Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘War’

Eating Chicken Cobb Salad with a Stranger . by Katelyn Roth

Panera, noon, forced to share a table. He eats his soup

Katelyn

like he’s mad it’s soup. I never see him drink,

only transport the wide, flat spoon to his mouth with a fist

gripping its neck. He was Air Force—

nothing sissy about it—has driven from Colorado

to see a friend, a woman friend, and needs directions

to her house over by the country club. Got into town

too early. Time to kill.

Why call it cobb salad? No cobbs in it.

Chicken, spry romaine lettuce, withered bacon and

Gorgonzola cheese, tomatoes, a halved hard-boiled egg, avocado

if you ask for it, but no cobbs. No Charlies in My Lai, either.

No way to know, though. They all looked the same.

Went up with a gunner once, shiny new. Barely knew

where the trigger was. Had to tell him which direction to shoot in.

Probably had to tell him how to unzip his own trousers.

Took a bullet straight through his chicken plate, into his chest.

Right side, though. Didn’t have to tell him where to shoot

after that. He’d just shoot at anything.

Wedge salad is a different story. Wedge salad

is honest.

 

Katelyn Roth graduated from Pittsburg State University with degrees in Creative Writing and Psychology. She has been previously published in the campus literary magazine Cow Creek Review. Currently, she resides in Pittsburg with her husband and dog, where she is working on a Masters in Creative Writing at PSU.

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.

Advertisements

Dancing on the Head of a Pin . by Jemshed Khan

In the bang of war

the rifle butt smacks

the sniper’s shoulder:

another bullet swifts

the long dark hollow

of the killing barrel.

 

Minutes after the landing

the Rooster is strutting

The cameras are rolling

Hand shakes all around

Top brass is beaming

and cheering begins.

 

I scarcely fathom the howl

of all this volumed Kevlar―

yet my nation dances

on the bones of the dead

to bend the will of others

to a pin on a map.

 

Jemshed Khan has published poems in such magazines as Number One Magazine, Wittenberg Review, #BlackArtMatters (2016), Read Local (2016), Rigorous (2017), NanoText(Medusa’s Laugh Press, 2017) and the chapbook Paean for Billy Collins (Calliope Club Press, 2017). 

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.

Casualties . by Janet Jenkins-Stotts

A dream left me aching with past tense

longing. An impossible situationjjs2

a long time ago, but dreams have no

calendar. Why wake now, remembering

 

the intensity of his need hidden

behind a triangular smile. Instead,

recall telling him you now understand

your role in his life, as a shield from

 

emotions he can’t unpack. He does not

want to grasp my message, but I see it

flash across his face. War-torn Germany,

a mother selling the only thing she

 

had to feed her son in a city bombed

to dust. His shame? Being the reason for

her shame. How long can a son’s shame remain?

A lifetime, shown in his distrust of all

 

women’s love, shielding his heart behind

the barbed wire of a camp, built years ago.

Reaching out, he grasped my hand, and pulled it

through the shredding wire, wounding us both.

 

I lock him away again in nights’ dream

casket, filled with rue and rosemary.

Stay inside forever, I whisper.

 

No, don’t.

 
Janet Jenkins-Stotts is a late blooming author of both poetry and prose.  She published her first novel “The Orchid Garden” in 2015. Jenkins-Stotts lives in Topeka, Kansas with her husband, Stan and Romeo, their miniature pincher. When not at the computer, composing, you can usually find her at a bridge table.

 

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.

Roseland Cemetery: After the Iraq Wars 1991- by Minnie Bruce Pratt

Knowledge, admonition, lessons. The uses of the dead.

Tongues of grass flick at my booted feet on this old road

furrowed between a rank and file of graves. Stone tongues,

civilian casualties in secret U.S. war reports, entombed.

 

There is no afterlife except our after. Winter ice, the snow

burying the dead grass, the unmarked bodies, a potter’s

field, vessels broken and forgot so close to us. The Army

shoveling millions of words over what really happened.

Some of us with hoe and spade in the wreckage, unburying.

mbp-arrest-dc-80s-jeb

       

Pratt arrested for civil disobedience against U.S. military intervention in Central America, c. 1984.                     Photo credit: Joan E. Biren (JEB)

Minnie Bruce Pratt is a lesbian writer and white anti-racist, anti-imperialist activist, who was educated in the great liberation struggles of the 20th century through grass-roots organizing with women in the army-base town of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and through teaching at historically Black colleges. Her most recent book of poetry is “Inside the Money Machine” (Carolina Wren Press).

 

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.

Tag Cloud