SHE: On Love


She, never taught me On Love.

She, working her fingers to the bone each day,

rubbing her feet at night, alone, in the dark,

crying, aching, bruised and estranged.

She, never taught me On Love.

How could SHE?

She, who was sacrificing her rights, each and every day,

never allowed to feel the real beauty of her own laugh, 

She, never taught me On Love.

But really, how could SHE?

Never knowing herself, who to ask.

She, never asking, never questioning, always believing, always, it’s a Farce!

SHE – who never taught me On Love,

still struggling each day, still crying, alone, in the dark.

I tried telling her,

“Listen! Swollen ankles cannot be worked with broken hands.”

But Still. 

She, She never taught me On Love.
“No Stop! Listen, how could I really?”

 SHE, she said, never taught me On Love.


She Said, I Prefer A Broken Neck-Amir Sulaiman

She said that she would prefer a broken neck to another broken heart.
I said “Remember, even the beauty of birth leaves its own scars
And know that you will find your home right where you are.” She said, “I know it sounds cliche, but I really am just waiting to exhale.”
She’s not looking for a perfect man, she ain’t holding out for Denzel
She’s just looking for a real man,
But she said “Most of the realest were in graves or in jail”
Just an upright brother, but she’s left with low down brothers, homo thugs, and downlow brothers.
And it took her some time with herself to discover
That having love is even more important than having a lover
But what am I supposed to tell her?
That it’s going to be okay? But it may not be.
It may be hard and ugly,
Difficult, complicated, rough and bloody
And I said, “So many women are struggling”
She said, “Yeah, I’d like a man to kiss me, I’d like a man to hug me
But he’s gotta truly love love before he can truly love me”
I said, “I feel you.” She said, “No, you’re not feeling me.
We are women bringing up seeds,
Our own sons grow up thinking love is a disease
Ducking and dodging real relationships, and just gonna take what they please
And they treat pregnancy like it’s an STD
If the test comes back positive, it’s a negative
And they are ghost in the streets,
Drunk in the wind, only a moment is spent and those moments are brief
Our sons’ role models are rolling stones unknown or deceased
They figure we can’t teach them manhood, so they’ll get grown in the streets
So in the cold world they find warmth with the men holding the heat.
“I said “There’s gotta be a change.”
She said, “Yeah, it’s gotta be more than poems on TV”
I said, “I feel you.” She asked me how I survive.
I said, “By Allāh, it was my mother otherwise
I would have been dead, crazy, institutionalized.”
“She kept us in the good neighborhoods, even though she couldn’t keep on the lights
So we could go to the best schools learning to read and to write.
Sometimes we’d be so broke, in the store, she’d have to pick between the beans and the rice.
Sometimes she’d put ketchup on a navy bean so it wouldn’t seem like we’re eating the same thing every night.
Two jobs during the day, and one at night.
And the stuff I saw her endure, I never wanna see my wife [endure] So I know being a man is more than being male, and I’m focused on doing it right.”
“But when I think about my childhood, I don’t think about poverty
I remember how she hugged me, kissed me, taught me, loved me.
And I know you prefer a broken neck to another broken heart
Broken parts that litter the night sky like stars.
But remember, even the beauty of birth leaves its own scars
And know that you will find your home, right where you are
We will find our homes right where we are.”
~ Amir Sulaiman


On Storytelling


It was like a mystical moment. A moment of high revelation and spiritual ecstasy; It was a scary conversation; one of my first ever on a philosophical level. 

It was a revelation of words. It was a revelation of true storytelling.

A conversion.

“Your life is a story.” I still hear the words SHE had said to me.

SHE was like Mother Nature calling out to me – whispering her secret, through the caress of the summer wind.

It’s funny though, because I cannot recall who this SHE was now. I know I loved her.

Memory fails me. I’m hardly what you would call old; just aged with the timeless quality of an antique timepiece. Hidden away in the shadows; an Old Soul. Unknown to the Earth; a fragmented Nomad.

Every little thing that happens to you, whether good or bad and everyone who enters your life – whether for a second, a minute, an hour, a day, month or a year – becomes a part of Your story.”

Her tone rose on the word “Your”.

“My Story,” I had repeated.

I marveled at the notion of life being a story and I thought back to the days, months and years on end, when i had tried so hard to make the odd, aching, disjointed puzzles of life fit together. Of course, they never did fit.

But her words, in that brief encounter had taught me that what i had been searching for since that first gush of fresh air had reached my dry throat.

I didn’t have control over the characters and incidents of this story. 

I was in awe at the simple logic of this.

For days on end I recall that aged, old anguish one has, at the lack of control one has over his life – all the while thinking he is in control.

I had sighed.

I rejoiced at the harsh memories in my Pandora’s Box and at the silent picture frames haunting the edges of my own untold Odyssey.

Embrace it, for only you can Tell Your Story.”

I always fancied myself in the World of Old.

The myth was out.

I had turned, trying to catch her. But it was too late she had glided past me, leaving a ghostly chill.

I heard her often. But I never felt her again.

But there are times, I can swear the oath that she is near. Close by. Waiting to remind me of my tale, still untold.

The Male Anatomy: Oedipus


The moment that gun was in my face, I knew, it would never be the same again. I mean I’d been threatened with violence before not so long before, but that was the threat of a bat, desiring to connect with my skin, wanting to leave satisfactory footprints of multi-coloured bruises and probably craving to draw blood at the same time.

My mind wondered. Had I even seen a gun before? I can’t lie. I was pretty nonsensical about the whole dilemma. An awkward moment that was, staring into the eyes of another one of God’s creatures, who stared back hungry, animalistic, full of blood thirst with a composure of – beautifully ugly. Not in the fashioned sense as such, but in the spiritual sense, in the “human” sense. (Note – Not that I even really knew what a “spiritual sense” was back then.) An ugly thing, unable to deal with defiance and lack of control; an example of classical Freudian, sex driven, lustful – probably stuck at that Oedipul phase Freud was always banging on about. A true patriarch of a male dominated culture and religion. Suppose he felt pretty manly, standing there in his white vest and shalwar, pulling a gun to a fourteen yr old kid, demanding and threatening to kill.

Why were men so obsessed with guns, bats and long, pointy instruments of torture? I had no answers but I bet Freud did.

I realized something through that experience.

I learnt that all that praying, rolling the beads like a programmed automaton, one after the other, getting on bended knees whilst banging my head on a mat, smelling earth and feet and muttering in a language I didn’t understand; all the while hoping, believing painfully, in a Virgin Mary miracle which would never come through. All that unknown, ill-informed and unintelligible belief and hope – well to put it mildly was a waste of my damn energies. I should’ve been looking for an escape route for weeks, not frivolously “praying” and childishly thinking a great big eagle would come and sweep me away, from those cow dung smelling rooftops.

In my defence, I hadn’t even watched Lord of the Rings at that point. Well I suppose, I could always count on my imagination when all else failed.

I also realised that “Belief” and “Hope” are two important ideologies. They make the worlds go round and keep the people partially sane.

The idea that some higher divine source will make it all right, will give you that miracle, the fire escape route that your desperately pining for, in a great time of distress and need, is really a devious, not very thought out and a short lived, ultimately disappointing, hopeless hope. It’s just an idea that was fed and most of us never think it through or ask the questions.

Then we expect God to talk to us like he did to Moses. But I was no Moses, I didn’t know that then.

No great eagles were in sight that night or any other night. Not on the cranked up stereo and getting whipped with a black lead night, not on the getting punched in front of the kid night, nor on the manipulating a kid with lies of freedom and  kidnapping me night.

I thank that last night and trick. After that last night, the revelation came.

You see I’d forgotten that God had given me two feet.

And Boy, did I run at sunrise the next day.

I got out Alive.

But even the word “Alive” is really a stretched out idea. But that is a discussion for another day. Was it enough? Just getting out alive? I wasn’t unscratched, without bruises or invisible scars but I was and I am alive.

Boy, do I hate men in white vests and a shalwar. Now when I think about it I wish I had a damned gun myself. I know I would’ve pulled the trigger. I was man enough.

One bullet is all it would’ve taken.





Heart of Mud:


The heart of SHE had an everlasting memory,

it was made of Mud with Footprint tracks all over it.

There was Hand Prints too.

All over it.


The Heart of Mud was mostly hard,

but there were some soft parts,

which you could sink your foot deep into

and it would bounce out all muddy and soft.


Some parts of SHEs heart were for walking on.

But some parts of SHEs heart were to Sink into,



Imprinting SHEs heart was sometimes easy, sometimes hard.

Making SHE conjure the imprint was not always so easy.

But the heart of SHE had an everlasting memory.

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