12 Nayyirah Waheed poems that Skip the Small Talk

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We're excited to either introduce you to or remind you about made-famous-by-Instagram-but-actually-because-of-talent-not-just-because-her-stuff-is-on-Instagram poet Nayyirah Waheed. Her books salt. and Nejma are brimming with unpretentious poems that capture human experiences we don't usually talk about in everyday life. So, obviously, she's very much our jam. Here are some of our favorite poems of hers that capture some of the ideas we've discussed in other blogposts or at our events.

1. On the questions to ask yourself when you're in a relationship:

things. that should be asked
often. in every type. of
how is your heart.
is your breath happy. here.
do you feel free.

2. On saying what you know you need to say:

you can not
what you want to say (who you really are).
what you should say (who you pretend to be). 
your mouth was not designed to eat itself.

-- split

3. On feeling hurt after being vulnerable:

if you show
someone the sun in your bones
and they reject you
you must remember.
they hurt themselves this very same way.

-- unable

4. On what happens when our culture makes it hard for men to express their feelings:

there have been so many times
i have seen a man wanting to weep
beat his heart until it was unconscious.

-- masculine

5. On the strength that comes from vulnerability:

it is being honest
my pain
that makes me invincible.

-- yield

6. On letting others in when you break down:

in our own ways
we all break.
it is okay
to hold your heart outside of your body
at a time.

-- heal

7. On being honest about your pain:

fall apart.
just, fall apart.
open your mouth.
hurt. hurt the size of everything it is.

8. On feeling things instead of trying to fight challenging emotions:

feel it. the thing that you don't want to feel. feel it. and be free.

9. On the need to be open with each other:

we need to share our wars.

10. On authenticity vs. the desire to be loved:

you are a story.
do not become a word.
one word.
because you want to be loved.
love does not ask you to be nothing

-- name

11. On putting yourself first:

there is you and you.
this is a relationship.
this is the most important relationship.


12. On speaking up:

when i am afraid to speak
is when i speak.
that is when it is most important.

-- the freedom in fear

salt. and Nejma are available on Amazon.