Royalty

I wrote this poem in 5 minutes, without editing, during a ‘guided free-writing’ workshop. Please forgive me if it is substandard, or a bit unstructured. 

Purple silk rolls out from a palace cast in gold,

Kissing the feet of men walking, heads down, towards the cemetery.

I stand outside, on the balcony, lace curtains

Caressing my hair as

Their blood is absorbed, and the soil I once tread on becomes

Purple silk.

The blue sky overhead is moving closer- it wants to eat me alive.

My crimson dress trails behind me, the colour of blood and

Roses. The sky glistens, drapes over my shoulders like a comfortable shawl.

I take myself to the stars, pick them like cherries and place them on my head.

Mother Nature herself. What a queen.

What a cruel, cruel queen

who steps on graves to make herself feel more alive. 

My power lies where nobody can steal it,

They are too busy being distracted by the glimmer of the stars,

They do not see the universe behind my eyes.

There is nothing more worthless than gold,

Nothing more fragile

than the human ego.

My crown rested on my smoothened palms, I look outside.

It is dark and there is nobody there,

Only purple silk

dancing to nobody’s tune.


Sadia Ahmed, 2017

Carved

We carved our names into the back of a seat on the bus

as it stopped momentarily outside a library.

 

side by side, white letters etched

hastily into a block of bright purple.

 

we guided our fingers along the lines.

the strokes were formed swiftly with little hesitation

and the little plus sign in the middle created an equation

with no apparent solution.

 

How effortlessly a penny had put together a mess of imperfect dashes,

forging them into something so mysteriously coherent.

 

Perhaps we should have resorted to clichés:

fixing locks along Parisian bridges and

engraving our names into tree trunks instead,

killing them to let ourselves live on.

 

but I don’t think there is a metaphor more apt for whatever we have,

a little secret tucked away in a corner at the back,

evoking wonder and curiosity and indifference

from strangers we will never meet.

 

Maybe one day the seat will be replaced

by a newer one, more purple and less vandalised.

 

but until then,

I hope somebody sees our little masterpiece on the bus journey home,

and I hope she writes a poem about it.


Sadia Ahmed, 2017

Pieces

never cut out pieces of yourself

//

to make someone else whole again.

//
they will inhale the pieces of you like the tar of a cheap cigarette,
and then they will release you like a toxic fume.

//
meanwhile, you will continue to bleed tears of longing and hope,
while the pieces of you will remain concealed in

//
places you will never be able to find again.


Sadia Ahmed, 2017

Constellations

The stars have led us home for centuries,

Governing our lives and evoking fascination and wonder in our eyes.

Man seems to think that he is so powerful, so big, that even the stars look small to him.

Do they glisten for us?

Are they ornamental, like fairy lights,

Aimlessly forming clusters that tell us what tomorrow might have in store for us?

Are they mere tea-light candles whose flames flicker tirelessly in the great garden of this existence?

Welcome to Eden,

Where the skies are always clear

And the stars are near

Enough to distract us, to beautify our skies and capture our lives,

Yet distant enough so as not to burn us.

Welcome to Eden. Now pack your bags and leave.

You were under the impression that the Earth is an apple, weren’t you?

You tried to bite into it with venom lips and jagged teeth.

You left its remains on the floor,

Exposed and disfigured until it turned brown with sorrow

and oxidised with grief.

It’s hard to believe, nowadays, that man used to worship the sun and bow down to the stars.

Now he seems to think that the stars are his servants, and that

They bow down to him.


Sadia Ahmed, 2017