Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Laura Lee Washburn’

The Race by Laura Lee Washburn

I catch foul balls on my tongue:
words like “Get ‘im out of here” USA
“Go back to China” USA, “Make America—”
USA I wash my hair
in the shower with soap that smells like berries.
On the corner, a panhandler
asks for food, “Every Little Bit
Helps. Peace.” As-salamu alaykum.

I drive by, the food bank six blocks north,
the county shelter closed, funds moved
west where Kansans vote Republican
harder than here—GodBlessAmericaJakesFireworks
signs on Forest, on Jefferson, on Adams.
I can no longer tolerate words: USA USA
balloon launches, USA the simple wish
peace be with you, and prayers (Jake’s Fireworks),
that choke fledglings, twist
in the guts of opossums.

You can make a hen tell the truth
no one hears. You can’t fake an egg.
They come honest from the hens,
a kind of fragile truth. Eat spaghetti
by the ax full, carry water
in a berry basket, eat bullets, breathe
turbine—Make America great.

A screwdriver helps a Carpenter Joe twist
screws into holes. If I could,
I’d go back to sleep, great again.
Don’t cut off your tail USA USA; drape it over your
arm, USA wear a top hat USA before it’s too late
make America catch the foulest balls
on their tongues and swallow.

 

Originally published at The New Verse News (https://newversenews.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-race.html).

 

Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is from Wichita, Kansas. He was President of the Kansas Authors Club 2016-2017. His latest book of poetry, Stage Whispers (Meadowlark-Books, 2019), contains “…handsomely crafted poems…Dense with images, intimate and honest…” (Kathryn Kysar). His chapbook, Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) comprises ekphrastic poems inspired by a variety of artists’ depictions of angels. His first poetry collection, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014), was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He recently co-edited Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, 2017) with Caryn Mirriam Goldberg. That anthology collected poems that appeared on this website from 2014-2016.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make a Bridge                      by Matthew Manning

One person must decide the need for a bridge.
This person has to go out into the day, ignore walls,Matthew Manning Photo
and fight needless suffering.

Annie tells me that the dragonflies are low,
begins to pack, and tells me to come on.

Why?

Don’t you know that means rain is coming?
Frogs may come out from where they hide,
and you might be able to smell it, but the best way
is to watch the dragonflies.

We pack and walk, the first on the sidewalk
toward our car, me close behind her. The rain comes,
of course, all rush to pack, children yelp and parents
struggle and huff. All follow us, Annie first,
me closest to her, the others coming but far behind.

 

Matthew David Manning holds degrees in creative writing from Arizona State University and PSU. His poetry has appeared various publications including I-70 Review, Red Paint Hill, Rust + Moth, Kansas Time + Place, and Chiron Review.

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is a University Professor, the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10thAnniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth LetterThe SunRed Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board ofSEK Women Helping Women.

In the Garden      by Maril Crabtree

Nestled among stones, clusters of spider webs
shine in the sun, spun across spored fronds

of low-growing fern, woven at crazy-quilt angles,
tilting to the sky like miniature hammocks,

home to tiny spiders the size of a child’s fingernail.
Some webs show ragged holes. Each time the wind

blows they could tear off their frail mooringsMaril-Crabtree_sm
and float into daylight’s indifferent air.

What makes stones solid and webs
so fragile? Where do we humans fit in

with our clusters and colonies binged
across the earth’s crust, tilting at skies

ragged with storms and ozone holes,
basking in bright ribbons of emissions spun

across the planet? I hear the wind and wonder
with each passing gust whose house will fall next.


Maril Crabtree
lives in the Midwest and writes poetry, creative nonfiction, reviews, and occasional short fiction. Her work has appeared in Canyon Voices, Main Street Rag, Coal CityReview, and others. She is a former poetry editor for Kansas City Voices and her latest collection, Fireflies in the Gathering Dark, was named a 2018 Kansas Notable Book.

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is a University Professor, the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10thAnniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth LetterThe SunRed Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

Evolution of Man                               —by Katelyn Roth

I.

Hanuman Langur, protected1029161103
in India for holy rites, dark-
skinned descendant
of the monkey god,
has a charred sugar skull face,
bullwhip tail of gray ash.

One male takes ten mothers
for his own, slaughters the children
of their former mates.
With firstborns dead, only
his offspring survive.

II.

Why I stayed:

because I was isolated. I
believed he would kill me. I
blamed myself. He
controlled my life. He
was my life. I
didn’t exist anymore.

III.

Why I left:

Garbage consumes kilometers
of Pacific Ocean, island of debris
visible to God,
satellites, astronauts.

Carp, char, grunion, hagfish,
the lamprey and naked puffer, are
trashchoked and blinded
by confettied waste, the sludge,
swirling above them, galactic.

 


Katelyn Roth
graduated with her Master’s in poetry from Pittsburg State University. She teaches composition and general literature at Pittsburg State University and Fort Scott Community College. Her work has previously appeared online at Silver Birch Press and here at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity.

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is a University Professor, the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10thAnniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

Regarding the Conversation When We Compared Regrets                                by Allison Blevins

A bird somewhere has given up sleep to prove love.
Some moments demand speaking, so we say nothing.
This is true, though often we tell lies.  One day, a bird falls
accidentally.  I think the birds are women, really.  I’ll remember
these months as a great unburdening.  A bird somewhere sings
me too.  I would cry out with them, but the daughter growing
inside me would hear what she is coming to.  This child
is declarative, like a sentence ending.  Finally.
When birds speak on the subject of mourning, on
what a body has done, can do
                                             I want to say it more
plainly—feathered and blue as down as heather as
a leaf twisting—my daughter is mine.  One day, I’ll fall.
She may remember the worst of me.  A bird somewhere
has given up.  These months, I find myself breaking like wet sand.

AllisonBlevins

Allison Blevins received her MFA at Queens University of Charlotte and is a Lecturer for the Women’s Studies Program at Pittsburg State University and the Department of English and Philosophy at Missouri Southern State University. She has been a finalist for the Cowles Poetry Book Prize, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, and the Moon City Poetry Award.  Her work has appeared in such journals as Mid-American Review, the minnesota review, Nimrod International Journal, Sinister Wisdom, and Josephine Quarterly.  Her chapbook A Season for Speaking (Seven Kitchens Press), part of the Robin Becker Series, is forthcoming in 2019.  Another chapbook Letters to Joan (Lithic Press) is also forthcoming in 2019. She lives in Missouri with her wife and three children where she co-organizes the Downtown Poetry reading series and is Editor-in-Chief of Harbor Review.

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is a University Professor, the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10thAnniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

Loss by Julie Ramon

When it grew too heavy to carry,                                                       Julieramon.jpg
it filled the bottle trees in Kansas.
Then, it roamed across a burning field
in plumes of smoke with tired feet.
Like coals, it kept burning and hummed
a glow through the night. This was the quickest
and easiest way to lose. In the morning,
the smoke clung to your bandages and hair

as you walked alone outside, black stubble
at your feet. Like a bell, it called out for you
through the dark valley and echoed in your
ears—a sound that never stops, but fades.

 

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 is also a co-organizer of a poetry series, Downtown Poetry. She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband, son, and daughter.

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is a University Professor, the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10thAnniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

 

This Sunny Day, December 30th — By Laura Lee Washburn

Through brown bamboo shades, leaves shimmy

and bounce, foregrounded by gray roof slate.

 

. . .

 

Downstairs, the man slips in cat spittle, hollers,

mad. The cat necklace sings up the stairs.

 

. . .

 

Today’s high will reach 52 with gusty winds

already hinted at in wavering pin oak leaves.

 

. . .

 

Traffic in town is light, ten minutes to anywhere.

Some man might seem dirty and bundled walking Main.

 

. . .

 

You have house noises, air blowing, pipes banging.

Right now, just now, you forget fear and chore.

 

. . .

 

Your feet are only a little cold yet. Perhaps today,

you . . . .

 

. . .

 

Alert: Low relative humidity, warm temps: any fires

that develop will likely spread rapidly: Fire Weather Warning.

~ Laura Lee Washburn

Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

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.

Tag Cloud