Sharif Shakhshir

Sharif Shakhshir is a Californian poet of Palestinian and Mexican descent. His work is largely inspired by cartoons, politics, and fables. He has studied writing at USC and UCI. He’s currently an animation student at the American Animation Institute. His poetry has appeared in The Anthology of Writing that Risks, West Wind and Razor House.

 

 

Almost Special

 

The number 99

An Olympian in 4th place

Canada

A unicorn with a second horn

The sled dog behind Balto

Pluto, both the celestial body and the cartoon dog

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen

Last year’s Christmas presents

Last year’s phone

Last year’s designer clothes

Last year’s Valentine’s Day candy

That Halloween you stood me up to stay at home and watch scary movies alone

An ostrich

The best hiding spot after it’s been discovered

Sadaam Hussein

The way you made me feel when you lied to me

The way you make yourself feel when you lie to yourself.

Boron and fluorine

A 720p television

White Zinfandel

An A minus

A B plus

A kiss on the lips turned into a kiss on the cheek at the last second

The day before the day someone dies

The day I told you I’d had enough of the waiting

The dog you get after your childhood dog dies

The man you got who wasn’t me

The letter you wrote to win me back

A new certified used car

A new car with a scratch on it

A Ford Mustang with automatic transmission

The drive to San Diego, where I would see your face

The memories of what little we had.

 

 

Gun Chamber

 

You’re in a room of guns, revolvers.

Many are similar;

each is unique:

make, fit, feel, shape, spirit.

 

All are broken somehow.

Three bullets, six chambers.

Russian rouletted.

There’s no clock in the room,

but time is urging you to choose.

 

You’ll look for something familiar,

like a gun you had when you were younger,

wondering if it cycled here to bring its warmth

back to your cold fingers.

 

Pick one that excites you,

but before you commit and put it to your head

ask Which one won’t destroy me?

Which one would I like to die with?

 

 

Erasing and Redrawing

 

Scraping my pencil

against Bristol paper

the cartoon won’t look like

how I drew it before.

 

Enough! the pencil cried,

This is my bone on the page!

And you use my feet

to grind my graphite blood gone.

You sharpen me

when you throw away my flesh.

 

A Marmaduke mug of pencils tipped over

and soon a small army was bouncing

like pendulums, taking steps

on their erasers. Little militant spears

hobbling to war, as I watched

like a slave owner

whose property suddenly became human

worried about how their history will write me

and how carefully worded it must be.

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