The poetry smudged your lines too much to see the practicality of falling from grace; you have none, and falling isn’t your strongest suit.

The poetry disregarded the organisation, and rendered you a null in the binary system; you’ve escaped the files, and no label fits your longitude.

The poetry concealed the heaven-hell satisfaction with commerciality of words, and your disgrace franchised through every stretch of discourse.

Disclaimer: we, The Poetry, are not responsible for the pity you will receive upon falling from grace. Neither are we responsible for you being too placid that you only belong on Al-Aaraf.

(Note: For those unfamiliar, Al-Aaraf is a hill between heaven and hell).



i’ve stargazed strictly at jupiter 
nearly every night this week
while i rolled cigarettes to smoke
on a rooftop.

the brightest star in the night sky
is a dull planet.
but dull is my wall, yet it lights
up quite well with a flashlight 
directed at it.

and so do you, with the flashlight
of my utmost melancholic
romanticism; you shine so bright
like a truth.
but in truth you’re dim, whilst
in darkness, you’re a flipping spotlight.


more of nouf's photography // writing


To everyone who has ever asked me to “man up”:


take another fucking look at me.

I am all woman,
all double-x,
all lower-your-voice,
all cover-yourself,
all flash-a-smile,
be delicate,
all survival,
all surviving,
all fight.

In my conditioned silence all I had been
for years
is my own instinct.

Every feeling of inferiority planted underneath
my skin.

But I will no longer be victim to this.

I will no longer be subjected to the
sickening degradation of my sex.

I am more than this.

I am centuries of women being beaten up
and burnt at the stakes,
the silent screams held behind their
clenched teeth,
I am the black and blue circles on their
covered faces,
the reincarnation of every girl buried
before ever being able to breathe,

I am the woman I will teach my daughter to be
and I too, promise to not be silenced.

Will not have my gender dragged through the
mud in the name of their righteousness.

We know we are more than this.

But the men in my country have thrown us into open

Like their ancestors before them, they have
found it best to stifle our whimpers before
they grew into screams.

But I have been clawing my way out of dirt
for so long and I will not rest until I feel
the sun on my face again,

until I am standing on the same steady ground
that they parade on so full of feigned piety.

I am coming back for all the rights that were
dragged away from me.

Before you tell me to “man up”,

know that my womanhood has been stolen away
from me.

Has been turned into something
so perverse,
so wrung with evil,

I had spent years wishing I wasn’t so unholy,

but I’m taking it back.

I do not wish to be anything other than what
I am,

so believe me when I tell you that I will never
“man” up.

I will reclaim the force of my gender,

Realize the holiness of my existence,
rekindle the ashen fires of my passions.

I am a woman reclaiming the sacredness of the
disgraced term


So the next time you want to remind me of my strength,
tell me of our history. Of the women who have waged wars
against all this ignorance before me.

The next time you want to remind me of my strength,

don’t you dare tell me to “man up”.

Just remind me that:

I am all woman,
all double-x, all oestrogen,

I am a force to be reckoned with,
a movement within myself,

all woman,
all power,
all power,
all power.

[buy hala's book]

سكر بنات // HAYAT

Her mother was making iftar in the kitchen, she sneaked her hips next to the phone and checked if Moustafa was around. 

In seconds she lowered her head fearing God would see her wide smile because he wasn’t, and she can click his numbers. 

Her mother called her name, but she was too busy counting the spaces between each ghazal word she’ll mutter to the boy who sold her salt, a smile and a number for more.

She clicked, clicked, clicke- What if he thinks the way she wears her head scarf is funny? What if she’s just another costumer? What if he gave her his number just so she’d tell him she tasted the shore when the salt met her tongue?

She didn’t click the last number, put the phone back on the table, hid the number between her young breasts and went to help her mother.

Maybe god saw my smile and didn’t want me to fall in love before I bleed after all, she thought.

cover photo // stills from caramel (2007) 



King Godfrey the 9th died on the wintery night of an eclipse. Word of his demise spread faster than a colony of ants upon a fresh horse’s corpse.

Hundreds of horsemen roamed the vast kingdom of Somnenia, rushing through every crowded town square and marketplace. They yelled one phrase and one phrase only.

“The King is dead!”

The shouts repeated so often, the words stuck to people’s minds like honey.

The King is dead!

The King is dead!

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2. // REEM

you call close to midnight offering vague friendship and songs that you say you can’t listen to unless some girls are grinding up against you. me, i don’t even know what grinding is. you say you just broke up with someone and don’t feel broken in the slightest, what an asshole. whenever i get phone calls like that i strut around the house like a hooker on speed, faking attitude, promising myself to never share my diaries with diseased souls again.