Memories, Poetry, writer

Here I Stand On Torrid Land

 

Torrid land

Photo by FAICAL Zaramod from Pexel

here i stand on torrid land

my spirit wandering the dusty sand

of fig trees, khubz (bread) and floured hands

i stand just

foot driven deep

in the earth’s crust

sure-footed grip of rocks and mortar

my soul ripped in two

by grief’s torture

small hands grasped lightly

by the remembrance of her

soft dough-baked grip of salt, of land

ancient yet present her cherub eyes danced

table-side love she spoon-fed her clan

with grape leaves and olives

and (not so dainty) meat pastries

prepared from the vines toiled by cede’s hand

his backyard bounty, his dreams — their dreams

of their homeland and my dreams of

hot cement days and barefooted children

pretending the dawali (stuffed grape leaves) are stacks of cigars

stuffed, rolled, stacked high on big plates

the dawali grows high

creating bigger heaps of make-believe

fun time with cousins

longing for the smells of dusty left behind relics

that bespeak of them, their belongings

the hookah, the 8 track tapes belting out loud arabic music

the robe and headscarf my grandfather wore

in ramallah, the curious one that later became a halloween costume

worn by a childhood friend

and that old oriental rug beaten by history

splayed across the living-room floor, adding an air of the exotic

to their mundane – colonial – suburban sofa

the lamb and garlic stained air smelt early at daybreak

seemed always there lingering about

oiled hot pots full brimming with tomato broth baths

and grown ups lamenting the evening news, the war, the fight

for the return of their land, usurped by foreign man

those that had suffered atrocities of their own

have turned ugly heaping nails, spitting bulldozers

claiming god has promised this to them

easily they slipped between tongues

english and arabic at once

they were here/there simultaneously

they had created a new language, one easily understood by us

and me, absorbing all this with my round brown eyes

unaware of my future task

silently inhaling the smoke of my

family’s lingering rage, the kind of rage

that clings to the walls, to the curtains, to the furniture, to me

to my stuffed pink panther

the one i loved so much for its unique shape and color

the color of bubble gum and pink lemonade — but the rage!  

the rage had to be scrubbed off the walls, scrubbed off the furniture

scrubbed off my clothes, scrubbed, scrubbed, scrubbed!

and i –  inherited this task unknowingly.

© [Jay Mora-Shihadeh] and [thepainterspalate.wordpress.com], [2012]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, artwork, or photo’s without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [Jay Mora-Shihadeh] and [thepainterspalate.wordpress.com] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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I love bread. After all it is the staff of life, as I always say to my fiancée’ as she lovingly mocks my addiction to good fresh bread! I especially love Khubz, the bread my Tateh (grandmother) made her entire life. It is a style of bread that comes from Palestine and the Middle East. A type of Pita bread, there are several types of Khubz, this version is the Taboon style bread baked over small hot stones. My memories of my childhood and into adulthood are of her waking up in the morning getting out her trusty giant metal bowl, carefully placing it between her knee’s on a chair and vigorously kneading dough to make freshly baked khubz. She had these round river stones in her oven and she would place the fresh dough on the stones and bake the dough into a puffed, bubbly browned pillow of deliciousness! Hot fresh and stacked high for all of my large extended family to devour in one day! Well, I decided in all my years of culinary adventures to attempt to make khubz for the first time! I found a lot of stones in a nearby park. “Wild ones” as my Aunt Mary curiously noted, because the store-bought ones tend to explode more in the oven. I laughed at the thought of “wild stones”.  I washed them 3 times and then boiled them for 15 minutes to disinfect them. I then tested them in the oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, no explosions! I was free to bake, and excited to taste my newly created masterpieces. I think I may have a new addiction, ha!

My wok doubling as a mixing bowl.

I made 10 smaller loaves out of that big pile of dough. Six cups of flour made 8-10 loaves just depends on your preference.

My shapes were very rustic and they varied greatly, I do believe Tateh’s shapes were more round and consistent, but who’s knocking rustic!

Carefully placed 2 at a time, if I had a bigger oven it would go faster, some day.

Through the glass of my oven. A beautiful golden color developing.

Crusty, fresh and hot outta the oven, the best way to enjoy freshly baked Khubz,  yum and double yum!

Look who popped up, he couldn’t wait to take a BIG bite.

Stacked high and ready to devour.  I love rustic and these loaves live up to that, for sure. I believe Tateh would’ve loved them too. I will keep perfecting and experimenting with baking khubz (Taboon style) and look out for my future posts about the uses of this versatile and ancient style of  bread.

Costumes, characters and ceremonies, etc. Vill...

Costumes, characters and ceremonies, etc. Village oven. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yum Food!! Yum Art!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

© [Jay Mora-Shihadeh] and [thepainterspalate.wordpress.com], [2012]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, artwork, or photo’s without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [Jay Mora-Shihadeh] and [thepainterspalate.wordpress.com] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Inside the Artist's Mind

Khubz! The Staff of Life.

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Artist, Memories, Poetry

Poetry about my beloved grandmother, Tateh.

 

Tateh and CeDe ( my grandfather) circa 1937

Our Storyteller

Upon the landscape of your face

tumbling from the folds of your laughing brow

and between the creases of your weathered jowl

I see the history of Palestine.

I see children playing under olive trees, and goats

grazing on grass. Your eyes sparkle and sing, as though

you were still a child running through the dusty

rock strewn roads of Ramallah.

You are laughing with your little sister, escaping

from the neighborhood boys you were teasing; taunting.

Perhaps one of them a young Hanna Shihadeh, our grandfather;

at least these are the stories you told us.

I delighted, relished every word you spoke

of your life. I saw magic in your eyes

when you enchanted our hearts

with your stories of Palestine.

You – solid, sturdy and present.

You – soft, strong and pliant.

You – heart, song and pleasant.

 You – Tateh, our beloved link to our history, our culture, our people.

 

You were our land, our fig tree, our grapevine, our seed.

You were our small patch of fertile earth. You fed our souls

and minds with the world, with “otherworldliness”.

You fed our spirits with story, with beauty, and with freedom.

Your solid girth seemed rooted

deep in humanity, reminding us of

the vastness of love, when we became lost;

disconnected from it.

Storyteller of our bloodlines,

of our rich hearts

and our sad people,

tell me another story.

Give me a bone,

an olive branch, or perhaps

one of your two – eyed winks

to remind my soul you were real.

And that I am part of history; of an ancient great Palestine

that seems so distant, so foreign from me now.

Tell me again how you came to be locked in the landscape

of memory, of story, of history. Tell me again.

Niemeh Grace Shihadeh

Yum Food!! Yum Art!!

 

 

© [Jay Mora-Shihadeh] and [thepainterspalate.wordpress.com], [2012]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, artwork, or photo’s without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [Jay Mora-Shihadeh] and [thepainterspalate.wordpress.com] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Inside the Artist's Mind

Netsyart.com finds new home! Enjoy…

” Early Mourning in Palestine

Oil on canvas

by, Jay Mora-Shihadeh

I have decided to integrate my Netsyart.com website with thepainterspalate blog. I will be shutting down my artist’s website,  and solely using this blog to post and display all of my artwork, so now you will see the whole scope of creativity in one place.  This painting was created by myself as a tribute to my Palestinian heritage, and as a statement of the ongoing struggle of the Palestinians for peace, freedom and self-determination. I hope you enjoy!

Yum food! Yum Art! 

© Jay Mora-Shihadeh

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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