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Hamda Yusuf Mar 2014
The other day I had a conversation about gentrification
With a gentrifier. We talked about its evils,  how
Entire cultures are at risk of erasure, how black
Communities are only worth protecting when white
People move in.
She did not see the irony.

This city is a strange place, we travel in 10 foot
Bubbles living in constant fear of someone
Sitting next to us on the bus. We talk about
The varying degrees of authenticity of our
Pho restaurants, Pho 49, Pho Than Brothers,
No one mentions the country of Vietnam.

I once told someone I didn't want to settle here
And they gasped. I said nothing.
I didn't want to say because
It's too white. Because Seattlites have found
A way to be smug about not being racist,
While continuing to be racist.
Because Seattle has found many ways to give me
This message: You do not belong here,
You reek of loneliness,
You've got another cities sand under your fingernails,
You are never here, you are always pretending
You are home, this is your home now.

Do not light that match,
This is your home now,
where will you go?
to that place we saved you from?
That place where children ran into desert,
Women collapsed inward,
And men grew ten foot beards,
Where will you go?
They will not take you.
You are not one of them anymore,
They will smell the Seattle breeze on your breath,
You have our  tongue now, your cheeks
Move differently, your hips are not  your own  
Light that match, and no one will have you.
Mar 2014 · 1.7k
For My Mother
Hamda Yusuf Mar 2014
I am alive,
(most of the time)
My breath is a hot sigh of apologies,
all “sorry” and “I didn’t mean it”.

My mother was not like this.

She spat herself at those who refused to listen.
She placed herself in the hands of others
and dared them to crush her.
She was clenched fist and bulldozer.
She was rage and burning and burning and burning.

I am more like my father.
Hoping no one will notice
that someone has lit my insides

on fire.
Mar 2014 · 1.8k
Expansion
Hamda Yusuf Mar 2014
My mother tells me how
when the skies opened up
and tried to drown her,
the  doors in her childhood home would expand.

They would bloat,
and creak,
and shiver,
until you could no longer close them.

I wonder if this is where I learned it.
How to give space to
Those who do not deserve.
Aug 2011 · 7.8k
Just another towelhead
Hamda Yusuf Aug 2011
Hi.
You probably didn’t know this at the time but my name is Hamda Yusuf.
Actually…
Scratch that.
My name is
Hamda Ahmed Yusuf Abdale Mohamed Hussein Mohamed Mohamoud.
And before you even say anything,

stop.

Because I already know that my name probably puts up more flags in an airport than a Mexican driving in Arizona.
Know that the deep piercing stares are directed at my hijab
And not my infectious smile.
Know that I’m already judged not for who I am
but for what I wear
and just for the record

It isn’t a towel.

But somewhere in all of that self-pity I realized that it really shouldn’t matter how you perceive me to be.
It should only matter how I perceive myself to be.

And I already happen to know that I’m Hamda Yusuf,
poet.

I’m Hamda Yusuf and my kind of a Friday night is a Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon.
I’m Hamda Yusuf and I’ve seen the Lion King 17 times and I’ve cried every time Mufasa died.
I’m Hamda Yusuf and Albus Dumbledore is my hero.
I’m Hamda Yusuf and I'm a mustache enthusiast.
I’m Hamda Yusuf and apparently I scare Juan Williams at airports.
I’m Hamda Yusuf and I’m Muslim.
Not Moslem
or Islams.
But Muslim.
It’s really not that hard to say.
I’m Hamda Yusuf and I’m sick and tired of hearing about countries banning the burqa to protect women rights when they’re really just taking away our right to choose.
And since when has it become okay to take off the layers but illegal to try and put them back on.
Is it me or is the world going insane?
Threats of burning Qur’ans and protests against building mosques as if we had done something wrong.
Besides fight for the American Dream we were told to fight for.
And you.
Knower-of-nothing-you, every-Muslim-is-a-terrorist-and-every-terrorist-is-Muslim-you, I-get-all-my-facts-from-conservapedia-you,
have the audacity to tell me there’s no such things as Islamophobia in the world?

Well I’m sorry.
Because I’ve been sent on a mission to talk to every single person who has ever called me a ******* and unfortunately for both of us,
you’re on my list.

So how about you take a seat on my couch,
take a sip of my mother’s tea
and I’ll explain to you as politely as can be,
how my father has told me more times than I can count on my fingers that I can be whatever I want to be.
I can be that lawyer,
be that doctor,
be that engineer.
But I will never
ever
ever be,
just another *******.
This is really a spoken word piece that was written for an open mic so it probably reads a bit weird. I thought it would be worth sharing anyway.

— The End —