Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Dennis Etzel Jr.’

Great American Nostalgia Train — by Laura Lee Washburn

All the places we grew up have changed.

In California, you can’t get into a restaurant.

Your Virginia Beach is guarded

by four story parking garages,

and your childhood bike is still missing or stolen.

 

Here in Kansas, we aren’t expecting

East and West coast overflows any time soon—

though we have room. If they came,

we would welcome their Grocery offering fresh made sushi,

their deli counter mustards, in-store olive bars,

the good kind of sesame buns, but we go now

 

into our Walstores for a pint or a script,

not noticing the silences and absences,

the way it might appear the benevolent aliens

have finally come and opened a gateway for half

our children and folk to ascend,

leaving us not lonesome not crowded.

 

The abducted folk might have gone through the gateway

into our short pasts, the remembered simple,

rather than our futures. They might have found

egg salad in wax paper and frankfurters turning

on Ferris wheel spits, the lady at the counter

crushing limes into ade and paper straws. I have

a simple list of where America went wrong:

 

We took down the two hundred foot dunes,

dunes taller than forest. We

filled in the swamp and the wetlands for the navy,

believed too hard in plastics, dismantled

the public works, sent the photographers home,

gave the police armored machines. My list

keeps getting longer. America,

 

we took a wrong turn in 1838—no—when Adams

signed the Indian Springs—No, no Monroe,

as long as the grass shall grow, with the big lies,

with tobacco, with the Dutch and the Spanish—

Oh Europe, with your fine cafes, your clotted cream,

your tea, your coffee, pain au chocolate, what,

just what have you done?

~ Laura Lee Washburn

Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review. Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri. She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

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).

Geese — by Ronda Miller

circle around,

fly backwards,

fail to synchronize,

flail and squawk,

eventually fall

away into space,

their instincts

as confused as my own.

 

This year an antichrist

strides, legs long enough

to reach Kansas from D.C.,

or is that New York?

 

Native Americans fight

for clean water rights

the world over, stand

their ground as others

around me shrink and smirk,

shirk family duties.

How do we triage

those we love?

Why can’t we inconvenience

ourselves, downsize our homes,

or simply ask that aged

parent for a loan,

live together as one?

 

I keep faith/presence

with like minded people,

promise myself

to continue the fight,

search the sky for geese,

who by instinct,

know where they’re going,

take flight,

and so do I.

~ Ronda Miller

Ronda Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper late into the sunset and scream into blizzards and thunderstorms. She lives in Lawrence close to her son and daughter. She is a district president and state vice president for Kansas Authors Club. She is a life coach specializing in working with those who have lost someone to homicide. She dances every chance she gets. She has poetry in numerous online and hard copy publications that include the Smithsonian Institute. Two books of poetry include Going Home: Poems from My Life and MoonStain (Meadowlark Books, May 2015).

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).

Returning to this American Gothic — by Laura Madeline Wiseman

I’m on the wrong side. You’ve forgotten your pitchfork. I’m not scowling at you, wearing a dress, or posing as your wife when really I’m your sister. You’re not wearing the bibs you don’t own. You still have all your hair. The trees behind us are not the shape of orbs and the house is one in which we never lived. We buy a magnet. We consider donning costumes. The gardener who is also the photographer who is also the cashier doesn’t mind the humidity, the cicadas’ song, the drone of tractors, or maybe semis, maybe the highway we took to get this picture. I’m looking for Rosanne Barr’s ex-husband who bought a house here once, rode a bicycle on RAGBRAI, any proof of mists that divide, impossible deaths, a possible life. You’re looking at the map in your head, the one you point to in the air showing me where we’re going next. I’m listening, practicing that magic. You’re telling me you’re the hero of this Midwestern American tale. I nod because today you are. Here we stand, side by side in Iowa, fecund and green, no pitchfork between us, just our hands.

~ Laura Madeline Wiseman

From An Apparently Impossible Adventure (BlazeVOX [books] 2016).

Also appeared in California Ekphrasis, January 2016.

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of 25 books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance, selected for the Nebraska 150 Booklist. Her collaborative book Intimates and Fools is a Nebraska Book Award 2015 Honor Book. Her latest book is Velocipede. She teaches at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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).

That December in 2016 — by Dennis Etzel Jr.

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

to sing with those who got pushed to the side

~ 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.

from Film Strips – by Dennis Etzel Jr.

we saw The Lego Movie over two years ago

enough time to forget that President Business

is actually Lord Business whose intent

is to take over the worldauthor-photo-by-Kevin-Rabas.jpg

the fact in this story comes

back to me as if

I am Emmet and know

there is work to do in building

holding onto a piece of resistance

unsure of where to place it

 

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 Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as The New Verse News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

“to the stars through difficulty” by William J. Karnowski

to the stars through difficulty1622856_3847566204678_1093079812_n
we extinguish the piercing porch light
a new line begins: from the stars with ease
looking up we drink in the Milky Way
the distance from Goodland to home
is now more like a brief Sunday cruise

never was Orion’s Belt more bright
the hoot owl talks from the branches in the trees
and we listen for the nuance in what he has to say
there is no need nor cause for us to roam
I get Cassiopeia kisses from my midnight muse

~ William J. Karnowski

William J. Karnowski is the author of seven books of poetry; Pushing the Chain, The Hills of Laclede, Painting the Train, Hardtails and Highways, Catching the Rain, Dispensation, and The Sodhouse Green. He has poetry published in Kansas Voices, The Midwest Quarterly, Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, Kansas Author Club Yearbooks and multiple website locations. Karnowski is the current State President of Kansas Authors Club.

chosen by Dennis Etzel Jr.

Dennis Etzel Jr. lives with Carrie and the boys in Topeka, Kansas where he teaches English at Washburn University. His chapbook The Sum of Two Mothers was released by ELJ Publications in 2013, and his work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, BlazeVOX, Fact-Simile, 1913: a journal of poetic forms, 3:AM, DIAGRAM, and others. He is a TALK Scholar and Speaker for the Kansas Humanities Council, and volunteers for the YWCA of Topeka and Midland Hospice. His website is http://www.dennisetzeljr.com.

Dennis says, “This poem transcends time and space through its elements–and looking at the stars. It informs us we can be in any time and place to be moved as ‘we drink in the Milky Way.’ These guiding lights from the past inspire the poet to create her or his own bright place.”

“Flint Hills Runner” by Thomas Reynolds

05_10_1Flint Hills Runner

I.
All day wind
Sprints through

The grass and never
Gets out of breath.

II.
At night no one to play
Catch with or run

For a pass unless
You count the stars.

III.
At dawn it races
For the hilltop

Before sun leans across
That gray ribbon of creek.

IV.
Who can explain
Something so ancient,

That seeps from the rocks,
And rises from the earth?

V.
The old rancher
Stands at his barn

Watching for what
Chases that old boy.

[

Thomas Reynolds is an associate English professor at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, The MacGuffin, Flint Hills Review, and Prairie Poetry. Woodley Press of Washburn University published his poetry collection Ghost Town Almanac in 2008. His chapbook The Kansas Hermit Poems was published in 2013.

chosen by Dennis Etzel Jr.

Dennis Etzel Jr. lives with Carrie and the boys in Topeka, Kansas where he teaches English at Washburn University. His chapbook The Sum of Two Mothers was released by ELJ Publications in 2013, and his work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, BlazeVOX, Fact-Simile, 1913: a journal of poetic forms, 3:AM, DIAGRAM, and others. He is a TALK Scholar and Speaker for the Kansas Humanities Council, and volunteers for the YWCA of Topeka and Midland Hospice. His website is http://www.dennisetzeljr.com.

Dennis says, “This ecopoem connects for me place with nature with human. The space that happens while running is where this poem becomes as testimony for the Flint Hills. The questions of existence are here, as well as the cycle of life in the last stanza. Thank you for this poem, Thomas!”

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