Another Introduction + a Poem

In addition to posting AP Language required blog posts, I will be posting poems. 🙂 I hope you enjoy them, friends.

PS: AP Language classmates (+ Ms. Magnuson, of course), feel free to leave constructive feedback and thoughts on these poems, if you would like. 🙂 I would seriously appreciate it.

PPS: Others reading this blog, you can leave feedback too, if you want. 🙂


{my burden}

words
are my burden

I carry them
in my smiles

they shine
through the cracked
remnants of my heart

words tumble
out of sadness
that overcomes

sometimes
I cannot catch
the words I need

they are too witty
too wonderful

they sit
in plain sight
waiting for me
to pick them up
examine their depths

but as I look
I promise
they disappear
(when I come back later
they are patiently
waiting still)

sometimes
they are too big
my hand
can’t write for fear
of dropping them

and all the while
words are weight
on my shoulders
in my arms
slipping through
my outstretched fingers

they are
a tightly wrapped bundle
of
confusion
that never fails
to amaze us
to widen our eyes
in surprise

and this:
while you put your words to use
the weight never lightens
it will always
be the
same
heavy
comforting force
it was
when you started

a miracle

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Race and Heritage

I recently finished reading Barack Obama’s memoir named Dreams From My Father. I began to read this book because I realized I didn’t know a lot about him and I was curious.

Something that made this book more meaningful, at least for me and maybe others in Kenya, is that a large portion of the book references Kenya. Obama’s dad was from Kenya, so much of the book is Obama grappling with his feelings on that. Also in part three, Obama visits Kenya for the first time and he spends many pages describing the scenery, Nairobi, the wildlife, going on a safari, riding in matatus, and visiting his family in Western Kenya. It is fun to be able to relate to a book in such a concrete way.

For the majority of the book, however, Obama wrestles with race and what his race means to him: while in the US, or Kenya, or Indonesia, or anywhere else. He experiences race and racism firsthand in Hawaii with his African American basketball friends and their acceptance of the “situation”. They are young men who have fully accepted the stereotypes of a black man and are unashamed to conform. He reads Baldwin, DeBois, and Hughes in an attempt to find other people’s words to speak when he couldn’t find his own words. He also sees racism at work in the young moms and struggling teens on the south side of Chicago.

And he tries to understand how race is affecting him and all that he does. One of the bigger factors in confronting his race and its implications is his attempt to make peace with the legacy and memories his father left him. To accomplish this, he felt the need to visit Kenya, see his heritage in a different light, and learn more about it. When he visited Kenya, he saw life as his father must have seen it, and only then could fully envelop his heritage, his ancestry, and his race. In Kenya, he felt “the circle close”.

One thing that I believe makes this book applicable to people, like myself, who have almost nothing in common with Obama, is his exploration of his heritage. He does not resign to it, without thought. I think this allows in us a feeling that we could do the same.

Obama’s book can serve to remind us to embrace our heritage for what it is and what it can contribute to our life.

Merely the Beginning of the Journey

I am Carolyn Reid Carpenter, aptly named after my mom’s life-long best friend. Why names define our existence is one of first things on my list of things I don’t know.

My home is the blue, smoky, life-giving mountains of North Carolina. Why, you ask. That, my friend, is on the list of things I don’t know.

I currently reside in Nairobi, Kenya, in a 3-bedroom apartment with my younger brother, mom, and dad. Why I love Nairobi, you ask? That, my friend, is also on the list of things I don’t know.

I am a loud, extroverted, colorful, most likely obnoxious person. Other adjectives might include ignorant, bright, loving, silly, poetic, cat-lady-like, alive. Why these different adjectives have connotations and self-defined definitions would be on the list of things I don’t know.

So here I am, living a life of unknown things. That, I do know.

And because of this unknown, I write. I write because I’m not so sure why I live my life as I do. I write because I have a beating heart and I’m not so sure why that matters. I write because I don’t know why I love rain and why I love hammocks. I write because I feel my feet trudging across dew-covered grass and I don’t know where I’m headed. I write because I bite my nails and tap my feet and I’m not sure why my stress makes its home in these places. I write because I hear the ibis yelling outside my window, and I don’t know what they’re saying, so I give them my words. I write because I feel the funny thump of love deep in my stomach and I don’t know if I like it or not.

I write because I’m not sure where I’m going, why I’m going, how I’m going, but here I am, still going. So I write to find out.