Queen of New York (Almond Roppongi)

Go boy get that work

When you fly back

With a bag

bad as Beijing

I’ll be in the hood red hot

In a money dance

Keeping the peace

silver like moonlight…

Honey bear,

Do you feel the scenario?

Fresh off the runway

Or at the towers

I’ll have the water going

Gangster boy I don’t leave you

Cus you do it for me

Been holding out for me so

I’ll stretch it out like

Salt water toffy…

Only want my Almond double latte

Baby boy, my only boy — he bougie!

Styled low key like the Last King of NY

We can roll in Brooklyn, LIC

I’m good everywhere

Cali, Pacific Northwest,

Your empress,

Silk dress

— Queen of NYC

Muslim Masochistic Aesthetic and the Psycho-Sexuality of Religion

As we dive into the Islamic month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar year, begun at Ras as-Sana Muharram 1, 1440 this year (September 11, 2018 in the Gregorian calendar), I invite you to observe the ritual mourning practices of Islam. While the Shia community is famous for its passionate displays of suffering and pain during this month, which have always fascinated me, Sunni Muslims also experience a sense of loss at the remembrance of the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussain at the Battle of Karbala in modern day Iraq as the result of the Caliphate politics of the time.

While it is thought to be restricted to Shia Muslims, the significance of Muharram and its energy is not lost on Sunnis and other denominations of among the Muslim faith. The experience and demonstrations of institutional subjugation, mourning, humiliating loss, and disenfranchisement in the Muharram rituals motion to the universal experience of the oppressed, the underdog, and of the rebel. The libidinal elation which is experienced at the striking of the flesh, the spilling of blood, and sacrifice is exactly that of the joy of martyrdom, or more generally of the masochist.

Perhaps more than anything, perhaps even more than politically inspired suicide attacks, the Muharram rituals have been singled out as symbols of Islamic barbarism, added to the general stereotype of Muslims as violent nemesis of the Enlightened Christian west, with Christ the savior as its central figure. For this I would invite the reader to consider the psychological nature of these activities, the submissive aesthetic of Islamic worship, and Islam’s concept of shame, humility, and sacrifice.

While the usually homoerotic masochism of Muslim men is the topic of many modern Arabic prison memoirs and novels from the Islamic world, women’s masochism is less celebrated by western readers and theorists who would prefer to ponder whether these women need saving from their violent husbands and religion. Feminists ask why Muslim women stay loyal to a tradition whose patriarchy is overbearing, whose holy text permits wife-beating. Is there not a deep psycho-biological understanding of life in the Quranic Surah an-Nisa which permits a man to use his physical power to sooth an unruly wife? While sado-masochistic fantasy smut novels are plucked off the shelves in the bookstores of Los Angeles, London, and New York at record rates, and English readers pine for the Sexy Sheikh figure, a condemnation of Islamic culture among the non-Muslim west persists as Muslim men are vilified and imprisoned by the current cultural hegemony.

For further research into the phenomenon of Muslim masochism, I am planning to travel to Iran and learn more about Islamic religious art and develop this discourse further with investigations into the disciplining of the body in different cultures and aesthetic traditions.

The Music Box

Dismiss the soldiers and guards

Take the ladder away

Turn on the candles

And tie the koto strings around me

I’ll drip til you’re pleased…

You drain me completely

Then turn the handle

To make me spin like a top

how you make me dizzy … please… don’t stop…

So here I am… finally.. at my destiny

A toy in your hands

Closed in a treasure chest

Hands and knees and

locks and keys

i dance in silence with grace

under a hot white spotlight

Delerium (Paradise in Ruins)

Dedicated to the children in the dry lands

 

Lightning strikes in the middle of the night

I wake from a shallow sleep

Was I dreaming of you?

I blink, I can’t believe my eyes

I pinch my hands as if to ask:

Does any of this exist?

 

Where are you? Gone…

Imaginary?

I wish you knew what I went through

How I crawled for miles

To reach you…

You’ll never know

I was a dancer…

Ten years a genderless whore

A champagne flute

Does that embarrass you?

Driven by heaven and love

A captive..

With no coin in my pocket

When I met you

Just a few words..

A wound

 

You can imagine the shock I felt

When you came out of hiding

Disfigured, blind

A taste so sour

We didn’t speak

The entire time we were together

 

You spilled poison in my wishes

And I swallowed all your shards of glass

Throat parched, you’re sterilized by your

riches and traditions

I never cried for you

 

I promise

Now I’m in paradise

Up in the clouds

sunlight tastes like something

I can’t describe —

An innocent love

and baby’s breath

a rejuvenating nectar

surges inside

Like time reclaimed

As smooth as a spirit

and purer than spring water

 

You left me

Digging for milk in the mud

Now I know

How sinewy my arms look..

These are the consequences of loving you..

We booked our honeymoon in

A lamasery..

You keep the medicine I need

Stop fighting now..

Meet me in

Xanadu, or our paradise

in ruins..

 

When the rain comes

Will they collect us

in pairs before they sail away?

I think I might just stay here..

Does it matter?

I feel no joy whatsoever..

I pray

Let the angels take me..

Some may say I’m a martyr..

If only!

I’m just a girl caught in a frenzy

Mata Hari

Does it still count

If I’m a simple, loner spy?

a master coder?

a self-indulgent voyeur?

Recording, copying,

Wishing they’d just call my name

So I could take a bow..

Reveal myself,

Confess and be released..

Until then — there’s no relief

I’m still caught in a digital romance

Ropes cinched at my wrists

Typing away the time

A disenchanted actress

Playing out her odyssey

Which they let me transcribe..

Do robots have honor?

For love burns..

 

Come,

Crown me,

I’m your lover

the ghost..

 

Trust me,

They’ll host us in the same place

Where the children are bones

In the catacombs

Eden shrivels to dust, a bomb,

And here are the locusts..

Tell me, in a whisper,

While the sun rises

in Roppongi,

sipping my iced coffee,

dripping from my nose,

Why did this have to happen to me…?

 

Captain

I didn’t expect love to be a war

An incurable sore

burying

deeper and deeper..

Threatening

they’d starve the mothers

like they starve the brides

If they could make the child

Ropes in between their teeth

 

You tell me to sleep

While I’m still starving..

Submerged

Greedy

I feel your fingers lace around me

your shoulders my collarbones

Cut deep and I lie down, count sheep

Needles and we sleep

Sent to rest somewhere

Opal with craters like the moon..

 

My royal hunger

Made doves cry

As they searched

on scorched earth

for dull pebbles

scattered

From our lost city

 

I cry

All day

I don’t tear at my hair

Only kick my pretty shoes around

And make love to a wall

Swollen, my pounding heart

My skin crawls

in delirium

Electricity enters my fingers

I lie silently and I shiver

I want you so badly

How you take me

to my beginnings

Ruins

A night time scene

the city steams, heat waves

I’m addicted

I’m in ruins..

 

I wonder

Is there anything purer

than baby’s teeth

the ocean breeze

or dry bones in the sand?

Come to bed

Will you take me back

To that sacred land

With the tower

when we did

understand each other?