Only a few Dems in this town, and Susan & Jason
have the bumper stickers to prove it, back of
the Ford Ranger, Kansas Dems, a blue circle.
Every season we gather, eat pizza and fruit salad, share
greens we’ve carted from Lawrence, next town, blue
town–dot–in red rectangle Kansas; here in Emporia, we
were once Progressive; Wm Allen White ran
against the Klan; I remember coal-colored CJ being called to play
with us at the Methodist church, only under-21 bassist in town,
and the tune goes: “Who’s got a robe that’s long and white…
Ride on, Ride on,” and all I can say is, “I think they mean
the Jesus, and hope they don’t mean the others
on horses, with the wicked pointy hats,” and we laugh, but not
because we know, but because we fear; something of those old
nights of fire and tall crosses, nooses, runs into land we now walk,
dirt fed by blood, and those damned knotted trees still stand.
*William Allen White ran for governor in 1924 in an attempt to expose the Klan’s prejudices (The Emporia Gazette).
~ Associate Professor Dr. Kevin Rabas (MFA, Goddard College; PhD, KU) co-directs the creative writing program at Emporia State and edits Flint Hills Review. He has four books: Bird’s Horn; Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner; Sonny Kenner’s Red Guitar; and Spider Face: stories. He also writes regularly for Jazz Ambassador Magazine (JAM). His work has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes, and Rabas is the winner of the Langston Hughes Award for Poetry, the Victor Contoski Poetry Award, the Jerome Johanning Playwriting Award, and the Salina New Voice Award.
~ February’s Guest Editor, Laura Lee Washburn, is the author of the Palanquin Prize chapbook Watching the Contortionists, and March Street Press’s This Good Warm Place, a poetry collection. She directs the creative writing program at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas. http://www.pittstate.edu/department/english/