Humanity

10/10/14 | by Shareen [mail] | Categories: downtown girls

It was a day off. I got up early and made my organic french roast, freshly ground, french pressed coffee. I wrote for a while, just to clear out some thoughts and then read until my deeper voice came. Mid-day my guy Patrick from the Pest Control people came to see if all was quiet on the western front. Sure enough another little rodent was caught in my attic crawl space. ”I think this is finally the last of them,” he said. ”I’ll check on you next week.” As he left, I felt safe. I felt well cared for. I am safe. I am very well cared for.

I went to the gym. I work out at Equinox, and my favorite of all their locations is downtown. As you get off the escalator, you are greeted by a magnificent waterfall in the center of a breath taking open courtyard . The buildings framed against a sky defining blue become modern art. The light and shade play against glass and metal and water, and often I think to come back and spend the day, right there. I am filled with gratitude each time I step off the elevator to head into the gym.

I rode the bike and watched the news, drank water, texted, read mail, instagrammed. I did some incline walking on the treadmill. I spent ten minutes on the rowing machine. I took time to breathe and stretch and do abs in the dance studio. Alone there in the quiet, I closed my eyes and felt the ease of my good life. I have a good life.

The night before last I began work on a poem it is long and intense. In one moment of it, I ask, “When the buildings fall, and when the bombs break, and when the guns blare, and when the hunger comes, and the babies starve, and the water rises, and land dries up and the mothers cry, Where is God? Where is God? Well….. where are you? Where are you?
Why suffering? Why pain and anguish? For us, perhaps, for us to pick up the job of humanity. Perhaps for us to learn to love beyond ourselves.

I stopped by my store. The air in the great space was fresh and the light clean. All was in order. I enjoyed my team and we studied a few new designs and spoke of our growth. It is so apparent to me that we are expanding organically, easily, beautifully and with so much love. The work we are doing with our amazing clients is very rewarding. I am rewarded.

I drove to the bank. I had checks to deposit. I still get residual checks from my days acting and had a 1700 dollar deposit to add to my normal earnings.

On my arrival I saw a young girl holding a large cardboard box of chocolate bars. She was in a plaid jumper and had on poor brown shoes, socks barely to her calves, a little yellow blouse. To her side was a child. Perhaps her sister. As I put money in my meter I felt the resentment come up in me, quickly. I felt it so quickly come up that feeling of “here we go… I don’t want to buy chocolate from her and I hate how she has been placed at the door of the bank, no less, and the little one too, to tug even more firmly on my heart. I have important things to think about, and I will look preoccupied, and I will be busy with myself, and perhaps I can put my face in my phone.”

I turned and saw her, petite, maybe 14, her thin brown hair parted to the side held with a plain bobby pin, and she caught my eye and smiled with timidity and eagerness at once. As I took the four shallow steps up to the bank door, I relented.
The mind and the heart sing in harmony so quickly, sometimes.
I turned to her, ”Are you selling those for your school?” “No,” she said, “I’m a senior and I am trying to save up to go to college.”

“How much are you selling them for?” I asked, looking into the box and a large collection of thin, poor chocolate bars. “A dollar each,” hopeful, smiling, her retainer catching the light. I nodded and with a sigh, ”Well, that is going to take a while.” I reached into my purse. I opened my wallet. “Are you a good student?” I looked at her. ”Yes, I am.” ”Good,” I said. ”Good, I am glad. What is it that you want to study when you go to college?” and she replied,”I want to study micro biology.” (Dear God, let me find a million dollars in my wallet.)

I asked the little waif, the little sprite by her side, looking at me with eyes like the moon, like a puddle, like a my own heart, I asked her with a teacherly sweetness if she could count out ten for me.

She moved so quickly to it, to live up to counting, to show me that she could, to respond as if to an order. There was so much desire to please and I held my breathing steadily to telepathically steady her. I passed a ten to my little sales girl and took the ten bars of chocolate from her assistant and I asked if at one dollar a bar she made any money on this. She nodded her head with an “of course” as if my question were ridiculous. “Yes,” she said, smiling so openly, “yes, I do”. She reassured me. She then blessed me.” God bless you,” she said. I thanked her and let her know that he does indeed bless me. I smiled at her a sad smile and turned away with my self satisfaction and ten bars of chocolate I didn’t need.

I went into the bank and made my deposit at the window. The teller smiled at me seeing the ten bars clutched awkwardly in my hand.
I took my receipt and as I passed the ATM I heard it, the harmonized voice of my mind and my heart and in an instant I decided to be God.
Why not? Who else? I withdrew 100 in cash, stepped out the door and said, “Count out the whole box. Lets see how many you have there.” I looked up and behind her now was our waif and she was in the arms of her mother and to her side, another woman, also a mother, or an aunt perhaps.
“You are done selling these for today.” And as she counted them, oddly in threes, I spoke into her heart, I placed it into her mind, I took her by the shoulders in the certainty of my voice alone….” I know you will get to college and I know you will do great things in this life. I am very proud of you for being so committed.” She counted 43 and I passed her 43 dollars. Out of her hands I took the box. She looked at me with disbelief, with gratitude with un-merited awe, “Thank you, God bless you.” And then both women,”God bless you”
I looked into her face and with all my heart I said, “I only wish I could send you to college. I wish I could take care of it all for you.”
She reached to touch my hand and we met at the edge of the box of chocolates, She said. “Oh, that’s ok. Thank you.”

I walked to my car and as I opened the door I felt my heart expand and wondered why I was crying.
My heart breaks for her.
My heart breaks for her.
I want to run back and find her, and take her, and make her mine. I would bust my ass every day to get her through college. I would lay it all down for that one little girl standing there, on the steps of the bank selling chocolate bars for a dollar a piece, having made 53 dollars today of which she may keep perhaps 20…. to save… to go to college.

She will get there. Not that way, but she will get there bit by bit, one person at a time, one ounce of love and consideration at a time.
I love her for her faith. I love her for her open heartedness. I love her for trusting that she will go to college to study microbiology.
She will.

Girl

09/18/14 | by Shareen [mail] | Categories: downtown girls

Oh do not
Be a bored
Young lady
There is nothing
Less attractive
Your disinterest
Disinterests
And your detachment
Detaches
Do not be above it
All
No life but
Here
On earth
And your self
Elevation
Is without a string.
You are
Too young
To merit
Truth
Or to offer
Direction
And boredom
Makes
Only you
Boring.
Take
A deep
Interest
And be
Interesting.
The documentarian
Is the
One in power
Right?
The one who
Sees
Knows
The truth.
Be a truth seeker
Girl.
Be smart,
Wear glasses.

Shameless.

09/06/14 | by Shareen [mail] | Categories: downtown girls

I will not be shamed
for loving
as much
as I
am able.

Your “too much”
perhaps..
my “barely enough".

I will not be hurt
because
your heart
had no
room for me.

I walked in
full hearted.
I have walked out
fuller still.

Can you not see
it spilling from
my eyes
that which
I had
to take back
with me?

I will not
have your
sympathy
for the humanity
of my painful
redirection.
There are
no bruises
on my
forehead.

Who needs a head
tilted to one side
when a dance
in the end zone
is in order?

Applause
is better
and right
and honoring.

How dare you
assume my vulnerability
when for me to love
Like this….
Like the tide rising
Like a dog panting
Like a cat wailing
And a woman
head back
laughing
is to embody the
fullness
of my strength.

I do not want
your sympathy
when I am not
at all hurt
but so ripe
on the vine.

I am not
at all bruised
but softened
to sweetness.

And always
a table set and
a door open.
a bed well made,
and a laugh to carry
You up and up and free.

Yes, girl.
Love like a maple tree
Tapped.

Life

08/20/14 | by Shareen [mail] | Categories: downtown girls

A courtyard
Embraces
Four great oak.
Dappled light
Plays on
Tender
Green growth.
A breeze
Dances with
Yellow leaves
Dipping
Falling
Down
Down
To the earth
Below.
Into the
Arms
Of all
Of nature
The tree
Gracefully
Surrenders
It’s dead.

Melody

08/05/14 | by Shareen [mail] | Categories: downtown girls

It was good to see Melody. She is medicine for my soul. She gives even by her presence alone, such is the integrity of her being. Some women shine a light so clearly upon you, as for you to see yourself under their love. The gift you take home is not so much the love they give, but the awareness of the love you have.
Driving home the distance of the length of LA, I dreamt of a fine future. I thanked her for allowing my mind flight. She does not waste our time on the past and things we cannot change. She does not draw us into argument nor debate. She sees me as whole, and lets me be. In her eyes, I see a picture of myself I recognize and can honor. Like this, she gives a gift of acceptance to me.
This morning I see her managing her beautiful little girls, two at two, as they are twins. God is a genius. He knew one alone would spill her love out. It would take two together to know her.

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