Sunday, March 4, 2018

Found Poetry

I had students create found poetry using an article. I just had to share this one line:

Sometimes it's good
to start a better life
while the rest of your friends
are being kidnapped
by human traffickers

Friday, May 19, 2017

A small update

It has been almost three years since I last posted on this blog. And before that there could have been a gap of many years. It's amazing how time passes and what occurs during that time. My last post was about The Sparrow, which I had recently read. Currently, as is usual for me, I am reading several books. The most recently finished one, however, is Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. Like The Sparrow, this was a high school book, but unlike The Sparrow, I actually read it in high school. This was actually one of the books that set me on a path to discover who I really am, what is really important in life,  and ultimately leading me to Islam.

They say that you never read the same book twice, meaning that the book itself does not change but it's actually you who changes. I experienced this many many times, but most particularly with this book Siddhartha. There are several phases throughout Siddhartha's life, and while I identified with them in a more general way when I was young, the connections I made this time through were much more significant as I had experienced in one way or another much of what Siddhartha had experienced and reacted much in the same way that he had reacted.

Indeed Siddhartha's journey does not conclude early in life but rather the journey continues on for most of his life, just as my journey has not yet reached a conclusion. I'm now thirty-three, which according to Prophet (sallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) is the ideal age and age of the people in Jannah. I have two kids and one on the way, and I'm still trying to figure out who I really am and what I'm really doing in life. This is normal, and we all go through the motions as if were confident and sure about her place in the world, but in reality we don't know.

So anyway, I'm hoping to continue this blog, posting my thoughts and reflections and hopefully a little humor as I continue my path as a Muslim English teacher currently teaching in somehwere in Chicago (which is no longer Englewood, alhamdulillah).

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Sparrow

I was recently reading a book called The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell and came across a quote that I found to be foundational for me. Before I get into that, I would like to talk about my history with this book. 

I had first been "assigned" to read it before entering my senior year Humanities class. As I had been a late arrival for the class, I did not get to read it over the summer. I began reading it, but found it dry and slow. 

Many years later and still many years ago, I tried again to the same result. This year, however, I began reading it and found it to be quite astonishing. 

The quote that really struck me was: "So many people buried the soul's pain in their bodies, Edward thought." As I was writing about this with my students (because I just had to give this to them as their "Do Now"), I began reflecting on how I not only agreed with this but also realized that this is a foundational belief for me. 

Before I became Muslim, I felt a sort of emptiness in my soul, and rather than answer this call and try to find the truth, I attempted to silence it with bodily pursuits. Whenever I would drink, however, I would still find myself wandering away from others for personal reflection, as if that was what my inner nature really desired. 

It all ties back to one of my favorite poems on this theme, one that I mentioned briefly during 'itikaf this year: Bluebird by Charles Bukowski.

Charles Bukowski

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
in there.

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
you want to blow my book sales in
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there,
so don't be
then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
and we sleep together like
with our
secret pact
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
weep, do

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Found this while cleaning

Spring Winter Cleaning

The softness of a touch
The cleanliness of a kiss
The calmness of a love
The potential of a wish

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


"What wonderful thing didn't start out scary?" - Issac Marion Warm Bodies

Monday, July 23, 2012

From a Kombucha bottle...

“And the day came for the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anais Nin

Monday, July 2, 2012


“We all think an exception is going to be made in our case, and we’re going to live forever. And being a human is actually arriving at the understanding that that is not going to be. Story is there to just remind us that it’s okay.” – Ken Burns