Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Laura Lee Washburn’

Coal — By Laura Lee Washburn

You think of something smashed, compressed

fluidless, dense, chafing at its elbows,

formed by weight and gravity and time.

 

You think of something that tears

as it goes. How using it warms and harms.

How finding it, destroys. The earth rumbles.

 

My body, some mornings, at fifty-one

is ruined bone, solid, unmoved,

tense and waiting, coal unlit,

energy of the sun stuck again.

~ 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 TheNewVerseNews, 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 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. 

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A Blank Sheet of Paper: A Poem in Free Verse for Free Women . by Diane Wahto

Lawmakers etch their restrictions on sovereign bodies,diane-wahto

obliterate women out of existence, into servitude.

Lawmakers scribble laws, sentence women to a word

web of confinement. Lawmakers in marble halls

of statehouses, pillared halls of Washington, raise

their voices in pious tones, invoke a fantasy god

of their own devising as justification for their laws.

Lawmakers spout platitudes of concern for women,

their safety, their health, then doodle laws to bring

harm upon women. Lawmakers pray to their gods

to end abortion, lawmakers who would punish

providers, lawmakers who send their daughters

to accommodating doctors, doctors who would

never utter the word “abortion,” who instead

say, “D &C.” A woman will say “abortion,”

will say the law of her own conscience will

guide her, a law not written anywhere

but in her sovereign being. A law

on a blank piece of paper, a law

written by each woman who will

decide how she must fulfill her destiny.


Diane Wahto
received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1985 and has been writing poetry ever since. Her latest publication, “Empty Corners,” is in the spring 2017 issue of
Same. She was co-editor of 365 Days, an anthology of the 365 Facebook page poets. She lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Patrick Roche and their dog Annie.

Guest Editor 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.

Word of the Day . by Sarah Chenoweth

To those who would wait

for the revolution

wearing John Lennon t-shirts andChenoweth, Sarah

Guy Fawkes masks,

tattoos on their arms,

braids in their hair,

waiting for the return of

Marley, Tupac, Marat, Cobain:

 

To those who would wait

for the tide to turn,

for the waters to rise,

for others to fall

on their swords,

for a new king to be crowned;

a queen forgotten:

 

To those who would wait

until it is convenient;

when their work is done,

when children have gone,

after that next big promotion,

vacation, fad diet, season finale:

 

To those who would wait

until the fat cats own their lives,

until the food riots begin and

the summers become too hot

for victory gardens:

 

To those who would wait

under overpasses,

in alleyways,

buried in inescapable debt:

 

Stop waiting.

The fight did not end

in 1789, 1865, or 1964.

 

Stop waiting.

The fight is now, and

 

the word of the day is Resistance.

 

Sarah Chenoweth graduated from both the English and Communication M.A. programs at Pittsburg State University. She has been published in print through I-70 Review, Communication Theory, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, and the Journal of International Communication, and online through the Silver Birch Press and Kansas Time + Place.

Guest Editor 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.

Dancing on the Head of a Pin . by Jemshed Khan

In the bang of war

the rifle butt smacks

the sniper’s shoulder:

another bullet swifts

the long dark hollow

of the killing barrel.

 

Minutes after the landing

the Rooster is strutting

The cameras are rolling

Hand shakes all around

Top brass is beaming

and cheering begins.

 

I scarcely fathom the howl

of all this volumed Kevlar―

yet my nation dances

on the bones of the dead

to bend the will of others

to a pin on a map.

 

Jemshed Khan has published poems in such magazines as Number One Magazine, Wittenberg Review, #BlackArtMatters (2016), Read Local (2016), Rigorous (2017), NanoText(Medusa’s Laugh Press, 2017) and the chapbook Paean for Billy Collins (Calliope Club Press, 2017). 

Guest Editor 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.

Listening to Annie Wash Dishes . by Matthew David Manning

Just behind me, my wife, Annie,Matthew Manning Photo

is washing dishes. For two days,

she made chicken soup

and now she cleans the pots,

places servings into the fridge

sniffling all the while.

Each pot pops and booms

behind the wall. There is so much

that sound hides from my eyes, though,

while she cleans them an image,

floating and invisible, teases me

this thought of her tapping

each cabinet in the kitchen

as a ritual for good luck. For New Years,

we had tang yuan because it’s round,

but my father complained

about our lack of black-eyed peas.

 

Matthew David Manning has worked as an English instructor at Pittsburg State University in the Intensive English Program. Matthew holds degrees in creative writing from Arizona State University and Pittsburg State University. 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 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.

 

 

Great American Nostalgia Train — by Laura Lee Washburn

All the places we grew up have changed.

In California, you can’t get into a restaurant.

Your Virginia Beach is guarded

by four story parking garages,

and your childhood bike is still missing or stolen.

 

Here in Kansas, we aren’t expecting

East and West coast overflows any time soon—

though we have room. If they came,

we would welcome their Grocery offering fresh made sushi,

their deli counter mustards, in-store olive bars,

the good kind of sesame buns, but we go now

 

into our Walstores for a pint or a script,

not noticing the silences and absences,

the way it might appear the benevolent aliens

have finally come and opened a gateway for half

our children and folk to ascend,

leaving us not lonesome not crowded.

 

The abducted folk might have gone through the gateway

into our short pasts, the remembered simple,

rather than our futures. They might have found

egg salad in wax paper and frankfurters turning

on Ferris wheel spits, the lady at the counter

crushing limes into ade and paper straws. I have

a simple list of where America went wrong:

 

We took down the two hundred foot dunes,

dunes taller than forest. We

filled in the swamp and the wetlands for the navy,

believed too hard in plastics, dismantled

the public works, sent the photographers home,

gave the police armored machines. My list

keeps getting longer. America,

 

we took a wrong turn in 1838—no—when Adams

signed the Indian Springs—No, no Monroe,

as long as the grass shall grow, with the big lies,

with tobacco, with the Dutch and the Spanish—

Oh Europe, with your fine cafes, your clotted cream,

your tea, your coffee, pain au chocolate, what,

just what have you done?

~ 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 Dennis Etzel Jr. lives with Carrie and the boys in Topeka, Kansas where he teaches English at Washburn University. He has two chapbooks, The Sum of Two Mothers (ELJ Publications 2013) and My Graphic Novel (Kattywompus Press 2015), a poetic memoir My Secret Wars of 1984 (BlazeVOX 2015), and Fast-Food Sonnets (Coal City Review Press 2016).

Citizens — By Laura Lee Washburn

My dog looks a little bit like a fox.

He would like to skulk alone

with no other fox—or dog. His

ears and pointy face and bushy tail.

He does not walk on his toes.

We leave that to the actual cat.
I have learned the fox wants prey

that doesn’t fight back. My dog

runs to the crate after chasing

the cat, a four foot race before turning

back to his safe crate den home shake.
I have watched a fox from the window

scratch at his fleas like an ill-treated dog.

By grace we live in the world

where a squirrel travels under the branch

where we see the birds scatter in leaves.
We find our home in grass and flowers.

We find our home in the trunks and needles.

The rich earth loams up to our noses.

The cut grass surrounds the brain.
I live in a house with nut trees at the window,

with goldfinch hanging at sweet gum balls

where the owl can be heard and the sparrows call.

My dog looks a bit like a fox. My cat

curls up at my leg. They make curves

of warmth alert in ears. We could all be

so human if we never remembered the news.

~ 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 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, Maine Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, words (on pages), Midwest Quarterly, Kansas Time + Place, and in 150 Kansas Poets.  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. She is a founding member of the Astra Arts Festival in Independence, KS and was director of the visiting writers’ series at ICC. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

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