Long version: Z.M. Wise is a proud Illinois native from Chicago, poet, essayist, occasional playwright, seldom screenwriter, co-editor and arts activist, writing since his first steps as a child. He was selected to be a performer in the Word Around Town Tour in 2013, a Houston citywide tour. He is co-owner and co-editor of Transcendent Zero Press, an independent publishing house for poetry that produces an international quarterly journal known as Harbinger Asylum. The journal was nominated Best Poetry Journal in 2013 at the National Poetry Awards. He has five books of published poetry, including: Take Me Back, Kingswood Clock! (MavLit Press, 2013), The Wandering Poet (Transcendent Zero Press, 2014), Wolf: An Epic & Other Poems (Weasel Press, 2015), Cuentos de Amor (Red Ferret Press, 2015), and Kosmish and the Horned Ones (Weasel Press, 2018). His debut play, Bottles of Emerald for the Demon Queen (Transcendent Zero Press, 2019), was published in late December of 2019. His sixth book of poetry, Illinois Infinitarium (Cherry House Press, 2020), will be published in the summer months of 2020. Other than these books, his poems, lyrics, essays, and book reviews have been published in various journals, magazines, and anthologies. The motto that keeps him going: POETRY LIVES AND LONG LIVE THE ARTS! Mr. Wise will make sure to spread that message and the love of the arts, making sure it remains vibrant for the rest of his days and beyond. Besides poetry and other forms of writing, his other passions/interests include professional voice acting, singing/lyricism/songwriting, playing a few instruments, fitness, and reading. Besides poetry and other forms of writing, his other passions/interests include professional voice acting, singing/lyricism/songwriting, playing a few instruments, fitness, and reading.
Who are the innocent?
Yes. The unborn are innocent.
And the sexually abused
are also innocent.
Those wrongly stolen from are innocent.
Those who are falsely accused are innocent.
Animals are innocent.
Our environment is innocent.
Those who are sick
and refused care
The frail can be innocent.
The racially targeted are innocent.
Justice for all?
Is there justice for the innocent?
How can one group of innocent
be more important than another
group of innocent?
Those who did not commit a crime
Who is defending the innocent?
Perhaps your party and my party
are defending different kinds of innocence?
I don’t see society defending the innocent
like it once did.
I see people denying the innocence
and refusing to look at it altogether.
Even destroying innocence.
Denying medical assistance to kids.
Photo taken by Angie Mack Reilly at a hate rally in West Allis
We need to get raw and real
and express our emotions.
We need the theater to make us cry
and laugh and love again.
Humanity is threatened and compromised
by artificial intelligence.
We are at a pivot
and must preserve.
Most photos below were taken by Angie Mack Reilly. Otherwise used with permission.
Photo and Poem by Angie Mack Reilly, musician, Grafton, WI 11.29.19
We don’t go deep enough
into the lives of others
because this world is
and being tousled like
a giant and messy ball of yarn.
We are doing too much
in too short of time.
We need to slow down.
And really get to know each other.
What is your deepest desire? What are your quirks? What hurt you in life? What did you want to be when you were young? Where would you like to travel?
We need to sit on our rockers again,
sip our sun tea and talk it up
until the sun goes down.
But, for many of us, we are working
our asses off just to survive
this greedy globe.
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