Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’

Reveal Yourself — By Julie Flora

The world doesn’t meet anybody half way.

You have to rise up, you have to reach deeply,

You have to search for a witness.

You can’t hide under a blade of grass forever.

Reveal yourself to the redwood, 

embracing the sacred, too immense to 

put your arms around, 

too strong to bend to your will.

Reveal yourself to the ocean, 

waiting to cover your arms and toes 

in an aqueous expanse, the tide rising up 

to the moon, whispering to you its power.

Reveal yourself to the mountain, 

study the shadows, but ask 

for a path forward. Reveal yourself to the sky, 

open to the sun’s warmth, or the shelter of gray skies, 

the mist on your face to awaken you.

Reveal yourself to the prairie, the vastness 

encircles you. Sing to the wide open fields 

and the never ending horizon.

The trees hear you cry out. The ocean feels 

your toes dab at the water’s edge.

The mountain sees you. The sky wraps you in its arms.

The prairie holds you up, your reflection in the sunrise, 

your tenderness in the setting sun.

What is it that makes you, yourself, 

and not anybody else?

In a wild place of last resort, 

breathe into the life that is you.

Give it back for want of nothing.

~ Julie Flora

Julie Flora lives and works in Topeka, KS. She lives with her husband, Vaughn, her cat, Lightin’ and her dog Zenny. 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. 

Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Kansas Poet Laureate Emerita, is the author of 23 books, including Miriam’s Well, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; and a forthcoming book of poetry, How Time Moves: New and Selected Poems. Founder of Transformative Language Arts, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely, coaches people on writing and right livelihood through the arts, and consults with businesses and organizations on creativity

Cave Paintings — By Dawne Leiker

She painted the monkey on the wall
years before I was born. But there’s
something in its eyes that makes me
think of me. The way it glances
up and to the right. The way I do
when I don’t know the answer,
but don’t want to say.

Only rarely over the years
did we drive the weeded lane,
to the gray stucco home place,
empty since my birth and Dad’s town job.
We’d survey the outbuildings’ decay,
bending to collect rusted implements
from the patches of dirt and buffalo grass,
gathering fragrant lilacs and pink rhubarb stalks
from the overgrown garden.

One summer night, we lingered at the farm
past sunset. My brother lifted
a torn mattress from the back porch
and pushed it onto the brown dirt.
We flopped down on our backs,
wishing for tiny white stars
to sail across the blanket of night.
I closed my eyes just for an instant,
weary from breathing country air.
“See the shooting star?”
he asked, pointing into the darkness,
to where I had just missed it.

Missed, too, the farm that wasn’t my home.
Vacant now more than five decades,
but for two dead coyotes in its basement,
an assortment of snakes, birds, and rats.
And Mom’s crude murals on the walls. Curious,
fading traces of her dream to be an artist.
To be a mother. To be a decorator,
without money to do it tidy.

Down the dank, ancient stairway, cowboys
cling to the block foundation.
One is masked, a Lone Ranger, pink pistol
on his hip. He rides a curly yellow horse.
Across the room, another cowboy
shoots a pistol into the air,
thrusting high its crooked barrel.

Upstairs, red cuckoo clock on the kitchen wall,
framed by a mosaic of cracked ivory paint,
forever strikes seven. Beneath it,
a metal oven, filled with debris,
is now cold to the touch.

Teddy bear and wolf murals
tend the children’s room.
The little ones would have been tucked in
by seven. My brother’s spanking finished moments ago.
My sister’s brown curls laid across
a feather pillow.

And me, alien to the memories
stored here. I touch the paw of
the monkey on the wall, who
fixes his eyes up and to the right.
He does not know. He cannot say
If the light that shot across the night
Was ever really there.

~ 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.

Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Kansas Poet Laureate Emerita, is the author of 23 books, including Miriam’s Well, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; and a forthcoming book of poetry, How Time Moves: New and Selected Poems. Founder of Transformative Language Arts, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely, coaches people on writing and right livelihood through the arts, and consults with businesses and organizations on creativity

Reinhabit — By Laura Madeline Wiseman

Not like I thought or remembered. Not prairies or worms. Not afternoon thunderstorms. Not braless aunts, tribes of topless kids hiking in boots, frayed red laces, trees, paths, all that long hair. Not a park of girls squealing and cupping water balloons, We’ve got boobies! We’ve won the booby prize! Not magic. Not fay villages in every fallen trees. Not a walk of unmeasurable distance. Not fields of dandelion, clover, frisbees, grills, open coolers. Not picnickers or overnight tents. No bare feet, bottles, pipes, or humidity. It’s a place with a name I forgot. You touched my hand, a map in your phone and another memorized—the one you pointed at in the air as if I could see. My map, part bewilderment, part retold story. Our map together, once torn, but now mended, a new chart to unfold.

~ Laura Madeline Wiseman

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of 25 books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance, selected for the Nebraska 150 Booklist. Her collaborative book Intimates and Fools is a Nebraska Book Award 2015 Honor Book. Her latest book is Velocipede. She teaches at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Kansas Poet Laureate Emerita, is the author of 23 books, including Miriam’s Well, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; and a forthcoming book of poetry, How Time Moves: New and Selected Poems. Founder of Transformative Language Arts, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely, coaches people on writing and right livelihood through the arts, and consults with businesses and organizations on creativity

Body of Time                                          by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

Since the body became an I, it revels in being mine
and not yours. It bends toward drought,
and expands when it rains. It fits itself perfectly
in flannel sheets, around another body, held
in the concentric wind the ceiling fan makes.

This body of time takes another breath,
sends another valentine, ignores another blast
of unoriginal hatred as it learns new tricks:
how to hang upside down in ropes at the yoga studio,
walk across a wet field on tiptoe, or sleep standing up.

It’s a month old, or 11 years, or somewhere past 57,
and while it doesn’t know all the words to that tune,
it’s smart enough to know how it internalizes age
like a tree does as it rings out another year.

It’s all the time in the world I have,
so says the swirl of the fingerprint,
the indentation on the left ring finger,
the slight rise of a scar line on the clavicle,
the branches of veins on the back of the wrists,
the heart’s muscular clutch and release.  
  
_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. http://www.CarynMirriamGoldberg.com

   

Guest Editor 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.

Mercy. Daring. Courage — By Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

I have three treasures which I hold and keep.

~ Tao Te Ching

I carry my treasures close to my skin.

I walk carefully and fast, pause to catch

the lightning. So much fire compressed

makes the visible even more visible.

To see this is to know mercy, and how

it tumbles shards of glass and stone

to reconfigure this day. To know mercy

is to know daring: every molecule of love

so delicate and damaged, willing as grass

to fly backwards at high speed while lightning

flashes the veins of the heavens. To know

daring is to know courage, how it’s equal parts

fear and will, rooted in the dense stillness

of the cottonwood banking the creek,

and the creek itself rounding the horizon

toward whatever comes, trials or treasures,

raining down to wake us up.

~ 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. http://www.CarynMirriamGoldberg.com

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, daughter, and sons.

 

This Sunny Day, December 30th — By Laura Lee Washburn

Through brown bamboo shades, leaves shimmy

and bounce, foregrounded by gray roof slate.

 

. . .

 

Downstairs, the man slips in cat spittle, hollers,

mad. The cat necklace sings up the stairs.

 

. . .

 

Today’s high will reach 52 with gusty winds

already hinted at in wavering pin oak leaves.

 

. . .

 

Traffic in town is light, ten minutes to anywhere.

Some man might seem dirty and bundled walking Main.

 

. . .

 

You have house noises, air blowing, pipes banging.

Right now, just now, you forget fear and chore.

 

. . .

 

Your feet are only a little cold yet. Perhaps today,

you . . . .

 

. . .

 

Alert: Low relative humidity, warm temps: any fires

that develop will likely spread rapidly: Fire Weather Warning.

~ 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, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

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.

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.

IED/PTSD — By Roy Beckemeyer

His friends’ eyes blink worry line codes,

navigate glances laden with dark alleys.

 

They proffer bitter advice spiced

with apologies, reach for his hand, but

 

it has become a trigger with wires wending

into his heart, a timer that sets them

 

to trembling with each click. They ache

to know which colored coil they need to cut,

 

which profession of love might ground

the uncertain and secret circuits of his soul.

~ Roy 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, is out from Spartan Press (2018), as is his new collection, Stage Whispers(Meadowlark Books, 2018). Author’s Page: https://royjbeckemeyer.com/

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 Cows in the Trailer In Front of Me — By Julie Ramon

don’t know the disappointment that waits for them,
but maybe that makes it easier. I always know.
I’ve forgotten my body and the shape it was before
children. It’s all about timing now. I undress quickly,
so my husband won’t see the parts I hate. By now,
I’m supposed to be comfortable with where I am,
but I’m still not sure. I’ve read cows have a magnetic
pull in their bodies, most stand north to south.

A scientist discovered this by accident. He intended to study
the direction people sleep, where tents are placed,
and took note of the cows nearby instead. On my way to work,
my eyes always find them in the fields beneath sheets of fog,
wading belly-high in ponds, grouped near the fence line,
in the metal trailer in front of me. Their black marbles peek
through the slots, their legs search for traction. The fields
where they once roamed hums a new silence.

I leave my child home sick today because I know my boss,
without children, won’t understand me missing two days
in a row. We’ve never understood each other. Today
after class, I keep my office hour and return home.
My boss emails me about staying more than the minimum.
We have different ideas about what minimum means.
I think she secretly wants to fire me, maybe that’s okay
because it’s nearly winter and the fields are empty.

The faded house next to the silver trees sits empty.
No one is home. They said forever, but they didn’t mean it.
Most don’t, except for the cows. If they could say forever,
they would say you can feel it at night how fields glow
after a burn. They would say north to south, it fills the moon
with milk. Here, the fields never forget their warmth,
and though they’re not sure where they’re going,
I know, every road in Kansas leads to you.

~ Julie Ramon

Julie Ramon is an English instructor, specializing in English as a second language, at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. She also teaches academic writing at Crowder College in Missouri. 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 lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband, son and daughter.


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.

Tag Cloud