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self-curated, pixelated

by Khadija Sharife

this slideshow of your greatest hits
poverty down on the painted gold
T & O, behold
after the scorched earth,

the standing dead

now streaming live, a million channels
with one view, featuring please and thank yous
from a billion brown and down
looking up at banners with ironed out faces,

ours and mine
thanking you

because you taught us
to keep the carousel turning with the once living,

ash as fuel for productivity
in a scarcity speech about collateral and collateral damage
as the world burns to heat a few,

we do
tolerate ourselves

words on t-shirts that speak revolution
silently, a nod to something we do not dare
consider actually,
but the great God is no respecter of persons
and this violence of the quiet has no resolution
until the pattern is altered, deduce here
a degrowth against the few,

the cruel and cold
built this world to last
and between us, the twisted and half-burned
eager for warmth at any cost
an army of consumers and soldiers
both killers, one ingenue, the other


and this has me scared of being me
around you because you’re scared of me too
for seeing the brass ring going round and round
your flat earth, i have taken note

it never stops, even if the weary earth gives us up
who would blame the oceans and forests for saying enough?

yet locked inside the jail of me
i cannot get a message through to you
the windows you’ve been staring through
are just mirrors,
your victory, a fragile selfie,
that filtered view of a photochopped world
never meant to exist but made
again and again, this legacy of cartographers
as artists staining glass
painters, sunglass-makers,
fantastically drawing monsters
at the edges,

and hope, a toxic thing.