Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Archive for the ‘Heartland’ Category

Donald Trump in Utero                    by Cody Shrum      

My hands are so small, just developed,Shrum-Cody
finger bones grown solid,
but they’re the pinkest hands I’ve ever seen.

This place is the greatest.
It’s warm, cozy, really lovely.
I’m not sure where I am,
but my people are looking into it.

I don’t want to leave. Why
would anyone want to ditch this?
I’ve got the greatest living arrangement,
ask anyone. So comfy
I sleep almost constantly.
It’s the best womb
(I’m calling it a womb, trademark).

That wall better hold me in,
cradle my soft skin.
It holds up to my kicks,
and I kick hard, let me tell you.
Back in the day, we kicked
more asses for much less.

Try to take me out of here,
I dare you.
As far as staying in this place,
I’m a genius. I know more than you do.
I can’t move, really,
I’m all scrunched up here,
but just try me.
Just try me, snowflakes.

 
Cody Shrum is an MFA candidate at the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a fiction emphasis. Cody’s fiction and poetry have appeared in such journals as Five on the Fifth, Rust + Moth, Harbor Review, and Kansas Time + Place, as well as the anthology, Kansas Time + Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry. He teaches Discourse at UMKC and is finishing his fiction Master’s Thesis.

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, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review. Harbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.

Body of Time                                          by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

Since the body became an I, it revels in being mine
and not yours. It bends toward drought,
and expands when it rains. It fits itself perfectly
in flannel sheets, around another body, held
in the concentric wind the ceiling fan makes.

This body of time takes another breath,
sends another valentine, ignores another blast
of unoriginal hatred as it learns new tricks:
how to hang upside down in ropes at the yoga studio,
walk across a wet field on tiptoe, or sleep standing up.

It’s a month old, or 11 years, or somewhere past 57,
and while it doesn’t know all the words to that tune,
it’s smart enough to know how it internalizes age
like a tree does as it rings out another year.

It’s all the time in the world I have,
so says the swirl of the fingerprint,
the indentation on the left ring finger,
the slight rise of a scar line on the clavicle,
the branches of veins on the back of the wrists,
the heart’s muscular clutch and release.  
  
_8103565_caryn_mirriam-goldberg

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 23 books, including Miriam’s Well, a novel; Everyday Magic: A Field Guide to the Mundane and Miraculous, and Following the Curve, poetry. Her previous work includes The Divorce Girl, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet, a bioregional memoir on cancer and community; and six poetry collections, including the award-winning Chasing Weather with photographer Stephen Locke. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely. http://www.CarynMirriamGoldberg.com

   

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, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso ReviewHarbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.

Rimas Dissolutas on Northern Syria       by Roy Beckemeyer

The mortar shell’s wrumph, hollow impact,
as if God’s hands clap barrel ribs
from round to oval, heart and lungs both
emptying abruptly, whoosh of air and blood
ejected, eyes gone round—the sudden size
of surly death’s surreal surprise.

Arbitrary decision—political derision—no fact,
just Twitter madness, I never said that! Lies! Fibs!
It is suddenly over, peace gone south—
the sounds of war begun once more, flood
of noise, fear that claws from chest to throat, the rise
of mother’s shrieks, child’s cries.

We watch sand and scrub and wracked,
shattered landscape, the talking head’s glib
assertions, hear their words, watch their mouths.
Here in our quiet suburban neighborhood
we switch channels, find yellower sun, bluer skies—
any camouflage we can devise.

26982_103938119648409_3935614_n

Roy Beckemeyer’s latest poetry collection is Mouth Brimming Over (Blue Cedar Press, 2019). Stage Whispers (Meadowlark Books, 2018) won the 2019 Nelson Poetry Book Award. Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) assembled ekphrastic poems inspired by depictions of angels in works of modern art. Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He is on the editorial boards of Konza Journal and River City Poetry. Beckemeyer lives in Wichita, Kansas. His poetry work has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net awards and was selected for Best Small Fictions 2019. Beckemeyer is a retired engineer and scientific journal editor; he and his wife, Pat, celebrated their 58th-anniversary in 2019. In his spare time, he researches the Paleozoic insect fauna of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Alabama, and the mechanics and evolution of insect flight. Visit his author’s page at: https://royjbeckemeyer.com/.

Laura Lee Washburn, Guest-Editor, 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, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review. Harbor Review‘s microchap prize is named in her honor.

Teeth by Lori Baker Martin

I got slapped once 13963067_1176775912364619_3211281957139442164_o
for arguing with my uncle
at a family dinner.
My mother looked hard at
   me
but didn’t speak.
Girls ought to be seen
and not heard,
one of the aunts said
through a mouth
as tight as a sewn seam.

Cousin Cobb said, Remember
Great Aunt Billie?
She’d smelled
like burnt leaves,
made turnips
nobody ever ate.
Her eyes were tunnels.
She had no teeth.
She didn’t speak.

You know why, Cobb said.
Liz said, She was going to tell them.
That’s what my mom told me.
She was going to tell
what Uncle Lack did.

Yellowed wedding photo,
straight teeth smile,
eyes dark and unashamed,
hair braided in a kind of crown.

Now I see a blue tin cup
on the pantry shelf,
full of white teeth,
pulled out by the roots
and rinsed clean.

 

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), Room Magazine, The Knicknackery, and The Maine Review. Martin 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, Poetry Editor for The Midwest Quarterly, is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

Laura Lee Washburn, Guest-Editor, 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, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review. Harbor Review‘s microchap prize is named in her honor.

Through the Ages the Eternal Yes   by Diane Wahto

Do we remember, after so long agoIMG_5704
our yeses, to one and all?
Yeses to the lions on the wall?

She borrowed the white linen dress
from her tall blonde friend
and made its low-cut neckline her own.
Now she knew even the men who thought
her too plain to ask to the dance before
would look at her twice that night.

But under the moonlight in the garden
she danced alone among the flowers
holding only the wine that she sipped.
That night only one would touch her in the     garden,
only one that would open her like a tiger lily.
The white dress on that summer night.

Do we remember, after so long ago
our yeses, to one and all?
Yeses to the lions on the wall.

Diane Wahto’s book of poetry, The Sad Joy of Leaving, is available at Blue Cedar Press.com. Her most recent publications are “Persistence,” at Ekphrastic Review, and “Empty Corners”, in Same. She and her husband, Patrick Roche, live in Wichita, Kansas, with their dog Annie, the Kansas Turnpike dog.

Laura Lee Washburn, Guest-Editor, 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, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review. Harbor Review‘s microchap prize is named in her honor.

New Year       by Rick Alley

rick galsses blurry

Was childhood
your first
failure?
Remember the snow
growing so old
it was such a sooty
scarf?
When the crows came
to manage your grave,
when all their twigs were
   arranged,
did you think about
that Christmas
when your fever was
so mean?
Was that you who stepped
clean through me
in Trafalgar Square
last week?

Rick Alley‘s poems have appeared in The Chattahoochee Review, Mudfish, Poetry East, Willow Springs, Graffiti Rag, Mid-American Review, Eclipse, Elohi Gadugi, Conduit, Smartish Pace, Ellipsis, Luna Luna, Electric Pamphlet, and concis.  He lives in Norfolk, Va.

Laura Lee Washburn Guest-Editor, 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, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso ReviewHarbor Review‘s microchap prize is named in her honor.

Magic House — By Laura Madeline Wiseman

For every house on our block there’s a tree
bearing, fruiting the lane’s tract line.
If I could bake a muffin for every hand not open

in the wave of hello, I would never tell
how our nieces would knock on each door, for a cup
of brown sugar, an egg, or a teaspoon of soda

to borrow from cupboards everything they lacked,
when the berries for a pie and the cash required
for buying desserts burned faster as the months wore on,

where here, among the flailing middle class, puddings
are instant, fruit juices are ten percent, and cookies
come in plastic. Yes, the songbirds are common, but still

I savor every dark yard apple, juicy as summer,
purple fruit of shrub trees with star-shaped clusters
in the thousands. Every current of sweetness, each mouthful

sustains, overflowing paper cups hot from the oven.
I remember how our nieces stirred what they borrowed,
baked for her when she could not. He’s not home yet. I’ll wait.
From An Apparently Impossible Adventure (BlazeVOX [books] 2016).

First appeared in Illuminations, Vol. 17 2016.

~ Laura Madeline Wiseman


Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of 25 books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance, selected for the Nebraska 150 Booklist. Her collaborative book Intimates and Fools is a Nebraska Book Award 2015 Honor Book. Her latest book is Velocipede. She teaches at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Julie Ramon is an English instructor at NEO A&M in Miami, Oklahoma.  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 is also a co-organizer of a Joplin, Missouri poetry series, Downtown Poetry. She lives in Joplin with her husband, daughter, and sons.

Tag Cloud