Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

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.

If I Told You I Live in the Planetarium — by Joshua Davis

would you believe me?
It’s true. Watch me chart an invisible line connecting the moles on your neck

with the ones on your hand and left thigh. Bottled storm, the windows are open.
Take my hand. Walk me through every room:

hallways where thunderheads cluster and brood,
dim alcoves lit only by schools of bright fish,
one smoky-blue pool room, where women

take women into their arms like wrapped parcels, and men watch themselves in the mirrors,
the glint of skin stretched over their hearts, fingernails

trilling down the keys of another man’s spine. Let your fingers fall half-step by half-step, and when we’re sick of smoke and hibiscus,

we’ll wander among the apiary rows.
I’ll let that sugared singing teach me how to praise you—all things buzzing, all things sweet.

~ 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 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.

Birthday Butter – by Will Hagman

fullsizerenderart was disgusting to her

when it wasted materials

that could be used elsewhere

to help the poor or

feed the hungry

or when it lost all

practicality and only

took up space needed

for something more
 

she realized this while

cutting a stick of butter

and reflected on a film

she saw of Tibetan monks

sculpting butter into

elaborate figures and

designs to celebrate the

birth of Lord Buddha

which made her think

of all the energy spent in

creating the same beauty

to celebrate the birth of

her Lord Jesus Christ
 

supposedly saviors she

whispered to herself while

cutting the butter into

the flour for a pie crust

putting aside her project

she spied her pill box

she remembered she forgot

and popped open the cell

for the day, spilling the pills

into her cupped palm

the tiniest pill contained

both heaven and hell in

its minute chemical cosmos

but no nirvana was found there

~ Will Hagman

Poet 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 Ronda Miller is district president of Kansas Authors Club, as well as state VP of the club. She is a Life Coach who works with clients who have lost someone to homicide. Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau region of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper into the sunset and scream into blizzards and t-storms. Her quote, “Poetry is our most natural connection among one another” best exemplifies her belief in poetry. She created poetic forms Loku and Ukol and co authored the documentary The 150 Reride of The Pony Express. Her books of poetry include Going Home: Poems from My Life and MoonStain (Meadowlark Books, May of 2015).

But Not Guns – by Kevin Rabas

When it getsimg_5328

real cold,

Asad from Azerbaijan

comes to school

in a new

green and black camo

ski mask,

and secretary Kay tells him:

not a good idea,

wearing that the day after

the shooting, clips

emptied into the dance club,

but Asad doesn’t get it, doesn’t

follow the connection between

that man and him, when men

look like him, but have lost

all heart, face.

Asad lugs his books

up steps, leaves

12 copies of his poem

on my desk, lines of lust

for pomegranates and blondes,

not guns.

~ Kevin Rabas

Poet Kevin Rabas teaches at Emporia State University, where he leads the poetry and playwriting tracks. He has seven books, including Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano – a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner.

Guest Editor Ronda Miller is district president of Kansas Authors Club, as well as state VP of the club. She is a Life Coach who works with clients who have lost someone to homicide. Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau region of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper into the sunset and scream into blizzards and t-storms. Her quote, “Poetry is our most natural connection among one another” best exemplifies her belief in poetry. She created poetic forms Loku and Ukol and co authored the documentary The 150 Reride of The Pony Express. Her books of poetry include Going Home: Poems from My Life and MoonStain (Meadowlark Books, May of 2015).

Contrition – by Amy Nixon

fullsizerender-1I wake up every day in my skin

it is white

and thin

The hot spray in my white

tile shower keeps me

clean

I smell like cinnamon

soap and baby powder

I am pure vanilla

in a sturdy white bra

soft soft bamboo tiedyed socks

a safety pin

combat boots too light

to fight in

utility pants with no tools nothing

in all those pockets

but a badge

to pass security at my white

collar job That badge says

my time is worth

more than $7.25 it says

my middle class white ass can

drive my SUV a block to

get sushi get my

teeth polished white

White ladies are raised to smile

and not ball up

our fists taught

to float like cotton candy

But me with my thin skin flimsy

boots cinnamon

scent I fight in my sleep wake up

to light stabbing

my skull my heartcage My

pale eyes they smile while

inside I shout Put down

that cross

and pick up a scale

You haven’t met

your Jesus yet and he

wouldn’t know you

from your white neighbor

or a moneychanger or

be impressed

that you footsoldier in a

white righteous war on

Starbucks cups Tell

Jesus who washed feet

do you love the

brown neighbor the gay

neighbor the headcovered

neighbor the struggling neighbor

love

thy neighbor who can’t

be a mother right now

Don’t we all breathe

air eat rice

What are your hands

busy serving up

today Why does your sign

say judgment

What of this world

needs you to hold it so tight

What gives you the right

to make the rules

for fights you cannot conceive of

when waking up in white

sheets on a nice clean street

How do you say I’m

sorry in English

Where is your shame

I wake in shame

I wake silent and afraid

I wake enraged every

single day

Every day I wake up tired

unmolted white wishing

the absence of color

didn’t make

such

a difference

~ Amy Nixon

Poet Amy Nixon is an award-winning poet and songwriter who has recently kicked a 40-year coffee habit and is still standing (most days). Her likes are birdsong, the color turquoise, and National Geographic photographs. Her dislikes are injustice and cancer.

Guest Editor Ronda Miller is district president of Kansas Authors Club, as well as state VP of the club. She is a Life Coach who works with clients who have lost someone to homicide. Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau region of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper into the sunset and scream into blizzards and t-storms. Her quote, “Poetry is our most natural connection among one another” best exemplifies her belief in poetry. She created poetic forms Loku and Ukol and co authored the documentary The 150 Reride of The Pony Express. Her books of poetry include Going Home: Poems from My Life and MoonStain (Meadowlark Books, May of 2015).

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