So, I have some news!!! It’s quite exciting, I guess? I mean I think it’s exciting!
Last year, I got back into writing poetry and fell in love with the art form (my poems don’t particularly follow any structure — it’s all free form!) of it all. At the start of this year I went back through the few pieces I wrote for the LOST AND FOUND collection and figured . . . I should publish these.
I had previously posted a few snippets on Twitter which received numerous likes and retweets (I don’t know why I deleted it afterwards), which was encouraging for me.
I chose this cover because of how minimalist and clean it looks. The silhouette of the birds in two different directions represents searching for something — trying to find what is lost and I thought it was perfect for the collection as a whole.
This is the little book description:
LOST AND FOUND is an exploration of love blurred with heartbreak, mental health and sexual abuse, female identity, dis/believing, and trying to break free from the chains of cultural toxicity. Ahmed uses haunting language to bring life to the gut-wrenching poems, reflecting on childhood trauma, that first-once-in-a-lifetime love and the broken heart that follows, depression and anxiety and the role of a daughter in a South Asian family.
One of my favourite poems from the collection is
ANATOMY OF A DISBELIEVER:
maybe i am made for the fire,
burning white hot in a world created
to break hearts and destroy souls,
dancing around a field of roses and sunflowers,
stretching up towards the sky and eating
the peace. the witches are my companions, veiled in
black and painted in blood, casting spells
as your imaginary god screams in my
ear SINNER SINNER SINNER.
in a world where we are hated and mosques
are going up in flames and Qurans are left
collecting dust, i am a speck of a dying star,
with a bird-cage for a chest and a poison arrow
for a tongue. i have the body of a
sinful temptation, smoke in
my lungs and wildfire in my veins,
the taste of magic on my tongue. and your god
hates my existence. i am a girl with the devil
in my eyes and hades as my lover, dancing our
way to an underworld, where he pins me against
the wall and fingers out of me a silent confession,
a muted story left untold, and dips into me the way the
sun falls to its knees every evening.
this is when your god whispers to me,
“you are made for hellfire”
and i smile a rotting smile a graveyard smile
and reply, “only if i die.”
Another one of my favourites is HERE’S WHAT THEY DON’T TELL YOU. This poem is something I feel like every brown girl has to face, the words we hear too often because in the South Asian culture, the pride, the honour and the reputation of the family is a daughter’s burden to bear; it all rests upon her shoulders.
living for a family
that prefers their daughters to be
invisible, silent, acquiescent
is like trying to walk on the edge of
a sword. it’s a constant struggle
between what i want and what i should do
in the name of izzat and haya.
because god forbid i have an opinion or a voice
and let the fire in my veins and my lungs
and my stomach burn bright. here is what they mean
with the words they don’t say:
little brown girl, you are our property. you are our
honour and our reputation. if you step out of line, you
ruin your name, you ruin our name, you tarnish the family
legacy and honour. you destroy us. and
you will never get married. you will never amount to
anything unless i decide, unless we decide. because our
pride rests on your shoulders, and you will not be a bride
with your dark skin, or your outrageous feminist rants
about your rights and your dreams and your thoughts
and your opinions and the justice you deserve.
little brown girl, you are made to serve
your father, your brother, your husband.
little brown girl, you are to be seen and not heard
I hope you guys are able to buy the book, and if not, that’s ok too! I’m thinking of maybe hosting a giveaway/contest type of thing for it? What do you think? Would anyone be interested? It’ll be open internationally, of course!