Home is

Home was the pages of a good book
Curled up on a  couch
Sound off, the world disappearing
As I learned what kind of person I wanted to be

Home was your blue eyes and quick laugh
Touching your neck as you drove
Bright summer sun in a car and
Dancing in the living room

Home was the grey stones and twisting closes
Golden light breaking through clouds
Tea and scones on windy days
A city map that felt like it was engrained in my blood

Home is you
Walking alongside you
Texting you when I am almost in tears
Knowing you’ll make me smile
And help me breathe
Home is you
Sharing silly articles and jokes
Shouting book recommendations at each other
Bottles of wine and cheese
Falling over laughing
Home is you

It was never the address of my street
Or the country in my passport
Or even this spot on my couch

In this way, I have never left home
And home has never left me.


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My mother grew me
Hair, bones, teeth and skin
Incubating in her stomach
Nourishing an idea of a person
For nine tender months
Until I burst forth
Like a hideous, shriveled raisin
And became real

My mother grew me
She gave me yellow and white food
Because I refused other colors
She made me a strawberry cake
Because strawberries are in season in June
I ate it even though it was pink

My mother grew me
“Come here, let me teach you to make…”
“ghruuuuuuuuuhhhhhh, do I have to ma?”
Now I stand at the stove
Smashing garlic with a knife
Throwing in salt and too much olive oil
And remembering those lessons

My mother grew us
Her stomach carried three ideas
She nourished us
Within and without
And seasoned us with her joy
With her tears and frustrations
Spiced us with laughter
And dancing

Our mother grew us
She fed us and taught us
That feeding someone is one way to say
I want you to be well
I value you
I love you

Posted in family, food, love, personal, Poem | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Capital R

I am a deeply Romantic person
Note the capital R.
I am utter crap at grand gestures
I’ll forget birthdays and feel weird bringing
Or accepting flowers
The words ‘I love you’
Are said clumsily, like a drunk person trying to jam their keys into the keyhole
And eventually like a running toddler
Impatient, loud and impossible to ignore, and hopefully endearing to the right people.

The Capital R is very necessary.

I feel made of sighs and yearning glances
I’ve fallen in love with four strangers this week
Just because we made eye contact down the street
And they looked kind and maybe a bit joyous
I cried with joy at a novel
When the stern heroine recalls the first time her love smiled at her and the world lit up
I dream of all the impossible things I would do for love
They wouldn’t be impossible, would they, not with you there?
I’d cross the seas for you
I’d exist happily by your side
I’d write ridiculous poetry trying to capture the ray of sunlight I feel when I am with you
The way you make me laugh like an idiot without trying

But then again. I am not a romantic
Which means I’m a bit of a coward
A lot of a coward
So I’d never tell you I loved you in the first place
And I’ll stay where I am
Safe in my novels and absurd poetry
Falling in love with strangers
And pretending I never loved you in the first place

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What choice is there, really?

I let myself fall for a story
I weave the threads together like an insane
Choose-your-own-adventure tale

Sometimes the path leads to
tender gazes, sweet gestures
the gentle touch of a hand
knowing questions and inside jokes
Full of the joy of loving

Other days
It’s sighs, sidelong glances and
Clearly drawn lines in the sand
Across cowardly distance
Be it oceans, or the touch of a hand.

I have reached the point
Where I don’t know which
Story is true
Or if there’s a third Adventure
I can’t see

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Seven Years

They did the math, you know
Every seven years, your cells have all replaced themselves
You have a new skin
And probably smell different
Every seven years

This means
I can figure out exactly
To the day
The moment when none of me
will have ever touched any part of you
And when you will no longer smell
The way you used to.

Sometimes, I scrub extra hard
When I shower
Just to try to move that date up just a bit
To erase you completely
From my entire being.
Even if I can’t quite get you out of my mind
Ever again
At least one day
My skin will never have known you.

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The Bellwether

When I become a walking question mark
Things get hazy and unclear
And words flutter and fly
In fragments and flashes of brightness
Only to disappear before I can understand them

I become the intimidating blank page
Stretching eternally
unwilling and intimidating

When I figure out the answer to the question
The words suddenly pause, reflect
They begin to float, to let themselves be caught
The blank page stops scaring me
And suddenly there isn’t enough ink
And I can’t breathe properly
Until the words are out of me

Sometimes you are the answer
I see you and my mind is still
I have all the words and I can explain everything
I can write about you as easily as breathing
Words that perfectly capture
How your hand feels with mine

Sometimes you are the question
And I am muted
Cowardly, uncertain and insecure
And my words avoid me
Because I don’t deserve them
When I won’t use them
To tell the truth
To myself
Or you.

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A tiny, tiny moment

I got the rare and soul-saving pleasure of witnessing a student wake up to something the other day.

I’m doing a unit on trade with 7th grade at the moment. This is following study of different religions, different climates and resources, all building to an understanding of culture as mix of various, ever-changing ingredients that are rooted in history and geography combined. They’ve studied the big 5 religions equally and had chances to research and learn about countries all over the world.

Anyway, this day, we were discussing Marco Polo – charting his route from Genoa to Beijing and considering the travails of early travel.

Then we moved on to the Spice trade and who controlled it. I explained that the routes had originally been largely created controlled by Muslim caliphs in the 1100s, before the Europeans developed seafaring technology and took over, even before Marco Polo made his famous trip.

“So, it’s important to remember that Muslims actually did control it from the beginning, and that it wasn’t always dominated by Western Europeans.”

“Well, because sometimes that’s the way the story is told. We’re in Europe and the story gets told from a European point of view – like the Spanish and Portuguese controlled trade from the beginning. And they leave out that the Muslims were doing it first.”

The Egyptian, muslim, girl looks up from her notes.
“Wait, they just leave it out? Why? How?”
“Yes. Because we’re in Europe so they only tell their side. And as Winston Churchill, PM of England during WWII , said, ‘History is written by the winners’. It’s easier to just tell one side, isn’t it?”
“But it’s not true. So how do we know what is true?”
“Well, we don’t. And it’s our job as historians to track down the truth and look for the other side of the story to make sure we’re not missing it.”
“But… ”
And she goes back to her notes.

And her face shows me clearly – she’s been duped and just learned it. She’s just learned that the history of her people, her religion, her culture, gets erased. Possibly on purpose.

really really hope that that was a seed that turns her from being a bright, driven, student to being a purposeful, intent, adult. Even though she might not even remember it.

And that, that, is what keeps me being a purposeful, intent, adult.

Posted in critical thought, education, politics, students, writing | Tagged , , | 1 Comment