29 leads to love


poems by Salimah Valiani

Print: 978-1-77133-875-2 – $18.95
ePub: 978-1-77133-876-9 – $8.99
Pdf: 978-1-77133-877-6 – $8.99

104 Pages
June 24, 2021

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In a world barely beginning to recognize itself as dazzlingly multihued, the erupting ecocide is teaching that while no accounting of complexity is complete, change is true and the sky, singular.

We are of parts fundamentally interconnected and overlapping.

If we choose it, this overlapping can become a continuum. A continuum of movement combined with still-ness, individuality reaching for the whole, loss and surrender, abandon and opening.

And of falling: an ever-falling, toward the intensive care that is love.

“Valiani’s words vibrate with a keen awareness of love as a force of rupture/rapture/way of navigating through the crises of capitalism/climate and the multiform/ever-present nature of colonial “pasts,” should love be what leads the way as we embark on journeys across the globe that are continually “rebeginning.” 29 leads to love is a book that is part radical map, part kinetic geography of the body, but also “part there / part here / part beyond.”
—Adebe DeRango-Adem, author of Terra Incognita

“Salimah Valiani’s 29 leads to love is an paean to love that is political, transformative and global. Her words–precise, evocative and justice-seeking–take us to streets of New Delhi, Mexico, Johannesburg, and Manila, showing and teaching us that love is more than what we can imagine.”
—Farzana Doctor, author of SEVEN

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29 leads to love

Salimah Valiani is a poet, activist, and researcher. Born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, of a Ugandan mother and Tanzanian father, like her parents, Salimah left home in her late teenage years and began a journey of study and work that included extended stays in Montreal, Quebec; London (UK); New York City and Binghamton (USA); Toronto and Ottawa, Ontario; and Cape Town, South Africa. She has published four collections of poetry: breathing for breadth (2005); Letter Out: Letter In (2009); land of the sky (2016); and Cradles (2017). Her latest publication is the poem-story,” Dear South Africa,” one of seven pieces in Praxis Magazine’s 2019-2020 Chapbook Series. Check out her work online at: https://www.facebook.com/SalimahValianiPoet.

body map

part there

part here

part beyond

this longitude struggle

this longitude strife

this latitude song

joint between here and song

cartilage joining there beyond

organ a function of struggle here there beyond

limbs traveling

struggle strife song

here there beyond


body a cartography traversing and transgressing frontiers


For Iraq, March 2003

somewhere love
but here

15 tots
noosed by the sashes
of 15 stained bonnets
sashes with xerographic transfers
of archival papers

lost in the crack
in between two sets
of contrasting train tracks

cold weight
of snowflakes
like an oil spill

christening gown for trees
over a grove of five young poplar trees
planted in cement

15 hand stitched doll garments
of an unknown child
somewhere love
but here
an attack
called war
and slipping hegemony
mistaken for omnipotence

On the immaterial

she said I can count on two
the times I’ve been lifted

he said
I don’t remember
the number of times
I’ve been lifted
as a baby
small child
when ill
but I know when I have felt held
skin to skin
tear drop to tear drop

today in Kenya,
the streets of Mexico
South Korea
people are holding together
because they feel unheld

I can count on two fingers
the times I’ve been lifted
but today
with my two fingers and
entire being
I can and will


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