The Clerestory Podcast S1 E25

The Oklahoma Tenant Farmer and Me
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ISSUE No. 7 Sanctuary

In the seventh issue of Clerestory Magazine, contributors locate places of rest and refuge.

Editor’s Letter
interview The Wisdom of Stories: A Conversation with Enuma Okoro

Enuma Okoro is a Nigerian-American writer, speaker, and cultural curator who locates her work at the intersection of the arts, culture, storytelling and soul care.

essay The Sanctuary You Create for Yourself

What does it mean to make your body a home when all it has ever known is the loud incessant chatter of rooms too full of thoughts so mean, you’d only dare say them to yourself?

essay Sympathy for the Devil

In 1330, five days after he killed his wife, Geoffrey of Knuston of Abingdon sought sanctuary in a church in Northamptonshire.

poem A Gusty Pier on a Winter’s Day

A flock of gulls rises from a choppy sea, hangs aloft in abeyance – a distraction

photo story Beyond the Self

To be alive means to be in relation...

poem A Neglected Patch of Ground Near the Railroad

Dew clings to leaves and calms the dust, soothing wild asters tangled in goldenrod.

interview Grieving Well with Amanda Held Opelt

Amanda Held Opelt is a songwriter, speaker, and writer based in Boone, North Carolina. Her work stands at the intersection of faith, grief, healing, creativity, and belonging.

essay Public Transport as a Civic Re-Education

I used to think that my hometown would always feel welcoming, that I would always be able to slide back into place. I plotted my return for many years.

poem Perimeter

It takes 650 steps to walk the perimeter. 

poem Looking out from Stella Maris Chapel

The stars were dancing on the waters as I looked out from Stella Maris chapel.

essay How Many Calories Are in the Body of Christ?

It is common to intellectualize the sacrament of Communion, and to view the practice as a sacred ritual of reverence. 

poem Luck Quarry Dump #2

Some things never change. I love that.

essay Mint

I am one of two hundred teenage girls walking through the Ozark green on a muggy July evening.

essay Water Becomes the Sacred

What is “sanctuary”? To me, sanctuary is a refuge, a retreat from the noise and myriad voices competing for our attention.

poem The creases on your palms draw road maps to your body.

I learnt of loss and how it attaches itself to your body

essay The Marshall House

On a sweltering August afternoon when only a man deranged would return to Savannah, I wheel up.

essay Reading Makes Us Free

How can I explain the joy that I get from reading? Words can't fully express it.

poem Reading Room

The shack’s one room is wallpapered with pages of the Denver Post, a decorative soul.

poem An Ordinary Sanctuary

on the page we grew like dusk falling, something breathtaking, impossibly ravishing

essay Coming Home: Women Circle as Sanctuary

Last weekend felt like coming home. 

essay Fire and Water

Fire, 20 miles south, 30% contained.

essay Finding My Flock

“Who else is on the reservation?” asks the assistant naturalist, who appears to be around the same age as me, as she finds my name on the registration list for a bird talk.

poem  My Majorca

Low-water years, our pond is Walden-size, just right...

photo story Protecting Ranomafana National Park with Théo Farafidson

Théo has lived and worked in this forest, Madagascar’s Parc National Ranomafana, his entire  life.

poem Great Pond

I was swimming alone late one September afternoon at Great Pond in Wellfleet when...

essay Too Many to Count

I go there again and again, never tiring of the place. When I’m away, I imagine that it waits for me, no matter how long my return might take.

essay Coming Home from the Georgia Coast, Late Summer

Sunday, a day early, but those murderous temperatures, and we’d had our gators if not our dolphins, our tidal marsh kayak if not our sunset river cruise, decent meals if never a feast...

essay Holy Ground

I don’t want to worry. But I do. I want to lay my burdens down and find rest. But I don’t. My mind interferes.

photo story  Labyrinth

Came on my bike, hot in the August sun and beaten down by what life had been dolloping out to me.

poem there's always more

laid out in the tiny details...

essay Summer at Nrityagram Village

I arrived at Nrityagram dance village in Karnataka, India in July of 2014 with the monsoon rain.

poem In the Memorial Garden

Gardenias droop in August heat at the Episcopal plot

essay My Covid in the Third Person

Earlier this morning, he called his parents with the bad news. He had just learned he has Covid-19. 

ISSUE No. 6 Food

In the sixth issue of Clerestory Magazine, poets and writers explore how food comforts and connects us to each other.

Editor’s Letter
essay Grill Night on Virginia Street

Sunset, palm trees, and chicken on the grill - these three ingredients should have made for a perfect evening.

essay Food, A Love Language

Cherished family memories ground and bond us, enriching our lives in ways nothing else can.

essay A Work of Art

That hot June night, my mother made me ride with her in the dark blue Dodge out to Route 38, what we thought of as “the highway.”

essay End of Days

What a dinner Monica has prepared for us. First, she and Allesandro and the younger couple with the baby girl, bowls of snacks and a glass of local red wine in the shade of the towering fig tree.

essay Savoring Central Texas and, Specifically, Its Barbecue

When I was a girl, I knew only one thing about Loop 360: it was the road that took my family to the barbecue restaurant overlooking Bull Creek

essay When Everything Was Everything

Years before I went to restaurants with dishes like “scallop mousse” and “seaweed gremolata” on the menu, I was a Jersey girl who loved bagels.

essay Easy as Pie

I cleaned out the cookware cabinet in my kitchen. Marie Kondoed it. 

essay An Old Hunger

The gutter overflowed with brown, spiky husks like the aftermath of a tiny urchin apocalypse.

essay My Mother's Recipes

What could she have wanted with all of those empty containers, so meticulously cleaned and stored so haphazardly around the house?

poem Basque Cooking

Plenty of potatoes, garlic and lamb. Bundles of sage and jugs of harsh red wine.

poem Tea Ceremony

I know you would remember every tea, we sipped in New York, Philadelphia, Toronto—blurred, now, to Earl Grey for me.

poem Saffron

The pistils stand on end—thin red reeds, in a tiny glass bottle.

poem After Another School Shooting, I Cook Red Beans and Rice

I can't hear the TV news over the soothing static of diced onion in the pan.

poem Bliss

The tomatoes cool themselves, in the long breezes, hoarding in their flesh, fabulous waters.

poem Watermelon

Haven't we all been cut into halves? One half empathy, one half what the hell.

poem Oatmeal Morning

No amount of mother’s food or drink could give her comfort.

poem Bread

Put yeast in a cup with hot water and sugar.  Sift...

poem A Catered Event

Her shadow on the barn, cast by winter-weary sun, is taller than a five-year-old.

poem Ferment

Cucumbers sprawling in garden, insects tickling yellow flowers, we grow together.

poem Just Soup

She, holding ladle, wanting, no, needing to help.

poem The Avocado

Dressed up like an armadillo rolled into a ball, the avocado ripens on the sill.

poem Fruit Trees

Old man Peesel’s cherry orchard, of the empty prairie, the fruit reddened our fingers, lips...

poem Kitchens

For my grandmother, fat was a solution, not a problem: my grandmother’s miracles employed bacon fat and lard.