National Poetry Month: Twenty-Seven Objects of Explicit Wonder

by L.A. Johnson

1. house with lawn gone yellow 2. no matter which direction, the wind 3. swimming pools and dreams of pools 4. coyotes that shriek like children 5. naked intruders 6. scent of honeysuckle through a sunroof 7. dish, broken, never thrown away 8. half-lidded sentences that ramble on 9. swimsuits drying on balconies 10. water even a seahorse would swim in 11. the clear circles a hawk makes in the air 12. reservoir, with a lover’s name 13. confessions heard over the ocean’s waves 14. two eggs cracked, each with two yokes 15. fingerprints on mirrors 16. fire danger warning: […]

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National Poetry Month: In Love With a Woman

by Lady Nestor Gomez

I should die in miscommunication breed fantasies unregulated, losses innumerable Mejor hablar español o componerme en nahuat I could speak and not offend I would stop a symphony and find closure erase bus stops and listen to my sister, the violent rain waiting for your seven days This isn’t a poem of love or hate but our days traveling in gray sand black night beaches and post-birthdays to speak to you I could hide and not love die in anonymity vanish in the ’80s with the rest of my ghosts but I can’t stop searching engines for your name our […]

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National Poetry Month: ‘Peaceful Waters’

by Paul Wilner

Run deep. The people we know, or think we know, or wish we were, if only we could find a way outside the prison of selfishness. Unlikely. One hundred years—or more— of solitude can’t break these walls. But, you know, there we have it. Other people. Maybe they can save us, maybe they can ruin us, maybe we can find a way into a twangy heaven, where people weep, and weep, and say how much they love us. What is love? Who is he, and what is he to you? Black, brown, beige and battered, like an old suitcase draped […]

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National Poetry Month: ‘Northern California’

by Rage Hezekiah

To celebrate National Poetry Month, we’ll be sharing a poem a week from our archives. The following poem, “Northern California” by Rage Hezekiah, is from Issue 116. You can read more poetry by Rage Hezekiah in the issue itself, which is currently available from our Store. You stood at the edge of the stone fruit orchard while I scaled the ladder, a picking basket against my belly, brimming with shiny-ripe plums. Father, you came to California willing to farm at my side, practiced shattered Spanish with the men I’d befriended. When I left after lunch to get high, you never said […]

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National Poetry Month: ‘A Moment in Time’

by John Freeman

The following is an excerpt from John Freeman’s forthcoming book of poetry The Park, out May 2020 from Copper Canyon Press. You can also read more of John Freeman’s poetry in Issue 115. On a windy day I come upon a woman crying to herself on a bench. The park has hidden her in its embrace and I must decide how to be, to stop or keep walking by, to pretend not to see? Or should I flinch at her pain, even as she, so dedicated to caroling her despair, does not. How pain does this, makes us its instruments. […]

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‘Little Key’ by Joshua Rivkin: National Poetry Month

by Zack Ravas

April represents National Poetry Month, intended as a way to spread awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. To celebrate, each week we will be taking a look back at ZYZZYVA’s recent and distant past to share some choice selections. For our final installment, we present “Little Key” by Joshua Rivkin from Issue No. 103: Hopes are shy birds flying at a great distance, seldom reached by the best of guns, Audubon wrote in his journal thinking not of the hawk or the wren but of course the sparrow. An animal throat untwists the shadow of your name. Song replying […]

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‘Lost Boy’ by Matthew Dickman: National Poetry Month

by Matthew Dickman

April represents National Poetry Month, intended as a way to spread awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. To celebrate, each week we will be taking a look back at ZYZZYVA’s recent and distant past to share some choice selections. For our fourth installment, we present “Lost Boy” by Matthew Dickman from Issue No.108:  I’m standing behind the 7-Eleven moving a crushed-up can around with my foot. I’m maybe twelve blocks away from the house I grew up in. I could walk there right now if I wanted. See who’s living there and if the house is the same or not […]

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‘Midnight, Talking about our Exes’ by Ada Limón: National Poetry Month

by Ada Limón

April represents National Poetry Month, intended as a way to spread awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. To celebrate, each week we will be taking a look back at ZYZZYVA’s recent and distant past to share some choice selections. For our third installment, we present “Midnight, Talking about our Exes” by Ada Limón from ZYZZYVA No. 94:  The sun is still down and maybe even downer. Two owls, one white and one large-eared, dive into a nothingness that is a field, night-beast in the swoop-down, (the way we all have to make a living). Let’s be owls tonight, stay […]

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‘My Madness is My Love Toward Mankind’ by Devon Walker-Figueroa: National Poetry Month

by Devon Walker-Figueroa

April represents National Poetry Month, intended as a way to spread awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. To celebrate, each weeek we will be taking a look back at ZYZZYVA’s recent and distant past to share some choice selections. For our second installment, we present “My Madness is My Love Toward Mankind” by Devon Walker-Figueroa from ZYZZYVA No. 112: For Nijinsky People are mistakes and I do not want to commit any. Opinions are in me. God is in me. More than anything, immobility is an invented thing. I have two ends and they are both on fire. Because […]

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‘Astray’ by John Sibley Williams: National Poetry Month

by Zack Ravas

April represents National Poetry Month, intended as a way to spread awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. To celebrate, each week we will be taking a look back at ZYZZYVA’s recent and distant past to share some choice selections. To begin the month, we present John Sibley Williams’ poem “Astray” from ZYZZYVA No. 112:A neighborhood gone missing. Only the torn electrical tape that held it together remains of the cul-de-sac where most of us learned to drive in circles. No bedroom windows left for songbirds to strike each morning or streets made of tin foil or walls of […]

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National Poetry Month: ‘Richer than Anyone in Heaven’ by Jennifer Elise Foerster

by Jennifer Elise Foerster

April represents National Poetry Month, intended as a way to spread awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. To celebrate, each Wednesday we will be taking a deep dive into both ZYZZYVA’s recent and distant past to share some choice selections. For the final week of April, we present Jennifer Elise Foerster’s poem “Richer than Anyone in Heaven” from ZYZZYVA No. 95, Fall 2012:  I abandoned my shoes at the corner of Market & Pine. It was hailing. We were holding tin pots above our heads. Collecting the granulated wind and singing. I don’t care about my shoes, I said. The city […]

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