Free Indeed

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1

A couple of weeks ago I watched a video that was circulating in some of the circles I used to live in, and while I watched the video I felt fear and anxiety come flooding into and over me. Waves of panic broke at my throat. What if I’ve been wrong? What if the whole world is going to hell in a hand basket? What if there is separation? What if we really do have to do or believe something to bridge that expanse? What if I’ve been breathing too easy? What if I I’ve been too free?

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Gethsemane: A Poem

Loving a broken person has caused me pain. I lament for what could have been; for them and for me. But love forgives again and again, since ‘love covers over a multitude of sins’. And the source of my love is not myself. Love is not that I have loved God, but that he loved me and sent his son, the true vine, to lay down his life for me.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.

Abide in my love.

John 15:9

Gethsemane

Only after the precious jewel was taken hold of,
thrown to the ground,
shattered and skittered,
was it gifted to me,
and where I would have polished
and velvet-encased, until death’s release
I gathered shards, cutting skin.

Blood dripped and cried out,
witness to another’s
loveless hands,
and my task seemed impossible
but for you,
my willing Lord.

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Dr. King Had A Dream

My wife and I communicate quite differently. Last night she spoke to a group of girls. She distributed paper hearts and instructed them to write things they love on their heart. Then she told them, “The less temporal the love you listed, the more time you should devote to it. The more temporal the item, the less time.” She pushed them towards cultivating legacies that will outlive them, relationships that will benefit beyond their presence. Her advice was beautiful. Her delivery kind and full of life. Lyrical even. I attempt to convey similar sentiments to my students, but I do so by reminding them, as often as possible, they will die soon. “You will all be dead before you know it. You’re wasting away now. What are you doing today that is any different than yesterday?” Some students giggle at my goth-like pedagogical gloom. Others roll their eyes and pray / hope / curse me to fulfill my own destination sooner than later. My wife inspires. She caffeinates. She’s an Enneagram 7—the Enthusiast—with a need for pleasure and to avoid pain. I suck air out of rooms like a Hope Hoover. I’m an Enneagram 4—the Individualist—with a need for melodrama and a penchant for hyperbole. My wife: “Live forever with rightly chosen loves.” Me: “You’re expiring, even now, so don’t be stupid.” My wife’s name is Latonya, and people actually call her “La La”, as in a musical notation. My name is Kevin, and for a long time people called me “Hamster”, as in a rodent. She does not have any tattoos because she prefers to keep her options open. I tattooed a hamster on my leg in 2011 because I’m deflating anyway so why not paint the bag. She likes to dance and eat spicy Indian food and drive with all the dashboard lights flashing warnings because it will all be okay. I enjoy my couch and black coffee and walking pugs by creeks that smell of turtles because they’re heroic in their isolation. 

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Double Poetry Review: Janna Barber & Chris Wheeler

We make no secret of our love for good poetry here, and so we’re always delighted when those in our writing community release collections into the world. Like a flight of doves flapping deliverance into the sky, the effort of herding unruly poems into concert with each other, and making them work together, is cause for celebration.

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Furnace Days

Image by skeeze from Pixabay 

I walked out of school.
It was raining.
I was walking with one of the girls from my class.
I knew my mother was parked along the curb waiting for me.

I could see her in the line of cars along with the other mothers.
The girl was walking alongside me and asked me a question.
“Do you know you’re adopted?”
I knew the word, adopted; we had learned that word in our catechism class.

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Moving Forward

I recently saw an ad for another Hollywood remake of one of my childhood favorites, Little Women. I read the book when I was twelve years old and immediately identified with the character Jo, the writer in the family. As I’ve grown older I’ve also identified with Jo’s sister, Amy, an artist, who struggles when she realizes that she has talent but maybe not “genius,” which she craves. It’s one thing to know who you are and quite another to be able to live, or make a living, as who you are—particularly in the artistic professions. But the conflict of juggling personal identity and a profession isn’t limited to creative pursuits; my husband may have been a doctor if he’d been given the opportunity and education early on. He and I both fell victim to the struggle between personal desire and doing what tradition expected of us. 

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