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On The Orlando Shooting

On The Orlando Shooting

 

By Lady Vanessa Cardona & Sara Al Souqi

It was an hour when I was alone.
I pumped up la musica en mi casa and allowed Colombia to rise from the floors of my home.

It was an hour where the call to prayer was made.
I sat on my prayer mat with the secrecy of dawn beneath my heavy lids.

I am often surrounded by white noise.
The clave inside me is soft.
I am told to behave.
Stop being so loud.

It was an hour where even white noise could not stay.
I pressed my forehead against the earth in prostration-
a form of submission mistaken for a threat.

The hour I heard about the shooting-
I heard every other gunshot I’ve heard before outside mi barrio.
Latin America is complex like it’s people.
We do not all make burritos-
some of us make empanadas, tamales, Chocolate con queso. Ahi.

The hour I heard about the shooting-
I held an apology for my face.
Like every bullet he shot carved our names on their chests.
Like the word Muslim was another word for guilt.
The word Muslim simply means I surrender.
And no one- will ever- surrender with a gun in their hands.
So do not say Islam.

They’ve tried to box us, but we are not trapped inside four walls being nothing less than your checkmark, we are the space outside the box.
Some of us are brown, black white indigenous some of us have status, some are straight and some are queer.
It was my puerto rican friends who taught me the language of hip hop.
It was Sahara my Muslim arabic sister who took me as a leaf under her grapevines.
Together stuffed our stories in waraa’ ‘anab.
There are too many western eyes chewing over our mourning-
fetishizing our latina anger while dehumanizing black rage.
Our stories are not disposable, our deaths are not a spectacle.

I am sorry, that I do not wrap my head with modest pride anymore.
I am caught up washing these blood stains that this world keeps telling me I am wearing- this hijab.
I have washed a million times over. and today, the only apology I speak is to everyone who mourns with us.
In the name of Allah,
in the name of God,
in the name of love.
We will not dance alone
we will not mourn alone
we will not allow your poison spread through our throats-
this voice will always be ours.
We will not let you finish our chants
our prayers
our songs.
We will not let your gun shots be the only sound
that brings us-
together.

This piece was written in collaboration with Lady Vanessa. You can read more of my poetry on Instagram.


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