East meets west again

east meets west again


on june 12th at last call, there was a massacre.


do I know anyone in orlando?


as I read the headline selfish, human

The News compared shootings in the US

to hurricanes, tornadoes, recurrent events

natural disasters human premeditation


caught myself begging, hoping

for it to be another one of theirs

not someone they could pin on us

when you hold your breath


think white, male, christian

closeted homophobe


not brown, male, muslim

closeted terrorist cell


you worry about your humanity


about all the pretending we’d rather see

people live inside lies rather than love

listen, your spine is cracking too, crushing


me and you and my mother


said ahsan, when I told her

the kind of love that was lost

the life drawn from my face


my mother said I take it back I take it back


Take it back


breath can’t be breathed back

into bodies with sympathy

that only extends the dead


the silence of your friends

aches deeper than any wound

to paraphrase a murdered black man


people whose hearts have stopped, whose hearts are hurting oceans away, the ache resonates reaching from here to there with words I don’t know I don’t know I don’t message a friend I love, I don’t say:

Listen I love you I don't know what to say any more I knew you would be broken by this,

I am so sorry this hit me so hard, I can still barely focus on anything without despairing.

and it hurts because you live there It hurts because I live here It hurts most because will we never be safe anywhere it is random and decimating it is random and decimating and takes one shape with you takes another with me we only despair with each other I want to tell you everything will be alright but I can’t here or there or in this online space we can sometimes exist I love you that's mostly what gets us through, I think I want you to know I love every facet of you we are in danger for being who we are but I will love you more strongly for it

Nour Kamel

Nour Kamel is perfectly lit and writes things in Cairo, Egypt. Kamel works as a writer and editor, studied at the University of East Anglia with a year abroad at the University of Missis-sippi, is a Winter Tangerine workshop alumnus, and was shortlisted for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize in 2018. Kamel writes about identity, language, sexuality, queerness, gender, oppression, femininity, trauma, family, lineage, globalization, loss, and food.

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