“Prayers,” “Hello Again,” & “To Be Known Is to Be Loved” by Tasneem Ali

grey illustrations of a frying pan, carabiner and keys, pocketknife, leaves, and a crushed can


here I am, loneliness and heartbreak,
praying to a god who only listens when I offer myself as a loophole
to more pain but you see pain is what differentiates heartbreak from
loss and makes me come alive though every second of every day is
kilometers crossed in my head by my thumb.

agony is pain/love/heartbreak
heartbreak is desire/want/need

one day I will heal because it is all I know how to do
and my soul isn’t ready to be loved just yet.

one day I will be Love and my knight will come all rainbow and sword and
homoeroticism and flirtation and conversation
our love will last
I will not pray for them to leave

Hello Again

it is time
for me
to share you
with my world:

two seas
crashing catastrophe caught
settling in the sinking sand:

canvases decorated with the scars of mx paintbrush
tugging themselves across the sea
in a wooden box

until the friction flickered into electricity
(until your heart
and mine
broke together.)

To Be Known Is to Be Loved

but sometimes, people don’t know you as well as you would want them to. then all they see is
the husk of a human (a carcass) (an empty tin can, if you will) – and
everything they say echoes and comes back to them
in distortion they never understand.

homes collapse under the house of love – unseen/unheard/unloved. when home is other people,
they echo back an emptiness within
locked in a basement unseen to the world (and you)
and then all you hear are parts of yourself that you didn’t know existed. Sometimes,
that echo is a monster you have wanted to control, but when you see it in others,
you remember the slap of a cabinet (or a mother), the bang
of metal on marble as pots and pans are displaced from their homes, and the crick of
your ear twisting under the pressure of love.

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Tasneem Ali is a poet from Pakistan. They spend most of their time napping or reading.

MeiLi Carling is a Philadelphia-based designer, illustrator, and musician who is currently earning their MFA in Graphic and Interactive Design at Tyler School of Art. Their favorite places are the gay beach, the Asian grocery store, and bed. You can find them at meilicarling.com or @meilicarling on Instagram and Twitter.