[arabic the in as left to right from read be To]

impossible are اسم/س
like bodies are so +
one having ugh what
supposed i am fuck the
day it with do to
wake i day after
try + it into up
way the all it fill to
know i like energy my up
many so for here i
wake i names but things
it into up
half on it put +
wanting lineage half / cocked
sharp—peak each—letterform the
expansive—wideness overall its fierce +
all-caps—go/od so looks it
it way the love i powerful fucking
name + bars search internet glitches
in glitches it f(x) like fields
obvious it’s + way race a
does hacking + stealth not—
no but way gender a in glitch
ledger the that tracks one
*generous of son connotes name my of part
god name        my of part casual the +
  drag perpetual in
unfortunate how          thinking without genders
are vowels where construct this
see people— soft so just
see to want they what
timbre—contact eye them give
soft two or one just even
casing back come they + vowels
you over all gender rigid
light blue awful in




Copyright © 2019 by Andrea Abi-Karam. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 24, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“‘name/s’ is both a reckoning and a refusal. As an attempt to decentralize English and American constructions of language, race, and gender, ‘name/s’ is written in Marwa Helal’s invented form, the Arabic, and constructed from right to left. Aligned with Frantz Fanon’s second step of decolonial theory, ‘remembering,’ writing from right-to-left reclaims the loss of language imposed by colonial violence. In a non-US context, my first name is held by many genders, but in a US context, despite my genderqueer, post-top surgery presentation, I am overwhelmingly digested improperly and misgendered daily. In this poem, I refuse to accept the US-centric interpretations and pronunciation of my name.”
—Andrea Abi-Karam