Johanna Elizabeth Photography
Anila Arshad-Mehmood (she/her) volunteers as a governor at a school and a trustee at a mental health charity. She has a professional background in mental health and wellbeing working with young people, and currently delivers safeguarding and mental health training to colleagues. Her writing focuses on her experiences of immigrant family life in an anti-cohesive lifestyle. Anila's interests range from reading, drinking coffee and petting cats to travelling as widely as possible to learn about other cultures and cuisines. An enthusiastic member of several book clubs, Anila considers poetry an abiding personal passion.
The World is
Made This Way
When I scrunch my nose up
Tight into my brain
I feel something
It's like a bad smell crawled into my mind to hold on to
Why do we do the things we do
To make others feel bad for their good
You can be good
Own your best
Your strength is power
And if you are better than the rest why is it
Bad to feel good to feel bad to feel
Something about me is triggered by you
Not something is bad about you
I'm letting you know I'm feeling something because of how you
Present to me but it's me who feels the feeling
Not you who is bad to be good in me forcing feelings on
Owning my feeling
Better, smart, assured
Because not everything is me and the world is different and we all have our
Better and best self and skill and behaviour
And this one can be mine
It isn't yours
But it's not bad to say
Because the world is made this way
There's a ball of twine glowing at my feet
I could pick it up,
See if it leads me to the centre of the labyrinth.
Or I could stay here,
Try my way back to the door which I closed behind me.
I didn't lock it but I didn't leave breadcrumbs,
I was certain the way back wasn't needed, interesting or useful anymore.
Going back or forwards,
Forward or backwards.
When you communicate differently what do you see
A different reaction or an explanation that emotions exist
Exist inside your mind, nose, mind.
I'm a woman with emotions,
More than hate, rage, fear, rage, anger, rage, sadness, rage
Curious, open, sadness, happiness, excitement, engaged, hopeful
Open the door and check with the key
Which key opens the door
This behaviour means
noun: empath; plural noun: empaths
1. (chiefly in science fiction) a person with the paranormal ability
to perceive the mental or emotional state of another individual.
Emotional perception, try on the jacket of his dear friend and coat yourself
in their sadness, happiness, sadness, step away so it leaves you behind.
Emotional perception so your eyes glaze with the tinted glasses on his dear
friend see sadness, happiness, sadness.
Emotional perception, try on a medicated maze of bars blocking the feelings
of every dear friend so only you can feel numb and nothing – not
their dear saddappiness.
Twine in a maze of bloody chains and no need for breadcrumbs, step into
the light and wander around without the twine.
No map, no guide, no rooms, doors, windows, what comes next, explore,
who says twine is the way to explore anymore?
All poems: exclusive first publication by iamb
the women who came before me
but how can I wonder
how can I
access my sass
draw on words
and steal back breath
above this smog
I am drowning
in black squares
dreaming of the time
when I step back from
the bitter twisted lies written in hashtags
I’ll remember I didn’t run from discomfort
even when it ran
like women who came before me
I want to fill with air