Poetry: [Omens in the History of My Family]

[Omens in the History of My Family]

Spilled salt on a tired marble
floor was a bad omen in our 
household protected
by the pleads of women in the language of 
God. I was running out of luck but
forgot to say Astaghfirullah at the
sight of the ashen luck of salt. To be young 
was to have the privilege of denial. My mother

fed every uninvited crow sitting 
on the walls of her house
to secure her floating daughters’ fates. My
late grandmother wouldn’t let

milk escape its pan when boiling
to keep her falling family prosper. Our mothers 
learned to fight the unseen. Their battle of faith 
wasn't to redeem a victory; only for the safety of 
what meant the most. 
I flinch at every sight of crows 
assuming they’d peck at my luck if they’re hungry 
and never put the milk on raging stoves
in case they burned what is left of my family along. 
In our separate battles, they tried saving 
and I tried being saved. To be young was to
have the privilege of a flourishing

This piece is inspired by the faith of Pakistani Muslim women who, superstitiously, believe in omens—in order to protect their loved one. I only wrote it to channel my own perplexed emotions that hardly agree with their ideologies, yet we are aware how they still thrive somewhere in my personal values.

Collage photo from Harper's Bazaar Feb ‘17 issue.

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Consuming Art ft. Matty Healy's Wisdom

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While hunting for published interviews of my favorite, absolutely brilliant indie music icon Matty Healy, who is the frontman of The 1975 (an English rock band), I came across an interview the band gave to The Big Issue. Their interview was intimate & artistically nonchalant. But one part stood out so vibrantly, it has thus stayed with me.
I remember I sat in a park with a girl for about two hours talking with her about her parents breaking up. Now I realize my responsibility ends with my music.

When I first listened to The 1975's song Somebody Else, I too wanted Matty Healy to give me a customized solution for my issues since his songs carved a sensible way to escape, to understanding that something more substantial than ache existed; without ever realizing how Matty Healy could only give me a song, the solution was never in his pocket. There were millions of us, each interpreting Somebody Else (and The 1975's many other songs) in our own ways. His responsibility did end with his music. What came next, was only an unpredictable interpretation from his audience that was way beyond an artist’s control.
This is the start, of how it all ends (Yellow Flicker Beats, Lorde)
Suppose there is no song left in this world except the one you last listened to. Suppose the song is only meant to be listened once and forgotten forever. Suppose there is no song at all. 

When it comes to the consumption of art in any form, it is hard to determine how the consumer is going to treat it; whether with love, or disdain, or utmost tenderness. There is no certain or established way. One thing, despite everything, is mildly comforting: the original sentiments would always belong to an artist’s creation and not with the artist solely.

Somebody Else will perpetually be an anthem of heartbreak for me. In the official video, Healy falls off a skateboard and breaks his nose, there is also blood. In those few gore-cladded minutes, I learned how not to ride a skateboard and a few other things. In my video player, Healy falls off every single time I replay it, every single time there is blood oozing out of his nose, every single time I know for sure how some melodies are only meant to tear your heart into hideous little pieces.

Perhaps in next ten years, a new band would emerge with a better vision of cinematic ache and half of us will only remember Somebody Else as a fragment of memory and Healy as the anarchist who once started a fire of unclassified emotions. But like every damn end, we are ought to forget and move ahead.

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poetry: Winters Named After My Mother

In Pakistan, it is widely believed that if you name someone after a person, the former party will inherit qualities of the latter party

Seasons were never nameless in our household / Giving them names — dainty pieces 
of our grace — was a mercy plea in advance / the epitome of surrender / to 
never despise / what's now a part of us

Every year I named winter after my mother / tore her name like a whisper 
and gulped / as winds sharpened their blades to invade our 
homes / murmuring Bismillah / followed by Surah Al-Ikhlas

I was born when summer was still in its youth / before the winter ever 
knew glory / to ever love a season unfamiliar with burning / was to be an 
ephemeral ego / a Sapphire crushed to death

Naming winters after a life that started mine / has always been 
my last attempt / to adore a season too foreign / for bodies arising from flames / the ones 
alive before their first summer died

*Bismillah (Arabic: بسم الله‎‎) is the transliteration of the Arabic word which translates into English as "In the name of God" and is the first word in the Quran 

*Surah Al-Ikhlas is the 112th Sura of the Qur'an.
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