I am feeling the martyrdom of an untimely sensuality.

— Clarice Lispector, tr. by Stefan Tobler, from “Água Viva,”

I Never Shut The Door Behind & My Father is Upset

I keep making mistakes.

I keep finding men like my father to love

and then to unlove

and then tiptoe my way out
of homes I built out of their bodies
of framed pictures of them sleeping
of an afternoon when they would
point and tell me
“there, that bathroom floor,

 there, the space behind the door,

 there, this entire room with broken glass

 stay, look at all the space I made for you,

 all the love I have for you”

And I would stand there measuring the distance

between my feet and the door

But I don’t get it right, I never get it right

I was five when he said ‘to the moon and back ,love’,

since then it doesn’t add up

how does then love feel so small

inside my heart, every heart beat echoes

the buzzing that comes with emptiness

my soul confuses it with butterflies

I lose my math, my concept of light years

I would stand there measuring the distance

between my feet and the door

measuring the distance between

what’s real, and what’s not

and I don’t understand

who the fuck are we

to measure love in distance

who the fuck are we

never teaching our children

to walk over to the door

to leave

to shut the door behind.

Thamanna Razak , I Never Shut The Door Behind & My Father is Upset

Passionate. Innocent. She resembled all this fresh summer enchantment.

— Zinaida Nikolaevna Gippius, from The Selected Works; “The Mountain Cornel

Creatures of Culture

I like to dream that
I would want to
be a wife.  A creature,
the myth and the truth
of my culture.
I would stand in the
kitchen, and
carry his honour,
my grace
and our children
on my widened hips
and for that,
he would call me his
omram. I would smile
and fill the house
with smoke from oud.
I would move from one
room to another
in long silk dresses,
a country to another.
I would pack love and
my mother’s pickles.
This creature, his name
trailing mine, a gift
to his ancestors,
a loss to mine.
But it would grace me
to be this creature
to be his creature
in his house, to be
worshiped in love,
swollen breasts
and long hair, on his bed.
Goddess of a home, mother
of beautifully raised children
but only a wife
to the world.

– Creatures of Culture by Thamanna Razak

I Dream of A Better World in My Mother’s Garden

My mother boils cardamom in the kitchen on a Sunday morning. Basking in the early sunlight, I enjoy a fresh bowl of fruits sitting in the balcony surrounded by vines my mother grows and flowers that bloom around me like a home I’ve always wanted. I try to work but the air carries a gentle scent of spices, coconut oil and jasmines, so I loosen by hair from the bun and let the moment engulf me. I think of small pleasures and how I have found my solace in them. Years ago, always grieving heart of mine didn’t always experience moments of pleasure or true happiness. As years have passed, I’ve let go of my belief of my narrow and misguided idea of happiness. Happiness, I’ve come to realise is experienced often in the expanse of suffering or grief. A true oasis, in the middle of a burning desert , maybe a mirage of how life can be without the suffering, comforting and soothing , but not always a burst of life changing event. Time passes in thoughts, I listen to a speech made by Barack Obama in 2012 about fleeting youth and how to contribute to our society, while having a honey-milk mask on my face and painting my nails, somewhere in the back of my head, this image of me makes me proud. Youth, as I understand is a gift to yourself, what you learn, and strive for in your early years makes a difference on the life you will lead. This age, and this youthfulness also comes with conflicts, mostly inner dilemmas and diasporas of a destabilised life that most of us been exposed to. I haven’t been able to completely let go of my tragic sense of life but I have been able to look up and recognise light and I think in itself is powerful, to be able to see light. I took some time to feel rather than write the past couple of months and it has changed a lot of things in me and as hard and taxing as it was, I’m really glad to have made that decision.

Journal; I Dream of A Better World in My Mother’s Garden by Thamanna Razak