Full red

Library wine

Tongue coated in vinegar crackle

I decide to dabble into poetry

Just me

and Ahmad Jamal’s jazz piano trio

Playing the keys to my brain

Raindrop, waterfall

Oak barrel notes

Even though

All mine I crumple up and throw away

Chest resounding in vinyl fuzz

My heart brain unlocks

And plastic chair rocking

I douse my pen in cheap red ink

And begin again

Meandering scribbles

Sound sketches

Bass plodding deep and pensive

Dark and deliberate

I commiserate now with Mingus, Miles, Monk

Simone and Trane

Vain nostalgic searches

Cold moonlit silhouette verses

Jazz sounds like poetry

Holy blood, divine liquid lines


Half Full

Pen flowing

Ink glowing

A page appears

I haven’t seen before

Alive, shimmering Lionel vibes

I throw a black and white textbook

At the white and black floor

Flecks of winey residue

Flecks of truth

Get stuck in my teeth

And color my lips blue

And Suddenly

Half Empty

Heart heavy

Bladder filling

Tongue-tied delirious I get


And seeping through this half-drunk numbness

Burgundy sadness

Poetry like jazz sounds

Wine like poetry feels

Congealed two-fifty

Self-fermented pity

Dark and red drowned

Wallowing prosetry

Lose pen and then

I’m alone again




Numb veins




To this sad jazz

Wine brine









by Zach Milkis


Zach Milkis is currently an undergraduate English and Political Science major at Santa Clara University originally from Friday Harbor, Washington. His poems and short stories have won various local prizes including recognition at the San Juan County Fair and publication in At Home Magazine. He served on the editorial board for The Santa Clara Review, and has volunteered teaching creative writing and poetry to students from San Jose, California to Cape Town, South Africa.

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