Poetry: Tracy Fuad

Selected by Dawn Lundy Martin as a finalist in Omnidawn’s 2019 1st/2nd Poetry Book Prize

from EJECT

First, we electrified the night

Using a recipe for a warm egg near a blue square

Sometimes my life isn’t funny

I don’t know the source of joy, just when it’s there

Microplastic is falling from the air, smothering cities with several tons of tiny fibers

On average, five bits of plastic in every glass of tap

Where it comes from is a mystery

This research only scratches the surface, but it seems to be a very itchy one, the scientist said

Your couch is very pretty

There are many interesting ways a person can die

I didn’t need to know what Disney princesses would look like if they were fat

I think I’m forgetting how to think

Or thinking like a machine would

Like, just give me a 2nd to think

It sounds the same to a machine

I miss my original rhythms

A prepper said, well this is weird, before inflating a condom with his mouth

I’ve slept with many nice people

The respondability of this poem as an email is rated zero out of seven

When I read the news I like the writing to be invisible, so I can go directly to the information

The prepper put the condom on his foot and said, this can be used to protect your feet in a SHTF situation

When someone said smoke, I imagined the city in cinders

0 is the only number that looks exactly like a letter

You even can pronounce it oh on the phone like I do

Yes, I have seen the slideshow of the suicide camps, where you go to the trees and go through the motions to rid it from the body

The man on the train kept insisting: a prune was once a single plum; a raisin a single grape. You hear what I’m saying, he asked?

I thought, perfect correspondence

It’s obvious, the golden fleece will shed a million fibers in the wash

Use the sun to take the liquid out of flesh to make it small

To make it very very small

I am trying to cultivate the feeling of being my-own-witness

But this planet will be forgotten

I am done with nostalgia, the human said, but what shall I put in its place?

The other asked, would you do it all again?

A pause: of course implies matter of course implies automation

So no, I could not bear the preternatural earth

A series of rooms abutting rooms abutting lesser oceans

All else contained in my interior sea

So we speak through a machine, unsure of what it is we want

Algorithms in a second floor tea shop of the old world’s erstwhile seat

A leaping at; a flashing by and gone

I watch the hot plates of the laminator seal each word

The affirmative names of other planets

The gloves I wore or that wore me, hands jammed into a different hologram

I didn’t come here not to find you

The earth’s last snow gridding the air

Beyond, a pulse of coursing blankness

The damp behind each original

A human calling me forward and into the unfruited future

All the chokeberries gone a green-white of beforeness

The storm a program ticking

My vine gone taut with ripe need, a menu of desire

A final need to touch the untouched places

The pathway painted by ancestry, a set of stairs at dawn, completely pink

The paint found in the basement

The man of me sinking beneath the waves in a rigid position

The worm of me wearing so many jackets

I must be something else

For you I have a dry bouquet

And then the rising sea, a private threshold, a doom that walks on stilts

A certainty of coming weather

And the beach of both of us, an actor in the closet

The lake, an ancient entrapment

On its shores, a baby smeared with nut butter to suffer the wood tick

In a cool forest, the wooden remains of a boat

In a bucket a gather of long-legged bullfrogs

Or basket of lamb’s ear, picked to be eaten

A crabapple pie and a stripping behind the old juniper

The roses rimming the perimeter

A grid to plan the garden

It was the threshing of wheat that spelled Facetime

An accident in red, composure of floral and terror

Either a fool for this or that

A dinner bought, a hankering for plastic

A species adapting to imminent shifts by eating their young

A fabric for circumstance

The young making speeches with silence

That tipping of one’s countenance to indicate availability in the denouement

Or constant cracking and emittance of the whoa

This bad amalgamation of acoustics

Yes, a temporal faltering

Where the man set himself afire on the common lawn of Brooklyn, a permanent divot

A shallow impression repeatedly filling with flowers

Tracy Fuad is a poet and artist from Minnesota. Her debut collection of poetry, about:blank, was chosen by Claudia Rankine as the winner of the 2020 Donald Hall Prize. She is also the author of the chapbook PITH (Newfound, 2020) and the art book DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD (TxtBooks, 2019). She is a graduate of the Rutgers-Newark MFA program and will be in residence at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center in 2021. She currently lives in Berlin.