Buried injustices

Excavate this sadness

All the injustices

Not quite laid to rest

Jump in the graves of them

And exhume the body of grief

For your consumption?

Let’s be clear about what you’re asking for here

In my own time

I tend the graves

Of anguishes past experienced

You, grave robber

Desecrater

Have no right to visit here

It isn’t for me to dredge up the soil

Unearthing it all

Leaving the soil upturned

For what?

For you to confirm

That yes it is legitimate pain buried here?

I’m past that,

Way past asking for scraps

I’ve come to understand

That there’s a reason

You weren’t there for the burial

So when I tend the graves

Of all the injustices

Half buried before

Don’t turn up

In funeral blacks

Facimile fragility

Leaking from your eyes

You didn’t know the deceased

And your abject sadness

Are only theatrics

Done for the optics

More to the point

I don’t welcome it

Leave me to my grief

To the laying to rest of

Anguish and injustice

Stop demanding

That I uncover it

For your voyeurism

And vouchsafing

Be on your way

Stop not at these graves.

There is space for this emotion.

An Unstormable Knowing

One more round with the tempest.

She stands,

arms outstretched

in a daring embrace,

as she locks gaze with the eye of the storm.


Energy jitters up her spine,

and her tongue is dry.

She’s danced this whirl wind before.


Spun out over and over,

leaving breathless and dizzy,

that’s if she even leaves at all.


The tempest calls her name,

blowing temptingly in her ears.

Drawing her in just a bit.


One foot forward,

without conscious thought,

she’s already in forward motion,

Pulled in by the deceptive calm.


Still the weathered shawl of foreboding

settles on her shoulders,

and her skin pinpricks with that quiet

un-nameable sense,

that something is just out of step here.


She’s been around this tempest before,

this isn’t her first spin,

and lately she’s tired

of letting herself be reeled back in.


Emotionally battered,

mind windswept,

she’s intimately familiar

with the post-storm landscape.


The tempest howls,

the wind buffets at her mind,

the noise is reaching crescendo.


She turns inwards to the quiet within.

And asks a single question.

The answer makes steel rods of her legs

and she is at a stand still.


The question?

Is this, what you want, for your life?


Lightning fizzles

from within the tempest,

aiming at her stock still legs.

There is pain and tingling,

and the metal taste of hot electricity.

As the bolt hits at where she is grounded.


Is this what you want for your life?


Honestly,

the answer is so quiet,

it’s hard to hear it

beneath the roar of the storm.


Still it matters not,

because the answer becomes her vision.

She feels it right in the gaps.

She unstormably knows the answer

in every fiber of her.


She is steady as the tempest rolls over.

It flails and roars,

wails and hails.

Steadily drags at her core.


It comes with dark

and thunder and shuddering.

Shaky teeth,

and the shivering.


The storm is a mighty thing.

The knowing within is mightier still,

and she does not let the storm in.


She draws deep from within herself,

The strength to weather it.

At moments her legs falter,

and at times she is almost carried away

by the force of the storm,

still the unstormable knowing is her steadying.


The storm does its worst.

The knowing is unstormable.

The tempest passes.

She stands, still.


Her arms outstretched in an open embrace.

The storm has subsided.

And faintly in the post-storm ozone

she hears a new question.

What do you want for your life?

Exquisite

“Stop Digging!”

You hear in your mind

You’re not going to find gold here

Only pain and rocks and dust.

Keep digging

Just go on

Excavate and go deeper

You will find the fine pure beautiful exquisitiveness

Of your young innocent soul

Under all the dirt and soil and debris

Take it out

Shake off the dirt

It shines

So pure and Golden

It’s still you,

You’re still her

Pure

Hospitalisation and How it Affected my Writing

I was looking back at some old blog posts on a different host site, and I stumbled across a long forgotten post from Novemeber 2010. In it I wrote

…So that’s what’s been going on with me. Well that and a stint in hospital, which I think had completely broken me.

I’ve not been able to write anything, which in turn has led me to be upset… but I just don’t feel things the way I used to. It’s weird and horrible, and I hope no one has to feel the way I feel.

My sense of humour has totally changed. Things I found funny before are now not nearly as funny. I have officially become an unenthusiastic person. It bites and I don’t know how to change it, or how to feel things anymore.

I’m not asking why. I accept that this is something that has had to happen, because it did actually happen, I just wanna know what to do about it.

Reading this seven years later and being confronted with that former version of myself is hard. My heart swells and remembers the faint echo of its old wounds whilst reading this post.

It was written shortly after I was sectioned under the mental health act and hospitalised. I am someone who is pretty open about this having been part of my life experience, though I feel where I come from, both from a cultural and religious standpoint, there is still at times a stigma attached to mental health problems, and being open about difficulties people face in that regard. I stand by my resolve to be open about my experience though, because it is through sharing, open discussion, and sincere reflection, that I believe we all learn, develop, and reach new levels of compassion and understanding.

What is very weird though, is that I’d forgotten that my writing slump coincided with my being sectioned. Prior to being sectioned, I would spend countless nights losing sleep because I was pouring out a new story idea, or working on a new poem, or just scribbling my feelings out in a journal. After being sectioned I just couldn’t do it. I tried, I tried to force myself to keep writing, I even attempted NaNoWriMo from my room on the triage ward, but it just didn’t pan out.

For perhaps the majority of my life words and writing have been places of refuge for me; from spending summers folding a4 sheets of paper in half, stapling them in the middle and designing books, writing endless stories fuelled by a youthful imagination, to journalling during my time in boarding school, even those angst filled poems that littered my teenage years. However, in the midst of one of my most difficult life experiences, that tool and solace was lost to me.

It was not that I couldn’t access writing, it’s just there was something off about it, even now it’s so hard to express this in a way that makes sense. It was almost as though in the same way that my self confidence had withered away during my time in hospital, the creativity I normally overflowed with when it came time to put my fingers to the keyboard or even pen to paper had shrivelled up too. I can still remember the desperate struggle to write, how huge of a mental block there seemed to be, how it was almost as though I’d lost not only the capacity to express myself, but also the will to do so. I believe this is very much a parallel to how things stood for me at that time mentally too. It took a lot of work to get back on an even keel, Alhamdulillah! I do feel that this experience, as much as it knocked me down, was useful in that it was a way to start rebuilding myself with a stronger foundation.

Eventually, painstakingly slowly my love of writing did return. I started of with a journal, a hot pink faux leather bound lined notebook; no dates or days, just blank lined pages a year after I left hospital. I didn’t write every day, in fact weeks would go by and I wouldn’t pick up my pen at all. When I did write, I would write a sentence here, a paragraph there, and there were a lot of days where I couldn’t find the motivation to get out of bed, talk less of the mental effort it took to pick up a pen and organise my thoughts enough to write what I was feeling.

I kept writing though. A new year started and I was still using that same hot pink diary… occasionally. Gradually I was recovering, and so was my writing. Things were not exactly the same, just as I had been altered by my experiences, I believe my writing was too. At times writing can still be a challenge, but I am so grateful that it wasn’t lost to me forever.

To anyone who’s found that mental health issues have negatively impacted their writing I wanted to just put this out there, don’t lose hope. It can come back, it may not be the same, but the challenging things that we go through in life don’t have to forever be dark ink blots on the pages of our life stories, we have the capacity to grow from and learn from our experiences. To transform the inkblots into fantastic illustrations of growth and starting points for change.

Lots of love

The Truth

I want to write things

that speak to people about the truth,

that speak to the truth of all matters

that cut right to the heart of things

and don’t mess about,

that illuminate, and give you things

on which to ruminate.

 

I wish at the beginning I knew

that the truth

was the same thing

at the end as it was

at the start.

 

But the truth was

that things change.

 

Things that happened to you

things that you felt

they changed how you saw things

they changed how you heard things

and they changed who you were

 

See the truth,

the real truth

it never changes

It is unfaltering

and eternal.

 

That this place

is not the end

that where you start is not as important as where you finish

that your journey

to the Creator

is about more than your face

it’s about more than what you are able to amass in this place

it is about more than the pace

at which you move through life

 

This truth,

it is

about

your

faith.

 

 

 

Azeezat A.B.A

Night Sky

I sit in the dark

and turn my head to one side,

breathing in the night’s breeze.

The air is even cooler

in my nostrils

which are warm from

all of the events

that lead me to tears

that lead me to this balcony.

I turn my sight once more

over my shoulder

and back to my favourite ayat.

Dark sky, a Sign of creation

and just like that

the moon has appeared.

Luminescent 

in the darkness,

A clear reminder

that not one moment passes

but it too is a sign

from amongst the signs

of my Creator.

The night’s breeze 

continues to blow

and

I still sit in the dark

but

my eyes are dry now

brightened with the hope

of a return 

and meeting

Light upon Light



Black Girls Are Beautiful

Black girls are beautiful, from the lightest tones to the deepest hues, with the deepest of dark, or most translucent light colour eyes, the beat of our hearts and the strength of our laughter.
Black girls are beautiful, from the quietest most meek seeming, to the loudest most in your face, the colour of our skin is simply a beautiful marker, of the number of days the sun shines down on us, and shined down on our mothers, and their mothers before us. 
Black girls are warmth, tenderness, and laughter, and heat, and passion. Fierce, and taking none of your nonsense, loving so deeply, and strongly, to protect that love we might just shatter you, yet there is a vulnerability, not all of you get to witness. 
That vulnerability coming partly from the innate nature of a human, compounded by how the outside tries to confine us, put down, brow beat, rough shodden, at times left unprotected. 
Black girls are strength through and through, busting out of boxes meant to define, but we are sublime. If you ever see the flash of our teeth, smiling or grimacing they shine, know that our spirit will never decline. 
Black girls are beautiful, watch us soar, everyday coming to love ourselves more and more.
This poem first appeared as a comment to this post and was written by yours truly. 

When your world shakes

  I sit here and quake,

And tears flood my eyes,

As I think about how losing you

Has given breath to a deep sadness

And at the same time has welled

Springs of gratitude.

My little love,

Gone before I even knew

How much I could fully come to love you.

You were the first,
Goodness,

An eye cooling droplet.

I sit here and contemplate

That losing you,

and having you to begin with

Came from one of my biggest mistakes.

But look at the Greatness

Of the One that causes the earth to shake!

That loss could be my win

In fact the biggest blessing

And wipe away my sins.

That the tears that ran so hot

Pouring forth from a burnt heart

Could be cleansing and healing,

And eventually, cooling.

Calling me ever near

To the One

that caused me

To find your life so dear.

That I learnt from losing you

Where it was I should store my love.

That I learnt from your being washed away,

That there is  a wide shore of Mercy.

Wide enough to keep

All the love in the world

Of the mothers who weep,

And the fathers who loose sleep.

That for you,

And those who come after you,

The love that follows

Innately imbued

In the heart of a human

Is only a droplet,

A tiny reflection.

That if you come to this shore,

And that droplet falls,

And the loss has you floored,

You can swim in that sea of Mercy.

You can swim,

In the deepest love

You’ve ever known,

And find your solace,

In the Greatness of the One

Who causes the world to shake!

© 2015 Azeezat A.B. Aboderin

Bonus, a reading by the author 🙂