Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

snow coming tonight
pot of red beans and rice
simmering on the stove
dark comes earlier
each evening now
 
I have survived so far
even thrived
though I didn’t always know it
I’ve touched clouds
flown about the world
 
and that     in times like these
seems not real     a dream --
flying machines and castles
in the sky     faces unmasked
bodies still allowed to embrace
 
hands to touch    arms
able to sculpt angels
with a child in fresh snow
beer and beans and rice
allowed to share
 
while laughing and dancing
the black night away …





Sharon Auberle is a poet and photographer who served as Door County, Wisconsin Poet Laureate for 2017-2019.  She has authored a number of books, including her most recent–Dovetail, co-authored with poet and artist Jeanie Tomasko, which won the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Chapbook of the Year award. 

November Editor, Ronda Miller was State President of Kansas Authors Club, 2018 – 2019, Miller has three full length books of poetry: Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain and WaterSigns and chapbook Winds of Time. Miller’s first children’s book, I Love the Child, was published 12/13/2019. The book’s illustrator is Katie Wiggins, a found cousin. I Love the Child, won first place for The Children’s Books Award at the Kansas Authors Club State convention, October, 2020.

Cannot check yes no or even may… be
Not boy
Not girl
Not young
Not old
I am the space between
Beyond the outlier
A distant frontier yet undiscovered
Seeking only my answers
Finding only my questions
Looking for definition along the blurred edges
Not in the trimmed hedges
I am not fenced in
But I am not growing wild
I am Boxed in and
Locked out
I am not A or B
I am Lines Left Blank
I am Unnamed
I yearn for contentment
Instead
I am the movement
The transition
The search








Ande Johnson moved to Leavenworth, Kansas in 2019 to be closer to family while homeschooling his son, Wilder. In addition to working on his MPA with plans to attend law school, Ande nurtures a variety of eclectic hobbies as a worm farmer, squirrel rescuer, autism enthusiast, apprentice potter, Excel wizard, camping professional, straw bale gardener, and tarantula dad.

November Editor, Ronda Miller was State President of Kansas Authors Club, 2018 – 2019, Miller has three full length books of poetry: Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain and WaterSigns and chapbook Winds of Time. Miller’s first children’s book, I Love the Child, was published 12/13/2019. The book’s illustrator is Katie Wiggins, a found cousin. I Love the Child, won first place for The Children’s Books Award at the Kansas Authors Club State convention, October, 2020.

My father picked me up with one hand.
Even I could touch God's throne.
I laughed so hard.
I laughed until I lost my voice.
I call my father Mr. Rooster.
He isn't a real rooster
And, of course, I am not a little hen.
Our identities prove that.
Yes, we are human.
In our Arabian Nights,
The rooster has a prominent place.
He is a storyteller
Just like my father.
As a little kid,
My Mother hung me
In her ears like a star. 
Shiny ones.
She taught me how to weave
A fairytale around
The waist of the universe.
We were playing drums
During baking bread.
Our dusty faces before our stove,
The birds pecking our napes.
Many delicious stories
Float through our bodies.
I am a verse hovering over the air.
My mother's scent enfolds
The horizon.
Our rooster starts telling us
How the ancient Queens and Kings
Revealed the secret of embalming.
We are in love with braiding
Our grandmother's hair.
Me, my father and my mother,
Fighting against the pain.
We dissolve our salty tears
In a glass of sugar and wine.



Amirah Al Wassif’s poems have appeared in print and online publications including South Florida Poetry, Birmingham Arts Journal, Hawaii Review, The Meniscus, The Chiron Review, The Hunger, Writers Resist, Right Now, and others. Amirah’s poetry collection includes, For Those Who Don’t Know Chocolate (Poetic Justice Books & Arts, 2019) and a children’s book, The Cocoa Boy and Other Storie.

November Editor, Ronda Miller was state President of Kansas Authors Club, 2018 – 2019. Miller has three full-length books of poetry: Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain, WaterSigns, and a chapbook, Winds of Time. Miller’s first children’s book, I Love the Child, was published 12/13/2020. The book’s illustrator is Katie Wiggins, a found cousin. I Love the Child won first place for The Children’s Book Award at the Kansas Authors Club State Convention, October 2020.

Open the heavy door
of neighborhood bowling alley,
no one’s there. Dark.
The Big Dipper requires sunglasses on a normal night.
I get my own shoes
and ball as if I own
the place and all the rules have changed.
 
At the snack bar, I pour
myself a lukewarm bottle
of Coke, grab a bag of potato chips, wait for the lights
to switch on while I learn patience; bears hibernate
in summer and tulips bloom
in January in North Dakota.
 
Knock on tavern door a block over. Sign says OPEN, 
but chairs are upside down on
tables, no bartender, no lies or exaggerations, 
no swagger, smoke, or temptation. The town’s devils 
have been evicted or found a better planet to corrupt.

Stand like a statue in the middle of the road, each 
corner empty of strollers,
skateboards, bikes and people on porches, 
no cars in driveways, no taxis to run me
over, no one to give me 
the finger with abandon— I miss that person.

The grocery store follows protocol to buy toilet paper, 
milk and bread. I load the ’72 Volvo wagon with hand sanitizer, 
disinfectant, bleach, and a new chest freezer. But the children 
are middle-aged; they buy their own supplies.

Angst like scratchy linen sheets rubs against raw skin 
like grief tumbling down a rocky hill, there before you realize its name. 
In the movies, they grab a bottle of booze and smoke when they worry,
I stuff cheap chocolates
and rocky road ice
cream down my gullet.

Jacinta Camacho Kaplan has written poems and plays since she learned to read. A retired architect/ restaranteur, she planned to publish her first chapbook called ‘Mooning Everything” in 1995. Jacinta still cannot copy and paste, but she cut her own bangs during lockdown—scissored a W for writer.

November Editor, Ronda Miller was State President of Kansas Authors Club, 2018 – 2019, Miller has three full length books of poetry: Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain and WaterSigns and chapbook Winds of Time. Miller’s first children’s book, I Love the Child, was published 12/13/2019. The book’s illustrator is Katie Wiggins, a found cousin. I Love the Child, won first place for The Children’s Books Award at the Kansas Authors Club State convention, October, 2020.

 i wanna be a boy!
 that’s what i told every ‘old lady’ 
 that came to play bridge with my grandmother. 
 they would smile…
 ruffle my hair and say
 ‘you are cute honey, but you’re a girl.’
 and they were right. 
 i was cute.
 saddle leather tanned
 feathered with incorrigible
 able to fly with a wing span imagination wide 
 i ran shirtless, chest first into everything i could
 i would be cowboy, riding propane tanks all the way to dallas
 and building callouses on my hands from swinging on the kill rack
 long into the night
 washing the blood off before i came in.
 by the time i was seven i knew the meaning of sin.
 i didn’t know wanting to be a priest
 instead of a nun qualified
 so i lied after grandma’s disapproving glance
 and her suggestion i find a better habit. 
 i can still say mass, word for word. 
 i heard all her all their admonitions
 shame on you, young lady.
 wore the blouses they put me in
 my hair held perfect ringlet curls
 i became the precious i was expected to be
 and somewhere in the process
 i lost me. 
 my skin became pale.
 my feathers fell.
 i was no longer able to fly.
 the callouses left my hands, 
 i hung from the rack by a rope.
 long into the night. 
 but with a foothold, not a noose
 wishing to wash off who i had become,
 begin again, in new skin.
 two thousand  ‘what if’s’ and hundreds of ‘why not’s’ later
 i grew courage-gained new feathers sprouted in confidence blue.
 my arms stretched hallelujah-finally wide and i began to fly. 




Cei Loofe writes and makes art in Seward, NE with an ASL speaking dog and a quad of stone flipping fish. Loofe spent 25 years as a free-lance journalist before switching to creative writing. Since, he has been included in several anthologies and has been published three times independently.

November Editor, Ronda Miller was State President of Kansas Authors Club, 2018 – 2019, Miller has three full length books of poetry: Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain and WaterSigns and chapbook Winds of Time. Miller’s first children’s book, I Love the Child, was published 12/13/2019. The book’s illustrator is Katie Wiggins, a found cousin. I Love the Child, won first place for The Children’s Books Award at the Kansas Authors Club State convention, October, 2020.

Creativity gives me community
voices pushed by the voices
of my ancestors– love
 
creativity allows a clear mind
kindness in my life
don’t judge me but feel me
 
creativity gives me freedom of spirit
we are better together than apart
purpose
 
passion with purpose = power
 
we are shaped by what we create
we create what we hold in our heart
 
creativity lets you express
your soul to the world
 
creativity is the expression derived
from the internal collaboration
of the two selves
 
your voice is you power
to live a creative truth
words become wings that
give birth to the future
 
I dream of a day when all are
equal & live without fear
 
thankful for moments to reflect, now onto
reality; nephew’s memorial service,
post suicide
 
Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you
become your reality or define you
don’t go looking for evidence that you
don’t belong
 
be willing to uplift others
leaders are created
when you teach others
how to lead




 

Exquisite corpse: (from the French term cadavre exquis), A method by which a collection of words or images are collectively assembled. I collected these poems as I traveled through Kansas. These poems are written collectively by Kansans at readings, open mics and workshops. The titles of each poem are the locations and dates where they were assembled. They are part of Exquisite Kansas, a collection to be published at the end of my laureateship.

Where does your belief come from?
 
From the past being brought to the future
from the here & now
being unapologetically myself
trying to be the truest form of me
realizing that I am stronger than I know
 
so much stronger than I ever thought possible
exceeding even my own expectations
 
stay true to yourself
 
but is there still meaning
in that, or has it become
cliché?
 
Because the only difference
between a groove & grave
is the depth




 

Exquisite corpse: (from the French term cadavre exquis), A method by which a collection of words or images are collectively assembled. I collected these poems as I traveled through Kansas. These poems are written collectively by Kansans at readings, open mics and workshops. The titles of each poem are the locations and dates where they were assembled. They are part of Exquisite Kansas, a collection to be published at the end of my laureateship.

I.

Who are you talking to today & how are they?

My future and it’s looking bright
brighter than the sun
& stronger than the waves
 
the waves crashing all around me
I feel that it will one day pull me under
&  let me drown
 
I feel like if I’m drowning in thought
without a second to stop
when I stop there would be
emptiness
 
I would be happy but I wouldn’t be myself
& if I’m not myself
happiness isn’t important
 
II.
 
How do you let thing go?
 
By walking away
or ignoring
the issue
or by bottling
my emotions
 
open that bottle
& spew out
all of your feelings
 
but make sure you’re
in the right place first
think very carefully
on where those emotions
are coming from
but let your emotions
be natural
 
you can’t solve anything
running away

or else
they will control you
control what you feel
or why you should
like their puppet
 
dancing sadly
as you dangle
from the thick strings
 
this is not the life, but
 
tugs of war
tears in hearts
pulls from peers
as they trace
our tears
 
our eyes miss nothing
our breath releases all




 
 

Exquisite corpse: (from the French term cadavre exquis), A method by which a collection of words or images are collectively assembled. I collected these poems as I traveled through Kansas. These poems are written collectively by Kansans at readings, open mics and workshops. The titles of each poem are the locations and dates where they were assembled. They are part of Exquisite Kansas, a collection to be published at the end of my laureateship.

Where do you go for words?
Where do you go for meaning?
 
Sometimes meaning hides,
like burning stars silenced behind
the lights of the city
 
like a child, waiting to unveil a secret
entrusted to her care
wanting to take hold of it, but knowing
if I grasp it, it will break
 
words flow around us
like water or wind
 
the raucous screams of crows
like the faceless mouths calling for
the death of the battered prize fighter
 
one thousand joined in a single voice
joined in a single, solid song
but I’m afraid to venture in the dark attic
& reach for them, afraid
I will get lost in those words
 
Lost at a grocery store
 —alone

My mother,
one aisle over
 
My heart is a lemon in my mouth
not sweet enough to savor nor
sour enough to make me cry
 
& what to do with this other than
reject it—to spit it out
 
I swallow
 


Exquisite corpse: (from the French term cadavre exquis), A method by which a collection of words or images are collectively assembled. I collected these poems as I traveled through Kansas. These poems are written collectively by Kansans at readings, open mics and workshops. The titles of each poem are the locations and dates where they were assembled. They are part of Exquisite Kansas, a collection to be published at the end of my laureateship.

Tai Amri Spann-Ryan’s students

I.
 
I always want to be
the best I can be
but sometimes it’s hard
to always stay positive
& to keep your head up
to always think about wonderful things
 
Life is different for everyone
maybe we can sit under the stars
& think about how we are
all special in this world
cool & brave
 
My life is awesome & cool everyday
I want to be safe wherever I go
there will be a show
that I go to & roar
I go to an orchard
 
II.
 
One day I will find
one soul that will join me
OOGA BOOGA
 
Join me on the road
lighten up the soul
with a smile that is
so full
 
I will find flowers




 

Exquisite corpse: (from the French term cadavre exquis), A method by which a collection of words or images are collectively assembled. I collected these poems as I traveled through Kansas. These poems are written collectively by Kansans at readings, open mics and workshops. The titles of each poem are the locations and dates where they were assembled. They are part of Exquisite Kansas, a collection to be published at the end of my laureateship.

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