EDC—Every Day Carry
I carry my soul on my back,
I carry the memory of my father’s untimely death.
I carry the love of my children’s laugh.
I carry the weight of my next rent that’s due.
I carry the moves made to Texas, Oregon, Kentucky, and Georgia, then making my way back.
I carry the memory of good times and hard times.
I carry the manifold wrinkles of age under my eyes.
I carry the reality of what’s wrong with this world.
So I sharpen my knives slowly methodically—each stroke wet stone soaked with fears.
The memory of brothers-in-arms lost overseas, burdens laden with tears—
Everyday I carry things.
Everyday a new burden is laid on my scared back.
I have a tire that keeps losing air;
back left tire deflates on its own.
It sends an electrical signal to my
dash and it reminds me I have a flat.
I have to drive to the service station
ask the attendant to turn on the air pump.
I take off the black plastic valve cap,
pull on the air house and insert the air valve and press until I hear a hiss. The tire slowly inflates and when I’m done, I release the pressure, put the black plastic valve cover on and leave.
After a few days of this, I make a decision to contact tire replacement stores in my area. The tires are worn from the constant driving. I’m looking for the best deal. I’ve been:
Going to work.
Going to the grocery store.
Taking my kids to school.
Picking them up from school.
Going to see my dying brother-in-law
out of state numerous times.
Going out on dates movies.
The back tires are worn
from all the driving
rubber on pavement
I find a set of tires for a good price.
I walk in and patiently wait.
The room is stifling, I’m sweating.
The men sitting are talking
about sports, carbon fiber bikes,
the Golden State Warriors recent loss.
I’m uncomfortable, the air is hot and stale with a strong stench of brand new rubber.
It’s over 100 degrees and miserable.
I walk outside, the cool breeze hits my face. I find solace in the shadow of a sidewalk tree. Those inconsequential trees some city landscape architect decided to plant. Today, that tree brings me relief from the rays of the central California sun.
I see my car being parked up front.
I go back in pay the cashier get my
keys and head back out towards my car. It has two shiny back tires and they even spritzed the front ones to match. Done.
I remember walking home one day
I got lost
tangled in suburbia.
Houses, driveways, warm cement sidewalks,
sunny blue skies.
I’d walk this path before many times
from elementary school and back;
“I must have taken a wrong turn.”
My eyes water
I still dream about it.
walking through familiar streets and alleyways.
The irony of being lost in my hometown
yet at the same time
We are always trying
to hide our imperfections
but those are the things
that make us unique.
our ugly faults,
make us human.
And let’s face it,
in the end,
that’s who we are.
I’m in a constant state
I deserve that—
He died shortly after
He prayed fervently.
He was broken.
Did he deserve that?
He was in a constant
state of repentance too.
Sometimes people die broken
even after they repented.
To deserve or not to deserve it,
therein lies the question.
En mala hora te llevasteis
de mujeres y niños
a tierras desconocidas
con lenguas extrañas.
Como una flor
se los llevo.
En voz alta y enfurecida
y sin lagrimas ninguna
No queremos mas
¡Que se vayan
¿y ahora de vuelta nos quieren?
Regresen a nuestras calles
y bellas cuidades
de nuestro ingenio
y hobra de mano?
¿Y Donde están nuestras viejas propiedades?
¿la plata y el oro
nos lo quitaron
cuando fuimos expulsados
por los reyes católicos
de Castilla y Aragon?
Estos son los cánticos
a los antiguamente
cuando hay necesidad
de plata otra vez?
I present to you my life on paper:
neatly arranged for your viewing
like a bouquet of wild flowers.
You’ll get to read the highlights—
“what I decree is important to see.”
Neatly wrapped up in verbs and
adjectives, and at times
You won’t get to see
the mental anguish, fear,
or my many insecurities.
Those will only appear
salt and pepper,
to season the main course.
If you use too much
it ruins the whole meal.
What happened to the glory of Islam;
to the scholars and poets of your
Avecina your children despise you.
Ibn Zaydun your offspring mock you.
Darkness has fallen and
intolerable hatred grips the nations
in a desperate stranglehold.
Your mighty intellect and
ease of words have been
dashed to pieces.
a distant memory
of your glorious past.
Bloody and stillborn,
wail in the streets
pulling out their hair in
Swayed by violence—
you dance to the beat
of bullets and bombs.
Sorrowed by the
graves you’ve produced.
None of your children say:
Our architecture was the splendor of the West
Our ingenuity and physicians cured the masses
Our poets inspired European’s best
We were the gate to the Renaissance—
In the name of Allah, the merciful
this shame needs to end!