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“Winter’s Vision” By Adam Fardella

Winter’s Vision

Adam Fardella

Published Winter 2021

With a glass-like glance I tumble ahead,

o’er the diaphanous linens ‘round my

head; they drape like a skirt that pirouettes

down Winter’s ethereal silhouette.

 

She spells me inside enchanting fractals,

which naturally emerge in causal

patterns. And prophesize  ̶  melting astray

figures of morrow ­ ̶  she twirls them my way.

 

What’s unveiled within her dazzling alights

is the hopeful clime of our now-delight;

like a jay singing to its dearest oak,

“Oh, the intimacy we’ll share!”, she spoke.

 

For when her silky, brazen, lips-kiss-mine,

I see my future: she’s crystalline divine.

Adam Fardella is a Waterloo alumnus, with a joint major in Kinesiology and Psychology.  Adam also enjoys literature and reading and writing poetry.  You can find Adam on IG  – @adamfardella

“Winter’s Vision” By Adam Fardella2021-03-06T21:35:24-05:00

“Persecution, Immigration, Discrimination and Hope” by Ghazala Saeed

Persecution, Immigration, Discrimination and Hope

Ghazala Saeed

Published Fall 2020

When I was about 8 years old, I saw my father taking out some handmade catapults and marble balls while cleaning an old closet. I was very excited to see these interesting objects. I asked my dad, “Why do you have these? Do you know how to aim? Who taught you?” He said, “Dada Abu (grandfather) brought these home… to train us!” I was curious, “Train you for what?” He replied, “When they announced that they will attack our house, your Dada Abu brought a few things home for self-defense. He taught us how to use them if anything happens.” I was fascinated, “Wow! Can I play with these, will you teach me?” Dad smiled and said, “Yes, we’ll play upstairs.”

 Many years ago, my grandfather moved to a new house in Punjab, Pakistan. The new neighbors were very nice to each other. But not to him. One day, a lady in that neighborhood threw a heavy brick at my grandmother’s back; my grandmother got injured but she didn’t utter a word. Who was going to listen anyway? A few days later, the neighbors announced on a loudspeaker that they were going to attack my grandfather’s house—because of his faith—and they gathered around the house but thankfully they couldn’t enter. I was not born yet. Eight years later, after hearing these incidents from my father, I said, “Oh! That’s why mama never allows me and Amir (my brother) to play outside in our neighborhood.”

I am Ghazala Saeed. I belong to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at (Community). The members of my community are called Ahmadis. The motto of my community is “Love For All, Hatred For None.” It’s the 73rd Sect of Islam (out of the 73 sects) and the most persecuted one as well.

Twenty years ago, I was born in a big house in Pakistan where I had my aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents. I was the first child in my family and the most cherished one as well. When I was about 3 years old, my grandparents took refuge in Canada where they already had some friends and distant relatives. Most of my loving aunts and uncles emigrated from Pakistan one by one. I just couldn’t get why they had to go. But I realized the reason quite soon.

In school, I always kept two things in mind, “Study hard and don’t tell anyone that you are an Ahmadi,” because I saw what they did to Sadaf (my neighbor and a medical college student). She faced problems and received various threats at her residence because her class fellows found out that she’s an Ahmadi. I knew that some other students were beaten to death because they supported Ahmadis’ rights. I used to ask myself, “What if they find out that I am an Ahmadi?” Then, I would imagine myself being beaten to death at our school playground. “What would be my last words?” My religion is what has shaped my actions since childhood and hiding it was a pain for me. 

I also had my best friend Tooba immigrate to Sri Lanka. We lost connection for about 3 years. Then, one day, she just came in front of me in a Mosque in Canada. I asked, “Where have you been? I called you so many times. You never responded?” She answered, “My phone and other valuables were in the house that we had to leave.” I was confused, “What are you saying? Why did you have to leave?” She said, “Did you not get the news? I along with hundreds of other Ahmadis had to stay inside a mosque for several months for safety with limited space and resources, it was also far from our house, I and mama even got Asthma due to our living conditions.” I said, “Wait! What? I saw the news but I never knew that you were also a part of it. What was your fault though?” She looked into my eyes saying: “We are Ahmadis Ghazala!” With a grin-and-bear-it expression, I replied, “Oh, I see… say no more.”

There’s worse. It was May 28, 2010. My family and I were watching TV, when all of a sudden, I noticed that everyone was crying. Being a ten-year-old, I couldn’t understand anything. On the TV, all I could see was blood, corpses, broken windows, red walls, and dozens of graves. I slept. I couldn’t take it anymore. When I woke up a few hours later, I asked my mother, “Why were you all crying?” and she said, “Our mosques were attacked in Lahore [Pakistan]… Your uncles were there too; papa called one of them; a person picked up the phone and he said, ‘The person who was carrying this device has been martyred.’” I wanted to cry but I was showing my mom that I’m brave. 94 were killed and 120 others were injured. They killed the best friends of my dad. The martyred were his first cousins. One of them had a newborn child, and the other had a daughter and a son. A few weeks after this incident, my father went to visit his cousin’s children. The 6-year-old girl held my father’s face in her hands. My father and I watched each other with surprise. She lovingly rubbed her small hands on my father’s cheeks and said, “Papa had the same beard. It felt the same when I touched his cheeks.” I was tearful. I pondered, “Is there nothing I can do for her? To prevent terrorism?”

My father also suffered from persecution. Once, inside a mosque, he learnt that hundreds of men were coming to attack the mosque, he let everyone out yet he along with a friend had to stay inside to lock the mosque in order to protect it. My family and I were praying at home for my dad to return home safely. He came home, and I asked, “Papa, what happened there?” He said, “… the attackers called my name and said that if I handed myself over to them, they’ll go away from the mosque… I started praying and thank God the police arrived to handle them.”

 After this incident, my father decided that he’d also take refuge in Canada and then he’d call us there as well. He chose to go to Canada because my grandparents were already there and through them, he got to know about the diversity and the freedom of religion in Canada. He built an extra gate on the entrance of our house so we’d feel safer when he’d be away. My father left Pakistan in the hope to get a refuge on March 8, 2014. I know the date because I counted every day afterwards. I was more close to my dad than anyone else in my family. Whenever I saw my cousins and friends with their fathers, I used to cry a lot. But thank God, my family was able to come to Canada in August 2016. I turned 16 on the airplane, starting a new year of my life in Canada. The first thing I did was to grab a bicycle, go out on the street and feel the freedom, “Yes! I can play in my neighborhood!” However, I felt this quite early upon my arrival that many Canadians around me were afraid to hear the word “Muslim”. I remember going to my neighbors on the new year’s eve to give them some chocolates and a letter with warm greetings. I knocked at the door. The person was a bit hesitant to open the door upon seeing a woman with a hijab (head covering). He looked at my hands for a few seconds to make sure I’m not holding a weapon, watched me from head to toe and then opened the door slightly, “yes?” His mother came in from the kitchen, I handed the gifts to her and she said, “Oh! I was not expecting that!” I said to myself, “Why was she not expecting a gift from me? What kind of expectations does she have from me and why?” It was funny and sad. A person who has been persecuted in her birth country, and who is giving a gift to her neighbor is a terrorist? Poor terrorist. “So …” my mind jogged the whole night, “Will I still be discriminated against? What’s wrong with my neighbors? Ah! they probably confuse me with those illiterate persecutors back in my country, and they also probably confuse those persecutors with Islam. What if most of the people here think this way? I know that the Canadian law protects me but laws can be changed? Those Pakistani laws that once protected minorities were altered against us under the pressure of those Muslim scholars who call these new laws ‘religion’ but I (being a religious person) call it ‘psychopathy and extremism’. I don’t want Canadians to become like those so-called scholars in Pakistan. I don’t want us to hate each other. Well, I can’t make anyone, including myself, fall in love with terrorists, but at least I can clarify that the true Muslims can’t be terrorists, and if someone who is a terrorist calls himself a Muslim, he’s merely decieving everyone—probably himself too— but what can I do?” Since this speaking with myself, along with all my family members (who have always supported me in doing the right things), I have visited many houses; talked to many people; distributed around 2000 flyers door-to-door with the message of peace. I held “open-mosques” events and discussion booths to invite people to see that in these mosques, we are not taught how to hold a gun; we are taught how to behave nicely and fulfill the rights of our fellow human beings and worship God. I told everyone why I wear Hijab and that I was never forced to wear it. It’s my choice. I love Islam. It’s my choice. I am not persecuted by my religion but I was persecuted by the people who do not understand religion. I try my best to eradicate their misconceptions. I tell everyone that terrorists have no religion, they are just hijacking the name of Islam to fulfil their personal desires, and that I, being a true Muslim love all and hate none.

When will we learn to give love for love? When will we learn to treat others based on their habits and morals and not based upon their color, caste, creed and religion? I am trying my best and I will keep on doing it till my last breath. Even if no one listens, I will speak because I have hope. I won’t lose hope because the leader of my persecuted community, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad said, “Swords can win territories, but not hearts. Force can bend heads, but not minds.” The day we will learn to respect each other will be the day we can say, “We are free!”

“This work that I have submitted is my story of migration to Canada. I tried to explain what happened to me, my family and other members of my community back in my country and later on when we migrated to Canada. It’s about injustice, perceptions, discrimination. This work of mine tries to tell the reader about the difficulties minorities face because of misconceptions that people around them have. I try to eradicate some misconceptions and bust the myths.” — Ghazala Saeed

Saeed is in their 3rd year of Biomedical Sciences (Hons. Life Sciences). You can find Ghazala on Twitter at @Ghazala_S_.

“Persecution, Immigration, Discrimination and Hope” by Ghazala Saeed2021-03-06T21:38:11-05:00

“Clearness lacks clarity” By Erin Michelle

Clearness lacks clarity

Erin Michelle

Published Fall 2020

clearness of mind is not the clarity for which I hoped

black and white is that or fiction in a grey world

acting as canvas for prisms to bleed colour on

till my eyes beg for respite

from the emotions I’ve cowered from

Erin Michelle is the self-published author of the poetry collection ‘show me your scars.’ Her writing journey began as a way to cope from the weight of mental illness and share her experiences and thoughts with others who are also suffering. She is a mental health advocate, environment enthusiast, and a certified coffee addict. Erin is in her last year of her Environment and Business undergraduate degree with aspirations to pursue a Master’s in Environmental Policy and to publish more poetry in the future. You can find more recent work @erinmichellepoetry.

“Clearness lacks clarity” By Erin Michelle2021-03-06T21:42:12-05:00

“A News Report” By Jared Cubilla

A News Report

Jared Cubilla

Published Fall 2020

TODAY — There was a pig that flew

Through a department store window

Shattering into a hundred porcelain pieces

Scattering change across the floor and

Broken glass. The video has been seen

A thousand times or more and a black-and-white

Picture of the suspect has been circulating

Around — it’s a little boy, the son of some

Dead carpenter, who had been saving up for

A new handsaw. He got mad at a news report

And now police say he is out there, on the run

And dangerous. The boy can be identified

By a distinctive birthmark on his left cheek

In the shape of a faded heart.

 

YESTERDAY — “There are fires everywhere,” reported

The infinite bystander. “When will they all just cool down?”

Meanwhile, there are tiny neighbourhoods that shiver

In a frigid air dense with lonesome ghosts —

Their sky is thick with the smoke of burnt out cigarettes

And snuffed birthday candles lying on day-old

Carrot cake, and the scene smells of those last bits

Of leftover bacon in the pan that sizzled away like

The sunny Sunday morning. And in the pews was

A melancholy newcomer with a fistful of cents

Who volunteered with troubled young men in the church

And tried to build a life out of the pieces in the street

And died. The police involved in the case cannot find

The weapon, the motive, the suspect — but we are an endless witness.

 

TOMORROW — There are thunderstorms ahead.

Strikes of great blue lightning will try to split apart

The seven-hundredth scheduled protest of the streets.

And when the sweat meets the coming storm

This will become a city of syrup and spiky

Silver shards — an impossible scene to pass by.

But sometimes God speaks in the rain, as quietly

As a drop in the ocean, as a match in the inferno,

As a baby’s first step. What else can we do but listen

And look upon our daily flying swine? They remind us that pigs

And rain and died are four-letter words too. They remind us that

There is possibility and prospect in the broken pane. They remind us

That the painful glassy glare will never stop a walk across an overflowing square.

And will you meet us there?

Jared Cubilla is in his 2A term of English Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication.

“A News Report” By Jared Cubilla2021-03-06T21:45:12-05:00

“the occurrence of falling snow” by Karyn Atkins

the occurrence of falling snow

Karyn Atkins

Published Fall 2020

when the sun is at its greatest distance

and the trees are without their leaves—

like naked defendants on trial.

i too stand in judgement on this set-apart night

as this sphere’s transient condition falls

— into a state subtracted of sun giving warmth.

unhinged by the strings of imperial terrestrial magnetism

autonomy is granted in the boundaries allotted.

my body’s equilibrium temperature

is slaughtered on altars of polar winds.

tempest of iced-winged-winds wails

to the heavens of lesser lights

the word is spoken in the omission:

and it is so…

the azure opens and snow breaks forth!

a chorus of celestial beings

birthed in primordial mysterious.

avatars of wondrous luminous ether—descending,

descendants before the formation of all.

i watch as One Snowflake is magnified by illuminated gifted grace.

the point of singularity

this sole ice crystal’s metamorphosis begins:

water’s vapour travails the empyrean

the way fixed

the water droplet collides with lost particles of dust—

dead cells adrift and without.

below zero resurrection, solidified as one new creation—

mathematical lines that diverge from the straight into a curve in sixfold symmetry.

but

weighted with gravity’s dominion

it falls into my fallen condition.

i want—this divinity!

unlike all that is—

to possess as mine, ‘until death do us part’.

the Snowflake submits to the will from above

and falls into my hand

—the impasse of our co-occurrence,

intertwined destinies

i watch as the warmth of my flesh

reverses the Snowflake back into its original estate—

killing beauty. now

it is finished.

Karyn Atkins is in her 2B term of Liberal Arts.  You can find more of her content @the.storylistener

I am a mature student at the University of Waterloo and a few years ago I decided to fulfill my life long of dream of completing a university degree.  I have slowly been picking away it, mainly through the online part time degree program. This is a great option for students like me who have a desire to continue to learn but also work full time. I have a college diploma in Social Services and I work with newly arrived refugee claimants in a shelter in downtown Toronto–a job I love.

Since my teenage years I have loved poetry and I have an obsession with OED. In the spirit of Russian literary theorist Viktor Shklovsky my poetry attempts to recover the lost ‘internal (image) and external (sound) form’ of the word (From the essay The Resurrection of the Word).

“the occurrence of falling snow” by Karyn Atkins2021-03-06T21:47:08-05:00

Learn from You by Ben Crasto

Learn From You

Ben Crasto

Published Fall 2020

You taught me about all the faults in your history,

You say that you don’t really believe you’re meant for me,

Nineteen, mind over nothing but your memories,

But I can see that we have the better chemistry,

Than the molecules existing in this universal mess,

I can learn to put you first like my name on a test,

My heart accelerates at rates indescribable,

The physics behind it are so supernatural,

I heard you like math, well attempt to graph this,

My heart cannot function without your axis,

I just want our relation to reach the next degree,

As we grow exponentially, we form perfect symmetry,

Beautifully unusual, the usual is usually,

Far from what it used to be, I know you that you are true to me,

And I may report my cards very foolishly, stupidly,

But probability shows the odds that we could end in unity,

So if it takes me an eternity, I promise I will learn to be,

The perfect person for you, and for everything concerning me,

I don’t need to pass an exam to prove to you that I’m your man,

I can’t fail to get to your heart so that’s exactly the plan,

My life project, no regrets, been living in my books,

Studying the movements every cranny every nook,

There’s nothing I can’t prove that these essay works can do,

All I need to succeed is to learn from you.

`

Crasto is in their 2A term of AFM and they compose poetry and short stories as well as produce music. You can find them on Instagram as @bencrasto. You can find his music and beats on SoundCloud.

Learn from You by Ben Crasto2021-03-06T21:47:50-05:00

Drunk at the Last Campaign Party by Jared Cubilla

Drunk at the Last Campaign Party

Jared Cubilla

Published Fall 2020

And the halitosis darkness monarchy stepped down, finally
Greeting our mouthwashed figures of light with a condescending “goodbye”.
And the pin-up pedestal prophets cried out in brilliant prayer:
“We have a new kind king! Finally we may heartily sing our showtunes
And sigh of relief!” We happy bougie revolutionaries ring out
In the streets of Philadelphia, carrying funny little signs with our slogans
And government marijuana. It smells sort of good, doesn’t it? The mold is remolding,
The men are emboldening in their little trash can, moving into smaller mansions
And relegating themselves away for a while, their registrations to the club
Re-expired, renewals delayed. Those bad apples are rotting again, thank God,
And so maybe now they’ll finally listen to the goddamn doctor, to the cardiologist
Landlord evicting the cancers and recoloring our insides white. Let’s go for a drive
And plow our new Mercedes into another abandoned factory, let’s greet the
Sun with a mellow “hello” and sleep inside our studio apartments when it rains,
And let’s picnic in the cities of brimstone, into towns of dumpster fire, and let’s just
Shoot this stupid bird already and hang out while the gunless hang in the distance.

`

Cubilla is in their 2A term of English Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication at the University of Waterloo. 

Drunk at the Last Campaign Party by Jared Cubilla2021-03-06T21:40:43-05:00

bird song by jared cubilla

bird     song

Jared Cubilla

Published Spring 2020

takes lots of effort                   build a nest.
right twig wrong time               destruction death
does it fit here?               no. find one more
discard discord distend your word and help me build this nest the eggs
the eggs are hatching soon.

you’ve got to help me mate, you’ve got to help
the eggs are hatching soon and when the moon
strikes one the moon strikes two it melts the woods back into glue
the wolves, the foxes, bigger birds will ask for help and snatch our herd
and string and strike and scalp and steal away the eggs
are hatching soon.

debate there’s no debate i’ll die before your damned debates do deeds
this nest needs sticks. needs twigs. needs eggs. needs more
until it’s time to rest                 no sleep til death
i sing to thee you’ve got to build this nest with me
i sing to thee               please sing with me. please sing please me the
eggs are hatching
soon.

`

Cubilla is in their 2A term of English Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication.

Their spacing in this poem is intentional.

bird song by jared cubilla2021-03-06T21:53:09-05:00
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