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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 13: May 2022
Photo-poem: 80 words [R]
Author’s Note: 92 words [R]
Poem by Robert L. Dean, Jr. and
Visual Art by Skyler Lovelace

Piatt Street, 1965

 

Piatt Street, 1965: Collaborative Photo-Poem by Skyler Lovelace and Robert L. Dean, Jr.
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Mixed-media collage by Skyler Lovelace (2017), inspired by
the poem “Piatt Street, 1965” by Robert L. Dean, Jr.

Collaborative photo-poem copyrighted © 2017 by Lovelace and Dean.
All rights reserved.

—Previously published in 2017 by River City Poetry for their Wichita Broadside Project, which features “dynamic collaborations between Wichita Poets and Artists.” Artwork appears here with permissions from both the artist and the poet.



Piatt Street, 1965*

Hell that winter 
fell in black and white 
singed our Sylvanias 
smudged our special editions 
white jet fuel tongues licked 
black smoke streets where 
no one we knew ever ventured just a 
mile two miles over we heard the boom 
tires houses families we’d never 
Hey There 
cindered 
Oh the Negroes Oh my father wept 
two months later Bloody Sunday 
someone else’s families Oh my father said 
in black and white turning off the set 
the Negroes 


Author’s Note:

At 9:31 AM on Saturday morning, January 16, 1965, a KC-135 Stratotanker crashed into a predominately African-American neighborhood at Piatt & 20th Street in Wichita, Kansas. All seven crew members and 23 people on the ground were killed, with an additional 27 people injured and 15 houses destroyed. On Sunday, March 7, 1965, six hundred Civil Rights marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, only to be beaten by State troopers, sheriff’s deputies, and posse men. At least 17 marchers were hospitalized and 40 others injured.


—Poem and author’s note were published in Dean’s collection of poems At the Lake with Heisenberg (Spartan Press, 2018); both appear here with his permission.


*Publisher’s Notes:

1. Text of Dean’s poem from the collaborative artwork is also included here, with the goal of improving accessibility for visually impaired folks. Screen readers and other assistive technologies often cannot decipher text which appears inside an image like the artwork above. This is why I typically “repeat” in MacQ the text of poems below the haiga or other artworks within which they appear.

2. Journalist Jim Grawe describes what “still ranks as the worst air disaster in Kansas history” in his article “Wichita Airplane Crash 1965” at Kansapedia: Kansas Historical Society (January 2015; updated July 2017); link retrieved on 12 May 2022:
https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/wichita-airplane-crash-1965/19104

 

Skyler Lovelace
Issue 13, May 2022

is an artist in Wichita, Kansas who works in paints, pixels, and words. The midwestern landscape and wildlife, including bison, are frequent subjects in her work. Her literary work has been published in Poetry Magazine, Cutbank, and River City Poetry. Her photographs and paintings have appeared in The Georgia Review, Essay Daily, and KYSO Flash.

An expanded bio and her portfolio are available at:
https://pixeltime.com/

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

The Mystery of Disappearing Bees, photo-poem with visual art by Skyler Lovelace and poetry by Roy J. Beckemeyer, reprinted in KYSO Flash (Summer 2019) from River City Poetry and the Wichita Broadside Project 2017.

Flint Hills Night Burn, an acrylic painting by Skyler Lovelace in KYSO Flash (Issue 11, Spring 2019).

Robert L. Dean, Jr.
Issue 13, May 2022

is the author of two full-length books: The Aerialist Will Not Be Performing, ekphrastic poems and short fictions after the art of Steven Schroeder (Turning Plow Press, 2020), and a poetry collection, At the Lake with Heisenberg (Spartan Press, 2018). His chapbook, Pulp, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in July 2022.

Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2019 and multiple times for Best of the Net, his work has appeared in Chiron Review; Flint Hills Review; Heartland! Poetry of Love, Resistance & Solidarity; I-70 Review; Illya’s Honey; KYSO Flash; MacQueen’s Quinterly; MockingHeart Review; October Hill Magazine; Red River Review; River City Poetry; Sheila-Na-Gig online; Shot Glass; The Ekphrastic Review; Thorny Locust; and the Wichita Broadside Project.

A native Kansan, Dean studied music composition with Dr. Walter Mays at Wichita State University before going on the road as a bass player, conductor, and arranger; he was a professional musician for 30 years, playing with acts such as Jesse Lopez, Bo Didley, Frank Sinatra Jr., Vic Damone, Jim Stafford, Kenny Rankin, B. W. Stevenson, and the Dallas Jazz Orchestra. And he put in a stint with the house band at the Fairmont Hotel Venetian Room in Dallas. While living in Dallas, he also worked 20 years for The Dallas Morning News and made the transition from music to writing before moving back to Kansas in 2007.

Dean is a member of the Kansas Authors Club and The Writers Place, and the event coordinator for Epistrophy: An Afternoon of Poetry and Improvised Music, held annually in Wichita, Kansas. He lives in Augusta, Kansas, along with a universe of books, CDs, LPs, an electric bass, and a couple dozen hats. In his spare time, he practices the time-honored art of hermitry.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Hopper and Dean: Interview and poems in River City Poetry (Fall 2017).

Metal Man, ekphrastic poem inspired by a 1955 photograph of Dean’s paternal grandfather in the Boeing machine shop; published in The Ekphrastic Review (28 July 2018) and nominated for Best of the Net.

Two of Dean’s ekphrastic works in MacQueen’s Quinterly (Issue 5, October 2020): Impression, CNF after Berthe Morisot’s painting Woman and Child on a Balcony; and Eyes on You, a poem after Aurore Uwase Munyabera’s painting Conflict Resolution

Windmill, ekphrastic poem inspired by Dean’s maternal grandfather; published in KYSO Flash (Issue 11, Spring 2019) and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. This poem is among half-a-dozen of Dean’s ekphrastic works published in KYSO Flash (Issues 11 and 12).

Llama, 1957, ekphrastic haibun inspired by Inge Morath’s photograph A Llama in Times Square; published in The Ekphrastic Review (13 January 2018).

 
 
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