|Issue 12:||March 2022|
Every noun is a stump with its roots showing...
—Derek Walcott, from The Prodigal
I scan Merriam-Webster, find: “...from Latin gravare to burden, oppress, from gravis heavy, grave... First Known Use: 13th century,” and wonder in what hard scrabble root ball, below what scorched field’s sun-blasted, fire-blackened, dead trunk the antecedents of this word “grieve” sucked enough moisture to wither some other father’s soul as mourners assembled to give mouth to a loss they could not imagine, but had come to shoulder, to carry away some small share. They, too, would have gathered to envelop one another with arms and hands, with doldrums of words. “Aye,” they would have mumbled, “grave is thy burden, and we and thee much oppressed,” or “We cannot know the weight of thy load, but may we take a small portion from your bent and aching back to our own?” Or they might, tongue-tied, mute, have simply embraced the heave and spasm of the one among them engulfed in this black storm’s surge and gust, held on, dug their feet into the sodden earth, tried to keep the crumbling clods and clogging clumps from burying him, burying them all, in whatever words they had for it: this grave, this gravitas, this grief.
Note: Epigraph is from Section 11:1 of Derek Walcott’s book-length poem The Prodigal (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004).
latest poetry collection is Mouth Brimming Over (Blue Cedar Press, 2019). Stage Whispers (Meadowlark Books, 2018) won the 2019 Nelson Poetry Book Award. Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) comprises ekphrastic poems inspired by modern artists’ depictions of angels. His first book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014), was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He recently co-edited (with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg) Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, 2017). His poetry has been nominated for Pushcart (2015 and 2020) and Best of the Net (2018) awards, and was selected for The Best Small Fictions 2019.
Beckemeyer serves on the editorial boards of Konza Journal and River City Poetry. A retired engineer and scientific journal editor, he is also a nature photographer who, in his spare time, researches the mechanics of insect flight and the Paleozoic insect fauna of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Alabama. He lives in Wichita, Kansas, where he and his wife recently celebrated their 60th anniversary.
Please visit author’s website for more information about his books, as well as links to interviews and readings (scroll down his About page for the link-list).
⚡ The Color of Blessings in MacQ (Issue 5, October 2020)
⚡ Featured Artist in KYSO Flash (Issue 12, Summer 2019); showcasing Beckemeyer’s poetry, prose poetry, and insect photography
⚡ Words for Snow, a prose poem in KYSO Flash (Issue 9, Spring 2018), which was selected for reprinting in The Best Small Fictions 2019
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