Poems and Other Myths:

A collection of spoken word poetry by women from Asia.


Ira Anjali Anwar


Often, perched on impossible thoughts amidst unflinching nights

I (try) and weigh these advertised crimes of Islam

Against my name

(you see) There is always this shame

(of the blood running through his veins

As he delivered his boyhood soul

To take up arms instead, to rip and behead- they say

Look, his oil soaked land, he must've been born a


So when you ask me who I'm;

I cannot lose myself in the paradoxes of identity and wonder how one ever knows such things


I offer you that half of me yet untainted

By my woeful Allah

Dissolve into the poster child for a Western- Hindu integrity

(only) Ira Anjali

As Baba hangs like a phantom limb, his legacy

Buried in the graveyard of shamed memories.

Abba jaan, my gently aging old man

you held my hopeless palm

When I could hardly stand

Now I only stumble-

Surrendering your name.

In this country of borders (arbitrarily set in that invisible stone

That held the forgotten blood of our history) - all of your men

Hung, baba- they said for killing too much.

And so I shed your name

- I cannot tell them look

My grandfather spent his nostalgia in jail

Fighting For this freedom to live without blame;

It must've been a lie baba-

It must've been our mistake

for all those voices ripped

from hungry throats, all 277 killed in Bombay

bodies burnt like cigarettes in our fanatical game

so I hide you in the folds of my mind; your

tired eyes reciting Iqbal and Faiz-

I cannot listen anymore baba

(this urdu is my poison I must lay you to rest)

And the women and men;

Gujarat baba, butchered and torn from their Muslim children's embrace

Righteously deserving-that too must've been our mistake-

 we cannot blame that man,

our national God with his 56 inch chest;

with their blood he coloured justice baba

developing dams like our borders,

he asked for their name.

From me, (today) he just takes yours.


Sometimes love doesn't arrive.

Sometimes you wait till

The middle of the night

The creaking of your back door

It's just the thief or your cat

Coming home.

The flames flicker, and burn out sometimes.

Sometimes you fall asleep.


The thing is- all

The romantic comedies

Valentine's day and love poems

Sometimes they forget to tell you

That even if you try, n do everything right

The scented candles, the lingerie

Flip- your- hair back, eye- contact linger n smile

Love may STILL not be the soundtrack of your life

Remember they're just trying to make

Movies n greeting cards

N love is the easiest hope to sell.


Sometimes you've been waiting all along for him

Your own life sized ken doll

While she's always been by your side  

And now is gone (?)

And, even when they do arrive

You may not fall headlong

Into love

Your heart may not skip those beats

Maybe you'll just becomes friends

And a little bit more

Soulmates of a different kind?


Sometimes happiness isn't in pairs

—your multiple orgasms are shared

With a multitude of faces and names

You begin to forget.

Sometimes you can't help

But regret the sparks

That could've been

But you let go,

All those years ago.

'in a far away land

There once lived a man/ prince who loved me..'

You begin to tell yourself- stop.

It is a myth that we women cannot survive on our own,

Created by this industry of men.


You don't have to settle down-

You can discover the world on your own

And it will b beautiful, maybe even more

Than you had imagined with him.

Cause sometimes you find yourself

Sometimes you don't need someone else telling you


sometimes alone is not lonely

You find this love, even if it doesn't arrive

It's in your nerves and sinews,

It's in the inside.