EXTRATRANSMISSION

Andrea Abi-Karam’s debut poetry collection, EXTRATRANSMISSION (Kelsey Street Press, 2019), takes on military exploitation of human and animal bodies, the scourge of bro culture, and the Uber-fication of urban space. Their forceful, often capslocked lines pursue a “poetry of directness” in opposition to the pervasive, unrippling “language of avoidance” that smooths over everyday potentials for confrontation. Employing repetition and polyvocality to move between contexts of contested embodiment, Abi-Karam gets at the problem of individual agency in global conflict and imperialism. "We live in a country that has mastered the art of using our brains against us. I look to poets who comprehend this and employ new vocabularies and forms to emblazon paths—new neural hallways lead to threshold decisions about how to live our day to day lives. Andrea Abi-Karam has written a singular and imperative text landing on a way to acquire our maximum potential as rebel beings who can kill coercion dead so we can move together 'beyond this one type of experience,' perhaps the most threatening, and frightening, act we can take as beings." —Stacy Szymaszek

TO THE PUNK BRO WHO TOLD ME I HAD BRUTAL EYEBALLS

TO THE PUNK BRO WHO TOLD ME I HAD BRUTAL EYEBALLS:

U R SUCH A WHINER. U FOLLOWED ME OUT OF THE PIT & SAID

I LOOKED A T U IN THE EYES B 4 I PUNCHED U DIRECTLY IN THE

STOMACH. IT WAS 100 DEGREES & DARK. IT COULD HAVE BEEN

ANYONE. YR DUMB ROOMMATE OR YR DUMB FRIEND. U STEPPED

CLOSER TO TELL ME I HAD BRUTAL EYEBALLS. OVER & OVER &

SO THIS TIME I PUNCHED U IN THE STOMACH WITH MY HALF

EMPTY 40OZ DIGGING THE CAP IN DEEP THRU TO YR KIDNEYS.

LEAVING HIGHLIFE CAP RIDGES ON YR STUPID SHIRTLESS CAVED

IN STOMACH UNTIL U PUKED ON YR OWN SHOES.

I HOPE YR GF LIKES THE BRUISES.

CHECK, CHECK

CHECK 1—check, check

CHECK 2—check?

CHECK 3—can you hear me?

CHECK 4—is the room empty?

CHECK 5—can you hear me?

CHECK 6—oh well.

CHECK 7—my story is empty, anyway

CHECK 8—lights off.

CHECK 9—goodnight.

CHECK 10—NEXT ON CNN: a poetry of directness:

kill all the noise bros who move to Brooklyn & tell everyone

desperately that the noise they’re making is the only thing they

believe in. kill all the bro poets. actually you know what, kill all the

bros. kill all the power dynamics in the room. kill all the power

dynamics in the white room. kill all the power dynamics in all the

rooms. pull them down by their greasy cables. get yr hands dirty.

kill all the hierarchies of power of who is publishing who & who

is fucking who & who they fucked before they got published.

publish who they fucked, or don’t. kill the nonprofit board of poets

who scheduled the endless summer reading during dyke march this

saturday. & kill the sociality that makes queers feel excluded & that

makes the orgy dangerous for our bodies & that makes you select

who to make eye contact with & who to ignore on alternating nights

& which beer to schedule on which day & which bar to go to after

which reading. & kill the system that was designed to alienate

everyone from each other & that caused this desperate sociality to

emerge & kill the system of gendered power that makes it so hard to

inhabit every moment in my own skin to know how to detect each

buzz like counting the number of trains that pass at night. & kill the

language of avoidance that made it so hard for me to write this.

CHECK 11—is anybody out there?

from DECREATION

select a PDA from the moving belt.

slide the PDA all the way in to the port.

it should not hurt.

it should feel comfortable.

it should feel natural.

there may be initial misfirings.

you may see scans of the calendar behind the eyes. they will feel like

dreams.


you won’t miss any appointments.

& remember, it’s just a prototype,

you will not be satisfied.






HEAD ON COLLISION


DOUBLE VISION







THIS IS NOT I FORGOT MY WALLET AT HOME DURING MERCURY

RETROGRADE

THIS IS NOT OH I FORGOT U 2 EVEN DATED SRY IF IT’S AWK

NOW THAT WE’RE FUCKING

THIS IS NOT I DON’T REMEMBER SPRAINING MY ANKLE BC I

WAS WASTED BUT NOW IT HURTS SOMETIMES

THIS IS NOT TEXTBOOK PTSD

THIS IS THE END OF THE CANON & AN ATTEMPT TO ADAPT IN A

WORLD THAT CONSTANTLY FAILS ME

THIS IS THE END OF A PERSON & THE BEGINNING OF A

MALF(X)ING CYBORG

AN IRREVERSIBLE DETACHMENT FROM MY BODY

A WALKING GHOST.

THE BLAST

DO U REMEMBER THE BLAST?




there are stories of machines. stories of machines that enter bodies

machines that enter armor. pierce. the. skin. machines that force

their way through. machines that force. machines that force their

way through boundaries, through borders, through armored shells,


through skin. just a few scratches & bruises. bump on the head. noth-

ing major. right major. yes major. right, left major. keep moving keep


driving keep fighting. worry about the bruises later.





THERE IS A BLAST

THERE IS AN IMPACT

THERE IS THE WALL OR THE ROOF OR THE GROUND

THERE IS A BLAST AN IMPACT A FORCE AGAINST U

THERE IS THE WALL THE ROOF THE GROUND THE SHARP

METAL EDGE

THERE IS A BLAST

AND THAT’S IT