kohl lhok كحل by Christian Hawkey

Discover MFA Programs in Art and Writing

Charlotte Wolf 1

a helmut         
made of kohl  
  end poem     
    right there   
         on the head          
of a german                 
 chancellor! no            

plugin available          
to view this    
 content is      
                 never more            
than an extension       
    of what you                      
think                  
you imagine                    
scitilop
evol uoy woh naem i)
to be               
open to                       
         almost   
           
                           literally        
almost            

always in the form of             
      some peripheral               
pontiac                       
                              to feel       
                      pontiac     
    to think right up alongside             
                       pontiac    
        to press one’s face hard against the side           
mrof a fo
  that absorbs 
 a body’s         
     militant resistance             
into a                          
enihcam raw
which in turn              
                              unfolds                 
                                                     a corporation                     
                          that appropriates your name                                   
into a brand of car                  
built                
in the city of the fort     
                        you attempted to       
                             overthrow    
                                                pontiac           
firebird                       
ruoy nepo
ydob
siht ot
esion

                           PONTIAC FIREBIRD                           

       the soft mute edge of a feather    
of an eyelash              
a border          
yllarehpirep
on fire 
            tightlining       
            syawla
     on the computer    
                                         i forget       
to breathe       
because i want to feel 
                                     if i am still                             
ydob a
online                         
demonstrates              
                           to you         
how to line     
the rim of your eyelid     
          with a               
                        sulfide mineral            

 

                        “the boy king”                        
tut                  
  —the tomb’s                        
discovery       
            led to the        
widespread                 
use of                         
                             eyeliner                 
                                                                                                      by women            
altho hello
it was a boy   
            wearing it       

kohl or            
             stibnite          
            also used        
   as flash powder       
in safety matches       
if only            
        the first              
western                      
aristocratic wives       
 trying on                   
                   eyeliner               
boom!             
                                        wait omg wait                    
                                                   maybe nefertiti                    
really only had                       
         one eye                                      

what bother’s me        
BREATHE        
is helmut kohl            
what bothers me                    
are his                         
glasses            
the same frames         
          worn globally by aging men who crave            

power             
in the 80s       
just after                     
        die wende                       
kohl met with             
                                                                                                gorbachev to make sure          
    russia would not oppose   
reunification   
      they looked longingly      
                                      at each other’s          
                                                        glasses                
                                                 said nothing   
shook hands   
    deal 

timil retuo emos drawot hsup dna lruc ot
a gnikees fo erutseg eht gnimarf fo yaw a fo
new    
ydob
where the writing       
i was talking   
who was it     
irene   
                        BREATHE 

after a conversation                
with a friend               
                                       i write down            
a list               
of what we                 
                            everything              
i can remember           
                 lusten         
                  Old English lystan            
to please Old              
 Norse lysta to                        
                                                                  desire see              
lust                 
but also hlystan          
from hlyst       
      hearing      
                                                akin to            
hlysnan to listen         
often i return to a meadow     
and just sit there        
   listlessly      
since there’s no one  else in the meadow        
with me          
            how boring is that      

“it begins on the body”          
            had kohl         
                              and gorbachev      
been egyptian pharaohs         
they would have been wearing           
thick eyeliner             
wishful thinking         
a gesture of seeking                
yllarehpirep   
in the mirror               
of the other                
                        cracks                 
hence Die       
Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft   
and other        
“scholarly” organizations       
                   backed by empires          
extracting        
all over egypt             
and persia                   
every possible ancient                                   
artifact                        
        robert koldeway                         
                                     (1855-1925                                        
  from blankenburg                             
(whiteness’s pretense                         
(of originless                          
          (as if it’s                                               
(“the natural order                              
                        he claimed also           
to have found             
the tower of babel                  
but every time                        
he spoke of it                         
no one                        
understood him!         

  in the geometry        
of the image     his gaze          
seems to be    
listening very hard to             
his beard                     
seidob
       shuffled around   
    the world    
black sites      

i lived once                 
across the street         
from an abandoned                 
prison             
in brooklyn                
weeks after 911                      
the lights suddenly                             
            went on                      
           
                                                                                 black unmarked SUVs               
3am 4                         
there were no bars                  
because there were no windows        
      at night     
                 i felt           
                                 its steel weight              
                              on my chest                                 
my cat                        
   jerry                                    
            would only                             
half look                                 
 in its direction                                   
                  altho maybe                                 
cats only                                
                        half look at                                         
everything also                                               
especially                               
                        themselves                                         
                       
                        setag eht no
of ishtar          
        in berlin              
there are animals                    
                  in relief no            
they are not               
relaxed            
 i mean the bricks       
                yellow as if                        
of gold            
                 a goat         
emerges    
from the wall      
into a      
third dimension          
  but only the right legs          
the legs facing you     
protrude         
the left legs                 
on the other side of the                      
goat are                       
   painted                    
                                    as if                
the moment it emerges                       
   cut in half                
         by a mirror        
           
                                         held                       
in a site           
            violently         
namelessly     
                       
irene   
what was it    
           BREATHE     
                                             what a   
ytpme
          luxury   
         we discussed it  

Christian Hawkey is a poet and translator. His books include The Book of Funnels, Citizen Of, and Ventrakl (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010). Working with Uljana Wolf, he translates the Austrian writer Ilse Aichinger; a selection of these translations, Bad Words: Selected Short Prose, will appear with Seagull Books in the spring of 2018.

Don Mee Choi and Christian Hawkey
Related
Two Poems by Yumi Dineen Shiroma
Shiroma Banner

You are magnetic in the old way. / For Duchamp, the neutrality of objects / You stand in a room of your own design. / becomes a sort of anti-aesthetic

Messenger by Simone White

PREPARE no night creature accidental enemy / encounters return to us in witch cradles, monsters by a hairsbreadth / these our works melted no / accident these fires these crashes / capitulate to what is meant by the past as a whole / melt, fall back into accomplishment the grasp of who / prepares to give the message     

As for Langston Hughes by Terrance Hayes
Hayes 1B 1

On more than one occasion I have been accused of disliking Langston Hughes. Untrue.