our train is delayed and i am late for lunch
with a boy i like because he makes me feel
less lonely and that seems like a sufficient
definition for love these days
in this city where it is possible to be surrounded
by the warmth of millions of apartment lights and
still feel cold

the lights turn off.
and it’s one of those moments
when we are forced to look up from our screens
and remember that we exist outside of them

they tell us that someone jumped in front of the tracks
that he died upon impact
so we just sit there in silence
as they remove his remains.

and some part of us
is happy because this,
this is the first time we have
felt like part of something greater than ourselves in a while
in this city where sometimes it takes
an accident to remember what the purpose of a
body is to begin with.

when the train starts up again
the woman next to me starts complaining
and asking why he didn’t do it at home
how he could have saved us the trouble and time
by taking a bottle of pills before leaving the house
how selfish it is to delay others with your death

and i want to hug her
say: “remind me the purpose of this arm”
want to love her
say: “remind me the purpose of this heart”

but you see this is america
where people scatter on streets like discarded leaves –
only touching accidentally as we
land on these cities we grew up circling on maps
saying  “remind me happiness”
and somehow convinced ourselves they did
the same way we believed in the borders between
countries so well that we built a wall around
them: called it ‘mine’

this is america
where pain is a ritual we are required to conduct in private:
an elaborate symphony on mute

call it “he died in his sleep peacefully”
(as if the stroke did not tear him to pieces)

call it “he lived to be eighty six years old”
as if he didn’t hate himself for at least thirty of them)

call it “accident”
not no healthcare

call it “casualty”
not calculation

in america:

death is a distraction.
it is thirty of us sitting together underground on a subway train
unable to hold each other and weep so instead
we sit in silence and wait until we can move again
back above ground
into the light
and forget how much death must be in the soil
to grow such 

i want to text the boy above ground waiting for me, ask:
"have you ever been to a funeral with complete strangers?"
but instead i look at the woman next to me, the one
who told a dead man to die more considerately and
i remember that to live in america is to attend
a funeral with complete strangers:
how many ghosts does it take for a cemetery to call itself a country?

to live in america is to blame the
dead for their own death, not
the country for creating the very
conditions that already killed them
before they caught up and
made things more clear

which is why when i tell the
liberal who wears words like ‘diplomacy’
and ‘democrat’ that i will not pay his taxes
because i do not want my coins to cause carnage
and he calls me a terrorist
(i understand)

which is why when i tell him
that i do believe in monsters who come
out at night, call them ‘men’ for short
and he tells me that i only dress femme because i want to be bashed
(i understand)

which is why when i tell him
that the very women who started our movement
are still being murdered in the same cities where
men are getting married and calling it momentous
and he gasps: “that happens here? in america!”
(i understand)

the ways we have been taught
to apologize for our sadness.
to blame ourselves for the hurt.
to erase the violence.
to numb the pain.
to normalize the death.
to wake up in the morning and
deny that sometimes when the
train crawls into the station that
we may see a pill in its place.
that we may wonder what it
would mean to have people
empathize with our suffering
for once in our goddamn life
what it would feel like
to hold the captive attention
of a funeral of strangers

so i want to embrace to this woman on the train
and say: “i am afraid too”
say: “remind me trust”
say: sometimes this silence feels like the highest pitch of screaming.
say: i understand. say: these past thirty minutes were the first time i have
been forced to publicly grieve death in a long time
and there is something
beautiful about that
say: what if we stopped moving more often,
took a second to
absorb the pain,
let it fill us a little less empty.

but instead i will sit here and wait until the train starts up again.
i will exit the car without saying goodbye to her.
i will walk up the stairs to the boy outside with the smile that makes me feel less lonely.
i will apologize for being late.
i will not have the words for a type of loss that is so distant it is intimate.
after lunch later i will get back on the train.
i will remember.
i will soon forget.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ 
this is an original poem by alok of . please consider supporting the artist

"Hijab is an attitude,
Every color of your scarf is an emotion stitched to show how you’ve been feeling inside.
Made out of fabric.” -Partition by KingHijabPin

We’re revolutionizing Muslim women all over the world, ready or not here it comes! Monday, September 15th in sha Allah

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native informant


the first time i was called a terrorist was in 5th grade
i remember my mother telling me that she didn’t
want me to go to school because
white people did not understand the difference between
a hindu and a muslim
to them we were all brown
and that was enough evidence for the american flags
that sprung up overnight like an allergic reaction

this is the story of a generation:
we who hit puberty the same time the
planes hit those towers
fumbling in the remains 
inheriting an endless war as a bed time story
our bodies stolen
from us by the headlines that taught
us that we, man
we, brown,
we criminal


one of grandma’s favorite stories she’d tell us growing up
was that when grandpa took her out for their first date
she refused to eat a single bite because the cook was muslim

after coming out i used to joke whether it would anger her
more if i married a man or a muslim woman.


there is a woman who looks like my grandmother weeping on a stage.
she tells the story of her son shahawar matin siraj
how the FBI paid native informants to spy on muslims after 9/11 
to plant dissent and use it to justify the global war on terror.

one of them targeted her son.

over night he was abducted and taken to prison.
it has been over ten years.

i want to call my grandmother
tell her about him and the more than 1,000 brown men
who looked just like me growing up
that were kidnapped from the streets in 2001 
and put in planes flying away from new york city
to be detained or deported

but i know that she will not believe me
because she believes in america
and will hear a muslim name
and what could be more
incriminating than that?

it will not matter that we speak the same language,
because our tongues are severed by a partition
silent and painful,
like a gaping wound
mistaken as mouth


a group of white liberals dress a puppet  in a suit and paint him ‘brown’
call his college essay about growing up a minority ‘articulate’
give him a pat on the head every time he says something right
like: racism is in the south / racism is in the past / racism is prejudice
take photos of him for their view book
tell him his religious garb is ethnic and beautiful
share him like an upworthy article. 
give him extra points for using creative english like:

tell us how you were “wounded” by the slurs
(while we send a drone to pakistan)

tell us how “violent” it was for your classmates to mistake your identity
(while we stop & frisk them in jackson heights)

tell us how “militantly” you worked to get where you are today
(while we send officers with guns to break in their homes)

convince the puppet to run for political office
ghostwrite his speech about realizing the immigrant dream
watch him deport thousands back to the middle east
watch him send troops to follow them there
watch him kill his own
watch him not care.

what does it feel like to be a model minority victim?
what does it feel like to have a white man touch you
(even though he’s pulling all your strings)?
what does it feel to be brown and beautiful
for once in your goddamn life?
do you ever look back to where you came from?

do you ever look where they are taking you now?
you brown, when convenient
you brown, when resume
you brown, when you want white,
look white, do right, do white,
“what does it feel like to be a solution?”


seconds to tear out
all of the sutures in your skin

1 - white supremacy has always relied on the telling of certain victim narratives over others
2 - racism is not just a cultural attitude, it is an economy of violence
3 - hindu upper caste indians earn more income on average than whites in this country
4 - muslim south asians are now the poorest minority group in new york
5 - who profits from being vague? from solidarity for the sake of salary?

which means that i am sitting in an auditorium weeping
along with this mother who could have been mine
because i am thinking of all the ways that i am not her son.

thinking about the distance
between a bully and a bullet,
a slur and a sentencing,
a plane and a prison.

thinking about these two forms of class:
how one of us was sent to a private cage
and the other to a private college.

thinking about how so many of us have been taught to name the ways that we have been hurt,
but rarely take the time to name the ways we do harm.

how easy it is to wear words as shields like
call me brown 
not brahmin, not bourgie, not bigot

so tonight i am calling my grandmother and all of
the rest of us in this country who
put american flags on our lawns,
english on our tongues,
put on islamophobia like a skin whitening cream
the same day they put you in jail
and called it justice

so i will keep calling her back when she hangs up
even though our people continue to be hanged
so i will keep calling until you are free.
until we are all free
from our own
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
this is an original poem by alok of please continue supporting the artist

"This poem,
Goes out to winniedetwa letnoorshine & Isra Chaker,
This poem goes out to every Muslim girl on the front lines between scarf ties & blurred line,
I know you want it.” -Partition by KingHijabPin

We know you want the video & its coming this Monday in sha Allah, stay tuned!

Watch on

By @linnewest “Yall better pay attention.” via @PhotoRepost_app

#blackamerica #blackpeople #MikeBrown #MediaBlackOut #truth #spokenword

Just because I've never been in love, doesn't mean I don't know how

I’ve never been in love

I’ll stare with wistful melancholy at the lead singers who croon their soulful tunes
with their hands caressing guitar necks

I’ve never been in love
my heart wilts at the thought of people being disappointed by love 
when I only see everything lovable about them

I’ve never been in love but
I can’t help the fiery passion fired 
when the pair of best friends I was rooting for
get together at the end of the movie

I’ve never been in love but
I could tell you so earnestly
the reasons I believe love saves people

describe so vividly
the blissful smiles of those who are

I’ve never been in love
there is a growing ache in my gut
when I imagine the young man pining so hard for the girl 
is singing to me

sometimes I wonder how I could be 
so deeply affected.
by the lingering glance of a stranger be so impacted

I’ve never been in love

When I cannot sleep he kisses my forehead, pulls me into his chest and tells me he’s happy
When I stir,
when dreams take over my sleepy consciousness he pulls me close kisses my forehead and whispers ‘I’ve got you.’ He holds me until my breathing slows and I relax into his embrace
As the sun spills through the shades he breathes good morning into mouth and tells me I’m more prefect than the sun rise, even though my eyes are sleepy and my hair is a mess
He kisses me softly
I drink my coffee with too much sugar and smoke flavoured cigarettes before even getting dressed
He laughs and kisses me anyway

No matter what the day throws at us I know I will be okay because I get to come home to him and wake up to mornings like this


I haven’t met you yet but I know you’re out there


Last night was the best Dirty Boys event ever! It was a magical performance and the readings were poignant, sexy, funny, and downright filthy. Special thanks to my friends and colleagues who make it all happen: @guynewyork @mrjackstratton @daisydangerdotcom @msdarker @revtimmy and @piper_doll
#lit #spokenword #dirtyboysnyc


Apparently, she is oppressed

All covered up in the way she’s dressed

As pictures of her flood the internet and the people are addressed

You see this woman here is depressed

Can’t even dress to impress

And is locked up, and actually looks like a mess

I mean, she covers her face and even the rest

She doesn’t leave an inch of her body to be seen, even if she’s in the west

But, honestly they fail to see reality

Yes, she is covered but is treated like royalty

A woman full of morality  doesn’t need the opinion of others to her spirituality

You see, she is a woman who is aware of her identity

She knows who she wants be

Not like an object scattered in the street

But, diamond beautiful from its top to its peak

A precious pearl found only in the sea

I mean, she defines unique

And yet, I don’t understand why the ignorant choose to speak for her

Doesn’t need people to misjudge her

And no she isn’t miserable because she chooses to cover

So, please comprehend the fact she has no oppressor

But, maybe your illiteracy might oppress her

So ask how she feels before you say lies about her

Because she has a voice of her own

And no is not alone

She has God beside her

Think about how she feels and not what others think of her

And what if people got the wrong impression about you?

What if they saw you as scared and abused

What if they thought your people are cruel

What if they thought you were locked up in a house full of rules

When all of that is a misconception and not one is true

Wouldn’t you want people to understand the real you?

I mean, just please know what you’re saying

Before you say something which isn’t true

Because she has the right to cover up

And doesn’t have to unveil for you


- Aesha Mohamed

I breathe love and hate in the same breath as your name gets caught in my throat, in my tear ducts, in the tips of my fingers
I love your smile,
I hate that I can’t tell if your lying, I hate that I consider you might be lying
I love the way you hold me,
but I am afraid it would be too easy for you to let me go, I hate that forgetting would be easy
I love your voice,
the way it dances to the rhythm of your stories and I love the way you tell them
I hate the silence, the unknowns, the things you forget to say. I hate that I need you to say them
I love the idea of loving you, but I hate that you have the power to break me

Unedited thoughts about you


Tomorrow night we’re jamming with the poets! You don’t want to miss it!

Hosted by @thatninjawordz and #ThePoetWILLBeTelevised band! @tetrissimone @fotosbyjett #marquesdurieux

Sponsored by @funkadelicstudiosnyc!

Select performances will be fullness be @universalvoices and broadcast on YouTube. Http://

Sign up starts at 730pm!

#poetry #spilledink #spokenword #livemusic #openmic #jamsession #love #music #haiku #tanka #poetrychallenge #thereclife


It was in the middle of July

When you were plucking flower petals

As if you were flicking the strings

On a guitar’s chest in an unchained melody


You asked if I loved you


If I loved you not

I said I wasn’t sure

I didn’t know the words to your song

But you spoke in legato

And I dived into your orchestrated vibration

You made me promise to keep our lullabies between us

But I wanted the world to hear the beauty

That was lodged in our throats

I wanted everyone to know I was yours 

You were the lingering growl of a cymbal’s struggle

And I was a piano’s tremble

We would clash and clang

In a fluctuated force

This was one musician’s dream

That was anything but stable


So we succumbed to a harmonious defeat

I couldn’t love someone who wanted a solo act

And a fan girl on the side

I couldn’t love someone who was bankrupt with selflessness


It’s September now

And I still think of you when I hear the acoustic whisper of a guitar

Your fingerprints still stain me

As if my body memorized the chords you’d play before I slept


Were a musical beauty

And there are days where I wish we became more than that