Three blue-distant hummocks mark southeast
If you stand atop the neighborhood
Imagining a compass rose
Limned in ink against the sky.
Hung below their bellies is a dark,
Horned buttress, clearer in its nearness.
The closer hill looks clean against
The wildness of its far-off brother,
Hunkered like a preacher with
A prophet weeping at his back.
Last week I sat in a theater in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with my wife and four-year-old son. We were waiting for Terry Evanswood’s magic show to start and sharing a comically small box of popcorn that my wife assured me I didn’t want to know the cost of. I was more worried, though, that my son’s attention span wouldn’t last the full hour and a half. It turned out I had nothing to worry about. He was mesmerized from the first second to the last. I spent more time watching his reactions than I did the performance.
In my son’s stunned expression, I find something that I long for, something that I believe we all long for in one degree or another—a sense of wonder. In an age and culture where the answer to virtually any question we can conceive is just a few taps and swipes away, wonder and unknowing are absent. It is one thing, however, to suspend disbelief for a couple hours to enjoy a magic show, and another to live a life believing anything blindly.Read More
What is it about Vincent Van Gogh that continues to inspire artists? Painters mimic techniques he perfected. Scores of filmmakers, songwriters, and poets have created their own works of art with Van Gogh as their subject. What is it about this artist that so inspires other artists? A definitive answer to that question may not be possible, but as a songwriter who has himself written a song about Van Gogh, I can at least speak to what inspires me.Read More
I have searched for poetry in every corner of the light.
I have searched it out in the shadows of evening
and in the silver reflections of moonlight.
I have orchestrated and waited for its’ arrival
Often sitting for hours, by candlelight,
Waiting for poetry to grace me with its’ voice.
I sat in my car in the parking lot, waiting for the rain to stop. The sound was soothing so I sat there for close to an hour. No one noticed.
I looked at the building, arms crossed. Deciding. It had been a long time since I’d walked through those doors. Could I still call it “my church” if I hadn’t been inside in months?
Church is inside you, I thought. When the rain finally stopped, I went in.
The lights were off in the hallway and the clonk–clonk–clonk of my heels bounced off the painted concrete floors and thirty-foot ceilings. I almost expected eerie organ music to start playing. It felt like a scene in a horror movie. Probably not the emotion the elders hoped to evoke.
It’s cold. I thought. Cold, big, modern, church. Unfeeling. I’d always felt a bit of that in these hallways or in the classrooms; somehow all alone even when it was full of people. The only place I didn’t feel that way was backstage for the children’s theatre production.
There in the dark, behind the black curtain waiting on my cue, I had seen God. While I peeked through the thick, velvety folds at the faces of the children, he was there. In those sacred seconds stranded between my times onstage I had talked to him. Felt him.
Maybe he was here again today?
Someone had to be working or else the front door wouldn’t have been unlocked, but the building felt empty. I thought of going into the tiny closet of a prayer room, but worried about people leaving and being locked inside the church, setting off the alarm as I left. “Really, really, officer, I came here to pray!” I’d say when cops swarmed the building. Would they believe me?
I opted for the “sanctuary.” Our pastor made fun of that word. We’re a rock-n-roll kind of church, not a sanctuary kind of church, but that day it felt like one to me. I sat in one of the chairs in the second row and leaned my head against the chair in front of me and started to pray. It was barely audible. My lips moved, but less than a whisper escaped them.
I remember praying, “God. Please. Please heal Molly. You can. Why haven’t you? Why haven’t you? Have you quit doing miracles? I don’t’ believe you have! Please Lord, ‘I believe, help my unbelief.’ I need my sister!”
I have largely forgotten the houses I have lived in during my nearly five decades. When I try to recall them, I can usually conjure an image of the home’s exterior: the brick facade, the entryway, the front door. Then I picture the windows and try to imagine the rooms beyond the panes. In the far right window of my parents’ house, my bedroom light shines. Through the large window to the left of the front door, guests gather for conversation in my first “married” home. And beyond the second-story window of my last house, the baby naps in his nursery.Read More
The preferred meeting space for our writer’s group was not available last Saturday night, so we moved Knox Writes to Panera in Fountain City. I texted Adam when I found out about the change of venue on Thursday. “Are you actually going to darken the door of a Panera?” I teased him. “What’s happening with the world?”Read More