OCEAN: a collaboration with afrose fatima ahmed


The ocean is a refuge for me - healing, enthralling and mesmerizing. For many, the ocean represents hope, escape and a passage to safety as they flee from war and genocide. And for some the ocean is their grave. I had been thinking about these dualities, and trying to imagine a way to represent them, when I encountered Afrose's poetry. I was blown away by how visual and sensual her writing is, and how she navigates duality. Ocean is a collaboration that emerged out of a conversation with her.

afrose fatima ahmed is a bespoke poet, a poetic tarot reader, and an embodied writing coach. She writes custom poetry on demand, in person on her typewriter, and by commission online. afrose offers phone readings from her deck of tarot poems"blood gold and honey" to provide counsel and clarity in times of need. She is published in various journals and has self-published four poetry chapbooks. 

afrose is the daughter of Muslim immigrants from India. Her body and her art live in liminal spaces: polar US borderlands, the division between land and sea, the place where urban density drops off into rural solitude. afrose comes to poetry as just one avenue for creating experiences of beauty and communion for herself and other people. her writing emphasizes all the senses and acknowledges a world in which humans are suffering and experiencing bliss against wild landscapes that are simultaneously living and dying.

Support her work and receive poetic gifts at www.patreon.com/afrosefatimaahmed



Ocean 1 det.jpg

how do we not experience ourselves

as liquid? when there is water

in every square microscopic unit

of our skin? when original sin

was committed for the juice? 

when the heart & the honey

are flowing through us constantly. 

cyclically. spiraling around our bodies

of not just clay & mud

not just dust to dust

but sea to radiant illuminated numinous shining sea

the small death

is a dryness. it is my skin

cracking as an ancient dessicated

lakebed. its wetness devoured

by white lotuses. i had believed

that the sea would cradle me. 

had prayed that water would save me

from gravity. but sadness

is often feeling lost in an ocean

alone in a rowboat, my oars an offering

to the gods of turbulence. 

let us be liquid together

just for one early morning

go to school with me

we were all once fishes

in the womb

swimming these seas of ancestors

& distant futures

floundering about in oceans of origins 

breathing in through our bellies

this body of water

"the first medicine"

from Body Of Water by afrose ahmed

Photos from the closing - a reading by afrose and the deinstallation ritual where the poem was removed word by word.