of independence & french fries

i grew up as independent as the roof on my head,
but i still needed the walls to float

i sometimes feel like the plants sitting
outside my window,
just observing my life
maybe this is just an astral lie
or maybe im a stray dog looking for a
shed to sleep under

im a window breaking a thousand times
just to come to terms with this strange insult that is growing
in my poems

im the eye balls rolling on the ground
and disappearing under the carpet, a
divorced paper waiting for a signature

significance,
i like big words and synonyms, i wish i
could find one for my brain
i wish i could nurse the soil that
weakens the bold cracks that are quick
to assume the joy in
every dark shade
of life

this out of control window to my soul
makes me want to fall into a sickness,
i can’t name it tonight
it’ll be a different poem tomorrow

let it fester, let it fester like the fading
smell of french fries on a wintry afternoon,
my little revenge lives every season but
in winters, it eats me

i wish it would chew me too but it eats
me whole
(greedy bitch)
in a stomach, i write about a heart
pretending to be my roof

i write about the bliss sliding under my
clothes, it’s too cold for it to come out, it
sleeps

i grew up independent, inside myself
i grew up, in as much space as i could
take and they could give,
i outgrew
i died;

in the throat of grief, as she drank sobs
to encounter cracked ceilings and
disfigured djinns coming out of their
holes in my bedroom wall

french fries in the rain,
and a cup of tea, please.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

Of Women & Moonlight

A land that pushes women to the stature of a Goddess

Is also adept at pulling them down when necessary

This reminds me of necessities that arise out of despai

A colony of ants climb the hills that reek of sweet sanity

Between my knees are bruises that never healed

Between my palms are lines of sweat that never left any empty space

‘Push, push, push’ – “It’s a moonlight wailing in birth and blood!”

How do I tell them,

That it’s the moonlight wailing at the prospect of illuminating silently, humming songs of anger that sound like sweet sanity?

It’s another bitter Goddess biting her fate, watching the poison take nefarious shapes in her throat

Until the day she takes back her throne,

Until then there’s only a sip of hope.

-Nameera Anjum Khan.

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Skin

Your skin tastes like mumbling blue berries trapped inside sea shells, skies falling upon your collarbones
Did you really believe that the weight of this world could shatter you?
You carry butterflies inside your stomach
You love like tomorrow is but a fable
Tell me, do you not shudder when you think of the end?
Maybe heaven really is a beginning,
A strawberry stream flowing through the crevices of the wild forest that you are

Your skin tastes like a scream splattered across the wall
It’s red and soaked in wet sheets
There’s a sickness drowning you until you can’t breathe
Mother, I see how the heaven under your feet often makes the earth beneath it slip away
The clouds shake while God’s laughter echoes in your eyes
My first poem is your name, your name

Your skin tastes like an oration pleading for hope
A lullaby that sleeps over my chest
The winds carry my whispers and I feel your smile against my lips
My breath is a wild goose flapping its wings against a chest that has only known heaviness
How do you get used to feeling this light?

Your skin is my home, the window that is always open, the curtains that will never be drawn, the door that will never be locked and the poem that only begins

Your skin tastes like heaven falling in love with herself for the first time.

-Nameera.

20.

red flowers with green leavesWhen I look back, I realize that there is no sorrow, no regret and absolutely no contempt to hold against my past. I see myself growing into someone I will be proud of once this phase has passed and with this I realize how life is made up of these little fragments that are so deeply connected to those around them. That’s how people come to affect us so intrinsically.

I used to write stories years ago but I could never complete them. I always wondered what it’d be like to complete one, to reach an end, something definite and finite. Years later I know that if we never learn to embrace our beginnings then the ending can never make sense. I thank God each day for friendships and love that are much more than what others usually experience. You don’t read about it in books and you never get to watch it on TV, you live it and that is the only way to become a part of happiness that is wholesome and pure.

You see it in eyes that sparkle with emotions, in sentences that are interrupted by constant laughter, on bad days when you’re not alone like you used to be and in the faces of people that simply care for you and cherish you in ways no one else ever did, they were never meant to anyway.

Twenty years later, I’m content and at peace with my surroundings and God, with opening up to the right people and loving like I never have before. This isn’t just another phase; it’s a whole new lifetime, a beginning that reeks of hope and goodness, of lilies and hibiscus, of honesty and blue skies, of vulnerabilities and poetry.

-Nameera.

Image Credits: Unsplash

 

 

 

 

Privilege

The sight of a bird looking down upon the travelers lost on the road, that is what my vision can capture

The crisp white bed sheets adorning my bed are smoother than the lines upon their young faces

The sun shines in my part of the world so that my hair gets rid of the water but in their part of the world, it burns their feet and leaves them with dry throats

The only water that flows in their realm is sweat and blood, helplessness and despair

Sometimes, even nature takes a cruel shape against them

It’s been a long day under this roof, it’s been a long day under the skies

In my part of the world, I argue with facts and devour logic with each step that I take forward in a direction I know is meant for me

In their part of the world, the only direction is the endless road, the only logic is a two square meal and the only argument is the one that ends with an absence of privilege synonymous with a voiceless music

And this is poverty for someone like me who can only write about it but ‘they’ hear its voiceless music and they are its heart-wrenching lyric 

Privilege is a funny thing, it almost makes you forget where you could be and at the same time, it makes you realize how it limits you when you don’t have the proper devices to make use of it

My poetry is almost always adorned with metaphors but this time, I refuse to put any ornaments upon it

This one time, I want you to analyze your privilege and worry about things that have absolutely no inkling to your reality

Because this entire world and every being in it is your reality, we’re nothing more than an amalgam of skin and bones tied to different fates, we’re nothing more than dirt and dust encircling each other in a perpetual pool of ups and downs

It’s your past that is fighting hard to survive the war against hunger and capitalistic regimes 

It’s your future succumbing to death while you’re just an infant in the lap of your wailing mother and a father who couldn’t make it

It’s your present self urging you to do something about it, your privilege seeks a purpose, give it while you still can. 

-Nameera.

Far Away

Grey furniture in a room full of colorful walls

Black being the most significant constant

I look at the skies like a naked painting organizing itself by evening,

With the last stroke of the sunlight

I watch my sins flutter upon valleys with foreign names

My body parts morph into my mind

I am my mind more than I am anything else

A grey piece of furniture that completes me

I speak in butterflies and cherries

I see in sunlight and wind chimes

I’m far away, deep within, unfurling at the hem of my openness.

-Nameera.

Life

Isn’t it strange how we don’t even notice the moon go down on her knees and the sun coming up with its golden stories that the birds chirp across trees and windows and balconies?

Isn’t it strange how some flowers bloom today and some wither away simply because it’s not their season?

Maybe this strangeness is what we call life but never really know how to define it.

-Nameera.

The skies are wilting leaves

Today it rains like petals falling from above

Flowers of heaven shed their eternity

The earth laughs in cyclones and hailstorms

When she claps her hands forests are laid ablaze

The fire slowly subsides when the windows are shut

And doors forget what it was like to be laid bare, naked, open

There are flowers growing inside our minds

Our bones are nature’s kiss

And this flesh is a long lost wish,

Drowning in the reality that comes with it.

Nameera.

Daylight

Daylight is the kind of hope fumbling for words simply because you don’t give her enough space to expand her lungs and search for the sun rays like an infant trying to pronounce the alphabet.

She’s waiting on the other end while darkness covers you head to toe, she calls out to you while you lay asleep, possibly. Daylight stuffs her mouth with grapes until her days are sour enough to forget you. She sleeps with her eyes wide open, she dreams about your sleep while you lose it bit by bit. Every night she calls out to you from the shadows. You see demons instead. Every night she weaves epiphanies out of the blankness but you’re too focused on all the things that slowly suck the nectar out of your peace; it’s a withering flower now, bowing low and deep, buried inside its own existence.

What do you do when your own body is a grave that engulfs you whole?

One day you wake up and realize that it’s past midnight. You notice that it’s the hour of the demons, like they say in the movies. You shrug your shoulders, smiling at the odd thought. But isn’t it odd that you’re suddenly awake? Why did sleep arrive in the first place when this was supposed to be the end, you staying awake and wondering all that you are at this moment. Then you think of all those things that happened and died out halfway through. Would it really matter if they hadn’t taken place at all? I mean, it would probably affect your self-growth. But does He have to make growth so hard and giving up so easy? Who is this He I refer to anyway? Then you remind yourself that it was this very prospect of how things usually are that made you want to stand up to them. What if giving up wasn’t easy? What if complaining all the time actually solved all the problems? Would you really be who you are today?

3 AM is not an end, it never will be. It’s the exact moment of finding, oneself, the truth, God, love, sleep – who can tell? It can be anything you want it to be. It’s not the hour of dark things that lurk in the shadows, it’s the hour to wait, to wait for daylight.

Daylight will come, she’s almost here. The grapes were never sour, they were bittersweet and so is your life. Daylight is yours, embrace her too.

Your body isn’t a grave but a precious gift of nature. Flowers grow on it, they grow deep inside you and all around you. If you close your eyes and smile, they bloom. Do you notice how your breath is a sign of so many things, it could be the soft breeze, the harsh winds, the gentle tides, the rustling leaves, buzzing of bees, the plop of a frog, a butterfly flapping its wings, a cats purr and the silent drizzle – the sigh of nature is forever looking to brighten up your day.

You’re not lost, you are home so carry yourself with love and faith.

-Nameera.

Image credits : Unsplash

Moon & Dreams

The moon is a beautiful shade tonight, do you see it fall over that distant darkness?

It’s like she’s offering her shoulders in prayer-

A prayer that becomes our long lost wish

An admixture of paperweight dreams,

My mind and my thoughts keep me running

I’m always on my feet, looking for answers that paint my questions in different hues

I see myself becoming more thoughtful

I see my shadow morph into the sunlight

I feel my senses drowning in yours

I feel, like I never have before.

-Nameera.