Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Archive for the ‘Heartland’ Category

A Body of Lies — By Gregory Stapp

I‘m rich as a bank of loans,

my money stacks high and green

as a forest drenched in rain,

a slope of low mountain in the mist.

 

Famous as a marauding saint,

my arms swing out wide and bracing

as an incomplete circle of petrospheres,

a horseshoe of stars cupping the moon.

 

I am strong as a taurean bull.

Watch the way I pull at the weight,

how my eyes alight with the strain,

how my shoulders quake like engines.

 

My heirs will rule the earth like suns.

Watch as they grow tall and searing,

how their feet leave sooted prints,

how their arms sway like a burning bush.

 

My heart will beat a thousand rhythms

for every tap of your finger on the table.

I stampede horses through your living room

until the sun has steeped your tea.

~ Gregory Stapp

 

Gregory Stapp received his BA from the University of Oklahoma and his MFA from Queens

University of Charlotte. His poems have appeared in, Lime Hawk Journal, Shot Glass, The Ekphrastic Review, and Forage, among others. He recently served as the Poetry Editor for Qu: A Literary Magazine.

Guest 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 in Kansas. 

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What I Learned From Fire — By Julie Ramon

Sometimes, you find bits of yourself
in the ash, embers you roll over
with your foot. Be careful—
some things are too big to control.
It moves without asking,
the way a person touches another,
a risk, a door to a warm or cool place.
It speaks words that aren’t there.
It will tell you where to go from here.
And, like all good things, it will die.
And this stumbling too has saved 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 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 in Kansas. 

Coal — By Laura Lee Washburn

You think of something smashed, compressed

fluidless, dense, chafing at its elbows,

formed by weight and gravity and time.

 

You think of something that tears

as it goes. How using it warms and harms.

How finding it, destroys. The earth rumbles.

 

My body, some mornings, at fifty-one

is ruined bone, solid, unmoved,

tense and waiting, coal unlit,

energy of the sun stuck again.

~ Laura Lee Washburn

 

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 TheNewVerseNews, 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.

Guest 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 in Kansas. 

Standing on the Rock — Tim Pettet

(For the Water Protectors)

O! Poet, the clouds you love to watch

carry our passion, our pain.

If you listen, you can hear the whisper

behind the scenery of the evening news.

 

Bless our innocence by knowing

we are innocent by knowing

this water is our home, this sky,

our house of prayer where you

 

are welcome. Come in.

Shed your shoes and feel

the wisdom-dance of our path—

river of water, river of clouds, river of tears.

 

When you leave, don’t forget your hat.

It’s going to rain.

~ Tim Pettet

 

Timothy Pettet published his first poem in The Third Eye, a mimeographed journal published on and around the University of Puget Sound by anti-war hippies and “peaceniks.” Over the years, he has published his poems in various journals and publications. He is currently celebrating his first actual book of poems. Titled Accidental Dancer, the book sports a cover painted by his wife, Mary Pettet and is published by Flint Hills Publications. You can find out more at: Timothypettet.com/accidentaldancer.

 

Guest Editor Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning author and actress whose dynamic style of reciting has led fans to dub her “Maya of the Midwest!” Her first book of poetry, A Net Full of Hope (2015), garnered the 2015 ARTSConnect ARTY Award in Literature in Topeka, Kansas. Descants for a Daughter followed in 2016 and serves as a collection of affirmations from a parent’s heart. Billings most recent publication is Just Shy of Stars (Spartan Press, 2018). Her poetry and short stories also appears in the following anthologies: Gimme Your Lunch Money: Heartland Poets Respond to Bullying (2016), Twisting Topeka (2016), Our Last Walk: Using Poetry for Grieving and Remembering Our Pets (2016), and Kansas Time + Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Balkans Press, 2017) and Revealed (2017). Billings’ poetry can also be found in both online and print publications including Inscape/Washburn University, Coal City Press, Microburst and Konza Magazine.

Apologia for Being Standoffish Sometimes — Katelyn Roth

The Youth Group held a seminar on

Hugging While Female. The leaders were men

and women; attendants, only girls. The boys

played basketball in the other half of the gym;

We learned to prevent chest-to-chest contact

with a well-placed hand at chest level.

 

I used to hug my young uncles

at annual family barbeques. Their arms

would loop loosely around my kidbody,

one hand maybe patting my back.

 

When I scuttle in sideways like a crab,

they are confused. Their loose arms reach further

to hold me long-ways. I rest my obedient hand

on their chest as I’ve been told, only it feels

so close, so lingering, so intimate, so

I back away instead, turn to hug my aunts.

~ Katelyn Roth

Katelyn Roth holds degrees in English and Psychology and will be defending her Master’s thesis in Poetry this spring. She lives in Pittsburg, KS with her husband and two dogs. Her work has previously appeared on line and in Silver Birch Press and at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance and Solidarity.

Guest Editor Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning author and actress whose dynamic style of reciting has led fans to dub her “Maya of the Midwest!” Her first book of poetry, A Net Full of Hope (2015), garnered the 2015 ARTSConnect ARTY Award in Literature in Topeka, Kansas. Descants for a Daughter followed in 2016 and serves as a collection of affirmations from a parent’s heart. Billings most recent publication is Just Shy of Stars (Spartan Press, 2018). Her poetry and short stories also appears in the following anthologies: Gimme Your Lunch Money: Heartland Poets Respond to Bullying (2016), Twisting Topeka (2016), Our Last Walk: Using Poetry for Grieving and Remembering Our Pets (2016), and Kansas Time + Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Balkans Press, 2017) and Revealed (2017). Billings’ poetry can also be found in both online and print publications including Inscape/Washburn University, Coal City Press, Microburst and Konza Magazine.

The Greater Mercy — Emory Jones

Suddenly, she screamed and sobbed —

I ran to her,

And, looking over her shoulder,

I saw the little bird

Lying on the concrete

Its wing broken from

Flying full force

into my rough brick wall.

 

Gently, I told my Baby

To hurry inside.

 

I got my shovel,

Scooped the quivering little body,

And took it to the ditch—

 

One quick jab and the job was done.

But how could I explain to her

That this was the greater mercy?

~ Emory Jones

Dr. Emory D. Jones is a retired English teacher who has taught in Cherokee Vocational High School in Cherokee, Alabama, for one year, Northeast Alabama State Junior College for four years, Snead State Junior College in Alabama for three years, and Northeast Mississippi Community College for thirty-five years. He joined the Mississippi Poetry Society, Inc. in 1981 and has served as President of this society. He has over two hundred and thirty-five publishing credits including publication in such journals as Voices International, The White Rock Review, Free Xpressions Magazine, The Storyteller, Modern Poetry Quarterly Review, Gravel, Pasques Petals, The Pink Chameleon, and Encore: Journal of the NFSPS. He is retired and lives in Iuka, Mississippi, with his wife, Glenda. He has two daughters and four grandchildren.

 

Guest Editor Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning author and actress whose dynamic style of reciting has led fans to dub her “Maya of the Midwest!” Her first book of poetry, A Net Full of Hope (2015), garnered the 2015 ARTSConnect ARTY Award in Literature in Topeka, Kansas. Descants for a Daughter followed in 2016 and serves as a collection of affirmations from a parent’s heart. Billings most recent publication is Just Shy of Stars (Spartan Press, 2018). Her poetry and short stories also appears in the following anthologies: Gimme Your Lunch Money: Heartland Poets Respond to Bullying (2016), Twisting Topeka (2016), Our Last Walk: Using Poetry for Grieving and Remembering Our Pets (2016), and Kansas Time + Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Balkans Press, 2017) and Revealed (2017). Billings’ poetry can also be found in both online and print publications including Inscape/Washburn University, Coal City Press, Microburst and Konza Magazine.

At the Table — by Kathleen Cain

—for Maya Angelou

We all claim some part of her-

memory word reflection.

And why not? She invited us all

to a place at the table. “Do you think”

 

she uncrossed her arms and asked,

allowing one of those deep pregnant

pauses to divide her words into rivers

of thought and feelings

 

“you are the only one to have suffered

the loss of love? Of a child? Or missed

the rent? Or gotten fired? Well…read

the Black poets and you won’t feel

so alone. Muted with pain, she

taught us how to sing. Constrained

by fire, she worked up steps to leap

across the flames and dance.

In all her words: a great heartbeat.

 

She was the voice of past. Present.

Future. How freedom could ring

in those syllables. How she could say

what we all need to hear. Brothers.

Sisters. In her name let’s scoot our

chairs a little closer to the table.

~ Kathleen Cain

Kathleen Cain is a native Nebraskan who has lived in Colorado since 1972. Her nonfiction book The Cottonwood Tree: An American Champion ( ) was selected for the Nebraska 150 Books Project. Two of her poems appeared in Nebraska Poetry:A Sesquicentennial Anthology 1867 -2017.

Guest Editor Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning author and actress whose dynamic style of reciting has led fans to dub her “Maya of the Midwest!” Her first book of poetry, A Net Full of Hope (2015), garnered the 2015 ARTSConnect ARTY Award in Literature in Topeka, Kansas. Descants for a Daughter followed in 2016 and serves as a collection of affirmations from a parent’s heart. Billings most recent publication is Just Shy of Stars (Spartan Press, 2018). Her poetry and short stories also appears in the following anthologies: Gimme Your Lunch Money: Heartland Poets Respond to Bullying (2016), Twisting Topeka (2016), Our Last Walk: Using Poetry for Grieving and Remembering Our Pets (2016), and Kansas Time + Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Balkans Press, 2017) and Revealed (2017). Billings’ poetry can also be found in both online and print publications including Inscape/Washburn University, Coal City Press, Microburst and Konza Magazine.

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