Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tamer Mostafa - Two Poems


There’s always been a working class
and cycles of economic instability.
The newspapers call them crises. The downturn
of the seventies, inland industrialization, wedding ring—
ziplock exchanges on the downtown strip
before Cobra beers added the King to the title.

This city is in competition—with larger metropolitan
areas and it fares at the top—top three in most
categories. Nation and State to be correct. Police—
included, circling the rough spots, pocketing
cash from the runners, and handing back the rocks
before curling in front of their squad car vents.

Some numbers don’t make the statistics cut:
gun metal clips, trigger guards, and other parts
stashed in park garbage cans. The psychotics
rising from their codeine lows
who stumble upon the rusted offerings
while rummaging for something to eat.

                                                     And there are just
bystanders playing the part of jurors in a place
where there is no testimony and the judge has left
to prune geraniums, pick lemons, sip Manhattans
next to the terrace of his coastal mansion.


“some rivers flow back
toward the beginning
i never learned to swim”
-Lucille Clifton

 i was born
in a northern valley
of California
c is for current

there are more i’s
in california
than i have

the deltas undertones
stir a shirt to the surface

near the banks
a bucket of quick dry cement
for its possessor

why am i here

the top of stockton
floats into the drought
of dry crinkled vines
the wine is a sharp white

they are still here
lurking in the cattails

captain weber
commodore stockton

the city’s name irks the natives
mayor podesto


my mother had a child
that drowned before birth

when the rain does come
the ground has been too dry
to absorb the water

who can swim
when the tides
of the city
reach the tides
of the delta

will i sink
in this stockton
on the inland delta

which way
will the water
drag our bodies

why do we
ask questions

Tamer Mostafa is a Stockton, California native whose writing has been influenced by many, but directly affected by the teachings of Joshua McKinney, Alan Williamson, and Joe Wenderoth. He has published over 30 literary works in various journals and magazines such as Confrontation, The Rag, Poets Espresso Review, Stone Highway Review, and Phantom Kangaroo

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