Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Denise Low’

La Loba’s Song* — By Lindsey Martin-Bowen

(TO MAKE SKELETONS RISE)

. . . I heard a noise: it was the rattling as the bones

came together, bone joining bone. . . .I prophesied

as He told me, and they came alive and stood

upright. Ezekiel 37:7-10 (NAS)

 

Tonight we cry in soul-deep songs:

Eee yō yō. . . .Eee yō yō.

At the dawn, we will sing of joy:

Eee yō yō. . . .Eee yō yō.

 

Our voices will rock the desert

hot with incessant summer winds:

Eee yō yō. . . .Eee yō yō.

 

Our songs stir seas. Skulls and knuckles

rise from the deep, lift to high peaks:

Eee yō yō. . . .Eee yō yō.

 

Our words penetrate aspens, oaks,

junipers, pines, and Joshuas:

Eee yō yō. . .Eee yō yō.

 

Our sounds now strip the forests clean:

to unearth all those underneath.

Eee yō yō. . . .Eee yō yō.

 

The bones we gather rise and dnace

to our music. And we sing loud

praises to the Creator:

Eee yō yō. . . .Eee yō yō. Eee yō yō. . . .Eee yō.

~ Lindsey Martin Bowen

Published in Crossing Kansas with Jim Morrison (Paladin Contemporaries 2016).

*According to Southwest legends (from various tribes

and Mexican cultures), La Loba (The Wolf Woman) works

with angels to gather bones of humans and wolves.

Lindsey Martin-Bowen: Last July, 39 West Press  released her fourth poetry collection, Where Water Meets the Rock. Her third, CROSSING Kansas with Jim Morrison (in chapbook form) was a semi-finalist in QuillsEdge Books 2015-16 contest. A poem from her Inside Virgil’s Garage  (Chatter House 2013) was nominated for a Pushcart, and Standing on the Edge of the World (Woodley), was a Top 10 Poetry Book for 2008 (McClatchy). New Letters, I-70 Review, Thorny Locust, and others have run her work. She teaches at MCC-Longview and dreams of Pendleton, Oregon.

Guest Editor Denise Low, second Kansas Poet Laureate, has published over 20 books of award-winning poetry and essays, including Ghost Stories (Woodley) and Natural Theologies, essays about Mid-Plains literature (Backwater Press). Low was visiting professor at the University of Richmond and Kansas University. She taught at Haskell Indian Nation University, where she founded the creative writing program. She served Associated Writing Programs as board president. She and her husband Thomas Pecore Weso publish Mammoth Publications.

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Grain Elevator Gray — By Roy Beckemeyer

The elevator towers at the edge of town:

grain-dust covers all when hard winter-red is cut.

 

The combines chew lanes, the trucks have no wings

yet fly over gravel. This year’s wheat was chest-

 

deep on the young men whose faces are now dust

covered. They rent rooms without clothes-cabinets,

 

small town antiquated tourist cabins: men

who will not turn home till winter. Feathers

 

of the pigeons are dirt-colored. Dust-gray eggs

in the nest now, and the birds almost tumble

 

as they swoop to peck up spilled kernels. Terraces

step foreign fields but here flatness reigns and you

 

watch the birds soar over heat-baked fields through

the sun’s bright day. They absorb June so that January

 

will not cut so deep. They will move south later, yo-yo

back with spring, desperate gray against the white clouds.


~ Roy Beckemeyer

 

A Golden Shovel poem inspired by Liz Berry’s “Birmingham Roller”


Roy J. Beckemeyer 
is from Wichita, Kansas. His poetry book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He recently co-edited Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, 2017) together with Caryn Mirriam Goldberg. That anthology collected poems that appeared on this website from 2014-2016.

Guest Editor Denise Low, second Kansas Poet Laureate, has published over 20 books of award-winning poetry and essays, including Ghost Stories (Woodley) and Natural Theologies, essays about Mid-Plains literature (Backwater Press). Low was visiting professor at the University of Richmond and Kansas University. She taught at Haskell Indian Nation University, where she founded the creative writing program. She served Associated Writing Programs as board president. She and her husband Thomas Pecore Weso publish Mammoth Publications.

13 Degrees — By Kevin Rabas

When it gets

cold, and instead

of riding a Ferris wheel

in the snow, flakes

like white holiday lights,

you must walk

to work, to school,

your hat on, hood up,

your gloves ragged,

take heart, somewhere

a warm room

waits for you.

~ Kevin Rabas

Kevin Rabas is the current Kansas Poet Laureate. He teaches at Emporia State University, where he leads the poetry and playwriting tracks. He has seven books, including Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner.

Guest Editor Denise Low, second Kansas Poet Laureate, has published over 20 books of award-winning poetry and essays, including Ghost Stories (Woodley) and Natural Theologies, essays about Mid-Plains literature (Backwater Press). Low was visiting professor at the University of Richmond and Kansas University. She taught at Haskell Indian Nation University, where she founded the creative writing program. She served Associated Writing Programs as board president. She and her husband Thomas Pecore Weso publish Mammoth Publications.

Eliminate — By Ronda Miller

Use it to describe refined sugar, coffee,

or animal protein I removed from my diet.

It works for exercise, although I didn’t

have it to eliminate anyway.

Use it to discuss a policy that won’t work,

a police suspect who’s been ruled out,

or a boyfriend you no longer wish to date.

 

It works for the red dress left

at the store because it doesn’t fit right.

But let’s not use it to describe

the person dying in the street,

the one a government or police

state threw a weapon in front

of as an excuse to watch them bleed out.

 

People aren’t eliminated,

human life is too precious

to equate it to taking out the trash.

~ Ronda Miller

Ronda Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper late into the sunset and scream into blizzards and thunderstorms. She lives in Lawrence close to her son and daughter. She is a district president and state vice president for Kansas Authors Club. She is a life coach specializing in working with those who have lost someone to homicide. She dances every chance she gets. She has poetry in numerous online and hard copy publications that include the Smithsonian Institute. Her books include Water Signs, Going Home: Poems from My Life and MoonStain.

Guest Editor Denise Low, second Kansas Poet Laureate, has published over 20 books of award-winning poetry and essays, including Ghost Stories (Woodley) and Natural Theologies, essays about Mid-Plains literature (Backwater Press). Low was visiting professor at the University of Richmond and Kansas University. She taught at Haskell Indian Nation University, where she founded the creative writing program. She served Associated Writing Programs as board president. She and her husband Thomas Pecore Weso publish Mammoth Publications.

 

Hobo Code — by Debbie Theiss

I see him walk between railroad tracks,

black braids sway back and forth,

beads interwoven,

long fringed vest jangles,

entwined stones collide.

 

A dog, black and sleek nudges his leg at ready.

Above his head a metal rod with prongs

looms like a goalpost.

Two hawks perch

stately, poised.

 

Hunter? Wanderer?

 

I scramble to the railroad trestle

keeping him in sight,

grass bites bare legs,

my hand runs along outcropped rock,

traces charred hobo codes

 

left by transient workers

during the Great Depression,

lined drawings, meant to guide

simplistic signs

danger ahead, shelter, food.

 

Now draped across his back

the folded platform.

On his shoulders, the hawks hunker

yellow-banded curved beaks

yellow claws clutch.

 

Shelter taken in the shade

of persimmon trees that line the field’s edge.

His fingers probe the bark

small, square blocks

as if searching for signs.

Note: During the Great Depression, nomadic workers traveled on freight trains to garner work that they could find, not spending too much time in any one town. A unique Hobo Code (hoboglyphics) was developed to communicate and give information about places to camp or find a meal or dangers that lay ahead. In Parsons, Kansas a quilt designed with hobo codes was auctioned during Katy Days in celebration of the strong heritage of freight life in Kansas.

Debbie Theiss is an emerging poet. She won 3rd place in the Japanese Haiku Festival Contest and published poems in the Skinny Journal, Paddle Shots: A River Pretty Anthology, Vol. 2, I-70 Review (September, 2016) and was accepted in Interpretations IV in Columbia, MO. She enjoys nature, bicycling, and gardening.

Guest Editor Denise Low: The University of Nebraska Press published Denise Low’s 2017 memoir The Turtle’s Beating Heart, about her grandfather’s Lenape heritage. Other recent books are A Casino Bestiary: Poems (Spartan Press 2017), Mélange Block: Poems (Red Mt. Press), Jackalope (short fiction, Red Mt. Press), and Natural Theologies: Essays (The Backwaters Press). Low is former Kansas poet laureate and past board president of the Associated Writers and Writing Programs. She teaches for Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies.

Flint Hills, Kansas — by Jemshed Khan

Snowmelt scours the Rockies until the creeks flash.

Gravel and sand wash into Beaver Creek and the Solomon River.

Cows are calving as water sweeps the land.

The jet stream drops from the north like a Cheyenne raid―

Rain slams the high plains, rivers churn,

and spring calves stumble into the drowning snarl

that roars through the Smoky Hills.

Anvil-grey thunderheads rumble the Flint Hills.

 

Thirty million bison roamed the tall grass prairie

before General Sherman’s final solution to the Indian problem―

kill, skin, and sell until the buffalo is exterminated.

They shoot them down on foot, horseback, and from trains:

The hides are stacked, hacked, carcasses left to rot―

to starve out the Pawnee and Osage tribes:

 

Now bison bones still wash into angry creeks,

with mastodon teeth, arrowheads, deer antlers.

The surly boneyard river reminds whose land this was.

Barbed-wire fences bristle and glint in slanting rain,

Angus, Herefords, and yearlings graze on wet bluestem grass.

The drenched bovines munch ancient fodder,

the white settlers keep Sunday clean.

Soon the calfs―fattened under the summer sun―

move to feed lots and holding pens.

When the box chute opens to the kill floor

the cows will know the bison’s fate: kill, skin, sell.

~ Jemshed Khan

Jemshed Khan has published poems in Number One Magazine, Wittenberg Review, #BlackArtMatters (2016), Read Local (2016), Rigorous (2017), NanoText (Medusa’s Laugh Press, 2017). The author is slated for Clockwise Cat, Issue 36 (2017) and I-70 Review

Guest Editor Denise Low: The University of Nebraska Press published Denise Low’s 2017 memoir The Turtle’s Beating Heart, about her grandfather’s Lenape heritage. Other recent books are A Casino Bestiary: Poems (Spartan Press 2017), Mélange Block: Poems (Red Mt. Press), Jackalope (short fiction, Red Mt. Press), and Natural Theologies: Essays (The Backwaters Press). Low is former Kansas poet laureate and past board president of the Associated Writers and Writing Programs. She teaches for Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies.

Forbidden by Denise Low

He pulls fear from a wooden drawer—Denise2014SFbySusanGardner (2)

an Aboriginal witching stone

his uncle collected years ago.
1

As he unwraps flannel swaddling he says,

unflinchingly unsexing me,

“Women should not see this. It is taboo.”
1

We had spent hours drinking medicinal tea

while sorting eucalyptus-bark paintings—

crocodiles, water holes, sparkling dust.
1

Now this stone. He recounts ceremonial rules—

the strict gendered intention for it.

How initiates kill women who intrude.
1

He holds the pecked lodestone to light,

a Gondwandaland lava remnant

at first unremarkable but magnetic.
1

I behold a dizzy white-on-black nebulae

a white hibiscus a frozen river whirl

a desert spring a rosette of labia stretched wide open.

(For Barnaby Ruhe, on the death of Ed Ruhe)

~ Denise Low

Denise Low, second Kansas Poet Laureate, has published over 20 books of award-winning poetry and essays, including Ghost Stories (Woodley) and Natural Theologies, essays about Mid-Plains literature (Backwater Press). Low was visiting professor at the University of Richmond and Kansas University. She taught at Haskell Indian Nation University, where she founded the creative writing program. She served Associated Writing Programs as board president. She and her husband Thomas Pecore Weso publish Mammoth Publications.

Tyler Sheldon is a graduate student in English at Emporia State University. His poems and articles have appeared in Thorny Locust, I-70 Review, Coal City Review, The Dos Passos Review, and in the anthology To The Stars Through Difficulties (a 2013 Kansas Notable Book). Sheldon is an AWP Intro Journals Award nominee and has been featured on Kansas Public Radio.

William Sheldon lives in Hutchinson, Kansas, where he writes and teaches. His work has appeared widely in little magazines and small press anthologies. He has two books, Retrieving Old Bones (Woodley) and Rain Comes Riding (Mammoth), and a chapbook, Into Distant Grass (Oil Hill). He plays bass for the band The Excuses.

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