Rays of Love

 

love hand sign.jpg

I pray the hate never finds you,

I pray you live protected from its jagged blade.

I pray it does not tear at your heart,

That it does not shred you

From the inside out.

 

I pray the hate never finds you,

I pray you live protected from its jagged blade,

I pray it does not puncture your flesh,

That it does not shred you

From the outside in.

 

Come,

Hide ourselves and our children in the bosom of compassion,

And when hate comes,

Hold up our shields of brotherhood,

Warn it off with our saber of love.

Stand our ground, lock arms,

And let it not penetrate the circle.

 

Multiple rays of love can melt the hate.

 

I pray the hate

never finds you.

©Hend Hegazi

 

(Thank you for reading and liking this post. You may enjoy reading the four interviews I wrote for the women characters of my novel, Behind Picket Fences. The interviews were super fun to write, and I think you’ll find yourself wondering if they are characters from a book or real people. Click here for the interviews.)

Advertisements

Homesick in Autumn

autumn-1072827_640.jpg

Today it looks like it’s going to rain. I miss the rain.

But I miss the rain that falls on grass and makes puddles. I miss walking with its pitter-patter bouncing off my head and shoulders and its calm wetness melting on my tongue. I miss the rain in a place I still call home, which will soon no longer belong to the family who has owned it for nearly forty years. I miss watching the rain through the bay window. I miss that bay window. I miss my room, next to the bay window. And sitting in the yard, enjoying the soft shade and fresh breeze. I miss the oranges and reds of autumn, and that serene, smoky smell is holds. Oh, I can almost smell it! I don’t go there enough in my mind. And soon, I won’t even be able to go there in body.

After all these years, why do I still call it home? I live ages away from that place now. Here, the rain is not the same. Here, the rain forms rivers on the paved streets and spits grime on my clothes. But this is my true home now. This is the home that shelters me, and in which I live and love. And I am happy here, despite missing the rain. So why do I still call the blue house with the rock in the yard my home?

I spent my childhood there, all my youth. It was the only home I knew for twenty-three years. It will always be home, even once it isn’t. It is not a building, it is an entire system; it is the people, the experiences and the settings that nurtured me. It will remain where I grew up, where I played. It will remain the place that held me so that I could become me.

Today, it looks like it’s going to rain.

I miss the rain.

 

(Thank you for reading and liking this post. You may enjoy reading the four interviews I wrote for the women characters of my novel, Behind Picket Fences. The interviews were super fun to write, and I think you’ll find yourself wondering if they are characters from a book or real people. Click here for the interviews.)

Gotta Love Family

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yup, that’s the view!

Funny how one week away from home can throw off your routine! We went away to visit my grandmother in a place called Ein Sokhna, on the Red Sea. The water there is so calm and clear. My kids caught a bunch of starfish and sand dollars, not to mention the number of shells they collected! If it weren’t for the ferocious mosquitoes which attack at night, it would have been a perfect vacation.

The internet there is not too stable, however, so I’m behind with blog posts and a couple of online writing courses… and I feel like it’ll take me twice as long to catch up. More writing related things on my to-do list!

As soon as we got back I started preparing for the online launch of my upcoming book, Behind Picket Fences. I practiced reading Beautiful, the poem I was planning on reading as well as the excerpt from the novel, until I finally got them right. (Well…that’s what I thought anyway. Listening to the recording, I think I could have done a much more effective job with the poem. You’ll have to give it a listen and let me know what you think!)

A few minutes before the launch starts, I sit down and adjust my computer and log into the event and everything is set up. Then I happen to notice that my parents are ‘attending.’ The reason I notice this right away, is because, despite the fact that all other attendees have their videos turned off (as they should), my father has his on. So he’s just sitting there, leaning back in his chair, focused on his computer screen..and everyone can see him! They can’t even see me! Then, despite all attendees being muted, I hear my mom say, ‘It’s supposed to start now.’ Oh, but that’s not all, folks! A few minutes later I look at my screen — the one the hostess of the launch is showing to all the attendees — and instead of it saying ‘Hostess is sharing her screen’ it says ‘Ali Hegazi is sharing his screen.’ I kid you not, people! I saw the stock page he had on his bookmark bar and all the news webpages he follows! I chuckled and thought to myself, ‘Yup, that’s just about right. My dad’s gonna ruin the launch.’ A couple of years ago when my dad went to visit my brother at his dental clinic, my brother had him wait in his office until the previous patient was finished; my dad spent those few minutes on my brother’s computer. A short while later, the receptionist goes up to my brother and tells him that the computer system is down! Apparently he had upgraded something in the system, and the upgrade didn’t go too smoothly. But we all have those moments, right? Where would we be without a little family embarrassment/entertainment?

Luckily, his sharing of the screen didn’t last long and the launch went well. I had been worried my internet would act up, but it behaved itself. Hasn’t been behaving since then, mind you (and I can’t blame it on my dad, either!), but I was relieved the launch took place without any technical glitches. We picked two winners to receive signed copies and announced the pre-order incentives, not to mention the Q & A session where attendees asked me all sorts of questions! I love helping out other writers, so that was my favorite part of the launch.

In case you missed it, you can watch the online launch here. The pre-order incentives are the current discount price at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, which will revert to full price as the official launch date (July 1) approaches. So if you’re interested, order your copy today to take advantage of the 25% discount! The other incentive is the character interviews that will go out once a week for four weeks (starting June 1), but these are only available to those who subscribe to my free newsletter. So if you’re interested in learning more about the women of Behind Picket Fences, make sure you sign up here.

In my next post I plan on spreading some of the knowledge I’ve gained through the online writing courses I’ve been taking…stay tuned!

 

 

Beautiful

smallwoman-984095_640

She is beautiful.

No wrinkles, no grey hairs.

Satin skin and velvet hair,

Reflections of sun kissed youth.

Her locks frame an ageless face.

There, that reflection in the mirror.

How did I not see her?

How was I focused on the wrinkles,

The blotches, the unruly hair?

How did I not see her softness, her feminine poise?

How did I not see the way her features dovetail,

Fit together perfectly by the Creator.

 

Oh, the lights return.

Now the blatant truth stares back at me.

Grey hairs, just where I’d left them,

Wrinkles, getting deeper by the day,

Puffy eyes, whiskers, pores the size of planets.

Unmanageable, frizzy hair.

There I am again, that’s right.

Huh. Beautiful? Yeah, right.

Sun spots, rolls of skin, flat chest, large behind.

Thighs outlined by unmerciful stretchmarks.

Rough hands,

Cuticle covered nails,

Collar bones piercing the skin,

Sunken cheeks,

Spider-veins webbing my legs,

Misshaped nostrils,

Mismatched eyes.

Head to toe

Saturated with flaws.

 

But with all these imperfections,

With my unbeautiful wrinkles,

My unbeautiful skin spots,

The unbeautiful whiskers and pores.

With my unbeautiful rolls,

The unbeautiful stretchmarks,

I

Am beautiful.

My softness, my feminine poise,

The perfect way my features match,

I

Am a masterpiece.

 

In all we’ve been trained to see as ugly,

I have grown to see my beauty.

Scars adorn adult knees and elbows?

Marks of a happy childhood.

Rounded middle and filled out thighs?

Marks of delicious chocolate indulgences.

Dark spots freckle the skin?

Marks of beach adolescence and innocent heartbreaks.

Wrinkles dancing ‘round my lips?

Marks of happy days filled with laughter.

 

All the beautiful marks of life,

Blessings disguised as blemishes.

I remain

A masterpiece of the Creator.

 

I

Am beautiful.

© Hend Hegazi 2016

 

Whispers

271597-hearing

‘It’s just a little white lie,’ he whispers into your ear. ‘You’ll finish that report after you play the game…your mom doesn’t need to know exactly when you got it done.’ You call out that you’ve finished, the video game shaking in your hand and you hold your breath and listen. When her footsteps fade down the hall you force that feeling of guilt away with an unsure smile.

He’s a little one…still young. They start out small, too.

‘So many people do this; it’s not a big deal,’ he murmurs inaudibly as you nod your head and shove the pack of cigarettes to the bottom of the drawer, hidden beneath neatly folded shirts. ‘Good, now no one needs to know and you can smoke whenever you want,’ he cheers in his unheard voice.

He’s a bit older, a bit bigger. And he accompanies you everywhere you go.

‘If they didn’t want you to cheat, they wouldn’t give you unsupervised exams. You think everyone here is actually following the honor code?! No one is…why should you?’ His voice is firm. Watching you copy the answers from the book, he chuckles imperceptibly.

He’s an adult now. And he thinks he has full control over you.

‘You have no choice,’ he screams silently into your soul. ‘She’s given all her attention away with nothing left for you. That other woman will give you comfort. Call her, go to her. It’s your only chance for happiness.’

He sits between you and the woman who carried you through the years, consoled you in the dark and reflected your sunshine in the light, the one who planned to stand by you and lift you up, even if it meant that would cause her to drown. He sits between you, his presence tangible, causing you to look upon her with disdain. His laughter tears apart your life as he places it on his shelf as another trophy won, another paradise so gracefully brought to rubble.

Following his whispers – one by one – from his child form till he became a titan, you watched goodness collapse and your world crumble.

There had always been another voice, you know. There had been an inner feeling, guiding you away from him, urging you to remain pure, pleading with you to ignore the whispers.

It’s still there, that inner feeling. It’s not too late to tune out his whispers.

Tune out his whispers and tune in to you.

New Breath

bent flower

Your tongue shot the bullet that pierced my heart,

Rang confusion in my ears,

Filled my lungs with smoke…

And choked my soul.

Beaten and broken,

Without a friend to turn to,

I fell to my knees and whispered,

“God…my heart is heavy. I’m so very sad.”

He let me cry all the tears I needed,

Until His Grace covered me,

And I finally fell asleep.

Now my laughter is the dam

Which keeps the tears at bay,

Hanging to the thread of hope,

That the nightmare be forgotten,

That your shoulders have the strength to hold me.

All the while,

I whisper to my Lord,

Begging Him to bless us,

Begging Him to destroy the demons

Before

They destroy

Us.

Is There Any Hope

This world is getting uglier by the day,

Hate crimes killing us everywhere.

Why can’t we all just wake up and see,

That we are brothers and sisters in humanity.

And you’re no more deserving of this place than me.

Were your ancestors born onto this land?

No?

I didn’t think so! So don’t go tellin’ me to leave my home!

Reject the media’s call to war,

Turn to sources that side with peace,

Because

Divided we keep falling to our knees,

Keep shouting out that ‘we can’t breathe!’

We need to stay united, spreading love,

Understanding that with no community,

We will remain incomplete.

Let’s join forces, join hearts together,

Cure this cancer called hate once and forever.

We are shepherds of the earth,

Appointed to watch over it,

Why do we keep destroying it?

Stop killing our children all around the globe,

Their innocence sees not skin, sees only soul,

But evil tongues keep digging an evil hole,

Filling their heads with lies of supremacy,

Erasing their hearts, ending their purity.

Our children’s smiles keep fading everyday,

Tomorrow’s skies hold promises of gray.

Is there any hope in changing this fate?

© Hend Hegazi 2015

(To give a listen to the audio version of this poem, please click here to visit the Pen Powered Mic blog. While you’re there, check out the other great audio poems in honor of World Poetry Day.)