Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘James Benger’

A Disgusted Farmer Takes A Day Off — by Greg German

-July-

Since yesterday’s Farm Futures

fell the limit because of rain

in Chicago or K.C.,

and his corn is dry, the farmer

decides he has worked too long

for nothing. He gets up

late, and puts on clean clothes.

He feeds the sows

an extra bucket, because

it is the holiday thing to do.

Unimpressed, because

it’s expected, they fight,

tail-snatching over the last

bite, squealing like tires

on pavement.

With contempt, the farmer

looks at the dirt

blown into the garage.

He cleans his car, then sharpens

the blade on the mower.

Each misplaced

tool finds its place. For lunch

he licks a candy bar

out of its wrapper, while the oil

drains out of his tractor.

He walks 200 yards to pull

one weed out of a field.

Farm magazines stacked

beside his chair, he watches

the weather change. It moves rapidly

across a computerized map

in Wichita. A sun sits

on Illinois, low-pressure

over Nebraska. Because it’s time

the farmer turns out the light,

stares at the dark, and looks

forward to tomorrow’s work,

because it’s expected.

~ Greg German

Originally Published in Kansas Quarterly, 1993 V.24, #4

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 web site development, special project consulting, and photography. (www.limestone9consulting.com) He holds a B.A. degree in English/Creative writing and a B.S. in Education from Kansas State University.  Greg 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.

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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Road Service At No Additional Cost — by Karin L. Frank

It takes seconds to forget the road,

my husband’s attention distracted by

potato chip delights (like snowflakes

no two land on the fingertips alike)

as we navigate Missouri landscapes

through snow pillows sculpted by wind.

 

seconds to do a one-eighty,

skid on the slick road ice-sheeted

as a river – visions of home

now littered with tattered limbs

smashed like potato chip crumbs –

to a momentary destiny in a ditch.

 

seconds to catch our breaths,

 

a young farmer arrives,

boy-scout-prepared for instant action

with ballast and chains in the bed

of his four wheel drive pickup.

“You folks need help?” he asks.

 

seconds to nod yes,

 

he hooks our black VW dinghy

to his great white GMC lifeboat,

and tows us back to the icy flow.

“What’s neighbors for anyway?”

he dismisses tendered thanks, departs.

 

until seconds expand to minutes.

 

Once more alert and face-first, we continue

homeward along wind-buffeted highways

to crash into pillows and duvets

mounded like snowdrifts but warm

and nibble on our chips in peace.

~ Karin L. Frank

Karin L. Frank is an award-winning author from the Kansas City area. Her poems and prose have been published in both literary journals and genre magazines in the U.S. and abroad.

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.

Everyone is Dying — by Tyler Robert Sheldon

and our country was never so full with lies

I will count the minutes until we live

no longer in a post-truth country

where inviting despots to black tie dinners

is normal and where every day

the government is laced clear through

like bad pot with logical fallacies

 

Bad Hombres is only cool

as a license plate or bumper sticker

or a teenage bedroom door sign

and I will not give in

to the vortex of rancid hate

sucking up the good men and

 

women and children of this country

even as Big Bird and breakfast

for school kids might be next

 

the polar bears have to stand

on one leg now but

what about how much oil we need

we could melt down all the

polar bears, cut the middleman

 

out that way

and will we build another mother

for all the bombs that are orphans now

like every little child they lie down on

until the movement stops

~ Tyler Robert Sheldon

Tyler Robert Sheldon is the author of First Breaths of Arrival (Oil Hill Press, 2016) and Traumas (Yellow Flag Press, 2017). His poems and/or reviews have appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Quiddity International Literary Journal, Coal City Review, The Prairie Journal of Canadian Literature, and other venues, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the AWP Intro Journals Award. Sheldon holds an MA in English from Emporia State University. He lives in Baton Rouge. View his work at tyrsheldon.wixsite.com/trspoetry.

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.

Stories by James Benger

James BenderI could tell you about the time

we raced to the top of the water tower,

bare legs and arms pumping up the

wet, cold metal rungs of the ladder,

its white paint coming off in patches,

adhering to our palms or falling to the ground.

Before we got to the top, we imagined

from up there we’d be able to see the

world, or at least the state line, but

no matter where we stood around that

sunbaked tank of drink, all we saw

were fields, trailers and someone’s

lost mangy dog hobbling down the

gravel road that was more dirt than gravel.

 

I could tell you about the time

we jacked the keys to Buddy’s sister’s

Mustang from the kitchen counter

when she wasn’t looking and how we

flew with the wind ripping at our eyes,

all of us too false-macho to ask for the

top to go back up – it was winter, after all.

When the sky went dark and we finally

came back, she was red-faced and spitting,

screaming till she cried and everyone laughed,

but I almost cried along with her,

no one should ever have to feel like she must’ve.

 

I could tell you about the time

I found a lost chick on the side of the road

when I was walking home from fourth grade,

her yellow fuzz still there, scared eyes above

a scraped-up, ravenous beak.

I took her home and hid her under that sink

that no one ever really used.

I named her and fed her dry rice until the end.

 

I could tell you about the time

that we shot our bb guns at anything

that would yield to the tiny balls,

downed leaves and mulberries,

soft moldering wood in the fire pit.

We emptied fast food ketchup packets

into the barrels so that when the bb’s came out,

they’d take the ketchup too, make it

look like blood spray, or a food fight.

 

I could tell you about the time

that that girl who sat behind me in

seventh grade algebra, the one who always

copied my homework, even though I

was a D student, otherwise she’d fail, the

time she took my hand in the hallway

in between fourth and fifth hours and she

kissed me on the cheek, a tiny ring of wet

warmth on my face, and I swear I

could feel the flutter of an eyelash on my skin.

The next day she was just gone from

everywhere but my head.

 

I could tell you about the time

I pretended to not care when everything

was crashing down in insurmountable

obstacles, towering doubts, negativity

and pressure to just give in, but you

pulled me back and righted my angle

and reminded me that everything is temporary;

nothing is static, pressure is only pressure

because there is inevitable release.

 

I could tell you any or all of these things,

but you’ve heard all my stories before.

So I’ll just stand silently beside you

And breathe in the next moment.

~ James Benger

James Benger is a father, husband and writer. He is the author of two fiction ebooks, Flight 776 (2012) and Jack of Diamonds (2013) and one chapbook of poetry, As I Watch You Fade (EMP 2016). He lives n South Kansas City with his wife and son. In 2015 James started an online anthology among fellow poets called 365 Days. A book has since been published with a collection of some of those poems – 365 Days: A Poetry Anthology.

Ronda Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper late into the sunset and scream into blizzards and thunderstorms. She lives in Lawrence close to her son and daughter. She is a district president and the state vice president for Kansas Authors Club. She is a life coach specializing in working with those who have lost someone to homicide. She dances every chance she gets. She has poetry in numerous online and hard copy publications that include The Smithsonian Institute. Two books of poetry include Going Home: Poems from My Life and MoonStain (Meadowlark Books, May 2015).

Summer Dawn in Kansas City by Alan Robert Proctor

La Madrugada: calm before sunrise,

unblinking eye at the rim

of day awakening with warblers,

a breeze of first color creeps

over stucco, somnambulant gray

turns powder blue.

Wind chimes stretch, yawn,

tree tops nod yes, yes,

a yipping yorkie wakes two squirrels,

their tails spiral maple bark, argue

and plunge – lawn dolphins –

from darkness into dawn.

A baby’s howl sunbursts shadows.

Buenos dias, noche. Night

forgets we ever dreamed or slept.

~ Alan Robert Proctor

Mr. Proctor’s poetry, fiction, and/or creative non-fiction have appeared in New Letters, Loon, Chautauqua, Kansas City Voices, I-70 Review, Crosstimbers, Off Channel, and Hanging Loose among other journals. Alan was twice a Reader’s Digest national poetry finalist, and a winner in the Whispering Prairie Press 2012 Rex Rogers Formal Poetry Contest. His novel, Adirondack Summer was released in 2013 and his hybrid-memoir, The Sweden File: Memoir of an Expatriate is soon to be published by Westphalia Press.

Guest Editor James Benger is husband and writer. His work has been featured in Coal City Review, Comma,Splice, Hoarding Words, Kansas City Voices, Kiosk, Periphery, Runaway Pony, Thorny Locust and To the Stars Through Difficulties. His ebooks, Flight 776 and Jack of Diamonds are available from most digital retailers. He lives in the Kansas City area with his wife.

My Mother Ironing by Diane Wahto

Diane WahtoHer shoulders bend over the ironing board. In one hand,

a Coke bottle topped with a metal sprinkler.

In her other hand, the heavy iron, radiating heat.

She lifts clothes, starch-stiff, fresh from the clothesline.

They, empty ghosts, exude sun and spring.

The radio is on.

Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa on drums,

The iron in my mother’s hand moves with the music,

makes intricate patterns across shirts, sheets,

blouses, dresses, trousers. She presses her mark

into each piece. Her mouth a determined line

across the planes of her face.

~ Diane Wahto

Bio: Diane Wahto has an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. Her poem, “Someone Is Always Watching,” won the American Academy of Poets award. Recently, her poems “The Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging. She, her husband, and two dogs live in Wichita, Kansas.

Guest Editor James Benger is husband and writer. His work has been featured in Coal City Review, Comma,Splice, Hoarding Words, Kansas City Voices, Kiosk, Periphery, Runaway Pony, Thorny Locust and To the Stars Through Difficulties. His ebooks, Flight 776 and Jack of Diamonds are available from most digital retailers. He lives in the Kansas City area with his wife.

Demolition Derby Car by Thomas Reynolds

05_10_1It sits in tall weeds

Like a crushed, jagged brain.

No beat or synapse pulses

Where it sits behind the shed.

All is unnaturally calm the way

Operating rooms are after everything

Has been tried, the surgeon has backed

Away and removed her mask, nurses

Disconnect all life-sustaining devices,

All silent except for the clanking of tools

Being placed on trays and wheeled away.

Soon the patient is lifted onto a gurney

To be awaited by mourners, those for whom

The body is all they have and so they can’t let

It go. Not yet. So now he has wheeled this corpse

Into the waving September grass to await eternity.

Only a few birds have cared to mourn. Tree limbs

Lean down to caress the hollowed-out eyes

Which look out unseeing into darkening prairie,

Where wind and sky collide time after time.


Before a raucous crowd of jays.

~ Thomas Reynolds

Bio: 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, 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.

Guest Editor James Benger is husband and writer. His work has been featured in Coal City Review, Comma,Splice, Hoarding Words, Kansas City Voices, Kiosk, Periphery, Runaway Pony, Thorny Locust and To the Stars Through Difficulties. His ebooks, Flight 776 and Jack of Diamonds are available from most digital retailers. He lives in the Kansas City area with his wife.

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