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Ramadan 2023 πŸŒ™

Wasn’t going to this year. Last year I got about 2 1/2 weeks in and sawn on top of burnout / chronic fatigue / wtf ijdgaf syndrome left me shattered and pretty upset. I broke fast with my lifelong comfort food of peanut butter on thick bread.

Wasn’t going to this year. Even the thought of it got me stressy anxious sad.

Wasn’t going to this year. Told Vass that, they know what’s been going on.

Wasn’t going to this year. Day before convo with Vass:

β€œdon’t reckon i’m fasting this year. kinda sad about that.”
β€œYeah makes total sense”
β€œfeels stink not to thoβ€œ
β€œI know πŸ˜’β€
β€œstill gonna try and fast the first day tho. do it for my granny”
β€œΞ™ knew you would πŸ₯°β€
β€œme, transparent as a window”

Got me the best Medjool dates in Berlin and a bag of Za’atar. First day was a bit hairy but found a way. Second day felt better. Third day. Still doing it for my granny. No pressure, can bail at any time, doing it lovingly and with care.

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem. Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil ’alameen

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Yusra Magazine Special Edition

Talking about me in yusra magazine the other day, and guess what turned up in my mailbox? The Special Edition came out in June last year and first attempt at sending a copy to me didn’t work out but second attempt did. Tight as fuck cover and it’s never not a thrill to see my writing in a language I cannot read. And to whoever chose the artwork for the facing page, thank you for honouring perfect boobs. When I said, β€œI mean, mostly I want boobs I feel their bounce of when I walk.” I meant exactly those. (And tentacles are also welcome but that’s for another life.)

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A Pile of Books I Read in 2022 (and Some I’m Still Reading or Haven’t Started)

And some I gave their own posts to ’cos they were utter bangers, and some I might even give their own posts, ’cos also bangers. So many books. I can only take one fiction and one non-fiction with me? Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s Rehearsals for Living, and Tamsyn Muir’s Nona the Ninth. And one book of poetry? Fatimah Asghar’s If They Come For Us.

Yusra Magazine #9: Visions on Utopia

It was last year already, late-January, when Vass asked me to write something for yusra Magazine. I vommed a bunch of words about utopia, was well thrilled to get published in Greek, and immediately forgot to blorg the actual words. And cos I have not done anything on here this month, and for some reason (also immediately forgotten) I was re-reading it the other day, here we go. Me, slightly less than two years distant, would rewrite, reframe some of this. Doing needlework on tapestry is always specific.


For the last half of my life, no matter when it cuts out, I don’t want to be the most radical person in the room. I’m not even that radical. I want my unremarkable radicality to grow around the people I aspire to be more like. I want radicality I can feel in my junk. I want radicality that screams like a redlining 767. Car, not jet. Terrifying. Not idling in a garage blipping the engine thinking this is the journey.

I want the fuck like they rule mediocre dreary pain out of our lives. I want us to have space and time without their conditions and smallness and noise.

I want fucking joy.

I want the possibilities for a liveable flourishing life which split and separated so long ago and run in distant parallels along the flanks of hills I can see but can’t cross over to, I want these to run together again, and all those possibilities no longer requiring I give up something in return for a life. Part of a life.

I mean, mostly I want boobs I feel their bounce of when I walk.

Being very clear on what utopia requires now.

World War on Eternal Terror I and II.

I have lost count of all the wars. I recite their names like poison in Shahadah. I bear witness there is no War but War.

I go back through time, unravelling colonialism, back through those wars and wars a whole century of small empires on the tip of Asia’s north-west peninsulas churning their own lands and peoples like they plough the globe. Back past the Berlin Conference, the Race for Africa, the Great Game, the Companies and royalty and politicians drawing straight lines across us, compacting us into the land with their pencil lead and rulers. Back past Marx and give him the finger, back past Kant and his civilised philosophy of racism, fucking debating us, turn around to look forward from there as the Middle Passage streams by making a triangle of the Atlantic, see the Age of Enlightenment watering graves in all the lands I’ve lived on.

Back until it’s the Renaissance. Whose renaissance? Why? Was it perspective or Constantinople or Reconquista? Back until the patron saint of Holy Roman Emperors was a Black man in the armour of nobility named Saint Mauritius.

That’s a thousand years.

I should know this all better. I have this unfathomable itch which says, if I could just make sense of this, I’d know why. Why all of this leads us to now to our graves and how we can unstitch this tapestry woven with so many bodies they are pulled like silk into threads covering walls in those castles, vast like fields and plains.

There will be no utopia as long as stolen land and water remains occupied.

There will be no utopia as long as there are borders. As long as there is money. As long as reparations remain unmade.

This is what it looks like from the other side: a thousand years forward. What was done to one planet has been done to this solar system.

There will be no utopia.

Utopia will be used against us. Utopia will find a way to remove us because we diminish its perfection. Remove. Erase. More than kill. Prevent our existence in the first place. Genocide is a historical process moving backwards and forwards in time as it resurfaces the geography upon which it takes place.

See this happening now.

See the round hole of the mouths of people saying, β€œOh. I didn’t know.”

I’m trying hard to imagine utopia. I’m trying to imagine good shit. I know all about bad shit. I wake and sleep and eat with it, see it in my eyes, know it back and forward through history and add to it each day. Choose my colours for the threads I knot into that tapestry which I read right to left and left to right, all coming together and focussing on that absent, unseeable, unspeakable centre. Follow the story, follow the warp and weft in any direction and it ends with us in a ditch in a grave.

Which us? Who us? All of us. When it is done with us being trans, it comes for us being Muslim. Done with that, for crossing borders, speaking language wrong, walking wrong, learning wrong, eyes wrong colour, skin wrong colour, bones wrong shape, history and ancestors wrong. Comes for us for our desire. Comes for us when we get angry get pissed get stroppy fucking front for being told we’re wrong.

We are never right. There is no utopia on this tapestry in which we are not stitched out of existence.

I’ll try again. I’m trying to imagine utopia.

In a utopia, a real utopia, one where we all make it, I’d still want to hoon the fuck out of cars. I’m simple like that.

Okay but that’s kinda small, eh? Like, what else? Big moment here, be fucking epic or summing.

I need Lucifer to look me in my eyes and say, β€œSo tell me, what is it you desire?” And besides being wrecked by you, Satan … shit bro, you’re asking a lot there.

Can I even imagine a utopia when I’m busy surviving? Do I even want an idea imagined by the patron saint of statesmen and politicians? I’m more patron saint of unmarried girls, spinsters, and knife sharpeners kinda chick.

I don’t want human rights. I am drowning choking on human rights. I want consequences for meanness and cruelty and hate. Not in the next life or on Yawm ad-Din. Now. Immediate. Terrible consequences. Consequences which topple cities and empires in earthquakes and floods. Ah, but those consequences rain down on us first.

I want my sisters and aunties and old ones and especially especially the young ones to have lives undiminished by that meanness and cruelty and hate. I want to see them whole. To know they will thrive long into the future. To not worry they live one eye always over their shoulder, just in case.

Back in time again. Long time back. We walked with Goddesses. We fucked for them. We warred for them. Made justice and beauty for them. Remember that.

Forget that. There is no going back. There is no utopia arriving to save us. There are no new ideas in Europe.

Indigenous Native Blak Māori Pasifika First Peoples have been fighting to survive since before Thomas More took ouΟ„ΟŒΟ€iā and eὐτοπία and wrote Utopia.

Their utopia first.

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Playroom I never had enough kens so I made my …

Playroom

I never had enough kens
so I made my barbies fuck
each other
or fuck beanie babies.

I never had more than one
beanie baby per species.
they were rarer
that way

& like some
perverted noah’s ark
kept
from multiplying.

No one with skin
colored like theirs, freaks
like me. Lucky the barbies
needed their bodies.

I controlled
in my playroom.
Whole cities of beautiful
women, boundless

tits, fucking
sacks of animal. Plastic
legs thrusting until
the beanie said yes

balls
of beans spilling
to the floor. The ladies fucked
their corpses until Auntie A

made me throw them out.
Legions of identical
white women, skin glowing
like pearl milk, magnificent

as they stormed the gates
of the zoo
conquered each animal
one limb at a time.

If They Come For Us, Fatimah Asghar

Definitely felt something between my legs at the lines Whole cities of beautiful women, boundless tits, fucking sacks of animal. Beautiful women. Boundless tits. And fucking sacks of animal like some Oglaf sluuuuut. This poem, Playroom, and To Prevent Hypothermia. Is Fatimah Asghar my current fave poet? Am I a capricious slut? That's a yes.

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Reading: Omar Sakr β€” Son of Sin

I love Omar Sakr, and Son of Sin is a beautiful novel but this was not an easy read. It was also an expensive read because getting ‘niche’ books from Straya or Kiwiland up to Europe is an exercise random fees and expenses. Fuck this book made me sad sometimes, like sad for the whole world, for all of us who survived through violence and emotional distance, abandonment and loneliness, and conditional, manipulative love. Yeah Omar habibi you are a gift to the world.

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Ms. Marvel

Fave Muslim show since We Are Lady Parts and fave superhero show with Muslim superheroes since Legends of Tomorrow got cancelled (tbh that was the only superhero show with Muslim superheroes). The last episode was a bit of a letdown, but that’s really on Marvel / Disney and their compulsion to Big Superhero Smackdown, and overly CGI’d action / fight scenes. I’d have watched 26 episodes of Kamala and Yasmeen going ”Mashallaaaaah!!!” over hot shirtless bruvs, and calling each other bro.

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For me, practising Islam feeds my desire to unders…

For me, practising Islam feeds my desire to understand the beauty and complexity of the universe and to treat everyone, regardless of their beliefs, with respect. My faith inspires kindness, patience, and self-reflection in my daily interactions. Relearning how to prayβ€”focusing on the words and the prayer steps, such as kneeling in front of God in sajdaβ€”taught me that completely surrendering yourself to something you love is a gift. In fact, it’s in the getting lost that you find yourself.

We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir. pp. 171–172, Samra Habib

Definitely had a big cry reading Samra Habib's We Have Always Been Here when she visited the queer Toronto Unity Mosque. Ramadan's been hard this year, only fasting half-days, then having to stop a week ago when I was having a particularly rough time. Today's the last day, Eid al-Fitr begins at sunset, more than anything I wish I was preparing to share Iftar and celebrate with trans and queer Muslims.

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A Pile of Books I Read in Early-2022

I’ve been feeling enthusiastic again about writing about books I’m reading. It became a chore rather than something I did for pleasure and fun a few years ago. But it feels like it’s a special time for the kind of writers I care about: trans and queer, Indigenous, Black, Brown, migrant … I want to say us who are not white and straight, but defining via a negative is apparently not how we do it even if it’s felt for a while like ‘straight, white, cis’ is a genre and a small one at that. Like how there’s serious literature and then manky sci-fi and all the weirdos doing unserious, b-grade, cult, trash ‘genre’.

And I’ve been feeling more enthusiastic about reading. I was stuck for a while, reading but not feeling the thrill of it, not getting lost with an author and their words. Part of that has been pandemic-attenuated focus; a long, dragging-on burnout (chronic fatigue, fuck knows what), and just heaps of stress, anxiety, the sads caused by way too much bullshit. Bullshit as in what gets called discrimination, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-immigrant hate, and full-blown settler colonialism white supremacy which is very comfortable with doing genocide on us while white neoliberal centrists ‘both sides’ the fuck out of it all.

One of the reasons I stopped writing about reading was that I got too tied up in wanting to say everything and be intelligible, coherent, and all, like a good reviewer. I’m not that. I’m quite a bit of a bogan who uses fuck like nice people use commas. I’m looking at all these books and trying to remember them; it’s been a whole season since I read some.

Some I straight up didn’t like, or I did right up till they disappointed me. Cis women and queers (and some trans women) seem to love some 2nd Wave feminists and are all fingers in their ears when the copious evidence of their faves being TERFs and SWERFs is pointed out. So I was loving Kamilah Aisha Moon’s She Has a Name right up till she gave a whole page to Adrienne Rich. I don’t think it’s too much to say I can’t move beyond that knowing those same 2nd Wavers are still alive and as committed as ever to erasing trans people β€” especially and with particular violence trans girls, women, and femmes β€” from existence.

Randa Abdel-Fattah’s Coming of Age in the War on Terror reminded me of sitting in my flat in Charnwood Rd, East St. Kilda, having stayed up late for some reason, maybe to come down from doing an evening call centre shift and watching those planes missile into the World Trade Centre towers. And dreading knowing it was going to be Muslims who were blamed, and that gut-churn when the American news reporters started saying that so quickly. It felt like barely seven minutes had passed and no way they could have really known either way, but once that word had been uttered for the first time, with Bush as fraudulent President, with the last decade of Al-Qaeda, it was so clear what was coming. And I was a few years off then from finding out I myself was the child of a Muslim and grandchild of a Hijabi. Twenty War on Terror years later and it’s global open season on Muslim genocide, the Taliban is back in power in Afghanistan doing the same genocide on any Muslims not the right type. I just have this profound sadness.

Also in so-called Australia: Claire G. Coleman’s Lies, Damned Lies: A personal exploration of the impact of colonisation. I will always read her. That’s all. Except to say, if you’re a white person living on colonised Indigenous land, and you haven’t read her, it’s your job to. And everyone else should too.

Shon Faye’s The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Justice is specifically about trans people in Britain, and me spending way too much of decades of my life on this stuff, I think I’m not the intended reader. That audience would be you cis people who seriously need to educate yourselves. My main criticism is it struggles when talking about trans women who aren’t white. I often wonder about how whiteness recreates hierarchies of representation, visibility, inclusion and exclusion in trans women’s and femmes’ writing (and culture, community, and all). I see a lot of writing, fiction and non-fiction, and white trans women are the majority. I don’t think it’s enough to say, “I’m aware I’m white and …” as though that’s enough of a response in the structural, systemic, institutional racism in publishing β€” especially when writing about transphobia. And yes, trans women are an incredibly small segment of writers, and often just doing whatever to survive. So I read this with a constant internal reminder that yes, some of this is about me, but there’s a lot that’s missing.

Completely opposite, Akwake Emezi’s Pet. I’m saving for a separate post. They can write about trans femmes and women and girls any fucking time they want. I love them and they could eat my heart and take my soul and I’d be like, β€œScary but worth it.”

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Ramadan Dates Again πŸŒ™

Same dates as last year, a kilo of Medjool dates from Al-Jiftlik, Palestine in a big bag from Sunnah Shop in Tellstr.

I’ve had burnout or chronic fatigue or fuck knows what since August last year. The last couple of weeks my energy and physical feeling has actually been ok. Not β€œlet’s smash an hour on the trainer” ok, just not feeling fully cratered. Ramadan and fasting has been up in my emotions for several weeks now. I knew back then it’d be highly unlikely I’d be able to fast from dawn till sunset, around 15 hours at the moment. I knew also not fasting, not participating, not enjoying the obligations of the month would fuck with my already fucked head, even though not fasting when it’s not possible is also an obligation to be celebrated.

Saturday was the first day. Saturday is the ideal day of the week for me because I’ve shaped my life since August to have no commitments on that day. The deal has always been, β€œJust do one day, just do as much as you can, just do it for your granny.” As much as I can is half a day, about 9 hours. The deal is, if I start feeling shittier, I stop. If I need a break, I stop. If I feel I can do more, cool, but no pressure. Gonna make that Iftar smoothie tonight.