It is my pleasure to host author Ayesha Hakim on my blog today. Her book Message from the Daughters is out now.
Me: What sparked your initial love for poetry?
Ayesha: I grew up in a large family but would spend a lot of time alone by myself in the attic surrounded by books. It was then and there that words would come to entertain me. In that quiet space, I read stories and poems that spoke to me and to what I was feeling. I eventually grabbed a notebook and started to pen my own stories that gave voice to what I was experiencing. Oh how liberating this was!
Me: How important will you say sisterhood and compassion are in instigating empowerment?
Ayesha: Giving space to one another to be, to express, to live one’s truth is highly important. This one act of solidarity can empower and strengthen the bonds of sisterhood and allows us to access compassion for one another.
Me: What made you pen down Message from the Daughters?
Ayesha: “Message from the Daughters” is a collection of poems that I’ve written over the course of many years. Many served as a form of therapy for me when I was going through trying times. Some pieces were written for the many women I’ve encountered throughout my life. When I revisited them I noticed that there were certain themes and that led me to divide the poems into seven chapters – chapters that represented stages of healing and growth.
Me: How do you develop your poems? Can you guide us through the stages?
Ayesha: Every poem is developed differently and takes on a different process. But in every piece there was always some event, or emotion that required words to help me understand what was going on and often times brought me comfort. Getting these initial thoughts on paper is the first stage. The next stage was finding the structure of the piece. In finding the structure, more of the story appears. Most times, listening to instrumentals helps move words along the paper as if the music and words are in dance – helping ideas to find its place in the piece. Once this happens I find the story is complete and a poem is born.
Me: What according to you is the first step to healing?
Ayesha: Radical self-love is definitely the first step to healing. How that happens may be different for everyone but I think it definitely starts there. For me, it’s always proceeded by that cry, you know the cry you have that seems to take everything out of you? What I found was that when I sit with the memory (of hurt or trauma) and I give myself permission to love me in that moment, those tears would come rushing to comfort and guide me to let go of anything that isn’t nurturing. I always found that kind of cry cleansing.
Me: What should readers expect from the collection?
Ayesha: “Message from the Daughters” takes each reader on a journey of profound transformation through the lens of the divine feminine. From hardship and heartache to overcoming trauma and healing, this collection depicts a wide range of human emotions as a form of not only self-expression, but solidarity. Readers should expect a cleansing and empowering exhale by the last poem.
Me: If it is not a problem, will you share a poem from it? A favourite of yours maybe?
Ayesha: Yes, of course! One of my favorite poems is one I wrote when I found myself living in a homeless shelter and the nuns (who I considered my angels) that ran the shelter cared for me as I found myself confronting past trauma for the first time.
A Story by a Little Girl
Interpreted by a Woman
While feeling the fist in her throat and witnessing fire on the bed of waters
I painted the color God on cathedral ceilings for her to gaze upon
When her dolls and will to speak were taken away
I gathered words for her to play with
Her glass was left empty
But I make it appear three-quarters full
Once, we both shouted to old drunken ears who said it would be okay
Only to be sent back to the monster’s ball
I feel nothing, but the little girl feels everything
The entire “nothing” is confused, and the “everything” is amongst the fire
Intertwined, we both fall in and out of life’s doors
The little girl is forever apprehensive
And I am weary of this endless dance with demons
And once the institution came in with microscopic lenses on their eyes
Frightening the little girl who had so much to tell
But I stepped up, feeling the little girl tremble
And said, “It’s okay now, I’ll take care of her”
You see, the little girl may be afraid,
But I will protect her at all costs
Where do we begin to unravel fears when they’re all around?
“Find the bag and move dust off the clouds,”
Whispered Angels at the Inn as they helped
Loop echoes with fine acoustics for the little girl
And with weaved hands
Prevented us both from falling into the grave
And made our room safe to wail
The little girl is asleep, and I am drained
Wondering if tomorrow we will find a way to tell our story
Knowing we will fight monsters again
Angels at the Inn help us both to keep flight in our dreams
As we rest peacefully through the night
Temporarily secure amongst the unknown shadows
Me: Are there any new projects underway?
Ayesha: None at this time.
Ayesha Hakim is a passionate activist to her core and that’s never changing. Whether it’s empowering her fellow sisters, creating inspiring poetry, or being a loving mother and grandmother, she continually strives to make this world a better place than when she first entered it. Her soul is a determined, empathetic, healing force, and it is seen in everything she has achieved and pursues to this day. From her first spoken word performance and co-founding a social justice initiative, to producing an acclaimed off-off Broadway show, her creative legacy continues to grow and thrive. To discover more about this emerging author and her upcoming poetic ventures, check out her official website: http://www.ayeshahakim.com
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