Day 30: Not the Last Poem ~ Alyah Al Aswad
We used to be hand held mugs of hot cocoa in a basement the morning after a highschool slumber party. We used to be clutched kite strings in green spaces where dogs poop and kids ride bikes with 3 wheels. That one afternoon, a family looked beyond the elasticity of gender bends in my suspenders and smiled intently, as if it should make up for a marriage contract. Your face was a ripe tangerine in the sunlight. You sat on my knee as we watched a wedding ensuing 10 feet away. You asked if I think we could have a two-dress wedding in a few years.
I said; Yes, I want kids who enjoy the occasional smackdowns with sugar commas. In reality, I wanted your kids and hoped they would enjoy an occasional smackdown with a sugar comma. 4 months later I proposed to you on one knee and a $180 solitaire ring - I was a student and it was all I could afford. You said yes, but once I arrived home the summer after graduation, you said the entire engagement was a silly idea. because we were still kids. It broke my heart.
You moved to a third world country to be with me. I became distant and swallowed a wandering eyeball. One time on my way out of the door you said; baby, come back home tonight. Come back sleep next to you tonight. Come back, slip into a hoodie knitted of my feelings for you tonight. Come back home tonight. Make home in you again, and I wished I had it in me.
This is not the last poem I write about what happened, because this is not even a poem. It is a document. It’s exactly what happened.
Day 29 Writing Prompt
Day 28 Poem ~ Alyah Al Aswad
Re-crumple the geometry on the college block of an exhale,
into a shadow show of flames
that dance in the pit of your diaphragm.
Her eyes have learned how to fork yellow sun ray missing the flat of a wooden blind,
so her joy can splatter like egg yolk.
She talks at me,
with the consideration that my depth is shallow fried
because I barely unribbon the instruction in her voice,
just sink my pocket watch in her voice,
as it pumps through the valves of my
tonight, wine bottle, and alone,
I sweep her hum under my memory rug as she talks weight and iron
I need its acoustics in my bones in winter.
She doesnt speak enough.
She communicates in knee caps slashing their way through
the thick of people.
Her best temperament visits on Wednesdays.
She sits on the ground,
knees bent backwards
Her hair is a throne.
Her neck is pivotal.
She does not walk,
she orchestrates with hips.
She is an orchid growing in the wood of a farm swing.
Day 26: Family Secret ~ Alyah Al Aswad
is a moment in a romantic novel,
where pages begin to bite on bookmarks
to help keep their mouths shut,
dividing the book’s spine in such a way that mourns a Berliner’s precedence of
dividing people to keep their mouths shut.
My bed is in my parents house.
I fold the girl I like into an origami of secrets,
because we had just arrived at that moment
where she bites on my shoulder
to keep her mouth shut.
Day 25: The Man Who Waited For A Heart ~ Alyah Al Aswad
with the same poise it requires to sit at a Parisian cafe,
understanding a newspaper he cannot read,
waiting for a woman to walk his veins into red carpets.
He is in his 37th year.
He likes shopping for kitchen appliances,
and when he’s in love,
he handles his insecurities as wallpaper,
so one naked girl inside the box can be in the know,
and he hoped one day his box would be enough to make a home.
He believes in heartbreaks,
He breaks down while making love,
because his big love ran away with
his lifetime, and his unnamed kids
and left him with nothing;
other than heart malfunctions.
the get sick sometimes.
He lays on stretcher,
with the nervous smile you find in grocery shops on Thanksgiving mornings,
and the joy of little people the height of turkey freezers.
He wanted a couple of those - he wanted them to grow under his Christmas tree.
He used to wait for people,
But he no longer qualifies as a bachelor,
he just qualifies for insurance;
and it makes him feel like a sour cup of yogurt.
Today, he waits for things people at hospitals wait for;
a cup of coffee,
or the nearest exit.
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.
If my nerves were a head of hair, you would be static.
Day 19 Poem: Love Poem No. 137 (30/30 Challenge)
the fact you raise your chin a quarter moment
before you raise a momentous smile;
dawns on me.
I write my 137th love poem to you,
you have owned my wreckage for the past year and a half;
but for you I’d wreck a lifetime over.
I am reborn in your tangibility,
I am a toddler navigating my way to the substance of this goddamn world
by sticking everything in her mouth;
yet my memory is my mouth;
I have stuck your name in my mouth
and every mundane move you have ever made
all in my mouth.
Your voice is endless,
You hello is an archipelago of sound,
Your loss of trust in my peripheral vision,
is one beautiful catastrophe,
You catch me staring, accidentally,
eying me with enough metallic passion to car crash your glance into mine,
baby swerve away from me, I am a pirouetting misfortune,
I am an outcast,
I hunger for the wrong urges,
but I’ve been waiting
standing in my own wreckage
waiting for you to arrive at the two loopholes people call pupils.
You say your hello,
I just bow my head,
because my words are as strong as my neck
I’m a poet,
and a liar,
a thief and a crazy smoker.
my words get bent
and cannot be sold for the whole of two dimes.
The veins in your arms rope me placid.
I had been in real love with real people,
more than twice,
I get scared of people,
Before you leave for a bustling city,
if you jumble too many then words will have to raise each other up,
your last look always gets me thinking we are shit out of luck,
Occasionally your eyes blush,
then it acid rains in my stomach,
and an orchard blooms in the pit of it all.
Day 17 Poem (30/30 Challenge) ~ Alyah Al Aswad
The drizzle never scarred me.
Her voice may as well be the most gracious in dim unfamiliarity
leaking through the contours of my head.
Speak with your eyes,
and forget to guess I am fluent.
She expresses herself in“feels-like” temperatures,
and buckles under the expectation of being understood.
In her nudity,
My tips waltz on her iced lake.
Her patience makes me feel like a widower taking his first sunny day walk,
in a moment where guilt is thick and happiness is as undeserved
as pregnancy scares.
She is not a seasonal lover.
My longing for her beaches my chest
and my wet self builds up and runs towards her
like a high tide,
every time she lays next to me,
like a frozen moon under a blanket.
Day 16: Self-Incriminating Autumn (30/30 Challenge) ~ Alyah Al Aswad
When her arms are smeared in thick jacket,
and her sweet fingers are clothed.
She takes my garden rake for a hand and trots down the sidewalk.
We brush through back allies lined with garbage cans and my favorite hookers,
we lend cigarettes and compliments,
we owe money and drugs to the little piece of Paradise you scratch and smell in the last puff.
Autumn is one hell of a horny season.
Earth is lusting for a sunset. He dresses in her favorite colors,
so she could notice. It takes her a day to notice.
It takes her while to process.
And when he least expects it,
She plunges into his autumn blush
as if she had missed him,
as if she had been in a lousy mood for centuries and needed distance,
She plunges with the force of a girl who was damn-sure glad to see him wait for her,
in his low,
wait for her to come down from her high.
I am not celestial.
I am a small person,
and the hesitance of a smile.
She looks at me as if she had been waiting for me to notice her,
as if she had discovered a cracked piece of the sidewalk that worries about her,
I look at her back, longing for her to become the suicidal ball of gas,
come crashing at me at 7pm.
But I do not say a word,
because I am too small,
and I am no good for anybody.
Because I was told I should only feel for women who feel for women too.
Because what good is a day in Autumn,
when its prone to an end,
and you cannot even say