Current Issue Details

Buy Current Issue

Columns > John Zinkand - Improvise

Published: 2003/10/29
by John Zinkand

Poetry Zone

Empty Cup

Empty river,
Doesn’t flow…
Empty sky,
Not a star or a cloud…
Empty field,
Voided plane of nothing…
Empty tree,
No branches or leaves…
Empty cave,
No animals dwell here…
Empty trail,
No tracks for years now…
Empty mind,
Gray matter fading to black…
Empty body,
Blood dried up and flaking…
Empty heart,
Nothing to care about…
Empty soul,
Life’s radio smashed on the ground…
Fill your earthenware cup
With the river
Until it overflows.
Before the vessel itself
Is dashed to pieces
On the sidewalk made of concrete ….


A snapshot image inside a picture
Photograph of something new.
Pithy fruits bursting with color-
A rich, robust, and hearty stew.

See-sawing its way down to the floor,
This infinitely deep inconsequential scrap of paper
Holds more than most minds,
Intrigues them more than a mighty skyscraper.

Is it misplaced fate or destiny’s whim?
The breath of Godhead or just the wind?
Somersault assaults of light and color,
While heaps of trash are tossed in the bin.

It holds more or less for you or me,
And the darkened mine sparkles with jewels.
Experienced miner knows where to look,
Knows where to pick, when to use his tools.

Plucking value from a sea of blackness,
Finding meaning in black and white dots.
Risking all of that delicious peace of mind
By explaining what’s seen in some snapshots.


The inevitability of death surfs a wave of fear home to the shore.
Hanging ten or just hanging.
Banging gongs or just empty banging.

Cool wind, clouds, and rain moving in too soon for the time of year.
Blowing in with it fear and desperation and anguish,
From knowing nothing but the inevitable.

The last flower wilts and dies as the cold crushes its life force.
High on the meadow it sits and begins to decay by itself.
The last of a once mighty tribe now gone forever.

Soaking the bone, chilling marrow into an icy clump of immobility.
Warming movement has been given a death sentence.
Stand and shiver while the memory of heat dissipates.

Igloos filled with soulless butchered meat and cans of darkness,
A naked child cries and stumbles,
She knows her legs will not carry her to hope today.

Everyone sighs.

Everything dies.

As the seasons repeat themselves new waves break on a freshly warmed shore,
Washed clean of a past life’s memories.
Assuming a newness that is actually bearded and haggard.

A warm breeze blows up from the south and brings birds and insects along
To ride the brief roller coaster ride of happiness,
Before the train of cars arrives back to the gate to the waiting throngs.

A sapling pushes itself free of the earth, coaxed by the bright and dying sun.
Potential and hope and desire swell in its piney branches.
Just a young pup without any education concerning what life really means.

Thawing out of muscles and the tanning of warm skin on a sandy beach
While the birds scream and cry as they scour the beach,
Finding carrion to fill their bellies until they become the same.

A cabin in the summery woods is full of song and love and food and joy,
Staving off boredom and hate and hunger and sadness.
If only for a moment.


Sex burning in my loins.
Loins burning on the grill.
Grill burning a piece of coal.
Coal burning long dead flesh.
Flesh burning on a cross.
Cross burning in rural Alabama.
Alabama burning during the Civil War.
Civil War burning a hole in the nation.
The nation burning with controversies.
Controversies burning with details.
Details burning with color and feeling.
Color and feeling burning with Fall.
Fall burning for Winter.
Winter burning for Spring.
Spring burning for Summer.
Summer burning down trees.
Trees burning until death.
Death burning for life.
Life burning for couples.
Couples burning for sex.
Sex burning in my loins.

Masked Asker

There’s a chill in the air
And pumpkins lay in the field.
The children’s teeth tingle
In anticipation of a sugar orgy.
It’s tit for tat,
A good costume earns a kit-kat.
The lesson is learned as the confection
Is wormed away for later use.
Canvassing cuteness for candy,
A youngster’s sales call,
Learning to hide behind a mask,
While asking for some treats.
It’s tit for tat,
A good costume earns a kit-kat.
Something more spooky and sinister
Than ghosts, ghouls, and witches-
The knowledge lying hidden and waiting
Around a corner of the future.
Adults wear masks to get what they want,
Every single day of their lives.

River Dream

Sleeping in my coffee,
Floating on a stream,
Dreaming of me sleeping,
And snoozing in my dream.

Show 0 Comments