Jim Zola, Two Poems


It’s a river.
Isn’t that what people say
about denial?

At sixteen I stepped off a boat and into
Tangier, wandering the market
where an old man, whose face made me think of sun-
cured tobacco, followed me for an hour,
bartering hand-woven blankets.
I gave in and bought one
for two dollars American.

Now all these years later,
my dog curls like a question mark
in my purchase

and I no longer travel
too poor
or trapped in my castle
surrounded by a moat
of ordinary things.
I make a lousy king.

Still, sometimes late at night,
when the queen slips into the satin
of pure sleep, I dream
I am floating down
the longest river in the world
in love with disaster.




O Misdirected Taster!
Oft-forgotten organ, tongue
in cheek, tied, twisted, forked,
capable of being both given
and held. There is a reason
for sour, for bitter, for sweet.

Shoes have tongues but cannot kiss.
Narrow spits of land extending
into a pounding sea
cannot speak. I think I’ll lick
your lazy lips.

When we meet face to face,
mine slows to numb—pin
of a broken buckle, pole
of a horseless wagon,
vibrating end of a reed
in a voiceless flute. Let it slip
beneath your absence. Let it
raspberry foolish love. 



Bio: Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for Deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children’s librarian. His poetry and photo art has appeared in many journals through the years. Publications include a chapbook — The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press) — and a full length poetry collection — What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). His newest manuscript is titled Monday After the End of the World.  He currently lives in Greensboro, NC.


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