Live Wire

2019

I kissed two women for the first time in my life today at a party.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a kiss on the mouth.
It was a peck on the cheek.
Just a normal kiss; the way you’d kiss a guy friend.
You’ll think it’s weird,
But when you know my story,
You’ll applaud me.

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The Rules of Manhood

2016

I have to sit a certain way, I can't move my hands when I speak.
I can't cry around people, and if someone hits me, I have to hit them back. These are just a few examples of things I should do if I want "to be a man."
I’m still going to be myself, no matter how much this costs me and no matter how many times people tell me that I'm "not a man."

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Male Species

2017

“Don’t react to anything you hear.
Just keep walking.”
“Don’t talk back, no matter what.
Walk away.”
“No one knows what he could do to you.”
That’s what we’re told.
We’re told to obey.
If someone insults me,
I should just walk away.
That way he’ll keep doing what he does.

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I Hit Him

2014

I hit him because I wanted to hit everyone.
After Friday prayers, he got into his car and harassed a girl who was walking by.

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A Strong Man

2014

You gotta be a strong man.
You can’t be a teacher’s pet because that’d make you a sissy.
You gotta be clever.
And be friends with the right people.
You must have connections, and be in control.

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They circled Him

2015

When I was in the eighth grade, there was a boy with me at school who was blond and fair-skinned. He was a grade younger than I was.
Wherever he went, the other students would harass him. He was absent a lot because of this. His father came in to complain more than once but to no avail.

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A Little Extra Weight

2019

I went to school in an Arab country.
I was kind of chubby,
But not obese.
I just carried some extra weight.
And my breasts were a little big,
Compared to the other kids.
body image, bullying, masculinity

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My Female Cousins

2017

I was fifteen years old.
I was visiting the countryside,
Where I went on a walk with my cousins and sisters.
Eid here is different.
One should not go out after noon.
I didn’t know that when I suggested going for a walk.

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Beat Her up

2014

If she swears at you, beat her up.
Women shouldn’t swear at men.

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It Ruined My Teenage Years

2019

I’m a boy and I’ve had gynecomastia (enlarged male breasts) ever since I was young.
I used to tell myself that it’s not a big deal,
And that it’s only a matter of years and it will go away.
Unfortunately, this ruined my teenage years.
body image, bullying, masculinity

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