Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘James Benger’

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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Pas — By Lori Baker Martin

The warmest morning

since she told him

she wanted to go,

she opened the windows

and doors and bright air

swept in, blew dust across

the polished wood floors.

He came out,

rubbing his big hands,

and saying again,

Amy, don’t leave me.

The front door was open

so the fawn walked right through

and once inside, ran,

its hooves tip-tapping

against the floor,

from one end of the room

to the other. It ran

and they chased it.

She was laughing at first,

it couldn’t find the door.

It kept running until

he caught it

and killed it, twisting

and cracking

its ballerina neck.

~ Lori Baker Martin

 

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, The MacGuffin, (parenthetical), The Little Balkans Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Maine Review, Midwest Quarterly, Kansas Time + Place, 150 Kansas Poets, and in a Kansas Notable Book poetry collection To the Stars Through Difficulties. 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 has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she was named a Truman Capote Fellow and received the Clark Fischer Ansley Award for Excellence in Fiction. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and she is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

 

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.

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 http://www.wisesculpture.com 

 

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.

Homeless Tent City Vanishes Fast But Many Who Lived There Didn’t Go to New Center — By Michael Lasater

Slow-motion suicide, you might think –– turning away

from shelter freely offered.  It is so cold.

But these are the invisible citizens of a desperate country.

Here time is a disease –– a merciless subtraction

not just of days but of dignity, of usefulness.

A fired oil drum becomes the altar of communion ––

here you may make an offering of what you were,

what you are not, what you never will be.

The cold steals your name, replaces your soul ––

The remembered sun alone promises salvation.

Surely spring will return and it will be ours.

Surely spring will return and we will be whole.

 

You and I walk up Michigan on a night

brutal even for so late in December.

On the museum steps, the lions –– a dying species

wreathed in strange celebration –– stare at our passing.

~ Michael Lasater

Hutchinson native Michael Lasater is Professor of New Media at Indiana University South Bend. With degrees from Oberlin, Juilliard, and Syracuse University, he has performed with ensembles including the Metropolitan Opera, produced documentaries on poetry, and currently exhibits art video internationally. His poetry has appeared in Kansas Time + Place.

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.

A Brave Farmer Goes to the Bank — By Greg German

–farmer–/’farm r/n 1: a person

who pays a fixed sum for some privilege

or source of income 2: a person who cultivates land

or crops or raises livestock 3: YOKEL, Bumpkin —

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 1981

 

He parks right out front

where his neighbor’s mud

has hardened

onto the asphalt,

and walks

straight to the bank’s thick glass

door. The door is placed

to reflect everyone’s image,

and the farmer sees his T-shirt

is untucked. The door is easy

to open. It shouldn’t matter.

The banker is his friend,

and behind a plowshare-styled smile

that can’t break crust,

he welcomes the farmer

with interest. They both fake it.

A mystic, the banker pulls

his pile of paper, from somewhere,

and begins to read the future.

The farmer is afraid,

and imagines himself swallowed

by the chair that holds him.

He is paying for his life

with his life. He leaves

the building with the mystic’s fee

printed on pink, and feels the stiffness

of the concrete

move into his knees,

proving that he is not ageless.

~ Greg German

Originally Published 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.

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.

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.

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