Tenth Day Thoughts – A Poem

Tenth Day Thoughts – A Poem

Tenth Day Thoughts

A. A. Kamalov

Echoes reverberating, soulful takbeeraat

Straight from the Straits of Malacca

Reaching the seven heavens above in

Sanctified devotion. White-capped,

 

Black-capped, turbaned and scarved,

In solidarity with the blank-robed

Millions crowded in canvassed Mina

Seeking to be cleansed, like newborns.

 

Uttering strings of praises, prayers,

Everything under the powerful gaze

Of the Almighty Judge, All-Seeing,

Fearful, tearful, careful, one must be.

 

Yet close by, sinners and liars laughing

With arrogance, bathing fingers in

Copious fresh blood of innocents,

Striking down whilst saying “Salam!”

 

No joy; just death – despite the cradle of

Humanity’s proudest advancements,

Baghdad and Babylon: such a shame.

Has God forsaken us, you wonder?

 

He didn’t, of course! It’s a sort of

Wake-up call; a piercing scream to

Pick up the long-abandoned “Pen”

From which springs forth abundance –

 

Fountain of Knowledge: Wisdom, Divine

Enlightenment transforms barren lands

Into lush fields of olives and dates, so

All will enjoin in peace and justice,

 

Insha’Allah.

Author’s Afterword:

This is probably my most Islamically-related poem I’ve written so far. I wrote this poem a few days after the holiday of Eid-ul-Adha, hence the title. I was pondering over the holy nature of the holiday, which coincides with Hajj, the major pilgrimage a Muslim would have to undertake once in their lifetime. At the same time, I feel a little saddened, since despite the religious and solemn nature of the holiday, I realise that not too far away from Mecca, many would have little to celebrate and rejoice while living in constant fear and bloodshed. My solution, and you could perhaps call it childish and naïve, is that if we all embrace education, both the religious and secular, we can achieve greater understanding, tolerance and peace instead of killing each other because of creed and ideologies.

I hope as readers you don’t mind me experimenting with religious themes such as this. There seems to be a lot of classic and popular poems out there which have deep Judeo-Christian references, but not as many portraying Islamic themes, at least in original English literature. I wish to contribute to this, since this is a very important part of my identity. However, it will not be my primary focus and I believe my style will keep evolving as I learn and experience new things in life.

The Sweatshop Master – A Poem

The Sweatshop Master – A Poem

The Sweatshop Master

A. A. Kamalov

“You should be grateful, leech!

My pockets are empty, because of you.”

Despicable lies, repeatedly uttered

By the millionaire himself,

 

For nothing could be more satisfying

Than to see his conception slave away

With delusion in mind, constantly ringing:

“Money’s motivation.” But is it?

 

Always inferior, deprived of

Not cash but care, reduced to abuse

By a vicious, miserly capitalist,

Imposing a convenient inferiority

 

Upon his accidental creation.

It costs a lot for the upkeep,

The drink and feed and shade

And air, it only makes sense to get

 

Something in return for it, a profit!

The dollar-sized eyes widen

In hungry expectation for

Cheap labour exploitation.

 

Subsequently, it was shipped to

A brain factory, to serve the

System with non-stop cycles

Of work, work and work.

 

Social life? Rest? Such things exist?

No, it must work, day and night

Or else, its penalty: a cut

In that costly lifeline.

 

It will pay off, eventually.

It’ll leave the factory to

Other factories, toiling more hours.

But as a show of gratitude, wages sent back,

 

Back to the bastard businessman.

Author’s Afterword:

This poem was inspired by a video about the manufacturing industry I watched during school. I don’t want to comment much because I’d love it if you can come up with your own interpretations of what The Sweatshop Master is all about. Is it literally about child labour? Is it a metaphor for something else? I’d like to know! From what is clear without revealing too much, I don’t tend to view big business very favourably.

That said, I have written this poem quite a while ago and I am having a little trouble with coming up with new ideas to write about. I tend to write out of impulse, when I feel really upset, triggered or angry, but not so much when I am just calmly sitting while sipping a hot mug of coffee. Maybe I should read more genres of poems first before I continue writing any more. If you could suggest me any hot topics you’d like to see me write, tell me in the comments below and I’ll definitely consider it. Thanks for your support!

Chasing that Beach Body? Here’s “An After-Gym Advice” – A Poem

Chasing that Beach Body? Here’s “An After-Gym Advice” – A Poem

An After-Gym Advice

A. A. Kamalov

Away from the attention of the
Glitzy, God-awful world, where
Anorexics grace the Paris runways, exists
A parallel universe. Another half struggles
For God-like perfection.

The struggle is real – no less
For Mr. Nice-Guy in glasses,
Bombarded by screens, by magazines,
By fantasies and fallacies
Of superior self-esteem.

The raw brawn of bloated arms,
Towering bricks and tree-trunk thighs,
Bulging veins threatening to burst
With vacuous masculinity.
Yet the sacrifice is emptiness –

It’s all in vain. You attempt to alter yourself,
A regular Joe to hot-bod Adonis,
But you’re not – you’re just Narcissus.
Try glancing at the mirror. You can’t!
Staring hard, always addicted and obsessed.

Draped in shrunken baby-clothing,
The constant stream of selfies
Relentless in my Instagram feed, you feed
Not just on protein shake, but on
Much needed attention and envy.

Does that make you a man?
Neither an athlete nor Olympian,
You lack heroism; just shameless,
Shameless prostitution! A Greek statue
Serves the same purpose.

Apparently the Sun revolves around
Treadmills, yoga-mats and dumbbells;
The bulk-and-cut cycle your seasons.
But bro, that blind devotion is laughable!
Don’t be dumbass and pick up a book.

Any sort of reading will do. I recommend
Medical literature, the science of muscles
Will surely interest your ignorant mind.
Put your experience into expertise, instead of
Baiting big-bosomed blondes for bed.

You have a choice. You’re seventeen,
Horny and hormonal, gym-jocks like you
Disregard reality, their prize money
A bleak future of menial labour.
Just don’t sell yourself short, dude.

Author’s Afterword:

SUN’S OUT, GUNS OUT: I bet you’ve seen at least one of these types of slogans before plastered on some sleeveless shirt on sale on a summer’s day. It’s that time of the year again where people go out and have fun, enjoying warmer temperatures outdoors with friends and family members. But on the other hand, on the run up to summer, the media would churn out messages like “Get yourself beach body ready!” and “6 Pack Abs for Summer” and other so-called “motivational messages” to encourage men to look like Channing Tatums and Zac Efrons in preparation to a shirtless beach exposition. This is what I was referring to in the first stanzas of the poem.

This poem is not meant to throw shade at people who work out and care for their fitness and looks. In fact, I have a deep respect for those who work hard to keep themselves in top shape while opposing the wave of rising obesity in many countries around the world. However, what I do have a problem with is the relentless media attention towards a certain body type (more specifically, the athletic, muscular look) in men which DO result in similar problems that women get when trying to be beautiful in the way the media tells them to. Men DO suffer from anxiety, loss of self confidence and depression from feeling inadequate because of the way they look. Men also can suffer from anorexia, bulimia and overeating. Not everyone can just shake it off and lift his way to a better body; it’s never that simple. The emotional and mental pressure caused by the society we live in can have a major impact for the rest of our lives.

There are many people out their who did achieve their desired body type and shape and work day and night, relentlessly, to maintain or improve it. But for what? Some people grow obsessed and narcissistic in pursuit of this “aesthetic”, always feeling inadequate with the muscles they already have and think they should “get bigger”. To top it all, it is very superficial, in my opinion, to post photos on social media and seeking approval from random strangers to give yourself an ego boost. There is so much more to one as a person than just a pretty body with a cute face, and that goes for both men and women. Empathy, kindness and intellect engages one in a far deeper way than simply looking attractive. So for those who are struggling out there because don’t look a certain way, as long as you’re eating healthily, exercise regularly and get enough sleep, you’ll be fine. Don’t take the media’s skewed ideals of a masculine body image to heart because you’re so much more than just your looks. Until then, have a wonderful day everyone!

Transient Liberté – A Poem about Graduation and Ramadan

Transient Liberté – A Poem about Graduation and Ramadan

Transient Liberté

A. A. Kamalov

Anticipated anticlimax

Arrived, an ambience

Of little malevolence.

Praise be to Allah,

 

Whose spring blossoms

Has fallen on tearful,

Sinful servants, prayerful

Under blessed moon phases –

 

Chanting sacred sutras

Of transient existence.

A pièce de résistance,

A hop, step and splash

 

Of personal pride’s

Unwarranted, poor thing!

You – a weeping weakling,

Succumb too easily to the succubus.

 

So rejoin the path, abscond the past,

An elaborate awakening of future’s been cast.

Author’s Afterword:

This poem is the first one I wrote since completing my exams,which simultaneously meant the start on the road to freedom from school and entering adult life in the real world. I wanted to write something to express this, but to remind myself of who to thank for my success. As a Muslim, I believe that Allah (God) deserves most if not all the credit for allowing me to persevere through the hard times, and my poems have reflected my belief in this regard. The reference to prayer or “sutras” in this poem is also a reference to the month of Ramadan, which is going to begin in less than 2 weeks. This month is considered to be a highly auspicious period where deeds are rewarded in multiple digits. I realised that even though leaving school signifies “freedom” from education, there are still limitations in place with Ramadan, with daytime fasting being the primary activity.

I also consider myself to be a sinful person in need of cleansing, which is what Ramadan is all about. I want to improve myself not only academically or socially, but spiritually and mentally as well, because this will reinforce a more positive outlook in life (at least, for me). I am looking forward to this blessed season, and I wish to all Muslims Ramadan Kareem!

January Poem: Contented Sigh

It’s finally 2016, and to usher in the new year and celebrate the winter season, I wrote a new poem. The poem expresses my hope for everything to become better for me in the future and for all the troubles of the past to pass by peacefully.

Contented Sigh

A. A. Kamalov

At last I came,

A well-deserved winter retreat

Shrouded in pure crystals,

Like icing on my birthday cake.

 

But it is strange,

Because with my two swollen feet

I’ve struggled so far now,

Yet I do smile for my own sake.

 

And looking back,

The demons that left me to bleed

Swallowed all happiness,

Thankfully, happiness is fake.

 

Broken but free,

Indifference is my new creed

No need to celebrate,

Or to mourn anything you make.

 

Enter the door,

Leave the bitterness of the street

Embracing liberty,

This fleeting moment I will take.