Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Surfeit — By Linda M. Lewis

How many watercolor

sunsets are sufficient?

Does a human get her fill

of ocean chant, lilac scent,

seeds of dandelion skydiving

by silk parachute, robins

preening orange breasts?

I have counted blackbirds

perched on power lines like

children queued for recess.

Admired glistening chain

mail on rainbow trout.

Sauntered under leafy

canopies on pine-needle

cushioned paths. Captured

snowflakes on my tongue,

insects in my hair. As remedy

for humdrum days, make

your house green. That’s

my prescription.

~ Linda M. Lewis

Linda M. Lewis, professor emerita of Bethany College, earned a PhD in British literature and has published four books of literary criticism (University of Missouri Press). Her recent work, Ensemble (Spartan Press, 2019), is a collection of poems that celebrate woman’s experience and narrate female lives—both famous and infamous. This poem contained an allusion to The Sunday Tertulia, a novel by Lori Marie Carlson. This poem was originally published in The Sea Letter,  October, 2018.

June Editor Bio: Ramona Vreeland McCallum is the author of a collection of poetry entitled Still Life with Dirty Dishes (Woodley Press, 2013). She earned her MFA from UMKC in 2017 and her Master of Arts in Teaching from KSU in 2018. She lives in Garden City, Kansas where she teaches 5th grade English Language Arts and co-parents six children with her husband, Brian McCallum. For June’s poems, Ramona selected work whose avian and weather imagery convey metaphoric and dichotomous themes of restlessness & peace, anxiety & security, and which communicate the power of presence when reflecting on the past and looking toward the future.

Sounds — By Ramona Vreeland McCallum

This morning I sit

on the edge of the bed.

The calm black lab Lucy

asleep beside me,

dregs of my first

cup of coffee

on the bedside table

among containers

of lotion, lip balm,

melatonin

 

and out the window,

sounds:

 

The hospital a block away

groans with grinding machinery.

What are they burning now

or cleaning? How much longer?

It’s already been

forever…

 

But that’s not

what I want

you to hear.

 

Focus

on the tree

in the backyard, taller

than the house.

It’s spring and the tree’s

all dressed up

in new leaves,

so we can’t see the birds

in there among the branches.

 

Though we can hear their chirps resound

between us and the incessant, mechanical roar—

like strokes of color

on gray canvas full

of clouds.

 

Let’s get up

continue the day,

blending our way

among these sounds.

~ Ramona Vreeland McCallum

Ramona Vreeland McCallum is the author of a collection of poetry entitled Still Life with Dirty Dishes (Woodley Press, 2013). She earned her MFA from UMKC in 2017 and her Master of Arts in Teaching from KSU in 2018. She lives in Garden City, Kansas where she teaches 5th grade English Language Arts and co-parents six children with her husband, Brian McCallum. For June’s poems, Ramona selected work whose avian and weather imagery convey metaphoric and dichotomous themes of restlessness & peace, anxiety & security, and which communicate the power of presence when reflecting on the past and looking toward the future.

Election 2016 — By Charles Peek

In my dream, we are driving at night

through a hard rain on a country road.

 

At each crossing we come to, the waters seem deeper,

until we come finally to a section where we can’t go any further,

where what is in back of us seems worse now

than when we were there,

where we can’t see a way ahead and begin to feel the road

shifting beneath us,

and we aren’t sure what to do next or how the hell we got here

in the first place

and we hope for any solid ground that holds some promise

of preventing us from drifting helplessly away,

of supporting us amidst whatever it is

the water has already carried away

in the dark.

~ Charles Peek

Charles Peek blogs, writes, and protests from Kearney, Nebraska. His Breezes on the Way to Being Winds won the 2016 Nebraska Award for Poetry. Together with his wife, Nancy, he spends a good deal of time trying to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline form ruining Nebraska’s land, water, and culture.

June Editor Bio: Ramona Vreeland McCallum is the author of a collection of poetry entitled Still Life with Dirty Dishes (Woodley Press, 2013). She earned her MFA from UMKC in 2017 and her Master of Arts in Teaching from KSU in 2018. She lives in Garden City, Kansas where she teaches 5th grade English Language Arts and co-parents six children with her husband, Brian McCallum. For June’s poems, Ramona selected work whose avian and weather imagery convey metaphoric and dichotomous themes of restlessness & peace, anxiety & security, and which communicate the power of presence when reflecting on the past and looking toward the future.

 

On the Edge of the Story — By Julie Sellers

There, in the distance,

rushing inexorably onward,

a gray-clad forward guard

charges across the plains.

Skin tingles with a rumbled warning,

a timpani crescendo

crashing without and within.

An electric tension perfumes the air,

an uncompromising will-o’-the wisp

playing hide and seek amongst the clouds,

calling hearts against their will.

And as the first drops

raise dusty whispers,

there is no retreat,

no option other

than to wait

for the inevitable collision

to bring new life

or ravage this one.

~ Julie Sellers

Julie Sellers: An Associate Professor of Spanish at Benedictine College, Julie Sellers has twice been the overall prose winner of the Kansas Voices Contest. She has published in Kansas Time + Place, The Write Launch, Kanhistique, and New Works Review. Her third academic book, The Modern Bachateros, was published in 2017 (McFarland).

June Editor Bio: Ramona Vreeland McCallum is the author of a collection of poetry entitled Still Life with Dirty Dishes (Woodley Press, 2013). She earned her MFA from UMKC in 2017 and her Master of Arts in Teaching from KSU in 2018. She lives in Garden City, Kansas where she teaches 5th grade English Language Arts and co-parents six children with her husband, Brian McCallum. For June’s poems, Ramona selected work whose avian and weather imagery convey metaphoric and dichotomous themes of restlessness & peace, anxiety & security, and which communicate the power of presence when reflecting on the past and looking toward the future.

Hometown — By Janet-Jenkins-Stotts

A narrow nest,

fled as soon as

fledged, but flight

alone, never enough.

 

Faltering return.

Wingbeat found

in the familiar.

Venturing forth again,

 

Seeking wider skies,

Full of sudden swoops

And spirals, rising

And falling Intentionally.

~ Janet Jenkins-Stotts

Janet Jenkins-Stotts’s poems have been published in Kansas Voices, Konza Journal, River City Voices, Dash, Passager and the Swedish underground journal, “Devote.” She lives in Topeka, KS. with her husband and their min-pin, Romeo. stottsjanet@gmail.com

June Editor Bio: Ramona Vreeland McCallum is the author of a collection of poetry entitled Still Life with Dirty Dishes (Woodley Press, 2013). She earned her MFA from UMKC in 2017 and her Master of Arts in Teaching from KSU in 2018. She lives in Garden City, Kansas where she teaches 5th grade English Language Arts and co-parents six children with her husband, Brian McCallum. For June’s poems, Ramona selected work whose avian and weather imagery convey metaphoric and dichotomous themes of restlessness &peace, anxiety & security, and which communicate the power of presence when reflecting on the past and looking toward the future.

Rear View   by Arlin Buyert

Like our cows
held by ropes at milking time,Arlin Buyert
I was distanced on our prairie farm
with the closest neighbor a mile away.

Then one day I got off the school bus
to find a 1941 Chevy Coupe
parked near the farmhouse. Dad paid
$65, all for me to drive to high school.

The next day I adjusted the rear-view mirror,
watched the red barn and mom’s
empty clothesline slowly fade
into the rolling hills north of town.

Through the windshield
I saw new life in the town’s water tower,
high school friends, basketball games,
first kiss, college, slipping into adulthood.

Now an old man, I’m back to that mirror:
see grandpa walk the farm, dad’s heart attack,
mom’s funeral, weddings, kids born,
Navy days, career, beach vacations,
dogs, granddaughter, spouse’s death, and
cloudy, crafty, crazy covid’s shadow

on my own release.

 

Arlin Buyert was born and raised on an Iowa farm, formally educated at
Macalester College and The University of Minnesota, and has authored four collections of poetry, his most recent Razor Wire. He teaches poetry at Lansing Prison and has edited three anthologies of inmate poetry. Arlin’s poems have been published in The Christian Century, The Rockhurst Review, Coal City Review and other journals. He lives in Leawood with his wife Kristen Kvam.

May Editor Maril Crabtree’s book Fireflies in the Gathering Dark was named a Kansas Notable Book for 2017.

Corona Walk                                      by Phyllis Galley Westover

Spring breaks open in eastern Kansas.
In New York they’re loading bodies in refrigerated trailers.
At my corner forsythia stretches yellow arms.
Everywhere draped and masked medics adjust ventilators.
I tread past dandelions glinting gold from tender grass.
Stores shutter; the unemployed stand in line for food.
A star magnolia trembles in a damp breeze.Phyllis Galley Westover
Fellow walkers move to the middle of the street.
In New York TV cameras pan mass graves—
From an oak a robin sings its rain song.

Phyllis Galley Westover’s writing has appeared in magazines, newspapers and three anthologies. She received Boulevard’s Short Fiction Award and was a finalist for the Iowa Award in Literary Nonfiction. Her children’s book, Sold to the Highest Bidder, is available on Amazon. Two documentary films she wrote appeared on public television.

May Editor Maril Crabtree’s book Fireflies in the Gathering Dark was named a Kansas Notable Book for 2017.

Corona for the May Queen                 by Edeen Martin

“Nature’s first green is gold,” Frost said.
And that’s what I remember of my woods in spring.
This year the thin black branches stay
Even as the crocus and quince,
The daffodils and tulips, the violets and sedum
Come out in glory.

Things are close to right at the dog park.Edeen Martin
From afar we greet old pals and pups.
But even here, big dogs cower
With their humans in the small dog yard
While a Chihuahua mix named “Cheeto”
Barks frantically at all comers
Like an angry mouse.

So much is off in this out-of-kilter season
When dark and light are meant to match –
This time of Mardi Gras and Easter
This time of Purim and Passover
This time of Ramadan and Eid.
How can we celebrate?

 

 

Edeen Martin is a life-long Kansas City resident. She has written poetry most of her life. After 25 years in museums and arts management and 10 more at Silent Unity and as a hospital chaplain, Edeen now spends most of her time making sense of her life through poetry and the visual arts.

May Editor Maril Crabtree’s book Fireflies in the Gathering Dark was named a Kansas Notable Book for 2017.

No Time to Write a Sonnet          by Trish Miller

I sit at my Bernina, a fancy new
sewing machine, stitching a straight seam.
Yards and yards of green stretch out before
me, a hundred percent cotton path.

It’s not a wedding gown I sew, norTrish Miller (2)
a baby’s christening gown, nor
a quilt with complicated stitching. Today
I sew, not for fun, but because I ought.

Nine by six-inch rectangles, quarter inch
elastic, to make the recommended
face masks. Can I make a difference?
I’ll never know. Pandemics don’t answer.

In this time of despair,
every mask is a prayer.

 

Trish Miller loves words as friends and playmates. She began writing in fourth grade but only recently started writing poetry as a way to share thoughts, emotions, beliefs and occasional humor beyond her family. A graduate of Saint Mary College, Leavenworth, she has written instructional materials, retreats, and guided reflections.

 

May Editor Maril Crabtree’s book Fireflies in the Gathering Dark was named a Kansas Notable Book for 2017.

Kiddie Pool Baptismal — by Cameron Morse

My feet dunked, I float
my Crocs, nurse

the spilt in my head
with trips to the spigot.

Heal me, sweet
mother, if you think

I’m worth it. Bless
the inventor

of water and one more
way to withstand

the summer.
Jungle cat rugs

of heat piled plush
on my chest,

I pluck off my T-shirt
and squeeze

rainbows out of a spray-bottle.
Theo empties cups

over my kneecaps, raising
the dark waterline

of soaked denim.
The more I resist the pastoral,

the greater
my urge to pastor.

 

This poem first appeared in The Gravity of the Thing.

 

Cameron Morse lives with his wife Lili and son Theodore in Blue Springs, Missouri. His first collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His second, Father Me Again, is available from Spartan Press. Chapbook Coming Home with Cancer is forthcoming in Blue Lyra Press’s Delphi Poetry Series.

April Editor Roy Beckemeyer‘s latest book is Mouth Brimming Over (2019, Blue Cedar Press).

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