Nora Byrne
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Words

Arts, Arabic, Adventures

On recent nastiness

Recently I screamed at my computer at eight in the morning. Watch in two parts; they can hear you in the hall.

Recently I blush at my accent apologize to strangers put fingers at temples and massage the skin between my eyes.

Holidays are strange here.

Not Muslim holidays, they’re embroidered on abayas rustle in black tassels play basslines under calls to prayer. Yet I've felt vestiges of puritan and paganism tugging at my agnosticism for superficial celebrations of divergent religions. Halloween: one costumed crew in a single night affair. Christmas I run to the bosom of Catholicism to grow fat on Renaissance and gelato. 

Disclaimer:  I live in a city of education, country of comfort. I escape, stain my teeth, bear the stares, don a wig, dance them off.  

November 9th will be grudging toasts to a battle ahead or whiskey-fueled regression to mourning. 

Recently in a car full of Ohioans, a bittersweet brush with home. Our heart in a Cheyenne; midwestern goodness tinged with anxiety. Drive me to the Embassy shove an envelope through a window. Get me there, get her vote, get every vote, do everything.

I've wondered about July. Portland was sparklers strawberries and cream, painting stars on my cheeks. Roam the streets climb the trees pop champagne on a soggy beach.

While fasting reigns, my sister gains another year; I'll be here. Will I wear stars and stripes, red and white, or will paint on my face glow orange in the spotlight?

Recently a man asked me to raise my points more often; security wants to copy my haircut. They call me Noura, not nasty. 

Be afraid if you like but I want to scream shrill thank yous for tolerance, beam at men in thobes, fawn over every abaya. 

Recently we're scared, indebted, depressed. We put hope in an upstart left with bruised egos we're been told we deserve not taught to not receive. We try our best at green no one wants attempts at red crosses we sing blues together notes hard to hear over shrill laughter and interrupted by nonsense.

My country is the river, long misery of highway 80's coal country. Snow (for now) and sand; beer and bands my family builds by hand. Our cities pickle radishes to sell from trucks turn blight into bike shops lock elbows and dance in old slums. 

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We struggle and gentrify we’re white guilt, black lives we are all of these things and neither of these people.

Mortification be clear; let me own my image here. Untaught, unwieldy, we recently found we may be ready to fight. If we've hope for change I want to celebrate, not stand by. 

I want to wear stripes on the 4th of July.

Sparkler Plane: Karrie Brawn