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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Experimenting with Poetry

Couple of days ago, I was tired, depressed and felt like exploding. Nothing particular was happening, but sometimes when the mind is too tired to play games of distraction, to push away thoughts of frustration, I find myself sinking again in that reality I am trying my best to ignore. I find myself too exhausted to keep myself busy from thinking where I am heading, and how tomorrow is going to be.

At such times, when inner pain becomes unbearable and the scream inside become too intense to mute, I try to take it out in words, and write it down in a poem. This time, this came along:
A scream too loud to be heard
By a noisy world, occupied somewhere else,
Repressed by a tear struggling invisibly to fall,
Unnoticed by surrounding multitudes!
Words fail to evolve, phrases of alien language;
Minutes and hours elapse in futile emptiness.
And thus days, months or even years pass by
Shouting in silence of mysterious pain.

I liked it; I liked the elliptic phrases and the poet in me, who is pushing her way hard to emerge, felt proud. However, when I showed this poem to my friend, she didn't sound to be so happy about. Since she knew what it was all about, as she had good idea what was troubling me, most of it at least, she knew where my pain came from, and why this scream. She reproached me for always writing about the same theme with different words.
With such criticism, the poet in me felt mad, not at my friend as much as at that self-pity which I always let it take the best in me. She was right in her view: I always take this pain, and the ache inside as my theme that it sounds like the only thing I can write about. This is not how I want it to be, for I know that poetry can be created from wide range of feelings and wider range of thoughts. I realized then that if I ever wanted to be a poet, then I had to let my words experiment with different experiences, different images and different worlds. The pain that dominated my writings before will never disappear; it is there in me, eating my happiness away when I am too exhausted to resist, or maneuver. Yet, I need to find different channels for it, and different domains.
The result of this resolution, if it is such, the following poem I just thought of. It is about a strange woman I met in the bus that took me from the gate of the prosperity camp to the US embassy.

Yesterday, in my way toward New World, taking the first stressing steps of paper work
I found it again that I had magnet for weirdoes to jump in-
To my life and fill it maybe with more action that I have already on.
In a crowded bus, a middle-aged woman told me next her to sit
And I complied…
Dragging my large square purse, my books, and my heavy coat…
With excitement clumsy I walked, toward the seat she wanted me to sit on
Heavily dressed, heavily burdened and heavily weighted, I tried the chair to occupy
But mess I made:
Papers fell around, purse loose on the ground; I planted my elbow against the woman's side
She expressed her annoyance but I tried to smile: nothing would ruin this excitement,
Nothing would have me frown.
A Lebanese living in Iraq she was, having all her kids abroad.
A son she had, as she kept on telling me, working engineer in the wealthiest city of the gulf
He was in Dubai and now searching for a bride…
Tired of fooling around with "easy" girls, she went on, time to have a family around…
That was my cue to shut my interest in humanity down
No more weird stories burdening my brain, no more aches for the mind,
It had to stop, I told myself, and with half smile, half bored look
I turned my face to other side.

Nadia F. Mohammed


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