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Anila Arshad-Mehmood

Johanna Elizabeth Photography



the poet

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 poems

The World is
Made This Way

00:00 / 01:09

            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

            My strength

            My best

            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


00:00 / 02:31

            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.

            Empathic Guide.

            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?


00:00 / 00:49

            the women who came before me


            but how can I wonder

                                                how can I

                                                                     access my sass

                                                                     draw on words

                                                                     and steal back breath

            to rise

            above this smog

            engulfing me

            I am drowning

            in black squares

            zoom sequences

            and distant






            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

                                           from me

            like women who came before me

            I want to fill with air

            and rise

Publishing credits

All poems: exclusive first publication by iamb


S h a r e

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