Not all writers create publish worthy material with a first draft. It takes 1, 2, 3 or more for a piece to hit the spot; seamlessly stitching emotions and experiences together in a way that reflects one’s soul while keeping it relatable to a reader. It is a tight rope to walk; a walk that requires practice, skill and patience.
For 19-year-old Fatemeh Mirjalili, writing in ways that truly and completely reflect her inner thoughts comes with its challenges. However, this Bombay poet manages to overcome these hurdles with grace and incredible work to show for it.
He was the boy with blue eyes.
I could see it; the ocean wrecked with ships that sunk to the bottomless pit of his mind where the water rippled it unclear for my own eyes to see what he’s trying so hard to clash with the waves so no one can look close enough.
I could see it was a troublesome sea, disturbed by storms aligned to be blurred by his blinking lids, and somewhere I could make out a figure dark as his shadow, paddling towards the safety of the shore, tangled in the water’s mouth, hair bewildered in every direction he tried to take, and I watched there, wishing he finds his way.
I wish he never settles to sink where his breath will not be enough to see the bottom.
I wish he wouldn’t stay at the middle of the ocean where he has given up to surf against what rattles his body to shiver, and his jaw to lose control and tremble, and what drives his soul to be anchored down by the weight of his mistakes or for every damn judgement that hooked him as bait to the sadness that now surrounds him, because the waves, they come back to the shore to kiss it gently before it leaves only to rush back again.
He should too.
At least he can breathe there, rest for a while, and stop what tires him.
Because I can see a boy.
With eyes so blue, and struggling to breathe on the surface.
I can see a boy.
Who’s cold inside out.
I can see a boy.
Who is tired from swimming, and searching for himself.
I can see a boy.
But I can never, ever feel what he is going through.
I can only see a boy.
With light brown eyes.
Even though when I look more closely,
I am sure,
that they are blue.
When asked how many drafts she goes though in a day, Fatemeh’s answer is real, hopeful and truly positive. “I go through innumerable drafts…Sometimes, after they’ve been published, I feel like I could’ve done a lot better. In the end however, it’s a learning experience and I learn with every new piece.”While Fatemeh has always been a writer, poetry however, found its way into her life two years ago, explains Fatemeh; insisting that there is always room for improvement. It id with this in mind that Fatemeh, constantly draws inspiration from her favourite writers; J.K Rowling and Instagram poet R.M Drake.
You always wore your stories at the sleeves of your tongue.
Even though your stories were long,
you never pulled them up to your elbows so they’d scrunch,
instead you let them drape off your throat with the sound of syllables
growing with your interest that came along your adventures.
It’s fabric covers your skin, shielding it from your will to keep it swallowed,
knowing that I will be there to keep you warm with my ears that are always open to capture what rolls off your lips;
the melody of your voice sweeter than any angel’s lullaby hovering over a dreaming baby’s twitching eyelids.
I will hold your stories close to feel the warmth seeping on every story you collected in the back of your head as if you saved them to use as coins to pay the bus fare for the next time we meet,
and the next time we do so,
I can’t wait to see how your long-sleeved shirt keeps you company where it has folded itself among every strand of thread you weaved with how your days went;
those days when I couldn’t wrap you in my arms so I can absorb it in my skin because this distance reeked of the coldness brought by the numbers that made us sleep in different beds;
you in a province,
in the city.
Now that you’re finally here,
you can take it off.
Let me wear your long-sleeved shirt.
I want to cozy up to what you have to say,
and I’ll keep you warm with mine instead.
“I think, poetry’s true mission is achieved when a reader can feel the emotion that lies within a poem,” says Fatemeh, who is currently focusing on publishing her first book; if this collection if any indication, this is a book that is sure to be exceptional.
In closing, when asked what advice she’d like to give budding writers, Fatemeh Mirjalili’s words ring with raw motivation.
“Dare to do things you’ve never done before. It’s worth it.”