Mohja Kahf’s ‘Copulation in English’

We are going to dip English backward
by its Shakespearean tresses
arcing its spine like a crescent
We are going to rewrite English in Arabic
(Arabic script: how sweet, how sweet)


and all the languages of our blood
We are going to give English the makeover of its lifetime,
darkening the rims of its eyes with Hindi antimony,
making it blush Farsi roses
(Arabic script: the night, the night)


We are going to make English dizzy
until English vomits its history,
Norman, Saxon, Celtic, down
to its Druid dregs
We won’t stop playing with English
We are the new bullies in the schoolyard
and we like the merry-go-round of nouns and adjectives
and onomatopoetics and objective correlatives


We will bewilder English in Aramaic of Jesus
(Arabic script: My Lord, my lord, why have you forsaken me?)
We know its biblical heart better than it knows itself
and hold the blades of these lilies-of-the-valley
against its jugular vein


We are going to make English love us
And kiss us and explore us with its tongues
Then we will play hard-to-get
and English will have to phone
and leave a message after message of desire on our machines
English will have to learn what to say to please us:
(Arabic script: “I humbled myself until even me enemy wept for me.”)


English has never tasted anything this purple,
Seen mangos this bursting, trickling down its poems,
pomegranates spraying the tart red seeds
over its stories like white white linen
English has never smelled the cardamom this ecstatic
or breathed rhetoric this thick with love


English will come to us hoarse with passion
we will have taught English to have
and English will never be the same and will never regret us
Although, after this night of intense copulation,

we may slaughter English in its bed and redeem our honor,
even while pregnant with English’s bastard
(Arabic script: “Here comes the dawn upon us like a fire.”)

“It may be that we are puppets-puppets controlled by the strings of society. But at least we are puppets with perception, with awareness. And perhaps our awareness is the first step to our liberation.  – Stanley Milgram, 1974


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Norman Mailer on Marijuana’s existential conditioning“One’s condition on marijuana is always existential. One can feel the importance of each moment and how it is changing one. One feels one’s being, one becomes aware of the enormous apparatus of nothingness  the hum of a hi- set, the emptiness of a pointless interruption, one becomes aware of the war between each of us, how the nothingness in each of us seeks to attack the being of others, how our being in turn is attacked by the nothingness in others.”