This piece is (unfortunately) based on a true story I saw on my local news a few years ago about a small boy who was accidentally left in his preschool van, while his mother (who was homeless) was at work in the early morning hours. This tragedy stuck with me because I could not get past how it was ultimately driven by hunger and poverty, and left this mother powerless in her efforts to do the best thing for her son.
This poem is published in the Fall 2021 Issue of The BeZine, which is centered on the theme of Social Justice and Hunger.
Sandcastles in Gaza (or What We Destroyed) is a poem reflecting on the involvement of the United States in the most-recent attack on Gaza. This poem is dedicated to journalist and mother Reema Saad (30), who, along with her young children, was killed in the bombings of residential Gaza just days before the Eid al-Fitr holiday celebrations. News reports announcing her death featured a picture of her and her toddlers enjoying the beach and noted how she was pregnant with her third child at the time. This picture and her story inspired this piece, which reflects on the simple joys that we as Americans often take for granted, despite our country’s own involvement in perpetuating such horrors.
Pleased to announce my recent poem, “Settlement_Letter_Template_v2,” has been published in Friends Journal‘s September 2021 issue on Policing & Mass Incarceration. This piece was inspired by Breonna Taylor’s murder & reflects on the persistent pattern of extrajudicial police killings and the fact that despite there being more public attention on these tragedies, there is an apparent unwillingness of police forces to look within to engage in real, preventative solutions. You can read the full piece here.
You may (or may not) have heard about the death of a young boy, who was shot while riding in the back seat of his father’s car. This poem is dedicated to him and the thousands of others who unfortunately aren’t privileged enough to merit our will for policy change and recognition of human rights for all. For more information about Mohammad, the Israeli Human Rights Organization B’Tselem has posted here and Defense for Children International-Palestine has posted here.
I am pleased to share that a tanka I wrote about my grandmother was published in the most recent issue of Ribbons, the official publication of the Tanka Society of America. “Grammy,” as she was affectionately known was a complex character who, as the poem suggests, could be difficult to “read,” but who is missed dearly. If she were here to see this, she would probably say “that’s nice, Katie” or something as hilariously dismissive.
In February 2021 (I know it’s late), my poem “What the Birds Don’t Know” was featured by the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance in a group exhibition reflecting on the theme of Love in the Time of COVID-19, alongside other new and found artworks from the Pandemic.
I wrote this little piece in my backyard in late 2020 as I still struggled to make sense of the changed world around me. Reflecting on all that we lost and wondering whether we would ever come out the other side (seems more likely now, fingers crossed), I continued to find comfort in nature and the obliviousness of the world around us to this mess we had created. And that, is what the birds don’t know.
“A Simple Request” is an exactly 100-word microfiction piece that dives into the complex emotions and fears from a seemingly small interaction. Without saying too much, you can read this and all of the amazing tiny stories in Volume 2, Issue 1 here.
No, I did not set out to write a month’s worth of short poems inspired by the experience of Ramadan. It started as a couple of handwritten poems while I was resting outside, but then it became more of a personal challenge that I found people (particularly non-Muslims) were able to connect with. Having a general interest in art that connects us despite our perceived cross-cultural and religious boundaries, I thought what better way to bridge this gap in a way that was both meaningful and easily accessible. Plus, micro poetry forms are fun and perfect for when you’re so hungry your faculties are literally shutting down. Kidding (mostly). Anyway, here are some recent Instagram posts, and you can follow me on Instagram to see more from this series.
Since 2015, O, Miami has teamed up with WLRN to bring the beauty of poetry to the every day experience with their poetry initiative Zip Odes. What is a Zip Ode you ask? A Zip Ode is a short poem that reflects on what makes your neighborhood unique or interesting. Great, but how do you write one? Easy. Each line contains the number of words as each number of your Zip Code. For example, 33143 would be 3 words, 3 words, 1 word, and so on.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, I am proud to share that mine (below) was chosen as a 2021 finalist. See more finalists or submit your own here.
“How Many?” was recently chosen as a winner of the Censorship & Freedom Contest by The Abstract Elephant Magazine (TAEM). Responding to the question “does censorship destroy freedom” negatively (at least sometimes), “How Many?” is a poem that explores the outer limits of free speech by examining how speech has been used throughout history by elites at the expense of the oppressed, sometimes with devastating results. In a world of disinformation, global pandemics and “fake news,” it’s crucial that we consider who is doing the speaking, whose voices are being censored and the human cost of absolute, “free” speech.