Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Roy Beckemeyer’

Grain Elevator Gray — By Roy Beckemeyer

The elevator towers at the edge of town:

grain-dust covers all when hard winter-red is cut.


The combines chew lanes, the trucks have no wings

yet fly over gravel. This year’s wheat was chest-


deep on the young men whose faces are now dust

covered. They rent rooms without clothes-cabinets,


small town antiquated tourist cabins: men

who will not turn home till winter. Feathers


of the pigeons are dirt-colored. Dust-gray eggs

in the nest now, and the birds almost tumble


as they swoop to peck up spilled kernels. Terraces

step foreign fields but here flatness reigns and you


watch the birds soar over heat-baked fields through

the sun’s bright day. They absorb June so that January


will not cut so deep. They will move south later, yo-yo

back with spring, desperate gray against the white clouds.

~ Roy Beckemeyer


A Golden Shovel poem inspired by Liz Berry’s “Birmingham Roller”

Roy J. Beckemeyer 
is from Wichita, Kansas. His poetry book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He recently co-edited Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, 2017) together with Caryn Mirriam Goldberg. That anthology collected poems that appeared on this website from 2014-2016.

Guest Editor Denise Low, second Kansas Poet Laureate, has published over 20 books of award-winning poetry and essays, including Ghost Stories (Woodley) and Natural Theologies, essays about Mid-Plains literature (Backwater Press). Low was visiting professor at the University of Richmond and Kansas University. She taught at Haskell Indian Nation University, where she founded the creative writing program. She served Associated Writing Programs as board president. She and her husband Thomas Pecore Weso publish Mammoth Publications.


Un Corazón de Cerdo – by Gregory Stapp

En el super,

she places on the counter

a cow’s tongue,

a cow’s heart,

a cow’s liver,

in that order,

the same order,

every week,

while getting the groceries

for her madrastra.

Blancanieves, I call her,

my Snow White de Guatemala.


While ringing up her food

I ask again, Blanca, why

do you always place them

on the counter in this order?

She pulls at her hair,

shrugs her shoulders,

and scratches her thigh.

First the tongue,

then the heart,

then the liver.

This is the order.


Some days I see her

in town with her madrastra.

While they wait for the bus,

her madrastra jerks

Blanca’s hair

to keep her

from stepping into the street,

or to make her

ashamed of her beauty.

Then she cuffs her shoulder,

and smacks her on the thigh.

Always in this order.


I go hunting one weekend,

kill a jabalí and take its heart,

and when I see Blanca again


I give it to her

in the store’s packaging.

Para tu madrastra, I say.

Un corazón de cerdo.

She pulls a manzana

from beneath her camisa

and drops it with a thud

behind the liver.

Y esta, she grins.


Gregory Stapp received his BA from the University of Oklahoma and his MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. His poems have appeared in Outside In Literary and Travel Magazine, Lime Hawk Journal, Shot Glass, The Ekphrastic Review, and Forage, among others. He recently served as the Poetry Editor for Qu: A Literary Magazine.

Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is President of the Kansas Authors Club. His poetry book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book.


Burnout – by Jeff Worley


was what the game was called,
the game of catch Dad and I played.
You stand 50 feet away at first

and throw the ball hard as you can
to your partner, your opponent. It’s
a dialectic of quick heat. You need

nerves like wrought iron, nimble
reflexes, a well-padded glove.
We had just argued at dinner,

black clouds flexing in the window.
My hair was too long and Dad
demanded to know what was in
the aromatic baggie
he turned up in my glove box.
It was 1969, and he invested

every ounce of righteous energy
he could muster in firing the ball
at me in the backyard. Tradition

thunked like a sledgehammer
into my mitt; then family,
the American Way. I hurled back

a dorsal-carpel-popping carpe diem,
Happy Hour haze, recreational sex.
At 40 feet he wound up like a man

with too many arms, and sent me
reeling on my heels, the ball a spike
in my blistering palm. So I smoked

the next one at his sweaty temple.
Steady job, Dad’s return sung out,
the webbing of my Jimmy Piersall

mitt snapping back but holding.
Hedonistic hijinx, I slung back.
Eight-to-five, Albert Camus, credit

rating, Mr. Zig Zag, Windsor knot . . .
With only 30 feet between us, Mother
intervened with two deep blue bowls

of chocolate chip ice cream.
We dropped our steaming gloves
in thick clover. It’s nearly dark, she said,

someone could get hurt in this game.

[ “Burnout” first appeared in Atlanta Review, Spring/Summer 2001, and was republished in the books Happy Hour at the Two Keys Tavern (Mid-List Press 2006) and Driving Late to the Party (Woodley Press 2012).]

Jeff Worley, born and raised in Wichita, was the second graduate of the Wichita State MFA program (1975). He is extremely grateful to Bruce Cutler, founder of the program, for his invaluable help with early fledgling poems. Jeff has published 10 collections of poetry, the most recent, A Little Luck, winner of the 2012 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize from Texas Review Press. Now retired from the University of Kentucky, he and his wife, Linda, split their time between Lexington and their Cave Run Lake cabin.

Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is President of the Kansas Authors Club. His poetry book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book.


Mohammed Reads Poetry – by Diane Wahto


At the peace poetry reading, we gather

in the crowded coffee house, poets

who have written poems of peace.

We recite our pieces to applause,

nod and take a seat. Mohammed,

there with his dark-haired, dark-

eyed wife, distributes his poems,

written in Urdu and English, speaks

in Urdu, a melodic language, intricate

as the architecture of his homeland,

then turns to English, a language

created to deliver straight-forward

words. Urdu is heard, Mohammed’s

accent still strong, even after years

of living in America. Poems of love,

of joyous parties, of family, of land,

lift us, make us smile. After, we gather

around, talk about the next time, freed

from the darkness outside the windows

of the brightly lit coffee shop.


Diane Wahto received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1985 and has been writing poetry ever since. Her latest publication, “Empty Corners,” is in the spring 2017 issue of Same. She was co-editor of 365 Days, an anthology of the 365 Facebook page poets. She lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Patrick Roche and their dog Annie.

Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is President of the Kansas Authors Club. His poetry book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book.

The Undocumented – by Thomas Locicero

Guthrie addressed the “deportees” by name;
The undocumented are far less blessed.
In shadow and light, they hide, Pride and Shame,
As dead, without lament, headstone, or rest.

They’ve not raised-seal certificates of birth
Or nine-digit cards that voice who they are,
No forms to confirm residence on Earth;
Though here, still irretrievably afar.

It would seem, then, they can be who they choose to,
But they cannot be who they were meant to be.
And if hiding is all that they’re used to,
If safety is invisibility,

How does one incent their civil order
When Heaven resides this side of the border?


Thomas Locicero’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Roanoke Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Long Island Quarterly, Jazz Cigarette, Antarctica Journal, Hobart, Ponder Review, vox poetica, Poetry Pacific, Brushfire, Indigo Lit, Saw Palm, Fine Lines, New Thoreau Quarterly, and Birmingham Arts Journal, among others. He resides in Broken Arrow, OK.

Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is President of the Kansas Authors Club. His poetry book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book.

O Beautiful – by Robert L. Dean


A man begs us not to step over his family. He wears rags and tears and dust. Behind him a pile of rubble. Perhaps he once lived here. Perhaps also the legs and arms and heads before which he kneels. We do not know. We pass on by.

M10 hospital. We bandage. Stitch. Amputate. Slip, slide on blood, bowels. Don garments of stinking flesh. In a corner, a woman babbles, boy on a litter, eyes gone deaf. Windows shatter. Concrete dances. Barrel bomb. We burrow deeper. Carry wounded. Wounds. Dying. Death. What we carry, we become.

Ahead of us, a torch. Someone whispers: Crawl faster.

Sambisa Forest

When the men speak, it is not Chibok. Maybe Hausa. Arabic. They rip off the abaya, the niqab, the black they make us wear to cover our shame when it suits them, our only concealment, our one refuge, the cold ash of our village, our hearts. They ram into us, thighs banging buttocks. We are 14, 12, 8. Our mounds weep red. Husband, they say, in our language. Before the next one sticks it in.

Helicopters in the monkey-bread trees. Alone in our huts like graves. Blessed Virgin, we whisper: Blessed G.I. Joe. Machine guns. Rockets. Kaboom. Fingers laced, we listen. The hiss of snakes. The swagger of the husbands. What we are left with.

We eat bloody dates. Drink strange-leaved tea. Pledge mubaya’a. Birth their babies. Detonate in crowds of strangers. The husbands say we go to Paradise. And we do.


The Dead Women haunt the maquiladoras. Assemble into printers, TVs, cars. Sigh spreadsheets in Wenatchee, dust up Sioux City back roads, number Days of Our Lives in Brooklyn. They tire of trash dumps, sewers, creosote, cactus. Gardens of red crosses.

Mummies grin on morgue slabs. Sons. Uncles. Brothers. Those we ransom two times, three. Fifteen-year-olds in Escalades and Yankees caps collect. Quinceañera bouquets wither. Carnicerías, discotecas fire the night.

Make-shift altars: tequila, Marlboros, the things She craves. Black candles. Mariachis sing: Santa Muerte, Bony Lady, Lady of the Shadows, Lady of the Holy Death. We shoulder grappling hooks, machetes. Wade the river. Shimmer in the moon’s image. Tired. Poor. Huddled. What we are not: wretched.

Stars whisper. We climb. The eyes of gringo guns.


Robert L. Dean, Jr. majored in Music Composition at Wichita State University. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as Illya’s Honey, Red River Review, and I-70 Review. His chapbook Doors was a finalist in the 2014 Dallas Poets Community contest.

Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is President of the Kansas Authors Club. His poetry book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book.

I try to write it for you in my head by Julie Ramon

Julieramon.jpgI try to write it for you in my head
every morning when I turn down
the numbered gravel road that leads
me into Kansas. Things are different
here. Cows gather near fence lines
and raise their wet noses to smell
the wind that welcomes traveling
geese and flocks of starlings
that twirl and spin through the air.
And when the sun rises, it deepens
the copper on train cars, the rust
on an abandoned Chevy truck
shell, and patches of vines growing
to the tips of leaning telephone poles.
But, when I arrive home and see
your arms open and the shape
of your face change, I forget it all.


Julie Ramon is an English instructor, specializing in English as a second language, at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Her poems “Making Tamales” and “Making Tortillas” were recently published in the literary food magazine, Graze. She enjoys baking and selling cakes from home on weekends. She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband and son.

Guest Editor: Roy Beckemeyer is from Wichita, Kansas. His poems have recently appeared in The Midwest Quarterly, Kansas City Voices, The North Dakota Review, and I-70 Review. Two of his poems were nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize competition. His debut collection of poems, “Music I Once Could Dance To,” published in 2014 by Coal City Review and Press, was selected as a 2015 Kansas Notable Book by the State Library of Kansas and the Kansas Center for the Book.


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