Yesterday in Sardar mandi, next to the sabzi valas wooden handcart
You opened my passenger side door and took a seat
Decreased the front of your brown starched kameez over your knees
Like, maybe, your father used to
And demanded I drive you to Anarkali as if you knew me
I wonder now how many protests you stifled
At the sight of a lapel, peeled back
To reveal tightly assembled explosives strapped
To upper torso like an iron swaddle
Before my car became your vehicle of choice
We drove to three different locations
My croaked touch-paper pleas unable
to cool the flame of your eyes
Your face – a scream
When you couldn’t decide
Where to deliver your hatred
You slammed my car door as you left
Today the swings in Gulshan-Iqbal Park are cracked red
The chains, charred and redundant
The overturned choo choo train simmers Like, maybe …
Had a wonderful session conducting a poetry workshop around the theme of childhood at Shamshad’s Hard Rain set up in Thairish Cafe, Levenshulme.
I introduced the group to Kimiko Hahn’s poem called ‘In Childhood’ and Li-Young Lee’s poem, ‘A Hymn to Childhood’ which explored the various ways we recall memory and how by doing so, we are always under constant revision. Truths are often reconfigured and the conflict between voluntary and involuntary memory; between what we think we know and what we find we didn’t dare to know or admit, forms the ‘foreign’ land of much writing. The foreign land being the term L.P Hartley used to describe the past and how things are ‘done differently’ there. It was an inspiring exchange and I loved what came out in the freewrite exercises. I was blessed to hear about the different experiences of a rich tapestry of people as they shared intricate memories of their past. A thoroughly productive session! X
It’s hard to believe that it was only last week I was in the company of sixteen talented BAME or LGBTQ writers as part of Women In The Spotlight, Three Minute Theatre and Commonword at The Hurst Arvon retreat in Shropshire.
A beautiful place where we all had the opportunity to get creative far away from daily distractions and the internet. The house and gardens were the former home of playwright John Osborne. The grounds boast Redwoods, wild orchids, surrounded by the forest-covered Shropshire Hills and sits within 26 acres of woodland, with a spring-fed lake and inspiring walks.
Here under the mentorship of our two amazing tutors, Salena Godden for performance poetry and Ola Animashawun for scriptwriting, we all had the opportunity to develop our craft in ways that we needed to. Tanika Gupta, acclaimed playwright, shared an intimate evening with us. We also developed communal cooking skills, shared experiences through our work and bonded in friendship. A thoroughly inspiring week over way too soon! Xxx
Hannah Khalil’s play ‘Plan D’ shows an ostensibly happy family undergoing its own internal crisis against a background of enforced migration. Visited by a long-lost cousin who warns of an impending threat, the family flees its farming home to live in the neighbouring woods. It is, here, however, that the husband discovers a long-hidden secret relating to the origins of his son. This breeds rancour and division at the very moment when the family is forced to join the unseen army of refugees.
Help us explore these plays by donating on our GoFundMe link http://m.gofund.me/8nh52dhg?rcid=61dbcb56d18811e591aabc764e04c5a7
Well it was cold and rainy but we braved it and educated the masses! Myself and Sarah Yaseen worked together for the first time producing something awesome. We were joined by Shoa, Blacktwang and Silvastone, Akala, George the Poet, Poetic Pilgrimage and Stephen Morrison Burkes.
In the Talk Tent I spoke about social justice and the arts, the wrongful incarceration of Munir Farooqi, Islamaphobia and the war on terror!
Aside from this entertainment it was wonderful to see the stalls inside the main building consisting of so many organisations committed to fighting for social justice. There was a wealth of information on trafficking of people, refugee crisis, support for asylum seekers, mental health awareness, suicide watch, mentoring for the young but I believe this empathy should start at primary and high school as mandatory education. Really informative! X
WITS show at the Three Minute Theatre for International Womens Day ended with my poem ‘Stand With Me’ and they did! Loved all the powerful pieces delivered by amazing artists! Pleasure to be a part of it and totally up for celebrating the awesomeness of women worldwide not just today but always! For all of you women that I know and all of you I don’t, you are colossal beautiful beings! And theres is so much to be done! The fight for gender equality, an end to gender violence and the dismantling of what Bell Hooks calls the ‘imperialist white-supremecist capitalist patriarchy’ are still pressing issues. Where there is power there will always be resistance but right now it’s time for bed!
Ismail Khalidi’s brazen ‘Tennis in Nablus’ from the Inside/Outside Anthology is partially a comedy that looks for laughs in an area of the world marked by centuries of bloodshed and hard feelings. In its world premiere production at the Alliance Hertz Stage, Tennis in Nablus courts controversy with its witty treatment of the Holy Land’s history.
So I am sharing space and performing poetry with the wonderful Sarah Yassen and a whole line up of talented artists at the Social Justice Festival, Manchester! Come see me, we’re on after 12 🙂 And it’s free! Xxx
Join me tomorrow night where Women In The Spotlight ( WITS ) will be showcasing their work in celebration of International Women’s Day. I am delighted to be part of this and we have all been busy producing spoken word and theatre pieces to be shown at Three Minute Theatre, Manchester! These performances will explore women’s voices, our experiences, our lives, our thoughts, our feelings and our identities as women! Get there for 7pm! X