Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

Posts tagged ‘Denise Low’

1953 Wellington Wheat Festival by Myrne Roe

August’s void of evening breezes

capped a small park gorged with crowds.

Ride lights were glimmering circles,

teasing children with no tickets.

I envied friends certain of their beauty,

practiced in promoting romance.

A dreamer unsure of her dreams,

shy as a colt, afraid of my yearnings,

I pretended apathy toward the boy,

eyes smiling, who stood before me,

Today memory comes in cloud wisps,

but long ago under a luminous sky,

I clearly recall the handsome boy

who held my hand and walked me home.

I still smell the oil in his hair,

and hear the band play “Tenderly.”

~ Myrne Roe

Myrne Roe is a retired editorial writer and syndicated columnist who has been writing poetry for fifteen years. Her poems have been published in local and regional publications including ByLine Magazine, Voices of the Heartland, Words Out of the Flatlands and Kansas Voices. She also has published a chapbook, Ironing Out the Wrinkles

Guest editor: Denise Low, 2nd Kansas Poet Laureate, is author of twenty-five books, most recently Mélange Block (Red Mountain Press, Santa Fe). Low is past president of the Associated Writers and Writing Programs board of directors. Cream City Review nominated her fiction for a Pushcart Prize, 2014. She writes articles, blogs, and reviews; and she co-publishes a small press, Mammoth Publications. She teaches private professional workshops as well as classes for Baker U. Her MFA is from W.S.U. and Ph.D. is from K.U. She has British Isles, German, and Delaware Indian heritage. See more: www.deniselow.net http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/denise-low http://deniselow.blogspot.com

Name Bearers by Thomas Reynolds

My grandfather is a picture,05_10_1

Boxed in by a solid oak frame,

Staring with inscrutable gaze

From my aunt’s faded flower print.

He is not the imperious patriarch.

He neither intimidates into silence,

Nor beckons with benevolent gaze

This small collection of name-bearers.

How often I sat at the table as a child

Staring at those eyes squinting at the light,

Head cocked as if hearing an inner voice,

One he never seems quite able to place.

Maybe it is our faces he strains to see,

The timber of our voices he leans to hear.

What to make of this new breed of Kansans.

He appears perpetually to withhold judgment.

As judges go, he’s not a gavel beater,

But he’s Kansas shrewd, taking us all in.

In cases involving imposters, you see,

Looks don’t cut it. Nor voices.

Rather some indefinable tilt of the head.

The glacial drift of conversation.

A beckoning of ancient blood.

A quality of silence.

~ Thomas Reynolds

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.

Guest editor: Denise Low, 2nd Kansas Poet Laureate, is author of twenty-five books, most recently Mélange Block (Red Mountain Press, Santa Fe). Low is past president of the Associated Writers and Writing Programs board of directors. Cream City Review nominated her fiction for a Pushcart Prize, 2014. She writes articles, blogs, and reviews; and she co-publishes a small press, Mammoth Publications. She teaches private professional workshops as well as classes for Baker U. Her MFA is from W.S.U. and Ph.D. is from K.U. She has British Isles, German, and Delaware Indian heritage. See more: www.deniselow.net http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/denise-low http://deniselow.blogspot.com

Genesis by Diane Wahto

Diane WahtoWhen those two people, cold, armored, fortified

against the assaults they had fought and conquered,

when those two faced each other, foundered,

grasped hands to make promises, to forge an accord,

in the almost empty church in front of the preacher

on a Saturday night, in front of her mother, his mother,

his father dead, her father deaf to anyone’s needs

but his own small ones,

when they left the church and went to the small

apartment just down the block that they would call

home until the first baby started to crawl,

when they shared a bed for the first time,

unfamiliar touches, awkward kisses, crossed a line

that she had not crossed before, he making a fine

show of manhood the first time. Then came the sun,

a bright light in the bedroom. They arose, put on

their wedding clothes, and went to church,

as was their habit.

~ Diane Wahto

Diane Wahto has an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. Her poem, “Someone Is Always Watching,” won the American Academy of Poets award. Recently, her poems “The Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging. She, her husband, and two dogs live in Wichita, Kansas.

Guest editor: Denise Low, 2nd Kansas Poet Laureate, is author of twenty-five books, most recently Mélange Block (Red Mountain Press, Santa Fe). Low is past president of the Associated Writers and Writing Programs board of directors. Cream City Review nominated her fiction for a Pushcart Prize, 2014. She writes articles, blogs, and reviews; and she co-publishes a small press, Mammoth Publications. She teaches private professional workshops as well as classes for Baker U. Her MFA is from W.S.U. and Ph.D. is from K.U. She has British Isles, German, and Delaware Indian heritage. See more: www.deniselow.net http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/denise-low http://deniselow.blogspot.com

Hues by Denise Low

I look into my lover’s eyes. Denise

Like lit sumac, they catch fire.

Our glances kindle scarlet.

 

My tongue tastes sea-blue.

My hands dip in purple water.

Elderberry blooms next to us.

 

Alfalfa blossoms spread lemon.

Mountain winds smell of snow

blown through miles of sage.

 

Our legs entwine in brambles.

When we kiss, fragrance becomes

the skin’s sun-heat smell.

 

 A cinder pyre burns away the west

until again we are blind.

~ Denise Low

Denise (Dotson) Low is the 2007-2009 Kansas Poet Laureate, with 25 published books of poetry, personal essays, and scholarship. Melange Block, poems, is from Red Mountain Press (2014), and A Casino Bestiary, poetry and fiction, is forthcoming from Mouthfeel Press (2015). She has been visiting professor of creative writing at the University of Richmond and the University of Kansas. At Haskell Indian Nations University, she founded the creative writing program. Currently, she teaches courses for Baker University as well as independent creative writing workshops in Kansas City and online. She has awards from the NEH, Lannan Foundation, The Newberry Library, Academy of American Poets,Sequoyah National Research Center, and Ks. Arts Commission.

Double Trouble for Poetry Month: During Poetry Month, we are featuring a poem weekly from each of Kansas’s poets laureate in addition to our weekly poems.

Bazaar Cemetery by Pat Daneman

10885210_10203995076012065_23950373450041338_nWhere tongues of stone stand between green lips burned brown,

where moon and sky have turned mean backs on our disasters,

 

we are alive, bawdy and brightly dressed, yearning, plotting still.

If I could, I would reach for you, Elmer Bland,

 

drowned while hunting rabbits down by the falls.

I went twenty-two years without your stone tongue and wooden hands,

 

without your disappointment in me, the bride who did not make you rich,

did not keep you young with children. And now we are together again,

 

cattle grazing in our faces, chewing our paltry shade down into pulp.

The hot dime of the noon sun can cackle to the stars at our mistakes,

 

but I cannot release one word from my lips. I cannot move, when all I want

is to touch a finger to the fine blue wool of your Sunday coat.

~ Pat Daneman

Pat Daneman has lived in Lenexa, Kansas since 1986. Recent work appears in The Moon City Review, I-70 Review, Bellevue Poetry Review, and The Comstock Review. Her chapbook, Where the World Begins, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She is poetry co-editor of Kansas City Voices magazine.

Guest editor: Denise Low, 2nd Kansas Poet Laureate, is author of twenty-five books, most recently Mélange Block (Red Mountain Press, Santa Fe). Low is past president of the Associated Writers and Writing Programs board of directors. Cream City Review nominated her fiction for a Pushcart Prize in 2014. She writes articles, blogs, and reviews; and she co-publishes a small press, Mammoth Publications. She teaches private professional workshops as well as classes for Baker U. Her MFA is from W.S.U. and Ph.D. is from K.U. She has British Isles, German, and Delaware Indian heritage. See more: www.deniselow.net http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/denise-low http://deniselow.blogspot.com

Inside the Crystal by Denise Low

Crystal gazers fated loversDenise

Coronado appears gold dross

midnight mirage Quivera lost

indigo flames violet sun

 

Future past cloud the orb

Cortez arrives departs

Malintzin lives dies

broken waves powdered stars

 

Comancheria burning blood

Santa Fe obsidian red

volcanoes boil hot cold

life death the same ore

 

Rainbow portals spiral

sun moon turning faces

betrayed lovers reappear

 

laughter tears glisten fade

~ Denise Low

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-2009, is author of 25 award-winning books of poetry and prose. She does individual bookconsulting and editing, as well as workshops. She teaches in the Baker University School of Professional and Graduate Studies. Low is co-publisher of Mammoth Publications an independent small literary press specializing in Indigenous and Mid-Plains poetry and prose. Her poetry blog has over 400 entries, and she reviews poetry for the Kansas City Star. For more, see BIOGRAPHY. Her book of poetry Mélange Block, from Red Mountain Press, Santa Fe, assembles a geological continuum of passion, grief, and American Indian and European histories.Recent online publications are from Numero Cinq, Feb. 2014. An interview is in the Feb. 2014 Museum of Americanaliterary journal. North Dakota Q.published a special issue about William Stafford, including Low’s “‘The Way It Is': Second Sight in William Stafford’s Poetry.”Contact information is at www.deniselow.net

The Percentages by Greg Field

My father taught me how to track and stalk.Greg

He said, “Walk quiet in the woods

like your grandfather’s ghost.”

He had two fathers and neither was a ghost.

 

My grandmother said that each

was the greater of two evils.

She said this with her eyes, not with her words.

She told me one grandfather was pure Potawatomi

and the other was the pure antidote.

She said this on her deathbed.

 

My father said, “Walk quiet in the woods

like your grandfather’s ghost.

You can sneak up on a white man

and slit his throat.”

He laughed in the cold duck blind

and pulled two gulps of whiskey.

 

That night, I looked in the mirror and saw

I was white as the bathroom light.

I followed the smooth line

of my throat where it pulsed

with the words of ghosts.

~ Greg Field

Greg Field is an artist, writer, drummer, sailor, chemist, computer geek, and network administrator. His book of poems The Longest Breath (Mid-America Press) was a Thorpe Menn Finalist, and his chapbookEnd of This Set is from BkMk. His poems appear in many journals and anthologies, including New Letters, Laurel Review, Karamu, Chouteau Review, and Kansas City Outloud II. Field has degrees in painting from the Kansas City Art Institute and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He was an elementary art teacher for thirteen years. His paintings are in private collections all over the country. He plays percussion in River Cow Orchestra, an improvisational jazz band. Upon his wife’s death in 1987, he, Robert Stewart, Miles Sandler and Maryfrances Wagner set up the Crystal Field Scholarship for a student at UMKC majoring in creative writing. Proceeds from the annual Crystal Field Scholarship Reading contribute to that fund. This poem is from Black Heart, new from Mammoth Publications July, 2014. $15.00, 84 pages, ISBN: 978-1-939301-85-7. Field reads from the book July 23, Raven Bookstore, Lawrence, 7 pm.Order online www.mammothpublications.net or by mail, Mammoth, 1916 Stratford, Lawrence, KS 66044. Mention Kansas Time and Place and receive 30% discount.

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-2009, is author of 25 award-winning books of poetry and prose. She does individual bookconsulting and editing, as well as workshops. She teaches in the Baker University School of Professional and Graduate Studies. Low is co-publisher of Mammoth Publications an independent small literary press specializing in Indigenous and Mid-Plains poetry and prose. Her poetry blog has over 400 entries, and she reviews poetry for the Kansas City Star. For more, see BIOGRAPHY. Her book of poetry Mélange Block, from Red Mountain Press, Santa Fe, assembles a geological continuum of passion, grief, and American Indian and European histories. She launches the book in Lawrence, Ks., the Raven Bookstore, June 25, 7 pm. Recent online publications are from Numero Cinq, Feb. 2014. An interview is in the Feb. 2014 Museum of Americanaliterary journal. North Dakota Q.published a special issue about William Stafford, including Low’s “‘The Way It Is': Second Sight in William Stafford’s Poetry.”Contact information is at www.deniselow.net

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