Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Lindsey Martin-Bowen’

The Soul of Kansas Might Be a Scream by Lindsey Martin-Bowen

You hear it late at night when the moonLindsey
becomes a sliver in someone’s dream,
and ripples in the lake settle
into streams lined with algae and bass.
It might come from John Brown’s ghost
or the specter haunting the WPA castle at Coronado Heights.
It could be wails from Bob Elliot, who died in a wreck
on the red trail winding down from the peak.
Perhaps it’s the lonely moan of a locomotive
over plains where fires break through nights.
Maybe the shriek emanates from the cemetery
edged by yuccas where the snow never stays,
or from the western ridge where wolves cry
and geese wing through wide, blood-red skies.

~ Lindsey Martin-Bowen

From Standing on the Edge of the World (Woodley Press 2008)

Lindsey Martin-Bowen’s “Bonsai Tree Gone Awry” (Inside Virgil’s Garage, Chatter House Press 2013) was nominated for a Pushcart. Woodley Press published Standing on the Edge of the World, named one of the Top 10 Poetry Books for 2008 (McClatchy). Paladin Contemporaries released three of her novels, and her poetry has run in New Letters, I-70 Review, Coal City Review, Thorny Locust, Flint Hills Review, Bare Root Review, The Same, Little Balkans Review, and others. She teaches at MCC-Longview.

Thomas Reynolds is an associate English professor at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, The MacGuffin, Flint Hills Review, and Prairie Poetry. Woodley Press of Washburn University published his poetry collection Ghost Town Almanac in 2008. His chapbook The Kansas Hermit Poems was published in 2013, and his sports-themed chapbook Small Town Rodeos was published by Spartan Press in 2016.

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Cathedral of the Plains by Lindsey Martin-Bowen

(St. Fidelis Church)Lindsey
Victoria, Kansas

Even if it isn’t the Temple at Nîmes,
we race each other through quiet streets
to this tall, limestone church that reigns
over Victoria, a town the British named.
Inside, I feel chills and wonder if a spirit followed us.
I squint at windows to see if it filtered through green
and red glass, and listen for rustlings of the Holy Ghost.

Here, white marble guards the sanctuary.
It spreads out like angel wings, this marble from Italy.
But St. Fidelis never stepped inside this sacred place.
Killed when he claimed, “One Lord, one faith,”
he left the earth in 1622, centuries before this altar
was shipped, before Volga-German farmers agreed
to lift a cross here and name a church after this martyr.

St. Fidelis studied law and taught philosophy,
fought cases for the poor, and like me,
when put off by too much aggression
and greed, dropped the legal profession.
No saint, I come from German farmers in Mankato,
where the prairie roils from rust to green,
acres away from this Plains Cathedral.

And burdened with uncertainties,
I wonder if I’m a tsunami or a soaring melody.
Under stained glass reflecting in corners,
I move to candles and drop in quarters.
Then I light two stubs and drop to my knees.
I cross myself, inhale sweet perfume,
and watch you lift your camera to snap these scenes.

~ Lindsey Martin-Bowen

(From Standing on the Edge of the World, Woodley Press 2008)

Lindsey Martin-Bowen’s “Bonsai Tree Gone Awry” (Inside Virgil’s Garage, Chatter House Press 2013) was nominated for a Pushcart. Woodley Press published Standing on the Edge of the World, named one of the Top 10 Poetry Books for 2008 (McClatchy). Paladin Contemporaries released three of her novels, and her poetry has run in New Letters, I-70 Review, Coal City Review, Thorny Locust, Flint Hills Review, Bare Root Review, The Same, Little Balkans Review, and others. She teaches at MCC-Longview.

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.

Jim Morrison and I Hop a Train to Hays by Lindsey Martin-Bowen

for Roy BeckemeyerLindsey

We didn’t think we’d make it—that leap

to a boxcar from gravel limestone

edging tracks on bedrock, their ties locked

in solid links that smell of burnt tar

and metal grinding against steel rods.

 

Jim plans to play a gig there, even

though no one but me knows he’s alive.

Wind twist his hair into knots, and sun-

light ripples across alfalfa fields

to highlight his sweaty back, now black

 

with soot from the engine throbbing churned

coal wile we move past Kanorado–

head east on these tracks from dusty town

to town. Pawnee ghosts hem the horizon,

and a Quivira chases them.

 

Just Jim and I see the warriors.

We pray we earn their blessing while we

wave goodbye to yellow-orange cornstalks.

Sunflowers whiz past, a meadowlark

dashes into flight, and fields turn mauve.

 

While the freight’s whistle echoes stories,

bravado about hippy-nomadic

lives subsides, and we morph from steel

and its hard, cold images of dead

heroes into flesh, pulsing what’s real.

~ Lindsey Martin-Bowen

Lindsey Martin-Bowen, a native Kansan, taught at JCCC. Her Crossing Kansas with Jim Morrison (Paladin Contemporaries 2016) was a semi-finalist (in chapbook form) for QuillsEdge Books 2015-16 contest. A poem in her Inside Virgil’s Garage (chatter House 2013) was nominated for pushcart, and Standing on the Edge of the World (Woodley), was a Top 10 Poetry Books for 2008. New Letters, I-70 Review, Thorny Locust, Coal City Review, Flint Hills Review, Amethyst Arsenic, Bare Root Review, Little Balkans Review, and others have run her poems. She teaches at MCC-Longview.

Ronda Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper late into the sunset and scream into blizzards and thunderstorms. She lives in Lawrence close to her son and daughter. She is a district president and the state vice president for Kansas Authors Club. She is a life coach specializing in working with those who have lost someone to homicide. She dances every chance she gets. She has poetry in numerous online and hard copy publications that include The Smithsonian Institute. Two books of poetry include Going Home: Poems from My Life and MoonStain (Meadowlark Books, May 2015).

132. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Lindsey Martin-Bowen

So pass your fraying basket, friend,
filled with naked, tarred and feathered men.
I will dump them into the Kaw at sunset, not far from soybean fields.
I will bury them under the soil wet with tears from Wyandot
and Shawnee ghosts still fleeing from the border wars to the Flint Hills.
I will bury them among bones of drunk marauders,
under switchgrass, in clay so deep no one can unearth them.
Together, we will sing the meadowlark’s tired song
and listen to the mongrels howl,
while broken sunflowers bow.

—Lindsey Martin-Bowen

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