George Abraham

self-portrait as melting clock

maybe i am everything
you asked of me—god of diaspora
-knotted horizons—begged a continent
of my ticking limbs & i gave you my intestines, dripping
lineage of crimson sand & thrombocyte. my insides tick, swell
into a riot, make this Arab body divine warfare; you knew me to be
turbulent, viscous, almost fluid in my resistance. the distance
between cell walls is the last void i prayed to—trust me, i know
how to make holy the hollow of a clenched
fist; i’ve seen finer gods than you, child.
& i’ve swallowed them whole—


maybe i asked everything
of me & became a god
of ticking gears, all brash friction
& detonation—i am both ocean
& salt erosion; a body
of fluid topography, expanding
to fill every void with my
history—vessel who begat
his own undertow—
leaking blood clot—
holy aneurism—
i want to implode—
i want to


maybe it’s the way
i spill unto everything
almost human, biological
in its fragility—god of
eyelash protection, the sea
reeks of your expulsion.
maybe i feel most
human when puddling
in the arms of an olive
tree overlooking the
Haifa, weeping
Her sand, hour-
glass crimson,
i almost miss-
took her
for Home


i tick in all
the wrong ways—
my body, the hallow
-ed music making me
nostalgic for an ocean
of ticks i once found
Home in the sta
-chatto only div
-ine Exodus
can resurr
-be i am
an impl


maybe the empti
-ness is just every
thing Time has
yet to occupy;
crafted in His
image—i am
aftermath of
child of
heat death.
i envy the
& Her
some days
i beg
for her

she can
i am
to escape




A History of Depression in Erasure

i. Away (me)

          I'm not afraid

to be alone
and not                    anything

          can't stop
can't          keep

          (afraid )

word          I speak

                    (this is how it feels to not

                                                                                be          )

ii. palestinian/queer vs. Ocean

there's a Ocean
where I used to
sleep all day,
          in your waves,
          as you crash down on me

& when I sleep,
I can make believe
things would get better,
                    leave town

                    Let your waves
                                        take me

I told them                    goodbye
          & you begged

                    look up
                                                            same night

                    will not rise

                    we be           together
                                          all day,

                    up all night

                    sleeping        day


                              all night.

iii. Only One—a conversation between both halves of my depression

broken thing—
pick up your pieces.
thrown words
can't give you

                              (give up)
scream                (lungs
let go,
                              no one          gets you

                              like i do

Made mistakes
can't hold on
too long
life                                      in ground
                                            can’t get up)

when you're gone
I won't walk out

                              Leave a note for
                              them to see right through me—

                              My only
                                        my only

iv. possessed Ocean speaks back, in the voice of my ancestors

don’t          look back
tear your          heart

you’re not meant to be




The following is an erasure of various songs from Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue” album, as well as “Check Yes Julliette” by We the Kings


George Abraham is a Palestinian-American poet attending Swarthmore College. He competed in the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (placing 2nd out of 68 international teams), the National Poetry Slam, and the Individual World Poetry Slam. He was a 2-time recipient of the Favianna Rodriguez Award for Artistic Activism, as well as the Ghassan Kanafani Palestinian Literature Award. He was a 2016 Brooklyn Poets Fellow, and is currently a copy editor for Muzzle Magazine. He has work published or forthcoming in many journals including Thrush, Emerge Literary Journal, Assaracus, Sukoon, Riwayya, and in the Ghassan Kanafani Anthology of Palestinian Literature. He hopes to continue bringing awareness to Palestinian human rights and socio-economic struggles through art. More work and contact info can be found at his artist website.