Showing posts from May, 2016

Pesky Parrot

The day the parrot bit my dad, we ran over the cat. Dad didn't mean to run her over but he was distracted by that pesky bird. Maybe it had plotted it all along. Maybe the cat was too dominating and she had to be finished off or maybe she killed one of the bird's wild friends. Whatever the case, she was dead. And we were all sorry about it. My little sister, Elisa, chose a nice place under the shaded oak tree to bury her. Of course we all shed a tear and said our prayers, the way that Elisa wanted us to because she said it was our fault and we should be sad. Elisa held that parrot close to her and comforted her with words, "It's ok, don't cry. Your friend is in a better place now. Shh..don't cry." She patted that bird's head and groomed its' feather methodically. Later that night, all I heard was that pesky bird laughing in its sleep, literally.

the Greens

Every summer the lake seemed to become fuller. Tova specifically remembered that last summer, the water only touched the root of the first oak tree to the left of the dock. Now, a good portion of the tree's bottom half was immersed in the glorious liquid. She dipped her fingers in it breaking the surface and creating a milky and shiny pattern that traveled to the tree. The Greens were particularly aware of their natural surroundings, quite literally. Grandpa Jed once spotted a black bear a mile away during a family camping trip, and it was nearly dark out! And Uncle Lukey often knew the right spot on any body of water where the fish would always bite. Tova loved it, the strange closeness her family had to this blue and green world. If her family name's sake didn't speak any louder, she didn't know what would. For three summer's straight during her elementary years, Tova learned to tend to and grow a sustainable garden and eventually taught the whole program to the next coming set of green thumbs. In fifth grade, she managed to memorize the scientific names and appearance of 78 types of trees, 56 types of flowers and just for fun, 40 types of birds. Loren Green was proud of her daughter's unprecedented achievements at such a tender age, however, less impressed at her daughter's overabundance of terrariums in the house. Though constantly tended to and organized, there wasn't enough space for the miniature Japanese gardens which Loren loved so much.

miss annie arch
was born in march
the month of change
that melt the heart

and in her hair
she doesn't care
the color of
the flower fair

she donned the rose
a daisy gold
although today
'twas orchid bold

her dress is blue
her blazer new
her nails pink
to match her shoes

she walked the street
in mild heat
to share the news
winter's defeat!

now out the door
the town galore
marched heel to toe
with songs they bore

to sing to spring
she's come again
now jump, now shout
welcome her in

Mama Shaw's Pearls

Mama Shaw loved her pearls. They laid encased within a jeweled glass box with every other diamond encrusted, gold-plated, silver hooped, brass made trinket. You could see through the box. When the light hits it at the right angle, it lit up like the sun lights up the day. Often times i would stand at the door when she got ready in the evening and watch her carefully take out one delicate item at a time and set it out on her vanity which was covered in oxblood suede. She said it was better for the jewelry. I believe her.

One time about 3 and a half years ago, she was getting ready for a night out with her friends. Her dress was ivory, her hair done up in a chignon. The glass pearls were going to be perfect. Now they weren't your ordinary glass pearls. They were actual glass beads crafted to look like pale pearls. They were my favorite. Whenever Mama Shaw wore them they made her face glow and her cheeks always appeared much rosier than usual. I guess they were her favorite too. Around 8 that night, the door bell rings and Rosie Conner was at the door picking up Mama Shaw.

"Just a minute!" She said.
"Oh, take your time dah-ling, we're not in a rush." Answered Rosie up the stairs.
"Would you like a water, Miss Rosie?" I had asked politely.
"Ah no, dah-ling. But I would like some lemonade if ya gots sum."
"Yes, yes we do." I started towards the kitchen when out of the cold air came a wailing as I'd never heard before. Rosie ran up the stairs, fast as her little wobbly legs could take her. I followed hastily.

Of course we had not heard the shatter, for they were too tiny to have made any such noise. But seeing all the pieces scattered on the floor made for a noise unlike any other come out of Mama Shaw's mouth. She was on the floor both legs to either side of her, her hand to her heart, as if grasping for a reasoning.

"Dah-ling, dah-ling!" Rosie approached but was stopped.
"No, no. You'll cut your feet!" Mama Shaw's face was in agony. "My pearls..."
"Oh, Carol..." Rosie could not comfort Mama Shaw because she couldn't make it around to her. The pearls had shattered and created a barrier to get to her and the bed and vanity were on either side.

"I'll grab the broom and pan." I chipped in.
"No! No.." Mama Shaw stopped me. "Maybe it can be fixed."
"Dah-ling are you crazy? It's shattered to millions of pieces. You can't possibly think it can be repaired?"
Mama Shaw let that comment sink in. She started sniffling, then wiping her eyes, then full on weeping. The rest of the night was spent trying to cheer her up. Rosie made it to the other side by crawling up on the bed. She held Mama Shaw in her frail arms and rubbed her hair until she came down from crying to a deep groaning.

Rosie left around 11.

"She'll be alright. I don't blame the dear, they always were beautiful when she wore them."
"Yes, ma'am." I looked up at her face, aged with grace and poise, sprinkled with some despair and loss, but altogether, beautiful. I now understood why Mama Shaw was always envying her, she could stop a baby from crying with just a smile. But I guess tonight, Mama Shaw was a different story.
"You tell her I'll be back tomorrow. Goodnight now, Mariam." And she was gone. The house was quiet now. Mama Shaw seemed to have also quieted down. I walked back up to her room. I stood on the side of the door, not knowing what to do.

"Mariam, be a dear, and get me a glass of water please." She sniffled. I came back with it, crawled up the bed and gave it to her, as one would hand a baby its bottle. She drank it, reached up to set it on the vanity and slumped back down. She didn't speak anymore after that. I sat on the bed and twiddled my thumb. I crawled up the bed to take a look at the book Mama Shaw always read before she went to bed. There were no pictures but I could make out the words and skipped past the ones that were too big to pronounce. Before I drifted off, the story had summed up to something about dwarves and goblins and a ring. I wasn't sure but sleep that night was about lands far away and castles with fair maidens and knights. Far away where apples were blood red, the fields were endless and glass pearls never shattered.

I woke up to the sound of a lawn mower. The sun sliced through the blinds. I went on hands and knees to the edge of the bed. Mama Shaw was sleeping, next to the shattered pool of glass. She looked peaceful, but her mind must've been disturbed for when she woke, she took one look at the pile and started weeping again.

"Mama Shaw, what's the matter?" I asked. She didn't answer for she was too busy sniffling and crying and wimpering under her breath.

I climbed off the bed and went downstairs for some milk and cereal. This morning, there was no buttered toast, ham & eggs or thick juicy sausages. I didn't like milk very much but with cereal, I could eat three bowls. Mama Shaw would never allow me to do that though.


She Came From the Sea

they came from the water, glowing from the droplets that clung to their skin, like pearls embellished deep within their bloodstreams. they rejuvenated from the ocean, came back to life when they lay on the sand and let the waves crash into their slim bodies. it was like they were soaking up the very soul of the ocean itself.

that was where i met her. her hair was almost transluscent and when you really looked, you could see life particles swimming up and down her locks. when she walked, it swayed back and forth, glistening and casting a magical halo against her silhouette. her hands seemed stenciled with a billion tiny stars that together formed a texture unknown to man, indescribable. her feet, light as air, carrying her wherever her heart desired. they seemed to float when she was happy. now her face. where to start with her face. smooth, heart shaped, flawless. her brows softly arched to frame her curious eyes. her eyes, how kind and open they were and shined when she was excited. of course they were the color of the ocean in the morning, or the sky on a clear day. her nose was straight, leading perfectly to her lush, plump lips the shade of blushing corals. with them she sang songs to the fish of the sea and the flying beasts in the air. she whispered secrets and told tales of long ago to anyone who would listen. she was unafraid, bold, willing and courageous. everything that i wanted to be. she was my mother.

Danny never mentioned her. Always said that she ran away when I was young. The responsibilities that I came with were too much for her. So I grew up not knowing, hating and begrudging her. I also grew up not liking who I was, knowing deep inside I was part of her, she was part of me. I didn't know how to wear a beautiful dress properly, nor did my makeup compliment any of my features. I always thought my eyes too big, my lips unproportionate to my cheeks and my jaws, how prominent they were. so i hid. hid behind a mask of insecurities, an identity so mysterious even I myself didn't know who it was.

Danny did what he could. calming me when i was angry, and dealing with my threats of running away just as mother had done. but he always knew i wouldn't. he knew i wouldn't follow the one person whom i despised so much. so he just stood beside me, brushing my blonde tresses with his rough fingers, holding my hands when i cried myself to sleep. and he sang, oh how he sanged to me on those days when i thought my soul was going to explode from a feeling of an unfulfilled life.

on those nights, after Danny leaves me, i speak to the moon. she speaks back. she tells me of the virtue of patience. i tell her to go to hell. she also advises on the ways of life, how to achieve my goals. i tell her i have none. and if i did, they left with my mother. however, on this night, i spoke to Mother Moon. she tells me mother is coming back. from the way the stars seemed to shine that night, my heart, my soul was hopeful. the image which i grew to hate soon fed my soul, giving me a hope of seeing those blue blue eyes, that golden hair that adorned her. and the hands that would possibly be holding mine.

i shout down the hall at Danny, I tell him to come quick.

"Danny, she's coming back. Mother moon, she told me so. And the stars confirmed it. they did, they did!"

"Catia, stop. go to bed please."

his eyes were bloodshot. his mouth turned down in a frown. i apologize and don't converse anymore. he's had enough for one night. but when he leaves, my heart sputters. she'll come back, i know it. Mother Moon never lies.


"Catia, are you listening to me?"

Mrs. Spooner points at me. the other students giggle under their breaths. i don't care to look. i nod and reply simply "yes," and she continues.

Class dismisses and i head to my last hour of the day. i walk by Mimi's locker to see if she's there. then i run by Eric's. he's there but he's with some friends. and with her. Caitlin. his girlfriend. by what i've heard through the grapevine, she doesn't like me.

friday night

so what do we do, dear friend,
when life soon will come to end?
all the corners in your life are taken,
and you've got no where to stand.

just come by me, cus i feel the same.
come by me, i've got none to blame.
it's just me and my broken dreams,
and if you very well want to share yours...
i'll turn off the lights, and we'll sleep.

Cultivating Beauty- Stasi Eldredge

We have all heard it said that a woman is most beautiful when she is in love. It’s love. It’s true. You’ve seen it yourself. When a woman knows that she is loved and loved deeply, she glows from the inside. This radiance stems from a heart that has had its deepest questions answered. “Am I lovely? Am I worth fighting for? Have I been and will I continue to be romanced?” When these questions are answered, Yes, a restful, quiet spirit settles in a woman’s heart.
And every woman can have these questions answered, Yes. You have been and you will continue to be romanced all your life. Yes. Our God finds you lovely. Jesus has moved heaven and earth to win you for himself. He will not rest until you are completely his. The King is enthralled by your beauty. He finds you captivating.
Beauty is a quality of the soul that expresses itself in the visible world. You can see it. You can touch it. You are drawn to it. Beauty illuminates. Its essence, says Thomas Aquinas, as its “luminosity.” It is bound up with the immortal. Beauty flows from a heart that is alive. We have known women you might describe as “frumpy,” who seemed to care nothing for their appearance. We have seen them become women who possessed great beauty. We watched it grow in them as they discovered that they were deeply loved, as their hearts came alive in response to the Great Romancer. We are romanced. We are loved. When we are at rest in that knowledge, we can offer our hearts to others and invite them to Life.

The Essence of a Woman
The essence of woman is Beauty. She is meant to be the incarnation-our experience in human form-of a Captivating God. A God who invites us.
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters…
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
And your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” (Isaiah 55:1-2)
“You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
You have stolen my heart
With one glance of your eyes,
With one jewel of your necklace…
You are a garden fountain,
A well of flowing water
Streaming down from Lebanon.” (Song 4:9, 15)
Beauty is what the world longs to experience from a woman. We know that. Somewhere down deep, we know it to be true. Most of our shame comes from this knowing and feeling that we have failed here. So listen to this: beauty is an essence that dwells in every woman. It was given to her by God. It was given to you.
Surely you would agree that God is nothing if not beautiful.
All around us God’s creation shouts of his beauty and his goodness. The silhouette of lace on a barren tree laced draped with ice, the rays of sun streaming forth from a billowing cloud, the sound of a brook trickling over smooth stones, the form of a woman’s body, and the face of a child anticipating the arrival of the ice cream truck all speak of God’s good heart if we will have but the eyes to see. The coming of spring after a hard winter is almost too glorious for a soul to bear. God’s beauty is lavished on the world.
Beauty is powerful. Beauty may be the most powerful thing on earth. Beauty speaks. Beauty invites. Beauty nourishes. Beauty comforts. Beauty inspires. Beauty is transcendent. Beauty draws us to God. As Simone Weil wrote, “The beauty of the world is almost the only way by which can allow God to penetrate us…Beauty captivates the senses in order to obtain permission to pass straight through tot the soul…The soul’s inclination to love beauty is the trap God most frequently uses in order to win it.”
God has given this Beauty to Eve, to every woman. Beauty is core to a woman-who she is and what she longs to be-and one of the most glorious ways we bear the image of God in a broken and often ugly world. It’s messy to talk about. It’s mysterious. And that should not surprise us. Women are creatures of great mystery; not problems to be solved by mysteries to be enjoyed. And that, too, is part of her glory.
Women want to impact their world for good. As corulers with Adam, we are created to do so, and one of the key ways we influence our world is in making it a more beautiful place to live. We decorate our homes. We put flowers on the table. Pioneer women brought china teacups into the wilderness. We wear perfume, paint our toenails, color our hair, and pierce our ears, all in an effort to be ever more beautiful.
Beauty is the most essential and, yes, the most misunderstood of all the feminine qualities. We want you to hear clearly that it is an essence every woman carries from the moment of her creation. The only things standing in the way of our beauty are our doubts and fears, and the hiding and striving we fall to as a result.


the trees aligned perfectly like soldiers saluting their commander as he stepped down the line to assess each tomato stained trouser or dust collecting medal. the grass, perfectly trimmed i could  measure each strand to 1 1/2 inches. the iron fence was polished and shiny, like the rims on the cop car i was currently sitting in. the only thing i saw without a gawking presence was an old rusty barn nestled in the distant. i could tell the roof thatching had given in and the hinges on the door were loose made apparent as it rocked back and forth with the occasional gust of wind.

the cop pulled up to the front door of the towering mansion, its' ivory pillars and walls seemingly untouched by any outside elements. the flowers that embroidered the lawn and windows were tidy and probably chosen by the very queen herself. not a leaf out of place, a color palette used without purpose. this was the very place i hated, the very place i wanted to run from. hate in its essence lingered here like the stench from a dead fish left in the garbage too long.

"sami, what a plesant suprise, though hardly one at all." the queen had arrived, greeting me from the top of the steps. her suit was, as always, a white pencil skirt and blazer with a beige blouse, not that it was very beige at all, but an off white. it was plain. plain to look at, plain to think about.

"grandma." i said as i approached her. i stood at the bottom of the steps looking up. her menacing glare told me i wasn't welcomed. i had the urging desire to bow down and mock her. but i knew that wasn't very wise considering i had no where else to go. how did it come to this, this being that she was my last hope?

"please, come in." she gestured to me, "thank you Gary, give my regards to mrs. denver." Gary the cop doffed his hat and returned to the car.

don't leave me here, i had the urge to run back into the car and never come out until i was back on 60th and Hampton, sister's house. but the gun and cuffs on his belt told me otherwise. i let out the breath i had been holding. grandma was still staring and still judging.

"would you like some coffee? perhaps a cookie or two?" she was making fun of me, i hate coffee but i'd gladly take the cookies. i haven't had a thing to eat since yesterday afternoon.

nothing could've topped the gaudiness of the foyer, that was, until i stepped into the dining hall. a single massive chandelier dangled as if hanging from a noose; it could've fallen any second and killed an unsuspecting guest. of course grandma would love that. on the way to the sitting room we passed by at least 3 bathrooms each with their own theme: ugly, uglier, repulsive.

the Blonde Construction Worker

An Irishman, a Mexican and a Blond Guy were doing construction work while standing on scaffolding on the 20th floor of a building. They were eating lunch and the Irishman said, “Corned beef and cabbage! If I get corned beef and cabbage one more time for lunch, I’m going to jump off this building.”

The Mexican opened his lunch box and exclaimed, “Burritos again! If I get burritos one more time I’m going to jump off, too.”

The blond opened his lunch and said, “Bologna again! If I get a bologna sandwich one more time, I’m jumping too.”

The next day, the Irishman opened his lunch box, saw corned beef and cabbage, and jumped to his death.

The Mexican opened his lunch, saw a burrito, and jumped, too.

The blond guy opened his lunch, saw the bologna and jumped to his death as well.

At the funeral, the Irishman’s wife was weeping. She said, “If I’d known how really tired he was of corned beef and cabbage, I never would have given it to him again!”

The Mexican’s wife also wept and said, “I could have given him tacos or enchiladas! I didn’t realize he hated burritos so much.”

Everyone turned and stared at the blond’s wife. The blond’s wife said,

“Don’t look at me. The idiot makes his own lunch.”
“… the selfishness of the perfectionist (workaholic) is much more subtle. While he is out in society saving humanity at a work pace of eighty to a hundred hours a week, he is selfishly ignoring his wife and children. He is burying his emotions and working like a computerized robot. He helps mankind partially out of love and compassion, but mostly as an unconscious compensation for his insecurity, and as a means of fulfilling both his strong need for society’s approval and his driving urge to be perfect. He is self-critical and deep within himself feels inferior. He feels like a nobody, and spends the bulk of his life working at a frantic pace to prove to himself that he is really not (as he suspects deep within) a nobody. In his own eyes, and in the eyes of society, he is the epitome of human dedication. … He becomes angry when his wife and children place demands on him. He can’t understand how they could have the nerve to call such an unselfish, dedicated servant a selfish husband and father. … In reality, his wife and children are correct, and they are suffering severely because of his subtle selfishness.” -Minirth and Meier