transcending silence...




transcending silence...
Spring 2010 Issue

Two Poems: Letting Go and A Woman's Affair

Munia Islam



I wanted to show the contrast between how a South Asian woman feels when the same desire that sparks her can also shatter her. The stories are two separate accounts that have been compiled into Letting Go, to show how a young woman can one day be enlightened and inspired to make something of herself with the same fierce determination needed to succeed; even when faced with adversities, her mind and soul speak and she takes the initiative to make a difference and have her voice be heard. But in Kaanch Churiya, the once strong South Asian woman, decides to play her part and let tradition take precedence even though she is meant to be a free-spirit. In the end, like many women, she is willing to sacrifice her happiness and strength to just appear in front of what is accepted culturally and abide by the duties bestowed upon her.


Something Like Eternity
Kaanch Churiya [Glass Bangles]

A Woman's Affair

Eternal Flame

It lit up...
        She felt it burn.

Her eyes looked up as if to challenge the flame to a battle. Was she going to let the flame burn, or flicker until its end.

She breathed heavily, deeply, exhaling lightly to nurture the burning intoxication that overwhelmed her body. As the poison spread through her cold body, unfamiliar warmth wrapped its arms around her. A hug of immeasurable comfort defrosting what seemed to be a frozen heart.


She closed her eyes, no numb with fear. there is nothing to fear but fear itself. She convinced herself all those years.

The years have passed as slowly and with quiet desperation as leaves off a tree on a light breezy fall day. Clearness filled her head, no longer clutter, she opened her eyes to...

                                                         an eternal flame that just began its journey.

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Kaanch Churiya [Glass Bangles]

She looked at her plain face, just freshly washed, wondering what she washed away with that water, for a moment she feels pure. She wanted it to go away, the sadness, and wanted this fresh moment to be the start of something new.  Holding her face in place in the mirror, with everything else blurring away, she was now ready to take the mask and place it on her face, as she has to in her daily routines. Raising the kohl to her eyes to enhance her God-given features, she pauses a moment. Realizing that when one looked into her eyes, that when someone looked into her eyes, there was really nothing she could hide.  

They were downstairs, she knew. All ready to judge her as though she were a show dog ready to be shown.

She lowered her eyes and began to adorn herself.

Looking up, she couldn't even recognize herself. A porcelain doll stared back in her reflection.

Porcelain—cold and without emotion.


"perfect" [to the standards] she got up to face her future.
                Head high. She blankly stared ahead.
                                Walking down, one
                                                                Step at a time; one
                                                                                                 dry tear at a time

Her gaze f
*clink clink* the kaanch churiyas slipped out of her hands and shattered in symphony with her heart.


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A Woman's Affair is a story through a series of poems. I wanted to show the innocence of a young woman with hope and dreams in the Rain Orchestra and how the dreams she has are stuck in a bubble, since most of the time she is not sure how to get the guidance and support to pursue her dreams. Especially for a South Asian woman, as in Something like Eternity, it seems that her silence is something that is the easiest to turn to even when there are distinct hopes and dreams that a young woman may desire. By breaking her silence, in All Dreams Wake Up, a young woman feels as though she has to sometimes do something that is outrageous and not socially acceptable in order to make a statement, which is not always true. She feels as though she has to prove herself because either way her actions will be judged. Naach takes the rejection of not being able to fulfill ones dream and turns it into the cry of frustration that tears up the insides of a young woman to ultimately break through and help her break that silence she is always used to.


The Rain Orchestra
Something Like Eternity
All Dreams Wake Up
Naach [Dance]

The Rain Orchestra

Laying on the grass, looking up to the sky
Watching the clouds passing by
The wind quickly rustling past
Sending a quiver through my soul that lasts

The winds becoming more violent
But my world suddenly becoming silent
Knowing I should get up and go in
Although it seems like I would be committing a sin

A sin against nature by interrupting the phenomenon
By ignoring its presence and dismissing the bond we have undergone
Thoughts running through my mind
That I've been waiting for a lifetime to find

Deciding to ride on the sparks
While standing alone in the dark
Igniting my dreams that escaped and became unstable
Those same dreams that were once unbreakable

Let the rain kiss you on the cheek
Pitter-pat, pitter-pat, falling in the nearby creek
Dancing in the rain made what seemed impossible, now make perfect sense
Watching with sparkling new eyes proceeded thence

By sounds combining like an orchestra playing with all their might
A burst of colors of light and darks creating a show through the fight
The rain singing to me a lullaby
I just close my eyes feeling the rain as I still lie

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Something Like Eternity

She looks out her window…
Something took her off guard
Uncertainty in her mind
Sureness in her heart
“look away
this is nothing you understand”
She knows
She felt it
Lips curling into a smile
A warmth taking over
S         t          o         p
She was ashamed of her untamed mind
How can she believe in this
The forbidden fruit must not be eaten
This should not be felt
T      h    i     n   k   i    n   g 
She looks around her mind intoxicated
by her guilty pleasure
her mind is set
she is ready to go
she gets up &
to turn and look at no one
except a dream
a dream she will search for
even if it takes eternity

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All Dreams Wake Up

As we stand and seek the stars
We seem to forget all of our scars
We f a d e into the colors around us
The garden full of playful lust
The essence of the flowers
Aroma that fills the hours

Intertwined souls become one
The fight is still not won
The moonlight shone on an
Unknown glare
A twinkle in my eyes, as if
To dare
To challenge you to take              my hand
To somewhere new
With only a trusting bond with you
Waiting in the dark without a sound
The raindropsdrizzling around us
To the ground
The sparkling drops running down my
Cheeks like tears
The tears of happiness that I feel so near
Wanting to hold onto the last breaths
As if revitalized from my own death
The grasp of the sin so close
In the garden of love and of hope
The love of the forbidden fruit there lies
The inner snake slithering quickly to catch
Its prey
The transgression so sweet there is no
Only there for moments, we shall not be late
Moments that will last forever
But will come again never
Cut too short by the offense

Everything                    pulls                                away


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Naach [Dance]

Compassion burns in her eternally enflamed world
She has grown cold and dark in her undertones
She breathes friendliness though her heart
But bleeds hatred through her eyes
For everything she has seen has wronged her innocent world
Pulled the security rug from under her feet
During her most shattering moments
The tears were dry for none would form
Her numbness took over
She wanted to let go of the world that captivated her soul
So she danced the pagan dance
To the beats of the drumming of her heart
The breaths blowing her
Trying to knock away her steadiness
Yet she stood strong
Stood proud
She was in control now
No one else mattered
Everything fadesaway
the colors
S        w      i     r      l     s
Haunting laughter cries
The smell of happiness
The breath of freedom
Breaking the chains of intoxication
She begins to l i v e

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I would like to dedicate this collection to my parents, Kazi Islam and Zebun Ahmed, who have helped me become the strong and determined woman I am today; my aunt, Abeer Hoque, who is an exceptional writer and my writing guru, and lastly two professors who have inspired such pieces, my creative writing professor, Dr. Anthony Butts (the Carnegie Mellon University) who encouraged me to write past any writing barrier and my women’s studies professor Dr. Manini Samarth (the Pennsylvania State University) who taught me to speak up and never remain silent. As well as all the women of Bangladesh and the women of the world who inspire me every day.


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Edited by Elizabeth Coppernoll and Carmina Escobar-Deleon