Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

A Tale — By Josh Davis

The golden kings came for her money. She said, But I have none. She’d long spent her coins on the road

that wound west of the sea.
Somewhere she lost the old cloak the north wind wrapped around her,

so the kings tracked her trek through the foothills and over the cliffs.
For too long she’d paid for the kings’ gilded hallways and parlors.

For too long she’d honored their laws, laws that kept her from love.
So she fled to the south, to the Aunt whose nine women ruled with her,

where the bakers and seamstresses thrived, where she kissed whom she wished.
When the golden kings came for her money, she said, But it’s mine now.

Your year is ending, she told them. The ocean unfolded.

~ Joshua Davis

Joshua Davis holds MFAs from the University of Southern Maine and from the University of Mississippi. He earned an M.A. in English at Pittsburg State University. Recent poems have appeared in The Midwest Quarterly, Monster Verse, and Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters.

Guest Editor 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, Maine Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, words (on pages), Midwest Quarterly, Kansas Time + Place, and in 150 Kansas Poets.  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. She is a founding member of the Astra Arts Festival in Independence, KS and was director of the visiting writers’ series at ICC. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

This is the Detail That Breaks Me — By Melissa Fite Johnson

In memoriam, Philando Castile,

killed by police at traffic stop

Philando Castile, cafeteria supervisor,

remembered which students

couldn’t have milk. I imagine

his kids lined up under the fluorescent

hum, pushing plastic trays across

the chrome lunch counter.  Yes to

mashed potatoes.  No to baked beans.

A little more corn, please. Last stop

before steering their trays to seats:

Phil handed each child a milk or juice

carton without asking, knowing their orders.
Now each child performs solo the quiet

act of reaching down into the chest

cooler, no one there to console them

with a smile or clap on the shoulder.

~ Melissa Fita Johnson

Melissa Fite Johnson received her Master’s in English literature from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. Her first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, The New Verse News, velvet-tail, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas. For more, visit melissafitejohnson.com.

Guest Editor 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, Maine Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, words (on pages), Midwest Quarterly, Kansas Time + Place, and in 150 Kansas Poets.  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. She is a founding member of the Astra Arts Festival in Independence, KS and was director of the visiting writers’ series at ICC. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

Citizens — By Laura Lee Washburn

My dog looks a little bit like a fox.

He would like to skulk alone

with no other fox—or dog. His

ears and pointy face and bushy tail.

He does not walk on his toes.

We leave that to the actual cat.
I have learned the fox wants prey

that doesn’t fight back. My dog

runs to the crate after chasing

the cat, a four foot race before turning

back to his safe crate den home shake.
I have watched a fox from the window

scratch at his fleas like an ill-treated dog.

By grace we live in the world

where a squirrel travels under the branch

where we see the birds scatter in leaves.
We find our home in grass and flowers.

We find our home in the trunks and needles.

The rich earth loams up to our noses.

The cut grass surrounds the brain.
I live in a house with nut trees at the window,

with goldfinch hanging at sweet gum balls

where the owl can be heard and the sparrows call.

My dog looks a bit like a fox. My cat

curls up at my leg. They make curves

of warmth alert in ears. We could all be

so human if we never remembered the news.

~ 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 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 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, Maine Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, words (on pages), Midwest Quarterly, Kansas Time + Place, and in 150 Kansas Poets.  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. She is a founding member of the Astra Arts Festival in Independence, KS and was director of the visiting writers’ series at ICC. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

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.

The Disappeared — By Mary Silwance

term to describe

people erased

for existing

against the grain–

 

the disappeared

 

gone

not like the rapture

not from natural causes diseases accidents age

but deleted

 

the disappeared

 

aborted

long after birth

tossed into

the garbage bin

behind history books

 

the disappeared

 

expunged

blue contacts over brown seeing

flat iron over kinky locks

jeans over galabaya*

Irish Spring over cumin and garlic

the letters of your name

syllables of you

forever on papers

rearranged to match

a stranger in a strange land’s ear
the disappeared

~ Mary Silwance

*flowing gown worn by Middle Easterners

Mary Silwance is an environmental educator and activist who blogs at Tonic Wild and founded One Less Pipeline. She is a mother of three and a gardener who aspires to having goats, bees and chickens. Her work has been published in Syracuse Cultural Workers Datebook, Konza Journal, Descansos and Sequestrum.

 

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.

A Tired Farmer Goes to Town — Greg German

–Fifth day, wheat harvest–

A locally scattered thundershower

comes through on a full stoked

locomotive wind, and slams

past his house. He gets out of bed

to watch, and stands there

in the storm’s confused

reflection, more a shadow

than a man. Raindrops.

big as boots,

kick at the windows.

Then it’s over.

The farmer can’t sleep.

At first light

he gets in his pick-up

and goes to look at his land.

The sun rides up

on a clear sky, a shiny spot

on a porcelain plate.

An eye-batting breeze

flirts with the damp

flour scent of a delayed

harvest. At the 5-mile corner

the farmer knows that he has drawn

out of a full-house.

He looks at his field

like it was never there.

When hail comes, size doesn’t

matter. Five minutes

of the pea-sized stuff

is all it takes

to iron a wheat field

flat. He is tired

and considers never going home.

At the restaurant, some men

are not tired at all. Conversation

spills across the contour

of damage. To stop the erosion,

they pull their best jokes

out of their pockets and plant them

between cups of coffee. Before noon

the farmer antes, and goes back

into his country. He greases his combine

and enjoys the dust.

~ 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. (http://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 http://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.

Guest Editor Melissa Fite Johnson received her Master’s in English literature from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. Her first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, The New Verse News, velvet-tail, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas. For more, visit melissafitejohnson.com.

Not My America — Katelyn Roth

I.

I have been

the sigh that plants hands firmly

on either side of the mouth and bursts out

like shattering ice, shards in the chest,

upon reaching home.
one who bargains with the remote’s blinking

battery light, promises things—a Clorox sponge bath,

name brand batteries—to keep from moving

to change the channel.
the arthritic finger on a gnarled hand, frozen

to trail after each passerby like a magnet

drags North or like heads turn when men hold hands.
II.

When the water rises, fire ants hitch together,

eggs gathered between them—they will float

for weeks, bobbing like Atlantis

before it angered the gods.
Maybe the same gravel road that led away

will lead us home. Maybe the sea

won’t swallow us this time.

~ Katelyn Roth

Katelyn Roth graduated from Pittsburg State University with degrees in Creative Writing and Psychology. She has been previously published in the campus literary magazine Cow Creek Review. Currently, she resides in Pittsburg with her husband and dog, working at an insurance office while on hiatus from her Masters in Creative Writing.

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