Category Archives: Poetry

God help you, I’ve written another poem.

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem

Was feeling particularly joyful today, so I went for it. It might be because there’s talk of a snow storm tomorrow and I’m flying out of Denver to New York during said snow storm. With a baby. His first time on a flight. Joy. I hope he loves travel as much as I do (eventually).

Maybe it’s because hubby and I have bought gifts for practically everyone in Sri Lanka and I’m feeling a little slap-happy.

Maybe it’s because there’s so many variables in the coming experience (plane, baby, 24 hours of flying) that I have no choice but to let go. Maybe I’ve finally found my Zen.

Or maybe I’m just tired. Choose your own adventure.

Truth is, the scene description on my new spec is kicking my backside. So I’m trying to get back in touch with brevity and capturing an emotion or an image in a few VERY well-chosen words.

Screenplays, I think, should be like poetry. A moment in time crystallized for posterity. But because they are longer and more commercial, they are more complicated. Oh well.

Here it is.

I love being human

I can’t add much to what’s already been said.
But I’m going to try.
I love being human
I love the slack muscles and the slack jaws.
And the wide eyes and the awe
I love my split ends and hang nails.
I love the stubborn stubble on my legs and how I hate kale.
I love the naughty bits and the misshapen butt and the reaching-the-floor bits and I don’t care who knows it!
I love poop.
Yeah. I said it.
Poop.
Wiping poop off my son’s butt is a freaking miracle.
I’m told I should lust for God.
But I find God in my lusts
For macaroons and laughter.
For aliens and rabbit holes and electric storms and failure
I love that I’m too big to be contained by department store threads.
There is something beautiful in everything.
And no, this isn’t a paradise.
If I don’t find clothes that fit me, I’d be naked. And cold.
I didn’t find Bermuda without jet lag.
I didn’t find the love of my life without heartbreak
I didn’t find God without being human.
I love being human. I love looking for God. I love finding Him where I least expect it.
And I don’t care who knows it.

 

Alhamdulillah. Thank God.

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem

Assalam alaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatahu, lovely readers.

It’s been a hard week. Where others might take to chocolate, bad TV and alcohol, I took to…Bollywood films and poetry. (My mama and I saw Lagaan last night. Man, that movie is about 2 hours too long.)

And prayer and remembrance of Allah (SWT).

Still my weakness overtook me and I put it on paper.

I have to admit, posting something this vulnerable is a funny feeling. All writing is vulnerability, so I am used to the bottom-dropping-out-of-my-stomach feeling Alhamdulillah. But there is another feeling, a more hopeful one. That maybe someone will read this and understand what I’m going through.

Ultimately, perhaps my writing – and maybe all writing? – is about connection.

Comments welcome on the below.

Tell me you love it. Tell me you hate it. Tell me I’m giving into despair. Tell me something, in any event. It’ll be nice to hear your voice(s).

Alhamdulillah

Her frailty is criminal

Her strength subliminal

Nothing seems to work

Yet everything is normal

What newfangled cruelty is this?

My mother dressed to kill in a hospital gown

Laughing and eyes closed

Wheeling her chariot through narrow corridors

A forest of strong limbs.

I bless and curse in her wake.

What did you do to deserve those carefree fingers?

Nicotine-stained, hooked around bottles

Mocking the God that feeds you.

What did my mother do to deserve hooked limbs and baby steps?

Why are you here now healthy?

After a while, there are no more questions,

Only deep merciful silence

We learned to bless what we saw and what we didn’t.

The wonder and its opposite

The anger and the forgiveness

The tears of joy and of despair

God’s Mercy flows like a river.

There’s nothing left to give

Money

Jewellery

Hope

Fear

There is now only a silent pleading

Begging the question, if not the answer

Asking why, if not how.

Anger rumbles in the entrails of our investigation.

Bleeding virtue from our fingertips

As touches become harsh

And tongues become understanding.

There’s no need to be a jerk

But there’s no need to be an angel either.

We are comfortable with the broken.

We have tuned our radio to our body’s natural rhythm

Of destruction and healing

Of life and death.

I am comfortable with the pieces that fall through the cracks

The essence that escapes into space.

And I love what comes after.

The glow of true love

And the absence of fear.

Wassalam and Fee Amanillah.

The Happy Muslimah.

Class of ’03

Assalam alaikum wr  , people.

It’s a time of great transition for me Mashallah, as I prepare to leave behind the city I grew up in and move to a new life with a new person Insha Allah.

It reminds me of a poem I wrote, oh, seven years ago now, when I graduated from high school and said goodbye to my classmates. We’re all scattered around the world now and I often wonder if we’ve ever got as close to the friends we’ve made in our adult life.

Class of ’03

We would live forever.

Claws, wits, tongues

ephemeral feminine muscles

a forest of thorns

the infinite depth of a melted-steel ocean

all the cartoon heroes

Bring your own super-power.

They collided like

muddy monster trucks.

Desire, dismay, the debris of a shattered childhood

prerogative, post-male syndrome, pre-marital relations

muggers and the lack of spiritual mace.

Smell the soggy pillows

the petulant chemicals.

We shared years of unlearning.

the vestiges of broken pedestals

swept into corners and under rugs

bleeding for the last time

We staggered out

As the sunrise began to dry.

Perhaps as the shadows lengthen in an old Spanish port,

As the sun begins to fall in Manhattan,

As the walls begin to sweat in Mumbai,

As the streets begin to empty in Moscow…

We will catch a glimpse of the faded blue rapture

of fleeting immortality

Mama in the morning

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem.

Assalam alaikum wr wb, and Jummah Mubarak!!!

I’ve been working on this poem a while. ‘Tis a deep wound.

Here goes nothing.

Mama in the morning

Mama in the morning
Slams doors and creaks windows like
An orchestra of poltergeists
Mama in the morning
Storms up corridors and screams through walls
wondering when we will hear her.
Mama in the morning
yearns to be found
for God to see her though she cannot see Him.
Mama in the morning
Hates me
And wants me
A burden of flesh so deeply rooted
A part of me still remains in her womb.

I am sorry Mama
that I didn’t listen that morning
And many mornings after that.

But sorry doesn’t quite cut it.

In all the years that have passed between us
why why why
Is the pain and fear like an unquenchable thirst.
Why why why
in all the years that have passed between us
has it not dissipated
but instead like ghosts wait to gather
form from our flesh
Even now
Even here
Even in our present day.

And yes, Mama, it is our present day.
We’re not down and we’re not out.
We never have been.
Even though these walls are high,
By gum we can break them down
you and I both know
With the strength of our vicious tongues alone.

I am not your daughter.
If that makes you happier.
But I know instead it will make you cry.

Or maybe some small part of you wishes I was never born.
Some small part of me wishes that too
But here I am, one way or another.
For better or for worse
And Death will one day do us part.

But let’s not fear him
Or poverty
Or illness
Fears so old their skins are dust.

Mama I have searched
I promise I have

I have searched in the sleeping eyelids of my big brother
And found
coiled anger and frustration.
Lascivious boy, drinking life like it was the beer of the gods.
I have looked again in the flesh of our newborn child.
I asked her where she kept her magic
Where she hid my weapons and my walls of solitude.
Mama I have wandered deep into the recesses of my own subconscious
Asked questions I dare not answer.
Mama I promise you I have searched
In Star Trek and Inspector Gadget
In the lilting wail of country singers
And the tuneless twanging of modern-day saints
Mama I have searched!

So let me say this now.

The only prayer I’ve ever had is for one quiet morning
Dark not with ignorance but with faith
That the dawn will break
I’m sorry he never came home.
I’m sorry they drank themselves to death
One by one
like dominoes
Falling never to stand again
I’m sorry those matchstick men were your pillars of strength
Let me stay with you even though you are the eye of the storm.
It’s okay to be scared
These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.
It’s fine to be the outsiders
We always have been.
It’s okay to laugh in the mosque
And cry at the movies
It’s okay to eat and sleep and kiss and be merry.
It’s okay to be alive, Mama.
Come live with me
Again.

Wassalam and Fee Amanillah, everyone!

A poem to my love poems

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem (In the Name of God the Most Gracious the Most Merciful)

Assalam alaikum and welcome WordPress peeps!

It’s funny, really. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in love but I’ve only ever written love poems.

Today I was sifting through my notes today and I found this. A poem about my poems. Self-reflexive, too-clever-by-half, but true.

A LOVE POEM TO MY LOVE POEMS
I’m too old for this nonsense.
Of being besotted and unbesotted.
Of loving and unloving.
He himself is eager and seeking like a hamster.
Eager seeking the love of others
and burrowing down in fear storing little nuggets of wisdom and love in places
where no one else can find them.

Though now when you sift
you can see them rising to the surface like lifebuoys.

He is like me,
and not.
I give him chances and he does not take them.

I have imagined this countless times in a million different ways.
I have waited and given.
I have known in the pit of my stomach, beyond the shadow of a doubt.

I have had living-room conversations with him
the sunlight streaming in, beckoning for a walk in the park hand-in-hand.
I have waited warm and then tepid
wondering whether things would ever heat up between us.

I am now like a soggy crumpet and I’m not waiting anymore.
I’m having that last cuppa tea, you ass.
And in all things bright and beautiful, you were nowhere to be found.

I should stop writing these miserable chaotic lovelorn poems they’ve never done me any good.

I should write those poems that never walk away from the burning house
that run inside
and grab hold of the golden-haired child of sentiment and erudition
and emerge victorious!
As other poets bow and kneel before my heroism.

No
Those works are not here nor there.

My heroism is contingent and daily.

I wake up in the morning
and I take my first breath
and I decide to take the next.
This is bravery.

I wake up in the morning
and I get through the day without needing to pop a pill.
This is courage.

I wake up in the morning
and I look my parents in the face
and I accept their disappointment.
This is God-loved mercy!

And I haven’t waited this long to be silent.
No
I haven’t waited this long to speak empty words
that caress your ears and soothe your spirits.

No this isn’t one of those poems
that speaks of empty rooms and the wind whistling down the corridors.

No
this isn’t one of those poems or passages or rites of passage.

This is some miserable chaotic half understood version of a dream I had.

Of you and I creeping on the tips of our toes down a quiet corridor.
The windows are high, the halls are long
and covered with stern-framed portraits of white people in stiff collars.

We peer through a little plastic window
and we see her, you see,
pigtails dipped in ink because the boys like her.

Yep, that’s our daughter,
agog with fascination at the exploits of Caesar.

And a little way down,
though plastic and walls separate them,
is her brother
bored and restless because he hates algebra.

And I have waited long years to hold your hand.
And watch as they grow into beings so beautiful only God could have made them.
I will stop apologizing for wanting you now.
It is not wrong.