All Together Now! Summer Reading at Johnson County Library is happening now through July 29.
A STORY IN THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE LOVE INTEREST
the director says start, and you come to life like an automaton. a blink, and
I am from
the expressions of my people
flattened nose and slits for eyes
leathery skin and cricks in my back
each feature of mine
a reflection of my family heritage
Once upon a time Goliath fell.
They built buildings on his body
and David walked away without looking back
didn’t know his victory
until he moved
opened the door
to have his pebble drop at his feet
looked up and his apartment was
There’s a simple liberating joy
In being different,
Having that little bit of self outside of normality,
People will either embrace it,
Or reject it.
Some will revel and thrive in their unlikeness,
This darkness inside my heart
Residing in my pitiless mind
A fuel to a fire of ever-burning odium
That cutting sarcasm of such cruelty
The cold cynical aura that never abates
What is it that filled me with such hate?
I’m from chalky hair,
Here, pretty hair and curls,
I’m from leotards and spandex,
Here, pretty tops and jean shorts,
Where I’m from, new skills
Here, 9 x 24
I’m from, rug burns and big bruises,
Here, paper cuts
i am your (empty
dead-eyed cashier, mechanically
ringing up your nachos and popcorn;
have a great day!
weekend plans and giggling friends,
i am Maslow’s slave
face blur past, i ring up your purchase
come back soon!
nurturer, chef, doormat.
Raised to believe my gender put
me on the bottom.
I am to please, not to be pleased.
I am the inferior, the weak, the
soft, the submissive.
Already born with joy, told to
sing in me, O Muse, the plight of the second generation american;
she is a girl with brown eyes and skin and hair,
with $300 Beats that match her silk headscarf affair.
she brings “exotic” food to school,
and cringes when lentils get on her skirt of tulle.
Everyone thinks I am super happy
But I’m not...
Everyone thinks I just don’t have any problems
But I do...
Everyone thinks I am just happy with myself
But I’m not...
Everyone thinks that I can just make everything in my life okay
There’s a girl that I see sometimes.
She pops up from time to time.
Day to day.
She’s a lot of things.
God, she’s beautiful.
And, isn’t she just so funny?
I hate diaspora poetry
as much as the next
All that bullshit
about “lives stained
with honey and turmeric”
and “the colonizer
cutting my tongue with
is utterly boring
The night before my first day of sixth grade, I studied the piece of fabric laid out on my bed with uncharacteristic placidity. It was no work of art; plain cotton fabric, dyed black, with a single strip of black lace for adornment.
Fidgeting my leg against a familiar school desk, the dreadful anticipation always washes over me while listening to roll call on the first day of school.
Names. Titles given to us at birth by someone with no idea of who we are or what we'll become, they are iron-clad chains bound to our lifetimes by those who want us to be something great. We do not all fit our names and we do not all fit in those boxes; a name is always just a name.
There are occasions where I zone out, and during this period of deep thought, I find myself staring at a girl. I’ve seen this girl multiple times before.
lace up your sneakers and roll up your jeans: your jeans
are blue and worn in the knees because they’re your favorite
and the laces on your sneakers used to be white but now
they are tinted brown from the dirt of the earth you walk through.
Pakistan and America
Eastern and western
but they feel like the north and south poles
I’m immersed in the red silk dresses embroidered by hand and I’m in love with the ability to roam alone across this land
About the question, or the world?
Unsure whether to answer truthfully, or to fabricate a more intriguing narrative.
Unsure what the question implies: Fears,
(Spiders, bad grades, falling out of love)
Bounty brand paper towels; you know it by name
“The quick picker upper”, thirst pockets
Outnumbering the leading brands not only in price
But in absorbency
Who would have thought that a simple household object
Could be comparable to humanly functions?
In Iran I am a rebel. I show my hair. In Brazil I am exotic. The nomads left me their yellow eyes to search the desert sand. Where I live, there is no sand. In America I am my age. Stuck in the in-between where nothing lasts. I am the enemy.
The cheerleader who always holds a book
And the agnostic with an avid church attendance
Someone so silent and simultaneously outspoken
And the fiery spirit which silence most benefits
Her identity, though contradictory, belongs to her
I wake up
Brush my teeth
Then look into the mirror.
I see a kid
Who looks confused
About his true self.
I don’t know who.
But it isn’t me.
And I gaze deep
To try to forget the secrets that I keep
I bind myself
And hide my chest
All day long until I rest
I stay at home
And lay in bed
Trying to drown out what you said
The first name I was ever given
A symbol of my mother’s overbearing need to go her way or no way
Her way had no meaning
It was simply a name she thought was pretty
And pretty was more important than memorializing my dad’s time in the Army