Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Poetry’

She Says – by Ronda Miller

rondashe doesn’t dream.
Each afternoon I ask, hopeful,
she as despondent as I by her response.
“Not of ponies, a unicorn, white kittens?” I ply.
She shakes her head side to side.
Full lips whisper, “No,” so quietly that I’m lip reading.

During the day, she shares her tears,
tells me how badly she misses her mom
who lives behind bars.
Her older brother, who has
somehow transformed into her
baby brother, she cries for him too.
They have different fathers.
His came for him, hers has not.

Today I decide to change things.
I don’t ask her if she had a dream, I know she did.
I know she does every afternoon and night.
They are nightmares, filled with a loss so dark
they can’t be shared in light of day,
can’t be spoken, can not be remembered.
They are felt so far inside there are no words to share.

I sit beside her, rub her back.
her dark eyes open, flutter shut, reopen.
“Let me tell you about your dream,” I say.
“You were riding a rainbow unicorn
with a fuzzy white kitten in your pocket.
She kept peeking her big bright blue eyes
out to tell you where to go.
You went all the way to the moon and back.
I saw you there myself.”
Her face relaxes, and she smiles.

~ Ronda Miller

Poet Ronda Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper late into the sunset and scream into blizzards and thunderstorms. She lives in Lawrence close to her son and daughter. She is a district president and state vice president for Kansas Authors Club. She is a life coach specializing in working with those who have lost someone to homicide. She dances every chance she gets. She has poetry in numerous online and hard copy publications that include the Smithsonian Institute. Two books of poetry include Going Home: Poems from My Life and MoonStain (Meadowlark Books, May 2015).

Guest Editor Z. Hall is a poet whose work features ekphrasis, and explores race, gender, and culture. She is an essayist and has served as a PEN Prison Writing Mentor. She is currently a writer-in-residence at the Charlotte Street Foundation. As an art writer and scholar, her peer-reviewed publications include works on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s ‘Drunk in Love,’ the field recordings of Stephen Wade’s “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” emergence of the Christian film industry in Lindvall and Quicke’s “Celluloid Sermons,” and the political cartoons of the 2005 Muhammad Cartoon Controversy as rhetorical art, among other works. Hall is the Executive Director and Producer of Salon~360, a monthly, Kansas City regional event that brings together artists whose work focuses on challenging societal issues, for which she was awarded an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant.

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.

3. Divining the Birds

1

During December’s last days,
as mild as May, it rained robins.
They fell from the sky in drops,
clustered in our cedars,
then plopped on the ground.

They paused in mid-migration,
feasting on residual mulberries.
Worms had long since turned
underground. The birds stormed
around us, shitting, starving.

2.
By the river, it was reported
a red-tail hawk attacked a great blue,
its talons snagged the heron’s back.
Lingering on late in the season,
the water bird stood meditatively

in the shoals when the hawk,
a stealth bomber, exploded among
its feathers. But in a last arabesque,
the heron swiveled its neck to stab
her enemy’s speckled breast.

3.
At dusk, a million blackbirds flow east,
unfurling against a sky, mauve and gold.
No one bird puts a period to this endless
streaming. Tattered wakes of geese
merge into darkness.

Organs steam along the highways.
Bones are spaced along the shoulders.
Soothsayers abound, divining the remains
on earth’s altars. None dares predict
how much longer hummingbirds
can negotiate the snow.

— Elizabeth Schultz

Having retired from the University of Kansas in 2001, Elizabeth Schultz now balances scholarship on Herman Melville and on the environment with writing essays and poems about the people and places she loves. She has published two critical works on Melville, two collections of poetry, one book of short stories, and published her scholarship and poetry widely.

2. A Kansan Visits New York City

When the neighbor’s dog

barks in the rain

at the wind

in the vines of honeysuckle,

you remember the crowd

rippling down Mulberry Street

into Chinatown.

Like leaves on a fence row

they interconnect

and lace

into a rope of green,

an occasional blossom

lifting from the braid.

— Al Ortolani

Al Ortolani has been teaching in Kansas for 37 years. His poetry has appeared in the Midwest Quarterly, The English Journal, The Laurel Review and others. His second book of poetry Finding the Edge will be published by Woodley Press in 2011. He is currently co-editor of The Little Balkans Review.

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