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Dhiyanah Hassan

LABYRINTH EDITION DECEMBER 2019 GUEST EDITED/CURATED BY DHIYANAH HASSAN

LABYRINTH EDITION DECEMBER 2019 GUEST EDITED/CURATED BY DHIYANAH HASSAN

Continue reading “LABYRINTH EDITION DECEMBER 2019 GUEST EDITED/CURATED BY DHIYANAH HASSAN”

2 Poems by Dhiyanah Hassan

moriahmylodearthmandalafall2016.jpg
Art by Moriah M. Mylod

 

The Electric Keyboard Dreams

 

I take the notes out, I take the sounds away.

This is how I unravel the piano player.

When I let her fingers travel me, 

The treble clef trembles.

The bass weeps for the silence

Descending between

One scale and the next —

 

And this is how I’ll play,

This is how I play.

 

Heavy ghosts pour down,

The swimming pool’s full.

Gelatinous grubs wriggling myopic war dance.

The drum behind the keys

Throbbing against the head of a child.

Piano player with a guillotine

for a voice. Squelching arteries. Shine the jugular,

Upside down the garments

Of the Sun. Right-side up now,
Watching her light spill out.

 

And this is how I’ll play,

This is how I play.

 

She knows more than she can handle,

She knows more than me,

A girl-child child-self holding a program for the apocalypse.

She dreams of heaven every night she runs away.

She dreams of heaven every night she can’t run away.

 

And this is how I play,

And this is what we play —

 

A symphony the susurrus of ancient leaves,

Worn down by a million solar winds.

Spines lying bare at the mother’s feet, 

the poetry slipping out her teeth.

Us lying awake — him reaching, she running, we becoming 

little nothings, all over again. Smash the keys. 

The stars shine, all over again.

The seas rumble, the F Sharp screaming

against D Minor’s weeping –

all overwhelming again.

Emptied bellies growing fangs, together

The kids gang up on the weather.

Heal the ice caps by melting their knees into hot tarmac.

No ancestral fevers now to wipe the ash of the world with,

Just these songs. Just these songs,

 

Sang into the hollowed-out trunk

Of a dead tree. A prophecy

constellated in the stars. Brightly now

the fingers of children

dreaming themselves alive

between arpeggios and wet bed sheets.

The planet’s heart strings

 

asleep 

in every child’s unheard

shriek.

 

 

°•○●□°•○●□¤°

 

 

A Strange Joke

 

Sometimes you bruise a fruit

To make sure it’s real.

 

The songs of plastic

Have nowhere to go

 

But back into the

The hollowed-out hearts of their

 

Price tags. A scratch on this orchid

Won’t release the same 

 

Geometry into the air

The form of bliss, the shape of scent.

 

The sugars in these melons

Won’t attract ants, not even in decay

 

Will they be squashed. If not for the

Fire the winds wouldn’t sing

 

Through them. She told me, “Here,

This flower, token of our

 

Love, look. It won’t ever die.” She placed it

in a vase full of water, a strange joke. Alone, I said,

 

“But it smells like nothing. Can we really

Call it love without ever having breathed life

 

Into it, without having gardened

Through debris and detriment, building from nothing

 

The roots needed to feed

The stories we shape – or is this enough,

 

A slide across the screen, the slippery

Borders between attraction and rejection,

 

Handing our love over to the anxiety

That nothing here was built to last past

 

The twenty-first century, so why should we ever

Get real flowers for each other? Why should

 

Anything living be kissed

into the lonely water of the flower vase,

 

To grow old, to wrinkle up and dry,

To die. Why risk it,

 

When all our foods have turned

More lifeless than stone?”

 

I want to be fed by the heat

That comes from fears overridden not

 

By staying somewhere in the middle,

Draining the feelings out of every sentence. I want

 

To be a vessel for the kind of dreams

That grow through even the worst decay —

 

But she never heard a word I said

As she sunk her head back into a pixelated wall

 

Further away than I could see. And that

Was the last I heard of her, for my phone never

 

Rang again. The apps stopped their pulsing for my attention

After I drowned the old thing in sugar and spice

 

And everything nice. The ants cling desperately

To the floor, the vacuum cleaner we bought

 

Isn’t strong enough to clear out

All this rot.

 

 

 

 

Dhiyanah Hassan is an artist, writer, and energy worker whose practice explores the relationships between art, storytelling, and healing. Her work seeks to connect the soul and soil of the internal worlds orbiting within us, finding transformative expressions of the wild, the mystical, and miraculous through artistic and multidisciplinary mediums, facilitating spaces and conversations where creativity is utilized as a catalyst for healing and trauma recovery. Dhiyanah’s poetry has appeared in sister-hood, OCCULUM, and Rambutan Literary. Website: http://www.bydhiyanah.com

 

Ash and Stardust xii: The Leap

Ash and Stardust was a monthly column by energy worker and artist/writer DHIYANAH HASSAN exploring the intersections of tarot with healing and creativity. You can read the full series here.

When I started this column in January 2018, I was still calling myself a tarot noob. I confess I didn’t thoroughly believed it but lacked the confidence to openly claim myself as a card reader without having gone through some kind of an initiation period.

Who I am now is so far traveled from the person I was at the beginning of 2018. This was my Saturn Return year and it was so full of magic – this was my first happy year, ever! Connecting to the healing tools that I accepted as available to me really went a long way in teaching me what my happiness could look like. And I took it, ran with it, and trusted in everything I am that is strong and soft and beautiful.

During the span of this year, I received confirmation after confirmation at each level of release and growth I experienced once I committed – not just mentally but also physically, emotionally, and spiritually – to my chosen intentions to heal, to love, to have fun. I know now that writing Ash and Stardust as a monthly column was a sort of initiation I designed for myself to activate within me what I thought I was running low on – the ability to trust myself.

I’m writing this now, already at home in my new wilderness, on the eve of the new year cycle. I’m writing this as the last post of Ash and Stardust on Burning House Press.

Continue reading “Ash and Stardust xii: The Leap”

Ash and Stardust xi: Agents of Change

Ash and Stardust, a monthly column by energy worker and artist/writer DHIYANAH HASSAN explores the intersections of tarot with healing and creativity. You can read the rest of the series here.

When you look at a card like The Tower, where do you see yourself in it? Pull it out now and observe the illustration of the card in front of you, do you recognize yourself in the tower falling apart, the figures raining down towards the ground, the air ignited by lightning, or anything else that’s happening in there?

Tarot encourages us to consider situating ourselves in scenarios we may not be able to acknowledge or recognize without some support. In this way, the cards open us to investigation, exploration, and possibility. With cards like The Fool, The Lovers, or Six of Wands, they encourage us to see ourselves as deserving more goodness from ourselves or from the world around us. And cards like The Tower, Five of Cups, and Ten of Wands – these difficult cards? They’re just as much avenues for liberation as the more obviously affirming, softer cards.

Our imagination, under social conditionings that are oppressive and oppressing, limits us. Our imagination, integrated with our soul’s truth, frees us.

Continue reading “Ash and Stardust xi: Agents of Change”

Ash and Stardust x: Ashytober

Ash and Stardust, a monthly column by energy worker and artist/writer DHIYANAH HASSAN explores the intersections of tarot with healing and creativity. You can read the rest of the series here.

For October, I came up with a personalized tarot-inspired inktober challenge that I named after this column, #ashytober. I drew a card for each day and then illustrated my response to that card. The result is a series of digital art illustrations that gave life and ambience to the vibrant things that pulsate vividly beyond the surface of my days. Save for a couple of lags, I spent my October making art that I had no chance to plan for since each day’s prompt only happened when I pulled a card from the deck. I documented the work and shared some insight about the process for each piece on my Instagram (they’ll also be up on my website once that’s back out of its hiatus).

The ways in which I work has changed. Instead of squeezing effort to make things, I’m more focused on allowing things to happen. There’s so much that wants to come through me, so much that’s getting ready that wants me to be gentle with it.

Working on #ashytober after months of light sketchbook work allowed me the space to let the different parts of my work – my art, my training as a healer, my words, my aspirations – find their own ways to integrate and merge. I also found out that working intuitively was a great way to allow old strategies of art-making to adapt to where I’m at now.

Like how with each piece of #ashytober, I was building – finding – a fantastical world that housed its own cosmic cartography with strange landscapes, multiple suns and moons in the sky, and characters living diverse lifestyles.

Building up a cosmology for magical worlds – like building up the narrative behind the theory behind the symbology of a series – is something I’ve grown so accustomed to in my work as an artist. Except that I used to pressure myself to the point of paralysis that not much of this work gets to see the light of day. And so it was really delightful – like unwrapping candy to find a surprise toy packed inside with it – to see an entire universe of characters and narratives being spun out so spontaneously with each piece.

Continue reading “Ash and Stardust x: Ashytober”

Ash and Stardust ix: Recalibrate

Ash and Stardust, a monthly column by energy worker and artist/writer DHIYANAH HASSAN explores the intersections of tarot with healing and creativity. You can read the rest of the series here.

While our Northern and Southern hemispheres exchange weather, monsoon rains pour its threats and blessings on the equator. Toasty lands find relief with aid from migrating clouds, storm winds push the haze in and out, rising mud ring in flowers along the roadsides like celebration, bursts of heat and humidity break any rhythm we might try to tame with reason – the combination is calming, chaotic, and languid. Our eyes are sleepy from rain then watchful for floods and typhoons while our trees and shorelines swell with volume. Sometimes an irrational anxiety stirs our body, coaxing us to consider our roles with each other in unexpected ways. Other times a cloud inside us wrings itself dry, releasing its burdens and we find ourselves drained from feeling it all.

Rain drumming against awnings, earth, and windows bring old lullabies back to the heart.

As seasons change, so do our daily habits, our bodies adapting and compromising with us. Temperatures shake up circadian rhythms, stunting or catalyzing growth within the myriads of topographies making up our bodily beings, emotional terrains, and mental health. Our pendulum of awareness may swing from one side to the other with frightening intensity. We breathe to find our center, then we keep breathing – devoting ourselves to Earth’s gravitational pull to keep us steady.

We were made to feel our seasons, our weathers, personally.

Continue reading “Ash and Stardust ix: Recalibrate”

Ash and Stardust viii: Cosmic Shift Spread

Ash and Stardust, a monthly column by energy worker and artist/writer DHIYANAH HASSAN explores the intersections of tarot with healing and creativity. You can read the rest of the series here.

We are now at the dusk of eclipse season and scrambling for stillness. Restless, we tend to be unsure how to be when all that’s being asked of us is, “Rest, now.” We’ve been going at it for so long, haven’t we? Each year a solar return, each decade a collection of milestones, each century a tome, and each millennium a prophecy for the apocalypse. Sometimes we tell each other stories in fragments because that is the only way we remember them as timeless.

Picture each card in a spread as one fragment of a story so expansive, no linear sequence could contain it. Each symbol and suggestion a check-in with the intuitive self, each placement a closer look into the familiar or the unknown. A spread laid out in front of you like an offering of what the bigger picture could look like if it was something you can touch. And why not – why not believe that you can demand the bigger picture reveal itself to you, to shuffle and cut and pull stories out of thin air so that you can set what’s necessary into motion.

There’s power in reclaiming agency with the smallest of gestures. A little goes a long, long way.

Continue reading “Ash and Stardust viii: Cosmic Shift Spread”

Ash and Stardust vii: Checkpoints

Ash and Stardust, a monthly column by artist, writer, and energy worker DHIYANAH HASSAN, explores the intersections of tarot with healing and creativity. You can read the rest of the series here.

What was supposed to be a two-week hiatus at the beginning of July bloomed into a one-month break from all digital screens. I turned off notifications, stuffed my phone in a drawer and only flipped its case open to check a couple of windows when a specific urge took over – always when a message came in that I needed to read. For most of July, I was alone with myself and yes, it started out lonely. My hiatus was triggered by a heartbreak and concluded with another. Each a checkpoint marking just how much can change and evolve once you remove distractions and allow life to happen on its own – and let me tell you, life is fast.

I can’t count how many times I’ve written, “Everything is, once again, different.” Because it’s never not true. Nothing on Earth stays the same, ever. From moment to moment, worlds collide and expand and change and die and manifest and transform and bloom and it can be so ecstatic, so disorienting that it’s easy to forget that a planet’s retrograde is a cosmic trick of the eye. That what we think we need, we really just think we need. What is important is to come back to this body – this one that changes from moment to moment.

Continue reading “Ash and Stardust vii: Checkpoints”

Ash and Stardust vi: Mars and Saturn walk into a teahouse and are ambushed by the Moon with Neptune cackling on the roof

Ash and Stardust, a monthly column by artist and writer DHIYANAH HASSAN, explores the intersections of tarot with healing and creativity. These are personal essays and articles sharing experiences of growth as someone who has recently found a deep connection to tarot. You can read the rest of the pieces here.

As a Scorp Sun with Cap rising, this Mars Retrograde plus Capricorn full moon has been at the forefront of my headspace. It’s proving to be a groundbreaking combination for energetic upgrades. Nevermind that since Neptune stationed retrograde, I’ve spent most of my night-time hours getting deeper into dream work. Maybe I’ll write more about that one day – I’m mostly reeling from how absolutely sublime and affirming these experiences are and although I do feel like sharing about them, I still tip-toe around the language for it, hesitant for now. Mostly I’m just allowing things to unfold while my body nags me to both get some work done and to take time off so it can fully catch up with everything.

This Mars Rx reminds me a lot of the Knights cards in reverse, particularly the Knight of Wands. A warrior in reverse is a warrior that performs best in the shadows – observing, strategizing, recharging. Forced into action, this warrior might catalyze chaos via misunderstandings, accidents, or battles with no victory in sight – but not all chaos is unnecessary and a warrior can hold this knowledge well in their body when they’re able to get out of their own way. One way to override self-sabotaging habits is through intention setting and gratitude journaling.

Continue reading “Ash and Stardust vi: Mars and Saturn walk into a teahouse and are ambushed by the Moon with Neptune cackling on the roof”

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