Dec 22, 2010

You can check for me here.
writing in a new space now.
much love.
shadi (PQ)

Apr 30, 2010

Still Here

I have quit most of my online engagements (distractions?) now. But not this one. Never this one. I want to continue writing here. This cyberspace has meant a lot to me over the years, inspired/encouraged/built community/kept my sanity. I am making the effort to stay with it. In other words, an effort to stay with my writing. Which is always a struggle. But life happens. And I want to live it to the fullest. And that's a beautiful thing. Writing can wait. There's much more I'm trying to experience.

Apr 20, 2010

Present Reflections

It's important for me to keep writing. No matter what (I write about). No matter where (I write it all down). Blogging, journaling, even writing a grocery list. I'm trying to keep the words in motion. I have not been writing poetry but the urge has come back. I am thankful for that. I am working on a spec fiction manuscript that is coming along slowly (though I *should* be under the pressure of my mentorship deadlines). But I'm done with pressure when it causes stress. I'm done with stress. I have spent most of my life in perma-stress mode. Half my neurotic behaviour is because of PTSD. When you have lived with stress most of your life, it becomes a part of your being and it's almost as if you can't experience life otherwise. This is something I want to write more about. Something I think about often. When unhealthy situations (i.e. unsafe/lack of safety) becomes normalized. I have begun working on a piece and most of my poetry (part of the collection I am working on) relates to this theme. I wish I wasn't yet another Third World Immigrant Woman of Color who writes about trauma...but I'm hoping how I'm approaching it is different. Meaning that I'm not getting caught up on naming the trauma, but moving through it and beyond. And able to see the beauty in the hideous.

Apr 7, 2010

(umm hmm)

wordplay. back at it. took long enough. but sometimes it's like that. time outs and such. life. time warps. new beginnings...

Feb 15, 2010

Truth Pt. 2

Some people can't comprehend the words i speak on track 10 baby/
but there's a new meaning for....the truth

Say Word

it's been a minute. was on a mini hiatus from my blog. but am back, as always. haven't been on an introspective tip, nor an emo one, lately (which might explain why i haven't been blogging). instospection is draining, not to mention overrated and boring (but ask me this tomorrow and i might tell you different). let me tell you what's good. i've finally reached a point where i'm taking myself in, breath by breath. right now, i'm not interested in self-analysis. not trying to walk hard. i'm just here. writing. doing my best at a job i love. appreciating the goodness of friends and fam. i'm figuring out my capacity, my limits. and thankful for the openness of my heart. i'm being good to myself. yeah, i said it. and amid all the ugliness out there, i'm trying to take in the beautiful things.

Nov 19, 2009

My grandmother used to sing this. Words of a beautiful poet put to the saddest song. But this is the sound of mashreq. Sorrow music. I sat on my bed tonight, playing this over and over. And I cried hard. Rocking myself to the rhythm of distance.
And for a moment, nothing made sense. Twenty two years. None of it. Except the heaviness of loss. I wanted them here with me. All of them. Even the ones who took flight. I wanted them here, in this room. Telling me to release it all from my bones.

Nov 17, 2009

Severe is as Severe Does
(Yeah Saturn)

A while back, I was "diagnosed" with something called, Severe PMS. It is common among women with PCOS and/or blood sugar issues (both of which I also struggle with). The manifestations of Severe PMS vary in different women, but basically, you're a little "off" for a few days (or up to two weeks) prior to your period. By "off" I mean anywhere from full blown depression/anxiety to being unable to focus or make decisions as basic as what to wear. Depending on diet, state of mind, and overall well being, the severity of the condition changes. Pretty much all stimulants, depressants, and anything with sugar, is not a good look.

Like any other invisible disability, Severe PMS can have serious effects on your everyday, while you "appear" to be quite okay to everyone around you. Some people tend to think you're exaggerating, making shit up, or that you have full control over your body's response to hormonal shifts. Reality is, the only control you have is how you choose to take care of yourself.

For the most part, I try to not make a big deal about it. Severe PMS is something I live with. But the last little while has been quite difficult. My period is a month and a half late. And with late periods, comes a higher severity of PMS. Not awesome. As a friend of mine says, "aren't we always waiting for your period?" Sadly, we are. But this is how it is. Me and all my PMS glory. This is the time I am most creative. And highly sensitive and open. Which means, I become drained easily; and time alone becomes a necessity.

I know I can be difficult to be around (just ask those who have lived with me or dated me). But the ones that love me get it. And the more I learn about myself, the better I become at owning my shit. But what I need to keep working on is, knowing, and being assertive about my capacity as a friend, lover, co-worker, basically, as a person in this world. And not being so damn hard on myself (read: mean to myself). I have to ask myself what I need, and ask it from those around me; I have to clearly express what I can/cannot handle (for better or worse). Those who love me, will understand. Those who don't then have not really understood, or appreciate, the kind and loving person I am. One thing I do know is that my heart is open.

So Saturn, keep doing your thing. I promise to continue reflecting and growing. Self-care is about self-love and learning to be there for yourself. Because ultimately, being alone is a damn scary thing, but not being able to care for yourself is even scarier.

Oct 27, 2009

Words to Sound and Vice Versa

This part of the novel has involved a lot of Bowie, Velvet Underground, Group Home and Mohsen Namjoo.

Reflecting on the Process

Writing fiction is about meeting new people. The people in your head, that is. Over time, the characters you create take a life of their own, and become more complex than the cliched, predictable people you first envisioned them to be. They begin to let you into their world, revealing their quirks, secrets and contradictory ways of being. And if you listen closely, they will tell you their stories. And if you're willing, they will take you along on their journeys.

This is the beauty of being open to the creative process, and the world(s) you create inside your head. This is the beauty of writing fiction.

Oct 18, 2009

Word to Masta Ace
(confessions of a commitment-phobe)

I woke up today feeling listless. I spent the last few days working on a piece that is part of a larger writing project. I busted my ass writing every chance I got before, during and after my 9 to 5. The anxiety fueled rush of having to submit something kept my momentum. I wrote hard. And I awaited a response. The reply came late last night. Not what I had originally wanted, but something beautiful regardless. I should have been happy, but instead, I woke up feeling drained. The implications of the email made me realize I had a long journey ahead of me. And I'd known this all along; I just hadn't made the commitment. Been talking a good game, when in reality, I've been half-assing it.

I talk about my creative endeavors openly. I put myself out there as an artist. And I see myself as such. And for good reason; I have published and performed. But none of it means anything if I'm not truly committed to the creative process. If I'm not truly on the grind. Harsh but true. Because I'm no longer trying to make excuses. And here I am now, not at a crossroads, not in transition, not in some kind of crisis mode. I am exactly where I need to be. Scared as shit, but here: committed to myself, my creative potential and my craft.
Reminder to Self

Thank you N for reminding. And J for inspiring (in more ways than you know).

"That's my tale in a nutshell. Not the tale of how I came to write my novel but rather of how I became a writer. Because, in truth, I didn't become a writer the first time I put pen to paper or when I finished my first book (easy) or my second one (hard). You see, in my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway. Wasn't until that night when I was faced with all those lousy pages that I realized, really realized, what it was exactly that I am."
oh. my. goodness.
every time.

Oct 17, 2009

Even the Sun Moves On

i move circular. ending up in the same place, always. i am both shadows of the moon, the darkest part of this solar eclipse. in distance. orbiting around you. this is how i love you. cyclical. elliptical. compulsive like gravity's pull. this remote love, this distorted trajectory. and i keep praying to unlove you. a different song, different movement. a solstice dance to tilt me away from the sun. before it too, moves away from me.
Waning Crescent

your fingers
my sanctuary
stitch my torn flesh
with glitter
i writhe for the familiar
curve of your spine
place shards of glass
into your beautiful hands
tell you to rip these sutures, love
because this is how the moon orbits the earth

Oct 14, 2009

Clean is Clean is Clean is

This morning, I was washing dishes and scrubbing down the kitchen counter knowing damn well how late I was for work. But I couldn't leave the house until I cleaned. It was almost beyond my control. Compulsive behaviour has a contradictory element to it in that it is both calming and frustrating at the same time. But the former makes the latter worth it. Which is why I had to clean. I felt reassured. Secure. Solid. In control. I could go out into the world, knowing I had clean countertops.

Most people display some form of compulsive behaviour. They may not be aware of it. And most would never admit to it. Now with shows like "Obsessed," compulsive behaviour is pathologized and put on display for all to see in the most vomitizing voyeurism; the audience feels reassured (i.e. thank GOD I'm not that crazy!) but also disturbed (i.e. GOD, I hope I don't become that!). No matter how severe the situations on the show are, there is still a common underlying element of compulsion in those people's stories that many of us can relate to. Why is over-washing your hands (something many do) any different than scrubbing your asshole raw with soap and a toothbrush every time you take a shit? Both activities involve some form of obsession with control and the feeling of cleanliness.

I do realize that certain compulsive behaviour is severe enough to affect people's wellbeing; and that's something to take seriously. But in most cases, it's the quirks that make us who we are. My ex-lover has this thing about regularly touching his nose in public settings to check for boogers; a close friend is particular about where she sits in a restaurant vis-a-vis the front door; another friend has a way of folding her underwear and rolling used groceries bags. These idiosynchracies make these individuals even more endearing to me; it's what makes them, us, beautifully unique.

Oct 13, 2009

Oct 12, 2009

Lineage Through Duende

I am listening to a recording of my great-grandmother. It is a CD of fifteen songs, poorly recorded from what remained of her music on vinyl. It is all I have of her. No memories, no photos; only these fifteen songs.

Parvaneh was the first Iraani woman whose voice was pressed on vinyl. From a nomadic peoples (details of which remain unknown to me), my great-grandmother did not have much in terms of material wealth. Her husband was a tailor and she cleaned rich people's homes. The story goes that wealthy employers overheard her singing one day, and decided she had a gift that required special attention by the great music masters. And that is how Parvaneh came to strengthen her vocal abilities in the classical style of Iranian music (musiq'ieh sonnatieh Iraani).

How strange to be listening to her voice as I write this. A woman who I know so little about. She died when my grandmother was only five years old. I know her through her music. These fifteen songs. In between every tahreer, each half-tone, in every pause, every breath, she is present. I lose myself in her music; I lose myself in her; I lose myself in duende. How beautiful to know lineage in this way. My great-grandmother. The reason I exist. The reason I too long for duende.

Oct 11, 2009

"Exilic being can also be an internal condition of inner restlessness or sense of difference experienced by those who have never left their natal country, or recognize within themselves something of the nomadic spirit. They do not feel at home, but rather en route."

- Carolyn Forché

Oct 9, 2009

The Search for Duende

Duende is that unexplainable feeling of connection to sound on the deepest level of emotion and expression. It is the embodiment of ancestry, history, spirituality through music. I first experienced duende through my grandmother's music. Then later, when I heard my great-grandmother's songs. I too feel it in my sister's voice. And in the music of my poetry. A lineage drenched in duende. We create, we perform to experience duende.

Flamenco puro, Roma music, Musiq'ieh Sonnatieh Iraani, Ladainhas, Son Guajira, Blues, Beats, the Simsimiyya, the Sax, the Sitar, Voice, the Mbira, the Berimbau, the Violin, Dolores Agujeta, La Perla, Camaron, Ma Rainey, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Yusef Lateef, the Coltranes, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, D'angelo, Madlib, DITC, Um Kulthum, Omara Portuondo, Yma Sumac, Bilal...

Duende is what makes you want to rip your skin; or kiss the sun; it is what makes you lose yourself in movement through sound, to something much greater. It is the one thing each of us longs for, even if we don't know it.

Sep 28, 2009

Hear me Say I'm Ready for This

needed to vent today. escaped to my safe haven (one of main reasons i'm still in toronto). my life has been on fast forward and i'm catching breaths in between glitches. everyone around me going through some difficult movements; it's do or die, she said. yeah. that's why i'm busting the moves hard. exhausted. but lineage means beauty of walking hard. i long ago carved that into the soles of my feet. the promise of movement always. it's in my blood. you hear?

the most selfish of times and the most giving. i feel fragmented yet incredibly solid. committed and ephemeral. negotiating contradictions. embracing them. loving my idiosyncrasies (my crazies). loving myself. it's been a journey getting here (saturn is unforgiving no doubt). but i'm here. ready. drawing strength and protection from ancestors. so i'm in. all the way. do or die, right?

i wear her ring on a chain around my neck. lineage of intuition and song guiding me. telling me to keep dancing. so i am.

i am.

Aug 29, 2009

Confessions of a Loner

I spent all day alone. Reading, writing, staying in my head. I know the next long while will be much of the same thing. I like spending time alone. Being solitary is an integral part of who I am. Ever since I can remember, I have always needed "alone time." I was this way as a child up to the time puberty hit; but even then, if I did not have enough time to myself I would get frustrated. I was not the type of teenager that could hang out with friends all day; I would always make some excuse to go be by myself. But as time passes, I realize alone time is not as accessible as it used to be. My job entails interaction with many people. As does my social circle (though I've cut this down considerably). I know part of the reason for my loner tendencies has to do with my nerdery; I love acquiring knowledge, I love sitting with my thoughts. But I've recently realized a lot of it has to do with people's energies. I am incredibly intuitive, and have been since I was young. I pick up energies without realizing it (though in the last few years I have become more aware). This gift is indeed a blessing and I'm thankful for it. But the flipside is that it can drain me at times. This is why alone time is so important to me. It helps me center myself. Though I am learning to block energies, and gotten better at it, I still need the time alone. That is the only way for me to stay grounded and be able to maintain focus on the things that matter.

Aug 23, 2009

Rooftop Poem

listen to this midnight poem from a rooftop
over cries of Allah-o Akbar
the night before flesh tainted pavement
with only a camera and her words
she told the world to witness.

Aug 19, 2009


Aug 15, 2009

"I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone. I get drunk, and I drive my wife away with breath like mustard gas and roses. And then, speaking gravely and elegantly into the telephone, I ask the telephone operators to connect me with this friend or that one, from whom I have not heard in years." - Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse-Five)

Aug 13, 2009

(summer of dragonflies)

Spent the last few days thinking about what it is I need to be focusing on right now. I have allowed myself to be distracted for too long; and now it's to make those decisions I have been evading. Been feeling too many social pressures on where I should be in life. Watched many of my friends get married, have babies and settle. The truth is I do not want to "settle" in any aspect of my life; that would mean killing my ambitions. And that is not me, never been. I have always been on the margins; never fully followed social norms, though they affect me still. I have only come to realize the amount of influence my own expectations (as per social norms) have had on my interpretations of situations in my life; namely my career and love life (with more emphasis on the latter).

My friends been telling me "you're so ready to wifey" (i.e. settle down with a lover in a committed relationship). I disagree. I know I have that capacity, and intuitively know this will happen eventually. But right now, I'm ready and wanting to wifey my artistic endeavors. This is the one commitment that will truly fullfill me.

So where does this leave me in terms of my love life? I know love (in a romantic sense) is an integral part of my life. But I am now realizing how loaded (and restrictive) my attitude towards it has been thus far. I recently ended something that was perfectly what I needed for the time being; casual but fulfilling in the way I needed. The touch was good and healing. What more did I want? Knowing well from the get that there was no potential for long term commitment with this person, I still let myself get caught up (infatuated?), which ended up being a distraction from the real commitment at hand: my art.

Here I am now, feeling more clarity than I ever have about myself. Intuition is guiding me in a way I never thought possible. I know I am definitely where I need to be. Anxieties are fading. I am feeling in synch. It is all coming together. Alhamdullilah.

Aug 11, 2009

all good things must come to an end.

you were lovely though...

Aug 10, 2009

Nobody's Drums in My Cypher, Today.

The rain has been following me from the east coast to the west. I made my peace with it today as I stood in the middle of the street, letting the drops soak me through. I walked aimlessly through backstreets, jeans and shirt clinging to my skin, drenched hair weighing heavy on my shoulders and back. No cell phone no wallet no ipod. Just me and the smacking of my wet feet in flip flops, and the smashing of rain against pavement. No cyclone of thoughts storming inside my head. No intrusive energies. Just an unusual calm. Something beautiful.


We held a seance listening to Slum V's Trinity album. Talked about Zappa (your favorite) and Brian Wilson (your other favorite). Watched Dwele's self-made youtube video, while you watched me bug out. We discussed the importance of "banality." And did interpretive dances to the most slept on Beach Boys album, Friends. We talked about 90's hip hop, as we always do. And you made me listen to new music by your alter ego, the 90's rapper extraordinaire/Lyrical Furnace. I smoked your shitty Dumaurier cigarettes and sipped cold coffee while commenting on the juxapotision of the Corn Flakes and can of Raid on top of your refrigerator. I laughed at your usage of words like "rapprehension" all the while thinking you are one of the most brilliant people I have come to know and love over the last 17 years.

Thank you for being so perceptive, for feeling my energy shifts, for being so attentive without me having to say anything. Thank you for always bringing music back into my life in a way no one can. Thank you for appreciating every moment we spend together, and for telling me so. And for believing in me and what I want to offer to the world.

Most of all, thank you for reminding me that passion is something to never ever compromise.

Aug 9, 2009

Reminiscing on Lovers Past

Reflections of an Ex-Blogger

I want to start blogging regularly again. I quit my Facebook account for good, deciding to spend more time procrastinating productively by writing here. It seems many have departed from the blogosphere and I'm wondering where they have gone to. Perhaps the FB vortex has sucked them in. Either way, I want to keep writing here, not necessarily for building community (as I once did), but for keeping the writing going, like an online journal of sorts. Time away from blogging made me realize how much I missed it. I once wrote for an audience, for my community of bloggers, for anyone who cared to read what I had to share, but now, I'm writing for me. This is a space for me to devote time to my words, to what is in my head, to my creativity, to my nerdery, to my politics. And if anyone cares to read, I welcome them openly.

Aug 6, 2009

What It's All About

We have lost a number of seminal artists over the last few years, but the recent passing of Titus Glover, Baatin of Slum Village, has hit particularly deep for me. I am sad on a personal tip; and I have been wracking my brain, trying to figure out why. Maybe because I know people who were close to him, so it feels more personal in that respect. Or perhaps it is the fact that his passing brings up the reality of my own mortality and that of my community of artist friends. He was only 35 years old.

Speculations around Baatin’s death have disturbed me; the possibility of drug abuse and complications around his mental health. It makes me think about the self-destructive ways in which many of us live, the coping strategies that are harmful. But do we call each other out? Better yet, do we take the time to take care of each other? That rarely happens. We are living in the most disconnected of ways. Community feels artificial nowadays.

I want to know why and how we can change this. I want us to engage a meaningful sense of community. One that goes beyond the level of creative output. Beyond the nerdery and dopeness and all the inspiration. I want us to take care of each other.

Aug 3, 2009

RIP Baatin

The recent death of hip hop artist, Baatin, made me really sad. Rumour says it was crack. Whatever the case, we just lost another one.

RIP Baatin.

Jul 20, 2009

Tongue Tied

I am having a difficult time with poetry lately. I have not been in the headspace to write poems. I also have not been hitting emotionally intense moments. This is strange given that (a) I am so emo, and (b) I'm entering a new phase of life, and (c) there's a messed up political situation back home. I experienced a lot of anxiety (and some lows) a few weeks back, but for some reason, it subsided. I somehow must have blocked all of it. And I'm feeling mighty weird about it, especially with regards to what's going on back home. I feel obliged to write about all the horrible things that are happening in Iran right now. But for some reason, I just can't go there. Maybe it's a survival mechanism; maybe my body and spirit can't deal with any of it. Or maybe it's just the privilege of distance, of being able to go about my daily business because I simply can. Perhaps it's a complicated combination of a lot of things. But I'm feeling a lot of guilt as a result. I'm also feeling inept. And I've become completely tongue tied.

But maybe that's not all true. Because I'm writing about it now. Maybe this post some kind of opening, to allow myself to write through the emotional block. I'm thinking it is. Or hoping so.

I'm also realizing that writing poetry entails me to be in a particular headspace that isn't always the "best" place for me to be. And when I'm there, I tend to get caught up. And it's more than mere emotions; my spirit feels heavy, as does my body. So I'm trying to figure out a way to allow myself the space and time for those intense moments; to learn to write and not get caught up. But I don't know if this is possible. I don't know if I could easily tap in and out of those kinds of intensities.

In the meanwhile, I'm going to keep trying.

Jul 18, 2009


you touch my face. it's strange how i don't flinch. instead, i let go, and feel every inch of my body sink into the mattress. for the first time in weeks, i am present. here. this moment wrapping itself around me in a familiar way. because i had seen you, many months ago, long before i knew you. i had seen you in my mind. not as an idea, not an image. you were much more; some kind of real/not real. so many times i saw you standing in front of me, the crease in your shirt, the ink on your forearms, your open palms. i move your hand away from my face, feel the ridges on your nails, touch each finger tip with mine. i trace the deep lines in your palm, and kiss it. i close my eyes, and i breathe. i am here. you are still here. lying next to me, smoothing my hair. i place my hand over yours, and I tell you to grab my hair.
pull hard,
love. i want to know you are real.

Jul 14, 2009

I am never dating emo artists again.

Words to live by.

My name is Pomegranate Queen, and I’m a recovering emo-dater. I’m also a self-identifying emo. I can tell you from experience that two emo’s don’t make a right. What they do is create a whole lot of unnecessary drama. Agony is not a beautiful thing. Neither is bad poetry.

This year has been intense. Too many planetary retrogrades. Too much resurfacing trauma. Too much processing that went along with it. And a whole lot of guilt. Perspective ceases to exist when you’re drowning in a pool of self-deprecation. It leads to more guilt, which then translates into more angst. And more bad poetry. The quintessential cycle of emo-dom.

Please don’t take my sardonic tone as anything but my need to make light of a serious issue that has serious effects on people in my life, including myself. They call us emo; I say we have been blessed with the ability to hit the most intense of emotions. We experience life in the most extreme way, for better or worse. Many of us live through art; writing, painting, dancing those very emotions that take us to the most beautiful and euphoric of places, and also to shit holes. Because with such gifts come emotional cyclones. But after every storm the sky clears, eventually.

So what have my 31 years of emo-ness taught me? To never fall in love with another emo. Easier said than done. But what my fellow emos need to realize is that when the ground beneath you starts to shake, when you begin tripping all over yourself, you need someone who can ground you. Someone who, despite not knowing what you’re going through, has the intuition and understanding to let you trip, but is there to catch you before you smash your face into the pavement.

But alas. We can’t help who we fall in love with. That’s just part of being emo, I suppose. Depressing thought? I’m off to write a poem about it.

Jul 11, 2009

(vignette 1)

He is lying on his bed with the cell phone next to him. It rings a final time. He knows she will call again. And he will continue avoiding her. He sits up and looks at the pile of paper on his desk. His room is cluttered with books and clothes. And paper. Lots of paper. The deadline for the next issue is in a few days and he has not been able to focus. He told the editor he would get the piece in last minute. He walks over and sits at his desk. Stares at the computer screen, at her email from last night: I’m going to hurt myself. He gets up and walks over to his bed. Takes the phone and shuts it off. Then he realizes how hungry he is, and makes his way to the kitchen to get some food.


I have felt darkness. It burned my skin, melting flesh and muscle, charring my bones through. I dissolved into myself, like lava. I flowed thick. Over my bed, unto the floor, into every crevice of this old place. I flowed down the stairs and out the front door. Unto pavement and down the street. Across town. To find you.


In this love you are like a knife with which I explore myself.
Kafka (letter to Milena Jesenska, 14 September, 1920)

Jun 27, 2009

Walk Hard

because we must inject some humour into it, as my sis says.
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