Early Morning Poetry: Stun

Early Morning Poetry: Stun

I look at you and stare some time
Not because I can’t stop
But because to unlock
My eyes from you
Is to commit myself
To blindness

When  I’d rather be stunned

©Halah Mohammed May 10th, 2016

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April 28th, 2016

April Poetry-Month 18/30

I unwrite myself a new book
One without the pages you ripped
Your selfishness an ignorance
Your whole life a took

You’re a wanting for your own smiles
Your own joys somehow
Never leave any around
Your giddy a money
Eventually you spend
In exchange for nothing
I let you tear and you tore out

I unwrite myself a new book
Remember some pages
Are not meant to be flipped–
Writ–
Remember not everything is worth keeping in
Remember some things just go
When they’re ready to jump ship
And to force departing is to lose
Before losing
Is to give before you received the gift

©Halah Mohammed April 28th, 2016 Denver, Colorado, USA

*Originally Published on https://www.facebook.com/halahthepoet/

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Shades of Brown

Before, during, and after my travels I met some phenomenal artists who highlight, uplift, question, and showcase shades of brownness through various art forms. Instead of consuming Black Friday madness, click on the hyperlinks and check out these artists, their works/projects. Enjoy! -H 


 

TORONTO, CANADA

The Carefree Black Boy Project  aims to create spaces where black males can explore themselves without limits, and to question the standard ideas around masculinity, sexuality, spirituality, and identi

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AROUND THE WORLD

Riwayya رواية is an online art and literary journal showcasing the diverse written and visual works by artists from all around the world. A narrative, story, short story, novella, poem, narration, recital, recitation, reading, photography, dance, creation, or process art, Riwayya encapsulates all art forms. It is a space of collision. Extinction and extinguishing. Negotiation and negation. An amputation and extension of political landscapes, past and present. Riwayya is not born of despair. It is the (un/re)learning of heritage and the dynamism of homeland. It is fiction in so far as realities remain untold. 

In other words, Riwayya is about creating a space that gives marginalized voices command of this space, but also represent the powerful commitment to art within our diverse communities. Riwayya aims  to re/decenter our positionalities through storytelling that moves away from the one-dimensional media representations of art.

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MINNESOTA, AMERICA

BIM BAM Body Magic “[Provides] high quality organic and handmade products that elevate ones spirituality.”– Arique 

Come as you are!  You are welcomed into a space that is looking to uplift you, not fix you.  Immerse yourself with our questions and ideas that seek to inspire a deeper connection with your inner power.  There is no right or wrong way to praise, worship, pray, or meditate.  We simply ask that you remember the golden rule: do onto others as you would have them do onto you.  Join us on our journey through literature, art, and beauty and may it be magical once again.

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“I’m from Toronto, born and bred. I got into spoken word after hearing a spoken word artist perform in my grade 11 English class. I’ve been doing it ever since, from slamming to hosting poetry events.”

“Tell me about your organization, BAM Youth Slam.”

“BAM Youth Slam is the only youth poetry slam scene in the province. We get people from all walks of life. Kids and emerging artists come here, and earn their keep slamming. Some come back for our leadership opportunities: join our directing group, which goes into schools, hosts workshops, and helps me organize events. They get more involved in the community.”

“What are your thoughts on safe-space in poetry/slam communities and events?”

“Safe- space is a very important topic in the discussions happening now in slam and poetry communities/organizations everywhere. I don’t think we have to silence a voice in order to have a safe space. Coming here, sharing your story, and being in safe space are the same thing. You can coexist, share stories, and not trigger anyone.”

“What do you think spoken word has given to you? taken away?”

“Poetry has definitely empowered me. I live and breathe spoken word. It’s my life and it gives me life. I guess I would not be alive without it [chuckles].

Spoken word has made me less ignorant, more accepting and willing to connect with people. Poetry continues to help me un-learn a lot of things in my life.”

– Toronto, Canada

* The Uncharted is a collective of Toronto-based Spoken Word Artists Patrick de Belen, Scribe and Patrick Walters. Check out their poetry here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmQV8nw_LKrmmGoVbBif17A

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“As an artist I go by Scribe. My poetry is a combination of my story, perspective, and getting people to come into experiences with me.”

“When did you first fall in love with spoken word?”

“That’s really hard to say because music is poetry, lyricism is poetry. But, I’d say three or four years ago, just finding it and seeing artists perform it really spoke to me. Their performances told me you can be more and do more than MCing or rapping; you can share you story in a way that is not defined by rules or structure. Poetry is chaos.”

“What has spoken word given to you? taken away?”

“It’s given me assurance in that I matter and what I have to say matters. It’s taken away the ability to be completely ignorant. Listening to other people’s poetry provides me opportunities to learn from other people’s experiences, especially those I have not had before.”

“What motivates you to write? What motivates you to perform?”

“Loving creation motivates me to write. I’m a Christian and one of my fundamental beliefs is God is an artist. There have been periods over the last couple of years when I’ve strayed away from the basic standards of faith. But the one thing that keeps me connected to my Creator is that he is a creator and I’m a creator too. That keeps me grounded. That’s why I write.

I perform because truths need to be presented. I realized that the presenting of truth, making someone aware, doesn’t do much on it’s own. But being able to try to spark people to action, having dialogue with people is very important to me, and I just love performing.”

“Last thing you want to share in this interview?”

“Truth is more important than feeling. A lot of times we are afraid to look within ourselves, look at the world we live in, and move past our feelings.”

– Toronto, Canada

*The Uncharted is a collective of Toronto-based Spoken Word Artists Patrick de Belen, Scribe and Patrick Walters. Check out their poetry here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmQV8nw_LKrmmGoVbBif17A

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“When did you first fall in love with spoken word?”

“About eight years ago. I was in grade four when my teacher asked me to write a poem about anything. I wrote about the earth, environment, and she loved it! Of course I got hype! I took it home to show my parents and they said ‘This is the best thing ever!” I don’t know if it was the best thing ever or not, but at the time I appreciated my parents pushing me. I was encouraged to do more and more, and over time I fell in love with it. About two years ago I realized I could making a living off spoken word and I’ve been loving it more ever since [smiles].”

“What has spoken word taken away from you? Give to you?”

“It has taken away my sleep! [laughs] My fears. I feel much more empowered to do the things I love doing. I think the more vulnerable I am on stage the more empowered I become. As poets we must embrace the vulnerability, the ability to share our stories, our pain, our hurt, and our fun too. I like being diverse and prolific.

It’s given me the belief that I can do something in this world that is bigger than myself. It’s given me the opportunity to speak to the youth out here, encourage them to be the best versions of themselves that they can be. It encouraged me to share dreams. Everyone has a dream that they want to push. I push mine through poetry.”

“What is the future for your spoken word?”

“Feature performances at really large venues, doing my own workshops across Canada. I’ve started doing workshops recently. I have a workshop about the psychology behind poetry. I’m a psychology major and full time student right now at York University, so it’s been great because I’ve been able to amalgamate my workshops, poetry, and psychology degree, merge the three and show people a different view of poetry; understand the emotion in poetry. Getting back to the future, keynote speeches,TEDtalks, and just working with the youth, encouraging them to be the best they can be.”

“Last words you want to share in this interview?”

“Value your happiness. Understand that you will go through problems, tribulations, but as long you have a dream, drive to be the best version of yourself you can possibly be, then the sky is the limit.”

– Toronto, Canada

*The Uncharted is a collective of Toronto-based Spoken Word Artists Patrick de Belen, Scribe and Patrick Walters. Check out their poetry here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmQV8nw_LKrmmGoVbBif17A

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Self-Motivation

Title: Self-Motivation

Don’t come home empty handed
With your head brushing the floor
Eat the fridge empty
Drink yourself crying
And blame the Man

For the coolness in the winter
The hotness in the summer
The darkness no matter the hour
Is still there
It still you

– ©Halah Mohammed, Fall 2015

ever 

i don’t want to
lay you down
on a shelf
in a space
that doesn’t feel
like you do
deeply

and cry like you do
a summer shower
hot and steamy
dries quickly
like it never
came
and it never
came
down

i don’t want to
forget you
remember you
were never here
when the smell of you
is air

if i don’t breathe
i don’t breathe

i don’t want to
never hear you laugh
waves in an ocean
ripples in a river
layers in a sunset

i don’t want to
see me in a reflection
i want to wear you
and never
take you off
and never
lay you down

i want you ever woke

i want you
right here
right here
in me

– © Halah Mohammed, Summer 2015

*Dedicated to my Watson Fellowship Year and Watson Fellows ’14