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Success by Shukriya Alizada

July 6, 2021

Success reminds me of nature, when it grows from seeds into the jungle.

We are witnesses to the rise and fall of nature. I find success in me, you: we’ve been broken, sad, unloved, alone, and after all those things we’ve been strong. We’ve been along these long paths by ourselves, like nature, alone but surrounded by others.

I know nature does not always stay green, but when I look at it I see hope on its face and I feel the bloom in me.

Success is when the flower in your heart is still blooming from the gloom, even in the hardship of life. Nature in autumn dies slowly and yet it won’t lose hope; patiently waiting like the sun for the night to end and rise in the morning again.

 

Smoke and Mirrors with Shukriya Alizada, interviewed by Jemimah Wei 

I was very moved by this piece, especially by how you frame success not as a destination, but a natural cycle. Your use of the word “reminds” in the opening line indicates a fluidity contrary to the rigid societal definitions of success, something that many people struggle their whole lives to achieve. In keeping with your poem’s idea of success as cyclical, how do you successfully maintain this internal balance even in moments when you feel compelled by the limitations of societal expectations?

Writing this piece was what I wanted to remind myself every day that you can visualize things in different ways, it doesn’t matter where you are or who you are. I know I do not belong to where I am and the door of hope closed but still I could visualize the success in my veins.

A thing that struck me was your interchanging use of “I” and “We”. How much of poetry, for you, is individual, and how much springs from the collective?

At that moment when I was writing, I felt like there are people who are hopeless, and failed at their success; the reason I wrote as “we” and “I” was to give strength to those who felt a failure.

Your sentence-level control of tone, conjuring optimistic images of bloom and patience, is excellent. What is your language of hope in everyday life?

In everyday life I try to remember that there’s always a light waiting upon you, whether today or the day after.

__________________________

Shukriya Alizada is a young student in the creative writing class of Dr. Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai at Roshan Learning Center in Jakarta, Indonesia. She is from Afghanistan.

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The SmokeLong Quarterly Comedy Prize 2021!

This competition is no longer accepting entries. The long- and shortlists have been published on the blog. The four winners of the competition will be featured in Issue 74 of SmokeLong Quarterly coming out near the end of December.