Friday, March 29, 2013

My Dear Sweet Butterfly


We met during the sunset days of my life
You flew towards, I lag behind
Mesmerized
You round danced between the crevices of my fingers
Reciting poetic truths while reflecting forgiveness on your multihued colored wings
You were the only constant in these changing times
And I scared of growing up, losing innocence through brief moments
Growing to hate, hating to grow
You comforted me like an old sweater brought back to life by needle and mismatched thread
Dear sweet butterfly
You were there during every honest tear
Every dream shattered, collogued and later hanged to display decorative humility
Every promise wept and every promise kept
I cannot imagine tomorrow without the existence of you today
And even though you claim to be a figment of my imagination
Brought on by a need for juvenile mental stimulation to substitute lack of human interaction
Life is sweeter within confines of this fantasy
So let me envision on...
Unchanged from yesterday, I lose patience while waiting for you
You see me as fragile and I see myself as misunderstood
But you beg to differ while we just now differ
I wallow in my own self truths
Because life can be so cruel and reality is a brute from which there is no getaway
And you the best of creation without human imperfections
Mock me because I cannot see beyond the here and now
I hear you but now, I prefer to be blind
Years have now snuck up on me
I am at the age of misguided truth
Your presence is now diminished to fragmented dreams
Although, when I hold my breath and cover my eyes, I can still hear the buzzing of your familiarity
Dear sweet butterfly
All the lessons taught and all the lessons learned are nothing in comparison to what you have given me
A mother, a father, a sister, a hated brother and a teacher beyond their years
Illuminated by your open candor and lack of discretion, I truly see now everything was a God given life lesson
And too often you would school me in such a manner that class would forever be in session
So it seemed
Dear sweet butterfly
I want to preserve you within the pages of my memory
Not because you deserve it but it would be an honor to be your curator
Know this, between every heartfelt line was a genuine dedication with best of intention
No need to mention, you repeatedly say
But just stay humble while letting your essence flow through, as you elegantly flutter away
I take comfort knowing you are guiding, loving and forever uplifting another
So, please remember you are forever woven within the fibers of my being
Blessed was I to have met you on that fair sunset day
And so, I dedicate this poem to you
Dear Sweet Butterfly

Hana Aw-Dahir
Copyright © 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

{Group poem 27: Female Genital Mutilation}: Halima Ahmed


I.

The mere mention of it
Is enough to evoke
An Intertwined and raw emotions
Championed by excruciating pain and fear
Knees tremble
And, legs shut close
In pursuit of protecting
That which has already been lost

Often she wonders, if the sleep
Of the woman who performed the practice
Is haunted by the piercing cries of
The young girls she mutilated years ago
Does the hands of the women
Who pinned her
Arms and legs down
Cry in regret and remorse?

II.

She was once told by a French doctor
Through his English translator
In a room filled with Americans
That genital mutilation was Africa’s and Islam's crime
Against its women
He said, and I quote
“There is something incredibly sad
In the eyes of a woman who went through FGM”
He went on to portray African women
As weak objects and in desperate need of white saviors
He said we were so damaged and paralyzed that he
Could just take a glance and know
A mutilated woman from the crowd
He said, and again, I quote
“Lucky women, like you, ought to fight against this practice”
I looked at him as I said:
That this lucky woman is mutilated
But not damaged nor paralyzed
Just angry and hurt that this practice still continues
To haunt baby girls in and out of Africa
Mutilated women, contrary to popular belief,
Are not just Africans or Muslims
And, I ensured him, if anything
His racist, sexist and Islamophobic ideologies
Were not lost in translation

Halima Ahmed
Copyright © 2013

Poet of the week: Mabsud Ali


Would you please introduce yourself to the readers?

As-Salamu-Calkeykium folks, my name is Mabsud Ali. I'm from Somalia. Born in Ethiopia. Grew up in Canada. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend and a student. I hope one day to go back home and give back to my people and country. Other than the basics, im just your average young woman living in North America, trying to figure out a way to live a balanced life between the African and Canadian culture.

When did you first start writing poetry and was there any particular incidents in your life that inspired you to write?

I dont specifically remember when i first started writing poetry. But i do remember the day someone else read a piece of mine and that same person pushed me to keep writing and to actually perform live. 
Everything in life inspires me to write, from heartbreaks to failures. To little joys and heartfelt moments. I write about anything, anyone and anytime. Poetry is like my sanity, my psychiatrist. It keeps my leveled. Its my way to heal and come to terms with difficult moments in life. Alhamdoulilah for poetry. 

What does "being creative" mean to you?

Being creative to me means ... thinking outside the imaginary box that life built for us and to defy the blueprint society installed on us. To be creative is to be different and daring within every aspect of life. But try to stay within the borders of halaal-ness, haha. To be creative is to take risks just so that when you're 80yrs old siting in your room reminiscing about your youthful days, you wont regret what you didnt do instead you'd laugh at every bad decision you thought was brilliant at that time ..  

What do you try to communicate with your poetry?

Mhm, i have many recurrent themes in my poetry, its mostly about a lovers last wishes or last plea for forgiveness if he or she wronged their beau ou belle. Or The hardships of love. The difficulties a woman goes thru in life and evidently i love to write about my only lover Somalia .. But all in all, my poetry has the main purpose to tell readers that when everything that could possibly go wrong, goes wrong, dont worry something good shall come your way. 

what do you do when you go into a dry spell of some sort or how do you write another piece when you have been away from it for some time?

If im going thru a dry spell in my poetry, i either choose a theme i want to write about and start scribbling down all the possible emotions i feel about the theme itself e.g. happiness, joy, humbleness .. and i start forming sentences and metaphors. Or i just read thru all my old poems and that usually gives me the kick to writing something new. 

Do you sit and think through every word of every stanza or do you just write freely and allow the words to flow?

I just write honestly .. i dont stop until my hand gets tired. Then when i start editing, i start pausing and rearranging my wordings and whatnot .. 

Who are some of your favorite poets?

I loooove Bassey Ikpi, Shihan ofcourse, Warsan Shire, Suheir Hammad, Dante Basco, Ian Keketu and if philosophers were considered poets, i love Albert Camus and Socrates

What advice do you have for aspiring poets? Any word of advice for closet poets?

To the aspiring poets, dont drop your pen. Because your words could one day be in text books teaching kids somewhere in the world and that poem about love you wrote and believe its so corny and generic, it could actually teach someone .. somewhere what love is .. Just keep in mind that your words are worth something and you should always share your knowledge and thoughts .. And to the closet poets, if you're really shy, sign your poems as anonymous, i know i did that for the longest time ever. But just remember that poetry is a art, its a gift and a talent, and that you should share your talent with the world .. 

What does writing poetry do for you?
Like i said, poetry itself is like my form of therapy. If im having major issues and I'm not comfortable in talking about it with someone whether it be friends or family, i know my pen and paper will always be there for me to "listen" to me. And on the plus side, my pen and paper wont judge me or have an opinion .. it just lets me pour all my emotions on it and call it a day. Poetry gives me the oppotunity to come to terms with difficult situation where i have no control whatsoever of the outcome. Poetry relaxes me and makes me discover myself every day, personality wise. Poetry is my security blanket. Poetry is my life. 

Anything else you would like to share?

What did the baby corn ask the mama corn? .. Wheres pop corns? .. Hahaha. Thanks for reading TILL THE LAST word. Mac'Salaama.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Drought, Millions slain


When I look across the terrain,
I see nothing for the eyes to entertain, 
Shrubs no more, our lands plain, 
For drought had plants, people slain...

They say, no hard-work no gain, 
No right child without cane, 
No mud-play without stain,
 No railroad without a train, 
No drop of rain without prayer strain.

To Allah lets focus our brain,
Together lets ask for God's ordain, 
To bless us with a torrential rain,
Solution, lets cry not in vain, 
For Allah hears most, from those in pain...


Hudhaifah Siyad
Copyright © 2013

Mr. Achebe

I was at a client’s house yesterday when I saw a clip of Mr. Achebe on BBC. The TV was on mute so I could not tell what was going on but all along my heart kept repeating please do not let this be what I think it is. I tried my best to ignore the T.V and suddenly the client’s kid changed the channel. On my way home in the bus, I went on Facebook and there were too many people who dedicated their status to Mr. Achebe. It is never a good sign when many Facebookers start quoting a particular individual. Majority of the time, it is an indication of someone passing away. I cried in the bus.

I don’t ever remember feeling a strong sense of emptiness and sorrow for the death of someone famous and that too for someone I never met. Mr. Achebe’s books were among the first I read when I was learning English. I remember reading Home and Exile and losing track of time. I missed my classes that day but finished reading the book. It was worth it.

♥ Achebe! You will forever live through your words.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I: a human


I try to close my eyes
Not to see things but
I imagine instead
I try to close my mouth
Not to say a word but
I sing instead
I try to sleep peacefully
Not to be interrupted but
I dream instead
I try to be nice
Not to be rude but
I become one sometimes
Instead
I try to be strong
Not to be weak but
I break down sometimes
Instead
I try to help others
Not to harm them but
I hurt them sometimes
Instead
I try to be hopeful
Not to give up but
I become hopeless
Sometimes
Instead
I do whatever I do
cuz I am just
A human being
Not an angel!
  
  
  
Fatha S Colujoog
Copyright © 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Poet of the week (POW): Ahmed Knowmadic


Would you please introduce yourself to the readers?

Hi readers, How are you? I'm good thanks. My name is Ahmed Ali, but I go by Ahmed Knowmadic. Why? I'm moving from place to place herding my words, seeking knowledge. It also gets people to ask about it, which in turn gives me the opportunity to tell them about Somali people and their nomadic lifestyle.

When did you first start writing poetry and were there any particular incidents in your life that inspired you to write?

My first recollection of writing for the purpose of poetry was around age 18. However, I enjoyed word games and would work hard to write during ESL [English as a second language] class at around the age of 12.

What does "being creative" mean to you?

It means expressing your inner thoughts. It's not news, we all have voices and images in our heads (don't try to deny it -_-) Being able to formulate those very same thoughts and images to produce something that is authentically yours is creative.

What do you try to communicate with your poetry?

My truth. I want to share my honest opinion.

what do you do when you go into a dry spell of some sort or how do you write another piece when you have been away from it for some time?

With the exception of few, every poem I write has already been worked on before it even reaches paper. I rarely sit and write a poem. Instead, I read about the topic of my poem, watch documentaries about it and ask people for their opinion. These exercises generate ideas. I write those ideas down into my phone. After I have gathered enough ideas, I compile all my ideas and write them down into a poem. I have several poems going simultaneously. The poems I have on my website are the exception. For that reason I do not go through dry spells.

Who are some of your favorite poets?

 Titilope Sonuga Mary Pinkoski and many more

What advice do you have for aspiring poets?

Be yourself. Don't try to be like someone. There are 7 billion other people, there is only one you. People are waiting to hear your poetry. You might think you are not a good enough poet, but what is a "good poet" anyway? There a hundreds, if not thousands waiting to hear your poetry, share when you are ready.

Any word of advice for closet poets?

Write your way out of the closet when you are ready. Don't be pressured to share your truths if you aren't ready. But when you are... Beat people with those words like my aabo beat me with clothes hangers (Not true, he never hit me...)

Anything else you would like to share?

My words are as powerful as the one that gives them meaning. So thank you for giving my words your time. God bless you for reading this and giving me the opportunity to remind you of how merciful Allah is.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

MY SOMALIA






From time to time, I post poems that are written by non-Somalis on this page; those poems, are often about Somalia or Africa. Ms. Sinikka Salminen emailed me few days ago with this poem and pictures taken in 1985 in Somalia. 

About the author: I wrote this poem december 1985 when I returned from Somalia to Finland. I worked 1 ½ years in Tuberculosis project as a public health nurse, living and working in Mogadishu but working also in Kismayo, Qoryoley, Hargeisa and Burao, an unforgettable experience, wonderfull country.
Sinikka Salminen Kerava, Finland

My Somalia is a land of sun
a land of sunraising and sunset
a land of dark and warm nights
a land of camels and goats
a land of kind human beings
a land of friends, a land of light.

My Somalia is a land of communication
there I learned to touch another person
there I learned to laugh, to cry
there I learned to work, to relax
there I learned to get many friends
there I learned to lose my friends.

My Somalia is a land of flowers
a land of Indian Ocean
a land of dry and hot sand
a land of warm and strong wind
a land of sweating under the hot sun
a land of helpful rain.

My Somalia is a land of different customs
there I learned to walk slowly
there I learned to live without telephone
there I learned to live without morningnews
there I learned to drink camelmilk
there I learned to respect somali woman

My Somalia is a land of verbal communication
a land of poem
a land of song
a land of music
a land of radio
a land of tapes.

My Somalia is a land of sounds and smells
there I learned to hear the sea
in that corner of Lido beach
there I learned to smell the unssi
burning it in the "unssi-pot"
getting the smell to my partyclothes.

My Somalia is a land of marketplaces
a land of somali tea
a land of Alba softdrink
a land of sweet "halua"
a land of "dira" a land of "kuntino".

My Somalia is a land of my experiences
there I learned to sing on Merca road
there I learned to see the stars of Shalambood
there I learned to find the old Xamar
there I learned to hear the night of Kismayo
here I learned to smell the night of Qoryoley.

My Somalia is a land of somalifood
a land of somalirice
a land of goatmeat and "bas-bas"
a land of "ambulo iyo bun"
a land of "angero iyo beer"
a land of mango, a land of papaya.

My Somalia is a land of handhygiene
there I learned to wash my hands
without waterpipes
and we did that before eating,
also after eating,
you used your right hand.

My Somalia is a land of contrasts
a land of richness, a land of poverty
a land of health, a land of diseases
a land of a birth of a little child a land of a death of a little child
I carry on my arms one of them.

But my Somalia is a land of Allah
Who takes care of the somali children,
the strong men, the long-walking nomads,
the beautiful women, the hard-working mothers.
In that land I can touch the nature,
I can sense very old historical background.
This is my Somaliland.

By:  Ms. Sinikka Salminen

Monday, March 11, 2013

Poet of the week (POW): Abadir Hashi



you please introduce yourself to the readers?

My name is Abadir Hashi, I have been writing poetry for a year and a half now. As well as a poet, I’m also a designer and an artist. I’m now 18 years old, currently living in London-England. I was born in Somalia and came to the UK when I was 7. I gave been fortunate enough to visit my motherland twice in my life. The first time in 2006 and the second time in 2011; this is the reason why I particularly write about Somalia and its struggles. I want to become an Architect one day and hopefully restore Somalia to its full beauty. 

When did you first start writing poetry and was there any particular incidents in your life that inspired you to write?

First I wrote poetry was when I was in year 10. It was for a ‘Speaking and Listening Assessment’ and I chose to write and perform a poetry unlike everyone one else who did a presentation. I never knew I was capable of writing poetry but since art come naturally to me, it wasn’t hard to transition my talent into words. I also began to listen to multiple YouTube clips of poets found on ‘Def Poetry Jam’ and ‘Brave new Voices.

What does "being creative" mean to you?

For me, being creative means you have absolute freedom to express what you think without any boundaries. You are free to use words, art and other forms of expression to voice your message. Being creative is also being able to be inspired – creativity can do so much but once you’re inspired, you are driven to finish it to the end.

What do you try to communicate with your poetry?

My poetry is my vessel for a brighter future. Knives and bullets can hurt you but words run deeper, it’s a force to be reckoned with and a beckon of hope. My poetry, art and designs are not there to be seen but to be felt, they are my cannonball to spread peace, happiness and faith to the ears that stand before me. 

What do you do when you go into a dry spell of some sort or how do you write another piece when you have been away from it for some time

The best way, for me, to get back into writing is to do ‘free writing’. It means you have to write whatever comes to mind in a short space of time between 5-10mins. You should never lift your pen from the page until the time is up. You can also have words that someone shouts out to you randomly whilst you write.
What this allows you to do is to have raw material that you can change later and make it sound fancy. Ultimately this ‘free writing’ would give you a backbone of some sort so that you can fall back to. Surprisingly, the best lines and stanzas are sometimes accidental – so don’t make your poetry seem such a hassle; have fun and enjoy it. 

Do you sit and think through every word of every stanza or do you just write freely and allow the words to flow?

I love to write whilst travelling on the bus or the underground. I hardly ever sit down silently and write; I like the loud and busy environments that would let my mind run wild. Also, I usually write freely to let the words flow and experiment with them.

Who are some of your favorite poets?

I get inspiration from all types of poets, combination of classical poets: Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Frost, DH Lawrence, Blake, Shakespeare, etc. To more current faces you would see in ‘Def poetry jam’ and ‘Brave new Voices’

What advice do you have for aspiring poets? Any word of advice for closet poets?

If you’re not sure about poetry or feel not confident enough to share yours; I would greatly suggest going to open mic nights and spoken word competitions to get inspiration. The poetry scene is very small, you would always meet people more than once and the community you would gain is amazing.

Anything else you would like to share?

Anyone can write poetry, you just have to believe in your words… believe that IT WILL BE HEARD AND FELT!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Cultures Collide


I'm easily distracted by the dark side; temptation has me questioning where my heart lies.
I keep my head, heels & standards high a lesson my mother gradually came in time.
I’ve travelled several places words can’t describe; my memories share a story full of pain & glory.
I wear my heart on my sleeve my cultures collide; I’m a nomad queen living this London life.
I grow through life with a mission in mind, my intentions are real I pray the motherland heals.
Distant memories replay in my mind like a childhood melody, I hymn in rhythm to an unknown song, and the soundtrack to my life is more than a song.

My morals keep me humble; on the road to success I see my mother’s eyes hoping to be the best.
The circus I see is a mix between friends & family, we all are sinners we just do it differently.
I wear my heart on my sleeve, pride on my back, circle got smaller so my visions on track.
My destiny is like my pen & my pad, I am the creator of what I never had.
I see the next generation behind me, I pray they age with wisdom you see I know how it feels when cultures collide.
We are the best & worst all at the same time.

Laila Duale
Copyright © 2013

{Group poem 27: Female Genital Mutilation}: Mabsud A


Oh young daughters of the world
I apologize for the harm our forefathers casted upon you
So innocent and youthful you were
With your big brown eyes, gleaming with hope and potential
Just to be drowned by the ignorance of our mothers and arrogance of our fathers
Sweet mother said you'd be pure and wanted by every men
Protective father pledged to only give your hand to the highest bidder but only if they sliced away your womanhood
Your naive mind didn't know any better and you jolted at the opportunity to be more womanly. Or to be perceived highly.
Oh young daughters of the world
I apologize for the harm our forefathers casted upon you
Promising you jewels and gold in exchange for your unique flower
But in reality, you only received pain and neglect
Complications and infections, you didn't know of
Something your small mind couldn’t grasp since you barely knew your own anatomy
Oh young daughters of the world
I apologize for the harm our forefathers casted upon you
But I can only fathom how lonely you must have felt
As though you were a figment in this world and not a human
Or when your cries were muffled by screams and ululation of the joyous women of the village
And how mother said to wipe your tears and smile because today was your day
They all claimed you were flawless and immaculate now supposing you were filth before
Oh young daughters of the world,
I apologize if you ever felt as though you were a vehicle instead of a woman,
To only conceive precious daughters in a world where they'll only gain status and respect by carving out the blessing God gave them
Oh young daughters of the world,
I apologize for the harm our forefathers casted upon you
But please do not hold any grudges upon our mothers. For they knew no better.
Since they've been deprived of their right to be loved and feel loved just like you.
Oh young daughters of the world
How I yearn to hold you in my treacherous arms and wipe away your tears
Or just feel half your pain when the blade disfigured your beautiful body
Forgive me if you ever felt as though I betrayed you or forgot about you
Oh young daughters of the world,
I apologize for the harm our forefathers casted upon you
Forgive the men of your family, for they were only repeating tradition as they say
Not knowing the pain and suffering their wives and sisters felt
Forgive the men of the world even though their insecurities was the cause of your impairment
Oh young daughters of the world,
Do you ever think how different your life could have been if your flower wasn't uprooted?
Would you love your husband more? Would you feel more womanly? Would you feel complete? Or would you have been promiscuous and proving these small minded individual's hypothesis behind this horrendous act true?
Oh young daughters of the world,
I apologize for the harm our forefathers casted upon you
And I hope one day your precious daughters will be loved and feel love without having to trade their womanhood, their flower, their sexuality just to be perceived holy and clean.

Mabsud A
Copyright © 2013


Friday, March 8, 2013

Group Poems

For group poems, the participants, write a whole poem on a particular theme from their own perspectives. So far, we have had 27 groups poems on topics ranging from Islam to Somalia to being a woman for our fathers and mothers to celebrating the Somali independence to one dedicated to Mumia Abu Jamal, for love, etc. 

The current group poem #27 is about female genital mutilation or commonly known as fgm. If you wish to participate, write something on the theme and email it to somalipoets@gmail.com

{Group poem 27: Female Genital Mutilation}: A different mind-set by Hudhaifah


Weep not, wail not,
Behind the curtains, did hear the plot,

Overwhelmed by tears,
Stood with stares,
Sister in pain, helpless cried in vain.

They called it circumcision,
I retorted mutilation,
They called it dignity,
 I retorted inhumanity,
They shouted, "get out of our sight!"
Sorry sister, none couldn't hear my plight.

After a month or so, the healing no more,
After a year or so, life no more,

Finally came the regret,
To FGM, a different mind-set..

Hudhaifah Siyad
Copyright © 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013

{Group poem 27: Female Genital Mutilation}: Rahmat


I dont ask why it was done. 
I know a part of me is gone.
Even though I dont miss it.
I feel I must to the truth admit.
What was an essence of my womanhood.
Was severed to justify no good.
I dont feel less of a woman.
Living with less of an organ.
What is done, is done.
The effect is long-term.
Not to define me.
But to teach thee.
I'm not broken.
Nor confidence sunken.
Yes I'm affected.
But not defeated.

Rahmat Hashi
Copyright © 2013