Regional Co-VP of the West Central Region
Alexander Zitzner is a student in his senior year at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he has served as the Editor-In-Chief of their literary & fine arts journal, NOTA, for the past 2 and a half years. In addition, he is a poetry reader for the Adroit Journal, an intern for the Chippewa Valley based publication Barstow & Grand, and a former assistant arts administrator to the Cirenaica writing residencies for the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild. He enjoys skateboarding, painting, and listening to Lou Reed in his free time.
The Tongue Lacks Tact & Will Too Often Face Trouble
Innocence, somewhere, was weathered between fist-fights, lipsticks, cock
roaches & how they each began to stash bitterness in our cheeks for aging.
A tried swish, rinse with wine these milestones out, smears leaks from sips
& stains your shirt to newer shades of melancholy, those few redder blues.
When I was a boy, to pay for sin, Grandma charged my tongue chili pepper
flakes until I liked burning, & bar soap until my breath hide curses cleanly.
I thought trouble, an internal organ, would pain me even if it was not used.
So I lugged heavy a demeanor creased into my palms, in ways strained like a
slingshot string, southpaw punch, switchblade swedge; oh F*ther, how I’ve
been licked & licked those who never got close to a taste of me. Settling to
just sew lost teeth back through my gums, burn a bridge & make my island.
We can be crossed only so many ways before words forget their own shape
& meaning, ways when your name is nicked when dropped: a sulphuric egg.
Others, like a bust when you’ve jumped, crashed from some beloved pedestal.
Published in Volume 5 of Utah State University's undergraduate journal, Sink Hollow.
A Whistle of Sunlight
In the future we will have better
names for sadness. Our clocks will ring open
the midnight sky not as a pit of darkness
flaked with all the glittery yearnings out of reach
and dying, but more so as a peach still flush
with the Body Electric. We will sink ourselves into its sugars
while fields of flowers thicken, lakes unwrinkle their glints,
air turns our hair to soft & cool shadows of a breeze.
Every yellow petal lost to the weeks of rain will pass
for a moment in a swirl in front of the moon making our sun.
And by the tick of teeth we grit into deepening breaths becoming sound,
our noses will taste time as sweet, as delicate, as a whistle of sunlight.
Selected by Bruce Taylor for print in the "Local Lit" section of Volume One's 360th issue