Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Gregory Stapp’

The Myth of Arms — By Gregory Stapp

Born without arms, disarmed,

you ached like a broken-handled

wheelbarrow. You hammered at doors

like a bloody fist. You explored the forests

like a jackhammer walked back and forth

until the leaves were pulp.

 

You call them down from the heavenly stores,

two, gray and oiled and tense with springs,

long enough to hang just past your hips.

You call them down from the Great Assortment,

the racks and racks of choices. Strap them on

like ordnance. Swing them in your swagger.

 

A completed birth, a checked task,

you’re a wheelbarrow full of rubble.

You’re a rusted hammer in the corner,

electric with waiting. You punch holes

in the air with the noise of a jackhammer

until you suffocate in your mad work.

~ Gregory Stapp

Gregory Stapp received his BA from the University of Oklahoma and his MFA from queens University of Charlotte. His poems have appeared in Lime Hawk Journal, Shot Glass, The Ekphrastic Review, and Forage, among others. He recently served as the Poetry editor for Qu: A Literary Magazine.

Guest Editor Lori Baker Martin is assistant professor of English at Pittsburg State University. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Maine Review, and others. Martin has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Independence Community College, and Pittsburg State University. She has worked as a reader for both The Iowa Review and NPR. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

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A Body of Lies — By Gregory Stapp

I‘m rich as a bank of loans,

my money stacks high and green

as a forest drenched in rain,

a slope of low mountain in the mist.

 

Famous as a marauding saint,

my arms swing out wide and bracing

as an incomplete circle of petrospheres,

a horseshoe of stars cupping the moon.

 

I am strong as a taurean bull.

Watch the way I pull at the weight,

how my eyes alight with the strain,

how my shoulders quake like engines.

 

My heirs will rule the earth like suns.

Watch as they grow tall and searing,

how their feet leave sooted prints,

how their arms sway like a burning bush.

 

My heart will beat a thousand rhythms

for every tap of your finger on the table.

I stampede horses through your living room

until the sun has steeped your tea.

~ Gregory Stapp

 

Gregory Stapp received his BA from the University of Oklahoma and his MFA from Queens

University of Charlotte. His poems have appeared in, Lime Hawk Journal, Shot Glass, The Ekphrastic Review, and Forage, among others. He recently served as the Poetry Editor for Qu: A Literary Magazine.

Guest Editor Melissa Fite Johnson’s first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. She is also the author of A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky, winner of the 2017 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas. 

Un Corazón de Cerdo – by Gregory Stapp

En el super,

she places on the counter

a cow’s tongue,

a cow’s heart,

a cow’s liver,

in that order,

the same order,

every week,

while getting the groceries

for her madrastra.

Blancanieves, I call her,

my Snow White de Guatemala.

 

While ringing up her food

I ask again, Blanca, why

do you always place them

on the counter in this order?

She pulls at her hair,

shrugs her shoulders,

and scratches her thigh.

First the tongue,

then the heart,

then the liver.

This is the order.

 

Some days I see her

in town with her madrastra.

While they wait for the bus,

her madrastra jerks

Blanca’s hair

to keep her

from stepping into the street,

or to make her

ashamed of her beauty.

Then she cuffs her shoulder,

and smacks her on the thigh.

Always in this order.

 

I go hunting one weekend,

kill a jabalí and take its heart,

and when I see Blanca again

 

I give it to her

in the store’s packaging.

Para tu madrastra, I say.

Un corazón de cerdo.

She pulls a manzana

from beneath her camisa

and drops it with a thud

behind the liver.

Y esta, she grins.

 

Gregory Stapp received his BA from the University of Oklahoma and his MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. His poems have appeared in Outside In Literary and Travel Magazine, Lime Hawk Journal, Shot Glass, The Ekphrastic Review, and Forage, among others. He recently served as the Poetry Editor for Qu: A Literary Magazine.

Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is President of the Kansas Authors Club. His poetry book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book.

 

The Doorway — by Gregory Stapp

A door is not always a door.

Understand, for me it’s sometimes a bridge

over the frozen creek or a wall against the wind

propped up against the dumpster bay

like a mean city lean-to.

I slept on a bunch of books once.

Spent all afternoon lining them up:

seven wide and fourteen deep,

about five high, depending,

with a divot in the middle.

They became a warm, firm mattress

where I found a poem called

The Oven Bird and dreamt the night

of Thanksgiving’s past and realized

on waking I’d forgotten how to sing.

I love words for their descriptions of things,

in the way they’re used like doors. I used to be

a man. I love poetry, the leaning music,

for being mattresses, or fuel

for the fire; for reminding me to sing

in a way the city didn’t mean to.

~ Gregory Stapp

Gregory Stapp received his BA from the University of Oklahoma and his MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. His poems have appeared in, Lime Hawk Journal, Shot Glass, The Ekphrastic Review, and Forage, among others. He recently served as the Poetry Editor for Qu: A Literary Magazine.

William Sheldon lives in Hutchinson, Kansas where he teaches and writes. His poetry and prose have been published widely in such journals as Blue Mesa Review, Columbia, New Letters, and Prairie Schooner. He is the author of two books of poetry, Retrieving Old Bones (Woodley, 2002) and Rain Comes Riding (Mammoth, 2011), as well as a chapbook, Into Distant Grass (Oil Hill, 2009). Retrieving Old Bones was a Kansas City Star Noteworthy Book for 2002 and is listed as one of the Great Plains Alliance’s Great Books of the Great Plains.

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