks, housewives, and truck drivers. Her poems have been crafted on freight trains, told to her by Douglas Firs, and written with a Sharpie on her thigh. Ariana views the world as a book full of blank pages hungry to be filled. She lives in Portland Or, with her eleven year old daughter, and three tabby cats.
by Tarak Mahadi
Heart bits in dark & light
Yours, ours & mine
It is life; the divine;
Tactile & intangible
To bind with our time,
With the finite & infinite
It is you & I.
Some bits in between sound & silence
With the infinite to the finite
The message; the mystic
There they are, the light but repressed
By the evil of greed & ignorance
They brought the story of time;
Past present & future
Yours, ours & mine.
Now no bits in between or in sound & silence
Now it is the true singularity
No tactile nor any bonding of life
No war or any deception
Now it is I; the intangibility,
No! I have nothing to prove you
Death has nothing to prove you!
It is the life; has to be divine!
It is the soul; to perceive the great intangibility!
It is us with the great power & responsibility!
Tarak Mahadi was born in Bangladesh. He studied at Mymensingh Zainul Abedin Art School and graduated from the University of Dhaka, Faculty of Fine Arts. He has participated in group exhibitions, art camps, workshops at home and abroad with Britto Art Trust, Art Club Bangladesh, World Art Foundation, US Embassy (Dhaka) and jolrong org. He has a number of art awards and over the years has achieved expertise in many areas of art media.
His first solo exhibition launched at the Alliance Franciase de Dhaka — entitled “Essence of Mystery” 2011, July 15-18.
He also has work in Author Viet Tran’s book “Shining Above The Rainbow” published in the USA (2012 November) highlighting the work of eleven artists around the world.
“As an artist & human being I am trying to work for peace, wisdom & for the spiritual body to seek inner strength, in other words- creation of art is my prayer and … art has become my prime language to communicate with all to transcend future.” — Tarak
By Tonya Ingram
sometimes self-care is binge watching ‘how to get away with murder’ while planning your future wedding while eating all of the chocolate because you’ve gotta take care of yourself, kid. even when the self-doubt keeps you in bed. even when guilt gives you a name you have already given yourself. so go ahead, devour your favorite snack. rewatch your favorite show on netflix. weep into the phone as you tell a friend how the days are heavy. rid your clothes and dance like everything about you is a marvel. say forgiveness. delete the number of the one who does not deserve you. sing your name like it is wind. i promise, my friend, there is enough room for you.
Coming soon — Tonya Ingram — #mostsacreddrowning
Art by: Jólan van der Wiel
By: Johnny Cambridge
The outline of her fishnet stockings
rose like braille through her cotton mini-skirt
Oh, if only I were blind
that I could read those secrets
held so tightly between the stockings
and the skirt.
Magnetic Plastic And Pantyhose