I woke to find
eating away at
assured me that
were not involved"
kwame alexander, life (for professor derrick bell). (via black-poetry)
Murmur is not
the sound of water.
of the stone.
The horizon is
the sun’s pillow
and the night
Did the bird lend
to that tree?
Whenever the wind blows
are the ashes
of the embers
of his dreams.
is a long
Like death, poetry
is a terrible idea.
"Rule No. 1: Show and Tell. Most people say, “Show, don’t tell,” but I stand by Show and Tell, because when writers put their work out into the world, they’re like kids bringing their broken unicorns and chewed-up teddy bears into class in the sad hope that someone else will love them as much as they do. “And what do you have for us today, Marcy?” “A penetrating psychological study of a young med student who receives disturbing news from a former lover.” “How marvelous! Timmy, what are you holding there?” “It’s a Calvinoesque romp through an unnamed metropolis much like New York, narrated by an armadillo.” “Such imagination!” Show and Tell, followed by a good nap."
Colson Whitehead’s [debatable] Rules for Writing.
from “Tales of a Severed Head”
you the shadow of yourself
you who move forward like a horse
head on one side and body on the other,
who see one half of the sea
and don’t stop searching for the other,
who put your eyes in your mouth
your mouth in a bottle
the bottle in the sea
and the whole sea in a cigarette.
You seated on a rock the whole sea
rolling in smoke
into your chest.
You become sea horse for an evening
for a night,
become sea horse so that there will be
no more night
so that there will be no more mornings to
on what rock to rest your head,
in what dust to place your feet
and no other mornings to ask yourself
You on your rock
with no more grass to smoke
and crying for a lost ocean
and scraping a shard of seashell
with your nails
to find a scrap of noise in it.
You suddenly become fragile again
a man again
become the pauper you used to be
with your memories of orphanages
with your stock of cigarette-butts
listen to what my mouth pronounces.
"Perhaps creating something is nothing but an act of profound remembrance."
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Poet’s Guide to Life.
My dad has always told me this.
"Every single thing in this universe glorifies God; and therefore every single thing has certain rights and a certain sanctity, and it is upon us to build connections with them and deal with them in affection and kindness. To the extent that the Prophet ﷺ (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The mountain of Uhud – it loves us and we love it.” And he said, “When the profligate servant of God dies, relief is given to the worshippers, the land, the trees and the animals.” Because the worshippers, the land, the trees, and the animals all suffer at the hands of the dissolute sinner. Proof of this is in the words of God, “And the heavens and the earth wept not for them, nor were they given a respite,” (Qur’an 44:29). This implies that when people of goodness and righteousness pass away, the heavens and the earth weep [and mourn their loss]."
"I wish for you a really mean boss - one who makes you cry. Let’s be honest… this is a tough business.. one where you have to push and bully your way to a story. You need to develop a thick skin early on. One of my first professional memories was of being pushed off a ladder in a media stampede outside a court, when I got thrown to the floor and the mic dropped from my hand. Instead of giving me any sympathy, my cameraman fired me up. I learned right then, both in the field and in my newsroom, you have to stand still as others try to push you around. So when the boss blows you up for missing the big interview of the day, you learn to go to the washroom, weep a little, and then go get the interview."
@suhasinih on Twitter.
Wearing no turban, his head shaved as a sign of mourning, the venerable qadi Abu Sa’ad al-Harawi burst with a loud cry into the spacious diwan of the caliph al-Mustazhir Billah, a throng of companions, young and old, trailing in his wake. ‘How dare you slumber in the shade of complacent safety,’ he began, ‘leading lives as frivolous as garden flowers while your brothers in Syria have no dwelling place save the saddles of camels and the bellies of vultures? Blood has been spilled! Beautiful young girls have been shamed, and must now hide their sweet faces in their hands! Shall the valorous Arabs resign themselves to insult, and the valiant Persians accept dishonour?’ ‘It was a speech that brought tears to many an eye and moved men’s hearts,’ the Arab chroniclers would later write. The entire audience broke out in wails and lamentations. But al-Harawi had not come to elicit sobs.‘Man’s meanest weapon, he shouted, ‘is to shed tears when rapiers stir the coals of war.’"
- Amin Maaalouf, ‘The Crusades Through Arab Eyes.’ (via finjangahwa)
Reblogging because, sadly, it’s still relevant.
The thief of canvas
I saw a country embracing me
With morning hands: be
Worthy of the smell of bread. Be
worthy of the pavement flowers
Because your mother’s oven is still on fire
And the greeting is warm just like a loaf
Jamal Bdouma, The thief of canvas
Think of your walking death on the sidewalk
Ask about the color of your shrouds
The form of your funeral
Who will walk in it
Who will say the prayers
All the hands beseeching the roof of the bus
But there you go
You wish to utter this weakened scream
Sitting in your ethereal cafe Casablanca
The sad clouds of your coffee
Thicken in the sky of a newspaper
Suspended in your shivering hands
It is raining blood
-Ikram Abdi, Casablanca
A Syrian woman in the town of Houla says she hid behind a door as gunmen shot dead children in the house.
The government has blamed “terrorists” for the killings, which the opposition said were carried out by government forces and pro-Assad thugs.
My God. Imagine the survivor’s guilt she’s going to be plagued with for the rest of her life.
"The plain fact is that the planet does not need more “successful people”. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every kind. it needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and human, and these qualities have little to do with success as our culture has defined it."
"People with prodigious memories were often the subject of popular anecdotes. The young poet al-Mutanabi won a thirty-folio book written by al-Asmai by memorizing its contents after a single reading.The theologian al-Ghazali is reported to have been robbed of his books while traveling. When he cried out to the robber to take everything but leave him his books, the robber retorted, “How can you claim to know these books when by taking them, I deprive you of their contents?” Al-Ghazali took the theft as a warning from God and spent the next three years memorizing his notes."
To a Young Poet
And last but not least, Salaam.