I miss Marissa,

My pretty island girl with flowers in her hair

She always smelled like vanilla and hairspray

And she was the only person I wanted to laugh with.

When Southern breezes swept our faces, we just smiled and held hands,

And when people passed, she asked me earnestly, how could I handle & keep my composure?

I looked to her softly, with mother Moon gazing over,

“I have no other choice.” & she wept for me.

And for ten years, we celebrated this cycle;

Laughing, smiling, holding and crying.

Reminding each other that we had no other option, but to collect our pride, and carry on.

And on the eleventh year, God said “No more!”

& the Earth opened and swallowed a Princess.

Shocked & dazed, we all came together,

to water her grave until exhaustion.

And He again left me, with no other option.

And without Marissa, I must carry on.

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Inauguration Day 2017

i am a social work intern at an elementary school in South Central, Los Angeles. since beginning my internship, at least 7 children have expressed fears that either themselves or people they love will be deported.
its a daunting task to explain to them that the president does not have absolute power. that the US works on a system of checks & balances.
but it’s even more daunting when i realize that i myself am fearful. i feel like there is an impending radical change that will completely fracture my life. the uncertainty is so suffocating.

i feel like we will experience the ripples of this campaign not now, but in 20 years time. when already privileged children, who were raised during a presidency that legitimizes their privilege, become adults. and when our black & brown children grow up to fear them.

what message is this presidency sending our kids? as adults we can rationalize, compartmentalize, and understand that this is just a buncha bullshit. that if we practice resiliency, we can get past the racist rhetoric and protect our communities. but what about the children? how do they process this?

so many prayers needed today. fuck u donald trump. i really wish for an extremely hard presidency for u. i wish that all the true social justice warriors in our government bring u unease and make sure that your extremely racist, classist, bigoted political dreams never become a reality. i hope your sleep gets disrupted, like the sleep of the 5 year old black child i counseled who thought he couldnt see me anymore because i had lighter skin than him. i hope the leaders of the world make you insecure and u realize u are incompetent for this role. most of all i hope one day u come to understand that u are a despicable vessel for hatred and God places love & light in your heart and u finally change your ways.


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stop loving broken people 

i’m not sure why i always fell in love with
people who were only pieces

pieces of what they once were

maybe all i see is potential

maybe i cannot accept that

people could give up on themselves and not fight to be whole again

so i think i fell in love with who they were

and i thought

if i loved them hard enough

they would become whole again

i never seemed to learn

that you can’t full-love a half-person

to be able to receive pure love

one must be 

so full inside

and so plenty

that they understand the gift they are receiving

stop loving broken people

they will take and take and take

and walk away with your soul in their pockets.

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One day I am a scholar

And the next I am a disgrace

Sometimes I sit quietly

And other times I burn

You would wonder is this the same woman

I am layers of trauma

And lifetimes of pain

I am every joyful moment you have experienced

I am the first time your toes touched the shore

You will come here curious

And you will leave broken


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the suffering 

when you first left i didn’t drink coffee for one month. i couldn’t imagine feeling more anxious and jittery than i already did. So i cut coffee completely out. maybe a part of me didn’t want to feel awake. maybe a part of me did not want to feel energized. i wanted to stay sleepy and tired and groggy. i cut out coffee but i picked up cigarettes. i could’ve gone through a pack a day.

i didn’t wear make up for 5 weeks. i didn’t see the use in wasting it when i knew it would just come off after i cried. it felt better to have bare eyes because i could rub them as soon as there was a tear. it would make it so that it was less obvious that i had been crying, i hate that runny mascara damsel in distress bullshit.
i cut down on alcohol too. you probably think i didn’t because you still got my text and my calls but that happens because your number is already on the tip of my tongue and on the edge of my fingertips.
in this situation i have no pride. i left my dignity outside. i couldn’t play games, i couldn’t do the “no contact rule”, i couldn’t pick up the pieces and move on like so many of my sisters told me to do. i didn’t care how sharp the edges of our broken mirror were, i wanted to put it back together, i demanded to put it back together.

and you just sat there. immobilized by what you’ve done to me, filled with guilt with the thought that you broke my trust. even now i’m working so hard for both of us and you just sit there. my back is starting to break from carrying the weight of us both. my knees are starting to buckle because it honestly just feels like too much. i don’t want to throw in the towel but i also don’t think i can move on. and if you don’t throw me a line soon then this is just going to fade away.

“the period of waiting patiently for release from suffering is an act of worship” 

-imam ghazali 

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pain on the thanksgiving table

It’s an incredibly eerie feeling to be celebrating a holiday that literally commemorates the genocide of an indigenous peoples. Coming from a refugee family whose current countrymen are systematically threatened in the same way, and especially being of Pashtun descent, a diaspora peoples whose self-determination and agency has literally been strangled by imperial and colonial powers, I can’t help but feel disgusted partaking in this day. simultaneously, I am stung with the remembrance of my privilege; that I should be so lucky to even despair about having an incredible feast on my table; that who am I to consciously object to this event when there are individuals literally starving to death. So I better fucking eat that food and sit down and shut-up and forget why I have this incredibly hypocritical gut wrenching feeling, knowing I am on Tongva land, that the San Fernando Valley has for millennia – NOT been my home, and that my spirit is still somewhere on the Durand Line while my body is lost & confused as a hyphenated child. This is the rage of being an American, of knowing your life is owed to the natives and blacks murdered to give us space. How can I eat this food in joy, while my ancestral brethren are being slaughtered across the sea, and while the real Americans are being murdered at Standing Rock? All while a misogynistic, racist despot in now the leader of this “free world” and his words are the validation for thousands of lost white youth to violate the bodies of black and brown people just like me? I can’t help but feel paralyzed over the millions of lives I will never live, over the trail of tears, I’ll never see. What a debilitating pain.

From Pakhtunkhwa, to Palestine, to Standing Rock, we are one. Our struggles are interconnected. Our enemy is the same oppressor. I beg you, wake up. Wake up and contribute to the cause. For safe water, for self-determination, for the right to live and breathe with dignity.


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most people do not want to become shells

or shadows

but what if you wanted to purge yourself of who you once were?

if you couldn’t stand the empty eyes staring back at you?

what if you could never solve your own problems, so you extended your hand out for everyone else?

then being a shell wouldn’t be such a bad thing

if i could empty out my rib cage

create a cavity for everyones sorrow

because mine; i couldn’t just unpack

then i could be a shell

for everyone to visit

to place close to their ear

to see if they could hear the ocean

when they wished they could empty their hearts out too.

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the woman who burns

I always burned. From the bottoms of my feet

To the hair on my head, I burned.

Whether it was love or pleasure or pain or joy that drove me insane.

I burned with it.
People who are shells
Cannot handle the woman that burns

When your heart is an ember

It will melt the man who is hollow.

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small spaces

The small spaces in between my ribs Are where I keep the lies you told me

Every breath I take 

The lies expand and collapse

Because I believed you,

I kept them near my heart 

And thought I’d unpack them 

Every time our love was supposed to grow 

But now they sustain me 

Because I know 

I could take your lies 

And your deceit 

And I could use them to fuel the fire

That burns so deep

I have no choice but to change.

My body sheltered your fraud 
I gave it to you every night

But now those lies are mine.

I feel strong
Because I know I can go on

Even when my body

Was a house for your lies. 

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Election 2016

I remember when they said this man became president, I fell to my knees in the back of the Zara stock room (where I worked) and cried tears of joy. My first time voting as an adult was for our first African American president.

Now I am extremely apathetic and indifferent to it all. It doesn’t matter what face is on the commander in chief, Bc people who look like me and speak my language will still get killed everyday at the hands of this government. I am extremely distraught and internally torn when it comes to whether or not our votes mean anything. Whether a candidate will do anything for my people here and my counterparts back home. 
I am only voting tomorrow Bc my mom is making me drive her to our polling place. I can’t help but admire her for believing in the political process, after fleeing her country, after living life as a refugee, after living in a nation that is complicit in the destruction of her motherland. How she can be optimistic and believe in the power of the people is an ideal that I currently do not possess. 
Whatever the outcome, I pray for our citizenry to remain safe. I pray that my fellow Muslims do not have to walk in fear. That immigrants can still call America a beacon of hope. That diversity is celebrated and compassion is multiplied. 
God bless America, and the places it bombs. 

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