the romanticist

Dull

my heart often asks me
why i must use him
in my pursuit of love

"for when you love
the pain is masked 
and in that moment
i am deluded 
into thinking
that perhaps
it may never
return”

Superpower.(spoken word, poetry, hybrid)

when you start to write
they tell you 
that editing 
is the true art

for anyone who
ever held a pen
is capable 
of producing 
a piece of writing
yet we are not all
blessed with the ability
to chip away at pieces
of ourselves
to please
our readers.

what they forget
to mention
constantly

is the pen you hold
in your hand
should have been
a right
set in stone
centuries ago
and yet it is a privilege
unavailable
to over half
the world’s 
population

sometimes
there is no pen
to be held
and no words
to be written
for they are trapped
in a mind
unable
to literate 
them

when you graduate
they tell you 
that the achievement 
is not the university degree
but the employability
that comes
thereafter

what they always
let slip
through the cracks

is that 
the ceremony marks
is your ability
to harbour more knowledge
than half a country
that claims to 
be an education hub
and that only
one in ten children
from a low SES
will ever make it
to university

sometimes
employability
is not the problem
because you
haven’t made it 
that far
and you never
will

when you are asked
to provide food
for the refugees
of Afghanistan
and blankets
for the children
of Syria

what they fail
to see

is that illiteracy
is the third world’s
greatest issue
and we are all 
empowered
through our ability 
to write
to read
to articulate

for knowing
how to read
and write
is not only an art
that came before
editing
and employability 
but a secret
superpower
that could save
the world

Have Mercy On Sham

Allah yer7am trabek ya sham
all i can do is watch
the memory of you fades
slowly into pieces of what once was
as i try to desperately hold on
to a world that i built around the dreams
i planted in my heart
unable to grow
because the waters of your nurturance 
fail to forever flow

Allah yer7am trabek ya sham
remember the promises you made
to forever be a home 
for those who needed you?
I’m sorry that you could’t keep them
for with every tear
that streams down to the endless abyss
of sheer hopelessness
i think of what could have been
had you been allowed
to follow them through 

Allah yer7am trabek ya sham
there isn’t a day that passes
where i don’t wonder
if the sun awakes you 
the same way it awakens me
rudely and yet with all her grace
only to let you know
that a new day has emerged
with adventures that need be lived
and experiences that need be gained
lessons learnt
yet somehow i know
that through the haze 
all you see is an outline
that reminds you of the fights that need be fought
and the lives that need be lost
forever

allah yer7am trabek ya sham
allah yer7am 7aratek w jeeranek
allah yer7am el eyyam l taybe
wel layali elli yaretha ma 5elset
Allah yer7am trabek ya sham
w ye7miki men el ghareeb
because without you
all i am 
amounts
to nothing 


confustion

i think
perhaps
i am the reason
for all 
my suffering 
yet
i suppose
maybe
i am not

negative three sixty

in second grade geometry
we learnt about angles
and revolutions

it always fascinated me
that zero
and three sixty were the same

that you could go 
all the way round
only to end up
back at square
one

i suppose what those circles
wanted to escape from the page
to tell me 
was that its the journey 
that matters
that perhaps 0 and 360
look the same
without really being
completely congruent 

in fifth grade integers
we were introduced to negatives
and positives

it was always strange
that 100 and -100 
held the same value
but in opposing directions
related but never able
to meet

maybe the numbers
tried to explain
that you could make 
the same journey
only to end up
with something completely
different 

in eleventh grade
talk of revolutions sparked
somehow they were
of a different kind
more tangible
more real

yet how different 
can a revolution 
played out by humans
and guns be

somehow we all end up
at the very same point
we began from
facing the same direction
with our limbs
all lined up
as they had been
before

yet the view from the mountain
won’t always remain
because somehow 
we are heading towards
negative
three sixty 

Lies we want to believe. Spoken word

my 7 year old cousin
asks me constantly
about this war
but how do you explain
such complexities
to a mind
so pure

his father tells him
its for freedom
his mother is sure
its for liberty
his sister has her say
its for 7urriye
my brother is adamant
its for the sake of allah

my 7 year old cousins asks me
what
is 
freedom?

freedom
freedom
freedom
what is freedom?

what do you say
when the answer
conflicts everything
you believe? 

for freedom
live in a refugee camp
one thousand miles from home
released only in the shrieks
of youth
taken away by brown men
baring arms

freedom is written 
in the ink
of illiteracy
books containing dreams and fantasies
world history and economics
between the pages of iqra
and in the words
"you will never read"

freedom hides beneath beds
consumated
by one night marriages
lurking beneath the tar bush
of the apparently sheikh
who gave a fatwa
saying that they are okay

because the victims 
of this unrest
lost their humanity
down forth facing barrels
and foreign shrapnel

freedom
freedom
what IS freedom?

freedom is drawn 
in the patterns on the kaffiye
of the boy who got up
at jumah last week
asking for money
to buy blankets
for the poor syrian children

freedom is held in the cold
in every drop which soils
tents made of mesh
filtering hopes and dreams
leaving nothing
but rain

freedom is formed in a circle
where an old man 
tells young believers
of hannah
for the shaheed
as they march for freedom
for freedom
holding guns
which shoot more than just bullets
and missile raids

freedom holds on
within the grooves of angry minds
and blatant ignorance
in stone hearts
and harsh gazez 
hot heads
and the colour red

freedom
what is freedom

sharifa, what do you know
about oppression
about hate
about sacrifices that need to be made
evil sects
and religious war
what do you know
about freedom?

i know that freedom
looks like a drop of hope
in a see of corruption
silver lining
in the blackest of night skies
i know that freedom
fells like a smile
in the midst of depression
and a gold coin
at the end of poverty

i know that freedom 
uses lost hope
mixed with utopia
to steal away
dictatorship and tyranny
only to replace them with 
nothing 

what do YOU know about freedom??!

i know that freedom
is like an explosion
full of power
and a luminescence so bright 
but destructive
beyond repair

i know that freedom
is a term they use
to describe an entrapment
other than your own
beneath the loss of your arab tongue
and your tradition

freedom 
freedom
what does someone like you
have to offer to freedom?

freedom itself has nothing to offer
for it comes forth
in radical ideas
and islamic modernism
fighting for an ummah
that doesn’t know how to spell
its own name 
rid of thousands
powerless in its division

freedom exists in civil conflict
allowing you
to tear yourself apart
eluded ideals
that you will emerge victorious
in a nation
where no one can move

freedom strips you
of your power
and leaves you wishing 
you had been grateful
before

i look down at him 
and say
freedom is a lie
we all want to believe 

Carlos Andrés Gómez - What's Genocide

im speachless 

the brown men

you have never gotten close enough
to look into my eyes
to venture past the one characteristic
they all define me by
and no matter how far the curtains are drawn
allowing you to catch more
than just glimpses of the extensive scars
they drew through my soul
your gaze has never found its way
past the judgement 
your superiors have bestowed
upon me

because when the planes crashed
and their lives were lost in the rubble
they pointed the finger at my people
they pointed the finger at me
the fact that i was a child of but seven years
who worried more about the state
of her blonde haired doll
than the lives of those half way around the world
had lost its value in defence 
i wan no longer an individual
rather a part of the group of maybe criminals
who ruined the world forever

the brown skinned men 
who lived in the dessert were to blame
for all the calamity
that had ever befallen them
and for their actions they had to pay
the redefinition of identity 
had not been a harsh enough punishment
for the preventable crime 
performed all those years ago 

so when the busses exploded
and the brown men ran away
only to enter the afterlife
and be resurrected and tried for their deeds
the punishments were enforced
for when a theft is performed
the hand with which it has been enforced
must be severed at the ligaments
which held it together
they had robbed the lives of innocents
with no one left but those who remained
to suffer the consequences of their actions
here on the land the living

if at the age of seven
i had my individuality ripped away from me
it was the year of the homeland
by the time i had time to grow
and understand
for at the age of eleven
i watched on as they ripped apart my dreams
only to ensure that the innocent lives
they took away in their past
were a necessary side effect 
of the greater good they aimed to achieve
for the lives lost in towers and busses
were more valuable that those lost
in half made houses and cars that exploded
behind mountains of rubble 
and beneath once lively homes
pulled down to the ground

somehow they viewed it as the revenge 
that needed to take place somehow
for a life for a life need be tallied
and the playing field levelled once more
yet the lives of those who stood beyond the west border
were far more superior than those in the east
and so a basis was born for the killing
to go on far more than needed
to bring closure to those who had lost themselves
on the day with the towers and the planes

and come what may
they could not see past the tips of their noses
for on that very day
twelve years senior to the one we dare to live
in the midst of the waves of time 
which wash over us 
we lost more than they could ever imagine us to 
for as we mourned their loss
we had our peaceful honour taken away
and as we buried our children in the ground
we somehow wished we had never known of them
or they of us

for as i sit at the drawing desk of my study
and look over to the world that passes by
i fear that you will never get the chance
to catch even a glimpse of what lies beyond
the labels i had been given
all those years ago 

spiral

i.

i often hang around
in back lane ways
trying to revive
memories
fading away
like sepia pictures
soiled
with time

ii.

i want to forget him
but i want to hold on
I’m sad to have lost
grateful to know
yet moving on seems
to be the last option
and the first
all at the same time

iii.

my friends ask me why
i turn down every guy
who comes along
i smile and say
that he’s not my type
but i dont have a type
so how is that true

iv. 

last week
he told me to move on
because leaves fall
at the beginning of autumn
ready to fall off
their branches

somehow
I’m meant to be 
the same

but I’m not

v. 

i often get asked
who it is that i have in mind
but i have no reply
because my mind is still 
not free
to be occupied 
again

vi. 

he was the first touch
and the last kiss
with a little intimacy
in between

he was feeling like
you could go all the way
but refraining 
because it was sacred

he was being afraid
of the dark
but embracing your fears
with open arms

he was every insecurity
worn on my sleeve
and every resentment
buried in the ground
flaunted
with pride

he was a cup of tea
by the fire
in the middle of summer
and healed wounds
never to opened 
again

he was the sun
at midnight
and the moon
at noon

he was every doubt
in the back of my mind
then knowing 
you were worth it
all along

he was like storm brewing
after the rainbow
and the calm
in the midst of the rain

he was the tip of the mountain
mingling with the clouds
caring enough
not to rip through them

he was the everything
that had nothing to do 
with a happy ending

he was day dreams
and nightmares 

he is eternal loss

vii. 

i had never known of
a love so strong
or a will to recover
so weak

viii. 

i nod and smile
vacantly
I’m over it

ix. 

i lie to myself
constantly

x. 

Him

for the first time
i dont want to be
just beautiful