Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.

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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.

Benediction — By Julie Flora

Julie and Caryn

The scarlet sky encircles the close of day,

curling around every corner,
blanketing the tree row,
a mirror of rubies settle upon the water below,
all eyes on this show off,
surely infused with the prayers of a bruised heart,
and you ask yourself why there’s such loneliness in searching,
as the blood orange streaks, like fingers to bless you,
like a benediction to heal you,
rest atop your head,
begging you to pay attention,
turning you around to get a closer look,
drawing you nearer to the truth.
Bow before me, this glory,
and find the meaning in your questions
and the heartache in your answers
and let your worries fade
into the blackened honeycomb of night,
as this regal exhibitionist, clothed in precious jewels
offers itself to you, as if you are the only two  lovers left on earth.

~ Julie Flora

Julie Flora lives and works in Topeka, KS. She lives with her husband, Vaughn, her cat, Lightin’, her dog Zenny, and her happy well-fed chickens. Julie has five children and seven grandchildren. Her roots are Southern, but she claims the Prairie as her home. She moved to KS in 2010 to marry the love of her life. She writes, reads, swims and watches biographical documentaries in her free time. Julie hopes to soon build a studio in which to further engage her creative spirit.

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.

Melt the Gods — By Will Hagman

stone hearts

rolling in those

immortal breasts

icy judgment

so precise

unflinching words

in uninhibited wrath

wide eyed

soul-piercing stares

of the statuesque

accusers and blamers

in this moment

of eternity

 

their frozen

disapproval loses

its balance

on those infamous scales

their stone hearts

are met with

feather and wedge

their wide eyed

stares tear and

flow as rivers

into the seas

when a mother

hugs her child

when a community

embraces its own

when a nation

feeds its hungry

when humanity

is humane

~ Will Hagman

 

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 Maril Crabtree’s latest poetry collection, Fireflies in the Gathering Dark, is a 2018 Notable Kansas Book selection. In addition to three published chapbooks, her work has appeared in Canyon Voices, Main Street Rag, Coal City Review, I-70 Review, Earth’s Daughters, and others.

This Is Not…. — By Kathleen Cain

Trumplandia. And We the People

are not an extension of your family

business. We are not another brand

of wine or clothing, or a building on

which to slap a gaudily gilded

name. We are not your obedient

minions willing to lie for you, or

live your lies, or endure your rages.

We have rages of our own—for life

and health, the fortunes of our children

and our grandchildren and their fathers

and mothers, including the four-and-a-half-billion-year-old

one upon whose bruised and injured

body we spin. Her name is not Trumplandia,

either. And she will not lie or lie down for you.

~ Kathleen Cain

Kathleen Cain is a native Nebraskan who has lived in Colorado since 1972. Her nonfiction book The Cottonwood Tree: An American Champion (2007) was selected for the Nebraska 150 Books Project. Two of her poems appeared in Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology, 1867-2017.

 

Guest Editor Maril Crabtree’s latest poetry collection, Fireflies in the Gathering Dark, is a 2018 Notable Kansas Book selection. In addition to three published chapbooks, her work has appeared in Canyon Voices, Main Street Rag, Coal City Review, I-70 Review, Earth’s Daughters, and others.

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