Whispers / Silence by Barbara Waterman-Peters

Photo of Barbara Waterman-Peters

Barbara Waterman-Peters, (BFA, Washburn University, MFA, Kansas State University, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, Washburn University) whose award-winning work is in museum, corporate and private collections, is represented by several galleries, including the Jones Gallery in Kansas City, MO, the Strecker Nelson West Gallery in Manhattan, KS, and the Beauchamp and SouthWind Galleries in Topeka. She was a founding member of the Collective Art Gallery (1987-2014) and is a charter member of Circle of 7.  She has shown regionally, nationally and internationally in more than 300 solo, invitational and juried exhibitions. 

Waterman-Peters taught at Washburn and Kansas State Universities as well as for Lassen Community College in California. She has received a Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Achievement from the State of Kansas and the Monroe Award from the Washburn University Alumni Association. In 2011 she was awarded the ARTY for Distinguished Visual Artist from ARTSConnect in Topeka.

Waterman-Peters was the staff artist for the Washburn University Theater from 1999 until 2016. In 2010 she founded STUDIO 831, an artists’ space and gallery in the North Topeka Arts & Entertainment District (NOTO). She has served on numerous boards, most recently the NOTO Arts & Entertainment District Board. In addition, she was part of Heartland Visioning’s Quality of Life component, and a curator and panelist for various arts institutions. Currently she is part of the ARTS Leadership Roundtable.

She is co-founder of Pen & Brush Press with author Glendyn Buckley. She and Glendyn each received a Children’s Book Award from Kansas Authors Club for their work on their second book, Bird. Their first book, The Fish’s Wishes, was placed on the KNEA’s Recommended Reading List. Recently, she worked with poet Dennis Etzel, Jr on the exhibits, art, and book for the Two Ponders: A Collaboration project.

Working with other authors she has created cover art and illustrations for numerous books, most recently Marcia Cebulska’s Watching Men Dance. Her art has appeared in such publications as Inscape (Washburn University).

She writes articles about art and artists for TOPEKA Magazine and other publications. One of her creative non-fiction essays was recently included in 105 Meadowlark Reader.

About the Guest Editor: Dennis Etzel Jr. (he/him) lives with his spouse Carrie and their five boys in Topeka, Kansas where he teaches English at Washburn University. He has numerous books, including My Secret Wars of 1984 (BlazeVOX 2015) which was selected by The Kansas City Star as a Best Poetry Book of 2015. His work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, FUGUE, Puerto del Sol, 1913: a journal of poetic forms, Tarpaulin Sky, DIAGRAM, and others.

Note about the poem: The two-voice poem is hard to accomplish, for sure. It isn’t simply writing two poems for two readers to synchronize reading at the same time, but the effect of it–that the form is about juxtaposition as much as it is about synchornization. Barbara Waterman-Peters shows her mastery of this through even the titles, “Whispers” and “Silence,” because in these difficult times both forms are catalystic in moving to change.

Day Is Done. Is Beginning.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              by Marjorie Maddox and photograph “Two Hearts” by Karen Elias

Evening grays into rest:
low light, cool earth; 
 
cushion of moss;
scent of clover or pine
 
that fastens the mind
to the living beneath,
 
around, or above
the expanding arc
 
of our hearts if only
we’d breathe in
 
the pulse and hum
of the land and the one
 
beside us now, reclining
like this on dirt that holds
 
and enfolds us in Earth’s
quiet comfort of calm,
 
this needed rhythm
of rest/rise/repeat singing 
 
us toward each day’s
shimmering season of sleep.



Two Hearts, Karen Elias (USA). Contemporary.
Marjorie Maddox

Marjorie Maddox, professor of English at Lock Haven University, has published 11 collections of poetry with 2 forthcoming in 2021, a short story collection; 4 children’s books.

Dr. Karen Elias taught college English for 40 years and is now an artist/activist, using photography to record the fragility of the natural world and raise awareness about climate change. Her work is in private collections, has been exhibited in several galleries, and has won numerous awards. Their collaborative book, Heart Speaks, Is Spoken For, is forthcoming from Shanti Arts.

Guest Editor Julie Ramon is an English instructor at Crowder College and SNHU. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. She is currently working on two poetry chapbooks and serves as a co-director of Downtown Poetry, a Joplin, Missouri poetry series. She lives in Joplin with her husband, daughter, and sons.

When you undo the done                                                                                                                                                                                                                by Allison Blevins

you startle like a tall step, a red sign, a flashing light. Some unbecomes happen slowly—melting ice on granite, the swiftly turn of a hand lifting, bread fresh six days: how mold seems to rise rather than fall to rest and spread. Some unbecomes happen quickly as lace or thin surface water, frozen, scraped to curls. 
 
To unbecome your pain is to become pain, to warm bathe in short breath and the quick shallow beats of your stumbling heart and know every day the pain will come, the car drive away, the door shut, the lid close.

Allison Blevins is the author of the chapbooks Susurration (Blue Lyra Press, 2019), Letters to Joan (Lithic Press, 2019), and A Season for Speaking (Seven Kitchens Press, 2019). Her books Slowly/Suddenly (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2021) and Cataloging Pain (YesYes Books, 2023) are forthcoming. Chorus for the Kill (Seven Kitchens Press 2021), her collaborative chapbook, is forthcoming. She is the Director of Small Harbor Publishing and a Poetry Editor at Literary Mama. She lives in Missouri with her spouse and three children where she co-organizes the Downtown Poetry reading series.

Guest Editor Julie Ramon is an English instructor at Crowder College and SNHU. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. She is currently working on two poetry chapbooks and serves as a co-director of Downtown Poetry, a Joplin, Missouri poetry series. She lives in Joplin with her husband, daughter, and sons.

Eddie, the Mailman, the Moon                                                                                                                                                                                                                by Pat Daneman

Somewhere day and night 
are equal. Everywhere life and death are, 
though the tilting of the earth,
 
the number of its revolutions,
have nothing to do with it. I stare 
as long as I like at a cloud 
 
that torments the moon like a cobweb
over a face. I listen as the sun goes down
to Mozart, Brahms, Eddie, the boy next door
 
who thinks he is learning the drums.  
His father moved out before Christmas.  
His mother is making it up to him.  
 
Sticks on skin to obliterate his father’s face, 
the smell of his hair foul with cigarette smoke.  
It helps not at all with the acne on Eddie’s forehead,
 
how nobody sees him except to look away.
Yesterday I left a book on the roof of my car, 
got in and drove to the library to return it. 
 
The mailman distracted me—
get the mail now or when I come home?  
I will never see the book again.  
 
I never read it, just let it rest on the table 
next to my chair, set a sweating glass of 
vodka on it. No harm. The librarian
 
didn’t care, just locked my check away.
Somewhere she and Mozart are equal, 
Brahms and the mailman. But Eddie, 
 
he is above us all and rising 
on the foam of noise he has beaten
from equal parts of life and leaving.

 

Pat Daneman’s recent poetry appears in Atlanta Review, Freshwater, Bryant Literary Review, and Typehouse. Her collection, After All (FutureCycle Press 2018), was first runner-up, 2019 Thorpe-Menn Award and finalist, Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award. She is author of a chapbook, Where the World Begins.

Guest Editor Julie Ramon is an English instructor at Crowder College and SNHU. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. She is currently working on two poetry chapbooks and serves as a co-director of Downtown Poetry, a Joplin, Missouri poetry series. She lives in Joplin with her husband, daughter, and sons.

On the Day My Bridal Dress Goes to Goodwill                                                                                                                                                                                       by Shuly Xóchitl Cawood

I kept it twenty-two years in my childhood closet,
shoving it aside when I visited my parents
to make room for a purple hoodie, a long-sleeved
blue sweater, a pair of jeans
folded on a metal hanger. I wanted the dress
 
to go to someone young I would surely find
who could not yet afford a fancy frock,
who could not afford lace edgings
or capped sleeves, who could not afford
 
to divorce because surely someone else
would have better luck in that dress if I just found
the right person. But anyone knows that luck
 
is what you get when you stop looking, when you stumble
upon it on the far side of a thrift store rack
hanging there as if it has nowhere to go but home
 
with you, as if it’s been waiting all along,
tucked into a plastic bag that knows how to zip
up its secrets. Luck is almost the same
thing as hope, just a little less shiny,
a little less white.


Shuly Xóchitl Cawood is the author of The Going and Goodbye: a memoir and the story collection, A Small Thing to Want. Her poetry collection, Trouble Can Be So Beautiful at the Beginning, won the Adrienne Bond Award for Poetry.

Guest Editor Julie Ramon is an English instructor at Crowder College and SNHU. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. She is currently working on two poetry chapbooks and serves as a co-director of Downtown Poetry, a Joplin, Missouri poetry series. She lives in Joplin with her husband, daughter, and sons.

My Red-Bellied Woodpecker                                                 by Kayla McCollough

She lives in my dorsal cavity, flitting
between vertebrae and brain. In humid
air, her strong wings beat past blood
and bone and thoughts. She packs

my brain wrinkles with small treasures:
glossy photos and her favorite colors, 
emerald and honey yellow. Sometimes
she perches on the spongy walls and sings

a small guttural song, kwirr kwirr churr—
her favorite—but when she’s lonely,
a throaty, crying cough, cha cha cha.
She feeds on termite words, sad

berries, and hard nutshells, jams them
into any crook and crack crack cracks them
back into manageable pieces. 

Kayla McCollough graduated from PSU in May 2020 with an MA in English. She often writes introspective poems that explore emotions and the daily struggles with anxiety. Sometimes these poems turn into songs. In her spare time, Kayla cares for plants and creates macrame and embroidery projects. When it’s warm, she’s outside soaking up the sun and enjoying birds or other creatures. 

Guest Editor Katelyn Roth graduated from Pittsburg State University with her Master’s in poetry. Her work has previously appeared online at Silver Birch Press and at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity. Currently, she lives, works, and writes in Kansas City.

Spinal Fusion                                                                             by Anne Graue

The entire earth is covered with uneven surfaces
and puddles. Pain travels an endless loop from toes
to calf to ankle in spherical tantrums. Anti-inflammatories
give the impression of gentle floating above
blooming hibiscus, and Zoysia grass carpets
a circular patch of yard, ghosting the flowers,
wanting nothing more to do with them. Armadillo
blood changed the soil’s composition to gray dust,
their armor disintegrated in spite of evolution. The fifth
lumbar disc governs all of the anxious neurons
in the legs, and the second toe of the left foot moves
independently without a sound. Many years have passed
since wild giraffes were commonplace—I remember
them to forget who I am now. The earth’s crust rises
up, meets the horizon’s window, ignores the pane
of glass at the edge, turning all things magic.

Anne Graue’s work has appeared in literary journals and anthologies both online and in print. The author of Full and Plum-Colored Velvet, (Woodley Press, 2020) and Fig Tree in Winter (Dancing Girl Press, 2017), she lives in the lower Hudson Valley of New York with her husband and two daughters.

Guest Editor Katelyn Roth graduated from Pittsburg State University with her Master’s in poetry. Her work has previously appeared online at Silver Birch Press and at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity. Currently, she lives, works, and writes in Kansas City.

Influence: Monday                                                               by Merridawn Duckler

Now in the spirit of that
which is not my spirit
I call the snow.
 
To build up a new landscape, old on top of old.
 
The contours show
levels in sediment
at each melted touch.
 
Light disguises one mountain under another.
 
Frozen air falls in small, bright pieces
on the dark and mossy deck.
We watch what falls, not what lands.
 
By the time we awakened,
it had been here for a long while,
History is silent
and has already arrived.

Merridawn Duckler is a writer from Oregon, author of INTERSTATE (dancing girl press) and IDIOM (Washburn Prize, Harbor Review.) New work in Seneca Review, Women’s Review of Books, Interim, Posit. Fellowships/awards: Yaddo, Southampton Poetry Conference, Poets on the Coast. She’s an editor at Narrative and at the philosophy journal Evental Aesthetics.  

Guest Editor Katelyn Roth graduated from Pittsburg State University with her Master’s in poetry. Her work has previously appeared online at Silver Birch Press and at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity. Currently, she lives, works, and writes in Kansas City.

The Nature of Work                                                             by Robert Stewart

Out of four hens, we get one
egg a day
so far, 
varied once by a double yolk, 
 
otherwise the division of labor 
suggests a union coop, 
as on Sunday,
Silver lays; Monday, Mary— 
 
the barred rocks—then the buff 
Orpingtons Tuesday, Wednesday, 
almost the rotation 
deserves a factory whistle  
 
for production of brown shells 
in pine shavings this January,
clocked in
for a seven-day work week;
 
so one hen could rotate out 
a week each month—one 
in the hole
as on my old street crew, one
 
unseen by passers by,
who honk to say 
everyone knows 
the union divides up work: 
 
one to dig, one to throw 
dirt into the truck bed, 
one with a clipboard
and leaning on a longhandle.
 
No matter what deals get made
in coop or clutch, work
gets done 
by one alone in the dark.

Robert Stewart’s latest book of poems is Working Class (2018, Stephen F. Austin State Univ.); his latest collection of essays is The Narrow Gate: Writing, Art & Values (2014, Serving House).  For many years, he edited New Letters quarterly, at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Guest Editor Katelyn Roth graduated from Pittsburg State University with her Master’s in poetry. Her work has previously appeared online at Silver Birch Press and at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity. Currently, she lives, works, and writes in Kansas City.

Who’s Afraid of Silence?                                                     by Allison Blevins

I want to tell you pain has whispered its silence on my skin: how we once spent an afternoon ripping our fingers into orange flesh over the kitchen sink, pulp and succulent dripping, sweet coating our arms. I’m washing in the still solidliquidsolid sound. How the yellow day shine-light is now so often both cold and alone—this silence is so loud—and I lay in our bed and form shapes with my mouth and hands to explain. You were supposed to love me enough to save us. I am stones once held together by your certainty. And one day, I might see me as you have. How terrible.
 
 
I wish I had at once known and numbered my dead, anticipated how they would flop to surface gasping. Isn’t love meant to love what rots in corners—love the remains unburied.

Allison Blevins is the author of the chapbooks Susurration (Blue Lyra Press, 2019), Letters to Joan (Lithic Press, 2019), and A Season for Speaking (Seven Kitchens Press, 2019). Her books Slowly/Suddenly (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2021) and Cataloging Pain (YesYes Books, 2023) are forthcoming. Chorus for the Kill (Seven Kitchens Press 2021), her collaborative chapbook, is forthcoming. She is the Director of Small Harbor Publishing and a Poetry Editor at Literary Mama. She lives in Missouri with her spouse and three children where she co-organizes the Downtown Poetry reading series. For more information visit http://www.allisonblevins.com

Guest Editor Katelyn Roth graduated from Pittsburg State University with her Master’s in poetry. Her work has previously appeared online at Silver Birch Press and at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity. Currently, she lives, works, and writes in Kansas City.