Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

When I stopped shaving 

         under my arms

when I stopped shaving the leg

I was not thinking about you.

The young woman stuffed her

  shirt with tissues for tips.

Haslam was not this woman.

Haslam stops shaving at 25

unworried about the waitress

who will notice, who will tell

my husband who will tell

me, “they” talk about 

                     unshaved armpits.

Haslam is the woman.

 Woman has always been 

  judged.

It wasn’t shame exactly

nor exactly fear

but some male threat Haslam felt:

when her hair was too short

a man followed her in to the John.

He did nothing.  He didn’t know.

Haslam girl woman pudgy twelve

  boy bad cut just twelve.

Not-Haslam said her brothers teased.

I remember she said “on the rag.”

Haslam and the Family Picnic

  Haslam afraid of the razor

  Haslam brave     Haslam coward

                                shaves for the first time

then for a dozen years. Haslam

decides in 1990 your ideas

are stupid, that shaving is a social construct.

Haslam advertises for the O

 shape of their lips.

None of this the least related to sex.

 

H.L. Johnson has been writing for enough years to come into her full voice. She is the founder and driving force of a small bi-annual reading series. Her manuscript-in-progress The Scurrilous Notebooks includes these and other poems. Johnson, a feminist activist, is the behind-the-scenes presence on several public social media pages and is actively involved in raising money for redistribution to women in crisis.

Monthly 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 and dogs in Lawrence, Kansas.

 

 

Advertisements

He wouldn’t have gone
if I didn’t go. I said, you talk
some talk, time to do
some walking. Last year, I went
alone, two hours to Kansas City.

I don’t need a man to hold
my hand while I march for women,
but it feels good—husband
in his leather jacket and Rebel
Alliance shirt. At the rally,

I know without looking,
he’s somewhere right behind me.
He is always right
behind me. I reach back to find

his sleeve, hook my fingers
over his crossed arms and squeeze
once for every day he’s said,
you work hard, you do hard work, do good
work, until my fingers are numb.

 

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.

Monthly 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 and dogs in Lawrence, Kansas.

Buzzard shadows stencil fog—

    wings overlapping

    Eagle’s black shadow

summer hunter

winter hunter

How do I love thee?

    What clock ticks the paces

    one heart to the next

    wingbeats invisible

    to the naked eye?

Below live the mussels

    Ouichita and Pink Paper

    with wings of thin shell

shining rosy flanges

    immersed in mud.

My armspan is a forgotten     

    measure like a cubit—

    half-length of a hand.

    My shoulderblades clasp

    paired muscle wings.

 

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, won Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award for Shadow Light: Poems. Other books are Turtle’s Beating Heart, memoir (U. of Nebraska Press) and Casino Bestiary: Poems (Spartan). She has won 3 Ks. Notable Book Awards and other recognition. She teaches in Baker University’s MLA program. www.deniselow.net

Monthly 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 and dogs in Lawrence, Kansas.

 

with apologies to James Wright

 

Forget about the bear paddling
a canoe through neon waves
in this dark bar at the edge of Troost.
A couple huddles in a corner.
Maybe half-drunk, she rests her head
on his shoulder. He kisses her crown
but eyes her breasts.

I try to ignore those two
so I can tell you about a lake,
the sounds of tom-toms,
water rushing over a cliff,
and twilight shadows filling the sky,
about a place far from plastic cups,
cell phones, and freeways.

I want to lie in a hammock there,
hide out from this bar,
where I serve rounds
of gin for men, sweaty
and stinking of tar. I want
to lie under a pine, watch
chicken hawks glide

and squawk at each other.
They fly from their roosts
and soar. Here, waves
keep turning against themselves.
They form a maze
of muddy water: a creek
running dark green, brown, gray.

 

Originally published in Where Water Meets the Rock (39 West Press 2017) and in Thorny Locust (Vol. 19.2 2013)

 

Lindsey Martin-Bowen: A poem in her fourth collection, Where Water Meets the Rock (39 West Press 2017) reaped an Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest’s 85th Contest. Her third, CROSSING KANSAS with Jim Morrison (in chapbook form), was a finalist in the QuillsEdge Press 2015-2016 contest and won the KAC 2017 “It Looks Like a Million.” Her poems have appeared in many lit zines, including New Letters, I-70 Review, Thorny Locust, Flint Hills Review, Coal City Review, Ekphrastic Review (Egyptian Challenge), Phantom Drift, and Rockhurst Review. She holds an MA and Juris Doctor and teaches Criminal Justice classes at Blue Mountain Community College. (To be near children and grandchildren, she followed William Stafford’s spirit to Oregon.) Until then, she taught writing/literature at UMKC, MCC—Longview, Penn Valley, Rockhurst University, and Johnson County CC. Poetry is her way of singing.

Monthly Editor Lori Baker Martin is assistant professor of English at Pittsburg State University. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, (parenthetical), The Little Balkans Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, and The Maine Review. Martin has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Independence Community College, and Pittsburg State University. She has worked as a reader for both The Iowa Review and NPR. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

I carry out the trash, for example,
if nagged about it constantly enough,
tugging the bag from its chrome container,
twisting and tying the top, snapping
out a proud new bag whose dreams of glory
will crash on reefs of spoiled pears and used Kleenex.

And I can do other important things,
like go down in the basement.  Come back up.

Or, if there’s a scrap of paper in the yard,
I go get it. Or shrug.  It’s just paper,
you know. Unless it’s a hundred-dollar bill.

If you see a hundred-dollar bill
in my yard, leave it.  It’s mine. I have proof.
If you see it, knock on my door, tell me.
I will mention your honesty often,
especially at the liquor store
when I’m spending my hundred-dollar bill.

Roland Sodowsky grew up on a small ranch in western Oklahoma.  He has three degrees from Oklahoma State University and studied Old High German as a Fulbright Scholar in Germany.  He has taught linguistics, literature, and creative writing at OSU, the University of Calabar in Nigeria, the University of Texas, Sul Ross State University, and Missouri State University. He has published poetry, short stories, or novellas in Atlantic Monthly, American Literary Review, Glimmer Train, Midwest Quarterly, and many other literary magazines.  His collection of short stories, Things We Lose (U. Missouri Pr), won the Associated Writing Programs’ Award for Short Fiction.  He received the National Cowboy Hall of Fame Short Fiction Award for Interim in the Desert (TCU Pr), the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines-General Electric Award for fiction, and has been a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award.  Now retired from Missouri State, he and his wife, the poet Laura Lee Washburn, live in Pittsburg, Kansas when he, his brother, and his son are not engaged in a continuing battle with the mesquites and cedars on their family homestead.

Monthly Editor Lori Baker Martin is assistant professor of English at Pittsburg State University. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, (parenthetical), The Little Balkans Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, and The Maine Review. Martin has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Independence Community College, and Pittsburg State University. She has worked as a reader for both The Iowa Review and NPR. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

for the madeleine

We travel one second—one nano
second—into the future, every one
of us, wedded to until death do we
travel one piece small at a time.
Can we time travel, jump, forward
into our future? Yes, we must go
really, really fast, the astrophysicists
say, atomic clock on the jet airplane.
At eight kilometers a second, the space
station astronauts age slower
than their earth brothers (and sisters,
friends), traveling time faster in space.
But we can’t come back. Go fast
into space, into our futures, age
slower in your giant rocket, but
you can’t come back, and no time
travel matters if we can’t. Nothing
in the future requires change or
attention.  Only the past, littered
with our dead, jumbled with our
bad elections and ridiculous errors,
failed rhymes, missed or extra conceptions,
is worth the trip. Besides, physics disintegrates
us.  The home team loses the championship,
your arm breaks in eight places, no one
sees the clot moving toward your brain.
So Margaret grieves as golden grove unleaves,
so Maude finds herself on the shelf, so
everyone more temperate than summer.
Even then, the home we long for,
the thick oak trunk at the back door,
its dentures puppet clacking, screen
door spring snapping behind you,
fig tree milky with green fruits,
all that old dominion, no longer exists.

 

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.

Monthly Editor Lori Baker Martin is Assistant Professor of English at Pittsburg State University. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, (parenthetical), The Little Balkans Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, and The Maine Review. Martin has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Independence Community College, and Pittsburg State University. She has worked as a reader for both The Iowa Review and NPR. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

 

 

Sometimes the summer night’s hot whisper

is nothing more than a black snake’s hiss of a word

we cannot always quite discern-

 

a momentary corridor 

of connectivity between us 

and the outer darkness 

between the stars-

 

a smooth shiny pebble of a word

barely graspable in its hard

slippery-sloppish-ness,

 

nearly as ethereal on its surface 

as the thought

at its dark heart,

 

a thought with a tiny drop of truth

in its blood, like a poison,

secretly insinuated into 

the winding stream of things

in an attempt to stimulate some sort of healing

of the tear between the way things appear to be

and the way things really are,

 

a truth that by fevering up the blood a bit

and disquieting deep dreams

and maybe thereby prying open the inner onion-eye

that sleeps, deeply, at the center of the mind

forces itself 

 

to at least be disbelieved.

~ Jason Ryberg

Jason Ryberg is the author of twelve books of poetry, six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders, notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be (loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry letters to various magazine and newspaper editors.  He is currently an artist-in-residence at both The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collections of poems are A Secret History of the Nighttime World (39 West, 2018) and Lone Wolves, Black Sheep and Red-Headed Stepchildren (Kung Fu Treachery Press, 2018). He lives part-time in Kansas City and Salina with a rooster named Little Red and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time somewhere in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River, where there are also many strange and wonderful woodland critters.

Guest Editor Al Ortolani’s poetry has appeared in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, and the Chiron Review. He is the recent recipient of the Rattle Chapbook Award for 2019. Ortolani is the Manuscript Editor for Woodley Press in Topeka, Kansas.

Tag Cloud