Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Christ, it’s after midnight.

Full moon out and I think it’s drizzling.

The silence is creepy

With all them standing there.

 

Put some music on, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, or Chopin.

The realism is stunning with each and every tiny detail.

Immaculate manicured and pedicured nails,

Eye shadow and mascara, lipstick and rogue.

 

Wind one of them up, tip-toe around

In the twilight, get lost in their soulless

Gaze in the moonlight.

 

The waltz is a horrid dance,

And I feel so smug moving to melody

With my creations.

 

Pygmalion was a pig

And I’m no better.

~ Adam White

Adam White is an English major at Washburn University. A Topeka native, Adam graduated from Seaman High school in 2010. In his free time he enjoys writing, reading, and listening to music.

November Editor, Ronda Miller, is the State President of Kansas Authors Club. Miller has four books of poetry: Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain, WaterSigns and Winds of Time. Her upcoming children’s book, I Love the Child, will be published 12/13/2019. The book’s illustrator is Katie Wiggins, a found cousin.

Dad sold his blood

on Saturday afternoons

a couple times a month.

 

Mom off waitressing,

or maybe the warehouse job,

or any other place the temp agency

would send her,

Dad’d load us into the

rusted quarter panel conversion van,

soup can dangling from baling wire

(I think it was beef noodle)

to catch the constant oil leak,

that van where the stray cat died

on the block one horrid January morning,

that van he once let me drive home

from Cub Scouts, only to have

a crow go headfirst into the grille.

 

Dad’d back out into the dirt and gravel of

Marquette Avenue,

all beer cans and spent needles,

and we’d roll down 41,

hoping for potholes, that when hit at top speed,

would give you that roller coaster stomach,

if only for a second.

 

There was this lot at the side of the highway,

lettering on the sign out front

always made me think of jars of Miracle Whip,

they sold “luxury housing solutions for

our new mobile world,”

which meant singlewides,

and fifth-hand RV’s.

 

Right next door, you’d find the tiny white house,

rail out front in case you felt faint while leaving.

They’d put Dad in a recliner,

hook him up to red-stained plastic tubes,

let us sit in the corner,

had the biggest TV I’d ever seen,

must’ve been twenty-eight inches, and color,

gave us orange juice and

oatmeal raisin cookies,

tuned the box to Masters of the Universe

while they slowly sucked Dad’s blood.

 

One time Mom and Dad took us to the circus,

I was afraid of the clowns,

but I got a huge bag of

the world’s butteriest popcorn,

and a plastic cap gun,

and I still remember the red stripes,

the salt on my winter-chapped lips.

 

Mom and Dad,

they gave us those first memories,

and they paid for them in blood.

~ James Benger

James Benger is the author of two fiction ebooks, three chapbooks, one full-length poetry book, and is a coauthor of three split books of poetry. He is on the Board of Directors for The Writers Place and the Riverfront Readings Committee, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online workshop. He is Editor in Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and two sons.

November Editor, Ronda Miller, is the State President of Kansas Authors Club. Miller has four books of poetry: Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain, WaterSigns and Winds of Time. Her upcoming children’s book, I Love the Child, will be published 12/13/2019. The book’s illustrator is Katie Wiggins, a found cousin.

Red

The Uber driver hits his breaks

a little too hard,

as he slows the car too far

away from the light.

There in the corner

two black men sit with signs.

I want to jump out,

and offer the men the money I have,

but I notice the driver doesn’t seem ready to stop.

His fingers, trembling,

he just can’t get them to

Stop

Suddenly,

the elderly white man beside me begins breathing heavily

Huh huh huh

He, painfully slow,

rolls the car up to the crosswalk

Huh huh huh

As if

Every

Roll

Closer

To these men is

Huh huh huh

suffocating him.

I keep my head forward.

Afraid of looking down.

Afraid of looking away.

Waiting.

He jumps when one of the men exclaims.

Hands grip the wheel.

In another life, his wallet.

In another, a gun.

And now I see

Red.

The car inches forward,

The men look our way,

The driver presses the gas.

I open my mouth to finally speak

Green.

~ Tatyana Younger

Tatyana Younger is Kansas born and raised. She is a paraprofessional educator, activist, and poet. She’s committed to community engagement, spending much of her time at community meals and events. Unapologetically black, yet undeniably anxious, she hopes to build solidarity wherever she goes in her life.

November Editor, Ronda Miller, is the State President of Kansas Authors Club. Miller has four books of poetry: Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain, WaterSigns and Winds of Time. Her upcoming children’s book, I Love the Child, will be published 12/13/2019. The book’s illustrator is Katie Wiggins, a found cousin.

Seek the wild places,

where the mercy of moisture

still lingers under rocks.

Insects loiter there;

shelter while

stripped whiptail lizards

race beneath thin green veils

of sun-bleached

leaves.

Deep summer

cover rotates; shade grows

rooted in parched

soil.

Rabbits burrow

far beneath

a large stand of prickly

pear; pant for breath;

wait until some

hint of slightly

cooler evening air.

Survival

intent but wilted;

an oppressive challenge

crescendo abounds within

the brutal plague

of thirst;

a long ascending

spiral of relentless

heat.

14 August 2019 – Pharr, Texas

~ Elizabeth Perdoma

Guest editor Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning poet known for the impact of her audible presentations of work. In 2016 she brought her registered nursing career to an early end to fully pursue her passion for writing. She is happily working on her fourth collection of poetry. Billings’ work can also be found in a variety of anthologies as well as in print and online journals. Please visit her website and/or Facebook page for further information.

In the secular house near the Rock of the Half Moon
the door weeps for lack of oil,
wind bleeds through crease and hole
and my son mistakes the mourning dove’s morning song for that of rock pigeon.
We are at mercy here,
gun powder the rage as eye liner,
thirty-five poems the maximum fuller for any book.

We write about our lies:
lies often forgettable,
experience better exaggerated,
and questions in need of answers
as if we need answers.

Depression binds light.
The baby pigeon knows not its predator,
a prime number knows not its factor,
sleep is an accomplished act.

We built this place for the criminal, the insane, the man lost on his way,
one wanderer carrying spirit drums,
another a kora,
a third a cowbell tied to rope and wood.

You might as well leave us be.
There is nothing you can do.
We have made our choices,
dumb choices,
derelict choices.

The place I settled in near the Corner of the Half Moon is no longer there.
All of its pieces are lost.
Everything I owned is gone. Everything I wanted to own is gone. Everything I
imagined owning is gone.

Daughter, hold hard to yourself.
The life of a cat is not really all that great.
In the Valley of the Death of Man-Trees,
the woman on the bridge over the train track
bends to wood and a confusion of ants.

Dusk-light ripples
through sky-ponds
and the farming village
thick with fresh plowed soil
soaks in it as if it were.
Everywhere you look
a farmer’s wife stands near
beginnings of gardens,
skies full of sighs.

And when it is ended
dragged into promiscuous
by name calling poets, half poets, pretend poets,
Jackie Robinson moments before the desk of rude words,
aberration, racial slurs and smoke,
everything that makes bad breath,
I steal more words from the Oxford Dictionary,
dress a line without a care to quality,
quality control, environmental stability,
the rage of the self-taught man
lacking the credentials for the only job he can
actually do, and find within the spot the spot of grace.

~ Michael H. Brownstein       

Michael H. Brownstein’s poetry volume, A Slipknot Into Somewhere Else: A Poet’s Journey To The Borderlands Of Dementia, was recently published by Cholla Needles Press (2018).

Guest editor Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning poet known for the impact of her audible presentations of work. In 2016 she brought her registered nursing career to an early end to fully pursue her passion for writing. She is happily working on her fourth collection of poetry. Billings’ work can also be found in a variety of anthologies as well as in print and online journals. Please visit her website and/or Facebook page for further information.

They say we are a crude

Land of redneck bigots,

Good old boys in sheets

Burning crosses

After Saturday night

Coon hunts

 

Well, maybe so—

 

While Detroit rumbled

And Watts exploded,

Our white citizens councilled,

Killed and burned.

 

But then there are

The silver-tongued

Among us—

William Alexander Percy,

Stark Young, William Faulkner,

Eudora Welty,

Tennessee Williams, Shelby Foote,

Richard Wright, James Street,

Margaret Walker Alexander,

Ma Rainy, Muddy Waters,

Son Thomas, B. B. King,

Elvis Presley, Tammy Wynette,

Leontine Price, Walter Anderson—

A wealth of art produced in no other state.

 

Yes, we are bad,

We are sinners,

But sometimes

We are sublime.

~ Emory Jones

Won honorable mention in MPS 2014 Award of the Mississippi Poetry Society 2014 Spring Festival Poetry Competition

Dr. Emory D. Jones is a retired English teacher who has taught in Cherokee Vocational High School in Cherokee, Alabama, for one year, Northeast Alabama State Junior College for four years, Snead State Junior College in Alabama for three years, and Northeast Mississippi Community College for thirty-five years. He joined the Mississippi Poetry Society, Inc. in 1981 and has served as President of this society. He has over two hundred and thirty-five publishing credits including publication in such journals as Voices International, The White Rock Review, Free Xpressions Magazine, The Storyteller, Modern Poetry Quarterly Review, Gravel, Pasques Petals, The Pink Chameleon, and Encore: Journal of the NFSPS.  He is retired and lives in Iuka, Mississippi, with his wife, Glenda.  He has two daughters and four grandchildren.

Guest editor Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning poet known for the impact of her audible presentations of work. In 2016 she brought her registered nursing career to an early end to fully pursue her passion for writing. She is happily working on her fourth collection of poetry. Billings’ work can also be found in a variety of anthologies as well as in print and online journals. Please visit her website and/or Facebook page for further information.

When was the last time that you cried?”

I asked my father through the phone.

 

He was silent at first.

 

Never before had I questioned his sensitivity

nor was there a sign of weakness in my childhood

when I watched him closely.

 

His face was always grim

or his head down with his 9 to 5

nonstop.

 

No,

My father only smiles at progress:

when our dark green lawn gets mowed,

the creme tiles of our kitchen floor installed,

those living room walls painted a thick coat of maroon,

and the smell of rubber excites him so

when he replaces tire after tire,

 

after tire.

 

His duties within the family were clear to him:

be a handyman around the house and

 

Do.

 

Not.

 

Cry.

 

Though I have witnessed my mother cry,

and on many different occasions,

I have never seen my father weep.

 

The year you were born,

my best friend died,”

his voice was like that of a child.

This cell phone conveniently acting as a safeguard

sheltering his facial expressions from me.

Yeah,

I shed a few tears for Moka,

after he was shot.

 

We used to run the streets together

when we had no guidance as kids.

We would get into trouble and out

together.

Moka was like a brother to me.”

 

He rushed off of the phone

I have to get back to work,” he said.

 

My father was the rock of our family

working his 9 to 5 tirelessly.

 

He was Young Vell in the streets

where drug dealers and gangbangers took him in

when his father was in the military

and his mother was being beaten down

by words and hands of a stepfather

who despised the presence of a child not his own.

 

My father became a rock

when he sold rocks

on the corner of Prospect

in the city of Kansas City

where he fought niggas

because of his light skin

and it didn’t matter

since they all went to jail

or got shot like Moka.

 

My father ran from police

he served his time in jail

and then created two kids

or maybe even three

paying his child support

on time

marrying my mother

and keeping his 9 to 5

 

His duties within the family were clear to him.

 

He hadn’t had the pleasures of weeping since 1996

the year that his best friend died,

the year that I was born.

 

and in his mind,

he didn’t have time to cry.

~ Ralvell Rogers II

 

*”Time to Cry” was previously published by literary magazine Tittynope Zine in 2016*

Ralvell Rogers II is an ambitious storyteller from Kansas City, Missouri, who focuses on realistic fiction and reflective poetry. Before graduating with his BA in English at Emporia State University, Rogers was the first student-recipient of the Presidential Award for Distinguished Service to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in 2018. Currently, Ralvell lives in Arlington, Virginia with his fiance.

Guest editor Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning poet known for the impact of her audible presentations of work. In 2016 she brought her registered nursing career to an early end to fully pursue her passion for writing. She is happily working on her fourth collection of poetry. Billings’ work can also be found in a variety of anthologies as well as in print and online journals. Please visit her website and/or Facebook page for further information.

Tag Cloud