The Blue Angels / The Spirituals App

by David Roderick

The Blue Angels Have you heard the sound of them during Fleet Week the threat of our brute aerial power flaying whole afternoons in formation and turgid fumes over the Bay my friend at the Chron says they fly 700 mph and 18 inches apart skimming the filigree of a sound barrier until they bang

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The Voices of the Whales

by Isabel Zapata

Translated from the Spanish by Robin Myers 1. I’m interested in the language of animals. 2. Whales, especially the humpback whale and the various subspecies of blue whale, are known to make repetitive sounds with different frequencies we consider to be songs. 3. When we look at animals, we hope to find virtues we lack. 4. Although sexual selection is thought to be their primary purpose, whale songs remain a mystery to scientists. 5. The human body is a symphony. (Charles Ives) 6. The universe is a symphony. (John Cage) 7. Nothing suggests that whales are trying to communicate with […]

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Coup de Vieux

by David L. Ulin

For Tom Magee thrice in three nightsthe dead have come my waytwice it is youtwin cities accentrough and lowlike a globusin your throatI can hear the timbreyet I cannot carryback a word you say then last night my grandfatheran ancient apparitionif younger than hewould be aliveeighth of a millenniumsince his shtetl birth and allthat’s left

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‘Gardeners’ World,’ or What I Did During the Plague

by Cynthia White

“Gardeners’ World, or What I Did During the Plague” For that hour, only the earth of his garden. Dark and friable as chocolate cake, thronging with nematodes and fungi, more microbes in a spoon than humans on the planet. A fear-free hour. An hour without my trip-wired heart. Were you aware the peony, like the

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My California

by Lee Herrick

Here, an olive votive keeps the sunset lit, the Korean twenty-somethings talk about hyphens, graduate school, and good pot. A group of four at a window table in Carpinteria discuss the quality of wines in Napa Valley versus Lodi. Here, in my California, the streets remember the Chicano poet whose songs still bank off Fresno’s beer-soaked gutters and almond trees in partial blossom. Here, in my California, we fish out long noodles from the pho with such accuracy you’d think we’d done this before. In Fresno, the bullets tire of themselves and begin to pray five times a day. In […]

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My Unsent Letter to You

by W. S. Di Piero

I’m writing in December. The almanacs call this a cold full moon. I watch it shadow through its veils. My book says of amor fati: want nothing more than what comes at you; love necessity; relive life’s phases in round time, evermore. Pain, unpain, joy, pain, groceries, car woes, plague. Our master plan of repetitions that can’t be planned for. We’ll never want things back. We’ll rush every instant as the last. I say love. I repeat it. I want to drink the lived, absent episodes of any hour, as we drink each other’s words, on the porch, under trees, […]

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My Ancestors Send Me Screenshots

by Tayi Tibble

My ancestors send me screenshots of your group chats dissecting me with all the science of your founding fathers and the sympathy of your murdering mothers wanting to know who I am where I’ve been and who I’ve been with. What the fuck is a whakapapa? Do I carry it in my pussy? In a tiny baggy? Like a real 1? Like a down-ass bitch? Do I have a heart? And does it bleed? Like a steak? If it’s brutalised enough? If it’s served? On a plate? With proper silverware? And presented to your queen still beating would she care? […]

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Boxing

by John Freeman

In the waning days of those years in London I took up boxing. I didn’t want to unload on some unsuspecting soul so I found a sparring partner. She turned up, neck tatted, face pierced, dred- locked and strong as hell. A Turkish woman with East London stenciled on her left forearm. Before boxing she

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Worries

by Edward Derby

Hungers, germs, personal email gone to SPAM, lost postcards that explained everything, what to do about the weeds in the gravel, catalytic converter theft, a blood stain in a library book (page 17), sock holes, black holes, global warming, automatic subscription renewals, bankruptcy, asteroids, air quality, a helicopter circling the neighborhood, eviction, sagging underwear elastic,

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Friend

by Dominica Phetteplace

She says Namaste even when not in yoga class, whereas I will not say om under any circumstances. She says she doesn’t resent the younger generation, that they are completely of a world that we made, that to hate the young is to hate ourselves. She says that guys on dating apps indicate their marriage suitability by listing their hobbies as ‘hiking’ and ‘rock climbing.’ Her hobbies include cocaine and gambling, but she leaves those off her profile. Somedays she doesn’t feel like getting out of bed, but if I say I want to get coffee she will walk with […]

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National Poetry Month: Opening the Mail

by W. S. Di Piero

ZYZZYVA Volume 35, #3, Winter 2019

The notices hit my inbox once a week, it seems,dusty phantasmal names sickly and unwanted.I don’t remember them, the boys from my high school,their Irish, Slavic, Italian names in the “subject” line,put there by Principle Father Rich, once one of us,we tough tender souls weathering snotty skies.The announcements come like rude enchantments, a sullen choirbeseeching with their newly minted news. They were there,as I was, but the names are husks, blowing through time,boys I never knew: Charlie McNally, Cosimo Picucci,Stosh Grzywinski, the Two-Streeters and corner boys,vets, mummers, contractors, bankers, teachers, priests,returning to their place among the infiniteunheard-from dead. The e-mails […]

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National Poetry Month: Invitation

by Al Young

In memory of Papa Jo Jones & Philly Joe Jones There’ll be all the requisites & O how exquisite the presence of night blooming jazzmen & women, flowering in aurora borealis like all the rounded midnights & Moscow nights and New Delhi dawns you ever wanted to drop in on or sit in with or pencil into your calendar of unscheduled delights. There’ll be love in all its liquid power, rhythmic & brassy; mellifluous forms, flashing flesh & the slippery glittering skin of your teeth; enchantment, male & female; the orchid chords of hothouse scat as pop song, as darkness […]

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