Goodbye by Shereen Abdelqader

I remeber goodbyes to be the ghosts that haunted all the ships in my nightmares when I was younger
Somewhere along the journey
They have become the chest of treasure I’m haunting for
For goodbyes meant closure
And that’s just too much of an easy, smooth sailing to hope for
Instead we took the coward’s way out
Leaving things vague and confusing

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Goodbye by Bader Shehab

Was matter always so complicated like this? Why can’t it just be that one unified law of physics? You know like: to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. But no! It’s more or less along the lines of: to every action there is an opposite and equal Hadron reverberating to the moving mass – then the Higgs Boson, a particle that permeates all of existence. Does God reside within these finite yet infinite strings? Forever suspended between bubbles of multiverses sequencing in endless events, some repetitive – some not so much; be it a bullet train, my grip around the coffee mug, the soft touch of a baby’s head or the very breath I take. Is that ‘space’ the Matrix in its natural format per-se? Those dark spaces between the Hawking radiation and the very foundation of thermodynamics, are those occasional hiding spots for God? Until science comes along after epochs to try and find the puppeteer only for him to be gone, again? Won’t that take a million years and many civilizations to flourish and crush? Assuming we don’t encounter extinction like this one. Continue reading

Blasphemy by Hawra’a Khalfan

A journal entry on feeling stagnant:

It is blasphemous for me to feel this way. It is blasphemy to nudge the world with my thoughts by putting them on paper. It is a miscarriage of ideals to almost be as good as I want to be. I feel as if I might as well have been born still. I feel nothing but friction, vibrating back and forth but never going anywhere. I feel like I was born to stillborn parents, never having learned anything from their mistakes. I feel as though the world owes me everything and nothing. I feel like I am an intrusion. A peculiar future death waiting to happen. I feel as though the only purpose I serve is to give the race less air to breathe, less space to live. I am a living cultivation of what it looks like to ungrow, to unthrive, to be still.

Blasphemy by Bader Shehab

It’s quite often that I pluck the burning cigarette onto the curtain cloth, it’s a bad old habit. But you know what they say: “old habits die hard” or something of the sort. Pease, leave me a receipt after I check out and I’ll have your curtain replaced.

You know what… I have been on a bit of a bender as of late; in and out of motels and moving state to state. Sometimes I’m not sure if I am entrapped in a fight with time dimensions. I can almost see my past when I exhale the smokey hallucinations. I could feel the joints in my wrist, twist and bend and flex to the paperweight of my Marlboro. Continue reading

Purulent by Hawra’a Khalfan

A journal entry on the postpartum period:

What they don’t tell you when you’re about to be a mom is that it takes a while for that tsunami- over the moon- head inside out- intense motherly love to kick in. I remember the exact moment it kicked in with my daughter. Before that moment, I would still do everything I had to to nurture and sustain her. I clothed, bathed, nursed her. I didn’t sleep or eat properly. I fully came second and she was the most important thing in my life. But what I felt wasn’t love in the beginning. It was a need to take care of this little tiny thing I birthed. So I nursed her on demand, often meaning I barely slept. I worried about her nonstop; is it too cold? too warm? is she clean enough? full enough? healthy enough? safe enough?
This continued for two months. When she screamed I ran to her, when she cried I felt guilty and made a pact to myself that I would never let her cry for as long as I exist (she cried again 5 minutes after I made this pact). I felt like I had this fog which persisted and followed me everywhere. It was in my brain, consistently. It was like a purulent infection of the mind, consuming who I ‘was’ and oozing this layer around my brain. I was not myself anymore. I could not think straight. It was predominantly caused by lack of sleep. But there was this other side to it, where I knew I wanted things done a certain way and as the mother, I had to be the one to do those things that certain way. Continue reading

Purulent by Bader Shehab

I can feel my whole bodyweight on my 10-ounce gloves, the blood… the blood feels cold, little cherry-red drops mixed with sweat authenticate on the wrist wraps. I find my bearings and barely grab a hold of my fallen mouth piece.

“Get up… get your ass up, champ!” I turn and, as if time had slowed down, make out the blurring figures of my uncle and coach yelling and slamming their arms on the canvas.

The crowd, thousands of them, their chants and screams no longer audible in my ringing eardrum – I could barely feel my legs. The fingers in my gloves tighten into a fist and I assume a fighting pose almost instinctively. Like a wounded bull, I take a few drunken steps closer towards my defeat… Continue reading

Body of Water by Shereen Abdelqader

Oh how badly I want to plunge into your deep waters
Forget about safety measures and allow myself to be engulfed
Swallowed whole
I would not worry about breathing
It is already hard to do so up here
I am a willing victim to your anemones
Hold me as captive
Ill make it home
I cannot think of a safer place to be
I do not want to waste time on shallow waters
I want to be where no human beings have been
I want to explore the secrets you keep so well hidden

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Body of Water by Amira Sheikh

A waterfall, through the rocks, it tumbles
My love for you, collapsing, but perpetual
In a series of cascades, it rumples
leading the way to valley of hope, as usual
Mending your scars, healing your sores
by touching every inch of your skin
As a longed raindrop that pours
ending the drought and letting spring begin
You rushed me in your arms, my heavy wave
that surrendered this yearning shore
You kissed my soul but swept away
promising return, leaving me wanting more
Standing by, eagerly anticipating
discerning my wave’s arrival to this bay
But the more I felt you close, you were fading
You were just a mirage, to my dismay.

Body of Water by Anusuya Mukherjee

She was Juvia and he was Ares. Juvia would always return to her source, the body of water and Ares to war, his source of chaos.

She stood by the body of water, exhausted. It was long overdue and she knew it. She had finally stood up to it, stood up to the pain, stood up to the abuse, enough was enough! She was done. The tears had been shed, the pain had crossed its threshold. She was finally, finally free! Oh, and that freedom swept through her veins like the ocean hit its wave on the beach. Sometimes slow and steady, sometimes violent as her heart beat faster. Continue reading

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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