Languages break in the same way dreams do. Both inherit the hearts fragile sense. Harbour fractures that grow the more times they fall. Until one day they’re collapsing into you. Like scattered bones break into fate. Broken languages bleed out the softness in you, make you cold as concrete. Until you cannot survive the winter without curling into a body, or pillow, warmers tucked into your bed and you’re still shivering. Teeth at risk of shattering sound like breaking dreams. Pitiful. Sound like poems slipping on their own shadows. Falling out from the mouth and finding nowhere to go to. All the poems are breaking. All the poems do not have a place in this body. Weigh me down and make me feel heavy. What I want to write about, is the sound of silence. Haunting me. Haunting my mother. Haunting the sea. My grandmother has gone insane. The family say they took her to doctors and holy men. Recited the entire Qur’an on her in one seating but no one knows what’s wrong. My mother says they should have seen it slowly creeping in. Like silence before it becomes deafening. My mother wants to say it was the marriage. My mother wants to say many things and I’m going mad trying to write all of it. All the women in me shrieking. Shattering the silence. Glass shards falling out like tortured song. Like ocean weeping. Like senseless poem. Like men bastardising religion. Like men baptising silence. Like silence having limbs and a shadow bubbling with violence. Like language too broken to ward it off. Like a witch dying, all her magic seeping into the world and making it pretty. Like ocean drowning, calling all of its girls back in.
Afeefa Omar is an East Afrikan poet and spoken word artist residing in Cape Town. Much of her writing is born from navigating the physical and metaphorical borders between people. She explores themes such as emotional censorship and ideas surrounding belonging, otherness and identity. In 2017 she began sharing her work and was consecutively awarded second place in the Cape Town poetry slam and first place in the Western Cape Current state of poetry slam. In the same year she participated in various poetry programmes such as the Naked word festival, Rioters In Session II and the Open Book Festival. She is passionate about using poetry to challenge the boundaries imposed on narrative and to reclaim the lost voice. Afeefa Omar is currently pursuing a BA degree in psychology at the University of the Western Cape. She is also part of the C.Y.P.H.E.R youth programme under Lingua Franca Spoken Word Movement.