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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thankful Thursday 4/30/2015

Today I am thankful for the seniors I work with - they're really sweet and I like seeing most of them each day. There is one that comes into the office that said he can show me how to use Access. Although I am temp at the center, I am going to take him up on it. The members are just really nice and they make going in enjoyable.

I'm also thankful for my friends such as Andrew, Hanan, and Moe. They've been cheerleaders for me lately and I appreciate it. :)

Today is also the end of NaPoWriMo. Prompt:

And now for our final prompt (still optional!). For the last day of NaPoWriMo, I’d like you to try an odd little exercise that I have had good results with. Today, I challenge you to write a poem backwards. Start with the last line and work your way up the page to the beginning. Another way to go about this might be to take a poem you’ve already written, and flip the order of the lines and from there, edit it so the poem now works with its new order. This will probably feel a bit strange (and really, it is a bit strange), but it just may help you see the formal “opening” and “closing” strategies of your poems in a new way!
Happy writing!

As Far As The Eye Can See

as far as the eye can see.
navy blue waves, a clear sea,
rolling purple hills lead her to hope;
crystal horizons, a parasol and a tight rope—
birds quickly take the sky without lease;
Where there is no violence, only peace,
where she can exalt and pray on her knees.
quiet lakes surrounded by Evergreen trees,
to find something quiet, maybe a place with fishes,
though sometimes she has deep desires and wishes,
or museums, Green Bay Packers, people so sweet.
with Arabic calligraphy, mosques, and white sands,
each night a new adventure of distant lands;
where either happiness or sadness teams,
I love to creep and sneak in her dreams

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review of Acrassicauda's Gilgamesh / NaPoWriMo Day #29

It seems liked the NaPoWriMo prompt site read my mind today since I was going to write a review about Acrassicauda's Gilgamesh. This was the prompt:

And now, for our prompt (optional, as always): today, I challenge you to write a poem in the form of a review. You can review either animate or inanimate things, real places or imaginary places. You can write in the style of an online review (think Yelp) or something more formal that you might find in a newspaper or magazine. (I imagine that bad reviews of past boyfriends/girlfriends might be an easy way to get into this prompt, though really, you can “review” anything in your poem, from summer reading lists for third graders to the idea of the fourth dimension).
Happy writing!

Review of Acrassicauda’s Gilgamesh

Forming fifteen years ago in Baghdad,
their love for heavy metal brought them together
in each other’s basements.
Guitar melodies, bass riffs, the beating of the drums,
their friendship grew as the War mounted,
quickly putting them at the odds of violence,
and endless travels to find acceptance for their art;
finding their new life in 2009—the journey just began.

Acrassicauda released an EP, a short length CD, in 2010—
Only The Dead See the End of the War
I found it by chance, a search for heavy metal and Islam,
I found them on YouTube and quickly bought the EP
and gifted it to friends and my cousin for the holidays that year.
In heavy rotation on my iPod, the Arabic melodies,
the tales and lyrics sometimes haunt, but transform,
I love Tony’s voice, Marwan’s drum playing, Faisal’s guitar playing.
Their musicianship and artistry is unique; they are their own,
mixing Metallica with modern heavy metal, but with an Iraqi flare.

Yet the EP didn’t bring them heavy metal immortality,
their documentary, Heavy Metal in Baghdad, did—but broke,
they created a fundraiser on Kickstarter to kick start their dream;
$33,000 their goal: quickly raising $37,000 from diehard fans.
They spent some time in the studio, now Marwan, Faisal, Moe, and Firas;
and put together their full length album, Gilgamesh,
released on April 4 with much fan fare and a release party in Harlem.

Finally arriving to my house on Monday,
I rip open the package with excitement;
I put Gilgamesh on blast on my CD Walkman and I smile.
Forty minutes of pure genius;
Moe’s voice, with an Iraqi accent,
 is surprisingly soothing for heavy metal—
his voice sings of their journeys, pain, and hope.
Marwan definitely has a gift for songwriting,
the lyrics touch the heart and soul—as I sit on the bus
guitar riffs and Marwan’s drumming flows through my ear buds
and I’m transported from Pennsylvania to Baghdad and New York;
the heaviness of songs like Rise, an acoustic song, and one in Arabic—
I love it all and each listen draws me in; I can’t stop playing the CD.

Although it took five years for a full length album, Gilgamesh
actually, Acrassicauda as a whole, doesn’t disappoint!
I have Gilgamesh on repeat and I can’t wait to upload the album on my iPod:
check out Acrassicauda; even if you’re not into heavy metal,
you would not be disappointed with their sound and talent.

As you can see from my poem, I love Gilgamesh! I love the whole album and as someone who loves literature, I love how the album concept comes from the tale of Gilgamesh! Marwan is a talented lyricist - he's a great drummer; Moe is a great vocalist; Faisal does a great job and the band just works well together. I can't stop listening to this album and it actually puts me in a good mood. My favorite songs are Rise, Quest For Eternity, Requiem For a Reverie, House of Dust, Unity, Elements, and Rebirth.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the lyrics and playing style of Requiem For a Reverie, and I love the Arabic used in Unity. I would definitely recommend this album; I would recommend giving this band a listen in general!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society's (SEPOS) Orchid Show at the Academy of Natural Sciences/ Philadelphia / NaPoWriMo Day 27

Yesterday mom and I went to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society's (SEPOS) orchid show that was being held by the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Mom and I arrived at 11:30, had lunch in the cafeteria, and then walked around the Academy to look at all the beautiful orchids. Well, I looked and snapped pictures (to the tune of 260 of them). I just loved learning about the orchids and they were breathtaking. Some orchids gave off a really lovely scent.

I was talking to a SEPOS member about orchids for a good twenty minutes. She loved the photos I was taking and said I should make a photography project with these pictures. I told her I was participating in NaPoWriMo and will be including pictures in the book I'll be self-publishing.

Mom and I met up again, then went to see the butterflies. The butterflies were very active and the glass-winged butterfly was out again! I love that butterfly!

Overlooking the Ben Franklin Parkway. So peaceful.

We left the Academy at 1 PM and walked around Center City. I took this picture and tweeted it to +Visit Philly ; it would be nice if they could use it as a postcard. :)

Mom sat in Love Park and I went to FYE. I love that store. I bought these two CDs. I can't wait to listen to them (the picture is of the CDs with the shirt I bought at the Orchid Show).

Prompt for NaPoWriMo Day #27:

And today’s prompt – optional, as always — comes to us from Vince Gotera. It’s the hay(na)ku). Created by the poet Eileen Tabios and named by Vince, the hay(na)ku is a variant on the haiku. A hay(na)ku consists of a three-line stanza, where the first line has one word, the second line has two words, and the third line has three words. You can write just one, or chain several together into a longer poem. For example, you could write a hay(na)ku sonnet, like the one that Vince himself wrote back during NaPoWriMo 2012!
Happy writing!

CD Browsing On the Avenue of the Arts

through the
revolving doors, watch

quickly enter
pass the threshold.

the stairs
better run, maybe!

through aisles
world, country, rock-

classic folk
with the dulconette;

newly used,
on sale - $2.99!

checking out
with new music!

spin out
the door revolves.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

NaPoWriMo Day #26

And now, for our prompt (optional, as always). Our last two prompts have been squarely in the silly zone – this one should give some scope to both the serious-minded and the silly among you. Today, I challenge you to write a persona poem – a poem in the voice of someone else. Your persona could be a mythological or fictional character, a historical figure, or even an inanimate object. Need some examples? Check out this persona-poem-themed issue of Poemeleon from a few years back.
Happy writing!


I sit here, rather parched and dry,
in a red porcelain, or maybe terracotta, pot.
When my thirst is quenched, I can fly
and touch the skies with cloud dots.

I am a beautiful purple hue,
with some white thrown in--
my petals remind people of tie-dye too:
some compare my aesthetic to sin;

for I rather live in humidity and warm,
I would die if my house dropped below eighty.
My petals and stem often transform
moods, regardless if Italian, Chinese, or Kuwaiti!

Yet, my beauty is simple indeed,
I thrive in the night with the help of moths;
my perfume relaxes or can set you free,
as you toss and turn in my silks in your cloths.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Secret Life of Blogger's Blog Party (4/20/2015-4/25/2015)

I'm publishing this a day early because tomorrow mom and I are going to the Academy of Natural Sciences for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society's (SEPOS) orchid show. I went two years ago and loved it. I'm really excited for tomorrow.

Here's a picture I took two years ago (I will be bringing my camera tomorrow, of course):

Anyway, this week has been a busy week, but very exciting. I hope you enjoy this week's blog party and can't wait to see what next week brings! ~Jessica

Monday, April 20

It was a very rainy day. Mimi was lucky - she could cuddle in bed all day. The life of a cat!

Tuesday, April 21

I began reading the book for the library's book discussion on May 17. I like it so far. :)

I know, I look serious here. It was hard taking a reading selfie.

Wednesday, April 22

The beautiful flowers I received from my boss for Professional Assistant's Day.

Me standing in front of my scrapbook display at the library. I had one of my co-workers take it for me before we left for the evening. I can't believe it's only up for one more week!

Thursday, April 23

I love the card I received from Norb today! It totally put a smile on my face. When Norb sent me a CD at Christmas, it put the same smile on my face. I love receiving mail from him. :)

Friday, April 24

I folded, sealed, and labeled 500 newsletters for the Senior Center in 6 hours.

Saturday, April 25

This was my favorite show as a child. I was so happy to see the library had The Angry Beavers. This is what I'm watching now and I love it. I was worried that watching it now as a 25 year old would be different than watching it as an 8-11 year old. Nope, still hilarious. I love older cartoons.

NaPoWriMo Day #25

Prompt: And now for our prompt (optional, as always)! It’s the weekend, so I’d thought we might go with something short and just a bit (or a lot) silly – the Clerihew. These are rhymed, humorous quatrains involving a specific person’s name. You can write about celebrities, famous people from history, even your mom (hopefully she’s got a good name for rhyming with).

Happy writing!

Although Moe isn't famous, he is a good friend of mine and such a sweet person. I had to write a Clerihew about him; I could not resist.

Moe's Clerihew
must have been an alluring beau:
for it is no easy task to friend me;
can make the best Turkish tea!

Okay, now a Clerihew for someone famous!

Monoxide's Clerihew

Monoxide Paul:
he can always destroy the mess hall.
With his make-up so ghoulish,

looks can deceive: he is not mulish.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thankful Thursday 4/23/2015

At every instance there is sun behind every cloud--
at every instance and from clouds, resounds the call of Love:
despite the tears and frustrations of the day,
with gratitude I look towards the skies and praise
and thanks for an opportunity and for you;
for you whom He bestowed upon me -
a wonderful friendship and a beautiful token
that sits upon the marble, waiting to be opened.
As I rip open the white envelope, carefully addressed,
watercolours of the beach and sea greet me;
along with a note that paints a smile on my pale face.

Norb sent me a beautiful card and letter today. The card, as you can see above, is beautiful. I love these kind of cards. His letter was also very nice and put a smile on my face. Thanks, Norb! I'm thankful you're my friend.


What God said to the Alstroemeria,
caused it to giggle pollen
and laugh in modest beauty;
He said it to my heart and soul,
and made it a thousand times more beautiful.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

NaPoWriMo Day #22

Prompt: And now for (as always, optional) prompt! Today is Earth Day, so I would like to challenge you to write a “pastoral” poem. Traditionally, pastoral poems involved various shepherdesses and shepherds talking about love and fields, but yours can really just be a poem that engages with nature. One great way of going about this is simply to take a look outside your window, or take a walk around a local park. What’s happening in the yard and the trees? What’s blooming and what’s taking flight?

Happy writing!

Spring Is In the Air

As the cherry trees begin to bloom,
and bees flit about, in skies they zoom--
clear skies quickly turn to gray;
hurricane force winds cause delays
with uprooting of willows and trees.
Yet, in April's winds and showers
comes Lily of the Valleys and May's bridal flowers,
with monarchs, swallowtails, and bees--
I look up to the sky and in the sea
of blue and white clouds that flee,
in gratitude and prayer, I fall to my knees.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NaPoWriMo Day #21

To see the prompt: NaPoWriMo.

I used Rappiccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne - I whited out most of the words and created this poem:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

NaPoWriMo Day #19 | Life's Journey | النحل (The Bee)

And for today’s prompt (optional, as always!), I’d like to challenge you to write a landay. Landays are 22-syllable couplets, generally rhyming. The form comes from Afghanistan, where women often use it in verses that range from the sly and humorous to the deeply sardonic and melancholy. Check out this long investigative article on landays for a fascinating look into a form of poetry often composed in secret, and rarely written down. You could try to write a single landay – a hard-hitting couplet that shares some secret (or unspoken) truth, or you could try to write a poem that strings multiple landays together like stanzas (maybe something akin to a syllabic ghazal?)
Happy Writing!

Life's Journey

Life's not a journey to be absolved;
but to experience and not be solved.

Follow your own desires and heart,
making mistakes along the way is how it starts--

but these lessons are here to guide:
one door closes, another opens; until we die.


The next landay is in Arabic. Although the languages in Afghanistan are Pashto and Dari, I figured I don't know those two languages and it would be fun to write a short landay in Arabic. Arab speakers who read my blog, please let me know if it sounds okay. :)

I love honey bees and I think they are very important creatures. They help sustain life on Earth and honey is very good for people. I know when I was growing up, whenever I was sick I was always given honey. Honey always helped make me feel better; this is what my Arabic poem refers to.


انت حياتي - أنا لست مريضة! ت

(The bee is my friend, what?
You are my life - I'm never sick!)

NaPoWriMo Day #18

Since I didn't get a chance to post this last night. Here is the prompt from yesterday:

And now for our (as always, optional) prompt, which takes us from 2015 back to the 1700s. After all, it’s the eighteenth of April, which means that today is the 240th anniversary of the midnight ride of Paul Revere! Today, in keeping with the theme of rush and warning, I challenge you to write a poem that involves an urgent journey and an important message. It could historical, mythical, entirely fictional, or memoir-ical.
Happy Writing (oh, and by the way, “THE BRITISH ARE COMING”)!


As I sit on the couch and watch the snow fall,
I look forward to when the flowers stand tall
and the trees begin to bloom tiny green sprouts,
when the temperatures reach 60 and we go out
swinging on the swings, or walking on walls.

It's been such a long winter; cold and icy:
slipping and falling walking to work, pricey
with sore behinds and scrapes of the knee;
I miss when the butterflies break free
and dance on the clouds and plants so spicy.

So, Mother Nature, please give us a sign;
if Spring and warmth are coming down line--
one inch of snow by land, four inches by sea
if Winter will stay longer and hold back bees
or delay your beautiful green designs!

As the snow falls out my window
and covers the grass below,
I hope this is Winter's encore
and the bees and the birds can soon soar,
while I sit under the weeping willow.

Heading to bed in the snowy pale moonlight,
I expect to awake to a victory from the white.
Yet. as I wipe the slumber away from my eye,
I am surprised that only an inch stands nigh!
Spring is coming and the days will soon be bright!

Three weeks later, the day reaches sixty-five,
daffodils and cherry blooms burst alive;
the streets hustle and bustle during longer days
where we can all skip, run, and in the sun play--
welcome Spring and the endless night drives!

I will post the prompt for day #19 later.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Secret Life of Blogger's Blog Party 4/6/2015-4/18/2015

Hi everyone,

I'm going to be combining two weeks for this week's Secret Life. I'm sorry I missed last week - on Sunday I went to the Academy of Natural Sciences's Of Dire Wolves and Dragons: Game of Thrones Day, then had a busy week. Between life and NaPoWriMo, April has been busy... I enjoy being busy though. And it's even better now because my iPod finally updates again and I've updated 150 new songs so far. Lately I've been listening to:

Anyway, enjoy the double edition of Secret Life!


Tuesday, April 7

A really cool artist I follow on Instagram and Twitter was selling these bandannas. 
I thought it looked cool and would be good for the next Twiztid concert.

Here is Wesley modeling the bandanna. 
Sketchy does amazing work, especially artwork!

Wednesday, April 8

Thursday, April 9

Went shopping and bought two new dresses. One for work, and one for fun.

Friday, April 10

Sunday, April 12

Prompt (NaPoWriMo Day #12): And now for our prompt! Yesterday’s was a doozy, so today’s is much more laid-back (and optional, as always). It comes to us from Dr. Cynthia A. Cochran of Illinois College:
Here is a great prompt for anyone who likes to write descriptive prose but shudders at writing poetry–and it really works:
Describe in great detail your favorite room, place, meal, day, or person. You can do this in paragraph form.
Now cut unnecessary words like articles and determiners (a, the, that) and anything that isn’t really necessary for content; leave mainly nouns, verbs, a few adjectives.
Cut the lines where you see fit and, VOILA! A poem!

The Academy of Natural Sciences is located on the Ben Franklin Parkway and it faces an ornate fountain that comes to life in the Spring and Summer. This is the perfect place for those who are curious and love to learn. When you step inside of the Academy of Natural Sciences, you are greeted by two friendly staff members sitting at the desk and then to the right of the desk, a huge bronze T-rex greets visitors with a toothy welcome. You can get lost for hours just looking at the dinosaur displays. However, the butterfly room is amazing. Always steamy and tropical - it's best on cold, winter days. If you wear the right colours, a butterfly or two will land on you. Whenever I wear my Clay Matthews t-shirt, I always have butterfly visitors. Scattered throughout the Academy are live animals that the volunteers show off. Chinchillas, owls, snakes, and hedgehogs. You can also see their dioramas and learn about the animals the Academy can't house.

Located on the Ben Franklin Parkway,
The Academy of Natural Sciences feeds the soul
for curious misfits and scholarly types.
Step inside and bony bronze dinosaurs
greet visitors with  toothy welcomes. 
Fly away and visit tropical paradises 
with butterflies and croaking bullfrogs
in steamy, tropical butterfly house - 
best on cold, winter days; 
Butterflies always visit those most colourful! 
Scattered throughout, other live animals creep--
Chinchillas, owls, snakes, and hedgehogs;
definitely a welcoming paradise for everyone!

Pink blossoms poke through
reaching in the crystal sky
welcome warm April!

Wednesday, April 15

I went to a fashion show that Talbots' was holding. 
I think I might order this outfit next month.

I ended up buying this because I loved it - I love black and floral. 
Talbot's gave me a grab bag - scarf, makeup, Starbucks cup and perfume.

Yeah, I love this dress.

Thursday, April 16

Had a nice day visiting at the Senior Center.

Didn't take any pictures - but here is one from 2011 (with Nan; in brown) at their yearly tea party.

Friday, April 17

Hot Topic gave me $30 to spend. I bought a bikini. I'm happy with it.

It was also a beautiful day.

Saturday, April 18

Still adding to my iTunes library. Yeah, I listen to everything.


I posted some new clothes. I'm mostly getting dress clothes, but I'm also getting a few "weekend clothes." I'm waiting for my package from Acrassicauda, an Iraqi heavy metal band I follow. I pre-ordered their new CD (they're signing it!) and a t-shirt:

Don't worry... the package is coming from New York. They're American citizens and I used to talk to some of the members. I still sort of keep in touch with the drummer. They're really nice. I'm looking forward to the CD and my shirt. :)