Old Man’s Clutter

By Sabrina Najib

The old man collects remains of past storms,

Nested in a room of mounting clutter.

His stories are of yesterday’s tragedies,

Companionships which no longer matter.

He dwells on the ruins and pain of lives now gone …

He is the only one left gathering ash and stones,

Nested in mold infested walls,

In a pile of stuff…..

Resembling the lives of those who’ve moved on.

The old man does not see the sunrise beyond his wall of steel

He has no colorful memory,

..no passion or muse.

The old man does not feel rain, or joy that is real,

Ever trying to mend the stink and soak from his shoes.

Old faces who pass him by,

Balance on the broken foundations,

Tread gently on the unfixed bridges

Maneuver around burnt paper,

As they are drenched in decades of frustration.

He plasters scraps of metal on a large canvas,

Hammering them profusely on his walls.

Through pursed lips he chants under his breath,

Repeating vengeful verses with no purpose.

The old man shuts out uninvited lights,

Brings any dancing ray of iridescence to a harsh halt.

Kills any scent……..

Blocks his ears to any bird with a song,

And burns each open wound with salt.


Sabrina Najib

My writing style is definitely influenced through imagery and rhetoric representations of themes and history from the places I’ve been and the different characters I meet. If a picture represents a thousand words; I express a picture through a thousand words. My love for writing comes from my love of literature; Studying poems, scripts and books have shaped my love for putting pen to paper. My style of writing is a reflection of my personality: often loud, unfiltered, opinionated and aggressive. It is also insightful and showcases elements of vulnerability…. I have been told I either love or hurt too much or that I care or shouldn’t care as much.

It was in high school when I first read to kill a mockingbird and the colour purple that I recognized how stories could shape one’s outlook. During my A levels I studied A streetcar Named Desire and A view from the bridge by Tenessee Williams and it was a vivid indication that even a picture in black and white, has a million shades of gray.

I have just come back to university after taking a three year break; I am now on track to graduate next year with a bachelor’s in economics. I am from Tanzania, but have had the pleasure of living in Kenya, South Africa, London and the Middle East. To say my travel have been an eye opener in exploring different styles of writing would be an understatement. For a while I didn’t write as much, but recently I decided to get back to doing what I love and have since started painting and writing poems and short stories. I feel like I have rediscovered myself and my experiences have given me a lot more to say and express; there is nothing more liberating than looking at a blank canvas or an empty page and filling it up with colours and paints.