A Poem

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I shed you like old skin.
dead cells.
pinching fabric on
a heart seeking comfort.

leave you
like the things I can’t carry
at the start of this tunnel
trepidation takes up so much space

knowing the route will break
it does (break me)

sometimes my companion
is the unwelcome scream of a girl
echoing, I find my way out
of this jagged stone throat

for her, I learn
how to remove you
needles from a cactus love
paperclips keeping eyes shut
memories with an acid touch

if there is more
I don’t know
agnostic on my best day
I try to believe

the growing space
between you and me
is a new vessel
pumping blood
to nascent faith.

A Poem

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turn down the noise
that earthquake rumble
from the underbelly
of a once fecund heart

this is the fight

placation is a soft pillow
submission- silk on your skin
power bartered for
beauty and
comfort and
the soft flesh in your mouth

we make new worlds from air
start with your single sound
allowed to bloom

turn off the noise
you are left behind
in her barest form

a million mirrors hanging
from the ceiling of your mind

sharp teeth closing in on your eyes.

A Poem

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our morning is over and
this ritual concludes
without resolve, I could not
divine the mystery of your wants.

temerity is a pair of shoes
in the foyer. Outside, a different beat
from our measured speech

how quickly we ran
out of last looks -
the final one so unexpected

sometimes, I search for your voice
at the bottom of an Old Fashioned

smell your scent in a hallway
you have never crossed

befriend the lonely air
make him my confidant
make him your ears
tell him this secret
of my anger

ask him a question

is it perfidy if I
put on the shoes?

if I do not stay
in the shadows with you?

A wake-up call doesn’t guarantee that you won’t wake up to a nightmare

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Once upon a time, I believed that feminism was my ticket out.

I thought that the label would help me fully divest from the disgusting patriarchy ever-present in my surroundings.

I believed that becoming a feminist would save me from being oppressed. I wanted the identity to cocoon me, to protect me from both the rampant sexism in the South Asian community and its counterpart that still survives and thrives in the United States.

Yes, developing a feminist lens helped me keep my sanity.

As I began to understand what being a woman meant in this world, I was able to use this lens to identify sexist patterns of behavior and patriarchal power structures more clearly. …

A Poem

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they want you to be
the person they knew
bolstering flawed hearts
taking their poison with dessert.

was a passing glint in your eyes
a moment in your time
sandcastle overlooking predictable waves

inevitable change.

they want you to be all of the good, and
none of the consequences- but memory
still burns in the middle of the night

you see eyes hungry
for your pristine performance
pretend none of this ever happened
offer quiet absolution
save your brimming chaos
for behind the scenes

who you are is how you love
the breaking becomes fundamental

you have been waiting for either
an apology or amnesia

neither come.

Figure out your reasons and choose them over temporary feelings.

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This is the busiest I have ever been.

I’m surprised by that. I thought nothing could beat out a particular time in my late twenties when I was taking post-graduate classes to prepare for medical school and working 3 part-time jobs, all concurrently.

It wasn’t fun.

I spent a lot of energy on emotional regulation. I was sad because I didn’t actually want to be a doctor. I was told to be one. I didn’t want to work at any of my jobs either. That decision was made solely because I couldn’t allow myself to move back home and live in a toxic family environment.

At this point in my thirties, I am working through so much complex PTSD that I don’t know even know what to label the horrible feeling I get when I think about how hard I worked back then. My memory of that time is wrapped up in the resentment I feel about being told what decisions I “should” make. …

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Life does get in the way.

As I began reading the thin gray pages of the 2020 General Election California Information Voter Guide (what a mouthful), I started to understand why we have a bipartisan system. It’s so much easier when you grow up knowing what your political ingroup and outgroup are.

A landscape as deficiently simply as Republicans versus Democrats doesn’t help us achieve an optimal democracy, but it sure does simplify the voting process.

I had gotten around to voting a lot later than I intended to. With a full-time job and being a graduate student, I finally convinced myself to begin the process as the end of the week approached. …

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Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

I have read a lot of bad Instagram poetry.

And when I was posting poems to that platform, I held myself to the standard of the quality I found on there. When I decided to leave, my poetry got a little better. I started immersing myself in a different platform, and then my poetry took a hit yet again because I was holding myself to the (albeit higher) standard of this new platform.

It wasn’t until I removed myself from the daily checking of my online performance or the feeling that I just had to “win” at poetry that I was able to get back in touch with the poet inside. …

What leaving behind identity politics will actually mean.

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What the campaign wants from you

Founded in 2018, by Brandon Straka, the #WalkAway campaign urges Americans to “leave identity politics behind”, instead opting to “walk towards unity, civility, respect.”

The problem is, Straka doesn’t just want you to leave the radical left. He’s not just asking you to walk away. He’s asking you to walk toward Trump’s America. It’s not about shedding your biases and having the freedom to be a free thinker. It can’t be, not when the politics are still the dogmatic condemnation of voices hoping to make real change in this country.

This is a common tactic used by Trump supporters with a platform. They want you to leave the “democratic plantation” and to“break the chains”. Putting the strategic rhetoric aside, the issue remains that you’re being asked to support leaders who preserve the status quo of sexist and racist policies in this country. If you can find it in yourself to do that, then you have finally “awakened to the truth.” …

During the last two months, I tried to remember my reason for writing

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What if I don’t have the answers?

During my first year of writing online, I believed that if I wanted to be a good writer, I needed to provide answers. I did this even though I knew that many of the topics I would be writing about were complicated. Maybe the framework of a discussion would be more suitable for those essays.

The idea made me nervous. Do people read articles that don’t give them solid answers?

Even when it came to essays about my personal life, I thought that I should only stick to the big conclusions I had made about myself. …


Rebeca Ansar

rebecawrites.com | blog and articles in An Amygdala

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