Sunday, December 8, 2013

my raw unfiltered thoughts sometime before a night prayer 3:53am

in the end will it even matter im talking about the last day
the day about which there is no doubt
i dont doubt it for even a second
so why do my actions prove otherwise
its all so depressing
i dont believe in winter time depression
like adam said
or whatever the heck its called
this has been the best winter of my life so far
it aint even winter yet

donald released an awesome album
he said it would be a world his fans could live in and never leave
and it is
i mean i entered that world since i downloaded his album three days ago
ive been here ever since
its as if someone took all my emotions and put them into 19 songs
its really amazing
is that stupid?
i mean its just music and most of it is haraam by even the least of standards
i dont even like music
i actually hate music

i like themes thats what i like
i like what it stands for more than the actual sounds emanating from the speakers
and the screen play that accompanies the album is magnificent
i say that as a screenwriter
i chose to live in the world of because the internet
because reality sucked
i mean how do the syrians do it?
how do the Palestinians do it?
how do the inhabitants of the indian slums do it
the people of darfur southern sudan
the Philippines
what the heck?
they persevere
i want that i should have that
and im an american i have it all
so what the heck

scientist say people are truest to themselves around this time of day
i guess they are right
sometimes well all the time i worry
that my five prayers isnt enough, nor is my charity i always feel selfish
and i hate taqwacore but i cant knock someones interpretation of allahs deen
im not a scholar
and im tired of internet sheikhs
and im tired of people not giving me a straight answer
and the shaitains influence on the world
most of all im tired of myself
ever seen something so raw it hurts or it relates
im tired of people picking on girls who dont wear hijaab
lower your gaze pig
maybe in that time you werent looking she put it on
or maybe the wind blew it off
or maybe you should make 70 excuses
and if you can not there is something wrong with you

i just found out that i wont be receiving grades this semester
all that work for nothing
ive been removed from the rosters of my classes
because i cant pay my tuition
im not even going to my last final
its stupid
i tried
and failed
i got a job
didnt work
qadr allah
and thats only part of the story
youll never know the rest

and shell never know how much im actually in love with her

sultan said what if you became a muslim and your parents said you couldnt go to pitt
well that happened
that was real that actually happened
i was so depressed i left before speaking to anyone 
i cant seem to figure out
how that guy in the story did it
may allah be pleased with him
oh i have an idea
perhaps it was

by the morning and its brightness
wallayli itha saja
and the night when it covers with darkness

how do they do it
i owe a lot of people a lot of money
and when i see them i dont look them in the eye
i think they notice
i wish people would understand

make me from those who are few

if you dont know that dua omar raa heard while walking
thats a problem
i have a problem
wallahi i swear
the only way to fix it is
oh bilal
oh ayyub as
oh muhammad saws
oh yusuf as
oh maryam raa

how did you do it
i dont understand
writing makes things better
dua makes things great

i want to see my sister
and my best friend
i want my roomate to succeed
hes so miserable
its stupid
hes way better then what everyone else sees

i wish school didnt matter
and you could do whatever you wanted
and i wished school was free
free information
and i wish people chased dreams and not job security
and i wish people saw art in what i see art in
and i wish people wouldn't judge
and i wish people saw what really goes on in my head
but then they might be scared
they probally wouldnt talk to me
i just want to make movies
and i want people to pray for syria
its bad over there
and i wish people would be themselves

Nasir is leaving next semester
masha allah
but now who will i talk to
 i guess im just being selfish
he doesnt know how high i hold him
dont tell him
hes gonna do well i know

so if you see me smile at me
its charity

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Call To Arms: The "Negro" Problem

If God is willing this winter break I will be traveling back home. Eastside DeKalb County,GA. A placed characterised  by deFacto segregation that is to say  low racial and economic integration and low exchange of ideas. Blatantly put for a month I will not come in contact with a White, Desi,or Asian person save a count of Arabs.The only diversity I will see, in albeit low concentration, will be at the Masajd. Same goes for trains of thought. For one month I will be injected with the common nihilistic and hedonistic urban outlook on life.(It always takes me a week or two to readjust to suburban Pittsburgh after my trips, to lose my edge,that is.)Why is it this way?

  In sha ALLAH I will be returning, with an unbridled anticipation, to the warm embrace of my closest family and friends while simultaneously and conversely returning to the cold shoulder and blind eye of privileged America. East Atlanta, my city with which I am forever at odds is an absolute expectoration from the lungs of a treacherous American past.
Fie on the socioeconomic conditions and fie on that which they incubate!

 Sickening are the conditions men are reduced to; generic white bread packagings of black stereotypes to be sneered upon by the privileged few, capitalised on by the entertainment industry and injudiciously emulated by the middle class. We are subjected to drug dealing and robbery and gang warfare in the name of glorious food. A cyclical demise currently devours the majority of our souls. Flagrant unemployment gives birth to frustration and certain aggravation of disparity. Furthermore, so exists a parallel conundrum, when denizens find themselves destitute they are stricken with a sudden inability to purchase goods from an arbitrary firm. Thereby reducing the amount of profit this firm can make inevitably resulting in a depletion of hired workers and a price increase in goods.These happenings lead to the insidious declination of the resilience and economic fortitude of the aforementioned hypothetical firm forcing it into liquidation or general failure thus multiplying the already existing predicament of unemployment.
  We know there is a direct inverse relationship between the unemployment and crime rates. This is a direct result of the absence of that great equaliser of men, fine education.In these our neighbourhoods, East Atlanta as a paragon, that are bitter with unemployment and eagerly accentuated with crime you will find, by using even the most superficial of investigative methods, a decrepit educational system that absolutely fails to serve its intended apparent purpose. Herein lies the the reason for our insufficient acumen! Additionally in seeming spite upon analysing the aggregate school system it is discovered that the premier instructional institutions are disproportionately located in areas of high wealth and low racial integration.
  These schools are well guarded behind flying buttresses of  district lines procured by the so called relic of gerrymandering. The institutions are well preserved behind guises of zoning laws,clever metaphors for socioeconomic discrimination supplemented with vulgar poetic undertones of  racial privilege and black disenfranchisement.

My manifesto is born as such the solution is simple:

  • Redistribution of wealth spent on school improvement with the majority of money to the eastside schools
  • High performing teachers cycled out to eastside schools
  • A funding of intimate scholarly inclined programs in eastside schools
  • An absolute restructuring of the agendas and educational plans of eastside elementary schools.
With a piano you can play music well using only white keys but true harmony comes from using the black keys as well.

Truthfully yours,

From the heart of Local35,
-Zyzz Yusuf

.cinema 07JAN14


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Blue and Gold Banners Brought Black Rage


  This is on a bus headed towards campus. I'm 17 and this is Oakland.I'm young and hopeful just arriving at The University for the World of Possibilities tour. One of my earliest memories of this liminal state of mine were the 225th banners that lining the sides of fifth avenue, actual sentinels standing at attention in ever present pause whose sole purpose of existence was for full observation from any vulnerable soul, yearning. The blue and gold banners brought black rage, boasting of 225 years of "building better lives." and this is a statement that has forever molded my approach to my institution. These three words, haunting, have completely shifted the paradigm of the University as I perceive her to be. Whereas most students would view a classroom in the cathedral as exactly what it is to an unimaginative mind, a classroom.With desks, in rows standing, projector lowered, the professor conducting. These classic elements constitute the modern physical arbitrary manifestation that we believe a university classroom should be in ought. However, I see more. I see a platform, an elevator of sorts an o p p u r t u n i t y to succeed.

  To put into context a conversation I need to bring us back a slight. My senior year of High School I converted to Islam.
  This is January 2013, I'm 18 and this is Lothrop Hall. Here I am Standing in the absolute solitude of my room staring into the dormitory's empty courtyard, orange from the concentrated gaze of the streetlights, pressuring. My mouth is dry and my emotions are flowing. I'm clutching my phone ever so to my ear mulling over my present conversation, predicament, as it were, with my grandmother. I swallow and try to ask as calmly as possible, "So this is because of religion." The words come out more as a statement rather than a question, or perhaps they came out rhetorical, viewing in hindsight. An empty expository shouted against the backdrop of  impending loneliness and dark realisation. The reply was in the affirmative.

  And so began my odyssey with these bright lights, this big city.Stranded. A stranger in a strange land with no immediate support and no way out. My family refused to finance me insofar as the reality that I subscribed to a thought foreign to theirs. Since that One Day it has been trying. A never ending downward spiral plagued by homelessness, unemployment. A situation characterised by pursuing debt and fragranced by anxiety and fear.

AlhumduliLAH and GOD help us all.

We're all gonna make it brahs,

Signing out from Local35,

Your president,brother,and comrade,



Friday, August 16, 2013

An Exorduim of the Concept of Local35

By HE who measures
and provideth from a bounty, appointed
By my dedication
To the next life and this one
That I shall not cease
Until I Exit with that
Which I demand

 What I am about to tell you is very important so read carefully and pay attention. Demand is the strongest word a person can use in terms of life; The Akria and this one.Demand is the most aggressive verb one can exercise. But The ubiquitous questions that surface after one expresses such a desire often include: from who should we demand, for what should we demand, how should we demand. and W'ALLAH these are questions I myself struggle to answer and provide adequate answers for on a daily basis. However through personal reflections of the dynamics of these our multitudinous environments I have reached the conclusion that the embarkation of The Demand starts with the self. Demand from yourself. begin with yourself. ALLAH blameless, Nobody owes us anything.

 I am telling you that The World doesn't care. Nobody does. You have to do things for yourself. (may ALLAH protect us from inability and laziness, Qul: Ameen.) I am telling you it doesn't matter where you are from, what things are easy for you, what things are hard for you, what you like, what you dislike, what your skin color is, from what family you come. You must truly, truly desire. With caution, however (I have found that) this approach will NEVER, EVER work if you are seeking purely selfish motives. Your ulteriors must be of some benefit to others. (“The best of you is he (or she) who is of most benefit to others.” (Prophet Muhammad (SAW).)  This is the only way you'll stay motivated and successful. Believe me the only time demanding selfishly works is for supervillans in movies and even then they always lose in the last 15 minutes.(may we not be from among those who are losers in the next life or this one Qul:Ameen)  

 In order to be appraised in this world as one who is not a burden on others there are several elements, or planes one must achieve excellence across. What these planes are for you I don't know and frankly it's not my business  unless you want others to know, ACHIEVE WHAT CONCERNS YOU.We can't achieve each others goals and we each aspire to different things and I'm not saying these ambitions should the same for everyone but personally mine are: The Islamic perfection (may ALLAH make it easy for us Qul;Ameen), the Academic perfection,The Entrepreneurial perfection  The Physical Perfection.

 What I'm trying to tell you is nobody is going to hand you anything,you guys it's hard work and then tawwakul. It's a shame if you were to waste your life not contributing to your society, feeling sorry for yourself because you messed up back then(Qadr ALLAH) or life didn't start off the way you feel it should have. Are you just going to sit around and be passive or are you going to Demand for yourself that which is better for you and your peers? Once you demand from yourself others will realise, see your charisma and want to assist you. Help comes from people who see that you help yourself. The modern difference between the haves and the have not's is the attitude of those who can and can not.
I leave you with a warning and if you understand the message of this post you will understand my warning to you. (and ALLAH guides whom HE will.) Do not become arrogant, do not become arrogant, do not become arrogant.

We're all gonna make it brahs,

Reporting live from Local35,

-Zyzz Yusuf.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Propagation of a Facade II:The South Will Rise Again (TSWRA)

  The hook and the catch. Lothrop in and of its self, its absolute magnificence, its glory and prestige. Or perhaps Lothrop Hall and it’s disgusting quarters its lack of “essentials” its general ugly, boxy quarter century appearance. Is it remarkable how two people will view an item from a completely arbitrary vantage? To me Lothrop was the pinnacle of a high-rise luxury apartment, but to my general confusion most around me saw it as a crappy, dank flop house looking entity terrorizing the general aesthetics of our Oakland campus. However, what puzzled me the most actually was the amount of wealth to which people were accustomed. Students struggling against moving carts with belly’s full regurgitating large flat screen T.V.s. Armloads  shouting, boasting even the absolute latest in technology. Clothing, literally, racks on racks on racks (Y.C. what you got?) Honestly I wasn't hurt or upset or mad or jealous or whatever, just dumbfounded I caught myself staring at a few fellows in utter shock. I had seen this lifestyle before in like Ikea catalogues but to see it in real life was incredible.
   I never noticed how quote-un-quote “little” I had until people who stopped by my room would be like “Yo where’s all your stuff? Your room is like empty bro.” WHAT THE? I brought with my person to this city two WHOLE suitcases, a carry-on, and a backpack that’s a lot of stuff! Everything I had of value was crammed into these bags and I was proud of how much it was. Subhan ALLAH. Perfect paradigms of a country that vaunts equality. Nonetheless, we bring in the refrain this IS after all the propagation of a Façade. I quickly came up with the most believable excuse “Well you know coming on a plane can’t really bring too much with you” I assume it worked because people would shrug and be like “Oh yeah you’re right”. Catastrophe averted. His blending in with the upper echelons is over 9000!
  All the basics amenities that the average American grows up with were now available to me!! Lighting for example. The circuitry in my house is very old so a lot of the lighting fixtures don’t work combined with the fact that we were plainly too poor to afford new light bulbs; this fact is almost comical in retrospect. What would happen is we would eat dinner and then take that light bulb and put it in my mom’s room immediately following and then when I would get ready to take a shower I would take it and put it in the bathroom, and then if my sister wanted to do some bed time reading we would take it and put it in her lamp. End day, repeat cycle. So because of having no light in my room I had gotten used to finishing, cramming, as it were, all of my “studying” and various light requiring activities into the daylight hours. However with the Pretty Lights installed in my condo (hey to me it’s a condo) my study time was exponentially Increased!!! Showers? Hah grrreaaat! I wouldn’t really call my shower back in Stone Mountain a shower Masha ALLAH, it’s more of a glorified water faucet. It didn’t really perform its namesake, it more or less dribbled scalding hot to lukewarm to freezy water (that is to say 0-60 in 4 mins flat!) down your front and then randomly sputtered off, calling it a day. But now I could take my time and not worry about the hot water running out for my sister’s bath. Dopeaf.
  People often complained about the lack of air-conditioning in Lothrop. I was like yo I’m from the south and never had air-conditioning what’s really good? This is simply what I’m used to so while people were struggling to not melt I was playing it cool. (ßthankyou) BUT, possibly the most life changing FACT I ever heard, still to this day even, was that according to Pennsylvania Law, schools are only required to provide heat in the winter not air in the summer.
   Now I’d like to take this time to clear up a misconception about the territory that lies below the Mason-Dixon Line formally known as The American South (which WILL rise again). It’s not always hot. It gets hot in the summer and spring but in late fall and winter it is blistering cold! On top of the fact that the houses in Stone Mountain are designed to keep cool air in and hot air out. So energy rates in the South are through the roof. This being said my mom could only afford to turn the heat on for an hour a day, 30 mins in the morning 30 mins at night. Sometimes though at night she would fall asleep and the heat would stay on by accident those were the best nights w’ALLAHi, but then again that would only mean we had to cut out heat somewhere else in the week. So yeah, I have countless memories of my sister and I consolidating our body heat and blankets into one big inferno in the middle of my bed on the rougher nights. So when winter hit I got the most out of that poor ol’ radiator in my room keeping it on full blast all the time. Of course at the “top of the hole sit a privileged few” who would come into my room and complain about the heat. But as we all know by now, this is the propagation of a façade. My reply “I’m from the South I get cold easily.”

I keep tellin ya’ll
We’re all gonna make it brahs,
-Zyzz Yusuf

And like a fat kid in dodge ball, I’m out.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Propagation of a Facade

  It should be pointed out that I mention my "problems" or past socio-economic "inadequacies" simply to provide a point of reference for why I seem to act a certain way to those who know me or knew of me. Or if this is your first time ever hearing of me to maybe understand "the war*". Its not my intention to complain or  to feel sorry for myself, I never have, (just wanted to state that to readers). mostly because I believe Masha ALLAH, Qadr ALLAH. Besides a very,very long time ago I stopped waiting for the storm to pass and learned how to DANCE IN THE FREAKING RAIN.It took a few try's but now I give Gene a run for his money. On that note this is how Pitt taught me that all of our problems are relative to our own environment. 

  Pitt, (or maybe Dr. Laura Brown?) provided me the unique opportunity to view how other people live, and it can be assumed that the office of relations between eager freshmen and getting them to explore other cultures for the progress of  our beautiful country (if such an entity exists.) intended this. I would say for the first three weeks of so just like the majority of you hated this age old obstacle that has been cog-nominated by the masses as "institution of higher learning". I was so different from everyone, yeah? 

 Now all week I've struggled with wondering how deep to take you guys into my past, Where I truly came from, but I decided this is as much for me as it is for all, a means for venting, as it were. These are the various entities on campus slapped me in the face with "the war*"  because well this is the propagation of a facade.

 MARKET CENTRAL:  Food.Glorious.Food. The first time I had ever seen so much variety of food available to me ever! It was like every 'eid and ramadan iftar all rolled into one! I felt like Jesus(peace be upon him) and his Disciples(may GOD be pleased with them) In the Qur'an! Table spread Indeed. Every time I walk (present tense cuz still this still happens) into Market I can be confused with the Cheshire cat . Sometimes when I was eating pangs of guilt would shower over my body. Sitting there thinking while I'm in Oakland gorging on grilled cheese and cocoa puffs,  back in Stone Mountain my mother and sister are also having a feast. On a much lower scale however, one 15 cent pack of ramen noodles and maybe a can of corn if they were lucky. I would remember how we would split that three ways,two adults and one child. and it would go like this: I would eat my portion and go to my room waiting for the morning where I would go to school and get my free lunch and breakfasts, but my little sister would not be so content she would cry and argue with my mother demanding more, to no avail. But what was there else to eat? The two week old tomato sauce in the back of the fridge? Some mayo? Help yourself. 
  In the hallways of Lothrop (FOURTH FLOOR!!) the resounding chorus would often be "Market sucks, there's nothing to eat it's so nasty blah blah blah." I would literally slap myself with disbelief 'If you but knew'. But this is the propagation of a facade. So I Smiled laughed and usually made up a lie amongst the lines of   "Yeah, but my mom can't cook so I like it." at least that would explain why every time I went why I took so much food. 
   The Muslim perspective (the Muslims I ate with of course) is a bit different. Often without fail one of us would say "Alhumdulilah this is so much food we are so lucky that we have this at our fingertips ao many people don't have this." And this statement would be complimented with a cheesy smile and resounding ALLAHu Akbars, and Subhan ALLAH's,agreements from everyone else. Of course I would laugh and say Alhumdulilah, but this is a propagation of a facade. Secretly I would become ENRAGED when someone said something like this I would feel so angry like don't patronize me I know what it's like I've lived like that my entire life! All the little smiles felt like they were almost joking about it. It's not their fault, Alhumdulilah, they are very good brothers and they are rightly guided I guess it was jealousy that I never knew this lifestyle before, may ALLAH protect us from that.

 That was just one aspect of my new life but In sha ALLAH a part two will follow soon. Stay tuned cuz wer'e all gonna make it brahs.

-Zyzz Yusuf

*No war but the class war.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Eat Well and Grow Strong

   "I do this for the block and the Blog-o-sphere" How appropriate to start off with a quote from my favorite rapper and Brother(Akhie fi Islam) in Islam, Lupe Fiasco. Enough of that though.This is where it stems from ATLANTA,GA, STONE MOUNTAIN GA. 30058-30088. It's not the best of places, it's not the worst of places. It may look like the suburbs but it really is the slums. It's an area plagued by gang violence, incessant drug use and poverty.

   I mean take a look for yourself. Above is a link to the statistics of my school proctored by non other then collegeboard, the mighty and powerful. So for us the world was not a good place so to speak. The general lack of concern for the pursuit of knowledge that characterizes the area is merely a requiem for the lack of opportunities propagated by the de facto segregation of East Atlanta. However from whence are lack of opportunities spawned. No money. Why on earth would Disgraceful Dekalb County inject their poorer Eastside schools with money for new books, or to hire AP qualified teachers? Masha ALLAH, Qadr ALLAH. I had to leave this place. So I chose a university far, far away from the foolish self destructive behaviors of Stone Mountain. I chose Pitt and August of '12 left for the bright skies and sunny faces of Pittsburgh,PA.

   I would say that it was in Oakland,PA that I got my first taste of the American dream, the entire dream, not just the African-American dream,as it were. It was the first time of fully understanding Langston Hughes Timeless classic I, Too. in particular there is a line:

 "I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen".  

 Surrounded by white faces and Abercrombie and Fitch bait and switches I discovered what America truly offered to Her "Huddled masses yearning to break free." Nothing. My ears danced with kids bragging about AP scores and how their entire schedule had been filled to the brim and running over with college course dual-enrollment, politicking blah blah blah. Brah, I can count on one hand the number of AP classes my school offered. I was engulfed by waves of America's trophy children exchanging stories about internships and how they are basically starting off as sophomores. I look around at the table at my Pitt Start. (I had the last one right before o-week) Young Hollister looking students talking about how their engineering father was an alumnus of Pitt and "I'm continuing his legacy" or "I got accepted to UC but couldn't afford it so now I'm here"(likely story) You know my father is an engineer of sorts. Yeah, real good with his hands I presume. As he works making license plates in the Connecticut state pen he'll be a pro by the time his 21st year in rolls around . Whatever. So while America sent me to go eat in the kitchen that is formally known as "Each and every negative socio-economic trend known to man",This is where they thought I would stay forever when company comes.
They forgot one small stanza.

But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

We're all gonna make it brahs,
Zyzz Yusuf