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my literary jouranl....a work in progress

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  1. 1. [Noora AL-Malki] This work is digitalized by the author Copyright © all rights reserved to Norah AL-Malki 2009 The author is a lecturer at the Department of English, College of Education, King AbdulAziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  2. 2. [My Literary Notebook] I dedicate this work to my family
  3. 3. [Noora AL-Malki] Contents Part One: Poetry Morning Prayer Bridge of Life Palestine: A Fragment A Cyporg’s Diary Hear Me Students Ahmed Yaseen Requiem of a Dream A Chronicle of Life Part Two: Short Stories Lecture The Well
  4. 4. [My Literary Notebook] Part One Poetry
  5. 5. [Noora AL-Malki]
  6. 6. [My Literary Notebook] Morning Prayer Hands reach upward Beseeching of Him to look On Me, To take me in, To announce my sin forgiven. The eyes downcast, The shoulders sagged, The forehead humbled, The soul entrapped, I stand. A captive of His world of light. Dares I’ve boasted I would take, Great creations I thought I’d make, Thrones of life I’ve wanted to shake, Dissolve… Dismantle… Disintegrate…
  7. 7. [Noora AL-Malki] His Light is more alluring, More enduring, More securing. It’s a space of pure light-- To explore-- Unique ultra dimensions-- And more-- A realm beyond Lousy human inventions.
  8. 8. [My Literary Notebook] Bridge of Life Me upon the bridge of life Have seen a lot of people walk. They've seen me do the same, But would never to me talk. To their ways they would hop, jump or just lightly walk. To mine I would walk likewise and never talk.
  9. 9. [Noora AL-Malki] Palestine: A Fragment Pity, love, hate and fear Get together on a flowery rear. The one unto the others did tell Of horrible stories; visions of hell. Of Pity’s tale there’s s much to say But brethren it suffices to pray That never one with eyes could see That lad wide stretched beneath a tree. The skull, so smashed beyond repair, Holds a couple of balls ‘gaged in a stare. “Look hard upon him”, Pity cried, “And you would know what’s real pride.” Pride of being dead for a cause For which no one besides you rose. God bless the soul that still delights In defying an evil intent to fight.” Love, immersed in the tell tale passion, Narrates his story in a curious fashion. In song-like verse he cried in pain: “Me thinks the world is going insane.” On feet he sprang to mimic the mother,
  10. 10. [My Literary Notebook] Who lost a trio of decent brothers. “Ay that breaks the heart of ye and me, But hers was solid as a tree. The news to her was a joy sublime Incurred nowhere but in a vanishing dream. Of visions we rarely do believe Pooh to us, your pardon I cleave.” Hate was burning with desire To trigger their feelings still much higher. This time he thought it’s more proper To tell the story of a dirty copper: “Beholds me a mortar amidst the town On top of which, the dirty clown Did shake his fist at a lad. Who neither answered back nor had Even thought of stirring from The place he stood in, his tomb. The mortar rode the boy astride So harsh and powerful was the tide I’d rather rip that soldier’s heart I wonder if he has that part!”
  11. 11. [Noora AL-Malki] Of the horror Fear had seen He told the rest of a frightful scene. He dipped his fingers in the soil. And brought out after a maddening toil A bunch of little and broken bones Upon which came a change of tone: “Those, Ay those ’re the ribs Of an infant.” The tightened lips Upon which parted to declare’, In a scream of terror “Who did care? The bullet, being a bullet, went through It only shivered then turned blue The little thing did not choose, In such a way, his life to lose.”
  12. 12. [My Literary Notebook] A Cyborg’s Diary i. I've never thought of this before… I've never thought that I would come one day To doubt their existence; The flesh and blood stuff are no longer felt No longer counted a merit. The transformation was not sudden though: The heart caught fire and turned to ashes, The passion fell over the rocks and broke its neck. The brain mocked their vulnerability and took over. Mourning the dead was not allowed, But living was the forbidden fruit. I've never said no, never complained, Or attempted to escape. I've preserved ME within The walls of my imprisonment And never breathed again.
  13. 13. [Noora AL-Malki] ii. My titanium-heart never beats, My titanium-lungs would not breathe, Would I count so little ‘cause my body isn’t brittle, Would I feel less ‘cause my breaths wouldn’t stress That I’m LIVING? iii. Suppose that I was human, A Jack, a Dave or Truman, Would this erase the fact That I’d never be intact? ‘cause if this is be given, Forever I’d look up to heaven And pray to be Man.
  14. 14. [My Literary Notebook] iv. Life is so dear Just watch a flower sear It’d brace the soil In a maddening toil To stay alive. Oh, what a strife! Just lose it flower It isn’t power It’s rather a chain That keeps you in pain Just be serene And you will reign The sky and land From where you stand.
  15. 15. [Noora AL-Malki] Hear ME Students You've been a pain To my troubled brain. For weeks I fought Through the messy parts inside your skull And for a moment I thought That, brightness, I've brought Oh, it has been a task so dull; "This is a poem great to read, So enjoyable" I would plead. Students would say "Oh, teacher, is it in the test? We would, if you cancel this, study the rest” "Students, this is a poem great to read, So enjoyable" I would plead. But nay, their _____heads wouldn’t get it. I've to shout out my brains Before it rains On their ____heads That this poem is only to be read.
  16. 16. [My Literary Notebook] Ahmed Yaseen Ahmed Yaseen Had worked in vain To relieve his people of a terrible pain. Though the pain has no face No definite origin to trace Yet its marks 're all over the place. Yaseen Had seen the marks Said to all: “thence dwells the shark. Come with me”, he said, They said: “Cannot you see? It’s still dark.” Yaseen Lost a hand, a tongue, a leg on which he stands Could not well understand Why his people, Many as they are, Could not lend a hand?
  17. 17. [Noora AL-Malki] Yaseen Lost his life And on his speechless tongue a pray: “God make the enemy rightfully pay, The debt he owes us; the clay Of Palestine ,whence my soul lay.”
  18. 18. [My Literary Notebook] Requiem of a Dream I peep through the rusty keyhole Pretty women in pretty clothes Sit and chatter Just imagine a hive of industrious bees Without the honey The door creaks My mother holds me by the ears Takes me to my bed Where I cry myself to sleep. That night I dreamed Of the pretty women in the pretty clothes Turning into tiny butterflies Spreading their colorful wings And flying over my head. They begged me to sing to them Which I did. They glowed in the darkness of my room They laughed to dissipate the gloom I laughed with them
  19. 19. [Noora AL-Malki] That night The pretty women in the pretty clothes weaved the bright old heaven Its stars, its darkness and what’s hidden Into colorful tales. Tales they’ve told Of mermaids old Sojourning in the wide old sea, Tales of wonders Which one shall ponder If ever one desires to see What lies beneath this shell Of insensitive humanity. The door creaks, My mother speaks Of morning, Of school, And breakfast too. I search the room For the pretty women in the pretty clothes Nothing but gloom And my mother.
  20. 20. [My Literary Notebook] The Chronicle of Life Big Bang. Life. Then Me. Evolution, they say. Parasites, monkeys and trees Are my predecessors, and Next of kin. Evolution is dull, I say. Every single drop of life on this planet Is definitely mutant, surprisingly Unique.
  21. 21. [Noora AL-Malki] Part Two Short Stories
  22. 22. [My Literary Notebook]
  23. 23. [Noora AL-Malki] Lecture I am lost again. I think it is the third time that I feel disoriented today and still it is the first lecture! The difference this time is that none of my students has uttered a single word or made the slightest move to distract me. Usually, one will get so bored that she would find the ceiling or her friend’s hair more attractive and worthy of special attention and deep concentration than what is really going on or being said in the lecture. These instances of escape I tend to register even when I am way deep into resurrecting one of Poe’s poetic personas or stripping a poem naked for their eyes to see how it resembles human beings in all things but their unkindness and horrific aspirations. Immediately, I fall. Mortal again. The parallel universe I have been reconstructing collapses and reality peaks with its ugly head through Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shallot” or Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Marnier”. This time they have done nothing. Unless their presence inside the class is counted as a distraction, they actually were quieter than usual today. Truly I’ve been told by many people including friends and family members that I do look angrier than ever when I fall into such trances.
  24. 24. [My Literary Notebook] “Do I look THAT bad father?…I mean when I am …” I let the words trail off. “Ogre” he intended it as a joke but his tears spoke the truth. The way they look at me as though they expect me to shout at them or say something mean as usual is draining life out of me. I had to look away. “The walls are all painted blue,” I heard myself announce this astounding discovery. Every wall in the college is painted in this devastating and disgusting blue color, even the staff offices, the library and the cafeteria. You feel like you are suspended in the sky with no solid ground to stand on. I approach the wall to my right and run my hand on its wrinkled face. Expectant eyes burn holes in my back. “Why does not she finish today’s poem first and give us this “wall” poem next week?” I heard a student whisper to her friend. I had to turn around and face them. Again. I really hate these lapses. It is like being sucked into a vortex. No way that you can reach for someone or something to save you. They seem to happen more frequently now that I want to hide and be alone rather than parading in front of almost two hundred students and brag about my knowledge of Romantic or Victorian poets.
  25. 25. [Noora AL-Malki] I came up with this seemingly bright solution last year when I asked one of my students to be my Face. To pay special attention to my lapses so when I stop and show symptoms of being lost, she has to step in and remind me of what we are talking about. The problem is that what she understands is different from what I usually say, so when my Face hurries to the rescue she often confuses me even more. I used to recall the names of all my students who might be more than two hundred and in different classes. I used to remember their full names and which classes they are in, but now I find trouble sometimes in deciding about which direction to take when I leave the class and want to get to my office. I am still lost and the students are looking at me with wide open eyes hoping that the lapse would last several more moments this time. They are desperately in need of a break. I really do not blame them. But I feel thirsty too. I am lost and thirsty. What a horrible combination! I am lost in the middle of this barren desert. No water. No nearby oasis like those we dream of sometimes. And the sun delights in paying special attention to my bare skin. It is not enough that I want to fix a memory malfunction. I had to be deprived of comfort also. I had to say something.
  26. 26. [My Literary Notebook] A few unintelligible words and phrases escaped my dry lips and filled the air of the room. A student at the back knotted her brows in such a strange and funny way. My brain most likely did not bother to register what I’ve said. It knew this time that I am completely out of the teaching mode. I’ve switched channels to hysterical laughing, which is more appropriate to such a situation and a very fine cover for my state of mind. Students shared in the marathon. “Miss, time is up and we want to have our break before the next lecture….Have you finished?” She says feigning a disturbing politeness, which I detest, but permanently fall for. “Yes” and I leaked into the crowded hall.
  27. 27. [Noora AL-Malki] The Well “Why did you jump in with me Hamed? “ He said. “To save You idiot and….” Hamed answered with a sneer, but let the words trail off. The saving part reminded him of the urgency of his mission. For the first time in his life he is afraid. “And what?” Ali challenged. But Hamed seemed to be deep in thought. Ali was a typical tribe teenager. He had a passion for hunting and was proud of always carrying his rifle on his shoulder like a real tribe warrior would do. He would not allow the herdsman’s son, Hamed, to laugh at him. Besides he did not need him in the first place. Everyone knows that Ali is athletic and can jump over crags and very high hills without being harmed. “I can save myself …you know.” Ali intended this as an expression of anger, but it came out more like a cry for the other’s attention. Hamed came out of his stupor and ran his hands on the wall of the ancient well. There was still daylight streaming into the well, so Ali saw how this simple act affected his companion. “What is going on with you?” Ali insisted this time. “There is no way out of here Ali…we are going to die here.” Ali just waved his hand in the air as if dismissing the inevitable with this simple motion. Hamed grabbed his hand with such force that Ali winced of pain. He made the reluctant Ali feel the wall of the well. It was flat.
  28. 28. [My Literary Notebook] “This is the ancient well, which the tribe elders ordered us to keep away from….they say it is cursed,” Hamed said in resignation. “ Nonsense….” Was Ali’s unconvincing retort. “It is high you see….WE cannot climb out because of the flat walls” Hamed supplied. “The elders will search for us and find us,” Ali countered. “The elders told us to keep away and they would not think of this place ….nothing happened here for a long time, so why suspect us to be here of all places?” Hamed said this more to himself than to Ali. They have been here for some time now. They are up to their shoulders in the deep well’s water and Ali started to feel uneasy. The only sport he hated is swimming. His legs get weary fast. “Are you ok?” Hamed asked feeling pity for the young man. It is funny. Yesterday he hated him so much for laughing at his father in public and throwing dirt into his wrinkled face. He wanted to kill Ali there in front of everyone, but his father pleaded with him not to do so. For his father he would tolerate everything, but being treated like a slave is something else. He always dreamed of leaving the tribe and travelling away. May be to another tribe which will treat him better. Now he looks into the red eyes of his oppressor and wants for all this to end. It is just a very bad dream. He blinked and found himself extending a hand to Ali to support him against the wall of the well. This Ali was instantly grateful for. *I have to be an honorable man* and he instantly cursed this nagging thought. He would never forget Ali’s tyranny ….*NEVER*
  29. 29. [Noora AL-Malki] “It is sunset…” Ali breathed out. “Let’s perform Maghrib prayer” Hamed suggested and Ali complied. It is the first time that they pray together and Ali naturally asked Hamed to call for prayer and be the Imam. Ali knew that Hamed memorized the Holy Quran and had a lovely voice, which made Ali relax a bit and forget about the trouble they are in. He envied him whenever the tribe elders asked for Hamed to be their Imam because of his fine voice. Many times he asked his father to be the Imam and he would refuse because his son cannot be anything comparable to Hamed. He hated his father and the picky tribe elders. Hamed, however, was the easy target to hit and wound. The little toy that he can smash without being seriously punished. When they finished prayer, they moved to the other side of the well. “Why did you jump in with me?” Ali blurted, this time more determent to get an answer. Hamed looked into his face searching for a justification for this ill-timed question, but found none. He let his head fall back on the wall. “I’ve asked a question….” Ali reminded Hamed. “I do not have an answer for this one…ask another question.” “Are we going to die tonight?” was Ali’s other question. “Not tonight definitely….it might be a slow death…a VERY slow death, but definitely not tonight,” and Hamed laughed. “I am sorry….” And Ali trailed off.
  30. 30. [My Literary Notebook] Hamed was shocked to hear the words because he did not expect the mighty Ali to be humbled by anything. Death seems to do miracles and he loved it…for just an instant. Hamed only nodded his head. Ali felt grateful for him not to require an explanation of the statement, which might have cost him the loss of his tribal pride. Reflections and memories abound so each of them retired to his resting place by the wall and let himself be absorbed by the darkness of the ancient well.
  31. 31. [Noora AL-Malki] END