Poetry, like parable, is a powerful strain of subversive resistance. In parable, most often, by the powers of familiarity and comfort, we are lulled into sidling up to prophetic truth with no more hesitation or anxiety than a carefree child lounging in the autumn grass with a magnifying glass or a beloved, snoozing family pet. Poetry seduces us, by a trinity of brevity, wherein we find both breathing room and a niche for inserting our own narrative; simplicity, refreshing us like a summer rain shower; and a turn of phrase, opening neural pathways of imagination we’ve either long-forgotten or never knew existed. Our first few encounters with these radical forms of blood-fueled ink can be chalked up to inexperience or naïveté. Eventually, however, we will probably have to admit that something deep within hungers for such a revolutionary soirée. © 2017 Todd Jenkins
Story is neither magic nor medicinal, in and of itself. It is simply a way of connecting yesterday's thread of existence with today's, laying groundwork for the possibility of tomorrow. It can be weaponized, like most any tool, when the tales told come from a single source, and one that’s oblivious to every character but self. If you want to feel its purest form, let a child spin you yarns of truth formed in the crucible of innocence and vulnerability. Then, you'll understand the lines on which the world turns. © 2017 Todd Jenkins
Photo by Gay Jenkins Howell
The truth of Adam and Eve, a friend told me, is "A fig leaf is no substitute for a therapist." So much here to feast on; so much here to run from; so much here too real to face, yet too close to reject. Let us dare to live and breathe in a naked now, O holy one, not as tawdry exploitation of bodies as objects, but as death-defying risk of abandonment to no less and no more than our light-reflecting and shadow-casting selves; for the truth of creation's story cannot be told without such revealing. Let both our poetry and our prose stand and fall as blood-pumping gamble of allowing the narrative of who we are to pulse out of our own woundedness, for it is in and from our stories that we'll live and die and be resurrected, not just in the end, but also in the breath of their telling. © 2017 Todd Jenkins
Photo by DeEtta Harris Jenkins
To borrow a book title from one of my seminary professors, Dr. Walter Brueggemann, Finally Comes the Poet.
space-maker, mold-breaker, heart-shaker…
thought-drifter, shape-shifter, dream-sifter…
bell-ringer, tear-bringer, sweat-wringer…
trip-booker, fresh-looker, love-cooker…
beast-tamer, peace-framer, grace-namer…
risk-taker, earth-quaker, hope-baker…
© 2017 Todd Jenkins
I watched a male Eastern Bluebird sit on our deck rail, his eyes askance and body shifting side to side in search of predatory danger. When he took to his wings, it was as if an iridescent stream of shimmering blue flame traced a launching rocket. As he faded from my sight, I wondered if my own leaving of a place – any place – would ever generate such a brilliant trail to follow. Deciding that the answer was, "No." I resolved, again, to desire less the sparkling beauty of bluebird in my eye, and more the steadfast reflection of poetic hope simmering in my marrow. © 2017 Todd Jenkins
I've never known a leader who expects to be taken seriously, but not literally; someone who repeatedly begs me to believe and trust him, while the words coming from his mouth are hyperbolic at best and blatant fantasies at worst. Usually, the only people who desire to match this description are poets and authors of children's books; those who dare us to aspire to more, by painting word-images that pull us toward a vision of grace. The key ingredient missing here, in this time and place, however, is hope. It is wholly AWOL. Without it, my imagination is being pulled into a vortex of fear. This is not a story I want to read, much less live. Stop the book, I want to get out. © 2017 Todd Jenkins
It is the only means of resisting demagoguery. Losing a reference point for reality is a turbocharger propelling us toward an abyss. We must find venues in which truth can be spoken, understood, believed, and acted upon. Failure to do so is not an option. Truth-up; don’t shut-up. © 2017 Todd Jenkins
In the days to come, all of the certitude and judgment stacked helter-skelter against those whose experience and perception differ from our own will come crashing down, not on those who've been relegated beyond the wall, but imploding upon the stone stackers themselves. Why, you ask? Because the only mortar used in this fearful construction comes from the fetid cesspool of our own confirmation bias. All who emerge from the rubble, and are courageous enough to remain present, will be invited to sit 'round the campfire, listening to stories never heard. Thus, the birth pangs of peace will once again twinge. © 2016 Todd Jenkins
Those who own the words
own the world.
With ownership comes responsibility.
Responsibility demands accountability.
Accountability requires relationship.
Relationship creates community.
Community offers the possibility of hope.
Hope is the word that owns us all.
From words to hope,
what goes around, comes around.
© 2016 Todd Jenkins