A quadrille for my Rodnoy, my king of sonnets

A peaceful Sunday,
watching
queen sun’s
everyday bowing,

with a shaken call,
soul-stirring words,
i learned of
your sudden passing,

premature, it is,
a thief of sonnets I did
not see coming,

with a holed heart
I ache for your pen’s rash

drying.

A poem I wish I never had to write for my Rodnoy, my big brother, the classic poet, Instagram’s @elusive.illusion. Rest in peace, in bliss, with so much love. 😦

03.10.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo via Unsplash
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
For dVerse Quadrille #99 – Poems Stirred, Not Shaken 

6 Lessons I Learned from Little Fighter, Chika Jeune (perhaps a book review)

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Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family by  Mitch Albom

Chika Jeune was born three days before the devastating earthquake that decimated Haiti in 2010. She spent her infancy in a landscape of extreme poverty, and when her mother died giving birth to a baby brother, Chika was brought to The Have Faith Haiti Orphanage that Albom operates in Port Au Prince.

With no children of their own, the forty-plus children who live, play, and go to school at the orphanage have become family to Mitch and his wife, Janine. Chika’s arrival makes a quick impression. Brave and self-assured, even as a three-year-old, she delights the other kids and teachers. But at age five, Chika is suddenly diagnosed with something a doctor there says, “No one in Haiti can help you with.”

Mitch and Janine bring Chika to Detroit, hopeful that American medical care can soon return her to her homeland. Instead, Chika becomes a permanent part of their household, and their lives, as they embark on a two-year, around-the-world journey to find a cure. As Chika’s boundless optimism and humor teach Mitch the joys of caring for a child, he learns that a relationship built on love, no matter what blows it takes, can never be lost.

Told in hindsight, and through illuminating conversations with Chika herself, this is Albom at his most poignant and vulnerable. Finding Chika is a celebration of a girl, her adoptive guardians, and the incredible bond they formed—a devastatingly beautiful portrait of what it means to be a family, regardless of how it is made.

Whenever I was asked about the book that has changed my life, my answer has always been Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. It will be followed by the story of how I have read it twice when I was 20 and jobless for almost a year despite my medals, and when I was 25 and drowning in the river called a quarter-life crisis. Both times I have discovered lessons and have found strength on Morrie and Albom’s wisdom.

Fast forward to 2019, after reading all his books in between, Mitch has announced his latest one — Finding Chika. It was launched November last year, but I did not buy it until my husband gave it to me as a surprise gift for his birthday last December. (Yes, it was his birthday and he gave me the gift. HAHA).

Almost a month after I first held this purple-coloured paperback, I found the courage to open it and finally read the story of Chika.

chika_princess_dress

(Photo from https://www.mitchalbom.com/)

I know how special Chika is for Mitch Albom as I follow him on social media (being the fangirl that I am). I have also read about this little girl’s courage and bravery fighting a cruel tumour inside her young brain. Knowing these made me doubt if my heart is ready to read the inside story of their little family. But before Chika’s birthday, which is today January 9, I finally opened its pages and allowed myself to laugh, melt, learn, and weep, for them and with them.

Instead of reviewing the book, how it was written, how the story unfolded, what language was used, I choose to share the six life lessons I have learned from Mitch’s raw and honest anecdote of him, of Chika, and of their family with Janine. I believe they will move you and stir something inside you just like how they did to me.

Before that, if you may, please purchase a copy of the book as proceeds will be for the Have Faith Haiti Mission.

Here are the six lessons from the story of the birthday girl, the little fighter, Chika:

Lesson #1: There are many kinds of selfishness in this world, but the most selfish is hoarding time, because none of us know how much we have, and it is an affront to God to assume there will be more.

Lesson #2: The most precious thing you can give someone is time, Chika, because you can never get it back. When you don’t think about getting it back, you’ve given it in love.

Lesson #3: Everything in this world is music if you can hear it.

Lesson #4: One of the best things a child can do for an adult is to draw them down, closer to the ground, for clearer reception to the voices of the earth.

Lesson #5: There is no affliction like hopelessness. I believe it is worse than anything that strikes the flesh.

Lesson #6: What we carry defines who we are. And the effort we make is our legacy.

Happy birthday, dear Chika. I may not have known you but your story have touched and inspired me. I am sure you will never ever be forgotten. ❤

 

 

 

 

 

army of elements

Naked eyes’re powerless
for they are invisible,
smaller than dust, no less.

Creepy crawlers, void of tiny legs,
bursting from vein to vein
inside a mortal, muscled-keg.

A minuscule army of
Platinum, Fluorine, Arsenic, Boron
haunting for the invading “C”.

With a fatal glow, ‘nother option
is the clear-cut missile of
Cobalt-60 and Nickel-60.

Both weapons attack
with precision after trialled years,
Inside the lab intelligent minds

haunt periodic table for more recruits
in the race against the cursed
maker of crocodile-not tears.

Battles may end six-feet deep
or above, but all are won.

With a sliver of hope,
sunrise remains divine.

01.08.2019
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo via Unsplash
Inspired by the book I finished last night, my first for 2020, Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family.
It is the story of a little Haitian girl named Chika diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. What a brave girl she was and still is.

Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family

I will be sharing more about this book in my future posts. 🙂
For dVerse Let’s get elemental!
Tonight, let’s get elementary. Let’s get back to the absolute basics of matter.
For Christmas this year, my son received a copy of Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersley-Williams. It’s a book of stories about the different elements of the periodic table. I thought it might be fun to write some poems inspired by elements, and that’s what I want you to do tonight. You don’t need to have any knowledge of science to do this – we rub up against the elements every day.
When you stop and think about it, you realise there are so many elements surrounding us all the time. Maybe you’ll write about gold – the ultimate treasure? Or carbon, present in charcoal, coal, but also in diamonds? Maybe oxygen? Maybe you’ll fill a balloon with helium and let it go bobbing off; or give me a poem that’s a neon light in a dark night. Or maybe you’ll head off down into the lower layers of the table where the stranger elements like uranium and polonium lurk.

map of mess

Unfinished coffee,
void of warmth,
aching for last touch.
Oh, the daddy.

Spilled sauces blots
on canvas, wait,
it’s kitchen table top.
Oh, the mommy.

Crumbs of cookies
paved roads for
the hard working ants.
Oh, the eldest.

Traps made of Lego
too tiny, too tough,
barefoot left scathed.
Oh the youngest.

Bedroom scented
with the musk of
used pair of socks.
Oh, the middle child.

This map of mess
proves a house is still
a living,

breathing

home.

10.17.2018
©2018 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo via Unsplash

For dVerse Beauty in Ugliness.

Bravest Moment

on the day when her grandchildren will be sitting on her lap asking for the bravest thing she has done, she will be looking back at this moment.

she’s in no danger. no noise. no death-defying acts. but with peaceful tree-whistles, lullaby-like bird-tunes, embrace-like forest air. and her heart and mind who were both dauntless enough to walk out of a life in the concrete jungle and be with the one she prefers, a simpler, slower life.

she will tell them, for only the brave knows living is not owning. living is making each breath counts. with money or without.

Word count: 100
©2017 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo credit: Pamela Canepa

For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) June 06. 2017. 🙂

The Painting

I asked my mom this morning about the almost burnt painting I saw last week in our attic. Its main subject is a woman dressed in glamor and elegance. She looked like me and my mommy but I am quite sure she is not my granny.

To my surprise, mom turned pale and then sad and then angry. “I thought I was able to throw it. Don’t touch it again,” she said.

I stared and waited for more. Sighing, she continued.

“She’s your granny’s mom. The man and the girl were your granny’s dad and sister. She burned their house and killed all including herself because of jealousy. Your granny and that painting are the only survivors of that fire.”

Word count: 120
©2017 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo credit: The Storyteller’s Abode

For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) March 28, 2017. 🙂

The Bathroom Pianist

I was three when curiosity was born inside me. I remember the first thing I asked my mom was about the grand piano covered and silenced inside her room’s bathroom.

I grew old asking why it’s hidden. She has offered me nothing but a teary smile, until today. With the same nostalgic yet melancholic look, she said, “Your dad proposed to me with a song he composed inside his house’s bathroom with this piano.”

“Everyday I wait for him to get this back or to play for me again. I placed it here so he knows where to find it.”

Note: The tiled wall looks bathroom to me. 😀
Word count: 100
©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo credit: Mike Vore

For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) March 07, 2017. 🙂 Glad to be back dear PJ! ❤

Spring Bud

I smell how the supposed sweet, summer aroma turned into a chilling winter scent as I watch how her soft, smooth skin turns from blushed pink to lifeless violet. I listen to her frail heartbeats, silently begging, pleading, helpless against her quite incoming death.

With a tear-stained face, my mouth utters its own prayer as I hold my almost dying newborn sister. With my shaking arms, I wrap her little body and hope my warmth can give life to thee like the spring sun’s kiss to a frozen naked tree.

My little spring bud
is now a blooming flower.
Death, love can conquer.

02.07.2017
©2017 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo credit: Unsplash

In response to dVerse‘s Haibun Monday Ekphrasis and Haiga by Björn Rudberg (brudberg).
Today I would like you to write a haibun on any subject that you like. but you should illustrate it with one picture, and let picture prose and haiku complement each other.

P.S. This haibun is a recollection of a scene which happened six years ago when I held my almost dying sister. Today is her 6th birthday and she is still with us. ❤

dverse

A Mother’s Heart

8

I almost dropped the two full paper bags when I saw the familiar blue car parked in front of our home. So they are back after a month.

Seated in front of my husband, my daughter and her rugged boyfriend sat in full-of-fear silence. I walked in without looking at them. I might not be able to stop myself from hugging my stubborn child who loves to escape with the “love of her life”.

“I’m pregnant,” her shaky voice revealed before she finally broke into tears.

“We’re not surprised,” I said as I gripped my husband’s shoulder.

I looked at my fragile 16-year old girl with an aching mother’s heart. What have I done wrong? I’m afraid I’ll never know.

Word count: 120
©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo credit:Yinglan 🙂

In response to Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) October 25, 2016.

Rules:

  • a flash fiction challenge (stories in 100-175 words or less)
  • each story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end
  • no serial (continuation) stories
  • include a pingback to the challenge post

Thank you for hosting this awesome prompt, Priceless Joy! ❤ 

Read more short stories here:

Book Review: Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

Inside the O'Briens

“Reality depends on perspective, on what is paid attention to.”

43rd – Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

 Rating: ❤❤❤❤ (Good read, definitely)

What is it about: Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease.

Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?

As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

What I Love: How the story unfolds.

The explanatory prelude.

The suspense.

The rawness of the characters and their individuality.

The lovely picture of a family battling a hard disease with strength, love and hope.

What I Don’t Love Much: None. 4 stars rating is because I love Lisa Genova’s Love Anthony and Still Alice more. 🙂

Wise Words: “Once you can imagine these things, you can’t unimagine them.”

“Every breath is a risk. Love is why we breathe.” –Katie

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo and Story Summary: Goodreads and Unsplash