Poetry: Selections from Philip Venzke

The Little Zero Becomes A Bridesmaid
Not even at the dance
should you get near
the little zero.
If you look into her eyes
and saw the lost galaxies inside
you would wake up
with a star blossoming on your forehead.
If you pass by her endless circumference
you would wake up
in the grass covered with frost.
If you waltz with her eternity
you would wake up
in a balloon of skin,
your bones orbiting like moons.
At the dance,
if you came near
the orbit of the little zero,
you would never dance again.

The Little Zero Loves Marriage
The little zero met the one
and she liked how they looked together
as did many others
who agreed it was the perfect
union of opposites.
Fingers and toes rejoiced.
Those who could count cried.
It was the first double digit union.
Not much later little zero met two.
This was the perfect union she thought.
Together they could create time.
She imagined noon and midnight
waving fronds over their heads.
Imagined every month of the year
kneeling and bowing before them.
Even eternity was kissing their feet.
When she caught her one
ogling another universe,
eternal deaths were bestowed on one.
They divorced. She married two.
They divorced.  She dated three.
And so on.

The Little Zero Starts A Family
The little zero
(which encompasses the universe)
fell in love with herself
and conceived
another little zero.
That little zero
also fell in love with itself
and conceived
yet another little zero.
This conception
went on for an eternity.
When you open the first little zero
you will find another inside
and inside that
and another.
Where has the universe gone?

The Investors Of The Little Zero
Skip into the little zero
a shiny coin.
You will take out a rusty nail.
Toss in your bloated wallet.
You will take out a mangled anvil.
Gently present your father’s flag.
You will take out a piece of eternity.
This is how the little zero works.
Softly whisper to the little zero
the names of those you have lost.
You will take out a spinning galaxy.
Hand over your heart.
You will take out two.
So what will you invest with the little zero?

The Sun Rises On The Little Zero
Nada y pues
nada y nada
y pues nada
sings the little zero.
This was after
a sleep of great unrest.
Broken sleep dreams.
Figure dreams
where it saw its circle
It became a straight line.
It became other shapes.
And being each shape,
filled the little zero with ache.
It could not be just one thing.
When the little zero awoke
it was a circle again.
It knew it was nothing.
Would always be nothing.
An infinity of nada.
And it was eternally happy.

Philip Venzke grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin.  His poetry is widely published in magazines throughout the U.S. and Europe.  His chapbook “Chant to Save the World” was a winner of The James Tate International 2021 Poetry Prize (published July 2022 by SurVision Books, Ireland).  His second chapbook “Rules to Change the World” was published by Finishing Line Press in November 2023.  His poems also appear in “Contemporary Surrealist and Magical Realist Poetry (an International Anthology)” edited by Jonas Zdanys, Lamar University Press, 2022.