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This One's For Me

Ellen Lutnick

 

Consider the inside of your brain a forest. Every day you plant a new row of trees. You're growing, see?


You're busy gathering, so busy planting, and you love it, but it's dirty work. You go to bed every night with a sore back, swollen knees. It's hard work but you love it. It's your brain, after all, the home you're stuck with.


One day you step back to survey the forest. You expect all your hard work to make straight lines and strong branches and growth worth celebrating, but instead there is catastrophe. There are only misshapen twisted trunks growing sideways instead of up, leaf-less branches that can't find the sun, and rot that runs down to the roots.


So you set the whole thing on fire and start over.

Don't Lose Your Head

Jeanette Powers


 

I was standing

(You were there)

Then I fell down

there was no reason

to have fallen

except there was

a snap

I broke my leg

I was standing

then I fell

no one could fathom

how taking one step

could shatter me into pieces

(don't lose your head

it is ok if you die)

the doctor said I would break

bones the rest of my life

17 so far

I might never forgive

a broken promise

(my mother said:

You never did know

when to shut your mouth”)

Like father

like daughter

my aunt told me

he killed himself

to spite me

My Father was both

David and Goliath

books

Trail Her Trash

Lola Nation


I call her my love, my angel,

 my Kansas City star,
she tells me she can’t get dressed today,

her crown broke then she changes

her dress twice
to get that perfect twirl

when spinning around
hair in wispy pig tails,
insisting on my violet perfume
to make her just perfectly ready.
She sits on my lap and she knows,
today she goes back home,
she holds her locket with my picture
in the silver hollow hue,
and says whenever I open this
you are telling me that you love me,

and then she cries when I suggest

clasping the heart,

I don’t want you to stop loving me.

Those Who Favor Fire, Those Who Pray to Fire

Ben Brindise + Justin Karcher


 

The book you'll soon be holding is a charred reminder of who you used to be, when you’d connect the stars in the night sky with your toxic fingers, hazily charting your life path with shitty decisions and hashtag hallelujahs, tracing your chalk outline on a full cold moon, when you’d take some dead man’s grill lighter and burn holes in the only people who love you.


It's a bombed out church where the only people praying look like mounds of oil-slicked snow, where they smell like rotten tacos on a boozy Saturday night, a sacred place where prayer sounds like a first-generation iPod screaming back to life and all we’re trying to do is push through the constant smoke, a chain gang of dirty souls in Purgatory still striving to do better.

Ginger Roots Are Best Taken Orally

Tom Farris + Victor Clevenger


These poems travel from the dark places the poets have been, to the love of some of the many people who’ve got them out of them. They dance across the spine of the book spanning a correspondence between the two poets.  It reminds us all to put the pungent and sweet things in life where we can appreciate them, our mouths. 

beautiful earthworms & abominable stars

Jeanette Powers + Ezhno Martin



Earthworms & Stars was the first book in Spartan Press's POP Poetry Series, which put out one book of poetry EVERY month for 36 consecutive months by Kansas City locals and regional friends.  Jeanette Powers was co-conspirator for the project as well as first release.  her feral poetry is sweet as the dried possum blood on your dogs face. she currently writing novels in the wilderness.


Beautiful & Abominable was the 4th book in the POP Poetry Series, and Ezhno's first taste of book-selling.  as taste's often do, this quickly led to addiction, and EMP was created as a chapbook press stop-gap quasi-suboxone fidget-spinner for tales of duende.  Ezhno's poetry is both poignant and patently offensive with a soft wood rotting and fermenting underbelly of love and loyalty.  as Editor In Chief of EMP, Ezhno's dream is to live in a van that settles down by the side of a different river every night. 


Jason Ryberg's Spartan Press births more books than an Irish Catholic family, and this is in no small part due to Jason's legendary virility. 


the love poems contained are but a few of thousands written between fanning him with palm fronds. 

more poems about purple wizards and neon-bright exceptionalisms

Jason Preu



join Jason for an adventurous and spell-binding romp through the world of purple wizards and neon-bright exceptionalisms. this book bends traditional design, including drawings, lined paper, appendices, and more unique surprises. Preu brings a light-heart and joyous nature to both playful and serious poems.  

a banner year

Iris Appelquist 



This small and incisive selection of new works is Iris's fourth book of poems and assays the experience of a modern woman through the lenses of mother and daughterhood. The poems are wry, ascerbic, and full of the signature existentialist humor of the author. 

read more (books)

the former lives of saints

Ezhno Martin + Damian Rucci



Damian and Ezhno live across the country from each other and both work dead end night jobs. every morning, they stare at the same rising sun and contemplate martyrdom for causes they haven’t found yet. they almost – but not quite – want to switch places. Ezhno is from New York, but is stuck in Kansas City, and craves the chaos that mirrors sanity. Damian has never been able to escape New Jersey, but has his sights set on Kansas City and bills he can afford to pay. they are lost souls who have lost most of what they’ve ever loved – this has pushed Ezhno into lunacy. they want to find purity like they think they used to have. they want to find a home that feels like it. They want to find a way to make the past stop kneeing them in the groin. they probably won’t find it, but they’re looking.  all that’s for certain is that you’ve found them. it’s very important to Damian that you remember his name. 


needle // shards

Jeremiah Walton + Christopher Morgan



a slick sharp poetry split with enough punk rock swagger to make Puma Pearl proud, and sufficiently sweet to have even Elvis swooning. two sides of a coin mixing fatalism and fantasy with the fantastic and defective. 

what sits between my veins

Samantha Slupski



'what sits between my veins’ is a look into the most broken parts of Samantha Slupski, but it is also how she is mending those broken parts. Samantha has always struggled with feelings of abandonment and loneliness, and writing this book was a way to be okay with existing and holding all of that pain. along with her own healing, she recognizes that we all have emotions that are real and valid. she hopes her book is a tool for people to recognize that they are in no way alone in this world, and that although existing can be hard, there is someone also going through that pain who is existing alongside them. she wants this book to be a reminder that no one is alone. and existing is okay and necessary. 

homeless, not invisible

Sharon Rodriguez


Sharon highlights and exposes the homeless problem in affluent American suburbs by photographing and interviewing displaced individuals in her hometown of Olathe, Kansas, a wealthy suburb of Kansas City. this riveting book includes hand-written essays by Rodriguez which recount the stories told by her subjects. this two year project began as part of Rodriguez' ongoing artistic interest in marginalized communities and has been featured as part of the Johnson County Library sequence "Bear Witness" which explores art as activism. her exhibition was entitled "Shining the Light on the Homeless of Johnson County." this book is the culmination of that gallery exhibit.