WARRIOR POEMS

Poet and Best Bitch Raheema Khan shares her work with us

AN ODE TO THE BROWN WOMAN

they don’t deserve you
crawling in your anger – you scare them, but you empower us.
it takes courage to express what many have never done
giving the brown woman a voice
we belong and we’re here to stay.
being skillful, intelligent,
that’s what got us here.
your diversity report says different,
but we know the score.
we’re not ashamed to be brown
we’re enlightening you all . . .

FATHER

I wrote to you every day for six years
Posted the letters on my tiptoes at the letterbox
Waiting for a reply that never came.
You can’t make up for that now
So please don’t try to validate yourself with a title that will never be yours.
Father.

SADDIQA EFFENDI

you taught me to survive
i am a warrior because of you.

BECOMING

23 years on and only now I feel comfortable in my own skin
years of hating the flatness of my bare back
the lack of curve in my backbone
having no ass

the narrowness of my nose
parts of myself that stem away from ideal beauty
not being able to see where I fit in
perceived as being unfeminine because
a woman standing over 5’9” is in a place of dominance
somewhere I shouldn’t be
threatening your masculinity with my lack of delicate femininity
but years of hatred have offered all directions of thought
allowing me to see my difference as something within my control
comforting and beautiful
so my beauty isn’t going to be shaped by you
but instead has given birth to a voice that will never be silenced

LIVING VIOLENCE

your trauma isn’t meant to be forgotten
when you sugar-coat and kill it
you reject your experience
saying no to the burning that finally led you to an unlabelled life
your individuality untainted by the limitations of reality
remembering pain doesn’t always have to be violent.
but forgetting it ever made you feel keeps it alive

KNOWING MY WORTH

my love for myself will not stop at the hands of someone who hasn’t felt love.
you remain a specimen that is left to examine
for those that take joy in trying to re-piece people who deny how to feel.

MEDICINE

Tell me I’m pretty
I crave your words.
Not your touch because that’s pursuable,
Making you utter what you’re incapable of satisfies me
because you feel the discomfort of being forced to suffer.