I failed every math class I ever took at least once
Mrs. Alexander scoffed
She wrote me off
As one of those hoodrat kids
Who only liked making trouble
Whose mother was an alcoholic
Whose father had too much on his plate
Whose sister was captain of the cheer squad
Whose brother got expelled for fighting
She just never knew
The reason I don’t care what the value of x is
I have tasted the value of despair
Drank the value of sorrow
Kissed the value of wonder
Fought the value of misery
Tell me one thing the square root of sixty-four ever did for me
That the square root of love couldn’t do a thousand times more
Mrs. Alexander, how many times 12 goes into 144 is not a division problem
The woman who raised me
Lying in a pool of her own blood
Beaten senseless by a man she loved
While my sister locks herself in a room crying
And my brother and I stay up all night checking mum’s pulse
And I have to go to school the next day and answer your questions
While my heart aches
And my family is being torn apart
And my mother is killing herself
That’s a division problem.
And 56-18 is not subtraction.
The day I had to leave my home
For the rustling in my bones proved too much
To hold my body in one place
And I lost my sanity
Traveling alone down the west coast
Living without a home
or any of my old friends
All on my own
Mrs. Alexander, that is subtraction.
And God forbid I neglect your precious statistics
For the greatest risk I ever took was falling in love
Lord knows how that turned out
The first time I closed my eyes and threw the dice
You want to talk about balance of probability?
Imagine, your fifth hour troublemaker
With the fighter for a brother
The princess for a sister
And the shadow of a mother
Taking a chance on love
After having his heart crushed two times two times
Who goes back for number five?
It’s not a math class that defines our lives.
It’s the way we look at the numbers and against all odds, say, “I am more than the sum of my parts.”
"Math Problems" by Devon Halvorson (via devonhalvorson)
Reading this made my day. Thanks.
I left my bag in our office as I went to go pray. Came back in and saw something in my bag’s back pocket that wasn’t there before.
It was a sealed envelope that said “For (my name).” In it was a folded parchment with my initials written on the outside and this message above.
Anonymous acts of kindness. Getting by these past few days has been pretty tough, I’ve kind of been too shy to ask people for anything. Only close friends if they could cover a small meal at most. May Allah reward this amazing person with Jannat al firdaus. The sense of community and love you feel in this MSA is unparalleled, Alhamdulilah.
This is Islam. These are the college days I’ll recollect, reminisce, and yearn for a few years from now in the future. Its the 30 person mafia games with brothers in a living room to cups of chai and 3 hour discussions about aspirations, ideas, fears, and role models. Its the late night excursions to dining halls for food. Its the walks back through frat row on a Thursday night with your brothers where you thank your Rab for your deen, and being a collected individual in a sea of drunk students. Its teasing white girls taking pictures in “black people” poses by shortly posing like white girls right in front of them for embarrassing pictures. Its people you’ve only known for a few months telling you they feel hella close to you, and that theyre opening up.
Chances are I’m not going to remember every minute detail from my readings and courses. I will remember this stuff, however. This is what will stick with you.
You can love people who don’t know how to be loved,
but you can’t teach them how. Leading by example
only works if their eyes aren’t closed, and too many people
see relationships like careers, we think more in terms
of job security than we ever do in actual feelings,
but why do you think we all walk around so empty?
I have secrets that I don’t care if you keep, I am
writing them down to try to help you out, and
one is that the things that matter in love aren’t
how much money your boyfriend makes or
how many men your girlfriend has slept with.
It doesn’t matter if they live next door or
if the time difference is so fucked up that
they should be asleep whenever you’re awake.
No, those won’t give you anything other
than temporary pieces of artificial happiness,
because you can buy nice shit and life
is finally convenient, but true love isn’t ever convenient,
it was never meant to be easy or else everyone would have it.
No, that kind of love is something we were meant to work for,
and no lifetime of lying to yourself is ever going to
heal that gaping wound in your chest, no amount
of sticking your feelings into ice water will numb
your soul from them forever, you cannot
restart life like a video game, and her skin
or his lips are going to taste like sucralose
after awhile. Still, we keep telling ourselves so many excuses
for why we should stay, we say things to ourselves, like,
“This is just what happens in relationships; the passion
fades, you get bored, you become accustomed to each other.”
or, “This is just how they are, and it is good enough. It’s what
I have and they say you should always love the one you’re with.”
But if the one you’re with doesn’t send rocket ships up your spine
with a touch, doesn’t blind you with their eyes, doesn’t make you
shake from the fear of helplessness as your heart lay
splayed like a starfish of truth in the palm of their hand,
then here is the ugliest secret of all; you aren’t really in love.
And I think there’s a point where we stop coming up
with excuses to stay where it feels easy or we wilt away,
because growth will only come when you let someone in enough
to pour their love like rain water down your crystal vase throat,
and you might think that you could choke on something
so big, but trust me when I tell you that
you were perfectly tailored to fit this and going thirsty
is just a painful and foolish way to kill yourself.
Life was simple when “friends” were something you decided to become,
and I could make one in under ten minutes.
When I didn’t care.
When I loved myself as much as I love the world.
When I could see the world with wide open eyes,
and not get stung by the cynicism that infiltrates the air.
When punishment was going to my room,
and sadness was solved by tears.
When field trips were more frequent then projects, and homework was coloring.
When my social interactions, consisted of play dates,
and the only thing I drank was juice.
When I could fit under the bottom shelf in the closet,
and build blanket forts.
When I followed trustingly all those who were taller than I;
When height meant age and knowledge and trust.
When I could curl all my worries into a blanket, and mother’s arms were my shield.
When every injury could be cured with Band-Aids and hug by mum.
and anger was expressed with a stomped foot not fists.
When arguments were solved with small brawls, but no blood was ever drawn.
When I explored the world through the open pages of a book.
When the universe was as big as my backyard,
and I knew it like the back of my hand.
When there was no such thing as broken hearts, or suicide
and I didn’t have to pick up the pieces of my friends scattered across the floor.
When we talked about love, like it was something rational;
with all the confidence of eight-year-old philosophers,
we thought we had the world figured out.
When you showed love by writing my name on your arm,
and the ink didn’t come with any strings.
Life was simpler back when I lived the stories my parents now tell.
The tear inducing fear
In a way
I can not talk
For the anxiety
Chokes out the sound of my voice
Demand I do so
(I am an
With a broken safety valve)
If I don’t
All the unsaid
Will crush me
The words will become
Because I love
Myself to you
In a way that is perhaps
If at times to honest
The thing that upsets me more than anything, in this bloody world, it’s its utter lack of magic. Not the kind that allows you to draw a bunny from a hat, I mean, proper magic.
It’s all been said and done before, nothing is still uncovered, no new lands on the horizons, nothing that could make you stare with wide open eyes, like a child who’s still able to be amazed at the world.
Magic isn’t real, the magician is just clever enough to trick us all, but maybe, in the deep corners of the thoroughly discovered and explored world we live in, there’s still something worth discovering.
And maybe chaos plays a greater role than we think. We are rarely amazed, but we can still discover how to be genuinely surprised. By anything, really, anything that chaos throws on our way.
At some point, you start calling it luck, because if chaos and fate decide to be gentle with you and your desperate need to be amazed, you start thinking you’re being kissed by luck itself.
And trouble is, that feeling, that amazing feeling of being genuinely surprised, to be caught completely unprepared is always something you really want to hold on to. Whatever the price, whatever the consequences.
Insomnia is usually one of the prices you pay, when your day-life is just an endless stretch of days too similar to one another to even care, crammed with things to do, principles to uphold, work to do.
But by night, my friend, that’s when everything doesn’t matter anymore. By night, chain smoking like your life depended on that, pushing the headphones even closer to your ears, because no-one has the right of stealing your music from you…you look for the moments when you truly were speechless, moved, and amazed.
And it’s a blissfully painful thing to do. You start thinking at all the things that seemed to happen by chance, and you secretly start to hope again it wasn’t all by chance. It wasn’t all unimportant. In trivial details we thrive, and only because it’s the last bit of amazement we can still afford.
And, most importantly, in trivial details one can truly find oneself. Because knowing that, even for a second, even for an hour, the song which now is just a faint memory of better days was actually the most important thing in the entire universe.
Because, for one hour, for one minute, in all your silence and gloomy days, it was about the us we never had. Or kind of have. But , I know, or at least, I hope (and is there really a difference at all, at 4 in the morning?) it was not entirely chaos’s fault if that song was always with us. Was it a way of sending out your message? I guess I’ll never know.
Which is why, you bloody stubborn devil with a smile I’d sincerely die for, I’m not asking you anything. I can’t trust my intuition, and I am fairly persuaded that nothing much can amaze me these days any more.
Trouble is, you were the only one who could amaze me. By simply existing. By simply laughing, singing your heart out in the deep of the night, by showing me that the world wouldn’t collapse on itself if I just ran away for it, three or four nights at the time.
I hide it well, there’s no point in denying that. Which is the reason why I can be shamelessly honest here, in a language you don’t know enough to understand a word I am writing, in the deep of the night, when all I can do is remember what it was like to see everything in bright colours again.
All of this, under the day light, doesn’t exist. During the day, I’ll be back with a vague idea of calling you, and I won’t, time and time again.
Because I wouldn’t know what to say, because I have moved on, because, quite simply, the only thing that could still make sense would be just asking you
why are you so far away
Why won’t you ever know that I’m in love with you.
and I know you’ll recognize it in a bat of an eye. And that may even be enough, for me.
I miss you.
The silence between us
speak so loud. It screams
through the darkness
of my mind. To remind me
that nothing, lasts forever.
The promises never stay
longer than a day.
I am walking alone,
I am walking home.
The silence between us
embraces me as the
lover, because you
could (would) not. It speaks
to me all the words
that echo through
the dreams of my heart
that has been torn apart
so many times, I am not
really sure, where the
pieces lie. Awake at night
my eyes shining
in this darkness
waiting… in the deep
to hear my phantom
sing me back to sleep.
Poetry doesn’t always have to be written on a crumpled piece of paper in pen that’s running out of ink. Your smile is poetry, the blue sky, the stars at night, the sound of your happiness…poetry. All of it.
Poetry doesn’t always rhyme because life isn’t always fair and the days aren’t always short and the nights aren’t always easy. Things don’t always work out, they won’t always be okay.
Poetry isn’t always pretty. Sometimes it’s better to have your heart ripped out of your chest so you can watch it bleed and understand your life. But it is always beautiful…always pure…always perfect.