IF THE WORLD IS ENDING I WANNA GO DOWN DANCING
for RAWI summer 2019
The world is ending. I am still afraid of everything I was yesterday.
The world is ending and my friends are in love. All of us, at the wedding, might as well be in love, too. Here: I feel at home dressed in black & lace & a wine glass delicate at my fingers. Looking posh. Black Widow. Shit-talker. There are so many lives I have no time to live. I am at a wedding & already mourning. My friends are in love & so they dance. My friends are in love & I cry. For the first time, I hope I have time for this, too.
The world is ending and we are at the beach. I am most calm when I feel wind on my face. Cold, sharp, an intentional caress. How air sign of me, to love the only element you cannot see–untouchable, yet a love unconstrained. This, too, is something I want. I decide I want to be seen. I decide I want to be heard. I yell into the ocean, I yell a song, I count seconds in laughter & count seconds in yelling & yelling has never been less of a bad word.
There is not enough them in this poem. I am not alone. All of my friends live in a little box and isn’t that the most apocalyptic of them all; paradoxical. They are with me but never near me. My eyes are tired, my feet are tired, I am off them eight hours a day and forget how to step. I’ve been singing again. There are no choirs around & so I become my own noise. I will not be alone when the world ends.
If the world is ending I want to be unafraid. I regret so much and it is always with a song attached. At a concert I close my eyes and let sweat and stage lights stain my lashes. This room is queer & Arab & I am in love with knowing how it breathes.
I have been blissed before. 4AM, the three of us, heads arranged to a point on a mattress living on the floor. An ending song, approaching gently. My eyes are closed but I pretend I am not asleep, I have never asked for more time until now. Touch is precious, so precious that proximity is commodity, too, and I have never been so frustrated by the cost of fuel. My heart aches in all cardinal directions.
Pre-emptive; I have always been mourning, the world has always been ending.
I know I know I know I hear laughter between Celine Dion tracks & conspiratory whispers among birds like they know who I know. They’ve flown over both of us, before. They sing, chirps falling into the ocean floor, fossilized as water rises, songs that always ached.
A previous version of this poem appears in The Rumpus (2021).
THE FLOWERS ARE DYING
& SO I SAY DAD!!! THAT’S ENOUGH WATER!! Try? to hit the roots ? more. instead of the leaves ithinktheymightrotthatway we watch the soil turn darker lusher with every second that the sun gets closer we do this every morning there’s coffee & breeze & I guess I’ve been waking up earlier these days it’s hard to need insomnia intimeslikethis I have no energy for rituals anymore. I keep a tarot deck by my bed I keep vitamins near my inhaler I joke in manifestations I’ve missed a dose or two people say plants make us happier but I have never been able to keep something alive I have never been able to keep something alive my dad said sido loved to garden & so I want to melt into dirt I know he’s still mourning if it’s hard for me it’s harder for him I remember walking around the church eight years ago arriving at a stone bench jasmine filling the air I cannot smell it & not think of death Iwassosmall my dad even smaller I remember dried out lavender pinned to the wall of the apartment that burned down & fear every other timeline I think of falling asleep w/ the cat curled at my side & waking up wheezing & I remember all my love is a risk when I look at the yellow flowers in our planter bountifuldriedallcolorlost I wonder how something can Grow & Take Up Space & still not be alive