Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Pat Daneman’

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.

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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

In the Flint Hills, I by Pat Daneman

There is nothing here,10885210_10203995076012065_23950373450041338_n

you people who live in cities might say.

No buildings, no bleating herds of taxis,

 

no stampeding crowds.

But stay awhile and you will learn the way

along the yellow paths,

 

feel under your shoes the bones

of white flint, the broad root grid

that spreads each season’s current underground.

 

You will see how many days of stillness

it takes to make the sky move,

how many months of drought

 

to map a riverbed, how many years

of wind hammering to build

an empty skyline.

~ 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: Israel Wasserstein, a Lecturer in English at Washburn University, was born and raised on the Great Plains. His first poetry collection, This Ecstasy They Call Damnation, was a 2013 Kansas Notable Book. His poetry and prose have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Blue Mesa Review, Flint Hills Review, and elsewhere.

 

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