Contributor to Celine's Salon, The Anthology, Volume 2, October 2022, Song/Spoken Word Lyrics


She can dive into dark oceans

and fall weightless through the sky,

she's been tossed in raging rivers

cos she wants to be fearless, fearless.

Yet it's been hard for her to go back

and face shadows from her past

and they’re cast into her arms and legs

still she wants to be fearless, fearless.

I’ve seen her run, I’ve seen her falter

I’ve seen her float into the mist.

She stands here now bleeding and broken

just aching to be kissed.

She is ripped up and she is open.

She cannot run, she cannot hide.

Standing, falling, bleeding, breaking,

just aching to be kissed.

Read entire piece in the online magazine


Contributor to Phenomenal Women, Anthology, Building Communities Resource Centre, March 2022

The reply

This heartstone

Appearing when I asked

What I had been afraid to ask

Am I worthy?

Its coolness and smoothness

Drawing breath down into feet

Salty spray kiss trembling cheeks

Maybe I am?

Its weight upon my palm

Planting feet firmly upon rocks

Waves crash into a serenade

Perhaps love is possible?

I hold it as it holds me

Reminding me that while I ask

With hope and longing

I am loved

Featured artist in Writeresque Issue 2, October 2021

I'm A Woman Who Walks Alone At Night

I’m a woman who walks alone at night and I want to tell you why

I walk to breathe, I walk to live to savour sight and sound and sky

Don't think for a moment that I'm unaware of the risk of possible attack

For I have walked in many lands Bearing history on my back

I’m a woman who walks alone at night walking into peaceful protests in Khartoum,

walking, not knowing if the army would turn up and not caring - just walking, for Sudan’s freedom

Don't think for a moment that I'm unaware of children, women, murdered, abused and raped

refugees, prisoners of military rule, religious and tribal divide and hate

I’m a woman who walks alone at night in the Philippines I walked the streets of Manila

in my shorts and skirts and strappy floral dresses that one wears on the islands of perpetual summer

Don't think for a moment that I'm unaware of the casualties of drug wars, typhoons and oppression

And that bare arms and bare legs suggest invitation in religiously affirmed depravation

Read entire poem in the online magazine


Highly commended piece in Northern Ireland Mental Health Festival 2021. Zoom in to find it below Strandtown, Belfast. https://www.nimhaf.org/open-call-poetry-map

Alone in the crowd

is it a self-inflicted punishment

to sit alone alone in this crowd

while lovers lean in

and families encircle

their togetherness pronounce my solitude

sadness surges and

I am reminded I am human

and I am alone alone in this crowd

this crowd that talks and listens

this crowd that laughs and smiles together

reminding me

of my unspoken conversations

my unhugged body

my unsmiled goodbyes

my aloneness urging a togetherness

for while I sit apart this crowd holds me within it

so I take the sadness as a soothing balm

that may deflect the hardening of a heart

for the hardened heart would be the punishment

while the ache of loneliness and longing

loneliness and longing is the welcome reprieve

The Kensington and Chelsea Art Week Poetry Corner 2021 https://www.kcaw.co.uk/poetry-corner-2021

Love, in the time of remote learning


Where the hurt can heal

These three poems, along with photographs of nature installations, were published in the COVID-19 Immemory archival exhibition.


I am rooted

I wrote in rooms

These two poems were published in the Steel Jackdaw Edition 2 magazine.

I am rooted, eyes transfixed on your branches, dancing in

the gentle breeze, leaves singing a song of swish—and soothe.

I am rooted, by your roots, steady, fixed, transfixed in Earth

and by earth, with your trunk radiating up—into the heavens.

I am rooted, in awe, utter and complete awe at your ability to stay

and to stand and to not run away like I have done so—so often.

I am rooted, in recognition that while you stand in your one spot

you dance through the earth, and with—the stars.

I am rooted, by your smell, drinking it with hungry nostrils, open

mouth tasting musky, muddy magic moving—through my lungs.

I am rooted, by the hardness of your bark bearing the softness of

my breast, body surrendering and exhaling—into your embrace.

I am rooted, watching people walking by, smiling at their happiness

not needing to know their names or their lives to rejoice—in their joy.

I am rooted, in wonder. Is this what you do? Standing in your one spot?

Smiling air into our lungs? Breathing life to all who may not even notice?

Oh! If I could know the songs you sing and hear the stories you tell,

I would never ever stop listening. I hope to know! I hope to hear!

So every step I take away, while you stay standing in your one spot, is

with verdant gratitude and a willful, wafting wish, to be rooted—like you.


Where did the rhetoric lead?

Weapons of mass destruction

Soft duvet, cushion

Recumbent woman

Who is the demon?

Axis of evil

Boiling kettle

Ache that is menstrual

Afraid to be female

Evil doers

Grey skies, clouds

Raindrops on leaves

Unnamed innocents

War on terror

Warm shower, red jumper

Safe undercover

Hidden pen and paper


My sisters

I have a face that suggests I speak languages I do not speak

Tamil, Hindi, Tagalog and even Spanish.

Well, that’s probably more to do with my name

and frankly who cares what my name is.

It doesn’t matter today.

What matters is that my name is not Afhak—dew.

It is not Afsoon—charming, charismatic, loved by all.

Nor is it Anousheh—everlasting, immortal

for I am not an Afghan woman.

I have a room, which suggests that have a home of my own

but I don’t.

I don’t even have a visa to live and work where I am.

And frankly what does that matter for I am where I am

safe and protected.

For my name is not Benesh—wisdom, intellect.

It is not Esin—inspirational woman.

Nor is it Ferhana—one leading a comfortable life.

Not that anyone in Afghanistan is today.

I have a hope—peace and transformation flourishing

through educational opportunities for the under-served

in Sudan, South Africa, the Philippines, India, the world.

Yet today, I am afraid to feel the despair I feel.

But my name is not Hesther—the shining star.

It is not Hunoon—compassionate loving woman.

It is not Imama—great leader.

Nor is it Kaamisha—happy soul.

Who is happy in Kabul today? Or happy about it?

I have a fear—Afghan girls and women becoming nameless and voiceless

like I was whenever my body was a weapon used against me

by men who thought they had ownership of it.

Yet my fear is just a drop in the ocean of fear sweeping through an entire land.

But what do I know of this fear?

My name is not Larmina—the vast blue sky or Mehrbano—princess of the water.

It is not Nageenah, precious stone or Nahal—the young plant.

Nor is it Nadiaa—hope, the one you turn to in your time of need.

Who do they turn when fear of death, rape, persecution hangs around their necks?

I am struggling today, remembering the Sudanese Massacre

with hundreds raped, murdered while I stood safe in Belfast.

Hundreds injured and thousands distraught after months of peaceful protest.

Tascot Bas! Just fall, that is all!

Hurriya! Salam! Wa Adaala! Freedom! Peace! Justice!

The revolution is the choice of the people

yet choices to brandish paintbrushes were met with arms holding guns.

Choices? I did not choose my name or skin

or placement in the middle ground of racial division and privilege.

I am struggling today, remembering South Africa burning recently

with family and friends afraid, while I stood safe in Belfast.

Struggling as I watched ordinary people, who are not criminals, commit crimes.

Struggling with my name that cannot open borders to bring women and girls to safety.

Paksima—the one with the innocent face and Ramineh—quiet, peaceful woman.

Shadleen—happy soft hearted woman and Shahzadi—princess.

Sharjeela—a spark and Tabaan—splendid, glittering.

Yamna—righteous and Zaafirah—victorious and successful.

Zamaair—heart, mind, conscience.

My sisters!

My heart, my mind, my conscience weeps and speaks.

My struggle to struggle with you is a struggle I will never forsake!

It is a struggle born with the grace and the grit of the ground that hold our feet.

So as you fall, and I know many of you will fallknow, that we, will fly.

We fly free of bodies that say that we as women are worth less.

Free of men who could never own let alone touch our tenderness and might.

Free of societies so afraid of our power that they seek to shackle and silence us.

My sisters!

We fly as we fall and as we cry—we sing.

This poem was written a few minutes before joining an online Poetry Reading event on August 16th organised by the Swansea based Live Poets Society. My thoughts and feelings were centered about the safety that my name, ethnicity and physical location in Belfast grants me. We can help support the safety and survival of Afghan women and girls by supporting organisations like Beyond Skin and others who are working to help Afghan asylum seekers. Our sisters need our help.

Flames of the funeral pyres torch the world


You are burning

Burning your dead

Burning in my skin

I didn’t want to love you

I wanted to despise you for bequeathing me

A culture that feels as foreign to me as patriarchy and misogyny

Yes, all too familiar and completely foreign in my fists of freedom

You were not even on my list

Why would I want to come to you when I knew

That I would have chosen apartheid over your caste system, on

any god-given day—choosing to be judged by race, not religion

You gave me skin I didn’t want

Wishing for darker or paler, for black or white would not have

placed me in a middle ground of racial privilege in South Africa


You broke my heart open with your beauty

I am yours, you are mine, with brothers and sisters who trusted

me to journey their hearts and minds to spirit, to source, to peace

You are magnificent, always awake

I am here today remembering your roads, your rivers, your roots

Where the sick are falling and the dead are burning as we watch

I am ashamed, guilty in my safety

So far away that you can’t touch me with your multitudinous sick

Yet close enough to choke on every vaccine you make for the world

I am sorry, I am sorry

I wish you could keep it and treat the world’s vaccine production site

As a place were people matter more than the service they provide


I know these are my words

Your grace, humility, your compassion and humanity rise above me

I am weak with my fears and judgements, my worries and impatience

You are extraordinary in your ordinariness

When my feet first touched your skin I knew why I had avoided you

How do I ignore my heart, beating now, knowing it will one day stop

You taught me about death

About seeing the beauty of fleeting moments I cannot hold on to

Yet can only encounter briefly, when my eyes, my heart, my mind open

You taught me about love

A surrender to life with all its unknowns, open to awe in any moment

Intoxicated by fragrant friendship, bubbling bliss, joy that sparkles


The lessons you teach are the lessons to be learned by us, by you

All of us, falling here, through the lies and deceit into the ocean of truth


I watch you burn


You are inextinguishable

Lessons untaught and learned

Although I studied a four year degree in primary education

they didn’t teach me what I really needed to learn.

They didn’t teach me that I’d soon stand there with barely enough for

my rent and groceries unable to ignore the ache in your bellies.

They didn’t teach me so I ordered two sandwiches, ate one

and loudly declared "I’m stuffed! Anyone want a sandwich?"

They didn’t teach me so when you cold, I picked out the unlabelled

and unclaimed from the lost and found box, asking, Isn’t this yours?

They didn’t teach me so I pretended not it see your drooping eyes

you slept through the break as though you hadn’t slept in days.

They didn’t teach me so when you struggled to go up the stairs

I asked some to carry your bag and I carried you.

They didn’t teach me so when you fragile voice was drowned out by the noise

I firmly said, “Some voices are loud, some are soft. All voices are listened to here.”

They didn’t teach me so when your anger boiled and seethed

I took your hands and said, "It’s ok to be upset. Breathe with me.”

They didn’t teach me so when you told me about the racist name they had

called you I invited them to call me the same, "No ma’am we are sorry."

They didn’t teach me so when you asked "What are you reading ma’am?"

I read it to you and thats how we ended up reading an affirmation every day.

They didn’t teach me so when you laughed out loud, which got all of us

laughing, I just had to ask again and again, "Could you please laugh for us?"

They didn’t teach me so when you broke into ‘Tragedy’ in the middle

of the maths test, I threatened—to bring in my ABBA CD.

They didn’t teach me so when you asked if you could take turns

to light the candle on my desk, I said, “Sure, just be careful.”

They didn’t teach me so when you needed more help during the break

or after school, I helped you—because you asked.

They didn’t teach me about life—they taught me to write lesson plans

never once saying that we’d learn most from the unplanned lessons.

They didn’t teach me about joy—they taught me about assessment,

perhaps not knowing that you happiness meant that I’d passed the test.

They didn’t teach me about wonder- and that teaching was mostly learning

about me, the me who will always fiercely love you.

They didn’t teach me about love—you did and because you taught me

I know that the most important lesson in any classroom—is simply, simply love.

Journeying the ups and downs

The weather is my mind. Sometimes muddled

sometimes sure. Is it going to rain or will it snow?

Is the sun out or is it in?

Who knows! Who knows!

The weather is my body. Covered up by layers of cloud

and self-doubt. Grey, light grey, dark grey, uncovered

when sun melts moods and fears.

Naked. Naked.

The weather is my joy. Sun bursting. Leaves gleaming.

Grass tickling underfoot Light travelling through open

windows and upon waves.

Dancing. Dancing.

The weather is my sorrow. Drops dripping down drain

pipes. Loneliness sitting in sidestepped puddles.

Despair bursting river banks.

Drowning. Drowning.

The weather is my hope. Snowdrops peeking

through the grass. Iridescent. Whispering

“Light is coming!

Hold on! Hold on! Hold on!”

The weather is my heart. Open changing. Known.

Unknown. Sometimes whole. Always breaking open

to light, dark. Love, fear.

Sadness, joy. All of it.


The return

I came here to listen to my heart

And listening to my heart

brought me here

I came here to remember love

Love walked and smiled

Love danced and laughed

And to let the remembrance of love lived

Help me mourn

love lost

I came here to feel the sadness of loss

Piercing every stitch

Of my stitched together womb

Sadness piercing

every sit stand step

every sob swallow sigh

I came here to let the sadness hold

Hold and bury

the unborn babies

I came here for here to hold me

In its cold, wet and green grip

And to let it unclasp the chains

And thaw the ice


I came here to feel my pain

And to let my pain

teach me to love

I came here to be alone

So my aloneness could allow my loneliness

To seep and saturate

my skin

A new year request

As waves rise and fall

I ask,

I ask for all the unshed tears to shudder bones and fall free

into an ocean of sorrow, loss, regret and remorse

—raging and rabid.

I ask,

I ask for all the trapped feelings to beat upon bones and burst out

forming waves on stormy seas

—pounding upon desolate shores.

I ask

I ask for all the uncured illnesses, to ripen in body and be released

like shells, washed, tossed and spewed

—onto lonely sand and unseen rocks.

I ask,

I ask for all the unsaid truths to bubble and surface in mind and heart

frothing and dissipating like foam

—bubbling and unbubbling on cresting waves.

I ask,

I ask for all the blossoming truths to shimmer and sparkle in droplets

and wafting mist of spray, sea spray

—kissing my eyelids and my salt-smacked cheeks.

As life ebbs and flows

I ask,

I ask for truth and love, kindness, and courage

—to anchor, and harbour, my heart.

Rain-invoked revelry


wild wanton and willful


in air, fire, land and sea


naked, raw, revelling


strong, weak, tender, true


with air that wets parched skin


with fire that moves bones and pumps blood


with land that cradles and rocks broken hearts


with sea that holds unsteady minds, still


bare boned, full blooded, taught muscled


sun-kissed, water-swept, air hugged

dance, dance, dance

dance, dance, dance

Although I have been writing for many years, I have recently begun reading at online poetry events and have been submitting pieces for publication. I am grateful to the prolific poet activist Mervyn Seivwright who has been assisting me with editing my poetry and art collections that I am working towards publishing. Mervyn's writing is an inspiration with his honesty about trauma with insights into nomadic lifestyle and a lifelong commitment to change the narrative about race and the vital need to empower black voices. His mentorship and friendship is helping me to gain the confidence to continue pursuing publishing opportunities.