a favourite poem of mine


I’m not much of a poetry lover, but this ranks up there as one of my favourites.  It’s by a guy named Taylor Mali, a teacher turned beat poet in New York City.  It’s one of those artistic literary explosions that, you know, gets you, like, thinking, you know?

Totally like whatever, you know?
By Taylor Mali

In case you hadn’t noticed,
it has somehow become uncool
to sound like you know what you’re talking about?
Or believe strongly in what you’re saying?
Invisible question marks and parenthetical (you know?)’s
have been attaching themselves to the ends of our sentences?
Even when those sentences aren’t, like, questions? You know?

Declarative sentences – so-called
because they used to, like, DECLARE things to be true
as opposed to other things which were, like, not –
have been infected by a totally hip
and tragically cool interrogative tone? You know?
Like, don’t think I’m uncool just because I’ve noticed this;
this is just like the word on the street, you know?
It’s like what I’ve heard?
I have nothing personally invested in my own opinions, okay?
I’m just inviting you to join me in my uncertainty?

What has happened to our conviction?
Where are the limbs out on which we once walked?
Have they been, like, chopped down
with the rest of the rain forest?
Or do we have, like, nothing to say?
Has society become so, like, totally . . .
I mean absolutely . . . You know?
That we’ve just gotten to the point where it’s just, like . . .

And so actually our disarticulation . . . ness
is just a clever sort of . . . thing
to disguise the fact that we’ve become
the most aggressively inarticulate generation
to come along since . . .
you know, a long, long time ago!

I entreat you, I implore you, I exhort you,
I challenge you: To speak with conviction.
To say what you believe in a manner that bespeaks
the determination with which you believe it.
Because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker,
it is not enough these days to simply QUESTION AUTHORITY.
You have to speak with it, too.

Be inspired to live a life that speaks to the truths in which you believe.  Be inspired to live a life that seeks after the heart of Jesus, because in that divine place you will find a story much bigger than yourself.  To follow Jesus and live in that story is to participate in a truth that questions the authority and assumptions that govern this world.  It becomes a bit of a mess when the redemptive love of God collides with the authority of our world, but the journey is worth it.  When you are right in the middle of it, always remember in whom your heart rests.


  1. Jeff Kuhn · August 18, 2011

    Hey Chris,

    Great post. I’m a friend of your father-in-law and look forward to meeting you when you head out to the West. Let me know when you are at the Blue Moose, and I’ll buy the coffee.

    • chris lenshyn · August 18, 2011

      Sounds good Jeff. Looking forward to it. Let’s get Wes to buy the coffee. 🙂

  2. Jeff Kuhn · August 18, 2011

    I like the way you think…

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