Andrea Abi-Karam





TO THE COP WHO READ MY TEXT MESSAGES:

I STILL REMEMBER YR FACE. WHITE AND PINK AND SOFT
W GREY HAIR. U COULD BE MY POETRY PROFESSOR, MY
SUGAR DADDY IF U HELD ANOTHER SYMBOL OF
POWER BETWEEN YR THICK HANDS KNUCKLES THROB-
BING ADRENALIN PUMPING WITH THE EXCITEMENT OF
FINALLY CATCHING ME. IF U HELD A BOOK OR YR COCK
INSTEAD OF A BATON CUMMING AFTER ME. I LUST AFTER
THE MOMENT I CAN BECOME INVISIBLE AND PLUNGE A
SCREWDRIVER INTO YR EYEBALL THE ONE ON THE LEFT
THAT GLIMPSED ME FROM AROUND THE CORNER OF THE
BUILDING WHOSE SHADE I SPRINTED UNDER A SCREW-
DRIVER WITH A FLAT HEAD TO SCRAPE AGAINST THE
INSIDE OF YR SKULL WHILE YR LEFT EYE WATCHES FROM
A CRACK IN THE SIDEWALK.

I HAVE TOOLS TOO.











TO THE BRO POET @ MY READING LOOKING @ HIS IPHONE:

CAN’T WAIT TO SHOVE THAT IPHONE BETWEEN YR 6TH &
7TH RIBS. LET’S SEE HOW IMPORTANT YR FAKE FRIEND’S
STATUS UPDATE IS FROM INSIDE YR LEFT LUNG. & FOR
THE LOVE OF GOD STOP WRITING NOW THAT U CAN’T
TALK. OR BREATHE.











in the framework of it all the female body in combat reads
differently computes differently
glitches differently that the female body in
combat is not a state of on opposed to off. it’s a state of always on. always
watching. waiting for the moment of the signature injury—whatever
it might be. it costs so much to maintain the body in constant combat.
it must consume & consume & consume just to stay awake. before it
burns it all away too fast. she gnaws at her own fingertips to stay alert,
to stay awake, to stay warm. easy to get cold out there in the desert at
night. hard to maintain the skin sealed to the bones below, to the meat
beneath against each blast & every impact. the environment tries to
pull it apart—make little entrances for itself—ports to communicate
information back to the base, shuttle information back up the chain
of command. ports to communicate information ports to channel
energy into the surroundings—static shoots across the dry desert air.
as if it’s not enough to just exist in constant combat command wants
the full download the full extratransmission she’s tried so hard to keep
sewn strictly in. direct line to read each electric impulse each time a
muscle moves. brace. unbrace. skin just a shell plastic sheeting to keep
the muscle moist. a case for your new iphone X. release innermost
secrets through your fingertips. eyes just a mirror, a high resolution
scan of the surroundings. breaks in vision noted. breaks in brush noted.












lack of cover. noted. body just a case for desirable information until
they get a new shipment in of those who must volunteer their own
skin cases to protect the TV set stationed in your living room. to
enter combat. to take orders. to take the fall. every body is consumable.
every american body is consumable. there’s a whole country back home
to manufacture more willing bodies for the volunteer based army.
a country that sometimes agrees to relax its borders in exchange for
the combat ready body. for the soft skin that caves in from every bit
of shrapnel. for the soft skull that splits on impact. for the soft brain
that bounces back and forth inside the skull. for the soft brain that
tears & swells. for the soft brain that after the tears & swells still turns
the body back on. still serves. for the soft person who can’t remember.












on the assembly line to american nationalism











little clicks along the conveyor belt











As of 2017 375,230 U.S. troops have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

TBIs are the signature injury of the war on terror. they are severe
concussions where past memories are erased and daily memory continues to
be difficult. yr in an armored vehicle somewhere in iraq or afghanistan. on a
desert road. not a lot of cover. and yr vehicle gets hit by a rocket
propelled grenade or you drive over the tripwire for an improvised
explosive device.

there is a blast. you are thrown into the wall or the roof or the ground. yr
body hits the wall or the roof or the ground hard. with force. bones break. yr
brain moves forward and back against the inside of yr skull like all those re-
ally sick drunk driving movies where no one survives that you have to watch
in driver’s ed when yr 16. it’s like that. except you survive. the blast, get up &
run. yr body survives but you now have to cope with becoming a new person.









Andrea Abi-Karam is an arab-american genderqueer punk poet cyborg, writing on the art of killing bros, the intricacies of cyborg bodies, trauma & delayed healing. Their first full length book EXTRATRANSMISSION is forthcoming from Kelsey Street Press August 2018. Andrea's chapbook, THE AFTERMATH (Commune Editions, September 2016), attempts to queer Fanon’s vision of how poetry fails to inspire revolution. They are the publicist for Nightboat Books.