1 poem

by Fargo Tbakhi

Fargo Tbakhi (he/him) is a queer Palestinian-American performance artist. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, his writing can be found in Apex Magazine, Strange Horizons, Mizna, the Shallow Ends, Peach Mag, and elsewhere. He is a Halcyon Arts Lab fellow and works at Mosaic Theater.

This poem was longlisted for the 2020 Peach Gold in Poetry with guest judge ALOK.

ghazal-sonnet crown for failure and tonya and baba and queers and me

 

 

and tonya harding always was a failure

i love her from my little seat of failure

my impoverished violent slice of love

o face of heaven jawbone made of failure

and if i learn to be a better subject may

tonya’s skate eviscerate me o may failure

spit me from its mouth and god refuse

to let me in again o tonya how your failure

lets me breathe o tonya i remember you

in the dream of nations i beg for failure    

i beg the ice to keep you in my favorite

moment of the jump when your failure

tears away from hiding claims its space

says i am the lace of blue golden failure

tonya sequin triple axel never landed stumbling to a better world in failure

 

tonya sequin triple axel never landed stumbling to a better world in failure

o the arab way i move my hips is failure

o my baba his criminal hands return

to me like tonya’s broken lace of failure

too much power in baba’s hand in tonya’s

thigh in my imagined asshole’s failure

tonya never woman never wealthy never

subject never baba never good citizen failure

makes us ruptures in the nation’s languaging

emblems of a wily terrorist failure

evidence of structures less than caring o

all my fellow queers o all my failures

national embarrassments we piss utopic

strands of worlds beyond the cry of “failures o for nothing good o failure”

 

strands of worlds beyond the cry of “failures o for nothing good o failure”

pieces themselves a fire quilt for failure

tonya too much power in her self-preserve

“alive” our anticapital our failure

all maimed all built on waver lack destruction

baba my abject o my most excellent failure

who refuse your goodness who deny your threat

i’m asking every love to join our failure

to fail is to be nightmare for the ones who

call evictions on our mess sick drones on failure

a skate a blade that holds survival and its failure

too because we do not always live

but between death or living not a failure

i breathe my last good hex and cause a landlord to collapse victim of failure

 

i breathe my last good hex and cause a landlord to collapse victim of failure

and landlord is the court declaring baba failure

the skating association keeping tonya

in abuse her drama too ugly too failure

for the nation to digest o tonya let’s

be undigestible shard of glass failure

impoverished desiring stabs of wretched

entrypoints to love and god through failure

let’s be borderless spitworthy nasty fruits

let’s turn a fist from threat to gift with failure

let’s love the trash because it’s trash and not because

it could be something “better” no better just failure

all my friends are here and they are useless o failure

let’s not be used but only useless marinate in angry fuck you failure

  

let’s not be used but only useless marinate in angry fuck you failure

tonya teaches me to hide my goodness failure

teaches me it is not real o capital

finds me lacking fascists find me lacking failure

lets me know lack is my best way of living

all my useless friends we glory threats we lack

each other until we are moaning failure

o someone spits upon me and i love it o

someone flips a blade i see a skate o failure

someone holds me down i feel like power

excess is my only love my filth my failure

my unplaceable my anti my against

o i’m begging and i love to beg in failure

empire museum bank and prison quiver at my failure

 

empire museum bank and prison quiver at my failure

i break until the ice must join me failure

and dancing to paulina’s track is failure

i fall asleep on hazem’s shoulder a failure

o willie and i finding birds our failure

blythe and i shouting at halberstam whose failure

opened up my breath and o my nipples failure

my card declines the state decrees my failure

i rejoice i car into the swamp my failure

i tongue baba’s indictment til it’s failure

breaks me into pieces and breaks are failure

let me be sugar in concrete bring about its failure

me and every one i love will scream o failure

never trade this brokenness for any less failure

 

never trade this brokenness for any less failure

and o my “thank you” sounds like “failure”

failure god i failure baba failure willie  

george o failure benny failure blythe i failure

brandon failure natalie failure nick and noor and ellie

i failure all my gorgeous bleedings failure

tonya my poverty my losing my hungry

never stilled too powerful for nation failure

my sewing clothes my broken jump my

femme hip sway my fairuz nose my failure

my improper violent subject destruction collective

break in the rightness of this world o i failure

know that this queer always wants to be a tonya o

and tonya harding always was a failure

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