Fall 2019

Aaron El Sabrout

King Krule & Mexican Street Sounds & Medicine Tea

Leaves barely shivering in the thickening stillness,
just to show that they’re alive & they drink too.
The tree with the knobbly spiked flower dick
doesn’t question its embodiment–it just bodies.
It is just a body. What if my body was just a body?

A motorcycle revving in the alleyway/
a masculinity built on gasoline.

Who does gender serve?
Not me, on the toilet at 4 AM
in the blue moonlight. Not a body
wracked with sweat shivers, not
the chub rub that welts slickly
between sticky thighs.

A hudhud cries midday, that danker morning,
calls me back to dusty Maadi lunch-as-breakfast
bisilla & bouftek & cucumber spears. “I was born
in seconds, do you feel me?” Somehow I cobble
this identity together in objects: this mug from
the grand canyon, this bathrobe from Winners.

But they fall apart, rotate in & out.
I too rotate in & out of bodies, out of selves,
first Pokémon t-shirt, sombrero & banana,
now notebook & paint jeans & glasses,
and then?

On the beach the wannabe Maya head
and the somewhere-maybe pyramid
are still sand, sloughing into the sea.
The water remembers even if our
instagram accounts forget, that everything fades.


Author’s Statement

This poem, for me, is a kind of excavation, a matrilineal map. It’s a meditation on the body as/through/with language and landscape. It’s a way of healing and (re)membering the past, my past. The body is an archive in that it carries memory and history. I believe we can transfer knowledge intergenerationally, storing patterns and responses for survival. Our bodies hold multiple possibilities, and memory lingers within and around us. 

From the Poetry Editors
Aaron El Sabrout offers us a stunning, lyric meditation on the function and habitation of a body. The sheer range of images and the originality of El Sabrout’s exploration of the body drew our editors in immediately. Poetry Co-Editor Aurora Nowak says: “‘King Krule…’ contains many trending pop culture references, but at the same time keeps the examination of self at the center of the poem.