What will it be?

Ikram Hossain Akif

a blue person kneeling on their legs, their face in their hands

The murmur of wind, whispering by
As I drift past the trees, the cars,
and the dead. All the bits and puzzles pile
up into a mountain. A peak, mile
high, but I keep running.

“No time to cry, to feel.
Run, escape the pull as they reel
you in. Don’t heal.
It’ll all be in waste.
Wait for the next time, in haste,”
I tell myself. A pang in my heart
screams aloud, begs to know,
When will it stop?
I sigh, “When I fall apart.”

As fate would have it my legs give
way to broken bones and tears
as I fall to my knees. I can’t help but
let loose and face my fears.

The mountain comes down,
all on me at the same time.
And when the dust settles,
and all I hear is the midnight chime;

I see it. I don’t have to run;
I don’t have to hurt to be heard.
I can have joy, without being coy,
I will be me as loud as can be.
That’s the beauty of life, here and now.
I will be hurt by things I allow,
and that’s okay
as long as I choose the happiness too.
The bittersweet feeling of accepting it all.

I see it now.

Oranges and Clementines

Faiza Ramim

An open window with wind blowing at the curtain with the sun in the corner and a branch of a clementine tree with three fruiting clementines and leaves on it

The morning light pours through the windowsill
creating broken fragments on the kitchen counter ;

It’s the beginning of September.
I think I can change my life if I want to.

The morning light pours onto the kitchen counter
And as i stood there, before an open jar of honey;
stirring it into my father’s tea,
a plain cup left for my mother
Hands reaching towards the sugar next for mine with practised ease,
I realised that this is what I wanted as love.

I wanted to love as a habit,
as a muscle memory.

I wanted to love without thinking about it.

To love because I’m so full of it I want to give it away to everybody.
keep it stored at every corner of the world and still be left with just enough.

To love and show it in the most sincere way I can.

I love you. I know how you like your tea.


It’s the middle of september.
It’s the month of epiphanies against the kitchen counter.

I think I can change my life if I want to.

Wring out the doubt, the cynic out of me like a wet sponge
And use it to make tall trees grow.
Oranges and clementines;
share them with the people i love, made so easy by the design of nature.

the light is just bright enough for the already vivid colours to turn fluorescent;
Startling you enough for you to give in to the illusion of an almost naive optimism.

This piece I share with you, could very well be quarter of a four-leaf clover
One for you, one for me
Until the citrus turned sweet from the honey of our words.
Until the shade of the sun setting on the languid afternoon matched the fruits in our hands.
and we head home with a content heart.

Intangible

Venessa Kaiser

the female body covered in stretch marks with greenery growing from the marks

By the time
you think of me again
the moon would drag
constellations across my skin
leaving scars of every intrusive
thought I held within

No one keeps bandaids
after the bruises heal
& I swear I keep pulling
you back from your grave
but I can’t seem to feel
that it was me you need to save

Wonder why I say sorry
For doing things
I should’ve been thanked for
Cause all I ever was to you
Could suddenly become a lie
Wonder where all your
Promises went
The day I chose to say goodbye.

Cause a mistake is no longer a mistake
Once it happens again
& I gave up trying on
Versions of myself
Hoping I can perhaps fit in
& Of all the times I chose to revolve
Around you before you failed to turn
I ended up having to watch
My entire world burn
So here, I stand, healing
Now that I know what caused it

this place is too empty

Nawal Naz Tareque

plane flying

The room is way too empty now.
The boom from the helicopter echoes
Along with a thousand other:
Bouts of laughter
Strums of a jumbo plucked (rougher than usual)
But silence the weight of a
Coffin lays bare.
——————————————
They all come;
They all go-
What do we do with skies so blue?
Snippets of it permeate the hive minds
Bound by the language of misfits
And you’ve got a perfect group of nerds
Hard to find (these days).
——————————————
Untouched souls
Resting their heads on a cool seat in Doha
The warrior laying after a hard battle in air
Anxiety drains away but,
The emptiness, the pang, the roaring thunder
Locked inside a prism of fear
Floating and colliding with the walls but unable to
Escape and reach those she seeks.
——————————————
Here and now the phantoms come
“Come back to us! Don’t let go!”
But you push aside the chair and let the
Rope do the rest
So you burn your heart to ashes,
Hope they scatter far and wide among the moondust
And then you gallop towards the unknown
With everything and nothing of yours.

Urban Splashes

Fyroze Shafique

puddles of water beneath hanging clothes

When there are lies
You’ll try to even the scores
For false hopes are your traits
Deceiving flashes— your armor,
But your urban rains
In the forgetful nights
Is something to stay
Forgetful for.

The splashing of the roads
The swaying of wet clothes
The reflection of malls and billboards
The streets are the canvas
Of sighs and desires
They hold up the night, when rain plays the chords.

The heart of the town
Gets drowned by itself
The paints of glory stop acting in a while,
The people of the shadows
And the portraits of the limelight
Wish they could steal each other’s smiles.

I’m talking about rain
That falls for urban flowers,
That howls at the night of missing details
The autumn wind flows
With careful treasures,
No, city,
such a night of yours,
Never fails.

First Date at The Riot

Tanjila Akter Mim

a riot shield with roses on top

Red gashes through my flag as I lay here dying
Bleach in my hair, unruly curls flying
I saw a blue sallow
Raindrops kissing my cheeks,
Drenching my soul I thought was hollow

Came a letter from miles below
Evenings fly by, but the nights yet slow
Painted in shades of dying beasts
Written with the hunger from a thousand feasts
A reckoning of love
A sad little dove
She was alive, somewhere
A letter, not addressed
Standing together, hands outstretched

Riot, my love, riot
Let the stones know of our head
Let them know we’re defiant

They fire at us; rubber bullets
Guns ahead and crazy people by our side
Chanting hymns, living to our fullest

Sing, beloved, sing
We are outlaws
We exist to fall apart, and
I exist in the twirl of your skirt

If nothing
Touch my hair at the end of our long lonely walk
Right before you leave
Kiss me senseless at the corner of this block

Army of Roses and Irises

Santana Kamal

like samurai clans, we stand here across each other
with our army of roses and irises
cut all these ties now, let the thorns get between us
it’s no different, the pain of being stung
duets and spars, and our midair dances in a ballroom
red and black and golden
uproot the smoke of voracious lungs
spill all that you hold in your glass, as shall I
like waterfalls against days and nights
we cannot remain as we are now, so we place
our bleeding thumbs against each other’s
our fists to our heart, ardent and emboldened
awaiting to win this perilous war first

two swords crossed

3 PM

Alisha Hossain

Wake me once it has passed
Who I was but a moth,
captured in the flames of past

Here and now
I close my eyes
to drift off into a slumber
And once more I shall arise

When I am free from the bees
who carved an unwanted home, inside my brain
When I am finally at ease and alone
A place where nothing else but silence remains

as I sleep in a warped cocoon
hardly meant to hold creatures like me
despite all I could be
but ceased to become;
I am still. I am fine.
for the bees finally succumb
to a soft tune

my body at last
is put to rest
a space where the hour is frozen
and time is just grains
of golden, unmoving, sand
which shall be trapped forevermore
in this delicate hourglass

a moth in flames

HER MIDNIGHT BLACK PIANOFORTE

Nusaiba Yasin

“Wander with me through a forest of pristine harmonies.”

Stepping into the woodland panorama,
A sage-green willow entwines itself into our narrative.
Each footfall ricochets striking against smoke burnt cobblestones,
Molten flickers of marigold sunshine peeps between auburn boughs;
Gossamer fractals of a timeless waterfall bleeds;
Bleeds in through the crevices of forlorn reminiscence.
And amidst all that splendid grandeur;
A midnight black pianoforte dares to stand its ground challenging the laws of ephemeral ruin.

Wistful ivory engravings coil around the pedals of the piano,
Sprawled out sheets of music by the brook embrace her haunting essence;
Every odd nudge at the chipped in keys play a rueful melody,
Each melody summons the ghost of her presence;
The skeletal framework of the pianoforte encrusts despondent breaths;
Breaths that mark the demise of my beloved mother.

“Father moves into the frame with red-hot lanterns and a pitchfork,
He escorts the bad men;
The bad men who stumble through the overgrown shadows of Blackthorn bushes;
They’re here to pluck out the strings from the piano,
And with that – the soul of my departed mother.”

a burning piano

I shield the pianoforte with a screeching defiance,
No one, none at all would massacre the last remnants of my mother.
But, alas!!
I stand in solitude,
A lonesome effigy frozen in front of a pewter tinted wrecking ball.
With each thundering crash, it felt as if I was losing my mother all over again.
I couldn’t save her that night,
“OH, NO!”
Not from those bloodied bad men with crimson red malevolence,
Nor from my father’s unfathomable vendetta towards a gentle breeze of piano tunes.

Seven and a quarter scintillating years later:
I tower over the desecrated shrine of my precious mother,
The final burial ground of her best-loved confidante; her midnight black pianoforte.

Under the sage-green willow tree;
My memories wander through a forest of pristine harmonies.
And at its core a vivacious young girl pirouettes about in a periwinkle gown,
With her mother’s lustrous fingers drifting smoothly across the pearly-white keys
Of her midnight black pianoforte.

Spring Cleaning

Nusaibah F. Yunus

The desk before me is cluttered, and I have decided to clean.
Hidden between the lines of junk I find momentary clarity–
Of what memories mean.

Behold, a jar of feathers, sitting on on the shelf,
Of past companions who have since fell.
A chipped photo frame sits beside,
Holding a rosy cheeked baby inside.
Two sheep made of sheep–As he once said,
Old memories, freshly dredged,
And the art supplies are now disorganized,
And the unfinished journals ask me why
Have I abandoned them?

But you see dearest reader, I
Am not organized, and let me tell you why.
Those feathers remind me of bites and screams,
From two birds who now soar and gleam
Across the rainbow bridge.
They were loved beyond measure,
My heart’s closest animal treasures –
They are in a better place now.

a jar of feathers

The baby is grown now, he is his own person,
Even though our living conditions worsened
The grass became greener once we reached the other side.
He has ambitions and dreams, sometimes it seems
Impossible, that he is almost my height.

The sheep made of sheep,
Dredged with memories and dirt,
Remind me of someone I loved
But that love will never outweigh the hurt
That he caused.
But yet I remember,
The days of December,
And a smile creeps onto my face.

The journals contain photos
And angst art and mementos
Of those who’ve come and gone
In this journey of life,
I remember them and above all
That is why I exist, dearest reader.

This is why my desk is cluttered,
I cannot part with the happiness
Even if they bring pain,
As the storm brews–
Clear skies will come again