Author Feature - October 2021
Zaneta Varnado Johns (aka Zan) believes that every word shared is an opportunity to love. This former human resource leader spent twenty-nine rewarding years at the University of Colorado where she was recognized as one of the 2007 Women Who Make a Difference. During the stillness of 2020, she stepped out of retirement into her passion, and became a 2-time bestselling author. Her debut book of poetry, Poetic Forecast: Reflections on Life's Promises, Storms, and Triumphs (2020) became a Hot New Release on Amazon and topped Amazon's Bestseller List at #1 in six categories and reached #3 in another. Johns is a contributing author in the #1 International Bestseller Voices of the 21st Century: Resilient Women Who Rise and Make a Difference (WSA Publishing, February 2021).
Zan is also a contributing author in Jane Austen, an anthology of thoughts & opinions (PurpleStone Press, June 2021). Her poems have been included in the Fine Lines Literary Journal and in Voices of the 21st Century: Resilient Women Who Rise and Make a Difference.
Zan’s work on her second book of poetry and other literary projects is underway. This engaging poet resides in Westminster, Colorado.
I am the whole spectrum—
a refined vessel of light—
a colorful reflection of everything good.
I am utterly pleased
with who I am.
My skin is a combination
of my daddy’s Louisiana chocolate
and my mother’s Mississippi red.
Call me Caramel Frappuccino,
My hips are
like a country road
winding along the river.
My breasts—though not
I’m good with that!
My butt is not
but what does that matter.
It is not about my body!
It’s about my essence.
Respect what’s inside my head—
bursting with kind thoughts
and full of dreams.
I am a rich gumbo
of love and poetry,
a rue with the perfect hue—
ready to be served . . . hot.
I’m ready to touch the world!
If your eyes met my eyes in the midst of a crisis,
Would their shape and color concern you?
If you felt my hands as they massaged your aching body,
Would you care about the pigmentation of my skin?
If I gave blood to replenish your low supply
Would you need to know that I looked like you?
If you were drowning and I dove in to assist you,
Would you reach toward me if you knew I was gay?
If you were hearing for the first time in your life,
Would you need for my voice to speak English only?
If your loved one lay sick and dying,
Would it matter to which god I prayed?
If I donated money to support your favorite cause,
Would you refuse it if you knew how I voted?
If the size of my heart increased each time I helped somebody,
Would you be more interested in the size of my body?
If you asked me to walk a mile in support of humanity,
Would you get impatient if I used my wheelchair?
If I said "no" and you assaulted me anyway,
Are you less guilty because I waited to report?
If my family seeks asylum in the USA,
Are we not welcome because our border is to your south?
If the police force keeps killing unarmed citizens,
Would you demand justice if they are African American?
With civil unrest during this global pandemic,
Trust me, we will soon realize what matters!
Mirror Mirror, speak to me
What exactly do you see
Am I enough
Need I change
Should anything be rearranged
I will make a difference
in the world
as I encourage other girls
Will there be others
who encourage me
to be the best that I can be
Are there hurdles on my path
When I meet trouble
will it last
Worthy feats are what I crave
I need role models
who are brave
Send me wisdom
Send me grace
Empower me through
this lifetime race!
WE ARE THEY
This is our season
our summer in the midst of winter
where we shed our coats, our boots
We leave behind the joyful chaos
of family and friends
We shed the stress
of everyday life
We steal away to our happy place
We arouse years of memories
our minds free, schedule clear
ready to create this season's story.
Do you remember that couple
the elders we admired in '97?
We are they!
From the restaurant's lanai
we watched as they walked
hand in hand
Their stride as one
moving in blissful unison
down that tourist filled
sidewalk in Kona
Perhaps returning from dinner
or strolling for exercise
I imagined they were residents
fortunate to live there
In that moment
I claimed that sidewalk for us.
Twenty-four years later
we are that charming couple
walking hand in hand
claiming sidewalks wherever we go
We long for that sidewalk today
in Kona or Kihei, Kapaa or Princeville
We long for days without structure
no boundaries or stress
Only joy with time devoted only
to us, that elderly couple in Kona
Occasionally we part
only to enhance
our savored time together.
Hours and hours of favored music
songs repeated and songs anew
Our wondrous day rides
enthralled with island splendor
Our bewitching nights
enthralled in glory--ours
Sunrise awaits with roosters crowing
tropical birds serenade our walks
fragrant flowers, brides, and grooms
lava flows and tropical mist
We're seduced by the ocean
enticed by waterfalls
intrigued by rainbows
mesmerized by sunsets
radiant and golden, just like us.
What we need this year
to encounter the pleasures
of that sidewalk in Kona
Here we are
better . . . wiser . . . cautious
held captive by winter
with willful summer mindsets
Still holding hands
Still hearing that music
Still seeking rainbows
Still enjoying our sunsets
Because you loved me
with both your heart and mind!