Serenading the Absolute for a good night’s sleep

1.

praise be to god, to nought, to nay*1

the Ni in nihilo n’ested within Neest*2
praise be the emptiness 
the colorless light and the naked vagrant

we whisper into any unknown
name new frontiers
serenade coastlines for blessing
            our mecca is roadkill
                        a coup de grace

praise be the prophecy of death: the interim
            a self in a nafas*3
            a breath in a naffs*4
            breath habbs*5 in lungs

praise be the shackles of the body, 
            the kept breath
            the subdued self

praise be the god of subsets
            the force (Jabbr*6)
            in Al-Gebra*7
            to rule: 
            ticker-taped ruler

praise be the ego for lighting the path to praise

praise be the prophet, the prophets.

praise be to all the emphatically human

2.

we sank into the floor
caressed by the music
some eat and call it beautiful
when I say my hunger is ancient
its not for poetic effect
a century defined with wars
we’ve sold madness for bullets
but when I say I am hurting
you’re caressed by its resonance with the natural
sink deeper into comfort

it is frequent

a fattening

it is a soothing

frequency

3.

show me the patriot
in your mind palace
its shape and insignia
a beard
or absence of
of course I’m interested
in hearing about the downfall
plaque by plaque
the martyrs relent
give way to shops
in that part of town

4.

IF I CAN’T BE THE CURE
I MIGHT AS WELL BE THE DISEASE
slouching towards a terminal speaker
to touch with words that hunger
and it is in that impulse to share bodily warmth
that we are colonized at the membrane
a banquet to celebrate the fall of capital
another to celebrate the fall of banquets
            a body suspended
            a body carried
            a body bloodied
waters muddied but
no water to drink
what if before speaking
we settled the unspoken
the working
the struggling
the floating
suspended

between life and death

5.

When they say they don’t like big words,

they mean they don’t like poverty

Notes

1. in Farsi: (نی)a Persian wind instrument, a reference to the beginning of Rumi’s Mathnavi, one of the only works produced in the Islamic world that does not begin with the name of Allah

2. in Farsi (نیست) meaning nothingness

3. in Farsi (نفس) meaning breath

4. in Farsi (نفس) meaning the self, a homonym for *3 in Farsi

5. in Farsi (حبس) meaning to restrict, here meaning “to hold the breath”, used for its rhyming potential with Nafs

6. in Farsi and Arabic (جبر) meaning “Force”

7. Algebra, the mathematical discipline takes its name from the Arabic word “Jabbr”

8. referring to Mansur Hallaj, the Sufi Mystic who said “انا الحق” (Ana’l Haqq) or “I am the truth” which his environment took as a proclamation of divinity and therefore became the reason for his execution.

***

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, they are the winner of the 2021 Vallum Poetry Prize and the author of three poetry chapbooks and two translated poetry chapbooks. Their debut poetry collection “Me, You, Then Snow” is out with Gordon Hill Press. Their second book “WJD” is forthcoming in a double volume with the translation of Saeed Tavanaee’s “The OceanDweller” from Gordon Hill Press fall 2022. Their collaborative poetry manuscript with poet Klara Du Plessis is forthcoming with Palimpsest Press Fall 2023.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s