Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Dennis Etzel Jr.’

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!”

“Kansas Drought” by Iris Wilkinson

1150860_10201817201337491_1439121457_nKansas Drought

Last week, Rain made puddles along the curb and the white chrysanthemums bent over

as though they wanted more to drink.

The air tasted like baking soda, fresh and gritty and the odors are absorbed,

absolving us for a brief moment from the unending guilt

which comes knowing just exactly what we’ve all done to our Mother.

Yesterday when I tried to dig up a spot to plant iris under the oak tree, the dirt was dried up and

dead, parched, heavy chunks, sort of like concrete. Frantic,

I dug deeper and was finally able to breathe when I found one small worm – a sign of life.

Rain came again this morning for a short visit and I wanted to offer her a homemade green

tomato pickle and a hot corn biscuit with apricot jam.

[

Iris Wilkinson lives in North Lawrence, just off the banks of the Kaw River. She enjoys leading a creative writing group for the women at the county jail and is thankful for her day job as a college professor at Washburn University.

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 really surprised me. It is truly of time and place, addressing via a meditation a subtle crisis on both personal and global levels ‘from the unending guilt / which comes knowing just exactly what we’ve all done to our Mother.’ One can only do what one can do from the signs found in nature–and in poems–‘I found one small worm – a sign of life.’ I am still captured by its call for my own attention to life.”

“Ode to Washing Dishes” by Melissa Fite Johnson

1478989_10151821111791994_1022361121_nOde to Washing Dishes

First, make sure your sink is under a window.
Look outside while you fill the basin. If daytime,
don’t scrutinize your lawn. Do laugh
at quarreling birds or your own yawning dog.
If night, be kind to your reflection.
Appreciate your long arms that disappear
at the wrists and the wrinkles at your mouth.

Don’t think of this task as another in a hundred.
It is the reward when those are done,
the chocolate mousse after steamed vegetables.
If the hot water and bubbles,
the lavender smell, the wine glass
to your left and soft terrycloth
against your bare shoulder are not a comfort
in this late hour, then you are doing it all wrong.

[

Melissa Fite Johnson teaches English at Pittsburg High School in Kansas. She’s had poetry published in magazines such as Sotto Voce, The Little Balkans Review, and Inscape Magazine, and in a Kansas Notable Book poetry collection To the Stars Through Difficulties. The Little Balkans Press will publish her first book of poetry, While the Kettle’s On, this year. Melissa and her husband, Marc, live in Pittsburg with their dog and several chickens.

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 is brilliant, not just for taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary, but does so in the instructional “how to” tone. This says to enjoy one’s self in place and time, to not ‘think of this task as another in a hundred.’ This poem is helpful in a time of need.”

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