Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Roy J. Beckemeyer’

Refugee Shores — By Roy J. Beckemeyer

“Rumor, the swiftest plague there is, went straight out

To all the settlements of Libya.”— Sarah Ruden’s

Translation of Vergil’s The Aeneid (Book 4: 173-174)

Packed tighter than the slave ships

that once plied these shores,

fishing boats with un-caulked seams

and hulls soft with rot push off from

the beach, people layered in holds,

sitting shoulder to shoulder, gunwale

to gunwale. Assured that Italy is only

hours away, they hear rumors of Europe

swishing in on the waves, watch hope

tread water in each other’s eyes.

– For the Mediterranean refugees of the second

decade of the Twenty-first Century.

(Originally published in 365 Days: A Poetry Anthology, 2016)

~ Roy J. 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 (Spartan Press, 2018) is out, as is his new collection, Stage Whispers (Meadowlark Books, 2018). Author’s Page: https://royjbeckemeyer.com/

Matthew David Manning holds degrees in creative writing from Arizona State University and Pittsburg State University. His poetry has appeared various publications including I-70 Review, Red Paint Hill, Rust + Moth, Kansas Time + Place, and Chiron Review. He recently became a father and has been enjoying his transition into high school education at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, KS.

Editor’s Response: As a teacher in a school with a large refugee population, I had to choose this poem. Roy does an outstanding job of capturing one of the most uncomfortable and commonly forgotten steps that refugees would often prefer not to remember. One student, a girl, told me that she was scared of being groped by one of the other refugees on her boat as they all piled on each other’s laps. A great poem.


Painting God by Pat Latta

It was early in the morning
and maybe it was just a dream.Pat Latta
I visited with God just for a second.
That’s the way dreams go sometimes.
There’s something about God and time;
I guess you might say
they both go back a long, long way.

In my dream, I sat on the dewy grass
watching God begin to paint the morning.
I think a sunrise over the Flint Hills
is a good place to start, He said.
I’ll add a little wisp of fog in the valleys,
a glint of early light on the pond,
a reflection of the cottonwoods.
Sometimes I think I go too far
with sunlight on water.

Cottonwoods are beginning to turn,
so I need a little green,
a little yellow,
a little orange.
Oops. I might have overdone it.
I do that sometimes.

Let’s see, I’ll put a matching pair of herons
taking off with water dripping from their feet,
looking like they’re trailing fire in the sunlight.
I always like the way I do that.

I love to do clouds too,
I’ll add a couple to filter the sun
as it peeks over the horizon.
I’ll need lots of shades of blue for the sky now,
and different pinks and yellows for those clouds.
I always like to squeeze in just a little magenta
right down there on the horizon, too.

Sometimes I think I go too far,
He said.

God, I said, I couldn’t agree with you more.


Pat Latta grew up in a small town in central Texas. He moved to Wichita in 1983 and lives close to the Little Arkansas River. He writes with a weekly poetry group. He appreciates the power of individual words in poetry and strives to express ideas as concisely as possible.

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.







Big Fish Territory by Cody Shrum

GusThe swollen stars spoke
to one another in bright whispers
above our boat so the planets
wouldn’t hear.

Dad’s breath rose and joined
mine in wind that stole it,
wind cold as water
churning at the bottom of the lake.

The green-tipped tail
of a shooting star falling toward
Earth, yearning to touch
rich Kansas soil, bloomed
bright, and I pointed.

We smiled, still hushed
by the planets when my pole
bent half-over and our boat
nearly tipped into the shining
image of stars
bouncing on water.

The belly of our boat thrashed
against the blurred reflection
of stars on waves.
Bait jumped and splashed
in the sliding bucket.

Our boat, everything in it,
converged to meet
the pale-finned body
rising from the furious lake.



Cody Shrum is a second-year graduate student at Pittsburg State University, studying Creative Writing with an emphasis in fiction. Cody plans to pursue his MFA degree next fall—an adventure he will embark on with his wife, Kylee, and their two dogs, Zoey and Zeus.

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.


Oceans of Kansas by Roy Beckmeyer

For Mike EverhartRoyBeckemeyer

In western Kansas plesiosaur bones snake through Cretaceous chalk scattered with shark’s teeth under skies dry as drought. Pterosaurs with skulls as ornamented as Hussar helmets once flew here, the salty spray of breaking waves splashing their long beaks.  Now eagles, talons extended, wings draped to catch at the scorched air, pierce clouds of dust kicked up by jackrabbits.  Ocean silt and mountain rock ground to sand mix here, and the sun reflects just as brilliantly from this pale earth as from those old seas.   These hills and valleys and drainage cuts look like arid, lost-water casts of waves and curls. A prairie rattler s-curves over the dusty ground, sculls along as if it could feel oceans swelling up from the past, slips unknowingly through this sea lizard’s arching skeleton, sets the bones to dreaming.  For just a moment the plesiosaur is swimming again, pulsing with power, exulting in every surging thrust against the rolling waves of its undulating life, roaming once more the lost and ancient waters of Kansas.

~Roy Beckemeyer edits a scientific journal and writes poetry and finds it curious and satisfying that the two are not mutually exclusive. He is vice president of the Kansas Authors Club and a member of the Wayward Poets, a small, egalitarian group of Wichita writers who meet meet weekly to read and write out of a sense of commitment to one another, an effective antidote against writer’s block.

~February’s Guest Editor, Laura Lee Washburn, is the author of the Palanquin Prize chapbook Watching the Contortionists, and March Street Press’s This Good Warm Place, a poetry collection.  She directs the creative writing program at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas.  http://www.pittstate.edu/department/english/  You can find her work here https://www.facebook.com/notes/laura-lee-washburn/websites-where-my-work-appears-how-to-buy-my-book/10150158859391115

Initiation Song from the Prairie by Roy J. Beckemeyer

Please do not expect to have to climbRoy J Beckemeyer Photo

to see more than a few hours of sun.

Exchange vertical dreams for horizontal

ones. Road cuts here have no

“Falling Rocks” signs. Forget switchbacks.

Practice right angle turns. Forget S-turns.

Forget roads that vanish anywhere

but at a point on the horizon.

Finally feel the full weight

of the sky on your shoulders.

Learn the ways of clouds and wind.

Watch for birds that sing while

hovering in air; they have learned

to make do in the absence of trees.

You will learn to make do.

You will go places where you

will be the tallest thing. Then you

will walk a while longer and the grass

will be taller than you. Watch for

the migration of combines; that is a sign

there will traffic jams at grain elevators.

Observe rivers that meander

over the flat landscape;

the people here are also prone

to meander. Learn to ski cross-country.

Learn how snow drifts. Learn how hills

are just waves of prairie.

Trade pavement and cement

for the density of tall grass roots and sod.

Find that you, too, have finally become

addicted to the vastness of prairie skies.

Come to know, in the end,

that there is no cure.

~ Roy J. Beckemeyer

Roy Beckemeyer has most recently had poems in the periodicals: Coal City Review, The Lyric, and The Journal of Kansas Civic Leadership; the anthologies: Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, and To The Stars Through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices; and the web page: 200 New Mexico Poems.


14. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Roy J. Beckemeyer

…the universal truth of a broken owl
suddenly shattered by a strand of barbed wire,
gone from magnificent pursuer to wheeling
wreck of hollow bones, his wing flailing, cloud
of down and feathers floating like incense,

his body an aspergil splattering blood onto
Indian Grass, anointing this flinty place
of sacrifice just as the last hint of starlight
implodes in his failing eyes, as he goes the way

of a lightning bolt or a gust of prairie wind…

— Roy J. Beckemeyer

134. A Kansas Farmwife’s Snow Song

Winter weary and all hunkered down, here

with the children and dog this gray day,

how could it seem so far, when you’re a mere

quarter section of snowdrifts away.


Broke the ice off the watering trough, dear,

this morning and twice more through the day,

stoked the fire with hedge wood you cut a mere

quarter section of snowdrifts away.


I stared out the window and pondered,

how the snowdrifts don’t matter so much.

If it were summer’s fields you wandered

I’d still miss your voice and your touch.


At last the end of fence mending is near,

we are about to end this cold day.

Your day’s work is done and now you’re a mere

quarter section of snowdrifts away.

— Roy J. Beckemeyer

(Published in the 2011 Edition of the Kansas Authors Club Yearbook; Won 1st place in the Poet’s Choice category of the 2010 Kansas Authors Club Poetry Contest.)

Roy J. Beckemeyer, a retired aeronautical engineer from Wichita, studies fossils insects that lived in Kansas 250 million years ago, and edits two scientific journals. He has been writing poetry since he sent his first love poem to his high school sweetheart, Pat, now his wife of fifty years.












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