Tracy Fuad’s about: blank powerfully explores languages driven to the margins by our inexorable march towards progress. She chronicles the Kurdish ruins that evidence occupation or the evolution of words like buttons that can describe the domestic to weapons of mass destruction. She elegizes the exile of our sentient bodies in this anthropocene era of digital capitalism. Her monostix lines are glitchy content streams, haunting as they are present, deadly funny as they are deadly serious. Fuad’s poetry is absolutely unsettling and breathtaking.

—Cathy Park Hong

Object Project

Finally I am feeling the soft cramps of menstruation

Another red start

Another spreadsheet where every cell is a day containing local weather

It adds up to a project

What about a war that only lasts five hours?

Still the pixels green and die

Still I navigate to objectsobjectsobjects.com

In 8 th grade geometry I learned to hate the sound of trace emerging from beneath my teacher’s mustache

A wobbly copy of a circle

I am still interested in simulation

In trying to understand a thing by recreating it in small

This epidemic isn’t real, I tell my students as I use an eyedropper to indicate who is diseased

They hold their plastic cups out toward me and the ones containing water laced with soda ash turn vivid fuchsia and they scream

Well, terror is infectious, too

My final project, I decide, will be planting

I dreamt of wildflowers again

The bird said, if I seize you I will seize you and will squeeze you till you squirt

Well, not actually, but that’s a trick to easily identify this bird by name

The warbling vireo, a tiny songbird

I identified the bird using a video that captured the sound of the camera zooming in to find the bird, metal against metal, singing krrrrrrrr

The river thrilled me, I would tell you

This thing runs all day, I said

Sometimes it feels it isn’t me who’s speaking when I speak

Well, I am my own personal stranger

My own personal jerk emails me to say that videographer seems reductive

and “idk what happened but it happened”

and that he “like(d) having me as a friend”

and signed off *fart noise*

which is the part that made me sad, that asterisk jacket

I read that song diversity predicts the viability of fragmented bird populations

Whether they will live in the face of widespread anthropogenic habitat destruction

Basically the birds aren’t learning songs the way they used to

And they’re dying

A bird’s birdsong is its species language, special

I want this in this poem though it is already a poem

The birds, I mean; the singing

I learned to hide my body when I was young

How to be a highway and rest stop and dirt road and all-at-once

I believe that recreation is dangerous

As evidence: The Oregon Trail, developed as an educational computer game

As evidence: my childhood home in Indian Hills

As evidence: my faithful daily pop-up, telling me to update to macOS Mojave

As evidence: in 4 th grade I made mastaw for Heritage Day and watched as everyone spit it out

I hadn’t known until that day how sour yogurt is

Whose idea was it to hold a Heritage Day?

Well, I’ve taught and failed children too

Sometimes italics really sting

In Kurdish mastaw means yogurt-water

Mast is yogurt, aw is water, and together they mean exactly what they mean

My mother called to say she is officially a master naturalist

She earned her certificate by weighing native birds

In the hand, she said, the body of a bird feels mostly empty

My own hands are dense and mechanically healing

How much can a project contain?

Well, I dreamt of wildflowers again

I dreamt I roamed the field and scattered a crafted mix from a bag labeled fleurs sauvages

What makes a flower wild?

Not my hand that casts its seed in soil and says, now you can grow

But maybe flowers can refuse domestication

Can grow wild, again, all on their own

An Abridged History of Buttons

The first were made as ornaments. A mud disk, spun until it buzzed. Then, a method of adherence. This to that, a coat closed tight against the wind.

Bone, shell, and vegetable ivory; knobs of knotted rope. To be tight in the right places; to suggest their own undoing.

Some, containing tiny iron needles pointing north to guide in war. Or punched from the mother of pearl dragged up in Muscatine,

stripped of meat in chemical baths, workers paid by the blank until the strike and town-wide riot. Before the ubiquitous toggle,

a simple switch. Then affixed to lettered slugs. Then digits and a circuit. A keypad and cash register. Pressing and depressing.

Color coded to avoid grave error. A badge of counter-culture. Then mass produced in plastic. 50,000 migrant workers, slap-bang

in the middle of nowhere. A thing that can be pressed toward irritation. Or with quotation marks to emphasize the consequence.

To give illusory control at crosswalks and office thermostats. To drop the mustard gas and then to fire the Tomahawks.

To begin and end the sanctions. To dial and to hang. To eject or power on. Pause and rewind. And then a flat graphic. A coded event.

A box with a thin gray shadow. To login, reset, delete. To give consent. Click submit. Click to like. To enter the site. To go back home.

Do you want to stay on this page? Do you want to leave without finishing? No, Sometimes I wish to unknow North. Sometimes I don’t want to be a form

so easily undone.

Body Animal Time

Body Animal Time


tonight then sunrise now noon yesterday late dawn daily future evening later yesterday again sunset




Vegetable Color Questions


idea never must be hot also tidy save God a little sure just usually need before begin




Shopping People Function


if here the they their this of same those oh yet prefer everything off go put on your from

The Pith of Every Language Is a Rift

it was red when I woke, or yellow

who was I to try to name the color?

it felt cruel, the way it obscured the mountains

something was wrong with the light

something was wrong with the language

I looked for a face but found a dead other

so slunk back into my body

my resolute cactus, in an act of duplication

look, I wanted to say, but it was gone

the newest lobe curves toward the window

deterring teeth like I might bite it

unaware of its own uselessness, the dinar stacked beside it

minted with a cheerful palm

belonging only to the isle of depreciated objects


it’s December and the blades of grass have scissored up the heartache

so receipts must be everywhere waiting for rain

I hunger for the tender of the ping

my fly loves it when I’m home

I say hi with a rolled book of songs

I dreamt in the new language, but couldn’t understand it

alien box.pngalien box.pngalien box.pngalien box.pngalien box.pngalien box.png

I took the glaze-flecked chip out of the trench

I licked it with my light and made it whole