Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Michael Lasater’

To one and several poets: — by Michael Lasater

To one and several poets:

 

“… a hundred little devices …”
– Jim Wayne Miller (I Have a Place: The Poetry of Jim Wayne Miller)

 

I read some of your poems again today –
first those colossal pieces with the hangman, the stars,
and the shroud – then the one where you rhyme the girl
to bed in a thicket thorned with sweet grief
and roses wild and red.

Really nice.

Through a teacup crack you escape down to the climbing,
plunging sea. Splendidly abroad, you wire back:
THE PLANTAGENETS ARE DONE FOR! IF ONLY THEY HAD LISTENED!
On your speaking tour you drink the Pacific dry,
and wow an army of contract bridge players
by conjuring a trick on the spot – a sestina no less –
six words breathing life, love, death.

You sing a wizard mist damp with the tears
of blowsy barmaids and part-time lovers,
some of whom may actually have known you and provided, at least,
the gift of an idea, some tiny salvation you shrewdly
invest for profit on tomorrow’s always empty page.

Magician, jongleur, troubadour –
you are wonderful.

And yet, I cannot follow you.

I come from a place where words have abandoned language,
where crows have become priests, trees no longer
can shed their leaves, and the sky itself has been set
on fire. All the old rituals have given way
to a new, bloodless communion, the sanctification of indifference.

Poetry lives hard here.
Everything tastes of copper.

It grows late.

I open a window to let the day just past
out into the night. Down the block
I can hear the voices of children playing after dinner –
double double this this –
double double that that –

some tiny salvation.

 

Hutchinson native Michael Lasater is Professor of New Media at Indiana University South Bend. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, Juilliard, and Syracuse University, he has performed with ensembles ranging from the Ringling Bros. Circus Band to the Metropolitan Opera, produced nationally distributed video documentaries on poetry and music, and currently exhibits art video internationally. His poetry has appeared in Kansas Time + Place, Heartland!, Cathexis Northwest Press, and The Heartland Review, where he is the winner of the 2019 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize.

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

Homeless Tent City Vanishes Fast But Many Who Lived There Didn’t Go to New Center — By Michael Lasater

Slow-motion suicide, you might think –– turning away

from shelter freely offered.  It is so cold.

But these are the invisible citizens of a desperate country.

Here time is a disease –– a merciless subtraction

not just of days but of dignity, of usefulness.

A fired oil drum becomes the altar of communion ––

here you may make an offering of what you were,

what you are not, what you never will be.

The cold steals your name, replaces your soul ––

The remembered sun alone promises salvation.

Surely spring will return and it will be ours.

Surely spring will return and we will be whole.

 

You and I walk up Michigan on a night

brutal even for so late in December.

On the museum steps, the lions –– a dying species

wreathed in strange celebration –– stare at our passing.

~ Michael Lasater

Hutchinson native Michael Lasater is Professor of New Media at Indiana University South Bend. With degrees from Oberlin, Juilliard, and Syracuse University, he has performed with ensembles including the Metropolitan Opera, produced documentaries on poetry, and currently exhibits art video internationally. His poetry has appeared in Kansas Time + Place.

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.

Now by Michael Lasater

Michael LasaterKansasGallery4Largetime turns on point

dancing its one

inexhaustible moment

rewinding shadow

until memory shatters

and all the soft

evenings return

carried on the voices

of old men

(my father’s the deepest)

telling again their stories

told already

some other future time

some moment arrived

only yesterday

all packed up for

its journey

into the night.

~ Michael Lasater

Hutchinson native Michael Lasater is Professor of New Media at Indiana University South Bend. With degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory, Juilliard, and Syracuse University, he has performed with ensembles including the Metropolitan Opera, produced documentaries on writers and literature for PBS distribution, and currently exhibits art video nationally and internationally.

Cody Shrum holds both a B.A. and M.A. in Creative Writing from Pittsburg State University with an emphasis in fiction. However, his poetry has appeared in velvet-tail and Kansas Time + Place online literary magazines. Cody plans to pursue his MFA degree in fiction next fall—an adventure he will embark on with his wife, Kylee, and their two dogs, Zoey and Zeus.

 

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