By Khashayar Mohammadi
sensed it. cigarette AT wall. nothing AT all. sensed it booklessly like Lee said. sat in it silently. showered in cold water sensed HIS ARMS NOT MINE. arrested AT my heartrate.
sensed it sitting still feet dangling from the wall. sensed it holding my life-long carry-on. sensed it mid-sneeze, asking for directions forced to sit down and cover my eyes so for a moment the world was pure white.
tears again rolling down white noise the length of forehead the spinning blades of the portable AC on the portable pillow on the portable bed. midsummer cum. some of us leave some of us die. some of us are a month’s rent behind some of us get a second chance at love. same person same room same jeans with sunkist kitten sleeping on top. heavy days of float and flow. persistent on the OH LORDs of it all.
sensed it, cigarette AT hand. caught it jealously. Lakeview never closed. the nights just grew longer. we heard a guitar screaming somewhere and didn’t go to help.
sensed it weeping somewhere. teeth softly pulsating over salty blood. broken skin of the palm when we ran hard enough in grade school. the amount of dirt it took for us to slide. of course we sensed it.
sensed it seeding salted ground. ukulele lullaby: little bird by little bird seeding the living village with living syrup. came back for the thought that never counts. “no-longer-mine-ing" our way out of grief and loss. little organ forced out of my gentleness.
so useless all this writing.
so useless this dance.
wood working to eagle-pecks
woodchips in the bison-bone basin
little boy/little girl story
a “for Both Sexes” story
over the deafening chatter
but that piercing hum
of those two silent eyes
Where I Know the Rules to Husbandry
By Khashayar Mohammadi
After Travis Sharp and Danielle LaFrance
sits on a letter
and everyone is pregnant
purge like a butterfly
sting like a bee
where you find me
probing into myself
fingers smeared with belly button fluff and sunscreen: greyed from shirt fabric
and my husband! baked in sunlight!
my husband raptured by the mall’s Executive Blue skylight
my husband interrupting the sentence
my husband dying so the poem loses its continuity
my husband’s cum in this post-hole society
caves and chiseled rock
my husband trying to make sure my words are not barefoot on cobblestone
content to be fire
content to be standing
content to be a husband
and my madness deciding for me the beauty of my husband
I carry my husband out of the burning building
though he’s heavier than grandma’s antique dining table
my husband’s laughter is (int)e(r)ruptive since no one has told a joke
my husband is the symptom, the fever, the treatment to my early onset interiority
my husband thinks he’s so dumb but I put my hands on his shoulders
assure him that nobody understands these books
assure him that no one has ever really read a book
I angle my civic disobedience like this \/ floating bird-light in the sky
my husband has a series of Associative identity disorders
he has acquired each by taking Dale Carnegie courses at the strip mall
my mirror persona loves my husband more
and I sure wish I was as outrageous as my mirror persona can be
on the days that my husband is hunched over the questionnaire
ticking boxes for ease of mind
Where I've Said Gestalt Many Times
By Khashayar Mohammadi
After Jake Byrne
we are approaching the end of the poem where I can no longer hold what I read. lifelines on the palm frond: fragrant against the night sky
blue velvet curtains between every building block/ night cap with a glass of white wine/ birth defects/ stillborn eyes/ a single piano chord is all we need from sound/ just texture.
therapy and its “Gestalt” (your finger quote (not mine)): from self-employed to self-deployed. y’know nature is its own industry right? your pick between Chlorosis or Blight/ how do I whisper my poem through mud?/ how do I pierce through currency?
if rage/ if danger/ if calamity
if a mint condition Hyundai/
if a dinged-up objet d’art
if you’re angry lemme tell you: all interpretation is just a shuffling of words around/ I listen to words and all I hear is a single rhyme: listen closely if you don’t get it/ listen to the lake taming the sky/ listen if your vowels sit still/ if my spinal cord and shattered glass/ if the peripheral vision of a motorbike/ if the rhyme flew into the bug/ if bicoastal hopes of well, YOU: sat firmly at the security of a genre/ and if narrative forgetfulness!/ and booooody bOooOoOoody boOoOody just leave your poor body alone I’d prefer if your limbs weren’t circumstantial!
listen if you’re still angry just because I’ve brought a certain energy to this party/ if you’re still mad your jokes didn’t land/ and if resistance either inward or outward/ if your coworker’s mini apple Bong/ if our cock-defrauded throats/ and if challenging painted landscapes won’t open my mind…
I adopt a certain illiteracy to find freedom/ not liberty but the coward’s way out
my tongue is too anxious for the sandwich/ so it just circles nouns
listen when we talk you elongate your vowels so I gotta cut my breath short to keep up/ run with only a mobile name/ leave the rest for the sedimented thoughts
every line of this poem is leaving/ and every letter has its geographical co-ordinates within a 9875 mile line/ where we build the public but no one is willing to join/ I plea death of the author but the journalist INSISTS that I’m not even being interviewed/ that I haven’t even WRITTEN yet/ he eradicates me into my groupthink/ I’ve never agreed to be civilized
we like the body because Arendt said the symptom is familiar!
we line up to pick our symptoms out from a crowd
fingering my bruises
a familiar repetition
the great obscenity pre-empting what’s desire!
I sleep on the downbeat.
I look at the reader’s eyes.
Khashayar “Kess” Mohammadi (They/Them) is a queer Iranian-born, Toronto-based Poet, Writer and Translator. They were shortlisted for the 2021 Austin Clarke poetry prize, 2022’s Arc Poem of the year award, The Malahat Review’s 2023 Open Season awards for poetry, and they are the winner of the 2021 Vallum Poetry Prize. They are the author of four poetry chapbooks and three translated poetry chapbooks. They have released two full-length collections of poetry with Gordon Hill Press. Their full-length collaborative poetry manuscript G is out with Palimpsest Press Fall 2023, and their full-length collection of experimental dream-poems Daffod*ls is forthcoming from Pamenar Press.