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Failures in Freedom

Barack Obama to make first on-screen comments on George Floyd

The land of the free. The home of the brave.

For some this may be true, but not for us all.

The people of our land received a brutal wake-up call.

That failures in freedom slip still through our seams.

Hatred and ignorance still live in some hearts.

Some authorities betray and break us apart.

Some stand up and fight. Others will turn a blind eye.

The hurt, yet emboldened raise their fists in protest.

It’s time contributors of injustice come to confess.

Tears will sting in our eyes and rubber bullets may pelt.

Nothing stops us from raising our fists and using our voices.

Until the world is equal for all people, regardless of races.


As an African American in the United States, the events of the past week following the tragic death of George Floyd caused me immense sadness, but it did

not cause me surprise. Experiences like these are not new in the black community, but are now just much more visible as technology has advanced. Many people did not know this was a reality, but they have now become aware of the unfortunate and undue consequences of being a certain race. All lives are created equal, but are not treated as such. This needs to change. Regardless of your color, you can do something to be a part of change that the world needs. You can peacefully protest, support black businesses, donate to causes fighting racial injustice, pray, read books by black authors, and use your platform to spread information. I encourage that you educate yourself and share what you learn with your family, as I am. Stand up for what is wrong, and fight for what is just. I hope everyone continues to do all they can to be safe and healthy, but also proceed with caution as you post, share, and protest. Let’s make 2020 the year of change! Spread love!

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New World, New Destinations

Why 'getting lost in a book' is so good for you, according to science

the horizon looked bleak

even from the start of this period

but she looked at the sky and breathed

and thought of the all places she would go

in this new world where nothing at all is sure

she knew and held to her few and only certainties

and so she went to the shelf and then dusted off a tome

and in her mind she went to places she could only dream of

these books she kept close as she endured life in the new world

for she was now beautifully lost and for once did not feel quite so alone

4/29/20

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Nowhere

Rear view of sad woman next to the window | Free Photo

lately it is not much of a question

when they ask me where I have been

usually the answer is the same as theirs

either spoken with a chuckle or a solemn tone

our eyes gaze longingly thorough the window panes

for once now all human minds have one thought in unison

that if the world will be forever changed once we enter it again

it is time to cherish these moments while we are stuck in nowhere

4/29/20

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Under the Banyan Tree- A Review

Windows

Clean, plain, open, closed, bright,
light, shaded, paned, shuttered, blinded, boarded,
rusty, dirty, smoky windows.
broken, shattered, run down windows
Windows that protect and hide,
a mirror to the world outside
and sometimes to the world within,
unraveling layer by layer, revealing
a glance into a soul,
a tool for introspection and scrutiny,
secrets and smokescreens,
evasions, denials, half-truths
Windows, they tell it all.

“Under the Banyan Tree” by Simi K. Rao

I felt as if after reading Simi K. Roa’s, Under the Banyan Tree, I was able to take a glance into her soul. This eloquent morsel was released in August of last year and is less than 150 pages in length. Rao was born in India, but she has been living in the United States for several years now. She has also published a few other works within the last few years, such as Inconvenient Relations and the Accidental Wife. Under the Banyan Tree was the first work of hers that I have read, but it is definitely now a favorite that I highly recommend.

What attracted me first was the title. I had never heard of a Banyan tree, so I searched it.

Originally, they are from the writer’s home country, where underneath the tree is often a center of activity in many of their communities. Magnificently, Banyans can grow up to be 80 feet tall, cover about 14,500 square feet of space, and live to be over two and a half centuries of age. Often, the tree symbolizes fertility, life, and even resurrection. Hindu texts dating back over 2,500 years reference the Banyan tree as a “world tree,” it’s roots reaching the heaves and delivering blessings to earth.

Significantly, the concept of the vastness of this tree, with it’s sturdy roots consuming all in its path, is more than appropriate metaphor in my opinion. It would be difficult to use one word to encumber all that is contained in Rao’s, Under the Bayan Tree. However, if I did, I would choose a word that a Banyan tree itself represents. Life.

Life penned by Simi Rao, as I read, had been written through the many lenses that she wore in her time. A Mother. A Physician. An Innocent Child. A Mischievous Teen. A Lover. An Immigrant. A Dreamer. Every poem and short story is coated with her observations of human nature, her experiences a cross-cultured woman, her internal struggles, her perceptions of love, and her emancipation from the darkness that can tend to follow us in life.

The poems were written in a variety of different styles, which I find is important in books such as these. It is more engaging when authors change the rhythm, rhyme patterns (or not rhyme at all), and the topics as well. She accomplished that skillfully, and she also included some excepts from her other books and a few short stories. The poem “Windows” was my favorite poem style wise, and I thought it was very deep. Rao gave us a peek through her window. Through it, the inner workings of her humanity was laid bare, which made almost everything she wrote easy to relate to. I felt as if I could almost feel her soul in some of the poems. Her affection for others and nature was plain to me. Her love of her culture was also evident. In the vivid short story “Mr. Tim“, a little girl befriends a squirrel in a tree. At the end, I almost shed tears just as the character did. The poem “Phobia” cleverly explained how tragic it is that fear can imprison us, even when freeing ourselves from it’s control is more possible than it seems. Simi shared her experiences as a physician with writing of a cancer patient, an addict, and an elderly woman with dementia. And of course, the love stories “Crush” and “A Cup of Chai” were heartwarming.

All that is included in Under the Banyan Tree was touching in it own right. As Simi describes it, we must all ride “the carnival of life,” and it is bumpy ride. With all the unrest occurring in the world at present, the burden of simply existing is not foreign to anyone. Nonetheless, Roa reassures in this composition that there is light awaiting after the dark, somewhere a hand is always out-stretched, the beauty of love flows in unlikely places, and that rain will always fall to spread the roots of the Banyan tree.