The Pangs of Love

When the steed of my heart aches in weariness,
slit its throat with the sword of your tongue.
Move me with your wisdom, I can handle it despite that I am young.

Allow my blood-soaked sins to trickle into the river of purification.
Then bring your lips to the incision you made, and with your affection, make the pulsing pangs of this world dissipate.

You’re never too far for me to feel,
but if the cries of my steed prevent me from hearing,
call to the wind and convince her of all the goodness a union like ours could bring.

& if we are deserving, she will whisper your message to me.

 

Peace & Blessings,

Karima Osman

👁

In the desert of my soul, I know there is truth.
It may be hard to find, hidden in the sand dunes.
But if the wind that carries my faith is strong,
then the weighted grains of desires will fall,
leaving uncovered, the light that I’ve searched for all my life.

Now that I have it, my ankles shrink slim and free
from the chains of why’s and what is or isn’t meant to be 
the clarity is blinding
…Now that I have it, how should I handle this?

The Observation of Shamsa’s Spouse

Every night, my dear Shamsa awakes from her sleep.

She does not leave the bed from hunger or an ill dream.

Nor does she speak to me as she untangles herself from the sheets.

Verily this is her routine.

 

She does not know that I see her in these late hours of the night.

But my adoration for her grows tenfold with the prayer mat she unfolds.

Never have I seen an insomniac so pure.

Never do I forget to thank my creator for a lover who lights the darkness with her noor.

 

Peace and Blessings,

Karima Osman

*sigh*

I hold back on writing to you because enough people give you praise.

What weight would my words hold? What difference would the ink of my love make?

 

I hold back on writing to you because I want from you the devotion I’m too tired to give.

At a command, a branch will not offer a fig. One must pull and work for it.

So, won’t you work for this?

 

I’ve already reasoned with your shortcomings.

New curtains have been hung, and the Turkish cupboard has been dusted.

 

For you, I am ready.

I would dream of you but the moon is a woman and she won’t let me.

 

I have learned not to rest in a home built from strings of words.

Periods prove no point, exclamations marks don’t excite me, and

a grammarian’s suitcase does not have enough commas

to embrace me when your promises fall short.

 

I hold back on writing to you, because your heart isn’t ready to listen.

The Ink of the heavens now rests, so when our timing is rightfully positioned, make an offering to me with conviction.

 

Peace and Blessings,

Karima Osman

(Y’all this shit right here is mad corny, don’t know what got into me)

 

 

 

Jazz Lady

She moved like Jazz.
Newspaper boy wanted her bad.
Upgraded his bike and basket for a caravan so he could show her that he was the man.

She didn’t pay him any mind.
He asked her why.
& she said, “When you depart from this world your caravan will stay behind
so what then is your worth?”

Newspaper boy felt her words
& started reading the papers he once sold.

He found what money couldn’t buy.
The fruition of the mind.
Arsenal of the soul.
The real power in this world.
The more you know the more you’ll soar.

He came back for the jazz lady,
not on wheels, but with new wings.
He asked to dance, and she looked to the piano man and told him to stop his song.
She told newspaper boy that she knew he’d return, for her intuition was strong.
She took his hand and said,
“Take us to the clouds so we can dance to what the birds sing, I want us to take from what we know and build a staircase onto the love our Lord ”

Peace and Blessings,

Karima Osman

It has been a whole year, my heart!

Today is the anniversary of Nomadic Intuition. I first started this blog whilst sitting on a wooden bench in the hall of the plaza building, waiting for my psychology course. I was  40 minutes early to class, which is not unusual for me. I didn’t even look forward to the class, I taught myself the material just fine and could do without showing up. But in a way I don’t have the words to articulate, I am submissive to time..to the time of myself and others. It’s deeper than where I have to be or whom I have to see, it’s about the maker of time itself.  If I am not exceedingly early, I am late, and consequently, anxious. I will not be foolish and induce my own anxiety, so I must be early. To anything and everything.

I have not posted many posts in the last year, but I have posted enough…what I do here will always be enough for me. I will never promise weekly uploads if tomorrow is not guaranteed. And even if tomorrow were certain, whose to say my creativity is? Inspiration comes to me as a fleeting fly that escapes before I can catch it, and like the fly, on the rare instance I calculated where to clap so that even if it tried to fly, it flew into my hands,  I realized I killed it. My curiosity. I gave up on eagerly trying to trap it, the self-imposed pressure to write kills it.

On more fortunate days, inspiration is whole and clear, it comes to me as the old man I see smoke both a cigarette and blunt on the train platform, alternating between the two, never had I seen a thing like it. I then wonder if cancer or choking on the smoke will kill him first. I figure the latter, he smokes like he knows his genes work in his favor, so he focuses on other issues, wanting them to dissipate like the smoke that leaves his mouth. But even on a fortunate day, night comes, and just as so, inspiration becomes as blurry and free as the smoke the old man puffs out, not wanting to be seen, spreading so that it becomes fainter and soon, forgotten. Thoughts not summoning into a clear sentence, they do not want to be put down on paper, and I will not force what is not meant to be. Creativity. Gone.

The fleeting nature of my creativity is why I may never finish the many short stories I have already started. My Aaba always could sense from the beginning that I became a burning flame just as quick as I would then become the burnt shrub that remained. He says I develop a liking for many things too hastily and don’t have the patience to see them through. It is why after I confess my love for a new instrument on this day, or talk about the idea I must patent on another, he always concludes our conversation by reminding me that I am just like the ones in his family that came before him, always dreaming of many things, but at risk of never waking up because I do not choose which dream to manifest. I dream more than I do.

I end this by saying thank you. Thank you for letting my words walk alongside the seconds of your time. The occasional messages I receive in response to my words make my heart smile. If you’re reading this, thank you for helping me defy the ways of my ancestors, I’m a dreamer, but some dreams I will not depart from. Writing is for me, and for the one who cares to know me. Here’s to one year of my blog! Alhamdulillah!

Peace and Blessings,

Karima Osman

My 2 ¢ on Music & its Relation to Thy Heart

Music is the reflection of a spirit. A composer’s condition steers their art, so the composition will thus take the form of the individual’s love, melancholy, rage, etc. From the composer’s standpoint, the production of music is medicinal as it enables them to be expressive and practice translating their sentiments into communicable sound.

It is the listener who must be wary!!! For a listener has access to the music, but may not have knowledge of the composer’s condition when they produced it. Without a full understanding of the composer’s intentions, one can only draw from their own experiences in their interpretation. While this may seem inherently positive on the grounds of free thinking, it is in this space where music can manifest into a harmful tool.

If one knew the condition of the composer’s heart when crafting their music, they’d perhaps refrain from indulging in the work. For example, If an artist wrote a dis track about another individual on a fallacy, I for one wouldn’t know the dis was a lie without knowing the artist’s condition, and secondly, I’d have listened to another individual backbiting someone else for banter, which inevitably pollutes the soul.

Conversely, If I were listening to the lyrics of ‘Peace Train’ by Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam), I’d develop an urge to pick flowers from an untamed field and distribute them to elderly folk, even the ones who didn’t believe I belonged in this country, for a good hearted song will make you rise above the occasion.

Be selective in the music you listen to, as the ears are an inroad to the heart.

 

Peace and Blessing,

Karima Osman

The beauty in Intermittent Sadness, My Mentor’s divorce, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and Sushi!

What is the summer time for but nice weather and dress shopping for weddings? To finally have a break with more time than I know what to do with? Yeah, no, I don’t know what that’s like.

I haven’t really had much of a summer since graduating high school. Each year since has been packed with an array of commitments. That has to be your reality if you’re trying to make moves…if you’re trying to be someone. I quite like it if I’m being honest. If I ever binge on tv/movies you ought to be concerned about me, because that’s not my typical choice in the field of procrastination. If you see me on a bench somewhere talking to myself or sitting alone in my car for a suspicious period of time, then keep calm and carry on, for this is typical behavior for me. I rather procrastinate by doing nothing than being chained to superficial entertainment. I’m talking about those clickbait YouTube videos and poorly scripted TV shows. Blah. I’m good without it. I’m better off sitting in silence and doing nothing—fostering a boredom that inevitability makes room for my creativity. People don’t appreciate boredom like they ought to. Children in particular need to be bored from time to time. It is vital to their imagination and creative development. The eyes and ears are inroads to the heart and spirit, so I consciously seek to be more selective about what I allow inward, for inevitability, exposures will leave an imprint on who I am.

As introspective as I can be, sometimes it can be overbearing. One would argue that you could never be exceedingly introspective, and while that hastily seems sound, It’s not so simple. Everyone’s introspection looks entirely different. If I’m not careful, the deep stages of my introspection drain me—leaving me empty and suddenly disinterested in the people/events around me. I love to think deep, but I really ought to keep busy in order to pace my introspection. I’m aware of myself and my needs. I’ve recognized that I have a higher disposition in feeling sad. This is not inherently negative! No, don’t pity me. In fact, it serves me well in moderation as it is the emotion that has enabled me true access to my deepest self. Unfortunately, some people are elevated in their tempers, and some in their skepticism—fueling their inability to trust. Therefore, I have no problem with my nature of being sad. It’s in my opinion, the most powerful emotion to dance with, so long as it doesn’t spin one for too long in the tango. The immediate sadness we feel when someone shares their tribulations welcomes forth our empathy. It is feeling sadness that brings us to write in our journals about the atrocities of this world, of children being separated from their parents at the Mexican border. Sadness is the precursor to other emotions as well, to passion, to anger and so forth. This sadness is often at the root of our advocacy, whether for our own affairs or our communities. I could go on and on.

But as I was saying, sadness is beautiful, we need it, but we mustn’t let it, or any emotion for that matter, fully consume us. I don’t function well when I don’t have structure or consistency, so I try to keep busy. My main summer commitment has been bench research. I’m working in the pulmonary department every day, 9-5. But of course, my weekends are free. They better be, I’m trying to turn up for all these summer weddings, best believe! Anyhow, I literally have THE best research mentor ever. This women deadass has a heart of gold. Last week was Eid but I couldn’t take off work, there was too much to do. Despite having a load on her own plate, my mentor put her work aside in order to help me finish my tasks so that I could get home early to my family. It’s people like her that make this world go around. ❤

Just today, she really opened up to me about finding love again after her divorce. Not gonna lie, when I first met her, I immediately imagined that she had a perfect life with a perfect handsome husband and perfect children. This assumption wasn’t based on her appearance, (She’s surely a cutie) but rather on her energy. She exudes such positivity, so I only imagined her reality to be a manifestation of her inner beauty. But woooow she told me some real shit today. We talked about deception and how her entire reality was turned over. She and her ex-husband and had met right out of college. He was a ton of fun, but not much more. But they were young and in love, and at the time, that seemed like the only prerequisite for marriage. Years later, with emotional pots spilling over in resentment, she realized she needed better, a real partner. Love is rather simple, and for that same reason, it can be so unpredictable. We can fall out of it just as quick as we fell into it. Beyond love, a compatible partner requires oh so much more! She told me she never imagined getting a divorce, it devastated her and everything she’d come to imagine love to be. She said she never saw herself remarrying and became frustrated once dating soon after—dealing with men who were emotionally unavailable and grossly egotistical.

She said,
“You attract what you are, and I was so emotionally damaged that I was attracting emotionally damaged men. I had to call the quits on dating for some time to really get to know myself and the peace in solitude. Once I did that, everything change. We as women tend to lower our standards thinking that we can change a person or that a person’s traits that aren’t compatible with our preferences can be overlooked. They cannot! You let that stuff slide now, and in 5 years from now, you won’t even be able to face that person in bed. The resentment will eat you alive and take away from the person you are. When you’ve had to relearn your values through hardship and age, you realize that you have no time to waste. I have children and if someone can’t meet my standards, I will do just fine raising my kids alone as I have been doing. Oh gosh Karima, I have so many books that you should read, they’re not just about relationships with one person, but really helpful for navigating relationships in all areas of your life, family, friends everyone! Are you familiar with the love languages?”

– Yes! I am, acts of service and giving/receiving gifts I’d say are my top two.

“Acts of service was mine.” she laughed as she centrifuged her cells.

– Was? Why is that?

“I’ve come to realize that your love language changes with different people. So, with my ex-husband, I really needed acts of service from him. When I’d come home, if laundry needed to be done, I’d do it. If dinner needed to be made, I’d do it. We were both working professionals but I’m telling you if I had a dime for every time I pulled up into the garage betting with myself that he was probably sitting on the couch watching TV! So, because he was lazy, I obviously appreciated the few times he would go out of his way to do something without being asked, I was settling. My husband now is totally different. In his previous marriage, he was the responsible one. He’s financially responsible, he loves to cook for me, he’s French so he’s a good cook too, he’s also incredibly tidy! So, with a person who excels in that regard, I started to evolve in my love language, because something better was within my reach. For me now, physical touch is the love language. When I come home after work, we can just sit together and be like literally stuck to each other, it feels like home”

– That’s honestly so beautiful that you’ve found that. It’s unfair and draining to have to seek out the basics in a partner. They’re not even a partner if they aren’t fulfilling those primary grounds. People can’t really feel elevated in their love if they’re stuck in financial incompatibility and strict roles of who ought to do what. Things shouldn’t be a chore in love. Wow. I love that you have this now. Where did you two meet?

“Haha you’ll laugh if I tell you, but Match. Com! I don’t have time to interrogate a person over occasional dinners over the span of two weeks when I can just look through their profile in 5 minutes and make a decision on if they’re worth my time”

– HAHA wow, I love how sure of it you are, I feel that. The internet really is how people nowadays connect. For better or worse.

“Exactly! My mom and older family members think it’s absolutely bizarre but look, I’m able to lay out exactly what qualities I want in a person, figure out if we’re compatible, and from there on, just focus on establishing a friendship through the activities we have in common. It’s just more practical for me. One of my girlfriends found her husband on there and another one found her partner on there too, it’s really good stuff!

– Haha oh wow, that honestly great, I’m happy for you guys!

“You just have to always keep your list intact, don’t alter your standards for anyone and you will attract what you deserve”

– I totally agree. When I was 13 I was so sure of who I was. I matured really young. I remained so sure of myself up until about 19. Then all of a sudden, I really went through some changes. It’s crazy, they say you change the most in your 20’s and I refused to believe it. But damn it’s true, when I hit 20 I literally woke up a different woman. I want different things now, and there’s nothing wrong with it, because in my case “different” just meant better. I’m really coming to understand my worth and the value of my time. But ahh dating is a no go for me right now, it’s just draining and I’ve been really happy ever since I decided to rededicate my time to myself.

“You know it’s interesting you say that. When we’re younger, our realities are so shaped by the influence of our parents. I read once that every truth you’ve been told is a lie. Because we can’t see the truth. And the minute we try to define it, we take away from its fullness. Truth can only be felt. So, when you get older and spend more time away from your parents, you inevitably begin to live in your own truth, that’s why we really change. It happens when you leave your parents and it’ll happen once again when you have children. That’s why so many marriages fail after people have kids, because when people say, ‘oh you’re not the person I married’, it’s true, children really change people, and if the other partner doesn’t change along with the one that has changed… well, that’s just a wider gap in their incompatibility. It sucks but it happens a lot, and it happened with me”

*** this blog is getting a little long. I’m gonna end this here. Our conversation went on and on. Talking with my mentor is like talking to my older self! She’s very into holistic, and meditative practices. She’s calm and an absolute blessing to be around.
Funny fact though! As we were having this chat, we were doing a cell isolation with a diseased lung we had donated to the laboratory. Is that not symbolic dude!?!? People often say ‘love is like fresh air’, or ‘I can’t breathe without you’, or other really corny stuff that I would never ever say, too cringe mate! But anyhow, I’m a sucker for parallels. We were talking about divorce while working with a lung that failed in breathing efficiently. We were doing science so that down the road, lung treatments can hopefully be enhanced…then too, speaking of ways to love ourselves and love others better… ways to breath better.
We’re getting sushi with her old college roommate today. Geez, I see this woman staying in my life for quite some time. She’s a gem.

Peace and Blessings,
Karima

Sól

 

Do you see this green stem?

How can they reason that the water from the soil travels up,

If they can’t believe that we too, will one day ascend?

 

And do they not know that the rain that comes down

brings with it, the whisperings of the dead?

Acid rain to warn us of repeating our ancestral mistakes.

 

Do you see how the sheep does not fear the pious farmer

as he brings forth his sharpened tool?

The sheep knows well what is to come,

& even when the flock runs, and the sheep has its chance to escape, it stays.

For the prayers recited before its slain will stretch themselves into a string of words on judgment day.

&  even the sheep know what route is best to follow.

What is death ordained by the pious farmer, but a life simply tracing its destiny with the ink of honor?

***

Look at me. No, not with your eyes.

Don’t you recognize me from a past life?

Nothing of our circumstance is convenient.

But if a river didn’t flow steady, I wouldn’t drink.

& if the ocean always drew closer to the sun in her waves,

the people on boats would grieve.

 

Born of different garments but of the same cloth.

Colors of your wisdom are in harmony with the patterns of my complexity,

laying themselves on the ground for those who will walk after our time.

What greater thing to share in common,

than the thread that sews our carpet?

& like the one in my mother’s living room,

It possesses the beauty that invokes dreams of sand and bottles of incense perfume,

for the soldier who touches it in Burma,

& the maid who sweeps over it in Khartoum.

 

When tea with sugar is offered to you, remember me.

You are bound to no one, so live freely, but you’re a person of their word,

and it is you who proclaimed that

 the sun doesn’t shift from its axis.

So until you recite otherwise, I will trust it–

anticipating the day when the sun meets the ocean in the decreed sunset.

 

Self-Care is Revolutionary

I woke up this morning having dreamt of all the things I needed to get done this weekend. All the things that would overflow my planner, all the things that wouldn’t be checked off—premature failures. I felt a cold coming too, everyone around me is sick and this week is not the one honey.

I woke up tired before the day had even begun. But I am currently refreshed and revitalized as I write this in the bookstore on 16th street.

I’m a member of a Diversity and Inclusion Council mostly comprised of professors and university administrators. We meet on Thursdays and discuss grant proposals, faculty awards, and how to tackle the right-wing extreme conservative club brewing on campus. It’s important stuff.

Anyhow, I mention all that to say that aside from myself, there’s another black sister on the council. Her unapologetic authenticity motivates me to be visible in circles of academia and leadership without having to shapeshift into a different kind of woman, an easier to deal with type of woman, a straighten your hair & don’t wear braids for the interview, make sure you talk like them kind of woman. God no. Anyhow, for the record, I straighten my hair when I want to because I choose to do so for myself. It is one thing to be conscious of people that may be ignorant and prejudice about your natural features, but it is another (& fatal to thy identity) to care about the response of the misinformed and change yourself to cater to the undeserving.

I’m striving to not let the fear of an external response steer my intrinsic motivations and best-intents. I’m working to refine my intellect and character so that there is no room to discuss the physical aspects when the inner workings of myself overflow in their offerings.

This sister on the council reached out to me Thursday (my favorite day of the week btw) to let me know of an event she was putting together for black women. I had never been to nor considered going to anything like it before. When I see events of this sort, there’s a little voice in my head that whispers, “Why just black women, what about all women of color? What about all women in general? Doesn’t this exclude other sisters by including only a subset?” Usually, that voice gets the best of me. Usually, I do feel guilty for primarily thinking of the struggles of those that look like me. BUT WHY? Of course, I have a heart for humanity at large, but I shouldn’t be scrutinized for seeking the company of those who can understand my venting without the bridge of cultural difference. It shouldn’t be wrong for me to seek circles in which I am understood without having to speak.

So I went to her event. Best decision ever.
There were about 10 of us in the room. We started off with mindful meditation with a view of the city as Jill Scott, Badu, Maxwell and many more sung to get us in the mood & guide us through. We burned incense and stretched our bodies out to occupy the space to our heart’s content. In doing so, our hearts became full.

We journaled. We envisioned ourselves on a beach, walking to the pier and seeing a wooden bench. There was someone on that bench, someone familiar. The person was ourselves. Not in physical resemblance, but it was us in our essence. In meditation, we all spent time with our individual essence’s, asking whatever questions were necessary for self-liberation, answering back at ourselves. It was powerful. For the answers are already within us. confronting our innermost selves requires time, requires that we slow down, that we breath. We don’t often prioritize that in our seemingly busy lives. Self-care is revolutionary, it is necessary.

We then went downstairs into a different room and seated ourselves in a circle. We spoke of what we wanted. A sister spoke of needing strength as she persists in her fight with breast cancer. Another sister spoke of being held, how she seeks a space in which she can unapologetically be held, be still, and be heavy.

Heaviness. Too often I hear the emphasis of the desire to be light after meditation. The longing for being elevated and one with air. But wow. To just be heavy? It got me thinking. To find a space or person to hold you and your heaviness. Your overthinking, your energy, your inclination to resist. To find that container to let you be fluid and void of the need to resist… because when they move with you in their acceptance of you, there is no longer anything to even resist. You’re peacefully able to just be. We all deserve that.