By Lindsay Airey
This piece was developed during the second Bartimaeus Institute Online (BIO) Study Cohort 2016-2017. These pieces will eventually be published in a Women’s Breviary collection. For more information regarding the BIO Study Cohort go here.
Abrihet Queen, given name Valerie, was born on April 11, 1960, into the Core City neighborhood of Detroit, the sixth of nine children. Her parents worked hard and tirelessly to make ends meet. She soaked in beloved community, surrounded by a wealth of grandparents and parents faithfully watching over the neighborhood. At age three, she was rescued after being kidnapped. “I was snatched,” Valerie recounts, “but the community found me, and I’m still here.” Continue reading
By Lindsay Airey
Spirit who animates All Things,
help us to listen now.
May we abandon our many pursuits
keeping us ever-busy and never listening
to your gentle,
Guide us in the way(s) of life.
Help us release:
May we find something more reliable
to keep us warm
winter nights. Continue reading
On September 12, the brand new $800 million+ Little Caesar’s Arena kicked off with a Kid Rock concert on the southern edge of the Cass Corridor in Detroit. It was the culmination of white billionaire Mike Ilitch’s* fifteen-year “dereliction by design,” scores of properties purchased and left to rot. Land values were intentionally driven lower so Ilitch could buy even more. One week after the grand opening, prompted by this journalistic prose, Lindsay Airey was visited by a nightmare. Her attempt to relay it in poetry:
A sea of black faces.
by violent displacement,
Greed turned sick
of these precious ones’
seeping like poison,
out their murdering pores. Continue reading
By Lindsay Airey, LMFT (right: with her nephew Mason)
I didn’t choose for Frodo and Team Middle Earth to accompany me through pivotal points in my 20’s, nor to keep being a source of life-saving balm throughout my 30’s. I didn’t choose them to weave a deep bond between myself and other devoted followers of their epic struggle. I didn’t choose them to hold me through multiple seasons of disorienting grief, nor whisper to my deepest hopes, dreams, sorrows and visions of Beloved Community. I didn’t choose them to challenge and inspire me out of dark valleys of despair or numbing ancestral, cultural and imperial demons of depression, nor to rearrange my notions of power, success, and happiness. Continue reading
Readers may not know, but Tommy and Lindsay Airey are ending their time in Detroit this month. It is a serious loss for those of us in Detroit, but we trust it will mean wonderful things for http://www.radicaldiscipleship.net as Tommy and Lindsay continue to write, reflect, and place their feet in new places. This is a goodbye poem for them written by Bill Wylie-Kellermann.
This old world to that beloved Word
this watershed to discipleship
roots, sweet and thirsty, to the road;
in radical vocation, wed disciple to disciple
as time to time
(What kairos is it on the chronos of Detroit?
the nation, the planet, our hearts?) Continue reading
By Lindsay Airey
2He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 4For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” -Luke 18:2-5
To understand why the Persistent Widow jumps off her small passage in the biblical narrative, startles me into attention, and lovingly beckons me to see and follow her, I first need to give some context. I have been in an active process of 12-step Recovery for a little over a year now. This kind of Recovery is a process that, among other things, encourages me to practice loving myself enough to advocate for myself. It’s the kind of Recovery that’s been helping me to unlearn codependent ways—taking false responsibility for people, only to find myself all dried up at the end of the day. Continue reading
By Lindsay Airey
The white fathers told us, I think therefore I am; and the black mothers in each of us—the poet—whispers in our dreams, I feel therefore I can be free.
Tangela. Dear, fierce and tender Tangela. I just heard the news. I don’t even know how you died. I just got word pouring in over social media. 40 years old. How can you be dead? How can it be true?
Mind racing with questions. And tears. Tears and tears and tears. How can it be so? You were so ALIVE! Oh, and the children. The babies who must be grieving your loss. You were so beloved. So depended upon. So ready to respond in the time of need. So true a human. Oh, and how great were the burdens you carried. Rest now, dear Sister. Though our tears and cries long to bring you back, to fill the great void you have left.