Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Annette Hope Billings’

A View From Mississippi — By Emory Jones

They say we are a crude

Land of redneck bigots,

Good old boys in sheets

Burning crosses

After Saturday night

Coon hunts

 

Well, maybe so—

 

While Detroit rumbled

And Watts exploded,

Our white citizens councilled,

Killed and burned.

 

But then there are

The silver-tongued

Among us—

William Alexander Percy,

Stark Young, William Faulkner,

Eudora Welty,

Tennessee Williams, Shelby Foote,

Richard Wright, James Street,

Margaret Walker Alexander,

Ma Rainy, Muddy Waters,

Son Thomas, B. B. King,

Elvis Presley, Tammy Wynette,

Leontine Price, Walter Anderson—

A wealth of art produced in no other state.

 

Yes, we are bad,

We are sinners,

But sometimes

We are sublime.

~ Emory Jones

Won honorable mention in MPS 2014 Award of the Mississippi Poetry Society 2014 Spring Festival Poetry Competition

Dr. Emory D. Jones is a retired English teacher who has taught in Cherokee Vocational High School in Cherokee, Alabama, for one year, Northeast Alabama State Junior College for four years, Snead State Junior College in Alabama for three years, and Northeast Mississippi Community College for thirty-five years. He joined the Mississippi Poetry Society, Inc. in 1981 and has served as President of this society. He has over two hundred and thirty-five publishing credits including publication in such journals as Voices International, The White Rock Review, Free Xpressions Magazine, The Storyteller, Modern Poetry Quarterly Review, Gravel, Pasques Petals, The Pink Chameleon, and Encore: Journal of the NFSPS.  He is retired and lives in Iuka, Mississippi, with his wife, Glenda.  He has two daughters and four grandchildren.

Guest editor Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning poet known for the impact of her audible presentations of work. In 2016 she brought her registered nursing career to an early end to fully pursue her passion for writing. She is happily working on her fourth collection of poetry. Billings’ work can also be found in a variety of anthologies as well as in print and online journals. Please visit her website and/or Facebook page for further information.

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Time to Cry — By Ravell Rogers II

When was the last time that you cried?”

I asked my father through the phone.

 

He was silent at first.

 

Never before had I questioned his sensitivity

nor was there a sign of weakness in my childhood

when I watched him closely.

 

His face was always grim

or his head down with his 9 to 5

nonstop.

 

No,

My father only smiles at progress:

when our dark green lawn gets mowed,

the creme tiles of our kitchen floor installed,

those living room walls painted a thick coat of maroon,

and the smell of rubber excites him so

when he replaces tire after tire,

 

after tire.

 

His duties within the family were clear to him:

be a handyman around the house and

 

Do.

 

Not.

 

Cry.

 

Though I have witnessed my mother cry,

and on many different occasions,

I have never seen my father weep.

 

The year you were born,

my best friend died,”

his voice was like that of a child.

This cell phone conveniently acting as a safeguard

sheltering his facial expressions from me.

Yeah,

I shed a few tears for Moka,

after he was shot.

 

We used to run the streets together

when we had no guidance as kids.

We would get into trouble and out

together.

Moka was like a brother to me.”

 

He rushed off of the phone

I have to get back to work,” he said.

 

My father was the rock of our family

working his 9 to 5 tirelessly.

 

He was Young Vell in the streets

where drug dealers and gangbangers took him in

when his father was in the military

and his mother was being beaten down

by words and hands of a stepfather

who despised the presence of a child not his own.

 

My father became a rock

when he sold rocks

on the corner of Prospect

in the city of Kansas City

where he fought niggas

because of his light skin

and it didn’t matter

since they all went to jail

or got shot like Moka.

 

My father ran from police

he served his time in jail

and then created two kids

or maybe even three

paying his child support

on time

marrying my mother

and keeping his 9 to 5

 

His duties within the family were clear to him.

 

He hadn’t had the pleasures of weeping since 1996

the year that his best friend died,

the year that I was born.

 

and in his mind,

he didn’t have time to cry.

~ Ralvell Rogers II

 

*”Time to Cry” was previously published by literary magazine Tittynope Zine in 2016*

Ralvell Rogers II is an ambitious storyteller from Kansas City, Missouri, who focuses on realistic fiction and reflective poetry. Before graduating with his BA in English at Emporia State University, Rogers was the first student-recipient of the Presidential Award for Distinguished Service to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in 2018. Currently, Ralvell lives in Arlington, Virginia with his fiance.

Guest editor Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning poet known for the impact of her audible presentations of work. In 2016 she brought her registered nursing career to an early end to fully pursue her passion for writing. She is happily working on her fourth collection of poetry. Billings’ work can also be found in a variety of anthologies as well as in print and online journals. Please visit her website and/or Facebook page for further information.

Standing on the Rock — Tim Pettet

(For the Water Protectors)

O! Poet, the clouds you love to watch

carry our passion, our pain.

If you listen, you can hear the whisper

behind the scenery of the evening news.

 

Bless our innocence by knowing

we are innocent by knowing

this water is our home, this sky,

our house of prayer where you

 

are welcome. Come in.

Shed your shoes and feel

the wisdom-dance of our path—

river of water, river of clouds, river of tears.

 

When you leave, don’t forget your hat.

It’s going to rain.

~ Tim Pettet

 

Timothy Pettet published his first poem in The Third Eye, a mimeographed journal published on and around the University of Puget Sound by anti-war hippies and “peaceniks.” Over the years, he has published his poems in various journals and publications. He is currently celebrating his first actual book of poems. Titled Accidental Dancer, the book sports a cover painted by his wife, Mary Pettet and is published by Flint Hills Publications. You can find out more at: Timothypettet.com/accidentaldancer.

 

Guest Editor Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning author and actress whose dynamic style of reciting has led fans to dub her “Maya of the Midwest!” Her first book of poetry, A Net Full of Hope (2015), garnered the 2015 ARTSConnect ARTY Award in Literature in Topeka, Kansas. Descants for a Daughter followed in 2016 and serves as a collection of affirmations from a parent’s heart. Billings most recent publication is Just Shy of Stars (Spartan Press, 2018). Her poetry and short stories also appears in the following anthologies: Gimme Your Lunch Money: Heartland Poets Respond to Bullying (2016), Twisting Topeka (2016), Our Last Walk: Using Poetry for Grieving and Remembering Our Pets (2016), and Kansas Time + Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Balkans Press, 2017) and Revealed (2017). Billings’ poetry can also be found in both online and print publications including Inscape/Washburn University, Coal City Press, Microburst and Konza Magazine.

Apologia for Being Standoffish Sometimes — Katelyn Roth

The Youth Group held a seminar on

Hugging While Female. The leaders were men

and women; attendants, only girls. The boys

played basketball in the other half of the gym;

We learned to prevent chest-to-chest contact

with a well-placed hand at chest level.

 

I used to hug my young uncles

at annual family barbeques. Their arms

would loop loosely around my kidbody,

one hand maybe patting my back.

 

When I scuttle in sideways like a crab,

they are confused. Their loose arms reach further

to hold me long-ways. I rest my obedient hand

on their chest as I’ve been told, only it feels

so close, so lingering, so intimate, so

I back away instead, turn to hug my aunts.

~ Katelyn Roth

Katelyn Roth holds degrees in English and Psychology and will be defending her Master’s thesis in Poetry this spring. She lives in Pittsburg, KS with her husband and two dogs. Her work has previously appeared on line and in Silver Birch Press and at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance and Solidarity.

Guest Editor Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning author and actress whose dynamic style of reciting has led fans to dub her “Maya of the Midwest!” Her first book of poetry, A Net Full of Hope (2015), garnered the 2015 ARTSConnect ARTY Award in Literature in Topeka, Kansas. Descants for a Daughter followed in 2016 and serves as a collection of affirmations from a parent’s heart. Billings most recent publication is Just Shy of Stars (Spartan Press, 2018). Her poetry and short stories also appears in the following anthologies: Gimme Your Lunch Money: Heartland Poets Respond to Bullying (2016), Twisting Topeka (2016), Our Last Walk: Using Poetry for Grieving and Remembering Our Pets (2016), and Kansas Time + Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Balkans Press, 2017) and Revealed (2017). Billings’ poetry can also be found in both online and print publications including Inscape/Washburn University, Coal City Press, Microburst and Konza Magazine.

The Greater Mercy — Emory Jones

Suddenly, she screamed and sobbed —

I ran to her,

And, looking over her shoulder,

I saw the little bird

Lying on the concrete

Its wing broken from

Flying full force

into my rough brick wall.

 

Gently, I told my Baby

To hurry inside.

 

I got my shovel,

Scooped the quivering little body,

And took it to the ditch—

 

One quick jab and the job was done.

But how could I explain to her

That this was the greater mercy?

~ Emory Jones

Dr. Emory D. Jones is a retired English teacher who has taught in Cherokee Vocational High School in Cherokee, Alabama, for one year, Northeast Alabama State Junior College for four years, Snead State Junior College in Alabama for three years, and Northeast Mississippi Community College for thirty-five years. He joined the Mississippi Poetry Society, Inc. in 1981 and has served as President of this society. He has over two hundred and thirty-five publishing credits including publication in such journals as Voices International, The White Rock Review, Free Xpressions Magazine, The Storyteller, Modern Poetry Quarterly Review, Gravel, Pasques Petals, The Pink Chameleon, and Encore: Journal of the NFSPS. He is retired and lives in Iuka, Mississippi, with his wife, Glenda. He has two daughters and four grandchildren.

 

Guest Editor Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning author and actress whose dynamic style of reciting has led fans to dub her “Maya of the Midwest!” Her first book of poetry, A Net Full of Hope (2015), garnered the 2015 ARTSConnect ARTY Award in Literature in Topeka, Kansas. Descants for a Daughter followed in 2016 and serves as a collection of affirmations from a parent’s heart. Billings most recent publication is Just Shy of Stars (Spartan Press, 2018). Her poetry and short stories also appears in the following anthologies: Gimme Your Lunch Money: Heartland Poets Respond to Bullying (2016), Twisting Topeka (2016), Our Last Walk: Using Poetry for Grieving and Remembering Our Pets (2016), and Kansas Time + Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Balkans Press, 2017) and Revealed (2017). Billings’ poetry can also be found in both online and print publications including Inscape/Washburn University, Coal City Press, Microburst and Konza Magazine.

Spill — by Annette Hope Billings

A near-perfect carry technique

results in safe transport

of coffee from barista to table.

No slosh as hot liquid sways

in tandem with a measured gait.

 

Don’t look at it and it won’t spill.

 

Saucer-cup ensemble is slid slowly

onto a table’s solid surface

with careful consideration

to not waste such vital fluid,

to keep each drop its rightful side of wall.

 

Don’t look at it and it won’t spill.

 

Black ink on morning newspaper,

printed proof of latest violence

this time on foreign ground,

to soak up life spilled

from arteries to exsanguination.

 

Don’t look at it and it won’t spill.

 

Vision clouds at lists of victims

until eyes avert to waiting coffee—

lifeless now, cooled to tepid.

It and headlines are pushed aside

neither valid when left to grow cold.

 

Don’t look at it and it won’t spill.

~ Annette Hope Billings

Annette Hope Billings is an author and actress known for her spoken delivery. She has received a Renna Hunter Award for theater and an ARTSConnect ARTY Award in Literature (2015) Billings’ published works include A Net Full of Hope (2015), a collection of poems and Descants for a Daughter (2016), a collection of inspirations. Her poetry and short stories are included in a number of publications and anthologies. For additional information and performance videos, visit website: http://anetfullofhope.com/

Guest editor 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).

Blueberries — By Annette Hope Billings

Awash in deep color,

settled in ceramic bowl,

they lay full ripe and succulent,

skins pressed against glazed sides of dish.

Ready to burst open, spill,

with slightest provocation,

to imbrue fingers, color mouths

of those who adore dark berries.

 

Content to wear midnight blue,

they consider themselves radiant,

and insist they are a hue

to which even blatant red must bow.

 

Not inclined to sweetness,

they revel in approaching tart,

and only when they fancy,

give consent to be plucked,

juiced, blended, crushed—

to allow their contents to be spread.

 

Opulent indigo orbs,

gathered to sate desire.

While anxious hordes

in crisp business whites,

give generous berth,

I scoop great handfuls,

eat, eager to be entirely stained.

~ Annette Hope Billings

Annette Hope Billings is an poet/actress/playwright, who has written two poetry collections. In 2015, she stepped away from four decades of nursing to writing full-time. Her most recent collection of poetry, A Net Full of Hope, was published last year, garnering her a readers’-proposed title of “Maya of the Midwest.”

Izzy Wasserstein is a Lecturer in English at Washburn University. Izzy is the author of the poetry collection This Ecstasy They Call Damnation, and has published in Crab Orchard Review, Flint Hills Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Izzy shares a home with Nora E. Derrington, a cat, and three dogs, and believes in the power of resistance.

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