What We Waive

Here, between the corners of this flat, concrete square— is the crushing weight of contradiction, everywhere: Cameras, hidden, in pedestrian plain sight. One guard pats me down at the fence with steely, cold precision— while a second scolds a tiny toddler squeezing through another. (The one that protects the towering monument above from an onslaught […]

The Unlived Life

You go there. I do too, sometimes. Here’s mine: I’m in a packed-out bar sitting at a table, elbow-to-elbow, with my closest friends. The burly man on stage does tap-“check-check” as he tiptoes around some electric guitars, an upright piano, maybe even a few drums, and then slips into the spotlight. “C’mon down!” he proclaims […]

Under this Same Sun

It wasn’t cued to play today. It’s been years. But somehow between My Chemical Romance, Green Day, Imogen Heap, and all the other music encroaching the playlists of parents with teens, it surfaced: This fragment of life Lora gave me a lifetime ago. I listen to The Weepies, as the Steve Tannen from 16 years […]

Christmas Unabridged

A light glares in my eyes as I’m lowered into position. Handheld torture devices encircle my head. I am at the mercy of my interrogator. There is no mincing of words in THE CHAIR. There is only cutting to the quick:  “How was your Thanksgiving?” she leans in. The dreaded loaded question. (You know.) How […]

Here Lies Fear

Coming of age in any epoch means WEATHER.           Doing it as a burgeoning evangelical in the late 1900s (as my kids love to remind me) was like sipping a tempest in a teacup. There was no smoking, no parties or swearing for this sold-out Jesus-freak. There were—instead—bad perms, sub-par Christian rock, and not-so-subtle-sweatshirts like this […]

Where Truth Lies

You’ve seen it. In rush-hour traffic or the drop-off lane. Bumper Sticker Theology: Big letters. Bright backgrounds. Bold and brief statements . . . About eternity. A precursor to the Socials’ holy eye candy, Christian bumper stickers pack the one-two punch of VISIBILITY and IRRITABILITY for captive audiences. Like their political counterparts, critics have responded […]

Hollowed (Out) Halls of Justice

My daughter excels at catching insects with her bare hands. This skill set is on par with her fluency in “meme” and her ability keep up with Daveed Diggs’ light-speed verses in Hamilton. I am in awe of these aptitudes, and that she wields them despite sharing DNA with me. So, I wasn’t surprised when […]

True (Ghost) Stories

Dear Reader, There are those songs we all have in our heads . . . Some come and go. Others settle in for a season. Then there are the few that linger the longest—part of ghosts from the past, perhaps, that we can’t quite shake. This month’s theme, the virtue of simplicity, conjured up a […]

These Three Lines

Creepy Lines His classmates trickle into school, trapped Brady-Bunch style in their respective squares. Each boasts a customized backdrop: outer space, Minecraft, background blur, a zoo . . . and Mom-zilla fixing to eat her offspring for breakfast. “Your mom must be thrilled with your background!” my son’s teacher types in the chat. I read […]

Dr. Justina Ford Goes Higher

7,000 was the number of babies she brought into the world. 31 were the years she served the diverse community of east Denver—treating patients regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or ability to pay—offering resources and food for those who lacked them.1 She is reported to have said, “Folks make an appointment and whatever color they turn […]

Nia Dennis Has the Floor

Nia Dennis worked the floor for 90 seconds and a lifetime. The student-athlete’s January 23 routine (9.95) not only secured the UCLA Bruin’s win over Arizona State but became a rising, viral anthem for something far more profound: In her LA Times feature of Dennis, Thuc Nhi Nguyen reports, “Inspired by the Black Lives Matter […]

Phillis Wheatley’s Revolution

She had words, from a birth language, spoken by a birth family, who gave her a birth name. Thieves tore almost everything from her, endeavoring to replace the originals with cheap imitations—like the new name they chose for her, from the boat that abducted her (The Phillis) and the family that enslaved her (Wheatley). But […]

What’s in Amanda Gorman’s Name

You know her titles: National Youth Poet Laureate. Inaugural poet (youngest ever). Harvard University graduate. Super Bowl show-stopper. Amanda Gorman: The one with her hand uniquely positioned on the pulse of a nation past, present, and future. But from a recent interview with Michelle Obama (Time Magazine),1did you know this about her name? “President Biden […]

Ziyah Holman’s Anchor

Two weeks ago, University of Michigan student-athlete Ziyah Holman overcame an unheard of 21 second team deficit to win the 4X4000 (Simmons-Harvey Invitational). Holman’s 51.79 second split came AFTER she set a meet/stadium record (and NCAA season lead) in in the 600 meters.1 She narrated her comeback-mindset to Theo Mackie of the Michigan Daily: “‘Just […]

Counterfeit

She is even better in person, I think. Better than The Crown. “For nearly 70 years I have kept a tradition of speaking to you at Christmas,” she begins—and we are captivated. She sits regal and poised behind the stately antique desk: a beacon of constancy and hope. An imposing yet festive Christmas tree shimmers […]