April 2019

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Ghorba - by Fatima Elreda.(Photo by Samuel Austin)Photo credit: Samuel Austin


By Fatima Elreda

A transliteration of a word 
that holds memory in its grip,
nostalgia in its creases,
longing along its curves.

I am this word 
that does not belong in this poem, 
an untranslatable element of meaning 
that has not found its way into your tongue–
the unstructured foreignness of an unfamiliar language.

I transcribe the sounds;
yet, I cannot pronounce the pain
because there is no word that I could think of
that could describe this state of estrangement.

We lose in translation
the unspoken meaning
that is understood without proclamation,
the melancholy is
transmitted in the air–
the cause of an implosion
that breaks windows inwardly 
because I am not home. 
But, for some reason,
I know that even when I return 
my soul will remain in exile.

NYTmagazine_rudeness_finalPhoto credit: Hakim El Haj

The Immortal Torment

By Osama Al Hussaini

On the most ominous of nights,
We dare to dream.
We yearn to grasp the lights;
The rays of oblivion, and scheme

The roots of the ancient oak crumbled,
The guardian left the door,
The swan dancer stumbled,
The boat stayed ashore.

The trust within vanished
For mankind broke the cord,
Solemnity and pride banished
By the filthiest of the horde.

On the precipice, basks our hope
The creature of lust and longing
Heart and mind would never cope
Thus no fault in wronging
To hang the scaled man, or to cut the rope
Snakes never seemed belonging

To embrace the fire of divinity
Or to be consumed by solitary
Here, a game lacking equity
And justice is the temporary

cherishing the flame to say we love
Burning in the fire to say we live
But life gives us pauses to think of
The hearts. Are they ours to give?

I cry for the love that’s taken away from us
I cry for tasting all kinds of pain
The stabber of my heart is anonymous
Therefore my suffering is In vain

The child has abandoned his mother
And in her screams he profaned
Purity was stripped from the lover
The soul is ignored, the body is obtained

Yet in this havoc of a world
No menace found in kindness
A smile with a sweet word
In utter gloom are brightness

In a room filled with the bleak silence
Be the first to reach the harp
You and the stage won’t form alliance
The crowd is deaf, the strings are sharp

Nay, fear not the pain
Fear not the intuitions of the sky
Your tear shall leave a stain
So please smile, please don’t cry

Sing your calamity with a sweet sound
From a song that flows from the heart
You will see the beauty when it’s all around
That is when stop throwing your blaming dart

Ignore the crack on the moon
Yet, Be thankful for the light
If you cry it will all end soon
So bathe yourself in this bright

In the sleep of death exist no dreams
So seek your hopes in life
At the end of the tunnel flicker the joy beams
For there is a reward whenever you strive

And remember
No menace in kindness
No menace in kindness

Keep Her - by Rianne Salenga (Photo by Aliyah Jamous)Photo credit: Aliyah Jamous

Keep Her

By Rianne Salenga

When a woman shows you she is strong,
do not take this as an invitation to break her.
No, she is not fragile –
but she did not walk barefoot on
the shards of her doubts, trip on
the rocks of her failures, skin her
knees on broken promises,
only to show you that she will stand again.

When you hear the quiet confidence
in her voice, do not take lightly the words
“need” and “want” from her mouth.
She has been alone
on this uncertain road long enough
to know the difference.
And these syllables can only dance
off her tongue, and twine with your name
when properly invited.

So when this woman
whose veins have survived fire,
tells you that the lilt of your laughter is
her favorite song,
and she welcomes your eyes
like honey on her naked skin,
when she tells you your breath
smells like her kisses mixed with the oranges
you ate off her fingers –
hold her.
Believe her, and be still.
This is how you keep her.

I Promise - by Zainab Udaipurwala (Photo by Andrei Lazarev)Photo credit: Andrei Lazarev

I Promise

By Zainab Udaipurwala

Just hold on
to me,

I swear I 
will get better

I promise 
they are working
on a cure for me,

I promise
I am taking 
my meds on time,

Just hold on
to me,

They all seem
to leave me
when they see me
like this,

Do I look
that bad
with no hair,

Or do I look
scary with dark
under eyes
and sucked in cheeks,

Just hold on 
to me,

I know I am
in the last stage

But if you
are here with me

I am ready 
to fight it all
Ready to
take and experiment
all they have,

Ready to live
with you just
for once,

Just hold on
to me,

Just give me
hopes that you
will stay
stay till I close
my eyes,

Just tell me
you will be the
last person I 
see when I leave,

Just hold on
to me,

I know I am
troubling you
and you want to
go out 
enjoy your life,

But just sit
for a little 
while and I will 
be gone soon
while you are asleep.

riley-mccullough-168345-unsplashPhoto credit: Riley Mccullough


By Laith Bilal

Your eyes sparkle with dying dreams

Face structure of an unfinished masterpiece

You’re the voice of the weak

Sweet blasphemy

Words I never dared to speak

A bewildering cold poem recited with love

As rivers of passion flow down your cheek.

You are beauty within scars

A sensation

A daydream

A bedazzling, breathtaking constellation of stars.

Nocturnal Musings - by Tirtho 'Noren' Banerjee (Photo by Tiko Giorgadze)Photo credit: Tiko Giorgadze

Nocturnal Musings

By Noren

The weariness of the relentless night
beckons relics of a memory
that stab at my loneliness.
An old, crushed desire
stings an inward dying impulse,
a restlessness blazes
in the abyss of a buried agony.
A desperation long tamed
blurs the sight of my thoughts.

The strange disquiet in an aching silence
yells to be heard.
A tear swells up in my heart,
sighs sob without a voice.
The hurt seizes my vulnerable breath
and charges at unsaid feelings
that can’t be felt in words.

I want to be taken away by sleep
I want to fall into the lap of numbness
but haunting vestiges poach on
my innocent solitude
and despair of an irrevocable loss
drags the reluctant feet of my helplessness
into a darkness where dead passions
turn into phantoms and perpetually slay the soul.

I Don't Like - by Haya Venna 2 (Photo by Alex Iby)Photo credit: Alex Iby

I Don’t Like

By Haya Venna 2

I don’t like the way you look at me,
with an emotion foreign to my heavenly body.
I don’t like the way it feels to be talked about,
ill thoughts spilling out of your faucet.
Be careful, it may overflow;
for you may, yourself, trip.

With your mossy agony that graces
every reminder of my immaculate being,
you walk in with zero concern.
With zero concern of relishing the breathing muscles of my soul,
you shed a dozen smoky roses.

Summoned me into your life,
to be your angel and to lather your wounded ego with fairy dust.
Approached you,
with hope stricken eyes;
don’t blame me,
I had no other choice.

Contemplating my metaphorical funeral wasn’t an option,
I’d long sold my first dance to the devil in a tuxedo.
Flipped my crimson attire and attitude,
and as I walked swiftly towards you with the wind caressing my face,
and my train, longer than a Greek goddess’ golden hair
it sure felt nice, to be welcomed as a nightmare.

Check out our previous edition from 2019:

Edition XXXVII