My poem, Immigration, selected for publication at the IMA! @caitsmeissner #islamicmuseumaustralia

1209718_writingI’m thrilled to announce that my poem, Immigration, will be exhibited at the Islamic Museum of Australia from Oct 10th to Jan 10th 🙂 I’m even more excited that my youngest sister’s poem will also be exhibited 🙂 Go Aisyah!

My deepest thanks and gratitude goes to the talented Caits Meissner, who so lovingly nurtured my sister and me, along with our poems. Caits, you are my poetic personal trainer.

The IMA’s opening night function will be on Friday 10th October, at 7 pm. If you’re able to, please do head down and celebrate the beauty produced by various Australian Muslim artists. In a world splintering at the edges, it helps to be reminded of the constancy and presence of the Divine, threaded through our lives and artwork. There is still so much beauty in this world, living alongside the pain.

Immigration

Let me tell you of sojourns
through this land of lush
and thunderstorms, heavy
clouds split, adhan, the call
to prayer, wafting through
early morning, soaking bones
while two lovers sit under
a vast tree, arms snaked
around each other, backs
against the solid trunk,
whispers only they can hear

and then, the uneasy bedmates
of poverty and privilege
the ancestral home marks me
foreign passport blue –

strangled-blue, poison-blue, toxin-blue,
icy-blue, frostbite-blue, gangrene-blue,
bruise-blue, shadow-blue

the blue of the colonisers
the heaving stench stale
body odour, diapers changed
in corridors, all eyes riveted
to “nombor, kaunter,” ears strain
for the ding of the bell.

Officers call, “Raidah – Australia”

Not,

“Raidah – Malaysia”
“Raidah – Singapore”

when I am all three

Australia: I’m fourteen
and my breakfast is a bowl
of Weetbix and cold milk.

Singapore: Cold, steel forceps
crushed my small skull and yanked
me out of my mother’s warmth.
I was late.

The doctor had a golf appointment.

Malaysia: I grip the steering wheel,
still startled by motorbikes
changing lanes
has never been harder

I speak better English
but here I am as desperate
as the person beside me

COPYRIGHT © 2014, RAIDAH SHAH IDIL

Note: This poem was first drafted in my notebook after an exhausting day at immigration at Shah Alam, KL, Malaysia. After sitting there for hours and receiving conflicting information from various immigration officers, I was incredibly stressed and harangued. I dumped all of that into my poem, and crafted it under Caits’ expert eye. I’m relieved to report that alhamdulilah, my work permit has finally been approved. I am now permitted to stay in this land of my ancestors for a whole two years. Hurrah! Thank you, Axiom Learning!

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