A blossoming truth-teller of Egyptian descent was recently added to A Cornered Gurl. She took a bit of a break away from Mediumand she was sorely missed. I remember hosting Nardine in This Glorious Mess, also via Medium, and since her return, the strength of her words are at an all-time high. Nardine writes from the heart and there is no shame in it. What she brings to A Cornered Gurl is soul-speak, the depth of the heart, and I am so happy that she is there. And now, the work that gained her September’s feature:
the girl in the frame
Late nights, red wine (I drank it hoping to be someone else)
Tall boy, sweet words (I felt his tongue against my lips and hoped he didn’t taste the insecurity)
Small house, big crowd (I wished someone would see me the way I saw myself)
(I didn’t want to go home because it was late and I’d face my mother, sitting under the kitchen light, looking afraid to find something on me she didn’t want to see)
(Sometimes I dream that the space between my body and the world has no shape and I bleed into everything, like a girl with no outlines)
On the kitchen wall of my parents’ house
is a drawing I did when I was ten years old.
The girl is sliced in half;
on one side, she smiles,
on the other, she frowns.
(How can I merge the two women inside of me? One who is daring and one who is submissive? One who is fearless and one who is afraid?)
I ask my mother,
why do you keep that drawing
of the broken girl up on the wall?
And she looks at me, alarmed, and says,
why in the world you would think the girl is broken?
She brings with her, wisdom, experience, and the gift of gab within various forms of writing. She is unafraid to share what needs to be shared, regardless of its content. What she has given to A Cornered Gurlcannot be described. With each piece, new eyes set their sights on our small community and there’s no doubt that we will continue to grow. Her poem Syncopation is this week’s feature.
Ah, my heart. Jumping, fluttering, pausing In syncopation.
A defect, modern science informs.
Lying still hear it, feel it Reminding every moment This is the SPARK
Life, the gift
Death lingers, lingers in the pause, the void, between this beat and the next.
A child’s terror Knowing.
Listen MY BREATH, MY HEART It stopped.
No, they say. Your mind, it’s there.
Again. Again. Again. Night after night. Terror. Certainty. Death is near. Death is here.
Passion’s embrace. Remember, heart says. You are fragile in this flutter in this pause in this deep murmur, the silence in the space between breaths, an echo chamber of the universe that whispers, “death is near, death is here.”
Sara is an incredible young one and has been along this ride in A Cornered Gurlsince I made the announcement to open it up to all Writers on Medium this past January. She is also a Young Mind of Medium and she and I have collaborated over the last three years on three projects and with each piece, I learn a bit more from her. To answer July’s challenge, Sara shared a letter she wrote for her boss who would be leaving her place of work to experience new endeavors. He was her inspiration.
In Goodbye (Well, Technically), Sara shows exactly why it is important to let those who inspire us know it. She shares her heart and she does it without being overly emotional. She is incredibly sound in her work and this is an indicator of that. And here, we have it–the reason for her feature:
Goodbye (Well, Technically) Young Minds of Medium Inspiration Call
The greatest boss I will ever know has left. Here’s to you, boss.
Hey (well, now former) Boss,
I didn’t say much when you dropped the bomb that you were leaving, but I know that what I’m thinking and writing deserves some sunlight.
When you said you didn’t want to put our jobs in jeopardy I understood how much of a role model you’ve been to me. I may not understand the entirety of the drama you were involved in, but I have an understanding of the sacrifices you made for your family and us. I have always trusted that you would make the right decisions for yourself, and that trust hasn’t faltered.
Since you’re no longer a constant factor at work, there are some secrets and “thank you’s” I would love to disclose. For starters, during my interview, I faked all of it. I had tried to look up some potential interview questions that would have done better elsewhere, but I magically came up with answers, like in an SAT-pick-the-best-option kind of way, and prayed that they were the ones you were hoping for. I was super lucky and started working the next week.
Hilariously enough, I never thought I would end up in childcare; I used to think that I would never want to work with kids. The only reason I applied to work here was because I didn’t want to work in a bank, which was what my mom had suggested since she made the same move as a young adult. Now that I want to stay for as long as possible, I realize how wrong I was about kids. So as my first “thank you”, thank you for giving me a chance. I definitely don’t think I made the strongest first impression, but you were still willing to take me in, and now I realize I’m better at talking to kids more than adults.
I haven’t turned into my mom in a lot of ways, but when it comes to working through conflicts I have only seen my mom yell so I came into this job with the same tactic. However, I’ve always known that I don’t want to be that way. After seeing you work your magic, your modeling has meant everything to me, and I continually impress myself with how much I’ve improved at talking. Thank you for pulling me out of that rut and for showing me what communication should look like.
Of course, my next “thank you” goes to last year, and I know you know what I’m talking about. I don’t think I ever thanked you properly for helping me keep my head above water, and that was wrong of me. I admit that at some point I contemplated quitting because dealing with the stress was like trying to contain a tsunami in a container, and the uncertainty of how long it would last was an overwhelming thought. It was a test of our emotional resilience and we both came out on top. Thank you for believing me even when I didn’t believe myself. Thank you for being there, for listening, and thank you for staying. I had a small idea of what you were dealing with on your end, and I’m sorry you had to deal with it, too. But seriously, thank you . . . Just thank you.
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had and heard a lot of thoughts on everything that has happened and despite it all, I am positive that you will find something else in which to excel. There is a legacy you’ve stamped on this place and none of us want to erase it. It will be impossible not to compare the new director to you; the new guy has impossible shoes to fill. Thank you for working with us, for sticking it out as long as you did. For you, we will remain resilient.
Finally, there’s something else you’ve said that I have remembered: if you could sleep at night, then you knew you made the right decision. I’ve decided if you can sleep at night, then so can I.
Thank you for always reminding us that we’re the ones with the ball in our court, I wish you the best of luck in everything!
Zuva is one of our newest contributors to A Cornered Gurl and she comes to the publication with strength, power, brutal honesty, and “black excellence” in her bones. I love reading this young one and she decided to answer the “Young Minds of Medium Inspiration Call” with the following piece entitled: The Making of a Government Manifesto–Erasure Piece. At nearly twenty-three years old, Zuva is already making waves with her work and if you are in her way, you will be moved. And now, for her poem as our featured work for the week:
The Making of a Government Manifesto–Erasure Piece.
Immigrants are “stealing your jobs” but really it’s machines
A homeless man asks me forchange, the world is contactless now
Education is free when it protects and promotes government agenda
Does the voice of oppressors get silenced or do they learn how to whisper and
pass secret notes?
men are taught to hate feminists when we want to help them too. Nothing changes
Obesity is a money-making industry,
that’s why salads ain’t cheap
They’re crippling our NHS to privatisation
This is how it’s meant to be
Trump is to cause divide
And illustrate your rights still don’t matter
People are gunned down for being people
Children are shot then and called victims
*It is very easy to look at the world and just see the negative. But when you look again you can find and create hope.
Jose hails from South Africa and brings to A Cornered Gurl via Medium passionate writing and a love for our craft that is clearly visible. He delivers emotion-filled and heartfelt work that not only connects with the writing community, but makes you think too. I am honored to have him in our midst and to read his work and share it with all of you. The following piece taps into how one can see heaven differently and why. It is entitled “Heaven is a journey, not a destination.”
Heaven is a journey, not a destination
Think of your favorite story, think of the first time you heard that story . . .
Now imagine someone carelessly spoiling the ending before the journey even began.
Could you continue to read the story with the same enthusiasm if you knew the end?
Does the belief that we are going to ascend to heaven give us an illusion of knowing the end of our story, hampering our ability to live our lives to the fullest?
Imagine being completely oblivious to the existence of such a place. Imagine having no illusions of your end.
What if our immortality lay only with the stories we leave behind as well as those willing to share them?
Would this paradigm shift force us to live more complete lives?
Live life as a mortal, not as one given a promise of immortality. Each of us has an interesting tale to tell, but it is our responsibility to ensure that we, not fear, continue to be the authors.