Be Afraid                                                                                   by Delma Thompson

A right to an abortion is a very little portion
of what "Red" legislatures have in mind.
They have time to waste now
and must cave to suit their base now
by overtaking lives of womankind.

Freedom's big on their agenda until practiced by defenders
who believe that freedom's meant for all.
And when they make decisions
that add unjust provisions
you'd better take a stand, I'm telling y'all.

So in case you missed the memo, your privacy's in danger
and you'd better be afraid
for Kansas-style Sharia's creeping in with new ideas
and the legislature's ready to invade:

who to love, how to pray, what to teach, what not to say;
next you know they'll hire bedroom police.
Their business now is running yours
of that fact please rest assured--
not much privacy is left for them to seize.

Conservatives on the right are digging in and plan to fight.
They want to rule your body and your soul,
so ladies find your backbone, use your vote to quickly dethrone
those who want what's left of your control.
So Be Afraid!  Be Very Afraid!

Delma Thompson is an 88 year old previously unpublished writer of poetry and prose. The subjects of human rights and politics make up the majority of her current work and provide much fodder for her creativity. She performs this poem at rallies, get out the vote events, and open mics in the Pittsburg, KS area, as well as singing a song called “Donny Boy” to the tune of “Danny Boy” about a certain former president eventually ending up in jail. The audience generally gives her a standing o for poem and song.

The Coop: A Poetry Cooperative’s Editor, Laura Lee Washburn, has selected July’s poems around the site’s current theme “We’re Speaking” to capture voices pushing back against the current attacks in the U.S. on human rights and on democracy. Citizens of Kansas have an attack on their state constitution on the ballot August 2nd on which they should vote no in order to preserve the Kansas legacy of being a free state in which all citizens have bodily autonomy. We stand in solidarity with all people affected by current rulings from the radicalized Supreme Court.


Land of the Southwind                                                           by Roy Beckemeyer

When the wind stretches
its wings in Kansas
it makes you think
that nothing else longs
to be so intransigent,
so desultory, and you
know that this is why
trees and people who take root
here become so adept,
almost protean in their
ability to bend and thrash,
to tack close-hauled,
to move forward even
when that direction
takes them headlong
into gust fronts
and difficulties,
to face into it all, like weather
vanes or windsocks,
to strive, as always,
toward resolution,
toward life,
toward continuance.

Roy J. Beckemeyer’s latest book is Mouth Brimming Over (Blue Cedar). Stage Whispers (Meadowlark) won the 2019 Nelson Poetry Book Award. Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press) contains ekphrastic poems inspired by artists’ depictions of angels. Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. Beckemeyer has designed and built airplanes, discovered and named fossils of Palaeozoic insect species and has once traveled the world. Beckemeyer lives with and for his wife of 60 years, Pat, in Wichita, Kansas.

Guest editor Denise Low, MFA & Ph.D., was Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09. She won the Red Mountain Press Editor’s Award for Shadow Light. Other books are Wing (Red Mountain), Casino Bestiary (Spartan), and The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival (U. of Nebraska Press), a Hefner Heitz Award finalist. At Haskell Indian Nations University she founded the creative writing program. She is a contributing editor to Essay Daily’s Midwessay project. She lives in California’s Sonoma County on Tsuno Mountain, homeland of Pomo