2 Poems by Fargo Tbakhi
Fargo Nissim Tbakhi (he/him) is a queer Palestinian-American performance artist. His writing can be found in Apex Magazine, Strange Horizons, Mizna, Peach Mag, The Shallow Ends, and elsewhere.
For My Little Wooden Fisherman
Laborer, little life-
Bringer. You dangle
Off the precipice
Of meaning. Stranded
Without anyone to feed
Or teach. Out to sea,
Gazan fishermen are restricted
To fifteen miles of water. You have
No vessel to care for. No kin
To lose. You are no island,
Little tree. A string alone
Is a map to one fish. Together,
Knotted in love and conflict,
We are maps towards plenty.
Little wooden fisherman,
I took a piece of bark
And carved for you a boat:
A place to sit, a way to float.
My life is now joined with yours.
May the two of us use it well, and learn:
Give a man a revolution
And he will eat for a day. Teach a man
Travel Log: Visit Palestine!
after Steven Duong
When they let me out of that black site on the Mercury settlement,
I roam a spell. Break knuckles for a laugh.
Try to phone my mother but no answer.
Time stretches out and I do too, I fall in and out of a good thing.
Thank God they never fixed the gravity, for my knees
are piss-poor after the beatings and the lightness helps.
Somebody offers me transport to Earth. Decline.
I spend my days drinking and trying to get close enough to someone
with a passport to rob them. No luck.
Days were, I used to be honest. Days changed.
Try my mother again. Still no answer. I wonder if she’s floating
somewhere outside of range.
Visit Abu Khaled outside New Jerusalem. He is dying so I pray with him,
then pocket some cash when he’s asleep.
So something broke in me. So what.
My feeling is God never wanted me on this planet and so he isn’t paying
too close attention.
Back at the bar someone asks me about mercy. I say it is like ghosts a thing you want
to believe in but never can feel you deserve.
They tell me no it’s a drink, have I tried it.
I sleep the sleep of a bad person. I believe the things they say of me
on this planet of cells so close to the sun.
In dreams I see my mother aboard the good ship Palestine
A bucket of bolts but it’s ours and it drifts, it moves
And I’m running towards the port but my knees split like knuckles
Somebody asks me about home, I say I’ve never tried it
Mom’s at the porthole smiling like she’s happy
And I’m at the door fumbling through
my wallet, hoping I’ve held onto enough to go inside
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