TWO POEMS

DUJIE TAHAT

no it’s cool Cortés arriving on the shores of Hispaniola is as good a place to start as any

.
Here—this gold
………….light in your hand
………….left its origin some
………….eon ago and that you know

………….as well as I is a joke
………….on the order of history making
a fool outta me.

………………………..Of course, to speak
………………………..is to hold the whole world’s history
………………………..in one’s mouth.

………….My little middle-
school maw spit
through gilt teeth. We’re all a victim of history—

………….even the liars long con the scapegoats.

Find us, as always, gnashing away
in camps or fleeing a pack of dogs.

………….My son tells
………………………..funny jokes, unaware

the history of his maker.

………………………..If bearing witness is a kind of victim-
………….hood, you’ll watch the world
………….burn from what.
………………………………………………………..Go on:………….

put it in terms of how much you paid.

.

.

*quoted from Sam Sax’ tweet.

.

.

salat as a portrait of my father allowing him to first have grace and bad luck

.
…………
[adhan]

I call upon peace-be-upon Ibrahim to bless him,
my father who is different from my pops the way a bar is
different from a rod depending on what
direction it’s swung or what end the I is held.

…………[standing]

Of course, there is
so much empire
in my father’s mind
could carve out extra : a buffer
zone for some other’s
empire : look close enough and you can make
out the precision of a blade : a hatchet drawn :
a sliver of silver moon.

…………[bowing]

Ibrahim in the Palm Springs of Washington
swings a hammock smack dab in the dog
days of summer, crowned
in a valley of apples—honey and milk
runneth over like too much of a good thing
might make you want to kill
your brother, so he calls for his children.

…………[prostration]

During golden hour, at every sun’s vanishing
point, his skin tint went
red, a sudden

arrangement of tomatoes
blossoming in his arms and chest—
each of us torn

from the root, half a fruit—
his maw dripping
mauve.

…………[prostration again]

When I say…………………. I say
I mean, so when
I mean I say …………………..Ameen.

When I say…………..…………I mean
I mean Ameen.

……………………………………..Forgive me.

When I said
Ameen, I meant…………….. mine.

…………[sitting]

In most waiting
…………rooms, I place his
name next to mine.
…………When asked what
it mean, I point
…………to my own thinning
flesh and say with
…………my whole chest
that there’s a river
…………in heaven, and I am
the star that belongs
…………to it.

…………[salam alaikum]

I need you to believe me when I say my father
could cartwheel on a park bench keeping a cigarette

clenched in his teeth. Pops was equal parts dazzle and charm.
Ibrahim : all 80s swagger. See them and know they’d done some shit.

DUJIE TAHAT is a Filipino-Jordanian immigrant living in Washington state. He is the author of Here I Am O My God, selected by Fady Joudah for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship, and SALAT, selected by Cornelius Eady as winner of the Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Chapbook Award. Their poems have been published or are forthcoming in POETRY, Sugar House Review, The Journal, The Southeast Review, ZYZZVA, Southern Indiana Review, Asian American Literary Review, and elsewhere. Dujie has earned fellowships from Hugo House, Jack Straw Writing Program, and the Poetry Foundation, as well as a work-study scholarship from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. They serve as a poetry editor for Moss and Homology Lit and cohost The Poet Salon podcast. He got his start as a Seattle Poetry Slam Finalist, a collegiate grand slam champion, and Seattle Youth Speaks Grand Slam Champion, representing Seattle at HBO’s Brave New Voices. Dujie is an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College.

TINY SPILLS
  • Tabs open on your screen right now: 3 gmail accounts, 3 essay drafts (overdue), my calendar, an AWWW interview with R.A. Villanueva: “A GIF is a moment’s momentum”, Cathy Park Hong’s “Against Witness,” and not a tab exactly, but almost always a GarageBand file of the next episode of The Poet Salon.

  • Your sign: Gemini sun. Aquarius moon. Leo ascendant. Recently discovered I was born a couple hours earlier than I thought I was, and it radically changed my star chart. I don’t even recognize that person, so either the stars or my mom is wrong and I will not wade into those waters. My birth certificates from the Philippines isn’t helpful in this case either. Instead, I compromised on the time and am generally happy with this star chart.

  • Favorite lyric: Have been pulling Blue Scholars verses for some youth poetry classes I’m gonna be teaching and there are a dozen bars that deserve a lot more shine, but at the moment, I’m still reeling from when Prometheus Brown said, “I’m talking as a walking document of our struggle. Kasamas, hold me down and remember that I love you.”