Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Frank Higgins’

Magic Hour by Frank Higgins

Snobs everywhere make fun of this landscape,

but while driving up Highway 59 I see the light.

When the light of the late day becomes magic hour

wheat fields shimmer; grain elevators glow.

Monet, Van Gogh: they’d go for this big time.

But what do Impressionistic eyes really see?

 

Coming into Moran there’s a sun-bleached sign by the road:

HOME OF DEBBIE BARNES, MISS AMERICA 1968.

One person who saw this sign

was a basketball star for Ottawa College

who’d drive to Kansas University in Lawrence

and over one spring rape seven women,

all as beautiful as Miss America.

He drove this road, at this time, in this light.

 

Did his imagination do anything with this landscape?

Why couldn’t beauty better him?

Touch him? Uplift him? Stop him?

Or did beauty drive him to grab hold of it before –

like the light of magic hour – it faded?

I drive to Lawrence in heavenly light and wonder

if something like him is part of every landscape.

Frank Higgins is both a playwright and poet. His play Black Pearl Sings has been one of the most produced in the country over the last few years. His books of poetry include Starting From Ellis Island, Bkmk Press. He teaches playwriting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Maril Crabtree spent her childhood in Memphis and grew up in New Orleans, but married a Kansas boy five decades ago and considers herself a full-bred Kansan by now. She writes poetry and creative nonfiction and her poems have appeared in I-70 Review, DMQ Review, Spank the Carp, and others. Her latest chapbook is Tying the Light (2014); some of her poems can be seen at www.marilcrabtree.com

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Stud Farm by Frank Higgins

Frank_Higgins_PhotoWhile the mare backs down the ramp

and someone opens the corral gate,

cowboys and cowgirls in bright blouses

gather along the top rail like at rodeos.

“Okay, girl,” the mare’s owner says, “shake your tail,”

and he pats her on the rear.

“You say her name’s Kitty?” the stud’s owner says.

“Kitty, meet Luke. Luke’s a good man.”

While Luke the stud stands and snorts

Kitty plays it coy, looks around,

then walks over to get a drink.

“C’mon, ol’ Luke,” a cowboy calls,

“What are you waitin’ for? Buy her a drink.”

A cowgirl says, “First dates are difficult.”

“Tell her you like the way she moves.”

“Ask him what he does for a living.”

“Tell her she’s got pretty eyes.”

“Ask him if he still lives with his mother.”

The older men light up, prop a foot on a rail

and talk weather or feed

until they’re interrupted by the young

who cheer and then clap for Kitty,

who’s gotten down to business,

and Luke, who shows what he’s made of.

 

When it’s over, it’s only a minute till Kitty gets loaded.

“Hey,” a cowgirl says, “Luke didn’t even ask her to stay over.”

“He wants to watch football,” a guy says.

“Or sleep,” another cowgirl says.

The young people head to their trucks as a group,

laughing and joking at first, then become quiet

and start to pair up.

~ Frank Higgins

(appeared in the Flint Hills Review)

Frank Higgins is both a playwright and poet. His play Black Pearl Sings has been one of the most produced in the country over the last few years. His books of poetry include Starting From Ellis Island, Bkmk Press. He teaches playwriting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Pat Daneman has lived in Lenexa, Kansas since 1986. Recent work appears on the art and literature website, Escape Into Life, in The Moon City Review, I-70 Review, Bellevue Poetry Review, and The Comstock Review. Her chapbook, Where the World Begins, was published in 2015 by Finishing Line Press.

Teaching Poetry Writing at Kansas State Penitentiary by Frank Higgins

At first I’m hesitant to take the job

but it’s something different, it’s for pay,

and though to some it sounds odd

this might look good someday on a resume.

 

The state pen looks like a movie set:

the guard with his glare, gun, and gut

could have come from a central casting wet

dream, but no one hollers “Cut.”

 

The men file into the room and sit,

looking murderous; I start to worry

what if what they write is really shit?

Can my criticism trigger their fury?

 

I get them to write, each with a Magic Marker,

which squeaks so much it tears at my ear.

I ask the guard, ‘Can we get something quieter?’

“You can kill somebody with a pencil here.”

 

The first reader hides behind his papers.

He has “HATE” tattooed on his fingers

but words of love come from his tongue.

My education has begun.

~ Frank Higgins

Frank Higgins is both a playwright and poet. His play Black Pearl Sings has been one of the most produced in the country over the last few years. His books of poetry include Starting From Ellis Island, Bkmk Press. He teaches playwriting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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.

Kansas Spring by Frank Higgins

at the tank’s blast

the meadow bursts

with white butterflies

*

after the long rain

the telephone pole

begins to bud

*

the root cellar:

with the light from a knothole

bulbs break from boxes

*

hearing the wren,

the old woman sews its song

into her quilt

*

the tornado starts

with the moths swirling at noon

around the streetlight

*

nuclear plant site:

rain brings the bulldozers

to a halt

*

through the Flint Hills:

the wind has stopped

but the trees still lean

*

morning mist fading—

one row at a time

the plowed earth shines

~ Frank Higgins
(some of the above appeared in the Kansas City Star)

Frank Higgins is both a playwright and poet. His play Black Pearl Sings has been one of the most produced in the country over the last few years. His books of poetry include Starting From Ellis Island, Bkmk Press. He teaches playwriting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Guest editor: Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate, author or editor of 19 books, and founder of this site.

Midwest Spring by Frank Higgins

Fort Riley tank blast:

the field answers with a burst

of white butterflies

 

 

the dank root cellar:

with the light from a knothole

bulbs break from boxes

 

 

the tornado starts

with the moths swirling at noon

around the streetlight

 

 

nuclear plant site:

bulldozers brought to a halt

by the sudden rain

 

 

after the long rain

even the telephone pole

beginning to bud

 

 

the morning mist fades—

for a moment row by row

the dark plowed earth shines

~ Frank Higgins

Frank Higgins is the author of the play “The Sweet By ‘n’ By” which was produced with Tony-winner Blythe Danner and then future-Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow. He also wrote the play “Black Pearl Sings!” which has been widely produced across the country and in Europe. He is the author of two books of poetry, and two books of haiku.

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