Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Because I want

I dominate

 

take without need

devour without hunger

guzzle without thirst

 

pretty houses

pretty things

pretty self

yielding You made ugly

for my pretties.

 

Yet on the altar of reckoning,

knife point of my own extinction,

You will ask me

 

Why do I

drown Your waters

 

slash Your forests

choke the air

Your very breath?

 

How will I answer?

 

Forgive me, Mother

 

for I wage holocaust

on Your handiwork

 

eviscerate Your contours

for coal

 

mainline Your veins and

arteries with my hubris

 

cram Your nostrils and mouth

with CAFOs until Your lungs explode

 

rape You

in order to Google you

seed Your womb

with my refuse

then sodomize Your children

for oil

 

Forgive me, Mother.

 

I am soft and spoiled

rotten with excess,

putrid even to my pretty self

 

I do not notice

salmon and swallowtail

glow in reverence of You,

rhino and orangutan

nuzzle You with affection

 

ginseng and goldenrod

exult Your essence

 

sea lion and snow leopard

pay homage to You

 

pine and sequoia’s

fragrant gratitude of You

 

before

 

I sacrifice them

on the altar

of the American Dream.

~ Mary Silwance

 

Mary Silwance is an environmentalist, gardener and mother. She served as poetry co-editor for Kansas City Voices and is a member of the Kansas City Writers Group. Her work has appeared in Konza Journal, Descansos, Heartland: Poems, Sequestrum, Well Versed, Rock Springs Review and her blog, tonicwild.

 

Guest Editor Maril Crabtree’s latest poetry collection, Fireflies in the Gathering Dark, is a 2018 Notable Kansas Book selection. In addition to three published chapbooks, her work has appeared in Canyon Voices, Main Street Rag, Coal City Review, I-70 Review, Earth’s Daughters, and others.

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stone hearts

rolling in those

immortal breasts

icy judgment

so precise

unflinching words

in uninhibited wrath

wide eyed

soul-piercing stares

of the statuesque

accusers and blamers

in this moment

of eternity

 

their frozen

disapproval loses

its balance

on those infamous scales

their stone hearts

are met with

feather and wedge

their wide eyed

stares tear and

flow as rivers

into the seas

when a mother

hugs her child

when a community

embraces its own

when a nation

feeds its hungry

when humanity

is humane

~ 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.

Guest Editor Maril Crabtree’s latest poetry collection, Fireflies in the Gathering Dark, is a 2018 Notable Kansas Book selection. In addition to three published chapbooks, her work has appeared in Canyon Voices, Main Street Rag, Coal City Review, I-70 Review, Earth’s Daughters, and others.

Trumplandia. And We the People

are not an extension of your family

business. We are not another brand

of wine or clothing, or a building on

which to slap a gaudily gilded

name. We are not your obedient

minions willing to lie for you, or

live your lies, or endure your rages.

We have rages of our own—for life

and health, the fortunes of our children

and our grandchildren and their fathers

and mothers, including the four-and-a-half-billion-year-old

one upon whose bruised and injured

body we spin. Her name is not Trumplandia,

either. And she will not lie or lie down for you.

~ Kathleen Cain

Kathleen Cain is a native Nebraskan who has lived in Colorado since 1972. Her nonfiction book The Cottonwood Tree: An American Champion (2007) was selected for the Nebraska 150 Books Project. Two of her poems appeared in Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology, 1867-2017.

 

Guest Editor Maril Crabtree’s latest poetry collection, Fireflies in the Gathering Dark, is a 2018 Notable Kansas Book selection. In addition to three published chapbooks, her work has appeared in Canyon Voices, Main Street Rag, Coal City Review, I-70 Review, Earth’s Daughters, and others.

I remember once you sat when all others stood up

and headed toward the exit. The others followed

the illuminated floor lights, a woman in uniform

held a trash bag in her hands and said, “Thank you,”

 

and not one replied, “I should be thanking you.”

It was the month God told you to appreciate,

so every time we watched a movie,

you told me I could leave if I wanted,

but you wanted to see all the credits in silence.

 

When the cleaning crew shuffled into the theater,

surprised to find people still seated, you politely

asked me what I thought of the movie while staying

with the credits like you were waiting for a sign.

~ Matthew David Manning

Matthew David Manning is an English instructor at Pittsburg State University (PSU) in the Intensive English Program. Matthew holds degrees in creative writing from Arizona State University and PSU. His poetry has appeared various publications including I-70 Review, Red Paint Hill, Rust + Moth, Kansas Time + Place, and Chiron Review.

Guest Editor Melissa Fite Johnson’s first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. She is also the author of A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky, winner of the 2017 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas. 

The Kansas night sky feels like home.
Those stars soften the empty black
and comfort me, so many towns away
from home where I imagine
Mom is thinking about me.

Mom sits on the front porch, swinging
in the glider, one foot dangles.
She puffs a cigarette, tip blazing
like her chipped nail polish,
sends swirls of smoke upward
into the nothing that joins the stars.

The wind blows, the streetlight flickers
on and off and back on again.
A chained mutt down the street barks,
rusted metal clacks barely audible.
Mom is unfazed.
She’s waited all day to live this moment,
nothing left to distract her thinking.

Both her boys off to college now,
so many towns away.
The house holds less breath, so she’s turned
our bedroom lights on.
She’s scattered the house with the clothes
we left behind, to trick herself.
She’s sat in both our beds to fill the cold
blankets with some kind of warmth.
She’s checked all the channels on TV,
but nothing’s on.

Now she finishes her last cigarette.
Sips the last sips of her sweetened coffee.
Under the stars, calm, her breathing
is slow, deliberate.

Inside the phone rings.
She flicks her cigarette into the dampening grass,
grabs her slick mug, and hops inside
to find my name on the caller I.D.

~ Cody Shrum

Cody Shrum is a first-year MFA candidate studying fiction at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His poetry has appeared in such magazines as Rust + Moth, Kansas Time + Place, and velvet-tail, as well as the anthology, Kansas Time + Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry. Cody and his wife, Kylee, live in Kansas City with their two dogs, Zoey and Zeus.

Guest Editor Melissa Fite Johnson’s first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. She is also the author of A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky, winner of the 2017 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas. 

I‘m rich as a bank of loans,

my money stacks high and green

as a forest drenched in rain,

a slope of low mountain in the mist.

 

Famous as a marauding saint,

my arms swing out wide and bracing

as an incomplete circle of petrospheres,

a horseshoe of stars cupping the moon.

 

I am strong as a taurean bull.

Watch the way I pull at the weight,

how my eyes alight with the strain,

how my shoulders quake like engines.

 

My heirs will rule the earth like suns.

Watch as they grow tall and searing,

how their feet leave sooted prints,

how their arms sway like a burning bush.

 

My heart will beat a thousand rhythms

for every tap of your finger on the table.

I stampede horses through your living room

until the sun has steeped your tea.

~ Gregory Stapp

 

Gregory Stapp received his BA from the University of Oklahoma and his MFA from Queens

University of Charlotte. His poems have appeared in, Lime Hawk Journal, Shot Glass, The Ekphrastic Review, and Forage, among others. He recently served as the Poetry Editor for Qu: A Literary Magazine.

Guest Editor Melissa Fite Johnson’s first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. She is also the author of A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky, winner of the 2017 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas. 

Sometimes, you find bits of yourself
in the ash, embers you roll over
with your foot. Be careful—
some things are too big to control.
It moves without asking,
the way a person touches another,
a risk, a door to a warm or cool place.
It speaks words that aren’t there.
It will tell you where to go from here.
And, like all good things, it will die.
And this stumbling too has saved you.

~ Julie Ramon

Julie Ramon is an English instructor, specializing in English as a second language, at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. She also teaches academic writing at Crowder College in Missouri. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband, son and daughter.


Guest Editor Melissa Fite Johnson’s first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. She is also the author of A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky, winner of the 2017 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas. 

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