My People Want Me Dead

Pic Credit: Paul Walsh/Flickr.
Pic Credit: Paul Walsh/Flickr.


By Jimmy Bangash


My people want me dead
Because I love another man
And as I reach out for his hand
I must remember it’s Shaytan
And that this lifestyle is Haraam

My people prize their honour
Above sister, mother, brother
Above any illicit lover
Fake sham marriages instead.
My people want me dead
Or they want me celibate
As they discuss my cock in mosque
And muse upon my use of tool
Which orifice, with whom?
So I internalise this shame
Because my people prize their honour

My loved ones want me slain
Because I go against the grain
Although it’s effortless; innate
And loving women is inane
And as I see this man in mosque
I know he feels the same
“As-salamu alaykum”. Our hands clasp.
The world recedes within this grasp.
We both strain to make it last,
Before our brothers ever notice
Before our worlds consumed by shame
Because my loved ones want me slainMy people want me dead
Or to take a wife instead
And as I take her to my bed
I mount her carcass full of dread
Lack lustre thrusts to end this task
Dupe some woman to a farce;
Devoid of love and laugher
All in the name of Allah
And I wonder at this test
And who my people value less:
Is it women, is it gays?
We use our girls as a resource
And for gays there’s no recourse
Arrange marriages ahead
When your people want you dead

My children want my love
I am long since done with love.
I harbour only rage
Which I unleash upon their mother
Which she weathers likes a test
Which she weathers like her fate
As I strike her from above
Still, my children have her love

My people note my ardour
Embrace my Islamic fervour
Though they note my wife’s demeanour
Still I pray in the front row.
Although they do not know
The self-loathing that’s within
That’s layered on this sin
As I gaze across the floor
I see his shoes besides the door
And know he prays within these walls
Our lives are ever within walls
I no longer catch his eye
No exchange of smile or grin
His life equally as grim
Our lives now devoid of candour
Yet my people note my ardour

My people want me dead
Sometime it’s been I want the same
But no sin: no execution
Suicide results in hell
Though death is our consensus
Endurance is dictated
In this life that I have hated
In this life, that I have hated
Because I loved another man
And they love just as they can
And they love just as they feel
And they love just as they want
And love is all I want
But there is none of that ahead
When your people want you dead

My sons they hate their farther
Culturally they couldn’t sit further
My wife seated by my side
As I lay within this hospice
I am overwrought with guilt
And I reach to take her hand
She recoils, unfamiliar.
And as I’m fading from this land
I watch my sons gaze, wistful, linger
On the male staff attending
And my last breaths are distraught
With the doom that gaze has wrought.


Jimmy Bangash is a gay, British, Ex-Muslim Pakistani. He grew up in a traditional Pashtun family in London where he stood in ardent opposition to the patriarchy and misogyny in his community. His poems and prose focus on Islamic patriarchy and the experience of gays of Muslim heritage. He is a co-founder and integrative coach at 

You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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