Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Pat Daneman’

Special Weather Statement, Johnson County, Kansas by Pat Daneman

10885210_10203995076012065_23950373450041338_n  —Watches and warnings issued. Plains threatened by devastating storms.  (weather.com)

Quick. Open the door. There—in the east—

across the tired grass with its small continents of unmelted snow,

beyond the fence your neighbor built (spoiling late summer evenings

with 70s hard rock and cursing),

on the other side of the lead work tracery of branches—

the sky is pink this morning—an astounding paintbrush pink

that Georgia O’Keefe would have followed out of the desert,

an opera pink—the flush across the top of the soprano’s breasts.

 

And above the pink a blue purer than birth—

that moment of the healthy cry, nothing but hope and possibility.

The blue of standing in a rainstorm, wet denim loving your skin,

the blue of creaking sails nuzzling the horizon, porpoise wheels turning.

 

Today will not bring rain or wind or snow, but sun

and happiness and insanity and desire—a whole mute sky of it.

Look—a pair of cardinals is out there on a branch calling—come

closer, closer.

~ Pat Daneman

Pat Daneman has lived in Lenexa, Kansas since 1986. Recent work appears in Escape Into Life, The Moon City Review, I-70 Review, Bellevue Poetry Review, and The Comstock Review. Her chapbook, Where the World Begins, was published in 2015 by Finishing Line Press.

Maril Crabtree spent her childhood in Memphis and grew up in New Orleans, but married a Kansas boy five decades ago and considers herself a full-bred Kansan by now. She writes poetry and creative nonfiction and her poems have appeared in I-70 Review, DMQ Review, Spank the Carp, and others. Her latest chapbook is Tying the Light (2014); some of her poems can be seen at www.marilcrabtree.com

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Stud Farm by Frank Higgins

Frank_Higgins_PhotoWhile the mare backs down the ramp

and someone opens the corral gate,

cowboys and cowgirls in bright blouses

gather along the top rail like at rodeos.

“Okay, girl,” the mare’s owner says, “shake your tail,”

and he pats her on the rear.

“You say her name’s Kitty?” the stud’s owner says.

“Kitty, meet Luke. Luke’s a good man.”

While Luke the stud stands and snorts

Kitty plays it coy, looks around,

then walks over to get a drink.

“C’mon, ol’ Luke,” a cowboy calls,

“What are you waitin’ for? Buy her a drink.”

A cowgirl says, “First dates are difficult.”

“Tell her you like the way she moves.”

“Ask him what he does for a living.”

“Tell her she’s got pretty eyes.”

“Ask him if he still lives with his mother.”

The older men light up, prop a foot on a rail

and talk weather or feed

until they’re interrupted by the young

who cheer and then clap for Kitty,

who’s gotten down to business,

and Luke, who shows what he’s made of.

 

When it’s over, it’s only a minute till Kitty gets loaded.

“Hey,” a cowgirl says, “Luke didn’t even ask her to stay over.”

“He wants to watch football,” a guy says.

“Or sleep,” another cowgirl says.

The young people head to their trucks as a group,

laughing and joking at first, then become quiet

and start to pair up.

~ Frank Higgins

(appeared in the Flint Hills Review)

Frank Higgins is both a playwright and poet. His play Black Pearl Sings has been one of the most produced in the country over the last few years. His books of poetry include Starting From Ellis Island, Bkmk Press. He teaches playwriting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Pat Daneman has lived in Lenexa, Kansas since 1986. Recent work appears on the art and literature website, Escape Into Life, in The Moon City Review, I-70 Review, Bellevue Poetry Review, and The Comstock Review. Her chapbook, Where the World Begins, was published in 2015 by Finishing Line Press.

Olive Street House Concerts by Melissa Fite Johnson

1478989_10151821111791994_1022361121_nDinner first. In this small kitchen,

everyone becomes friends quickly. We

brush shoulders as we make our way

to the patio and back to the potluck.

Sometimes the stranger we strike up with

turns out to be the musician

in the makeshift concert hall—a living room

missing its coffee table and couch, lined

instead with chairs. Years ago, Rob built

a stage where most would put a TV.

Carol hung twinkle lights and

fastened a spotlight to the chandelier.

 

Then the concert, a few hours

with nomads from Austin, the Ozarks,

Scranton. They play guitar, upright bass,

harmonica. They play the fiddle and banjo.

Their voices are clear and strong:
This one’s for my niece,

in too big a hurry to grow up.

This one’s about my haunted apartment.

This one’s for the man

I thought I’d marry but didn’t.

This one’s about the VW van I took

on tour that broke down twelve times.
Listening, we could feel boring

for having become teachers. Why didn’t we

learn guitar, get over stage fright

by performing to a crowd of Cabbage Patch kids?

We should’ve marked up maps with stars

for every place we ever wanted to go,

plotted tours by connecting all those dots.
Or—and this is what I recommend—

we can just feel happy

to have found this private clubhouse,

where the password is $12

and coffee cake or calamari. We can feel

happy for food in our bellies and songs

in our ears, happy Rob and Carol have

opened their home. Happy that

in these nights, we become another story to tell.

Melissa Fite Johnson received her Master’s in English literature from Pittsburg State University in Kansas.  She was the featured poet in the Fall 2015 issue of The Journal: Inspiration for the Common Good.  Individual poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such publications as Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, Rust + Moth, The Invisible Bear, I-70 Review, Inscape Magazine, 3 Elements Review, Red Paint Hill Journal, Whale Road Review, Bear Review, The New Verse News, and velvet-tail.  In 2015, Little Balkans Press published her first book of poetry, While the Kettle’s On, which won the Kansas Authors Club Nelson Poetry Book Award.  Melissa and her husband live in Kansas, where she teaches English.  Feel free to connect with her at melissafitejohnson.com.

Pat Daneman has lived in Lenexa, Kansas since 1986. Recent work appears on the art and literature website, Escape Into Life, in The Moon City Review, I-70 Review, Bellevue Poetry Review, and The Comstock Review. Her chapbook, Where the World Begins, was published in 2015 by Finishing Line Press.

Listening To Grandpa, Again by Greg German

GGeman 270pxAs we walk a path,

once a road,

leaving tracks between

the puncture vines,

his gaze runs along

a fallen fence, past

where Deacon Hayes or

John Coble is resting,

and cuts across

a field harvested forty

seven times, before

passing through

regrown oaks

and crossing the creek

to find a buckshot

wounded windmill

forever trading rhetoric

with the wind.

~ Greg German

(Previously Published in Touchstone, 1983, Fall/Winter)

Greg German was born and raised near Glen Elder, in north central Kansas, where he farmed with his family for many years. He currently lives in Kansas City, Kansas, with his wife Regina and son, Alden. He is a private consultant specializing in technical communication, website development, free-lance writing and photography. He holds a B.A. degree in English/Creative writing and a B.S. in Education from Kansas State University. Previously, Greg has taught high school English and creative writing at both the high school and college levels. He developed and maintains www.kansaspoets.com — a website unique to Kansas Poets. Greg’s poetry and personal essays have appeared in over 50 literary journals across the U.S.

Pat Daneman has lived in Lenexa, Kansas since 1986. Recent work appears on the art and literature website, Escape Into Life, in The Moon City Review, I-70 Review, Bellevue Poetry Review, and The Comstock Review. Her chapbook, Where the World Begins, was published in 2015 by Finishing Line Press.

Phone Call from a Movie Set Somewhere in Kansas by Pat Daneman

My son is learning at last everything I never taught him.10885210_10203995076012065_23950373450041338_n

He’s learning to do whatever he’s told by anyone

whose job it is to order up the impossible:

Tomorrow, David, it must not rain.

This Indian, David, he is six inches too tall.

 

He woke up one night standing outside a Best Western motel,

an old woman slapping him with a pillowcase,

scolding him in Spanish with motherly consternation.

He said he needs to learn Spanish.

And carpentry. So many things have to be built.

Difficult things that do not exist. A device for spitting

tobacco into someone’s face, for example.

A house that falls down.

 

He sent me a postcard, he said. Sent his father a postcard. His grandfather a postcard.

To his own mailbox hanging empty at the door of his empty apartment he sent a postcard

of a rampaging mare he found wedged in the mirror in the toilet of a Texaco station

near Cottonwood Falls. It is his calling to find things; his station

in the underground maze where all the circuitry hums.

 

He told me a Kiowa girl wrote a poem on his arm with a coyote tooth. A ghost

wrote a song in the dust on the hood of his car. His car wouldn’t start

and Queen Bey stepped down from a red pickup truck, from her parapet

of sixty years and skin like hammered copper and blues

and jazz in all the cities of Europe to touch his face

with a varnished fingernail, give him a Diet Coke and a ride.

 

On an undulating plain at purple dawn he found a cowry shell grimed with ocean salt.

A herd of bison rose like a swarm of locusts to consume a hilltop; beat a cloud

from their hooves that changed the color of the sky.

 

Nothing is lost, but so many things have to be found.

~ Pat Daneman

(Published in Inkwell, Spring 2008)
Pat Daneman has lived in Lenexa, Kansas since 1986. Recent work appears in The Moon City Review, I-70 Review, Bellevue Poetry Review, and The Comstock Review. Her chapbook, Where the World Begins, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She is poetry co-editor of Kansas City Voices magazine.

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.

In the Flint Hills, II by Pat Daneman

There is nothing west10885210_10203995076012065_23950373450041338_n

of Emporia, travelers in a hurry

will say, unable to savor

 

how emptiness feeds

the eyes. All the yellows and browns

and the thousand greens

 

of emptiness have chosen

to shake out their blankets here,

spread them across the bone-

 

white rock of these hills. Nothing

but cattle here, patient souls soft

in their eyes. Tall grass for the wind

 

to draw its bow along, gently

or harshly, obeying the whims of the sky.

Under the weight of butterflies,

 

coneflowers dip and nod

like nobility. In the silence

of distance, a drover,

 

straight in his saddle,

charts the horizon, tallies

the riches of nothing.

~ Pat Daneman

Pat Daneman has lived in Lenexa, Kansas since 1986. Recent work appears in The Moon City Review, I-70 Review, Bellevue Poetry Review, and The Comstock Review. Her chapbook, Where the World Begins, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She is poetry co-editor of Kansas City Voices magazine.

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’ve long felt that Kansas has a quiet beauty that too often goes unappreciated. This poem captures it perfectly—‘how emptiness feeds the eyes,’ all that emptiness shaking out its blanket here. The image of wind drawing its bow along tall grass is exquisite, and I know just what Daneman means. How often I’ve driven past a field of ‘nothing’ and had to suck in my breath in wonder. I love this poem.”

Bazaar Cemetery by Pat Daneman

10885210_10203995076012065_23950373450041338_nWhere tongues of stone stand between green lips burned brown,

where moon and sky have turned mean backs on our disasters,

 

we are alive, bawdy and brightly dressed, yearning, plotting still.

If I could, I would reach for you, Elmer Bland,

 

drowned while hunting rabbits down by the falls.

I went twenty-two years without your stone tongue and wooden hands,

 

without your disappointment in me, the bride who did not make you rich,

did not keep you young with children. And now we are together again,

 

cattle grazing in our faces, chewing our paltry shade down into pulp.

The hot dime of the noon sun can cackle to the stars at our mistakes,

 

but I cannot release one word from my lips. I cannot move, when all I want

is to touch a finger to the fine blue wool of your Sunday coat.

~ Pat Daneman

Pat Daneman has lived in Lenexa, Kansas since 1986. Recent work appears in The Moon City Review, I-70 Review, Bellevue Poetry Review, and The Comstock Review. Her chapbook, Where the World Begins, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She is poetry co-editor of Kansas City Voices magazine.

Guest editor: Denise Low, 2nd Kansas Poet Laureate, is author of twenty-five books, most recently Mélange Block (Red Mountain Press, Santa Fe). Low is past president of the Associated Writers and Writing Programs board of directors. Cream City Review nominated her fiction for a Pushcart Prize in 2014. She writes articles, blogs, and reviews; and she co-publishes a small press, Mammoth Publications. She teaches private professional workshops as well as classes for Baker U. Her MFA is from W.S.U. and Ph.D. is from K.U. She has British Isles, German, and Delaware Indian heritage. See more: www.deniselow.net http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/denise-low http://deniselow.blogspot.com

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