Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Archive for the ‘Kansas Time + Place’ Category

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.

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A Disgusted Farmer Takes A Day Off — by Greg German

-July-

Since yesterday’s Farm Futures

fell the limit because of rain

in Chicago or K.C.,

and his corn is dry, the farmer

decides he has worked too long

for nothing. He gets up

late, and puts on clean clothes.

He feeds the sows

an extra bucket, because

it is the holiday thing to do.

Unimpressed, because

it’s expected, they fight,

tail-snatching over the last

bite, squealing like tires

on pavement.

With contempt, the farmer

looks at the dirt

blown into the garage.

He cleans his car, then sharpens

the blade on the mower.

Each misplaced

tool finds its place. For lunch

he licks a candy bar

out of its wrapper, while the oil

drains out of his tractor.

He walks 200 yards to pull

one weed out of a field.

Farm magazines stacked

beside his chair, he watches

the weather change. It moves rapidly

across a computerized map

in Wichita. A sun sits

on Illinois, low-pressure

over Nebraska. Because it’s time

the farmer turns out the light,

stares at the dark, and looks

forward to tomorrow’s work,

because it’s expected.

~ Greg German

Originally Published in Kansas Quarterly, 1993 V.24, #4

Greg German was born and raised near Glen Elder, in north central Kansas, where he farmed with his family for many years. He currently lives in Kansas City, Kansas, with his wife Regina and son, Alden. He is a private consultant specializing in web site development, special project consulting, and photography. (www.limestone9consulting.com) He holds a B.A. degree in English/Creative writing and a B.S. in Education from Kansas State University.  Greg developed and maintains www.kansaspoets.com — a website unique to Kansas Poets. Greg’s poetry and personal essays have appeared in over 50 literary journals across the U.S.

James Benger is a father, husband and writer. His work has been featured in several publications. He is the author of two fiction ebooks: Flight 776 (2012) and Jack of Diamonds (2013), and two chapbooks of poetry: As I Watch You Fade (EMP 2016) and You’ve Heard It All Before (GigaPoem 2017). He is a member of the Riverfront Readings Committee in Kansas City, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online poetry workshop and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and son.

Road Service At No Additional Cost — by Karin L. Frank

It takes seconds to forget the road,

my husband’s attention distracted by

potato chip delights (like snowflakes

no two land on the fingertips alike)

as we navigate Missouri landscapes

through snow pillows sculpted by wind.

 

seconds to do a one-eighty,

skid on the slick road ice-sheeted

as a river – visions of home

now littered with tattered limbs

smashed like potato chip crumbs –

to a momentary destiny in a ditch.

 

seconds to catch our breaths,

 

a young farmer arrives,

boy-scout-prepared for instant action

with ballast and chains in the bed

of his four wheel drive pickup.

“You folks need help?” he asks.

 

seconds to nod yes,

 

he hooks our black VW dinghy

to his great white GMC lifeboat,

and tows us back to the icy flow.

“What’s neighbors for anyway?”

he dismisses tendered thanks, departs.

 

until seconds expand to minutes.

 

Once more alert and face-first, we continue

homeward along wind-buffeted highways

to crash into pillows and duvets

mounded like snowdrifts but warm

and nibble on our chips in peace.

~ Karin L. Frank

Karin L. Frank is an award-winning author from the Kansas City area. Her poems and prose have been published in both literary journals and genre magazines in the U.S. and abroad.

James Benger is a father, husband and writer. His work has been featured in several publications. He is the author of two fiction ebooks: Flight 776 (2012) and Jack of Diamonds (2013), and two chapbooks of poetry: As I Watch You Fade (EMP 2016) and You’ve Heard It All Before (GigaPoem 2017). He is a member of the Riverfront Readings Committee in Kansas City, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online poetry workshop and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and son.

En Masse — By Mary-Lane Kamberg

we stand together

against wind that

waves winter wheat

then twists into a rage

and rips off rooftops

 

we stand together

against rain that

puddles for children’s footsteps

then floods creek banks

and drowns corn in the field

 

we stand together

against sun that

warms spring’s soul

then blisters skin

and parches soil

 

we stand together

through difficulties

looking to the stars

 

~ Mary-Lane Kamberg

 

Mary-Lane Kamberg’s first chapbook, Seed Rain, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2015. She is listed as a Kansas Poet on KansasPoets.com and serves as co-leader of the Kansas City Writers Group. She directs the I Love to Write camp for young writers. She lives in Olathe, Kansas.

Guest Editor Maril Crabtree holds B.A, M.A., and J.D. degrees from the University of Kansas and has taught French, English, therapeutic writing, yoga, and sustainable living. Her poetry, short stories, and essays have been published in numerous journals, along with three chapbooks. Her full-length collection, Fireflies in the Gathering Dark, will be published in August, 2017.

Alone in Bed by Heather Mydosh

H Mydosh Headshot 2014Solitary

skin

vellum in morning

light

with bareness

above the arms

feet rubbing

beneath

rolled and folded

in sheets.
Luxury

in breathing

dawn moisture

dripping

panes slicked in

obfuscation

not stillness

but languid

lapsing

into day.
Soft

sleep leaving

cobwebs and

sulfur diamonds

corners and creases

bats and lashes

signs and

spaces

thought quiet

heart still.
Heaving

scrambling

guilt not yet settling

as protean ash on

raspberry blades

unthinkable

forseen release

from bearing

grit grey bone white dust

in the cold touchstone,

now hollow

void

no memory.

~ Heather Mydosh

Heather Mydosh is a transplant to Independence, Kansas where she teaches composition and literature at Independence Community College. She recently was awarded first place for poetry in the Kansas Voices contest for her poem “Strawberry Blood.” She holds her Masters of Literature from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland in Comparative Literature and Thought, where she spent countless nights immersed in dusty texts. Current interests include the Pleistocene extinction of North American mega fauna, the cultivation of peonies, vintage British automobiles, and pre-prohibition cocktails.

Jose Faus is a multidisciplinary artist, writer and independent teacher. He is a founding member of the Latino Writers Collective and sits on the boards of the Latino Writers Collective, UMKC Friends of the Library, Charlotte Street Foundation and is president of the board of The Writers Place. His first book of poetry This Town Like That was published in 2015. The full-length poetry collection The Life and Times of Jose Calderon is forthcoming from 39 Street Press.

Kansas Spring by Mary-Lane Kamberg

in the hills

spice bush buds

blue violets

scent of witch hazel, wild onions

chickadee and titmouse song

darters in spawning clusters
 

on supermarket sidewalks

trayed pansies

garden planters

patio furniture

mulch
 

in the west

gray clouds

snow.

~ Mary-Lane Kamberg

Mary-Lane Kamberg lives in Olathe, Kansas. Her first chapbook, Seed Rain, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2015. She is listed as a Kansas Poet on KansasPoets.com and serves as co-leader of the Kansas City Writers Group. She directs the I Love to Write camp for young writers.

Jose Faus is a multidisciplinary artist, writer and independent teacher. He is a founding member of the Latino Writers Collective and sits on the boards of the Latino Writers Collective, UMKC Friends of the Library, Charlotte Street Foundation and is president of the board of The Writers Place. His first book of poetry This Town Like That was published in 2015. The full-length poetry collection The Life and Times of Jose Calderon is forthcoming from 39 Street Press.

Feeding After the Storm by Doc Arnett

In the waning light of dusk,kansas-poems-9-18-13

a three-quarter moon

seeps through the husk of clouds

the color of rust and bruises,

edges tinged in the least hint of a sunset

that passed a half-hour earlier.

Still soaked from afternoon rain,

the black locust tree, thornless,

droops slender limbs and small leaves

against the pale stillness

of the western sky,

its stark silhouette graceful and delicate.

Lush as April

on the first Thursday of August,

a blend of perennial rye and bluegrass

passes into the darkness

shaded beneath the trees

on the eastern side of the slope

that leads to the neighbor’s place.

There is a peace

in the passing of the storm

and even a hard rain

leaves some gain in the ground.

Already, the tomato plants

have started to straighten

from the pounding of wind and water.

Just now,

the moon gleams

from a break in the clouds

and I see clearly

the path from the barn to the house.

~ Doc Arnett

Doc Arnett teaches Creative Writing and directs Institutional Research at the oldest college in Kansas, Highland Community College. He and his wife of twenty-five years, Randa, live in Doniphan, Kansas. A Kentucky native, Doc enjoys writing, singing, remodeling and watching Randa enjoy her Rocky Mountain Horse, Gospel Ryder’s Lil Journey.

Jose Faus is a multidisciplinary artist, writer and independent teacher. He is a founding member of the Latino Writers Collective and sits on the boards of the Latino Writers Collective, UMKC Friends of the Library, Charlotte Street Foundation and is president of the board of The Writers Place. His first book of poetry This Town Like That was published in 2015. The full-length poetry collection The Life and Times of Jose Calderon is forthcoming from 39 Street Press.

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