Rigorous
Volume Three, Issue 1



Island

Chris Strickland


The first step in self-acceptance
In being a bastard.
Is acknowledging that you are an island.

A hewed off archipelago,
An amputated branch of two family trees oozing with the sap of unknown inheritances.
Paternally lampooned.
Maternally honed into the caricature of a person.

The second step in self-acceptance
In being a bastard.
Is recognizing your existence has a purpose.
Albeit the first committee of spokesmen who define that purpose
Are not the coordinated efforts and passions of mother and father

But the understandings found in deep retreats into the island.
Suicidal ideations customary of lonely wanderings.
Deafening thunderclaps from storms engulfing your isolated condition.
To be a bastard is to recognize you were never the product of mother and father

But the product of life’s highs and lows,
Crest and troughs,
Between aptitudes of nonexistence and existence.
Bastard is the product of Mother Light and Father Darkness
Engaged in a bitter argument over the relevance and conundrum of sentience.

The third step in self-acceptance
In being a bastard.
Is the choice between power or peril.
Consuming the sweet position from the world’s vain commandments for living
Or the decision to ascend from that which you owe nothing.


Chris Strickland: "I’m a research associate working alongside the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights at the University of Georgia, where I have co-produced a documentary and provided extensive research for scholarly articles and books on the civil rights history of Georgia’s unsung heroes in the fight for equality. Though I have never published, I have written works since elementary school, having fallen in love in my adolescents with masters of the craft of composition such as Langston Hughes, Stephen King, and Tupac Shakur. Finally, my experiences growing up as an African American in a purportedly “post-racial” society provide additional caliber to my word-craft."




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