NaPoWriMo Day 12: Words Left Unsaid

This is a poem that I started a long time ago, but I didn’t finish it. I guess the things that I had difficulty saying were just as hard to write, even when I knew they were just between me and my computer screen. But today, NaPoWriMo’s prompt was to “write a poem consisting entirely of things you’d like to say, but never would, to a parent, sibling, child, teacher, roommate, best friend, mayor, president, corporate CEO, etc.” And then I suddenly remembered! I have an old unfinished poem about this same thing! Let’s go dig it up and finally finish that thing! And so with renewed inspiration and courage, that’s what I did. And here are some of the many things that I wish I could–but probably never would–say to the people in my life.

Words Left Unsaid

When you hug me and squeeze me tight
it really just does not feel right.
I hate the way you smooch my cheek!
Please stop doing it!
It makes me want to freak!
(And I’m dreading seeing you on Monday—
it will be post my birthday
and I just know one of those kisses is coming my way.)
I can’t stand the way you hover over me—
whatever it is that I’m doing is not for you to see.
Stop asking about my business—
it’s none of yours.

I like spending time with you
and talking to you
and sometimes
I hang around a little longer than I need to
because I like being around you.
I’d like to think that you know how much I care about you,
how much I love you,
but I don’t think I’d ever tell you.
I don’t know how to say the words—
I don’t know if there are words.
But I worry that you don’t know,
and that maybe someday you’ll decide to go.

I get scared sometimes.
A lot of times.

I need to talk to you.
I need you near.
I want to tell you about all the things I fear.

I hate it when you eat my stuff.
That doesn’t belong to you,
and to take it is just rude.
You’re blind
and unkind.
I’m close to losing my mind.

I miss you.
I’m sorry—
—that I said that.
—that I did that.
—that I hurt you.
You hurt me too.
Please forgive me?
I wish I knew how to forgive you.

I feel like I have less of you.

I think you made a big mistake.
But in life we don’t get a retake.
There was too much at stake.
Too many times
I’ve felt like we were too close to the break.
There have been too many nights
when I’ve laid awake.

Sometimes you make me feel inadequate.
And sometimes I hate you for it.
Sometimes I don’t like to be your friend.
I know that it is never your intention to offend
but a bit too often it has happened.
I love you still,
but I sometimes don’t like you.

There are many more things that I want to say.
But perhaps for now—
just like all these things that I’d never say—
I should keep the rest of them hidden away.

________________________________

Are there things you wish you could say to someone, but you don’t have the courage? Share with me some of the things you’d never tell your friend, neighbour, sister, brother, colleague… if you dare.

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April Time is Here Again

Hi, y’all! It’s April! What a beautiful month it is. Things I love about April:

  • The cold, wet weather
  • Public/school holidays when I get to stay in bed and listen to the rain outside
  • The sound of the word, ‘April’. I think it sounds nice.
  • NaPoWriMo!!

So to start with, let’s just pretend that it hasn’t been months since last I wrote. Okay? Okay. Glad we’ve got that out of the way. I will not make any apologies nor any commitments this time around–we all know how wonderfully that turned out last time… uhem.. (Check out the link for some insight into my current state of shame and embarrassment.)

So it’s National Poetry Writing Month. Oh, yeeah! I’ve decided to go the regimented route, relying on the daily prompts from the NaPoWriMo website to give me some start-up inspiration every day, rather than just writing as the mood strikes me. I fear that if I do choose to go the latter route that the mood might never strike me…

So please do check back here regularly to see how I’m doing with the challenge. I’m quite excited and I hope to make it to 30 days with 30 new poems to show for it!

Here is my first one.

Breaking Down the Door

Let’s do away

With all the useless things we say

The chitter

The chatter

We’ve become so bitter

Our words and thoughts

Have become littered

With inconsequential worldly glitter

 

We care so little

Our promises have become brittle

All our relationships are noncommittal

We say so much but do so little

 

Who will help the friend who is lost?

Who will buy bread for the neighbour

Who cannot afford the cost?

Who will talk to the sister?

Who will listen to the daughter?

We send our children out to the world

Like lambs to the slaughter

And yet we hold our breath

Like we’re underwater

Hoping that the evil of the world hasn’t yet caught her

 

But we don’t know

That it is in the home where the evil begins

We should be our daughters’ best friends

Talking to her mother

Is where a young girl’s confusion and doubt should end

We spend too much time preaching

And not enough teaching

Too much time scolding

And not nearly enough care to moulding

Young women who will go into the world, upholding

Their faith and their virtue

Changing the way the world views

Young women whose words and actions are true

Of which there are too few

 

So let’s do away

With all the useless things we say

Spend a day visiting an old friend down the way

Find out if she is okay

Buy some groceries for your neighbour

Who cannot afford to pay

Listen to what your daughter has to say

Take your sister’s hand and let her rest her head

Let the useless chatter go unsaid

 

It is when we say less

And do more

That we’re a little bit closer to breaking down the door

___________________________

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My Oldest Friend

I write. That’s what I do. When something great happens to me and I’m bursting with joy and gratitude to my Creator, I write. When my heart is breaking and I feel like crying, I write. When I come to a turning point in my life or I reach some groundbreaking discovery about life, or about myself–you’ve guessed it–I write. I write about anything that matters to me, anyone who matters, anything that’s close to my heart–or that hurts my heart. I write poetry or just little pieces–words strung together, trying to express the emotions I feel. But, recently, I’ve noticed that there’s one ‘thing’ that I’ve never written about. One person who has never sprung from my mind and from my heart into words on a page. She is my friend. My ‘oldest friend’ (Side note: this post is partly due to my own random realisation of this non-occurrence and further spurred on by one of WordPress.com’s ‘Topic Ideas’ for blog posts. It says: ‘Write about your oldest friend’. So that is what I’ll do.)

So, by now you know that she is my oldest friend. We’ve been friends since high school–we’ve known each other since the eighth grade, but only actually became friends in the tenth. Our friendship had a random beginning, I barely even remember its actual starting point. I do, however, remember one particular instance when I thought to myself, ‘She’s so cool, I like how she thinks’. She shared my values and we respected the same things. I was used to people at my high school, and other social circles, thinking less of those who valued their religion, those who chose to live their lives modestly. So, when I met her, this is what I had expected from her, only to be pleasantly proved wrong, and it was at this point that I knew I wanted to be her friend. She never knew it, but I had always wanted to be like her. Back in high school, I wasn’t the person that I am now. I have changed much. I didn’t always cover all my hair–I thought that completely covering all my hair with my scarf made my face look even rounder than it already is (I used to wear it with some fringe out in the front). But she would wear her scarf so beautifully, and all her hair would be in. I wanted to be like her. I did not know as much about religious matters as she did. She knew a lot about things that matter. I wanted to be like her. She recited the Qur’an beautifully and fluently. I wanted to be like her. She was always so nonchalant about insignificant teenage drama, she was a great listener, a whole lot of fun to be around, and a really good friend. I wanted her to be my friend. And she was. She is.

She has led me to so many new things and she has taught me so many things–but she doesn’t even know it. And this is one of the things I’ve always loved most about her; she never teaches me by instructing me. She teaches me and changes me simply by being who she is. One of the things she’s taught me that I will always value is how to be a good friend, because she was always a good friend to me. And the greatest way that she has changed me is by inspiring me to love deen as much as she always has. And that is a love that no one can put in your heart by telling you to love it. It is a love that can only grow through being nurtured by the love that exists within a kindred spirit.

Now, granted that she is such a significant person in my life, I began to wonder why I had never written about her before. I write about things and people close to my heart, and she certainly is close. Very close. I pondered, and I pondered. I didn’t like that I didn’t have an answer. And then I realised what it was. Practically all the poetry that I have ever written has been about one of two things: sadness or new phases in my life. She fits into neither. She has not been the cause of any of my sadness, and she has never been a phase in my life. She is my friend for life (in-shaa-Allah). Even when I first met her, it didn’t feel like I was entering into a ‘new phase’, or starting a ‘new friendship’. It felt like we had always known each other, like we were always friends. And so, after this realisation, it all made sense to me, I knew why I had never written about her before. But, regardless of her being in neither of the two categories, I still felt that I really wanted to write something about her–it just didn’t seem fair that all the bad stuff (and some bits of the good) should be etched in immortal words, but my friendship with her wasn’t.

I am thankful for my friendship with her, and I am thankful to Allah for guiding me to her (or her to me), because I know with certainty that it was not by chance. Alhamdulillah.