Nobody teaches you

how to love

a narcissistic son

How to wrap your arms

around the grand ego

engulfing his tiny body

Willing to snatch the pride

off the tip of his tongue,

to swallow it on his behalf.

And in the rushing cold that fills his soul,

show him how to


with the agony

of the world

To bow

low enough

so he can see through

the lenses of humility.

Nobody teaches you

how to strip off

the clothes of vanity

that he adorns himself with,

burning away

any remnants

of decency in himself

for the world to applaud


like a sun

with whole worlds revolving

around him.

Nobody teaches you

how to embrace him

when his hugs bear

the softness of cactus thorns

tearing your heart apart.

A bitter lump

rising in your throat

when his venom words are spat out

to humiliate

and intimidate

and demean.

Nobody teaches you

how to mould a son

that stands tall

to compete with the might of mountains

Stamping his feet

on every living creature

like a dirty rug




Nobody teaches you

how to love a son

who believes

in the godliness of his self.


This poem reached the semi-finals (top 8% among the over 3,500 poems submitted) in the 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize alhamdulilah!! Immense gratitude to my poetry teacher and inspiration, Finch (Ahmed Shayo) for constantly pushing me to improve my art. Been staring at my name y’all, still can’t believe it 😀 Anyway, here’s the link to the semi-finalists so you can enjoy the moment with me 🙂 : https://www.culturalweekly.com/2020-jack-grapes-poetry-prize-the-semifinalists/ (Winners have already been announced by the way 🙂 ) Thank you for your constant support!


 By Lubnah Abdulhalim
Photo Courtesy: Salem_Beliegraphy
The word ‘need’ might as well be one of the most despicable words existing in the dictionary. Well, maybe not literally but we can say it is, hypothetically. Anything related to the word is often connected to misery, pain, agony or unhappiness. Whatever the need is; whether it is for food, water, money, shelter or anything else, there is no worse need than that of another human being. When need is attached to another human being, then there might as well be no other misery in this world than that.

Have you ever gone to ask for assistance from a person; it could be to ask for some money or help with an assignment or anything but once you get there, they will tell you to wait a moment. That moment may turn to minutes to hours and you are just seated there like a helpless sheep being extremely patient. Why? Because you are the one in need, so you have no option but endure all humiliation a person puts you through. After being kept there waiting for the whole day and maybe went without lunch, the person comes to you and asks you to come again the next day. That kind of game may go on for days before you finally get what you want. If you were hungry and it was food you were seeking, you might as well lack the appetite for the food anymore. By the end of it all, you are frustrated and humiliated beyond limits but you choose to swallow your pride and your personal dignity just because you are the one in need.

However much powerful one may be but once they are in need, arrogance often belongs to the satisfier of the need. It can be so annoying, agitating, irritating, frustrating how another human being can treat you like a puppet; “No, today I don’t have time to listen to your issue. Come next week.” And maybe at that moment, you’ve been going to the same person for the past two weeks. There has always been the option of just quitting and saying “I wont let another human being do this to me ever again” but being needy makes you weaker than you actually are. It makes you dependent; and being dependent is another miserable thing to live on.

Yet the most painful need is the need of affection from another. It is what messes up a person since they have attached all their happiness to this one person who may not even care for them as much as they do. It gives such kind of excruciating pain that may never heal. That kind of need; is like a basketball player that holds the ball in his/her little finger and swirls the ball with such expertize. The player is the satisfier of the need while you become the ball that is being controlled. You become as helpless as that ball and that player has power on what they want to do with you; whether to swirl and spin you in circles or drop you down or throw you from one hand to the other or simply kick you off.  It is like how a person can just come into your once peaceful life and mess around with your life like they are messing and playing with your hair. That kind of need is what has left most people dead of emotions; they are tired of need.

I always thought honesty should be made a must rule to be followed.  Lets keep it real and simple. You just be open and say, “hey buddy, so here’s the thing. I would really want to help you but I am sorry I can’t.” Or “Honestly, I don’t have sufficient time to teach you this. I think you’d better get someone else.” Or rather, “hey girl, I don’t want to play around with your feelings or to disrespect you…stop wasting your time on me.” It is undeniably true that the truth often hurts, but I believe its better you hit on point straight away so that the person in need knows how to sort themselves out. It’s not tasty to send a person up and down and in circles while you very well know you aint interested to help or offer what is expected of you. Believe me, all the blessings you were ever going to get by helping or assisting that needy person may all go to waste just because of the humiliation and suffering you made them go through before you finally gave them what they want. And if you are willing to help then do it with sincerity and without troubling the needy. Let’s learn how to be more compassionate. Today it may be me, him, or her who is need, tomorrow may be your day, who knows? After all, every dog has its day.