After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.
Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?
The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.
She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,
Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.
She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.
Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.
Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.
She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.
To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.
And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.
And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,
With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.
Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.
They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.
Not everything is lost.”
— Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal”
11:20 pm 224,554 notes
I feel like some summers you move move move forward with your life, seeing things you haven’t before, actively changing. And then some are sweeter and thicker, stagnant like a pool of molasses, and you just stay the exact same person you’ve always been. But I think all summers, secretly, are for evolution. Even if it’s slow. Even if you aren’t traveling anywhere (your Instagram is filled with your college friends feeding elephants in Thailand and clubbing in LA) you still grow, I think. This summer = sweaty = mosquito bites = sticky alcoholic drinks = dry marijuana coughs = reading atmospheric novels = reflection = swimming = remembering = the perfect kind of regression, the kind where you move back to someone you used to be who you desperately want to be again.
2:47 am 2 notes
3:21 am 25 notes
“And in the flush of the first few days of joy I confidently tell myself (not expecting what I’ll do in three weeks only) ‘no more dissipation, it’s time for me to quietly watch the world and even enjoy it, first in woods like these, then just calmly walk and talk among people of the world, no booze, no drugs, no binges, no bouts with beatniks and drunks and junkies and everybody, no more I ask myself the question O why is God torturing me, that’s it, be a loner, travel, talk to waiters, walk around, no more self-imposed agony…it’s time to think and watch and keep concentrated on the fact that after all this whole surface of the world as we know it now will be covered with the silt of a billion years in time…Yay, for this, more aloneness.” -Jack Kerouac, Big Sur
I cannot wait to go there someday.
A lot of girls say “oh, boys scare me” in the sense that they don’t know what to say or do around them, how to appear cool or pretty or whatever
and I sometimes want to yell at them—I don’t, for the record—because boys really do scare me and it’s so fucked up that a few could ruin me for the rest
but that’s where I’m at right now. Sometimes being drunk helps the fear momentarily slide away but I’m not really sure if I want it to. (I also don’t even know if I want to drink much anymore, it usually just feels like I’m poisoning myself, and that’s probably because I am)
3:14 am 1 note
I hate that chain smoking or cigarettes in general are popular as a certain type of poetic trope because I just want to write about how you make me feel (also see- how you made me feel, how you will make me feel) and for some reason I connect that with smoking.
I don’t cry over romantic or sexual situations under any circumstances. Please don’t think I’m tough, because I wish I could. I will cry about not getting the job, movies, books, death, friendships, frustration, grades, etc. like a normal person (normal people cry over most things at some point, even if they do not engage in the act regularly, I assume. But who really knows with crying and private uncomfortable practices like it). I think it is the feminist in me, or the independent girl, or the (rather large) part of me that likes to pretend outwardly that I never get rejected, or at least never in high stakes, I-think-this-is-love cases (because I pretend those cases don’t exist, even just quietly to myself).
and so I probably will not cry about you, or about this unfortunate welling up of emotions I have inside of me involving you that can sometimes make it hard to sleep at night until I anesthetize myself with orgasms or the stories of others. But you have, (indirectly of course) at least once—and you probably will do so again in upcoming months—effected a trip to a convenience store, where I bought two packs of cigarettes that I promptly smoked one after the other, like I was sucking on some infinite cancer-stick of alternating long whites and short yellows. Smoking is sort of like crying, is my theory. It satisfies the same pangs inside you, quiets the voice in your head, unrequited unrequited unrequited unrequited (even though I haven’t even tried, or asked).
You will probably end up dating one of my friends. I am okay with this. I have pictured the scenario in which one of the ephemeral she’s tells me, and the pain I will feel, and the way I will smile supportively, and the way I will not angrily mention your name when I’m drunk off cheap vodka. We are nothing alike. If you took a thousand 2-minute personality quizzes, not a single one would match you with me.
And yet. For me, all roads lead to you. And it’s pretty much always going to be awful.
2:56 am 3 notes
— Jack Kerouac, Big Sur
2:28 am 20 notes
I used to be a girl who wrote poems.
I owned this fountain of outlook, a repository of feelings.
Each touch from the world was like an electric charge, a message.
It all meant something.
I would hear words where there were none—from the ocean, birds, my dog, a certain boy or girl, God.
Now, I am so very different. And I don’t want to be.
I suppose it’s easier to be untethered
To pass through each moment without sensing its poetic implications in your bones.
It is, after all, how most people live.
They eat, they kiss, do their schoolwork, watch TV.
They don’t look at anything any longer than they must. They don’t face these ragged desires surfacing, there is no impetus or voice whispering to them, create or die, you so-called artist.
It is probably less stressful. I cry less, except when I remember than I am not creating,
and so I am dying.
It is all happening much more painfully and slowly than I would care to admit.
2:12 am 3 notes
12:30 am 109,183 notes
It’s funny how I used to write pages upon pages—endless streams of poems—about feelings and experiences I knew nothing about. Or I would capitalize upon tiny details of importance that occurred in an otherwise stagnant life. And now, things are happening to me and things have happened, and I have no words for them. It’s all super difficult to write about. I’ve lost the ability to take them apart and dissect them (or maybe it’s more appropriate to say I’m just out of practice).
7:47 pm 1 note
I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted
To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free——
The peacefulness is so big it dazes you,
And it asks nothing, a name tag, a few trinkets.
It is what the dead close on, finally; I imagine them
Shutting their mouths on it, like a Communion tablet.
The tulips are too red in the first place, they hurt me.
Even through the gift paper I could hear them breathe
Lightly, through their white swaddlings, like an awful baby.
Their redness talks to my wound, it corresponds.
They are subtle : they seem to float, though they weigh me down,
Upsetting me with their sudden tongues and their color,
A dozen red lead sinkers round my neck.
Nobody watched me before, now I am watched.
The tulips turn to me, and the window behind me
Where once a day the light slowly widens and slowly thins,
And I see myself, flat, ridiculous, a cut-paper shadow
Between the eye of the sun and the eyes of the tulips,
And I have no face, I have wanted to efface myself.
The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.
— Sylvia Plath, excerpt from “Tulips”
3:05 pm 2 notes