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I just want to throw in the sack,
flap jack, slap it up and saddle on
been sick of this race since long ago
lethargy evolved from let-it-go,
     go with the flow,
     don’t let things get to you
     because thoughts
     shift at such a rush,

Every updated status leaves you so outdated,
Oh wait, you’re here? We’re glad you made it,
and no time to let this all soak in,
off we go on another whim,
     are you worried what you’re saying?
     It’s all right, just fake it,
     Are you getting nervous?
     Imagine the audience naked,

And if you can’t smoke it, bake it,
but take it, anyway you can,
because people they
     clang, clang, clang
     on and everyone’s right
     nobody’s wrong
     Everyone’s dressed in hard-ons

running along for a stroke of luck,
kind of makes me thank God when the subway cuts,
because for at least two minutes
everything stops.

     And we breathe,
     and look around,
     and wonder,
how’d I get here in the first place?

But not first place,
we popped out and joined a rat race,
and it takes a while to figure out
how to move at our own pace

Hard not to get caught up
in the glitz and glamour of it all,
in the identities and stereotypes we can perform,
they told us we could be anyone we wanted to be,
but why is it now that only definitions define me?
You see, it wasn’t always like that

But now it is — for a list of your neighbors, so
     do them a favor, recognize

Albeit, it’s much easier to criticize what we don’t know,
and so much easier to sit in the back puffing on homegrown,
and so much easier to point fingers and say “I told you so”

Yes, we know

But no matter what you think you know,
the world carries on

     Stay calm, it spins for no one

Who knows?

Maybe someday your bones will be
what dreams are made of


You drew a little picture of yourself,
when a little girl
as a big girl

and believed it.

You colored it in with all the colors you liked
— so determined to stay between the lines —
if you like it, that’s fine

but don’t hang it next to mine.

Through the Datevine

Tell me, tell me —

Our world explodes in atomic trysts and we meet,
halfway, blindsided by the everyday,
by the byways and my ways we cruise down highways
of ever after, using premeditated fits of laughter,
anything to break over the clamor of life droned on

We’ve always known — there’s something wrong
energies are not where they belong,
we’ve capitalized on the sensation of wrong,
mechanized the workings of a true rebel,
industrialized to resemble everyone else

The technique is immaculate, like the conception,
except we’re innovative, using methods of inception
substituting “protection” with “corruption”
and solving “inflation” with “sustainability,”

Then we threw our poets to the sea —
     Where they scrambled onto Emirati shores
     standing on sea-sick legs like two-word whores
     ready to give you loving long time

“A dollar for a line?
Your idea can sell big time
Only is your idea worth the time?
And have you got the money?
We don’t need too much,
let’s not resort to begging,
please, before the focus shifts —”

Ah shit, there goes your audience.


Tell me, tell me —

Deep in khaleeji lands,
No one had an answer at hand — “Sorry, answer’s banned,

     here are censored answers from Western lands,
     now, do you understand?”


Tell me, tell me —

Why not stay in this blissful state where
you can see the cards from far away, but never
go all in or raise the stakes because
you’ve got to get that steak on your table
And why go through the trouble if no one else will?

It’s great to know your rights, Bill
Great to know who they might kill
But we stop at who will change it
We remain stagnant, with complying faces,
Satisfied with our statuses, sorry for other races
but nonetheless — tolerant.

That’s right, let’s create a culture of tolerance
Maybe one not rooted in always being best?

“Point noted, yet debunked, you see,
we like to flaunt what we’ve got
(because we haven’t got all that much)
So watch as our buildings tower tall and we
synthesize you all into marketing polls
as we sell God-knows to
who, what, why, where, when, and how
and bow to the paycheck.”

They’re not tolerant when you’re black,
They’re not tolerant when you smoke weed,
Or when you wear your headscarf like that,

They’re tolerant when you don’t talk back.


Tell me, tell me —

Meaning is twisted, you see?
I’m not the writer — doesn’t matter what my veins bleed
Just allocated interpretations and allegories
Like how they say there are sexual allusions
in Walt Disney, or how Madonna and Lady Gaga
prove the antichrist is here —

But the antichrist can be seen in a pint of beer
since too many of those leave me one-eyed
hearing the world through blurry lies
that don’t quite line up when sober —
What the hell?
Come on, big brother, this round’s on me.


Tell me, tell me —

Have you heard of the man who stands
at a large, golden door? We’re meant to collect
what we’re owed and tally up the score —
     in the end, even there,

not everyone can go.

Everyone’s invited,

so come in multitudes
and come in millions

come in boots and bras, strapped
come with hairnets, hairpins, beers
come with husbands, with mothers,
come sisters and brothers
come with the celebrities,
the athletes, the politicians
and adversaries
even the scientists, come

bring your conflicts
bring your problems, stoners,
bring your insights
bring philosophies and religions
bring visions (or lack thereof)
bring weekdays and weeknights
bring the sofa
bring the reality shows
bring the documentaries
bring the series
bring the movie
and bring the cat, but come

with quirks and queers
with stubbornness
with anger, broken glasses, and fists
with fits of rage
with opinions and ideas
with statements, facts, and figures
with conspiracies, yes
bring every one of these, but come

with your broken hearts and homes
your talents, and your genius
go ahead, tell the idiots, and
come with yesterday’s news
the crosswords and the comics
the convicts and the judges too

hell — it’d be a lonely place
without the lot of you.



T. Fish graduated from the American University of Beirut with a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing. A storyteller fusing international experiences, insights, and languages into innovative rhyme, Fish has been published in various Middle Eastern journals and anthologies including, “Nowhere Near A Damn Rainbow; Unsanctioned Writing From the Middle East.” Fish is a copywriter and has worked at a variety of multinational agencies including J. Walter Thompson MEA, M&C Saatchi, and BBDO. Fish currently lives and works in New York City.


Illustration by Rawane Khalil.