Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Cody Shrum’

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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Perspective by Cody Shrum

GusI.

The autumn wind in Kansas

cools and rustles 200 year-old starlight

winking to me, light hurled

through the hushed black of space

from Orion’s hips, light grown stagnant

like well water in the curve

of the big dipper that was never really there.

 

Sometimes raw curls of black tobacco

roll from the bowl and stem of a pipe

and hide the four glittered lights of the big dipper’s scoop,

leaving three faint stars my mind shapes

into a curved line, a witch’s bent finger.

 

II.

Two space men on a distant rock

in a slender arm of the Andromeda

might point with limbs devoid of fingers

at the bright cluster of lights above

that look, they think, remarkably like a penis,

 

then they use their language of clicks

and screeches to ask each other

why the great, bright penis is painted

on the night ceiling of their world.

They might giggle.

 

Aliens unable to fathom a planet where the stars

aren’t as interesting, arranged in a big dipper

their monkey brains don’t have words for.

They have a word for penis, though.

 

III.

Earth. Kansas.

A storm creeps in from the west and I can’t

even see the witch’s bent finger now.

The sky is mauve-black from the reflected

city lights that doesn’t need the sparkle

of a million lit stars to look good,

even though I know they’re still there.

~ Coby Shrum

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.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, guest editor for Dec., is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate, author or editor of 19 books, and founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she teaches. More on her here.

Mending Time by Cody Shrum

GusWhen my grandparents’ house burnt,

left hollow like a cicada’s shell,

they waited ten years to rebuild it.

 

The barren kitchen still echoes

with scents of holidays and reunion,

handfuls of home-cooked aromas embedded

in brick the fire never quite burned off.

 

Fiberglass threads hanging in the blank air

shimmer like my grandma’s hoop earrings,

melted and lost.

 

I remember where the refrigerator once stood,

every inch covered in blurry pictures

 

and my crayon-slick papers.

We always watched hummingbirds

slurp sugar-water from the feeder,

shooting long tongues like lily petals.

That window is empty now,

The glass tempered and broken on the ground.

 

The house is coming back from the dead,

heartbeat sparked and irregular.

The musty pheromones of fresh wood

and insulation swell in the air,

accents of sheet rock and nails close behind.

 

Memories baked into the foundation

like happy scars, churning scents of browned rolls and

chocolate turtles while the house inhales,

sipping in a new air.

~ Cody Shrum

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.

Dan Bentley and Kat Greene: Guest Editors10418905_10152602037352684_4439634509654435948_n

Dan Bentley is a No-La/Kaw dwelling organic gardening seed saving bioregionalist who hails from western plains, writes, draws, paints, sings as spirit moves, laughs with wife, cats, friends, family, observing life cycle absurdity/profundity.

Kat Greene lived in eleven states and thirty-seven houses before settling in North Lawrence with her husband Dan Bentley in a beautiful garden. She still travels from time to time.

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