Connection Writing Contest Winner

Dark haired man laughing in a grey jacket
Joel Holland
5
Monday, May 11, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Joel Holland has won our writing contest in the open category on the theme of Connection with "Contemplating Connection as Zimmer’s “Chasing Cornfields” Plays in my Bedroom."

Award-winning poet Joel Holland graduated from Union University in the spring of 2019. The oldest of four siblings, Joel was born in Salisbury, Maryland, spent a portion of his youth living in Tianjin, China, lived out much of his teenage years in Springfield, Tennessee, and is currently serving a church in Kansas City. Joel has been writing since he can remember and his first published collection of poetry After All is now available on Amazon.

Contemplating Connection
as Zimmer’s “Chasing Cornfields” Plays in my Bedroom

Yesterday, I opened a stranger’s response on a bench, just outside of my apartment.
With my cousin on speakerphone, I read it aloud before taking my boldness

somewhere else. My father can find a friend in a long-line at the DMV
because he spotted a Baltimore Orioles ball-cap on the former stranger’s head,

unlocking a history they had been sharing for years without knowing it,
until one simple “how ‘bout Machado?” We share bonds over the strangest things,

from a Voltron T-shirt to a small shark washed up on shore, less than half-alive
and tangled in seaweed. But usually, after an exchanged “look at that,” and a few pictures

taken on our phone, we walk back to our respective umbrellas.
If we’re honest, we seek fantastic and consistent. We want copacetic friendships.

On a particularly jet-lagged morning in January, I walked to Wal-Mart as the sun rose
and among other items, I added one bagged Avocado to my cart.

That afternoon, the postman knocked on my dented apartment door with a small package
containing a 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer from Good Grips that safely splits, pits, and slices,

like somehow, five shipping days in advance, Liz knew I could use one. Friendships like ours
are few and far between, where it seems like God had a really good poem

but then wanted to go different ways with it, so He wrote two different poems
with the same base formula, and then in the end, laughed to himself

and had to collide them together anyway. Narrating Tarantino’s Hollywood,
Kurt Russell talked of “a buddy that’s more than a brother but a little less than a wife,”

and if we’re honest, we all want a few of those, and a couple of brothers,
and a wife. Somewhere between our bones and wherever our souls reside

we want to rest together with inside jokes about food trucks, Dan Harmon,
and a faux EP called Strawberry Banana Smoothies.

We don’t want pressure to present ourselves perfectly or expectations
for every conversation to be the finest performance of our careers.

We want time to put our thoughts into words & not to feel timed while we do it.

We want to be comfortable in the silence, and know that they are too.

It’s been said that everybody’s looking for love. It’s been said that the world is full

of lonely people waiting for someone else to make the first move. Maybe it’s true.

And yet, with our plexiglass pretenses, we still say to our potential

friends: what’s a few more fences between us?

Written by Helen H.

Fun fact: I adore furry faces.