Archive for November, 2012

Tell me what happened.

November 29, 2012 Leave a comment

I remember sitting at the young man’s bedside,

politely demanding that he tell me his life story.

His jaw was wired shut, but he could still talk.

And he did so, calmly,

unfazed by the tears gliding down his cheeks.

I was speechless as I watched one tear drop from his chin,

only to crash and break on the top of his hand.

He never flinched.




Categories: poetry Tags: , ,

Haikuesday 11.27.12

November 27, 2012 Leave a comment

After BJJ,

I got tacos with my girls.

So that was awesome.

Categories: poetry

Judo can make you cry.

November 26, 2012 1 comment

Sometimes, I forget that I have deep, serious feelings for judo. This lapse of appreciation can happen when I’m in the routine of training and judo starts to feels like my second job. I also forget how much I love judo during times like now, when I’m out of shape and overweight. Then, training just reminds me that for several months, I implemented zero discipline and now my body has to pay for it.

Tonight, however, I remembered my deep, serious feelings for judo for two different reasons. First, judo was pissing me off tonight. I could feel myself losing my patience, losing my sense of calm, and losing my sense of control. At one point, I was just pure rage. I had no conscious thoughts. I could feel how angry I was in fingers and behind my eyes.  I used to get that way when I was kid–just transform into a total ungracious monster. Now, on one hand, I don’t want to feel that way. I don’t want to be un-sportsman like. But really, when I noticed that I felt that hyped just in practice, I remembered that I care about judo. A lot.

In the second instance, we simply went to bow out at the end of class. Our sensei emeritus asked to say one thing before we left the mat. He told us that  today was his birthday. He shared that 45 years ago during the last week of November, he started judo, so today he turned 45 years old. Our sensei emeritus hasn’t come in to the club for a long time, which he acknowledged. He told us, though, that he came in tonight because he wanted to spend his judo birthday with us. I was smiling–I know that. But at the same time, I could feel tears welling up and I came close to sobbing. Before he started speaking, all I could think about was how angry I was. It was like his words took me by the shoulders and gave me a good shake. You can’t let your own anger and frustration consume you on the mat. If that happens, you don’t get to spend 45 years with judo.

Judo hurts sometimes, but most lessons worth learning cause some pain. If I find myself near tears on the mat again, I hope I remember how badly I want to see my own 45th judo birthday.

Categories: Judo Tags: , ,

Thirtyone Thanksgivings.

November 25, 2012 3 comments

Last year, I wanted to write a post around the time of my birthday, which happens in the beginning of November. I wanted it to be all reflective and stuff about where I was in the life, the people who are important to me, and where I hoped to go. I didn’t do that. Instead, I wrote a post on Thanksgiving about all the things I was grateful for. It was a pretty good list.

This year, my blog post history repeats itself. I had an incredible 31st birthday. I was floored by how much love I felt from my friends and family. I really wanted to write a post about my life at 31, but I didn’t. So here I am again, feeling giddy and hyper about the goods things floating around my life. I have just enough focus to channel all that into a list of 31 things for which I’m thankful.

I am thankful for:

1. Sunday judo

2. Mr. Latimer

3. The Carpenters, including Diana

4. That my cousin, his wife, and little boy moved back up to Philly

4a. That my cousin and his family nowlive in my childhood home

5.  That my auntie, Claire, could come up and visit this Thanksgiving

6. That I’m done with grad school

7. That I am now a licensed social worker in the state of Pennsylvania

8. That I found a job that challenges me.

9.  That I’m not as afraid to try as I used to be

10. Natural light

11. My dad’s hand-me-down coffee maker

12. That my best friend and I are growing closer, not farther apart, with time

13. That when a job application asked me how many people I could call in an emergency, I could count well over ten friends and family member.

14. That some of my friends feel like sisters

15. That some of my friends feel like brothers

16. Early morning runs

17. West Philly

18. That I tried baking, and it’s not as hard as I thought

19. That I have time to cook again

20. That I moved into an apartment big enough to actually have people over

21. Sleep-overs

22. Spare keys

23. Good co-workers

24. Amazing supervisors

25. Under Armour

26. That I don’t have to take the Broad Street Line anymore

27. Income-based student loan repayment plans

28. That I have an income at all

29. That my close buddies from my MSW program finally all are working

30.  Monthly Cousin Conventions.

31. That as my family grows, my whole world grows a little.

Haikuesday, 11.20.12

November 20, 2012 Leave a comment

The bus didn’t come,

and my gym bag felt heavy

as I went back home.

I’ll stay late.

November 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Each time I have to stay late for work, I see something important. Tonight, I saw what a community can look like.

A few weeks ago, staff talked with residents to see what they would like to do for Thanksgiving. They decided that they wanted to hold a potluck. Last week, my supervisor posted a sign-up sheet on the front door of our building. Yesterday, the sign-up sheet looked promising. What we saw tonight, however, surpassed our hopes. For the 35+ people who came to dinner, our residents cooked two turkeys, a ham, a tray of ziti, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, cranberries, potato salad, deviled eggs, stuffing, and a slew of cakes and pies made from scratch. Those with less culinary ease brought sodas, ice, and store-made desserts. More able-bodied residents helped those who were less mobile. Those who cooked urged their neighbors to join in, even if they didn’t have a dish to bring. Residents volunteered to bring food from the kitchen out to the table. Staff and residents set up together, ate and joked together, and at the end of the meal, cleaned up together.

Most of us feel some sort of stress during the fall and winter holidays, but since the clients where I work have severely limited income, this time of year often feels horrible for them. It makes them think about when they last had their own house or apartment, the gifts they could give, the dinner they could cook, and how they felt secure in the sense that they could provide something, even if it was small, for their families. Tonight, though, they chose to have Thanksgiving with their neighbors. They chose to share what they could, and in turn, they revealed a different kind of family.

I’ll stay late for that.

Categories: Life Tags: , ,

Haikuesday 11.13.12

November 13, 2012 Leave a comment

I lock’d myself out

of both my home and office,

but now things are fine.

Categories: poetry Tags: ,