For Charlottesville 

I am a Muslim American 

I stand in solidarity with you 

The lives that were lost  

I’ve prayed for them 

I am a human 

Admits your tears 

I am compassion 

Amidst your fears 

I am understanding 

Amidst your pain 

I see you 

I hear you 

“Many desi Americans and Muslim Americans can be apathetic towards concerns of racism and the white nationalism that is present in our world. 

This is wrong. We too have a rich history in fighting to be heard, to be understood, to be embraced as equals. We cannot ignore the fight that our sisters and brothers of black and brown skin endure! We have faced and still face xenophobia and discrimination, we must stand and protect each other! We must realize that the struggles we face are similar, we are similarly oppressed, we similarly grieve our losses. 

Charlottesville is a moment for all non-white nationalists to remember. The hatred and violence can occur in anyone’s state, anyone’s university, and in anyone’s life. 
I am desi Muslim American. I must also care about what others face in the world. For it’s not just me living in the universe, it’s not just my struggles, it’s not just my community struggles. I am more than myself in choosing to recognize and choosing to voice my thoughts. I contribute. I stand. I hope you do too. 

Who you are 

“What are you looking for?

You have a roof over your head 

Food and water 

People who care for you 

Things to do 

You can go anywhere”

So why do you try to fill 

The empty spaces 

Next to your body 

With someone who doesn’t see you 

Properly? 

Someone who doesn’t value 

The life you’ve got 

Why must you imagine

You are chasing your dreams 

When in reality 

You’re chasing someone 

To make the lonely days easier 

“I’m not saying that’s bad,

But look around you, 

Take In the scenery 

Take in the view.

You are more than enough 

These moments are enough 

Don’t chase an imaginary tail 

Stay comfortable where you are 

I’m not saying you have to be lonely forever 

But I just want you to be 

Grateful for who you are 

In the company of yourself”

Finding 

My heart is yearning 

It’s yearning for new 

Sights, sounds, people and places 

It’s yearning to roam far

Past the sparkling beaches

Past the green forests

Past the mountains 

Past the nights

Past the days

We just want to take our body 

On a ride 

Going places 

We’re finding 

Where we belong 

Just sitting here 

Isn’t helping

The location matters 

The environment is dire

We must forgive and forget 

The potholes and breakdowns 

There’s still time left

Let’s keep climbing out 

Of our beatdown car 

Arm over our forehead 

Head turning 

Looking for the sight 

That keeps our heart beating 

Keeps the pace fast 

Keeps the mind awake 

We’re not there yet 

Patience 

There is a fire raging in my body 

I want to do many things 

Yet experiences come and go

And people stay or leave 

So I wait it out

As still as water 

Because life changes 

Patiently I will see

The rewards of my behavior 

Identities and Images 

My Body is Me 

I don’t wear my nationality 

Like a hijab veiling my hair from unnecessary vanity.

Misplaced perceptions aplenty:

From where I am,

And the cloth that I am wrapped in.

I am painted red white and blue,

Inside I bleed green and white.

Bombs blow,

In my dreams.

A stranger approaches

And asks of me:

Are you a terrorist?

Placing a mirror before me,

I see:

buildings collapse around me.

I feel fear sink in,

I quiver as bullets rain down around me.

How have I become an object of terror?

Scene changes:

Rose petals Fly

As people point to my skin,

They call it yellow

But I believe it’s brown 

Just like the soil we sink

Our feet in

Muslim they don’t call me,

Based on my face

And my clothing 

Indian they say 

Upon first glance 

And I say no

I’m Pakistani 

But you are on American soil

They accuse

And I reply

Yes I am a citizen too 

Yes I am human

I thought this soil

Was rich enough

For more feet 

To trudge through

Why has my skin

Become a nametag?

Like a star placed on a Jewish body?

Will I have to undergo

A violent 

Ethnic cleansing 

Religious martyring

Just so the world 

May become

Pearly white?

There will be stains 

Of blood 

And the ache of hate 

Throughout the world 

Soon we shall see 

The others turn upon 

The sympathizers

And hate will stop hate 

A vicious cycle 

Of nooses and war 

There is no peace 

Because the world 

Is not just black and white 

But full of color 

Just like my body

I don’t need a 

Mirror to tell me 

What my body is made of

My heart is full 

Of my identity 

Everything, Everything

I could be really nice and let you have 

everything of mine 

Then you go ahead and complain 

Tell me I don’t know the concept of no 

I know my boundaries 

Tell me do you know yours? 

Do you know when enough is enough? 

That it’s time to start giving not taking?

Is it wrong of me to want to help you out? 

Maybe then you should stop asking 

And demanding more and more 

Because if I can’t stop 

And I just let you be your selfish self

Then what does that say about me?

I don’t need luxuries 

They won’t follow me to the grave 

Take it all if you want 

Just let me live my life 

I don’t care 

Hearths 

The hearth with the warm fires 

Is sitting out brightly in the dark night 

I curl my arms around myself 

I’ve got a hearth 

It’s within me 

It’s in the smiles of my family 

It’s the laughter and noise of my home 

It’s in the pets that we keep 

It’s in the jokes and stories we tell 

I don’t have anyone special to share 

My stories with or my hearth with 

I have many special somebodies 

All the Stories 

All the stories I read 

On Romance 

Are all the same 

The guy gets the girl

They decide to get together

After some hesitations and troubles 

They choose to get intimate and close 

They experience pain 

They experience happiness 

All the stories I read are boring 

It’s not the real thing 

The real thing is 

Wondering if your partner farts in bed 

Tossing and turning but not getting comfy 

It’s not all Daisy’s and dandelions 

It’s sneezing when the flower gets too close 

It’s wondering what the other is thinking 

It’s not enjoying the sex you’re having 

It’s doubting each other 

It’s messy

It’s hard 

It’s not make believe 

All the stories I read 

They could use a dose of reality 

On Kissing 

I’ve never kissed a guy 

In my life 

Yet I wonder why 

People get so close and intimate 

What’s so great about sucking someone’s 

Tongue, lips, stealing their breath? 

I find it uncomfortable 

To imagine a deep 

Make out 

Tongues in each other’s mouths 

How intrusive that could be? 

Plundering and conquering 

Just to show some affection 

Maybe I’ll start with a hug 

Fires 

There are days 

Where I wish to do nothing 

Yet everything but nothing 

It’s hard to stick 

To a passion 

Because fires don’t burn

Forever