Bill Hollands

Hi. My Name Is Billy Hollands.
November 23, 2023 Hollands Bill

Hi. My Name Is Billy Hollands.


And there it is, that little tilt of my head –
We are students from Palmetto Elementary School
and we would like to sing a song for you.
We launch into “Sing, Sing a Song”
as the camera pulls back to reveal
two rows of seated students, hunched over
like birds. Why does everyone look
so sad? Not me, though, see, there I am,
top row center, the only one in a
starched collared shirt, the only one
really selling it. I nod my head, I sway,
I smile with my big teeth. I can smell
the Herbal Essence shampoo on my
shiny hair. Poor kid. The two boys on
either side of me catch each other’s eye
and laugh, they’re in on the joke, but
what I really remember are the lights,
those bright studio lights, and that little
tilt of the head during my intro, how I
practiced it, where exactly I should
place it, how slight it should be, how
casual, as if I were in motion, as if
I just happened to stop by this
local access TV station on my way
to the future, and even brighter lights,
the Oscars or the Olympics maybe,
and you’re so lucky to have caught me
because I can only stay a moment.

Bill Hollands’s work has been featured on The Slowdown podcast and in such journals as DIAGRAM, The Adroit Journal, The Greensboro Review, New Ohio Review, North American Review, and Boulevard. His debut collection Mangrove (ELJ Editions) will be published in 2025. He lives in Seattle with his husband and their son.