Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Matthew David Manning’

Stowaway–by Matthew David Manning

You don’t declare Kansas.
Kansas keeps your scent
and adds your color to its blood.

Every time we go back to China,
I keep something hidden
from you and from customs.
I’ll get to our apartment in Suzhou,
open our suitcases, and release the last
breath of Kansas, our one ration.

Hair from the cats will riddle our clothes
until your mother washes them in secret.
She’s missed our surprised faces,
the sound of my voice held back,
embarrassed by limited vocabulary,
and the chance to ignore our praises
by busying herself in the kitchen.

I’d like to tell your mother how Kansas
is just like fresh laundry on the line,
it’s doing more than what you have to,
and it’s having dinner when all the wheat
in our empty and lightly salted land
leans close to the house trying to smell.

 

Matthew David Manning is an English instructor at Pittsburg State University (PSU) in the Intensive English Program. Matthew holds degrees in creative writing from Arizona State University and PSU. His poetry has appeared various publications including I-70 Review, Red Paint Hill, Rust + Moth, Kansas Time + Place, and Chiron Review. His website is at www.mattwritenow.com.

Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is from Wichita, Kansas. His poetry book, 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) together with Caryn Mirriam Goldberg. That anthology collected poems that appeared on this website from 2014-2016. His latest book, Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) contains ekphrastic poems, inspired by a variety of artists’ depictions of angels, that “resound and sometimes subvert expectations” (Tyler Robert Sheldon), that provide “a kaleidoscope of history, art, culture, the sacred and the everyday” (Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg).

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Listening to Annie Wash Dishes . by Matthew David Manning

Just behind me, my wife, Annie,Matthew Manning Photo

is washing dishes. For two days,

she made chicken soup

and now she cleans the pots,

places servings into the fridge

sniffling all the while.

Each pot pops and booms

behind the wall. There is so much

that sound hides from my eyes, though,

while she cleans them an image,

floating and invisible, teases me

this thought of her tapping

each cabinet in the kitchen

as a ritual for good luck. For New Years,

we had tang yuan because it’s round,

but my father complained

about our lack of black-eyed peas.

 

Matthew David Manning has worked as an English instructor at Pittsburg State University in the Intensive English Program. Matthew holds degrees in creative writing from Arizona State University and Pittsburg State University. His poetry has appeared various publications including I-70 Review, Red Paint Hill, Rust + Moth, Kansas Time + Place, and Chiron Review.

Guest Editor 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.

 

 

Arrhythmia by Matthew David Manning

Matthew Manning PhotoYou have wild in your chest.

It’s angry, caged, and restless;

beating the bars hard, reminding

the damned of the damnation.

Let these bars turn to sand, I

always wanted this, but I’ve just now

got the heart to scream it.

Deep in the night, where the graves

of this Midwestern Kansas town

spread vast into its own heart

like black pollen, wood rot. Lord

of the plains, regal and wind spun,

allow a small moment of silence.

~ Matthew David Manning

previously published in http://rustandmoth.com/work/arrhythmia/

Matthew David Manning is a poet from Pittsburg, Kansas where he teaches at Pittsburg State University in the Intensive English Program. Matthew holds degrees in creative writing from Arizona State University and Pittsburg State University. Matthew is passionate about educating non-native English speakers about poetry, and recently returned from spending two years in Suzhou, China. www.mattwritenow.com

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, guest editor for Dec., is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate, author or editor of 19 books, and founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she teaches. More on her here.

Late July in Pittsburg, KS by Matthew David Manning

A goldenrod sun forces throughMatthew Manning Photo

a humid Kansas sky. A child plays

with cheap snapping fireworks.

Gravel, silver fulminate,

and his sense of power are wrapped

in cigarette paper shaped like teardrops.

One at a time, he throws and pops them.

 

His older brother looks down from a toolbox

on the bed of his father’s truck. He says nothing.

He offers only his eyes to watch,

and nods of encouragement.

The cement street is covered in wrinkles;

its gutters are cluttered with wrappers.

 

The boy’s front yard looks like a garage sale

of trash and toys: Empty Marlboro

cases, burnt Hot Wheels cars,

and bruised dog toys. Their dog watches

the boy throwing snappers. The boy

ignores the dog’s bark and warning.

~ Matthew David Manning

Matthew David Manning is a poet from Pittsburg, Kansas where he teaches at Pittsburg State University in the Intensive English Program. Matthew holds degrees in creative writing from Arizona State University and Pittsburg State University. Matthew is passionate about educating non-native English speakers about poetry, and recently returned from spending two years in Suzhou, China. (www.mattwritenow.com)

Melissa Fite Johnson, a high school English teacher, received her Master’s in English literature from Pittsburg State University in Kansas.  Her poetry has appeared in several publications, including I-70 Review, The Little Balkans Review, The New Verse News, velvet-tail, Inscape Magazine, Cave Region Review, The Invisible Bear, HomeWords: A Project of the Kansas Poet Laureate, Kansas Time + Place, Broadsided Press: 2014 Haiku Year in Review, Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, and To the Stars through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices. In 2015, Little Balkans Press published her first book of poetry, While the Kettle’s On Melissa and her husband, Marc, live in Pittsburg with their dog and several chickens.  (www.melissafitejohnson.com)

Melissa says, “I love the mystery in this poem. I was struck mostly by the sweetness of the older brother—how rare, this show of unwavering support for a little sibling, no criticisms or jabs—but then the poem ends with burnt and bruised toys and on the dog’s warning, which the boy ignores. The ending left me with an uneasy feeling, like there was more to this story than we’re allowed to see. I want more—I want a whole series of poems about this family.”

The Secret Society of Cattle by Matthew David Manning

Matthew Manning PhotoA secret society of cattle refuses

to be anyone’s property.

They don’t recognize the uses

of their every ounce.

 

Their flanks have never been mixed

with the powder packet

in your Hamburger Helper

or the off-brand that

almost tastes like the real thing.

 

The Hindus haven’t collected their urine

and distilled it to cure illness.

The cattle don’t like the term bovine

because bovine’s too generic.

In fact, because they’re cows,

they use no words at all.

 

Spread out and confident,

they graze the large land

never scared, standing tall.

A dead beefwood tree lies sideways

in the middle of the pasture.

The cattle are drawn to its stillness.

Silent and white,

it keeps their perfect attention.

~ Matthew David Manning

Bio: Matthew David Manning is a poet from Pittsburg, Kansas where he teaches at Pittsburg State University in the Intensive English Program. Matthew holds degrees in creative writing from Arizona State University and Pittsburg State University. Matthew is passionate about educating non-native English speakers about poetry, and recently returned from spending two years in Suzhou, China.

Guest editor Eric McHenry’s new book of poems, Odd Evening, will be published by Waywiser Press in 2016. His previous collections include Potscrubber Lullabies, which won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award in 2007, and Mommy Daddy Evan Sage, a children’s book illustrated by Nicholas Garland. He also edited and introduced Peggy of the Flint Hills, a memoir by Zula Bennington Greene. His poems have appeared in The New Republic, Yale Review, Cincinnati Review, Field, Orion, The Guardian (U.K.), Poetry Daily and Poetry Northwest, from whom he received the 2010 Theodore Roethke Prize. Since 2001, he has been a poetry critic for The New York Times Book Review. He lives in Lawrence with his wife and two children and teaches creative writing at Washburn University.

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