Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Roy Beckemeyer’

IED/PTSD — By Roy Beckemeyer

His friends’ eyes blink worry line codes,

navigate glances laden with dark alleys.

 

They proffer bitter advice spiced

with apologies, reach for his hand, but

 

it has become a trigger with wires wending

into his heart, a timer that sets them

 

to trembling with each click. They ache

to know which colored coil they need to cut,

 

which profession of love might ground

the uncertain and secret circuits of his soul.

~ Roy Beckemeyer

 

Roy J. Beckemeyer was President of the Kansas Authors Club from 2016-2017. His poetry book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was recognized as a Kansas Notable Book. His new chapbook of ekphrastic poems, Amanuensis Angel, is out from Spartan Press (2018), as is his new collection, Stage Whispers(Meadowlark Books, 2018). Author’s Page: https://royjbeckemeyer.com/

Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate and the author or editor of over 20 books. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she teaches, she also offers community writing workshops widely, and with Kelley Hunt, Brave Voice writing and singing retreats. She founded the 150 Kansas Poems site where she is thrilled to work with many fine guest editor poets and witness powerful writing from and about the heartland.

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Footage from Aleppo — Roy Beckemeyer

“…a lark talking madness in some corner of the sky.” – Joseph Auslander, from his poem “Dawn at the Rains Edge.”

Laser-eyed bombs streak in, unheard

and unseen until the earth,

flash-blinded by frenzy,

grabs the sky by the throat,

shakes it, erupts, rolls up.

A flock of short-toed larks takes flight

at the madness, sweeps over

the roadside in an aching cloud,

a dancing random swirl,

movements mirrored, for just a moment,

by a dead man’s keffiyeh, blown free,

billowing: birds and scarf together

a stark calligraphy, a sort of script,

a staging, a new orthography of atonement.

~ Roy Beckemeyer

Roy J. Beckemeyer was President of the Kansas Authors Club from 2016-2017. His latest book of poetry is Stage Whispers (Meadowlark-Books, 2019). Music I Once Could Dance To won the Kansas Notable Book award (Coal City Press, 2014).

November editor, Ronda Miller, is State President of the Kansas Authors Club (2018 – 2019). Her three books of poetry include Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain (Meadowlark-Books, 2015) and WaterSigns (Meadowlark-Books, 2017). Miller lives in Lawrence but returns to wander The Arikaree Breaks of Cheyenne county every chance she gets. Kansas Authors Club.

Anderson Creek Creed — By Roy Beckemeyer

You did not believe that red cedars could

transform themselves explosively into flame:

an earthly form of transubstantiation

 

(“Forgive me, Father,” you say, as you think

that thought); that you would cut fences, praying

your cattle might outrun the torrent of fire,

that your truck’s headlights would flare like

molten lava, that flames would jeté

over roads, over dozer-scraped pasture,

 

that fickle winds would conspire to find new fuel

for fire, that you would find haven at last in new

winter wheat, slight and green and beneath the flame’s

 

fierce notice, fenced by walls of black smoke, by

skeletal trees clutching at the sky for relief,

by stars gone dizzy with hot air and soot,

 

that God would wait until your faith began

to smolder, to crisp around its edges,

before finally bestowing the benison of rain.

~ Roy J. Beckemeyer

—The Anderson Creek wildfire burned nearly 400,000 acres in Kansas and Oklahoma in March, 2016.

Roy J. Beckemeyer was President of the Kansas Authors Club from 2016-2017. His poetry book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was recognized as a Kansas Notable Book. His new chapbook of ekphrastic poems, Amanuensis Angel, is out from Spartan Press (2018).

Guest Editor Lori Baker Martin is assistant professor of English at Pittsburg State University. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Maine Review, and others. Martin has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Independence Community College, and Pittsburg State University. She has worked as a reader for both The Iowa Review and NPR. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

My Flag–by Greg Kosmicki

 

It is after dinner and I go to shake
the crumbs from the tablecloth.
They fall down onto the porch steps

for the crickets and the mice and ants.
We live in a great country
there is enough for all.

The tablecloth unfurls lightly on the held breath
of the still fall night air
and it seems to me to be like a flag

with the blue stripe all around the border
and the blue stripe enclosing the field at center
a field which encloses some flowers

but could not hold in even all the flowers
since some of them have escaped
and drifted, as on water or a breeze

toward the bright blue border.
It is the flag of the friendly country
where even the vermin have enough to eat

and I’m waving it from my porch for you.
I want you to come and join me
and my family, I want you to sit

at my table and have bread and lasagna with us
so we can talk about the war and the taxes.
I want you to help me shake crumbs on the porch

I want to wash it and iron it and fold it safely
to place it gently and with respect in the drawer
for our next dinner when we will not have

marched under any other flag
for I know you could not be a traitor to me
we will all be so insanely happy

we had not yet had to die for any cause.
I want you to spill your wine
I want you to get bread crumbs on my flag.

 

[Initially self-published in When There Wasn’t Any War, The Backwaters Press, 1987, with ½ proceeds donated to Nebraskans for Peace. Anthologized in A Sandhills Reader: Thirty years of great writing from the Great Plains, Mark Sanders, Ed., Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2015. Anthologized in Nebraska Poetry; A Sesquicentennial Anthology, Daniel Simon, Ed., Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2017. Forward by Twyla Hansen, Nebraska State Poet. Included in Leaving Things Unfinished: Forty-some Years of Poems, (Selected Poems), Mark Sanders, Ed., Sandhills Press, scheduled for 2018 publication.]

Greg Kosmicki is the author of eleven books and chapbooks of poems. He founded The Backwaters Press in 1997 and is Emeritus Editor. He and his wife, Debbie, are parents of three and grandparents of two. Greg has been involved in peace and justice and anti-war efforts since the early 1980s.

Guest Editor 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. His latest book, Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) contains ekphrastic poems, inspired by a variety of artists’ depictions of angels, that “resound and sometimes subvert expectations” (Tyler Robert Sheldon), that provide “a kaleidoscope of history, art, culture, the sacred and the everyday” (Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg).

This is a prayer for a field. . . — by Kathleen Cain

 

on the high plains, descended from mountains and foothills.
This is a hymn for foothills, twenty miles upstream; an incantation for mountains both
shining and dark; navy blue; unearthly green.
This is Hosanna! for erosion and differential resistance
and disintegration stone by pebble by grain
in the wind. And the rain. In snow. And ice.
This is praisesong for freezing and cracking, an orison for Old Red Sandstone losing its grip.
This is a Kyrie for letting go: eleison of return, oxygen from leaves, plainsong of snowfall from blizzard clouds; speaking in tongues for run-off at snowmelt.
This is a mandala for creeks threading east and west,
a burnt offering for gravity—pilgrimage along the path of least resistance.
This is riparian adoration—for cottonwoods making their way one at a time, procession of ash and elm following; sycamore; currant bushes; forbs and grasses, bluestem and grama.
This is a charm for natural flooding along green rivers, brown streams, sunburned creeks.
This is a novena for trees accused of taking too much water after the dam has been built, the stream diverted, the irrigation allotment overspent in ever-widening circles of evaporation.
This is a rosary for roots holding earthen banks in their grip, a lorica for their leaved branches keeping the water cool—the catfish, the bullhead, the bass—for holding algae at bay.
This is an Alleleuia! for shade and shelter, for life breathed back into the world. Amen! Blessed Be! along the river, the creek, the stream, the field. . .

 

Kathleen Cain is a native Nebraskan who has lived in Colorado since 1972. Her nonfiction book The Cottonwood Tree: An American Champion (2007) was selected for the Nebraska 150 Books Project. Two of her poems appeared in Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology, 1867-2017.

Guest Editor 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. His latest book, Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) contains ekphrastic poems, inspired by a variety of artists’ depictions of angels, that “resound and sometimes subvert expectations” (Tyler Robert Sheldon), that provide “a kaleidoscope of history, art, culture, the sacred and the everyday” (Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg).

Alien Guest–by Guinotte Wise

Marshland out back. Soggy, sucking. I skip and splash along the outskirts to keep from sinking. Then a rise. Then a hollow. These different strata and the stone shelf beneath house crystals that are ground and pressured to release soft light at night. It comes and goes. The earthquakes spider outward from Oklahoma, the aftershocks like unfinished thoughts unfelt here in southeast Kansas but disturbing the shelf just enough. You have to look indirectly to see the lights, more like sensing them.

I go to the ridge and down again to old growth trees that form a woods, even
a small forest, timed to coincide with earliest pre-dawn and the
coyote’s waking when they stretch and howl and gibber flushing rabbits
and small animals. In the marsh, with silvered surface, the crane rises and
shivers it, ripples it outward. The crane is gone in a whisper, but where it was still
ghosts. Like the lights. Like the familiars I feel around me.

And currents, too in the earth I’m on, Teslaic, telluric, you feel them like you see the lights, obliquely, anything that lives here knows them intimately, anything but man, and even though I sense them, I am alien. I am just a guest.

 

[Appeared in Scattered Cranes, a collection of poetry by G. Wise.]

Guinotte Wise’s work has appeared in numerous journals including Atticus, Rattle, Ekphrastic Review, The MacGuffin, and Southern Humanities Review. His first short story collection (Night Train, Cold Beer) won publication by a university press and enough money to fix the soffits. A Pushcart nominee, he writes and welds steel sculpture on a farm in Southeast Kansas. His latest book of poetry, Horses See Ghosts, was published this month. Some work is at http://www.wisesculpture.com

 Guest Editor 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. His latest book, Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) contains ekphrastic poems, inspired by a variety of artists’ depictions of angels, that “resound and sometimes subvert expectations” (Tyler Robert Sheldon), that provide “a kaleidoscope of history, art, culture, the sacred and the everyday” (Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg).

Wrap It Up!–by Jeff Worley

My mother would like to die now, please.
Her nursing home apartment is immaculate.
Friendly aides set hot meals in front of her
three times a day. Enough! So what!
She’s tired of their cheerier-than-thou
voices and those voices on television
trying to sell her on buying it, whatever
it is, however prettily wrapped.
TV light bathes her morning til night.
Then welcome sleep, an undress rehearsal
that never lasts long enough.
Awake again? The chattery girl asking
This top? These pants? And some slick
preacher “just stopping in,” wanting
her to donate her soul. My god.
It never ends. Which is all she wants.
And these framed photos grinning down
from the bookshelf, this innocent choir.
My mother knows what we’re thinking.
We want to keep her here. Children
she probably loved once, their own
disappointments just beyond the horizon . . .
Now, not knowing I can hear from the next room
she says, with conviction, What crap!

 

[First appeared in The Texas Review]

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 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. His latest book, Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) contains ekphrastic poems, inspired by a variety of artists’ depictions of angels, that “resound and sometimes subvert expectations” (Tyler Robert Sheldon), that provide “a kaleidoscope of history, art, culture, the sacred and the everyday” (Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg).

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