3 poems by Amir Rabiyah – The Feminist Wire

3 poems by Amir Rabiyah

Our Dangerous Sweetness

“caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”

-Audre Lorde

When I hear the news,

another one of us has been killed

my heart constricts, I clutch

at my own heart, I reach with a frantic grief

towards a soothing balm, difficult to find

And I can’t help but think of

all the times my own life has been threatened

of all the people I love, and their own lives

I am tired of being afraid

to speak my name

to unbind my chest

to be feminine and masculine

to go outside

I am tired of being afraid

of being brown

I am tired of being afraid

of my own existence

of revealing my full self

for fear that if I do, I will be killed

Here: I am the living impossibility

like so many of the people I love

who have the audacity to embrace themselves

Each day,

I feel departed souls swirl surround me

I feel thousands of hands brushing away my tears

They say: do what you were born to do

To write these words down

To write myself into wholeness

To write myself away from vengeance

They say: listen and so I listen

For a long time, I listen

And then they say speak

to those that are still here

& so I speak,

to those of you still here

 I speak to say:

My Dear Beautiful People,

Each time you are broken, I break, I break,      I break a little more

then un-break,

I am piecing myself back together

with the care of a potter’s hands

I clay phoenix

I feel the heat

of our resurrections burning

to glaze our skin into glow

my fire and my kiln

are these words, this space

the intimate threads

of our connection

my prayer: we remember

ourselves as entwined in this struggle

my prayer: we undo the knots we have tied around ourselves

we breathe

we remember can be bound together

& free

I write because I feel the pulse of us

chanting the names of those who have died

Our own names

Our essences as holy

I envision us going on

to eclipse, building, bigger, bigger, bigger

more luminous

So bright

My beautiful people

our breaking is our making

&if I strip all my other identities away:

I am simply a poet who listens

To God,

To the dead,

To the living

To all left behind

To all the places in between

I am simply a poet

who writes these words because I believe in us

because I know a faith uncontainable by an alphabet

My beautiful people let us dream towards

what we want

beyond survival

Let us dream towards loving ourselves

till we become love over and over again

My beautiful people

I can taste our honeyed victory

My beautiful people

our dangerous sweetness

is our rebellion




doctors make forceps with their fingers. they imitate the smallest violin. your pain is not a note but a whine. you have come to know how they cope when confronted with the unknown. the oxycodone numbs 1/4 of your thumb, but leaves you swimming in your bath. splashing, convinced you are a rubber ducky. you laugh when you are alone. your voice is a stranger and a friend.


Your Body Burns In Your Room


you salute the landscape from the square acre of bed

as for the peeled wallpaper:   it’s a rolling wave,

a leaf curling,  anything, but the fetal position,

it’s a bastion of ribbons in your hair,

it’s a smoke signal formed from a sciatic spark

rising to your ceiling, forming itself into

a genderless God. It’s the miracle you can’t undo,

the waking up even when you don’t want to,

how you create from rock bottom, the dirt under

your nails, the half moons, the scars in the night sky




We bridge broken wood,

repair the rotten slats that creak.

We restore the lifeless vine,

braid vitality from decay.

The way of crossing is never easy,

someone always looks down. We tremble

knowing how far we can fall. We question

who or what will cushion us.  We feel our frailty.

We love, as tremors rock earth,

bound in devastation & slow transition.

We love, the way erosion

paints complex striations.

Vulnerable, the way exposed mountains

remember being covered by the ocean.

How we love, through each disaster,

Praise us, how much we risk

with every reach.




Amir RabiyahAmir Rabiyah is a queer and two-spirit writer currently living in Oakland, California. Amir has been published in Mizna, Left Turn Magazine, Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion and Spirituality, Troubling the Line: Trans and Gender Queer Poetry and Poetics and more. Amir is currently working on a collection of poetry about how being mixed in many aspects of one’s identities and living with disabilities means always blurring and crossing borders. (It’s also a collection about survival, and rebellion).

Our Dangerous Sweetness- originally published on

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