April 15, 2019 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Heidi De Vries photo



Neha Maqsood




homeland loneliness



Pakistan; a country which flaunts resilience if not a bit arrogantly,

as if the purple scars don’t scream of pain or bruises which don’t need

time to heal.

this global race disallows rest, when we’re demanded to

rise early carrying future burdens of all tomorrows

on backs already strained.

this nation has been scarred with pain

punches, kicks, disasters, unwarranted remarks

all marks demanding to be addressed,

to be felt.

her silence should not be mistaken for submission but

rather a chance for you to see her purely.

but in those strides of denial, anger and acceptance,

Pakistan has become a nation of unapologetically

feeling itself through.

it will sob loudly, openly rejoice,

painfully accept and respectfully forgive those who

have wronged her.

Pakistan has taught its inhabitants more

than a parent could. how to rise above, to flow

with the tide, to pardon those who wrong.

this is the only way I know how to live, the only

way I want to







it’s tricky being a woman



It’s tricky being a woman, when your curves,

tendrils of hair, curled eyelashes,

sashaying walk make you a



to be a woman requires

a particular



whilst he whispers into my ear at night,

asking me to be more desirous

more sensual,

i recall mama’s contrasting

reprimands of a low tone and a hushed



so when i come of age, i don a silky blouse

which slides along my skin

barely revealing my clavicles-

the beauty spot.


red lipstick, barely smudges

my front teeth. i coyly rub it off when I know

he’s watching as he waits for

the next train.


ah men! you gullible creatures. don’t you

know i’ve got you hook, line and


this ittar* spritzed on my wrists

this kajal* on my eyelids, is not

for you.


my red lips, my

straightened hair, my killer smile

are my arsenal of



because being a woman is tricky – not

about subjugation

about control,



despite what generations of socialization

taught you, this woman

is not paying you

the slightest of attention.


this woman doesn’t need you. she is

too big an entity to sit still


in these four walls of patriarchy.


so darling,

when you ask why

i don’t write about you anymore in my

decorated journals


it’s because

before I write about you,


I need to write about





*ittar – perfume

*kajal – kohl






Neha Maqsood

Neha Maqsood is a journalist who has written for multiple publications like, The Tempest, Media Diversified, Brown Girl Magazine, Rife Magazine, Epigram, The Uni Bubble and Thats What She Said. For her efforts in tackling discimination against People of Colour (POC) and increasing South Asian representation, she was listed as the 100 Most Influential BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) people in Bristol. She also starred in the 2018 film, Sisters in Arms, which was shown at international film festivals in Toronto, Los Angeles, London, Kerry and Dingle. 

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