Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘J. T. Knoll’

That’s It — By J. T. Knoll

My dad jitterbugged counterclockwise

on the hardwood to big bands

from his teens until

his back gave out in his mid-70s.


Danced with mom in the kitchen

as “Rock Around the Clock” blared

on a dinky little 45 player.

Loved to sing too.

We’d harmonize in the old Buick,

south on Hwy 71, the 120 miles back home

from Chief’s games at old Municipal Stadium.


An engineer on the Kansas City Southern Railroad,

he’d sometimes croon “For the Good Times” or “Paper Doll”

on an open radio channel from K.C. to Shreveport.


In the early 1960s he bought an RCA console stereo

and hired Frank, the local TV repairman,

to wire it to the speaker of our upright television

to get an even more pronounced “split.”


One day, not long afterward, when he was listening

to Sil Austin play “Danny Boy” on tenor sax,

I walked into the living room

to find him sitting a chair positioned

halfway between both speakers.


He waved me over to his side.

Listen,” he said,

his eyes welling with tears.

That’s it.”

~ J. T. Knoll

J.T. Knoll is the author of Where The Pavement Ends and co-author of Ghost Sign, a 2017 Kansas Notable Book. He lives on Euclid’s curve in Pittsburg, Kansas with his wife, Linda, and dog, Arlo the Labradorian.

Guest Editor Al Ortolani’s poetry has appeared in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, and the Chiron Review. He is the recent recipient of the Rattle Chapbook Award for 2019. Ortolani is the Manuscript Editor for Woodley Press in Topeka, Kansas.

Margaret Youvan — by J.T. Knoll

I had a lifetime penchant for clipping and saving whatever suited my fancy from the newspaper, starting at fifteen with my grandmother’s obituary notice. Lately, Tyson biting off a piece of Holyfield’s ear, Clinton’s Whitewater troubles, a beauty shop expanding to a full-service salon, Frontenac High School football games, lots of local wedding and anniversary announcements and, of course, obituaries. While I was living up in Kansas City, I collected song lyrics by jotting them down on scraps of paper at work, then transcribing them longhand into books — 15 all told. You might remember I mixed sodas and malts with Gertie behind the marble counter at Fedell’s Drug Store in the 1950s. For five years before Fedell’s, I took care of my bedridden mother. Once I forgot some anniversary or birthday and told her I was sorry — that I should have bought her some flowers. “You don’t need to buy me no flowers, Margaret,” she said. “You’re my flower.”

~ J. T. Knoll

T. Knoll,a native of the Republic of Frontenac, Kansas, is a counselor, prize-winning newspaper columnist, poet and speaker. Ghost Sign, his recent collaboration with three other Southeast Kansas poets, was selected as a 2017 Kansas Notable Book. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications and has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. He lives in Pittsburg on Euclid’s Curve, with his wife, Linda, and dog, Arlo the Labradorean.

Al Ortolani’s poetry has appeared in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, and Tar River Poetry. His collection, Paper Birds Don’t Fly, was released in 2016 from New York Quarterly Books. Ghost Sign, a collaborative work, was released in 2017 from Spartan Press in Kansas City. It was named a 2017 Kansas Notable Book. His poems been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and he has been featured on the Writer’s Almanac by Garrison Keillor. Ortolani serves on the Board of the Little Balkans Press and Woodley Press. He has also been a member of the Board of Directors of the Writers Place in Kansas City. Recently, he retired after teaching for 43 years in Kansas. He’s sometimes trips going up or down curbs. He once said that if he didn’t laugh at himself, someone else would beat him to it.

december Kansas twilight by jt knoll

PastedGraphic-1hauling wood to front porch

wheelbarrow circles back

to peach sky behind old

white frame garage


brother john shoots basketball

until too dark to see hoop


brother steve

sells christmas trees

below bare bulb


metal chain keeps perfect time

on steel flagpole

in schoolyard

~ J. T. Knoll

J.T. Knoll, a native of the Republic of Frontenac, Kansas, is a counselor, prize-winning columnist, poet and speaker. His poetry and prose has been published widely across the United States. He lives in Pittsburg, with his wife, Linda, and dog, Arlo the Labradorian.

Al Ortolani’s poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Prairie Schooner, New Letters, Word Riot, and the New York Quarterly. His fifth collection of poems, Waving Mustard in Surrender, was released in 2014 from New York Quarterly Books. Currently, he is teaching English in the Blue Valley School District and serves on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Writers Place.

76. To the Stars Through Difficulty: J. T. Knoll

“Look at the gems on my bracelet,” the bachelor farmer overhears her say
as he stands at the Walmart meat cooler drinking in her scent.
Forehead blazing, he selects a single T-bone, heads for the checkout.
Next day on his Farmall,
he senses her in the hedgerows, sky, soil.
Chants aloud, as he cultivates furrows in the moist earth,
amethyst, pearl, crystal, citrine,
quartz, turquoise, garnet, trimoline,

— J. T. Knoll


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