Categories
Poems

Gatekeepers

With its perpetual gatekeepers
Self-championing
Panicked by sights
Of difference
Their flat affect
Flummoxed breathing
Pens clawing at writing pads
Frantic, mad inspectors

“Cannot be allowed”
Are you looking?
Gasp
Writing pads jerked
Closer to their hollowed out chests
Exposed internal organs
Glossy and dripping
With no beat
Their notes top secret
They presume

The results are in
Your irregular corners
Were not assembly-lined
The blemishes are here
Here and there and there
Foundation built on strange earth
Alien
This just cannot be allowed

And yet my results are also in
Strike normativity
Push this sick monoculture
Reshape its edges
Until it is unsightly
Enough to allow all shapes
And hold it open
Until the gatekeepers
Rigid antiquated beasts
Melt
Like wicked witches

Categories
Poems

Troubadour Greenfickle

A little grasshopper
Approaching gingerly
On a bench in a park
Inquisitive inspector
Taking notes
And carefully balanced

Cute disconcertingly,
“I bet you’re up to no good”,
One eye on a sandwich
One eye focused on the critter
“I’d join you but I’ve a meeting”
Shift shift

“I’m not just any ol’ grasshopper”
Didn’t think so
“They call me Troubadour Greenfickle”
I continued chewing
“I won’t sing you a song”
A pause, I sipped some beverage
“Perspective is everything isn’t it?”
Should I be worried?
Is it looking at me and talking?
Perhaps just talking,
“Look closer”

I focused on its alien eye,
Looked an exasperated sigh,
What a guy!
“Misgendering lie”
Would you like me to bake you a pie?
“It’s no more alien than your tie”
I bet you’d like to try
“Or your face, please don’t cry”
Are you shy?
“Not quite”

“Look closer”
“That’s right, remember what I said?”
Somewhere in my head
“Yeah, well that’s apt”
“Lemme show you somethin’ real quick”

An otherworldly scream
Was it my throat?
Too brief
World flipped
Exoskeleton and limber
Giant peering at me
Eyes steely stare
Windy breath
Predator wary
“You haven’t felt that one in a long time!”
Frozen still

Switch back,
Face aghast,
Eyes stuck open,
Jaws horror-locked,
“Thought you’d like some perspective”

A crowd had gathered in the park
Concerned yet fascinated
Legs shoot into ground
Asphalt shards and soil flying
Bench splintered
Fascination into terror
Disorientation and dread peak
Beyond threshold pain

Sense of self lost
An observer from within
Is this death or…?
New joints cracking into formation
The new crunch-eating the old

Head leaned back, eyes now alien
“Like I said, they’re not so bad”
A long monstrous wailing scream echoes
Arms shoot forward
Impaling closest of the audience
“Careful with those, they’re all legs now”

Sirens all around
A purring percussion from above
The audience gingerly approaches
Spectators or predators?
Loud bangs and thuds
Non-stop
Breaking through the new edifice
Awareness floating away
My meeting
Whatever will they think…

Categories
Poems

Notes

Quarter tonic
Sugar with sugar
Sweet tongue
Semolina Lena

Noncognizant strikes
Dodge brother, dodge
Relentless moving
Those dark eyes always worth it

What I would give
To make this right
To step out of character
Or am I in one now?

Tired of this
Fearing its endlessness
The closer I am to one
The farther I am from both

When the notes I hear
Or the words, dear
My world flips
But I’m quarter built

Flipping like it’s
Practice makes perfect
Play the notes, play
As close as I can get

Limits limit
But memories punish
Flabbergasted and expectant
What are you doing? Incredulous

I am flipping and practicing
Playing notes and replaying nostalgia
Giving love like watering the parched
Learning to strike the balance

Leave me be, demons
You turn sustenance into air
After I’ve fed my soul
I shall have my peace

Categories
Poems

“To my friends…”

I know you, friend,
I recognize my self in you,
Your countenance a canvas of your heart,
Or a parchment with ink bright red,
I’ve never met you,
But I see the part of you,
That would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me,
Respect, dignity, and solidarity our shared language,
You have my gratitude.

It is so difficult to find you,
A necessity,
If it was so easy,
Then they would find us,
With their language of conformity and violence,
Copy-cats of blind majority,
Bent on propagating and steering,
We recognize the steps of their dance,
From a mile away,
We try to steer clear,
But sometimes our shared language,
Calls on us to act.

To the scoundrels,
I know you,
I recognize my self in you,
But that was an old self,
I left it behind long ago,
A fossil,
I’ve never met you,
But I see the part of you,
That would hurt me,
For entertainment,
Or derived righteousness,
Humanity’s parroting scoundrel.

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Author’s note: I dedicate this poem to Sarah Hegazi (Rest in Power), a queer feminist activist from Egypt who recently passed away while seeking asylum here, in Canada, and to all who are navigating and surviving cruelness and systemic injustice.