Saturday, February 21, 2015


snow falling down like rain
scissor-tailed flycatchers
pigeons pterodactyls 
nuzzling in the trees

Friday, February 13, 2015


and he wakes from his morphine mist
looks up to see my sisters
and my mother
and me
all standing around 
in a room suddenly thick with panic

am i dying?

and all eyes turn swiftly to me
of all people like my mother
likes to say

and being what it is
that it is in moments like this
above all others where
the truth is all we really need

yes, you are.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

kid colt episode 1

"Hands up!" my friend Jerald jumped out from behind one of the Avocado trees brandishing a stick like a six-shooter. 

"POW!" he yelled, "You're dead!" 



"I'm not dead. I have my bullet proof Zulu war shield." I said, waving my tennis racket in the air.

"You can't have a bullet proof Zulu war shield, man!" he said, indignant.

"Why not?"

"Because Kid Colt is American. He's a cowboy, hey? He's the fastest gun alive. He can't fight a bloke with a bullet proof Zulu war shield."

"Okay then, let's pretend that we're in Africa. I'm Dingaan and you're Custer."

"Who's Custer?"

I raised my tennis racket and shot him swiftly all full of arrows. 

Then I scalped him.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

until their bellies bulge and shine

So I have just released two books, both of which, encompass all my poetry about living in South Africa.

The first, until their bellies bulge and shine (103 pages), is comprised of poems written while living in Chicago (1988-1993).

The second, i saw a zulu woman once (34 pages), is a book of poems written since I moved away from Chicago. Because these poems are written differently in style, I have produced them as a separate volume.

Both books have free previews available at the link above. Just click on each book title separately, the preview links are immediately below the cover photographs.
Check them out!

Buy them!

Friday, September 12, 2014

foot note

perhaps one/one day you might
recollect your life with a
smile at all you have inspired

Friday, May 23, 2014

junk.tank reading series update

So our junk.tank reading series has been on hiatus for a time, but we are gearing back up now. 

We have performers booked for July 19th (Roseanna Frechette and Marcus Palmer), and possibly June as well. The series will continue on the same schedule, the third Saturday of the month, 4PM until 7PM, along with features and an open mic. 

We are, however, moving the series to Innisfree Poetry Bookstore, 1203 13th Street, Boulder. 

Look for updates soon, and join us at our new venue.

I will also be hosting this years annual 1000 Poets for Change Reading at Innisfree Poetry Bookstore in September. Stay tuned.


Saturday, April 26, 2014


did you hear what i played for you?
she asked excitedly
as i emerged from my room groggy
i wasnt sure what time you were getting up
and it was getting late
so i played magical mystery tour
hoping it would wake you up
did you hear it?


Here is the link to my 10th book, just released ... History, Poems Written in Chicago 1988-1993..


So our fluffy calico, Garbage, waits for me outside the front door. I am throwing my big voice in vain from the back yard, up and over the house, to the wind, telling her to come around.

I wait awhile and yell again.

Eventually I go back into the house, open the front door, and there she is waiting. This time she follows me inside. I walk through the house with her trailing behind me. I exit out the back door again. She stops just short of the doorway, refusing to come outside.

She is a stubborn one this one.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


So there are good days, and there are bad days, and there are days that are just okay. Today qualifies as a great fucking day, which I trust is significantly better than a regularly scheduled great day, or any old good day. And having said all that, let me assure you that nothing, that's right, nothing can spoil my great day today. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014


So I'm stuck on sidewalks. Thinking about them, I mean. I find it interesting how they crack over time, developing character all their own. Think of a human hand, how the skin creases, lifelines, stories. I think it is the same with sidewalks.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014


for the same reasons
for distraction 
for relief
let it go in a crowd i
always say i
release it gently
amongst the din/ din
forget with gusto
bury it quietly in darkness
when no one is looking

Sunday, March 23, 2014


so i covet this stigma of illness
holding it ever closer to my soul
languid and blue and anxious
believing and imagining just
for this fleeting moment/ you

Friday, March 21, 2014


your life is like a sweater...
she wheezed weakly between 
stolen gasps of oxygen from
those god-damned plastic tubes
pull a string and you never
know what will unravel and
then i found myself laughing
there was never a time
when i didnt love you she
said as if i didnt already know

Thursday, March 20, 2014


dont know what to do
dont know what to think 
dont know what is right
dont know what is wrong
all i know is what i feel
and today i feel fine
i feel hopeful and happy
i feel love and i like it
i need more days like today

19/ dismantling the wall

we struck between us
brick by brick for it
must be done just so
/carefully and slow/
each brick a moment
frozen in time
each brick a memory
pain fully re-lived
called to mind
mis placed magic
mis understandings
and differences
conjured up secrets
cemented in place
once upon a time

Saturday, March 15, 2014

18/ stolen moments

though i am weary/ and
i AM weary/ today
i am here
i am here
hard pressed/ and
hard worked/
i am here
every day
and the next day
i am here
and the day after that too

Friday, March 07, 2014

17/ strictly speaking a man is a fool

when left to his own devices and 
watch him step eagerly into the fire
or leap from a cliff altogether too easy
without the company of those he loves

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


gratitude is fish in the pond
and ducks in the creek and
visions of hope in between

Friday, January 31, 2014


truth and
shadow and
sunshine i
hug the groovy 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

15/ since the flood

the creek has become a wastelan
d of sand and disruption and rock
strewn along the banks like moss
mocking our self-righteous sense
of order these rocks on the move
one never anticipates such things
like fessing up to a lack of control
our true nature unbridled/ really/ i
think that is what scares us most

Sunday, January 19, 2014


i worry about being taken for granted in an unappreciative kind
of way i think this says many things about me and i gather i am
unapproachable judging by the reactions of others/ sometimes/
i feel invisible people looking right through me into nothingness

Friday, January 17, 2014


So it's true I meant what I said the other day, I'm not going anywhere. Colorado is my home. These are my mountains. All my life I missed Colorado whenever I was away on our travels, and I always longed to come back. Well, I am here now. Why leave again?

I will continue always to write about what I write about, but it is here that I will stay.

For the last 6 years (yes, it's actually been 6 years since I came out of hiding in Longmont), my desire has been to publish all of the incredibly talented poets I know in Colorado, particularly Denver, and Boulder. 

I intend to do exactly that!

Currently I have 3 out of 4 publishing projects at a total stand still, due mainly to technological and financial setbacks. I wont be around much online for awhile as I revamp this teetering little empire, and decide upon our new battle plan.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

after a restful sleep

i walk outside
torn between porch light
and the dark seduction beyond
smoking a cigarette in its entirety
i watch the frosty eyed moon and orion
when a van roars to life
in the darkness
in front of the house
and squeals down the street

the wind suddenly ferocious and threatening
swoops in hysterically thrashing my hair
until it stings my face and my heart races

it is difficult to pinpoint exactly
when paranoia became my friend
how exactly i encouraged it
to move in gradually on a premise
to stay and mooch indefinitely

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


i thought
it would be easy
a cinch to get here
to arrive finally
in spite of myself
and everyone else
and it makes sense
the invisible order
of things i
ready to surrender
within reach of

Saturday, October 19, 2013


i always thought it would
get easier as i got older
life and love and pursuit
of happiness and dreams
those complicated things
that speak for themselves

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

the last cigarette

maybe seven minutes of glory
if i really stretch it out
it suddenly occurs to me now 
after forty six years of white smoke
trailing up through my fingers
smoking after waking up
smoking after eating 
smoking while drinking alcohol
or steaming black tea
smoking after sex
smoking in bed
smoking in the bathtub
i have been preparing myself
practicing for this moment
savoring this passion
that has driven my life and
brought me here 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

solo junk.tank after dark 1:26am mountain time

So I am writing under the Catalpa Tree by the light of an exhausted Tiki torch. On my writing table under the tree there are 3 empty beer bottles, cigarette butts, cigarette filters, hot tea, and well ... beer. Music careens from the house (which at the moment is funk), the flash and clatter of pool balls, and the rhythmic swell of women and men's voices. Beautiful laughter. This is the party after the poetry event party. Poets, artists, musicians and other folk of similar inclination have gathered here. They aspire to revelry at our house, where I am grateful we have such friendly and patient neighbors. 

2:00AM Mountain Time: Speaking with poet Max, whom I remember from the old Burnt Toast days. "They call me Toast because of it." He tells me. We are exchanging website information. He reads the paper I hand him, "POETRY VICTIMS! FUCK YEAH! I know you!"

2:45AM Mountain Time: Surfer Vinyl Classic.

3:30AM Mountain Time: Everyone is either gone or asleep. People sleeping in the library. People sleeping on the couch. 

4:20AM "Pussies!" He says, feet up, as he strikes his lighter, in the backyard, in the dark, by the light of the moon ... having already cleaned everything up.  

Thursday, September 05, 2013

mothers intuition

over maxwell house coffee
and all the fixings
and toasted cinnamon raisin bread
sagging under heaps of no salt butter
i knew i was dying she said bluntly
as she sawed a piece of toast in half
like a butcher attacking a carcass

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

one day at a time

So I am spending most of my time these days focusing on changes. I mean changes in my life that I feel are necessary for peace of mind and growth. Many of them are little things, every day habituals (if you will), things that are basically inconsequential to my big picture in the end, but time consuming. 

I am sleeping better ... most days. I am dreaming again when I sleep. I am more relaxed, I think largely because I have my space and time and place to reflect. I am painstakingly and ever so patiently repairing my defunct finances. I am making decisions that I believe in, things I have thought long and hard about, things that are important to me. 

I am writing more freely every day. 

I feel good. I am excited about feeling good! 

I am not angry. I am not avoiding anyone. I am just busy fixing holes. One thing at a time. One day at a time. Creative space is important now. And while some decisions are made, others will consequently just have to wait. One day soon, I will even have my camera back and my computer fixed and a reliable phone again. And I will also be taking a little much needed adventure this year. 

I perceive a general misconception that perhaps I have no confidence in myself, but on that count I totally disagree. Take open mics or slams, for instance, I am a huge fan. I love going, but I seldom read or perform anymore ... why? I do not go to these events to hawk my wares, I go to listen to others hawk theirs. I am there to listen, however, I will read if I am particularly moved to do so. I just do not feel the need to perform anymore, it is strange. Of course, I do like intimate readings and always have, ask anybody.

I am acutely aware of my talents and confidence as a writer, publisher, editor, artist, and hotelier. If you ask me, my problem is that I tend to have too much confidence.

I do not lack confidence folks, I am just an introvert, and I have had a lot of confusion in my life lately, and there is a big honking difference.

I love you, 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


so if fascination is terror
and terror is excitement 
and excitement is confusion 
and confusion is distracting
where does that leave hope

Sunday, August 25, 2013

feeding the beast

in the library next to my room
i close my eyes 
choose merely by touch 
too large/not
too small
just a book big enough 
to distract me from all this
thinking too much

morning in the burned 
house by
margaret atwood

Friday, August 23, 2013

the serenity chair

every day i look at it
folded up so cleverly against the wall
the gray metallic sheen
reflecting blue sky and clouds
it says with such brash authority
SERENITY in magic marker
across the bottom of the seat
if this insistent creepy little chair
could really i mean really talk
i for one would listen 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


life is just this
exactly this
in a long series
of waiting
for something/s
always waiting
for something
happily i am
for have i not
been waiting
after all

Saturday, August 17, 2013


wherein we
welcome words arriving we
nurture them and
feed them and
love them we
make them sleep regularly we
let them grow
make them think and
live and
speak as
subtle as

Friday, August 16, 2013

imagine these conversations

So while organizing my books after moving recently, I found myself traipsing down memory lane as I went through my signed books shelf (writers I've met and writers I've known).

Imagine these conversations... 
Engagements and disengagements - Paul Agostino
red book poems - asalott
Reality in Bubblewater - Amanda Celeste Beard 
Shards - Tom Berman
The Possible - Bruce Bond
Broken Circle - Bruce Bond
colors - David Bond
The Near Johannesburg Boy - Gwendolyn Brooks
Gottsschalk and the Grand Tarantelle - Gwendolyn Brooks
Winnie - Gwendolyn Brooks
Blacks - Gwendolyn Brooks
I Love You Is Back - Derrick C. Brown
Stubborn Hope - Dennis Brutus
Somehow these things are all connected - Richard Calisch
I've been away so many lives - Richard Calisch
Untitled and anonymous - Claire Connolly
Heartdance - Nat David
Grass Knuckles - Christian Drake
id rather B (CD) - Amy Everhart 
Gathering The Tribes - Carolyn Forche
The Country Between Us - Carolyn Forche
paper thin - Rob Geisen
beautiful graveyards - Rob Geisen
Every Woman's Blues - Ulrike Gerbig
Love in all the right places - Ulrike Gerbig*
The Looking Glass Poems - Ulrike Gerbig*
A Lover's Eye - Michael Glaser
Cookie Aura - Bert Glick
I Used to Be Me - Bert Glick
Crow Dreaming - Ed Hanson
The Night Parade - Edward Hirsch
Wild Gratitude - Edward Hirsch
Bright Hunger - Mark Irwin
The Man With The White Liver - Angela Jackson
Collecting The Light - Markham Johnson
Serenissima - Erica Jong
Devil at Large - Erica Jong
Fruits & Vegetables - Erica Jong
Delights & Shadows - Ted Kooser
Prairie Fire - Chuck Kramer
Black Apples - Lyn Lifshin
Musings - L. Luis Lopez
This 'n That - Steve Luttrell
Mind Static (Vols, 1 through 3) - Anne McMillen
over the anvil we stretch - Anis Mojgani
Blindsided - Jack Myers
Time Pieces - Gianina Opris
We Only Ever Listened to the Refrigerator Hum - Emily Owens
Jersey Rain - Robert Pinsky
On the 8th Day - Seth
The Graves Grow Bigger Between Generations - Jared Smith
Cat on the coffin - Marc K. Smith
I Am South - Donna Snyder
Turtle Island - Gary Snyder
Live For a Living - Buddy Wakefield
We Are All The Black Boy - Michael Warr

* books dedicated to me.

Friday, August 09, 2013

just do it and the dream will take care of itself

So every day for the past 34 years since I returned from South Africa, I have thought about my great adventure. Reminders in everyday life pop up unexpectedly keeping my memories vivid and alive. I can’t speak for anyone else in my family, but I relive my experiences every day. Africa lives and breathes inside of me like any one of my organs.

Thirteen years after I came back (in the early 1990’s), I was inspired by Gwendolyn Brooks to write about these experiences. Over the next six months hundreds of poems poured out of me. The war against Apartheid was running full bore. The world was finally taking notice in many ways, and joining in the fight. Gwendolyn was writing about near Johannesburg, Soweto, and Winnie and Nelson Mandela. We all met the great South African dissident poet in exile, Dennis Brutus, and were inspired by his story and writing. I was reading everything I could get my hands on pertaining to the politics of Apartheid in Southern Africa, writing my poems, and performing in my white t-shirt (specially designed by a friend), which depicted a black Bart Simpson screaming. “Free South Africa Now”. I was young. It was a time of heady influences. This is where my first wave of South Africa poems came from.

Thirteen years later, because of these very same poems, I met South African writer Candy Tothill. Here was another person who lived, breathed and understood my fascination and love for the things I wrote about. We became friends. It was Candy who inspired me to write more poems, as well as, the memoir/stories that were published sequentially throughout 2007 and 2008 in the online magazine ‘Sketchbook’. It was then that the idea on how to go back to South Africa began brewing in my mind.

The complications in my life are incredibly complicated.

Without going into any horrid details, the United States Government won’t issue me a passport until I pay a certain debt (that I have been chipping away at for years) in full. It is a dilemma. It occurred to me that I could re-write these memoirs/stories into book form in the hopes of raising the money to pay this debt. That was the plan. Somewhere between here and there, and four years later the plan and everything else in my life has spiraled out of control. Every time I mention writing the book about South Africa, somebody has a fucking cow.

It is important to understand why I am writing this book.

I have actively been writing in circles for the last two to four years. I have fretted over formatting, the question of poetry, mixing genres, fiction vs non-fiction, re-writing chapters and liking them less than the original published stories. I have thought of a million things I never mentioned in the stories. But mostly, I have come to realize that the book is as much about my mother and father and to a certain extent my sisters, as myself. I need hardly point out that the fact that my parents are now both deceased puts a whole different perspective on everything. It is their story. It is our story. It is my story. It is a story about living under the influence of the darker side of human nature, about human dignity, about beauty and hope and despair. It is a story about Africa and snakes and tennis rackets. It is a subtle story about why Apartheid ultimately failed. It is a story about laughter and love and terror. It is a grand adventure. And it is up to me to write it before I too am gone.

No matter what else happens in my life, no matter where I go or don’t go as fate will have it, I know that if I do not finish this book, I will regret it for the rest of my life … it is as simple as that.

Saturday, August 03, 2013


So sometimes inspiration begs for a return to old loves in order to thrive anew.

This morning I bought a plum colored Epiphone Special II 6 string electric guitar for $20 at a yard sale next door. To be sure, it has a split neck, but still holds a proper tune.

A subtle reminder, sometimes our flaws make for the the most beautiful music of all. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013


first you find a rowboat
then you enlist the help of an adventurous friend

or two or three
next you find the rowboat owner
then you overpower the rowboat owner (because
you never want to ride your own boat perhaps
you will understand in a minute or two)
then you and your adventurous friend
or two or three (because
you will need that many friends once you sink it)
must snag the boat in question and drag
it out to sea swiftly situating
one adventurous friend on each oar and another
in back for balance and wave recognizance
now row to the spot where the waves are swelling
turn the boat around and face the beach
like a runner on your mark

w.a.i.t f.o.r i.t


Wednesday, July 17, 2013


once youre in
youre in
forever and always
right there
in the thick of it
youre in

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

no regrets

So it is that we shared one of the most precious things I have to offer in life for a time, and it was beautiful, and it was a challenge, and it was difficult, and it was fun, and it was painful, and it was freedom, and it wasn't yours, and it wasn't mine, and it was beautiful just because it was ours.

So we reached beyond ourselves and created many beautiful things together, just for the fun of it, for love, for friendship, because we wanted to share a little of each other.

So we burned our beautiful house to the ground good and right, because after all, we are just such creatures of passion.

How can we possibly regret any of this?

Be proud.

Be proud.

Be proud.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

foolish pride

i want to be able
to say butterfly

for no good reason

or hummingbird

just because

share the moment
before they fly a

Sunday, July 07, 2013


through the gang/sign
etched deep in the glass
of the window in the back
of the fleet footed bus
i watch blue mountains
blue spruce whisked by
green grass and yellow
blue sky white clouds
as far as i can see
it is a mystery to me
how anyone can leave
a beauty such as this
like i have done over
and over again
and again in my life

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

playing life

so i pick ... more answers ... for  
number four please ... said the novice 
with hardly a hint of trepidation


more questions

Thursday, June 13, 2013

life is change

So I am temporarily shutting down Poetry Victims. Without my computer for the moment, it is difficult for me to maintain any online presence at all, never mind  keep up with publishing an online magazine.

I will continue to maintain the PV facebook and twitter accounts always.  

I am taking some time away to focus on cleaning up some finances and personal issues in my life.

Once I re-tool and have my computer back, I will gear up going solo again. 

I have also pulled the plug on my publishing partnership with Nicole E. Turiano, it has been almost a year since we have actually done any work together, and we are seldom in touch if at all anymore, and life happens, and things change, and I am very proud of what we have produced together, and I am grateful, and I wish her well in all her future endeavors.

I will have some other announcements soon, but for now ... one thing at a time!

Be well! 

Luv ya, ZZ

Thursday, May 02, 2013

im happy to see you smiling

So my roommate Melissa and I were talking about Joan Baez last night before I went to work. We are all music lovers in this house. It is because of music (and tea) that Melissa and I became friends in the first place.

Anyway, the conversation brought us to a story I related about one of Joan's visits to the Boulderado. I was taking her (Joan) upstairs in the 1906 Otis elevator and I noticed that she was out of breath (the altitude in Boulder sometimes gets to people who are not used to it). Well, I asked her if she was okay, to which she replied, "Oh, I'm fine, we dance on the bus after every show."

Got to love Joan Baez!

This conversation brought to mind a poem that I forgot I had written, published in Hammers (of Chicago) Issue number 1, 1990. Published by Double Star Press (my old friend Nat David), here it is...

I'm Happy to See You Smiling
for Joan Baez 

As a child
I was indifferent to your fame,
Who can blame me
I was indifferent to life.
The strife simply passed me by
Like a motorist avoiding
The hitch hiker's eye.

But looking back
I can't deny your treasure
Singing loud    ringing proud
I think Dylan would have said that
Had he not been distracted
By your disarming    alarming charm

And looking ahead
With millions waylaid    underpaid
Stricken with AIDS
We are grateful for a smile.