I cried tears, they fell one by one to my feet, until they reached my ankles. When they reached my ankles, I felt pain shoot up the back of my legs, travel up my spine, and infect my brain. The pain paralyzed all thought within me, and I cried.

When the tears reached my waist I lost whatever steady stance I had maintained. I began to sway back and forth, inching closer to death, closer to life, higher to elation, lower to depression. The salty sea had risen, to my shoulders, when my eyes began to dim at the peripherals. My breaths become shallow, the air more precious every passing second. My feet were out of sight by then. All I wanted was to escape. When the sea crept into my nose, I collapsed. I gave into the gentle pull of despair and plummeted to the depths, to the ground.

My eyes burned as I opened them within the sea of tears. My lungs were filled to the brim. Then, I became my tears, and I couldn’t cry anymore. That’s when I found the walls, and held on.

Religious Appropriation

A letter we send, we as the sons of the Sadr movement to each dirty
Malikian, Hakeemian and Jafarian…

With the help of Allah, and after monitoring and mapping for months, all
emails of those who are helping the government of the criminal Al-Maliki have been hacked
by the electronic monitoring department of the Sadr movement, the national
movement that is a true Iraqi movement which rejects the American invasion. And thank
Allah, this is one of them.

All of you, the tails of the Invasion will die burning along with your
families.

May Allah quicken the return of “Al-Mehdi” and aid us in gaining victory over the oppressors.

Continue reading Religious Appropriation

Dot, dot dot
An ellipses that contains all which I cannot
Overflowing
It burns on the way down
Like lava it overflows
Out of me, through my tongue
My fingers feverishly seek
My lips, dry and trembling
Eyes overflowing
Like the coastline at high tide
Elusive, as much as I try to be
Calmness eludes me
All which you can never
Yet you try to understand
Until you can’t
Dot… dot dot
Silence fills the dots
As it overflows
And drowns it out

And you loved me, still, as I peeled away yet another layer of myself to you. You still loved me as I got more insecure, more vulnerable, more temperamental. That’s what I’ve never been able to understand.

As my shields lay on the floor, I stood naked, shivering, pitiful in front of you, and you loved me. The darkness drowned us both, and we stood holding each other, the only two who ever really existed on this earth. I hid my face in your arms, and disappeared into you, never quite being strong enough to face the world as naked as I could face you.

What a notoriously baffling circle of insecurities and half confessions… Even you and I can’t figure it out. And you still love me… Not because I’m charming, or simple, or smart, or funny… But because I am me.

Still, you love me… And I never quit shivering against the bitter cold, the hard floor, that even your warm embrace cannot ward away. I only wonder how long you can fight my battles as well as your own. I only wonder if you’ll crack.

I’m Here!

The picture above is the view from the highest floor of the gymnasium of Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane.

I’m finally in Morocco!

I arrived on August 23rd, and it’s been a very exciting several days. I’ve met countless other fellow international students and went shopping at the local “marché.” A couple friends and I also explored the local park, which also had some individual vendors with a variety of jewelry, decor, and home goods.

I’m anticipating many more adventures to come!

Scene

Do you see?
Into that window
Onto which still crawls remnants of last night’s storm
Racing down towards the ground
Sunlight peeks in
Landing on four sleepy eyelids
A fire crackling nearby
Warming two bodies intertwined in a blissful knot

Do you feel me?
Clinging on
After you’ve ceased to ache me, and began to heal me
When I had a stone hard core, you crumbled me
And filled the void
My love for you now permeates my every pore
Invades my innards
Claims every breath of my being

Do you see us?
My dry lips begging to be touched
By the tips of your fingers
To be wetted by the liqueur of your kiss
Our two lungs, breathing each other’s air
Do you hear our two hearts, beating slowly
As we look out to a world that we’ve conquered
United, unafraid.

On Feminine Terrorism

I’m almost certain it was the 2011 visit, when I was 14. My two sisters, mother and I went to visit my maternal grandmother and our hometown Baghdad for the second time since our settlement in America. We were at Uncle Fahad’s house, the one adjacent to my grandmother’s (they shared a wall). All the adults were in the guest room drinking the late afternoon tea with biscuits and catching up. My budding introversion compelled me to get away from the noise for a little bit, so I was watching television in the living room. For about an hour, I was staring absentmindedly at the 20 inch screen, the oddity of my two passport identity consuming my thoughts.
I was brought back by a phrase I heard coming from the TV; “I didn’t have a morsel of bread to feed my kids.”
Continue reading On Feminine Terrorism

Title Pending

I could not be more excited! I finally got the ball rolling on my documentary. I have collected around 3 hours of footage, most of which is interviews, so far. That picture above is of my grandmother speaking about her husband. As I started reviewing the videos, I became really disappointed with the quality of my camera. I want this baby so bad. Hopefully I’ll save enough money to buy it by the end of the summer, because I will NEED it for Morocco!

Through a Lens

I was 15 and just couldn’t ignore how beautiful that single solitary flower looked sprouting up in between the stone steps. I crouched down and snapped this picture with my phone camera that afternoon right when I got home from school. The picture ended up catapulting me into an obsession I developed with photography and I spent a year and a half with my cheap Nikon around my neck 24/7. I sadly don’t take that many “inspired” pictures anymore but that will hopefully change soon when I leave the country.

I Never Thought I’d One Day Know

I never thought I’d one day know
the language that’s whispered under the sun
between the brightest buds, and above
the whitest clouds, which mentions only one

The one that came and invaded me
the one that seized every last defense I had
the one that set my untried heart free
imprisoned my mind within his jail, ironclad

Never did I anticipate how
I’d come to memorize the whispers of the sun
when speaking to me as she does now
her gentle burns remind me I have truly won

For though I’m aching within these walls
my hero with keys roams the outside halls

Acrylic Dervish


You might have heard of the most famous Sufi mystic: Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet (side note: in my opinion translating his poetry is nothing short of a crime). Sufism is technically a tiny sect of Islam. Jalalul-din Al-Rumi and many other Sufi mystics have gifted us everyday Muslims and the rest of the world an invaluable store of marvelous love poems. This representation is my humble token of adoration for the beautiful teachings of Sufism… a note of gratitude for opening my eyes to the true, beautiful image of God.

A Night With Trevor Noah: The Liberator Spring 2017 Print Issue

I’m in print! The Liberator magazine’s Spring 2017 issue was released earlier this month, with “Power” as the theme. It includes an article I wrote inspired by attending Trevor Noah’s latest stand-up comedy tour (Noah is The Daily Show’s latest host – replacing Jon Stewart). The full print issue can be viewed here in PDF format. “Continue Reading” to view my full article!

Continue reading A Night With Trevor Noah: The Liberator Spring 2017 Print Issue

Fear

Fear
Creeps through you as you dream
You prepare, plan.. but without realizing it you also
Fear
The burden will weigh your shoulders down
Your legs won’t carry you to the end
Will you collapse?
Will your aspirations come down and crush you
As if to say…
You knew you would fail all along.
In between the borders of your thoughts, there crept
Fear

Study Abroad Scholarship

I thought I couldn’t get more excited. Alas, I was wrong. Yesterday I received an email stating that I was selected to receive UT’s College of Liberal Arts Study Abroad Exchange Scholarship! It won’t take care of every dollar I need for the program, but it will certainly help a lot. I will be posting highlights of my experience in Morocco beginning in August, accompanied by shots taken with my Nikon. Stay tuned!

Those Who Do Not Learn History Are Doomed to Repeat It.

You might be able to refrain from clicking on that headline. You might be able to scroll past that gruesome footage. But if you were at the Texas State Capitol today, you couldn’t walk away. You couldn’t turn your back. You had to see and hear the consequences of our government’s inaction towards the refugee crisis in Syria.
Myself and 20 other brave and talented individuals performed a reality that too few of our fellow countrymen recognize.

All That is on it Will Perish

This phrase from the Quran changed my life. Not only has it filled me with humility every day of the past 3 years, it also continues to remind me how small and insignificant my problems are in the grand scheme of things. This phrase has been the source of my happiness and the fuel that drives every thing I do, because I know that if I want to do anything of significance, it can’t come from a place of selfishness, competition or for material gain. Any success I acquire or accomplishments I achieve, any material wealth I accumulate will perish along with me, so I’ve decided to live this short life for things that won’t.