Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Lindsey Martin-Bowen’

Strata — By Denise Low

1

The aquarium waterfalls bubble

in perpetual green algae springtime.

I open How To Read Water

about adhesions, water striders,

redirected honey eddies.

2

Mosaic backsplash tiles

refract pointillist shadows.

Behind a glass water pitcher swim

garbled blue fins

twisting starfish arms.

3

I salute the great-grandmothers

pumping water into sinks,

all those baskets of apples to wash.

It’s autumn again in Norwood

twenty miles away and a century.

4

An old frame house watches

the pond’s ripples turning pink.

Its eyes are window panes,

antique glass wavering at sunset

until darkness burns liquid flames.

~ Denise Low

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, is winner of the Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award for Shadow Light. Other books are a memoir, The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival (U. of Nebraska Press) and A Casino Bestiary: Poems (Spartan Press). Jackalope, fiction, was acclaimed by Pennyless (U.K.), American Book Review, and New Letters. She has won 3 Ks. Notable Book Awards and recognition from PSA, Roberts Foundation, Lichtor Award, NEH, and more. Low has an MFA (Wichita State U.) and Ph.D. (Ks.U.). She teaches for Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies. www.deniselow.net

Twelve and a Half Ways of Looking at a Penguin — by Lindsey Martin-Bowen

1

Near our snow condos,

penguins slide across ice.

No ostrich plumes, these birds

wear sleek, Edwardian suits.

 

2

I have always walked like a penguin.

In fact, I was born a penguin long ago

in the days when the ice caps were intact.
3

I slipped into church under knotted skies.

There, the gray day plummeted to black.
4

A man and a woman laugh

at penguin prostitution:

The birds must trade sex

for rocks to build nests.
5

I herringboned up hills

and slid on snowfields.

I pecked through tundra

to unearth pebbles—

and often came up empty.
6

Snow clings to branches

and creates an enchanted

silhouette against a gray

horizon. A penguin strolls

along the coast, searching

for her mate.
7

Dr. Fiona Hunter says penguins

stick with the same mates.

But she adds, “stones are valuable

currency” for them. That

urgency creates reckless hens.
8

Such a day it was—a day

when everything went asunder:

Penguins thundered

and cracked the ice

when a sea lion

raped a penguin hen.

But some of the birds didn’t care.
9

Take that penguin over there

leaning against a snow-wall.

He stares into space

then waddles to a pool

of balloons rising.
10

You grumble about Christmas

and gatherings—

ignore these birds

sliding by us now—ignore

the calls from family.
11

Your words fall

like frogs from your mouth,

and I say the world will end

soon for these penguins

skidding into the blue.
12

Today, these gregarious birds

waddle into politics.

I’d figured they’d march for ecology,

but no—the feathered creatures

fight for civil rights.
12-1/2

I watch a penguin pile stones.

She stops and looks into my eyes.

We do not speak but know.

~ Lindsey Martin-Bowen

Previously published in Where Water Meets the Rock (39 West Press 2017).

Lindsey Martin-Bowen: 39 West Press released her 4th poetry collection, Where Water Meets the Rock. Her third, CROSSING Kansas with Jim Morrison (in chapbook form) was a semi-finalist in the QuillsEdge Books 2015-16 contest. A poem from her Inside Virgil’s Garage  (Chatter House 2013) was nominated for a Pushcart, and Standing on the Edge of the World (Woodley), was a Top 10 Poetry Book for 2008 (McClatchy). New Letters, I-70 Review, Thorny Locust, and others have run her work. She taught at MCC-Longview and currently resides in Oregon.

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, is winner of the Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award for Shadow Light. Other books are a memoir, The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival (U. of Nebraska Press) and A Casino Bestiary: Poems (Spartan Press). Jackalope, fiction, was acclaimed by Pennyless (U.K.), American Book Review, and New Letters. She has won 3 Ks. Notable Book Awards and recognition from PSA, Roberts Foundation, Lichtor Award, NEH, and more. Low has an MFA (Wichita State U.) and Ph.D. (Ks.U.). She teaches for Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies. www.deniselow.net

La Loba’s Song* — By Lindsey Martin-Bowen

(TO MAKE SKELETONS RISE)

. . . I heard a noise: it was the rattling as the bones

came together, bone joining bone. . . .I prophesied

as He told me, and they came alive and stood

upright. Ezekiel 37:7-10 (NAS)

 

Tonight we cry in soul-deep songs:

Eee yō yō. . . .Eee yō yō.

At the dawn, we will sing of joy:

Eee yō yō. . . .Eee yō yō.

 

Our voices will rock the desert

hot with incessant summer winds:

Eee yō yō. . . .Eee yō yō.

 

Our songs stir seas. Skulls and knuckles

rise from the deep, lift to high peaks:

Eee yō yō. . . .Eee yō yō.

 

Our words penetrate aspens, oaks,

junipers, pines, and Joshuas:

Eee yō yō. . .Eee yō yō.

 

Our sounds now strip the forests clean:

to unearth all those underneath.

Eee yō yō. . . .Eee yō yō.

 

The bones we gather rise and dnace

to our music. And we sing loud

praises to the Creator:

Eee yō yō. . . .Eee yō yō. Eee yō yō. . . .Eee yō.

~ Lindsey Martin Bowen

Published in Crossing Kansas with Jim Morrison (Paladin Contemporaries 2016).

*According to Southwest legends (from various tribes

and Mexican cultures), La Loba (The Wolf Woman) works

with angels to gather bones of humans and wolves.

Lindsey Martin-Bowen: Last July, 39 West Press  released her fourth poetry collection, Where Water Meets the Rock. Her third, CROSSING Kansas with Jim Morrison (in chapbook form) was a semi-finalist in QuillsEdge Books 2015-16 contest. A poem from her Inside Virgil’s Garage  (Chatter House 2013) was nominated for a Pushcart, and Standing on the Edge of the World (Woodley), was a Top 10 Poetry Book for 2008 (McClatchy). New Letters, I-70 Review, Thorny Locust, and others have run her work. She teaches at MCC-Longview and dreams of Pendleton, Oregon.

Guest Editor Denise Low, second Kansas Poet Laureate, has published over 20 books of award-winning poetry and essays, including Ghost Stories (Woodley) and Natural Theologies, essays about Mid-Plains literature (Backwater Press). Low was visiting professor at the University of Richmond and Kansas University. She taught at Haskell Indian Nation University, where she founded the creative writing program. She served Associated Writing Programs as board president. She and her husband Thomas Pecore Weso publish Mammoth Publications.

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.

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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