Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

To those who would wait

for the revolution

wearing John Lennon t-shirts andChenoweth, Sarah

Guy Fawkes masks,

tattoos on their arms,

braids in their hair,

waiting for the return of

Marley, Tupac, Marat, Cobain:

 

To those who would wait

for the tide to turn,

for the waters to rise,

for others to fall

on their swords,

for a new king to be crowned;

a queen forgotten:

 

To those who would wait

until it is convenient;

when their work is done,

when children have gone,

after that next big promotion,

vacation, fad diet, season finale:

 

To those who would wait

until the fat cats own their lives,

until the food riots begin and

the summers become too hot

for victory gardens:

 

To those who would wait

under overpasses,

in alleyways,

buried in inescapable debt:

 

Stop waiting.

The fight did not end

in 1789, 1865, or 1964.

 

Stop waiting.

The fight is now, and

 

the word of the day is Resistance.

 

Sarah Chenoweth graduated from both the English and Communication M.A. programs at Pittsburg State University. She has been published in print through I-70 Review, Communication Theory, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, and the Journal of International Communication, and online through the Silver Birch Press and Kansas Time + Place.

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

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A safety pin punctures

Rhiannon_Ross

her purple, silk blouse.

Code for

You’re safe with me.

But the children plead:

Prick your finger, pretty please.

Why should a diaper pin on your lapel

persuade us now?

 

Prick, prick your finger,

pretty, pretty, please.

March for the teen with hands up!

Who got shot dead in the street.

Hug the girls whose mama

overdosed on opiates and alcohol.

 

Drop coins in the kettle,

his cup,

the collection plate.

Go to bed hungry

so tomorrow we eat.

 

Prick, prick, prick

your fingers,

pretty please, pretty please!

Break your manicured nails

when you dig out the border wall.

Break bread with the lady

swaddled in a burka.

Break away from the comforts

of the status quo.

Cash in your white privilege.

 

Tell the powers that be what we

cannot safely speak.

Please.

 

Rhiannon Ross teaches youth poetry workshops for In Our Own Words, a Missouri Arts Council-funded program. She serves on the Riverfront Reading Series committee, the Jump Start Art KC board, and as a regional co-coordinator for Poetry Out Loud. She received a 2012 Rocket Grant for community project, Vox Narro.

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

 

Panera, noon, forced to share a table. He eats his soup

Katelyn

like he’s mad it’s soup. I never see him drink,

only transport the wide, flat spoon to his mouth with a fist

gripping its neck. He was Air Force—

nothing sissy about it—has driven from Colorado

to see a friend, a woman friend, and needs directions

to her house over by the country club. Got into town

too early. Time to kill.

Why call it cobb salad? No cobbs in it.

Chicken, spry romaine lettuce, withered bacon and

Gorgonzola cheese, tomatoes, a halved hard-boiled egg, avocado

if you ask for it, but no cobbs. No Charlies in My Lai, either.

No way to know, though. They all looked the same.

Went up with a gunner once, shiny new. Barely knew

where the trigger was. Had to tell him which direction to shoot in.

Probably had to tell him how to unzip his own trousers.

Took a bullet straight through his chicken plate, into his chest.

Right side, though. Didn’t have to tell him where to shoot

after that. He’d just shoot at anything.

Wedge salad is a different story. Wedge salad

is honest.

 

Katelyn Roth graduated from Pittsburg State University with degrees in Creative Writing and Psychology. She has been previously published in the campus literary magazine Cow Creek Review. Currently, she resides in Pittsburg with her husband and dog, where she is working on a Masters in Creative Writing at PSU.

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

In the bang of war

the rifle butt smacks

the sniper’s shoulder:

another bullet swifts

the long dark hollow

of the killing barrel.

 

Minutes after the landing

the Rooster is strutting

The cameras are rolling

Hand shakes all around

Top brass is beaming

and cheering begins.

 

I scarcely fathom the howl

of all this volumed Kevlar―

yet my nation dances

on the bones of the dead

to bend the will of others

to a pin on a map.

 

Jemshed Khan has published poems in such magazines as Number One Magazine, Wittenberg Review, #BlackArtMatters (2016), Read Local (2016), Rigorous (2017), NanoText(Medusa’s Laugh Press, 2017) and the chapbook Paean for Billy Collins (Calliope Club Press, 2017). 

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

A dream left me aching with past tense

longing. An impossible situationjjs2

a long time ago, but dreams have no

calendar. Why wake now, remembering

 

the intensity of his need hidden

behind a triangular smile. Instead,

recall telling him you now understand

your role in his life, as a shield from

 

emotions he can’t unpack. He does not

want to grasp my message, but I see it

flash across his face. War-torn Germany,

a mother selling the only thing she

 

had to feed her son in a city bombed

to dust. His shame? Being the reason for

her shame. How long can a son’s shame remain?

A lifetime, shown in his distrust of all

 

women’s love, shielding his heart behind

the barbed wire of a camp, built years ago.

Reaching out, he grasped my hand, and pulled it

through the shredding wire, wounding us both.

 

I lock him away again in nights’ dream

casket, filled with rue and rosemary.

Stay inside forever, I whisper.

 

No, don’t.

 
Janet Jenkins-Stotts is a late blooming author of both poetry and prose.  She published her first novel “The Orchid Garden” in 2015. Jenkins-Stotts lives in Topeka, Kansas with her husband, Stan and Romeo, their miniature pincher. When not at the computer, composing, you can usually find her at a bridge table.

 

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

Just behind me, my wife, Annie,Matthew Manning Photo

is washing dishes. For two days,

she made chicken soup

and now she cleans the pots,

places servings into the fridge

sniffling all the while.

Each pot pops and booms

behind the wall. There is so much

that sound hides from my eyes, though,

while she cleans them an image,

floating and invisible, teases me

this thought of her tapping

each cabinet in the kitchen

as a ritual for good luck. For New Years,

we had tang yuan because it’s round,

but my father complained

about our lack of black-eyed peas.

 

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

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review. Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri. She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

 

 

In the dark times

Will there also be singing?

~ Bertolt Brecht

 

Desert morning, the coyotes return

to their cubbyholes, the stars

have wheeled in arcs

 

to stand in their appointed doorways.

The great horned owl on the light pole

sees the neighborhood, sees, if he wants to,

 

how I stand shoeless on the cool sand,

lucky cuss, wingless bird that I am.

 

In the dark times there will be singing

and I, in a forgotten crevice in the universe,

will spread my arms and inhale deep, enormous.

~ Marjorie Saiser

Marjorie Saiser’s most recent book is I Have Nothing to Say About Fire (The Backwaters Press, 2016). Saiser’s poems have been published in Poetry East, Poet Lore, RHINO, Rattle, Nimrod, Mud Season Review, Fourth River, The Writer’s Almanac, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, and at poetmarge.com.

Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the author or editor of two dozen books, including the recent poetry collection Following the Curve, and collection of prose Everyday Magic: Fieldnotes on the Mundane and Miraculous. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she teaches, she leads writing workshops widely, and loves watching the poetry of others rise and glow.

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