Wednesday, May 28, 2014

sunset after dark

midday hangs heavy over the pallet
facing the open sky
the doors are never closed
always waiting for
a homecoming

a widow docks on the nearby shore
slim tentacles sagging from bloodletting
nightly offerings to the roaring seas
who take pleasure in devouring
and inheritance

the fishermen reap shells on high tides
sometimes grenades-
or uniforms
or a photograph
of sons with crooked teeth

and still the sun shutters
and the waves stutter
until the cocking of guns
clings to aural memory
drowning laughter
of first steps taken

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


You are a self-proclaimed "anti-war" "feminist" with "anti-oppressive politics". You are also a woman of colour (and if not I don't know what You're doing here).

You have been through this scenario (or variations of it time and time over again). 

It begins in a "safe space"; a vacuum where human interactions are limited to:
1. Active listening 
2. Resource sharing 
3. Activism 

Let me break it down: 
1. Active listening

 AL--smoothes mustache at patriarchal implementation of acronym because as academics we must make everything inaccessible. Do we have consensus? Yes? If not we can talk about it for three hours. Yes? Ok

*bursts out laughing upon establishing that I haven't even finished my undergraduate degree* (not really, I sordidly snigger as I swallow my inferiority complex upon being inept in academic settings) 

AL is great in some situations

(This would be the first person's cue to [compassionately] apologize for my situation. "We are all different and we have different accessibilities as women of colour. Never apologize for your reality. RECLAIM RECLAIM RECLAIM.) (And Your response to this is feeling like shit about your "situation" even though You didn't really feel like shit before)

(These may all be valid points, but to be quite frank, was doing quite well before You apologized for all the things that marginalize me. I would recommend that You join Selena Gomez as a Humanitarian Aid Ambassador)

But anyway, back onto task--
  Entails nodding vigorously, embodying compassion through your face, eyes and meaningful "hmmms", "yes" and "I hear that".

It is important in situations where You have been faced with racism, sexism, all the glorious isms, let me not get into the jazz of it. It is important to debrief, don't get me wrong. Everyone needs a circle where they can access active listening.

This is what it is not. It is not transformative if the end goal is to have random strangers pay a cover price to talk about their feelings under the guise of transformative activism. It is inherently individualistic. It does not undermine structures of oppression. Active listening is in effect, a business #capitalism

Let us move on. 

2. Resource Sharing 
To be quite frank I don't know what this is. However, again, as is inherent in activist culture, I will delve into the beautiful realm of bullshit (because how will I come off as intensely knowledgeable and insightful if I can't take up space?) 

Resource sharing is the sharing of resources. And by sharing I don't mean merely sharing, it is the distribution and dissemination of resources. Resources come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are not only assets but they are also artifices. 

In conclusion, it is important to share resources. And listen actively. 
Sometimes, if You are REALLY lucky, You'll get some action. Look at that, a pun. Usually though, "radicalism" usually merely entails active listening (and maybe resource sharing, but I'm not sure what that is) 

3. Activism
Activism is actually really fun. I mean it. 
It entails: 
i. planning
ii. protesting 
iii. debriefing 

Again, it is usually confined inside the university. If not, it is led by upper-middle class academic types with credentials as follows:

George Debouf 
BA, Political Science
MA, Political Science 
PhD, Political Science 

As You can tell, Professor Debouf has plenty of experience on the field of the university. 
His lectures are truly transformative because at least we know we are selling out when we sell our labour to capitalism. (the alternative is naturally death). He is truly an expert in the field of apartheid, racism and patriarchy. He has read up on it. 

Planning is my favourite part. 
It entails hours discussing what colour posters should be, who to call so that we have a celebrity activist so that other activists come to cheerlead "the cause" even though at this point most planners don't have a clear conceptualization of what it might be. But anyway, it's boring because it's long, but it's fun because You get to say things like "Power to the people"

Protesting is great too. 
You scream in crowds and (dont really) undermine security and the police (but usually You think You are) 
You leave feeling great. Like You have demolished capitalism. 


This is where all the "problematic" aspects of "activism" are deconstructed. See: active listening. 

-Aaliya Khan

Friday, May 16, 2014

things that remind you of home

what is the taste of me?
dried tamarind, humid sun

what does my mother smell like?
lemongrass in the gardens

you can still taste
crushed betel leaves
when you turn us in
your tongues
the remnants of my grandmother
when you
pluck us strip us
eat us

so what is the flavour of us?
of three generations chewed between
teeth browned by the
bitterness of manhood?

i part my lips and he tastes death

al-hurriya: prayer for rain

don’t come to me with tasbeeh
chained around your neck
don’t speak to me in sermons
false clairvoyance

i have been owned

don’t come to me with negligence
wrapped in du’aas
tipped with poison

it’s been a long mile
since i’ve had rain in
my hair

you, who make supplication
soaked in blood of unclaimed

you, who accept gold over
a whore’s repentance

you you you
who shoot kill burn martyr
in the name of god
carve new gods
out of
       trading lush graves
       for the idolater’s throne

la ilaha illallah

i have been to
the devil’s mouth
and back

i have returned
i have become
                       i am


and i will take no prisoners
in my compassion

so don’t come to me with prayer beads