Prayer for Gratitude

Let me remember that the universe has given me second chances, saving me from seemingly inescapable misfortune. Let me be strong in knowing that nature blesses us, and our hearts can only break once over anything under the sun.

Right now, I have breath in my lungs, blood in my veins, and though I have felt pain, it cannot compare to unfathomable things being endured by those braver than me. In the patience of others, we are taught that we need not fear anything, even death, and that death is just a culmination, our magnum opus as we flower into infinity. So, let me remember to think of that kind of bravery before I ever utter “poor me.”

Let me not lose gratitude and remember that if there was no disappointment, then there would be no joy. Out of all the possibilities, the universe picked me to live and to experience yearning, beauty, and pain, so let me remember to be grateful every day.

Journey, 2023

Whether successful or not,
the journey must begin
across the wide world,
it’s shimmering cities
cold mountains and deep seas
by train, boat, or plane
to find one thing
that may assuage the pain.

Solid Ground

I had to choose between you
slowly becoming the world
or the wide world beyond you.

Then, you jumped off that bridge
with me begging you not to.
I couldn’t force you to choose solid
ground and cared too much to watch you drown.
I returned to the world before
there was nothing left in it for me
and waited with the certainty that
we will meet again on safer shore.

Lost in the Carnival

I look for you, lost in the carnival. Children run over popcorn-covered dirt floor and swing sticky, cotton candy hands as adult bodies push down and disregard. The carousel spins. Painted horses and unicorns move, cream, red, and white with no end in sight. A throng of clowns try to engage and elicit laughs before they move on. The carnival crowd, all of them, always the same.

Sometimes, you’re part of that crowd but radiant when you come into your own. I miss the adjoining, expansive field and shining constellation sky, searching endlessly for your smile.

I find you on the outskirts, standing in front of a porch and see a stranger kissing you and holding you as if everything about you is already known. Did you like the kiss? If so, you’re both lost and found.

Now, I face a fun-house mirror. Half of me also looks lost, the other half distorted. Unable to recognize myself, I’m forced to leave without explaining how hard it was to find you.

Why Write Anything When Everything’s Already Been Written? by Ayesha F. Hamid

Life is nothing more than a burst of energy that flickers and then ends more quickly than the human mind can comprehend, so writers race against the demise of everything around them and take on the mission to try to preserve what surrounds them. Writing is an act of conservation before oblivion.

I write with the realization that the movement of my life will progress so quickly that I’ll not even be able keep a single atom of reality indefinitely. I am just one, but numerically, I can’t even be counted as one tick in the clock counting the totality of time. My body continues on the predictable path for which it was programmed, self-destruction. Like all else that is mortal, I will be gone without breath, words, or even a trace of sound.

Logic dictates that everyone I have ever loved is also finite. Living now, I grasp at memories of those treasured, trying to save them in some way. Writing enables me to spell out, to the best of my ability, the context that a photograph cannot capture. I hope earnestly that years from now, others might find my words and know what it was like, for me, to be part of the living world. Just as I am able to sit in wonder while reading about the history and life of those gone long ago, I write in the hopes that someone might read what I have written and learn something of who I was and who I loved, and in this possibility, there is some sense and reprieve in what was always meant to be a losing battle.

Demolition in the Tropics by Rogan Kelly: A Review by Ayesha F. Hamid

Rogan Kelly’s Demolition in the Tropics is a magnificent read – Within the book’s pages, one finds a world of love, gratitude, and beauty. Kelly observes subjects closely and with care. Rich in unique associations and original descriptions, Kelly’s prose poems show us the beauty in the everyday. Whether he describes stopping in at a diner for breakfast or completing his tasks for a job, the poet successfully encapsulates worlds within paragraphs. Though he is good at describing everyday events, Kelly’s work is anything but mundane. His poems are complex and evocative, and a superficial read will not be sufficient to understand the depth of the work. Upon close examination, the reader understands that although Kelly may be describing what appears to be ordinary, he understands that everyday moments simultaneously contain a multitude of possibility as well as nothingness. While being fully immersed in the text, the reader learns to appreciate the beauty in Kelly’s poems, but with poignant turns, Kelly cautions against trying to possess what is ephemeral. 

Whether it is the wonder of a far away city like Alexandria, Egypt or the perfection of another person, Kelly examines the  subject matter in his poems with a reverence that often eludes contemporary art, reminding the reader of greats like Dante or Petrach. Reading Demolition in the Tropics teaches us that wonder, love, and beauty surround us at all times if we only take the time to observe. At the same time, we are reminded that change is the only constant, which is why we must appreciate every moment. As a poet and reader, I highly recommend Demolition in the Tropics. It is a great study in writing, poetry, as well as the specific form of prose poetry. Demolition in the Tropics is available now through Seven Kitchen’s Press.

“Violent Game” by Ayesha F. Hamid

Cursed earth, always at war,
a field for violence and pain.
The poor, dead and buried
in shrouds the same
as what was worn
for nights and days
with no choice for change.
No one for these deaths
ashamed, except the powerless
always expected to have shame.

The earth trembles for so many lives
that the heavens can’t partake,
yet humanity stands with its
unflinching gaze
as lives extinguish
coming to ground,
bodies black, white, and brown
all reddening the ground as they fall.

The good earth screams,
beware this treading over sacred lines
and of this doing with no shame,
leading to an irreversible idling of being
and the return to the
primitive part of the brain
which revels in violent games.

Heart Play

Ran Off With the Star Bassoon

I started building the foundation of a new literary journal website in January. It was burning a hole in my brain and I had to see some aspect of it realized. Still, I avoided buying the .com or paying for the space. I wasn’t ready to move on it. Mostly, I just knew the work that went into publishing The Night Heron Barks and wasn’t sure I could run both. I made notes on typesets I possibly liked — fiddled with the header, and knew what I wanted to call us.

As the months went by, the idea of the thing continued to gnaw at me. I’ve learned so much in the last year about editing and design and promotion. I wanted to make room for a second project.

Rose: Do you love him, Loretta?
Loretta: Ma, I love him awful.
Rose: Oh, God, that’s too bad.

Lines from John…

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Now with added…Flair!: The Pirate Costume

Melanie Atherton Allen discusses the intersection of creativity and costume making. See Melanie in her amazing costumes.

Fiction Can Be Fun

There are several ways in which Debs and I meet new writer-friends, one being through the shared experiences of the April A2Z Challenge.  Our reading interests overlap a great deal, as you might expect, and we share a great deal of admiration for this month’s guest, Melanie Atherton Allen.  Melanie has an amazing imagination, and the way in which she is able to produce coherent bodies of work from multiple perspectives is a joy to behold.  There is a temptation to compare some of her work to…well, I won’t say, because that would be to do Melanie a disservice.  She is herself, and you should check out her ‘blaugh’ for yourself.  But now, over to Melanie!

The DoctorThank you, David and Debs, for inviting me to do this! It has been a surprisingly difficult piece to write (because I am usually a 100% fiction kind of gal, and I’m actually not…

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Understanding the Why of Actions: Curtis Smith Interviews Ayesha F. Hamid

Please check out my interview with Curtis Smith

Small Press Reviews

100879941_678076676306203_5147643859034963968_nAyesha F. Hamid is a poet and creative nonfiction writer, published in Big Easy ReviewPhilly Flash Inferno, and Rathalla Review. Her full-length memoir, The Borderland Between Worlds, is available through Auctus Publishers at Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, and Target. Ayesha also has a full-length poetry collection called Waiting for Resurrection. Ayesha holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Publishing from Rosemont College. She also holds an M.A. in Sociology from Brooklyn College. She is the Editor-in-Chief at The City Key. Aside from writing, Ayesha also loves travel and photography.

Curtis Smith: Congratulations on The Borderland Between Worlds. I’m always interested in a book’s journey, especially with an independent press. Can you tell us about your experience?

Ayesha F. Hamid: During my first year at Rosemont’s Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, I took my…

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