we can look through the holiday photos to remember
how exaggerated we made our smiles how the words
in carols about peace and love are easy to remember
sing on cue by the teacher or there’s another detention
stay silent through the night or you’ll get something
to cry about yes we have faced Trumps in our lives
faced the shouting as we shut down like tree lights
we know the pine needles know the break of ornaments
so if you think it isn’t in the holiday spirit to decorate
our facebook walls boughs of links against Trump
against pipelines and hate please understand
we’re hopeful for a better new year than imagined
for peace on Earth which means joining choirs
~ Dennis Etzel Jr.
Dennis Etzel Jr. lives with Carrie and the boys in Topeka, Kansas where he teaches English at Washburn University. He has two chapbooks, The Sum of Two Mothers (ELJ Publications 2013) and My Graphic Novel (Kattywompus Press 2015), a poetic memoir My Secret Wars of 1984 (BlazeVOX 2015), and Fast-Food Sonnets (Coal City Review Press 2016). His work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, BlazeVOX, Fact-Simile, 1913: a journal of poetic forms, 3:AM, Tarpaulin Sky, DIAGRAM, and others. Please feel free to connect with him at dennisetzeljr.com.
Guest editor bio: Annette Hope Billings is an author/actor whose published works include a collection of poetry, A Net Full of Hope, and a collection of affirmations, Descants for a Daughter. Her poetry, prose, and short stories have appeared in a number of publications. She resides within the delights of being mother to one, grandmother to two and friend to many in her village of Topeka.