Return of the Friend I had not expected love but it surprised, like the slip of arm around my waist I had expected chiding, but your eyes spoke only kindness, like your face Tulips by the road, the burst of red— I drew my breath as your bus rounded the bend Pink rose in lime green tissue, then your tread, and the slip of arm around my waist Years dissolve between us in this place, and I exhale. I had expected questions, quizzing, an exchange, a taxing gaze, not acceptance freely given, your embrace I had not expected love
~ From Mohja Kahf’s unpublished love poetry manuscript written in 1999.
Mohja Kahf is a Syrian-American poet and novelist. Her first collection of poetry, E-mails from Scheherazad, evokes the mixture of pride and shame involved in being an “other,” with characters balancing on the line between assimilating and maintaining the habits of a good Muslim. In addition to contemporary Muslim women, Mohja’s poetry also explores figures from Islamic history including Hagar, the wife of the prophet Abraham, Khadija and Aisha, wives of the Prophet Muhammad, and Fatima, daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. According to The New York Times, her writing on contemporary subjects “draws sharp, funny, earthy portraits of the fault line separating Muslim women from their Western counterparts.” Of the intersection of Islam and art, Mohja says: “One of the primary messages of the Qur’an is that people should recognize the beautiful and do what is beautiful. This is not simply a moral beauty but a visual and auditory beauty as well. Conduct should be beautiful, writing should be beautiful and speaking should be beautiful.”
Sometimes, you run into a good thing and you want to share it with everyone.
Deonna Kelli Sayed recently attended the Southern Entrepreneurship in the Arts Conference, and kept noticing one attendee who drew during all the sessions. “Hey,” she said, “Your stuff is good. Would you like to create some original work for Love, Inshallah?”
Alex Irish, an aspiring and talented media artist, agreed to gift LoveInshallah with original art. In homage to resident Geek girl Zainab Chaudary and wonderful posts by Ali Mattu, Alex took took on LoveInshallah’s core theme — love!
Love is grand. Love is transformative. The experience belongs to everyone, regardless of body shape, gender, sexuality, ethnicity or wealth. No special or magical skills are required. Alex nailed it:
What a perfect sentiment for Friday Love.
Thank you, Alex, for sharing your talent with us. May the Force be with you!
Alex Irish is an aspiring media artist. When he’s not illustrating and sketching cartoons, he writes for The PlayStation Game Blog and IGN. Visit here to look at his animation and art, here to read his blog on Hollywood animation and design, and here for his Playstation musings.
The Real Ones
Something happened in the development sector
Something we forgot
Something we should have known
That humans aren’t blank slates
Awaiting our arrival
To scribble new thoughts, new words, new ways of living
Over their faces
That humans aren’t blank slates
Awaiting our arrival
To draw them anew and say
Now you know
How to live, how to think, how to behave
Now you have rights
We don’t walk into empty fields, we don’t walk into barren lands,
We don’t walk in with the only ploughs, we didn’t create the only hoes
The earth laughs, but not for us
The earth … she laughs at us
We are not her only children, we are not the only ones
We walk into communities that wrested life from an alien land
Read the rest of this entry »
“‘I love you’ scares me,” he admitted, looking nervous. “I’m not sure I know what it even means.”
I sighed with exasperation. It means everything, I thought. You could paraphrase it as I see you. Better yet, I read you. There’s nothing else important to say, really.
I didn’t become a hopeful romantic because of rom-coms or Disney. I grew up without a television in a progressive household, and though my parents have a marriage suitable for any American dream story, I was raised to be an independent thinker. My parents turned gender roles on their heads and upended social norms about race and consumerism without ever uttering words like “feminism” and “capitalism.” Without a TV, books were my first love. Saturdays at the library were the highlight of my week as a child, where I’d pile volume after volume into stacks so tall I could barely carry them. I’d drag them home and arrange them beside my bed in order of decreasing appeal, so the book that most excited me was on top of the pile, ready for me to grab when I woke up on Sunday morning to start my day by reading.
All I heard was the word “friends”.
Everything after that was muffled. To be quite honest, I wasn’t really listening. He could have told me the building was on fire and I would have just kept smiling and nodding.
I was in the friends zone.
Maybe intentionally. Maybe not.
Regardless it was a smack in the face. I thought this is how Biz Markie must have felt. I should have just busted out in rhymes in the middle of the restaurant.
I zoned back into the conversation. As arrogant as it might be perceived I had enough friends and I didn’t want anymore. If my lips could have uttered what my mind was thinking than that is what I would have said. I was looking for a husband, not anymore friends.
I couldn’t say that, it would have sounded absolutely ridiculous.