Each book is a different adventure. Here’s what I’ve picked up this time around.

Photo by Chris Blonk on Unsplash

2016 was the year dedicated to querying my first novel, Somehow You’re Sitting Here. As you might imagine for someone sending out their first novel, their baby, the whole experience was kind of traumatic — especially when it ended in failure.

This is the part where I have to caveat it wasn’t an extreme failure. Most people don’t get representation for the first book they’ve written. That first book doesn’t sale. Mine was no exception. But I did receive some very positive rejections, rejections that my writing community said were nothing short of stunning.

If you know nothing about me…


Little Pleasures Lost & Found

Photo by Luis Morera on Unsplash

I swallow him: his eyes and song and voice,
and hypnotize myself into a state
of listening, absorbing every choice
he’s made, the prayers he’s uttered, wipe the slate
of self away, his bones become my own
the scoliosis and the heart attack;
no easy transformation, bend and groan,
consider the minutiae, every slack
of muscle, every word to him prescribed.
Now weight it all and shape the living clay —
but carefully! …


It’s all about staying on the straight and narrow.

Photo by Robert Murray on Unsplash

There’s a lot about poetry that’s confusing, especially once you pop the hood open and start digging around in the engine of what makes poetry — and language — actually work.

One distinction that’s been really difficult, I’ve noticed, for people to verbalize is the difference between poetry and prose.

Most people have a general idea of what the two mean. Like, you can recognize when something is prose, and when it is poetry. …


A sonnet for Theodore Finch.

Photo by MagsishMoon @ deviantart

after Jennifer Niven

Inhale. A primal gasp. It comes to us
so simply — else, it should, but breathing is
a Herculean task — but breathe we must
to keep our blood electric with the fizz
of possibility. Flutter your eyes,
pull all of Heaven in a perfect line
and let it rescue you from sure demise,
a moment or an hour. It is fine
outside. Bundle yourself against the cold
that presses in, the heartlessness of words
thrown carelessly. …

Zach J. Payne

(He/They) Ninja Writer. Thespian. Queer. Essayist, poet, novelist. “A Million Lives in One” available on Kindle now.

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