These poems tend to revolve around the theme of nationhood and culture, exploring the in between spaces that so many of us, as children of immigrants and people of colour, inhabit. In an effort to understand ourselves we layer more identities onto our experience, but "trans" and "queer" are Western words. And besides, what is the Middle East east of? Yasir has lived in Britain almost their whole life, and these poems are a way of questioning what that's given them, if anything, and what they've had to give up in return.
Ugly is the Dawn
Ugly is the dawn in bed with the morning breath of somebody you don't know. Ugly is the feeling. Ugly is the knot hard thought that sinks from the bottom of your brain to the top of you heart. Ugly is its seething.
Ugly is the dawn – pink, orange, sleepless, ready to be made full of mistakes. Unfolding your body like a question. Unsticking your stomach from the pain you swallowed. Unpicking your heart to find a gentler one.
Ugly is the dawn, a long string of new days, then new days like fairy lights over the horizon. Ugly is the gap between now and the future. The knowledge of change. What comes after. The soft unknown. The danger.
The gentle song
of birds and laughter,
of screeching foxes who make their loneliness an aria,
begging the moon for an answer,
and in return, get birds and laughter.
Ugly is the dawn, held open like palms, acting the invitation. Ugly is the morning breath of somebody you'll get to know. Ugly are the moths who headbutt the window. The sound of cars like waves. A cat's lost ear. Life limping on. The soft unknown. The nature.
If the sky is a blanket,
you tugging its corners into morning,
me into night,
then the ocean doesn't seem so wide to me.
Underneath its fabric, together
we make a day.
Come find me by the Sun
Gosh, isn't the night a gorgeous thing?
The stars like a city in the sky,
the moon its beating heart.
If I hung this moment between them,
your old dreams, my ambition
and made a new constellation for you to remember me by,
would you try?
Don't worry, though, if one day you reach up and find
you forget which light was yours, which is mine,
I have a backup plan in mind.
I'll just float further on,
I'll be waiting by the sun,
so come find me.
Take a left by the first star you see
and carry on til morning.
I'll be there warming
My hands on a sunspot, my heart
with the thought of your arrival.
Whether you forget your light or not
I'll just be proud of your survival.
So come find me by the sun,
find my hand in yours,
tell me how you've been,
and hold me.
I'm sure, somewhere out there
something still remains.
Under my skin, in the atmosphere,
is not just a memory
as long as it's shared.
I tracked the moon across the sky
from humble origins to its peak,
then back down behind the trees
and as it settled into twigs and leaves
it turned to ask if what I'd seen
had been worth the loss of dreamless sleep.
“Well,” I said, “sleep would be nice,
but rest is lost on me tonight.
See, I was born in '95,
“learned myself as the twin towers died,
as the markets crashed,
as they bombed Palestine.
“So now I wonder if what I'll find
beyond my youth is a greater fire,
my heart in pieces
My fear, divine.
“So when they come for me and mine,
I want to know that this little life
has been worth enough to make someone smile.
“Tonight, all I want to see
is something brighter than where I am,
where we'll be,
never let that weakness go.
When your ribcage
starts to grow,
darkens the sky
around that beating sun,
you protect yourself
and the dawn,
from biting cold
and the beauty of snow.
and in time,
I don't think it's an acc