Johan Hendrik Weissenbruch, Cellar of the Artist’s Home in The Hague, 1888. Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum. Image via WikiArt.


My Birth State can’t possibly drive interest

-ed parties, I insisted, on walking most days

Across the freeway medianed grocery store.

I wrote toward whatever fed my timed

Stays at universities. With this padded resume, I resumed

Polite laughter in the next Zoomed room.

I watched some professors write from East

Villaged, a Vermont Somewhere’d

West of Hollywood, in a Martha’d

Vineyard. This year I read applications to be fellowshipped

— This particular, endowed lifestyle

forbade applicants outside of the officially boroughed

New York Cities. My aunt asked how I lived,

I mentioned $300, gigged. For years I’ve ripped

All labeled information from my tagged seams,

Inched holes through every collar I hampered.

Years ago, I shared an attic’d bedroom. My piled clothing

On the floor next to my younger brother’s bed. Unlaundered.

I was so depressed once I googled: Maybe this Lake isn’t

Oceaned. I told a novelist this and they flew to a Flyover State,

Then wrote sadness imaged. On a flight into Romulus, Michigan

A man called A City, Deteriorated. A professor lectured in Dearborn

And Called it Detroit. My mother lifted your luggage

At the appropriate countered space. A patron noticed

My mother wears her repetitive motioned injury.

Two doctors say it would be reparative if she quit her gigged

Life. Became a companioned, a

Compassioned transfer if she airported

To another airport. The benefited, most days,

I fly for less than a hundred dollars on a policy

Where I wear a pressed shirt and talk about the weathered,

Pardon. And I pardoned my way to the first-class lavatory

— The first classed lavatories always have hand lotion —

Or the main cabin is never lotioned. On the mini television,

Scientists are saying flying causes, for most, delayed bowel movements.

There was always a man who coughed in the front row.

A slowed, white deathed. This man always thanked

In grand cabined speeches of diamond and medallioned. For safety,

My mother called me from the parking lot of a Home Depoted. A man calls

My mother beddable, men bother her at every aged year.

If my mother isn’t beautiful, men still decided it.

Once I walked through the Beiruted terminal and tried to bribe an officer.

At 3 a.m., I walked through luggage unclaimed and found a pile of boxed cats,

Their gridded homes meowed forever into our quiet machined bunker.

Forever would be forevered if Another Country hadn’t bombed the shit

Out of this Country’s people’s airport in 2006. Around 4 a.m. another plane

Landed. Ssssssssssssssssss, My Sitto shushed the cats. Her gesture

Still Arabiced after being half-centuried in America.

One morning I telled Sitto,

Before Colonizers said The Ukraine, they The’d Libnan.

A disambiguation — Nationed.

My mother said when she grew up the people of America forgot her placed.

She slept in an attic bedroomed and always jobbed. In memory,

My mother still her old passported. In the old Country,

The passport officed into a coffee shop, really, write this down:

There’s poor recorded keeping with lots of emptied shelling.

I am the best cased scenario among many Countrymen. Men,

I learned them. Knew them.

Much of my decision making is ruled,

Is laid across a tabled thought.

I am a poor scholared,

A brain correctly informationed. I used

To smoke Spice out of plastic bottles and printed paper,

I remember my sixth-grade apple bonged. It was all so organics,

So earthed. The winded said something to me like,

Weak lunged. I swallowed the roach

And clung toothed to a faucet head.

The fired fire it’s evocative,

Each cigarello’d breath, breathed away. My

Mother at the café smiled into a webcam neither modern nor vintaged.

My mother sparkles like a mothered.

During one physical, a doctor held down my feet while I struggled

Into a sit-up. Once he said, faster. He come on’d

Me, as he gripped me. It endlessed.

My mother stands smiled into the morning afternoon evening’d.

Once I was so happy I ringed my own finger,

Stoned so bright, I couldn’t see the flesh behind.

I worry about these deadened people.

Us dogged people.

In the American terminal’d, it sounds like a dog is laughing.

The dogs victoried. Yes,

it snows in the old Country.

And I know

What I wasn’t supposed to do here.

Tarik Dobbs

Tarik Dobbs (b. 1997; Dearborn, Michigan) is a disabled, SWANA American writer and artist. Their poems are anthologized in Best New Poets 2021 and Best of the Net 2020. Tarik received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and is an incoming MFA fellow in Art, Theory, Practice, at Northwestern University. Their chapbook, Dancing on the Tarmac (Yemassee, 2021), was selected for publication by Gabrielle Calvocoressi.