Love Believes First

Underneath a capricious prairie sky, we drive east along the Trans-Canada Highway.

The autumn sun is behind us. It pours out all it has left, in yellow and gold, and turns this concrete highway into a river of fire. But today as we drive home from Thanksgiving, we remember how to feel safe in the wispiness of clouds, remaining open to receive whatever comes our way, even as a dark and steely weight walks across the prairie and sets off whispers of a looming storm.

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Many thanks to my friend Jennifer Ferguson of Finding Heaving Today and s(He) Listens Ministries for inviting me to write a guest post for her ongoing marriage series. I hope you'll join me!

 

Valerie’s Got It Covered

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The sun enters my classroom after my students leave, and I’m thankful once again for how light can melt the side of my cheek.

Valerie parks her heavy custodial cart just outside my room. Through the window in the door, I see her unroll and tear off two trash bags. She reaches for the doorknob.

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Red Heat

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Red Heat

on this day
in Winnipeg
even polar bears
watch us from Broadway,
and we sit and love
on these historic steps
leading up to our Hotel Fort Garry,
and hold, for a time,
icy bottles of cream soda and
the condensation and rings
drive us mad, with love,
and people hit their brakes
and honk at us,
smiling at your wedding dress,
here in the northern sunlight,
but then we had to leave it
in your parents’ basement, for a

time to cross

a country and then a sea
of wild rye and nodding needles
and the cold concrete
at the border station, with its
erect black uniforms, silver
sunglasses and
latex fingers and,
the prairie wind howls,
whips
at the bare skin of our heart,
raised today like a flag
between two countries.

Oh, Canada burns like a cardinal against our snow.

and so we roar and stomp
and leave one paw-print
of red
in our snow
and then go to bed
and wait for the visible
light to change
to faith, some smoldering,
infrared glow.

 

TS Poetry’s February theme of Red called for a poem.


 

Jesus Loves Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston is gone. But I remember when she was alive in my family’s kitchen.
As a boy, I was awestruck by the power of a Sony radio. My parents kept it high on a shelf, up next to all those red and yellow cookbooks and the potted green ivy.

Once I reached a certain age, I was allowed to touch the radio. My fingers stroked its walnut wood casing. I experimented with those clockwise and counterclockwise movements, exploring a world that went far beyond my small Indiana college town.

There, in the kitchen while helping my mom with the dishes, I heard a voice hit a frequency of celebration that only a soul lost and then found could reach.

Surrounded by the toil of clean and dirty dishes, I fell in love with The Voice.

Whitney Houston.

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Thumbs vs. Voices

In a box somewhere in the basement, I have a button with a bold proclamation on it.

“I’m Thumb-body Specia!”

Everyone in my class got one, though maybe I’m the only one to have kept his all these years.

I don’t know if my self esteem got the intended boost or not. But I did get a shiny button.

And then I think of a friend from my college years. Ken still had a smelly gym locker full of contempt for the state of public education. “Teach students to have self esteem? Come on! Teach them how to Continue reading