Jun 09
Balkisa's picture

Feminism

Editor's Note: This piece is a work in progress!

Feminism

By: Kiran Waqar and Balkisa Abdikadir

I changed 5 times before getting here and I’m still worried you don't think I’m pretty
I am hyper aware of my imperfections
Of your hungry eyes eating them up
Taking them in
Swallowing me in labels
Words that tell you who I am
But what I am
Ugly
Pretty
Fat
Skinny
Tall
Short
Beautiful
Hideous
I know you saw my hijab and think you know who I am
Oppressed
You see me and tell me to reveal
That I’m in America now, no need for this cage, right?
Wrong- this is me
I’m not hiding
I’m protecting myself
From your eyes always looking for flaws
Looking for the unshaved legs
Or the not so beautiful marks
So don’t tell me I’m oppressed
For not being a slave to my body
My body which is
Jun 09
Kiran's picture

Body Standards

Body Standards

By: Kiran Waqar

You saw my body way before you saw who I am
But that’s okay
I did the same to you
You took it all in
The outfit - meh
The face - blah
The body - ugh

I saw yours
Thin waste
Luscious hair and breasts
Beautiful baby blues
You are the standard

How can I ever compete?
Your clothes are great and so is your skin.
I prophesize your personality will match without even a single word.
I can see your pearly whites and sigh.
I know mine can never be so shiny.
I bet you get all the boys you want.
Bet they chase after you like a hungry dog.
Bet you have life easy.
With your long eyelashes you wouldn’t have to work a day in your life.

Only problem is you’re not real
You’re a product of makeup artists, stylists, designers and editors
Editors who brushed away 15 pounds
Jun 09
hawa's picture

3 Words, 3 Syllables

3 Words, 3 Syllables

By: Hawa Adam

Why is it so hard for a man to say I love you
3 words, 3 syllables that control everything
But don’t seem to be included in your vocabulary
Is it honestly so difficult?
Do you even want to say it?
Should I even be speaking this poem?
I love you 
It is foreign, it is alien
It never seem to come to your brain
As if your brain is shut down for the day
As if your brain circuits are dysfunctional
Or do you have another in mind
Even when life creates the perfect opportunities for you, you don’t grasp them
You can’t seem to push it out of you
As if there are invisible hands holding you back from it
From happiness
Sometimes you don’t even have to mean it just say it
Because searching for meaning simply takes time
And a woman's heart can only beat to the rhythm of the clock for so long
So just grow some balls and say it
Jun 09
hawa's picture

We are the World

We are the World

By: Hawa Adam, Balkisa Abdikadir, Lena Ginawi, and Kiran Waqar

♫...We are the world, we are the children, we are the ones who...♫

Hawa: Are making mistakes,
Kiran: Segregation never was so visible
Balkisa: Me vs. you
Lena: Us vs. them
Hawa: Black
Balkisa: White
Lena: Arab
Kiran: Asian
Hawa: We get so caught up in the darkness of these differences that we can’t see the light of our similarities
Kiran: We turn away from the 2 eyes, 1 nose model of the human being and instead form our own images of acceptance
Lena: Humanity, unity, we detach from it all
Balkisa: We drift apart slowly, steadily like water eroding at rock

Kiran: I am Mother Asia
We have a rich history scared by the hands of white men
Who have taken a beautiful continent and tried to turn it evil with greed
British colonialism in India
Drugs in China
Jun 09
hawa's picture

Good vs. Evil

Good Vs. Evil

By: Kiran Waqar, Hawa Adam, and Balkisa Abdikadir

It’s a Wednesday
Not a special Wednesday or anything
Just a Wednesday
But I can’t seem to figure out what to wear
Well, let’s see I have gym so nothing too fancy
But I do have that presentation
So something a little sophisticated
Maybe even throw on some glasses to look smart
Nah- but it depends on how much time I have
What about the weather?
It’s 75 degrees Fahrenheit, Humidity 31% and wind 3 miles per hour
But with the sun comes the questions
I mean, come to think of it- the questions are almost worse than the heat
Are you hot in that?
Come on take it off
Lemme see your hair
Roll up your sleeves!
Sometimes I wonder, should I even wear it?
By it, I mean the hijab

I mean don’t you want to fit in
Be like the other girls with their long hair flowing
Jun 09
Lena's picture

Vermont

Vermont

By: Hawa Adam, Kiran Waqar, Balkisa Abdikadir, and Lena Ginawi
Singer: Lena Ginawi

♫...These green hills, and silvers waters…♫

The year is over and summer is being readily invited  
I wave goodbye to the shrill school bell and the short cold winter days
I say goodbye to my busy schedules and embrace the unplanned
The adventures
The freedom
Goodbye to the days that brought with them the silent snowfall, the warm hot chocolate and the tongues that they scorched
To the snowflakes that melted on me and my flushed cheeks whenever I came indoors
The snow brings the excited snowboarders and the fall brings the expectant onlookers
But now I’m lying on the green, sweet grass
Looking up with hands behind my head
Trying to find clouds in the spotless sky
The flowers nearby, daisies and black eyed susans
I smell their sugary fragrance from here
*Deep breath*
Jun 09
Kiran's picture

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome

By: Kiran Waqar, Hawa Adam, Balkisa Abdikadir, and Lena Ginawi

Welcome, Welcome X 3 (softer and descending)
Lady Liberty: Welcome, Welcome X 2 more (louder and ascending)
Child your mother is calling you
Come mix into this melting pot
We invite the flavor, the culture, the warmth
Come to the land of the free
To the home of the brave

Whose land is this?
How far does your freedom go back?
Do you know the names of the tribes you stand on?
Who decides who stands here?


My torch is lit for you
I stand alone in the dark
Come join me
Come,
My soil is ready for your footprints
This place is one for your feet to stomp all over the restrictions
Child come swim in this liquor of liberty

Let me tell you
I fought hard for my freedom
My children are dead
Jun 09
Lena's picture

Procrastination

Procrastination

By: Hawa Adam and Lena Ginawi

H: We were planning to have a good introduction to this poem
But we didn’t get around to it
Because we are the procrastinators 
We put the PRO in procrastination

L: And today we are going to offer you a few tips to develop your skills in putting things off

L: 1) Remember hard work pays off later. Laziness pays off now so be one who lives in the moment

H: 2) Warning, read or don’t read the dates on your calendar. They will always be closer than they appear.

L: 3) Homework is like yoga it’s a deliberation where hours are wasted and minutes are recorded

H: 4) Don’t put yourself down if you suck at art, you have talent because procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday
Jun 09
Kiran's picture

Chameleon

Chameleon

By: Kiran Waqar and Hawa Adam

Hi
K: We are color changing machines
H: Our survival is camouflage
We have to adapt
K: I don’t mean to brag but if there was an award for best-assimilator, I think I would win
Actually, no, we would win
H: We are the queens of chameleons, the rulers of all
K: We have so many different layers we don’t even know who we are
H: Who we are
K: Who we are
Who we are
H: Layer #1: The epidermis, its use: Protection
protecting us from ignorant predators
K: Your skin is too dark for the playground
silent objections
and isolating stares
But it is not a shell
It cannot hide us
It cannot keep us safe

K: So we develop thick skin so no one can ever see us
So no one can ever know us
Jun 09
hawa's picture

You're White

You’re White

By: Hawa Adam and Balkisa Abdikadir

H: Hey Black girl, it’s almost like you’re white
*pause*
What does that even mean?
K: That my voice is a little too high for my identity
K: That I carry binders around instead of a bottle of hennessy
H: That my tongue articulates without an accent
K: That I can’t use slang, “you got me bent”
H: Tell me, is white a remedy to the poison of blackness
H: Is my coffee color too black and too strong
K: or do you call me white because I spend 4.99 on a vanilla bean frappuccino
Actually girl you should try the iced caramel macchiato
H: does white to you mean educated, successful, satisfaction guaranteed
H: does it mean participating in extracurriculars
You know, doing the most, getting away with stuff
Being from a good family
I have a good family
And I’m not white
Jun 09
Lena's picture

Labels

Editor's note: Lena Ginawi is a member of Muslim Girls Making Change, the slam team that YWP selected to represent YWP and Vermont at the Brave New Voices Festival in July, 2016. She has presented this poem in public prior to BNV and this recording comes from her appearance at The Turrell Fund Day -- a Celebration of Children and the many people and organizations who work to make children's lives better. Lena received a sustained standing ovation; several in the audience were brought to tears.

 

By Lena Ginawi

Labels.
Labels represent a way of differentiating and identifying people.
Little do they know, they are demeaning those they are describing or classifying.
Jun 09
Balkisa's picture

Home

Home

By: Balkisa Abdikadir

The globe next to my bed
one single spin my eyes land on somali.
The home i’ve never been to only born into.
And still
my heart yearns for the land that raised the Father who brought me far away from it.
The land that built a nation of poets
Poets that talk about the culture and land ruined by war
They speak the same words that run through my veins.
Our hearts will never become sore
It is a nation where art and culture are celebrated all around at every festival
From weddings to baby showers, funerals and homecomings
But the question is when will when can I go home?
Today Somalia is only known because of all the televised terror
But it was once home to many who were forced to leave so much behind
They found a new nation
They Wanted to create a new home
but it’s not their home
Nor is it my home
Jun 09
Kiran's picture

Speak

SPEAK

By: Kiran Waqar

What makes us any different than a mountain lion?
A bumble bee?
A bat? A monster?
Is it our opposable thumbs?
The ability to understand the world around us?
The corny dad jokes?
The motherly affection?
What makes us human? What changes us from beast to person?
It is our voices
Our opinions that invoke change
That are heard from the tops of mountains
From the darkest corners where not even light can escape
We are there. We are brave. We are loud. We are unbashful. We are quiet
Whispering our beliefs
Right
Wrong
Yes
No
We are the change
With every breath
Stance
Opinion we alter the course of humanity
We screw the road map of society
Searching the busy roads for beautiful gems
The quiet streets for hidden messages
The forgotten allies for the forgotten folks
Every day we choose our words
Jun 06
Kiran's picture

American Dream

American Dream

By: Kiran Waqar and Hawa Adam

Singer: Lena Ginawi

♫...Oh say can you see, by the dawn's early light...♫

H - America, the golden brick road to success. A place they had seen on TV screens, books and magazines.
K- Just the thought made their heart swell. They saw Americans whose eyes glittered with passion, whose souls were filled with hope of the future. They wanted that.
H- It was a place where their children's children could reach for the sky where they could reach for the sky.
K- A place where they were told to shoot for the moon so they would land among the stars. A place where the rags to riches story was as common as their veins which bled red, white and blue.
H- Where anything could happen regardless of race, sexuality or creed. America was their ticket to equality, opportunity, and liberty. It was the promise land!
They wanted to be Americans