Poetry by Charles Joseph

Humans and Kind Immortals

Daily writing prompt
Write about a random act of kindness you’ve done for someone.
From post “Our Angels” by Sircharlesthepoet

A Lost Man With No Speech

Yesterday, I went for a walk around my neighborhood. While on my walk, I met three people who had me walking away from each interaction with a smile on my face. For the purpose of this article’s prompt, we’ll only talk about two of these three people.

I finished the exploration portion of the walk, so I was finding my way back home. I felt good because it’s a beautiful day, and I just had a pleasant interaction with someone. Walking towards an intersection, I noticed a middle-aged man standing and looking at his phone. He waved me down, “excuse me! Do you know where bus is?” He pointed at the bus number on his phone. I thought about it and looked around. I saw the nearest bus station across the street, but it wasn’t the one he needed. So I took out my phone and checked for the nearest station for his bus.

I was about to tell him directions for getting to the bus station, but the bus was somewhat along the way to my house, so I told him to follow me, “I’ll bring you there.” He was very thankful that I am going out of my way to help him. As we started walking side by side, I realized that it was good that I hadn’t given him directions because after my first complete sentence to him, he responded, “I’m sorry. My english not very good. I speak Arabic. I am from Africa.” In response, I told him the only Arabic phrase I know, “oh! umm…as-salāmu ʿalaykum!” He laughed and responded back with excitement, “AS-SALAMU ALAYKUM!!” I first heard that phrase in a Nicki Minaj song long ago. It’s good that it finally came in handy. Our walk continued in silence as I had quickly reached the end of my Arabic knowledge (I was also nervous to test his english).

When we got to the bus station, I asked him in which direction he needs to go. He looked at me with a blank face. “Oh! Right. Umm…” I extended my hand, asking him to let me see the map on his phone. Everything except for the bus number was in Arabic. I couldn’t read the map, but there wasn’t enough language to tell him that. As I was thinking of the best next thing to do, he pointed at the address to where he is going, “try on your phone!” BINGO! I searched for the address on my phone, and found my answer. I led him to the proper bus station then opened my palm to let him know that he gets off after five stops. He understood.

Before I left, I noticed he was wearing a sweater even though it was over 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside. I chuckled to myself because I remembered that before I came to the United States I was convinced that it’s always cold there–many incoming immigrants and people living abroad think so, too. Therefore, if (god forbids) they come during the summer time, they come with layers on. Between excitement, confusion and thrill, they usually don’t notice how much they’re sweating. When it’s that hot in New York City, we say, “it’s Hell-Naw weather”; “it’s blazing, bruh”.

As I walked away, I turned around and yelled, “dude, it’s really hot! You don’t need that sweater” as I did the hand motion of unzipping a jacket. He laughed, unzipped his sweater, and said something in Arabic as he relaxed his stance to casual. I smiled back, turned back around, and continued my journey home.

Bags and Community Burdens

I started my walk that day by going to the pharmacy to return two mouthwashes I had bought the previous day (they were on sale, haha). I returned the mouthwashes, folded my reusable Target shopping bag in my palm, and continued my walk.

I was about two blocks away from my house. A family was walking in the opposite direction, towards me. The family was an older lady who I presume is the mother figure, two young girls who look like twins–about 6-years old–and two female young adults. Everyone (except for the two little girls–they had book bags that matched their outfit) was carrying at least one bag. Soon after I noticed them, one of the bags that the mother was carrying fell on the sidewalk. As she bent over to pick up the bag (with another bag hanging on her right shoulder), I rushed to help. As I approached them, I remembered I had a folded shopping bag in my hand. I told her, “could I help?” The straps on her bag had broken, that’s why it fell. “I have this bag here. You can have it.” Both of our first instinct was to put her bag inside of mine. I opened the mouth of my bag as she lifted hers to put it inside, but her bag was too big. “I have too much stuff in my bag” she said with a chuckle, “let me just put some in your bag.” I held my bag open for her as she placed some items inside it.

As she filled my bag, I turned my head to see if anyone in her group could help her carry one of the three bags she was in charged of. Everyone was already loaded, unfortunately. The two little girls were looking at me, nervous and giddy, whispering stuff to each other. One was wearing purple, the other in pink. Both had their hair in baby box braids with multiple beads attached at the end of each braid. I thought it was cute. I realized how much I miss being around black people. After traveling the world to places that do not have many people who look like you for about two years, right after spending four years at a higher-learning institution that is predominantly white and asian, you start to forget the beautiful essence of your own community.

I smiled at the little girls, and told them they looked lovely. They giggled and bumped as they turned to each other. The mother finished balancing the weight of the items in each bag. It saddened me that she had to carry three bags at once, but before I could finish my sad thoughts, she said, “okay! that should do it,” picked up all the bags and stood right up with force, without flinching. She thanked me with a smile of relief before they all walked away.

Humans and the Kind Immortals

I believe there are times when angels or God, or gods, possess us so that we can accomplish their will. I, at times, encounter people who complain that God never show themself–the person is begging God to work through them. I think God tries to work through us many times. Sometimes, it’s that urge to flag someone down on the sidewalk to share a compliment or a conversation. Or that silly random idea to pay for the person standing behind you in line at the grocery store–but you “don’t got it like that”, you’d lie to yourself. Other times, it can be asking how to help even though you’d prefer to do something else. There are many times when we let our pride or detrimental societal norms restrain the god in us. We can be so focused on finding God up above, in the immortal plane, that we overlook the possibility that God is within us. God is as tangible as the bag of cornmeal that rolls out of a stranger’s bag after the straps break. I walked home with a smile on my face after these interactions knowing that God had worked through me to bless three people today.

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2 responses to “Humans and Kind Immortals”

  1. For some reason, I can’t click in to read the full article… 😞

    1. that is so strange! I’m sorry, I’ve been making some changes to the website and technical difficulties always gets me. I’ll link it below. Thank you for reading and pointing this out, Tara!

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