Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

Posts tagged ‘Lori Baker Martin’

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. 

86. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Lori Baker Martin

We are sleeping when the old barn finally falls, its timbers cracking
like rifle shots. We run out to see it lying there, gray and scarred, the roof holey.
We shine flashlights at its bulk. That broken ladder jutting through the roof,
I climbed it when I was ten, leaped from the loft into the hay, broke my foot.
Somewhere in that pile is my mother’s opal ring and the bones
of the rabbit my brother killed with a stone.
You kissed me, over there, where the stall used to be.
Fallen, too, are the clinging trumpet vines, as thick as your thumb, and green-leaved,
blooming orange. They rustle, and out of the ruins, the whistling of doves’ wings.
Can they fly in the dark? you ask me. In flashed light they burst skyward, and I say, yes, yes.

— Lori Baker Martin

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