Writing

In This Together?

‘In This Together?’, my collaboration with photographer Ahmad Rezai and artists: Zeinab Nourzehi (Refugees Art), Baqir Safari and Maisam Ali.

How our experiences of lockdown – fear, loneliness, disruption, life on pause – are the everyday reality for people seeking refuge. 

Funded by the Arts Council of Ireland.

Featured in Fish Food Magazine

Shown at Midwest Poetry Film Fest (Art Lit Lab), 2021

Fejira // to cross

First place at the Fish Short Memoir Prize 2019, published in Fish Anthology 2019 launched at West Cork Literary Festival.

“This powerful piece gives sharp insights into the lives of refugees living in the Jungle camp near Calais who want to cross the English Channel. In this ‘shadow world at the heart of Europe’ lives are a series of survivals. Survival of failed attempts to cross, survival of torture, survival of health, survival of hearing each other’s stories, survival of boredom and waiting, and finally survival of a terrifying catastrophe within the camp. The writer, a ‘tourist’ in the camp, describes the compelling details of daily life alongside the perpetual despair. A vivid, clear-eyed account which witnesses the facts of these precarious ‘blow-apart lives struggling to start again’ and makes them plain to see.” – Chrissie Gittins

Read exerpt here.


‘The Better Life’ in Hinterland Magazine


‘The Disappearing’, published in ‘I Am A Man Of Peace’

The Disappearing

Yul Brynner’s bald head is on the wall opposite, 

an advert for used cars:

‘Yul never beat our offers’.

You take a drag on your cigarette, 

the slight dawn light unflattering. 

A green tint to the window sill.

George Wassouf is playing low on your phone

and you’re suddenly reminded 

of the street you used to live on.

Maybe they’ll rebuild it someday, I say.

You tut – 

not like our tuts –

but the Arabic tut which means no,

Will they rebuild my neighbours 

from their graves

you say.

‘Crithir’, published in The Cormorant:

Inside The Tent

I hope you never hear

cannons at the gate;

your home,

force-torn 

from under your feet.

I hope you never know

what’s it’s like on a boat;

the water

sinking in,

bailing with bare hands.

I hope you never see

the earth shake;

them tearing down the walls.

Witness

how utterly

away luck crawls.

Asylum

All my friends are waiting.

They try not to let it

eat them up.

This monster has no teeth,

but sucks life.

It doesn’t roar, but sighs.

Drowning birdsong

their children’s laughter,

all the sounds

that keep you sane.

They make the monster

a box to live in –

– make it as comfortable

as they can.

It doesn’t kill them outright.

Doesn’t call itself a monster.

Doesn’t call itself anything.

I Am Not Your Refugee

‘I would rather follow the plow as thrall to another man,
one with no land allotted him and not much to live on,
than be a king over all the perished dead.’

― Homer, The Odyssey

He lights the candles and rolls a cigarette.

‘What can I tell you?’ he says.

How heavy words are,

measuring people into stories,

weighing them out.

Refugees,

that word to bind

an infinity of loves and hates

and everything in-between.

The same way you hold your lover,

or your child.

All your hopes and fears –

the same way it’s different.

A bird sits on his shoulders,

digs its claws in,

and he hunches over his cigarette.

In the months ahead,

even when we’re laughing,

the bird hovers,

scratching til he goes numb.

Illegal

Illegal – runner up Poetry Film competition, Doolin Writers’ Weekend 2019

calais

Spoken-word collab w/ An Galar Dub: