The Poetry Project

Manal Kara

Ontologically the weeks
& minutes unfold like filthy
carpet inside my body, the squirrel
eating the coyote, its rancid flesh
I’ve decided to make a mess
of futility, I mean futurity
I have no idea where I’m going
just wanted to see how you’d react
with my leg dangling out of your mouth
though many sided, a paragraph
offers only one entrance


my mouth
is a soiled cylinder.
Wandering & exile
make their way
into my erotic logos. I take
a short pause at the next station
look back at strangers laughing
before boarding again in earnest
& unwrapping my gorgeous sandwiches


Once you find out that you can, you also find
out that you don’t have to.

Here is my list of demands:
Day unmarred by night
Skin as soft as a serpent’s

I’m dispatching my organs
in search of a small corner
from which to resist
the production of categories

Whose fist
Destroyed my land?

Words are agentive
and that’s what makes them terrifying
Truthfully I could not ask them
to be faithful


You may hesitate before reaching for a branch
of hawthorn from which to break off an implement
suitable for removing remnants of food
from between your teeth

Blood mixes with saliva into a long thin stream
towards the ground

Having been born under the condition
of always being a companion, I feel
no anxiety in the absence of free will, but now

I’ve run out of options
Scratch the same tick bite for weeks on end
like the scab itself needs dispatching

percolating, bubbly, effusive, tearful, perky,
intolerable, entrancing, vertiginous, lily-orange
it will be sudden and unkind

it will be subtle and unmistakable
on the twist of some clown mouth in the open sky


A rhinestone is a stone from the river Rhine.
Things cannot be wholly destroyed
as long as words for them remain,
and within them, blueprints for their creation.
Take for example ‘prison.’

In my dream, Helen’s daughter
was dating a 75-year-old man. She found it
troubling; to be more precise, she found it
less troubling than if it were a 40-year-old.

It’s a day like any other
but I dislike being trapped in this tower.
Ten short days of starvation to make a menace
of society. Ten days of embodied movement
in the sign of Apollo, and importantly, Pluto.

There’s our world, disaster of smoke
and boron
, Aisha offered quietly
in the longest, skinniest park on the planet.
The unconscious mind
creates conflicting sets of rules
That we should all be a permissive sponge
an animal with teeth
could suppose

Language is supernatural
I mean supernal
I mean superfluous
One dog loved me.

I had hoped to be unobserved and spacious here
It’s not seven grams of shake but beggars
can’t be liars
in the popular imagination
All mathematics cannot be evil
if numbers persist in the soul

Issue 18