Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Sleet Storm — By Adam Jameson

We’d been out in the storm for an hour.

I’d noticed him shivering a time or two.
When I asked if he wanted to go home,

all I got was a headshake no.

I didn’t tell him I was freezing my ass off too.
We sat there in the blind, not saying a word.

Sleet was collecting on the decoys

and the brim of my hat.
Just before shooting hours were over

I saw 2 drakes and a hen coming hard.
Take’em, I whispered.
Cole dropped the 2 drakes.

I hadn’t even raised my gun.
Why didn’t you shoot, Dad?
I started to tell him about being

middle-aged, not being able

to see so good and slower reflexes.

Instead, I wiped the sleet off my face

and headed for the kayak

to pick up his birds.

~ Adam Jameson

Adam Jameson was born and raised in Pittsburg Kansas. He is 1995 graduate of Pittsburg State University with a BA in History. He has a varied job history but has spent the last 10 years with Westar Energy as a meter reader and now an Estimator. His work has appeared in Harp, The Little Balkans Review, To the Stars Through Difficulty and Ghost Sign, which was named a Kansas Notable Book. He was recently featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writers Almanac. His poetry collection #9 to Sallisaw was published by The Little Balkans Press. He’s also spent the last 30 years performing with White Buffalo Poetry and Blues. He lives in rural Pittsburg with his wife Mer, son Cole and a Shi Tzu named Scooter.

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.

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That’s It — By J. T. Knoll

My dad jitterbugged counterclockwise

on the hardwood to big bands

from his teens until

his back gave out in his mid-70s.

 

Danced with mom in the kitchen

as “Rock Around the Clock” blared

on a dinky little 45 player.

Loved to sing too.

We’d harmonize in the old Buick,

south on Hwy 71, the 120 miles back home

from Chief’s games at old Municipal Stadium.

 

An engineer on the Kansas City Southern Railroad,

he’d sometimes croon “For the Good Times” or “Paper Doll”

on an open radio channel from K.C. to Shreveport.

 

In the early 1960s he bought an RCA console stereo

and hired Frank, the local TV repairman,

to wire it to the speaker of our upright television

to get an even more pronounced “split.”

 

One day, not long afterward, when he was listening

to Sil Austin play “Danny Boy” on tenor sax,

I walked into the living room

to find him sitting a chair positioned

halfway between both speakers.

 

He waved me over to his side.

Listen,” he said,

his eyes welling with tears.

That’s it.”

~ J. T. Knoll

J.T. Knoll is the author of Where The Pavement Ends and co-author of Ghost Sign, a 2017 Kansas Notable Book. He lives on Euclid’s curve in Pittsburg, Kansas with his wife, Linda, and dog, Arlo the Labradorian.

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.

Finding Work After the War — By H.C. Palmer

Our sons join the army to get work being shot at.

Jim Harrison  

 

 For a long time there were simultaneous 

wars, so work was good.  Now the wars 

are winding down and our poor 

are unemployed.  They phone

government hotlines then get disconnected.

I know a stonemason disabled from battling

his chisel.  He says there will always be his kind

of work—thousands of gravestones 

stockpiled in the quarries of Vermont.  

He says he’s willing to teach,

but worries some might inscribe their own names

before praying into the muzzle of a Colt 45. 

 ~ H. C. Palmer

Previously published in Feet of the Messenger, Bk Mk Press

H.C. Palmer lives in Lenexa, KS.  He mentors and teaches at the Kansas City Veteran Writers’ Work Shop.  Feet of the Messenger was published in October 2017 by Bk Mk Press, University of Missouri, Kansas City.  It was a finalist for the Balcones Poetry Prize and a Kansas Notable Book.

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.

 

 

Controlled Burn by Robert L. Dean, Jr.

And God said
Shall these bones live?”
            —T. S. Eliot, Ash Wednesday

snot rivers down my lip
cinders singe my eyes
air toxic with
hellfire, brimstone
Flint Hills ranchers
striking matches
tall-grass Zeuses
with scorched earth policies
not even a zephyr
whispers against them
up the narrow low places
creep their progeny
Stygian fingerprints staining
lilies of the field
down the street
the neighbors’ houses
Bataclan Theatre
Maalbeek Metro
Splendid Hotel
all smudged out
as far away as
Chicago, Fayetteville
rogue sparks ignite
bullet-hole a boy’s body
sucker-punch a protester
and what of these, my
fistfuls of embers
hot words you and I didn’t speak last night
cold naked back to cold naked back
how many tears
to drown a world

First appeared in Illya’s Honey (Fall, 2016).

 

Robert L. Dean, Jr.’s debut poetry collection is At the Lake with Heisenberg (Spartan Press, 2018). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Flint Hills Review, I-70 Review, Chiron Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Shot Glass, Illya’s Honey, Red River Review, KYSO Flash, River City Poetry, Heartland! Poetry of Love, Resistance & Solidarity, and the Wichita Broadside Project. He was a quarter-finalist in the 2018 Nimrod Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. He read at the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival and the Chikaskia Literary Festival in 2018 and will return for Scissortail 2019. He is event coordinator for Epistrophy: An Afternoon of Poetry and Improvised Music held annually in Wichita, Kansas. He has been a professional musician and worked at The Dallas Morning News. He lives in Augusta, Kansas.

Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is from Wichita, Kansas. He was President of the Kansas Authors Club 2016-2017. His latest book of poetry, Stage Whispers (Meadowlark-Books, 2019), contains “…handsomely crafted poems…Dense with images, intimate and honest…” (Kathryn Kysar). His chapbook, Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) comprises ekphrastic poems inspired by a variety of artists’ depictions of angels. His first poetry collection, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014), was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He recently co-edited Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, 2017) with Caryn Mirriam Goldberg. That anthology collected poems that appeared on this website from 2014-2016.

 

Grandpa by Will Hagman

dust of those
western roads
still rests in
his lungs
where it tells
its tall tales
to at least seven
decades of
tobacco soot

its favorite is
about Betty Lou
who can bring
most anyone out
of their blues
with her smile

and how the
cloudless prairie sky
has nothing on
the hue of her eyes

and how Mr. Williams
took the words
right out his mouth
when she was cooking

and how she is still
willing to help out anyone
needing it even though
she needs it more
these days

and how she helped
him the most
pretty near all
his life and still
does simply by
being there

guess not all the tales
dust has to tell
are tall ones

 

Will Hagman works as a customer service representative in Sioux Falls, SD where he lives with his husband Bob.  He has found writing to be therapeutic throughout his life and continues to write poetry as a venue to connect with others and himself.  Additionally, Will enjoys gardening and dabbling in various mediums of art.

Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is from Wichita, Kansas. He was President of the Kansas Authors Club 2016-2017. His latest book of poetry, Stage Whispers (Meadowlark-Books, 2019), contains “…handsomely crafted poems…Dense with images, intimate and honest…” (Kathryn Kysar). His chapbook, Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) comprises ekphrastic poems inspired by a variety of artists’ depictions of angels. His first poetry collection, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014), was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He recently co-edited Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, 2017) with Caryn Mirriam Goldberg. That anthology collected poems that appeared on this website from 2014-2016.

 

The Race by Laura Lee Washburn

I catch foul balls on my tongue:
words like “Get ‘im out of here” USA
“Go back to China” USA, “Make America—”
USA I wash my hair
in the shower with soap that smells like berries.
On the corner, a panhandler
asks for food, “Every Little Bit
Helps. Peace.” As-salamu alaykum.

I drive by, the food bank six blocks north,
the county shelter closed, funds moved
west where Kansans vote Republican
harder than here—GodBlessAmericaJakesFireworks
signs on Forest, on Jefferson, on Adams.
I can no longer tolerate words: USA USA
balloon launches, USA the simple wish
peace be with you, and prayers (Jake’s Fireworks),
that choke fledglings, twist
in the guts of opossums.

You can make a hen tell the truth
no one hears. You can’t fake an egg.
They come honest from the hens,
a kind of fragile truth. Eat spaghetti
by the ax full, carry water
in a berry basket, eat bullets, breathe
turbine—Make America great.

A screwdriver helps a Carpenter Joe twist
screws into holes. If I could,
I’d go back to sleep, great again.
Don’t cut off your tail USA USA; drape it over your
arm, USA wear a top hat USA before it’s too late
make America catch the foulest balls
on their tongues and swallow.

 

Originally published at The New Verse News (https://newversenews.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-race.html).

 

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.

Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is from Wichita, Kansas. He was President of the Kansas Authors Club 2016-2017. His latest book of poetry, Stage Whispers (Meadowlark-Books, 2019), contains “…handsomely crafted poems…Dense with images, intimate and honest…” (Kathryn Kysar). His chapbook, Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) comprises ekphrastic poems inspired by a variety of artists’ depictions of angels. His first poetry collection, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014), was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He recently co-edited Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, 2017) with Caryn Mirriam Goldberg. That anthology collected poems that appeared on this website from 2014-2016.

 

 

 

 

 

The Poet’s Festival Song by Thomas Locicero

The poet’s festival song
Is his joy and is his might.
But to write of every wrong,
To clench fists in every fight—
Is this to be expected?
Is it his duty or right?
Is the poet selected
To save because he can write?
Or is it a greater cause,
Despite the suffering seen,
To offer joy, then to pause
And write something in between?

 

Thomas Locicero’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Roanoke Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Long Island Quarterly, Jazz Cigarette, Antarctica Journal, Hobart, Ponder Review, vox poetica, Poetry Pacific, Brushfire, Indigo Lit, Saw Palm, Fine Lines, New Thoreau Quarterly, and Birmingham Arts Journal, among others. He resides in Broken Arrow, OK.

Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is from Wichita, Kansas. He was President of the Kansas Authors Club 2016-2017. His latest book of poetry, Stage Whispers (Meadowlark-Books, 2019), contains “…handsomely crafted poems…Dense with images, intimate and honest…” (Kathryn Kysar). His chapbook, Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) comprises ekphrastic poems inspired by a variety of artists’ depictions of angels. His first poetry collection, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014), was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He recently co-edited Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, 2017) with Caryn Mirriam Goldberg. That anthology collected poems that appeared on this website from 2014-2016.

 

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