Sunday, April 19, 2015


When I think of home, I see the sea. I do not know what it means to feel like I belong more in water than I do on land. Bayu, my motherland, was named after the wind god Vayu, who scattered Sanskrit into Malay, daughters into diaspora. Sometimes I ask Vayu to tell me more of his antics when he blew my great-grandfather away from Khyber Pass and left a void in two worlds. Sometimes I ask him if he remembers teasing my mother's hair before she wore the hijab to answer a Call louder than any man's command. At times, I understand the wind more than anyone else because his tongue is always shifting. It only took me two years to cultivate an accent. See, I can be British, North American, regional creole, but only in my mouth. My face is too foreign to belong in one culture. Neither here nor there. When I put my hands in baba's and it's just us walking together at the market, I am either his mistress, or an adopted child. There is no resemblance, they say, so you must not be his. When I strut alongside my mother crossing the street, we are either carbon copies or sisters, but always 'other'. There is too much resemblance, they say, but too brown to be Malay, too strange to belong. But we all speak the same language, so I guess we are allowed to pretend that we are indeed, home.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

for farkhunda

what compels a man
to do the things he does
what poison enters his heart
that makes him so cruel to me
even when i shield my face from him
he still finds a way 
to hurt parts of me i cannot see
dear man
when the rivers went dry
we wept until you had enough to drink
and when your stomach ached from hunger
we cut from our flesh
until you were satisfied
and when the foreigners came for you
we stretched out our bodies to defend you
and when they murdered you
we raised our hands to the heavens
and prayed for you
and when they spoke ill of you
we rallied the entire country 
to honour you
dear man
when you said to us
every soul will taste death
we did not know 
it is only in death
a woman's soul will finally feel peace

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

another fucking poem on finding “home” in the “third space”

if i wrote a love letter 
to the diaspora it would break
every word count undo 
every border erase
every dictionary definition unravel 
every noun/verb/adjective 
and unwrite itself 
no colonial tongue was made to 
describe or translate or sustain 
the pain trauma love
that is lived with every 
fractured   severed   healing diasporic breath


praying for erosion of borders
like praying for rain
both come naturally
with time