The Sisterhood Salon hosted a writing workshop in collaboration with Feminist Spaces (UK) and Yalla Feminists (US & Lebanon). This was specifically for feminists in lockdown. We welcomed women and non-binary individuals to a guided poetry session exploring pandemic.
Led by Lisa Luxx, the attendees practised poetic rhythm, imagery and form. Then came together and created a group poem capturing the experiences of the women we are and the women we know.
Sisters logged in from different corners of the world where they had been quarantining, and spent three hours experimenting together, writing together and reading together. This was the outcome: an epic poem that passes the lens between cities and countries; between lockdown’s monotony and cluelessness; from grief to longing; from loneliness to fatophobia in the family home; and between back and forth between capitalism and the sentimental.
Can you imagine the frenzy
if 7.8 billion people blend
in right now – boom – virus has been sent –
purgatory? None of those unmasked are friendly
see it on their faces – they all just want to make a penny
for them – that’s what’s fundamental
hope turns to vapour I grasp with both hands
clawing at the happy I used to cling to and coming up blank blank blank
cloak grips, eyes sealed, sunken and stumbling
the mirror asks “who are we now we live in hibernation?”
I wake to the moon and paint dreams in the midnight sky
by day I am still a cog in the machine
today is already tomorrow
I think about it every night laying near my phone alone every time
like a mistletoe I kiss myself before bed hearing his voice
he baptizes me with I love yous I smoke my body eases
I fall to wake up to my father’s face the open door
it is empty except for its ending.
grief its own kind of decadence
committed to ritual each day I write your epitaph
in table salt serenade you from a shallow bath
slip back into an old beginning burning at both ends
become fertile and feral just to finish what we started
senseless and sentimental
I stand on orange circles children waiting for rides
a forage for the balcony my rectangular relief
we sit & smoke & pretend to know
our golden age has gone
we’ll build sandcastles in our eyes
& kiss prayers into locked fingers
uninvited guest who lingers.
Part of night, present by day.
I accommodate, like semi-functional furniture.
It could fit out through the window,
but would have to change it’s form.
Knock at my front door. Hum of pre-programmed children, mine.
Guard dog, me. Howl at night, bathe in wine, howl. Make tea, make
toast, every day the black-berry-clot knock at my glass door. Package
arrives. Amazon slave smiles tight. Tea. Kettle. Toast. Sharp-knife wrist
howl. Call from children, mine, fur-body asks to come in. Keys lock. 37
locks. Sleep. An hour. Puddles of muscle wait at the end of my path. Not mine.
Rundown measuring tape gets to rope me in to
a family-sized boxing ring, reserved seats six feet away
cheering zero calories a day can persuade
me, not the old dresses decayed in a childhood bedroom
to reincarnate as younger me, a soul unfed
as a referee checks for the aftertaste of my body’s buffet
pavements emptied from buzzing,
schedules freed themselves of running away from home –
old hymns singing along the footsteps of my family leaving
requiems to the parting of their spirits, ablating themselves from nation –
dusty guitar, rusty voice – empty pages and unfelt notes
how can I play over the silence of their absence?
By Hania Habib, Tanisha Barrett, Maysan Nasser, Ollie O’Neill, Layla Maghribi, Luv, Anita Karla Kelly, Rabia and Sandra Takchy