my roots.

there are days when i hold my roots with pride–they emanate from the golden, bejeweled shalwar kameez and frocks i wear, from the scent of biryani and chicken korma that lingers through khalas and chachas and cousins and sisters seated for dinner.

and then there are days when I yearn to rip those clothes from my skin, dig deep with my nails so my grandparents’ war, my people’s toil, the beat of wedding drums in my father’s village, and the dirt from a land I call ‘back home’…. bleed out.

they say that we hate our roots when we criticize some of their deepest held traditions and beliefs and adages…they don’t know that we are the first ones to defend it before the white man vilifies it with his senseless tongue. they don”t know how our mind tires of exhaustion from responding to every attack of our brown skin, of our God, of our very existence.

because it is our honor. just as it is yours.

 

Haway Jaycee Pyaar (A Love Like The Wind)

I attempted to write a poem in urdu. I know many of the words are misspelled or not in correct sentence sequence, etc. but I love the urdu language and having both parents born and raised in Pakistan, I’ve come to love urdu poetic songs. The english translation is at the bottom. (Note: the poem is very simple).

Haway Jaycee Pyar

pyar dil jaisay hota hai,

jab toot jain,

haway jaycee ban jaati hain
dekh nai saaktay,
gul zaar ki ghar banaa nai saktay.

aapnay mujsay bola taa
jab ek baanda dosray sai mohabbat karta hain
vohi kaafe hain,
magar ab mujay apka pyaar pai
yakheen nai hain.
khuda ki liya,
mujhko maaf karla na

main to masoom hu.

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Did Not See

I wanted to laugh in his face-

he sat there,

on that too stiff, expensive leather chair

and told me

it was not my fault.

I laugh

because he did not have to see

the day  I cried for myself

while my sister cried for me.

He did not have to see

the spirit slowly dampen in my parent’s eyes

and wither away

in silence.

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Thirteen Years’ Worth

It’s been thirteen years

since the demon

entered my mind.

The demon,

anxiety.

 

But I am not my demon.

 

Yes,

I worry about tomorrow,

even though I’ve been told to

worry about today.

But I now know,

my demons are not as strong

as my resilience.

as my fight.

as my survival.

 

That bitter, sharp wind

may make wounds on me

with its twisted blade;

still,

it does not

rip me inside.

 

And the seasons shift,

as the ocean tides

do

when the moon beckons closer;

the light seduces me

into bearing

the winter current

for the reward of a ray of warmth

And for that,

it is worth it.