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Poets Are Present: Beenish Ahmed

Poets are Present is a poetry residency in conjunction with David Ives’s adaptation of The Metromaniacs. As part of this unique theatre/poetry exchange, the Shakespeare Theatre Company is proud to host more than 30 D.C.-area poets in the theatre’s lobby. Throughout the run, we will share Ahmed_Beenishwith you the poems that this residency inspired our guests to write. Visit our Poets are Present page to see a list of upcoming poets.

Beenish Ahmed is a multimedia journalist and writer. She’s a former Pulitzer on Crises Reporting grantee to Pakistan, NPR Kroc Fellow in Washington, DC, and Fulbright Scholar to the United Kingdom. Beenish has won several awards for her creative work, including the John Kinsella and Tracey Ryan Poetry Prize and four Hopwood Awards.


I am the poet of the Body;
And I am the poet of the Soul

— Walt Whitman


the blackbox.

 By Beenish Ahmed

| the wordless voice
| (re)membered.
| the ghost of it —
|            a wisp
|            a worry
| incanted
|             what was soul
|             (or somesuch thereof…)
|            becomes body
| ankles and elbows
| a belly a throat fingers
| punching hard the keys
| of something that came before she knew to learn how to use it
| but nothing is needed really for this —
|             no rehearsals
|             or costumes
| just the house of oneself
| just what is, what am
| is birthed into flesh
| encased in the skin its worn for years and years and one more, too.
| thus, and therefore, it is allowed entry into so many houses —
|             the guestroom of your now grown son.
|             the table at which you spend quiet evenings.
|             letters written over continents.
|             a system of justice.
| a poem goes anywhere it likes to go.
| the poet, the same, more or less, and in this case more.

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