‘Gaze’ by Fauzia Rafique

September 15, 2016

Cold male gaze

sizzles on my body

slipping and sliding

top down, bottom up

sizing and slicing

toxins bubble / out of fresh /red blood

beneath my calm

brown skin
..

qandeel

.

If ever you
set foot
outside this house
Smack you, I will

.

If ever you
cook anything
I don’t like
Bash you, I will

.

If ever you
give birth to
a female child
Rap you, I will

.

If ever you
marry a man
of your choice
Smash you, I will

.

If ever you
ask for your
property rights
Whack you, I will

..

Photo from Aljazeera
Poem from Fauzia’s chapbook ‘Holier Than Life’.

..

photobyroshnichanda-1

I’m a Candle
Light Vigiler
vigiling over
murders of masses
of people burning
dollar store candles
every other week
in a safe little corner
of an unsafe city

sometimes i use look-alike blinking fake little candles, still, the tears are real like the blood that is spilled of the innocent unarmed civilians childrens

but my vigils
get slurped by the party politicos
solidaritos seeming progressivos
who speak without questioning authoritos
without threatening ideologeos
of the very systemos
that breed the demandos
and create the supplyos
for the (designated) MURDERERS
and the (appointed) KILLERS
of the (compulsive) COLONIZERS

a gimmick named ISIS, for example, is a US-NATO toy created to achieve certain corporate goals for the war pharmaceutical religion construction finance industry

candle light vigiling
has made me a hostage to
the onslaught of
violence carried out to
make more profit for
a few bankers officers
and priests
a hostage to
the sorrow of
innocent deaths
a prisoner to the powers
that need to feed
the oceans of
their greed
with the rivers of fresh
red- warm
blood

‘pray for baghdad’-‘islam is a violent religion’-‘all muslims are not terrorists’-‘good morning’-‘brexit the refugees’-‘kill colored migrants’- ‘Black Lives Matter, No?’ -‘send more weapons to middle east’-‘eid mubarik’- but i never auditioned for this role and i never invested in your goal

The hostage the prisoner
the sorrowful individual
must break
her cage before
the oceans of greed
usurp all blood before
vigiling extinguishes
all dollar store candles
in a safe little corner
of an unsafe city
.

Photo from Roshni Chanda
..

It was a delightful experience for me to have one of my poems chosen as an ‘ought to be taught’ poem.

More so, because it was picked by a young person for her school. She was working on an end-of-the-year class project for English Lit program.
I was scrolling through the web and I stumbled across your beautifully written poem “It was life”. I was wondering if…

The original poem was written in Urdu, and here’s the ‘chosen’ English version.

It was Life
(To estranged and un-estranged women friends)

It was life
i lived back then
not a story
that was told

You were there, hiding my injured body
in a colourful shawl
i was stumbling
falling
you too helped me up
the truth of the moments
spent with you, in the strength
of the glow
of our togetherness
over years I applied the balm
of my spirit to make it work on me
and now the wounds have healed
without leaving a single ugly scar
on my person
don’t take it to mean
there was
no attack

I lit candles of tears
with the blood of my heart
to enlighten the inside of my body
don’t take it to mean
the darkness
was never
here

Lightening sight in the eye
glow of life
jumps out of me
whirling into a wild celebrative dance in the yard
don’t take it to mean
that the age of sorrow
did never
arrive

It was life
i lived back then
not a story
that was told

If you take it to mean
there was no
attack, darkeness did not
descend, that
the age of sorrow
was never here,
there will remain a pinch in my heart
because my story
is yours also
the truth will become jumb
-led with the lie
and at some point
when you are about
to tell your story
the truth all jumbled up with the lie
it may be hard to see
the attacker, to tell
if it’s darkness
or light
because my story
is yours also

You have sustained
attacks here as well, dodged
lethal hits, in offerings
to the times of sorrow you also have
drank tears an eyeful
at a time, you know
all shades of your darkness, recognize
the face of grief
or say it
yes say it
your story
is not my story

It was life
i lived back then
not a story
that was told

View original in Urdu

First published at this blog in July 2012
..

Dedicated to Afghanistan’s Shaheed Bibi Farkhanda Malikzada who was killed by a mob in Kabul at the false accusations of blasphemy on March 19, 2015. We are privileged to have Farkhanda’s in-destructible spirit among us.
.

Allah is my most
recent aphrodisiac
ever great for turning
my little me into
a big powerful we, so big
so big (more than ten at least!)
no one can stop
me as i give
and take life in your
home, on street
in the park, fields
work, school, factory
college, univers
-ity, no one stops me
i’m not just
me but we are we
Allah the ever great
is always, always
with me, the little
Man Almighty

I tell you what
to do what
to wear what
to say what
and not what
obey me or then what
‘BLASPHEMY!’ a cry
in my ecstasy, i attack
and we kill
(there and then) with wood
wood planks, stones
boulders, bricks
words, fatwas, firearms
honor, acid, poison, purdah
mutilate, behead, gang (episodes
of man-power) rape
buy and sell, produce
more porn
to later watch with
me, the little
Man Almighty

i get erect
-ions, hundreds
and thousands,
by using against you
the gods of jesus
and moses, raam
and krishan, mahatma
budh, waheguru khalsa, works
in other places but
here, i like mo’s youthful
and tighter sharia, as good
as any, it suits
me, the little
Man Almighty
Wallah! Allah is my most
recent aphrodisiac

(The video appeared on my facebook newsfeed on December 31.)
..

i moved
to a place with a thick
patch of lush green trees
a block or so from me
fenced in exploration
was trespassing but
it was there on my way
home a privilege
to walk by hear the birds
chirp play fly
some squirrels rats
signs of hedgehogs
all kinds of people offencing
the fence
a lovely spring and
then the summer arrived
flowering bushes and blackberries
sprawled out of the fence
burying it in a cover
of color and nutrition
one morning
my neighborhood sounded
too busy for itself
heavy equipment moved in
and in the next four days
the trees were cut thrashed
raised to the ground, except for a couple
fronting the kgb, a decorative
marketing ploy, selling
the illusion of home
138 brand new
3-4 bedroom
1500-1750 sqft
townhomes.

Poisoned rats began to come
and die in my yard.
Birds went silent for a day
or two witnessing the deaths
we did not see.

Someone grieves, leaving signs
saying ‘i grieve’ at the scenes
of the crime. My friend, david dalley,
i grieve with you
and i demand from the city
and its developers (as they
make their money)
a tree
for a tree

a tree
for every tree

a tree
for every profit-damned earth-loving brown-ass tree

Plant it in
that neighborhood
as you make
your money.
A Tree For A Tree!
.

This poem is part of a larger work (in progress). First presented at the Literary Cabaret of ‘Sound Thinking Symposium 2015: Voicing the City In/verse‘, Surrey, Nov 28-29.
..

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