Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘James Benger’

Blood — By James Benger

Dad sold his blood

on Saturday afternoons

a couple times a month.

 

Mom off waitressing,

or maybe the warehouse job,

or any other place the temp agency

would send her,

Dad’d load us into the

rusted quarter panel conversion van,

soup can dangling from baling wire

(I think it was beef noodle)

to catch the constant oil leak,

that van where the stray cat died

on the block one horrid January morning,

that van he once let me drive home

from Cub Scouts, only to have

a crow go headfirst into the grille.

 

Dad’d back out into the dirt and gravel of

Marquette Avenue,

all beer cans and spent needles,

and we’d roll down 41,

hoping for potholes, that when hit at top speed,

would give you that roller coaster stomach,

if only for a second.

 

There was this lot at the side of the highway,

lettering on the sign out front

always made me think of jars of Miracle Whip,

they sold “luxury housing solutions for

our new mobile world,”

which meant singlewides,

and fifth-hand RV’s.

 

Right next door, you’d find the tiny white house,

rail out front in case you felt faint while leaving.

They’d put Dad in a recliner,

hook him up to red-stained plastic tubes,

let us sit in the corner,

had the biggest TV I’d ever seen,

must’ve been twenty-eight inches, and color,

gave us orange juice and

oatmeal raisin cookies,

tuned the box to Masters of the Universe

while they slowly sucked Dad’s blood.

 

One time Mom and Dad took us to the circus,

I was afraid of the clowns,

but I got a huge bag of

the world’s butteriest popcorn,

and a plastic cap gun,

and I still remember the red stripes,

the salt on my winter-chapped lips.

 

Mom and Dad,

they gave us those first memories,

and they paid for them in blood.

~ James Benger

James Benger is the author of two fiction ebooks, three chapbooks, one full-length poetry book, and is a coauthor of three split books of poetry. He is on the Board of Directors for The Writers Place and the Riverfront Readings Committee, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online workshop. He is Editor in Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and two sons.

November Editor, Ronda Miller, is the State President of Kansas Authors Club. Miller has four books of poetry: Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain, WaterSigns and Winds of Time. Her upcoming children’s book, I Love the Child, will be published 12/13/2019. The book’s illustrator is Katie Wiggins, a found cousin.

You Will Find It — By James Benger

in the dark warmth

and unsung beauty

of small town back alleys,

 

behind the grocery stores

as the overnight crew

burns one by the door,

 

in the midnight breeze

rustling the high branches

of the downtown park,

 

on the lips of the lovers

lying momentarily silent

in the aftermath,

 

under the bleachers

where forgotten promises

percolate for eternity,

 

underneath the overturned car

forever remaining

in the overgrown ditch,

 

in the middle pages

of yesterday’s news

fermenting for future poignancy,

 

in the man’s eyes

as he ladles out more soup

at the shelter,

 

in the decaying final note

of her thrift store guitar

on Saturday night,

 

on the often silent tongues

of anyone seeking

anything more.

 

You will find it

if you open your eyes,

and if you’re lucky,

it will find you.

~ James Benger

James Benger is the author of two fiction ebooks, and three chapbooks, one full-length, and coauthor of three split books of poetry. He is on the Board of Directors of The Writers Place and the Riverfront Readings Committee, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online workshop, and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and children.

Snow Day — By D. R. James

—1-21-17

A half-foot of fresh snow shows fresh tracks

crisscrossing our little clearing in the woods.

The three does we’ve been getting to know,

already half-way through their freshman year,

have plowed a white furrow looking for

the feed we’re guilty of sowing for them.

 

We’ve heard all the arguments. But with the

Congress of clueless children back in from recess,

fretting and fussing within their little uniforms,

a-Twitter about the new bully on the playground,

we’re elated to awaken to our own snow day

and to see the neighbors have paid a visit.

 

It’s only a break from that other nagging reality,

for we know it won’t last, that the road crews

have been out all night and that this stint likely

won’t go beyond a mid-morning delay. But

as their trails fade, I’m imagining roaming with

those rural kids, lucky to stay home all afternoon.

~ D. R. James

first published in The 3288 Review, 3:1

D.R. James—born in Ohio, raised in Illinois, grad-schooled in Iowa, and now in his 34th year teaching writing, literature, and peacemaking at the Midwestern college he attended in the 70’s—lives in the woods outside Saugatuck, Michigan. His latest of seven collections is If god were gentle (Dos Madres).

James Benger is the author of two fiction ebooks, and three chapbooks, one full-length, and coauthor of three split books of poetry. He is on the Board of Directors of The Writers Place and the Riverfront Readings Committee, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online workshop, and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and children.

Riddle — by Dawn Leikier

She answers the riddles no one can
The punchlines to jokes we didn’t know we started.
We mull her words, wonder where they were born.
She says the five of us sat on the davenport
‘til the wind blew us away. She laughs,
picturing of the nonsense of it.
Her head slumped low, she doesn’t see
that five of us sit there. Just listening.
She asks why God doesn’t fall from the sky
And if pioneers ate grass when they ran out of food.
She asks the name of the little boy in the red sweater
Who no one else can see.
Who loves her scraping, high-pitched songs
that stab our ears and twist our hearts.
She answers the riddles no one can
From the corner of the room, when no one knows she’s listening.

~ Dawne Leiker

Dawne Leiker is a former journalist, now working in academia. Her news/feature stories have appeared in The Hays Daily News, Lawrence Journal World, and several online publications. Her poetry and short stories have garnered awards in regional and statewide literary competitions. Ms. Leiker’s fiction and poetry often are influenced by her past news story interviews, as she develops and re-imagines fictional characters and situations loosely based on local individuals and events.

James Benger is the author of two fiction ebooks, and three chapbooks, one full-length, and coauthor of three split books of poetry. He is on the Board of Directors of The Writers Place and the Riverfront Readings Committee, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online workshop, and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and children.

Us — By Will Hagman

they flow through themselves

never being entirely of oneself

even while appearing to be

as their whole ebbs and

flows into other states of being

they always return to be as one

in whatever form they choose

or their surroundings choose for them

they cannot escape their entirety

and no matter how adulterated

they might become while away

they return to be as pure as

they were when they left

they are storms of wrath

and pools of serenity

they are mists of despondence

they are fountains of laughter

they are tickling drops

and steams of comfort

they are quenching and flooding

and drowning

they are us

~ Will Hagman

Will Hagman works as a customer service representative in Sioux Falls, SD where he lives with his husband Bob.  He has found writing to be therapeutic throughout his life and continues to write poetry as a venue to connect with others and himself.  Additionally, Will enjoys gardening and dabbling in various mediums of art.

James Benger is the author of two fiction ebooks, and three chapbooks, one full-length, and coauthor of three split books of poetry. He is on the Board of Directors of The Writers Place and the Riverfront Readings Committee, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online workshop, and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and children.

Black River, Missouri — By Morgan O. H. McCune

“To fall asleep ‘here’ is to wake ‘there’”—Gerald Bullett

 

I woke early, a good distance

from the Black River, to the snores

of strangers, their campers draped

in glowing red lanterns. A crow called.

 

The road wound itself into a trail,

then I was on the stones and drawn,

wading, out far enough to feel

the current pulling.

 

I watched the mist rise

on the Black River,

ghosts, walking on water,

brushing shoulders, revealing–

a hand here, a slender arm there,

hearts of smoke, of sighs,

gentle wafting flesh, like sleep

in cold water.

~ Morgan O. H. McCune

Morgan O.H. McCune currently works at Pittsburg State University in southeast Kansas. She is a native Kansan, and holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from Washington University in St. Louis (1991) and an M.L.S. from Emporia State University (2002). Her poems have been published previously in River Styx.

James Benger is the author of two fiction ebooks, and three chapbooks, one full-length, and coauthor of three split books of poetry. He is on the Board of Directors of The Writers Place and the Riverfront Readings Committee, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online workshop, and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and children.

To My 5-Year-Old Self at the Sweetwater Sea — By Diane Silver

The hot sand will sting the bottoms of both bare feet.

Ignore it.

 

Your mother will shout it’s time to go.

Ignore it.

 

Your brother will laugh.

Ignore it.

 

Your skin will open.

(pay attention)

like the sides of a box banging down.

Sun will heat the inside, the walls will melt.

Incredibly bright. Surprisingly cool.

Your eyes will adjust.

 

You will see the line of water meeting sky,

swelling, subsiding, huffing up again.

You will smell it.

(How could you have missed it before?)

The metallic bit of pure water.

 

You have become porous.

You are no longer of this earth.

You could become sun.

You could revel in light replacing fingers, toes, face, stomach.

it would be easy. You know this for a fact, but choose to stay.

(Curiosity perhaps.)

 

Remember this

when your mother grabs your upper arm and drags you to the car.

 

Remember this

when the only escape from middle school is a cramped square window.

 

Remember this

when you’re alone in your house, wondering if you should make a plan to die.

 

Remember this

when you open your door today, and the mob is screaming.

~ Diane Silver

Diane Silver is an activist and journalist who grew up in Michigan, surrounded by sweetwater seas, otherwise known as The Great Lakes. Her work has appeared in Ms and other venues. Her latest books are Your Daily Shot of Hope vol. 1 (Meditations for an Age of Despair) and vol. 2 (Meditations on Awakening).

 

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.

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