One cannot think well, love well, live well, If one has not dined well—Virginia Woolf
Don’t assume responsibility for making
the essentials like mac & cheese,
stewed chiecken or collard greens,
the old hands got them covered.
Expect the whole fam there, or,
at least, the oneswho return emails,
phone calls & don’t have personal beefs.
Expect to find the men lounging on living
room sofas, watching Saturday night ball
on the flat screen, debating the MVP race;
the women crowded around the kitchen
table passing gossip with a bottle of wine;
kids tearing from room to room ’till some
sharp parental looks send them outdoors.
Come expecting your grandma, aunt & uncles
to give you a tight embraces that leave back &
shoulders aching; the dense scent of meals slow
cooking in the oven, on the stove or waiting pre-
made in tin plastic trays. Expect some names
to shine more brightly than others in your mind
& to discover a new life here to replace the one
seas, continents &distance of time has left behind.
Where sweet things reside
In the midst
of current tasks,
I’m drawn back
to summer afternoons
at Grandma’s flat.
Atop an amber-lighted
sleep in tin foiled safe homes;
dream in sealed plastic wrap,
Short poem 10.
For the Iraqi Kurdish village of Kulajo
I remember you.
You were my mother, father,
sister, brother, uncle, aunt.
Though our last names never met,
we were sewn like thread at the seams
by the weddings, harvests, births and burials
our households shared.
And while planes and tanks spat fire on our heads,
while guns made us wandering souls,
the bond of our communal blood helped us to endure.
P.S. I would like to make an appeal to all followers and readers of this blog to please consider getting involved in the fundraising effort I’m doing to help pay for my college tuition. I am trying to raise $15 000. Any donation would be greatly appreciated. Just follow the link below. God bless!
Too often we accuse the past of being responsible for our present problems instead of getting our heads down and working to solve them.
I was once told to just blame
this generation’s current issues
on generations that came before.
History, I was told, has handed
us the baton of cross-era curses,
troubles transferred from parent to offspring.
I imagine tomorrow’s inhabitants
will soon blame their tribulations on us too,
unless we exorcise our current demons,
hushing the roaring blaze of maturing woes
in the cleansing rainstorm of forgiveness;
with sociopolitical redemption
I will be on leave all next week so this will be my last post until Christmas. The poem I leave you with is one I read at my school’s cultural evening (talent show for American readers) and one I promised myself to share on this blog as soon as I finished high school:
Parting words to Passing youth
Farewell I say
to the end of days
to blissful innocence
and rebellious adolescence.
For we are butterflies
and our soft cocoon
has opened us to the world.
Where the wind will pull us,
birds will try and consume us
and until we mature,
a resting place will forever elude us.
I still recall with some sad irony
how the school and the home
reigned like monarchs,
and reminisce with passive longing
how parties seemed to never cease,
love brought shots of joy and pain
and long weekends were like paradise.
How like fools we tested and experimented
with that loosening domestic lead
like amateur scientists with Uranium
and how we who knew so little
thought we knew so much.
Those were the days when the future
was but a line on the horizon
and family, career and degree
was on a bucket list for a later time.
For we lived for today.
We were bold.
We were alive.
We were – young.
And only the law,
and careful doses of reality
kept us mortal,
kept us sane.
From across that threshold to adulthood
were I came of age,
I stare back, perhaps wondering,
if that concluded stage
will let me be in its six act play once more.
But it has ended.
The ovation, the applause, the last hurrah
and the curtains have closed.
All I can do is turn around,
spread my wings,
With sweet memories of yesterday,
hanging by my side.
The Exodus of Israel
The cock-crow hour greets the departed one.
She, with vista lids of a world so welcoming, so free,
avidly hastened into the far-flung, uncertain desert sun.
Nailed to that well-worn, well-known porch that once had sheltered her;
doted on her aching feet, her father watched on.
His precious gift, His soigné, was a woman now and had left His arms behind.
All He possessed were those accreted frames of a wide-smiling girl,
a budding, maturing rose he once had tended to and adored.
With a tear He thought of the tales he’d tell of that wide-smiling,
now wide-world gazing, girl
and drastically groped the hope that she would return
to the home where she was sown.
His precious gift, His blessed soigné,
to whom His love would be infinitely shown.
In celebration of mother’s day tomorrow, one could always compose a poem that praises the mother for the way she looks and dotes after her children, how she’s a source of comfort and reassurance in tough times, believes in us when others won’t, etc. Poems of praise like these can often make the mother appear more material than human, giving us an image of a perfect, cotton security blanket without any personal demons to ruffle its polished personality in the tumble washer of life. When this happens we lose sight of what a mother really is: hardworking, resilient, determined to give her children a positive future, joyful and affectionate when we’re good, hard, but gracious, when we’re bad and above all, continually by our side.
This following poem celebrates the real mothers: singles and baby-mamas alone in the world, without male support, working 2-3 jobs and yet undaunted by their harsh reality. For while the days are tough, they are tougher.
For a mother of three
Dear resilient miss
This I address to Female, age 30,
You live each night in the cell that is your
council flat kitchen; each day with the
warden that is your three jobs
To whom I do concern —
Are shackled to your babies destinies;
the architect of a future that may be kind to them
and yet has been cruel to you
Even while hiking up that Everest of bills with just a bible
and a prayer as your pick-ax and rope
Even while sailing on the edge of that bread-line waterfall
with each weeks’ paycheck,
Walk, head high.
Pressured and refined in the kiln of reality by that
boyish man’s retreat
Spurred on by your babies hungry cries
To you I salute as the first among women and the
greatest among breadwinners.
I thought up this poem yesterday while visiting my father who is recovering from a successful kidney transplant that he had a few days ago. This poem expresses the feelings I had while waiting for my mother to finish speaking with him. I thank God, to who all glory is due, in giving our family grace and a true miracle:
The waiting room
In this hospital venue, the
air hangs sanitized like a
swab of antiseptic plugged
in one’s nose.
The bare walls lie
inanimate, unspoken and white —
the color of purity, of hygiene…
And in this room there are seated
They monitor the hall to ICU and
gaze up (perhaps suddenly religious)
at the single-lighted ceiling.
Their well-read novels provide
the single restroom,
a brief respite from the
anxiousness gnawing like a rat inside.
Outside the hall comes alive.
Wheeled stretchers screech
past with hypnopompic patients,
the shoes of nurses, doctors and
blue-robed surgeons clop-clop
on the marbled floor.
Then come the mobile updates.
Fingers tear at loose hair and faces
carved with worry-lines.
Relief-full sighs are released,
heads collapse into sweaty hands.
To the panoptic viewer, this room’s sundry
emotions may resemble some silent
T.V. drama,unscripted precisely for
But for those who are
inside it is a holding-cell
of the unknown, playing field in the
game of waiting.