Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Pittsburg State University’

On Being Asked for a Political Poem – by Christopher Todd Anderson

chris

My eyes drift across Kansas, its drab winter fields

and bird-churned skies, its highways like frozen

gray rivers, its oak trees clutching brown shawls

of dead unfallen leaves, a rough threadbare comfort.

 

I could stand at my window all day and watch clouds

grazing sky like white bison in a blue meadow. I could

stand at my window all day drinking hot tea. Gazing

is the only thing I’m really good at. I could do it all day.

 

Yesterday I had lunch with Laura, who keeps quoting

Rukeyser on poets of outrage and poets of possibility.

Honestly, I never know where I stand with my poems

full of raptors and wine, empty fields, black morning

 

coffee, and barn cats gagging up something killed

for hunger. Lunch was good, and my belly’s full

of sunshine, but the new year’s colder than ever

as statesmen swear their oaths with their left palms

flat atop piles of money and raised right hands poised

to bitch-slap America. I’ve got nothing to say to make

things better. Tomorrow, trees will still march through

poems like buckskin priests praising the sun, and gods

 

will roost on power lines, then glory in flight. But now

every word is on fire, every blackbird and maple leaf is

a red ember. Sing your children to sleep, sing, for worlds

are burning as we stir anger like sour milk into our coffee.

 

 

Christopher Todd Anderson is Associate Professor of English at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, where he teaches courses in American literature, creative writing, environmental literature, and popular culture.  His poetry has appeared in journals such as River StyxTar River PoetryEllipsisChicago Quarterly ReviewTipton Poetry Journal, and The Midwest Quarterly.

 

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

 

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The Apocalypse Will Not Be Televised – by Christopher Todd Anderson

Stealthily it will come like termites weakening floorboards.

It will come under darkness, clouds kidnapping the moon

while everyone sleeps. It will slow burn and smolder, no flame

waving the flag of crisis when well-built walls crumble to ash.

 

We in the mined lands know something about collapse. It’s not

always explosions and smoke plumes visible seventeen miles away.

Hollow tunnels, machine-carved then eroded by seepage, run beneath

neighborhoods, beneath playgrounds, schools, homes and highways.

 

Here, the ground could swallow the workaday surface into its jagged

stony mouth any moment. You’ll wake to cracking beams in the house

frame, roaring asphalt or stop signs tumbling in. The news will show

the doll’s head, the tricycle, the mangled Toyota dirty at pit bottom.

 

Don’t believe the half-truth litany of tragedy the TV chants night

and day. Usually suffering is quiet as mice, unseen, hidden in shadows

like a basement cricket behind the furnace. It’s there, it sings, but we

sleep too well, hear nothing except in fitful rest and dark dreams.

Christopher Todd Anderson is

chris

Associate Professor of English at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, where he teaches courses in American literature, creative writing, environmental literature, and popular culture.  His poetry has appeared in journals such as River StyxTar River PoetryEllipsisChicago Quarterly ReviewTipton Poetry Journal, and The Midwest Quarterly.

 

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.

New Year’s Eve, 2016 Sinking – by Morgan O.H. McCune

After all this time, each star still marks a question.

Why would a God need so many bright eyes

To witness this? How far is that star

That it should be unreachable?

What shall I use as a measure?

 

We could have drawn a legend,

Collapsing the abyss into thin ripples over sand,

Where only the tiniest tragedy could occur,

Or expanding the Atlantic into a bowl so immense

That planets drift like plankton,

Calamities muted by sheer space.

 

We could have steered to port,

Had we kept a better lookout.

 

To change the future, change a word.

Yes. No. Iceberg.

To change the future, watch.

 

We are standing on a deck, the tilt of which

Grows extreme. There is not a heartbeat

Between us and the sea.

At the end (perhaps the beginning?),

See how the brain fires all its flares?

 

We were not made to go down

Without an offering, and who knows

Which flashing string of instinct may be enough.

What pearls will slip through your fingers

Into the hungry sea?

 

You’ll see them fall or,

From another viewpoint, rise

Through miracles of latitude.

Two billion years to that star,

Two miles to the ocean floor,

Two inches and the shell

Of the nautilus begins

To curve into an

Iridescent

Golden

Trap.

img_7069

All ahead dead slow;

Set the watch.

~ Morgan O. H. McCune

Morgan O.H. McCune was born and raised in Topeka. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from Washington University in St. Louis (1991) and a Master of Library Science from Emporia State University (2002). She is currently working as a Cataloging Librarian, Associate Professor, at Pittsburg State University.

 

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.

Re: Brock Turner – by J. E. Macy

macy

Gee whiz, All-American boy.

Blue-eyed crystal

Toothpaste grin

Bleached Chiclet teeth

Hair, golden waves of grain.

 

Cover of Boy’s Life:

“Explore Your Future!”

Cover of Sports Illustrated:

“Kid Dynamite: Mike Tyson, the Next Great

Heavyweight—and He’s Only 19!”

Cover of GQ: “Sean Connery

On Politics & Power”

Oh you, Cover boy,

Strike a pose.

 

Lantern-jawed

Testosterone

Long-limbed

Strike a pose

Barrel-chested

Nipples like rosy pennies.

 

Wonder Bread

PBR

AXE

Old Spice.

High school hero:

Shoulder pads

Chewing gum,

Speedos, jock straps

Stanford Cardinals bleed.

 

Mama spit-cleans

Daddy grills

Red Solo cups

Steaks medium-well

Never bleeding

—Since those 10 minutes of action,

meat hasn’t tasted the same—

Summer-browned skin

Docks, cattails, skimming bare feet

Skipping smooth stones

—Since those 10 minutes of action,

his stroke has slackened—

Starting block

Little crimson briefs

Hot-blooded competition.

 

The Dane saw our All-American

behind a dumpster, called, and

vomited on the ground.

J.E. Macy grew up in the suburbs of Kansas City, and since graduating high school in 2009 has lived quite nomadically. She left Pittsburg State University with a degree in English, gallivanted across Europe, returned home, and is currently pursuing a Master’s in English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing at her alma mater.

 

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 The New Verse 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.

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