Optimistically Naive

HelloHalima, HMFpoetry

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Optimism feels new to me,

when you have been burned one too many times- the options feel slim.

You’re looking at me with love in your eyes,

Like you’ve known me for lifetimes on end, it is as if you scoured every burrow wondering where I lay down my head,

Once you finally found me, you vowed to never close your eyes,

Piercing stares giving me shivers down my spine,

But like human nature’s curse- pessimism teaches you to wait for the next shoe to drop-

The next false move that you could have sworn was always there,

Over thinking has always been the death of me-

Feeling hope materialize into hopeless places,

Is it too good to be true? We’ll see.

Hope, Ambiguity, Confusion: a ménage of dreams

HelloHalima

Photo by Alexander Milov

Ambiguity masquerading as hope,

I reached for it, siphoned it into my life-

hoping that it would somehow transform itself into the answers I was searching for,

But Hope left me empty, left me wondering what was next-

Hope did what she always does- like a chameleon, she transformed herself into something new-

something different,

something shiny and alluring,

I reached for it, hoping it would lead me to another path, one that was not disturbed by traffic or decay,

But alas, I was stumped again, trying to rack my brain- wondering what I did to deserve such treatment,

All I wanted was for my love to be received and given back tenfold, but all I was getting in return was 1 percent off my investment,

Scammed, cheated and searching for another way out- I mistook friendship for love,

And Hope disappeared for a while.

I enjoyed Friendships company, she left me feeling full with love- with respect- with a big heart and sometimes a big head,

But those pesky feelings, creeped back up again,

There she was- sitting pretty, Hope.

I sighed, exhausted by this cat and mouse game- a game that I did not have the rule book too

I was saddened by his heart, wondering why I was not apart of his affections,

Wondering why hope did not transform into what I wanted her to be,

I was in love but the only one that could see it was me,

Well- me and Ambiguity,

I saw how he cradled his confusion, feeding into it until it destroyed Hope,

she was no match for what lied ahead-

He chose confusion and chaos over figuring out what he felt for me,

I felt cheated and I missed Hope deeply.

Egos bruised, wondering why I wasn’t enough

But I quickly realized, it wasn’t me

I realized I couldn’t be sad over someone who did not want me,

That’s a loss that will register in his mind eventually,

I offered him love in plentiful heaps,

He chose confusion over me,

I hope they are happy together.

They have to be.

KEVIN’S HEART, INFIDELITY, MICRO-CHEATING AND J-COLE’S K.O.D: A REVIEW

HelloHalima

It is Sunday, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and last week J-Cole released his fifth studio album on 4/20. Fitting and ironic as the title is “K.O.D” is “Kids on Drugs” or “King Overdose” or “Kill our Demons”. All three titles being homages to the ways in which drugs are the biggest forms of distress to our mental, physical and emotional selves and well beings. “K.O.D” serves as a 12 song- 43 minute landscape encapsulating a culture of drugs and how it has shaped the dichotomy of music: through the form of addiction, over-popularization of recreational substances, as well as people using drugs as coping mechanisms to fill empty voids in their lives. This album feels just as gritty and important as “For Your Eyez Only” (perhaps even more so) as the themes he uncovers in K.O.D are an extension of what Black and radicalized communities feel in the world. A particular theme that he delves deeper into with this album is one of Addiction and Mental Health. He highlights the different facets that addiction can intersect with, love and addiction, social media and addiction, infidelity and addiction. It was interesting to see the switch in the topics and how addiction manifests in different ways through his words.

Songs like “1985: Intro to the Fall off” discuss Cole’s perspective and thoughts on a younger rap generation and how artists like Lil pump, Xxxtentacion (etc) showcase a high level of drug use that’s popularized in the choruses of their songs, using that as the pipeline to popularity rather than rapping about things that actually matter and are important in the world. His subliminal jabs are beautifully articulated as he says “You coulda bought a crib with all that bread that you done blew/ I know you think this type of revenue is never endin’ but I wanna take a minute to tell you that ain’t true / One day, them kids that’s listening gon’ grow up/ And get too old for that shit that made you blow up. Now your shows lookin light cause they don’t show up.” He is foreshadowing the future and the end of the artists who are capitalizing off of rap that’s all mumble- all trap- no substance- infused with drug references and belligerent club rap. He even ends it off hilariously by saying “In five years you gon’ be on Love & Hip-Hop nigga“- the Where Are They Now equivalent for one hit wonders and people who rise to fame quickly and lose it when they become old news. Hilarious.

Don’t get me wrong, I love subliminal messages like the best of them but J-Cole’s “Kevin’s Heart” took it to a whole new level as he dives into the world of infidelity as he modelled the song after Kevin Hart and his recent cheating scandal on Eniko Hart. As I was listening to the song, I couldn’t help but think of the different parameters of cheating/micro-cheating and the concept of emotional cheating- a behaviour/actions that many people participate in and exhibit in today’s society. You are probably reading this and wondering: what the hell is micro-cheating????? Well:

Micro-cheating:

1. “A series of small (comments, actions) occurrences that indicate that a person is emotionally or physically invested or focused on someone outside of the relationship.” -Melanie Shilling (Psychologist)

2. “Micro-cheating is when you do [things] that might not be considered outright infidelity, but are nonetheless breaches of trust that could lead to genuine cheating in the future” -Jonathan Bennett

So if that’s what micro-cheating is, it’s very definition propels the nature of cheating, emotional or physical. J Cole covers this in “Kevin’s Heart” as he says, “She my number one, I don’t need nothing on the side”. This is what many men (who have been in situations nearing cheating) think until they find themselves in precarious situations. The irony is that in a culture that almost romanticizes side-chicks, it’s the side chicks that lose after falling in love with men that will always see them as a secondary option. When we think about cheating, many people think of the physical ramifications that are unthinkable. Many of my friends always say “Oh if my man ever cheated on me, it’s a wrap, I would throw hands, fuck that nigga”, they only envision the worst case scenario- finding your significant other in a precarious and physical situation. But what of emotional cheating? When your emotional intimacy is chipped away slowly but surely, taken by another woman. The secrets and conversations that were once had with you, are had with another. The dreams and aspirations that were once shared with you, now in replacement of fluff and sitcom commentary. I find that a lot more sad, a slow growing death much more deserving of mourning. Regardless of what form- cheating is still something that is hurtful, devastating to all parties involved.

J-Cole continues the double entendres as addiction and the idea of love fuse together with drug imagery: “But I’m only human, I know loving you’s a crime // If I take this cookie now, one day I’ll do the time.” That last line commenting on two things, the first being: what eventually occurs when you enter the perimeters of cheating, you not only hurt yourself but all the parties involved. The second being, when you are involved with drugs and the consumption of it in your daily routine- what was once “for fun” and “a one time thing” could come back to disparage your life one way or another.

Kevin’s Heart also touches on distractions- using people, using xanny- weed- molly even as escapes from real world. J Cole struggles with this as well. The idea of numbing, temporary satisfaction in different forms. Numbing the pains and trials and tribulations through distractions is one of the biggest themes. It is true that we all do this, we replace our troubles with distractions- from the micro distractions of other people and sleep to the macro of drugs and alcohol. It’s apart of human nature. What bothers me is using someone while you already have another to satisfy your needs, the idea of having your cake and wanting to eat it too. The Greedy Syndrome. J Cole touches on this as he says, “Wanna have my cake and another cake too // Even if the baker don’t bake like you // Even when the flavour don’t taste like you.” Greedy Syndrome!!!!!!!!!! It is true, in the case of cheating, of love, of relationships, people always want what they can’t have. Many people also try to have the best of both worlds and that does not always work out. Maybe what J Cole had to say at the beginning rings true: “All a nigga know is how to fuck a good thing up.”

While many thought negatively of J Cole’s previous album of “For Your Eyez Only”, “K.O.D” continues to ring as a Cole classic, one beautifully saturated in authentic Cole- world truth, activism and imagery that depicts of past, present and future selves. Is J-Cole Nostradamus? Only time will tell.

Silence

HelloHalima, HMFpoetry

It has been interesting, all the twists and turns,

The miscarriage of all the words involved.

Speaking and yet not saying anything of substance,

So why am I feeling so lost?

Affected by the debris of your broken promises,

Of narratives we tell ourselves to keep from changing orders already put in place.

Expectations dropped as disappointments ensue and yet,

You are speaking but not saying anything monumental,

Speaking yet silent,

Laughter used to hide nerves, nerves cultivated by one sided comprehension.

What’s that about?

Speaking my truth only to have it misconstrued, broken up piece by piece,

Subsequently altered by our reality.

A miscarriage of desolate dreams,

Irreparable and yet continuous all at the same time.

 

Poetic Rebirth

HelloHalima

All my poetry is starting to sound like it is for you.

Beautifully written prose all strung together, encapsulating how I feel.

But how do you feel?

It’s been clear that the mountains you wish to move are not for me,

The songs you sing, not meant for my ears.

But how do you feel, really?

Perhaps it is only in my mind, but I find your feelings to be a greatly skewed facade.

I wondered what it would be like,

To crack open your mind, dig a little deeper and excavate all the feelings you wish to wish away.

As if 11:11 will stop you from feeling this way.

Sometimes I wish I could take a break,

From the reality that you and I have cultivated.

That way, my poetry and my mind will be baptized from your charms and reach.

I will not be writing another poem inspired by you any longer.

Universal Pull

HelloHalima

What you don’t say becomes you.

It feels like it’s vocalized in the thickness of your silence.

The universe is working overtime to correct and rectify the death of your decisions.

The less you say, the more you become a permanent fixture of your anti-self.

The baritone of your regrets are bellowing out like a speakerphone,

Drowning out what could have been great.

Change washing over us like a riptide of you and I.

You, walking miles on end unnecessarily does not become you.

It’s ironic how the more you tug on threads of cemented routines,

The more it unravels, revealing the mess you left, permeating beneath us like hot lava.

We’re slipping and sliding incessantly, wondering when the next shoe will drop.

All due to the built up tension of our kettles steam.

You used to dream about how the universe pulled your dreams together,

weaving in moments that we shared and memories that were blissful blips in your life before

Is that still true?

Letter to Halima pt 1

HelloHalima

 

Dear Halima, it’s me again.

I spoke to you once, ten years past.

We spoke of love and life’s influence,

We spoke of dreams and disingenuous friends.

We spoke of what you needed to do next,

A type of confidence rooted in experience.

We spoke of your heart and how gentle it is,

We spoke of what you needed to harden it.

An encased glass of protection, your soul

being the catalyst of everything.

Oh Halima, another milestone you have reached,

Oh Halima, this has been a difficult feat.

Halima, how is your anxiety?

Lately, it has been manifesting itself quite strangely.

Oh Halima, what has come of our talks?

What was once implemented into your mind- has suddenly slipped out.

Oh Halima, I expected a lot from you,

To be strong and courageous- attributes once tied to you.

Oh Halima, does your anxiety consume you?

The gleam in your eyes are dimmed from life’s sudden surprises.

Oh Halima, I still have hope for you.

Work towards your dreams like how you used to.

 

4AM 

HelloHalima

I had a dream where I was submerged in water, unable to move. My body scarily still- as if it has forgotten how to fight or swim. Paralyzed. My mind racing and head swirling with thoughts of mortality and all I could see is you. All I could feel was you. Perhaps it was the warmth and reassurance your words always give me or the sweet and serene smile you continuously provide but at that moment, I felt it all slipping away. The dream felt so vivid, it was as if my actual lungs were fighting for air, eyes flickering like a broken lamp, it was all a perfectly curated series of movements: going through the motions of working and breaking down all within the same last breath. Drowning in my dreams and gasping for air in my reality, I am awake once more. 

a mile

HelloHalima, Poetry
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Paolo Gioli

 

A mile a minute,
A minute a mile,
My heart is racing, I can hear it banging,
In the crevices of my ear drums now
The hollows of my throat closing in,
tightening deeper and deeper
as I am gasping for air;
The anxiety in my chest is an intruder as I am thinking of you.
Disillusioned, I believe I can get past it,
thousands of thoughts blurring my mind
You ask, are you okay?
An automatic smile,
No one can see the suffering but him
And I just smile
my heart beats faster,
the stresses of everyday life
consuming me alive, how can i move past this tragic demise?
I think of you and my heart rate slows,
a cure to my suffering, an answer to my hearts prayers
you make me feel as though
you are the cure to my suffering,
But you are the cause of my suffering
I am consumed by half thoughts,
assumed truths, tasks and responsibilities,
second guessings about if it was you or me
I am consumed by stress and this constant anxiety
In my chest
My hearts papilations are an assumed mess
Slow down.

OCTOBER’S SONG

HelloHalima, HMFpoetry

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The air was crisp and thick with last nights rain,

The sun kissed the tall autumn skyline as birds sang their soliloquies

And I was standing there unchanged.

The illustrious clouds painted a vivid cascade, so heartbreakingly beautiful that it was difficult to leave.

It was difficult to comprehend

The boundless constraint of nature.

The quiet was deafening so I started to sing a song.

You could hear the octaves of my voice shake the trees

Echo in the mountains.

The song echoed as it reminded me of the beauty you possessed

Beyond the pines.

I sang this song in tribute of you.

Half-Written Scribblings

HelloHalima, Written Pieces

Hello there, it has been a while. I know I keep saying this. I’m starting to feel like a broken record. I’m starting to feel like Frank Ocean after he promised a new album for July. (Btw where is the new album at Frank?!?!) Lately, I have been swept up in a whirlwind called School. The deadlines, the assignments, the pressure… all culminating in a inspiration-less me. I am stuck. Like gum on a pavement attaching itself to the busy footprints of an annoyed individual passing by. I never really thought of myself as someone who succumbs to writers block easily but lately I’ve just been feeling like I have a lot to say but the words just are stuck… like a blocked sneeze. Yikes, what a weird way of describing it but that’s exactly what it feels like sometimes. This build up of pressure ended up being released in a journal, a bunch of half-written rants, fictional pieces and half-written poems over the course of October. So without further ado, here are a few of my favourite half-written scribblings.

Monday // 

This is what she wants most in the world: a new start. The ability to go back in time and re-write the most life-changing experiences. The ones that keep her up at night. The memories that she has pushed down but re-surface when a familiarity occurs in her life. A song or a book, a conversation that was memorable you know? The ghosts of her confusing past.

Tuesday // 

When you realize you are better off without someone or something,

you should embrace this feeling and concept and run with it.

Throw caution to the wind because despite the situation you may be in,

the particular instance that has hindered your life and hurt you

will ultimately allow you to grow.

Wednesday // 

It has been 5 years and quite some time now

But it still feels as though I have just lost you to the viciousness of this world.

Like a fresh wound just inflicted upon my skin,

the pain overwhelms me and shocks me to the core.

It is so terribly painful to think of a world without you.

So I try not to think about it and push it to the back of my mind

*Work in progress, sometimes I think of the right words but the redundancy of it all just forces me to erase it all.

Thursday // 

There’s a reason for everything, for telling the truth, for going through with something or someone… the list goes on and on. The reason for lying or not lying is no different. It is true that the ability to lie to ourselves is easy, sometimes incredibly easy. When we want to justify something, like that second chocolate bar or the obscenely expensive online purchase, we lie to ourselves. We seek the validation from our friends, our partners, sometimes our family. There are often three reasons for something: the reason we tell others, the reason we tell ourselves, and the real reason. The correlation exists to serve at the expense of the common denominator: You.

Friday //

What constitutes a good friend? Is it the amount of times you have gone out with the said friend? The kind of gifts they have gotten you or you two have exchanged during the holidays? The amount of time you have known each other? Or is it the experiences behind calling them during a predicament? Is it measured in the tough times you two have experienced, either separately or together? The advice that they have dished out during a bad breakup or bad grade? The inside jokes, endless laughter shared and unbelievable stories/memories… Is it the feelings you get from being valued, loved, trusted and relied on? This mixed in with the hilarious and loving moments from amazing and lifelong friends…

I cannot wait to take each piece and explore further… I hope you all have a wonderful week. Let me know what you think in the comments!

XO

-Halima