Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

She answers the riddles no one can
The punchlines to jokes we didn’t know we started.
We mull her words, wonder where they were born.
She says the five of us sat on the davenport
‘til the wind blew us away. She laughs,
picturing of the nonsense of it.
Her head slumped low, she doesn’t see
that five of us sit there. Just listening.
She asks why God doesn’t fall from the sky
And if pioneers ate grass when they ran out of food.
She asks the name of the little boy in the red sweater
Who no one else can see.
Who loves her scraping, high-pitched songs
that stab our ears and twist our hearts.
She answers the riddles no one can
From the corner of the room, when no one knows she’s listening.

~ Dawne Leiker

Dawne Leiker is a former journalist, now working in academia. Her news/feature stories have appeared in The Hays Daily News, Lawrence Journal World, and several online publications. Her poetry and short stories have garnered awards in regional and statewide literary competitions. Ms. Leiker’s fiction and poetry often are influenced by her past news story interviews, as she develops and re-imagines fictional characters and situations loosely based on local individuals and events.

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

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they flow through themselves

never being entirely of oneself

even while appearing to be

as their whole ebbs and

flows into other states of being

they always return to be as one

in whatever form they choose

or their surroundings choose for them

they cannot escape their entirety

and no matter how adulterated

they might become while away

they return to be as pure as

they were when they left

they are storms of wrath

and pools of serenity

they are mists of despondence

they are fountains of laughter

they are tickling drops

and steams of comfort

they are quenching and flooding

and drowning

they are us

~ Will Hagman

Will Hagman works as a customer service representative in Sioux Falls, SD where he lives with his husband Bob.  He has found writing to be therapeutic throughout his life and continues to write poetry as a venue to connect with others and himself.  Additionally, Will enjoys gardening and dabbling in various mediums of art.

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

“To fall asleep ‘here’ is to wake ‘there’”—Gerald Bullett

 

I woke early, a good distance

from the Black River, to the snores

of strangers, their campers draped

in glowing red lanterns. A crow called.

 

The road wound itself into a trail,

then I was on the stones and drawn,

wading, out far enough to feel

the current pulling.

 

I watched the mist rise

on the Black River,

ghosts, walking on water,

brushing shoulders, revealing–

a hand here, a slender arm there,

hearts of smoke, of sighs,

gentle wafting flesh, like sleep

in cold water.

~ Morgan O. H. McCune

Morgan O.H. McCune currently works at Pittsburg State University in southeast Kansas. She is a native Kansan, and holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from Washington University in St. Louis (1991) and an M.L.S. from Emporia State University (2002). Her poems have been published previously in River Styx.

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

Now that it’s legal for us to marry

I wonder if you and I have become glass:

We’re there—but maybe not—

transparent unless held up to the light

turned so the glow from some lamp glances off

to show us all those years ago

in bed falling asleep holding hands

in our kitchen leaning together as you stir a pot

in our living room dancing in bare feet

sitting on the floor outside our toddler’s room

because it’s 2 a.m., he won’t stop crying,

all the books say let him cry until he falls asleep.

We last a whole five minutes before barging in.

I pick him up, you curl around us both

and together we sing him to sleep.

 

If some stranger should come close enough

to brush a hand against the thin sheet of our lives

he might catch on the moment

we arrived home from the doctor to see

every ceramic pot you ever brought to life (except one)

on the floor in pieces, probably knocked off the table

by our cat who inspected them after you left them there

because we were late for the appointment

where the doctor said your cancer had come back.

 

You picked up that last pot, held it so long I thought:

it’s ok. she’s handling this

then threw it down to smash

shards skittering across the tile.

You leaned on the tabletop, inhaled.

I was thankful to be there to hold tight

as you shook in my arms

on that day 22 years before

we could marry

three months before

you were dead.

 

We all die.

 

Every love that doesn’t end

in argument ends in death.

Yet I can’t help but worry:

What will happen to we

who were forbidden

to sign the book of marriage?

Generations of our families

have already been wiped clean

from time. Will you and I become

another glass shattered?

 

Will all our pieces be left behind?

 

~ Diane Silver

Diane Silver is an activist and journalist. Her work has appeared in Ms, The Progressive, and other venues. Her latest books are Your Daily Shot of Hope vol. 1 (Meditations for an Age of Despair) and vol. 2 (Meditations on Awakening). You can find her at www.DianeSilver.net and @DianeSilver

Monthly Editor Maril Crabtree’s poems have been published in I-70 Review, Coal City Review, Main Street Rag, and others. Her book Fireflies in the Gathering Dark (Aldrich Press, 2017) is a Kansas Notable Book and Thorpe Menn Award finalist.

My words are up against the wall,

monochrome whispers

that slither along the outer rim

of the greater prismatic signified.

No alcanzan

estas alas luminosas 

de tantos pensamientos,

su vuelo refrenado

por este vidrio opaco.

 

My words

mis palabras

up against the wall

contra el muro

two lonely tongues

dos lenguas solitarias.

 

But

juntas

I weave them

ensartando sílabas

like so many pearls,

una escalera de luz

that overcomes the limits,

que derrumba los muros,

words that fly on shimmery wings

en todos los colores de

my voice.

~ Julie Sellers

An Associate Professor of Spanish at Benedictine College, Julie Sellers has twice been the overall prose winner of the Kansas Voices Contest. She has published in Kansas Time + Place, The Write Launch, Kanhistique, and New Works Review. Her third academic book, The Modern Bachateros, was published in 2017 (McFarland).

Monthly Editor Maril Crabtree’s poems have been published in I-70 Review, Coal City Review, Main Street Rag, and others. Her book Fireflies in the Gathering Dark (Aldrich Press, 2017) is a Kansas Notable Book and Thorpe Menn Award finalist.

From the air it seems nothing more

than brushstrokes, casual and thoughtless,

a grand-scale scribbled earthwork,

a monster sketch some great artist

left abandoned at a café —

tiny refrigerator, doorless;

door of a house, houseless; tangles

of the unrecognizable commonplace —

 

not God pointing the way out

of the Garden. But what of this have we

not done to each other, and more? —

a scientist’s dark paper

airplane, thrown by a brute;

children collected in cages;

a world warming to smother us all.

~ Morgan O. H. McCune

Morgan O.H. McCune currently works at Pittsburg State University in southeast Kansas. She is a native Kansan and holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from Washington University in St. Louis (1991) and an M.L.S. from Emporia State University (2002). Her poems have been published previously in River Styx.

Monthly Editor Maril Crabtree’s poems have been published in I-70 Review, Coal City Review, Main Street Rag, and others. Her book Fireflies in the Gathering Dark (Aldrich Press, 2017) is a Kansas Notable Book and Thorpe Menn Award finalist.

We come apart
at the edges; our world
falls upon a deep fissured space,
civilization tumbles into
dark heart
crevasses. Our
long quilted union
reveals unraveled seams,
thread-bare patches stretched
to bursting, fabric worn
thin from an uneasy
union.
Ancient fears again
reign
supreme, masked
yet tangible
as breath,
as lungs breathing in deep
lies like polluted
smoke rings.
Adrenalin shouts
lurid cadenzas, spews
vile divisions, false- premised
words call fallen hearts
into a more hopeless
insanity;
delusion-dulled minds
mute all ability to reason;
hatred colors each
loud thought red
with stolen
blood.

August 12 marks the two-year anniversary of the “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville, Va. where Heather Heyer, a counterprotester, was killed.

Elizabeth Perdomo, born in Emporia, Kansas, raised in Winfield, has written poetry since a teen. “One Turn of Seasons,” includes her poetry and another’s photography. Recently, her poems appeared in “Kansas Time + Place,” “Interstice” and “The Chachalaca Review.” Perdomo now lives in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Monthly Editor Maril Crabtree’s poems have been published in I-70 Review, Coal City Review, Main Street Rag, and others. Her book Fireflies in the Gathering Dark (Aldrich Press, 2017) is a Kansas Notable Book and Thorpe Menn Award finalist.

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