Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

Posts tagged ‘Greg German’

Seasoning by Greg German

Fall blew under the porchGGeman 270px

late, and it was mid-November

before elm leaves chatting

in the front yard chased

themselves into that place

where only the dog ventured.

In the garden, bony tomato

and cucumber vines posed

limp. Stiff stems still clung

to apples too mushy to throw.

The flies had vanished.

Cows brought in, turned out

to milo stubs, licked up dry-sweet

stalks and juicy heads missed

by anxious combines. Each morning

we stretched last year’s cramps

from worn coats, and exercised

new gloves on bucket handles;

sows bumped from beds furrowed

in straw. Spiced, fully cooked

and cooling, the air cured

into winter.

~ Greg German

(originally published in Negative Capability, 1987, v.7 n.3)

Greg German was born and raised near Glen Elder, in north central Kansas, where he farmed with his family for many years. He currently lives in Kansas City, Kansas, with his wife Regina and son, Alden. He is a private consultant specializing in technical communication, web site development, free-lance writing and photography. He holds a B.A. degree in English/Creative writing and a B.S. in Education from Kansas State University. Previously, Greg has taught high school English and, creative writing at both the high school and college levels. He also developed and maintains www.kansaspoets.com — a website unique to Kansas Poets. Greg’s poetry and personal essays have appeared in over 50 literary journals across the U.S.

Guest Editor Al Ortolani’s poetry and reviews have appeared in Rattle, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, The Writer’s Almanac, and the New York Quarterly. He has published several collections of poetry. His Waving Mustard in Surrender (NYQ Books) was short-listed for the Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award from Binghamton Univesity. Paper Birds Don’t Fly was released by New York Quarterly Books in April of 2016. His poems been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Writers Place, The Brick Mountain Foundation, The Little Balkans Press, and is currently a member of the Board of the Woodley Press at Washburn University in Topeka.

A Farmer’s Son, Age 11, Plows 6 Acres – 4 p.m. by Greg German

Blunt as horse’s breath,GGeman 270px

heat, boiler room hot

laced with diesel smoke,

wraps off the tractor’s engine

and hones the child

from his face. Dust,

settled onto his bare back,

is squeezed into his shoulders

by a fat-bellied sun. Tasteless

now, the water warm, his jug

half empty, everything

is against him; rain clouds

are nowhere. The land evolves

into a battlefield, the plow

a dictator. Each shrunken

round becomes larger

than the last; each minute

is an hour. Red-tail hawks, kites

suspended in the wind, rotate

across a prairie-sized sky.

Introduced to endless,

the farmer’s son is angry,

sacrificed by his father,

taken by the land.

~ Greg German

Previously Published in Wind, 1998, Fall, # 81/82

Greg German was born and raised near Glen Elder, in north central Kansas, where he farmed with his family for many years. He currently lives in Kansas City, Kansas, with his wife Regina and son, Alden. He is a private consultant specializing in technical communication, web site development, free-lance writing and photography. He holds a B.A. degree in English/Creative writing and a B.S. in Education from Kansas State University. Previously, Greg has taught high school English and, creative writing at both the high school and college levels. He also developed and maintains www.kansaspoets.com — a website unique to Kansas Poets. Greg’s poetry and personal essays have appeared in over 50 literary journals across the U.S.

Kelly W. Johnston, guest editor, is a life-long Kansan, who was born in Lawrence in 1955, and graduated from Wichita State in 1977 with a major in creative writing. He has published poems in Mikrokosmos, The Cottonwood Review, and The Ark River Review. He will publish two poems in the up-coming 2016 issue of The I-70 Review. Kelly loves to spend time on his land in the Chautauqua Hills near Cross Timbers State Park, where many of his poems are inspired.

Listening To Grandpa, Again by Greg German

GGeman 270pxAs we walk a path,

once a road,

leaving tracks between

the puncture vines,

his gaze runs along

a fallen fence, past

where Deacon Hayes or

John Coble is resting,

and cuts across

a field harvested forty

seven times, before

passing through

regrown oaks

and crossing the creek

to find a buckshot

wounded windmill

forever trading rhetoric

with the wind.

~ Greg German

(Previously Published in Touchstone, 1983, Fall/Winter)

Greg German was born and raised near Glen Elder, in north central Kansas, where he farmed with his family for many years. He currently lives in Kansas City, Kansas, with his wife Regina and son, Alden. He is a private consultant specializing in technical communication, website development, free-lance writing and photography. He holds a B.A. degree in English/Creative writing and a B.S. in Education from Kansas State University. Previously, Greg has taught high school English and creative writing at both the high school and college levels. He developed and maintains www.kansaspoets.com — a website unique to Kansas Poets. Greg’s poetry and personal essays have appeared in over 50 literary journals across the U.S.

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.

Traveling with the River by Greg German

GGeman 270pxKnowing winter’s clear water

will soon be dulled by summer,

the two of us wade

just a ways down

from the old Brock Bridge.

Advance scouts, we’re alert

for yesterday’s ware.

Abandoned bottles, hubcaps,

and other good junk

wait between last night’s coon

tracks melting in the silt

and today’s sun patting

the river’s cool bottom. Friendly,

the current nudges us farther

than we have been before.

We forget and let April’s path

splash above our knees, ignoring

dense mud and scavenging sand

that sucks at and into

our worn canvas shoes.

We stop at Holler’s Bend,

listen—and hearing only

ourselves, imagine

the sound of trees

stretching and buds splitting.

It’s late. Our mothers

will worry. But we

decide we are men

and are never going home, again.

~ Greg German (Previously Published in Wind, 1987, V.17, # 61)

Greg German was born and raised near Glen Elder, in north central Kansas, where he farmed with his family for many years. He currently lives in Kansas City, Kansas, with his wife Regina and son, Alden. He is a private consultant specializing in technical communication, web site development, free-lance writing and photography. He holds a B.A. degree in English/Creative writing and a B.S. in Education from Kansas State University. Previously, Greg has taught high school English and, creative writing at both the high school and college levels. He also developed and maintains www.kansaspoets.com — a website unique to Kansas Poets. Greg’s poetry and personal essays have appeared in over 50 literary journals across the U.S.

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, Sport Literate, 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. His work has received two Pushcart Prize nominations.

House In The Middle Of A Field by Greg German

I know of no one who has livedGregGerman
here. And it has been here forever,
a pivot we cramp machinery around
behind a full-throttled tractor.
The house could have been a corner post
so tight set it made no difference
how taut or in what direction a wire
stretched. The foundation has settled.
Wind has chiseled the excitement
out of the wood, and the sun has left it
grey. Its shingles are receding.
There are no curtains. The front door
is gone, so it must be open. Inside
I mingle with the musty scents eroding
from the crisp millers and mummified mice
hidden behind the layered, pastel paper
wilting from the walls. Children
drift through bedroom doors playing
with antique toys. Screened
by a common farmer face, a man sits
on his kitchen chair. He stares
beyond a woman in a cotton dress
into clouds that might not
be rain. I have done my duty.
And mine are the last boots
to arouse the dusty lull spread
across this cold wood floor.
On the windward side of the house
dad announces there is no better time
than now. I stand back. He lights
a match. Flames lean from windows,
tattered flags at full mast.

—- Previously Published in:
Kansas Quarterly, 1987, V.19, # 1

– Greg German was born and raised near Glen Elder, in north central Kansas, where he farmed with his family for many years. He currently lives in Kansas City, Kansas, with his wife Regina and son, Alden. He is a private consultant specializing in technical communication, web site development, free-lance writing and photography. He holds a B.A. degree in English/Creative writing and a B.S. in Education from Kansas State University. Previously, Greg has taught high school English and, creative writing at both the high school and college levels. He also developed and maintains http://www.kansaspoets.com — a website unique to Kansas Poets. Greg’s poetry and personal essays have appeared in over 50 literary journals across the U.S.

– August Guest Editor: William J. Karnowski is the author of seven books of poetry; Pushing the Chain, The Hills of Laclede, Painting the Train, Hardtails and Highways, Catching the Rain, Dispensation, and The Sodhouse Green. He has poetry published in Kansas Voices, The Midwest Quarterly, Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, Kansas Author Club Yearbooks and multiple website locations. Karnowski is the current State President of Kansas Authors Club.

 

The Limestone Cowboy Discovers Atlantis

GregGermanIt is August, some late afternoon, and Limestone
and me are idling the back roads, half-gone,
our minds leaned onto a 12-pack of Coors
that sits between us like a best friend. In rhythm
with each beer, we drive deeper into our past,
stare through the hazy windows of our childhood,
or cruise by the abandoned shacks of overheard
stories. Then, just before the last can spins
into the ditch, the cowboy is blessed
with discovery—tells me our ancestors
have been near all along. His Chevy rockets
down the road. My side mirror reflects
the dog, flying in the back, his face streamlined
by the wind, his tongue wet-twisted
to his ears. Dust vortexes across the hot back
of summer, and I am along for the ride.
We stop at the quarry. Limestone gets out slow,
then describes how years ago our grandfather’s
fathers worked here. Explains how someday,
it will be a million. “There ain’t no length to time,”
he lectures. Mystified, the cowboy mumbles
something about Atlantis. Describes how the island
didn’t sink, how the continent of Kansas emerged,
soaked up, flattened out, everything. Surrounded
by fossils, we stand in the pit for what could be ages
listening to the voice of some old ocean. Shuffling
across the pages, Limestone wanders across history.
Rock dust collects on his boots. Briefly, I am abandoned.

Greg German was born and raised near Glen Elder, in north central Kansas, where he farmed with his family for many years. He currently lives in Kansas City, Kansas, with his wife Regina and son, Alden. He is a private consultant specializing in technical communication, web site development, free-lance writing and photography. He holds a B.A. degree in English/Creative writing and a B.S. in Education from Kansas State University. Previously, Greg has taught high school English and, creative writing at both the high school and college levels. He also developed and maintains www.kansaspoets.com — a website unique to Kansas Poets. Greg’s poetry and personal essays have appeared in over 50 literary journals across the U.S.

– April’s Guest Editor, Roy Beckemeyer, edits scientific journals and writes poetry and essays.  His poetry has recently been accepted by or appeared in The Midwest Quarterly, Nebo, Mikrokosmos, The North Dakota Quarterly, Straylight, and Coal City Review.  He has lived in Wichita, Kansas for nearly 50 years, and has degrees from St. Louis University, Wichita State University and The University of Kansas.

He notes: “In the poem series I have chosen for April, I have  focused on works that define our sense of Time and Place by the people we know, the people we interact with, the people we live with. “

12. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Greg German

Just like the old farmer, who understands
that each breath is a footstep in the one
same direction no matter which way
he walks — the destination
always the same, even before
he knew it, his route plotted
one field to the next. Each morning
sunrise stretches across Kansas
indifferent to young men and boys settling,
unaware, into the crease of old chores.

–Greg German

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