Pilgrim By Proxy



It’s hard to live at the mercy of a sixty five year old man, who has the stamina to walk up twelve flights of stairs, and reserves the energy to mock you all the way. It makes you wonder, whether effective channeling of maniacal power is less disease and more tool, at the end of the day.


My parents recently returned from Hajj, the compulsory pilgrimage all Muslims must go on at least once in a lifetime, when they have the financial means to afford it. Depending on the spiritual window of the pilgrim, the experience is either an exercise of faith, or simply a series of exercises. Some people come back with a new recognition of God in every space. Others come back having merely visited God. So it’s entirely possible to return having had your tendency towards intro- or extrospection completely altered. It’s also possible to go on the pilgrimage, do every ritual by the letter, and come back with tales of how wonderful you were on the trip.


Suffice to say, I have one parent per category. The one who actually has had her soul truly stirred, keeps getting interrupted by the other one blithering about how he was mistaken for an Arab, a British man, a Nordic man, or whatever the whitest variant of man is. And in one room, you have a succinct summary of what it is to be Muslim- one, who loves the spiritual connection her religion helps her forge. A second, who is still heady off a lifetime of authority being a ‘good Muslim’ accords him. And a third, who hasn’t figured out how to hold on the tenuous but lilting call of faith, when every practical aspect of it in every day life has been so thoroughly cruel. A burr in a horse’s backside under the saddle. Or God’s fingernail. Whichever metaphor works on the said day.


Waves of visitors have been crashing onto our doorstep today. Everybody asks the same questions. People who’ve been to Hajj already, seem to inquire with almost a competitiveness. People who haven’t been yet, also have the same air of ‘Oh, did you do this? I read online that you’re supposed to.’ Barely a handful seemed to be genuinely interested in the answers they were getting, and not in the answers they were giving. It makes you wonder, how much of our conversations qualify as conversations. But then again, when you’re well versed in standing or sitting in a corner and serving,  being the audience isn’t so bad either. Especially since you have better conversations with a blank page later, in the privacy of your head. Ruminating about belief, the validation of it, our sense of seeking reinforcement from those around us. The subliminal tang of jealousy that people seem to have about something as inherently humble as going on a pilgrimage. The bizarreness of the exchanges, and the laughable overtones. It’s enough to drive an already sputtering belief system to a full stop, and then tumble headfirst over the line into full blown nihilism.


Then again, maybe it’s not God I need to be giving up on. It’s people.




Of Gods and Men III

I was talking to a friend yesterday, about the problem with the notion of love.

Specifically, how being cynical robs you of the so-called ‘honeymoon period’. You never have the initial few weeks where you see the other with rose tinted glasses. Where all their eccentricities are still cute and endearing, rather than being nails-on-a-chalkboard intolerable. Cynicism and a healthy wariness of love never lets you experience the euphoria that brings.

At the same time, it seems as though it’d be a distinct advantage to going into something with your eyes wide open. Fear and vulnerabilities aside, maybe starting with a rational acknowledgment and acceptance of imperfections would be a better foundation weather the inevitable storms.

Maybe it’s just the pragmatism of surrender speaking, having been utterly defeated by that one and only attempt at loving madly that I could muster. Rationale makes for a sturdy excuse.

Or maybe, this is what my version of hope is going to be. But I’m finding- loving smart is so much more difficult than loving hard.

Here’s to falling, one way or the other, and hopefully flying.

Love and light,

Cookie ❤

Day Twenty : New?

Strip away every known.

Every tendency

every fallacy

Clean off the bone

Past the skin but

leave the poetry

wash the words away

Dull the clarity

Take the lessons

-spare the sins

They have no meaning.

Dissect understanding.


that knife edge balance

of what I have and

what it takes

Snip, snip, all the habits

Every face

Remove the wings

Bind the fingers

Stitch the lips into closing,

eyes frozen

I take every bit of I from me

and I

still remain

But who am I then?




The Pretty Man 


For a man of your stature

You’d think I’d be used 

To standing in the span

Of your arms, less confused 

Less unsettled, not unnerved 

Not so throughly dwarfed 

By the sudden lack of air in my lungs 

That you cause

Your hands fit my waist, your chin 

 on my shoulder,

I always start at that small

 touch of your breath 

We murmur like lost lovers, like

 Star crossed the others 

Whose very existence tempts death 

In this darkness, I am allowed 

To believe all you’ve said 
There is a warmth in faith awry

In your arms there is a belief 

That no lack of conviction or

Fear in the night can steal from me

And all I need, is sacrifice 

One hour against the dawn, is all 

To turn my face and close my eyes 

And not watch the light fall on our wall 

To watch instead your fingers move 

In my hair as I’ll blind disrobe 

Behind me is a lone shadow 

You cast none-  

Pretty words rarely do. 


The Pretty Man 

© Yusra 

01.11.2017 .




Here’s to pretty men who turn your heads inside out. ❤️
Also.. Good morning, my lovelies 😘


It will hurt. 

It will be a burden. 

It will pain your bones to 

carry your thoughts 

-it will lessen 

You will endure 

You will survive 

Bent is not broken 

– It’s okay to have been numb 

But you’re alive 

And you’re fighting 

And you will