the specimen's apology

In the specimen’s apology George Abraham writes with a sharp elegance about lineage, about inheritance, about what gets passed down, and what doesn’t. What’s erased. What’s obscured. What’s locked away. I get the sense of Rubik’s Cube-ing, searching for the right sequence of words or images or structures to make sense of absence, and in doing so, he makes a beautiful, furious, and crackling new kind of sense. His writing smacks my feelings right across the face. — Tommy Pico

memory study with specimen in dark universe

in the beginning, there was
the body. a you, finite enough
to reside, compact, in the confines
of space & time –

                                         but before there was
a you, there was the empty. that resides strong
in the body. a longing. a definition – can the body
exist without the Loneliness it counters

                                         & inhabits –

yes – the Loneliness grew strong within
you. made a world of you, dark
& vast as the beast that guards it;
became a copper-lunged thing;
a thing that sings without breathing,
strips the music from your little
bones; winged beast of metallic
claw & its anthem of shredding wire:
all the delicate machinery built
to contain you –

but in this reality, you are tame
& young. small. hollow
-boned, yet shatterproof in all
your body’s oblivious histories.

you cannot know the way you split galaxies
with a single breath; the universes
your hands can unlock in a single strike –
your history, a petty matchbox that ignites
with friction & hands, always the hands;

you are oblivious of the scientists
behind the screens, who claim
they built you; observing the specimen
of you – who built a tower in you,
the Lonely that makes you retreat
into yourself; who wrote the books
you could never find yourself in; books
that claim they saved you & built all
the delicate machinery & winged
beasts that strip you of flight & sweet
                  wingless child –
                                the body is an infinity
                                you have yet to unravel –

maqam of moonlight, for the wandering

to be read from right to left, after Marwa Helal

a ask to -    blood of conjuring a is desire of know i what
&     sweat its in humid   listless it was or     me of nation tired
- deviance quantum &    stochasticity own its in    lost      : entropy
carries it    blood the hence &    design its through thing a name to learned we
type what - is it night of type what on depending    to or -      on preys &
carries      air the humid      heavy of

   relics  fragile    before    you like    men ruined i’ve ,yes
count body my    marked i   catacomb brief a chest    themselves of
lose    never beast this lest    erosion refusing   scar it let &    nails brittle with
made he caverns the    forget or ,marrow of    dry sucked    bones of count
endless &      unexplored    perimeters its in even yes : flight    refusing skeletons of
planet             this heart      sweet  reach   beyond stratosphere or  body as
- us of both the for    claustrophobic     too is

from memory study, in fragmented reality

in this reality, the story unwrites itself:
my lover un-ghosts me after i swallow
confession; the word bisexual unmakes
itself at home in me & i do not leave
my house; the clear liquid runs back
into its bottle like a river might; my mother
is not yet a mountain: the avalanche sweeps
up her body, unlearning & inhaling its anxieties;
she’s a good girl, a good southern girl:
the future grandchildren of my mother’s sentences
retreat to a hypothetical womb; her blessing, not
formed, hangs heavy in the thick air; my queerness
& self-loathing unwind, like DNA strands –


what of the body isn’t
an unbecoming –


i uncork a bottle of liquid galaxies
& tonight i am my mother’s child;
a boy i find pretty presses his tongue
against my front teeth & i forget
myself;                            i later find
my self                            alone beneath
the star                           light & this
is not                               the reality where
the boy loves himself back, nor is it
a story where the boy needn’t hate
himself to be worthy of touch –


tonight i am a thousand miles north
& i do not call my mother. i do not
smell the ethanol through her phone
-static; i do not hear the same apology
unwinding itself from her breath
like collapsing rosary beads; like allah
yerhama whispered at a wake; but i do
hear her say i love you, you have to know
i love you. & is that not its own funeral
quiet? her hands, kissing the bottle’s rim
submerging in the absence –


say the sun forgave itself the inevitable
disappearance; say the ocean forgave
the moonlight’s lonesome pull –
say the fluid forgave its captor,
          history –
& even that can be its own shelter;
maybe in that reality, i would be,
instead, child of Thales: descendent
of salt & molecule; everything i touch,
spiraling into a galaxy of droplets,
           dissolving –

ars poetica with parallel dimensions

i must confess, this softness is often an endless
                 i fall into, the way a snake chases itself into
itself. on tamer days

                                                    i blame the fruit for their thick

ripening & not the small jealousies

the honeybee; some days i cannot distinguish
                  from extinction – every love of mine demands blood
-shed of a hunter

                                           ’s lineage; o exile my exile, that i could

unbloody our laced talons

                                                                       & write them into metal

wings; that we could un-cauterize the crimson

                                                                                                          sky & fly

into a sunset spilling blood that is not our own –
that i could turn

                                                       2 mirrors in on themselves,
unraveling those infinite & countable dimensions:
              somewhere, i pluck an apple                                       & a parallel self suffers
   the expulsion, itself                                                          ancestry rippling across space, itself
             timeless; in this reality, i lose                                       a country,
                                 for another Eden                                                  to blossom beneath
                                                                                                a more forgiving stratosphere;

i confess, i am more vengeful than my oppressors
deem me; my disposition
                                                                         is a learned burial –
i fang so hard it louds my smile, writes my cyanide
ducts into gentle rain; in truth,
                                                        i wish my oppressors an eternity
of carnage for every country stolen
                                                                     from us & my loved ones
the way infinity plus infinity is just infinity; forever
                                                                                                         fails us
like that; our eternity is the moment between
                                                                                         child’s fist
& soldier’s gun & everything outside of
                                                                                      child's fist
& soldier’s gun ; i know threat
                                                                        is not object but state
(of being); because i love him, he is everyone’s
                                                                                         threat; i bloody
my hands for him, so he must be God
                                                           of somewhere; i know heaven
is a poem i survive
                                                        the end of; i know holy
is waking up
                            with a knotted neck on a red sofa in Philadelphia
crowded with all of my loved ones; i know that
                                                                                               is, itself, a country
                                    even i can have        faith in –