Poetry

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You are not meeting my eyes. They are beneath the cloth I wear on my head, actually.

No, I am from America.

Yes, it is called a hijab.

No, this cloth is not hijab.

Hijab is not a covering, a hiding-away, a flinching-back. It is a coming-out, a blazing-through.

Hijab is not here for you to fetishize taking it off with your fingers/armies/democracy.

Hijab is suffering for democracy.

New Orleans thunderstorm, after the Boston marathon

birds echo and a tentative sun
retreats to darkness, knowing
far away news about to flood
our transplant hearts.

days, it’s been rising
pushing
up

seeking the jagged cracks in
facades of cheery every-day.
SWAT teams lockdown
again,
“please…not…a muslim…brown…”
one brown man after another flashed across the screen
we prayed
fearing marines neighborhood shellings on the screen
fearing our brothers pushed in front of a New York subway
fearing fear bursting into lives

insh'allah & airport ode #1

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's poems evoke borders of bodies and nation.

 

Inquilab Zindabad

Choreographer Joti Singh reflects on her own familial connections to Ghadar history,  staged recently in her production "Red, Saffron, and Green."

the colour of mourning

Amal Rana explores how love can inspire revolution.

Bushra Rehman / Corona / It Sucks When The Whole Of Your Relationship Fits Into One T-Mobile Bill

This was my world, where the city met the pulse of irrepressible wildlife, where my parents and their friends created a Muslim community from scratch. It is this world and the leaving of it I recreate in my writing.

Purvi Shah / To shine a light / It is not that

Poems pass through moments, as do our lives. Both poetry and justice necessitate a vision, a series of quiet actions built from contemplation and our own observations. Both poetry & justice necessitate desires, this wanting & wanting more, this knowing & knowing more. This stitching between – a kind of locking of skewed, errant and yet beautiful tiles – is the movement between the world of poetry & this world itself, between the world itself & the world we desire – the world we will one day make.

Ather Zia / Abode of the God? / Four corners of extreme pain

As a people living under an occupation which is camouflaged within a patina of democratic set-up and draconian laws, there is a constant erasure of our bodies, memories and identities. We are inflicted with active forgetting in order to survive. At the border where the direct gaze of prose is constricted with barbed wires of multiple coercions, poetry spurts forth. Poetry makes one a witness, rather than just an archivist. One’s life-blood, all that is political and emotional; lived, remaining, and forgotten coagulates into a poem.

The Car

but tonight 

we beat ourselves against the walls, 

for being so broke,

Tracks Back Home

Live reading of poem developed for the South Asians for Justice event "Gujarat Genocide and US Solidarity" in Los Angeles, April 2012

Audio File: 
Podcast Length: 
6:29
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