Amira Ali

As untamed fire ignites
a world separated by
broken world brakin'n
streets crack'd foot crak'd in
mak'n a dwellin' there…

This poem is dedicated to all Ethiopians who lost loved ones during the ‘red terror’ revolutionary days of the Derg regime. Ambassador Teferra Shiawl-Kidanekal, in his book ‘The New Dawn’ depicts that era in vivid language; and he reflects on how ‘the December 1974 incident shocked the whole world and Ethiopians were helplessly subdued as radicals [as] the Derg fully asserted their authority through the barrel of the gun.’ It was a time in history, sadly not extensively documented, in which more

Cries are not gender-biased; all beings experience sorrow and grief. Nevertheless, this piece speaks to the muted sounds of grief faced by women in all corners of the world; the thundered cries, however mighty, are stifled by the vilest of all. As a black woman there is an absence that is felt, it has always been there, an absence that speaks to black mothers, the divine woman that gets shattered – fragmented and scattered – by darkness and the in-conscience. If only we see the light beyond more

I have started to keep your letters close to my bedside, even closer than they were before. They are now stuffed in the pillow case, safe enough to ensure that the words will not escape my dream. Lucid dreams of you and I, the closest I have gotten to kissing and holding you.

This poem speaks to and responds to historical, psychological, cultural and social forces that shape the identity and culture of the people of African descent. It pays homage to the black Jazz music legends, who during the back-to-Africa movement and the Harlem Renaissance period fostered a body of music through an identification with Africa, albeit through a construct of Africa and an imagination which fell short and resorted to mimicry of their white counterparts. More often than not, the more


Our hope of changing the world has to transcend conventional methods, writes Amira Ali, if we want to create a world for our children in which they are able to live, to grow and ‘become their best possible selves’. This will not happen, muses Ali, ‘unless, we are transformed, re-developed and renewed’. The alternative is to turn ‘our backs on atrocities and malaise, contributing to the cataclysms of the world and succumb to the spiritual hollowness of our lives.’

Naked tracings worn thin of he
who walked miles in thousands of
shoes filled with sorrow,
shoe marks worn away
where he encamped
and where he alighted
on earth that tells the years passed
since the months of peace
gone, to months of what is now,
shoes that speak of dreams in the
West of when paradise was near;

to meet his lover of a far, he
left during the long nights that
desires to go where
the soul more

In the calm water of love-nights
the storm of life sends out cries
carri'd by leaves of death
falling one by one,
as distanc'd nearness cries
disturb the silent candle burning
he, a sultan to spheres of love
arm'd with ecstatic flutes
sang poetry of love in the sky
heard only
by the Goddess moon
he, who opens a thousand gates
of love
subdu'd by unimaginable Venus
takes leave of the world he loves more

Lion of hearts
turned to
to wilderness
soul of sev'n
part'd years

con-se-quen' more

She is her, like-in-her
poetic rituals
mystical diamond
that speaks
multi-fold'd miracles
on earth,
wearing moonstone for slippers
like meteoric splendor,
affectionate for stars
blossoms early
in seasons of

graced with all inside
always river-like,
harbors black water
emerging from
hollow mountains
varied terrains more