“Out, Out, Out, Out, OUT!!!!” I screamed at that damn monkey in my hot tub. In the darkness of my little patio I watched his eyes grow wide with surprise, and I wondered suddenly if any of my neighbors had heard me yelling. A quiet, gated condominium community nestled in a tiny scrap of forested wetlands fortunately preserved by eco-visionary legislature, my neighbors and I were grateful beneficiaries of the 1990’s federal wetland protection acts.
Monkeys are probably covered in one of those eco-protection laws governing what goes on in my neighborhood. But this monkey was clearly in the cross-hairs of Scheri’s smoking wand of rose-scented incense, glowing softly from its stand in the flower planter beside the hot tub. Continue reading →
The coast was clear as my children and I entered the condo at the end of the day. I peeked left and right, but there was no sign of that damn genie anywhere in sight. Then I slapped my forehead and laughed out loud, tickled by the memory of Scheherezade transforming him into a monkey.
My daughter asked, “What’s so funny, Momma?”
On the one hand, my ten year old daughter was the most incredibly truthful child I have ever encountered in my life, and was definitely not ready for my current version of reality. On the other hand, my seven year old son was an incredibly “creative conversationalist.” His imaginative reports from the classroom, playground, and neighborhood friend’s house were always laced with magic mushroom sauce, driving his sister crazy as she argued with him about the truth.
Can you carry your plate of french fries
On your head to your dinner table?
A plate full of tasty french fries
Is a “fast” food in some places,
But it’s not so speedy, here in Egypt,
Where guiding a horse and tilling the field
Is the way potatoes make it to the plate.
Can you see yourself clearing the field,
Collecting them one by one,
From the soil into your bucket?
Just imagine your daily life
Working as a french fry farmer –
No one pulls the bag from the freezer
Without someone harvesting potatoes.
There is a blessing for my shopping-challenged heart here in Egypt that erases all the heart attack symptoms that arise whenever I find I need to go out shopping for something. I just sit down and shop for it online. It’s awesome. My blender just broke and I never broke a sweat. I just let somebody else figure out where the best priced blender is hiding in the midst of the busy market-place. I just type in souq.com!
Then some nice person drives all the way from Cairo to my front door, just to see me smile when they deliver it like a birthday present! And they wait patiently for the payment, right there at my door, too – no problem!
I’m taking part in the Oct. 16, 2014 Blog Action Day activities. The theme for this year is “#Inequality.” Anyone familiar with my blog will recognize that I don’t usually write about politics, but for this post I’m making an exception. Inequality is a theme I hold pretty tightly to my chest, it constricts my heart painfully and chokes off my air, leaving me speechless, angry, depressed, and torn by a whirlwind of sorrowful thoughts.
At the bottom of this post I’ve embedded a YouTube video that broke my heart with no hope of repair. I’ve never seen a better champion for the Palestinian cause. The injustice that the Palestinians are suffering is so offensive that the weight of it is too much for the whole Earth to carry. Inequality is a gross underestimation of the situation. I’m not interested in arguing politics, just sharing my broken heart. Please watch the entire video. My poem is dedicated to the little Palestinian girl you will see in the last few minutes. My loving and beloved husband, Mohamed, wrote the translation in Arabic.
She Was Born In The Respite Between Intifadas
She was born in the respite between intifadas,
كانت مولوده في الهدن بين انتفاضه واخري
Surrounded by toys, and dolls, and sunglasses.
محاطه باللعب والعرايس والنظارات الشمسيه
Adored by her family, she listened, entranced,
محاطه بحب اسرتها تسمع وتتامل
But as she learned to speak, no one spoke of the past –
ولكن عندما كانت تتعلم الكلام لم يحدثها احد عن الماضي
When the sky rained bullets from huge clouds of gas
وعندما امطرت السماء الرصاص من سحاب الفسفور الكثيف
Belching ballistic missiles, spewing blood and death.
يتجشاء الصواريخ الباليستيه يتقياالدم والموت
So she learned to walk, and then went off to school.
عندها تعلمت المشي وبعدها ذهبت للمدرسه
Oblivious to everything, she danced upon the rubble,
دون ان تعلم كل شي رقصت علي حطام الابنيه
Playing with her dolls in places full of danger.
تلعب بعرائسها في اماكن مشحونه بالخطر
She brought such beauty to the place,
اضافت مسحة الجمال علي المكان
They didn’t dream of waking her.
جعلت حلم ايقاظها مستحيل
And so the rains awakened her, when the next storm arrived.
عندئذ ايقظها المطر عندما وصلتها عاصفة المطر التاليه
It didn’t take her life, but it took a very long time,
لم تاخذ روحها ولكن اخذت الكثير من عمرها
Finding her balance, and regaining her strength,
حتى تجد توازنها و وتستعيد قوتها
After the desperate separation of school from education –
بعد ياس افتراق المدرسه من التعليم
Of childhood from race; of neighborhood from faith –
والطفل من جنسه ومجتمع من عقيدته
Of hypocrisy from hate; of fantasy from fate.
والنفاق من الكراهيه واحلام اليقظه من القدر