Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Julie Ramon’

The Cows in the Trailer In Front of Me — By Julie Ramon

don’t know the disappointment that waits for them,
but maybe that makes it easier. I always know.
I’ve forgotten my body and the shape it was before
children. It’s all about timing now. I undress quickly,
so my husband won’t see the parts I hate. By now,
I’m supposed to be comfortable with where I am,
but I’m still not sure. I’ve read cows have a magnetic
pull in their bodies, most stand north to south.

A scientist discovered this by accident. He intended to study
the direction people sleep, where tents are placed,
and took note of the cows nearby instead. On my way to work,
my eyes always find them in the fields beneath sheets of fog,
wading belly-high in ponds, grouped near the fence line,
in the metal trailer in front of me. Their black marbles peek
through the slots, their legs search for traction. The fields
where they once roamed hums a new silence.

I leave my child home sick today because I know my boss,
without children, won’t understand me missing two days
in a row. We’ve never understood each other. Today
after class, I keep my office hour and return home.
My boss emails me about staying more than the minimum.
We have different ideas about what minimum means.
I think she secretly wants to fire me, maybe that’s okay
because it’s nearly winter and the fields are empty.

The faded house next to the silver trees sits empty.
No one is home. They said forever, but they didn’t mean it.
Most don’t, except for the cows. If they could say forever,
they would say you can feel it at night how fields glow
after a burn. They would say north to south, it fills the moon
with milk. Here, the fields never forget their warmth,
and though they’re not sure where they’re going,
I know, every road in Kansas leads to you.

~ Julie Ramon

Julie Ramon is an English instructor, specializing in English as a second language, at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. She also teaches academic writing at Crowder College in Missouri. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband, son and daughter.


Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate and the author or editor of over 20 books. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she teaches, she also offers community writing workshops widely, and with Kelley Hunt, Brave Voice writing and singing retreats. She founded the 150 Kansas Poems site where she is thrilled to work with many fine guest editor poets and witness powerful writing from and about the heartland.

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How to Start a Fire After Rain — By Julie Ramon

The grass always knows when it’s gone.

It sometimes holds drops on its forehead,

on the straight passes of its arms. This is when

you should flex a few stray branches. See which

ones are worthy to be tucked in. Dig deep

in your pockets and kneel to the ground. This is how

I’ve seen men do it. Some keep tinder in a small

metal box, already warmed from pressing into their skin.

Others keep it in their fingers, in the bowls of their palms,

the small folds of their lips. It, always warm to the touch,

makes the next part easy. Use your hands to feed the flame,

to warm the spots that need It and the ones that don’t.

Cup your hands around it and breathe deeply.

And if it asks you to keep going, listen.

~ Julie Ramon

Julie Ramon is an English instructor at NEO A&M in Miami, Oklahoma. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband, son and daughter.

Guest Editor 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, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Maine Review, and others. 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 is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

What I Learned From Fire — By Julie Ramon

Sometimes, you find bits of yourself
in the ash, embers you roll over
with your foot. Be careful—
some things are too big to control.
It moves without asking,
the way a person touches another,
a risk, a door to a warm or cool place.
It speaks words that aren’t there.
It will tell you where to go from here.
And, like all good things, it will die.
And this stumbling too has saved you.

~ Julie Ramon

Julie Ramon is an English instructor, specializing in English as a second language, at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. She also teaches academic writing at Crowder College in Missouri. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband, son and daughter.


Guest Editor Melissa Fite Johnson’s first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. She is also the author of A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky, winner of the 2017 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas. 

As Farmers Burn their Fields – Julie Ramon

The heat from the field on my face, it leaned
towards me, the way we lean towards something
we want, need. It was that way the first time
we met. The space between growing smaller
each time, the way bees hover until they land,
a series of small meetings and partings.

And, if you’ve walked down the path of heat,
you place your feet carefully and watch it move
and change everything it touches. Here, there’s
no space, but a line from where things lived
and stopped, and I prayed it wouldn’t notice
me if I stepped lightly and towards what I knew.

~Julie Ramon

Julie Ramon is an English instructor, specializing in English as a second language, at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. She also teaches academic writing at Crowder College in Missouri. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband, son and daughter.

Guest Editor Z. Hall is a poet whose work often features ekphrasis, and explores race, gender, and culture. She is an essayist and has served as a PEN Prison Writing Mentor. She was a 2016-17 writer-in-residence at the Charlotte Street Foundation. In 2017, Hall curated the first international visual art exhibition featuring beneficial bacterial as the subject matter and medium of artists of disparate disciplines and scientists whose work crosses boundaries into artistic expression.

As an art writer and scholar, Hall’s peer-reviewed publications include works on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s ‘Drunk in Love,’ the field recordings of Stephen Wade’s “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” emergence of the Christian film industry in Lindvall and Quicke’s “Celluloid Sermons,” and the political cartoons of the 2005 Muhammad Cartoon Controversy as rhetorical art, among other works. Hall is the Executive Director and Producer of Salon~360, a monthly, Kansas City regional event that brings together artists whose work focuses on challenging societal issues, for which she was awarded an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant.

Inspiration by Julie Ramon

It waits for me on a dirt roadJulieramon.jpg
between Kansas and Missouri.

When I slow down and stop
at an intersection, it runs
to my window. In torn clothing,
with a dirty face, it asks for change—
something warm to eat—a ride.

Cracking my window I ask
how far are you going? It says,
as far as you can take me. I nod,
open my door and let it climb in.

And, as we drive, we part crops, cattle,
and flocks of crows that sit
like rooted teeth on fence lines.
I speed and release them into the sky
and the space in front of my windshield.

Here, sunflowers stand perfectly
unripe. Green disks point up
towards the sky and turn away
when curiosity comes in the form
of a cow with a raised, wet nose.

It asks to crack a window
to feel the wind on its face, but I ignore
the plea, and lock the doors, afraid
it will slip out in the air between crows
and disappear beneath rocks
and settling dust.

~ Julie Ramon

Julie Ramon is an English instructor, specializing in English as a second language, at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Her poems “Making Tamales” and “Making Tortillas” were recently published in the literary food magazine, Graze. She enjoys baking and selling cakes from home on weekends. She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband and son.

Guest Editor Al Ortolani’s poetry and reviews have appeared in Rattle, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, The Writer’s Almanac, and the New York Quarterly. He has published several collections of poetry. His Waving Mustard in Surrender (NYQ Books) was short-listed for the Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award from Binghamton Univesity. Paper Birds Don’t Fly was released by New York Quarterly Books in April of 2016. His poems been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Writers Place, The Brick Mountain Foundation, The Little Balkans Press, and is currently a member of the Board of the Woodley Press at Washburn University in Topeka.

I try to write it for you in my head by Julie Ramon

Julieramon.jpgI try to write it for you in my head
every morning when I turn down
the numbered gravel road that leads
me into Kansas. Things are different
here. Cows gather near fence lines
and raise their wet noses to smell
the wind that welcomes traveling
geese and flocks of starlings
that twirl and spin through the air.
And when the sun rises, it deepens
the copper on train cars, the rust
on an abandoned Chevy truck
shell, and patches of vines growing
to the tips of leaning telephone poles.
But, when I arrive home and see
your arms open and the shape
of your face change, I forget it all.

 

Julie Ramon is an English instructor, specializing in English as a second language, at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Her poems “Making Tamales” and “Making Tortillas” were recently published in the literary food magazine, Graze. She enjoys baking and selling cakes from home on weekends. She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband and son.

Guest Editor: Roy Beckemeyer is from Wichita, Kansas. His poems have recently appeared in The Midwest Quarterly, Kansas City Voices, The North Dakota Review, and I-70 Review. Two of his poems were nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize competition. His debut collection of poems, “Music I Once Could Dance To,” published in 2014 by Coal City Review and Press, was selected as a 2015 Kansas Notable Book by the State Library of Kansas and the Kansas Center for the Book.

 

Dead Dog by Julie Ramon

It’s been a week now and still eachJulieramon.jpg

day I see you on the side of the highway

serving as a small, black line

connecting Kansas to Missouri.

Bits of your hair are frozen and reflective

against the rising sun. I pass your crushed bones,

asphalt gripping claws and black ears,

that ripple in the wind of passing cars.

 

I tell myself your family came

and gently took your body home and buried

you beneath a sycamore. And, you weren’t drug

away by teeth sunken deep in the folds

of your neck and torn apart leaving nothing

but a smeared trail of what you used to be.

~ Julie Ramon
Julie Ramon is an English instructor, specializing in English as a second language, at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Her poems “Making Tamales” and “Making Tortillas” were recently published in the literary food magazine, Graze. She enjoys baking and selling cakes from home on weekends. She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband and son.

Cody Shrum holds both a B.A. and M.A. in Creative Writing from Pittsburg State University with an emphasis in fiction. However, his poetry has appeared in velvet-tail and Kansas Time + Place online literary magazines. Cody plans to pursue his MFA degree in fiction next fall—an adventure he will embark on with his wife, Kylee, and their two dogs, Zoey and Zeus.

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