Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Tyler Sheldon’

Everyone is Dying — by Tyler Robert Sheldon

and our country was never so full with lies

I will count the minutes until we live

no longer in a post-truth country

where inviting despots to black tie dinners

is normal and where every day

the government is laced clear through

like bad pot with logical fallacies

 

Bad Hombres is only cool

as a license plate or bumper sticker

or a teenage bedroom door sign

and I will not give in

to the vortex of rancid hate

sucking up the good men and

 

women and children of this country

even as Big Bird and breakfast

for school kids might be next

 

the polar bears have to stand

on one leg now but

what about how much oil we need

we could melt down all the

polar bears, cut the middleman

 

out that way

and will we build another mother

for all the bombs that are orphans now

like every little child they lie down on

until the movement stops

~ Tyler Robert Sheldon

Tyler Robert Sheldon is the author of First Breaths of Arrival (Oil Hill Press, 2016) and Traumas (Yellow Flag Press, 2017). His poems and/or reviews have appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Quiddity International Literary Journal, Coal City Review, The Prairie Journal of Canadian Literature, and other venues, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the AWP Intro Journals Award. Sheldon holds an MA in English from Emporia State University. He lives in Baton Rouge. View his work at tyrsheldon.wixsite.com/trspoetry.

James Benger is a father, husband and writer. His work has been featured in several publications. He is the author of two fiction ebooks: Flight 776 (2012) and Jack of Diamonds (2013), and two chapbooks of poetry: As I Watch You Fade (EMP 2016) and You’ve Heard It All Before (GigaPoem 2017). He is a member of the Riverfront Readings Committee in Kansas City, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online poetry workshop and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and son.

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Report to William Stafford — By Izzy Wasserstein

…tell me if I am right. — “Report to Crazy Horse”

You lived long, and carefully.
You knew the prairie wind,
how it can call all through long January nights,
how sometimes settlers would listen
and step from their houses, thin topsoil crunching
under boots or rising to meet bare toes,
and in the morning there would be no trace
of their passing. The storm does this.

 

I have listened to the wind’s song, and I think
I will not live so long. It does not concern me.
But this: I matured in a decade
of madness, assaults on an enemy
we were told was hiding in desert ratholes
or mountain caves, where people hold
centuries-old ways, and older
grudges. (the ones who say this think we are different.
I do not know who they mean by we.)

 

They fight a concept,

 

a tick growing fat on assassinations, uranium shells,

 

drone strikes (this is a convenient way of killing
as impersonal as any strip mall).
No one can tell me if they believe they will win,
if they think fighting makes them strong.

 

You have been gone twenty years now, more than twenty.
They award Peace Prizes to men who have done nothing,
and worse than nothing. The wind does not care
about Mr. Nobel. It does not care about you, Bill,
or me. It is the wind.

 

I do not know if monsters can be overcome,
if the new great extinction can be halted, or slowed.
I dream of that gleaming face, at times.
Will you tell me what this means?
Yesterday, at dusk, a cold front came battering
against my door, sweeping from the West,
striking bare branches against windows,
stirring the dog as he watched the fire burn low.
A shriek. I rushed in terror to the window.
Two children chased each other in circles, laughing.

~ Izzy Wasserstein

Izzy Wasserstein is the author of This Ecstasy They Call Damnation, a 2013 Kansas Notable Book. Izzy teaches at Washburn University, runs long distance slowly, and shares a home with a cat and three dogs.

Guest Editor Tyler Robert Sheldon is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of First Breaths of Arrival (Oil Hill Press, 2016), and Traumas (Yellow Flag Press, 2017). His poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in such venues as Quiddity International Literary Journal, The Midwest Quarterly, Coal City Review, The Prairie Journal of Canadian Literature, The Dos Passos Review, Entropy Magazine, and others. He earned his MA in English at Emporia State University, and is now an MFA candidate at McNeese State University. View his work at tyrsheldon.wixsite.com/trspoetry.

At the Kevin Young Reading — By Kevin Rabas

I’m so choked up
at the Kevin Young reading
that I will my copy
of To Repel Ghosts
to my student, Ralvell.
I write a note, say, “Take this book,
and ask Young to sign it, keep
these words in remembrance,”
though I make it to the water fountain,
clear my throat,
spot my student
chatting Young up,
two black men
in a white sea, a moment
for which we raced
100 miles, sailing
blacktop in a borrowed
college car.

~ Kevin Rabas

Kevin Rabas is the Poet Laureate of Kansas. He teaches at Emporia State University, where he leads the poetry and playwriting tracks. He has seven books, including Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner.

Guest Editor Tyler Robert Sheldon is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of First Breaths of Arrival (Oil Hill Press, 2016), and Traumas (Yellow Flag Press, 2017). His poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in such venues as Quiddity International Literary Journal, The Midwest Quarterly, Coal City Review, The Prairie Journal of Canadian Literature, The Dos Passos Review, Entropy Magazine, and others. He earned his MA in English at Emporia State University, and is now an MFA candidate at McNeese State University. View his work at tyrsheldon.wixsite.com/trspoetry.

Hillary Clinton Becomes First Female Presidential Nominee — By Melissa Fite Johnson

So many white, so many
men, tape their mouths in protest
at the DNC. They black out signs.
Their eyes shine. They boo the black
congressman, the Hispanic
congresswoman. They chant.
They walk out. They will stay home
in November, chop fallen trees
into firewood, grill steaks while milking
beers for the last time this year.
They will stare at the black sky
while their neighbors’ TVs blare
too quietly to tell who won.
During roll-call, I cry. I cry but do not
post my joyful tears on Facebook,
where so many white, so many
men post cheater, criminal, cunt.
I do not think of these men. I think of
the women crying with me—
in Alabama, Wyoming, Maine,
in living rooms and Laundromats and bars,
college dorm rooms and cars, women
wishing their dead grandmothers
alive, women reliving sixth grade
career fairs, women with
daughters asleep in their beds.

Melissa Fite Johnson received her Master’s in English literature from Pittsburgh State University in Kansas. Her first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015) won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, The New Verse News, velvet-tail, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas. For more, visit melissafitejohnson.com.

Guest Editor Tyler Robert Sheldon is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of First Breaths of Arrival (Oil Hill Press, 2016), and Traumas (Yellow Flag Press, 2017). His poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in such venues as Quiddity International Literary Journal, The Midwest Quarterly, Coal City Review, The Prairie Journal of Canadian Literature, The Dos Passos Review, Entropy Magazine, and others. He earned his MA in English at Emporia State University, and is now an MFA candidate at McNeese State University. View his work at tyrsheldon.wixsite.com/trspoetry.

Twenty by by Megan Kaminski

MKaminskiSI drove spikes into frozen ground

splitting root-flesh tender tossed

white-ward knit drawl-colored

a cap for the baby while daddy

day-dreams climes further north

sulfured trousers drift seaboard

desert-wrecked sun-soaked

cow-toed Kansas will lie

in the center of things

the sun dripping wet and cool

true that the sun

sets westward either it does

or does not it leaves tongues

bitter-coated all the same

the afternoon is clanging heavy

if the pine gets fell we’ll

have stone grits for dinner

fat-back soaked green cow

come down-river Thursdays

but what of knitting and snow

and deeper roots truculent clouds

impinge upon our expanse of

hill squawk endlessly as we aim

westward brush dirt burlap soft

cold sprouts dreaming us home

~ Megan Kaminski

(originally published in the South Dakota Review)

Megan Kaminski is the author of two books of poetry, Deep City (Noemi Press 2015) and Desiring Map (Coconut Books 2012), and nine chapbooks. She teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Kansas and curates the Taproom Poetry Series in downtown Lawrence.

Tyler Sheldon earned his MA in English at Emporia State University, where he taught English Composition and received the 2016 Charles E. Walton Graduate Essay Award. His poems and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Coal City Review, The Dos Passos Review, Flint Hills Review, I-70 Review, Quiddity International Literary Journal, Thorny Locust, and other journals. Sheldon is a two-time AWP Intro Journals Award nominee, and has appeared on Kansas Public Radio.

untitled by by Xánath Caraza

XanLlueve en el fosforescente verde matutino

Descubro entre la cibernética tinta negra

Entre un desconocido norte que es mi sur

Palabras entretejidas con miedos

Sentimientos disfrazados de distancia

Muros metálicos dividen dos países

Dos corazones, madres e hijos

Padres y hermanos, pasado y presente

¿Qué nos hace diferentes?

Somos manos que escriben, que trabajan

Limpian y guían en la oscuridad más grande

¿Qué es una frontera? Límites creados

Culturas forzadas a darse la espalda

Llueve en el fosforescente verde matutino

Descubro entre la tinta negra de esta

Pantalla de luz artificial los hombres

Y mujeres sin nombre que apenas

Dejan rastro de su existencia en

Los desiertos. Anónimos seres

Que nunca serán reclamados

Esperan las madres orgullosas a los

Hijos e hijas tragados por la flamígera

Arena del desierto. Rojo atardecer llena

Mi pantalla y la tinta negra empieza a

Sangrar.

 

It’s raining in the phosphorescent greenness of daybreak

I discover in the cybernetic black ink

In an unknown north that is my south

Words interwoven with fears

Emotions disguised as distance

Metallic walls dividing two nations

Two hearts, mothers and children

Fathers and siblings, past and present

What makes us different?

We are hands that write, that work

Cleaning and guiding in the darkest dark

What is a border? Created limits

Cultures forced to turn their back

It’s raining in the phosphorescent greenness of daybreak

I discover in the black ink of this

Screen of artificial light nameless

Men and women who barely

Leave a trace of their existence in

The deserts. Anonymous beings

Who will never be claimed

Proud mothers awaiting

Sons and daughters swallowed by the scorching

Desert sand. Red twilight fills

My screen and the black ink begins to

Bleed.

~ by Xánath Caraza

Translated by Sandra Kingery

Xánath Caraza teaches at the University of Missouri Kansas City and presents readings and workshops in Europe, Latin America, and the U.S. Her most recent book is Ocelocíhuatl. Her book of poetry, Sílabas de viento / Syllables of Wind received the 2015 International Book Award for Poetry. It also received Honorable Mention for Best Book of Poetry in Spanish in the 2015 International Latino Book Awards. Her book of verse Conjuro and book of short fiction Lo que trae la marea / What the Tide Brings have won national and international recognition. Caraza is a writer for La Bloga and she writes the “US Latino Poets en español” column.

Sandra Kingery, Professor of Spanish at Lycoming College, has translated Ana María Moix, René Vázquez Díaz, Liliana Colanzi, Federico Guzmán Rubio, and Kepa Murua.

 

Tyler Sheldon earned his MA in English at Emporia State University, where he taught English Composition and received the 2016 Charles E. Walton Graduate Essay Award. His poems and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Coal City Review, The Dos Passos Review, Flint Hills Review, I-70 Review, Quiddity International Literary Journal, Thorny Locust, and other journals. Sheldon is a two-time AWP Intro Journals Award nominee, and has appeared on Kansas Public Radio.

 

Ideas/Gardens by Thomas Fox Averill

averill-tomLongwood Botanical Garden, Pennsylvania:

The Idea Garden demonstrates plants and plantings,

juxtapositions and designs, for home gardeners.

 

Every Botanical Garden is an Idea Garden,

every gardener a home gardener.

 

Nature, expressing itself, element

by element, is an Idea Garden.

 

Live near a Botanical Garden: your neighborhood

will lean toward it, as though a plant learning the sun.

 

Plants, design features, walls, fountains, plantings,

will escape the garden walls and sneak into nearby yards.

 

The Botanical Garden, swept and manicured:

such Godliness promotes cleanliness for blocks and blocks.

 

Your clean neighborhood will make a nice entryway

to that destination, the Botanical Garden.

 

Take a cutting from, find a seed in, the Botanical Garden:

so planted, your neighborhood will be a Botanical Garden.

 

The seeds in your boot treads will take root as you visit

the Botanical Garden, which will then become your neighborhood.

 

The butterfly in your bush, the bird in your redbud,

fly into the Botanical Garden without boundaries.

 

Colorful wings flutter, birdsong warbles,

humming wings nudge their way into any flower.

 

The Botanical Garden, your neighborhood, earth

and sky, are one place. Nature is one place.

 

All Ideas welcomed into this garden.

~ Thomas Fox Averill

An O. Henry Award story writer, Thomas Fox Averill is Writer-in-Residence at Washburn University of Topeka, KS. His novel, rode, published by the University of New Mexico Press, was named Outstanding Western Novel of 2011 as part of the Western Heritage Awards. His recent work, “Garden Plots,” consists of poems, meditations, and short-short stories about gardens, gardeners, garden design, plants, and the human relationship to nature.  His most recent novel is A Carol Dickens Christmas, which won the Byron Caldwell Smith Award from the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas, and was named a Kansas Notable Book in 2015.

Tyler Sheldon earned his MA in English at Emporia State University, where he taught English Composition and received the 2016 Charles E. Walton Graduate Essay Award. His poems and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Coal City Review, The Dos Passos Review, Flint Hills Review, I-70 Review, Quiddity International Literary Journal, Thorny Locust, and other journals. Sheldon is a two-time AWP Intro Journals Award nominee, and has appeared on Kansas Public Radio.

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