Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Lori Baker Martin’

The Crows Know — by Lori Baker Martin

In memory of Kerrie Ann Brown,
whose 1986 murder remains unsolved. 

A man who lived
near the edge of the woods
heard crows crying
that night. Something bad
was coming, he said. He didn’t know
about the dead girl then.

That morning, a woman
on a horse found her broken
beneath the elms.
She was like one of my own,
the woman said. She stayed
with her until the police came.

It’s a small town, and they’ve looked
at each other and at every strange face
but it’s as if a shadow took her,
her daddy says. And still,
those elm branches tremble
with a witness of crows

who spent the night
announcing his face
and they know.

 

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, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, and The Maine Review. 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. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

April Editor Roy Beckemeyer‘s latest book is Mouth Brimming Over (2019, Blue Cedar Press).

poem for a mixed marriage in a dangerous year    by Doritt Carrol

darling they are coming for me you took
a sip of death from my lips

when we first kissed and i tasted the cleandorrittcarroll
unwritten paper of yours

lips that do not have centuries inscribed
in their creases from right to left

lips that do not press together and lock
like the lid of a steamer trunk

when we flee again always running with
the weight of candlesticks and shawls

dangling from a thick strap
that carves a highway

between the twin mountain ranges of our ribs
the satchel at the end

of that strap tangles my legs it slows me down
and i was never fast i hear

my pursuers loping up behind while their teeth
and their weapons click shortly

they will overtake me
while you

Doritt Carroll is a native of Washington, DC.  She received her undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Main Street Rag, North American Review, Coal City Review, and Eunoia Review, among others. Her collection GLTTL STP was published by Brickhouse Books in 2013. Her chapbook Sorry You Are Not An Instant Winner was published in 2017 by Kattywompus.  She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

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, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, and The Maine Review. 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. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

Because the Bone         by Tayler Klein

Because the gleaming
bone-white bulb sprouts
shoots in the spring.

Because the Bradford pear,klein
like magic,
blossoms overnight.

Because in the space between
two branches: unfolding
Siberian Iris.

Because the great wide emptiness
splayed in the hollow
of my chest now speaks

only of being filled. Let me
list for you the countless
seeds of knowledge

I want to forget. I am ripe
for unlearning.
I am breaking open for it.

Tayler Klein is a writer and teacher from Kansas City, Missouri. She has been published in journals such as Nimrod, The Midwest Quarterly, and Glassworks Magazine. She received her MA in Creative writing from Pittsburg State University, and she now lives with her husband and her dog in Kansas City where she teaches at a Montessori school.

 

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, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, and The Maine Review. 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. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices. She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

The Woman and the Wolf        by Melissa Fite Johnson

When I was nineteen,
he strangled me in his doorway.
Later he called the word “strangle”Melissa-Fite-Johnson_sm
dramatic. You could breathe fine.

Hand over my mouth, he shushed
into my ear. Later he said,

You can’t rape your girlfriend. 
The next morning I cried at Easter service,
quietly so my mother couldn’t hear.
Another bowed chin in a pew.

I imagined the wolf was a wounded bird
dreaming of flight. From a distance,
they’re not so different, his head
a wing puncturing the sky.

At night I lay awake while he slept.
I was nothing but pink flesh.

(Originally published in Rattle, April 2017)

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 appear or are forthcoming in Pleiades, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, Sidereal, Stirring, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband and dogs in Lawrence, Kansas.

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, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, and The Maine Review. 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. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices. She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

Teeth by Lori Baker Martin

I got slapped once 13963067_1176775912364619_3211281957139442164_o
for arguing with my uncle
at a family dinner.
My mother looked hard at
   me
but didn’t speak.
Girls ought to be seen
and not heard,
one of the aunts said
through a mouth
as tight as a sewn seam.

Cousin Cobb said, Remember
Great Aunt Billie?
She’d smelled
like burnt leaves,
made turnips
nobody ever ate.
Her eyes were tunnels.
She had no teeth.
She didn’t speak.

You know why, Cobb said.
Liz said, She was going to tell them.
That’s what my mom told me.
She was going to tell
what Uncle Lack did.

Yellowed wedding photo,
straight teeth smile,
eyes dark and unashamed,
hair braided in a kind of crown.

Now I see a blue tin cup
on the pantry shelf,
full of white teeth,
pulled out by the roots
and rinsed clean.

 

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), Room Magazine, The Knicknackery, and The Maine Review. Martin has worked as a reader for both The Iowa Review and NPR. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices. She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Martin, Poetry Editor for The Midwest Quarterly, is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

Laura Lee Washburn, Guest-Editor, 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, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review. Harbor Review‘s microchap prize is named in her honor.

Upon Seeing a Photo of Mrs. Ocey Snead and Daughter by Lori Baker Martin

 

Mrs. Ocey Snead was murdered in 1909 by her mother and aunts. For $30,000 in life insurance money, they starved her, gave her opium, and drowned her in a bathtub.

 

Mrs. Ocey Snead dreamed of water
for weeks. She’d wake, still awash
in her iron bed, her hair
trailing like algae, and the babe
at her breast a suckling fish.

In dreams, her hands swam,
hollow boned, and empty.
Everything was water.
Even the walls were oceans,
undulating, tidal, and sometimes
from the depths, weeping.

Only the drowning see God,
the heaving shadows declare.
Mrs. Ocey Snead parted the water,
and God was there,
a small man, at the bottom.

 

This poem first appeared in The Midwest Quarterly.

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, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Maine Review, 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, Independence Community College, and Pittsburg State University. She has worked as a reader for both The Iowa Review and NPR. Martin has been awarded 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. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and she is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

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.

 

Pas — By Lori Baker Martin

The warmest morning

since she told him

she wanted to go,

she opened the windows

and doors and bright air

swept in, blew dust across

the polished wood floors.

He came out,

rubbing his big hands,

and saying again,

Amy, don’t leave me.

The front door was open

so the fawn walked right through

and once inside, ran,

its hooves tip-tapping

against the floor,

from one end of the room

to the other. It ran

and they chased it.

She was laughing at first,

it couldn’t find the door.

It kept running until

he caught it

and killed it, twisting

and cracking

its ballerina neck.

~ 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, (parenthetical), The Little Balkans Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Maine Review, 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, Independence Community College, and Pittsburg State University. She has worked as a reader for both The Iowa Review and NPR. Martin has been awarded 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. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and she is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

 

James Benger is a father, husband and writer. His work has been featured in several publications. He is the author of two fiction ebooks: Flight 776 (2012) and Jack of Diamonds (2013), and two chapbooks of poetry: As I Watch You Fade (EMP 2016) and You’ve Heard It All Before (GigaPoem 2017). He is a member of the Riverfront Readings Committee in Kansas City, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online poetry workshop and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and son.

How to Start a Fire After Rain — By Julie Ramon

The grass always knows when it’s gone.

It sometimes holds drops on its forehead,

on the straight passes of its arms. This is when

you should flex a few stray branches. See which

ones are worthy to be tucked in. Dig deep

in your pockets and kneel to the ground. This is how

I’ve seen men do it. Some keep tinder in a small

metal box, already warmed from pressing into their skin.

Others keep it in their fingers, in the bowls of their palms,

the small folds of their lips. It, always warm to the touch,

makes the next part easy. Use your hands to feed the flame,

to warm the spots that need It and the ones that don’t.

Cup your hands around it and breathe deeply.

And if it asks you to keep going, listen.

~ Julie Ramon

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 lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband, son and daughter.

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, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Maine Review, and others. 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. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

The Myth of Arms — By Gregory Stapp

Born without arms, disarmed,

you ached like a broken-handled

wheelbarrow. You hammered at doors

like a bloody fist. You explored the forests

like a jackhammer walked back and forth

until the leaves were pulp.

 

You call them down from the heavenly stores,

two, gray and oiled and tense with springs,

long enough to hang just past your hips.

You call them down from the Great Assortment,

the racks and racks of choices. Strap them on

like ordnance. Swing them in your swagger.

 

A completed birth, a checked task,

you’re a wheelbarrow full of rubble.

You’re a rusted hammer in the corner,

electric with waiting. You punch holes

in the air with the noise of a jackhammer

until you suffocate in your mad work.

~ Gregory Stapp

Gregory Stapp received his BA from the University of Oklahoma and his MFA from queens University of Charlotte. His poems have appeared in Lime Hawk Journal, Shot Glass, The Ekphrastic Review, and Forage, among others. He recently served as the Poetry editor for Qu: A Literary Magazine.

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, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Maine Review, and others. 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. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

Blood on the Dog’s Mouth — By Laura Lee Washburn

After dinner we have cherry pie.

We are four people from three continents.

 

The pie, thick with red, butter

crust: we are sure some old woman made it.

 

My friends say French and German

with some ease. The cherries burst under fork.

 

We drink tall glasses of iced tea

made with cool water from the kitchen tap.

 

We have come to live on the plains.

The town festival with a European name offers pie today.

 

George Washington, cherry pie, pure

dumb luck to be born in this country, and deliberate movement.

 

What must you be born to

to go out on the land against the oil machine?

 

You must love the water like life

to tie yourself to the digging machine that doesn’t stop

 

even with thin court orders. You must

know the earth is not yours to give while others

 

train dogs to tear at strangers, loose dogs trained

to tear human skin.

 

The blood on the dogs’ mouths is human blood.

 

All over America while folks sit down to dinner,

the blood on the dogs’ mouths is the human blood of water protectors.

 

Breathe through your nose not your mouth.

[Cry liiiiiiii if you still have the bloody red heart to cry it.]

#nodapl

~ 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. (This poem originally published at The New Verse News https://newversenews.blogspot.com/2016/09/blood-on-dogs-mouth.html.)

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, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Maine Review, and others. 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. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

 

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