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Nafeesa Hamid, How men are made

How men are made

(from Nafeesa's Verve Poetry Press collection, Besharam)

Perhaps this is how men are made

Perhaps he was more man than fist

Perhaps she closed her eyes

Instead of glaring into his like an insolent child

Perhaps she sunk her knuckles into the leathery skin of sofa

Rather than his face.

The Ramadan calendar is four years out of date and still no one will take it down.

In a freeze frame we all look bored more than we do tense, more than we do scared, more than we do broken.

In awkward angles (because this is a freeze frame)  

we are waiting for him to kick her balloon belly,

waiting for her to scream, fall to floor, crawl towards door,

waiting for someone to stop them,

waiting to wake up,

waiting for God to answer all the prayers we made up

in the madness,

waiting for my brother to cry but still look like man

in his five year old skin

because real men watch, they don’t walk

waiting for her to bruise,

keep asking for more – her mouth wide awake in this frame  

she will not shut up

waiting for him to tell us he is a hard-working man,

hard-working father and husband –

he is not monster.

He is my father.

Perhaps this is how men are made.

This poem is taken from Nafeesa Hamid's poetry collection, Besharam, with Verve Poetry Press, written with input from Joelle Taylor


Nafeesa is a British Pakistani poet, spoken word artist and playwright based in the Midlands. Her work focuses on issues such as mental health, domestic violence, gender, identity and culture. Nafeesa has worked with Apples and Snakes, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG), mac birmingham, Derby Theatre and Beatfreeks. She is also the founder and co-manager of Twisted Tongues and Twisted Tongue Scribble Sessions. 


Follow Nafeesa on Twitter.

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