February 2015

Vent to me
Vent to you

I’m not feeling well
You don’t feel like yourself

I’ll tell you what bothers me
You tell me what’s crushing you

Our problems are different
Sometimes llittle

I’m here for you whenever
You’re there at times

What ails me you ask
What’s destroying you I ask

We keep our heads above the water
Holding each other above surface

If we let go

But we refuse
To do that

letting go brings suffering
Along with blame

We got each other
Speak to me

Shed a tear on my sleeve
A tear drops on your skin

You don’t get rid of it
You let it roll

We calm down
We keep going

I got you fully
You got me partially

I drown

You shouldn’t have worn that dress.

It’s 1 a.m. and I am driving home
Anticipating the warm hug of my welcoming bed
And I am tired but I drive safe
With the focus of a young waitress holding a tray of hot coffee.

You shouldn’t have drunk so much.

I am at a dead stop when I am rear-ended
By a drunk driver going too fast
In a residential neighborhood.

You shouldn’t have danced so close with him.

In an instant everything is spinning, tumbling, skidding
I am drowning in an ocean of crushed metal
Unable to find the surface.

You shouldn’t have flirted with him.

I cry out in pain
But not even the pavement can hear the hurt
That has tightened my chest.

You shouldn’t have let him take you home.

I am so small.
I am so small.
That not even God can find me here.

The stars have stopped shining,
The Birds have stopped singing
And I have found myself alone
With the indescribable pain
Of having something taken from me
While the driver who hit me goes home to a warm bed
Only to pray on bent, swollen knees the next morning
Promising God he will never drink again.

You shouldn’t have kissed him.

The paramedics pry me from my crumbled, wheezing car,
But they cannot pry me from the empty hole
That opens up in my lungs when they tell me my legs can’t be saved
And I will not run,
I will not jump,
I will not dance
And one day I will adapt to the missing parts of me
And I will be okay.

But I will never be the same.

Nobody victimized the drunk driver who took something from me
That will never grow back.

Nobody told me I deserved it,
Nobody told me it was my fault,
And Nobody told me I was asking for it.

I use to write whenever I had to and it was mostly for school
Because I use to think that writing wasn’t cool,
But now I write
I write because I have much more complicated thoughts
I want to remember and keep track of
And I write because I am lost
I don’t know who I am and I’m trying to find myself

I spent six weeks of my life getting people decaf coffee, giving them spoons and cleaning tables
While I worked up in the Bay Area
During the summer
Meanwhile some people were screaming at Coachella
And more people got killed in Israel, Palestine, and Nigeria
Russia took absolute control of Crimea
Yet we all smile and look the other way
Because it’s just easier to pretend everything is okay
But problems don’t just fix themselves
And I’m lost I don’t know who I am

I understand how I’m Jaime my parents gave that name
And the way look wasn’t in my control either
But the way I write and the way I think is
And I think
That people are more than a race, than a green card, than a birth certificate
We are all spirits trapped inside a body trying to find a purpose

So we ask questions to make sense of our existence
To figure out why we are all here
The same way a small child sits upon a park bench looks up and wonders
Why is the sky blue?
I’m here asking
Who are you?
I’m talking about more than your name
More than the place you were born
A lot more than all the things you have been through
I’m talking about the things you would die for
And the things that are simply not worth it

I want to know who I am since I’m seventeen
And I have to make these choices for myself
But I don’t know what I want
And it’s hard picking on thing
I want to do what’s best for me
But I’m scared I’ll make a stupid choice in my teens
And regret it when I’m thirty-three
At times I want to be a poet and others a marine
But neither one seems to be for me
All I know is that I want to make a difference in this world
I want to look in to people’s eyes and see hope
I want to hug someone and feel love

Because we are all leaves from the same tree
We are all burning at our hearts with sins, smiling with grief and dancing with regret
The smoker during the revolution in Egypt
The single mom in Vietnam
The 10th grade English school teacher who lives alone
The 18 year old girl who hated her parents and struggling to keep up on her own
The older brother with low self-esteem but has to act strong
We are all soldiers fighting the same war

I hope one day my poems will be worth something
Then maybe one day I’ll be worth something
I could just simply not care about what happens,
But I do
And I think that life is the way it is because we have let it turn out this way
And we are on a path where progress is a myth and happiness is just a word

But I’m just a seventeen year old boy who is lost

Who’s right to judge?
No one, I tell you;
Trust me, ’cause I’ve been judged my whole life!

I’m the youngest in the family.
And I was pretty innocent and naive back then,
Not to mention stupid
After a long day from Kindergarten one day, I step into my room that I shared with my siblings,
And my sister goes, “Hafsah, did you know Ammi and Abba are married?”
I go, “What the hey? EW!”
Ever since that day, both my siblings and my parents still JUDGE me! that I’m even a naive child today

Who’s right to judge?
No one, I tell you;
‘Cause I’ve been judged my whole life, and I know it!

Those uncles and aunty jis, I tell you
The ones that come to every formal party they know without invitation;
The ones that immediately tell their young critters to rub their backs once they enter;
The ones that go, “‘Slalikum, ‘Slalikum”
Even though they mispronounce that word, either way, Assalamu Alaikum means “Peace be upon you”
Even if it’s a greeting, I don’t think they mean it
Because as soon as they look at my sister and I,
We immediately want to turn back
Not because they’re hideous; no!
‘Cause by their faces, we could tell they already don’t like us
It’s as if by one glance, they start thinking these thoughts:
“That ridiculous half smile those two gave me; shame, shame
And vhy they turn avay like that? They should come and join the party and not go back to their rooms
And how dare they not vear formal clothing? This be junk yard or party?
And no jevelry? No makeup? How they having Zehra’s bootiful smile and Mashood’s talented socialness?
They’re JUDGING us
‘Nough said

Who’s right to judge?
No one, I tell you
‘Cause I’ve been judged my whole life, and I know it!

Up to this point on, you’re probably thinking:
“Psh! Dis chick ain’t no serious at all, git outta here – !
No, but I am!
People assume that because I’m dark skinned –
Which I’m not, I just have tans on my face and hands –
And the fact that I live in Corona, I am Mexican
I go up to them and stare,
As if to say, “Do these look the eyes of a Mexican to you?”
And to people who know I’m Indian think I’m American Indian –
Nuh pal!
Just Indian, as in from the country India
And when they realize this, they check my forehead for a bindi
Oh. My. Gosh.
To you juiceless gumballs,:
Being from India does not make one a Hindu!
If anyone ever comes up to me and assumes my ethnicity or religion ever again, Ima tell ’em:
“You’re JUDGIN me bruh!”

Who’s right to judge?
No one, I tell you;
‘Cause I’ve been judged my whole life, and I know it!

These. Types. Of people.
I see ’em almost all the time!
It’s like my hijab has sparkling eyelashes and bomb fashion sense,
Just attracting people down at school, the stores, the bus –
Shoot! I be walkin’ home from school,
And this ridiculous sycophant batting her long lashes, ‘cross the road,
Just yellin’, “He-e-e-y! Check me out, will you?”
And everyone in that area stare
No, not at me,
But at dis ting right here
Like, could you not look at “me”?
It’s as if you’re saying:
“Ah, a terrorist”
Because people fear the unknown,
And the unknown is my religion, Islam
Have some common sense!
You see a Muslim girl in front of you who’s gonna turn 15 on March,
And you’re a grown adult, yet you act like you’re my age, maybe younger,
And the least you can do is ask me!
Ask me about anything!
What are Hijabis? What is Eid? Why do Muslims pray 5 times a day? What does the Qur’an tell Muslims to do?
All that I can answer!
If you would just give me the chance to,
Before you call me a lowlife terrorist!
And if you call me a harsh name like that ever again,
Don’t be in the dark shadows whispering it your friends
Be on the spotlight! in front of my face!
‘Cause I’m not scared of anyone!
And I’m not a crybaby like I was back then,
Who cried to her mother every time she got insulted
And I have no regrets! to call you a coward!
If you think of me a 14 year old girl ready to bomb California!
And to people who really think the words “Allahu Akbar” means to damn others – Astaghfirallah!
And to those who fake their deaths and say the words with no meaning at all!
I’ll smile at that,
To think you actually consider it a joke
It’s not! it is stupidity!
But then again, I restrain myself;
‘Cause neither am I to judge them.
Even though they JUDGE me.
Ain’t nobody got time for judgin’ dem

So who’s right to judge?
No one, but Allah
We humans cannot underestimate each other;
We cannot act all haughty and superior over others
Because my dear brothers and sisters.
We’re all in the same earth,
And should be treated equally for as long as we live!
So who’s right to judge?
No one, but Allah
Because Allahu Akbar
Allah is One

The day you died there wasn’t a cloud in the sky
The day you died it rained
I could feel it on my face
I swear it wasn’t me
It couldn’t be
Although I loved you so
Dear grandma
It hurts to say
The day you died nothing changed
Not a bird switched course
Not a leaf out of place
Dear grandma I want you to know.
The day you died we wept
For we knew before it was that it had
In our hearts we knew
In our minds it lied
To ourselves we couldn’t help but lie
To try and survive
A lift without you halfheartedly
I can’t help but deny I’ve been fixed
Its clockwork denial I still hear your voice
I still feel your love
I still see the tears you would shed as I’d grow up and leave home
Even then I was never alone
Your thoughts in mine
I want you to know
The day you died
I wept and since then I’ve forgotten how to stop

I used to wear this purity ring that was gold with a cross right on top of it until I lost it
But a few months ago I found it and immediately was reminded that I wouldn’t be able to wear it ever again
I  was reminded that I didn’t lost my purity ring because I knew exactly who stole my purity
A ring of guilt and shame is what I am constantly running in and no matter how hard I try I can’t ever get it out
No matter how loud I screamed “please stop, no, stop” all he heard was cheers saying “try harder, don’t stop, keep going”
Now that’s why I’m left praying
“Lord forgive me for my sin
Forgive for my sin that I did not choose to commit”
But I still have the devil on my shoulder saying
I should’ve tried harder, it’s my fault, I was asking for it
But no no no
No should be enough
And Asking for it should be literally asking for it
My friends tell me I could still wear another purity ring and wait
But that’s not the point
The point is that I was wearing a ring that I thought said I could make the decision
And its been made clear that decision wasn’t mine to make but it was his
Anyway how I could I wear another purity ring
A new ring that wouldn’t just leave a green stain around my finger but also leave the word liar resonating in my head
Because we both know I’m no longer pure
So instead I’m left with this story that will forever follow me down the aisle as I tell the man of my dreams
I’m sorry I can’t be pure for you
I’m sorry that when we finally make love for a split second I’ll see him
I’ll see him pushing me on to the bed instead of seeing true love and patience
I’m sorry I tell the man of dreams
I’m sorry I locked up heart with the very chains he should be locked up in
I’m sorry I’m still apologizing
But it’s because when he “apologized” he said “I’m sorry but you looked and acted like you wanted it”
So instead I’m left with this story
And my one story will not be shadowed with one and every three women have been raped
I am not some statistic
Because not all mattresses are the same and neither are the stains left behind from a rape story
And I may have lost my purity ring but I have no lost my voice
And if you listen to this one story about a lost ring maybe you won’t have to hear another