MIRROR IMAGES // FATIMA ELMAHGOUB (via #NWN)

I’m tired of these warped images. Of these stories I can’t hold on to. These eyes, that have grown accustomed to seeing ugly, this heart that begs for mercy, this thing that lives inside me. This thing, I cannot tame.

We’re all broken in ways that we’re too afraid to speak of. Together, we create a stained glass mosaic, and forget that there is beauty here, that there are flaws here. That perfection does exist within imperfections. We forget that we are human here. That this earth belongs to no one, and everyone.

Too often, I’ve been told I trust too much. My weakness has been laid out before me, beaten and battered, and handed back bruised, enough to have me convinced that there’s no room for trust, in a world that kills every ounce of hope within you. These black and white pictures have been trying to teach me, not to trust men I do not know, not to trust men I do know, and not to trust women I do or don’t know either. Never trust anyone but yourself. I wake up with the constant reminder that somehow, someone is bound to hurt you in some way, if you let them. I’ve been told to walk close to walls and become one if I had to, still and silent, and guarded; the world is a horrible place, and some humans are filthy creatures, yet I still listen to my gut instincts. My gut instincts tell me to follow my heart and my heart is the stupidest organ. It roams the sky in search of light, returns to me in the dead of night, forcing stories through my veins convincing me the world’s still alright.

And one day I learned to love the parts of me that I’ve been taught to hate, the parts that I’ve been told to hide because they make me weak in ways that I should be ashamed of. Those weak parts, they help me find myself within this rock solid self I’m trying to be, within this monster that life is trying to make of me, I spend nights pleading my demons please don’t take those parts of me. They’re all I have left in a world that kills every ounce of hope within you, in a world that robs you of yourself, a world that scares me half to death and sometimes I wonder, what will become of our unborn children then? When we kill their innocence from a young age, lock their hearts up in a cage, teach them hate and teach them rage, convince them that the world won’t change. Ask them what they want to be, then murder all their hopes and dreams, tell them to hide who they really are cause that’s the only way they’ll go so far. Tell them they’re grown and can lead the way after you’re sure you’ve led them astray. Leave them blind, and leave them hazed, then point a finger at the people you raised.

We learn to forget grace, to stand tall and tread hard even if it means treading on another soul, even if it means breaking our backbones. They convince us that we will collapse to form gold. There’s darkness inside me, I can feel it calling out for God. This piece is a prayer, an attempt to drain away the bitter and the ugly. It is a calling out of my soul to free me from my self because I’m tired.I don’t want to take up space. I’ve seen what happens when people forget they’re merely human. Forget that being human is enough. That all the angels have been ordered to bow down before our race, that we’ve been blessed with so much grace, we’re sacred. We are stars in waiting. One day we’ll form constellations that make us wonder why we ever doubted. Piecing together pieces we were too blind to see. For now, our hearts will bleed in silence, our veins will carry stories to remind us of who really are.

Beneath these pretenses, our similarities show. Our hearts beat to the drumming in unison. The veils are lifted off our eyes as we hand in pieces of this broken trust, these parts that rusted long ago, and realise that we are nothing more than just mirror images of each other, made of blood and skin and bones, taught to hate, and hurt and judge and misinterpret one another. Here, in these dark alleyways, in these cracks and crevices, lie unspoken words that can silence silence itself, and here I’ve grown to learn something: everywhere I go I see mirrors, I see reflections of myself, I am reminded of who I am, I am human above all else.

26 // NOURA ALZUABI

I, I was always the kid with the book in her hands.
You see, I could never figure out how to make a home out of this world that I was born into, a home out of this body I was given.

So, I chose books instead. I chose paper. I chose words. I chose 26 letters which can be rearranged in an infinite amount of possibilities creating a world I could finally FINALLY belong to.

You know, someplace that won't tell that I am too loud,
too slow,
too much
yet somehow never enough.

In that world I learned that green eggs could taste just as good as regular eggs. It was also the world that when I was 13 made me realise how I'm not the only one who was lost and confused yet somehow always irritated with any and all parental figures. A place when at 18, struggling to understand what it meant to be a woman, showed me how to be one. Phenomenally.

But the thing is, it wasn't just that. Words were also a vehicle of some sorts that managed to transport me to much more exciting places to be like... Narnia! Or Hogwarts! Maybe even Middle Earth. But never Westeros because let's be honest, that place is messed up.

And here I am, 23 years later. Still trying to make a home out of this world, a home out of this body. 

But at least this time around I have 26 friends to help me along the way.

206 // SARA BEDRI (via #NWN)

Still water runs deep

Still water runs deep but your assumptions of me are a mirage
Shallow and non existent
I’m a collection of peoples opinions of me the things they thought they saw and words they never meant
The line between opinions and facts becomes blurry
I start to think that I must be everything you claim because if it wasn’t true why would you mention my name
Does your idea of me make you a more interesting person Are conversation skills measured by your ability of backbiting
But gossip travels like a game of Chinese whispers
And I once read that dogs only bark when they don’t know the person

So no. I am not what you claim I am. I am a soul inhabiting a body not the other way around I am not skin deep but your words they cut deep when once again you remind me of my flaws as if I am not aware of their existence as if I don’t already walk like atlas dumped the weight of the world on me..
And everytime my wound heals you rip off the bandaid like you’re trying to strip me off of all the bits of self esteem I have left.

I am not skin deep but your definition
Of beauty is.

I’m a human made
Of flesh and bones
Your words will never hurt.
Sticks and stones.
I Am but a skeleton learning to get rid of the skeletons in my closet.

I am
No different than the other parts that make up my society
Carbon copies seeking acceptance
A replica of a replica seeking recognition but you can be anything you want. Don’t try to be something you’re not.
Just smile and be a part of a society that loves to contradict itself. A society that ironically blames society for everything.
A society that tells you that physical appearance race and social status don’t matter hoping they’ll convince themselves in the process.
Women rights gay rights even animal rights caused by a society that can barely tell right from wrong. Because when did we start needing rights to treat each other like actual human beings?

All we are is 75% water
206 bones
32 teeth but no wisdom

All we are is
Carbon copies seeking acceptance
A replica of a replica seeking recognition
But to stand out doesn’t mean you’ll fit in But you can be anything you want.

Just be yourself. Don’t forget to smile. Also may I add those teeth a bit too crooked a bit too yellow. It’s what’s on the inside that matters. But that only matters if you’re a rich white man.

I live in Africa..
More specifically I live in Sudan
A rich land where the people are kind and this kind of racism does not exist
Because the majority of the citizens are neither white nor rich.
Is what I’d like to say..
But truth be told even lighter black people are racist towards others who are only a few shades darker
Because the closer you are to flawless white the closer you are to perfection.
I’m not talking about teeth surprisingly.. I’m talking about skin tone.. surprisingly you are not surprised.. because this definition of beauty has been planted in our minds.

Although you should definitely do something about those yellow teeth.

I don’t know when we’ve adapted this concept of real beauty but
White is good black is bad
Yin and yang
Darkness and light
I choose darkness everytime
Because in the darkness I find myself and take off those masks and fake smiles that I’ve worn for so long and I can finally listen to that phrase they so absentmindedly utter but then condemn you for it and I am finally finally allowed to be myself.

Just be yourself.
Why are you so insecure love your body woman love yourself.

Are we  now being judged not only by how we look but how we feel about it too Because being insecure is repulsive but love your scars your scars are beautiful. What do you know about my scars. They are not visible nor self inflicted my scars are inside of me every heart break every loss makes a vortex forms a hole.. a black hole that sucks everything and leaves you empty and dead inside. Why call scars beautiful when I’m scar free and yet feel so uncomfortable in my own skin..

Am I beautiful because tumblr and all those alternative rock songs told you to love my scars and save me
Has it ever crossed your mind that despite my flaws and insecurities I love myself and wouldn’t give anything to trade places
Has it ever crossed your mind that I don’t need saving and that I am my own super woman
But I didn’t say a word when you told me to just be myself because everything I wanted to say would never make sense to you like those irrelevant phrases on rickshaws
And I smiled as wide as I could for you to see all my never been flawless white teeth
Because I know whats on your mind is the opposite of what came out of your mouth when you said

You have a beautiful smile.

THIS IS MY LAST POEM ABOUT YOU // QUTOUF YAHIA (via #NWN)

This is my last poem about you.
Kinda.
No no, this is definitely, probably, my last poem about you
I mean..This is what I hope will be my last poem about you.

Because…

Time had stopped for you
Life stopped for you
Wells ran dry for you
Patience wore and I grew old for you

And in your aftermath
Tragedy sat well at the pit of my stomach
Bitterness at the tip of my tongue
Emptiness filled me to the rim until it
Spilled over with forgiveness I still haven’t forgiven myself for.

And In your aftermath
Ink to paper became what tears are to skin
Just a trail back to sadness
Ink to paper became what water is to lungs
The more I spat out the better I breathed
Ink to paper became what language is to the deaf
It only spoke at you or in your memory but not once did it matter.
Ink to paper became what ash is to fire
Just the remains of something really great.
So.. this is my last poem about you, I think.

See,

I know that I haven’t waited you out of my system
Haven’t written you out of my veins
I know that you still crawl under my skin whenever someone else tries to touch it
That you reside in these bones
That you are the air between my fingers
That You are my missing rib
And you always wanted to be closer to me than God
So you never really ran through my mind just through my jugular.

This has to be my last poem about you
Because my notebook is a blasphemous shrine
These pages live off the worship of pain
My words have to become something other than a build up to your name
So This is a poem About change

This is a poem about late night peace
and what 3 am feels like when you’re not afraid of the dark
what breathing sounds like when you’re not afraid of silence
And what its like to hear yourself and not think you’re someone else’s static
This is my last poem about you

See

I only ever wrote about 3 things:
Death, you and this city cuz you all made me feel the same way
And this

This is the end of
You: tear stained poetry
You: Ballpoint heartbreak
You: treasure in my shipwreck
You: one half home other half eviction letter
You: tremble in my vocals
You: Benjamin button of emotion
Growing backwards on the inside
You: دعاء الكرب
You: two extra minutes of sujood
You: misery to my company
This is my last poem about you.

Hopefully.

DISMAY // HALLA YAGOUB (via #NWN)

Sing; If you can remember the words.  If the melody doesn’t escape your memories and hurt your bones. If the drums you carry inside you still beat against your chest, if the songs you sing are alive made of flesh.

Sing, if you feel the rhythm that mistook itself for a rhyme. Sing down the valleys of your vocal cords and up the peaks of your spine.

Move; outside the lines, outside the words that define, what leather is made to bind, outside the senses falling short like sight is to the blind. Move, So you do not drown in the noise that makes no sense, so that you don’t rust in the shadows of false pretense. Move, Beyond the bruises of suspense left by time on your skin.

Swim, across the oceans against the currents into the rivers that gave you life. Lay down on the in-betweens of sand and sea, Sway with the soft embrace of the wind, feel the light flicker of air across your humble skin.

Dance against all the odds, all the demons that call out, all the spaces where you don’t fit, move till you know the ground where you tread and spin like the very back of your eyelids.

Move, wear out the curves of your muscles, let your bones ignite into fires, electrify every nerve ending on the surface of your skin, slowly you will begin to light up.

Burn; Combust into brilliant ashes, float across waves of 3 AM prayers sent to the moon. Burn all you want, spiral downward as your edges catch on fire. Know that you’re most holy then, when you are made out of ashes, flashes of brightness, fading fires and smoke filling your lungs. Contain the universe within your small warmth, know that after fire comes life and within your warmth growth will start to name itself, so burn.

Grow; Stubbornly into laughter and words. grow into music notes and light bulbs. Grow into seaside mornings and summer nights. Grow into spring flowers, grow into lonely hours. Grow into old towns and lighthouses. Grow into paintings and poems, grow into sadness & joy. Whatever you do, never stop growing. End; You’ll stand suspended between cities of your past and the roads leading to your future. Glass windows displaying your past mistakes, skyscrapers edge against your skies wanting to poke holes into your atmosphere so your stars can fall out into constellations marked with doubt. The houses are full of closest that harbor skeletons waiting to parade your empty streets.

The streetlights flicker inviting darkness for split seconds.

That’s why you sing, that is why you move, that is why you burn, why you grow, how you make your way through the roads leading ahead into your inevitable dismay.

THESE SONGS // RAJ (via #NWN)

These songs are for the resurrection of rebels from the rubbles of so many struggles…
for the exorcism of reality and sanctifying of the dreams…

These songs are for the ones you don’t hear… the ones that are different, misunderstood, curbed and unseen
These songs are for the odds of thoughts and imagination… they are for the filmography of emotions within the cinematic passion these songs are for “no, we won’t keep caution” and this conscious is sub and we crave the peaks of mountains

These songs are for millions lynched tongues… that have been buried so young

These songs are for humanity … for the revolution in every artery… for the fire in our bellies… for spilling love recklessly for free spirits soaring restlessly…

These songs are for me… for the bracelets… for never fitting in always outfit… for the poems hidden uobject under my pillow… and the metaphors carved down my marrow

These songs are the internal battles of endless wars and broken walls… for the adrenalin rushing, eyes popping, bones shaking, skulls smashing, roofs caving, tsunamis’ flooding, planets colliding and skies falling

And most importantly these songs are for you… for the universe inside your ribcages… for your excitements and out rages… for the rebels you call hearts… knocking on the walls of prison so hard… till death tears them apart…

These songs are for every part of you that is simply a piece of art… and every piece of you making peace with your scars… these songs are for your charms… for the dialogs between your arms… for your echoes in the dark… for the rhythm of your thoughts and every wow!

And uh!

These songs are the poems that make you who you ar

THE NOT YET MEN OF MY GENERATION // QUTOUF YAHIA (via #NWN)

The not yet men of my generation
I don’t like the way you trip when you walk
The way you cuss when you talk
And I sure as hell don’t condone your comic blasphemy
Cursing at your god
Cursing at your faith
بتسبو في دينكم
For your lack of vocabulary

The not yet men of my generation
Buy a belt
Preferably leather
Scratch onto it your hopes and dreams
Pull yourself up by the waist
And wear it as a metaphor of your victory
Because, truth be told
Your pants only sag as low as your parents expectations of you.

The not yet men of my generation
If I’m being harsh you should know
It’s only because you are who my brother is when I’m not around
Because you are who my son is going to have to look up to
And I’d rather he look up a bit further from the ground

The not yet men of my generation
Spare your lungs
Hold on to your breath for as long as you can
Because time will find ways to take it away
To slow it down
Allow your insides to decay on their terms
Naturally and gracefully and all in due time

The not yet men of my generation
I know that muscles don’t break
But they do strain so
Give your hearts a break from the resistance
Stop trying so hard to mask yourself with indifference
No one ever changed the world by caring too little

The not yet men of my generation
Let your knowledge be your armor
And let your weapon be your word
Because it’s  your  voice that wins the battle
Not the hand the holds the sword

The not yet men of my generation
Be the art that needs creation
Be a family without realtion
Be the hope that feeds this nation

The not yet men of my generation
may you be the ones that bring salvation.

TITAN // NOURA ALZUABI

Titan you are,
Rising up from the abyss of Tartarus reclaiming your right to exist in a world that shunned you from being.

I SAID:
Titan you are,
The mere idea of you has always been more than what they could handle,
has always been more than what their minds could conceive.
So, in return, they banished you to a darkness so… consuming that even the deepest part of the ocean couldn’t compare to.
Not realising that you were in fact the ocean.
That no darkness could dim the light that came from within you.

I SAID:
Titan you are

I SAID:
Titan you were

I SAID:
Titan you will always be
and I will keep saying this until you hear me, till you believe me, till you realise that you’re free now
that there’s no longer a reason for you to carry the world on your shoulders.

Titan you are.