Escape, 2020

A woman scribbles with movement of her pen
is able to change what’s unpleasant
describes only water dripping below
birds singing above
a melody forcing her ear to pay homage
as she writes of sun rays lighting
earth with yellow, green, blue
all the while avoiding thoughts of the virus
raging outside or asking if pandemic
will bring humanity to its knees


Of tears, exclusion, pain
among the darkness
sometimes comes the ray
from lives of tumult
the turning of pages
pen to paper to survive memory
with this, books are made

“Saved from Summer” by Ayesha F. Hamid

She welcomed the end of summer’s oppression,
the pressure under, over, everywhere
having cooked her from within.

In summer, the sun weighed down
disheartening dreams,
while the wandering, distracted mind meandered
wished to be someplace else,
wished to be free
somewhere else
where she was listened to, was esteemed,
someplace else where she never had to fear
being suspect for being something less than ideal
a place she wanted to welcome on hot skin
like a perfectly cool breeze.

“Simplicity” by Ayesha F. Hamid

I wish I didn’t think of you every time
I ate ice cream but I’m reminded
of the ritual of dinners on Fridays
and the ice cream afterwards.

If only vanilla or strawberry had sufficed
we wouldn’t have had that fight. 

We could have continued
to talk and laugh and thrive
a whole world left for us to explore
though to traveling with me,
you always said no.

Simply put, simple flavors never interested you.

Everything you wanted had to be the best,
complex, like cookies and cream
with chocolate sauce, butter pecan with
whip cream on top, little edible masterpieces
for the world to see, while my scoop of
strawberry made you to scoff.

Still, you didn’t understand
why I asked us to part.

What point did you see? How would you possibly
ever have learned the truth about me,
that I’m predictable, simple, and sweet,
just like a scoop of strawberry ice cream.

“Ghost” and the Nature of Love and Life after Death a Movie Review by Ayesha F. Hamid


The movie, Ghost, achieves something that is difficult to achieve in any medium or means of communication. Writer Bruce Rubin and Director Jerry Zucker give us a comprehensive and convincing vision for both love and life after death.

Sam Wheat is the character around which the plot revolves. A successful businessman with a loving girlfriend and bright future ahead of him, Sam remains cautiously optimistic about his life. He tells his girlfriend, Molly Jensen, that he fears change and the swiftness by which the circumstances of a human life can be altered. Sadly, the contents of this conversation turn out to be prophetic. Sam is murdered, and he does lose it all; his body, his girlfriend, his wealth, his very life. All material realities are stolen from him.

However, Ghost shows us that we all do, indeed, have an immortal, human soul. We see and feel the horror of what it is to suffer a premature death, to have one’s essence pushed out of the body before it is truly time. Sam enters a veritable Vita Nuova (new life) as Dante would call it.

Sam’s new life and new world frighten the viewer. It is a place where cement angels watch the departed from behind their calculating, stone eyes, where the dying are forced to watch their own physical bodies passing away, and where some unlucky souls are tortured and taken by dark, demonic forces. However, we also see glimmers of a reality of infinite love, mercy, and peace, a place that can be reached by an ordinary human soul, like Sam, simply because he had empathy for others and did not destroy things, like his murderer, Carl, did.

Ghost shows us the afterlife, but also helps us to understand the nature of true love. Throughout the movie, Unchained Melody plays in the background. The lyric “my love, my darling, I’ve hungered for your touch” remains the haunting melody describing Sam and Molly’s love for each other. Ironically though, love, for the couple, does not and cannot revolve around touch. The juxtaposition of the couple’s reality with the lyrics of Unchained Melody give the story an added dimension and brings up the question, “what is love?”

If everything temporal, including sex, money, and even codependency, is taken away, then does love still stay intact? In Sam’s case, all of these things, including his body are lost, yet his feelings for Molly do stay intact. Though Sam cannot touch Molly, he still stays nearby, his protective instinct primal and not secondary to any physicality that may have been lost in death. So in Ghost, it is through the test of death that we truly understand the reality of love.

Ghost shows us that there are things that cannot be seen with our senses, but that are real all the same. Love and life after death are two things that the movie captures expertly.