A Prayer For A World Of Hate

Poetry on Odyssey: A Prayer for the World

In the era of hate, we come together.

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the world had seemed okay, father

the city skyline marked the setting sun,

a myriad of fading orange and yellow hues

the darkening mirage filled me

with the joy of my youth, the good old times

with the sickly sweet popsicles that soothed my scorched taste buds that summer day

with the gently mellow breeze that shuffled my languid hair that spring morning

with the steaming hot chocolate that warmed my shivering heart that winter night

with the satisfying crunch of dead leaves that churned beneath my feet that autumn evening

and from the dim-lit corner of my silent room,

I hid away from society, a bubble of oblivion

and in my mind,

I replaced needs with wants

replaced reality with vanity

but in my perfect world of gold and silver,

a static roared to life upon a flickering screen, awakened with a single click

it became a guardian of even greater riches, exotic to my eyes

a king of even greater power, unknown to my heart,

but its words drilled into my mind and soul like a disease,

a glimpse of the truth outside

and secret veiled within my blinking box

that drowned me in white, blinding noise.

the world has gone insane, father

channel iv: henan, china

purge us of our devilish intentions,

which thrive in holy halls,

spawned by satan's spear dipped in blood and sweat

brothers and sisters in christ

cheated by a false god: a cultural revolution,

find death on the path to eternal life

beaten, dragged, and thrown into the yellow river,

away from the bustling illusion of prosperous city lights,

they cried for peace, love, and hope

drowned among the screams of believers

taken hostage by police with clubs in their hands and hate rippling in their eyes

burned are their bibles, their hopeful refuge

burned are their crosses, their faithful savior

burned are their churches, their only sanctuary

yet, they still sing

praising from within underground churches, lit with only a single flame

away from prying eyes, they fall

to their knees, hands held above their heads and tears streaming down their darkened cheeks

as they clutch torn bible clippings to their chests,

with last prayers lingering on their blue lips

channel iii: atlanta, georgia

purge us of our colored bias

which lurk in courthouse sessions,

born from the relentless pursuit against illegal drugs

black men, brown youths of the twenty first century,

roam with targets on their backs

reeking of suspicion and criminal filth

a boy, 14, stopped on the streets for carrying an oversized duffel bag

a teen, 17, pulled over on the highway for driving a new maserati

a man, 46, shot on the steps of his house for pulling out his wallet

an elder, 78, died in prison for neglecting to pay his legal fines

the new jim crow, ironic in the age of colorblindness,

plagues ghettos and inner cities

rounded up like cattle, one in seven,

black men disappear from public eye, leaving behind

children, wives, mothers, friends

in exchange for bleak walls, iron bars, and orange jumpsuits

silently defiant, these men comply

crushed under lifetime sentences for minor crimes

unable to afford lawyers with their jingling jars of pennies

and for those of more fortunate stature,

their identity is stolen and replaced by another: felon

channel ii: kobani, syria

purge us of our bloodlust,

the rage of total war on innocent civilians

cultivated by the quest for political autonomy

for seven years, silence ceased to exist

the decimation of parliament squares,

fueled by hatred of government corruption,

challenge the lives of half a million

the expansion of a foreign islamic state

charged by Allah and his hymns

purify the westernized culture of joy and freedom

death spreads its black cloak

stifling the whimpers of the homeless

and now, safety, a word already foreign to its people

disappears without a trace

a girl lost her entire family, a feat not uncommon

her mother, emaciated by starvation

her father, pierced by shrapnel

her sister, crushed by rubble

her brother, poisoned by rebel ideology

eventually, she lost herself to the demons inside her head

channel i: rakhine state, myanmar

purge us of our self-supremacy,

the selfless acts against ethnic minorities

fostered by a greed for land, power, and resource

the bones of rohingya muslims from rakhine

litter the coast of bengal

as they flee from bullet storms and bomb squads of their own country

which proclaim homogeneity of burmean race

indiscriminate killing, a ritual concealed to the rest of the world,

force families into monsoon rains with tarps as shields

they run in the dead of night, with wheat bushels curling at their feet,

from the terror that stems from nightmares and the persecution that reigns in hell

villages, covered in blood splatter, are blasted to rubble

women, cloaked in black disguise, are raped at no mercy

men, burdened with rifles and guns, are mutilated beyond recognition

children, accustomed to constant warfare, are striped of their rights to live

nonetheless, they surge for the light of glory,

a homeland to claim as their own,

forevermore and always

thus I pray father, amen.

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Please Spare Me From The Three Months Of Summer Break When People Revert Back To High Schoolers

They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

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I know a surprising amount of people who actually couldn't wait to go home for the summer. They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

Me? Not so much. I don't mean to sound bitter. It's probably really comforting to return to a town where everyone knows your name, where your younger friends want you around to do their prom makeup, and where you can walk through Target without hiding in the deodorant aisle. But because I did this really annoying thing where my personality didn't really develop and my social anxiety didn't really loosen its grip on me until college, I have a very limited number of people to return to.

If you asked someone from my high school about Julia Bond, they would probably describe her as shy, studious, and uptight. I distinctly remember being afraid of people who JUULed (did you get high from it? was it illegal? could I secondhand smoke it and get lung cancer?) and crying over Algebra 1 in study hall (because nothing says fun and friendly like mascara steaks and furious scribbling in the back corner while everyone else throws paper airplanes and plays PubG Mobile).

I like to tell my college friends that if I met High School Julia, I would beat her up. I would like to think I could, even though I go to the gym now a third of the time I did then. It's not that it was High School Julia's fault that she closed herself off to everyone. She had a crippling fear of getting a B and an even worse fear of other people. But because she was so introverted and scared, College Julia has nothing to do but re-watch "The Office" for the 23rd time when she comes back.

Part of me is jealous of the people who came into their own before college. I see pictures of the same big friend groups I envied from a distance in high school, all their smiling faces at each other's college football games and pool parties and beach trips, and it makes me sad that I missed out on so many friendships because I was too scared to put myself out there. That part of me really, really wishes I had done things differently.

But a bigger, more confident part of me is really glad I had that experience. Foremost, everything I've gone through has shaped me. I mean, I hid in the freaking bathroom during lunch for the first two weeks of my freshman year of high school. I never got up to sharpen my pencil because I was scared people would talk about me. I couldn't even eat in front of people because I was so overwhelmingly self-conscious. I remember getting so sick at cross country practice because I ran four or five miles on an empty stomach.

Now, I look back and cringe at the ridiculousness because I've grown so much since then. Sure, I still have my quirks and I'm sure a year from now I'll write an article about what a weirdo Freshman Julia was. But I can tell who had the same experience as me. I can tell who was lonely in high school because they talk to the kids on my floor that study by themselves. I can tell who was afraid of speaking up because they listen so well. I can tell who was without a friend group because they stand by me when others don't. I can tell who hated high school, because it's obvious that they've never been as happy as they are now.

My dislike for high school, while inconvenient for this summer, might be one of the best things to happen to me. I learned how to overcome my fears, how to be independent, and how to make myself happy. I never belonged in high school, and that's why I will never take for granted where I belong here at Rutgers.

So maybe I don't have any prom pictures with a bunch of colorful dresses in a row, and maybe I didn't go to as many football games as I should have. Maybe I would've liked pep rallies, and maybe I missed out on senior week at the beach. But if I had experienced high school differently, I wouldn't be who I am today.

I wouldn't pinch myself daily because I still can't believe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I wouldn't smile so hard every time I come back from class and hear my floormates calling me from the lounge.

I wouldn't well up when my roommate leaves Famous Amos cookies on my desk before a midterm, or know how to help the girl having a panic attack next to me before a final, or hear my mom tell my dad she's never seen me this happy before.

If I had loved high school, I wouldn't realize how amazing I have it in college. So amazing, in fact, that I never want to go home.

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Remaining NBA Playoffs Matchup Predictions

NBA playoff predictions

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With the NBA Season coming to a close after 82 games and multiple playoff games, I wanted to predict the remaining NBA series's and who would win. Let's start!

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Eastern Conference Semi-Finals: Bucks in 5 vs Celtic

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The Greak Freek is so good he can single-handedly beat this Celtics roster with Kyrie and Tatum. The Celtics have been suffering since late in the season and Giannis is here to expose that. Mike Budenholzer has made the Bucks into a complete team and they should easily dismantle last year's Eastern Conference Finals Losers.

Western Conference Semi-Finals: Blazers in 7 vs Nuggets

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It's always Dame Time in Portland. Dame is leading his team fast and furious in the playoffs. He is averaging over 30 points a game and is carrying the Blazers. Him and CJ are a formidable duo. While Denver has great players, I believe in a 7 game series the Blazers will outplay them.

Western Conference Semi-Finals: Warriors in 6

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The Warriors are the greatest team in the NBA this season. I'm not tired of how good they are because of Steph Curry. Often it seems like they don't try when they're playing, but I am sure that when it counts they will be able to oust the Rockets.

Eastern Conference Finals: Bucks vs Sixers: Sixers in 7

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The Bucks vs the Sixers; two young teams battling it out to be the East's best. Who will win? Not going to lie if this happens it will be the best series in the playoffs. This series will definitely go to 7 games and the matter of fact is the winner of this may be lucky to keep on moving. Based on talent I took the Sixers, but with Giannis anything can happen so watch out!

Western Conference Finals: Warriors vs Trail Blazers: Warriors in 5

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NBA Finals: Warriors vs Sixers: Warriors in 4

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