From the archives – The Morning of My Madness Waking by Jim Zola

The Morning of My Madness Waking

What’s left? Maybe some trees
on a hillside, the sudden
tufts of seedy grass.
Broadleaf grin, burred twig
dance, maker of saplings,
what’s left? Some trees, a hillside.
No philosophizing, please.
Vodka is given us to be drunk,
sturgeon to be eaten,
women to be visited.
Snow to be walked upon.

For one evening anyway,
I want to forget you are the ring
in my ear, the morning’s cough,
the dense flour of deepest sleep.
I wake and call for you. You
are the new crease in my right palm,
the itch below my knee, the world
turned inside out, my reckless heart.
I pull on socks, shoes. Beneath
each layer is another.
Madness wears the thinnest veil.
Dying. Singing. Some trees.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, May 22, 2017 — by Jim Zola.

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Pushcart Prize Nominations – 2017

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I am happy to announce the following poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize:

Sonnet to negotiate peace with your dementia by Tracy Lee Karner

The Morning of My Madness Waking by Jim Zola

No I in Team by Ed Shacklee

The First Night by Devon Balwit

Moving Day by Alan Walowitz

After the Ghost Investigation by Christine Potter

Congratulations and good luck!

The Morning of My Madness Waking by Jim Zola

The Morning of My Madness Waking

What’s left? Maybe some trees
on a hillside, the sudden
tufts of seedy grass.
Broadleaf grin, burred twig
dance, maker of saplings,
what’s left? Some trees, a hillside.
No philosophizing, please.
Vodka is given us to be drunk,
sturgeon to be eaten,
women to be visited.
Snow to be walked upon.

For one evening anyway,
I want to forget you are the ring
in my ear, the morning’s cough,
the dense flour of deepest sleep.
I wake and call for you. You
are the new crease in my right palm,
the itch below my knee, the world
turned inside out, my reckless heart.
I pull on socks, shoes. Beneath
each layer is another.
Madness wears the thinnest veil.
Dying. Singing. Some trees.

by Jim Zola

Editor’s Note: The images in this poem are fragmented as though the reader can see directly into the narrator’s thoughts. This technique offers a strong emotional framework for the final line.

Mother Makes Paella by Jim Zola

Mother Makes Paella

Mother makes paella in the morning,
asks me to slice an onion. Outside
a battle waits with soldiers scaled

in armor, sticks sharp enough to poke
out an eye. In her flowered blue apron
and big fuzzy slippers, Mother makes

paella in the morning. Father hides
in the basement fixing things
with rusted tools. The air smells dank.

She asks me to slice with a dull knife. When
father goes on trips, I sneak downstairs
to his red and yellow chest full of magazines.

Mother makes paella in the morning. I slice
and fight back tears. Soldiers never had to
do this I say. She laughs and cuffs my ears.

I hear victory on the hill behind the garden.
Losers have to chew wild rhubarb. Mother makes
paella in the morning. I slice with eyes barely

open. Father stumbles up the basement stairs,
looks at me. He sits to eat. I sit in silence,
listen to them talk, try to break the code,
while picking out all the onions.

by Jim Zola

Editor’s Note: This poem’s refrain is threaded throughout the poem in unexpected places, skillfully highlighting the immature emotional state of the young narrator.