"redblue" by V.A. Smith, Photograph, Italy
*Image: “redblue” by V.A. Smith, Photograph, Italy

Talal Alyan

Featured Poet



Manifest Destiny


“…..grow to love that strange language”

this century
bores.                                         its growl like
                                                       a feral beast.

I want to devour
it with silver-spoon
teeth. put sea salt
along the spinal
cord of its borders
with bullets and
ammonia.                                                                   war of men
                                                                                         war of metal
                                                                                         more of

the cult king that struts in rags. under his belt
a creole tongue and the spices of another continent –

on this
side of the axis,                  the victors all
                                                    are dead.

give me
a different history

a new inheritance.

the canvas of an America
that hasn’t been touched.






interpret the tusks
of this journey:

a locust jolts itself
from the sink,
hovers – erratic –
between the tile
walls of the bathroom

a forewing mangled
in the ambush. the insect
bucks in a jar-pen,
thudding against
the glass.

off in search of
– she tells herself when

finally she releases
her palm, shakes
the jar out the

she does not see
the plummet,
its wing contorted
batting in vain
or the body spasms
once it lands on
the ground.

oh glory of
our lord,
the mercy of giants.





that first spring without us.

the footprint will remain                     for awhile:
hollow architecture, network
of telephone poles, asphalt
still glued to the soil.

the countryside goes quick – those
fragile homes might
only take a decade
to wilt. the croplands
even less.

livestock will wait tethered.
those that survive the summer
will not make it past
the winter.

the cities will follow.

the grandest of them
may sit a century.

what takes our
place finds in a ghost email
an album of photographs

it studies the faces
and feels
next to nothing.


Talal Alyan is a Palestinian American writer and co-editor of Riwayya, an online literary journal. His political writing has been featured in various publications including Vice News, Al Jazeera English, Huffington Post and Daily Beast. He currently resides in Brooklyn.

Comments are closed.