Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

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Through the Ages the Eternal Yes   by Diane Wahto

Do we remember, after so long agoIMG_5704
our yeses, to one and all?
Yeses to the lions on the wall?

She borrowed the white linen dress
from her tall blonde friend
and made its low-cut neckline her own.
Now she knew even the men who thought
her too plain to ask to the dance before
would look at her twice that night.

But under the moonlight in the garden
she danced alone among the flowers
holding only the wine that she sipped.
That night only one would touch her in the     garden,
only one that would open her like a tiger lily.
The white dress on that summer night.

Do we remember, after so long ago
our yeses, to one and all?
Yeses to the lions on the wall.

Diane Wahto’s book of poetry, The Sad Joy of Leaving, is available at Blue Cedar Press.com. Her most recent publications are “Persistence,” at Ekphrastic Review, and “Empty Corners”, in Same. She and her husband, Patrick Roche, live in Wichita, Kansas, with their dog Annie, the Kansas Turnpike dog.

Laura Lee Washburn, Guest-Editor, 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, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review. Harbor Review‘s microchap prize is named in her honor.

New Year       by Rick Alley

rick galsses blurry

Was childhood
your first
failure?
Remember the snow
growing so old
it was such a sooty
scarf?
When the crows came
to manage your grave,
when all their twigs were
   arranged,
did you think about
that Christmas
when your fever was
so mean?
Was that you who stepped
clean through me
in Trafalgar Square
last week?

Rick Alley‘s poems have appeared in The Chattahoochee Review, Mudfish, Poetry East, Willow Springs, Graffiti Rag, Mid-American Review, Eclipse, Elohi Gadugi, Conduit, Smartish Pace, Ellipsis, Luna Luna, Electric Pamphlet, and concis.  He lives in Norfolk, Va.

Laura Lee Washburn Guest-Editor, 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, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso ReviewHarbor Review‘s microchap prize is named in her honor.

Riddle — by Dawn Leikier

She answers the riddles no one can
The punchlines to jokes we didn’t know we started.
We mull her words, wonder where they were born.
She says the five of us sat on the davenport
‘til the wind blew us away. She laughs,
picturing of the nonsense of it.
Her head slumped low, she doesn’t see
that five of us sit there. Just listening.
She asks why God doesn’t fall from the sky
And if pioneers ate grass when they ran out of food.
She asks the name of the little boy in the red sweater
Who no one else can see.
Who loves her scraping, high-pitched songs
that stab our ears and twist our hearts.
She answers the riddles no one can
From the corner of the room, when no one knows she’s listening.

~ Dawne Leiker

Dawne Leiker is a former journalist, now working in academia. Her news/feature stories have appeared in The Hays Daily News, Lawrence Journal World, and several online publications. Her poetry and short stories have garnered awards in regional and statewide literary competitions. Ms. Leiker’s fiction and poetry often are influenced by her past news story interviews, as she develops and re-imagines fictional characters and situations loosely based on local individuals and events.

James Benger is the author of two fiction ebooks, and three chapbooks, one full-length, and coauthor of three split books of poetry. He is on the Board of Directors of The Writers Place and the Riverfront Readings Committee, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online workshop, and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and children.

Refugee Shores — By Roy J. Beckemeyer

“Rumor, the swiftest plague there is, went straight out

To all the settlements of Libya.”— Sarah Ruden’s

Translation of Vergil’s The Aeneid (Book 4: 173-174)

Packed tighter than the slave ships

that once plied these shores,

fishing boats with un-caulked seams

and hulls soft with rot push off from

the beach, people layered in holds,

sitting shoulder to shoulder, gunwale

to gunwale. Assured that Italy is only

hours away, they hear rumors of Europe

swishing in on the waves, watch hope

tread water in each other’s eyes.

– For the Mediterranean refugees of the second

decade of the Twenty-first Century.

(Originally published in 365 Days: A Poetry Anthology, 2016)

~ Roy J. Beckemeyer

Roy J. Beckemeyer was President of the Kansas Authors Club from 2016-2017. His poetry book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was recognized as a Kansas Notable Book. His new chapbook of ekphrastic poems, Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) is out, as is his new collection, Stage Whispers (Meadowlark Books, 2018). Author’s Page: https://royjbeckemeyer.com/

Matthew David Manning holds degrees in creative writing from Arizona State University and Pittsburg State University. His poetry has appeared various publications including I-70 Review, Red Paint Hill, Rust + Moth, Kansas Time + Place, and Chiron Review. He recently became a father and has been enjoying his transition into high school education at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, KS.

Editor’s Response: As a teacher in a school with a large refugee population, I had to choose this poem. Roy does an outstanding job of capturing one of the most uncomfortable and commonly forgotten steps that refugees would often prefer not to remember. One student, a girl, told me that she was scared of being groped by one of the other refugees on her boat as they all piled on each other’s laps. A great poem.

Burial Rites — By Susan Carman

I look away when they bring in the coffin,

pink satin cradling a 14-year old innocent,

the age of my own son. His mother follows,

 

hollowed by grief, dark eyes vacant.

She has hardly slept, haunted by the crooked slant

of her son’s picture on the wall, a sign

 

his unsettled spirit searches for a resting place.

Shame compounds sorrow – her unbaptized boy denied

a burial mass in the Church, she is here, adrift among strangers.

 

She knows but one soul in this foreign church, where we try

to provide a measure of comfort in a tongue not our own.

We rehearse uncertain Spanish, pray our words convey respect.

 

Mariachis arrive, clad in ruffled shirts, silver-buttoned

black coats. They unpack their instruments, begin to play,

their plaintive songs weave us into common purpose.

 

At the communion rail, the chalice bearer repeats the words,

El Cuerpo de Cristo, La Sangre de Cristo.

Body of Christ, Blood of Christ.

 

Today we are one body, offering

solace to a grieving stranger,

wishing it were enough.

~ Susan Carman

 

Susan Carman is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and served as poetry co-editor for Kansas City Voices. Her poetry and essays have appeared in various publications, including Coal City Review, Catholic Digest, I-70 Review, Imagination and Place, and Kalliope. She likes to travel in her free time and in her writing.

Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate and the author or editor of over 20 books. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she teaches, she also offers community writing workshops widely, and with Kelley Hunt, Brave Voice writing and singing retreats. She founded the 150 Kansas Poems site where she is thrilled to work with many fine guest editor poets and witness powerful writing from and about the heartland.

This Schoolhouse — By Robert Dean

For MSD, in lieu of thoughts and prayers


This schoolhouse is marching.
This schoolhouse is not your father’s schoolhouse, nor your grandfather’s, nor yours.
This schoolhouse is your children’s, your grandchildren’s.
This schoolhouse is tired of blood & bullets & body bags & burying.
This schoolhouse is marching like no schoolhouse before it, not Kent State, Selma,
   James Dean, Harvey Milk.
This schoolhouse is teaching old dogs new tricks.
This schoolhouse is reading & writing & ‘rithmeticking new texts: #NeverAgain; We Call BS.
This schoolhouse is erasing “In NRA We Trust” from the dollars, the politicians, the hobby-
   lobbies of pseudo-patriots, the cash cows of AR-15s & TEC-9s.
This schoolhouse is marching for its life, our lives, your life, mine.
Suffer little children, the hell you say.
This schoolhouse is marching.

~ Robert Dean

Robert L. Dean, Jr.’s book, At the Lake With Heisenberg (Spartan Press), will be released in December of 2018. His work has appeared in Flint Hills Review, I-70 Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Shot Glass, Illya’s Honey, Red River Review, River City Poetry, Heartland!, and the Wichita Broadside Project. He was a quarter-finalist in the 2018 Nimrod Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. He has been a professional musician and worked at The Dallas Morning News.

Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate and the author or editor of over 20 books. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she teaches, she also offers community writing workshops widely, and with Kelley Hunt, Brave Voice writing and singing retreats. She founded the 150 Kansas Poems site where she is thrilled to work with many fine guest editor poets and witness powerful writing from and about the heartland.

The One You Loved — By Lori Baker Martin

You sent me looking for the dog,

Your favorite, the one you loved more than me.

I wore your boots, too big for my feet,

because it had rained, and the fields were mud-black.

 

Your favorite, the one you loved more than me,

he would only come when I called.

It had rained and the fields were mud-black,

and I looked for him in the tall grass.

 

He would only come when I called.

The sycamores by the creek whispered at me,

while I looked for him in the tall grass.

Once I heard him howling over the hill.

The sycamores by the creek whispered at me,

and when I heard him howling over the hill,

I called his name and then yours.

I tripped and fell in mud, my hands all black.

 

I’d heard him howling over the hill,

and I could see you standing by your truck.

Watching you, I tripped and fell in mud,

then saw doves flying, and knew he was near.

 

I could see you standing by your truck

and thought, If I find him, maybe you’ll love me.

I’d seen the doves flying and knew he was near,

then he ran to me when I called his name.

 

I thought that now I’d found him, you’d love me.

You dropped to one knee, your arms outstretched.

He licked my hand and bounded ahead

and you looked so relieved, so happy.

 

You’d dropped to one knee, your arms outstretched,

and you called, but I couldn’t hear your words.

You looked so relieved, so happy, so thin,

and fading in the narrowing light.

 

You called, but I couldn’t hear what you cried

to your favorite, the one you loved more than me.

 

And you, fading in the narrowing light,

You sent me looking for the dog,

But the dog came back to me.

~ Lori Baker Martin

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, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Maine Review, Midwest Quarterly, Kansas Time + Place, 150 Kansas Poets, and in a Kansas Notable Book poetry collection To the Stars Through Difficulties. 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. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she was named a Truman Capote Fellow and received the Clark Fischer Ansley Award for Excellence in Fiction. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and she is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

Pas” and “Upon Seeing a Photo of Mrs. Ocey Snead” appeared first in The Midwest Quarterly. “The One You Loved” appeared first in The Knickackery.
Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate and the author or editor of over 20 books. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she teaches, she also offers community writing workshops widely, and with Kelley Hunt, Brave Voice writing and singing retreats. She founded the 150 Kansas Poems site where she is thrilled to work with many fine guest editor poets and witness powerful writing from and about the heartland.

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