It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written anything here. I came today just because I don’t want to fall completely out of practice.
I’m emotionally exhausted these days because, after eight years living in Bahrain, we are leaving soon to go back to the U.S.
Though we have some things we are looking forward to in California, every day left here I see so many people and experiences that I will miss. I’m trying to enjoy every moment, like these from today and yesterday:
It is fun for me to see the students, now in grades 7 and 8. I first taught them when they were in Kindergarten, and then I got to again in grade 5.
After a year and a half of the pandemic, I am starting to lose track of them. They have grown in stature and maturity and for the guys, depth of voice and facial hair. Now with our busy and conflicting schedules in different departments at school, I don’t see them often.
Today I did, though. They were at recess. They always play the guessing game with me.
“Do you remember me?”
“Of course, how could I forget you, Nawar.”
“Who am I?” one asks with her mask covering most of her face.
“Hmmm, give me a sec. I need to figure out by your eyes. Oh, yes, Noor.”
“How about me? Do you remember me?”
“Yes,” I say, tentatively, racking my brain, trying to figure out how she has changed and then to remember her name.
What is my goal and focus for 2022? I am in the process of considering what the right word is for my one little word for next year.
It is becoming clearer, but I need a word for it. If there is one.
These past weeks I’ve been sorting through accumulated possessions–too many that we have gathered over eight years. I’m giving things away daily, whenever someone is nearby I hand them an empty bag to fill. We came to this country with nine suitcases, and we are going home with eight. Most of our possessions won’t be traveling to California with us.
So, this process has reminded me that it would have been better to have not accumulated in the first place. I want to be careful, mindful, wise in my next chapter when I will be setting up another home.
I work hard to do this with food in my kitchen. For instance, when I went to some friends house for breakfast the other day, I ended up with dried pita bread leftovers. I cut them into triangles, baked them and served them yesterday to guests with homemade hummus. It saves money and the planet to eat without wasting and without buying processed foods. I want to continue to get even better. (Have you seen Carleigh Bodrug do this @plantyou?)
Another example…I had saved a new canvas for my 2022 word painting. However, what if, instead of opening another plastic-wrapped package, I use Nawaf’s Dot Day painting from years ago as my canvas? I can write my one word onto the red dot, perhaps? Is it disrespectful of the original artist? Or is it a legit art form?
Anyway, any ideas for a suitable word for 2022 for me?
When you lie down at night,
you know those quiet moments you try
to get comfortable before falling asleep?
But you notice that achy wrist
and the indigestion from tonight’s dessert,
and maybe your knee’s been acting up again…
At those times, do you ever doubt?
Do you ever feel a bit of shame
for worshipping that former
“perfect physical specimen”?
Do you ever wonder
if maybe this one,
who admits to reflux
and isn’t ashamed
to have a colonoscopy,
might really be more legitimate?
Memory is a reluctant drum
and sometimes sporadic,
memories like Dad’s death
are regular beating bass drums
down to my foundation,
other sweet or sad memories
pop up irregularly like a
tiny tom tom,
which is to say
memory is no one’s
Soon Jackrabbit will bound on legs of spring, cooling ears alight
Soon Quail parents, adorned with topknots, will herd their little ones to safety
Soon Rattlesnake will own the back porch whenever he passes
Soon cunning Coyote will create a trap for bounding Roadrunner
Soon Ants will scurry up and over, in and out, busily taking crumbs home
Soon Hummingbird will flitter around our feeder, showing off her feathers
Later, if we don’t act, all will be quiet in the Mojave Desert
“Blah, blah, blah,”
he spoke incessantly,
As I sat in the doctor’s waiting room,
I wasn’t hearing the audio as
I watched the recorded “highlights”
of the testimony.
I thought tears
would flow anytime as
I began thinking of that
other trial last week,
with those infamous tears.
The chyron below gave me
some of his words:
‘This was a life-or-death situation.'”
I remembered the video evidence,
submitted by one of the murderers–
Three men against one,
three aggressors against one victim,
two vehicles against two shoes,
two guns against none,
three against one,
white against black.
Ahmaud Arbery was an unarmed jogger
just hoping for a country
his right to live.
I wrote about Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers in September 2020 here in “Say His Name–Ahmaud Arbery,” the third poem on that post.
Thursday was the wedding day, a perfectly warm-not-hot afternoon and evening. Today’s Poetry Friday round up is being gathered over at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme by Matt Forrest Esenwine. He is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children, a beautiful anthology. Thank you, Matt, for hosting.
You knew a few letters last year; the only one you said with loud confidence was the initial letter of your first name. I wondered what had prevented you from learning your English sounds and letters during your first two and a half years of school. How clever and smart you were, noticing patterns in the words on the test, and sharing your interest in life and all the little happenings around you. However, you weren’t able to do the activities I asked you to read and respond to. You were distracted and took a bathroom break during the screening.
Today I saw you again, and you have made such prodigious progress. You know your letters now, spouted the sounds in the phonemic awareness screening, read nonsense words, and even a few sight words. I told you how proud I was of the progress you have made in the last few months. “I learned, didn’t I?” you said.
marvel of learning
your hard work is paying off
yes, indeed, you did