A POEM WRITTEN BY ZEHRA MUSTAFA AT 22 REMEMBERED 7 YEARS LATER ON THE NIGHT OF THE HONEY MOON

A POEM WRITTEN BY ZEHRA MUSTAFA AT 22 REMEMBERED 7 YEARS LATER ON THE NIGHT OF THE HONEY MOON

I was sitting here at my desk, window stretched open to its widest yawn, watching the trees on the horizon for the tiniest movement in the hope of the ghost of a breeze, but tonight, the night of the Honey Moon, there isn’t one. As I set about to get on with some work (that novel) the damnedest thing happened, I remembered a poem I wrote a long time ago. A pledge in a way, to write. I suppose my inability, be it a tired brain, shattered body but happy heart all owing to my sixteen month old, yes, sixteen month old, I have not been able to write. But at one point in my life at twenty two, I promised the moon and the stars that I wouldn’t give up. Ever.

So tonight, when the honey moon sits a mere twelve degrees above the horizon, declaring a fruitful summer ahead, I share with you a poem that my younger self wrote, the one who had a raging fire, the kind she hopes to pass onto her daughter.

Here it is.

A dedication to Patti Smith’s ‘piss factory’

22, and it’s time to get out there and get my soul sucked out by the taxman. my cuticles all curled up and shocked to shit, and I don’t know when or where I’m going to get my next poetry hit. I refuse to become a part of some food chain, where little me gets slain and go home to their wives and their perfect little carving knives. give me dirt any day, and grass and dark skies where stars roam. it was Leonard Cohen’s sip of wine and a cigarette, Patti in the men’s room and Joplin’s crooning voice that stirred my blood, Bob Dylan’s way of talking and other kept secrets of the heart like things that make me know that I have to go. my toes keep curling upward cos I know what’s coming next a whole lot of sweating and crap and things that make me want to snap the necks of those that want to get in my way. I can’t let them smell my fear I can’t let them see my bucket of tears, that I want to rip out my throat with my spinal chord attached. I’m gonna beat the shit out of your system before my toes and fingers become a part of it. the crap of the moment moving away and out of my fingertips, trying so desperately to hold onto something great, wishing and hoping that I don’t have some kind of fucked up fate. a love of creation but a burning hatred for mankind and his fiendish little robed thieves, but I can still close my eyes and make love to the sun, that can never be taken away, even if I get locked up in a bricked up wall to wall to wall cell, as long as I have the freeway in my mind they can take what I leave them behind. a daze a faze a craze a maze a space to break away and into at the same time , a craze a maze a haze, the days are so long when you are stuck in your own confines that has been created by another mind.  a sign, a line which I have to find a way to cross over, under I don’t know but again I can feel the fear surge through me. Pouring in, pouring over sometimes I don’t think it’s going to ever end, then I look at the face of patti the way she looked at the sailor face of Rimbaud, and knew somehow she was going to make it, but we were never made the same, we were both equally sane but I have a fevered brain, so I hold her face close as I hold my love to my chest and I know that I have to try my best even if I end up in the slums, I will not be made to stick within the traps that are set for me although I know that I will fall.
Aged 22, The Highlands

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