Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Face to Face with a Lizard             by John Dorsey

for Christian Clevenger

 

milkman i wouldn’t worry too much

about the lizards in the couch in my garage

 

just think about your future prom date

wiggling all over your body

 

close your eyes

turn off the lights

 

& call it young love.

 

 

 

John Dorsey is the author of several collections of poetry, including Tombstone Factory (Epic Rites Press), Appalachian Frankenstein (GTK Press), Being the Fire (Tangerine Press) Shoot the Messenger (Red Flag Press), and Your Daughter’s Country (Blue Horse Press).

 

 

September Editor 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.

Planetarium Experiment                     by Denise Low





Fold a map of the heavens in two.

           Find vortex of the Milky Way at midpoint.

The Zodiac meets at equinoxes Aries and Libra—

           Ram tips the Balance.

           At solstice points

                      Devil-Goat distances from Cancer the Crab.

Comets shoot across orbits. And stars:

           Babylonian constellations chase Mayan jungle animals.

           Rayed Peruvian Suns wander Norway.

Pray to gods of gravity to unfold the star map,

           to smoothe creases over a broken sky.

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, won Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award for Shadow Light: Poems. Other books are Turtle’s Beating Heart, memoir (U. of Nebraska Press)and Casino Bestiary: Poems (Spartan). She has won 3 Ks. Notable Book Awards and other recognition. She teaches in Baker University’s MLA program.

September Editor 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.

Mo(u)rning Ghazal              by Shawn Pavey

Heavy rains for the better part of twenty four hours.
The river rises, water overflowing its borders.

Thunder fills everyone standing with dread, but lightning
cracks the air, opens us to all the sky’s murderous powers.

Beside a propane tank behind my studio, at the edge
of an overgrown gravel drive, sway black-eyed Susans and lacy wildflowers.

Strong black coffee punctuates overcast mornings.
Cigarettes are good, too, but I don’t smoke those anymore.

Last week, chatted with an old and dear friend who’s writing a book
on “The History of Reading” that I want to devour.

He told me it’s cancer. He told me the executor of his will
will send me his lifetime’s book collection of analysis and verse.

I do not want my friend to die and neither do I want to end.
I am exhausted from saying goodbye, yet here we are.

shawn pavey

Shawn Pavey is the author of Talking to Shadows (2008, Main Street Rag Press), Nobody Steals the Towels from a Motel 6 (2015, Spartan Press), and Survival Tips for the Pending Apocalypse (Spartan Press, 2019). He is a Co-founder and former Associate Editor of The Main Street Rag Literary Journal, and a former board member and officer of The Writers Place, a Kansas City-based literary non-profit.

~

September Editor 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.

Suffering is not a Competition     by Agnes Vojta

There are no judges who weigh

grief against grief,

no trophies for the heaviest burden,

no ribbons for the most deserving despair.

Do not compare.

You must pull

yourself out of the swamp

by your own hair,

declare yourself healed.

There will be no spectators

applauding at the finish line,

no paparazzi snapping,

no journalists waiting

for an interview –

only you

will know

that you’ve made it,

with nothing to show

than your heart still beating.

Agnes Vojta grew up in Germany and now lives in Rolla, Missouri where she teaches physics and hikes the Ozarks. She is the author of Porous Land (Spartan Press, 2019) and The Eden of Perhaps (Spartan Press, 2020), and her poems have appeared in a variety of magazines. This poem was originally published in Mad Swirl, 2019.

September Editor 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.

Palmistry by Jemshed Khan

What did she see

in my hands

upturned to heaven?

Perhaps bats rising

from my palms, swarms

winging into the night.

In the glare

of my smartphone

I Google death

stare at a picture

of an infected Princess

off the coast of Cali.

In the cradle of my hand:

maps of the earth,

red circles rising.

I walk to the sink,

scrub with soap, wash

until water runs clear.

Isolation

I used to cross the street

from my office to see Dad.

We munched on samosas

and forkfuls of biryani.

Sipped chai

and talked Dow Jones.

Now a phone call is all.

“What did you just say?”

I raise my voice, enunciate,

but he still mistakes me

for my brother.

“Oh fine,” he replies,

and then jumbles English

and Urdu

into nonsense.

Once a week I set

a grocery sack

of canned soups, oatmeal,

oranges, bananas, milk

outside his door:

ring the door bell

and head for the car.



Jemshed Khan lives in Kansas City and has published in Heartland 150, I-70 Review, Chiron Review and Coal City Review.

September Editor 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.

Rain and Wet — by Laura Lee Washburn

I’ve pulled up the mint by the roots

that was crowding the iris.  I’ve pulled

up the oregano down to its roots, the oregano

that crowds the iris, the chives,

and the lily.  The basement has water

 

in places I’ve rarely seen, rivulets

blown by high-powered fans.  The sump

at least is working, dehumidifier

filling, too.  Did you know the shop vac spits

like a squirt gun when near full?

 

The dog’s paws are wet when we come into the house.

The back stairs are dirty and damp with our mess.

The oregano and the mint are littering the yard.

In Texas hill country, in Oklahoma, too,

the creeks are overflowed, the lake past

its spillway, fourth time in this history.

 

They say the scent of grass or mint

when cut or pulled is screaming, is warning

the other grass and mints nearby.  The air

is full of mint.  The air is full of oregano.

 

The basement is full of water, and the

damp will sound its destruction in dank

and rot and gathering molds until

we suffer the heat and the stink and wilt

of the evercoming unbelievable summer.

~ 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, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso ReviewHarbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.

August Co-Editor and Past Poet Laureate of Kansas (2017-2019) Kevin Rabas teaches at Emporia State University, where he leads the poetry and playwriting tracks and chairs the Department of English, Modern Languages, and Journalism. He has twelve books, including Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner. He is the recipient of the Emporia State President’s and Liberal Arts & Sciences Awards for Research and Creativity, and he is the winner of the Langston Hughes Award for Poetry.

August Co-Editor Linzi Garcia can be found frolicking through fields, cemeteries, and bars across the states, gathering poetry along the way. She recently received her MA in English at Emporia State University, where she served as the assistant to Former Poet Laureate of Kansas Kevin Rabas and to Bluestem Press. Her first poetry collection, Thank You was published by Spartan Press (2018), and her co-written chapbook Live a Great Story was published by Analog Submission Press (2019). She is always looking to invest time in new places where she can absorb new perspectives.

Wild Edges                                          by Elizabeth Perdomo

I am not meant
for modern civilization,
rectangular box repetition;
garish shops; abhorrent lights.
Jangling distractions, fountain flows
fully regulated in sequence;
colored concrete marine
blue.
Give me wild places,
unfettered waters,
unkempt patches,
wild edges.
Unmowed meadows
& dandelion dotted lawns;
better yet, front yard wildflowers
teaming with bright winged life.
No lifeless trimmed &
sprayed hedge
symmetry.
Rather, life-filled hedgerows,
tangled preserves, secret
conserves, hidden
reserves.
Green forests still
alive with brilliant shadowed
silence;
soft breezes
which whisper
important things which
should & must be
heard.
7 May 2019 – Pharr, Texas

Elizabeth Perdomo at Dallas Museum of Fine Arts

Elizabeth Perdomo, born in Emporia, Kansas, raised in Winfield, has written poetry since a teen. One Turn of Seasons, includes her poetry and another’s photography. Recently, her poems appeared in Kansas Time + Place, Interstice, and The Chachalaca Review. Perdomo now lives in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Guest Editor Julie Ramon is an English instructor at NEO A&M in Miami, Oklahoma.  She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She is also a co-organizer of a Joplin, Missouri poetry series, Downtown Poetry. She lives in Joplin with her husband, sons, and daughter.

Backyard    by Melissa Fite Johnson

This scooped-out hole was once
the Bradford pear a friend and I sat under
last May when she lifted her shirt
to let me feel the life inside. Through
the dark soil, the tree’s roots still stretch
like lines etching a cracked egg.Melissa-Fite-Johnson_sm

She became a mother. I didn’t.
She secures the stroller’s strap, follows
her son to the park. She sits with other
mothers
in the shade. The older children
pile acorns in their mothers’ laps
until they spill to the ground.

At home, my husband and I read,
opposite ends of the couch, my feet tucked
under his side. Our tea steeps
in the kitchen. I’m not holding on
to nothing anymore. In the neighbors’ yard,
branches quilt patterns into the sky.

(Originally published in Broadsided Press, May 2017)

Melissa Fite Johnson’s first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. She is also the author of A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky, winner of the 2017 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2018). Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Pleiades, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, Sidereal, Stirring, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband and dogs in Lawrence, Kansas.

Guest editor Julie Ramon is an English instructor at NEO A&M in Miami, Oklahoma.  She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She is also a co-organizer of a Joplin, Missouri poetry series, Downtown Poetry. She lives in Joplin with her husband, sons, and daughter.

By Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg           I Love This Body That’s Not the Way I Thought      

like I love lightning, and especially its aftermath:
a horizon balancing blue sky, dying thunderheads,
faint stars, open space—the whole world stretching
its arms two directions at once, just as I do, shaking
myself steady, remembering how this body loves
miles of sidewalk diminishing into a faint path
made by deer with genius for merging the visible.
I love the walk out of what I thought even if
my feet hurt, I’m scared by the blank stare of the sun,
or I’ve surrendered to how the subway sways its chant
along my spine as it cups this body in its seat.
I love the flash of yearning that turns this body
toward the dark or bright branches of sex or dreams,
all this weather informs these limbs and muscles
in the seasons that come and go, or that came and went:
the mechanisms of cell-building, the three children
from that flint-on-flint spark, the years before
walking sunsets out of housing developments,
and earlier, the fast slim legs that galloped me
down long apartment hallways as the girl
who knew how to tell herself to stay curious,
just as the woman who woke from the old pain,
and put on her walking shoes to head out into billions
of atoms shifting into fire or flower at every turn.

_8103565_caryn_mirriam-goldberg

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 23 books, including Miriam’s Well, a novel; Everyday Magic: A Field Guide to the Mundane and Miraculous, and Following the Curve, poetry. Her previous work includes The Divorce Girl, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet, a bioregional memoir on cancer and community; and six poetry collections, including the award-winning Chasing Weather with photographer Stephen Locke. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely. www.CarynMirriamGoldberg.com

 

Guest Editor Julie Ramon is an English instructor at NEO A&M in Miami, Oklahoma.  She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She is also a co-organizer of a Joplin, Missouri poetry series, Downtown Poetry. She lives in Joplin with her husband, sons, and daughter.

Visiting my Grandson during the Pandemic      by Debbie Theiss

My grandson plays on his driveway
chalk in hand as he draws
large yellow daffodils and red tulipsDebbie Picture
sidewalk paths
trees with orange and cherry blossoms
me under the branches with
picnic basket full of cake and
cookies in blue-checkered napkins
a robin’s nest above my head
with four tiny egg blue gems

I watch him from my car, window down
sun fading in the pink-streaked sky
I beep twice, he looks my way
I throw him kisses; he catches each one
I pull away still watching him and
wish that someone would have HIT PAUSE
before—
before now.

 

Debbie Theiss (Lee’s Summit, MO) grew up in in the Midwest and finds inspiration in the unfolding art of daily life and nature. She is a member of the Kansas City Writer’s Group and has poems published in I-70 Review, Helen Literary Journal, River & South Review, and others.

 

Julie Ramon is an English instructor at NEO A&M in Miami, Oklahoma.  She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She is also a co-organizer of a Joplin, Missouri poetry series, Downtown Poetry. She lives in Joplin with her husband, sons, and daughter.

 

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