Day 14 Poem: Poem From My Childhood (30/30 Challenge) ~ Alyah Al Aswad
I define territory by my ground at standstill.
It all began with the orange kitchen tiles.
The aluminum table legs looking like my neck of the woods,
horizontally lining my perspective of the entire universe.
I have the road-direction of an authentic warrior,
feathers and warpaint,
plastic bow and arrow with sucker at the tip,
rope and cot-mattress between my knees for a horseback.
Every evening, I’d press my ear to the ground, bumping my head musically to trot-beats.
It always takes the enemy 46 minutes to get to my camp;
dinning room road-side.
They only get here if I’m in the mood to be heroic,
sometimes I settle for a grilled cheese sandwich instead.
My enemies are obedient;
they respect my sheer neglect of a such an important appointment.
At night, the creaking in our wooden doors and furniture would wake me up repetitively;
mother would say its the expanding and contracting of matter due to changes in temperature.
I think her justification is ridiculous,
truth is, ogres were having sleepovers on our veranda.
I do not care for ceilings.
I care for cement crack graffitied on the wall next to my bed.
I had to give out autographs in a real world I despised,
and truth is these cracks inspired my signature.
I obsess about my baby sister’s breathing pattern.
I check if she is alive whenever I find myself with wide eyes.
She could not die on me,
because she is scheduled to teach me how to feel.
I used to be the metaphor behind anger. Sensitive breather she is, her agony would soothe me.
It would reassure me as the conqueror.
It would give me the strength to face the adults outside my house, in my real world.Merciful she is, she would let me torture.She would put her spine in my hands, yet trusted that I would not squeeze hard enough, trusted that I loved her,that I was protective of her, that I would never let anyone shatter her shatter her, the way the shattered me.
Eventually, it made me me shrivel,
until I learned I do not actually derive pleasure from her pain,
just self-hate and disappointment.
I learned they were vicious for laying their hands on me.
I learned its okay to break.
My baby sister could not have died on me.
Day 12 Poem: Coffee Violence (30/30 Challenge) ~ Alyah Al Aswad
My mother would’ve be happier
if she was a speckle of dust dancing at the tip of my nose
in a beam of crisp morning sunlight.
than she is being a woman, at this moment.
As I sit on a Persian carpet
eying my parents taking sips
from pitch black Turkish coffee
I’ll blame the darkness they cannibalized in neat cups every morning,
for tonight’s freakshow.
The woman who memorized the geometry of my body
and the physics of lifting me up
has had bruises that match the coffee stains on a table cloth.
She is jittery, but its not the caffeine.
The bad habit, if you will, is my father.
I never saw them held as tight
as by early day silence,
when their lips puff soft murmurs of nothingness.
I only loved my father at this time of the day.
I realized. It is telling,
the way you can chose to grip a glass cup with a circumference close to the size of a neck.
He handled his coffee the way he brought my mother to his lips.
There’s so much repentance to catch up with.
He was iron-fisted. so I taught myself to soften my grip enough to crack the theology in the curve of hips,
because it is painful and unfair
that I think
my mother would’ve be happier
if she was in the speckles of dust dancing at the tip of my nose
in a beam of crisp morning sun-ray
than she is being my creator, at this moment.