Sharing the Journey, Week 4

This has been another busy week, with some progress on editorial work and some progress on housework, and some quality time with the large puppy.

There are two more laundry poems this week, and they’ve become a community conversation of sorts: poets j.lewis and Kristin Berkey-Abbott both wrote poems in response to parts of the laundry series. “our name is mike” by j.lewis was a response to the first laundry poem, and served as a prompt for “Washing Instructions” (the 8th and most recent one). And the 7th one began with an epigram from one of my favorite poems by Kristin Berkey-Abbott, and I borrowed lines from poet James Brush for the close.  And we have danced without planning to do so, in a circle. While I was returning to “Exercising Freedom” a poem Kristin Berkey-Abbott had written in 2016, a poem I love, she was within the same 24 hours writing a response poem to one of mine. These interactions bring me much joy, and I feel humbled to be a part of them, part of a community, part of the conversation.

I’d wanted to write some process notes, and thoughts overall about the series of laundry poems, but I am less comfortable writing prose than poetry, and have a tendency to delete every page of it I write as soon as it is written. However, friend and fellow poet Oka Benard Osahon has said he will encourage me and walk me through the process of getting some thoughts about these poems into words…so hopefully I’ll be able to share some notes here in the not too distant future as a result.

As always, to Dave Bonta of Via Negativa for hosting this (and many other!) conversations. Here are the two most recent pieces in the laundry poems series:
#7: Laundry poem ending with lines from James Brush
#8: Washing Instructions

I’ve also been reading some intriguing social media posts from poet Umar Abubakar Sidi, of KSR Collective / Konya Shamsrumi, and those inspired this Recent Scribbling:


for Umar Abubakar Sidi, #sanctifying

Note by clay note, pipe me down.
Play the holes in my heart
that swallow love
and slowly heal. — Rumi

He was not created, made to be born
on this earth to give you
a sense of superiority. His
existence is an expression
of the fluidity and possibilities
within humanity. This

crossroads of your path and his
is not an invitation for you
to judge him or try to shove
him in the direction of salvation.
At best, the crossing of your
paths is a gift the Ever-

Merciful has sent to test
how far you have progressed
in polishing your mirror,
how much of the width
of Unity’s compassion
and mercy are you able

to reflect, to see inside your
self, ask how far has your love
traveled on the journey
toward becoming unconditional?
At best, this crossroads
is a gift of grace, a test

of your recognition that
brothers are all One. But
most likely, when your own
humility beseeches you
to kneel again, refrain
from anointing your nafs

with such importance,
then the mirror will become
more empty, and in it
you might glimpse this: his
existence, fluidity, and possibilities
are not about you. Not at all.

You are not being invited
to express your own small
opinion about this act
of G-d’s creation. Return
to rhythm, focus on your
own assignment: take

the next step
toward where
and when
your Love is not defaced,
debased by all these petty
limitations and conditions.

–Halima Ayuba (Laura M Kaminski) 28-January-2018

Thank you for stopping by and reading. Have a good week!

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