Words you don’t speak

I can hear the words you don’t speak

Remember there’s a strength that runs through your veins, many generations strong

Conversations with myself
In ten minute increments
Drifts interrupted by incessant
Rings of alarm
Questions asked
In one quadrant
Before falling asleep
Responses made in another
When forced awake

Don’t promise you won’t change
You’re not likely to stay the same

Advertisements

Death, dying and waiting

So lose not heart, nor fall into despair: For ye must gain mastery if ye are true in Faith. Quran 3:139
—-

It’s the oddest thing
Discussing funeral arrangements
For one who has yet to breathe his last

And waiting, breathless
For news of his last.
When at least, he’ll be at peace. And rest.

Convincing oneself
Mourning is selfish
He must rest now.
In a better place,
Away from the cruel hands of this world
Surrounded, insha’Allah, by the fragrance of jannah

Praying.
Fervently
Over. And over. And over.
Losing track of where one ends
and the other starts
Not sure what to pray for.

Settling on this:
May our endings be beautiful.
And peaceful

La hawla wa la quweta ila billah
Inna lilahi we ina ilayhi rajeeun
To Him we belong and to Him we return

Hold on

Is it selfish of me to ask you to hold on –

Till the seas have been crossed,

Body in a land I’ve never known

You in this state hastened my meeting of it
Can you hold on?

Till my eyes have a chance to take you in

Till I can breathe every part of your being

So I may tell the lil ones stories about you
I so look forward to an extension of the past

Brought to life through your tales, which I will soak up, especially those of him
It was your stories that I hoped would fill the pages…

I pray they still can

Hold on,

So we fill them

Together

Harar

image

image

image

 

Living museum of a
World upside down
We’ll just get lost
Amidst more than
368 narrow streets
82 mosques

We’ll find ourselves
Between the five gates
Of the walled city,
On the street of reconciliation
Megera wa weger
And make up

There’s no black & white in this city
Colors, in all hues and textures
Decorate walls, homes, baskets & clothes
And proceed to pour out into markets and streets

Lucid 112 year old
Exemplifies power of
Persuasion and persistence
Breaking spontaneously into prayer and song

Understanding (her)story
Female Emirs
Tadin binti Maya
Dil Wambara
Running an autonomous empire
Before it was fashionable to do so

Posing in hareri attire
Feeding friends of the city;
hyenas & falcons
Hilbet merekh

Floodlights

I used to think it was the darkness
That put her in a bad place
I’ve only now come to realize
It’s the lights that flood her existence
That seem to haunt her

As soon as they come on
She looks for the spots the lights don’t reach
So she can crawl there, covered by the warmth and cover of darkness

While some crave movement and sound,
She is satiated by the emptiness and fullness of silences

Alone, she can negotiate between the different women that make her

Undisturbed,
She filters the orchestra of thoughts
Into varying octaves

Allowing each to sing her tune

image

The State of Africa

image

The State of Africa:
The Ghost of Sani Abacha
Bathing under half of a yellow sun
Watches
As things fall apart
In the secret lives of Baba Segi’s wives

It’s Our Turn to Eat

image

Things fall apart
As the ghost of Sani Abacha,
Capitalizing on Catastrophe,
Narrates the secret lives of Baba Segi’s wives

But there is
No God but God
For the bottom billion,
The wretched of the earth
Who under half of a yellow sun
Quietly chant,
‘Its our turn to eat’

Lamu’s Shella

image

Breezy Cushioned Rooftops
Canopied by darkened skies
Lit up by constellations and maybe even whole galaxies
I couldn’t seem to trace
Or even attempt to begin to count

Shooting stars (and drones?)
Overlook as
Flirting winds
Kiss blushing trees,
Applauding oceans
Create waves
Romantic spell broken only by speedboats
Rushing noisily to get nowhere

A solo trip
A 12 room house to myself
Yet I’m almost never alone

Startled in the middle of the night
By sad brayings of donkeys
Creaking of open windows
Banging of open doors
As the wind negotiates past…
The night whispers its sweet lullabies
And yet I’m unable to fall asleep to its tune

Waking up to the sweet rising of a sun
I saw setting from a dhow the eve before
A breeze I would buy and bottle if I had the means

7 Muathins call the faithful to prayer from every which direction
Like a staggered chorus,
Echoing each other’s “Allahu Akbar’s”

Business/Entrepenurial tips from
Stranger turned suitor
Announcing news of our unagreed yet impending wedding
Mind you, a self-confessed former playboy

Women
Strikingly absent
Is that why they look at me so?

Marriage/Relationship tips from masseuse turned confidant
‘You’re getting old, you must get married!’
Says host/receptionist/assistant/caretaker adamantly
He’s an Omer-do-it-all sort of Jack who’s been around for close to two decades

Henna painting by a mother turns into
Convo with child about academic pursuits, dreams and how far one should persist
She promises to keep pushing

Collecting shells and stones by the seashore
Getting increasingly excited with every find
Omer indulges my unbounded and child-like excitement
I keep picking until his pockets begin to jingle and sag with the weight

Her/historic visit
First Ethiopian
First meal where host and guest sit together
Feasting on fresh fish neither had caught
Sweet potato mash suggested to chef
Now to be part of menu permanently as ‘Nebila mash’

Transport by all means
Donkey and bare feet tread the land
While sail and speed boats alternate the water ways

Bats hang, as they do, upside down
From the balcony
Watching,
As I attempt to transform memory into floetry

How does one quell a raging fire?

image

creative commons license: Flickr (Thomas)

How does one quell a raging fire?

Through silence?
The type that expands to make room for the rage —
Or swallows it whole, leaving (no) room to exhale?

Through attention/acknowledgement?
Does that fan it?
Giving it power to dig its roots deeper –
Or does it dampen its need to scream its presence?

By fighting it?
Does that fuel its desire to emerge victorious —
Or cause it to cower for fear of failure?

Is it for us to quell a raging fire?
Or must we let it run its course,
Even if the result is destruction?
Perhaps giving birth to fertile ground, allowing for new growth and new life?

Breathe beauty

image

I be fierce.
But also gentle.
And loving.
And compassionate.

I will breathe beauty
Until I can breathe no more.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: