Nafeesa Hamid SST8 Scratch show: first drafts

5 Jan

Hi. I have a few ideas so far for my poem for the scratch show – I’ve done a surprising amount of writing around the topic of food (which I was initially dubious about). Because I’ve got so many ideas roaming about my notebook, I’d really appreciate people commenting on which they feel is strongest, or which has the most potential or perhaps even an amalgamation of all the ideas? I’d also appreciate just general comments on improvements and edits I can make to one or all of the drafts. Thanks!

1.     Self Portrait (Deborah’s session)

My face is the shape of good naan bread,

With ajwan seeds scattered across

Its surface;

Pudgy dough inside;

With dry, cracked surface.

The circumference of my face

Is similar to that of a gulab jaman.

My eyes are the colour of well-cooked lamb kebabs

And the size of a Mushtaq’s jalebi.

They also shine that bright,

When I’m excited, I think.

My mother too, is jalebi-eyed.

My body is multi coloured,

Like the individual grains of rice in a pilau biryani

That come together as a whole

Spicy dish.


2.     Mum’s spicy chicken niblets (Anne’s session)

Rumble. Grumble. Rumble.


Stroke, thrust

And rest.

I’m thinking she probably doesn’t want to touch me;

She looks at me with blank eyes,

Too full with other thoughts

For me to be seen;

She’s bored of this lifetime routine.

Chop, cut, chop, chop, cut –

I don’t bleed.

Spark – it doesn’t light up so she tries



Flame. Thump, sizzle.

My skin tightens around my body,

My anaemic legs burn in the heat.

My insides loosen up.

She swings me on to my back,

Prods her finger into my spine;


I’m picked out, well-browned; just how they like me.

Brown on the outside, pink on the inside.

A cultural mish-mash.

The boys rush to greet me,

Grab me by my leg and slap me

On to their plates;

My sweat already congealing

Their fingers.

The boys like me;

Their eyes all bright and empty like hers.

They tear off my crackling coat

And dig teeth into my flesh

Which falls off at ease.

The boys like me

When I’m well-browned

And have stopped sizzling

And am silent.

3.     Dough (Deborah’s session)

Morning. Colgate toothpaste.

The glass table. Chairs. Sat on sofa.

Hand-made covers; satin, rough

With age and too many arses.


Mum was cooking curry just yesterday.

The night before.

Roti –

She used to make it


Back then.

People, customers, shop.

Police officer. Woman.

The Police Officer came

To throw dirt in the burn wound.

She came into our makan

Which still smelled of hot roti from the day before.

My mum must have pounded that dough

Until there was roti flour all over the house

And the shop.

The Police Officer came

To throw dirt in the burn wound.

She wanted to retain the juices

That otherwise might drip away.

I just wanted to cook

The leavened dough that had been


To too much air already,

And eat it all up.

But the Police Officer didn’t

Want to leave it to rest;

She wanted to pick through the grains

And bring back

The Baker.


One Response to “Nafeesa Hamid SST8 Scratch show: first drafts”

  1. MouthyPoets January 15, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

    Hi Nafeesa,

    I actually felt my air stop in my chest as I was reading these – they are amazing. I would really encourage you to pursue finishing all of them. It is 10pm and I am planning tomorrows session though so I will focus on SST8 in relation to these…

    Self Portrait – if you want to try something light hearted, funny, yet punchy go with this one.

    Dough – if you want to pursue something longer, difficult… but powerful and important, I think this is the one to go with. The use of the making of the food and the movement of the food as a description and as a mirror of emotion and detail yet somehow confrontation is amazing. In terms of taking it forward… There is clearly several layers to this poem:
    1. the every day processes the narrator is going through – brushing teeth etc.
    2. the processes other people are trying to force the narrator to go through – talk to the police officer
    3. the emotions the narrator is trying to ignore – pain and fear

    Could you try writing three versions of this poem describing in detail each of these separate strands as specifically as possible? I feel that the next draft will be a combination of these three + this draft. I would give yourself 10min to try each strand. Do you think this is something you could find the time to do?

    I have to say Nafeesa, I am really taken aback but the sophistication of the music in your writing and also the sensory overload of images and the creative flair in every line and word. Wow. This is the first time I have got to properly sit down with your writing and I am really enjoying it, thank you for sharing so much it…

    When is your pamphlet coming out again 😉
    Debris x

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