Gold by Shereen Abdelqader

I love to wake up extra early on weekend mornings
To witness her special rises
I peak my head through the door
And wonder what’s the weather like today
Somedays she’d smile at my presence
Rays so bright and warm
Roses blossoming at her cheeks
Her voice serenading my approach
I wish I could collect these moments in jars and save them for rainy days
Rainy days that are blue and gloomy
Yet still warm

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Gold by Bader Shehab

I love it when both streaks of your hairs fall over your shoulders almost involuntarily. We’re drunk dancing on a sidewalk with probably the same record of The Cranberries playing over and over again. I’d take my shirt off and do handstands on a frozen lake, just to see your smile with a warm steam fuming this winter. Help one another climb up a bark tree, then I’d hold you in my arms wrapping you into me and dive back first onto a bed of autumn leaves. Slide down the vert ramp at a skate park and when we’re bored of that we break into a water park at night and get chased out by angry security. Kiss you in the back of that “open late hours” pizzeria. I like it when a strand of your hair gets caught between our lips. Continue reading

Addiction/Decay by Shereen Abdulqader

She paces, back and forth, too afraid to go in, to see him again. She fears being reminded of what she has done.
Not that she could ever forget, the darkness that haunts her, the nightmares that break her from her flimsy sleep, peace refusing to visit her; but seeing him back in person will only tighten the knot in her stomach she’d been carrying ever since.
She pauses, her back to the door, pushing down the feeling of queasiness. She spins around in a moment of courage and madness, grips the handle. Hesitates.
She snatches her hand back as if she’d touched fire and brings it up to her face. Her front teeth resting on the nail of her thumb. The dread boiling within her is in a tug war with longing.
Longing to see his face one more time, to see him.

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Addiction/Decay by Bader Shehab

Your nail polish bent light
at satisfactory fractions,
at will – playing into the night,
refracting alcoholic photons
distorting colors in a strange way;
complimenting the dying Winehouse
in an elaborate estrogen-fueled fumes,
the melodic haze fogging your aura.
I thought it was a chemical imbalance
in my mind, eyes and taste buds…
It’s believing my lie; the simulacra,
or it could be another illusion – Continue reading

Addiction/Decay by Ali Alshammari

You were so beautiful, I just couldn’t see it,
a vision in a low-cut top doing god know’s what off of the bathroom sink,
you were always too cool for me,
funnily enough, it wasn’t I who shot out of my league,
you came down to my lowly plain like rainwater setting my inhibitions free,
your inhibitions, however, were a little too unshackled I’d come to find,
I’d accompany you wherever you went,
back alley to basement rave, Continue reading

Sun/Moon by Amira Sheikh

“It’s hideous from up close”, “It’s a giant silver blob of dust”, “Like an orb of alloy”.
But it was just as beautiful as I imagined it to be.
The shimmering halo was closer to me than ever, gleaming in that pitch black, lonely sky. I could count the infamous and giant craters, surrounded by thousands of tinier ones, with their rims raised high, creating concave hollow pits. That’s where I was going to be standing tall in a few minutes, holding the flag up high while my country watches me with pride. This must be the euphoria that they keep talking about. Few minutes and I will be living my life long dream.
A loud bang struck and so did I into reality.

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Sun/Moon by Shereen Abdelqader

I remember the first time we shook hands
My palms came back covered in moon dust
And something within my soul reached for you
Something within me recognized the familairty
The serenity
Like ancient pieces fitting back together after centuries of being apart
The red thread around my pinky felt like it hung loose and short
No longer being pulled tight by distance
And when you first called me sunshine
I thought you recognized it too

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Sun/Moon by Bader Shehab

Spanish-style dwellings flanking the tile flooring, horseshoes echoing perfectly under the attic as steroids-infused steads walk so gracefully while bleeding from the nose – it’s my lucky day at the track. They, inside sources connected to powerful cartel jefes, claimed number 7 and 3 are juiced to the gills and I’m putting down a good ten grand on each because to hell with my probation officer, ex-wife and prison councilor they were all wrong. The cold corona seems to facilitate the sweat across the flower-patterned shirt but it’s my khaki shorts that took the most beating. Apparently, one of the golfer’s escorts had the evil eye. That or the devil got poor number 7 he tripped face-first at the initial turn, Jesus… The number 3 horse, on the other hand, came in second – looks like I’m drinking myself to sleep in the afternoon again.  Continue reading

Corruption by Hawra’a Khalfan

She hugged her growing belly tight with her palms, _I can’t wait to meet you._ She smiled, as her baby responded with the sweetest little kick, as if to say “Me too.”

Her mind drifted to her own mother and all the fading memories she has of her. The only ones that haven’t faded are the ones of her mother fighting for her. The unconditional support she always kissed into her pores. She sat at her writing desk, thought of all the wishes and dreams she has for her little girl, and began:

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Corruption by Bader Shehab

Many people know me, but it still gets kinda lonely. Not the stars that shoot my name or the camera flashes that authenticate the lines  on my forehead. Or that perfect area where I rest my hand as we slow dance with my co-starlet at the ball to a film premiere ever gave me a seldom feeling of belonging. Sometimes, I’d wander into a room and just like that – I’m the life of a party. The cheers, the laughter, the powder and the selfies. Valley girls doing body shots and popping mollies; oh it got pretty crazy. Over the smog and the mirage of North Irvine hills it got me all hazy. 

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Corruption by Shereen Abdelqader

I never knew sadness could take hold of a heart so tightly.
Didnt know it could clutch to it
Sinking its talons deep inside
Never knew a heart could feel so heavy
So swollen and bruised
Never felt like it could ooze out with poison before
I never experienced this kind of longing
The kind that could cause your brittle heart to want to claw its way out of its cage

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Fluffy by Amira Sheikh

There I was, driving down the lonely road, afflicted with despair, watching the dense rain pour and the raindrops splat on my cracked windshield just as my thoughts fell on my shattered heart and splattered feelings all over me.
The swift and stormy night was leading me into the pitch black sky, into the dark road, where I saw no hopeful light.
 As the loud crack of thunder rumbled across my spine, I saw her sitting across the road. I tried to steal a closer look and I could see the fear in her wide, innocent eyes, yearning for help, the wind blowing across her worried face and the invincible rain getting her all cold and wet. That beautiful soul was clearly lost and didn’t deserve to be.
I approached to her with my arms wide open as she pounced on my lap and rubbed her fluffy fur against me. She looked at me with utter joy and relief, like I was her saviour and I knew that moment that she was going to cherish me forever. But it was the other way round.

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Fluffy by Bader Shehab

Nothing has ever felt softer on my weathered skin. It’s a trick, like the inner workings of a wizard’s dream, that something – a lifeless object could be so tender and welcoming. A man made “Mr. Cuddles”,  as it’s written here, would bring me a piece of warmth. In subzero temperatures, a cold frigid nuclear winter and the daily battle between sunlight and fog. This stuffed animal motionless and yet so colorful. My eyes trained for so long on recognizing no more than the grey and black of what’s left of the trees and ghosts. Never seen so many colors concentrated on one matter… “Mother base, there are no signs of any survivors in zone B113.” I reported my last findings to our forward operating station and… I couldn’t take my eyes off this teddy bear – I wanted to bring it back to base for one of the survivors’ children but I could risk contamination. I have never locked eyes with an object for so long. As if they were eyes; two dark and hollow dots of plastic flanking a bear-like nose all wearing a faint smile.

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