Singularity for a Lesbian - at 23 in Jordan
I know I’ve been limiting myself to the 30/30 challenge, and have only been posting poems. Frankly, the poems have been consuming much of my time.
Last night, the girl I had been dating and I broke things off. It is the most unoriginal thing to say, but the idea of being alone is daunting. But its my first time, so its weird to me.
Given my long struggles with my sexuality, I only began dating when I was 20. I cannot say I was single before that; because, first, I wasnt really in the right market (as we all know, i thought i was straight), and second, I actually had it set in my mind that I’d say no to anyone who came along; if it was a man, it was a no because they never appealed to me in that way; if it was a woman, I’d say no because I was terrified of committing sin. Naturally, since I come from a Muslim conservative Arab background, I needed time to grow the balls to say fuck you, I’m gay.
Having said that, may I say I’m 100% single for the first time in my entire life. I’m putting effort into staying on the right track - mentally and professionally at least.
For those of you who read my poems, you can tell I’ve been struggling with my admiration for a straight stranger . This woman has SCT - straight, curious, and terrified - a very common Jordanian syndrome. I would never try to cure it, because I’m scared it would be manipulative.
I believe the general sense of homophobia and conventional association of homosexuality with pedophilia, or even rape, in the Arab World makes me so uneasy that I am absolutely crippled; I do not make the slightest move on a woman. Even my mother thinks LGBT people are sexual predators; one time I told her I work with gay refugees, she told me to be careful because they may corner me and rape me. Obviously, she does not accept the insane fact that gay men are not attracted to women (Side note: I love my mother). Consequently, I’m always scared I’m derailing a good girl’s future by tempting her into Lot’s flood. If I like her and she is capable of being straight, then knowing how difficult it is to be gay here, I find it selfish to make a move. So for now, I am satiated by this woman’s mere existence. She is beautiful and shy.
Good day, people.
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.
Day 10 Poem: Politics of X (30/30 Challenge) ~ Alyah Al Aswad
Sex: X _
My mother said
our family overdosed on the last letter of the alphabet.
Femininity can cross out your futures,
it just depends what border you find yourself within.
My father had 4 daughters,
In his equation of a (blood)line;
the value of 4 XX does not equal the value of 1 XY.
Sons are always helpful, he says.
I do not know if it is a curse of a blessing that I can toy with gender politics
and mathematics simultaneously.
All I was taught is that
fathers, husbands, and penis owning mankind
find the weather best at the Y-intercept -
i.e. The intersection of a line with the y-axis,
Where x is equal to 0,- in other words, Zero female heirs.
My father never put words to this,
just one letter volumes,
and a hesitant smile every time he was told he’ll be expecting.
To every culture that considers me my father’s mistake
And my double X to be an error that only gives him partial credit,
I will say historically, X has always solved for Y.
I catch myself praying that my father knows
that the X he gave me is a cell that made me whole,
an accident that brought me into existence,
and as imperfect as it may seem,
I am thankful.