Like waves that break before they meet the shore, And fruit that’s plucked before the ripening; Like sonnet on iambic feet before It finds a body clear thought may bring; Like baking what’s inadequately kneaded, And tea that’s poured before the brewing’s done; Like junk a certain president has tweeted, And clothes pulled off the line still needing sun; Like words divorced of all humility Adorning an apologetic breath, And souls that think they know infinity Before they even cross the bridge of death. I think it is a bit like all of that: Insipid, dried up, bodiless and flat.
Awakening to sounds of foremost light I feel the stories tear into my soul Of someplace where the sun fell on the night To vaporize a family once whole. I see their faces turned up to the sky And wonder if they ever wore a smile, Or had they even watched another die Yet never thinking they would. All the while The images of death and grieving drain The little melatonin left in me Until these deals of Prime Day turn my brain Away from where my heart would rather be. If only there were great discounts for peace, We’d know the real meaning of increase.
It’s hard to be a Muslim in these times When random border checks have gotten cold With camps and waterboarding on our minds And neo-nazi haters walking bold Like foreigners in lands we hold our own We’re dust on maps dividing us apart Unfounded fears turning hearts to stone Impelling policy bereft of heart We hear the names of prophets tossed in vain By voices on the left and on the right But can’t submit our intellect to gain Admission to a Garden wrought from Light It’s hard to be a Muslim till we see That Muslim is just all we need to be
The words are formed and primed to do their dance Upon the bones of honor in disgrace You’ve strung your bow of tongue, awaiting chance To send that verbal arrow nocked in place. But then, just as you are about to fire There falls a slowing hand upon your bow Eliding tension for a reason higher Than all the reasons you could ever know. The arrow is dismantled word by word, Replaced by disposition quite reversed: An arsenal of patience undeterred By thoughts seducing you to be your worst. It is an act of courage to withhold A poisoned arrow, be it cast in gold.
So here I am, I’ve found that slice of time When I said what I said; I freeze it dry And step toward its body laced with crime To analyze the what, how, when and why. It looks quite innocent from where I am, A figure cloaked in camphor-scented lies, So I get closer till the fog of glamor Lifts, revealing all my tongue devised. Its face glows bright, a blinding flaring red, Its hands are raised, upturned without a care, I look for smile but find a smirk instead, And cringe to see the maggots in its hair. I let time roll to crush its nasty head And plan apologies for what I said.
Remember always: they’ll be watching you, So watch yourself and be a bit afraid; Injustice has a way of falling through And dragging with it all who give it aid. So think before you act if think you can; It is a way to take a matter through The stages of a formidable plan And most importantly, do think of you. For once a plan is executed, know The livelihoods and lives that it enslaves All come together as a hammer’s blow On tyrant bodies writhing in their graves. The angels watching, waiting, never tire To drag the hands of tyrants into fire.
You cannot hope to be one free of pain While pain is all around you and within Where heart repeats perpetual refrain To punctuate the story you are in. But let your hope lay down its weary head Upon the breast of prayer wont to rise On wings of love sincere when they’re spread To meet the wind. With tear-moistened eyes, Go swim around that ever-fading star Of life, and in your faithful orbit stay That in the darkness whence you seem afar You rise and fall, and rise to show the way. It only bodes despair when you have lost The solemn will to hope at any cost.
We’ve fled the city with its memories Of breaths and names, and instead left behind Our fickle footsteps lost to every breeze And found again beneath the weight of mind. I teeter on a slippy edge of time As teenage chatter drowns the car I’m in In laughter that must constitute a crime When fused with snores designed to waken Jinn. There is no thinking I could ever do While in this otherwise efficient train, No headphones block the sounds I play unto My mind which never falters to retain The garbage that once heard stays on repeat Until I’ve gotten off this blasted seat.
The first, when tragedy befalls a soul Through sudden death or grievous injury, Through feeling quite a measure less than whole When comes the hurtful loss of dignity. The second, when a soul is drenched in praise With all its humbleness exposed as wealth That in its terribly intricate ways It attributes all greatness to itself. The third, when heedlessness sets heart on fire And pours despair abundantly as fuel But then the inward eye, it drowns desire And sends its soothing waters up to cool. This is the day, now is the time to cry To let your love return and cool your eye.
We like So Much so much; let me explain. Some nights we cuddle up as dad and tot And let the rhyme and flexible refrain To captivate us for the time we’ve got. Mom’s cool, and although Auntie Bibba rocks, It’s Uncle Didi, Nannie and Gran-Gran We love: the lingo Cousin Kay-Kay talks, Big Cousin Ross, and Daddy who’s THE MAN. “Again!” I dodge the sleepy tot’s protest And send the book to shelf with skillful toss, Distracting him with “Who do you like best?” He flashes toothy grin, “Big Cousin Ross.” So much is such an entertaining book By Helen Oxenbury and Trish Cooke.