The boy who wanted to be a Jew

Julius Lester writes in his book Lovesong: Becoming a Jew that as a young black boy growing up in the American South his favorite piece to play on the piano was Kol Nidre, the song that opens the observance of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. "When I stop playing," he writes, "there is a painful yearning in my stomach,... Continue Reading →

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You Ain’t Smart Unless You Sound Smart

"[B]eing trailer park trash doesn't preclude intelligence." If only we lived in a world where this was not news. If only we lived in a world where this was not something a person could prove only by discarding the way of speaking they grew up with and adopting "standard" English. But we don't live in that world. And that's what... Continue Reading →

A Matrix Poem

Lately, I've been playing around with creating a poem that reads two ways. All poems, of course, can be understood in multiple ways, but I wanted one with words that could actually be read in two different orders--and make just as much sense in each. Early on, I came up with the idea of arranging the... Continue Reading →

The Language of the Universe

"If a bird speaks to you, listen." Our cultural obsession with control, with intellect, with there being one right way to do things, has deafened us to many languages. The languages of the birds, for one. The languages of our bodies. Of the sky. Of rivers. Of plants. Of dreams. Of a baby's cries. We... Continue Reading →

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