Fantasies & Fiction

There’s a fantasy, at the surface of my spine

It flutters into your arms like a Gothic Romance choking on its own saliva

I spill the rainbows that you planted in my bladder ~ an acid leaves my body crawling on all fours,

There’s a lullaby growing in my belly & with every kiss, you extract a note from it until every syllable is infused with your name

A name this territory knows all too well, a fantasy that speaks my name like it’s the only poetry that matters; the only fiction worth realization.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

Night Creatures

All the night Creatures crawled up to my desk ~ & I wondered…

What Creature am I in their language? The one with the touch of Death or the God with untimely sunlight ~ as bright as a snowfall in the raging summers?

They keep coming back, I don’t think they’ve a name for me.

Sometimes, a shadow looks like my Father hiding behind the door,

At other times, it metamorphoses into an old hag that laughs at me while I read the ‘Articles’ of the ‘Constitution’ aloud…

& Even the night Creatures laugh – at a nameless horror; but I only defined ‘Democracy’, I only swallowed a slice of cake and brushed aside this noisy mosquito.

It was the only one pricking at my skin instead of laughing – when I (defi)n(ed)

D – E – M – O – C – R – A – C – Y.

– Nameera Anjum Khan

Will You Write Yourself?

If the heaven was the eyelash that stole my wish

If it was the candle that I blew on days I lived,

Then I want to write my own goddamn History

In an abyss that reeks of an unending staircase,

I hand my sins to you, so you may decide my grave

I fall as I fly, unto the blue skies~

re-writing the tears that have forgotten how to be a poem.

-Nameera Anjum Khan

(An excerpt)

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.

__________________________________

The Scream of a Deaf Girl (Short Story)

The wind never talked to me but she used to always tickle my stomach while I’d laugh like a maniac when I was a little kid. Sure, I had never heard her but she was my best friend. I think we both understood each other way better than most people would. They never heard me and similarly she had been rushing past deaf people all her life. Sometimes, we’d just sit quietly and look at all the people raving endlessly about things that never made much sense to either of us. I still remember the way she raged against my bare back that day. She carried my screams all the way down to the basement but no one came. She raged endlessly while my confused senses called hormones started to run and hide in blazing terror. He said he could hear the wind too but he lied. I know this because he never saw her drop the wooden tool box on his head as he ripped my dress apart, he never saw her until his head was smashed open and he lay on the cold bedroom floor, looking up at her big fluorescent eyes and illuminating body; he murmured something before death carried him far, far away from me (us). I think he said my mother’s name, our mother.

-Nameera Anjum Khan.

Weakening

Teal skies peeling off their skin
Their mouth is dripping with diamonds
They smell like paradise under the yellow sun
The chair is paper, it crumbles beneath my weight
My hair tastes of wood
Orange juice splattered across the counter
A broken hand caressing the flower vase
The floor is water and I slip
I slip until my legs turn into a pair of boats
Land comes to me and I can’t walk anymore

The moon cuts the lightening with her laughter
She is the color of your pale lover tonight
A tangerine suitcase of your vulnerabilities,
I unpack it and your image is complete.

-Nameera.

Staircase to Earth



Hell.

All this time, he spoke to me in varied hues of oranges and reds. He whispered in flames that burned my head, he moved about in a curfew that swept my need for fresh air. I am a tree, with a broken heart carved on my stomach. The knots of insomnia tighten around my thighs until I bleed Eve’s sin. Unholy birds perch upon my nape, they think my darkness is a home they’ll never find again.

Heaven.

The flowers here grow even more cheery while I paint them. They look like promises of something I haven’t seen yet. They whisper poetries that make no sense. The sun shines brighter than before and I can look at it, gaze into its soul. The moonlight becomes a passage to ballroom where love dances with fate. I watch it, I admire it from afar. I’m good here but so far away. Where is it that my bones ache to be?

Earth.

Home. Love. Life. Trauma. Death. So many colors that come without our choosing. If we chose black, white unfurls at the edge of our existence. If we chose red, green finds a way to our heart. We bind prayers upon our foreheads and paint heaven and hell. Our deeds paint us in either of the two. I sleep under a blanket of warmth, I’m in love. My bones don’t ache anymore. My bones say I’m home ~ on earth.

-Nameera.

The Prayer

pink-petaled flowers

There are mosquito bites all over my feet
The itch grows like climbers around my knees
My veins circle the heart
My hands run out of control
I’m spinning in this web of my creation
I’m a collector like spiders
Except that I don’t devour upon my hosts
I watch them grow out of their existence
Until they’re born anew
And I see them fly away
Like all my bad thoughts that disappear into the light
The sun swallows sins at once
Its spine is a constellation lined across the sky
I watch God take a walk in the chambers of my heart
He looks out the window and I gaze into your eyes
He looks at my happiness
I gaze a little more than usual, until he has learnt
The name of my only prayer,
You.

-Nameera.

Image credits: Unsplash

D I V I D E

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The gap between my teeth widens
I’m six years of carelessness and a body clothed in flesh
My flesh is skin and a human anatomy I’m yet to understand
My flesh is carrot juice and French fries
My flesh is a subtraction of the numerical, perhaps the only confusion in my life
My flesh is unafraid and knows how to breathe in and out without having to give it a second thought
My flesh sees other flesh like mine and that’s where the story simply ends
Years later my headscarf has another story to tell
The bindi upon my forehead tells yet another story
And just like that, so many stories gather themselves at the periphery of my existence
My best friend dabs my cheek in pinks and greens
My best friend waits more eagerly for sewiyan than I do for Eid
Do you like horror stories? I do too
I think we all enjoy a little thrill in this mundane existence
We’re all looking for something out of the ordinary to provide forethought to
What if that horror isn’t fiction anymore?
It is as real as the red bindi across your forehead and as dark as my black Hijab
It has its horrors that transform streets into a war zone
Cities into hell
Cold winter mornings smell of gunfire that echoes through these lanes
But do you know what sounds worse than that? The silence
That is the scariest story of this divide
It isn’t secluded to bloodshed and cries for help and hunger and poverty and dirty politics and differences and awkward means of reaching out to each other and change in perspective and the birth of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ and ‘He’ and ‘She’ and a myriad other pronouns that have been put to shame
It is the silence that has followed this divide
The lack of a proper noun to voice concern
The lack of a proper noun to replace the wrong
Because black will always remain black no
Matter what shade is forced upon it.

Image Credits: Photo by Alex on Unsplash