John Zedolik

Color Strength                                                                   

Left turn now—

What?—that house

Is stuccoed purple

or lilac I guess

(if I knew my colors

better) and those whorls

of it draw little cracked


shadows from the tired

sun withdrawing like most

from their daily occupations

that certainly have not

the oomph of this dwelling

on the corner near the red light/

green light that also cannot


compete with this lavender

icing beneath a modest

satellite dish that must

be drawing in the hue from sky

earlier in the day where violet

blooms, bright, a strong signal,

before the runout of flat five p.m.




Welcome Guest                                                                              

Turkey vulture drops

to the rich road

in quest of quick dinner.


Lick the plate

and do us all a favor,

as we prefer roads


spic and span

for our glossy pass

unmarred by a mammalian


bump and the knowledge

of what our tires

and weight tramples.


So descend, linger,

luxuriate on the leavings,

until nothing is left


what lies now in fur

is just an impediment

to unconcerned travel


beyond the attraction

and fascinated attention

warm locomotion brings.




Times Removed

My good friend cut down a suicide,

hanging inside of a neighbor’s house.

I believe he was available and near

that day, so the perfect choice to witness


the post-end of that soul and body whose

neck must have been ringed red by a rope

or bruised blue by a belt and whose other

attributes I must imagine since I am only


reporting my buddy’s task and effort

so blocked by his body of work, which I

certainly laud, but do not envy even though

his senses must have taken in the original


with its necessary inscription—sight, feel,

and smell. I take only the seconds or even

thirds, for memory further buffers, miles

weaker and safe from the self-closing.






The old mathematician sits alone with his figures,

so intent upon the secrets of the cosmos


contained in his ink inscrutable from this

point of view that is shut out from


his fortress of numbers where only he

may plumb with mind and hand



I saw him once crossing the street while calling

a young woman a bitch for some reason

unknown to me


perhaps she didn’t compute in his algorithm

and thereby fouled his perfect work


soul and flesh are secret beyond the equations yet,

the anomaly—ontological, phenomenal—beyond

solution’s grasp



If he eats, it is numerals, Greek characters and signs,

quantity relating to quantity


it is best he digests these meals as

one, only observed


the distance must comfort as

it divides him


from the respiring jumbles that might jam

his pen and keep him from quadratic bliss


©John Zedolik

For thirteen years John Zedolik taught English and Latin in a private school. Eventually, he wrote a dissertation that focused on the pragmatic comedy of the Canterbury Tales, thereby completing his Ph.D. in English. He has had many jobs in his life including archaeological field assistant, obituary writer, and television-screen-factory worker, which—he hopes—have contributed in positive and intriguing ways to his writing. He has had poems published in such journals as The Alembic, Ascent Aspirations (CAN), The Chaffin Journal, Common Ground Review, The Journal (UK), Pulsar Poetry Webzine (UK), Third Wednesday, Transom, and in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He also has numerous poems forthcoming this year and next in a variety of publications. His iPhone is now his primary poetry notebook, and he hopes his use of technology in regard to this ancient art form continues to be fruitful.

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