Momtaza Mehri

Momtaza Mehri is a poet currently in conversation with biomedicine, inheritance and her particular brand of transnational baggage. Her work has been featured and is forthcoming in Puerto Del Sol, Elsewhere, PANK magazine, Cecile’s Writers, Bone Banquet, Poetry International, and other delights. She co-edits the digital space Diaspora Drama and has been shortlisted for the 2016 Brunel African Poetry Prize and Plough Prize. She is a fellow of The Complete Works national programme.

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<p>Grief in HTML</p>

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<p>The bomb explodes near the Central compound, makes a wheezing child-sound.</p>

<p>It’s a Monday afternoon. A city sleeps on its side. Death is an ellipsis. Gasoline, cobalt, concrete, yarabbyarahmaan, a window shard clarifies itself against the slackness of suit and skin, imprints into the chest of a family friend. He is flesh opening into a socket for wood chips to lodge into. He is dressed in crystals. He is dissolved.</p>

<p>A father on the other side of a glass screen.  Facebook. His eyes their own brand of muddy blue longing.   Five years since, his friend is a life undeleted, peering from under horn-rimmed glasses. Four walls of a coffin or the four walls of a display picture? Find me the difference. A man shifts in a quasi-dream called afterlife.</p>

<p> My father’s cufflinks, cold and dulled, on a drawer desk a dead man bought him for a wedding gift.  The heat of a pavement turns xalwo into caramel into plasma. </p>

<p>The old poets said home was a woman.  Only a woman can bleed this much without dying. Maybe home is a man’s lust ticking under a vest, leaving us to pick up the pieces.</p>

<p> Imagine a rage that needs to spread like that? </p>

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Milkshakes with El Hajj Malik El Shabbaz

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at Small’s little jannah behind a twice-named church soon to be temple soon to be masjid a heartache or two into your future catch a peppermint scent to pull a looseness from the tongue outside the sun is on its hind legs and inside the world bears down you stand pure as baby breath three scoops of vanilla and strawberry add ribbons of chocolate place a solitary maraschino cherry on top                         a rasping nipple

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detroit red all that oil slick buttoned down in starched whites you play at wide-boy wonder clink the glass of old-time hustlers and make all the right noises between their pauses

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a tall pitcher straddles the counter          perspiring

wipe (anti-clockwise)                              pia goblet of spit to slick down the kinks

behind your ear                                       pptwo kitchens behind your back

                                                               ppppa fistful of lifetimes ahead.

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