Doqon

Do not exaggerate.
Will the entire carpet unravel from a loose thread?
No, unless you pull it for days.
Which you won’t, for you’ve got obligations and a need for rest.

Carry on. The chatter is meek.

Why are you still standing there?
Can you not see beyond the folly?
Has the inferno’s keeper made your ground sticky?

In the distance, beyond the hills, are more hills.
You will not see the hills beyond the hills because
you do not like to travel, gossipers never do.
They are not used to traveling because they never bother with seeking to find the truth.

Peace & Blessings,

Karima

Accent

The Colorado School of Medicine has published this piece in Volume 13 of the Human Touch Journal. If you are interested in this poem and others like it, you may read more in my new chapbook “Socdaal”. The link for purchase is under the poem. I hope you enjoy it.

***

Accent

You may ask me to repeat myself,
but must you furrow your brow?
I split my tongue to speak to you.
If you care to know, I’ll show you how.

Watch.
Down the middle of this pink sponge, there are peacemakers.
They don’t have to work hard when the listener knows of laxoox and ghee,
but when it’s you,
this pink sponge expands and shoves against my teeth.
The sponge splits you see?
The left is sharp with its grammarian formalities,
and as for the right, well it retreats to familiarity,
to laxoox and ghee.
The two are not yet used to each other,
so they tangle and delay delivery.

Watch.
The peacemakers will declare unity.
They will march down the middle
and pull from both the left and right forcefully
They will then sew the two so tight, you will not see the red that trickles,
but I will taste it, the iron, the trial, I will taste it.
When speaking to people like you I always do.

So, spare the furrowed brow just because you’re confused
I’ll repeat myself,
but don’t you forget,
I must split my tongue just to speak to you.

 

https://www.blurb.com/b/10067634-socdaal

 

Dirir

When a new age calls,

let yesterday be the kerosene

for your lamp, today

 

No longer must the wind carry you,

you’ve proven to know your way 

 

I never could trust what I could not see

but I borrowed heaven’s eyes 

and found relief

 

I saw rain clouds in the congregation

and I saw one that stood out

 

You did not invoke fear with a show of lightning 

or boast of your worth with thunder

you were in the sky and grounded, 

praiseworthy yet shy in your wonders

 

Through heaven’s eyes, 

I watched the nomads honor your return 

 

With every rainy season, you were generous… 

but the dry season always followed

 

I wandered after you, hoping to observe

how you spent your time alone preparing for tomorrow

 

But they cut my time short, heaven’s eyes were due…

so I gave them back and lost sight of you

 

When a new age calls,

bury hope in the lobes of your heart 

and carve your confusion into stone…

toss them to the sea

and let the waves stir

 

With your maker’s will,

clarity will come to shore 

Peace & blessings,
Karima O.

Protect Yourself

Like the wood anemone that grows in bounty,

she widens her spirit with a rolling pin & throws it out the kitchen window.

Letting it roam vast oceans and municipal roads,

deciding for itself whom to love and where feels like home.

 

After days of unassisted travel, her spirit boomerangs back

& splats against the kitchen window.

She smiles, knowing that her spirit feels most honored behind the ribs in her chest,

not imprisoned, but guarded against the ills of the world’s unrest.

 

Peace & Blessings,

Karima Osman

V

how beautiful are the birds that soar in a V through the cotton candy sky?

how forbearing is the leaf that holds to its branch irrespective of the wind that wants it damned in flight?

what good are tears that don’t bring resolve or relief to the desiccated parts of the heart?

Stop expecting from them what they haven’t learned to give.

Don’t nurture another’s potential when you can manifest the validation you crave from within.

Peace & Blessings,
Karima Osman

The Pangs of Love

When the steed of my heart aches in weariness,
slit its throat with the sword of your tongue.
Move me with your wisdom, I can handle it despite that I am young.

Allow my blood-soaked sins to trickle into the river of purification.
Then bring your lips to the incision you made, and with your affection, make the pulsing pangs of this world dissipate.

You’re never too far for me to feel,
but if the cries of my steed prevent me from hearing,
call to the wind and convince her of all the goodness a union like ours could bring.

& if we are deserving, she will whisper your message to me.

 

Peace & Blessings,

Karima Osman

👁

In the desert of my soul, I know there is truth.
It may be hard to find, hidden in the sand dunes.
But if the wind that carries my faith is strong,
then the weighted grains of desires will fall,
leaving uncovered, the light that I’ve searched for all my life.

Now that I have it, my ankles shrink slim and free
from the chains of why’s and what is or isn’t meant to be 
the clarity is blinding
…Now that I have it, how should I handle this?

*sigh*

I hold back on writing to you because enough people give you praise.

What weight would my words hold? What difference would the ink of my love make?

 

I hold back on writing to you because I want from you the devotion I’m too tired to give.

At a command, a branch will not offer a fig. One must pull and work for it.

So, won’t you work for this?

 

I’ve already reasoned with your shortcomings.

New curtains have been hung, and the Turkish cupboard has been dusted.

 

For you, I am ready.

I would dream of you but the moon is a woman and she won’t let me.

 

I have learned not to rest in a home built from strings of words.

Periods prove no point, exclamations marks don’t excite me, and

a grammarian’s suitcase does not have enough commas

to embrace me when your promises fall short.

 

I hold back on writing to you, because your heart isn’t ready to listen.

The Ink of the heavens now rests, so when our timing is rightfully positioned, make an offering to me with conviction.

 

Peace and Blessings,

Karima Osman

(Y’all this shit right here is mad corny, don’t know what got into me)

 

 

 

Jazz Lady

She moved like Jazz.
Newspaper boy wanted her bad.
Upgraded his bike and basket for a caravan so he could show her that he was the man.

She didn’t pay him any mind.
He asked her why.
& she said, “When you depart from this world your caravan will stay behind
so what then is your worth?”

Newspaper boy felt her words
& started reading the papers he once sold.

He found what money couldn’t buy.
The fruition of the mind.
Arsenal of the soul.
The real power in this world.
The more you know the more you’ll soar.

He came back for the jazz lady,
not on wheels, but with new wings.
He asked to dance, and she looked to the piano man and told him to stop his song.
She told newspaper boy that she knew he’d return, for her intuition was strong.
She took his hand and said,
“Take us to the clouds so we can dance to what the birds sing, I want us to take from what we know and build a staircase onto the love our Lord ”

Peace and Blessings,

Karima Osman

A Song to be Sung

There are different languages in love and the ways in which we give and like to receive such a thing depends on if we like to listen or sing

Stories are songs, and every day my Aabo came home from work I would run to his feet to be seated front row at his memory lane symphony

I was nine

He told me if ever saw a lion, he’d wish for a gun to shoot it because he remembers the nights he slept in fear, makeshift tents in the countryside, he remembers when the lion took her life, screams of his habaryaro’s death cry.

He speaks with his hands and I fear for the lion that doesn’t know my Aabo

He’s a man that can make water from sand, allowing a desert to flow from nothing by command, not in the way God Almighty does, but with his God-given gift for entertaining, orchestrating language into a choir or choreographing his stories to dance into paintings of my motherland

For a man to have five daughters and no sons is no accident, he is the chosen one

He once told me he used to smoke as a child, he was seven when his father who served for the British in WWII died, so selling them was his way to get by, he had to provide.

He would tell me time and time again of his coming to America story, and if you asked me to tell it, I’d tell you I rather not because each time my Aabo tells it, I’m reminded of a detail I almost forgot

He says, I was 15 and trapped in the boarding school my mother had sent me too. Education is freedom, but with the lack of resources, those teachers didn’t know more than whom they were teaching. So I bought seeds with the few shillings I had and planted them on the outskirts of the building & if the vines grew I would pack my bags and go, but if they didn’t In this destitute place I would stay, and the conditions were against my odds because in Somaliland it hardly rained

But if the beloved prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,  did not study language and yet could suddenly read, teach and recite the holy words that even the scholars and masters of poetry could not recreate, then I needed to have faith. And by the will of God, my plants grew and covered the walls of the school

Oh my daughter, In my journey, I was alone through the nights, alone in the desert but not alone in life

It was as though death became my neighbor several times, but not fulfilling the unlived dreams of my father would be a war crime, and the laugh of my mother needed a home. She once told me that as a baby she put me on the camel and walked alongside, but the camel started running, yet miraculously, while I was still sleeping, I slid down the shawl my mother had tied to the camel as though it was a rope, I was unharmed, death was friendly, and I became my mother’s miracle child.

Stories like this would leave me with so many questions. How could you have been asleep, you really slid down that easy, you didn’t even cry, well Subhanallah by Allah’s mercy Abbo you really are a miracle child

Home is in the discoloration of my father’s teeth, in the mole on his left cheek, and I like to say that to say that mine, although much smaller, is part of is, I took his nose too and his principle for how you must always pour in a cup too full of love when you cook food. Home is in the way he smiles and how he has the name of every enemy or friend I’ve had since pre-school memorized. Home is in the warmth of his voice and only through him can my multi-hyphenated identity rejoice

It is him that makes me look to the opportunity and not inequality

I ask Allah for sons because I want them to be like my Aabo, the chosen one

peace and blessings,

Karima Osman