growing pains

I’ve stopped writing for much longer than I ever wanted to.

Looking back at the attempts at poetry and prose I shared on my various blog, I never felt proud of my work. I don’t think I’ve written anything yet that’s struck a powerful chord with me. Yet, when I go back and look at the posts from a few years ago, I feel at peace for having caught some moments, some images of my mind, and carried them with me into the future. And, more than anything, I wish I were able to carry with me more memories adorned with language and preserved in a common place where they cease to belong to just me.

Perfectionism is evil. It’s the enemy that kills creativity, contentment, and progress under the false promise of attainable flawlessness. But in striving for perfect, we never take the step that makes the next one even possible. Instead, we hold on to a painfully high bar, waiting for everything to be just right so we can let go, not knowing that release is a choice and not a reaction. In believing in perfect, we accept that it is defined by an entity outside ourselves, that our own ideas of beauty, success, and happiness are meaningless and worth less.

I’m tired of holding back myself and my creative pursuits for fear that my work is not great. Today, I am not great, but I will take better. Such is the path of growth.

not even lullabies

It’s 2 AM and I can’t sleep. Soft lullabies fill the gaps between my thoughts, but I keep thinking of the ones I love. They keep me awake.

I remember a conversation with a professor of mine who told me he could never sleep at night. He says this to me as we clear the tables after a charity dinner in honor of his loved one. Ever since she passed, he can’t sleep at night. He takes these pills, swallows them with his 3 A.M. restless thoughts, as he grades student papers or reads the latest publishings on the state of our world.

I’ve never met a man so able at hiding his pain, though I’ve often heard men are good at that.

my rosary prayers

this is for the kids who clutched their rosary beads too tightly they broke
and they still search under tables and behind doors for the missing pieces
this is for the young men and women who no longer know where to lay their prayer mats,
how to mend their souls, or why they still show up at God’s doorstep

my cherished one

My Nana preferred beads necklaces over gold. She liked dolls and covered every wall in her house with pictures of her children and grandchildren. Her home always smelled of fresh cooking and her TV was always a notch too loud. When I hugged her, she squeezed me tightly. She smelled like baby powder and Irish Spring. When my parents visited Egypt all she ever asked for was candy, Kool-Aid, and Irish Spring soap. On her nightgowns and dresses, she attached a picture of my father. She changed clothes and my dad aged more than 20 years, but always his wedding picture hung from her dress.
This is my favorite image of her. She is smiling with her mouth closed. No matter how happy she was, always she smiled with her mouth closed. Her eyes were the most innocent and lively. She liked it best when I put the eye drops in them myself.
The last time I visited Egypt, me and my nana were roommates. That was five years ago, the last time I ever saw her. She slept in my sister’s twin bed on the other side of the room. We talked before bed if she wasn’t too tired. She told me stories of her life with Grandpa, how he fell in love with her when she was just a teenager. She got married young and lived a life very different from my own. She told me stories about my uncles and aunt and my father as a child. I listened to every story with a sense of enchantment that the no matter how much things changed, humans were always the same. After each story, she reminded me how much she loved me, and I went to sleep a happy girl.
Nana, I will always remember you. I will make pasta the way you always did. I will cherish pictures the way you always did. I won’t lose hope. If I live as long as you did, I will try to look at the world with wonder. I’ll cherish the little things. And the big things. I’ll try not to forget.

fine lines

a fine line

between everything

and it’s opposite

the world’s hanging

on a loose rope

pain and Suffering

thick minds and hollow hearts

we’re running on quicksand

breathe

let go

breathe

take my hand

wait

i’m scared

not many caged birds can sing

you freeze, crack, feign your presence

it’s too cold to watch the sunrise

but I’ve captured the early morning dew in my eyes

trapped the sunshine under my scarf

meshed with locks of hermit hair

I’ve held the memory of that moment

with tight fingers

then slipped it in a locket

I wear it around my neck

so even when I let go

it rests against my soul

breathe in

breathe out

it moves with my heart

weight

i’m light

i’m hanging on a delicate chain

and there’s beauty in that thin line

wind

Don’t you get it though?
It’s not about you.

It’s about fear and perfection
firsts and infinity,
daddy hugs and consciousness,
little girls and pretty memories,
it’s about beauty and hope,
and holding on too tightly
—a storming-of-age story
that i’m not sure I can survive.

trying Tupac my music into a poem

build us a castle in Owl City

a labyrinth with a Simple Plan

far away from The Neighborhood,

we’ll travel there by Train

or better yet, a Lifehouse

in a Frank Ocean of sunny sentiments

where we listen to The Sound of Reason

Bewitched by our own radiance.

 

let us build our love on this Oasis

as strong as Iron & Wine

the One Republic in which we stand

under the Sugar Ray of Sunshine

and the Sigur Ros of moonlight

make our home a Coldplay

on a hot summer’s day,

and Parachute with insight

Hellogoodbye to ignorance.

 

we’ll catch a Birdy then set her free

go on a quest for a ladybug

and a Lady Antebellum

make beautiful babies

feed them Eminems

pretend they’re Bruno Mars

because this world

is a Lupe Fiasco

and they’re better off in Linkin’ Park.

 

we’ll show them the Beatles

make them Gym Class Heroes

snuggle together in Plain White T’s

tell them bedtime stories

Of Monsters and Men

 

oh, Santana,

don’t you cry for me

california’s not where I want to be

I want to be here

with The Bird and The Bee

where The Script is spontaneity

and The Fray is continuity

 

these people think us

in A Fine Frenzy

but all we are is Radioheads

and we’re here to play our song.

 

Because our hearts are a Passion Pit

they beat in an Immortal Technique

we bid our farewell to Phoenix,

desert Florence and The Machine

we lock our home with Alicia Keys,

drape our windows with Julia Sheer

one day we’ll Foster The People,

send alphabets by The Postal Service

 

but today is a Cascada of bliss

our Nirvana is this happiness

the story of our Evanescence from society

is a song.

and it is this.

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