Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Cody Shrum’

So Many Towns Away — By Cody Shrum

The Kansas night sky feels like home.
Those stars soften the empty black
and comfort me, so many towns away
from home where I imagine
Mom is thinking about me.

Mom sits on the front porch, swinging
in the glider, one foot dangles.
She puffs a cigarette, tip blazing
like her chipped nail polish,
sends swirls of smoke upward
into the nothing that joins the stars.

The wind blows, the streetlight flickers
on and off and back on again.
A chained mutt down the street barks,
rusted metal clacks barely audible.
Mom is unfazed.
She’s waited all day to live this moment,
nothing left to distract her thinking.

Both her boys off to college now,
so many towns away.
The house holds less breath, so she’s turned
our bedroom lights on.
She’s scattered the house with the clothes
we left behind, to trick herself.
She’s sat in both our beds to fill the cold
blankets with some kind of warmth.
She’s checked all the channels on TV,
but nothing’s on.

Now she finishes her last cigarette.
Sips the last sips of her sweetened coffee.
Under the stars, calm, her breathing
is slow, deliberate.

Inside the phone rings.
She flicks her cigarette into the dampening grass,
grabs her slick mug, and hops inside
to find my name on the caller I.D.

~ Cody Shrum

Cody Shrum is a first-year MFA candidate studying fiction at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His poetry has appeared in such magazines as Rust + Moth, Kansas Time + Place, and velvet-tail, as well as the anthology, Kansas Time + Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry. Cody and his wife, Kylee, live in Kansas City with their two dogs, Zoey and Zeus.

Guest Editor 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 have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas. 

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An Apologia for This Pint of Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat by Cody Shrum

GusThe stars outside drink in

the Friday night and this Kansas

winter-cold glass—frothing

with dense foam that just kisses

both lemon wedges—

sweats like lovers down

to the waxed table and coaster and

the dim bar lights filter through ale that

glows like time-frozen sap to amber,

bronzed mosquitos caught mid-buzz.

Citrus and hops drift

behind the music,

up to my thirsty face,

and why the hell not?

~ Cody Shrumm

Cody Shrum is a second-year graduate student at Pittsburg State University, studying Creative Writing with an emphasis in fiction. Cody plans to pursue his MFA degree next fall—an adventure he will embark on with his wife, Kylee, and their two dogs, Zoey and Zeus.

Guest Editor Thomas Reynolds is an associate English professor at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, The MacGuffin, Flint Hills Review, and Prairie Poetry. Woodley Press of Washburn University published his poetry collection Ghost Town Almanac in 2008. His chapbook The Kansas Hermit Poems was published in 2013, and his sports-themed chapbook Small Town Rodeos was published by Spartan Press in 2016.

Big Fish Territory by Cody Shrum

GusThe swollen stars spoke
to one another in bright whispers
above our boat so the planets
wouldn’t hear.

Dad’s breath rose and joined
mine in wind that stole it,
wind cold as water
churning at the bottom of the lake.

The green-tipped tail
of a shooting star falling toward
Earth, yearning to touch
rich Kansas soil, bloomed
bright, and I pointed.

We smiled, still hushed
by the planets when my pole
bent half-over and our boat
nearly tipped into the shining
image of stars
bouncing on water.

The belly of our boat thrashed
against the blurred reflection
of stars on waves.
Bait jumped and splashed
in the sliding bucket.

Our boat, everything in it,
converged to meet
the pale-finned body
rising from the furious lake.

 

 

Cody Shrum is a second-year graduate student at Pittsburg State University, studying Creative Writing with an emphasis in fiction. Cody plans to pursue his MFA degree next fall—an adventure he will embark on with his wife, Kylee, and their two dogs, Zoey and Zeus.

Guest Editor: Roy Beckemeyer is from Wichita, Kansas. His poems have recently appeared in The Midwest Quarterly, Kansas City Voices, The North Dakota Review, and I-70 Review. Two of his poems were nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize competition. His debut collection of poems, “Music I Once Could Dance To,” published in 2014 by Coal City Review and Press, was selected as a 2015 Kansas Notable Book by the State Library of Kansas and the Kansas Center for the Book.

 

Dad’s Fur Coat by

Jenni Gribble PhotoWhat matters now is Dad’s fur coat.

I don’t know where it came from or how he got it,

But he wore it in Kansas winters.

All wrapped up in white and lonely softness.
 

I remember him,

Standing in front of the old buggy.

He had come to play Santa Claus

With a tree and treats.

And when there was snow enough,

He put runners on the wagon box.

And all wrapped up in moonshine,

He rode through the tinsel starlight.

~ Jenni Gribble

Jenni Gribble: I was born in Ottawa, Kansas, and these poems are inspired by stories told by my ancestors, who settled Kansas in the 1800’s. I am a graduate student in English at Morehead State University, Kentucky, and a high school English teacher. My work has appeared in Inscape: Art and Literary Magazine.

Cody Shrum holds both a B.A. and M.A. in Creative Writing from Pittsburg State University with an emphasis in fiction. However, his poetry has appeared in velvet-tail and Kansas Time + Place online literary magazines. Cody plans to pursue his MFA degree in fiction next fall—an adventure he will embark on with his wife, Kylee, and their two dogs, Zoey and Zeus.

Dead Dog by Julie Ramon

It’s been a week now and still eachJulieramon.jpg

day I see you on the side of the highway

serving as a small, black line

connecting Kansas to Missouri.

Bits of your hair are frozen and reflective

against the rising sun. I pass your crushed bones,

asphalt gripping claws and black ears,

that ripple in the wind of passing cars.

 

I tell myself your family came

and gently took your body home and buried

you beneath a sycamore. And, you weren’t drug

away by teeth sunken deep in the folds

of your neck and torn apart leaving nothing

but a smeared trail of what you used to be.

~ Julie Ramon
Julie Ramon is an English instructor, specializing in English as a second language, at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Her poems “Making Tamales” and “Making Tortillas” were recently published in the literary food magazine, Graze. She enjoys baking and selling cakes from home on weekends. She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband and son.

Cody Shrum holds both a B.A. and M.A. in Creative Writing from Pittsburg State University with an emphasis in fiction. However, his poetry has appeared in velvet-tail and Kansas Time + Place online literary magazines. Cody plans to pursue his MFA degree in fiction next fall—an adventure he will embark on with his wife, Kylee, and their two dogs, Zoey and Zeus.

Now by Michael Lasater

Michael LasaterKansasGallery4Largetime turns on point

dancing its one

inexhaustible moment

rewinding shadow

until memory shatters

and all the soft

evenings return

carried on the voices

of old men

(my father’s the deepest)

telling again their stories

told already

some other future time

some moment arrived

only yesterday

all packed up for

its journey

into the night.

~ Michael Lasater

Hutchinson native Michael Lasater is Professor of New Media at Indiana University South Bend. With degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory, Juilliard, and Syracuse University, he has performed with ensembles including the Metropolitan Opera, produced documentaries on writers and literature for PBS distribution, and currently exhibits art video nationally and internationally.

Cody Shrum holds both a B.A. and M.A. in Creative Writing from Pittsburg State University with an emphasis in fiction. However, his poetry has appeared in velvet-tail and Kansas Time + Place online literary magazines. Cody plans to pursue his MFA degree in fiction next fall—an adventure he will embark on with his wife, Kylee, and their two dogs, Zoey and Zeus.

 

At Forty-Eight and Twenty Five Days by Laura Lee Washburn

I go to a party at which pumpkins are optional.Photo on 2010-07-13 at 11.40 #3 (1)

I don’t bring a pumpkin. I sit in a corner

next to a cat that looks remarkably like the host.

The cat refuses to acknowledge me.

Outside, the host carves a pumpkin. I think,

It is too cold. Later I get hot standing

by an open window near the crock pot chili.

I remove my angora scarf. I stuff it in my pocket.

All day I have had a terrific knot

of pain where my neck and shoulder connect.

The word radiate comes to mind when I think

of my arm also hurting all day. I don’t know why.

At the party, we decide I am not having a heart

attack. After eating a Pillsbury biscuit

“sopapilla” dessert, two squares, I tell stories

in which I am a benign villain. The people laugh.

They have been waiting to laugh for a while.

Most of them did not bring optional pumpkins

either. We have been talking about feline diet,

which I did not bring up, but which is

one of my safe subjects. Later, before

the conversation turns to brain cancer—brain cancer

is not one of my safe subjects—I explain

teasing my excitable mother about the brown coat

my dad got me hand-me-down, but paid for, from

some guy at work and swore it wasn’t a boy’s coat

(unisex was vogue anyway), but I was twelve

with an Edie Adams salon mutilated Hamill (think wedge)

and waitresses thought I was a boy and old men

followed me into restrooms—well just once—

so why I asked my mom, why, why, did you make me

wear that brown coat?

Someone’s going to Finland

on a Fulbright. I listen for a while, pull the scarf

out of my pocket and go outside

where three pumpkins glow happily, each

having taken the permanent attitude of bemused hilarity.

~ 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 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.

Cody Shrum holds both a B.A. and M.A. in Creative Writing from Pittsburg State University with an emphasis in fiction. However, his poetry has appeared in velvet-tail and Kansas Time + Place online literary magazines. Cody plans to pursue his MFA degree in fiction next fall—an adventure he will embark on with his wife, Kylee, and their two dogs, Zoey and Zeus.

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