Hunter in the Sky with Cordite — By Guinotte Wise

By accident or design he took his life

and turned Owl Farm to icon, Johnny

Depp and friends shot his ashes into

the sky and swirled them like a flock

of birds or leaflets a ticker tape parade

of ball-drop confetti that came to rest

on aspen meadows, thickets and on

the backs of leaping deer who took

it to the roads and threw themselves

at trucks in throes of actuarial herd-

thinning and very little thought to the

gonzo genius whose ashes rode them

to their own felo de se in headlights

grille and fender mauling endgame.


Deer aside, the wake is the thing and

this one was classic HST red white

and blue lit the sky and then the famed

flamed exitus flagrante in preplanned

thundrous salute a single salvo that

said I left the way I lived, out of my

way you bastards and a long cigarette

holder whipped through the night sky

slamming into place on the bear Ursa

Major pointing forever at Polaris the

star that guides lost sailors, writers,

bikers and artists, those voyagers who

step into the unknown with nothing

but their try, their lashed-together

boats of sticks and hubris to float

them all the way to Styx and maybe

who the hell knows, to Elysium.

~ Guinotte Wise


Guinotte Wise writes and welds steel sculpture on a farm in Southeast Kansas. His short story collection (Night Train, Cold Beer) won publication by a university press and enough money to fix the soffits. A double Pushcart nominee, his fiction and poetry have been published in numerous literary journals including Atticus, The MacGuffin, Santa Fe Writers Project, Rattle and The American Journal of Poetry. His latest collection of poetry, Horses See Ghosts, was published in 2018. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it. Some work is at 


James Benger is a father, husband and writer. His work has been featured in several publications. He is the author of two fiction ebooks: Flight 776 (2012) and Jack of Diamonds (2013), and two chapbooks of poetry: As I Watch You Fade (EMP 2016) and You’ve Heard It All Before (GigaPoem 2017). He is a member of the Riverfront Readings Committee in Kansas City, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online poetry workshop and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and son.


Alien Guest–by Guinotte Wise

Marshland out back. Soggy, sucking. I skip and splash along the outskirts to keep from sinking. Then a rise. Then a hollow. These different strata and the stone shelf beneath house crystals that are ground and pressured to release soft light at night. It comes and goes. The earthquakes spider outward from Oklahoma, the aftershocks like unfinished thoughts unfelt here in southeast Kansas but disturbing the shelf just enough. You have to look indirectly to see the lights, more like sensing them.

I go to the ridge and down again to old growth trees that form a woods, even
a small forest, timed to coincide with earliest pre-dawn and the
coyote’s waking when they stretch and howl and gibber flushing rabbits
and small animals. In the marsh, with silvered surface, the crane rises and
shivers it, ripples it outward. The crane is gone in a whisper, but where it was still
ghosts. Like the lights. Like the familiars I feel around me.

And currents, too in the earth I’m on, Teslaic, telluric, you feel them like you see the lights, obliquely, anything that lives here knows them intimately, anything but man, and even though I sense them, I am alien. I am just a guest.


[Appeared in Scattered Cranes, a collection of poetry by G. Wise.]

Guinotte Wise’s work has appeared in numerous journals including Atticus, Rattle, Ekphrastic Review, The MacGuffin, and Southern Humanities Review. His first short story collection (Night Train, Cold Beer) won publication by a university press and enough money to fix the soffits. A Pushcart nominee, he writes and welds steel sculpture on a farm in Southeast Kansas. His latest book of poetry, Horses See Ghosts, was published this month. Some work is at

 Guest Editor 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. His latest book, Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) contains ekphrastic poems, inspired by a variety of artists’ depictions of angels, that “resound and sometimes subvert expectations” (Tyler Robert Sheldon), that provide “a kaleidoscope of history, art, culture, the sacred and the everyday” (Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg).