(A sprawling poem accompanied by drawings illustrating the imagery. Drawings are numbered and located within the lines, cited in brackets.)

123.jpg[1]If everything really is a bad
as it seems, that only means
we’re right here where we’ve been.
And I have to confront something.

[2]I have to see that I have been
enmeshed in a scheme
of guilt of sex, medication
alcohol, theology, writing,
the probative arts, machinery,

the whole goddamn thing.
[3]All the idols are said to be fallen.
We even had some Christians
cackling at the inception
of iconoclasm,

456.jpgbut they couldn’t
give up the tangential ghost.
[4]Alas, I permitted the auspice
of certifiable genius, soliciting
its Teflon book jacket quotes

and amassed warrens of citations
to mason a defense of my ideas.
The smart are ever so dumb,
and deafness is the hottest
commodity on the market.

[5]Hearken through speakers
everything blaring, and then,


the sickest silence engulfs you.
[6]Raging lights, you will never
sleep. Dim the beat of your heart.
It only has just that much to say.
Your focus, it distracts you

789.jpgfrom the more pertinent
things that deserve your attention.
[7]See, if you were to stand on your
own two feet, if you ran at
top speed, no rest, no water,

no protein sips, no hitchhiker thumbs,
you’d probably be to her
in (you’re overestimating yourself)
three hours. And then you’d be
really sweaty. Your feet

would tingle neuropic. You’d never
run again. And now,
[8]at the doorstep of promise,
what is more important—
presenting yourself as you
truly are: a measurement

of unworthy, unmeaning, transient
space; or: a welcome, confused,
questionable trace on the line?
[9]Will you play your part
of one among a many few mitigating

101112.jpgthe consequences of civilization’s
malaise and contempt
in your very small, yet, beautiful
[10]plot? You just bought in,
with your acquiescence

to the contingency of shelter
that bares your debtor’s name
on a deep stack of documents. Reach
[11]out now and find the goodness
that is whispering in the streets,

in the hollows, among the winds
atop the hills, in the resistant pine
and rhododendron. That embrace
[12]is where we begin. This year’s
festivals will be a last whimper
before the cerebral celebration

131415takes an intermission
to mention our sponsors.
[13]Enjoy them. Be there. And look
into the eyes of every
being you see. There

[14]is something moving, and if
we’re hovering close
to our conception
of rationality, then we’d
recognize it’s a bit of a swarm

[15]which probably most of us,
those we in this moment know,
won’t survive. Get out of here,
and then come back down.

Inspirations: Some concerning context behind Rachel Held Evans and Nadia Bolz-Weber’s “Why Christian?” conference series by Stephanie Drury; The failure to bind and loose: Responses to Yoder’s sexual abuse by Rachel Waltner Goossen.