Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Lori Baker Martin’

A Tale — By Josh Davis

The golden kings came for her money. She said, But I have none. She’d long spent her coins on the road

that wound west of the sea.
Somewhere she lost the old cloak the north wind wrapped around her,

so the kings tracked her trek through the foothills and over the cliffs.
For too long she’d paid for the kings’ gilded hallways and parlors.

For too long she’d honored their laws, laws that kept her from love.
So she fled to the south, to the Aunt whose nine women ruled with her,

where the bakers and seamstresses thrived, where she kissed whom she wished.
When the golden kings came for her money, she said, But it’s mine now.

Your year is ending, she told them. The ocean unfolded.

~ Joshua Davis

Joshua Davis holds MFAs from the University of Southern Maine and from the University of Mississippi. He earned an M.A. in English at Pittsburg State University. Recent poems have appeared in The Midwest Quarterly, Monster Verse, and Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters.

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.

Advertisements

This is the Detail That Breaks Me — By Melissa Fite Johnson

In memoriam, Philando Castile,

killed by police at traffic stop

Philando Castile, cafeteria supervisor,

remembered which students

couldn’t have milk. I imagine

his kids lined up under the fluorescent

hum, pushing plastic trays across

the chrome lunch counter.  Yes to

mashed potatoes.  No to baked beans.

A little more corn, please. Last stop

before steering their trays to seats:

Phil handed each child a milk or juice

carton without asking, knowing their orders.
Now each child performs solo the quiet

act of reaching down into the chest

cooler, no one there to console them

with a smile or clap on the shoulder.

~ Melissa Fita Johnson

Melissa Fite Johnson received her Master’s in English literature from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. Her first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, The New Verse News, velvet-tail, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas. For more, visit melissafitejohnson.com.

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.

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.

The Blue Horse by Lori Baker Martin

Lori fullsz-2_ResolutionPlusThe side door bangs open

and bangs closed.

Dust walks across

the wooden floors.

There’s nothing here for me

since the twister came

and collected the hazels

and the barn

and the cows

and the chickens.

It even scraped at the dirt

with blunt knuckles,

gouging away grass

and flowers

and corn.

It tore off the roof

and took everything inside

but me, in the rank water,

in the basement.

Afterward, in the silent dusk,

I crawled out

to the mud

and the splinters

and the death.

A few sparrows began to sing.

The blue horse came up

from the pasture

like a miracle, he stood

at the fence and tossed

his long head.

I wiped away the mud

From my face

And opened the gate.

The bird songs were sweet.

And here was the blue horse.

I reached for him,

but he exhaled,

and blew out dust

and inhaled and drew

in sparrows

and flew away,

the last of the sun

glinting off his black hooves.

~Lori Baker Martin

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, The Little Balkans Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, Midwest Quarterly, Kansas Time + Place, 150 Kansas Poets, and in a Kansas Notable Book poetry collection To the Stars Through Difficulties. Martin has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Pittsburg State University, and Independence Community College. 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 won awards for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she was named a Truman Capote Fellow and received the Clark Fischer Ansley Award for Excellence in Fiction.

IMG_0782Stephen Meats, recently retired from teaching and administration at Pittsburg State University, is the author of a mixed genre collection of poems and stories, Dark Dove Descending and Other Parables (Mammoth Publications, 2013) and a collection of poems, Looking for the Pale Eagle (Woodley Press, 1993; expanded edition, Mammoth Publications, 2014). His poems, stories, and scholarly writings have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including more than two dozen articles on Whitman, Faulkner, and other writers in The Literary Encyclopedia. He has been poetry editor of The Midwest Quarterly since 1985. For his guest editorship, in addition to poems with Kansas associations, he asked contributors to submit work dealing with shore birds and water birds, if moved to do so, in recognition of his and his wife Ann’s recent move to Florida.

1968 by Lori Baker Martin

Lori Baker MartinMy house that summer
was full of boilings.
Dead soldiers in the papers,
but no jobs.

It’s monstrous, Mother
would say. Was it the war
or the jobs she meant?
I never knew.

Sundays meant the scary
matinee. Daddy reclined,
and Mother cried,
Quiet, quiet, until

there was no room
for me inside. I covered
my feet and legs in sulfur
and sulked to the swings.

The grass in the yard
swayed like the sea,
green and deep,
to my knees,

and overhead, clouds
tumbled, shoved
by a belligerent wind.
From the house,

Godzilla roared
and Tokyo screamed.
I swung back and forth,
ever higher, my feet

in the clouds and the wind
at my back. It would end,
as it always did: Tokyo in ruins
and Godzilla subdued.

Mighty, like Mothra, with chains
in my hands, I soared,
above it all, and swore,
I would never come down.

~ Lori Baker Martin

Lori Baker Martin lives and works in Southeast Kansas where she is currently teaching English at Independence Community College. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, The Little Balkans Review, Room Magazine, Midwest Quarterly, The Knicknackery, Grass Limb, and in a Kansas Notable Book poetry collection To the Stars Through Difficulties. She’s been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices. Martin is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she was named a Truman Capote Fellow and received the Clark Fischer Ansley Award for Excellence in Fiction.

~ February’s Guest Editor, Laura Lee Washburn directs the excellent Creative Writing program at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas which offers undergraduate and graduate emphases in creative writing and takes pride in graduates like Lori Baker Martin. Laura Lee Washburn is the author of the Palanquin Prize chapbook Watching the Contortionists, and March Street Press’s This Good Warm Place.

Memento by Lori Baker Martin

I am leaving, Father said, For Caryn

and signed it like a break-up note

by dying. Stoic farmers, we stared

across his corpse and dared

each other to break. No one cried

but his spotted dog, late that night.

Shut outside, it crept along

the side of the house to Father’s window

and then raised its face and howled.

Intemperate cries like strong ropes

that must tether Father here,

that must prevent his soul from rising.

I see the field of sweet mown grass,

and I hear Father singing,

his heavy arm hot around my shoulders,

and the sun, always shining.

~ Lori Baker Martin

Lori Baker Martin lives and works in Southeast Kansas where she is currently teaching English at Independence Community College. She’s had work published in Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, and  The Little Balkans Review, and has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She’s a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she was named a Truman Capote Fellow and received the Clark Fischer Ansley Award for Excellence in Fiction.

Fallen by Lori Baker Martin

Elizabeth came home and went right to bed.lori wriyr

She won’t talk and Dad said leave her alone

and go on down the road and find her coat.

The trees have no leaves since the killing frost.

A yellow waxwing

calls in the cedar. The tips

of his wings are scarlet. He calls,

buzzing and tinny,

and fading as I pass.

Once I think I see the coat,

but it’s an owl feeding, its wings spread wide.

I walk until the road begins to fade

and my hands in front of me

are shadow. I walk even when the moon

lights up and climbs the sky.

I don’t see Elizabeth’s coat,

but I’ve worked out where it is—

inside Brown’s old, leaning barn,

under the ladder that leads to the loft.

I find the coat in the dark and hold it

while the moon circles overhead

and plunges through the holes in the roof.

The old barn murmurs and I wonder

how long

until the whole thing falls.

~ Lori Baker Martin

Lori Baker Martin lives and works in Southeast Kansas where she is currently teaching English at Independence Community College. She’s had work published in Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin,  and  The Little Balkans Review, and has been awarded for her work in  The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She’s a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she was named a Truman Capote Fellow and received the Clark Fischer Ansley Award for Excellence in Fiction. 

Tag Cloud