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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Meadowlark Reader: Three by Roy Beckemeyer

Each Wednesday we will share an excerpt from a Meadowlark book. Sign up at Feed Burner to receive Meadowlark updates by email. 

Meadowlark- September 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1732241039
Winner of the Nelson Poetry Book Award,
by Kansas Authors Club - 2019


When Is It Summer in Kansas?

When the wind sends your words back
into your throat as you speak them.

When the sun banks its heat up
under your hat brim, and the cool
of morning is lost in months past.

When robins thirst thirteen ways
for water, and the first cicada
rasps at the heat before noon.

When leaves curl and click rather
than brush against one another
in the breeze, and turtles scratch
at parched earth for moisture.

When heat wavers above roads
in spasms, and farmers disk
spindly wheat back into dusty ground.

When foxes dig their dens
a little deeper, and earthworms
are nowhere to be found.

When storm clouds say with lightning
what they refuse to speak with rain.

Stage Whispers
Copyright © 2018 Roy J. Beckemeyer


  A Golden Shovel Poem after
  Gwendolyn Brooks’ “We Real Cool”

There was no such thing as spare change. We
didn’t ask for pennies for candy. We really
did know the score. If we wanted heat on cool
mornings we needed to bank the fire at night. We
ate what was on our plates; there were no left-
overs. We walked through snow and rain to school.
Arrived on time, mostly, although some days we
dawdled—especially me. I would find a way to lurk
out of site, in an alley, and then get to school late.
Sometimes I look back and wonder how it is we
poor kids made it through. We were strike-
out kings, I suppose. We seemed set to go straight
from school to work for ASARCO. But dad fixed that. We
went together to the smelter. His friends would sing
out “Hey, Pal!” I thought he had it all. “It would be a sin,”
he said, “for you to work here. Look at us. We
break our backs shoveling coal. Paycheck too damn thin
to pay our bills. Might as well rub a lamp, expect a Jinn
to grant our wishes. You need school. Your mom and I, we
want more for you.” He liked country music, so I chose jazz.
I didn’t know that he would be gone, that year, by June.
The leukemia took him quickly. It seems now that we
barely had a father. He was too damned young to die.
You think you have a world of time, but it ends so soon.

Stage Whispers
Copyright © 2018 Roy J. Beckemeyer

God rode by

on his bicycle today.
It was painted red, a rich shade,
redolent of Baroque oils,
reminiscent of the candle-
lit cloth of de la Tour’s
Penitent Magdalene.

“Nice paint job!” I called.
“Thanks!” He yelled back.
“Can’t stop now.
Maybe later.”

He turned, noticed
the pothole in the road,
swerved around it with
a certain grace
I could only describe
as Divine.

Stage Whispers
Copyright © 2018 Roy J. Beckemeyer

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