fresh poetry.

freshly written.

stalely withheld.  Pushed aside and deprioritised for a time i felt, and God felt, i was able to articulate without offence. here is something i began but could not finish a year ago because i did not know what story i was being asked to tell. and now, fast forward, a year and a month and here i am, unintentionally ruining my sleeping pattern and having stories type themselves up before me, almost against my will. against my energy levels. against my capacity to over-edit.

this is a poem about spiritual displacement. ahistorical story-telling and interference perceived, now, as purity. as faith. as good. i have written a poem about a lot of things and institutions that roll into one. i’m frustrated and confused by all of them. not with God, i never turned God aside in all of the tumult, only the accessories i found attached to God. i think, it’s hard when religion helps to raise you and beautifies you, for a while. but then it becomes dogmatic and problematic and in need of reformation, but it is old and crumbling and not ever really created on goodness, or entirely on God. it makes you feel ungrateful and there are many lines i felt were accussing the round, browned, elderly faces i grew up respecting and praying for and with and over and under, but this is not who i write about. i promise myself and you. it is not a religious poem; better you read it as a political one. better yet a spiritual reconsideration. and a love poem, to self. an angry letter written with the sole intent of tearing it up afterward. consider it the burn that soothes the throat, the trapped air released, the sound released. because there is no greater act of self-love than freeing one’s own ability to talk openly about what has hurt and confused for so long, to just unravel and loosen and exhale selfishly:

Everything that needs to be returned to you
Must be put back to its rightful place,
Returned to where it was stolen.
It is selfish to assume that hands can carry that burden
That arms will not
That fingers will not curl and coil in reflex,
In weakness.
The heart will harden if exposed to what
Is originally supposed to remain etched into the sanctuary of the mind.

Everything that needs to be returned to you,
Must be returned to your mind.

The lines in your palms will darken if you attempt to hold
The memories will deepen the lines and seep into the marrow
The longer you hold the less likely it is to have a tomorrow.

There are jackals in your palaces and
Dogs in your high places
And your worship them.

They distribute and delegate
Even though nobody urges them.

And you sit amidst and in between
Them.
You situate yourself amidst and in between them
A world of pain, non-entities and
A world made up of societies

Do throw pearls to pigs
Do give riches to dogs.
Do
Allow yourselves to be made hollowed by those who will speak to your gods
On your behalf.

Don’t pray
They will do that for you
In broken Hebrew, Arabic, in Urdu
They will pick it up
You will pick it up on the way
Mid sermon you will find your way around your lack of concentration
You will,
please
find your way to the altar
Bow now
You will find your way around that
after

you will not
you will not forsake
God

You will not
You will not Forsake
God

Or her son on the stake above your head
For his sake
You will not
You will not forsake
God

Only the tradition that they gave Him.
And asked to use this pronoun and name too

They did not get permission
But you will not
You will not forsake tradition.

Yes
you may
You may have permission to misuse and misplace the name
But you will not
You will not use your name to replace God
You will not forsake
God

For thinking outside of tradition and for letting the drafting scent of incense reinspire your position
you will find your weight
in the centre of this temple
rooted in tiles and tapestries
where  obscured memories have happily settled in undusted corners.
you will find your hate too heavy to heave off dry tongues
it will agitate
but it is not your fault
you have not been taught

consider it a sign on your hands, in your mouth, inscribed upon the frontlets between your eyes
a fleshy tablet
to summarise your purpose
that will not be inked out with tradition
and suspicion of a wayward son
an outward daughter
intent on finding what is hers
on the manuscripts
ripped out of the books
bleeding through a noose of misconceptions
before you can
atleast
explain why you pray how you pray
with tears and colour and all of the anger of your mother directed
not at god
at the other one
they told you to bow down to.

It will be replaced
It will be renamed

Everything that needs to be returned to you
Must be put back to its rightful place,

– Amara Amaryah

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