Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

Posts tagged ‘Al Ortolani’

december Kansas twilight by jt knoll

PastedGraphic-1hauling wood to front porch

wheelbarrow circles back

to peach sky behind old

white frame garage

 

brother john shoots basketball

until too dark to see hoop

 

brother steve

sells christmas trees

below bare bulb

 

metal chain keeps perfect time

on steel flagpole

in schoolyard

~ J. T. Knoll

J.T. Knoll, a native of the Republic of Frontenac, Kansas, is a counselor, prize-winning columnist, poet and speaker. His poetry and prose has been published widely across the United States. He lives in Pittsburg, with his wife, Linda, and dog, Arlo the Labradorian.

Al Ortolani’s poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Prairie Schooner, New Letters, Word Riot, and the New York Quarterly. His fifth collection of poems, Waving Mustard in Surrender, was released in 2014 from New York Quarterly Books. Currently, he is teaching English in the Blue Valley School District and serves on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Writers Place.

Sixteen by Laura Lee Washburn

The tramping van made me woman enough.Photo on 2010-07-13 at 11.40 #3 (1)

Carburetor, clutch, hub, window guide, crank

pulley roused me before I knew the other words

of womanhood: snake, bend, flood stop, drop elbow

universal flapper, male and female fittings.

Coming back from the feed lot,

Dad stopped quick for the hippy van,

bread truck, whatever it had been.

We painted it primer black for a mural.

I tossed a mattress in back for a home

on the way to quest. Nothing turns out

how you plan. I should’ve learned body

repair, how to press the smash out of a door,

how to fire glass back to a pane, how loving

sometimes calls you out of your dreams,

how it follows you, even into the prairie grass

bent in November’s sullen winds.

~ Laura Lee Washburn

Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky.


Al Ortolani’s poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Prairie Schooner, New Letters, Word Riot, and the New York Quarterly. His fifth collection of poems, Waving Mustard in Surrender, was released in 2014 from New York Quarterly Books. Currently, he is teaching English in the Blue Valley School District and serves on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Writers Place.

Southpaw Catcher by Adam Jameson

photoAt tryouts the coach told me

that no left hander would

ever play catcher for him.

I just shrugged my shoulders

and walked back to sit

with the rest of the parents—

2 games in and 17 passed

balls later, he finally let

Cole put the gear on.

We were on our 4th pitcher.

My wife glanced at me

when she heard the click

of the pitch counter.

We were run-ruled in 4 innings.

I waited till everyone had left.

I showed the coach the counter.

It read 28, the number of pitches

in the dirt that game.

I made a O with my fingers and

told him that was how many went

to the backstop. I had a 12 year old

left hander with a fat lip, 2 deep

bruises, and a missing fingernail—

laughing at his dirty face

in the truck mirror.

Adam Jameson was born and raised in Southeast Kansas. He is a 1995 graduate of Pittsburg State University.  He currently works for Westar Energy. He has been reading and performing with White Buffalo for the past 25 years. The Little Balkans Press has recently published his first book of Poetry, #9 to Sallisaw. He lives in rural Pittsburg with his wife Meredith and son Cole.

Al Ortolani’s poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Prairie Schooner, New Letters, Word Riot, and the New York Quarterly. His fifth collection of poems, Waving Mustard in Surrender, was released in 2014 from New York Quarterly Books. Currently, he is teaching English in the Blue Valley School District and serves on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Writers Place.

Lennon and McCartney on Santa Fe Road by Al Ortolani

bio photo 2The boomers return to the roadhouse

to dance to the Beatles. They gyrate through

“Twist and Shout” and “Day Tripper.”

Few manage the floor for more than two

or three songs. They return to their canned beer,

flushed, sucking air like tread-millers

after a cardiac exam. There are moments

in the blue neon when they glimpse each other again,

sweating to an electric guitar, the thump

of the Ludwig, the band superimposed

against a newsreel of missiles—rising

like poems from submarines.

These were the children, hidden below

school desks, arms folded above their heads

in a looping number 9. They dance

hard tonight to the old songs, the highway

through the bean fields winding homeward

between “Let It Be” and “Imagine.”

~ Al Ortolani

Al Ortolani’s poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Prairie Schooner, New Letters, Word Riot, and the New York Quarterly. He has four books of poetry, The Last Hippie of Camp 50 and Finding the Edge, published by Woodley Press at Washburn University, Wren’s House, published by Coal City Press in Lawrence, Kansas, and Cooking Chili on the Day of the Dead from Aldrich Press in Torrance, California. His fifth book, Waving Mustard in Surrender, will be released by New York Quarterly Books later in 2014. He is on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Writers Place and is an editor with The Little Balkans Review.

Guest editor: Kevin Rabas co-directs the creative writing program at Emporia State and co-edits Flint Hills Review. 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, “For my month, I searched for poems that meditate on “time” in its many musical nuances, such as in times a tune jogged your memory, times the music seemed to transport you in time, times you patted your foot or danced to the music’s groove (time), times the music jump-started your heart (internal time), OR meditations on musical elements (such as 4/4 time vs. 6/8 time OR swung vs. straight, rock 2+4 time).”

Willows by Al Ortolani

when willows shoot out overbio photo 2

any road, this is love,

the way it begins and ends

in places you never wanted

or expected,

and how it winds up

getting in the way,

or lashes back when you’ve forgotten

to duck.

Then there’s the one day you get tired

and you both try to break it off,

but you know how willows bend

and one branch gone

leaves another thousand, so

by the time the last one’s broken

the first one’s grown back

and there you have it

−love and willows.

~ Al Ortolani

Al Ortolani is a public school teacher. His poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as New Letters, The Midwest Quarterly, The English Journal and the New York Quarterly. He has three books of poetry, The Last Hippie of Camp 50 and Finding the Edge, published by Woodley Press at Washburn University and Wren’s House, published by Coal City Press in Lawrence, Kansas. His newest collection, Cooking Chili on the Day of the Dead, will be published by Aldrich Press in 2013. He is an editor for The Little Balkans Review and works closely with the Kansas City Writer’s Place.

Previously Published in The Windless Orchard

21. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Al Ortolani

A hiker sets his Minolta on the stone
fence. In February’s mist, cloud
within cloud, silence
is like a feather in the grass,
as much a part of the earth as of the sky.
He picks up his camera and unsnaps
the lens cap. Somewhere today
there is a photograph, a doe retreating,
an image connecting the distant hawk
to the fletching of his heart.
–Al Ortolani

77. Summer Storm Among the Strip Pits

I have parked on a dump that overlooks

the water. Kingfishers slap surface,

dip and cut wide figure eights, lifting

like flapping hands into the sky.

Rain comes, peppering the surface

like thousands of winged insects, tapping

light fingers against the roof of my van.

Curtains blow. From the tops of poplars

I hear the wind moan, turning the alkali

over upon itself, the clay mixing

with gray shale, trickling

down from the tailings. The small soil

that runs between roots of a willow

clouds the vacant water

and spreads like the spawn of fish.

– Al Ortolani

Al Ortolani has been teaching in Kansas for 37 years. His poetry has appeared in the Midwest Quarterly, The English Journal, The Laurel Review and others. His second book of poetry Finding the Edge will be published by Woodley Press in 2011. He is currently co-editor of The Little Balkans Review.

Tag Cloud

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 427 other followers