Two Poems by Andrea Abi-Karam

Excerpts from the collection.

Book cover of Villainy by Andrea Abi-Karam includes a black and white tarp all folded together

Excerpts from “I GOT LOST/I GOT DELETED”

 

LIKE CARVE A W/HOLE INTO THE WALL

RUB AGAINST THE SURFACE

SPEAK MY NAME OUT

EVERY TIME YOU APPLY MORE INK TO YOUR PALM

 

I AM THE RED IN THE BUCKET

I AM IN THE RED ON YOUR PALM

I AM IN THE RED PASTED AGAINST THE WALL FACE

 

There

Is

A

Devil

Inside

ME

 

THERE IS A DEATH THAT HAUNTS THESE STREETS

WALK AWAY BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

THERE IS A HAUNTING IN THE WAY

I RUB RED ON MY SKIN

 

THERE IS A HAUNTING IN THE WAY

I RUB RED ON THE INSIDE OF MY LEGS

 

THERE IS A HAUNTING ON THE INSIDE

I TRY TO EXTERIORIZE

 

THERE IS A THICKNESS IN THE RED

YOU CAN ONLY FEEL IF YOU TOUCH ME

RED ON SKIN

 

THERE IS BOTH A CALMNESS & AN URGENCY

IN THE WAY I WANT TO COVER MY ENTIRE SELF

IN THIS WAY I LEAVE THE GREEN SCREEN PARTS BLANK

LIKE

IF I BECOME UNCOVERED FROM THE RED

THE SPACE LEFT BLANK

 

WILL

BE

DELETED

 

I RUB MESSAGES INTO THE WALL

I RUB MESSAGES INTO THE WALL B/C I KNOW

SOMEDAY I WILL BE DELETED

I RUB MESSAGES INTO THE WALL

B/C I CAN FEEL HOW LOST I AM &

I WANT TO REMEMBER HOW I GOT HERE

 

SHE

GOT

LOST/LOVE

 

SHE GOT LOVE

SHE GOT LOST

SHE GOT DELETED

 

I RUB MESSAGES INTO THE WALL

IN HOPES I CAN BE FOUND AGAIN

I RUB MESSAGES INTO THE WALL

IN HOPES I WILL BE UNCOVERED

I RUB MESSAGES INTO THE WALL

THAT IS MY EXTERIORITY

 

///////

 

IF I STARE LONG ENOUGH I PRAY I WON’T SEE A FIGURE

TAKE THE SUBJECT OUT OF THE FRAME

WHAT’S LEFT THEN

AN EMPTY FRAME

OR A LOST SUBJECT

OR THE SMELL OF YOUR FRIEND’S SHINY BLACK HAIR

BURNING / TURNING INTO WISPS

 

MAYBE THIS IS NOT THE THING

BUT IT FEELS BETTER TO FEEL THAN TO NOT

SO TRAUMATIC RE-REMEMBERING

IS WHERE I’M HEADED WITH THIS

 

///////  

                   

                       

Excerpts from “THE INTERRUPTION VS. BLOCKADE”

 

I CRAWL INSIDE & PRAY I WON’T

FIND MY WAY OUT

 

I CRAWL INSIDE & COLLAPSE MY BONES

JUST SO I CAN FIT

 

I CRAWL INSIDE I DON’T EXPECT

TO FIND MY WAY OUT

 

I CRAWL INSIDE & EXPECT THE COOL OF THE CAVE TO FEEL

COLD AGAINST MY SKIN

 

I EXPECT TO FEEL A CONTRAST

 

INSTEAD OF COOL & SMOOTH IT’S WARM AND SCRATCHY

AGAINST MY STOMACH

 

I DIG MY FINGERS IN TO CLAW SOMETHING OUT

IN HOPES I’LL FIND A COOLNESS TO SINK INTO / BENEATH

                               

 

I THROW MYSELF OUT OF THE CAVE & INTO THE WATER

BUT THE SURFACE IS HARD

 

I CURL UP ON THE SURFACE I HOPE I SINK & THAT EVERYONE ELSE

ON THE SURFACE CAN FEEL IT — THE WEIGHT OF ME

SINKING THROUGH — SLIPPING THROUGH THE SURFACE

 

BREAKING BARRIERS

 

SHAKING DOWN THE MAGNETISM B/W THINGS THAT ARE ALL

THE SAME STRUCTURE

 

//////

           

 

THE SMOKE RUNS DOWN MY OUTLINES

THE SMOKE RUNS DOWN MY OUTLINES

THE SMOKE RUNS DOWN MY OUTLINES

& BEGINS TO OVERTAKE ME

 

THE SMOKE RUNS DOWN MY OUTLINES

 

THE SMOKE LEAVES ME CHANGED

 

THE SMOKE RUNS DOWN MY OUTLINES

& THE RESIDUE OF THE TRANSFORMATION REMAINS CAKED

ALONG MY OUTLINES / THE SMOKE CONSUMED

EVERYTHING

I DIDN’T NEED ANYMORE

 

THE PART OF MY OUTLINE THAT WAS BARELY ATTACHED

ANYWAY

 

THE SMOKE CAMETHROUGH & OVERTOOKTHEM, THE EXTRA

 

THE CHEMICAL PROCESS OF TRANSFORMATION HAS ITS

EFFECTS

 

THE SMOKE RUNS DOWN MY OUTLINES & DISAPPEARS ME

UNTIL I AM DISFIGURED TEMPORARILY

 

THE SMOKE RUNS DOWN MY OUTLINES & DESTROYS ME

UNTIL I AM

DISFIGURED

 

THE SMOKE RUNS DOWN MY OUTLINES & DISFIGURES ME

UNTIL I AM TRANSFORMED

 

THE SMOKE RUNS DOWN MY OUTLINES & TRANSFORMS ME

UNTIL I BECOME A NEW SELF

 

THE SMOKE RUNS DOWN MY OUTLINES & TRANSFORMS ME

UNTIL I AM

WINGED

 

/////                    

 

I AM WINGED

 

I AM RED

 

I AM WINGED

 

I AM RED

 

I AM WINGED

 

I AM RED

 

I AM FLAT AMONGST THE OTHER RUINS

 

I AM FLAT B/C I AM

 

COVERED IN GREY ROCKS

 

I AM FLAT BUT I BREATHE ANYWAY

 

I BREATHE I AM CONTORTED I BREATHE I AM CONTORTED

I BREATHE I AM CONTROLLED I BREATHE I AM STILL

 

I AM RED

 

I AM WINGED

 

I AM RED

 

I AM WINGED

 

I BUBBLE UP IN THE SUN

 

I SINK INTO THE EARTH

 

MY DETAILS COME WITH ME

 

THEY ARE SHARP & THEY ARE SWEEPING

 

I STORE MY DETAILS IN THE EARTH

 

ALONG WITH THE REST OF MY OUTLINES

 

/////    

 

   

 

Villainy is available for purchase here.

Andrea Abi-Karam is a trans, arab-american punk poet-performer cyborg and author of EXTRATRANSMISSION (Kelsey Street Press, 2019), a poetic critique of the U.S. military’s role in the War on Terror. With Kay Gabriel, they co-edited We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics (Nightboat Books, 2020). Simone White selected their second assemblage, Villainy, as winner of the NOS Prize which was recently released by Nightboat Books. They are a leo obsessed with queer terror and convertibles.

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