Building Bridges

Building Bridges – A Poem Written March 22, 2011, by Leen Jaber

Can I trust you?
Muslim, Christian, Jew?

Can we share a cup of coffee?
Maybe tell you my story?

Can we go see a movie?
Popcorn, extra butter and a cherry icee?

Can we chuckle together at an episode of Seinfeld?
Or agree on the best clip of SNL?

Can we talk about our first loves?
Or our image of God above?

Should we talk about Israel?
Or is that subject sealed?

Do you have a cat, dog or bird?
Or is this subject also way too absurd?

What’s your favorite song?
Oh, I’m sorry; I didn’t know this topic was also wrong.

What? You don’t like ‘Twilight’?
Hey, that’s ok. I don’t want to start a fight.

Oh wait, you have blood running through your veins too?
So then the stories are true.

I really didn’t know that you cry when in pain.
Interesting, I guess that means we’re all the same.

Oh jeez, you hate the 9 to 5?
Me too. I just do it to survive.

Are you a PC or Mac?
Okay okay, they’re all computers. Let’s just leave it at that.

We may have more in common than we thought.
But building bridges may buy us more than we bought.

Hey, what do you do for fun?
Or should we talk about what a Godless nation we’ve become?

Our differences, our similarities.
Our strengths, our frailties.

Well let’s just provide superficial smiles.
Even after talking for a while.

No love, no connection, no trust.
I guess this encounter was a bust.

Thank you so much for your time.
And of course this little rhyme.

But we will never consolidate
Our visions of fate.

So, you go live in your box, and I’ll live in mine.
I hope I didn’t get out of line.

And maybe one day we’ll meet again.
Please take good care my friend.

Take good care…

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Gap Girl

Gap Girl –A Poem Written February 9, 2000, by Leen Jaber

She twists and turns in her own tangled web,
Those who think they love her cannot help.

She frowns when things fail to go her way,
She prays that things’ll change the next day.

Everything to her must always stay silent,
It is always cold within her personalized climate.

She aches and moans from her own pain,
Does she really care that we are all the same?

She claims to love, but I’m not sure if that is so,
Inside her being and heart, I’ll never know.

She does not care much for what others feel,
She doesn’t even attempt to help them heal.

Blue jeans, Gap shirt, and all her ignorance,
She uses her friends as a type of insurance.

Does she not know that we all care?
She thinks those who pretend are those with whom she shall share.

Alas, I am one of the only real companions she has in this world,
Alas, I am a friend to the one, the only – real life Gap Girl.

A Rhyme, For You

A Rhyme, For You – A Poem Written March 15, 2011, by Leen Jaber

I still feel like it’s my fault
The verbal assault
My memories in a vault
Tucked away in my mind
A place you can never find
To erase
Your disgrace
Or your face
Or the ant and rat-filled place
You made me live
Where I learned how to give
And never receive
My life unretrieved
My heart never sealed
Layer by layer pealed
Not one vein healed

A love without condition
And not one suspicion
Never mind my predisposition
Or my family’s tradition
But, that could never be
And of your prison I can’t be free
Your weathered hand upon my head
Sleeping in another bed
Your insults heavy like lead
A necessary punishment, you said
A natural consequence
Your voice still makes me tense
Telling you how I feel makes no sense
Aaah, but your MP3’s
More important than my tears
No matter how many beers
My hair pulled out in strands
Making fun of my favorite bands
How much more could I stand?
The holiday you wouldn’t let me celebrate
The clumsy me you’d berate
A sad seal of my fate
Your eyes filled with hate
But yet later filled with remorse
Your anger not finding its source
The wailing making my voice hoarse
And the damning e-mails
And of course your self-pitying tales
God, it never fails
All the cowardly excuses
Hiding all my bruises
All the religious abuses
But you’re the victim, and yet everyone else around you loses

So here’s to the memories that won’t die
Our snapshots in time
With no reason or rhyme

But, hey, I’ll be fine!

My Patience

My Patience – A Poem Written December 23, 2009, by Leen Jaber

I know you.
I know you from the inside.
You know me from the inside.
You’re magnificent.

You’re kind and patient.
Your touch inspires me.
Your love welcomes me.
It humbles me.

You deserve me.
I didn’t think I deserved you.
But I do. I really do.

You’re not a catalyst for negative change.
You’re not mean.
You’re not abusive.
You don’t refuse me.
You embrace me with mercy and comfort.

You’ve given me everything I’ve ever asked for, and more.
And, God, your kisses.
Your kisses take me to places that rival heaven.

I bore you two children.
And you cure my boredom.
You’re so gentle with your words, with your stare.
You made me forget the monster who changed my hope to gloom
And my innocence into something even Satan shies away from.

I found true happiness in your vows.
In your bed.
In your prayers.

When you trace your finger down my shoulder,
You speak to me without a word.
And I speak back.
And you understand.
Every whisper.
Every mumble.
Every clumsy thought.

I have no fear of the future without you.
You would die for me.
And I’d for you.

You don’t condescend my abilities.
You don’t push me away.
You respond to my requests.
You take care of me.

A four letter word could never describe how you feel about me.
“LOVE” is for children, not for us.
What we have is too rare to have ever been given a name.
No one but us has ever felt it.

You can take me anywhere.
You can lay next to me for all eternity.
And then teach me that tears aren’t only for crying.
I’ve been christened in your glow,
And have been reborn into a world that isn’t bad.

Thank you my love.
Thank you God for bringing my protector to me.
The 12 hours that has passed since I’ve seen him,
Haven’t allowed me to lose the impact of his warmth.
He’s the reality that will eventually perpetuate itself into my world.
That day is why I’m patient.

And God is with those who are patient.

Who is the Islamic School Generation?

Who is the Islamic School Generation? – A Poem Written on March 15, 2008 by Leen Jaber

They trained us well
But we knew ‘better.’
Some of us had faith in their words.
And now they’re happy.

But how about the rest?
How about the one with all the divorces?
The one who’s addicted to the bottle?
The one with many lovers?
The one who gets high?
And the one who has made jail their friend?

What did we learn Mr. Principal?
How to wrap a dead body so it’s not desecrated?
Or the best way to make wudu?

Maybe the boys learned how to wear a kufi.
Maybe that girl learned how to drown her sorrows in cognac and cigarettes.
Did you all know that you taught her that?
Instead of teaching the truth about life,
You made us think life was something we could all handle.

Do you know one of my classmates overdosed 3 times?
Trying to kill herself.
Do you care?
No, because you know “Fatima” and “Ali” and “Asma” and “Omar” are prizes.
Well, she hates hijab.
She hates everything that told her to have ‘faith.’
Did you cover that in your Friday sermon?

Did you tell us what to do when we wanted to kill ourselves?
Did you tell us what to do when our spouses cheated on us?
Or how to pay the bills when all of our money goes to therapy?
Did you tell us what to do when strangers in a cab molest us?
Did you tell us how to express our sexuality?
Did you tell us how to react when our classmates are dying of cancer?
Did you tell us what to do when our bodies are screaming for expression
But our brain tells us to subdue it?

Oh Universal.
Oh Aqsa.
Of CPSA
Oh Islamic Foundation
Oh MEC

None of you immigrants know our pains.
Our blood.
Our addictions.
You know nothing of our generation.
You wave scripture in front of us to save our souls.
But some of us are still damned.

This is for you.
Know some of us are married to Hindus.
Some of us alcoholics,
Some of us crazy,
Some addicts,
Some dropouts.

And you failed.
Some of us dead.
Thanks for a job well done.

Falsehood

Falsehood – A Poem Written March 1, 2011 by Leen Jaber

You want me to be happy
Because you are selfless, good-hearted and kind

Or maybe, just maybe
Because it eases your own pain or guilt
For leaving me without ward or word
Without guide or pride
Or anything tangible to cling to

You wretched man
Your falsehood is what guided your actions
And has allowed you to feel safe

It placates you
It’s your lullaby
It’s your God

But if I tell you I’m sad
You feel sorry for yourself
And drink a pint
Trying to resolve the issues that made your life hard

It’s all about you.
It’s always all about you
Isn’t it though?

If I’m sane and successful
Then it means you did nothing wrong
It solidifies your conviction to Godliness and truth

But guess what?
Despite my quality of life
Despite my contentment of existence
I’m still me
I’m still who you made me
I’m still decaying
And still evaporating
And still wondering why

Does your falsehood still keep you company?