Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

For MSD, in lieu of thoughts and prayers


This schoolhouse is marching.
This schoolhouse is not your father’s schoolhouse, nor your grandfather’s, nor yours.
This schoolhouse is your children’s, your grandchildren’s.
This schoolhouse is tired of blood & bullets & body bags & burying.
This schoolhouse is marching like no schoolhouse before it, not Kent State, Selma,
   James Dean, Harvey Milk.
This schoolhouse is teaching old dogs new tricks.
This schoolhouse is reading & writing & ‘rithmeticking new texts: #NeverAgain; We Call BS.
This schoolhouse is erasing “In NRA We Trust” from the dollars, the politicians, the hobby-
   lobbies of pseudo-patriots, the cash cows of AR-15s & TEC-9s.
This schoolhouse is marching for its life, our lives, your life, mine.
Suffer little children, the hell you say.
This schoolhouse is marching.

~ Robert Dean

Robert L. Dean, Jr.’s book, At the Lake With Heisenberg (Spartan Press), will be released in December of 2018. His work has appeared in Flint Hills Review, I-70 Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Shot Glass, Illya’s Honey, Red River Review, River City Poetry, Heartland!, and the Wichita Broadside Project. He was a quarter-finalist in the 2018 Nimrod Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. He has been a professional musician and worked at The Dallas Morning News.

Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate and the author or editor of over 20 books. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she teaches, she also offers community writing workshops widely, and with Kelley Hunt, Brave Voice writing and singing retreats. She founded the 150 Kansas Poems site where she is thrilled to work with many fine guest editor poets and witness powerful writing from and about the heartland.

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You sent me looking for the dog,

Your favorite, the one you loved more than me.

I wore your boots, too big for my feet,

because it had rained, and the fields were mud-black.

 

Your favorite, the one you loved more than me,

he would only come when I called.

It had rained and the fields were mud-black,

and I looked for him in the tall grass.

 

He would only come when I called.

The sycamores by the creek whispered at me,

while I looked for him in the tall grass.

Once I heard him howling over the hill.

The sycamores by the creek whispered at me,

and when I heard him howling over the hill,

I called his name and then yours.

I tripped and fell in mud, my hands all black.

 

I’d heard him howling over the hill,

and I could see you standing by your truck.

Watching you, I tripped and fell in mud,

then saw doves flying, and knew he was near.

 

I could see you standing by your truck

and thought, If I find him, maybe you’ll love me.

I’d seen the doves flying and knew he was near,

then he ran to me when I called his name.

 

I thought that now I’d found him, you’d love me.

You dropped to one knee, your arms outstretched.

He licked my hand and bounded ahead

and you looked so relieved, so happy.

 

You’d dropped to one knee, your arms outstretched,

and you called, but I couldn’t hear your words.

You looked so relieved, so happy, so thin,

and fading in the narrowing light.

 

You called, but I couldn’t hear what you cried

to your favorite, the one you loved more than me.

 

And you, fading in the narrowing light,

You sent me looking for the dog,

But the dog came back to me.

~ Lori Baker Martin

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, The Maine Review, Midwest Quarterly, Kansas Time + Place, 150 Kansas Poets, and in a Kansas Notable Book poetry collection To the Stars Through Difficulties. 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 where she was named a Truman Capote Fellow and received the Clark Fischer Ansley Award for Excellence in Fiction. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and she is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

Pas” and “Upon Seeing a Photo of Mrs. Ocey Snead” appeared first in The Midwest Quarterly. “The One You Loved” appeared first in The Knickackery.
Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate and the author or editor of over 20 books. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she teaches, she also offers community writing workshops widely, and with Kelley Hunt, Brave Voice writing and singing retreats. She founded the 150 Kansas Poems site where she is thrilled to work with many fine guest editor poets and witness powerful writing from and about the heartland.

don’t know the disappointment that waits for them,
but maybe that makes it easier. I always know.
I’ve forgotten my body and the shape it was before
children. It’s all about timing now. I undress quickly,
so my husband won’t see the parts I hate. By now,
I’m supposed to be comfortable with where I am,
but I’m still not sure. I’ve read cows have a magnetic
pull in their bodies, most stand north to south.

A scientist discovered this by accident. He intended to study
the direction people sleep, where tents are placed,
and took note of the cows nearby instead. On my way to work,
my eyes always find them in the fields beneath sheets of fog,
wading belly-high in ponds, grouped near the fence line,
in the metal trailer in front of me. Their black marbles peek
through the slots, their legs search for traction. The fields
where they once roamed hums a new silence.

I leave my child home sick today because I know my boss,
without children, won’t understand me missing two days
in a row. We’ve never understood each other. Today
after class, I keep my office hour and return home.
My boss emails me about staying more than the minimum.
We have different ideas about what minimum means.
I think she secretly wants to fire me, maybe that’s okay
because it’s nearly winter and the fields are empty.

The faded house next to the silver trees sits empty.
No one is home. They said forever, but they didn’t mean it.
Most don’t, except for the cows. If they could say forever,
they would say you can feel it at night how fields glow
after a burn. They would say north to south, it fills the moon
with milk. Here, the fields never forget their warmth,
and though they’re not sure where they’re going,
I know, every road in Kansas leads to 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 Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate and the author or editor of over 20 books. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she teaches, she also offers community writing workshops widely, and with Kelley Hunt, Brave Voice writing and singing retreats. She founded the 150 Kansas Poems site where she is thrilled to work with many fine guest editor poets and witness powerful writing from and about the heartland.

Julie and Caryn

The scarlet sky encircles the close of day,

curling around every corner,
blanketing the tree row,
a mirror of rubies settle upon the water below,
all eyes on this show off,
surely infused with the prayers of a bruised heart,
and you ask yourself why there’s such loneliness in searching,
as the blood orange streaks, like fingers to bless you,
like a benediction to heal you,
rest atop your head,
begging you to pay attention,
turning you around to get a closer look,
drawing you nearer to the truth.
Bow before me, this glory,
and find the meaning in your questions
and the heartache in your answers
and let your worries fade
into the blackened honeycomb of night,
as this regal exhibitionist, clothed in precious jewels
offers itself to you, as if you are the only two  lovers left on earth.

~ Julie Flora

Julie Flora lives and works in Topeka, KS. She lives with her husband, Vaughn, her cat, Lightin’, her dog Zenny, and her happy well-fed chickens. Julie has five children and seven grandchildren. Her roots are Southern, but she claims the Prairie as her home. She moved to KS in 2010 to marry the love of her life. She writes, reads, swims and watches biographical documentaries in her free time. Julie hopes to soon build a studio in which to further engage her creative spirit.

Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate and the author or editor of over 20 books. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she teaches, she also offers community writing workshops widely, and with Kelley Hunt, Brave Voice writing and singing retreats. She founded the 150 Kansas Poems site where she is thrilled to work with many fine guest editor poets and witness powerful writing from and about the heartland.

fiery ramifications,

a blazing sun.

S. Korean silent,

not to embarrass self,

national communiqué.

 

There’s something not right

with the sky tonight, hot breath

of summer months away. Miami

man, at Swope Park, slinking

rage, scent of murderous ways.

 

Something’s not right

with the sky today,

it’s pushing me away.

Breath comes overwrought

with too much afterthought.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

 

Something’s not right with

The moon tonight, it’s purple, not gold.

The squirrels are acting crazed.

 

Fingers lace amidst flowers.

~ Ronda Miller

November editor, Ronda Miller, is State President of the Kansas Authors Club (2018 – 2019). Her three books of poetry include Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain (Meadowlark-Books, 2015) and WaterSigns (Meadowlark-Books, 2017). Miller lives in Lawrence but returns to wander The Arikaree Breaks of Cheyenne county every chance she gets. Kansas Authors Club.

Stephon Clark was shot and killed on the evening of March 18, 2018, by two officers of the Sacramento Police Department

When a boy cries bullet

his body be canvas and fear to stains

like mercy,

laid to dry

against the unforgiving side

of a concrete palette.

 

When a boy cries bullet,

his rights are read as the trigger is pulled.

Shrieking sirens

ain’t got nothing

on the level they shout

his failures.

 

When a boy cries bullet,

he will not comply

with a bloodthirsty

open muzzle, either way,

he is worthy

of consumption

 

When a boy cries bullet,

his folks gather for home going service

to wade through sorrow,

that

will

flow

from

a weeping

Mother.

When a black boy unearths his skin,

he digs out boundless joy

the size of mustard seeds.

Sows them across the backyard

of his grandmother’s home.

For that is the most

sheltered

place of growth,

right?

~ Darrien Case

Darrien Case is an award winning spoken word artist. He was honored as “Best Newcomer” by the Music and More Poetry Foundation in 2018. A seven-time Kansas City Poetry Slam Champion, two-time FTW Poetry Slam Champion and represented KCPS (Kansas City Poetry Slam) at the 2018 National Poetry Slam. He wishes one day to start a social venture dedicated to utilizing poetry for healing trauma for the in youth his community.

November editor, Ronda Miller, is State President of the Kansas Authors Club (2018 – 2019). Her three books of poetry include Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain (Meadowlark-Books, 2015) and WaterSigns (Meadowlark-Books, 2017). Miller lives in Lawrence but returns to wander The Arikaree Breaks of Cheyenne county every chance she gets. Kansas Authors Club.

“…a lark talking madness in some corner of the sky.” – Joseph Auslander, from his poem “Dawn at the Rains Edge.”

Laser-eyed bombs streak in, unheard

and unseen until the earth,

flash-blinded by frenzy,

grabs the sky by the throat,

shakes it, erupts, rolls up.

A flock of short-toed larks takes flight

at the madness, sweeps over

the roadside in an aching cloud,

a dancing random swirl,

movements mirrored, for just a moment,

by a dead man’s keffiyeh, blown free,

billowing: birds and scarf together

a stark calligraphy, a sort of script,

a staging, a new orthography of atonement.

~ Roy Beckemeyer

Roy J. Beckemeyer was President of the Kansas Authors Club from 2016-2017. His latest book of poetry is Stage Whispers (Meadowlark-Books, 2019). Music I Once Could Dance To won the Kansas Notable Book award (Coal City Press, 2014).

November editor, Ronda Miller, is State President of the Kansas Authors Club (2018 – 2019). Her three books of poetry include Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain (Meadowlark-Books, 2015) and WaterSigns (Meadowlark-Books, 2017). Miller lives in Lawrence but returns to wander The Arikaree Breaks of Cheyenne county every chance she gets. Kansas Authors Club.

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