Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

 

 

Michelle Pond (2)

 

Comeback

 

The white daisy

can’t take the heat.

It’s down to one green leaf.

Fall brings relief, and

leads to winter’s sleep.

It sprouts again in spring,

but doesn’t have the

strength to flower.

Needs to build up

a little more power.

One more cycle

and it’s in full bloom.

Living proof of

the will to survive.

Despite its challenges,

it’s going to thrive.

Sometimes, all it takes is

one green leaf and time.

 

Michelle Pond

Michelle Pond is a poet and photographer who likes sports, jazz and art inspired by other art. Since 2001, she has attended and/or volunteered with a bereavement support group; and grief is a recurring theme in her poetry. She has collected some grief poems into a chapbook, I Keep You with Me. Her work also has appeared in Thorny Locust, RustyTruck ezine, and the Salon anthologies, poetry from Kansas City’s longest running open mic. Her visual art pieces that combine poetry and photographs have been exhibited at The Writers Place and PT’s at the Crossroads in Kansas City.

 


July’s poetry editor Ramona McCallum is the author of the poetry collection Still Life with Dirty Dishes (2013, Woodey Press) and is entering the second year of her MFA studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she is a Durwood Poetry Fellow. Ramona and her husband Brian McCallum, a ceramic sculptor, and their six children are currently founding a nonprofit organization called PowerHouse Universe whose mission is to recognize and encourage the creative abilities of youth by providing opportunities for positive self-expression in the literary, visual and performance arts.

 

 

 

Don’t Watch Your Watch                  K BH @ Inner Bean Reading 14Nov2007 009

That July, Liz caught me checking my pocket watch

and tossed my ticking timepiece out her second floor window

into the tiger lilies that burnt orange as Liz’s wild mane hair.

When I went to the window, she kissed me, bit me, said,

“Do you have somewhere else to be?” And, no, I said.

I don’t have anywhere else to be. I just like to know

what time it is. “Forget time,” she said. “Be here.”

And I took to looking at banks and town squares

and to the sun to know what time it was.

 

Kevin Rabas

 

Dr. Kevin Rabas (MFA, Goddard College; PhD, KU) co-directs the creative writing program at Emporia State and edits Flint Hills Review. Rabas writes poetry, plays, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction. He has four books: Bird’s Horn, Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner, Sonny Kenner’s Red Guitar, also a Nelson Poetry Book Award winner, and Spider Face: stories. He writes regularly for Jazz Ambassador Magazine (JAM). Rabas’s plays have been produced across Kansas and in San Diego. His work has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes, and Rabas is the winner of the Langston Hughes Award for Poetry, the Victor Contoski Poetry Award, the Jerome Johanning Playwriting Award, and the Salina New Voice Award.

 

July’s poetry editor Ramona McCallum is the author of the poetry collection Still Life with Dirty Dishes (2013, Woodey Press) and is entering the second year of her MFA studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she is a Durwood Poetry Fellow. Ramona and her husband Brian McCallum, a ceramic sculptor, and their six children are currently founding a nonprofit organization called PowerHouse Universe whose mission is to recognize and encourage the creative abilities of youth by providing opportunities for positive self-expression in the literary, visual and performance arts.

 

 

Chelsea'swedding

Hating the Sun

 

I can’t remember hating the sun like I do today,

beating us down with its summer scourge.

Hating us. Hurting us.  Killing what we wanted

so much to keep alive.  Pouring drought

into our hearts.

 

I saw a tiny cloud cover the sun yesterday.

A little girl damp at the pool said it looked

like a continent.  The thirty seconds that it spent

hiding the sun held our attention and made it

massive, like childhood or a heart’s journey.

 

My friends, you all have been clouds for me.

Sadly, many of you have passed

a little too far left, failing to shade me.

Others have been consistent tiny reprieves.

Thank you, even if you were only the hope

of a shadow.

 

And to that giant thunderhead out west,

always churning then passing me by, I forgive you.

 

The sun killed the fifty year-old cedar in my yard.

Can a more generous cloud build tomorrow?

 

Linda Lobmeyer

Linda Lobmeyer is an attorney in her hometown of Garden City, Kansas. She graduated Kansas State University where she studied English Literature and Washburn Law School.  In her spare time she writes, deletes, crumples paper and stares out the window.  She also loves to swim at the Garden City Municipal Swimming Pool or “The Big Pool” as the locals call it.

 

Crystal gazers fated loversDenise

Coronado appears gold dross

midnight mirage Quivera lost

indigo flames violet sun

 

Future past cloud the orb

Cortez arrives departs

Malintzin lives dies

broken waves powdered stars

 

Comancheria burning blood

Santa Fe obsidian red

volcanoes boil hot cold

life death the same ore

 

Rainbow portals spiral

sun moon turning faces

betrayed lovers reappear

 

laughter tears glisten fade

~ Denise Low

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-2009, is author of 25 award-winning books of poetry and prose. She does individual bookconsulting and editing, as well as workshops. She teaches in the Baker University School of Professional and Graduate Studies. Low is co-publisher of Mammoth Publications an independent small literary press specializing in Indigenous and Mid-Plains poetry and prose. Her poetry blog has over 400 entries, and she reviews poetry for the Kansas City Star. For more, see BIOGRAPHY. Her book of poetry Mélange Block, from Red Mountain Press, Santa Fe, assembles a geological continuum of passion, grief, and American Indian and European histories.Recent online publications are from Numero Cinq, Feb. 2014. An interview is in the Feb. 2014 Museum of Americanaliterary journal. North Dakota Q.published a special issue about William Stafford, including Low’s “‘The Way It Is’: Second Sight in William Stafford’s Poetry.”Contact information is at www.deniselow.net

My father taught me how to track and stalk.Greg

He said, “Walk quiet in the woods

like your grandfather’s ghost.”

He had two fathers and neither was a ghost.

 

My grandmother said that each

was the greater of two evils.

She said this with her eyes, not with her words.

She told me one grandfather was pure Potawatomi

and the other was the pure antidote.

She said this on her deathbed.

 

My father said, “Walk quiet in the woods

like your grandfather’s ghost.

You can sneak up on a white man

and slit his throat.”

He laughed in the cold duck blind

and pulled two gulps of whiskey.

 

That night, I looked in the mirror and saw

I was white as the bathroom light.

I followed the smooth line

of my throat where it pulsed

with the words of ghosts.

~ Greg Field

Greg Field is an artist, writer, drummer, sailor, chemist, computer geek, and network administrator. His book of poems The Longest Breath (Mid-America Press) was a Thorpe Menn Finalist, and his chapbookEnd of This Set is from BkMk. His poems appear in many journals and anthologies, including New Letters, Laurel Review, Karamu, Chouteau Review, and Kansas City Outloud II. Field has degrees in painting from the Kansas City Art Institute and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He was an elementary art teacher for thirteen years. His paintings are in private collections all over the country. He plays percussion in River Cow Orchestra, an improvisational jazz band. Upon his wife’s death in 1987, he, Robert Stewart, Miles Sandler and Maryfrances Wagner set up the Crystal Field Scholarship for a student at UMKC majoring in creative writing. Proceeds from the annual Crystal Field Scholarship Reading contribute to that fund. This poem is from Black Heart, new from Mammoth Publications July, 2014. $15.00, 84 pages, ISBN: 978-1-939301-85-7. Field reads from the book July 23, Raven Bookstore, Lawrence, 7 pm.Order online www.mammothpublications.net or by mail, Mammoth, 1916 Stratford, Lawrence, KS 66044. Mention Kansas Time and Place and receive 30% discount.

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-2009, is author of 25 award-winning books of poetry and prose. She does individual bookconsulting and editing, as well as workshops. She teaches in the Baker University School of Professional and Graduate Studies. Low is co-publisher of Mammoth Publications an independent small literary press specializing in Indigenous and Mid-Plains poetry and prose. Her poetry blog has over 400 entries, and she reviews poetry for the Kansas City Star. For more, see BIOGRAPHY. Her book of poetry Mélange Block, from Red Mountain Press, Santa Fe, assembles a geological continuum of passion, grief, and American Indian and European histories. She launches the book in Lawrence, Ks., the Raven Bookstore, June 25, 7 pm. Recent online publications are from Numero Cinq, Feb. 2014. An interview is in the Feb. 2014 Museum of Americanaliterary journal. North Dakota Q.published a special issue about William Stafford, including Low’s “‘The Way It Is’: Second Sight in William Stafford’s Poetry.”Contact information is at www.deniselow.net

CONJUROXan

 

Conjuro de ángeles, demonios y duendes que hacen que la Tierra se desgarre.

Que el aire gima y grite entre los árboles.

Conjuro de dioses y demonios que hace que mis pensamientos vibren

 

¡Oh fuerza bruta! Implacable que suena y sacude cada rincón de la Tierra.

Temblores internos, temblores externos que se hacen uno y quiebran la tierra.

 

Hoy te conjuro para que despiertes del letargo que te mantiene cautiva.

Hoy invoco al norte, sur, este y oeste.

Hoy te conjuro

A ti, guardiana de mi sueño.

 

A la canción de cuna que se oye a lo lejos.

Al origen de mi sangre, de mi vida, de mi dolor.

A la guardiana de mis noches más oscuras.

Conjuro tu nombre, aquí en mis pensamientos.

~Xánath Caraza

 

SPELLBOUND

Spell of angels, demons and duendes cause the Earth to tear

Make howls and screams among the trees

Spell of gods and demons unsettle my thoughts

 

Oh brutal strength! Unrelenting strength that resonates and shakes each corner of the Earth

Inner quakes, external quakes that unite and crack the Earth

 

Today I call on you to wake from the deep slumber that holds you captive

Today I invoke north, south, east and west

Today I cast a spell on you

On you, keeper of my dream

 

To the lullaby that is heard from afar

To the origin of my blood, of my life, of my pain

To the keeper of my darkest nights

Here in my thoughts, I put a spell on your name

~ Xánath Caraza

Xánath Caraza’s book CONJURO (English, Spanish and Nahuatl) is a bestseller for Mammoth Publications, and it received national and international awards. Mammoth will publish her Syllables of Wind/ Silabas De Viente late fall, 2014. Originally from Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, Caraza has lived in Vermont and Kansas City. Her book of short stories, Lo que trae la marea/ What the Tide Brings (2013), is from Mouthfeel Press. Poetry chapbooks are Noche de Colibríes: Ekphrastic Poems (Pandora Lobo Estepario Press, 2014) and Corazón Pintado: Ekphrastic Poems (TL Press 2012). Caraza is a writer for La Bloga (http://labloga.blogspot.com/ ) and she writes the US Latino Poets en español column (http://www.periodicodepoesia.unam.mx/). This online poetry column is published monthly and is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum and Periódico de Poesía. In addition, she writes the poetry/narrative section for Revista Zona de Ocio (http://www.revistazonadeocio.com/ ). She curates the National Poetry Month, Poem-a-Day project, for the Con Tinta Literary Organization since 2012.  She has an M.A. in Romance Languages, and she lectures in Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Caraza is an advisory circle member of the Con Tinta literary organization and a former board member of the Latino Writers Collective in Kansas City.  This poem is from Conjuro, $18.00, 142 pages, perfect bound, $24.00 hardback. Order online www.mammothpublications.net or by mail, Mammoth, 1916 Stratford, Lawrence, KS 66044. Mention Kansas Time and Place and receive 30% discount.

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-2009, is author of 25 award-winning books of poetry and prose. She does individual bookconsulting and editing, as well as workshops. She teaches in the Baker University School of Professional and Graduate Studies. Low is co-publisher of Mammoth Publications an independent small literary press specializing in Indigenous and Mid-Plains poetry and prose. Her poetry blog has over 400 entries, and she reviews poetry for the Kansas City Star. For more, see BIOGRAPHY. Her book of poetry Mélange Block, from Red Mountain Press, Santa Fe, assembles a geological continuum of passion, grief, and American Indian and European histories. She launches the book in Lawrence, Ks., the Raven Bookstore, June 25, 7 pm. Recent online publications are from Numero Cinq, Feb. 2014. An interview is in the Feb. 2014 Museum of Americanaliterary journal. North Dakota Q.published a special issue about William Stafford, including Low’s “‘The Way It Is’: Second Sight in William Stafford’s Poetry.”Contact information is at www.deniselow.net

It began when I sawStephen

the blackbird

on my father’s face

Black leaves took wing

from the skeletons

of sycamores

Lights began leaping

out of stones

Barking dogs revealed

white seams

in the twilight sky

Street lights dropped

small flames

on the ripples of a lake

A mockingbird’s feathers

created my hands

I felt a fire flicker

in its white wings

I listened for tears

in the fire’s voice

but heard only a bright river

flowing in the wings

that flew from my fingers

~ Stephen Meats

Stephen Meats, in addition to having articles and essays published, has published a mixed genre book of poems and stories, Dark Dove Descending and Other Parables (Mammoth 2013). His poems and stories have appeared in The Laurel Review, Tampa Review, Arete: The Journal of Sport Literature, Hurãkan, Flint Hills Review, Little Balkans Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Quarterly, Cow Creek Review, Prairie Poetry, Dos Passos Review, The Laughing Dog and others. Stephen Meats attended Kansas State Univ. before transferring to the Univ. of South Carolina, where he earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in English. He taught at the Air Force Academy and the Univ. of Tampa and Pittsburg State Univ. (1979-2014). He has been poetry editor of The Midwest Quarterly since 1985. He lives in Pittsburg with his wife, Ann, three Boston Terriers, seven cats, and five hives of bees. This poem is from Looking for the Pale Eagle, $12.00, 114 pages, perfect bound, ISBN: 978-1-939301-91-8. Order online www.mammothpublications.net or by mail, Mammoth Publications, 1916 Stratford, Lawrence, KS 66044. Mention Kansas Time and Place and receive 30% discount.

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-2009, is author of 25 award-winning books of poetry and prose. She does individual bookconsulting and editing, as well as workshops. She teaches in the Baker University School of Professional and Graduate Studies. Low is co-publisher of Mammoth Publications an independent small literary press specializing in Indigenous and Mid-Plains poetry and prose. Her poetry blog has over 400 entries, and she reviews poetry for the Kansas City Star. For more, see BIOGRAPHY. Her book of poetry Mélange Block, from Red Mountain Press, Santa Fe, assembles a geological continuum of passion, grief, and American Indian and European histories. She launches the book in Albuquerque at Bookworks, June 14, 3 pm; in Santa Fe at the Santa Fe Community Foundation, 501 Halona St. (corner of the Paseo de Peralto), June 15, 2:30 pm and in Lawrence, Ks., the Raven Bookstore, June 25, 7 pm. Recent online publications are from Numero Cinq, Feb. 2014. An interview is in the Feb. 2014 Museum of Americanaliterary journal. North Dakota Q.published a special issue about William Stafford, including Low’s “‘The Way It Is’: Second Sight in William Stafford’s Poetry.”Contact information is at www.deniselow.net

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