SpeakEasy Poetry presents SpeakEasy 15: Poems and Prayers for the New Year
Sunday January 18, 7 PM, Mt Baker Theater Encore Room
SpeakEasy is a poetry reading series founded in 2009 and produced in Bellingham, Washington, by Luther Allen, author of The View from Lummi Island. Each SpeakEasy addresses a different perspective or theme presented through the written and spoken words of different local poets. SpeakEasy 15: Poems and Prayers for the New Year will give voice to the hopes, beseechments and visions—both personal and global—of a select group of writers.
Following is my piece in the High Calling series Best Business Books. In 1996 my family faced multiple—nearly overwhelming—crises that included me leaving a long-term stable job in a ministry setting. No big deal, just the loss of job, church, friends, and a deep-rooted support system.
One challenge involved helping family members make it through each new day. Another was the added pressure of an employment search. Oh, and because of the depth of our stress, I committed to not moving. I feared moving for work might become a final tipping point. I hoped that somehow holding place would provide a bit of hope that everything hadn’t been lost, a possible place to build from going forward.
My childhood home on Stephens Street was a poorly built track piece in the booming suburbs of the fifties. Ten miles from downtown and a few more from a farm town that would transition to little more than one of the states largest strip mall repositories over the next few decades.
Our place was one of the smallest, cheapest models in the neighborhood, with three bedrooms, one bath, a single garage — maybe a thousand square feet. The yard was never finished, maybe because of my mom’s scattered-ness and dad’s drinking. Who can say?
The place was defined by contradictions. It was home, my place of rest and protection. It was a mess of screaming fights, lonely fears, abuse and waiting for the next bad thing. I remember Mom would give us pajamas hot from the dryer on a winter night. I remember days without seeing my dad, not knowing if it was a blessing or a curse.